Extracted from a talk given by Osho, Satyam Shivam, Sundram, Chapter 28

To be a sannyasin is to be a stranger. To be a sannyasin is to be an outsider. You do not belong anymore to the crowd; you have chosen the path of a lion, to be alone, rather than the path of a sheep, to be always in the crowd. Now that it is happening to you, that you are beginning to love your aloneness, a fear is also arising that you may become a stranger; you may lose contact with others.

Have you ever thought what you have gained from the contact with others? What is the end result of being in the crowd, except misery, anxiety, agony? What has been the contribution of the crowd to you? Yes, it has given you greed, it has given you violence, it has given you ambitions, which are all ugly. It has given you self-hatred, it has given you a constant desiring for the future – but that is a strategy to take you away from the present.

And remember, your longing for the future is never going to be fulfilled. All fulfillment is in the present. And the only people who have attained anything worthwhile are the people who have the courage to be strangers.

There is certainly a fear in the beginning, because the more you become a stranger, the more you are condemned; the more you become a stranger, the more you feel yourself without any support. You were always supported, and you have forgotten that you can stand on your own; there is no need of any support. In fact all supports have made you crippled. If a child is supported, carried from the very beginning, he will never learn to walk on his own.

To be an outsider means you have dropped all that has been given by the past as heritage. That heritage has nothing beautiful in it; it is full of bloodshed, wars, hatred. There is not a single thing that comes to you as heritage that can be rejoiced in. If you are alert – and your aloneness is bound to make you very alert – you will be able to see that you have been carrying all kinds of garbage given to you by the older generation. There is not anything of any value, because anything of any value has to be discovered by yourself; it cannot be given to you by anyone else.

In the crowd, the idea is very strong that you can gain knowledge from others; that you can become wise from others’ advice; that you can become religious by believing in others; that you can become spiritual if you are obedient to the commandments of God. But it is always others you have to look up to. You yourself are absolutely worthless; anything of value is going to happen to you only through others. This idea has been propagated, and everybody has been poisoned by this idea. That is the fear when you start moving on a small footpath, leaving the superhighway.

They say – or they used to say in the past, but it is no longer relevant – that all roads lead to Rome. But not all footpaths – every footpath moves on its own, to its own destiny. Now even the roads have revolted; they have forgotten Rome completely. It is very rarely that any old rotten road may be going to the Vatican.

The fear is natural, but it has to be dropped. To be carried away by the fear will be very unintelligent.

Secondly, experience shows that in the beginning, by being alone in your own silent spaces of the heart, you feel you are losing contact with others. But don’t you see me? Can you find a man who is more an outsider and a stranger in the whole world? Yes, I have lost contact with all kinds of idiots; now I only have contact with those who are thirsty and those who are understanding and those who want to evolve into spiritual beings. Now this commune of friends and fellow travelers has a totally different meaning than being in the crowd.

The crowd crushes your individuality, destroys your freedom, humiliates you to such a point that you start hating yourself instead of loving yourself. The society has been dominated by a very wrong psychology. It looks logical but it is not psychological. And logic is something man-made; psychology is not something man-made.

The logic behind humiliating each individual to such a point that he cannot love himself is that if you love yourself, how are you going to love others? And the society and the family and the nation and the religion – everyone is interested in your loving others. Love your wife, love your children, love your parents, love your teachers, love everybody except yourself. It is a simple logic – that if you love yourself, you will not care much about the wife or the husband or the children or the parents or the priests.

This fear has dominated humanity for thousands of years. But this fear was absolutely wrong because it has not created what they were thinking. It is a simple psychological fact that a man who cannot love himself cannot love anybody else. But that is not logical, that is a psychological truth. If you cannot love yourself, you don’t know even the taste of love or what love means.

So you can pretend: You love your children, you love your wife, you love your husband, you love your parents – but it is all pretension. If so many people in the world were loving, where does war come from? From where is all kinds of violence continuously coming? From where is hatred arising if everybody is so loving?

You have to love your children, your wife, your husband, your parents, your priests, elders, neighbors – there are even teachers like Jesus who say you have to love your enemies too. Just don’t love yourself! This strange logic has destroyed your very roots of loving.

I say unto you: First and foremost, love yourself. And if you can love yourself, others will start getting your love very naturally, without any pretensions, very spontaneously. A man full of love soon starts overflowing. You cannot contain your love into the small space you have within you; your love is far greater than you are. Your love can fill the whole earth. A single man’s love can fill the whole universe. It is so vast that you can go on sharing with everybody.

But if your very source remains closed, then all that is left is to pretend. Everybody is pretending; that’s why there is so much talk about love, so much poetry, so much literature. And if you look around, you don’t find love anywhere, you never encounter it.

I want the whole universe to be a loving, rejoicing universe. But I see where humanity has failed, where its teachers, messengers of God, and saviors have taken a wrong route. They listened to logic and they forgot that logic is absolutely man-made; it has nothing to do with your nature. Nature has no obligation to fulfill logical conclusions. If your nature can be heard, it will become a simple thing to understand.

Love yourself so that all your loving sources become open, all blocks are removed. And if you can love yourself – with all your frailties, with all your weaknesses, with all your errors – you can love anybody in the world. You will have tremendous compassion and understanding, because you commit the same mistakes; the same are your errors, the same are your frailties.

