Oshos interaction with Christians
In Jabalpur, where I lived for twenty years, there is a big theological college where they train Christian missionaries for Asian countries; it is the biggest in Asia. I used to go there. I had a few friends there, but the principal informed those friends that I should not be entertained inside the campus "because you are making that man known to the students and to other professors. Now small meetings have started happening in your houses and he will corrupt you."
My friend told me, "This is what the principal has said, and he wants you not to be entertained anymore in the campus. And we are poor professors, we cannot antagonize him."
I said, "You don't be worried. I will go and see him myself." I went to Principal Mackwan, who was the chief of Leonard Theological College, and I told him, "You prepare missionaries for the whole of Asiaand you are afraid of me, a single person, coming into the campus of all those missionaries who are going to convert Asians to Christianity! You don't trust your professors, you don't trust your Christianity, you don't trust your missionaries. You don't trust your students who are going to be missionaries. Your whole campusthere are ten thousand people on the campusI can corrupt them, and those ten thousand people cannot corrupt me? And you are included in those ten thousand people.
"I am here and I am going to come every daynot in the campus anymore, to your office, just to be corrupted by you."
He looked shocked. He said, "To be corrupted by me?"
I said, "Yes, you corrupt me, or I will corrupt you. It is an open challenge. You are the head of this institute. Ten thousand people follow you, they think you are some great sage. Corrupt me, make me a Christian; I am ready to be converted. But if you fail, then be ready to be converted to my way, which has no name."
He said, "I don't want to create any conflict, any controversy."
I said, "There is no controversy, no conflict. I will simply sit here silently; you corrupt me. Or, you sit silently, I will corrupt you. Nobody will ever even hear what is going on."
He said, "Let me think about it."
The next day I was there again. I said, "Principal Mackwan, have you thought about it? Have you asked your wife?"
He said, "What do you mean?"
I said, "That's what thinking means. When a husband says, `I will think about it,' it means he will consult his wife."
He said, "You are something because actuallythat's what I did."
And I said, "That shows that you are not even man enoughhow can you be a Christian?" Just behind him was Jesus, a wooden sculpture on a cross. I said, "Give that cross and Jesus to me because it does not belong in your office. You are not man enough; you asked your wife. Do you think Jesus asked anybody, `What do you thinkis it okay to be crucified, or escape?'"
That man became a friendand of course became corrupted slowly slowly. His house became my meeting place. He said, "You are irresistible. You say things which are certainly against our scriptures, our tradition, but not against our reason."
And when I left Jabalpur, among the people who had come to give me a send-off was this old Principal Mackwan, with tears in his eyes. He said, "I will miss you. You became a reality in my life, far more real than Jesus Christ has ever been. Jesus Christ has been just a belief. I am not courageous enough to drop that, but you know it has dropped. I cannot say to the world, `I am no longer a Christian,' but I have come to say it to you because perhaps we may not meet again. I am old, and I know youonce you leave a place you never look back."
And I have never gone back to Jabalpur. Perhaps he is dead now. But on the station he confessed to me that he is no longer a Christian; he has started enquiring, although it is too late. But he is happy; even though it is late, and the evening of his life has come, "Perhaps there is not time enough to enquire, but I am immensely satisfied only with this, that at least I am not dying with false beliefs, insincere, inauthentic, not my own. I don't have any truth yet, but at least I can die with this contentment, that I have started the journey. And if there is a beginning perhaps one day there will be an end to it too."
Every being is in search of truth, but small fears go on preventing you. dark15
If a sudra becomes a follower of Buddha, immediately he is no longer untouchable. If a sudra becomes a Christian he is no longer untouchable. This is a very strange world.
I had a friend who was the principal of a theological college in Jabalpur, Principal Mackwan. I was saying to him, "Why are you Christians interested only in the poor?"
He said, "Please come to my house." I was sitting in his office. He said, "My house is just behind the college; come to my house; I want to show you something."
He showed me an old man and woman's picture. They were certainly beggars, in rags, dirty; you could even see it in their facesso hungry. You could see that all their lives they had suffered; it was written in the lines on their forehead. He said, "Can you recognize who these are?"
I said, "How can I recognize them?I have never seen these people, but they look like beggars."
