What Is Your Notion of Rebellion and of a Rebel?
“My notion about the rebel and rebellion is very simple: a man who does not live like a robot conditioned by the past.
Religion, society, culture – anything that is of yesterday does not in any way interfere in his way of life, in his style of life.
“He lives individually – not as a cog in the wheel, but as an organic unity. His life is not decided by anybody else, but by his own intelligence. The very fragrance of his life is that of freedom – not only that he lives in freedom, he allows everybody else also to live in freedom. He does not allow anybody to interfere in his life; neither does he interfere in anybody else’s life. To him, life is so sacred – and freedom is the ultimate value – that he can sacrifice everything for it: respectability, status, even life itself.
“Freedom, to him, is what God used to be to the so-called religious people in the past. Freedom is his God.
“Men have lived down the ages like sheep, as part of a crowd, following its traditions, conventions – following the old scriptures and old disciplines. But that way of life was anti-individual. If you are a Christian you cannot be an individual. If you are a Hindu you cannot be an individual.
A rebel is one who lives totally according to his own light, and risks everything else for his ultimate value of freedom.
“The rebel is the contemporary person. The mobs are not contemporary.
“Hindus believe in scriptures which are five or ten thousand years old. Such is also the case with other religions too the dead are dominating the living.
“The rebel rebels against the dead, takes his life in his own hands. He is not afraid of being alone; on the contrary, he enjoys his aloneness as one of the most precious treasures. The crowd gives you security, safety – at the cost of your soul. It enslaves you. It gives you guidelines on how to live: what to do, what not to do.
“All over the world, every religion has given something like the ten commandments – and these were given by people who had no idea how the future is going to be, how man’s consciousness in the future is going to be. It is as if a small child were to write your whole life’s story, not knowing at all what youth means, not knowing at all what old age means, not knowing at all what death is.
“All the religions are primitive, crude – and they have been shaping your life. Naturally the whole world is full of misery: you are not allowed to be yourself.
“Every culture wants you to be just a carbon copy, never your original face.
“The rebel is one who lives according to his own light, moves according to his own intelligence. He creates his path by walking on it, he does not follow the crowd on the superhighway. Rebellion Is Freedom for him.
His life is dangerous – but a life that is not dangerous is not life at all. He accepts the challenge of the unknown.
“He does not meet the unknown that is coming in the future, prepared by the past. That creates the whole anguish of humanity; the past prepares you, and the future is never going to be the past. Your yesterday is never going to be your tomorrow.
“But up to now this is how man has lived: your yesterdays prepare you for your tomorrows. The very preparation becomes a hindrance. You cannot breathe freely, you cannot love freely, you cannot dance freely – the past has crippled you in every possible way.
“The burden of the past is so heavy that everybody is crushed under it.
“The rebel simply says good-bye to the past.
“It is a constant process; hence, to be a rebel means to be continuously in rebellion – because each moment is going to become past; every day is going to become past. It is not that the past is already in the graveyard – you are moving through it every moment. Hence, the rebel has to learn a new art: the art of dying to each moment that has passed, so that he can live freely in the new moment that has come.
A rebel is a continuous process of rebellion; he is not static. And that is where I make a distinction between the revolutionary and the rebel.
“The revolutionary is also conditioned by the past. He may not be conditioned by Jesus Christ or Gautam Buddha, but he is conditioned by Karl Marx or Mao Zedong or Joseph Stalin or Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini… it does not matter who conditions him. The revolutionary has his own holy bible – Das Kapital; his holy land – the Soviet Union; his own mecca – in the Kremlin… and just like any other religious person, he is not living according to his own consciousness. He is living according to a conscience created by others.
“Hence, the revolutionary is nothing but a reactionary. He may be against a certain society, but he is always for another society. He may be against one culture, but he is immediately ready for another culture. He only goes on moving from one prison into another prison – from Christianity to communism; from one religion to another religion – from Hinduism to Christianity. He changes his prisons.
“The rebel simply moves out of the past and never allows the past to dominate him. It is a constant, continuous process. The whole life of the rebel is a fire that burns. Rebellion Is Freedom. To the very last breath he is fresh, he is young. He will not respond to any situation according to his past experience; he will respond to every situation according to his present consciousness.
To be a rebel, to me, is the only way to be religious, and the so-called religions are not religions at all.
“They have destroyed humanity completely, enslaved human beings, chained their souls; so on the surface it seems that you are free, but deep inside you, religions have created a certain conscience which goes on dominating you.
“It is almost like one great scientist, Delgado…. He has found that in the human brain there are seven hundred centers. Those centers are connected with your whole body, the whole system. There is a center for your sex, there is a center for your intelligence, and for everything in your life. If at a particular center an electrode is implanted in the brain, a very strange phenomenon happens. He displayed it for the first time in Spain.
