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Chapter-3 Conditioning

The first question
Question 1
D. M. Silvera,
It is one of the most fundamental problems facing humanity today. The future depends on how we solve this problem. It has never been encountered before. For the first time man has come of age, a certain maturity has happened — and as you become mature you have to face new problems.
Slowly slowly, as man progressed, he became aware of many kinds of slavery. In the days of Rama, who is being worshipped in India as one of the greatest incarnations of God, people were sold in the markets just like a commodity, particularly women. Man was not yet aware of what he was doing to other men — selling, purchasing people in the market-place just like any other thing!
And the days of Rama are thought to be the golden days of India’s history. They were the blackest days possible, the ugliest possible. Even Mahatma Gandhi used to think that we have to bring the kingdom of Rama back. I am surprised at the enormous ignorance! The kingdom during the days of Rama was as primitive as one can imagine.
Rama himself does not seem to be very religious, spiritual — what to say about his being an incarnation of God? He poured melted lead into one untouchable’s ears because he had head the holy scriptures, the Vedas, which were prohibited to the poorest part of the society. The Vedas were not allowed to be read by the untouchables — who constituted almost one-half of India — and women were not allowed either.
It was a simple strategy: if you want to keep millions of people in slavery, let them remain as uneducated as possible If you educate them they start thinking of themselves as human beings, equal to others. The more educated they become the more they demand equality, freedom. The best way to prevent that is not to educate them.
Education makes so much difference that only brahmins and the kshatriyas, the priests and the warriors, were educated, and the others were not educated. Naturally the gap was big between the two, and the uneducated person could not conceive of himself as equal to the educated one. He was ready to be a slave; he accepted it as his fate.
And the women were not allowed to read the Vedas either they were also thought of in terms of being a commodity. It was very easy to purchase women.
Even Krishna, whom India worships as the most perfect incarnation of God, had sixteen thousand wives. Now, this is the ugliest thing one can conceive of! And all these wives were not married to him, many were the wives of others whom he had forcibly taken away. He had the power, he had the army — he could manage it. He could purchase them, he could steal them he could force people to give their beautiful wives to him — and still he was thought to be the most perfect incarnation of God! These women are taken away from others as if they are prop-erty. Just as you can overrun somebody’s property, land somebody’s kingdom, you can snatch away his wife. She is just property — nothing much; no need to bother about the woman And still no rebellion arose. Man was in a very primitive, ignorant, unintelligent state.
Slowly that kind of slavery disappeared. The woman in India still remains a slave, but in the West the woman is getting out of the bondage.
Only recently in the West have we become aware that the greatest slavery is that of the child. It was never thought of before, it is not mentioned in any scripture of the world. Who could have thought… a child and a slave? A slave to his own parents, who love him, who sacrifice themselves for the child? It would have looked ridiculous, utter nonsense! But now, as psychological insight has deepened into human mind and its functionings, it has become absolutely clear that the child is the most exploited person; nobody has been exploited more than the child. And of course he is being exploited behind a facade of love.
And I don’t say that the parents are aware that they are exploiting the child, that they are imposing a slavery on the child, that they are destroying the child, that they are making him stupid, unintelligent, that their whole effort of conditioning the child as a Hindu, as a Mohammedan, as a Christian, as a Jaina, as a Buddhist, is inhuman; they are not aware of it, but that does not make any difference as far as the facts are concerned.
The child is being conditioned by the parents in ugly ways, and of course the child is helpless: he depends on the parents. He cannot rebel, he cannot escape, he cannot protect himself. He is absolutely vulnerable, hence he can be easily exploited.
Parental conditioning is the greatest slavery in the world. It has to be completely uprooted, only then will man for the first time be able to be really free, truly free, authentically free, because the child is the father of the man. If the child is brought up in a wrong way then the whole of humanity goes wrong. The child is the seed: if the seed itself is poisoned and corrupted by well-intentioned people, well-wishing people, then there is no hope for a free human individual, then that dream can never be fulfilled.
What you think you have is not individuality, it is only personality. It is something cultivated in you, in your nature, by your parents, the society, the priest, the politician, the educators. The educator, from the kindergarten to the university, is in the service of the vested interests, is in the service of the establishment. His whole purpose is to destroy every child in such a way, to cripple every child in such a way, that he adjusts to the established society.
There is a fear. The fear is that if the child is left unconditioned from the very beginning he will be so intelligent, he will be so alert, aware, that his whole life style will be of rebellion. And nobody wants rebels; everybody wants obedient people.
Parents love the obedient child. And remember, the obedient child is almost always the most stupid child. The rebellious child is the intelligent one, but he is not respected or loved. The teachers don’t love him, the society does not give him respect; he is condemned. Either he has to com-promise with the society or he has to live in a kind of self-guilt. Naturally, he feels that he has not been good to his parents, he has not made them happy.
Remember perfectly well, the parents of Jesus were not happy with Jesus, the parents of Gautam the Buddha were not happy with Gautam the Buddha. These people were so intelligent, so rebellious, how could their parents be happy with them?
And each child is born with such great possibilities and potential that if he is allowed and helped to develop his individuality without any hindrance from others we will have a beautiful world, we will have many Buddhas and many Socrateses and many Jesuses, we will have a tremendous variety of geniuses. The genius happens very rarely not because the genius is rarely born, no; the genius rarely happens because it is very difficult to escape from the conditioning process of the society. Only once in a while does a child somehow manage to escape from its clutches.
Just the other day I was saying to Tom Cassidy, ‘Please open your envelope.’ AjitSaraswati has sent me a note about it. He says, ‘Osho, I found that the word “develop” means exactly the same thing: that is, “opening the envelope”. “Velop” means a veil, a cover; “de-velop” means removing the veil, un-covering it; “en-velope” means putting the veil on, covering it.’
