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Begging for Our Daily Bread
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OSHO : The Goose Is Out, Chapter 7

OSHO,
I have heard you say not to ask for anything in our prayers. Then why does Jesus say to us, "When you pray, say: Give us our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"? And also Jesus himself asked, "My father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by, yet not as I will, but as thou wilt."
Please explain.

Religion has a long history. Much of it is only a hangover from the past. The real religion, the essential religion is possible only now, because man has come of age. The past of humanity was very childish--not child-like, remember, but childish. And it was bound to be so; it was inevitable, unavoidable. So I am not complaining about it, I am simply stating the fact that whenever you think of religion, never think in terms of the past, otherwise you will have a totally wrong orientation. Think more in terms of the present.

When you think of the Theory of Relativity, you don't bring Newton in. You know he did contribute something to scientific growth, but his days are over. We are grateful for whatsoever he did, whatsoever he could do, but with Albert Einstein, Newton was finished. He will remain only a footnote in the history of scientific growth.

The same is true about religion, about every human endeavor. When you are going to the moon in a spaceship, the man who invented the bullock cart has certainly contributed immensely. Without the bullock cart there would have been no possibility of the spaceship, but you don't go on worshipping the man who invented the bullock cart. You don't even remember his name. And while you are involved with a spaceship, it is better to forget all about bullock carts. They are not going to help; their mechanism is out of date.

But about religion we are not so rational; about religion we are very emotional. About religion we are not so scientific. About religion we are very illogical, superstitious.

Religion has passed through two phases.

The first phase was that of prayer; that is the bullock cart era of religion. The second phase is meditation, that is the spaceship age of religion. They are totally different dimensions. Their sources are different, their workings are different, their whole milieu is different. And one should not get confused between the two.

There is much confusion around the world, so let me explain to you. And be very patient because we are all conditioned by the religions of prayer. Their weight is heavy; every human being is crushed under a mountainous weight. And the work for a master has become more and more difficult, because it is not only a question of helping you to be meditative: before that can start much has to be negated in you, much rubbish has to be shoveled out, much dirt has to be cleaned off. The whole past has to be dismantled, only then will you be able to open your wings to the essential, mature, adult dimension of religion.

Prayer means fear, hence all the old religions are fear-oriented.

Their God is nothing but a creation of their fear; it is not a discovery, it is imagination, it is projection. They are full of fear; they need a father figure to protect them from all kinds of fear. And there are thousands of fears in life: there are anxieties, anguishes, problems to be encountered, insoluble puzzles, unbridgeable gaps, and man is surrounded by great darkness. He needs a protective hand. He wants somebody as a security, as a safety.

Each child is brought up by parents. His first experience with the parents becomes very decisive, because he is protected, comforted, consoled. All his needs are fulfilled, he does not have to worry, he has no responsibilities, he is taken care of. He can rely on the parents. But this is not going to be so forever: sooner or later he will have to stand on his own feet.

The moment he stands on his own feet a great trembling arises in him: now who is going to save him? Now who is going to console him? And the problems go on becoming bigger and bigger every day. As life progresses it starts coming closer to death, which is the ultimate problem to be solved. And there is great anxiety about death.

Each child starts falling back, each child starts going back to the childhood state because that seems to be the only part of his life where there was not a single problem at all. This is regression.

This regression has been thought of as prayer; it is not prayer. Then he falls on his knees and starts praying to a god....

It is not accidental that all the religions call God "the Father." Yes, there are a few other religions which call God "the Mother"--which is the same. In matriarchal societies God is the Mother, in patriarchal societies God is the Father. One thing is certain: that God has to be the ultimate parent.

And then every community, society, civilization, invents its own God; they say, "God created man in his own image." That is absolutely wrong--man has created God in his own image. And because there are so many kinds of people in the world, there are so many images of God.

But that image is your fabrication; you are praying before your own invention. Prayer is really one of the most absurd things possible. It is as if you are praying before a mirror, seeing your own face, kneeling down before your own image, asking for favors, and there is nobody in the mirror except your reflection. All prayers...prayer as such is juvenile, it is regressive.

It will hurt you but I cannot help it: I have to say the truth as it is.

You ask me:

I have heard You say not to ask for anything in our prayers.

In fact, the moment you stop asking, you will stop praying. That is a simple methodology--I sometimes have to go a little roundabout, just so as not to hurt you too much.

I don't see that there is any God who created the world. I certainly experience a quality of godliness in existence, but it is a quality, not a person. It is more like love, more like silence, more like joy--less like a person. You are never going to meet God and say hello to him, how are you? and I have been looking for you for thousands of years; where have you been hiding?

