Why is it so difficult to forgive, to stop clinging to hurts long since past?
Anand Katyayani, the ego exists on misery – the more misery the more nourishment for it. In blissful moments the ego totally disappears, and vice versa: if the ego disappears, bliss starts showering on you. If you want the ego, you cannot forgive, you cannot forget – particularly the hurts, the wounds, the insults, the humiliations, the nightmares. Not only that you cannot forget, you will go on exaggerating them, you will emphasize them. You will tend to forget all that has been beautiful in your life, you will not remember joyous moments; they serve no purpose as far as the ego is concerned. Joy is like poison to the ego, and misery is like vitamins.
You will have to understand the whole mechanism of the ego. If you try to forgive, that is not real forgiveness. With effort, you will only repress. You can forgive only when you understand the stupidity of the whole game that goes on within your mind. The total absurdity of it all has to be seen through and through, otherwise you will repress from one side and it will start coming from another side. You will repress in one form; it will assert in another form – sometimes so subtle that it is almost impossible to recognize it, that it is the same old structure, so renovated, refurnished, redecorated, that it looks almost new.
The ego lives on the negative, because the ego is basically a negative phenomenon; it exists on saying no. No is the soul of the ego. And how can you say no to bliss? You can say no to misery, you can say no to the agony of life. How can you say no to the flowers and the stars and the sunsets and all that is beautiful, divine? And the whole existence is full of it – it is full of roses – but you go on picking the thorns; you have a great investment in those thorns. On the one hand you go on saying, “No, I don’t want this misery,” and on the other hand you go on clinging to it. And for centuries you have been told to forgive.
But the ego can live through forgiving, it can start having a new nourishment through the idea that, “I have forgiven. I have even forgiven my enemies. I am no ordinary person.” And, remember perfectly well, one of the fundamentals of life is that the ordinary person is one who thinks that he is not; the average person is one who thinks that he is not. The moment you accept your ordinariness, you become extraordinary. The moment you accept your ignorance, the first ray of light has entered in your being, the first flower has bloomed. The spring is not far away.
Jesus says: Forgive your enemies, love your enemies. And he is right, because if you can forgive your enemies you will be free of them, otherwise they will go on haunting you. Enmity is a kind of relationship; it goes deeper than your so-called love.
Savita has asked a question that, “Osho, why a harmonious love affair seems to be dull and dying?”
For the simple reason because it is harmonious; it loses all attraction for the ego; it seems as if it is not. If it is absolutely harmonious you will completely forget about it. Some conflict is needed, some struggle is needed, some violence is needed, some hatred is needed. Love – your so-called love – does not go very deep; it is only skin-deep, or maybe not even so deep. But your hate goes very deep; it goes as deep as your ego.
Jesus is right when he says, “Forgive,” but he has been misunderstood for centuries. Buddha says the same thing – all the awakened ones are bound to say the same thing. Their languages can differ, naturally – different ages, different times, different people – they have to speak different languages, but the essential core cannot be different. If you cannot forgive, that means you will live with your enemies, with your hurts, with your pains.
So on the one hand you want to forget and forgive, because the only way to forget is to forgive – if you do not forgive you cannot forget – but on the other hand there is a deeper involvement.
Unless you see that involvement, Jesus and Buddha is not going to help. Their beautiful statements will be remembered by you, but they will not become part of your lifestyle, they will not circulate in your blood, in your bones, in your marrow. They will not be part of your spiritual climate; they will remain alien, something imposed from the outside; beautiful, at least it appeals intellectually, but existentially you will go on living the same old way.
The first thing to remember is: ego is the most negative phenomenon in existence. It is like darkness.
Darkness has no positive existence; it is simply absence of light. Light has a positive existence; that’s why you cannot do anything directly with darkness. If your room is full of darkness, you cannot put the darkness out of the room, you cannot throw it out, you cannot destroy it by any means directly.
