Question : Beloved Osho, As most people in modern europe look at their landscape, they find that the cities they live in vary from inhospitable to frankly dangerous; that the jobs they do (if they are “lucky” enough to have one) are dull, boring, and meaningless; that the relationships they have are tolerable at the best, and love is a rarity; and that the future holds very little to look forward to. How long will it take for people to realize that one of the root causes of this stupid catastrophe is that the systems of life that they so avidly support have no leaders who are capable of bowing down to wisdom?
Osho : It won’t take long for them to realize the catastrophic situation they are in. There is a limit to everything. People can tolerate up to a point, but if it becomes a question of life and death, then there is a sudden outburst of intelligence in ordinary people. You would never have expected it.
The people who are in power are not going to the people of wisdom, ever. Power corrupts so deeply and gives such a big ego that even to ask advice becomes impossible. The revolution is going to happen not through the powerful people but through the common people — and they have tolerated enough. And it is coming to a climax. The climax is on one hand very painful; but on the other hand it is a new beginning, a fresh beginning.
It is true that people’s lives are loveless. They don’t have any joy in their work. They are bored, they don’t feel any meaning in their life. They are just running like robots. Their cities are no longer places of beauty, and nature has been destroyed very deeply. All these things together come to one point, the central point; and that is that the people have depended too much on people who have power. It has been almost a kind of slavery.
It is time to revolt and throw out these people who have power, and to destroy the whole system of power. There is no need for them, because they are not doing anything except destroying more and more qualities which make life worth living.
Secondly, people have to understand that the people they have been thinking are wise are not so. In fact most of their misery is because of those “wise” people and the powerful people; they both need to be overthrown. The common man has to assert himself and common sense has to prevail. It does not need great wisdom, it only needs common sense.
For example, people’s lives are loveless — there is no need to ask any wise man why, because they are the people who have made it loveless. Just common insight is enough. Men and women are not naturally made to live their whole life together. It is not only a question of men and women; it is that the same thing continuously repeated creates boredom — the same husband, the same wife, the same quarrel, the same argument, the same tantrum — exactly the same! It goes on being repeated again and again. It destroys the very possibility of love. Instead it creates boredom — it has created it.
The common-sense thing is that there should be no marriage and there should be no divorce. Any two persons loving each other can live together, that is their private affair — nothing to do with society, nothing to do with the state. The law should not come between them.
There should be no promises except that, “We will love each other as long as existence allows it. The moment we feel that love has left — that it is no longer there connecting us, no longer there nourishing us — we have to part quickly, before it becomes bitterness, a quarrel. And we have to depart in gratitude, with all our heart’s blessings full for the other — that she or he will find a better man or a better woman.” And boredom will disappear; life will become a series of excitements.
Boredom is in getting stuck at one point — repeating, repeating, repeating. Joy is in exploration — finding new people, new spaces. It is simple common sense. People are bored in their job because they allowed others to decide their job; their parents wanted them to be a doctor, so they are a doctor. They never had any inner urge to be a doctor, and they never listened to their inner voice.
It is never too late; they can start listening to their inner voice. And it is better to drop a job and do the thing they always wanted to do. It may be a loss in salary; economically it may not be good, but spiritually it is going to take away the boredom. And what are you going to do with the money, with all the facilities that the job gives you, if you are utterly bored? It is better to be a beggar but not bored, than to be an emperor and be bored.
These are common-sense insights. The cities are becoming bigger and bigger. The villages are disappearing, and with the disappearing villages the pure air, the unpolluted atmosphere — that is disappearing. People should just see it; they should start moving towards the villages. They should start doing farming, gardening; and there are thousands of other things. It just needs a little courage. The city has no future.
Small villages can convert themselves into communes, which would give them a new structure, which would make people free of children and would make the children free of parental power. And they could have more fresh food, fresh water, fresh air.
There were all running to the city for one thing — because it gives money, and the villages cannot give money. Why have villages been disappearing, and big, monstrous cities coming up? The reason is that everybody is after money, not understanding a simple thing, that money cannot buy anything that makes life a beautiful, blissful pilgrimage. It can buy many things, but they are useless if the man himself loses his soul.
If the cities disappear into villages, much of the pollution will also disappear. The cities are almost like a canceric growth, that goes on growing bigger and bigger. The people in power cannot do anything because their power needs money — not love, not blissfulness, not joy — just money. And your so-called wise people are nothing but politicians in another garb of religious heads; their whole interest is also in power. It is a different kind of power, more subtle, but all the same it is power. They would not like the cities to disappear.
Their power depends on the boredom of man, his loveless life, his meaningless life, his anguish, because these are the things which bring people to their feet — to the churches, to the temples, to the synagogues. They may say great things, but basically they don’t want these things to disappear. If these things completely disappeared, churches would be empty and nobody would go to the synagogue — there is no reason to go… you go to the physician because you are sick.
There is a certain vested interest that the physician has in your sickness. I have heard of a young man who had just come home from medical college. His father was not feeling well. He said, “I would like to rest for a few days. And now you are back fully qualified… I am proud of you, that you topped the university — now you take care of the dispensary.”
