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Question - Osho, Why do Indians think they are more Spiritual than others?

Osho - John, PLEASE FORGIVE THE POOR INDIANS. They don't have anything else to brag about. You can brag about other things: money, power, atomic or hydrogen bombs, airplanes, that you have walked on the moon, that you have penetrated to the very secrets of life, your science, technology; you can brag about your affluence. Poor India has nothing else to brag about; it can only brag about something invisible so there is no need to prove it. Spirituality is such a thing you can brag about it and nobody can prove it, nobody can disprove it.

For thousands of years India has suffered starvation, poverty, so much so that it has to rationalize it. It has rationalized it so that to be poor is something spiritual. The Indian spiritual man renounces all comforts and becomes poor. When he becomes poor, only then do Indians recognize him as spiritual. If he does not become poor, how can he be spiritual?

Poverty has become the very foundation of Indian spirituality. The more poor you are, the more spiritual you are. Even if you are unhealthy, that is good for being spiritual; that shows your antagonism towards the body. Torture your body, fast, don't eat, don't fulfill the needs of the body, and you are doing some spiritual work.

So you will look at Indian so-called spiritual saints and many of them will look physically ill, in deep suffering, in self-torture; their faces are pale because of fasting. But if you ask their disciples they will say, "Look, what a golden aura around the face of our saint!" I know such people -- just a feverish aura around their faces, nothing else! But their disciples will say, "A golden aura -- this is spirituality!"

Osho on Spirituality in India

Count Keyserling writes in his diary that when he came to India he understood for the first time that poverty, starvation, ill health, these are necessary requirements for spirituality. These are rationalizations. And everybody wants to be higher than the other, superior to the other.

Now, there is no other way for Indians to declare their superiority. They cannot compete in science, in technology, in industry, but they can compete in spirituality. They are more able to fast, to starve themselves. For thousands of years they have practiced starvation, so they have become very very accustomed to it; it is easy for them.

For the American to go on a fast is very difficult. Eating five times a day -- that means almost the whole day you are eating -- and I am not counting things that you eat in between.... For the American it is difficult to fast, but for the Indian it has become almost natural. His body has become accustomed to it. The body has a tremendous capacity to adjust itself.

The Indian can sit in the hot sun, almost in a state of fire from the showering of the sun, undisturbed. You cannot sit there -- you have become accustomed to air conditioning. The Indian can sit in the cold weather, naked in the Himalayas. YOU cannot; you have become accustomed to central heating. The body becomes accustomed.

And then India can claim: "This is spirituality. Come and compete with us!" And you cannot compete. And certainly, when you cannot compete, you have to bow down to the Indians and you have to accept that they must have some clue. There is no clue, nothing, just a long long history of poverty.

In a cannibal village in the heart of Africa, the wife of the chief head-hunter went to the local butcher's shop in search of a choice rib for her husband's dinner. Inspecting the goods, she asked the butcher, "What is that one?"
The butcher replied, "That is an American -- seventy cents a pound."
"Well, then what about that one?" asked the woman.
The butcher replied, "That is an Italian -- ninety-five cents a pound. He is a little spicy."
"And," asked the woman, "what about that one there in the corner?"
"He is an Indian,'' replied the butcher. "two dollars a pound."
The woman gasped, "Two dollars a pound? What makes him so expensive?"
"Well, lady," the butcher replied, "have you ever tried cleaning an Indian?"

But that has become spirituality. Do you know? -- Jaina monks never take a bath. To take a bath is thought to be a luxury. They don't clean their teeth; that is thought to be a luxury. Now, to be spiritual in the Jaina sense of the term you have to stop taking a bath, cleaning your teeth, even combing your hair, even cutting your hair. If it becomes too messy, too dirty, you have to pull it out by hand. You can't use any razor or any other mechanical device, because a spiritual person should be independent of all machines. So Jaina monks pull their own hair out. And when a Jaina monk pulls his hair out, mostly once a year, then a great gathering happens because it is thought to be something very special.

I have been to such gatherings. Thousands of Jainas gather together simply to see this poor man, hungry, dirty, pulling his hair out -- crazy! And you will see people watching with great joy and with great superiority: "This is our saint! Who ELSE can compete with us?"

No nation is spiritual. It has not happened yet. One can hope that it may happen some day, but it has not happened yet. In fact, only individuals can be spiritual, not nations And individuals have been spiritual all over the world, everywhere. But ignorance prevents people from recognizing others' spirituality.
One day I was talking to an Indian and I told him that everywhere spirituality has been happening; it is nothing to do with India as such.
He said, "But so many saints have happened here. Where else have so many saints happened?"
I said, "Do you know how many saints have happened in China? Just tell me a few names."
He had not even heard of a single name. He does not know anything about Lao Tzu, he does not know about Chuang Tzu, he does not know about Lieh Tzu.

He does not know anything of the long long tradition of Chinese mysticism. But he knows about Nanak, Kabir, Mahavira, Krishna, Buddha, so he thinks all the great saints have happened only in India. That is sheer stupidity. They have happened in Japan, they have happened in Egypt, they have happened in Jerusalem. They have happened everywhere! But you don't know -- and you don't want to know either. You simply remain confined to your own sect.

In fact, you may have lived in the neighborhood of the Jainas your whole life, but you cannot tell the twenty-four names of their great TEERTHANKARAS. Who bothers to know about the others? Only one name -- Mahavira -- is known; the twenty-three other names are almost unknown. Even Jainas themselves cannot give the twenty-four names in exact sequence. They know three names: the first, Adinatha; the last, Mahavira; and the one before Mahavira, a cousin-brother of Krishna, Neminath. These three are known; the remaining twenty-one are almost unknown even to the Jainas. And this is how it is.

Do you know how many Hassid mystics have attained to God? Do you know how many Zen Masters have attained to Buddhahood? Do you know how many Sufis have attained to the ultimate state? Nobody cares, nobody wants to know. People live in a small, cozy corner of their own religion and they think this is all.

Neither Indians nor anybody else is specially spiritual or holy. Spirituality is something that happens to individuals. It is the individual becoming aflame with God. It has nothing to do with any collectivity -- nation, race, church.

Source - Osho Book "Ah, This!"

Related Osho Links:
Osho - Why is India so Poor?
Osho - How is it that India could not Produce Wealth?
Osho on Capitalism - Capitalism is basically Individualism
Osho - I am against Communism, but I am all for Communes
Osho on Karl Marx and Communism - Communism is the ultimate flowering of capitalism
Osho on Capitalists - The capitalists have also played a basic role in creating class conflicts
Osho on Socialism - Society is nonexistential. Socialism means nothing; the reality is the individual

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