God is not a person but only a presence.

And when I say "presence," be very attentive, because you can go on listening according to your own conditioning. You can even make "presence" something objective--you have again fallen into the same trap. God is a presence at the innermost core of your being: it is your own presence. It is not a meeting with somebody else.

Martin Buber, one of the great Jewish thinkers of this age, has written that prayer is a dialogue between "I" and "thou." There is no "thou," hence the dialogue is impossible. All prayers are monologues. And because there is no "thou" there is no "I" either; they can exist only together, they cannot exist in separation. How can you imagine the existence of "I" without "thous"? "Thous" are needed to demark the line of the "I."

But Martin Buber in a sense is right--he is defining the whole past of religion. He himself is burdened with the past; he could never get out of his Jewish skin. He remained encaged, he remained a Jew--a nice, beautiful person, of great intellectual capacities, but still in bondage.

The Jewish idea of "I" and "thou" is the basic pattern for prayer. Without "I" you cannot pray because there is nobody to pray. Without "thou" you cannot pray, because whom to pray to? And if you are not asking for anything, then for what are you praying? Prayer means asking: it is a demand, howsoever camouflaged, howsoever subtly hidden behind beautiful garbs and masks. It is asking; you are demanding, you are saying, "Give me this! Give me that!"

So when I say there is no God, remember this: I really mean that existence is enough unto itself. It needs no creator. There is creativity but no creator. The division between creator and creativity has to be dissolved; only then will you be able to rise to the peaks of meditation. Otherwise, you will remain confined to the childish patterns of the past: kneeling down before images in temples, in synagogues, in churches, and doing all kinds of foolish things. But those foolish things are being done by thousands of others, so you never become aware that they are foolish. When the crowd is with you, when the multitudes are with you, you feel on safe ground. You feel shaky only when you are alone.

Meditation is the experience of aloneness.

Only very courageous people can enter into that dimension. Prayer is a crowd phenomenon, it is part of the collective mind. And when you are in a crowd, certainly a great confidence arises in you. It is infectious, because so many people cannot be wrong.

But I would like to tell you: it is always the case that the multitudes are bound to be wrong. Only rarely is there an individual who is right, because truth is such a pinnacle, such a peak, like Everest. You cannot go to Everest with a multitude; there is not space enough. Only one person can stand on the highest peak, alone.

Meditation is the experience of being totally alone, utterly alone. Prayer is a crowd phenomenon, it is a mob psychology. Hence Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Mohammedanism, all have remained religions of prayer. Even the two religions which tried to become religions of meditation fell back. Buddhism and Jainism, these two religions tried to be religions of meditation--but only Buddha and Mahavira, two individuals, could manage. The moment they died their religions started falling back to the old, regressive pattern; they both became religions of prayer.

Now Jainas are praying before Mahavira. That is even worse, because Christians can have some support from Jesus but Jainas have no support from Mahavira. Buddhists, millions of Buddhists, are praying before the statue of Buddha. That is ridiculous, unbelievable, because Buddha's last words were, "Be a light unto yourself." And it is a strange phenomenon that Buddha's statues were the first to be made in the world; his statues were the first to be installed in temples.

There are temples to Buddha with thousands of statues. One temple in China is called The Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas--ten thousand statues of Buddha in one temple! The whole mountain has been carved into a temple. If Buddha comes back he will start beating his head, he will commit suicide.

The first thing to be remembered, I believe in an orgasmic universe. There are no such divisions as the creator and the created, the higher and the lower, the sacred and the profane, this and that. I believe in one organism.

Existence has not to be thought of in terms of a painter and his painting, because the moment the painting is finished, the painter and the painting become two separate entities. Existence has to be thought of only in terms of a dancer and his dance. You cannot separate them; the dancer and the dance are one. And at the highest peak of dancing, the dancer disappears into the dance--there is no dancer but only dance.

That is the experience of meditation: when you dissolve yourself into existence, when the dewdrop slips into the ocean and becomes the ocean. And vice versa is also true: the ocean slips into the dewdrop and becomes the dewdrop. They cannot be conceived of as two entities anymore.

So when I say God is not a presence, I mean he's not anything outside you--neither a person nor a presence as conceived in the language of objectivity. When I say God is a presence, I simply mean he is the innermost core of your being--that silent core, that space where nobody else can enter you; that private, that absolutely intimate virgin space, your interiority, is God.

But the word "God" can create trouble for you.

