Osho on Rebellion

Question – Beloved Master, What is the line of distinction for a rebel, between the attitude of total acceptance of existence and a non-conforming attitude towards the world at large?

Osho – Gyan Asanga, the difference, the “distinction for a rebel, between the attitude of total acceptance of existence and a non-conforming attitude towards the world at large”… just a little change is needed in your question. Because rebellion is not against the world at large. The rebellion is against the dead past: all the traditions, all the religions, all the civilizations, all the cultures, all the nations, all political ideologies — the rebellion is against this junk.

The world is beautiful. It is the mind of the society that goes on carrying the past, it is dominated by the dead. And you cannot live a life of freedom and love if you are dominated by the dead. Perhaps you have never thought about it in this way. All your religions are dead — dead institutions.

A survey in Greece has reported that more than ninety percent of the people are orthodox Christians, but only four percent of them ever go to church. Do you call this religion living? And who are these four percent? I was in Greece, and the archbishop of Greece had threatened the government that if I was not thrown out of Greece — and I was only there for four weeks — then their whole morality, their religion, their ancient traditions would be corrupted; I would corrupt the minds of the youth. So if the government was not going to take action, he was going to take action by his own hands.

This is the head of the Orthodox Church of Greece, and this is the oldest Christian church in the world. And what was he going to do? He made it clear that he was going to dynamite the house I was staying in with my twenty-five followers, and he was going to burn these followers with me, alive.

I inquired of my Greek sannyasins how many people he had in his congregation. They laughed. I said, “What is the matter, why are you laughing?”
They said, “In his congregation there are only six old women, who have nothing else to do and who are not needed by anybody anywhere else. Only they go to the church.”

When I am saying that an authentic man has to be a rebel, he is not going to be a rebel against the stars or against the trees or against the ocean or against the mountains. He is going to be a rebel against the dead and the past — which are still dominating the mind of the society. In other words, rebellion is against society, and acceptance — total acceptance — is for existence. The stars and the ocean and the mountains and the flowers and the birds — this whole vast expanse of life in its immense variety and beauty. The distinction is very clear, so there need not be any confusion.

The authentic man has to fight against the chains of the past and make himself free to live in the present and to live in the future. Those who live in the past are almost living posthumously, they are dead. Those who are dominated and dictated by the dead belong to the dead. They may be eating and walking and talking, but really they belong in graveyards.

I want you to belong to the present so that you can live each moment fresh, young, alive, with a great adventure for the coming moment. Unless your life becomes an ecstasy, you have not lived it. You have missed the very point, the bull’s eye.

A celebrated judge and an almost equally celebrated bishop were engaged in a friendly argument as to which of them had more power over their fellow men.
“After all old man,” the bishop explained, “you can only say to a man, `You be hanged.’ I can go very much further, I can say to a man, `You be damned.'”
“Ah, yes,” nodded the judge. “But the difference is that when I say to a man, `You be hanged,’ he is hanged.”

And that is a great difference! — because the bishop is just living in fictions. His heaven, his hell, his God, are all fictitious. He has no evidence for them and he has not even the courage to doubt their existence. He is just a coward.

The judge was right when he said, “When I say `You be hanged,’ he is hanged.” It takes a reality, an actuality, and whatever you go on saying…”You be damned, you go to hell,” that is all just hot air, soap bubbles.

The difference and distinction between acceptance of the universe and rejecting the past of man is very clear. The universe is here, now; the past is no more. And why should you allow the dead to give you commandments? Why should you be so self-disrespectful as to even listen to somebody who lived five thousand years before? Can’t you use your own intelligence to find the way? Don’t you have your own consciousness to make your path and create a ray of light in the darkness of life?

And those dead people have not helped anybody; they are hanging around your necks and their weight goes on becoming bigger and bigger because their number goes on increasing. More and more people are dying — the dead in the world are ten times more than the living people. So at least ten dead people are hanging around your neck. Beware of these fellows, just put them back in their graves — however great they may have been in their time. They cannot advise you because they know nothing about your times, your situations. Only you know what you are encountering.

And if you become free from the dead, as a corollary you will never hang around your children’s necks. You will allow them freedom from the very beginning to find their way in life, to commit mistakes and learn, and stop committing mistakes. To fall and get up — this is the only way to become stronger, this is the only way to learn and be wise: “And one thing is certain, you will not be living in the same situations in which we are living, so our advices are of no use.”

A Zen story: There were two temples, ancient temples, enemy temples, and the enmity had gone on for centuries. Both the old priests of those temples hated each other so much that they would not look at each other. If one was passing on the road the other would move into a bypass. But they had two small boys — just to do small things for the old people — and both priests were insisting to them, “Remember, never speak to the boy of the other temple.” But boys are boys. In fact, this became a temptation. They might not have bothered, but because the insistence was so much they became intrigued.

And one day, they met on the road going towards the market to fetch some vegetables. One boy said, “Hello, where are you going?”
And the other boy had a little of a philosophical bent. He said, “Wherever the wind takes me.” The first boy could not believe such an answer, he had never expected it. And he thought that perhaps the old man was right not to talk to these people.

He felt defeated, and he came back to the temple. He said to the old priest, “Forgive me, but I could not resist saying `hello’ to the boy. And they are really nasty people, you are right. I asked the boy a simple question, `Where are you going?’ And I knew where he was going and where I was going, the road goes to the market. And the boy said, `Wherever the wind takes me.'”

The old man said, “This is not right to be defeated. Our temple has never been defeated by those people. We have argued for centuries. Tomorrow, ask again, `Where are you going?’ and when he says, `Wherever the wind takes me,’ ask him, `If the wind is not blowing, then?'”

The boy was very happy, he was waiting far ahead on the road for the other boy to come. The other boy came, and he was going on as if he had not even seen the waiting boy.
The boy said, “Hello, where are you going?” And he was prepared, but that boy was strange.

He said, “Wherever my legs take me.” Now the answer that he had prepared was irrelevant, the situation had changed.
He felt very bad, very much hurt. He went directly to the priest, with tears in his eyes, and said, “They are really nasty, they don’t stick to their ideology. Yesterday he said, `Wherever the wind takes me,’ today he said, `Wherever my legs take me.’ I was dumfounded because I could not give the prepared answer that I had taken from you. Now you have to give me another answer.”

The old man said, “I had told you beforehand, don’t start this. Ask again, `Where are you going,’ and when he says, `Wherever my legs take me,’ ask him, `Suppose you had no legs?'”
Very happy, the next day he was again waiting and he asked, “Where are you going?”
The boy said, “Just to fetch a few vegetables from the market.”
Utterly defeated, he went back and he said to the old man, “What to do? These people are so inconsistent, today he has changed again. He said, `I am going to fetch a few vegetables.'”

But life is such… today it is one thing, tomorrow it is another, the day after tomorrow nobody knows what it will be. Your memorized answers, your borrowed knowledge from others never fits with life, because life goes on changing and your scriptures remain the same.

So are the VEDAS, so is the KORAN, so is the GITA; but people are allowing the old to show them the way, and life has changed its course. It is changing every moment, that’s why it remains fresh. It goes on dropping the old leaves and bringing fresh, new leaves. It goes on dropping the old people. If life was so much interested, then Manu and Moses and Mohammed would have all been alive; but those have proved old leaves, they have fallen. We will be gone in the same way, giving place to the new leaves to come and to dance in the sun, in the moon.

Don’t burden your children with your ideologies and don’t be burdened by your ancient people with their ideologies. Everybody has to be a light unto himself. This is, to me, the essential rebellion. And only through this rebellion can the new man be born and a new humanity arise.

Source – Osho Book “The Rebel”

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