He said, "They were beggars. He is my father, she is my mother. And not only were they beggars, they were sudras, untouchables. They became converted, in their old age, to Christianity because they were so old, tired of begging; and now they were concerned about their childrenparticularly this boy who is now principal of Leonard Theological College. What would happen to him if they died? He would also become a beggar."
Because they were sick they entered a Christian hospital, because no other hospital will take poor people and give them free medicine, food, care, doctors. So they entered, they had to enter, a Christian hospital. And there the whole methodology is: with the medicine to go on giving as much of The Bible as possible; with each injection a little Bible. With food, the doctor talks about it, the nurse talks about it; the priest comes every day to inquire about their health, how they are.
For the first time they felt that they were human beings. Nobody had ever asked them about their health. They were treated like dogs, not like human beings. And had they remained Hindus they would have died like dogs, dying on the street corner. You don't know, because that is not the way in the West
Professor Mackwan told me, "This is my father and mother. They would have died like dogs and the municipal truck would have thrown them out of the city with all the garbage that it carries every day, because there is nobody to carry a beggar to the funeral pyre. Who bothers about a beggar? Beggars are not men, not human beings."
And then he took me to another picture of his daughter and his son-in-law. I was looking at three generations: the father and mother, almost below human beings; Mackwan, who has gained status and is now in a very respectable post, highly salaried. Now brahmins come and shake hands with him, not knowing at all that he is the son of two beggars who were sudras. I know his daughter, one of the most beautiful women I have seen; she is married to an American.
Looking at the three generations
such a change. You cannot connect the daughter with the grandmother and how can you connect the son-in-law with her grandfather? There seems to be no bridge. The son-in-law is a well-known scholar, professorsix months teaching in India, six months teaching in America. Saroj, the daughter herself is a professor. They are all well-educated; the son is a principal. They have moved in a completely different direction by being converted to Christianity. I could not object. I said, "Your father and mother did well." misery06
One day, as I was going along a road, a woman came and gave me a pamphlet in which was shown a picture of a beautiful building with a garden full of flowers and a stream. On it was written, "Are you in search of a nice bungalow?"
Out of curiosity I turned it over and found that the bungalow was not of this earth, it was some propaganda from the Christian missionaries. That beautiful bungalow with the garden and the stream is in heaven! It was written in that pamphlet that if you want such a building in heaven then nobody can take you there except Jesus.
Even if you desire for heaven it is you who will desire. It is the extension of your mindit will be in your language and in your colors. greatt10
Once I was taken to a Christian college, one of the biggest in India, where they create missionaries, ministers, priests, etcetera. I was a little puzzled: how can you create priests, ministers, missionaries in a college? That is impossible. The principal was very much interested in me; he invited me. He said, "Come and see!"
It was a six-year course, and I looked around the college, a big campusseven hundred people were getting ready to become priests, preachers, teachersI looked around, went into many classes, and what I saw was really hilarious. It was so ridiculous.
In one class the teacher was telling the students, "When you give this sermon, this is how you have to stand, and when you come to this point, this is how you have to raise your hand, these are the gestures you make, this is how you have to close you eyesas if you have gone into a deep deep meditation
." As if, don't forget the 'as if.' They were learning like actors
Taking leave of the principal I told him one story:
"I have heardit must have happened in some college like yoursthe teacher was telling the students, 'When you talk about paradise, heaven, smile a heavenly smile, your eyes full of joy and light, and look upwards towards heaven. And for a moment become silent and just let people see how joyous, full of light and joy you are.'
"A student raised his hand and he said, 'That's right, but when we are talking about hell, what to do?'
"The teacher said, 'Then just as you are will dojust stand as you are. You need not do anything else, just be yourself, that's all, and that will show them what hell is.'"
Teaching people to become masters is such an absurdity. Jesus did not learn in any college. It is fortunate that such colleges did not exist in those days; otherwise they might have destroyed Jesus. Buddha never went to any religious institution to learn. Religion has to be lived, because that is the only way to learn it. dh0505
One great Christian theologian used to come to India often. His name was Stanley Jones. Generally he was the guest of the principal of a Christian college. The principal was my friend; that's how I came to be acquainted with Stanley Jones. He had written many beautiful books, very beautiful. He was a man of tremendous scholarship.
