Drop the mind that believes in superstitions

Drop the mind that believes in superstitions

An intelligent man never holds on to anything—not even to any belief, let alone to superstition.
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If something is accepted as a superstition without researching and investigating it properly, then that is tantamount to creating an even greater superstition; it shows a highly superstitious mind. One man believes there are ghosts and evil spirits and you call him superstitious; you believe there are none and that makes you feel that you are very knowledgeable. But the question is: what is superstition? If someone believes there are ghosts and evil spirits without any investigation, that is superstition; and if someone else believes there are no such things, without investigation, then that is superstition too. Superstition means believing something without knowing it to be true. Just because someone holds beliefs contrary to yours does not mean he is superstitious.

A believer in God can be as gullible as a nonbeliever. We must understand the definition of superstition. It means to believe in something blindly without verification. The Russians are superstitious atheists; the Indians are superstitious theists—both suffer from blind faith. So do not be mistaken in thinking that theists alone are superstitious; atheists have their own superstitions too. And the strange thing is that there is also a scientific superstition. It sounds contradictory: how can there be a scientific superstition?

From a scientific point of view, we believe thousands of things to be right, but they are actually superstitions. Scientists are also superstitious, and in this age, religious superstitions are fading while scientific superstitions are growing. The difference between the two is simply that if you ask a religious person how he came to know about God he will say it is written in the Gita, and if you ask him how he came to know there are nine digits in arithmetic, he will say it is written in such and such a mathematician’s book.

What is the difference between the two? One kind of answer is found in the Gita, in the Koran; another kind of answer is found in a book of mathematics. Superstition means that which we believe in without having knowledge of it. We accept many things and we reject many things without knowing anything about them—this is superstitious too.

I am absolutely against superstition; all kinds of superstitions must be destroyed—but this does not mean that I am superstitious about this destruction. It does not mean one should go about destroying them without a clear understanding of them, that without due consideration one should simply be bent upon breaking them. Then such arbitrary destruction will also become superstition.

Every age has its own superstitions. Remember, superstitions have their fashion too. In every age, superstition takes on a new form. Man drops old superstitions and takes on new ones, but he never gets rid of them forever; he alters them and he changes them. But we never realise this.

All religions strive to break these chains, and every religion creates a new chain – so things remain the same. The world has seen so many religions. They were all founded to bring about reforms; they all proclaimed their intent to eradicate all prevailing superstitions, but in the process of destroying superstitions nothing ever really gets destroyed. Of course, those who are fed up with the old superstitions replace them with new ones and are very happy, feeling they have brought about change.

In fact, an intelligent man never holds on to anything—not even to any belief, let alone to superstition. He lives intelligently; he doesn’t hang on to anything. He never creates any chain because he knows there is immense joy in living in freedom. Don’t create any chains.

So the real question is to awaken enough consciousness in each individual that will create a desire in him to become free, to become intelligent, to become self-realized, to be filled with awareness. If the tendency to live blindly—to become a follower, a pursuer, a believer in somebody—could be reduced, all superstitions would crumble. But in that case, it would not be that one kind of superstition would break down and another would survive—all would collapse; they would leave all at once. Otherwise, they will remain forever.

So remember, my emphasis is not on breaking the chains, my emphasis is on doing away with the superstitious mind that creates these chains. If that mind persists, then no matter how many chains you break it will create new ones. And remember, new fetters are far more attractive, more lovable, more worth holding on to. And remember this too: the new chain is always stronger than the old one because by now our knowledge of how to make chains is also more developed, more advanced. It often occurs to me that those in the business of breaking down superstitions only succeed in providing much tougher superstitions as substitutes for the worn-out ones—they do nothing more than that.

The superstitious mind has to be discarded, or else it will keep on breeding superstition. Be cogitative, and make others cogitative also. “Be cogitative” means: think, search, be inquisitive. Speak only after you have the right experience, and still admit readily that your experience is not necessarily right. People may have other experiences tomorrow. You may even have to go through different experiences, and it is not certain that what you experienced was not a hallucination.

Abridged from And Now And Here by Osho

Osho is known for his revolutionary contribution to the science of inner transformation, with an approach to meditation that acknowledges the accelerated pace of contemporary life.

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