If you try to fight with it, you will be defeated. Darkness cannot be defeated by fighting. You may be a great wrestler but you will be surprised to know that you cannot defeat darkness. It is impossible, for the simple reason that darkness does not exist. If you want to do anything with darkness you will have to go via light. If you don’t want darkness, bring light in. If you want darkness, then put the light off. But do something with light; nothing can be done with darkness directly. The negative does not exist – so is the ego.
That’s why I don’t say to you: Forgive. I don’t say to you: Don’t hate; love. I don’t say to you that drop all your sins and become virtuous. Man has tried all that and it has failed completely. My work is totally different. I say: Bring light into your being. Don’t be bothered by all these fragments of darkness.
And at the very center of darkness is ego. Ego is the center of darkness. You bring light – the method is meditation – you become more aware, you become more alert. Otherwise you will go on repressing, and whatsoever is repressed has to be repressed again and again and again. And it is an exercise in futility, utter futility. It will start coming up from somewhere else. It will find some other, weaker point in you.
I come across every day so many questions which show how negativity asserts, in how many subtle ways. Just the other day I was joking that Mukta has asked me: Can she bring a 1939 model Rolls Royce for me? I said, “I am no more interested in anything old and rotten. You can call it a vintage car, you can call it antique, and you can call it beautiful names, but the truth is: for forty years so many rotten people have used it… I don’t want to use it anymore.”
Yatra immediately wrote a question to me: “Osho, don’t you have any taste? Old things also have their beauty.” Yatra may not be knowing, may not be aware that this is a form of negativity. I was simply joking, otherwise why I should be speaking on Ko Hsuan? Twenty-five centuries old… But immediately… A chance cannot be missed. If you can say something against me, you will not miss the chance.
Just today I have received another question from Atta, that “You use so many times the word ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘my’, ‘my sannyasins’. You seem to be the greatest ego around.”
I can stop using “I”, “me”, “my”, “my sannyasins” – that won’t help. These are just words, and perfectly utilitarian. I also use the word “darkness”, although it does not exist. It has never existed, it cannot exist. Just by using the word “darkness”, darkness does not start existing. But Atta must be waiting for some opportunity to say something aggressive to me, to be in some way violent to me.
This is natural, because sannyas means surrender, and when you surrender then more often than not you are repressing your ego. It will find its way from somewhere to assert.
It is not just a coincidence that Buddha’s own brother, Devadatta, tried many times to kill him. His own cousin-brother… Why? Why he was so antagonistic to him? And he was also his disciple. But they were contemporaries, of the same age. They were brought up in the same palace, educated by the same teachers in the same academy, played together. And then Buddha became enlightened, and there was deep jealousy in Devadatta. First he tried on his own to become enlightened; he could not. So, unwillingly, reluctantly, he surrendered to Buddha. He must have said with deep resistance, “Buddham Sharanam Gachchhami; I take shelter into the Buddha, into your feet.”
But deep down somewhere he must be thinking that, “We belong to the same royal family, the same blood, the same education. We have played together. So why I should surrender to this man?” And then, once he started going a little into meditation, just a little, few experiences of meditation, and he started gathering a following around himself He started to spread the rumor that he has also become enlightened.
Buddha called him, that “You WILL become enlightened; there is no problem about it. But right now you are just on the way. Don’t miss this opportunity.” This offended him very much. Immediately all repressed resistance asserted – he revolted. He took away few people those who had become his friends and followers, away from Buddha. And their whole effort was: How to kill this man? Judas was the cause of Jesus’ death, and Judas was the most intellectual disciple of Jesus.
Remember it. Never forget it, that he was the most sophisticated disciple of Jesus. All others were very unsophisticated, simple people, almost primitive people: villagers, fishermen, carpenters, potters, weavers; except Judas nobody was educated. Judas was really far more educated than Jesus himself, far more informed. And he was waiting that sooner or later, he will be the head. Once Jesus is removed from the scene, he will be the head of the whole commune. And there seemed to be no possibility of Jesus ever dying before him. Finally he decided that it is time that this man should be removed forcibly.