The people who have never loved themselves have never come in contact with themselves. Yes, they are in contact with others, but it is a very strange situation: If you are not in contact with yourself, how can you be in contact with others?

Who is going to be in contact with others?

Who are you?

At that point you simply don’t know. You know that you have a contact with your friend, you have a contact with your children, you have a contact with your mother – but who are you? And the same is the situation of your mother, your friend, your children – they don’t know who they are. Nobody knows who he is, and everybody is in contact with everybody else. Can you think of any greater insanity than this situation?

Once you become an outsider, settled, confirmed, you will be surprised that now authentic contacts start happening, because now you are in contact with your own being. You have such a magnetic pull that those who are seeking, those who are searching, those who are longing for something to happen in their life, those who don’t want to live an empty and meaningless life will start coming in contact with you.

This contact will have some great significance. You will be fulfilling each other without destroying each other. You will be loving but not possessive. You will help but you will not enslave. You will support – but not to exploit – just out of your love, friendliness, out of your understanding; whatever happens will be right.

Of course you will not be part of the big world of retarded people whose mental age is not more than fourteen. This is enough for being a postman or a stationmaster or a president – any trivia. I don’t see any difference between a stationmaster and a president of a country: Both are small flies pretending to be something great. You will not be in contact with these psychologically retarded people, but you will come in contact with real, authentic, intelligent, loving human beings who have understanding, who have compassion. And because they can love themselves, they can also love you.

My experience is very different. The moment my blindness disappeared, the moment I found my own being, I could not believe how people started coming to me. I had not advertised myself in any newspaper, and suddenly, walking on the streets, somebody would stop me, feeling a little embarrassed that he is stopping an absolute stranger. He would say, “Something in you makes me feel to be friendly with you.”

I would say, “How many friends can I manage?”

One of the friends arranged a bungalow for me. It was big enough, but soon it was continuously full of guests coming from faraway places. I told the friend, “Something has to be done because we don’t have space.” I have suffered from lack of space my whole life, and I am still suffering. A few sannyasins are continuously searching for more space, because more people are coming, threatening that they are coming!

I have never found myself a stranger. On the contrary, I have found people who are on the same wavelength. I have found people who are filled with the same music. Slowly, slowly people started coming from outside India, and now perhaps this is the only gathering in the world which has its brothers, its sisters, in every country.

Yet there is no church, no dogma, no belief system. What is holding all these people together? I am not promising you any heaven or paradise, and neither am I threatening you with any hell: “If you don’t believe in me, beware of eternal darkness and hellfire.” Neither am I making you afraid, nor am I making you greedy for pleasures in heaven. I am not promising you anything; in fact I am taking away all the promises that others have given to you.

Why has this small commune of friends become an international commune? I don’t feel you will remain for long a stranger or an outsider if you authentically enjoy your aloneness and the beauty that showers when you are a pure silence and nothing else, and the flowers that blossom in that spring of aloneness. You will find for the first time those people to whom you belong.

It will not take much effort on your part to search for them. It is very difficult to search, but if you simply remain in your silence, your silence will be heard more loudly than any noise. Your love will start radiating, spreading its net, pulling people without their being even fully aware of where they are going and for what. They will realize only when they have arrived and become a part of this big caravan. What is happening to you is one of the greatest things that can happen to a person.

You say, “I feel a longing that brings me towards you.” The same longing will be felt by many, which will bring them to you just as a longing has brought you to me. Learn from this.

I have nothing to give you. I cannot give you a direct contact with God, because as far as I am concerned there is no God, and there is no heaven and no hell. That’s how I am dismantling all beliefs that the past has given to you. I want you to be without beliefs, without promises, without future, without past – just enjoying the moment in its fullness.

This is your moment, just as it is my moment. And if in our rejoicing we meet, it does not create a bondage. If in our total living of the present we find ourselves in deep love, in deep friendliness, it does not create any chains, it does not make any contracts; it has nothing to do with the next moment. This moment lived totally and intensely becomes almost equal to eternity. It is enough unto itself.

You are saying, “But a passion and desire to fall in love with someone seems to be no more there.” Once you have tasted something of higher quality, it is simply natural that things of lower quality will not attract you. If a longing has arisen in you to come close to me…now you cannot think of continuing your old passions and desires and love affairs, which you used to think were great. Now you are having the greatest love affair possible.

Such affairs will be happening more and more. You will live on a totally different plane of consciousness, and lower planes will be left far behind. But you are not a loser; you are a winner. You are growing. […]

People like Gautam Buddha or Socrates or Pythagoras or Jesus are all outsiders and strangers to their contemporaries. They are all thought to be a little off the track, a little outlandish. And because the crowd, the majority is there…and they write the history books. They don’t talk about the authentic contributors; they talk about the destructive people. The whole of history is full of Adolf Hitlers, Benito Mussolinis, Joseph Stalins. Very rarely, in the footnotes, you will find something about Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Plotinus, Kabir – perhaps not even in the footnotes. And these are the real people who have lived, who have loved and who have created as much humanity, as much consciousness as is possible to a single individual.

Rejoice in being a stranger; rejoice in being an outsider. That is your way to satyam, shivam, sundram. That is the way that will bring you the truth, and the divine, and the tremendous splendor and beauty that follows on its own accord.

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