Every child is being enveloped by the parents, by the society, by the teachers, by the priests, by all the vested interests — enveloped in many layers of conditioning. He is given a certain religious ideology: he is forced to become a Jew or a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan. It is not his choice. And whenever somebody is forced with no choice of his own you are crippling the person, you are destroying his intelligence; you are not giving him a chance to choose, you are not allowing him to function intelligently; you are managing it in such a way that he will function only mechanically. He will be a Christian, but he is not Christian by choice. And what does it mean to be a Christian if it is not your choice?
The few people who followed Jesus, who went with him, were courageous people. They were the only Christians: they risked their lives, they went against the current, they lived dangerously; they were ready to die, but they were not ready to compromise.
The few people who went with Gautam Buddha were real Buddhists, but now there are millions of Christians around the world and millions of Buddhists around the world and they are all bogus, they are pseudo. They are bound to be pseudo — it is forced on them. They are enveloped in a certain religious ideo-logy then they are enveloped in a certain political ideology — they are told that they are Indians, that they are Iranians, that they are Chinese, that they are Germans — a certain nationality is imposed on them. And humanity is one, the earth is one. But the politicians wouldn’t like it to be one because if the earth is one then the politicians with all their politics have to disappear. Then where will all these presidents and prime ministers go? They can exist only if the world remains divided.
Religion is one, but then what will happen to the Polack Pope, to all the stupid shankaracharyas, toall the AyatollahsKhomaniac? What will happen to all these people? They can exist only if there are many religions many churches, many cults, many creeds.
There are three hundred religions on the earth and at least three thousand sects of these religions. Then of course there is a possibility for many priests, bishops, archbishops, high priests, shankaracharyas to exist. This possibility will disappear.
And I tell you, religiousness is one! It has nothing to do with any Bible, any Veda, any Gita. It has something to do with a loving heart, with an intelligent being. It has something to do with awareness, meditativeness. But all the vested interests will suffer.
Hence parents who belong to a certain establishment, a certain nation, a certain church, a certain denomination, are bound to force their ideas on the children. And the strange thing is that the children are always more intelligent than the parents, because the parents belong to the past and the children belong to the future. The parents are already conditioned, en-veloped, covered. Their mirrors are covered with so much dust that they don’t reflect anything; they are blind.
Only a blind man can be a Hindu or a Mohammedan or a Jaina or a Christian. A man with eyes is simply religious. He does not go to the church or to the temple or to the mosque; he Will not worship all kinds of stupid images.
There are people in India who are worshipping the monkey god, Hanuman. Men worshipping monkeys! No monkey worships a man! Even monkeys laugh about it: ‘What has happened to these people?’ And these people think that they have evolved from monkeys. Monkeys think just the opposite: they think it is these people who have fallen. Of course they have fallen from the trees — they have literally fallen! And still worshipping monkey gods!
All kinds of gods, all kinds of superstitions! Parents carry all these. When a child is born he is a dean slate, a tabula rasa; nothing iS written on him. That’s his beauty: the mirror is without any dust. He can see more clearly.
Mum: ‘Jimmy, did you fall over with your new trousers on?’
Jimmy: ‘Yes, Mum, there wasn’t time to take them off.’
The first-grade teacher was talking to her class about nature and she called it ‘The World Around You’. She asked little Helen in the first row, ‘Now, Helen, tell everyone in the class. Are you vegetable, animal or mineral?’
‘I’m not any of those,’ she replied promptly. ‘I’m a real live girl!’
A little fellow who was fishing off the end of a pier lost his balance while trying to land a fish and fell in the lake. Several men who also were fishing nearby rushed to his aid and pulled him out.
‘How did you come to fall in?’ one of the men asked him.
‘I didn’t come to fall in,’ the kid said. ‘I came to fish!’
A large family was finally able to move into a more spacious home. Some time later an uncle asked his nephew, ‘How do you like your new house?’
‘Just fine,’ replied the lad. ‘My brother and I have our own rooms and so do my sisters. But poor Mom, she’s still stuck in the same room with Dad!’
A woman was almost panic-stricken as she called her long-time friend on the telephone, but the friend was in the bathroom and her young daughter took up the phone.
‘Oh dear,’ she said, ‘I just have to talk to someone! I just found this note on my kitchen table. My husband has run off with another woman. Gone, gone, gone forever! I am so full of pent-up emotion I don’t know what to do. I am sure that any minute I’ll just let go.’
‘That’s the thing to do,’ the daughter said. ‘Just give in to your emotions. Let yourself go. Nothing will do you any more good right now than a good laugh!’
Every child is born intelligent, clear, clean, but we start heaping rubbish on him.
He has much more right than the parents because he is beginning his life. The parents are already burdened, they are already crippled, they are already depending on crutches. He has more right to be his own self. He needs privacy, but parents don’t allow him any privacy; they are very afraid of the child’s privacy. They are continuously poking their noses into the child’s affairs; they want to have their say about everything.
The child needs privacy because all that is beautiful grows in privacy. Remember it: it is one of the most fundamental laws of life. The roots grow underground; if you take them out of the ground they start dying. They need privacy, absolute privacy. The child grows in the mother’s womb in darkness, in privacy. If you bring the child into the light, among the public, he will die. He needs nine months of absolute privacy. Everything that needs growth needs privacy. A grown-up person does not need as much privacy because he is already grown-up, but a child needs much more privacy. But he is not left alone at all.
Parents are very worried whenever they see that the child is missing or is alone; they immediately become concerned. They are afraid, because if the child is alone he will start developing his individuality. He always has to be kept within limits so that the parents can go on watching, because their very watching does not allow his individuality to grow; their watching covers him, envelops him with a personality.
