Question : Osho, What is Compassion
Osho : Anand Shama, We know what passion is hence it is not very difficult to understand what compassion may be. Passion means a state of biological fever — it is hot. You are almost possessed by biological, unconscious energies. You are no longer your own master, you are just a slave.
Compassion means you have transcended biology, you have transcended physiology. You are no more a slave, you have become a master. Now you function consciously. You are not driven, pulled and pushed by unconscious forces, you can decide what you want to do with your energies. You are totally free. Then the same energy that becomes passion is transformed into compassion.
Passion is lust, compassion is love. Passion is desire, compassion is desirelessness. Passion is greed, compassion is sharing. Passion wants to use the other as a means, compassion respects the other as an end unto himself or herself. Passion keeps you tethered to the earth, to the mud, and you never become a lotus. Compassion makes you a lotus. You start rising above the muddy world of desires, greed, anger. Compassion is a transformation of your energies.
Ordinarily you are scattered, fragmentary. Some energy is being absorbed by your anger, some energy is being absorbed by your greed, some energy is being absorbed by your lust, and so on and so forth. And there are so many desires surrounding you that you are left without any energy; you are left hollow, empty.
And remember what William Blake says — there is great insight in it — he says, “Energy is delight.” And you don’t have any energy left; all your energy keeps on going down the drain. When all these energies are no longer being wasted they start filling your inner lake, your inner being. You become full. A great delight arises in you. When you start overflowing, you have become a Buddha and you have come upon an inexhaustible source.
Compassion is a key word, but you will understand it only if you go deep into meditation. Meditation is the key to transform passion into compassion. You will have to become more conscious. Right now you are unconscious — notwithstanding what you think, you are unconscious.
A girl taking a job in an office is asked by her intended employer how much she hopes to earn.
“Twenty dollars a week,” she answers.
“Twenty dollars?” he says. “I’ll give you that with pleasure.”
“With pleasure, that will be thirty dollars,” she replies.
Watch what you do, what you say, what you think, and you will be surprised: without taking any alcoholic beverages, without taking any drugs, you are in a mess.
Mrs O’Brien was berating her husband for his drunken behavior at the party the previous night.
“Sure, and you were making an ass of yourself,” she asserted, “cavorting around like that!”
“I was not cavorting or nothing!” O’Brien defended himself. “I was walking as straight a line as any man there… till all those people started stepping on my fingers!”
Just look at what you have been doing to yourself, to your life. What have you made of yourself? What have you gained? What meaning have you attained? What significance have you experienced? People don’t ask such embarrassing questions because then they feel very depressed. But these questions have to be asked. Unless you ask these questions you are not going to change.
An Irish immigrant walked up to a vending machine, put in a coin, and pressed the button labelled “Coffee, double cream, sugar”. No cup appeared. Then two nozzles went into action, one sending forth coffee, the other, cream. After the proper amounts had gone down the drain where the cup should have been, the machine turned off.
“Now, that’s real automation!” the Irishman exclaimed. “This thing even drinks it for you.”
Man goes on living like a robot, functioning well, efficiently. In fact, the more like a robot you are, the better you function, the better the society feels with you — because it is a society of robots. To be awakened, alert, conscious here is dangerous. It is a society of blind people; to have eyes is to invite danger.
But without creating consciousness you will never be able to know the beauty, the blessing that God has bestowed upon you. You will never know the great opportunity that has been given for you to grow, to become. You can be sunlit peaks and you are just dark holes!
“Shit!” said Polaris. “I got a real jolt in court this morning. The judge fined me five hundred dollars for attempting to rape some broad I met on the subway. And then when he took a good look at her he fined me an extra ten dollars for being drunk!”
If you become alert to at least one thing — that you are not alert — that’s a great beginning.
A big Irishman said to a homely woman on the subway, “My God, you’re looking lovely tonight.”
“Oh, thank you, sir.”
“But don’t mind what I say, I’m drunk.”
Even if you are aware of that much — that you are drunk — you are not absolutely drunk. Socrates says, “If you know that you don’t know, that is a great beginning. Then it is possible for you to know.” To be aware that “I am ignorant” creates the possibility of seeking, searching in your own interiority for the truth — for your truth.
Compassion is the ultimate transformation of passion. You are in passion, but you go on thinking that you are right as you are. You go on defending yourself. And anything that disturbs your comfortable, mechanical life, you go against.
One visitor has written to me: “Your medicine seems to be too bitter. Are you sure, Osho, that you are a physician and not a horse doctor?” When I look at all the monkeys and the donkeys and the Yankees surrounding me, I wonder myself! I must be a horse doctor. The medicine is bitter and it is difficult to push it down your throat.
I have heard: Mulla Nasruddin went to the horse doctor and said “My horse has become so lazy that something has to be done. He does not run. He does not even walk! What to say about running? So give me something really vital.”
The doctor said, “We have the medicine, but it is very bitter and the horse may not take it, so you will have to use a certain device. Take this bamboo pipe, it is hollow within. Fill it with the medicine — it is a powder.” He gave the powder. “Put one end of the pipe into the horse’s mouth and the other in your own mouth and then blow so that it will go down the horse’s throat.”
Everything went well up to the last moment… the horse blew first! Nasruddin, an eighty-year-old man, jumped the fence of his garden and ran so fast that no Olympic runner would have been able to compete with him. His wife rushed to the horse doctor. She said, “Give me a double dose immediately because I have to catch him! He has escaped!”
Looking at you, I can only say that I must be a horse doctor. But I take every care so that you cannot blow before I blow! The medicine is bitter because the first thing to be understood is that you don’t know anything. It is bitter to accept. The second thing: you are a machine. It is very bitter to accept. The third thing: you are just living in mud, crawling into dark holes, while you are meant to be flying into the sky towards the sun. It is hard to accept. You want lullabies, you want me to sing beautiful songs to you so that you can fall asleep, so that you can dream better dreams.
When you come to me you don’t come to be awakened, you come to me so that you can dream beautiful, sweet dreams. That is your purpose in coming; that is not my purpose in being here. Once you are here you are caught. Then, slowly slowly, I start taking your dreams away. Then, slowly slowly, I go on destroying your illusions. Once your illusions are dropped, your dreams shattered, a great awakening is waiting for you — a great awakening which makes you a Buddha.
And when you are a Buddha, only then will you experience what compassion is. It is cool love — not cold, mind you — cool love. It is a sharing of your joy with the whole of existence. You become a blessing to yourself and a blessing to the whole existence. That is compassion. Passion is ugly, compassion is beautiful. Passion is a curse, compassion is a blessing.
Source – Osho Book “Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen”