Question – Beloved Osho, Why it is so difficult for Sannyasins to have deep relationships with Non-Sannyasins?
Osho – It is natural. To be a sannyasin means you are deprogrammed. To relate with non-sannyasins is bound to be difficult because they are programmed people. Their programmed minds and your deprogrammed minds cannot have anything in common. You will think them stupid; they will think you licentious, rebellious.
There is no possibility of communication. It will become more and more difficult the more sannyasins get deeper into meditation. Then those people will not be able to understand at all. They will think that you have been corrupted, you have beenbrainwashed, you have been hypnotized. All kinds of condemnation will come upon you from their side. And from your side, you cannot conceive how people can go on believing in such stupid ideas. Everything they believe in will look idiotic — their God, their heaven and hell, and their churches, their prayers.
You have become an outsider. You do not belong to the crowd. You have been able to see something of which they are not aware. It is just like a man having eyes trying to communicate with a group which is blind. There will be a thousand and one difficulties. You cannot mention colors, you cannot mention light; you cannot mention a beautiful sunset, because they will start laughing: “You are living in fantasies — these things don’t exist.”
And for you the problem is that you know they exist, and you know that these people are blind and they need some treatment for their eyes. But you cannot force them; they don’t think they are blind. They simply think that this is how one has to be. And they are in the majority. They may even violently force your eyes to be destroyed just to help you, so that you don’t talk nonsense. You talk about colors and rainbows and flowers and sunsets and stars — which are not part of their mind at all. But they are powerful. They are in the majority; they have the government in their hands — they can do anything they want. And you cannot do anything against them, nor would the heart of a sannyasin like to do anything against them — you can only feel compassion for them. You can try to convince them, argue with them, but your arguments and your efforts to convince them are not going to lead you anywhere, because you are speaking two different languages.
It is one of the most difficult things, and it has always been so. Not only to sannyasins, but to all people of greater perceptivity, greater sensitivity, the masses have been antagonistic. Vincent van Gogh… just a few days ago I saw a copy of one of his paintings in which he makes his stars like spirals. Nobody has painted stars like spirals — you don’t see them as spirals. He was condemned even by the painters of his day. All the critics were against him; all the painters thought that he was crazy. Every night you can see the stars, but have you ever seen spirals?
It was just a few months ago that astronomers came to realize that every star is a spiral. The distance is so much — that’s why we cannot see the spiral. But it is strange how Vincent van Gogh got the idea. He was not a physicist — he had no instruments. It took one hundred years for scientists to develop delicate instruments, sensitive instruments which can see stars as they actually are. But he had painted them a hundred years ago exactly as they are finding them now. Their photographs and Vincent van Gogh’s paintings are exactly the same!
But the poor fellow was not understood at all. He was turned out of his home because his parents were poor, and they said, “We cannot afford to keep you. You are now grown up. We have given you all the education that we could manage — now you can become a priest in a church. We cannot afford for you to be a painter.”
His father was working in a coal mine; his parents were really poor, and you cannot say anything against them. And Vincent van Gogh’s first works are just coal sketches — but they are tremendously beautiful. Now even those coal sketches have a value of millions of dollars. But his parents would not give him money for paints, for canvases, and finally they had to turn him out.
One of his friends took pity on van Gogh and asked him to stay with him until he got some employment. And he fell in love with the sister of the friend — just love at first sight. The first day in the house of the friend, he proposed to the girl. The girl simply laughed; they were more comfortably-off people — better educated, middle class, higher than Vincent van Gogh and his family.
She could not believe that this poor beggar could even dare to ask her. Jokingly, she said, “Can you give me any proof of your love? Can you put your hand on this candle?” — it was burning by their side.
He said, “Yes!” and he kept his hand on the burning candle. His whole hand was burnt. The woman got frightened: this man seems to be mad also! She pulled his hand away, but he said, “Why are you pulling it away? Let me keep it there until you say yes.”
The whole family gathered there. They pulled him away from the candle — he had burned his hand for his whole life — and he was turned out of the house the next day.
A man of great sensitivity — but no woman was ready to love him, because he looked crazy. Nobody was buying his paintings, and still he went on painting. His brother was employed — his younger brother — and was sending van Gogh the exact amount of money so that he could have his food every day. Each week he would send money — enough for one week only. And Vincent van Gogh would only eat four days in the week, and three days he would fast and purchase canvases and paints. And nobody was buying his paintings. People were simply laughing and saying, “He is simply mad! We have never seen such paintings. What is he doing?”
But it seems whatever he was doing is going to come true, slowly, slowly. If his vision of stars is now confirmed by physics, it is simply a miracle that with bare eyes, he could see that they are spirals. Nobody in the whole of history has even thought about it, so you cannot think that he borrowed the thought from somebody. Nobody has seen stars like that. And he could not prove anything; he simply went on saying, “This is how I see them.” But everybody laughed, because they also could see the stars but they didn’t see spirals.
This tremendous sensitivity… but he was misunderstood everywhere. And finally. when he was only thirty-three, they drove him mad. Hungry, starving, and everybody laughing and condemning… not a single painting was sold. His brother tried to send a man with money and said, “At least purchase one painting. He will have the consolation that somebody has purchased one painting.”
The man went — he had no idea about painting. Van Gogh was so ecstatic that somebody had come finally to purchase a painting — so he was showing him all his paintings. And the man said, “Don’t waste my time — any will do. This is the money.”
You can understand how much van Gogh would have been shocked. He simply said, “That means this money has been given to you by my brother — because you are not even looking at the paintings. I cannot sell any painting to you. These paintings are not for people who cannot understand them. And just tell my brother never to do such a thing to me — it hurts more.” And it was found actually that that was the case.
Van Gogh died without selling a single painting. Now only two hundred paintings have survived, and each painting is worth not less that one million dollars; each painting has a certain quality that has never been found in any other painting.
He became mad, but he continued to paint even while he was mad; in his madhouse he continued to paint. Even the paintings he has done in the madhouse are tremendously beautiful. Perhaps he was not mad; perhaps he was simply forced by the medical profession and other painters to feel that he was doing mad things.
After one year he was released, because he was absolutely nonviolent; he created no trouble for anybody, he simply continued to paint. In fact he was not willing to leave because it was far easier in the hospital. The hospital was paying everything for his paintings, and he was getting food for seven days, so this was far easier than to be outside.
But they forced him; they said, “We don’t think you are mad, and if you are mad then there is no way to cure you. You simply get out.” Outside he could not manage and simply committed suicide. He wrote a letter to his brother in which he says, “What is the point of living in a world where nobody understands you? And there is no hope that anybody will ever understand me — at least not in my life. It is better to withdraw.”
So this is not only with sannyasins, it is an old story. People of immense qualities, but with a different perspective and different sensitivity than the ordinary mind has, have been tortured, and there has been no way to communicate.
All that the sannyasins can do, rather than arguing with those people, is accept whatever condemnation they have and still ask them, “Do you see that we are happier than you? Do you see that we love more than you? Can you see that we are more silent, more integrated than you? We may be brainwashed, hypnotized — all your condemnations we accept.” Just raise the question, “Are you more contented than we are? — although we have nothing. Are you less worried than we are? — although we don’t have anything that makes us not worry, and we have everything that would make you commit suicide.”
Don’t argue — simply make it clear to them, “We are homeless, we don’t have any money, we don’t belong to any society, we have abandoned all the nations, all the religions. Still, we are happy. We don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, but today is enough. When tomorrow comes it will take care of itself.”
Rather than intellectual arguments, existential comparison perhaps may help them. Perhaps they may start thinking about it, that there is some truth in it. And that is the only possible way to bring them closer. And once they are closer and open and ready to listen, then there is every possibility of communion. First, you have to melt the ice — and that is the biggest problem. Once the ice is melted, then things become easier.
So first, accept all their condemnation rather than retaliating, arguing against it. That will not help. What is going to help is to just accept what they are saying, then make an existential comparison and tell them, “You can think about it, and if you feel that we have got something that you have not got, we are ready to share it with you.”
And those people are in misery. They may be pretending they are not, but they are in misery, they are in suffering. If you can just make a question arise in their mind, so that they can look at their fake masks and can see their reality for a moment, they will be ready to listen to you. There is no other way. You cannot force, you cannot argue, because on that ground the conflict cannot be resolved. It can be resolved only on existential grounds. And that’s where many sannyasins miss the point.
If people say, “You are hypnotized,” you start arguing, “We are not!” No, you should say, “It is possible; you may be right, we may be hypnotized. But what do you think: being in misery and not hypnotized, or being in bliss and being hypnotized — what alternative will you choose? And what is wrong in being hypnotized? Have you ever been hypnotized? Do you know what it is? Have you ever experienced anything of it — or just heard the word?”
There are millions of people who have just heard words, and they go on throwing those words around: hypnotism, mesmerism, brainwashing — and they don’t understand a thing they are saying.
So rather than arguing, you can say, “If you know about brainwashing, I am ready: brainwash me, so I can see what brainwashing is. If you know what hypnotism is, hypnotize me, so I can experience what hypnotism is.”
Make one thing certainly clear to them: “You don’t know — you are simply throwing words about.”
I was a student of a professor, and there was always conflict with him for the simple reason that he went on throwing words about and he did not know what they meant. I would insist, “You explain that word. And I will not be satisfied only by an intellectual explanation. I am ready — brainwash me, hypnotize me, I am ready.” But he was just throwing words about.
He reported to the vice-chancellor of that university that I was a continual trouble because I would contest each word, that he had to prove…. The vice-chancellor asked me to come to see him. The professor was present there — I immediately understood what the problem was.
The vice-chancellor said to me, “Why do you create trouble?”
I said, “I don’t create trouble. You just wait and see.” I asked that professor — he was a Bengali man, Professor Bhattacharya — I asked, “Have you read the book written by Ouspensky, TRACTATUS LOGICO PHILOSOPHICUS?”
He said, “Yes! It is such a famous book. I loved it when I read it.”
And I told the vice-chancellor, “Phone the library and enquire if there is any such book — because I have simply made up the name of the book. There is a book TRACTATUS LOGICO PHILOSOPHICUS, but it is not written by P.D. Ouspensky, it is written by Ludwig Wittgenstein — and this man has never seen the book. This is my whole problem in the class.
“Do you think I am creating trouble or is this man the trouble? Can’t he be honest and say, `I have never heard of such a book’? But he cannot accept his ignorance — about anything.”
The vice-chancellor phoned to the librarian; the librarian said, “P.D. Ouspensky has never written such a book. There is a book of this name, but the author is Ludwig Wittgenstein.”
The vice-chancellor said to the professor, “You have to understand that if you don’t know, you should not pretend to know. And this boy has made his point absolutely clear.”
I said to the vice-chancellor, “This has been happening almost every day. This man never goes to the library. I have looked through the whole philosophy department in the library: his name is not on a single book’s card. And I have looked in his house, because he lives by the side of one of my friends” — who was a professor of economics — “and the houses are joined together, they are sharing half and half. So I just made an arrangement with my friend, `Someday let me into his house. I want to see what books he has.’
“And all that he has are magazines like PLAYBOY, which I don’t think have any philosophy. I have not seen a single book which is concerned with philosophy — and he is a professor of philosophy! And do you think a professor of philosophy reading PLAYBOY is going to discuss philosophy with me? He has passed his examinations — that must have been thirty years ago, but in thirty years philosophy has moved on further and further.”
That was the last time that the professor allowed me in the class. The next day when I went into the class he said, “Listen, you may be right. Yesterday you put me in such a bad situation — I don’t want to argue at all. Either you promise me not to argue in the class or just don’t come to my class.”