Words are very troublesome because words carry the past; they are made by the past, they are overburdened by the past. Any word is dangerous, because its meaning comes from the past. And for me the problem is: to use the words which come from the past--because there are no other words--but to give them such a twist and turn that they can give you a little insight into a new meaning. The words are old, the bottles are old, but the wine is new.

An old lady who was walking her dog decided to go into the local supermarket, which did not allow dogs. She tied the animal to a fire hydrant. No sooner was the dog tied than every loose dog in the neighborhood started sniffing this defenseless animal. The cop on the corner, observing what was happening, called to the old woman and told her that she could not leave her dog there alone.
She asked him why and he replied, "Lady, your dog is in heat."
She answered, "Eat, she'll eat anything."
He countered, "The dog should be bred."
The old lady replied, "She'll eat bread, cake--anything you give her she'll eat."
In complete frustration he said, "That dog should be laid!"
The old woman stared directly into his eyes and answered, "So lay her! I always wanted a police dog."

Words are dangerous...every possibility of being misunderstood.

You say,:

I have heard You say not to ask for anything in our prayers.

In fact, that is my way to prevent you from praying. If you have nothing to ask for, why should you pray? Then what is the rationale of it?

Even a man like Jesus is in many ways childish.

But it cannot be helped: he belonged to the bullock cart age of religion, he belonged to the Judaic tradition. He lived as a Jew, he talked as a Jew, he died as a Jew. His whole way of thinking, looking, observing, was purely Jewish.

He was not really in rebellion, he was not a rebel in the true sense of the word. On the contrary, he was trying to prove that he belonged to the tradition, he was trying to prove that he was the person that had been predicted by the old prophets, that he had come to fulfill all their prophecies. Now this is sheer nonsense! Nobody can predict for anybody else; the past is absolutely impotent to know anything of the future. The future is that which remains open. If it can be predicted it becomes closed, it is no longer the future; if you can predict the future it is already past. You have already canceled its opening, it has become closed.

He was trying to convince the Jews that "I am the messiah you have been waiting for." He was trying in every way to fulfill their expectations: doing all kinds of miracles, trying in every possible way to argue his case. This is not the way of a revolutionary. The revolutionary simply disconnects himself from the past; he has nothing to do with the past.

He was still trying to be a prophet in the Jewish sense. A prophet is a religious man with political tendencies. Religion and politics are unmixable. If you mix them you will create a hotch-potch. And that's what Jesus did: on the one hand he was trying to be religious, on the other hand he was trying to prove that he was a prophet like the old prophets. This political tendency with his religious leaning became a very confused phenomenon in him. He was utterly confused.

I don't see much clarity in him, he's not transparent, he's very clouded. You can see it in his own statement. He says, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by...." That is his innermost desire. Otherwise, why should he say, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by, yet not as I will, but as thou wilt"? This is a contradiction, a clear-cut contradiction. This is not said by a truly surrendered person. A truly surrendered person has nothing to say--whatsoever is happening is happening.

From where does this "if" come--"if it is possible"? This desire is there that "if you can manage, please...but if you cannot manage then it is okay; then whatsoever happens I will accept." But there is reluctance, there is contradiction. His own desire is that this cup should pass by--this agony, this crucifixion, this death, should pass by. He was really deep down waiting for a miracle, he was hoping for a miracle. He was not very different from the crowd that had gathered there to observe the crucifixion. He was not very different from the rabbis and the priests and the government who were all conspiring to kill him; their philosophical background was the same.

The rabbis and the high priest of the temple of Jerusalem were trying to prove that this man was a fake. And he was trying to prove that "No, I am the true messiah--and at the last moment you will see, when God himself descends to save his only begotten son." And time started passing: he is nailed, he is crucified, he is waiting for the miracle. Nothing is happening, all expectations are turning sour. In that moment of agony he screams, "Why have you forsaken me?"

But there is nobody to whom he is calling. There is nobody who has forsaken him. It is his own idea, it is his own projection, it is his own hallucination. This state is hysterical! But he is waiting up to the last moment. And when he says, "If it is not possible, then let thy will be done," that is surrender; but not true, with reluctance, just a face-saving device.

Nothing is happening, all is finished. The crowd is jeering and laughing at the whole scene, people are throwing stones, insulting him, hurting him, people are returning home very frustrated because nothing has happened, convinced that he was a fake. Even his own disciples have escaped, seeing that now it is dangerous to be there. If they are caught...if Jesus is not saved by God, who is going to save them? Poor fellows--they escaped. And it is logical.

Jesus saying, "Let thy will be done," is just making a last effort to save his face. This is not the way of a surrendered man. How can you surrender to your own projection?

