Question – Beloved Osho, What is the difference between the christian way of being selfless, modest and humble, and your way of being egoless and ordinary?
Osho – The Christian way of being humble, modest, selfless, is basically wrong. The words they are using may sound exactly the same as I use, but they don’t mean the same. When Jesus says, “Be humble,” what does he mean? He means just the opposite of the ego: the ego is standing on its head, but the ego is there… upside down. When I say be ordinary, the ordinary is not against the ego; the ordinary man is not humble. I am not a humble man. I am not an egoist. I am just exactly in the middle. The humble man is exactly opposite to the egoist.
I am reminded of a small story. There were three Christian monasteries, very close to each other, belonging to three different denominations. One day, just by chance, the chiefs of all the three monasteries met on a morning walk. They sat under a tree to rest for a while.
One of them said, “Your monasteries are also doing our lord’s work” — carefully take note what he was saying: “Your monasteries are also doing our lord’s work, but as far as scholarship is concerned, you cannot beat our monastery.”
The second chief said, “I agree, I agree perfectly. Your monasteries are also doing our lord’s work, but as far as service to the poor, to the sick, to the old, to the orphans is concerned, you cannot come even close to us. You are far behind.”
The third monk said, “You are both right: your monasteries are doing our lord’s work. And this is true: the first monastery has great scholars in it, the second monastery has great servants of the people, of the poor, of the sick. But as far as humbleness is concerned, we are the tops.”
Humbleness is nothing but the ego standing upside down. A humble person is not egoless; he has repressed his ego, forced his ego to stand on its head. He is trying to be the humblest man in the whole world. But what is ego? Somebody is trying to be the richest man in the world — then it is ego. And somebody is trying to be the humblest man in the world — then is it not ego? If the president thinks he is at the top, then it is ego. And when the saint starts saying that he is at the top as far as humbleness is concerned, everybody is below him, then is it not ego?
Jesus has to be analyzed very carefully. He says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the kingdom of God.” On one hand to be meek… but why to be meek? The motive? The motive is given in the other part of the sentence: “to inherit the kingdom of God” — great meekness! Jesus also says, “If somebody hits you on one cheek, give him the other too.” These statements look so beautiful because you have been conditioned to hear them again and again, and you have completely forgotten that they have to be analyzed, psychologically understood. Great research is needed, in depth. Research is needed into a statement like this.
When somebody hits you on one cheek, Jesus says, give him the other too. It looks like he is teaching nonviolence, he is teaching love, compassion. But what he is teaching is to behave like a superman, and reduce the other man to sub-humanity. Have you ever thought that if somebody hits you, and you give the other cheek, what you are doing to him? Are you not saying to him, “Look, I am a saint”? Yes, you are not saying it, but it is all over the place. It is quite loud, even though you are not saying it: that, “Look at my saintliness, my humbleness, my meekness; you hit me on one cheek, I give you the other.”
When Jesus was teaching this message to his disciples, one of them had asked him, “And if he hits you on the other too?” Jesus may not have thought of the possibility of such a question. Yes, that is possible, because if you yourself are offering another cheek, it will be just ungrateful not to accept the offer. And if you enjoyed the first hit so much that you are welcoming another, he may give even a stronger one.
So the man asked, “Then what have we to do?”
Jesus said, “You have to forgive seven times.”
He said, “Okay.” From the way the man said “Okay,” it was clear that he knew that seven times he could tolerate it, but let the eighth come, and in just one single hit, “I will show him that what he has not been able to do in seven, I can do in a single one.” Looking at the man, the way he said, “Okay,” Jesus said, “No! Seventy-seven times.” But even seventy-seven times will be finished….
Jesus is not trying to solve the problem, he is simply postponing it. First he postponed it twice, then seven times. Now seeing the person, that it makes no difference — after seven times he will do exactly the same as he would have done the second time, the first time, in the first place…. But he is again postponing it, making it longer — seventy-seven times. But I say, even seventy-seven times will be finished; then will your humbleness be finished too? And then what are you going to do?