Judas was the culprit, the real murderer. He sold Jesus only in thirty silver coins. He was thinking that this is the only way to remove Jesus from the scene, then he can take over the leadership of the group, of the commune. There must have been deep down a hurt ego.
It has always happened that way. Mahavira’s own disciple, Makkhali Ghosal, revolted against him and he started spreading the rumor that “Mahavira is not the true enlightened person, I am the true enlightened person.” When Mahavira heard it he laughed. When Mahavira came to the place where Ghosal was staying, he went to see him and he said, “Makkhali Ghosal, have you gone mad? What are you doing?”
And the man must have been immensely cunning. He said, “I am not your disciple, remember; the man who used to be your disciple is dead. The body is of Makkhali Ghosal, but a great spirit has entered into the body. The spirit of Makkhali Ghosal has left. I am a totally different person, can’t you see?”
Mahavira laughed and he said, “I can see perfectly well. You are the same stupid fellow, and you are still doing stupid things. Don’t waste time! Put your energies in becoming enlightened yourself. Why be worried about me – whether I am truly enlightened or not. If you are not my disciple, Makkhali Ghosal, if you are a totally different spirit who has entered, I accept. If you say, I accept it. But then why you are concerned with me? Twenty-four hours you are speaking against me. That simply shows that you are still carrying some grudge against me.”
It is very essential to understand because you are all disciples here, and you all will be carrying some grudge or other against me, for the simple reason because I am trying to destroy your ego. That I have to do; that’s the function of the Master, to destroy your ego. And you can become very revengeful, and you can carry deep wounds through it.
Katyayani, you ask me: Why is it so difficult to forgive, to stop clinging to hurts long since past?
For the simple reason that they are all that you have got. And you go on playing with your old wounds so that they keep fresh in your memory. You never allow them to heal.
A man was sitting in a compartment in a train. Across from him was sitting a Catholic priest who had a picnic basket beside him. The man had nothing else to do so he just watched the priest.
After a while the priest opened the picnic basket and took out a small cloth which he placed carefully on his knees. Then he took out a glass bowl and placed it on the cloth. Then he took out a knife and an apple, peeled the apple, cut it up, put the pieces of apple in the bowl. Then he picked up the bowl, leaned over and tipped the apple out of the window.
Then he took out a banana, peeled it, cut it up, put it in the bowl, and tipped it out of the window. The same with a pear and a little tin of cherries and a pineapple, and a pot of cream – he tipped them all out of the window after carefully preparing them. Then he cleaned the bowl dusted off the cloth, and put them back in the picnic basket.
The man who had been watching the priest in amazement, finally asked, “Excuse me, Father, but what are you doing there?”
To which the priest replied coolly, “making fruit salad.”
“But you are tipping it all out of the window,” said the man.
“Yes,” said the priest. “I hate fruit salad.”
People go on carrying things that they hate. They live in their hatred. They go on fingering their wounds so they don’t heal; they don’t ALLOW them to heal – their whole life depends on their past. Unless you start living in the present, you will not be able, Katyayani, to forget and forgive the past. I don’t say to you: Forget and forgive all that has happened in the past; that is not my approach. I say: Live in the present that is the positive way to approach existence. Live in the present. That is another way of saying: Be more meditative, more aware, more alert, because when you are alert, aware, you are in the present.
Awareness cannot be in the past and cannot be in the future. Awareness knows only the present.
Awareness knows no past, no future; it has only one tense, the present. Be aware, and as you will start enjoying the present more and more, as you will feel the bliss of being in the present, you will stop doing this stupid thing that everybody goes on doing. You will stop going into the past. You will not have to forget and forgive, it will simply disappear on its own accord. You will be surprised – where it has gone? And once the past is no more there, future also disappears because future is only a projection of the past. To be free from past and future is to taste freedom for the first time, is to taste God. And in that experience one becomes whole, healthy; all wounds are healed. Suddenly there are no more any wounds; you start feeling a deep well-being arising in you. That well-being is the beginning of transformation.
From Tao: The Golden Gate, V.1, Chapter Two
Copyright© OSHO International Foundation