Yes, self-consciousness is a disease, and self-awareness is health. So what is the difference, because the words seem to mean the same thing? The words may mean the same thing, but when I use them or Patanjali uses them, we don’t mean the same thing.

In self-consciousness the emphasis is on the self. In self-awareness the emphasis is on the awareness. You can use the same word, self-consciousness, for both. If the emphasis is on the self it is a disease. If the emphasis is on the consciousness it is health. Very subtle, but a very great difference.

Self-consciousness is disease because you are continuously conscious about the self – how people are feeling about me, how they are judging me, what is their opinion: whether they like me or not, whether they accept me or reject me, whether they love me or not. Always the “me,” the “I,” the ego remains the center. This is a disease. Ego is the greatest disease there is.

And if you change the focus, emphasis – from self the focus goes to consciousness: now you are not worried “whether people reject me or accept me.”

What their opinion is, that doesn’t matter. Now you want to be aware in every situation. Whether they reject or they accept, whether they love or hate, whether they call you a saint or a sinner, that doesn’t matter. What they say, what their opinion is, that is their business and their problem to decide for themselves. You are simply trying to be aware in every situation.

Somebody comes, bows down to you, he believes you are a saint: you don’t bother about what he says, what he believes. You simply remain alert, you remain aware, so that he cannot drag you into unawareness, that’s all. And somebody comes and insults you and throws an old shoe at you: you don’t bother about what he is doing. You simply try to be alert, so that you remain untouched – he cannot drag you.

In appreciation or condemnation, in failure or success, you remain the same.

Through your awareness you attain tranquility which cannot be disturbed in either way. You become free of people’s opinions.

That’s the difference between a religious person and a political person. A political person is self-conscious – emphasis on self, always worried about the opinion of the people. He depends on people’s opinions, their votes. Finally, they are the masters and deciders. A religious man is a master of his own self; nobody can decide for him. He does not depend on your votes or on your opinions. If you come to him, okay. If you don’t come to him, that too is okay. It creates no problem. He is himself.

Now, I would like to say a very paradoxical thing to you – paradoxical it appears, it is a simple truth: People who are self-conscious – emphasis on the self – have no self. That’s why they are so self-conscious: afraid – anybody can take their self away. They don’t have their own self. They are not masters. Their self is borrowed, borrowed from you. Somebody smiles: their self is given support.

Somebody insults: a prop has been taken away; their structure shakes. Somebody is angry: they are afraid. If everybody gets angry, where will they be, who will they be? Their identity is broken. If everybody smiles and says, “You are great,” they are great.

People who are self-conscious, the political people…. And when I say political persons I don’t mean only those who are really in politics: all those who in any way are dependent on others are political. They don’t have any self; inside is empty. They are always afraid of their emptiness. Anybody can throw them to their emptiness – anybody! Even a barking dog can throw them to their emptiness.

A man who is religious, self-conscious – emphasis on consciousness – has a self, an authentic self. You cannot take that self away from him. You cannot give it to him; you cannot take it from him. He has attained it. If the whole world goes against him, his self will be with him. If the whole world follows him, his self will not be in any way added to, increased, no. He has really some authentic reality – a center exists in him.

The political man has no center. He tries to create a false center. He borrows something from you, something from somebody else, something from somebody else…. That’s how he manages. A false identity, a composition from many people’s opinions: that is his identity. If people forget about him he will be lost, he will be nowhere; in fact, he will be nobody.

Do you see? A person is a president: suddenly he becomes somebody. Then he is no longer a president: then he is nobody. Then all the newspapers forget about him. They will remember only when he will die – that too in a small corner. They will remember him as an ex-president, not as a person – as an ex-post-holder.

Have you not seen this happen with Radhakrishnan? Can’t you see this happening with V.V. Giri? Where is Giri? What happened? Simply a man disappears. When you are on the post, you are on all the front pages of the newspapers. You are not important – the post.

Hence, all those who are poor deep inside are always in search of a post, in search of people’s votes, opinions. That is the way they attain to a soul – a false soul, of course.

Psychologists have reached, to a very deep core of the problem. They say people who try to become superior are suffering from an inferiority complex, and people who are really superior – they don’t bother a bit. They are so superior that they are not even aware that they are superior. Only an inferior person can be aware that he is superior – and he is very touchy about it. If you give him even a hint that “you are not so great as you think,” he will be angry. Only a superior man can stand at the back as the last man. All inferiors are rushing towards the front, because if they stand at the back they are nobodies. They have to stand in the front. They have to be in the capital. They have to be with great money. They have to move in a big car. They have to be this and that. People who are inferior always try to prove their superiority by their possessions.

Let me summarize it: people who don’t have a being try to gain a being through having things – posts, names, fame.

Even sometimes it happens: one man in America killed seven people. All those seven persons were unknown to him. He was asked in the court, “Why?” He said, “I could not become famous, so I thought at least I could become notorious, but I must be somebody. And I am happy that my photo is on the front pages as a murderer. Now you can do whatsoever you want to do. I have a feeling, now, that I am somebody. And the court is worried, the government is worried, and the people are worried, and the newspapers talking about me – I can visualize in every hotel, restaurant, everywhere, people will be talking about me. At least for one day I have become famous, known.”

