What Lies Behind the Abuse of Power?

What Lies Behind the Abuse of Power?

Osho,
With the President of the United States being impeached for abuse of power, would you please speak about the misuse of power?

“There is the famous statement of an English philosopher: ‘Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.’

“I do not agree with him. My analysis is totally different. Everybody is full of violence, greed, anger, passion – but has no power; so he remains a saint. To be violent you need to be powerful. To fulfill your greed you need to be powerful. To satisfy your passions you need to be powerful.

So when power happens into your hands, all your sleeping dogs start barking. Power becomes a nourishment to you, an opportunity. It is not that power corrupts, you are corrupted. Power only brings your corruption into the open. You wanted to kill somebody, but you had not the power to kill; but if you have the power, you will kill.

It is not power that corrupts you, corruption you carry within yourself; power simply gives you the opportunity to do whatever you want to do.

“Power in the hands of a man like Gautam Buddha will not corrupt; on the contrary, it will help humanity to raise its consciousness. Power in the hands of Genghis Khan destroys people, rapes women, burns people alive. Whole villages are burnt – people are not allowed to get out. It is not power…this man Genghis Khan must have been carrying all these desires in him.

“It is almost like when rain comes, different plants start growing; but different plants have different flowers. Whatever is hidden in your seeds, whatever is your potentiality, power gives you a chance – because most human beings are living so unconsciously that when they come to power all their unconscious instincts have a chance to be fulfilled. Then they don’t care whether it kills people, whether it poisons people….

“You are asking me about the misuse of power. Power is misused because you have desires which are ugly, which are an inheritance from the animals.

“In a better world the first things should be…. We waste almost one third of life in educating our children. In that one third of life, some time should be given to cleanse their unconscious; so by the time they graduate from their university, and they have some power somewhere – somebody will become a police commissioner, somebody will become a governor, somebody will become a prime minister – if they do not have anything in their unconscious that is poisonous, destructive, then power cannot be misused. Who is going to misuse it? Power is neutral….

“These people are not corrupted by power. These people are corrupted; power simply brings their corruption into action.

“Power in itself is neutral. In a good man’s hand it will be a blessing. In an unconscious man’s hand it is going to be a curse.

But for thousands of years we have condemned power, without thinking that power has not to be condemned; people have to be cleaned of all the ugly instincts that are hiding within them, because everybody is going to have some kind of power or other.

“It does not have to be great power. You may be just sitting in a railway station selling tickets, but that too gives you power. You are standing at the window, and the man does not even look at you. He goes on turning his file – and you can see that he is not concerned with the file, he simply wants to show you your place. Even the peon sitting outside the collector’s office behaves as if he is the president of the country – so it is not a question of where you are. Wherever you are, you will have some kind of power.

“Aurangzeb, one of India’s Mohammedan emperors, was so impatient that he could not wait for his father to die, or to become old, so that he could succeed him. He imprisoned his own father, and became the emperor of the country. His father had remained busy all his life. Now, sitting in the prison cell, he sent a message to his son: ‘At least arrange thirty boys, so that I can teach them the holy Koran.’

“And the comment that Aurangzeb made to his courtiers is very significant. He said, ‘That old man does not want to lose power. Now he is no longer the emperor. But thirty students…teaching them the holy Koran, he will again have the power over those small children.’

“Psychologists say that people who are afraid of competing in life and becoming powerful, choose a simpler way: they become teachers in schools. Small children…and you can harass them, beat them, although it is illegal – but it happens all over the country.

“Just the other day I was reading a report that there are cases found…but the government goes on hiding those facts. For the first time it has been accepted, because it has become too much, that teachers have hit the children so hard that they have become deaf for their whole lives.

“One boy…his own father chained him; almost for ten years he remained chained, tied to a pillar in the house. He has almost become like an animal. He cannot stand up, he can only move on all fours; and because he was forced to live in darkness, he has lost his eyesight.

Even parents use power. Teachers use power, husbands use power, wives use power. It does not matter where you are.

“If mankind comes to understand the deep psychological roots and changes man’s unconscious so that there are no seeds, power can go on raining but there will be no flowers of corruption. Otherwise power is going to be misused always. And you cannot take power from people’s hands; somebody must be a mother, somebody must be a father, somebody must be a teacher.

“The only way is, to cleanse people’s unconscious with meditation, fill their inner being with light. It is only meditation that gives you a clean heart, which cannot be corrupted. Then power can never be misused, then power can be a blessing – it is going to be creative. Then you are going to do something to make life more lovable, more livable; to make existence a little more beautiful. But that great day has not yet arrived, and to make an effort for that great day to arrive, all the power – addicted people are going to be against you.

It has been again and again asked of me, “Why is the whole world against you?” They are all power-addicted people, and I am trying to make man a pool of serenity – peace and silence and love and ecstasy.”

Abridged from Osho, The Razor’s Edge, Talk #6 – Laughter Is the Essential Religion
You can read Osho’s complete answer and see all the available media formats here.

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