Personality is nothing but an envelope. It comes from a beautiful word, persona; persona means a mask. In Greek dramas the actors used masks. Sona means sound, per means through. They used to speak through the mask; you could not see their real faces, you could only hear their voices. Hence the mask was called a persona because the sound was heard through it, and out of persona comes the word ‘personality’.
The child has to be continuously on guard because he is being watched. You can see it yourself: if you are taking a bath you are a totally different person — in your bathroom you can put aside your mask. Even grown-up people who are very serious start singing, humming. Even grown-up people start making faces in the mirror! You are in private — you are perfectly aware that you have locked the door — but if you suddenly become aware that somebody is watching through the keyhole, an immediate change will happen to you. You will again become serious, the song will disappear, you will not be making faces in the mirror; you will start behaving as you are supposed to behave. This is the personality — you are back in the envelope.
A child needs immense privacy, as much as possible, a maximum of privacy, so that he can develop his individuality uninterfered with. But we are trespassing on the child, continuously trespassing. The parents are continuously asking, ‘What are you doing? What are you thinking?’ Even thinking! They even have to look in your mind.
There are a few tribes in the Far East where each child has to tell his dreams every morning to the parents, because even in the dreams he cannot be left alone. He may be dreaming wrong dreams, he may be thinking of things which he should not think, the parents have to be reported to.
The early morning ritual is that first thing before breakfast he has to relate his dreams — what he has seen in the night.
Psychoanalysis is a very late development in the West, but in the East, in these Far Eastern tribes, psychoanalysis has been practised by the parents for thousands of years. And of course the poor child does not know the symbology so he simply relates the dream as it is. He does not know what it means; only the parents know. But this is going too far. It is encroaching upon him, it is inhuman; it is overlapping on somebody’s space.
Just because the child is dependent on you for food, for clothes, for shelter, do you think you have the right to do it? — because if the child says that he has seen that he was flying in his dream, the parents immediately know that that is a sexual dream. Now they will curb his behaviour more, they will discipline him more. They will give him an early-morning cold bath! They will teach him more about celibacy and they will teach him that ‘If you are not celibate things will go wrong. If you think about sexuality you will lose an intelligence, you will go blind, and an kinds of nonsense.
A child needs immense privacy. The parents should come on? to help him, not to interfere. He should be allowed to do things or not to do things. Parents should only be alert that he does not do any harm to himself or to somebody else — that’s enough. More than that is ugly.
A tourist drove into a small town and spoke to a boy who was sitting on a bench in front of the post office.
‘How long have you lived here?’ the tourist asked.
‘About twelve years,’ the boy replied.
‘It sure is an out-of-the-way place, isn’t it?’ the tourist asked.
‘It sure is,’ the boy said.
‘There isn’t much going on,’ the tourist said. ‘I don’t see anything here to keep you busy. ‘
‘Neither do I,’ the boy said. ‘That’s why I like it.’
The children like very much to be left alone; spaciousness is needed for their growth. Yes, parents have to be alert, cautious, so that no harm happens to the child, but this is a negative kind of cautiousness — they are not to interfere positively. They have to give the child a great longing to inquire about truth, but they have not to give him an ideology that gives him the idea of truth. They should not teach him about truth, they should teach him how to inquire about truth. Inquiry should be taught, investigation should be taught, adventure should be taught.
The children should be helped so that they can ask questions and the parents should not answer those questions unless they really know. And even if they know they should say it as Buddha used to say it to his disciples: ‘Don’t believe in what I say! This is my experience, but the moment I say it to you it be-comes false because for you it is not an experience. Listen to me, but don’t believe. Experiment, inquire, search. Unless you yourself know, your knowledge is of no use; it is dangerous. A knowledge which is borrowed is a hindrance.’
But that’s what parents go on doing: they go on conditioning the child.
Silvera, the children need privacy, they need freedom — they need the freedom to be. But every parent is trying to make the child into something other than he is. They are telling the child to become a Jesus Christ or to become a Gautam Buddha or to become a Mahavira or a Zarathustra. And this is such an ignoble project because nobody can become a Bud&a again, nobody can become a Jesus again. Existence is so creative it never repeats itself. Two thousand years have passed since Jesus — has anybody become a Jesus again? That is not possible, that is not allowed, and it is good that it is not possible. Twenty-five centuries have passed since Buddha and millions of people have tried and imitated in order to be Buddhas, but nobody has succeeded. It is good that nobody succeeds, because everybody has his own uniqueness.
Imitation is to destroy yourself, it is suicidal! But all the parents are teaching the children some suicidal thing: ‘Become somebody, somebody else. Become anybody, but don’t become yourself.’ The child is condemned, rejected in every possible way, told directly, indirectly that ‘Whatsoever you are is not right, whatsoever you are doing is not right.’ You have to be following some e%ample, some ideal. ‘Unless you behave like a Buddha or Mahavira, Confucius or Moses, you are not right’ — and the child starts imitating. This world is full of imitators, that’s why there is so much misery, that’s why there is so much uncreativity and so much insensitivity, so much ugliness.
It is like telling the roses to become marigolds and telling the marigolds to become lotuses. Neither the rose can become a marigold nor the marigold can become a lotus. Only one thing is possible: if the lotus gets the idea of becoming a rose and the rose gets the idea of becoming a marigold and the marigold is conditioned to become a lotus, there will be no more lotuses, no more marigolds, no more roses, because the whole energy of the rose will be wasted on becoming a marigold, which the rose cannot become, which is not possible. And because it cannot become a marigold its energy is wasted — the same energy which would have blossomed as a rose.
No conditioning is needed for the children, no direction has to be given to them. They have to be helped to be themselves they have to be supported, nourished, strengthened. A real father, a real mother, real parents will be a blessing to the child. The child will feel helped by them so that he becomes more rooted in his nature, more grounded, more centred, so that he starts loving himself rather than feeling guilty about himself, so that he respects himself.