After three days the son came and told the father, “You must be proud of me! That old woman — the richest in the city, whom you have been treating for thirty years — I have treated her in three days. Now she is perfectly okay.”
The father said “My God! She is the woman who has paid all your fees and all your expenses at medical college. She is also paying the expenses of your younger brother in college. You have destroyed half of my business!
“You idiot, don’t you know that when a poor man comes you should cure him immediately, because he is going to be an unnecessary harassment. When a rich man comes, take time — there is no hurry. If one illness disappears, let another appear. A really rich man should be a lifelong patient. This is a basic rule of the profession. You have learned medicine, but you have not learned the medical profession.”
The priest has a vested interest in man’s misery. And it is really unbelievable, but it is the truth: the magistrate has a vested interest in criminals, the advocates have a vested interest in criminals. They are supposed to do justice, they are supposed to be fair; but basically their profession is based on these poor people. If everybody is a nice, good gentleman and there is no criminal anywhere, what are all your magistrates, all your jailers, all your advocates, and all your legal professionals going to do? They will have to commit suicide — their whole profession will be gone.
The common people have to understand this simple thing. They should move back to the villages because money has not given anything… more gadgets, but gadgets don’t create love, don’t create freedom, don’t create joy. Go to the villages, make small communes.
And to work with nature is a healthy thing. All the jobs that the city provides are unhealthy, because people are sitting the whole day in chairs. Man is not made for that; his body is made for at least eight hours’ physical labor. Basically he was a hunter, running after wild and fast animals. And that was his food. He managed for thousands of years, and naturally he had a certain health that modern man cannot afford. If you don’t use a certain part of your body, that part slowly becomes useless; then you cannot use it.
People have to move back to the villages, to the forest, to the mountains. It will be a hard life, but it will be natural, it will be beautiful, it will have a joy. And they should make small communes, so love need not be a forced thing. Ordinarily marriage is nothing but licensed prostitution. This is ugly. Except for love there should be no other thing between two persons.
In the villages, in the mountains, in the communes, the woman will have a similar kind of work to the man. She will not be financially dependent on man; she will be producing, she will be creative. And let the cities die. It happened many times in the past — it can happen again. There is no necessity for anything to live forever.
I have seen a few places in India…. In one place I was staying in a government guesthouse. Now it is just a small hill station, the population of the city today is only ninety. These are the people who serve the visitors, the tourists. There was a time that the city had a unimaginable population, looking at today’s population of ninety: it had hundreds of thousands of people.
It was one of the biggest cities, Mandu. And you can find the proof in the ruins. There are mosques where ten thousand people can pray together. There are caravanserai — just ruins — where thousands of camels could have an overnight stay. And if you look from the top, all over the mountain there are ruins as far as you can see.
I asked a man who was my friend and was living there… there is a great palace and other small palaces and a beautiful lake. I said, “What happened to the city? This big city suddenly disappeared without any war.”
He said, “This city was the camels’ route, and in that day camels were the vehicles that carried the goods from one place to another. So from Kabul to Indore this was the only route. Thousands of camels moved through here continuously, and the city was flourishing. But then things changed….”
The camel was found to no longer be an adequate means to take goods from one place to another, so bullock carts replaced the camel. But the route that goes through Mandu is a desert; only camels can go on that route, bullock carts cannot. They had to find a new route. Bullock carts were cheaper; naturally camels were abandoned. With their abandonment, the route that passed through Mandu was abandoned.
Mandu lost its source of money, and people had to go away. What could you do there? On that mountain you cannot grow anything — they lived only on the constant traffic. Such a huge city simply disappeared! People left their houses and moved to places where they could earn something.
It is only a question of a simple understanding: cities are now killing people with pollution, with AIDS, with other diseases. It will be good if people move into the open air, with nature. And the needs of man are not so many, the needs of man are very limited — just his ego has an unlimited desire for more and more and more. The ego has created the whole problem. And on the way it has destroyed many human qualities.
In a big city you are in a crowd, but still a stranger. And everybody is in such a hurry: everybody is running from job to home, from home to job, and it may be miles. He has to catch his train, his bus. Nobody has time for strangers, nobody even says hello to a stranger. In a small village everybody is known to everybody else. Everybody is in some way related to somebody else. There is a friendship — in a real sense a commune, because there is a communication. People are not islands. If somebody falls ill the whole village will come to enquire. If somebody is not in good enough health to work in the fields, then the whole village will help him. This is simply human. Because he has helped others, others will help him — it is a simple phenomenon.
And with my idea of love not being a static thing, the village can become a paradise, self-sufficient. And man has to choose — he has come to the point where he will have to choose: Do you want love? Do you want a meaningful life? Do you want blissfulness? Or you can choose to have dead gadgets, new mechanisms. And the answer is simple. What will you do with machines? Man needs human energy.
I am not against machines. But I am saying that the emphasis should be on human relationship. Machines can be used if they are not against human relationship, if they are not against ecology. If they are against ecology, if they are against human relationship, then they are not to exist at all. Neither the people in power are going to do it, nor are the so-called saints and wise people going to do it. They are both conspirators. They both depend on your pain, misery, meaninglessness. They cannot do anything.
