New Years Vow


1960

Tantra believes in school methods: that has to be understood also. In that sense Gurdjieff is one of the greatest tantrikas of this age. For example, if one is asleep, there is very little possibility that one can become awake alone. Look at it in this way: on the New Year day you think as you have always thought…and many New Year days have passed, and always you have taken a vow that never again will you smoke; and again the New Year has come and you start thinking this time it is going to happen. You take a vow that you will never smoke, but you don’t go and tell it to others, you are afraid to. To say it to others is dangerous because you know yourself, many times you have broken your vows; then it is very humiliating. So you keep it to yourself. Now there is only one possibility out of a hundred that the vow will be kept; ninety-nine possibilities are that it will be broken sooner or later.

You are an unconscious being; your vow does not mean much. But if you go and you tell everybody in the town – friends, colleagues, children, wife…you go and tell everybody, “I have taken a vow that I am not going to smoke,” there are more possibilities, at least ten percent, that you will not smoke. First there was only one possibility, now there are ten possibilities. Ninety percent the possibility is that you will smoke, but non-smoking has more ground, more solidity; from one percent it has gone to ten percent. But if you join a group of non-smokers, if you join a society of non-smokers, then the possibility is even more: ninety-nine percent is the possibility that you will not smoke. What happens?

When you are alone you don’t have any support from outside – you are alone, you can fall asleep easily. And nobody knows, so you are not worried either. When all know, their knowing will function to keep you more alert. Now your ego is at stake, your respect and honor are at stake. But if you join a society of non-smokers, then the possibility is even more, because you live through habits.Somebody takes his cigarette box out of his pocket, and suddenly you start looking in your pocket. You are just mechanical: somebody is smoking and you start thinking how beautiful it was to smoke. Nobody smokes, and you are in the society of non-smokers, then nobody will remind you; and the habit by and by will disappear, out of no use. If a habit is not used, by and by it disappears; it tends to become dead, it loses its grip on you.

Tantra says: man can become awake only through group methods, through schools. That’s why I insist so much for sannyas. Alone, you don’t stand a chance. Together, much more possibility. It is as if ten persons are lost in a desert and it is very dangerous in the night: the enemies can kill them, the wild animals can kill them, the robbers can come, the murderers can come – it is very difficult. Now they decide on a group method, they say: “Each one will be awake for one hour.” To think that each one will be capable of remaining awake for eight hours in the night is to ask too much from an unconscious man, but each one will remain awake for one hour. And before he starts falling asleep he should make somebody else awake, then there is more possibility that at least one of the group will be awake the whole night.

Or as Gurdjieff used to say: You are in a prison and you want to come out of the prison. Alone there is not much chance; but if all the prisoners become a group, then there is much more chance – they can throw the guard, they can kill the guard, they can break the wall. If all the prisoners are together, then there is much more chance that they can come out into freedom.

Osho, The Tantra Experience, Talk #5
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