Question – Beloved Osho, Could you please explain the difference between trusting existence and fatalism?
Osho – The difference between trust and fate is very subtle. On the surface it seems they mean exactly the same thing, but in reality they are diametrically opposite experiences.
Fate is a consolation. You are poor, and you see others getting richer and richer — some consolation is needed. You do everything and you do it honestly, truthfully, morally. You never use wrong means; still you are a failure. And you see others being dishonest, cunning, insincere, immoral, criminal, using all kinds of wrong means and succeeding, becoming richer, attaining power, prestige. How to explain it?
It is not new. Since the very beginning man has been puzzled by it. And he had to create some idea as a consolation. Fate, kismet, destiny, God — everything is written in the lines of your hand, in the lines of your forehead; everything is predetermined in your birthchart, you cannot do anything against it. The forces that have determined your life are too big. You are going to fail; it is better to accept your failure as destiny. It hurts less to say it is fate; it gives consolation. It is not your doing, it is not your failure — what can you do against the stars? You cannot determine your birth time and the day and the year.
You come into the world just like an actor, comes onto the stage fully prepared. He cannot change anything. Once in a while actors can change things, because a drama is a drama….
I have heard that in a village… All over India, every year at this time every village is playing the drama of the life of Rama, the Hindu god. And in the beginning… it is just like any film story: a triangle — two lovers, one woman. Sita is the woman, and Rama and Ravana are the two lovers. Rama is a young man. Ravana is very strong.
In those days, the daughters of kings particularly had the right to choose any device for selecting their husbands. Sita had asked… because in their family they had the bow that had belonged to the god, Shiva. It was such a big strong bow that even to pick it up needed a great wrestler; it was not easy for one person to raise it. As a device Sita chose that anybody who could raise the bow, and not only raise it but break it with his hands alone — it was a steel bow — that man she would choose as her husband.
Hundreds of kings, great wrestlers, archers… Rama was also present there. But nobody thought he would be of any use; he was too young. Everybody was worried that Ravana — who was a huge man, dangerous, had ten heads — was going to win. And everybody was worried — Sita’s father was worried, everybody concerned was worried that Sita would fall into the hands of this idiot. Somehow she had to be saved.
So just as the others were coming forward — and they could not even move the bow, raising it was out of question; they were becoming laughingstocks…. Before Ravana stood up, a man came running… it was a device to send Ravana back to his kingdom. He was the king of Sri Lanka. And the man said, “What are you doing here? Sri Lanka is on fire. Your whole kingdom is burning.”
Ravana forgot all about getting married to Sita. He rushed off to see what was happening in the kingdom first. It was a false strategy; there was no problem, Sri Lanka was perfectly okay. But by the time he came back, Rama had broken the bow, married Sita, and gone. This was a conspiracy, and Ravana could not forgive it. He was continuously in search of Sita, to steal her. Finally he stole her, and for three years he kept her imprisoned. That’s how the whole story goes.
In every village it is enacted every year. In this particular village, the man who played the part of Ravana was really in love with the girl who was playing the part of Sita. But they belonged to different castes; marriage was not possible.
Every year it was happening: the moment he would stand up, the man would come out shouting: “Sri Lanka is on fire!”
This time he was determined — because outside the drama they wouldn’t allow the marriage. They were not of the same caste and in India you cannot marry in another caste. And the man who played Ravana was in a lower caste; the girl was a brahmin. This time he thought, something has to be done.
The man came running and he said, “Sri Lanka is on fire!”
Ravana said, “Let it be. This year I am not coming!” Everybody laughed, nobody could believe it.
The prompter was behind the curtain: “What are you saying?”
And he said, “This year I am going to marry Sita!” And he went up — and it was just an ordinary bow, everybody had just pretended that it was so heavy that nobody could pick it up; it was just ordinary bamboo. He took it up, showed it to the audience, broke it, threw the pieces into the audience and told Sita’s father, “Bring your daughter! Enough is enough, and the story is finished!”
Even people who had fallen asleep woke up — “What is happening? Something new!” The director didn’t know what to do. For a moment there was silence.
And Ravana was shouting, “Where is Sita? Now fulfill the promise!”
And nobody could say to him, “You are not following the part that has been given to you” — because that would not be right to say in front of the public.