I said, “I always wanted not to come to your class because it is so worthless. But you have to give me ninety percent attendance.”
He said, “I will give you one hundred percent, but don’t come to my class.”
I said, “Can I come to your house sometime?”
He said, “I don’t want to see your face!”
I said, “It is up to you: if you have decided to remain retarded, what can I do? But once in a while I will try to come to your house, because I want to help you to come out of your retardedness.”
He was very angry with the economics professor: “You allowed him in my house to look into my books — and certainly there are no books, just magazines and other things. He brought the whole thing before the vice-chancellor, and I felt so insulted!”
I went to the vice-chancellor and I said, “This is the situation: he is willing to give me hundred percent attendance, but he does not want me to attend the class. And I want to inform you that this is absolutely criminal. You go to the class and check how many days I have been present.”
The vice-chancellor did it; he went to the class at the end of the month, and I was marked as present the whole month. He asked Bhattacharya, “Are you sure that this person has been present the whole month?”
Bhattacharya became suspicious that I must have been doing something behind his back. He said, “Yes, I am certain; otherwise why should I give him that percentage of attendance unless he was present?”
The vice-chancellor asked the students. They said, “No, we have not seen him for one month.”
Bhattacharya came to my room in the hostel that evening and said, “Please, come to the class from tomorrow. I am very sorry, and I accept that I don’t know anything about the latest developments in philosophy. But you have given me so much trouble that if you don’t come to my class, I am going to lose my job.”
I said, “Don’t be worried — I will not do any harm to you. I simply want you to understand that you should not throw names around. You go on throwing names around like Martin Heidegger, Jaspers — you know nothing about these people, and I have been wasting my whole nights with these people. You simply stop! What is the point? — if you are not knowledgeable, accept it.
“I am trying to become knowledgeable, and I think it honorable of you to recognize that you DON’T know. I don’t think there is any disrespect in it, because one cannot know everything in the whole world. There are millions of things, for everybody, that he does not know. So you learn one thing: when you don’t know, you have to accept in the class that you don’t know.”
That discussion with him… I went to the class the next day and he really accepted three times in one hour that he did not know anything about something. And afterwards he thanked me, “It was such a great release and freedom to say, `I don’t know.’ I have never known such a relief. It was a tension and anguish to tell a lie, knowing perfectly well that I didn’t know this man, this philosophy, and still saying I do — because this was my conditioning, that the professor has to know everything, at least more than the student.”
I said, “Forget that, and there is no problem” — and since that day there was no problem. In fact, even in the class he would stop sometimes and ask me, “Perhaps you have some idea about this that you can explain to the class.”
He had been a very disrespected person; he became a person very respected by the students — just by accepting that he was ignorant about some things. His humbleness created respectability.
It is a difficult task with people, and you have to deal with different people in different ways. No certain method can be given, because it may work with one person, it may not work with another person. So you have to be very watchful about the person to see what will work.
One thing is certain, that they are all in suffering, all in tension and anguish, and they all want to get out of it. So from there you have to find your clue, and the key. And if you are watchful enough, you can always find the clue and the key, and a communion is possible.
And you have nothing to lose. That person really wants to lose many things — his misery, his suffering, his anguish. And he has nothing else; his whole being is full of hell. Don’t fight with the person. Try to accept whatever he is saying. Ask him questions about what he says and let him feel that he knows nothing about these things. Once he accepts his ignorance about anything, you have a loophole from where you can enter into his being.
His knowledge is a protection of his personality, his ego. So first you have to make a dent somewhere. So just listen to him and ask a few questions, and you will be able to find where he is just absolutely ignorant. Then you can make possible a little space to connect through. And let him feel your love, your compassion, your peace, your blissfulness.
It will take a little time for him to ask you, “What has happened to you?” But sooner or later he is bound to ask, because he is sick, and nobody wants to remain sick. If you can prove that you have come out of the ordinary sickness of human beings… Only then can a sannyasin have a communication with non-sannyasins.
Source – Osho Book “Light on the Path”