Question – Beloved Osho, what is the difference between obeying the master and following his guidance?
Osho – The question is complex. In the first place, the master does not expect to be obeyed but to be understood. He does not give you guidelines either. In his presence, your loving heart finds them. It means that those who order and expect that their orders should be followed, complied with, are not authentic masters.
The master is not a commander. He does not issue things like `Ten Commandments.’ Certainly, he explains to you his experience, his realization, and then it is up to your intelligence to do whatever is right. It is not a direct order, it is an appeal to your intelligence. An order never cares about your intelligence, an order never wants you to understand anything. The basic purpose of all ordering of people is to reduce them into robots.
All over the world, in every army, they are turning millions of people into machines — of course, in such a way that you don’t understand what is going on. Their methodology is very indirect. What does it mean that thousands of people every morning are marching, following orders — “Right turn, left turn, move forward, move backward” — for what is all this circus going on? And for years it goes on. This is to destroy your intelligence.
The strategy is that if for years continuously you go on following any kind of stupid thing, meaningless, every day in the morning, every day in the evening… And you are not supposed to ask why. You just have to do it, to do it as perfectly as possible; there is no need for you to understand why. And when a person goes through such a training for years, the natural effect is that he stops asking why. And why? — because the questioning attitude is the very base of all intelligence. The moment you stop asking why, you have stopped growing as far as intelligence is concerned.
It happened in the second world war…. A retired army man… he had fought in the first world war, and he was honored well; he was a brave man. And now almost twenty-five years had passed. He had a small farm and lived silently.
He was going from the farm to his house with a bucket full of eggs, and a few people in a restaurant, just jokingly, played a trick on the poor old army man. One of the men in the restaurant shouted, “Attention!” and the man dropped the bucket and stood in the position of attention.
It had been twenty-five years since he had gone through the training. But the training had gone into the bones, into the blood, into the marrow; it had become part of the unconscious. He completely forgot what he was doing — it happened almost autonomously, mechanically. He was very angry. But those people said, “Your anger is not right, because we can call out any word we want. Who is telling you to follow it?”
He said, “It is too late for me to decide whether to follow it or not to follow it. My whole mind functions like a machine. Those twenty-five years simply disappeared. `Attention’ only means `attention’. You destroyed my eggs. I am a poor man.”
But this is being done all over the world. And not only today; from the very beginning armies have been trained not to use intelligence, but to follow orders. You have to understand one thing very clearly: that to follow an order and to understand a thing are two diametrically opposite things. If, by understanding, your intelligence feels satisfied and you do something out of that, you are not following an order from the outside; you are following your own intelligence.
And an authentic master is not your commander. He loves you, and he wants you to be more understanding, more intelligent, more capable of finding your way, more insightful, more intuitive. This cannot be done by orders.
I am reminded of another incident in the first world war. In Berlin, one German professor of logic was recruited into the army. There was a shortage of soldiers, and everybody who was physically able was asked to volunteer. Otherwise, they were forcing people to go to the army….
Because all the societies, all the nations, all the cultures, have taken it for granted that the individuals exist for them, not vice-versa. To me, just the opposite is the case: the society exists for the individual, the culture exists for the individual, the nation exists for the individual. Everything can be sacrificed, but the individual cannot be sacrificed for anything. Individuality is the very flowering of existence — nothing is higher than it. But no culture, no society, no civilization is ready to accept a simple truth.
The professor was forced. He said, “I am not a man who can fight. I can argue, I am a logician. If you need somebody to argue with the enemies, I am ready, but fighting is not my business. It is barbarous to fight.”
But nobody listened, and finally he was brought to the parade grounds. The parade started, and the commander said, “Left turn.” Everybody turned left, but the professor remained standing as he was standing.
The commander was a little worried: “What is the matter? Perhaps the man is deaf.” So he shouted loudly, “Now turn to the left again!” All the people turned to the left again, but that man remained standing as if he had not heard anything.
Forward, backward… all the orders were given and everybody followed. That man remained just standing in his place. He was a well-known professor; even the commander knew him. He could not be treated just like any other soldier, he had a certain respect. Finally, when the parade ended and everybody came back to the same line from where they had started, the commander went to the professor and asked, “Is there some problem with your ears? Can’t you hear?”
He said, “I can hear.”
“But then,” the commander said, “why did you remain standing? Why did you not follow the orders?”
He said, “What is the point? When everybody finally has to come back to the same state, after all this movement going forward and backward, left and right, what have they gained?”
The commander said, “It is not a question of gaining, it is a training!”
But he said, “I don’t need any training. This kind of stupid thing… You come to the same place after doing all kinds of stupid things, which I don’t see any point in. Can you explain to me why I should turn left and not right?”
The commander said, “Strange, no soldier asks such questions.”
The professor said, “I am not a soldier, I am a professor. I have been forced to be here, but you cannot force me to do things against my intelligence.”
The commander went to the higher authorities and said, “What to do with this man? He may spoil other people — because everybody is laughing at me, and everybody is saying, `Professor, you did great!’ I cannot tackle that man. He asks… each thing has to be explained: `Unless I understand it, unless my intelligence supports it, I am not going to do it.'”
The commander in chief said, “I know the man. He is a great logician. His whole life’s training is in questioning everything. I will take care of him, you don’t be worried.”
He called the professor to his office and said, “I am sorry, but we cannot do anything. You have been recruited; the country needs soldiers. But I will give you some work which will not create any difficulty for you and will not create any difficulty for others. You come with me to the army mess.”
