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A constant civil war within

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The whole past has created a constant civil war in every human being. The strategy that has been used is to divide you into two enemy camps: the Zorba and the Buddha, the materialist, and the spiritualist.

You are not divided into reality. In reality, you are a harmonious whole. But the conditioning of your mind is that you are not one whole; you have to fight against your body. If you want to be a spiritual being, the body has to be conquered, defeated, destroyed, tortured in every possible way.

This has been the accepted ideology all over the world. In different cultures, different religions, the formulations may be different, but the basic rule is the same: divide man, create a conflict in him so one part starts feeling higher, becomes holy, and starts condemning the other part as the sinner.

The trouble is that you are one; there is no way to divide you. Every division is going to create misery in you. Every division will mean that half of you is fighting with the other half. If you are fighting within yourself, how can you be at ease?

Up to now, humanity has lived in a schizophrenic way. Everyone has been cut into pieces, fragments. Your religions, your philosophies, your ideologies have not been healing processes; they have been the root causes of inner conflict and war.

The West chose to go with Zorba. There was no other way to remain sane—one part had to be completely destroyed, ignored, forgotten. The West denied the inner reality of man, his consciousness: man is only a body, there is no soul. Eat, drink and be merry is the only religion. This was simply a way to find some peace of mind, to get out of the conflict, to come to a decision and a conclusion—by accepting that you are one: just matter, just a body.

The East has chosen the other way: you are the soul and the body is an illusion. Matter does not exist, the world is made of the same stuff as dreams are made of, so don’t be bothered about it. Renounce it, forget all about it; it is not worth taking note of.

The natural tendency will be to decide in favour of the body because the body is there; consciousness you have to search for, you have to go into an inner pilgrimage.


On the surface, it seems that East and West are doing different things, but they are not. Essentially, they are trying to find a rational way to be one. To be two means a constant disease, a conflict.

Why have the East and the West chosen differently? The Eastern mind, in search of a unitary being, tried to find out: what exactly is this inner consciousness that the mystics, saints, and sages have been talking about? Why call the body illusory? To us, the body seems real, and consciousness is just a word. The natural tendency will be to decide in favour of the body because the body is there; consciousness you have to search for, you have to go into an inner pilgrimage.

People like Gautama Buddha and Mahavira were sincere. Their sincerity was so clear, their presence was so impressive, their words were so authoritative. It was impossible to deny. These people were their own argument, their own validity. They were so peaceful and so joyful, so relaxed, so fearless. Certainly, they had found a source within themselves, a treasure. You cannot just deny it without giving time to the search. Unless you find that there is no consciousness, you cannot deny it.

We had people so fragrant… The fragrance was so much that the East tried to look inside, and found that the soul is far more real. The body is just an appearance. Modern science has come to the same conclusion—that matter is illusory, that matter does not exist, it only appears—from a very different route. They have found, as they reach deeper into the matter, that it is less and less substantial. At a point after the atom, there is no matter at all. There are only electrons, which are particles of electricity—which is not matter but energy.

The East moved inwards and found that the body, matter, is relatively non-substantial; the ultimate reality belongs to consciousness. In the East, there have been at least ten thousand years of a constant, consistent search into the inner reality of man…all the genius of the East has been devoted to it.

Excerpted from Beyond Enlightenment by Osho

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