Human History Has Been a Tragedy – Why?
“Human history has been a tragedy. And the reason for it being a tragedy is not very complex. You do not have to go very far to find it out; it is in everybody.
“The whole past of man has created a split in man; there is a constant civil war in every human being. If you do not feel at ease, the reason is not personal. Your disease is social. The strategy that has been used is to divide you into two enemy camps: the zorba and the buddha, the materialist and the spiritualist.
“You are not divided in reality. In reality you are a harmonious whole. But in your mind the conditioning is that you are not one whole, one piece; you have to fight against your body. If you want to be a spiritual being, the body has to be conquered, defeated, destroyed, tortured in every possible way. This has been the accepted ideology all over the world. In different cultures, different religions, the formulations may be different, but the basic rule is the same: divide man, create a conflict in him so one part starts feeling higher, becomes holy, starts condemning the other part as the sinner.
And the trouble is that you are one, there is no way to divide you. Every division is going to create misery in you, every division will mean that half of your being is fighting with the other half. And if you are fighting within yourself, how can you be at ease?
“The whole of humanity up to now has lived in a schizophrenic way. Everyone has been cut into pieces, fragments. Your religions, your philosophies, your ideologies have not been healing processes; they have been root causes of inner conflict and war. You have been wounding yourself. Your right hand wounds the left hand, your left hand wounds the right hand; both your hands become wounded.
The West finally chose to go with the zorba. There was no other way to remain sane – one part had to be completely destroyed, ignored, forgotten.
“The West denied the inner reality of man, his consciousness – there is no soul, man is only body, and eat, drink and be merry is the only religion. This was simply a way to find some peace of mind, to get out of the conflict, to come to a decision and a conclusion, because this is accepting that you are one: just matter, just body.
“The East has chosen the other way, but the basic problem is the same. The East has chosen that you are the soul, and the body is an illusion. Matter does not exist, the world is made of the same stuff as dreams are made of, so don’t be bothered about it. Renounce it, forget all about it; it is not worth taking note of.
On the surface it seems that East and West are doing different things, but essentially they are not doing different things. Essentially they are trying to find a rational way to be one, because to be two means a constant dis-ease, a conflict. It is better to drop the idea of the other.
“The East says that the body is illusory, it is only an appearance, a shadow; it has no reality. The West says that consciousness is a byproduct – it does not exist in itself, it is an appearance. When the body dies nothing remains, the body is all, and the consciousness that you feel is just the combination of all the elements of the body.
“For example, if you take all the parts of your car separately, or all the parts of your watch separately, do you think something like a soul will be released out of the watch? Who was running the watch? It was just because of the combination of the parts in a certain way that the watch was running, the car was running, that all machines are working; it is a byproduct. Put all the parts together again and the watch will start ticking. The soul has not gone anywhere, there has been no soul in the first place.
As far as I am concerned, I see that the fundamental reason is to somehow choose one and decide that the other is illusory, so that you can be at peace, so that there is no need to fight, torture, and be in constant fear of being defeated. Why have the East and the West chosen differently? That also has to be understood.
“The Eastern mind, in search of a unitary being, tried to find out: what exactly is this inner consciousness that the Eastern mystics, saints and sages have been talking about, and calling the body illusory? To us the body seems to be real, and consciousness is just a word. But because all the saints in the East were insisting that this word consciousness is your reality, the East has tried to find out what this reality is before deciding in favor of the body.
The natural tendency will be to decide in favor of the body, because the body is there, already appearing real – consciousness you have to search for, you have to go into an inner pilgrimage.
“The East, because of people like Gautam Buddha and Mahavira, could not deny that these people were sincere. Their sincerity was so clear, their presence was so impressive, their words were so authoritative – it was impossible to deny. No argument was enough, because these people were their own argument, their own validity. And they were so peaceful and so joyful, so relaxed, so fearless. They had everything that every human being desires – and in a way they had nothing. Certainly they had found a source within themselves, a treasure. And you cannot just deny it without giving enough time to the search. Unless you find that there is no consciousness, you cannot deny it. We had people so fragrant… We could not see their roses, but the fragrance was so much that the East tried to look inside, and found that the soul is far more real. The body is just an appearance.
“And just by the way, it will be significant to remind you that modern science has come to the conclusion that matter is illusory, that matter does not exist; it only appears. They have come to the conclusion from a very different route. By searching deeply, they have found that, as they reach deeper into matter, it is less and less substantial. And at a point after the atom, there is no matter at all: there are only electrons, which are particles of electricity – which is not matter but energy.