All politicians are murderers. You can’t see because you are also a politician deep inside. Just now, Mujibur Rahman has been killed. Just a few days before, he was the father of the nation. And to become the father of the nation he committed so much nuisance. He killed many – or, he created the situation in which many were killed. Now he is killed by his own colleagues. His whole cabinet is again in power, and the people who had designed to kill him – now they have become the president and the prime minister and minister. And they were all his colleagues, and nobody is saying anything against them. Nobody is saying anything against them. The world seems to be simply unbelievable. Now they are great people. And somebody in their own cabinet may be trying to kill Mushtaque Ahmed.

All politicians are murderers, because they are not worried about you. They are worried about their feelings: they should be somebody. If murder can give them that feeling, then okay. If violence can give them that feeling, then it is okay.

Osho was reading a book. He couldn’t believe it, but it is a fact. He was reading a book about Lenin. Somebody invited him to listen to Beethoven’s symphonies.

He said no, and he said no very emphatically. In fact he became almost aggressive in saying no. The man who had invited him couldn’t believe why he was so angry. He said, “But why? Beethoven’s symphonies are one of the greatest creations in the world.” Lenin said, “Maybe, but all good music is against revolution because it gives you such deep contentment, it pacifies you. I am against all music.”

If great music spreads in the world, revolutions will disappear. The logic is relevant. Lenin is saying something true about all politicians. They will not like great music in the world, they will not like great poetry in the world, they will not like great meditators in the world, they will not like people in ecstasy, euphoria, no – because then what will happen to revolutions? What will happen to wars? What will happen to all sorts of foolishness that go on in the world?

People need to always remain in fever; only then they help politicians. If people are satisfied, content, happy, who bothers about capitals? People will forget all about them. They will dance and they will listen to music and they will meditate.

Why should they bother about President Ford and this and that? There is nothing to it. But people, when they are not satisfied, not relaxed, people who don’t have themselves: they go on supporting other selfs because that is the only way they can get others’ support for their own selves.

Remember this: self-consciousness – emphasis on self – is deep disease, disease in depth. One should get rid of it. Self-consciousness – emphasis on consciousness – is one of the most holy things in the world, because it belongs to healthy people, those who have attained to their center. They are conscious, aware. They are not empty; they are fulfilled.


Osho replied – I am giving it to you, but you don’t listen. It is not a question that I am not giving it to you. I am giving you absolute poison. It will kill you instantaneously, but you don’t listen to me.

You go on thinking that something is wrong, you go on thinking that you are wrong, and sometimes, you even desire, “How to destroy this state of affairs? How to go beyond it?” but you have invested in it too much. You think, “How to go beyond it?” but you don’t want to go beyond.

Poison I can give you. The whole of what I am giving you is nothing but an art of dying. But I cannot force the poison on you; otherwise the court will see to it – I will be in trouble. I can simply offer you; then you have to take it. And there you miss.

You want it to be forced on you. You want it to be spoon-fed. And this death cannot be forced by anybody else. The death I am talking about has to be a voluntary death. It has to be a willing death. It has to be with your total heart. I cannot force on you. If you are ready it will happen; if you are not ready it will not happen.

On my part I am always ready. If you are ready to die I am ready to help you.

But you are not ready to die. Deep down you go on thinking that even after death you will survive.

You meditate, but you meditate in such a way, so that you call survive, it also: you use it as a technique. Your basic reality is not touched; you are always careful about it. But if you do it as a death – meditation as death – then you cannot survive it. Somebody else will come out of it, not you. You will be gone. A new being will come out of you – fresh, young, virgin. You will not even be able to recognize it. There will be a discontinuity: you dropped completely, something new popped up – and they both are not related to each other.

This is very difficult to understand. That new being is hidden behind you, but the shell that is covering you is too hard. You are like a seed: deep inside all is hidden, the whole tree – the flowers and fruits and all – but the shell is very hard. The shell is not ready to die. If the shell dies the tree will be born. And the tree is something absolutely different from the shell; it has nothing to do with it.

The shell is just a protection – but the protection has become the whole.

Your ego is just like a shell. If the ego dies you will grow – you will become a god! With the ego you will remain a sufferer. With no ego you will become absolutely blissful. But you don’t know about it; the shell has never heard about it. And you go on listening to me through the shell. That’s why you go on asking me, “Give us something to die,” but you don’t want it.

I am giving something to die, every moment. In fact I am not giving anything else: the whole science of religion is the science of death. It is to teach you how to die perfectly, so nothing is left. The whole shell disappears in the earth, dissolves, and the tree sprouts.

But, you think that somebody will do it for you? That is not possible. You have to commit suicide; you cannot be murdered. Remember that. The word “suicide” is very beautiful. I’m not talking about committing a suicide in the body; I am talking about committing a suicide in the mind, in the ego. Become a no-mind, a no-ego, and the whole existence becomes possible. You are carrying it for millions of lives. It is just there within you. It is already there, just the right soil and the shell disappearing… and the tree will be there in all its glory and beauty.


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