He used to give sermons, and he would keep fifteen or twenty postcard-sized cards; on each card everything that he was going to say was written in shorthand, so nobody would even know what was written on them. And he always used to speak standing, so the people could not see those cards either. He would speak; when the card was finished he would change the card to number two, to number three.
One day, before he was going to speak, he had arranged his cards and had gone just to get ready in the bathroom. I mixed the numbersthe fifth was first, the first was fifth, the third was tenth, the tenth was the third. I just mixed them and put them back. He came out, took the cardsI also went with him.
He started speaking. Looking at the card he could not understand, "What is happening?"because the card said something which it was not supposed to say"Where is the introduction?" He was almost in a nervous breakdown. And in front of a crowd of almost two thousand people, he started looking for the card with the introduction. He could not find it so he tried to start on his own, but he had never started on his own in his whole life.
People were very much puzzled: they had never seen such a third-rate sermon from such a first-rate theologianand they had all heard him before. He was perspiring, and it was winter. Somehow he finished. Neither did he know what he was saying, nor did the people understand what he was doing, what was going on. It was all irrelevant, inconsistent, unrelated, upside down, the beginning coming in the end
. Finally the introduction came: "Brothers and sisters
He was very angry. Back in the principal's home he said, "I feel like killing you!"
I said, "You should feel like that. But I wanted to do it for a specific reason: do you think Jesus used to have these cards with him? You are more articulate than Jesus. Jesus was uneducated, he did not even know Hebrew. He only knew the local dialect, Aramaic, which only the laborers and poor people spoke. The learned and the cultured and the rich used to speak Hebrew; Aramaic was not for the cultured and the educated. Jesus had no way of carrying these cards because he could not write, but his words have a fire. And your words are the same, but there is no fire, there is no warmth. They are not coming from your heart, they are coming from a dead corpse. And you are functioning only like a computeryou are not a theologian, just a machine." upan27
But I know many Quakers. They sit in silence also in their congregations. I have been to their congregations, and I have asked them, "If you are really truthful, tell me: What were you doing in your silence?" And they have always said, "We were thinking, thinking of silence, trying to be silent, making efforts to be silent." Yes, it is true they are not speaking. If you mean just by not speaking you are silent, then you are just a fool.
Silence is such a deep experience, where thoughts, emotions, everything disappears. If you have attained to that silence you will not even call yourself a Quaker. You will not subscribe to any theology. You don't need one; you have found the very source of truth within yourself. false31
Once a Quaker Christian stayed with me
and Jainas think that they are the most vegetarian people in the whole world; they should forget all about it. I also used to think before that the Jainas are the most vegetarian people. I asked the Quakerhe was a Quaker missionarywhat he would like: milk, coffee, tea?
He said, "Milk? A man like you drinks milk?!" He looked so puzzled, I could not believe my eyes.
"What is wrong with milk?" I asked him, "What is the matter with you? Is there something wrong with milk?"
He said, "Of course! It is an animal product. We Quakers don't use any animal product. It is just like non-vegetarian food. Whether you drink blood or you drink milk, it is the same, both come from the body."
And there is some reason in it, some logic in it. Now, in India, all the vegetarians think that milk is the purest, the most sattvic food, the purest, the most spiritual food. There are people, saints, only famous for the simple reason that they drink only milk and nothing else; they don't eat anything. And they are worshipped for that reason, because their sacrifice is great. Now, according to the Quakers they are sinners and they will go to hell. special10
There was one church, specially for British people, which had been closed for many years, because when the British rule ended in India, all the foreigners moved out. The archbishop of Englandthousands of miles awaywas the owner of that church in Jabalpur.
I had a few Christian friends. I said to them "This beautiful church always remains closed." They said, "The congregation of that church is no more here, the nearest authority is in the capital, Nagpur. The bishop of Nagpur is the nearest authority who has the keys. But the real authority is with the archbishop of England."
I said, "You are just fools. Break the lockit is already falling apart since ten years. Clean the church. This is your church. Use it."
They became excited, the idea was good. The church was a beautiful building with a very big garden around it, but it had become a jungle, nobody was taking any care. They broke the lock. They asked me to inaugurate the opening. I said, "I am perfectly ready" and so I inaugurated their church.