Remember, unless a person loves himself he cannot love anybody else in the world, unless a child respects himself he cannot respect anybody else. That’s why all your love is bogus and all your respect is pseudo, phony. You don’t respect yourself, how can you respect anybody else? Unless love for yourself is born within your being it will not radiate to others. First you have to become a light unto yourself, then your light will spread, will reach others.
It was examination day at school and a bad-tempered teacher was questioning a small boy about his knowledge of plants and flowers. The boy was unable to answer any question correctly. In frustration, the teacher turned to his assistant and shouted, ‘Go and bring me a handful of hay!’
As the assistant turned to go out, the small boy cried, ‘And for me, just a small coffee, please!’
A Polackman was driving along a country road when his car broke down. While he was fixing it, a small boy approached and asked, ‘What is that?’
‘It’s a jack,’ said the Polackman.
‘My father has two of those,’ said the boy.
Then a minute later he asked again, ‘And what is that?’
‘That’s a torch.’
‘Oh, my father has two of those too. And over there? Is that a spanner?’
‘Yes,’ said the man, irritably.
‘My father has two of those.’
The conversation went on in this vein for some time. Finally the repair was finished and the Polackman got up and went to piss at the side of the road. As he was pissing he pointed to his reproductive machinery and asked, ‘Does your father have two of these too?’
‘Of course not!’ said the boy. ‘But he has one that is twice as long!’
Children are immensely intelligent, they just need a chance! They need opportunities to grow, the right climate. Every child is born with the potential of enlightenment, with the potential of becoming awakened, but we destroy it.
This has been the greatest calamity in the whole history of man. No other slavery has been as bad as the slavery of the child and no other slavery has taken as much juice out of humanity as the slavery of the child, and this is also going to be the most difficult task for humanity: to get rid of it.
Unless we arrange the whole society in a totally different way, unless a radical change happens and the family disappears and gives place to a commune, it will not be possible. The parental institution has become so deep-rooted in its struc-ture that unless the whole pattern is destroyed and replaced by a totally new phenomenon which I call the commune…
A commune is where many people live together collectively, not in single-family units. For example, this commune… Now, nearabout three thousand sannyasins are living here, fifteen hundred sannyasins are working in the commune. There are many children; these children are being loved by everybody. They are not just focused on their parents, they are enjoying immense freedom. They go and they visit other sannyasins, they remain with other sannyasins for days together. They have many uncles, many aunts.
Little Siddhartha has so many friends, from small children through grown-up people to very old people — all ages, all kinds of friends. His mother, Neerja, has changed lovers many times, but every lover becomes an uncle to Siddhartha. It is a gain for him, because each time Neerja changes her lover Siddhartha gains one more uncle! Neerja’s love affairs may come and go, but Siddhartha’s love affairs remain. Even ex-boyfriends of Neerja are still friends with Siddhartha — he goes on asking them… whenever he needs money he goes to them. And he gets money from everywhere — he is the richest person in the commune!
He comes to Sattva every day and Sattva has to give him five rupees — that’s the fixed amount! One day Sattva had no money, so Sattva said, ‘I’m sorry, Siddhartha, today I have no money.’
He said, ‘Why didn’t you ask me?’ And after ten minutes he came with five rupees and gave it to Sattva!
He said, ‘I have so many friends! Whenever you need money you can ask me — I can find it anywhere!’
In a commune a child will not be obsessed with his parents. He win have more freedom, more liquidity. He will be more open to many people, many varieties. He will learn more. He will become multi-dimensional, he will become multi-lingual. And the most important thing will be that he Will not be conditioned by anybody, because when there are so many people with so many different backgrounds he will be able to learn this: that ‘My mother’s or my father’s religion is not the only religion,’ that ‘My mother’s country is not the only country,’ that My mother’s language is not the only language,’ that ‘There are many languages and they are all beautiful, and there are many religions and they are an beautiful, and there are many countries and they are an beautiful.’ He will have a more universal approach towards things. He will remain liquid, flowing, he win not become fixated.
And psychologists say that each child becomes fixated: if the child is a boy he becomes fixated on the mother figure; if the child is a girl the child becomes fixated on the father figure And this is one of the problems in life, because once a boy has become fixated on the mother figure, his whole life he will be searching for a woman who exactly fits his mother figure. He will be expecting his mother’s qualities from his beloved, which is not possible. Where can he find his mother? Each woman will have her own way, and the woman will not be there to be his mother.
And the strange thing is, the woman will be searching for her father. The man is searching for the mother and the woman is searching for the father — and both are pretending to be lovers! Hence all marriages fail, hence no love affair succeeds for a simple reason: because of these obsessions. There is a criterion of how a really good woman should be or how a really good man should be.
If a child moves with many people he will not have a fixed figure of a woman or a man. He will not have an imprint — that’s what psychologists call it — and without any imprint he will just have a vague idea of a woman. He will more or less have the idea of womanhood, not of a woman, and she will have the idea of manhood, not of a particular man. And then life can have a totally different flavour. Then you are not search-ing for the mother, not searching for the father. Then love affairs can bring immense joy; right now they only bring miseries and nightmares.
And if we can make children liquid, flowing, the countries can disappear sooner or later. The family is the basic unit of the nation, of the state, of the church, hence the church, the state and the nation, will all defend the family. They are not concerned about the misery of humanity.
I am against the nation, against the church, against the state, hence I am in favour of the commune not in favour of the fam-ily. Once this old pattern of family disappears into a more multi-dimensional set-up, humanity can have a new birth. A new man is needed and the new man will bring the very paradise that in the past we were hoping for in some other life. Paradise can be herenow, but we have to bring about a new child.
My sannyasins at least have to understand it very clearly. If you can be helpful in bringing the child to his uniqueness you win be helping humanity immensely. You will become the harbingers of a new dawn, of a new sunrise.