Hence, I don't teach you prayer; prayer is bound to be diametrically opposite. Its expectation is basically contradictory: it requires you to surrender, only then can it be fulfilled. And when you surrender, then what is there left to be fulfilled? If there is some demand still to be fulfilled, you are not surrendered. Please see the contradiction.

Prayer is asking something impossible from you. You can ask God anything, but first you have to surrender totally. But if you are surrendered totally then there is no point in asking. From where will the asking come? Who will demand? And if you are still demanding, the surrender is missing, so the prayer cannot be fulfilled.

You see the simple mechanism of it? The prayer can be fulfilled only if you don't ask anything. But then what is there to be fulfilled? You had not asked anything in the first place.

I teach you a totally different kind of religiousness.

It is that of meditation. You are not to worship, you are not to pray; you have to go deep within your own self--a journey of self-discovery. It is not a question of discovering God. Why are you after God? What wrong has he done to you? Forgive him, forget him!

The first and the only worthwhile inquiry is to know: "Who am I within this body-mind mechanism? What is this consciousness, this miracle of consciousness?" This miracle of awareness has to be discovered. You have to peel your being as one peels an onion. Go on peeling...you will find layers within layers. And finally, when all the layers are discarded, eliminated, you will find in your hands pure nothingness, emptiness, shunyata. That is your essential core, the center of the cyclone.

Discarding the layers of the onion you have discarded the bottle that was created by you, by the society, by the culture, by the past, by the tradition, and when you have discarded the bottle, the goose is out. Then you are as infinite as the universe itself, as eternal as timelessness itself.

You can call it godliness--it is godliness. It is the highest, the greatest flowering of being. But it is not a God somewhere outside you. You cannot pray to it. You can be it, but you cannot pray to it, because it is not separate.

You ask me:

Then why does Jesus say to us, "When you pray, say...?

Jesus never said this to you. He was talking to other kinds of people. If Jesus comes to you, remember one thing: there will be no possibility of any communication between you and him. There will be a gap of two thousand years. And you know very well that even the small gap between you and your father is almost unbridgeable. Talk to your father and you are talking to a wall. Your father feels the same: talking to a child is impossible; there seems to be no communication.

Two thousand years is a big gap. If Jesus comes right now he will look like a pygmy to you. You will not be able to understand why this man has been worshipped for two thousand years...for what? You will not be able to appreciate him at all. You will find a thousand and one faults in him, very easily. Even the most stupid of you will be able to see: "Is this the man we have been worshipping in thousands of churches, millions of people praying to him? Is this the man?"

But two thousand years of continuous painting...and that is the work of the church, theologians, philosophers, priests--they go on making it up to date, as far as they can, they go on putting on new layers of paint. If you dig deep into these thick layers of paint you will be really at a loss. When you discover Jesus you will be very frustrated. You will find a very ordinary man. Yes, in those days he was extraordinary--it is a question of time. In those days he was extraordinary because the people were far more backward even than he was.

But now you are two thousand years ahead of him. The way he talks and the things he says are not addressed to you.

You say: "He says to us...." No, he has no idea of you. What I am saying I am saying to you, but what Jesus is saying he is saying to the people of his time. He is not contemporary to you, how can he say anything to you?

And this is one of the problems that I am encountering every day, because the people who come to me, either they are living with the hangover of Jesus or of Buddha or of Mahavira or of Krishna or of Zarathustra. They have their past hangovers, and I am a contemporary man! I am simply talking to the twentieth century, and not only to the twentieth century crowd but to the twentieth century elite--the people of the highest intelligence. Hence, it is difficult to understand what I am saying.

You live thousands of years back.

It is very rare to find a contemporary man. Somebody is one thousand years old, somebody two thousand, somebody three thousand.... And the older they are, the more valuable they think they are. Hindus try to prove that their Vedas are the oldest scriptures, as if this is something creditable. The oldest scriptures simply means that you have not moved since then, you are still carrying the burden. Historians say that the scriptures of the Hindus, the Vedas, are five thousand years old. But Hindus are not ready to accept it--they say they are at least ninety thousand years old. The older they are the better.

The same is true about other religions, as if all that is old is gold. In fact, life is always new, fresh, as fresh as dewdrops in the early morning sun on the lotus leaf, as fresh as the stars, as fresh as the eyes of a newly-born baby, as fresh as the song of the birds right now.

Life knows only one time, that is now.

