Audio for Art of Living part 15 (click to play or right click to download)

What are the qualities of a rebel?

The qualities of a rebel are multidimensional. The first thing: the rebel does not believe in anything except his own experience. His truth is his only truth; no prophet, no messiah, no savior, no holy scripture, no ancient tradition can give him his truth. They can talk about truth, they can make much ado about truth, but to know about truth is not to know truth. The word about means around – to know about truth means to go around and around it. But by going around and around you never reach to the center.

The rebel has no belief system – theist or atheist, Hindu or Christian; he is an inquirer, a seeker. But a very subtle thing has to be understood: that is, he is not an egoist. The egoist also does not want to belong to any church, to any ideology, to any belief system, but his reason for not belonging is totally different from the rebel. He does not want to belong because he thinks too much of himself. He is too much of an egoist; he can only stand alone.

The rebel is not an egoist, he is utterly innocent. His nonbelieving is not an arrogant attitude but a humble approach. He is simply saying, “Unless I find my own truth, all borrowed truths are only burdening me, they are not going to unburden me. I can become knowledgeable, but I will not be knowing anything with my own being. I will not be an eyewitness of any experience.”

He does not belong to any church, any organization, because he wants not to be an imitator. He wants to remain pure and unpolluted so that he can search without any prejudice, so that he can remain open without any preconceived idea. But his whole approach is that of a humble man.

A rebel respects his own independence and also respects the independence of everybody else. He respects his own divineness and he respects the divineness of the whole universe. The whole universe is his temple – that’s why he has left the small temples made by man. The whole universe is his holy scripture – that’s why he has left all holy scriptures written by man. But it is not out of arrogance, it is out of a humble search. The rebel is as innocent as a child.

His second dimension will be not to live in the past, which is no more, and not to live in the future, which is not yet, but to live in the present with as much alertness and consciousness as he can manage. In other words, to live consciously in the moment. Ordinarily we live like somnambulists, sleepwalkers. The rebel tries to live a life of awareness. Awareness is his religion, awareness is his philosophy, awareness is his way of life.

His third dimension is that he is not interested in domination over others. He has no lust for power, because that is the ugliest thing in the world. The lust for power has destroyed humanity and has not allowed it to be more creative, to be more beautiful, to be more healthy, to be more wholesome. And it is this lust for power that ultimately leads to conflicts, competitions, jealousies and finally to wars.

Lust for power is the foundation of all wars. If you look at human history…the whole of human history is nothing but a history of wars, man killing man. Reasons have changed, but the killing continues. It seems reasons are only excuses. The real fact is that man enjoys killing.

In one of Aesop’s fables – and those are some of the greatest fables in the world, so simple and so significant – a small sheep is drinking water from a mountain stream of crystal-clear water. A great lion comes and naturally becomes interested in the sheep – it is breakfast time but he has to find an excuse. So he says to the sheep, “You are dirtying the stream. Don’t you understand that I am the king of the jungle?”

The poor sheep said, “I know, but your highness, the stream is not going towards you. I am standing below you and even if it becomes dirty by my drinking water, the water is going downwards – not towards you. You are making it dirty and I am drinking that dirty water. So your logic is not right.”

The lion saw the point and became very angry. He said, “You don’t have respect for your elders. You have some nerve arguing with me.”

The poor sheep said, “I have not argued, I have simply said what was factual. You can see that the stream is going downwards.”

The lion was silent for a moment and then said, “Now I remember. You belong to a very uncultured, uneducated family. Your father insulted me yesterday.”

The poor sheep said, “It must have been somebody else, because my father has been dead for three months, and you must know that he is within your belly. He is no longer alive. You have made a lunch of him. How can he behave disrespectfully towards you? He is dead!”

That was too much. The lion jumped and caught hold of the sheep saying, “You don’t know manners, you don’t know etiquette, you don’t know how to behave.”

The sheep said, “The simple fact is, it is breakfast time. You simply eat me; there is no need to find any excuse.”

In such simple parables, Aesop has done miracles. He has said so much about man.