(Excerpted from: Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap and Zing, Chapter #14)
Question 3
Why do we people voluntarily repress ourselvesthemselves and adopt crippling defense mechanisms?
For survival.
A child is helpless, he cannot survive on his own. This helplessness has been exploited for centuries. We have oppressed children as we have oppressed nobody else. Yes, labourers have been oppressed, but not as much; yes, women have been oppressed, but not as much as children. Children are the longest oppressed class of people and it seems very difficult to make them free of parents. It seems almost impossible.
The child is so fragile he cannot exist on his own. You can exploit this. You can force the child to learn anything you want him to — that’s what B. F. Skinner goes on doing in his lab. He teaches pigeons to play ping-pong, but the trick is the same: reward and punishment. If they play they are rewarded; if they don’t play, if they are reluctant, they are punished. If they make a right move they are rewarded, given food; if they make a wrong move they are given an electric shock. Even pigeons start learning ping-pong.
That’s what has always been done in the circus. You can go and see. Even lions, beautiful lions, are caged, and elephants are moving according the whip of the ring-master. They have been starved and then they are rewarded — punished and rewarded — This is the whole trick.
What you do in the circus with the animals you go on doing with your children. But you do it very unconsciously because it has been done to you; this is the only way you know how to train and bring up children. This is what you call ‘bringing up’. In fact, it is bringing down, it is forcing them into a lower existence rather than bringing them up to a higher existence. These are all Skinnerian tricks and techniques — because of them we voluntarily start repressing ourselves and adopt crippling defense mechanisms.
A child does not know what is right and what is wrong. We teach him. We teach him according to our mind. The same thing may be right in Tibet and wrong in India; the same thing may be right in your house and wrong in your neighbour’s house. But you force it onto the child: this is right, you have to do it. The child gets approval when he does it and gets disapproval when he does not do it. When he follows you, you are happy and you pat the child; when he does not follow you, you are angry and you torture the child, you beat the child, you starve the child, you don’t give your love to him.
Naturally the child starts understanding that his survival is at stake. If he listens to this mother and this father all is okay; if not, they will kill him. And what can the child do? How can he assert himself against these powerful people? They loom large. They are huge and very big and very powerful and they can do anything.
By the time the child becomes powerful he is already conditioned. Then the conditioning has gone so deep in him that now there is no need for the father and mother to follow him. The inner conditioning, what they call the conscience, will go on torturing him.
For example, if the child starts playing with his genitals — which is a joy to children, a natural joy, because the child’s body is very sensitive — it is not sexual at all in the sense that you use sexuality. The child is really very, very alive and naturally when the child is alive his genitals are more alive than other parts of the body. That is where life energy accumulates — it is the most sensitive part. Touching and playing with the genitals the child feels tremendously happy — but you are afraid. It is your problem. You start being afraid that he is masturbating or something. It is nothing. It is sheer joy at playing with one’s body. It is not masturbation or anything, it is loving one’s body.
It is your guilt, your fear. Somebody may see that your son is doing this and what will they think of how you are bringing up your children? Make them civilised. Teach them something. So you stop it, you shout at the child. You say ‘Stop!’ again and again and again. And by and by the conscience arises. Stop, stop, stop — it goes deeper, deeper, deeper, and becomes an unconscious part of the child.
Now there is no need for you. When he starts playing with his genitals something from the inside will say ‘Stop!’ And he will become afraid — maybe the father is looking or the mother is looking — and he will feel guilty. And then we teach him that there is a God Father who is always looking, everywhere, even in the bathroom. He goes on looking everywhere.
This concept of God cripplesis crippling. Then you are not free even in your bathroom. Nowhere are you free. That omnipotent God follows you like a detective wherever you are. When you are making love to a woman he is standing there. He won’t allow you. He is a super-policeman — in addition to the conscience that the parents have created.
That’s why Buddha says that unless you kill your parents you will never become free. Killing the parents means killing the voice of the parent inside you, killing the conscience inside you, dropping these nonsense ideas and starting to live your own life according to your own consciousness. Remember, consciousness has to be more and conscience has to be less. By and by conscience has to disappear completely and pure consciousness has to be lived.
Consciousness is the law — let consciousness be the only law. Then whatsoever you feel, it is your life. You have to decide. It is nobody else’s life; nobody else has any right to decide.
I am not saying that you will always be doing right — sometimes you will do wrong. But that too is part of your freedom and part of your growth. Many times you will go astray but that is perfectly all right — going astray is a way of coming back home. A person who never goes astray never comes home, he is already dead. A person who never does anything wrong never enjoys doing anything right. He is just a slave. A mental slavery is created.
A human child is dependent on his parents for a long time — at least twenty-one to twenty-five years. It is a long time, one third of his whole life. For one third of his whole life he is being conditioned. Just think — twenty-five years of conditioning! Anything can be forced on hima person.
And once you learn these tricks it is very difficult to forget them. That’s why it is so difficult to take a jump into reality, that’s why it is so difficult to become a sannyasin. Sannyas just means taking a jump out of the social structure around you, taking a drastic step — because you cannot get out of it slowly, slowly. You take a quantum leap, you risk all. You simply get out of it as if the house is on fire — it is on fire — and youand start living your life. Of course, in the beginning it will be very, very shaky, you will tremble many times because naturally you will be against your parents, you will be against the society. Society is your parents’ writ large; your parents were nothing but agents of this society. It is all a conspiracy — the parents, the teachers, the policeman, the magistrate, the president — it is all a conspiracy, they are all together. And they are all holding the future of all children.
Once you have learned, unlearning becomes very difficult because after twenty-five years of constant repetition you are completely hypnotised. A de-hypnosis is needed; you have to drop all this conditioning.