Jesus was not talking to you, he could not--he had no idea about you, he could not conceive of you. But he was talking to his own people, and his people lived with these ideas. He was paraphrasing the Jewish concept of religion. He was saying:

Give us our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Now, to me all that is just sheer rubbish--Give us our daily bread.

In the past, humanity has been very poor. The whole past has been one of long starvation, hunger, illness, famine, floods--all kinds of diseases. It is a miracle how man has survived somehow.

In countries like India, that is still the case. Hence, you will see one thing happening: the intelligent core of Western youth is turning more and more towards meditation, but the Eastern masses are turning more and more towards things like Christianity. Indians would like more Mother Teresas in India than me. Naturally, because bread is needed. If you look around India you will find only the poor people being converted to Christianity; not a single rich man is converted to Christianity. Beggars, orphans, widows, aboriginals, who cannot manage even one meal every day, they are being converted to Christianity. It appeals to them because bread is their problem.

Jesus says, "Give us our daily bread." We have to create it; there is nobody to give it to us. That is the work of science; religion has nothing to do with it. We should start demarking lines: what can be done by science should be done by science, what can be done by technology should be done by technology. If your car has stopped and you have run out of gas, you don't just kneel down by your car and start praying, "Give us our daily gas." That will be as stupid as this prayer. You know you have to search for a gas pump! This is not the way--it is not going to happen.

But priests have been trying all along to make religion dominate your whole life--from bread to God.

They are very much afraid to divide; hence, they were against science, against technology.

Bertrand Russell is right when he says, "If the whole of humanity is well fed, well nourished, prayers like this--'Give us our daily bread'--will become absolutely futile." There will be no need at all! And with that your churches, your temples, your priests, will start losing their power. They have possessed humanity for the simple reason that they have not allowed science and technology to improve your lot.

In India, Mahatma Gandhi was against science, against very necessary science too. He was against the railway trains, the telegraph, the post office, electricity. He wanted this country to live at least as primitively as people used to live ten thousand years ago. The only thing that he accepted as the greatest scientific invention was the spinning wheel. And he was worshipped as a mahatma.

To me, he is committing a crime, a far bigger crime than Adolf Hitler's. But his crime is very subtle. You cannot detect it because he is talking religious garbage: "One should trust God--why should one trust science?"

My emphasis is: life is a multidimensional phenomenon, and we should be very clear cut about divisions. Music should be taken care of by musicians, not by mathematicians. Dancing should be taken care of by dancers, not by chemists. Poetry should be taken care of by poets, not by physiologists. Science has its own contribution--it is man's intelligence. There is no need for any prayer, we can provide this earth with a paradise, but we will not be able to unless we stop all kinds of nonsense that we are stuffed with.

But this has been a strategy of the priest. He can dominate you only if you are poor, he can dominate you only if you are starving--because when you are poor and starving and miserable, you are bound to fall at his feet because he is the mediator between God and you. You don't know any address for where God lives, what language he speaks. That is the expertise of the priest. He knows God speaks Sanskrit, and he does not allow you to learn Sanskrit either, because if you learn Sanskrit then he will not be needed. He knows God speaks Aramaic, Hebrew; he will not allow you to learn Aramaic and Hebrew. If you learn them then he will be exposed, because there is nothing in Aramaic or Hebrew or Sanskrit, nothing of any value.

But if you don't know those languages you remain ignorant and he goes on pretending to be the wise man. He can go on leading you--blind people are leading other blind people. And his power depends on you, and he has become very cunning. Centuries of exploitation have given him the whole craft, the art, the knack of exploiting you.

Sigmund Steinberg, the well-known importer of ladies' gloves, paid an unexpected call on the rabbi of his temple. That worthy was more than pleased to see his fabulously wealthy congregationer, who more than made up in contributions for what he lacked in attendance and religious zeal. This time, however, the trip to the temple was for a completely religious, if rather unusual, reason.
"Rabbi," Steinberg commenced after the usual amenities, "I am here to see you about someone most near and dear to me. Mine own, mine darling, mine three-times-a-champion, Westminster Abbey the Third, mine little poodle-lah is this coming Tisha B'Av thirteen years old, and I want, Rabbi, you should bar mitzvah him."
The rabbi was completely taken aback. "But my dear Mr. Steinberg, that is impossible. There has never been in the history of the Jewish religion such a thing. It would be a scandal. The temple would be a laughing-stock. My orders would be revoked. The sisterhood would be disbanded. The building campaign would be halted. The gentiles would be hysterical. And the board of directors would have my neck."
Steinberg was unmoved. Without so much as the bat of an eyelash, he addressed the rabbi again. "For the occasion, I am donating to the temple the amount, in cash, of five thousand dollars."
"Mr. Steinberg," the rabbi beamed, "why didn't you tell me in the first place that the dog is Jewish?"