No, this is not the right way. You are not being humble. On the contrary, you are humiliating the other person. Jesus has told you to give him the other cheek. “Deep down he is saying: Humiliate him. He may not be conscious himself of what he is saying. He may be thinking that he is giving you a great teaching. I do not doubt his intention, but his intention is not in question at all. What is in question is the statement, the principle. What is the basic psychology in it? Somebody hits you and you give him your other cheek; you reduce him into a subhuman being, and deep down your ego is fulfilled — so pious. But the ego feeling pious is far more dangerous than the ego feeling wrong, ugly — because you can get rid of the ugly ego; you cannot get rid of the pious ego. The pious ego is a treasure to be saved, to be protected: that man has made you a saint.
That’s what Jesus himself did on the cross. Even on the cross he is humiliating the people. He is asking God, “Forgive these people because they know not what they are doing.” As if he knows! In fact, those people know perfectly well what they are doing. They know that they are crucifying him because of his claim that he is the messiah, and the scriptures say that the messiah will be crucified and the miracle will happen: he will be resurrected by God. And that will be the only proof of his being the true messiah; otherwise he is a false one.
They knew perfectly well what they were doing. But even hanging on the cross… the pious ego still has the last word: “God, father, forgive these poor people. They don’t know what they are doing.” Only he knows, and nobody else there knows. And what does he know? Just a few moments before he himself was asking God, “Have you forsaken me?” There was doubt. He was shocked that the miracle was not happening, that nothing was happening, that the sky was absolutely silent, no response. All kinds of doubts must have arisen in his mind.
You can think of yourself on the cross, and you have been declaring… and he believed it. I never doubt his intention. It was not that he was befooling, or cheating. He was not a fraud, he was sincerely insane. He believed he was the messiah who had come to redeem the whole of humanity. And he went to the crucifixion himself.
There is every possibility of a strange conspiracy. Only Gurdjieff used to talk about it; he was the first man to talk about it. Christians of course cannot talk about it. And Jews have never bothered about the crucifixion; they have not even mentioned anywhere that this carpenter’s son was crucified. They simply ignored it — just a mad guy — in their history books, their religious book. Nnowhere is crucifixion mentioned, other than in Christian books. That is the New Testament, which was written three hundred years after Jesus’ crucifixion, so-called crucifixion.
Gurdjieff had a few very significant ideas. I can only call them ideas because they cannot be authenticated by any other source; but Gurdjieff was a man of penetrating mind. One idea was that the story of Jesus is not historical. It was a drama that was played year after year in olden times, just as Rama’s story in India has been played year after year for five thousand years. Even today, every year in every village, every town, every city, even the smallest village has its own group of actors playing the story of Rama, Ramleela. The same time each year the story is played. There is a possibility that there has never been such a man as Rama; it has been only a story, but it has been played for five thousand years continually so that it has taken a historicalness about itself.
Gurdjieff said Jesus’ crucifixion and the whole story of Jesus was a drama played every year; no historical event happened. I don’t agree with this, because if it was so the Jews would have continued to play the story, just as Hindus have continued to play the story. Why were they stopped? What happened? The story is beautiful; why did Jews simply stop it? And no Jewish source mentions it, even as a story. And if it was being played for thousands of years, it is impossible that there was no other source where it was related. And why did it suddenly stop two thousand years ago? No, it cannot be just a drama. And a drama cannot create so much trouble in the world. A drama cannot create Christianity. A drama cannot create all that the Christians have done to humanity. No, no drama is so powerful.
His second idea is also very significant, and there are moments when I think perhaps he is right about the second idea. With the first idea, I simply disagree with him. But the second idea is that Judas did not betray Jesus — he was Jesus’ closest disciple. It was Jesus who persuaded Judas to deliver him to the enemies. That too has no source anywhere. Gurdjieff was a strange man, but once in a while he used to stumble upon certain fragments of truth, certain aspects.
I can see some possibility of truth in this, because there was no need for Judas to betray. They had never been in a fight. There was no question about his being the successor, because he was the most literate, the most cultured, the most educated person amongst Jesus’ apostles. All the others were just very ordinary people from the masses. He was the only one — he was far better educated, far more cultured than Jesus himself. It was absolutely certain that he was going to take over once Jesus was gone. There was nobody to compete with him. There was no conflict. There had been no fight, and it was not possible that he would sell his master for thirty silver pieces. And if he was really so much against Jesus, then why did he commit suicide after Jesus’ crucifixion?