Yes, it is simply survival, the need to survive. The child wants to live, that’s why. He starts compromising. He bargains. Anybody will bargain when there is a question of life and death. If you are dying in a desert and somebody has water and you are thirsty and you are dying, he can ask any price. He can say ‘Crawl and kiss my feet’ and you will crawl and kiss his feet. He can manage anything, he can force anything upon you. That’s what we have done up to now with children.
I’m not saying that you should go and kill your father and mother. They were victims just as you are victims. They were victims of their society, of their parents. And those parents were again victims in their own turn — it is a long, vicious chain.
So I am not saying make your parents feel guilty. Feel compassion for them also because they are in the same boat as you are. In fact, you are in a far better situation — at least you have beard that something different is possible, at least there is a slight opening of the door, at least there is a little awareness that you can act out of it. That was not possible for your parents because they went to a church, they went to a temple, they went to the Pope, they went to the SHANKARACHARYA — and you have come to me. That is the difference.
The church, the Pope, is in the service of society; Jesus was not, remember. Jesus was not a church, I am not a church, Buddha was not a church. When Buddha was alive and people went to him, they were fortunate. When Buddhism became a church it started serving society. Once religion starts serving society, once religion becomes an establishment, it is no longer religion, it is politics. The church, the temple, the mosque, are in the service of the society. Mohammed was not, neither was the ADI SHANKARACHARYA, the original SHANKARACHARYA — but these SHANKARACHARYAS of Puri and others are in the service of society.
Just a few days ago a doctor wrote a letter to me from Poona. Somehow he persuaded one of the SHANKARACHARYAS — there are four SHANKARACHARYAS, for four directions; I don’t know which one he persuaded — he persuaded one of the SHANKARACHARYAS to come to see me. Of course, he must have come very reluctantly. But the doctor must have been powerful. The SHANKARACHARYA must have been staying at the doctor’s house so somehow the doctor managed it.
He brought him to the gate, and while the doctor was talking to Sant, the SHANKARACHARYA saw a sannyasin come by holding hands with another sannyasin — a man and a woman — very lovingly walking by. And he became furious and he said, ‘Take me away from here immediately. What is going on? What is this? Is this religion?’ War is okay, war is religion, but love is not okay. If two persons are killing each other it is perfectly okay — it may be a ‘JIHAD’, it may be a religious war — but if two persons are kissing each other, impossible! This cannot be tolerated!
He said, ‘Immediately take me away from here. I don’t want to see this man. Look at what his disciples are doing. They will destroy the whole ‘society!’
Precisely! That is what we are trying to do.We want to destructure it. And I am all for love and all against war.
In the scriptures war is praised but love is never praised — because war is in the service of society and love is not in the service of society. Love is the most dangerous thing, love is the most rebellious thing. Lovers become anti-social — you can watch it. If two persons are in love they look into each other and they forget the whole world. They are anti-social. Love in itself is anti-social. They are so absorbed in each other that they don’t bother about anything else. They will not go to the polling station to vote — who bothers? They will not go to listen to the prime minister. They will not even bother to read the newspaper. It is the same, the same crap every day. They will use that time in singing, dancing, loving — or they will simply sit and look at the stars.
Their eyes are full of a totally different kind of energy, a different quality of energy. They are no longer here in this world, they have been transported.
Love has always been dangerous for society, so society has killed it; in subtle ways it has destroyed it. And it has left man completely loveless. This loveless man is very easily forced, he can be forced into anything. You can easily make a loveless person afraid. Watch the mechanism: if you are in love nobody can make you afraid. Love has a fearlessness to it. But if you are not in love you are already in fear; without love there is only death and nothing else. Only love transcends death, only love is immortal — everything else on this earth is mortal.
That SHANKARACHARYA became very, very angry. This anger shows many things. First, he must be very sexually repressed. Otherwise why get angry when a man holds the hand of a woman? She is not your woman. Why get angry? What has it to do with you? And what is wrong in it? This is repressed sexuality. He must have become afraid inside himself, it is his own obsession. The young man had touched his obsession.
These people are in the service of the establishment and naturally the establishment helps them in every way. It is bound to. People like me cannot be helped by the establishment. We are not in conspiracy with them. In fact, that they allow us to live is a miracle. It must be because now it is very difficult to kill a person in the way that they crucified Jesus or poisoned Socrates.
Man has grown a little bit, man’s consciousness has become a little more alert, man is more aware. This is the twentieth century. But they do all they can to hinder and to obstruct.
You ask, “Why do we people voluntarily repress ourselvesthemselves and adopt crippling defense mechanisms? It is not voluntary. It looks as if it is voluntary because by the time you become alert it is almost inside your blood and bones. But it is not voluntary, no child ever learns anything voluntarily — it is forced, it is violent.
You can watch any child. Every child resists, every child fights to the very end, every child creates trouble for the parents, every child tries hard this way and that to escape from this crippling mechanism. But finally the parents get hold of him, because they are more powerful. It is simply a question of the powerful and the powerless.
And so it is not unnatural that when children are grown-up they start taking revenge on the parents. That reaction is natural. It is very difficult to forgive your parents — that’s why all societies teach you to respect them. If you cannot forgive them at least respect them; if you cannot love them, at Least respect them. But that respect is formal, bogus. Deep down you remain angry.
If what I am saying is heard, if what I am saying becomes prevalent in the world some day, then children will really love their parents, then children will be really in tune with their parents because the parents will not be enemies to them, they will be friends.
(Excerpted from: Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1, Chapter #6, Q-3)


The human child is the weakest child in the whole of existence, buthHis weakness is a blessing in disguise.
Bbut it can also be exploited – – and that’s what has been done down the centuries. The parents never allowed the weakness, helplessness and dependence of the child to turn into independence, strength, integrity, individuality; they were happy that the child remain obedient. Naturally, an obedient child is not a trouble. A disobedient child is a continuous trouble, but a disobedient child is a real human being.