These people have become really cunning. Their whole effort is how to remain in power, and the most necessary thing to remain in power, to remain rich, to remain in domination, is to keep humanity suffering. That is a simple strategy; anybody who has eyes can see it. Just think of a world where people are blissful, ecstatic, where people are living moment-to-moment with a dance and with a song.... How much of your old religion will remain? How many of your temples and churches and synagogues will be able to survive? They will start disappearing like smoke.

As your suffering disappears, your so-called religions will disappear. They are opium for the people; they have been keeping you in a subtle unconscious state. They are giving you great hopes. Those hopes are nothing but drugs, far more dangerous than any chemical drug can be. They have drugged the whole of humanity.

Jesus says, "Give us our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses." What trespasses? But the whole of religion has lived with the idea of sin.

And what was the sin of Adam and Eve?--that they disobeyed. Disobedience is not a sin, disobedience is part of growth. Each child has to disobey his parents, sooner or later--and the sooner the better, because life is short. You should not waste your time. One has to learn to say no definitively; only then does a point arise where one can say yes. Without being able to say no, nobody is capable of saying yes. Disobedience is the background in which real obedience blossoms.

And if anybody was responsible for the original sin then it was God, not the poor serpent--he is the greatest benefactor of humanity, the first true messiah, because he seduced Adam and Eve and told them to disobey. He was the first master. Without him there would have been no humanity, no Jesus, no Buddha, no Confucius, no Lao Tzu. The whole credit goes to the poor serpent. And the cause of the whole sin was God himself: he prohibited....

The Garden of Eden was a big garden. There were only two trees; he was afraid Adam and Eve may start eating their fruit. One was the tree of knowledge and the other was the tree of life. Now, why should God be afraid of them knowing and living?

You can see the whole strategy of the priest. He is afraid of two things: knowing and living. He prevents you from knowing so he remains the knower, and he prevents you from living so that you are always falling at his feet, begging: "Give us our daily bread." He does not allow you to live totally, intensely. He hinders you in every possible way; he cripples you, he paralyzes you. And the whole story begins in the Garden of Eden.

God seems to be the first priest. Why should he be afraid of them knowing? He should have blessed them really; he should have told Adam and Eve, "The first thing you have to do is go to these two trees; they are the most valuable. Know--know life in its totality, know its mysteries, explore. Go from the known to the unknown, from the unknown to the unknowable--go on a long pilgrimage. Nothing should be left unknown. You should become part of the whole mystery of the universe." That should have been his first advice if he had been really loving, compassionate.

And he should have told them, "Live--and live passionately, and live totally! Live intensely, live ecstatically! These are the two trees you should not miss."

If I had been in his place, this would have been my advice: "Live under these trees. You can enjoy other trees whenever you want--just for a change you can go anywhere, but these two trees should not be forgotten." Instead of telling them this, God says, "Don't eat from the tree of knowledge." Why? Is he afraid that if Adam and Eve become knowers then they will become equal to him? Is he afraid of Adam and Eve becoming buddhas, awakened?

Knowing comes through meditation, remember.

The tree of knowing is the tree of meditation, and God prohibits meditation. Knowing comes as you enter deeper into your being; when you have reached to the very core, knowing explodes. You become flooded with infinite light.

And the same is true about living: the more you know, the more you live; the more you live, the more you know. They go together, hand in hand, dancing. Knowing and living are two aspects of the same coin; both happen to the meditator. But a religion which is based on fear is afraid of both.

And this is my whole teaching here: know and live.

Live without fear, know without hesitation.

And the serpent seems to be absolutely right because he says to Adam and Eve, "God is afraid. If you eat from this tree you will become like gods--then there will be no superiority, you will be equal to God. And if you eat from the tree of life you will become immortals, just as the gods are immortals. And God is afraid. He wants to keep you in subjugation."

Now who has committed the sin? Who has trespassed--God, or Adam and Eve? But Jesus still thinks in terms of a rotten past. He is still thinking that man has trespassed.

I don't see...whatsoever you are doing is natural. What trespasses are you committing? The instincts that you are living are given by nature. Your sex is a gift from nature, your joy in nourishing food is part of your nature. You would like to live beautifully, you would love to live comfortably. You would like to have a beautiful garden around your house, you would like a warm swimming pool. You would like to love a man or a woman. I don't see there is any trespass. You are not committing any sin, you are simply following your nature, your spontaneous tendencies.