But the king — Sita’s father — was a very wise man. He said to his servants, “You idiots, this is not Shiva’s bow; this is the bow my children play with. Take it away. Bring the real bow.”
So the servants took away the broken parts. The curtain was pulled down, and they all jumped on Ravana and said, “You idiot, you are going to destroy the whole story.”
He said, “This time I am determined.”
So the police had to be called, and Ravana was sent to the police station: “Take him, because he is destroying our whole drama.”
In a drama it is possible that you can change things. But in life you don’t know exactly what is written in your fate, so whatever happens has to be accepted — “This must be written in my fate.”
The belief in fate is simply a consolation because we cannot accept our failure as failure.
And we cannot accept our failure for another reason — because it has implications for all our moral values: “We were honest, we were moral, we followed right means, we were truthful, and yet we failed. And the other person was dishonest, cunning, insincere, immoral, criminal, and yet he succeeded.”
Now, the whole moral system teaches that truth is going to win, that morality is going to win, that honesty is going to win. But in life we see that all the honest people are losing and immoral people are gaining. The cunning, the clever become powerful. The simple and the innocent are crushed. Our whole value system is at stake.
So it was necessary for the priests and the prophets to find a way in which your failure would not be your failure. “You cannot do anything, it is written in your fate. Your failure is not the failure of your sincerity, morality, honesty. And the other person’s success is not the success of wrong means, dishonesty, cunningness — it is his fate. And as far as fate is concerned, nothing can change it — neither honesty nor dishonesty. Yes, because you have been honest you will have a better fate in your future life. Because he has been dishonest, he will have a bitter fate in his future life.
So this was a beautiful consolation, and a beautiful defense — rational — for our moral system. But it is all bogus. The truth is, the man has succeeded because of dishonesty, not because of his fate. He has succeeded because of his immorality, he has succeeded because he does not care what kind of means he is using.
Existence gives you birth as tabula rasa. No fate is written; there is no destiny such that whatever you do, it has to happen. Existence is freedom. Fate is slavery. Freedom means it is up to you to decide what is going to happen. Fate is a bogus hypothesis. But trust is a totally different thing.
Trust is not fate. Trust simply means that “Whatever happens, I am part of existence and existence cannot be intentionally inimical to me. If sometimes that it feels it is, it must be my misunderstanding.”
I have always loved to remember a Sufi master Junnaid. He was the master of al-Hillaj Mansoor. He had a habit: after each prayer… and Mohammedans pray five times a day. After each prayer he would say to the sky, “Your compassion is great. How beautifully you take care of us, and we don’t deserve it. I don’t even have words to show my gratefulness, but I hope you will understand the unexpressed gratitude of my heart.”
They were on a pilgrimage, and it happened that for three days they passed through villages where orthodox Mohammedans would not allow them even to stay in the villages; there was no question of giving them food or water.
For three days without food, without water, without sleep — tired, utterly frustrated… The disciples could not believe that this man Junnaid, their master, still goes on saying the same things. Before, it was okay — but still he goes on saying, “You are great, you are compassionate, and I don’t have words to express my gratitude.”
On the third evening when he had finished his prayer, his disciples said, “Now it is time for an explanation. For three days we have been hungry, we have not had water, we are thirsty; we have not slept, we have been insulted continually, no place has been given to us, no shelter. At least today you should not say, `You are great, you are compassionate.’ For what you are showing your gratitude?”
Junnaid laughed. He said, “My trust in existence is unconditional. It is not that I am grateful because existence provides this and that and that. I am — that’s enough. Existence accepts me — that’s enough. And I don’t deserve to be, I have not earned it. Moreover, these three days have been of tremendous beauty because I had an opportunity to watch whether anger would arise in me, and it didn’t arise; whether I would start to feel that God had forsaken me, and the idea did not arise.
There has been no difference in my attitude towards existence. My gratitude has not changed, and it has filled me with more gratitude than ever. It was a fire test, and I have come out of it unburned. What more do you want? I will trust existence in my life and I will trust existence in my death. It is my love affair.
“It is not a question that somebody is rich and somebody is poor, that somebody is successful and somebody is not. It has nothing to do with anybody. It is my personal, intimate contact with reality. And there is great harmony. I am completely at ease and at home.”
Trust is the outcome of deep meditation. Fate is the outcome of your failures, and a mind consolation. They are totally different.
Source – Osho Book “Beyond Enlightenment”