The obedient child is just simple cow dung. A child who cannot say no has no integrity, and a child who cannot say no to something, his yes is meaningless. The yes gives meaning only when the child is capable of saying no too. Then it is up to his intelligence to decide.
But it is easier for parents that a child always says yes. He is rewarded for being obedient; he is punished for being disobedient. The situation is the same in the schools: the obedient child is rewarded, the disobedient is punished.
In my high school, for one year continuously in the ninth class, I was kept standing outside the class, not allowed to be inside. The first few days I was allowed in, but my interest was more in the trees outside, the birds, the beautiful sky changing its colors, and I was always looking out of the window.
The teacher told me, “If you look out of the window then I will send you out of the class. Then you can look wherever you want. But this is insulting to me; I want you to look at the board.”
I told him, “As far as the window and board are concerned, the window is more alive, more beautiful than your blackboard with your ugly handwriting. I don’t want to see it… and don’t be worried, because whatever you are teaching I will manage in the examination.”
That was too much. He told me to get out of the room and stand there. Then the next day he said, “It is better that you remain outside. What is the point? — every day the same argument, and I have to send you out.”
I said, “I am immensely grateful. You are the greatest teacher in this school. Outside the air is good, the sky is beautiful. Just behind the school is a beautiful forest. And I am at freedom; I don’t have to ask you whether I can go anywhere or not, I am already out. So I can go into the forest, I can go up to the trees, I can climb the trees — the mangoes are ripe — and who cares about your blackboard? There is no juice in you; mangoes are so sweet and so juicy.”
He said, “I don’t want to listen to anything — because you will corrupt the minds of others. They are also thinking of being with you outside and then who am I going to teach? You just remain silent and enjoy whatsoever you want. I will see you at the examination time.”
I said, “Before that, I will see you.”
He said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “You will know when I see you.”
He used to live in a small house just a few houses away from my house. He was a bachelor, he never married; perhaps no woman ever agreed to marry him. It is better to avoid teachers as husbands and lady teachers as wives because they start behaving with you as if they are teachers.
Before the examinations I simply went on his roof — just by the side of his house there was a big tall tree, a peepal tree — I climbed the tree, went on his roof and removed a few tiles. He was asleep — it must have been twelve o’clock in the night — and just from the hole that I had made by removing two or three tiles, I dropped a rope.
In the markets there were rubber snakes available, and I had tied a rubber snake on the rope, and the snake touched his mouth once or twice. He threw it away but it came back again. Finally he had to open his eyes, and seeing a snake hanging over him, he screamed so loudly that… I have been teaching dynamic meditation for years and I never heard such a scream. I have been teaching the primal scream — but this was something even more than the primal scream.
The next day on the board I made a picture of the snake and wrote, “Now you have seen me, and remember it in the examination; otherwise, I am going to visit you again!”
The whole year I enjoyed being outside. And he gave me a hundred percent mark because he did not want me to do anything more. He was thinking, “This boy can bring anything…” He still believed that it was a real snake.
Teachers want you to be obedient; it is easier for them to control you, to dominate you. All my teachers were complaining to my father, and my father was telling them, “Who am I to complain to? Do you think I am in power? Do you think he is going to listen to me? Do whatsoever you want to do: punish him, expel him from the school — whatsoever you want to do I absolutely agree. But don’t bother me about him, because the whole day… have I nothing else to do? Or have I just to go on listening to what he has done to this teacher, that teacher, this neighbor, that neighbor?”
And he told me, “You can do anything you want, but don’t spoil my business. Everybody is coming and I think they are customers… but it turns out they are your customers.”
I suggested to my father, “You do one thing. In your big shop, just in the corner you can write on a small board COMPLAINTS HERE in the back. You are saved… and I will see those people. Let them come.”
He said, “The idea is good, but have you seen in any shop a complaints box? People will think those complaints are against me and the shop; nobody will think they are against you. And you will play more mischief on those poor guys who have come in to complain.”
I said, “It was just a suggestion to help you.”
It is difficult for parents, it is difficult for teachers, it is difficult for priests, it is difficult for everybody to allow any kind of disobedience. Even God — who is omnipotent, all-powerful, the greatest despot, the greatest dictator — could not allow; even he could not tolerate a small disobedience from Adam and Eve. They were thrown out of the Garden of Eden and they had committed no sin. In fact, hearing that it was an apple tree I have been eating apples as much as possible. I don’t see any sin arising out of eating the fruit from an apple tree.
But the question was not the apple tree.
The question was disobedience.
You are asking me why it happened in the beginning. It is happening every time a child is born. Every child is a beginning. And just looking at every child’s life, you can understand the beginning of all the people who have existed on the earth.
So the first thing is that obedience has to be forced; for obedience, fear has to be used. That fear becomes in religious terms, hell. For obedience, reward has to be used; in religious terms, that becomes paradise or heaven. And to keep control over everything a father figure is needed — so God becomes the father.
I know why they have not made God a mother. I know from my own experience that my mother would hide me in the house when my father was searching for me because I had done something and he was very angry. When my father would refuse to give me any money because I had done something that he had prohibited, my mother would manage to give me money. So I know that the mother cannot be such a disciplinarian as the father can be.
And a mother can be persuaded very easily, because she is nothing but love, she is nothing but heart. The father is head, logic, reason, discipline. The father is man, and the society is man-made. My mother even used to enjoy it when I would come and say to her, “I have done something, and I am in urgent need of help.”
She would say, “But first tell me what you have done. I will save you, I will try my best, but first tell me the whole story. You bring such juicy stories that I wonder why your father gets angry. He should enjoy them.”