But the religions have condemned you, utterly condemned you. They have condemned everything that is natural, and through that condemnation they have created great guilt in you. Your whole heart is full of guilt. That guilt pulls you back; it does not allow you to live anything totally. It does not allow your dance to reach its peak, its crescendo. It does not allow you to sing and shout and rejoice. It represses you.

I cannot support any such kind of ideas.

Jesus says, "Lead us not into temptation." What temptation is he talking about? What temptations are there? Life is so simple! But you can label things as temptations, then they become temptations.

For example, I was born in a Jaina family, unfortunately, but nothing can be done about it. One has to choose one unfortunate state or another. Up to my eighteenth year I had not tasted the poor tomatoes, because Jainas are absolutely vegetarian, and the poor tomato has the color of meat--just the color! There is nothing in it, but the very color is enough for Jainas to feel repulsion. Tomatoes were not brought into my house; I had not tasted them.

When I was eighteen years old I went for a picnic with a few of my Hindu friends. I was the only Jaina and they were all Hindus. And up to that time I had not eaten in the night either, because Jainas don't eat in the night--that is a great sin because in the night a mosquito may fall in your food, some insect may crawl in, and unknowingly you may eat something alive. That will drag you to hell. So one has to eat in the day when the light is absolutely clear. One has not even to drink water in the night, because in the night--who knows?--without any conscious effort on your part, something may be killed.

So I had not eaten in the night and I had not tasted tomatoes up to my eighteenth year. They were great temptations. I had seen tomatoes in the market, and they were really tempting--sitting so meditatively, so centered, so grounded. Potatoes are also not allowed in Jaina families because they grow underneath the ground, and anything that grows in darkness is dangerous to eat because it will bring darkness to your soul.

When I went for this picnic to a hill station, all my friends were so much enjoying the mountains and the beauty and the castles that nobody was in a hurry to prepare food. And I have been a lazy man from the very beginning--I cannot cook food. I can cook many other things... but I cannot cook food, not even my tea. So I had to wait for whenever they decided.

I was feeling hungry--the journey, the traveling, and the mountains' fresh air. I was feeling hungry and the night was coming closer, and I was feeling afraid also: "What is going to happen? If they cook food in the night, then I will have to sleep without food." And my stomach was hurting.

Then they started cooking food. And great temptations: tomatoes, potatoes, and the beautiful smell of the food. I was wavering between temptation and virtue. One moment I would decide, "It is better to sleep one night without food--one cannot die--rather than suffer hell and hellfire just for a few tomatoes and a few potatoes."

But then the hunger was too much. And then the argument started coming to me: if all my friends are going to hell, what am I going to do in heaven? It is better to be with friends in hell than to be with those foolish Jaina saints in heaven. At least in hell you can cook tomatoes, potatoes, you can eat well, there is enough fire. Even I can cook there!

And they all tried to persuade me: "There is nobody else here, and we are not going to tell your family either. Nobody will ever come to know that you have eaten in the night, that you have eaten tomatoes or potatoes."

Reluctantly, hesitatingly, I agreed. But I could not sleep until I vomited in the middle of the night. Nobody else vomited--they were all fast asleep and snoring--only I vomited. It was my psychology, because I was suffering from the idea that I had committed a sin. It was not the tomatoes that I vomited, it was my attitude. And that day it became clear, absolutely clear, that you can live life totally only if you drop all attitudes. Otherwise you will live partially, and to live partially is not to live at all.

I cannot support this prayer.

Jesus says, "Lead us not into temptation." One thing is certain: that Jesus is feeling the temptation, otherwise why this prayer? He is feeling that God is leading him into temptation. And if God is leading, why not surrender? Then the real prayer would have been: "Lead us really into total temptation. When you are leading, why do it half-heartedly? When you have decided to lead, then lead us totally!"

He is tempted; his prayer is an absolute confirmation of his temptation. And it is natural--he was a human being just like you, as alive as you are. And he must have felt all natural likes, dislikes. He must have loved things, he must have preferred things. But he is afraid--the past is heavy on him.

"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." There is no evil, hence there is no need to be delivered from anything. There is only one thing and that is a state of unconsciousness, unknowing, unawareness. I will not call it evil--it is a situation, a challenge, an adventure. It is not evil. Existence is not evil, existence is an opportunity to grow. And, of course, the opportunity to grow is possible only if you are tempted in thousands of ways, if you are called forth by unknown aspirations, if a tremendous desire in you arises to explore.... And the only thing that can prevent you is unconsciousness, unawareness. That too is a great challenge--to conquer it.