He took the professor there, and showed him a big pile of green peas. He told the professor, “You do one thing: sit down here. You have to sort out the big peas on one side, the small peas on the other side. And after one hour I will come to see how things are progressing.”
After one hour he came back. The professor was sitting there and the peas were also sitting there, in the same place. He said, “What is the matter? You have not even started.”
He said, “For the first and for the last time, I want you all to understand that unless you explain to me… Why should I sort out the peas? My intelligence feels insulted by you. Am I an idiot, to sort the peas? What is the need? Moreover, there are other problems. Sitting here, I thought that perhaps there is some need, but there are questions which have to be decided: there are peas which are big and there are peas which are small, but there are peas of many other sizes. Where are they going to go? You have not given me any criterion.”
A mystery school, a spiritual path, is not the path of a soldier. Here, orders are prohibited. Here, only intelligence is appealed to. The decision is always on your part. It is only the phony masters who give you orders, because they cannot satisfy your intelligence. An authentic master is perfectly capable to satisfy your intelligence, and then leave it up to you. It is your life, and the final decision has to be made not by anyone else other than you. You have to take the responsibility on your own shoulders. So there are no orders as far as true masters are concerned. You have also asked about guidelines.
People have been told such nonsense for centuries — as if spirituality is a kind of geography, so that maps are given to you, guidelines are provided to you: Follow the right guidelines and you will reach the goal. Alas, things are not so cheap.
There are no maps in existence; no solid guidelines either, because each individual is so unique that what may be a guideline for one may prove a distraction for another; what may be medicine to one may prove poison to another. Individuals are so different. And if a master cannot understand the difference of individuals, their unique qualities, talents, geniuses, then who is going to understand? No general guidelines can be provided.
The master simply goes on dropping all kinds of hints. Remember my word `hints’ — not guidelines. And you have to choose whatever suits you, and you have to experiment to see whether it is workable for you or not. If it works, go on deeper into it; if it does not work, don’t feel guilty. You have not committed any sin, you have simply failed in an experiment.
With a master, life becomes a scientific experiment. It is no more a question of heaven and hell, punishment and reward. It is a question of exploration. And each individual has to explore in his own way. There are no golden rules: this is the only golden rule there is. There is no superhighway with milestones telling you how far you are from the goal. In the spiritual exploration, you have to walk and create your path by your walking; there is no ready-made path so that you have simply to walk on it.
And my feeling is that this is tremendously blissful and ecstatic. You are not like railway trains. Running on rails, you cannot run into the jungles, into the mountains, anywhere you like. The railway train is a prisoner.
But a river is not a prisoner. It also travels long. It may be coming thousands of miles, from the Himalayas, and it reaches finally to the ocean — with no map, with no guidelines, with no guides, and nobody on the way to whom the river can inquire, “Which way am I to go now?”… because each step is a crossroad.
But strangely enough, every river reaches to the ocean with great freedom, finding its own path. The master can only give you certain hints about how to find your path. He can give you certain indications whether you have found it or not, can give you certain criteria to judge whether you are moving towards the goal or away from the goal. But he does not give you guidelines. In the very nature of things, it is not possible.
The moment you have found a master, you have found the path. And who is the master? — not one who fulfills your mind expectations. A Christian mind has Christian expectations, a Hindu mind has Hindu expectations, a Buddhist mind has Buddhist expectations.
A master is one who fulfills the longing of your heart.
It has nothing to do with the mind. It is a love affair.
You simply find that you are in love. You simply find that your heart feels at home, at ease, that your heart has found a treasure, feels a tremendous benediction. And as you come closer to the master — in your love, in your trust — your peace deepens; your silence becomes not something dead, the silence of a graveyard, but something singing and dancing, alive.
The more you are moving towards your life’s fulfillment, the more your life becomes a rejoicing, a deep joy for no reason at all, a blissfulness so deep and so abundant that you can start sharing it with others. In fact, you have to share it with others because it is overflowing, you cannot contain it.
For the first time, you are small and your bliss is infinite.
These are the indications that you are moving towards home.
Your ecstasies go on growing deeper and higher.
And if you are moving away, you will become more miserable, more sad, more saintly, more Christian, more Hindu, more Jaina — all kinds of diseases. More knowledgeable… but inside, more and more empty; a beggar living by a thin thread of hope that somewhere in the other life, somewhere in the other world, you will be rewarded for all your sadness, your long British faces.
Saints don’t laugh. They have fallen below humanity, because only human beings laugh. Buffaloes don’t laugh, donkeys don’t laugh — they all belong to the categories of the saints and sages. Perhaps these fellows — donkeys and buffaloes — may have been great sages in their past lives and now they are getting their reward. Don’t misbehave with them. Be respectful. One never knows. But as far as I am concerned, your sense of humor, your laughter will become deeper as you grow in consciousness. You will become more playful in life.
So there are neither orders nor guidelines, but only vague hints, indications, and a constant effort to sharpen your intelligence so that you can find your way. And when you have found, you have the courage to burst into songs, into dances, into rejoicings. That’s the function of the master: to make you more intelligent and more courageous, more loving, more understanding. But there are no orders, no disciplines, no guidelines.
Orders, disciplines, guidelines — these have been used by people who wanted to dominate you, by people who wanted to dictate their terms, to enforce their ideas on other people’s lives. I call all such people great criminals. To impose your idea on somebody, to give some ideal, some mold, is violence, sheer violence. You are being destructive, and a master cannot do that. A master is always creative.
Source – Osho Book “Beyond Enlightenment”