“He put an electrode in the brain of the strongest bull – a remote control was in his pocket – and he stood in a field, waved a red flag, and the bull rushed madly towards him.
“That was the most dangerous bull in the whole of Spain, and thousands of people had gathered to see. They were looking at the phenomenon… their breathing stopped – their eyes were not blinking…. The bull was approaching closer and closer, and they were afraid that Delgado was going to be dead within a second. But he had in his pocket this small remote controller…. Just when the bull was one foot away, he pushed a button in his pocket – nobody saw it – and the bull stopped as if suddenly frozen, like a statue.
“Since then, Delgado has experimented on many animals, and on man too; and his conclusion is that what he is doing with electrodes, religions have been doing by conditioning. From its very childhood you condition a child; you go on repeating, repeating a certain idea which becomes settled near his center of intelligence, and it goes on goading the center to do something or not to do something.
“Delgado’s experiment can prove dangerous to humanity. It can be used by the politicians. Just when the child is born, in the hospitals, a small electrode needs to be pushed into his skull near the intelligence center, and a central controlling system will take care that nobody becomes a revolutionary, nobody becomes a rebel.
“You will be surprised to know that inside your skull there is no sensitivity, so you will never be aware whether you have something implanted in your head or not. And a remote controller can manage… from Moscow even the whole Soviet Union can be managed. Religions have been doing the same in a crude manner.
“A rebel is one who throws away the whole past because he wants to live his own life according to his own longings, according to his own nature – not according to some Gautam Buddha, or according to some Jesus Christ, or Moses.
The rebel is the only hope for the future of humanity.
“The rebel will destroy all religions, all nations, all races – because they are all rotten, past, hindering the progress of human evolution. They are not allowing anybody to come to his full flowering: they don’t want human beings on the earth – they want sheep.
“Jesus continuously says, ‘I am your shepherd, and you are my sheep….’ And I have always wondered that not even a single man stood up and said, ‘What kind of nonsense are you talking? If we are sheep, then you are also a sheep; and if you are a shepherd, then we are also shepherds.’
“Not only his contemporaries… but for two thousand years NO Christian has raised the question that it is such an insult to humanity, such a great humiliation to call human beings sheep and to call himself the shepherd, the savior.
“‘I have come to save you’… and he could not save himself. And still almost half of humanity is hoping that he will be coming back to save them. You cannot save yourself; the only begotten son of God, Jesus Christ, is needed. And he had promised to his people, “I will be coming soon, in your own lifetime”… and two thousand years have passed – many lifetimes have passed – and there seems to be no sign, no indication….
“But all the religions have done the same in different ways. Krishna says in the Gita that whenever there will be misery, whenever there will be anguish, whenever there will be need, ‘I will be coming again and again.’ Five thousand years have passed, and he has not been seen even once – never mind “again and again.”
“These people, howsoever beautiful their statements may be, were not respectful to humanity. A rebel respects you, respects life, has a deep reverence for everything that grows, thrives, breathes. He does not put himself above you, holier than you, higher than you; he is just one amongst you. Only one thing he can claim: that he is more courageous than you are. He cannot save you – only your courage can save you. He cannot lead you – only your own guts can lead you to the fulfillment of your life.
“Rebellion is a style of life. To me, it is the only religion which is authentic. Because if you live according to your own light you may go astray many times, and you may fall many times; but each fall, each going astray will make you wiser, more intelligent, more understanding, more human. There is no other way of learning than by making mistakes. Just don’t make the same mistake again.
There is no God, except your own consciousness.
You are your own master.
“There is no need for any pope, or for Ayatollah Khomeini, or for any shankaracharya, to be mediators between you and God. These are the greatest criminals in the world, because they are exploiting your helplessness.
“Just a few days ago, the pope declared a new sin: that one should not confess directly to God; you have to confess through the priest. Confessing directly to God, communicating directly with God, is a new sin. Strange… you can see clearly that this is not religion, this is business – because if people start confessing directly to God, then who is going to confess to the priest and pay the fine? The priest becomes useless, the pope becomes useless.
“All the priests are pretending that they are mediators between you and the ultimate source of life. They know nothing of the ultimate source of life. Only you are capable of knowing your source of life. But your source of life is also the ultimate source of life – because we are not separate. No man is an island; we are a vast continent underneath. Perhaps on the surface you look like an island – and there are many islands – but deep down in the ocean, you meet. You are part of one earth, one continent. The same is true about consciousness.
But one has to be free from churches, from temples, from mosques, from synagogues. One has to be just oneself, and take the challenge of life wherever it leads. You are the only guide.”
To continue reading and see all available formats of this talk:
Osho, The Rebellious Spirit, Talk #11 – Rebellion is a Style of Life