The priests, the father in heaven, the parents here on the earth, the teachers, the political leaders, they all want absolute obedience from everybody so that there is no question of any rebellion, no revolution, no change, so their vested interests are protected. We have all become victims of their vested interests. It is time that things should be changed.
The obedient child is always mediocre; to be disobedient means a little intelligence is needed. The obedient child becomes a good citizen, goes to the church every Sunday; the disobedient child is unreliable. What will he do in his life? He may become a painter, he may become a musician, he may become a dancer — which are not very profitable professions — or he may become just nobody, a vagabond, enjoying his freedom.
One of my friends, a very intelligent man I know, had a doctorate in philosophy, but he never worked. He always cheated people, borrowed money from this one and that one. He had a few things in him which attracted people: he was a good card player, a good chess player, a good drinker, things like that. He would never get drunk; you could go on giving him drink and he would remain in his senses. He was a very friendly and loving person, so wherever he went he would always find friends from whom he would borrow money.
I asked him once — because he used to come once in a while, when there was nowhere else to go he used to come to stay with me — I asked him, “How long can you manage it?”
He said, “You don’t know the population of the world. I never deceive the same person twice. You should appreciate my ingenuity; I have never deceived the same person again. I could have done it — but no, it is not my principle. I am a man of principle: I deceive a person only once. The world is so populated, I always find somebody else who is willing to be deceived. If nobody deceives him he will feel bad, I tell you!”
He is still doing that. He has become old and he has learned even more tricks. He is still doing the same, and the people he has deceived do not think badly about him, they understand him. “That man has so many qualities that if he has deceived us for a little money it is not bad. If he had worked he would have been earning more money. If he had just been a showman showing his tricks with cards and other things, like our work, he would have earned more.” Nobody felt hurt that he deceived them; in fact everybody knew that he was going to borrow money and never return it, because he had no money, no sources of income.
I was the only person he never borrowed money from. He said, “I will not borrow money from you because there are bad days in business and I need a shelter. You are my shelter — so I can at least come to the house, and food and everything is available, and I can rest here before I find new victims.”
So he used to come once or twice a year and stay one or two weeks, and then he would start moving again. He had no address; all his letters used to come to my address, and they would accumulate for six or eight months. When he came I would give him the whole lot, a hundred or two hundred letters, and he would say, “Now it is too late, they have already been answered. Burn them. Why bother … after eight months who is waiting for the reply?” He never read those letters.
The society is afraid. It creates fear, it creates greed, it creates ambition. And the most cunning people in the society become priests, because their business is the most cunning one.
I used to visit a place in India called Surat. Once it was a big port; the Britishers had first landed in Surat. At that time Bombay was nothing, just a small village of fishermen, and Surat was at its peak.
In Surat there is a small community of Mohammedans who believe that their leader, their chief priest, is in direct connection with God. So if you want to transfer any money from this world to the other world, you give it to the priest and he will give you a note saying, “I have received one million dollars” — or something — “from this man, and it should be given to him when he reaches heaven.” The chief priest gives the note with a seal, and that note is put with the dead man when he goes into his grave.
Can you believe that?
I used to stay in a house that belonged to the same sect. I said, “Do you think there can be more conmanship than what this priest is doing?”
My friend said, “There is no conmanship; the money really reaches to the other place. People earn for their whole lives, save their money so they can have an account in the other world. And he is in direct contact…”
I took him to the graveyard one night and I said, “Dig up a grave.”
He said, “For what?”
I said, “I want to see whether the man has taken that receipt, or if the receipt is still there. Only that will give you some sense.”
He said, “But it is against my religion.”
I said, “It may be against your religion, but I can dig.” I brought out that receipt and showed him, and I told him, “The receipt is here. The bank account has not been transferred.”
He said, “My God, but we have all been believing…. I am not alone; thousands of followers all do this when they die. Before death they give as much money as they can.”
So one thing: the priests are the most cunning people in the world. Man, as a child, is more helpless than any animal’s child. Just join these two things — man’s helplessness and the cunningness of the priests — and this is the whole story of all your religions.
And it is not just a question of what happened in the beginning. Every child is a beginning, and every child is born out of parents. Those parents are already under the control of some priesthood, of some religion, and they force the child also to be under the influence of the priest. The parents don’t have any bad intentions; they have been befooled. What has been done to them by their parents, they are doing the same to their children. Somewhere the circle has to be broken.
I want my peopleyou to jump out of this circle. Drop all fear. There is nothing to fear. There is no hell to be worried about and there is no paradise for which you have to be greedy.
This life, this sun, this ocean…
What more do you want?
Paradise is here. And if we drop the idea of paradise beyond death, we can make this paradise a thousandfold more beautiful.
Once the priest disappears, the most criminal part of humanity will have disappeared. Freedom from religions is the fundamental principle if you want to be religious. To be religious needs no fear, no greed; to be religious needs no churches, no synagogues, no temples. This whole existence is the temple.
All these trees — just look at the tree I am sitting under; it is a tremendously unique tree. For thousands of years its fruits have been used for weighing gold, because it is the only tree in the whole of existence which produces fruits of exactly the same weight — I think in Greek they call it carob — and from carob trees has come the word `carat’. Gold is still weighed in carats; carob is the name of the fruit of this tree. The miracle is that thousands of fruits would come, but of exactly the same weight, so the most precious metal, gold, could be weighed using those fruits.
Existence is so beautiful, so unique, with all these birds chirping and singing, that you need not be bothered about any paradise or any hell.
Man has to be free of his childhood fears, his childhood greed for rewards; then religions will disappear, priests will be gone, and there will be an immense freedom to grow your individuality and your world.
I know that within you there is something which will go on living beyond death. But it is not a concern for the moment. If you know how to live this moment, if you know how to live life, you will know how to live death and how to pass through death without any scratch.
(Excerpted from: Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries, Chapter #28, Q-2)



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