A rebel lives his life in total freedom; he does not allow anybody to interfere in it, and he never interferes in anybody else’s life. I have not told anybody to do anything. If something happens to them, I cannot prevent them because that will be interfering, that will be dictating.

Just a few days ago we inaugurated a beautiful fountain in the memory of J. Krishnamurti. I have received a few letters from the followers of J. Krishnamurti, saying that before dying he said, “Don’t make any memorial of me.” Now it raises many questions. First it means he wanted to dominate others, even after his death. Whether you say, “Make a beautiful memorial for me,” or you say, “Do not make a memorial for me,” it does not make any difference. It is the same. You are trying to control the future – after your death too.

But nobody will see the implication of it. Why should he be concerned with what happens after his death? And what can he do? Living people have been going against me in the courts. Do you think now J. Krishnamurti is going to be in the court against me, saying that I have been hurting his feelings?

And secondly, I laughed when I heard about those letters because a few of the writers of those letters are well known to me. They have been following J. Krishnamurti for forty and fifty years; they are as old as he was. But they show by their letters that they have not understood him. J. Krishnamurti had said his whole life, “Don’t follow me!” Now if he says, “Don’t make memorials when I am dead,” then don’t follow him – make memorials! That is a simple conclusion – if you understand him.

J. Krishnamurti never accepted anybody as his follower, and now these people are writing letters as followers of J. Krishnamurti. He denied continually, for almost seventy years, saying, “Nobody is my follower.” Listening to him, reading him, having interviews with him – these people still have the wrong attitude: they think they are followers of J. Krishnamurti. But that is their business; I have no objection. That is something between them and J. Krishnamurti.

But one thing! And how many other things have they followed from J. Krishnamurti? Only one thing – not to make a memorial. In seventy years’ teaching time, how many things have they followed? I know them; they have not followed a single thing. They have not even followed this most fundamental approach of J. Krishnamurti, “Nobody is my follower.” They have followed nothing.

But this is very comfortable – not to make a memorial – and, particularly for Indians, it is very comfortable and consolatory that so much money is saved. “The poor fellow himself said it was good; now we can say that we cannot go against his will.” But in what other matters have you ever followed his will?

A rebel simply lives his life in the moment, with awareness, with no desire to dominate, either while he is living or when he is dead. He does not have any lust for power.

He is a scientist of the soul – that is the fourth dimension. Just as science uses doubt, skepticism, inquiry, he uses the same methods for his inner search. Science uses them for objective reality, he uses them for his subjectivity. But he does not condemn doubt, he does not condemn skepticism, he does not condemn disobedience, he does not condemn a nonbelieving approach to reality. He enters within his own being with a scientific mind.

His religion is not superstitious – it is scientific. His religion is not a search for God, because to begin with God means you have already accepted a belief, and if you have accepted a belief your search is contaminated from the very beginning.

The rebel goes into his inner world with open eyes, with no idea of what he is looking for. He goes on polishing his intelligence. He goes on making his silences deeper, his meditation more profound, so that whatever is hidden in him is revealed to him; but he has no preconceived idea of what he is looking for.

He is basically an agnostic. That word has to be remembered because it describes one of his basic qualities. There are theists who believe in God, there are atheists who do not believe in God and there are agnostics who simply say, “We do not know yet. We will search, we will see. We cannot say anything before we have looked into every nook and corner of our being.” He begins with, “I do not know.” That’s why I say he is just like a small child – innocent.

Two boys were discussing running away from home. “But if our fathers catch us they will hit us,” said one.

“So,” said the other, “we will hit them back.”

“But we can’t do that,” said the first boy. “The Bible teaches us to honor our father and our mother.”

“Right. Then you hit my father and I will hit yours.”

Just an innocent and simple solution with no difficulty.

The rebel lives a childlike innocence, and innocence is the most mysterious phenomenon. It opens the doors of all the secrets of life.

Only a rebellious person is truly revolutionary and is truly religious. He does not create an organization, he does not create a following, he does not create churches.

From Osho, The Rebel, Chapter 4

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