It took a few days for the bishop of Nagpur to understand what was happening there. Then he inquired of the archbishop of England what to do, "because a few Christians have broken the lock, entered the property, and are worshipping every Sunday there." Of course the archbishop was angry and he told him, "Take legal action against them."
The legal action was taken against them. That's why I was also found guilty. I inaugurated it, I inspired those people to enter into the church, so I was the most responsible person. I said to the judge, "A church, a temple, a mosque, a synagogue belongs to those who worship there. It is no ordinary property. For ten years the church has remained without a single worshipper. The archbishop of England is guilty for that, the bishop of Nagpur is guilty for that. Who are they to lock a church and prevent worshippers?
"I am not a Christian, but I can see that a beautiful place which was meant for worshipping, for prayer, is lying empty. Jesus Christ is still hanging on the cross and nobody comes. He must be getting bored."
I said, "Yes, I inspired these people to make that church again alive. It is dying. And to make any church alive is not a crime. To keep it locked
locked against whom? In fact, churches and temples should not have doors, so that they are available twenty-four hours for anybody to meditate there. It is a place of silence."
My advocate was getting to the point of nervous breakdown when I said that the archbishop of England should be given an arrest warrant
and these people were going to continue worshipping in the church. The judge said, "Whatever you are saying is absolutely right, but it is not legal. The church is a property owned by the Church of England. Entering into somebody else's property, taking possession of it, using it, is trespass."
I said, "Then I am ready to be punished, to be jailed. But remember, you are doing something absolutely wrong. You are not making any difference between a place of worship and an ordinary house. A place of worship cannot be owned by anybody, cannot be possessed by anybody. It belongs to those who are ready to worship there. Tell the archbishops of Nagpur and England that either they should come here and bring their congregation, so the church becomes alive, or
why are they worried? They were happy for ten years. The church was gathering dust, it was going to become a ruin.
"And I am not a Christian at all. I have no concern with that church, just a human concern, a compassion. These people I know, and I told them, 'If you are ready to worship, the church is yours.' And I take the whole responsibility on myself, these people are not in any way responsible. They simply got inspired by me."
There was silence. The advocate sent by the bishop of Nagpur could not figure out what to say. The judge told me that it was legally wrong, but spiritually right: "I cannot give any punishment to you. But please don't do anything like that again."
I said, "That I cannot agree with. I will continue my whole life doing things like that, because I don't care about man-made laws. My concern is with the existential, with the spiritual, with the real. Man-made laws go on changing."
But those Christians who had agreed and opened the church became afraid. The bishop of Nagpur put another big lock. I lived in Jabalpur for twenty years, and by the time I left Jabalpur the church was in ruins, the roof had fallen. This is according to the law.
Why should I be afraid or guilty? And I am ready to accept any consequences of my actions. I have been moving for thirty years in the country facing hostile massessometimes fifty thousand people, all hostile. But I have never felt any guilt, because whatever I was doing, I was doing with my totality. And whatever I was doing, I was doing with full consciousness. And seeing me, listening to me, although they had come with aggressive prejudices, I could see slowly, slowly a calmness was descending on them. And by the end, when I left, many were in tears. last106
Every year, the Catholic pope declares a black list of books that Catholics are not supposed to read. Reading them means a certainty of your going to hell. I was talking to a bishop in Nagpur, because a few of my books had been listed by the Catholic pope as not to be read by any Catholics; whoever reads them is paving his path towards hell. And this is not new, this is an almost eighteen-hundred-year-old tradition in the Catholic Church.
Before this century, they used to burn and destroy any book they decided was dangerous for Catholics. Now they cannot do that, but at least they can prevent the Catholicswho are a great majority in the world, seven hundred million people.
I simply said to the bishop of Nagpur, "At least somebody must have been reading my books; otherwise how do they decide? Either the pope himself must be reading, or some associate cardinals in the Vatican must be readingwithout reading, you cannot decide that a book is dangerous to the Catholic belief."
He was in a dilemma: he could not say yes, he could not say no. Because if he says 'Yes, somebody reads it,' that means that person is bound to fall into hell. And if that person is not going to fall into hell, then the whole idea is ridiculous; then nobody is going to fall into hell. It is just to keep people's eyes closed: no facts should be allowed to be known to them that go against their belief. splend13