You were thinking that religiousness is something extraordinary, very special, is attained by very special people. It was not your thinking; this has been told to you for centuries. This is the way the whole of humanity has been deceived for thousands of years: religiousness is something so extraordinary, it happens only to special people, prophets, messiahs, saviors, incarnations of God. It is not for the ordinary and the common people. And you have accepted that conditioning. That conditioning is acceptable to the mind because it gives mind an immense scope to ask for more. It gives mind the opportunity never to be satisfied; there must be more.
My whole approach is that religiousness is just like freedom, just like your heartbeat. It is nothing special, it is nothing extraordinary; it is not something to be achieved – there is no question of excitement. Mind is not needed at all. If you are going to achieve something, then mind is needed, then mind’s support is needed; then mind has to think of ways and means of how to achieve it.
But religiousness is your nature. You are born religious. Every child is born religious; it is the society that makes him irreligious, it is the society that corrupts him. It is your religious leaders who are responsible for making the whole of humanity irreligious.
Your religious leaders, your popes, your shankaracharyas, imams… They are destroying the innocence of the child, which is the very center of religiousness. They are destroying the pure humanity of the child by making him a Jew, a Christian, a Hindu, a Buddhist. They are putting masks on the child, conditionings on his mind; and they are giving you this desire that you have to achieve religiousness – which is a rare adventure.
You have been befooled for centuries.
And mind is in absolute cooperation with the cheaters, exploiters, because if religion is something like a goal far away, and only special and extraordinary people achieve it, then mind is very happy. That is its desire – to be special, to be somebody extraordinary, higher than others, holier than others, a saint, a prophet, a messiah. The mind is not happy with being just an ordinary and normal human being; it is ready to sacrifice everything to become extraordinary.
But whatever it does it can never become religious, because religion is not there, far away, as a goal.
Religion is your source.
It is your very being.
You are not to achieve it, you are simply to remember it. So when I say to you, you are religious, you have only forgotten it… you have been made to forget it. Your innocence has been covered with all kinds of ugly, stupid theologies; you have been given all kinds of faces. But your original face has been lost in these artificial faces.
Your original face is the face of the religious man. You brought it into the world; you came into the world absolutely natural, pure, innocent, loving. You came into the world playful, non-serious, enjoying the small things of the world – collecting seashells on the beach, running after butterflies, collecting flowers, colored stones – and you were so happy, as if you had found the world’s greatest treasure.
You had unprejudiced eyes, you had an unpolluted heart.
Hence I say again: Religiousness is only a question of remembering what has been forgotten. It is an ordinary human phenomenon. Your mind is cheating you, deceiving you still. Although you are feeling serene, you are feeling peaceful, you are feeling happy, the mind goes on saying to you, “There must be something more.” It will go on saying the same to you even if you meet God – who does not exist…
You cannot satisfy yourself if you listen to the mind; if you don’t listen to the mind, right this very moment, contentment is yours. You can choose between the misery of the mind… because mind will always remain miserable, asking for more and more; that desire is unending…
I will tell you an ancient parable…
Damien Hirst, 2007 – Diamond Encrusted Skull
A beggar knocked on the doors of the palace. By chance the king was just coming out for his morning walk in the garden, so he himself opened the door. The beggar said, “It seems to be a fortunate day for you.”
The king said, “For me or for you?”
The beggar said, “By the end of the day it will be decided. I am a beggar and I ask only one thing. I have got this begging bowl; can you fill it up – with anything you like?”
The beggar looked a little strange. His eyes were those of a mystic; his speaking was not that of a beggar but of an emperor. His whole aura was of tremendous authority. The king ordered his prime minister to fill the beggar’s bowl with gold coins, so that he would remember that he had knocked on the door of a king, and that he was fortunate. The beggar laughed.
The king said, “What is the matter?”
He said, “By the evening everything will be decided.” His behavior was strange but very attractive too. He was a beautiful man.
And then the trouble started. As the prime minister brought a bag of gold coins to fill the bowl, they all disappeared, and the bowl remained empty. More coins, more coins… all the coins that were in the treasury were brought, and they all disappeared. The whole town gathered there and the news spread like wildfire.
The king said, “Whatever the case, bring all the diamonds, rubies, emeralds, but fill the beggar’s bowl.” But everything disappeared in it and the bowl remained as empty as ever.
Finally the king lost everything. It was evening. The whole day there had been great excitement all over the capital. The king was stubborn – but now there was no point, he had nothing else to give. He fell at the feet of the beggar and asked him the secret of the bowl. “Is it a magic bowl? It is evening and you have been telling me again and again, `By the evening, by sunset, everything will be decided.’ Now it is time. And in a way everything is decided, I have been defeated by a beggar. But you are not an ordinary beggar. All I want to know is, what is the secret of this begging bowl?”
Salvador Dali, with photograph by Phillipe Halsman (1906-1979)
Near Voluptuous Death, 1951.
The beggar said, “It is not a secret, it is something everybody knows. Just look closely at the begging bowl. It is made of the skull of a man.”
The king said, “I don’t understand.”
The beggar said, “Nobody understands. Inside the skull of man is his mind. You go on pouring everything in it and everything disappears. It is always asking for more; it is always empty. It is always a beggar, you cannot change it. You can only understand it and get rid of it…
Osho – Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
#28 Peace or Mind