Christians don’t talk about Judas’ suicide, which is very significant. Perhaps Gurdjieff is right. Perhaps Jesus persuaded Judas, ordered Judas, “Go and deliver me to them, and deliver me in such a way that they don’t suspect that you are being sent by me — so if they offer some bribe, you accept.” They offered thirty silver pieces. He accepted gratefully and he brought them to the place where Jesus was staying. Jesus was caught and the next day he was crucified. It seems Gurdjieff has a point there, because Jesus knew beforehand that he was going to be crucified the next day. How did he know it? He knew that Judas was going to deliver him to the enemy. How did he know it?
The Christians will say, “He is all knowing, he is omniscient: he is the son of God.” But what happens to the son of God on the cross? Suddenly God abandons the son?… forgets about him?… does not listen to his prayer? No, the possibility is he knows, because it is his own plan that he should be delivered to the high priest, and only Judas could do it because he was so obedient and he could be relied upon. The others were emotionally attached to Jesus; only Judas was intellectually attached to Jesus. The others were not reliable. They might say, “No, we cannot do this. How can we do this to you? What are you talking about?” And even if they were sent, they would have come back without telling anybody about Jesus. They were simple folk.
Only Judas was capable of some integrity. And if Jesus says, “This is the way we have to function. You deliver me to the high priest and let them crucify me, and let God show the miracle of resurrection, so immediately we become recognized, and we can transform the whole world and redeem everybody from suffering.” And Judas believed it. He was not against Jesus and he was not betraying Jesus; he was really obeying him, obeying to the very extreme. Only a very obedient disciple could do that. But he also believed that there was no problem in crucifixion. Crucifixion was just a game: he was the son of God.
You should put yourself in Judas’ position, then you can understand that he was not betraying. He never thought for a single moment that this is a betrayal. He is simply fulfilling the plan and the master is giving him the order. And it is written in the scriptures, “The messiah will be betrayed by his own disciple.” Everything is written in the scriptures. He knows the scriptures, he is the only person who can read. So a disciple has to play the role — it is just a role — because he believes totally that after the resurrection the world will be redeemed. And he is doing a great service to humanity. He is not betraying Jesus, he is fulfilling his mission on the earth.
Gurdjieff’s idea is a little outlandish, but worth consideration. Anyway, whether it is right or wrong, one thing is certain, that Jesus was very keen to be crucified, more keen than the chief priest of the great temple of the Jews. He rushes fast towards Jerusalem for the annual festival, because it is known all over the country that this time, if Jesus comes to the temple…. Last year he had created chaos in the temple, he had upturned the tables of the moneychangers, thrown them out, had beaten them, and declared, “This business cannot continue in my father’s house. The temple is my father’s house.”
So there had been a rumor around for one year continually: “Next time, if he comes, the priests are ready. Last year they were not ready; it happened suddenly, they could not do anything. But this time they are getting ready, and they have persuaded the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, ‘This man is dangerous religiously to us, and politically to you.'”
Jesus knew. All these rumors were reaching him through his disciples and people and travelers, but still he rushed to the festival. For what? He had a tendency to be a martyr. That is another name for the suicidal instinct — a good name. But he believed, madly believed, that nobody could harm him. When God is the savior, who can harm him? But on the cross his hopes disappeared. But still, the ego, the arrogance of the humble man — who always forgives, even if you crucify him — is there: “These poor people should be forgiven.”
And who were these poor people? Learned rabbis — their whole life they had wasted in learning the Torah — the high priest and hundreds of other rabbis… because the temple of the Jews was one of the biggest temples in the world. Hundreds of priests were functioning there, working there. And the chief priest, the high priest was in egoistic conflict with Jesus. Unless Jesus had that ego there, the conflict would not have arisen.
It was the rule that every year the centralmost shrine of the temple was opened; the only man who entered there was the high priest, and the door was closed. Only he was allowed to utter the name of God. That’s why — you will be surprised — in Jewish books written in English, they don’t write G-O-D — God — because that would be pronouncing the full name. The ‘o’ is dropped, leaving an empty space in place of ‘o’: ‘g’ — empty space for ‘o’ — and ‘d’. You should not pronounce it, because unless you are pure enough you should not pronounce the name of God.
Only the high priest was entitled to pronounce the name of God; others were not entitled even to hear it. So the door was closed in the innermost shrine, completely closed — and there was only one door. Then he would call out, “God!” and pray and ask for the redemption of the Jews: “Send the messiah.”
