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The Book of Understanding
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Creating Your Own Path to Freedom

In this essential work, Osho challenges us to examine and break free of the antiquated belief systems and prejudices that prevent us from realizing our full potential.

He offers the possibility of a new kind of human being, one in whom the material and spiritual, the earthly and the transcendent, each complement and enrich the other. Only this new kind of human being – one who is undivided and whole within – can respond creatively to the current religious, economic, cultural, and political divisions that plague the planet, and begin to create a truly whole and harmonious world.

Excerpt from The Book of Understanding

Excerpt 1
Learned and Natural: Reclaiming the self you were born with In the past, all over the world, people were pagans -- simple nature-worshippers. There was no concept of sin, there was no question of guilt. Life was accepted as it is.
There was no evaluation, no interpretation -- reason had not interfered yet. The moment reason starts interfering, condemnation comes in. The moment reason enters, division starts and man becomes split. Then you start condemning something in your being -- one part becomes higher, another part becomes lower, and you lose balance. But this had to happen; reason had to come in, this is part of growth.

As it happens to every child, it had to happen to the whole of humanity too. When the child is born he is a pagan. Each child is a born pagan, he is happy the way he is. He has no idea what is right and what is wrong; he has no ideals. He has no criteria, he has no judgment. Hungry, he asks for food. Sleepy, he falls asleep. That’s what Zen masters say is the utmost in religiousness -- when hungry eat, when feeling sleepy go to sleep. Let life flow; don’t interfere.

Each child is born as a pagan, but sooner or later he will lose that simplicity. That is part of life; it has to happen. It is part of our growth, maturity, destiny. The child has to lose it and find it again. When the child loses it he becomes ordinary, worldly. When he regains it he becomes religious. The innocence of childhood is cheap; it is a gift from existence. We have not earned it and we will have to lose it. Only by losing it will we become aware of what we have lost. Then we will start searching for it. And only when we search for it and earn it, achieve it, become it -- then we will know the tremendous preciousness of it.

Excerpt 2
Outer and Inner: In search of where the twain shall meet There have been many civilizations before ours that have reached high peaks, but destroyed themselves because they grew in a deep imbalance. They developed great technologies, but they forgot that even the greatest technological progress is not going to make people more blissful, more peaceful, more loving, more compassionate.

Our consciousness has not grown at the same pace as our scientific progress, and that has been the cause of many civilizations destroying themselves. We have created monsters as far as machines are concerned, and at the same time we have remained retarded, unconscious, almost asleep.

And it is very dangerous to give so much power to unconscious people. That’s what is happening now. Politicians are of the lowest kind as far as consciousness is concerned. They are clever, they are cunning. They are mean, too, and they make every effort for a single goal, which is to be more powerful. Their only desire is for more power -- not for more peace, not for more being, not for more truth, not for more love. What do you need more power for? -- to dominate others, to destroy others. All the power accumulates in the hands of unconscious people.

So on the one hand, politicians in all the civilizations that have developed and died -- it would be better to say committed suicide -- had all the power in their hands. On the other hand, the genius of human intelligence was searching for more and more technology, scientific improvements, and all they discovered finally had to go into the hands of the politicians. The destruction of our earth will not come from some other planet -- we are preparing our own graves. We may be aware, we may not be aware, but we are all gravediggers and we are digging our own graves.

Right now there are only a few nations in possession of nuclear weapons. Soon many more nations will also be nuclear powers. It is going to be beyond control, with so many nations having so much destructiveness that a single nation could destroy the whole earth. A single crazy person, a single politician, just to show his power, can destroy the whole of civilization and you will have to begin from ABC. And the destruction is not only of humanity. With humanity will die all the companions of humanity -- the animals, the trees, the birds, the flowers.

Everything could disappear, everything that is alive. The reason is an imbalance in our evolution. We go on developing scientific technology without bothering at all that our consciousness should also evolve in the same proportion. In fact, our consciousness should be a little ahead of our technological progress. If our consciousness were in the state of enlightenment....
In the hands of a Gautam Buddha nuclear power would no longer be dangerous. In the hands of a Gautam Buddha nuclear power would be turned towards some creative force -- because force is always neutral; either you can destroy with it or you can find ways to create something. But right now our powers are great and our humanity is very small. It is as if we have put bombs in the hands of children to play with. Human beings have gone through this struggle since the very beginning.
It is the imbalance between the inner and the outer. The outer is easier, and the outer is objective. For example, one man, Thomas Alva Edison, creates electricity and the whole of humanity uses it; there is no need for everyone to discover it again and again. Inner growth is a totally different phenomenon. A Gautam Buddha may become enlightened but that does not mean that everybody else becomes enlightened. Each individual has to find the truth by himself or herself. So whatever happens on the outside goes on accumulating, piling up; all the scientific progress goes on piling up because each scientist is standing on the shoulders of other scientists. But the evolution of consciousness does not follow the same law. Each individual has to discover it by himself; he cannot stand on the shoulders of somebody else. Anything objective can be shared, can be taught in the schools, colleges, universities. But the same is not true about subjectivity. I may know everything about the inner world; still I cannot hand that over to you. It is one of the fundamental laws of existence that the inner truth has to be discovered by each individual through his or her own efforts. It cannot be purchased in the marketplace nor can it be stolen. Nobody can give it to you as a gift. It is not a commodity, it is not material; it is an immaterial experience. One can give evidence for this immaterial experience by one’s individuality, by one’s presence, compassion, love, silence. But these are only indications that something has happened inside a person. That person can encourage you, can tell you that you are not going inside in vain: “You will find treasures, as I have found.” Each master is nothing but an argument, evidence, an eyewitness. But the experience remains individual. Science becomes social, technology becomes social; the subjective realm remains individual. That is the basic problem, how to create a balance.

Excerpt 3
Shepherd and Sheep: Cutting yourself loose from the puppeteer The very idea of God gives you a sense of relief – that you are not alone, that somebody is looking after affairs; that this cosmos is not just a chaos, it is really a cosmos; that there is a system behind it, there is logic behind it; that it is not an illogical jumble of things, that it is not anarchy. Somebody rules it; the sovereign king is there looking after each small detail – not even a leaf moves without his moving it.

Everything is planned. You are part of a great destiny. Maybe the meaning is not known to you, but the meaning is there because God is there. God brings a tremendous relief. One starts feeling that life is not accidental; there is a certain undercurrent of significance, meaning, destiny.

God brings a sense of destiny. There is no God – it simply shows that man knows not why he is here. It simply shows man is helpless. It simply shows that man has no meaning available to him. By creating the idea of God he can believe in meaning, and he can live this futile life with the idea that somebody is looking after it. Just imagine: you are on an airplane flight and somebody comes and says, “There is no pilot.” Suddenly there will be a panic. No pilot?! No pilot simply means you are doomed. Then somebody says, “The pilot must be there – invisible, we may not be able to see the pilot, but he is there; otherwise how is this beautiful mechanism functioning? Just think of it: Everything is going so beautifully – there must be a pilot!

Maybe we are not capable of seeing him, maybe we are not yet prayerful enough to see him, maybe our eyes are closed, but the pilot is there. Otherwise, how is it possible? This airplane has taken off, it is flying perfectly well; the engines are humming. Everything is proof that there is a pilot.” If somebody can convince you, you can relax again into your chair. You close your eyes, you start dreaming again – you can fall asleep. The pilot is there, you need not worry. The pilot exists not – it is a human creation. Man has created God in his own image. It is man’s invention. God is not a discovery, it is an invention. And God is not the truth – it is the greatest lie there is.



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