Just a hundred years ago, Nietzsche declared, “God is dead,” not knowing at all that within a hundred years the whole of science would agree that perhaps God may be alive, but matter is dead.
“The East has moved inward and found that the body, matter, is relatively non-substantial. The ultimate reality belongs to consciousness. In the West, development happened in a different way. And there are reasons why it happened in that way.
“The East is ancient. At least ten thousand years of constant, consistent search for the inner reality of man – and all the genius of the East has been devoted to it. When the Upanishads were being written in the East, nearabout five thousand years ago, the West did not exist as a human society at all. In India we have Mohenjo Daro, Harappa: cities that existed seven thousand years ago, with such refined development – they have streets as wide as those in Mumbai. They have bedrooms with attached bathrooms.
“And you will be surprised at why I am saying this: because just a hundred years ago in America, there was a court case against bathrooms, which went up to the Supreme Court. The first man who made a bathroom attached to his bedroom… Christianity was against it because this is dirty – making your bathroom attached to your bedroom. This is un-Christian; cleanliness is next to godliness – and here is the bathroom next to the bedroom! Just a hundred years ago…and the Supreme Court had to decide that there is nothing unclean in it, and if somebody wants to have a bathroom attached to his bedroom it is nobody else’s business to interfere, and it has nothing to do with your religion. But the church was fighting.
“In Harappa, seven thousand years ago, they had bathrooms attached to their bedrooms, they had bathtubs, and they had a very special arrangement for circulation of water in the city. Hot and cold water in your bathroom is not a new thing; it was available in Harappa, in Mohenjo Daro. They had swimming pools. It must have been a very highly cultured society.
“At the time of Gautam Buddha, just twenty-five centuries ago, even then the West was not very evolved. And you can see it. We did not crucify Gautam Buddha, and the West crucified Jesus Christ five hundred years after Gautam Buddha.
And what Jesus was saying was nothing compared to Gautam Buddha. Gautam Buddha was saying that there is no God; still, nobody thought of crucifying him.
“Jesus Christ was not saying anything against Judaism; on the contrary, he was simply saying that he was their lost prophet. And he was repeating everything written in the Old Testament – he was not saying anything that was contradicting the old religion. And Gautam Buddha was contradicting everything in Hinduism: he said that the Vedas are idiotic, he said that there is no God, he said that all priests are the most cunning people in the world. And priests in India, the brahmins, are the highest caste. But nobody thought of crucifying him.
People challenged him for discussions, people discussed, and because they could not defeat him in argument… They could not defeat him. When they came in front of him, they were sincere enough to realize and recognize that he knew better, that their knowledge was only bookish, and his knowledge was authentic experience.
“Western development is childish compared to Eastern development. It begins in Greece. But even a man like Socrates, who was neither denying God nor affirming God, who was simply saying, ‘I have not experienced, hence I cannot be untruthful. I cannot say whether God exists or not. And I would like everybody to be sincere about it. Unless you encounter, don’t say yes, don’t say no; remain agnostic, keep your conclusions suspended.’ A very reasonable man, but he was poisoned. He has not denied your tradition, he has not denied your past, he has not denied anything – he simply argued for a more rational approach, a more logical approach. It is not a crime. And this is the reward that he gets: he is poisoned, society decides that he is a dangerous man. Those people who could have changed Western society toward inner reality are being crucified or poisoned. Naturally, the talented people became afraid even of talking about inner things, mysteries. They started talking only about objective things, matter, because matter cannot be denied. And there is no problem with going into a deep search into matter.
The crucifixion of Jesus and the death of Socrates closed the door for Western genius to move inward.
“Anybody who had any intelligence became aware that it is simply inviting your death; it is better to use your talents and genius in such a way that the society cannot condemn it. So the whole genius of Western humanity became a servant for creating more comforts for the body, more technology, more machines, more knowledge about matter – and everybody was happy. Even in these matters, if there was something that went against religion, immediately the church was there to stop it.
“For example, when Galileo wrote that the sun does not go around the earth as it appears to, but that in actuality the earth goes around the sun, as it does not appear to, he was called by the pope to his court and told – and he was old, seventy-five years old, sick and almost on his deathbed –
‘You have to change your book because it goes against the Bible. In the Bible the statement is that the sun goes around the earth, and we are not ready to listen to any argument. Simply change it; otherwise death will be your punishment.’