And this man Jesus entered into the temple the year before, disturbed the whole structure of the temple, the system of the temple, and declared himself the messiah. Not only that, he declared, “I am the only begotten son of God. This is my father’s house, and what business is it that you are doing? I will not allow this kind of business here. Get out of the temple!”
Now, this was a sure challenge for the high priest that an even higher priest has arrived, the messiah has arrived, the prayer has been heard. Not only the messiah, God has sent his own son. Now this son has to be somehow finished with; otherwise the purpose, the function of the high priest and the thousand priests and the whole temple is lost.
Jesus rushed, got caught, was crucified; but even in crucifixion his arrogance was the same. He asked that these people should be forgiven, because they did not know what they were doing. If you enter deeply into such statements, you will be surprised that what appears on the surface is not the whole reality. So when the Christians say humble, they mean the ego has been repressed. But it has come in from the back door, claiming that “I am the most humble person.” When they say selfless, they tell you to practice selflessness, be humble.
Once a Christian monk came to see me. He was traveling all over India, and one of my Christian friends had given him a letter saying that if he passed through my city he must see me. He had written a letter to me saying that “Brother So-and-so is coming on these dates, and he is the humblest person you will ever come across — absolutely selfless. He is exactly what you teach. So I am telling him to meet you, and I implore you also to meet him. He is a man worth meeting.”
Brother So-and-so appeared one morning. He was carrying a Bible, and was living just like a Hindu monk; he looked very simple, gentlemanly. But I didn’t say to him to sit down.
He said, “Your friend has sent me.”
I said, “I have received the letter. But why are you carrying that rubbish with you?”
He said, “Rubbish? This is The Holy Bible.”
I said, “This is holy nonsense.”
His eyes became fire and he said, “What kind of man are you? My friend was saying that I would be welcomed and received. You have not even asked me to sit down and you call my holy Bible ‘holy nonsense,’ rubbish. I cannot stay here anymore.”
I said, “I don’t want you to stay here anymore — because you are not the person whom he describes in this letter, the Brother So-and-so who is very humble, the humblest person you will ever come across. You are not a humble person. If you were, what is wrong in my calling your Bible rubbish? You should have laughed. You should have said, ‘Okay, that is your opinion.’
“And if I have not asked you to sit down, nor have I prevented you. The chair was there; why were you waiting for me to tell you to sit down? A humble person? You could have sat down; I have not prevented you. And just think of your anger — you are enraged!” I said, “Now I say, please sit down. Put your holy Bible here on the table.”
He said, “No. I cannot stay here a single moment more. You are a dangerous man. You disturbed my twenty years’ humbleness.”
I said, “A humbleness which has been practiced for twenty years and is disturbed within twenty seconds is not worth much.”
You can repress the self, you can repress the ego, you can behave the way a humble man behaves. You can discipline yourself in any way, but it is all a circus, disciplining. Deep down you will remain the same. Anybody who knows how to scratch your thin layer of discipline can bring your reality out within seconds.
When I say be without the ego, I am not saying repress the ego, I am saying try to understand the ego. I am not saying fight with it. I am saying become aware of it. And the more you become aware of the ego, the less it is. The day you are fully aware of the ego, it is not found. When the ego is not found, then a quality arises in you like a fragrance — which is humbleness, which I call ordinariness, just to make the difference from humbleness. That word humble has been so misused by religious people that I have to use the word ordinariness, because no religion has used that word.
So I don’t want to use the words humble, selfless. I would like you simply to understand that I am just ordinary as everybody else is ordinary. And this understanding comes by becoming aware of the ego, not by repressing it.
One woman has written a letter in which she says, “You are not a gentleman; not only that, you are not even a Christian.” I started to think, “Is to be a Christian a necessary condition for being a gentleman? Then the whole world who is not Christian, is not gentlemanly. Only Christians are gentlemen.” And my experience shows, and your experience shows, that this is not the case. Christians, because of Jesus’ egoistic claims, continue in the same egoistic stream — their pope is infallible.
I used to think that I have come to know all the kinds of idiots, but coming here to Oregon I came to know that that was not right. The Oregonian idiot is a special category in itself.
Source – Osho Book “From Unconsciousness to Consciousness”