Osho on Possessor and Possessions : Seeds of slavery are hidden in the desire to be a possessor, a master, because we have to become His slave also whose possessor — master — we shall be. We have to become slaves because our mastery — ownership — depends upon Him whose possessor we become. When the ownership — possession, depends upon someone else, then how can we be the owner of our possession. He becomes the owner on whom ownership depends. If I have ten slaves with me, I am the possessor of ten slaves, and my ownership depends only on having these ten slaves. If I lose these ten slaves, I lose my ownership also. The key of that possession is not with me, it is with the ten slaves.
In a deep sense those ten slaves have become my masters, I cannot be the master if they are not there; and how is one to be the master of those without whom we cannot be masters? Knowingly or unknowingly we have become slaves of them; we have been chained by them and without them our ownership falls down. And the interesting thing is that a slave will also desire to be free because none desires to remain in bondage. So when the master dies, slaves are happy; but if a slave dies, the master weeps. Now think, who is the slave between the two? One who weeps or one who laughs?
The desire to be a possessor makes one a slave. He alone is the master in this world who does not wish to be the master of anyone. He alone can be the master who has not made anyone a slave, because it is not possible to end his ownership. His ownership is absolute — is unhampered. And how can there be ownership if it is not absolute. Even things, inanimate objects, become our masters. They begin to rule us. The possessor becomes the possessed. He who looks after, takes care of things; forgets by and by that things were meant to serve him, and it does not strike him now when he started to serve them. He will not have that idea, because things had not come to this man, but he had gone to them. Only slaves go to their masters, masters never go to them. It will get ownership if you go to it. Things never come to you but you go to them. Man is in search of things; things do not go in search of men.
You also might have heard the following story: A sanyasi came to a palace one night. His teacher had sent him there to learn knowledge from the King’s court. Before he left for the king’s court, the sanyasi asked his teacher how he could get knowledge from the palace of a king when he could not learn it from an Ashram — from the world of penance. The guru, told him not to argue but to obey, and to ask the king there. When he reached the palace, he saw the courtiers drinking wine and the courtesans dancing. He said to himself, ‘Where have I been caught in this trouble? I have been made a fool. The guru has played a big practical joke upon me. Perhaps he thinks of being free from me. But it is not proper now to return.’
The king received the sanyasi with great feeling and pressed him to stay in the palace that night. The sanyasi replied that it was then meaningless to stop. The king said, ‘You can return tomorrow after your bath and food.’ The sanyasi stopped there, but he did not get sleep throughout the night. He thought, ‘This is madness indeed. How can one get knowledge from a palace where wine is freely used, where courtesans are dancing. where wealth is displayed everywhere, where there is enjoyment and merriment? And I am a seeker of the highest knowledge, I have wasted this night.’
When he got up in the morning, the king invited him to take a dip in the river behind the palace. Both went to bathe. When they were bathing, they heard loud noises. The palace was on fire. The flames were going high up in the sky. The king asked the sanyasi, ‘Do you see this’? The sanyasi came out immediately and shouted, ‘What do you talk? What is there to see? My clothes are there on the bank, they may catch fire. Let me run.’ But when he was running towards the bank, it struck him that the palace of the king is on fire and yet he was still standing in the water, and I am running to save my loin cloth kept on the bank. The fire has not yet reached the palace.’
He returned and fell on the feet of the king who was standing and laughing there. He asked, ‘How is it that you are standing here even though your palace was on fire? I have not understood this. The king said, ‘I could not have stood here if I had ever considered the palace as my palace. The palace is a palace, I am I. How can the palace be mine? When I was not born, the palace was there, it will be there even after I am no more. How can it be mine? You considered the loin cloth yours, and the palace mine so you ran after it.’
The question is not of things — whom they belong to. The question is of man’s aptitude, his behaviour, his attitude, his way of thinking and his way of life. Everything depends on how he lives. If he is attached to things, it doesn’t make any difference whether the thing is a palace or a loin cloth. And if he is not attached to things, then also it makes no difference if he has a loin cloth with him or a palace. Man becomes a slave because of his own attitude and he can also be free by breaking it or changing it.
Source: Osho Book “The Perennial Path: The Art of Living”