“Such an idiotic church, which is not even ready to listen to any argument, which only knows to dictate: ‘Do it or be ready to die.’ Galileo must have had a great sense of humor. He said, ‘There is no need for you to take so much trouble to kill me. I am going to die anyway. As far as the book is concerned, I will change it, but I want you to remember that by my changing the book, neither is the earth going to change nor is the sun going to change. The earth will still go around the sun, because they don’t read my book and they don’t care what I write.’ So he canceled the statement in his book. And in the footnote he wrote, ‘I am canceling the statement, knowing perfectly well that it makes no difference. The reality remains the same.’
“When Copernicus found that the earth is not flat, as it is said in the Bible, but round, he was immediately in trouble. Now, these matters have nothing to do with religion. What has religion to do with whether the earth is round or flat? It can have any geometrical shape – religion does not have anything to do with it.
“But Christianity, Mohammedanism, are very primitive religions. They don’t have the cultured, sophisticated attitude of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism. They don’t know how to argue, they only know how to fight. Their only argument is the sword: at the point of the sword, it is to be decided who is right.
It is the church – you will be surprised to know – that has prevented the West from going in the direction of inwardness. It forced Western humanity to go toward matter.
“Copernicus said to the pope, ‘It is just a small thing, and I have every proof that the earth is round. It is my lifelong work, and it does not affect your religiousness.’
“The pope said, ‘You don’t understand. The question is not whether it affects our religiousness or not; the question is that the Bible is God’s book, the holy book. If one statement in the Bible is proved wrong, that has great implications: first, that God can be wrong. We cannot accept that.’
“They cannot even accept that the pope can be wrong, what to say about God? The pope is a faraway representative. Jesus represents God, and the pope represents Jesus – not directly, but through hundreds of popes who have died before him. He is connected through them to Jesus, and Jesus has a direct telephone line to God.
Just one statement against the Bible, if it is proved valid, makes God fallible. And it cannot be accepted – that’s one thing.
“Secondly, if one statement is proved wrong, what is the guarantee about other statements? It creates suspicion. It destroys the very foundation of belief and faith. ‘So we cannot accept anything in the Bible as wrong, but you can do everything that does not go against the Bible.’ Naturally only matter is left. You can do research in physics, in chemistry, in biology, in zoology, in geology. You can do all these things; you are free to do so.
“The church has been like the Great China Wall, preventing people from going inward. It looks strange, but it is a fact: the Christian church has proved to be the greatest enemy of religion on the earth. Other religions have also proved to be enemies, but not that great. Genius was left to work only with matter.
In the East, the genius had first preference for the inner journey. Only second-class, mediocre people would work for the outer, material things; real intelligence would always move into meditativeness.
“Slowly, slowly, the distance became bigger. The West became materialist – and the whole responsibility goes to the Christian church – and the Eastern humanity became more and more spiritualist. The division, the split that was created in each man, became a split on a wider scale: as East and West.
“One great poet has written, ‘East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.’ And this man, Lord Kipling, was very much interested in the East. He lived in India for years; he was in the government service. But seeing the difference: the whole Eastern consciousness moves inward and the Western consciousness moves outward – how could they meet?
My whole work is just to prove Lord Kipling wrong. I would like to say – neither West is West nor East is East, and the twain have already met.
“What do you mean by east? In Mumbai, Calcutta is east; in Calcutta, Mumbai is west. This is nonsense; these words are relative words. You cannot say that a certain place is east and a certain place is west; they are all relative. For the people of Calcutta, Tokyo is east – and that’s what the Japanese think. They call their land ‘the land of sunrise’ and they call their king ‘the only begotten son of the sun god.’ The sun god is the real god, and Hirohito, the king of Japan, is his only son.
“In fact, in the Second World War when the Japanese were defeated, they could not believe it. Thousands of soldiers committed suicide just out of shame – ‘How can it happen that God’s son should be defeated? Now there is no point in living, everything has gone wrong.’ They believe that they are the real east.
But the attitudes can be understood, and they are very prominent. And my whole approach is to bring a bridge into each individual, so that you are one whole. Don’t be against your body; it is your home. Don’t be against your consciousness, because without consciousness your house may be very decorated but it won’t have any master, it will be empty. Together they create a beauty, a fuller life.
Symbolically, I have chosen Zorba for the body and Buddha for the soul.”
Excerpted from, Osho, Beyond Enlightenment, Talk #7 – Zorba and Buddha: Their Split Is Your Social Disease
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