They also depend on the industrialist, because in their elections the industrialist will be the one who will give the money. So they cannot go against the industries that are polluting the air, cutting the trees, destroying the ecology, poisoning the water, the rivers, the lakes, even the oceans. They cannot do it, because if they do it, their own money that they will need at election time will not be available. For the first time the common man has to stand on his own legs and depend on his own common sense. And these are simple, common-sense things — they don’t need great wisdom. This whole life on the planet can go through a great revolution without any bloodshed. Just a pure understanding will become the revolution.
And if people start moving away from the cities, deserting them, they will cut the people of power off from their money sources — because who is going to run their industries and factories? They will cut the power of the religious heads — because who is going to gather in their cathedrals and synagogues? And my understanding of religion is that it needs no synagogues, no temples, no churches. It is a simple heart-to-heart communion with nature. You can sit by the side of a river and meditate, you can sit in the mountains and meditate. And as you become aware of the knack of meditation then you can continue to work and meditate. Then there is no conflict, and no question of time.
And meditation is neither Hindu nor Mohammedan, nor Christian. Meditation is simply a science. Just as science is not Christian, and science is not Hindu, and science is not Buddhist…. It would be a mad world if there were Buddhist chemistry and Hindu chemistry and Christian chemistry — people would simply laugh because the laws of chemistry are the same.
The same is true about the inner science — which has been known up to now as religion. The methods of reaching to your innermost center are scientific; there is no question of any adjective, they are the same. It is absolutely unnecessary to call them Christian or Hindu.
The common person has a tremendous power in his hands. If he moves into small communes, deserts the cities which are dying, which are nothing but citadels of crime…. If he moves away, he takes the power of the powerful and the wisdom of the so-called wise. And it is beautiful to have a small commune where everybody knows everybody else, understands everybody; where everybody is ready to help, is always available in times when there is need.
In a city you are absolutely alone. You may be living in the same building and you may not yet have been introduced; in one building thousands of people are living. And the city life is so speedy that there is no time to sit and gossip, to play cards or to play music, or to have a communal dance. All those beautiful things have disappeared. In small communes we can revive everything that was of beauty.
I have been to aboriginal tribes… the whole day they will be working in their fields or in the mines. But by the evening, after their meals, they will all gather in the middle of the village with all their instruments. They will have music and they will have dance — and it will continue late into the night. It was so beautiful to see that they have not become mechanical. They do the work which is needed for their food; otherwise they enjoy their time. They will play cards… and in a small place, where maybe fifty people, a hundred people are living, they will all gather together gossiping. There is something human in it.
The city has made the human being inhuman. But the revolution that has to come, has to come from the common people themselves. The powerful people — whether in wisdom or in political power — are too involved in this system. They cannot change it; they will go on making it grow. And the common man will be crushed — he is being crushed.
Houses have become just boxes — boxes upon boxes. They don’t have the beauty of a house. They are no longer houses; the space has gone on shrinking. Small rooms which perhaps are not natural… they are claustrophobic. And every being, man or animal, has a territorial imperative — an area of big space around himself where he is totally free to move.
Scientists have discovered that the most difficult thing for animals in zoos is that they lose their territory. If you go to a zoo and see a lion, you will be simply surprised: he is simply going round and round, round and round in his cage. What is he doing? He is trying, by traveling so much, to deceive himself that he has his territory.
All the animals, lions… and we know about dogs because they are more common. You may never have thought about why they do it — dogs will go on pissing on this pole, on that pole, on this stone…. If you watch, the same dog will do the same thing on the same pole, on the same stone every day — because animals are very very sensitive in their smell. He is creating a boundary: “Beware, this area belongs to me!”
He is creating a fence of smell. You may not smell it, but other dogs smell it: it is dangerous to enter. And it has been observed that if another dog comes, he immediately stops at an invisible barrier and thinks twice, whether to enter or not. And the dog inside looks at him, but he is not agitated or ferocious or angry because the other dog is still outside his territory. One step in and he will go mad.
He knows where the territory is, the outside dog knows where the territory is.
And in jungles, all animals make their territories the same way, and most of their territories are respected by other animals. But you put them in a zoo, in a small cage, and you destroy their freedom. Perhaps something of their soul is crushed.
What about man? If all animals have a territory, a certain territory, a determinable territory — if lions have only that much territory, all the lions — then what about man? It is not possible that he has no territorial imperative. He also has it. But in the crowds of a city how can he manage a territory? And if he cannot manage a space around himself, perhaps he is losing something of his inner being too.
So it is not strange that when you go out of the city, in the open — in the forest, near the ocean, or in the mountains — suddenly you feel an expansion of being. That expansion of being is a very scientific phenomenon — nothing poetic. It is your territory; there, you can have it.
The world is big enough still — people can move. They have moved to the cities because they are center of money. If they understand only one thing — that money cannot buy anything of value, and you have lost everything, running after money…. Go back! Go to the world where you belong — to the trees, to the animals, to the rivers, to the mountains.
Source : Osho Book “Light on the Path”