Become more conscious, become more aware, become more alive.

Let all your juices flow. Don't hold yourself back. Respect your nature, love yourself and don't be worried about unnecessary things. Unworried, move into the thick of life, explore it. Yes, you will commit many mistakes--so what? One learns through committing mistakes. Yes, you will go into many errors--so what? It is only by going into errors that one comes to the right door. Before one knocks at the right door, one has to knock on thousands of wrong doors. That is part of the game, part of the play.

Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg had scrimped and saved to put their eldest son through college. At last, they had the money and decided to send him to a fine highbrow Eastern boarding school. They saw him off on the train, and tearfully bade him farewell.
A few months later he returned home for the Christmas holidays. The parents were overjoyed to have their son Sammy back with them. The mother greeted him with, "Samelah, oh, it's so good to see you."
"Mother," he replied, "stop calling me Samelah. After all, I'm a grown man now, and I do wish you would refer to me as Samuel."
She apologized and asked, "I hope you only ate kosher foods while you were away?"
"Mother," we are living in the modern age, and it's preposterous to hang on to old-world traditions. I indulged in all types of food, kosher and non-kosher, and believe me, you would be better off if you did."
"Well, tell me, did you at least go to the synagogue to offer a prayer of thanks occasionally?"
The son replied, "Really, do you honestly feel going to a synagogue, when you are associating with a large percentage of non-Jews, is the proper thing to do? Honestly, Mother, it is unfair to ask it of me, really."
At this point, Mrs. Goldberg, fighting back anger, looked at her eldest son and said, "Tell me, Samuel, are you still circumcised?"

The past goes on hanging around you. It is an imprisonment. If you are a Jew or a Christian or a Hindu or a Jaina or a Buddhist, you are not really a man. You are dead, you are a corpse--circumcised or not circumcised.

One becomes alive only when one is totally free from the past.

To be in the present is the only way to be alive.

These prayers are nothing but fear-oriented people's projections and desires. I teach you love not fear.

In all the languages of the world, the religious person is called God-fearing. That is an ugly expression; it should be dropped. It is impossible for a religious person to be God-fearing because he cannot have fear. A religious person simply lives lovingly, not out of fear. These are all prayers out of fear: "Give us our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

Drop all this. Be a little more alive, a little more contemporary.

Henry went on his first hunting trip. When he got back to his office, his partner Morris could not wait to hear all about the trip. Henry told him, "Well, I went into the woods with the guide. You know me, two minutes in the woods, I get lost. I am walking extra quiet, when all of a sudden the biggest bear you ever did see is standing right in front of me. I turn around and run just as fast as I can and that bear, he is running even faster.
"Just when I felt his hot breath on my neck, he slipped and fell. I jumped over a brook and kept running, but I was losing my breath and sure enough there was that bear getting close to me again. He was almost on top of me when he slipped again and fell. I kept on running and finally I found myself in the clearing of the woods. The bear was running as fast as he could and I knew I didn't stand a chance. I saw the other hunters and shouted for help and just then the bear slipped and fell again. My guide was able to take aim and he shot the bear and killed him."
Morris said, "Henry, that was quite a story. You are a very brave man. If that had happened to me, I would have made in my pants."
Henry looked at him and shrugged, "Morris, what do you think the bear was slipping on?"

Man has lived in fear; it is time to put a full stop to it. Humanity needs a new dawn, a totally new vision.

Jesus says God is love. I would like to change it. I would like to say love is God.

When you say God is love, love is only one of the qualities of God; he may have other qualities: wisdom, justice, etcetera. To me, love is God; godliness is only one of the qualities of love. There is no other god than the fragrance of love. But the fragrance can arise only in deep meditation, not in prayer. Prayer stinks of fear.

I know perfectly well that to say anything against Jesus or Buddha or Krishna hurts you, but I cannot help it. If it hurts, it hurts. And rather than feeling sour about what I say, ponder over it, meditate over it. Because I am not interested in arguing against anybody. I have tremendous love for Jesus, Buddha, Mahavira, Krishna. They were beautiful people, but their days are finished.

We need new insights, new pastures, new dimensions. And those new dimensions are bound to go against our old, rotten mind. So when it hurts, remember: it is not the truth that is hurting you--it is your own lie that you have been clinging to which hurts. Whenever you have to choose between truth and a lie, be courageous and choose the truth, because that is the only way to live, the only way to know, the only way to be.

Enough for today.

OSHO: The Goose Is Out, Chapter 7
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