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Osho on Diogenes

Osho - Diogenes is one of the most loved human beings, as far as I am concerned. As far as the world is concerned, he is one of those who are destined to be condemned for their behavior, for their ideas. And Diogenes particularly, because he is so unique.

His ways would have been understood in the far East, in Japan; he would have become a great Zen master. In Greece he was simply condemned. He was not in the right place. First, he was naked -- for a certain reason: naked we have come into the world, and all the animals are naked, why should man hide his wild body behind clothes?

And the strange insight was that it is not weather, cold or heat, that has prompted man to use clothes -- because if all the animals can exist without clothes, there is no reason. And your face is naked, but it becomes immune. That's how the whole animal world lives. Small birds are more powerful than you: they are immune to cold and to heat. They don't need any clothes. Why did man need clothes? Not to protect his body but to hide it, because he is the only animal who has not been natural, and his body has become ugly. Now, Diogenes has a strange insight.

I agree with him, that clothes help you immensely to hide your body. Man has lost his natural beauty, agility, and that's why he had to discover clothes. It is very strange: if your naked body is brought before you, or just a photograph of your naked body is brought before you, you will not be able to recognize that it is your body. People are recognizable only by their faces; the whole body is ignored. And through clothes you can create the illusion of beauty. You can hide the ugly parts and you can expose the beautiful parts; you can emphasize the beautiful parts.

Diogenes was disgusted with the whole idea. This is exhibitionism, not what Sigmund Freud thinks is exhibitionism. I agree with Diogenes and not with Sigmund Freud.
Sigmund Freud calls a man exhibitionist if he tries to show his naked body to somebody. Diogenes calls all people who have been forced by your so-called civilization to wear clothes, exhibitionists. This is a beginning of deception, hypocrisy.

And my feeling is that one day man will return back to being naked, because only then he will regain his health again -- for the simple reason that then he will have to be healthy, otherwise he will feel embarrassed. Then he will have to exercise, then he will have to go to some gymnasium and maintain his body and his beauty, because now it is not only his face that is his identity; now his whole body is his identity. And he will not be ashamed of it; it is his body and nature has given it to him. He will be proud of it.

Diogenes was as beautiful a man as Mahavira -- both lived naked -- so proportionate, so beautiful. In India Mahavira's nakedness became spiritual; in Greece Diogenes became a madman. He used to carry a lamp with him, and whomsoever he met -- even in the full daylight -- he would raise his lamp and look at the man. And people would ask, "What are you doing? It is full daylight, the sun is shining; why are you carrying a lamp? And why do you go on looking in people's faces?"
He used to say, "I am looking for a real, authentic man."

My search is, in a way, similar: I am also looking for a real, authentic man. But the real, authentic man cannot be searched for with a lamp. Diogenes' lamp is only symbolic. It simply says that he is putting his whole lighted being as a beam on the person, as an X-ray, to see whether there is anything left or everything is hypocrisy. The day he died he had his lamp by his side, still in his hand. One man, just to joke, asked Diogenes, "Now you are dying. Before you die, please answer one question. Your whole life you have been searching for the authentic, real man, with your lamp. Have you found him or not?"

Diogenes was really a beautiful man. He laughed and said, "I have not found him, but I am grateful to the whole of humanity that nobody stole my lamp, because I found all kinds of thieves all around. An authentic man I have not been able to come across, but even this is enough, that they have left my lamp with me; otherwise when I looked at these people they were criminals, murderers, thieves, and I was worried about my lamp -- that's the only thing I possess. So one thing I can say before I die -- one good thing about humanity -- is that my lamp was not stolen."

At the moment of death also he could laugh and joke. In Greece he was not understood at all. He belongs to the category of people like Bodhidharma, Chuang Tzu, Hotei. That was his category, but he was with the wrong people. Aristotle had defined man -- Diogenes was a contemporary of Aristotle -- as "a two-legged animal without feathers." That shows the depth of logic, and the insight of Aristotle. When Diogenes heard it, he caught hold of an animal with two legs, took away all the feathers, and sent it as a present to Aristotle, saying, "This is your man: a two-legged animal without feathers."

Aristotle was very angry: "It is not a joke, and this Diogenes is never serious!" But I say to you, he was serious. He was saying to Aristotle, "This is not the way to define man -- two-legged, without feathers. You are degrading man to animals, just a little different variety -- without feathers. That's the only difference: there are many animals with two legs."

He was not just joking -- he was serious. And he was serious in his search for the authentic man. It is not a question of defining it; it is a question of finding it. You can define it only after you have found it.

The man that exists is not authentic. Yes, my work is similar in a way: I am also searching for the authentic man, destroying all that is not authentic in you, at the risk of being condemned all over the world. But I am not carrying a lamp in my hand because I know that was only a gesture.

I am really working with each individual who has come in contact with me to help him to drop all unnecessary conditionings and to have a communion with nature. To be natural you will be authentic. To be natural you will be human. And to be natural you will be a being full of rejoicings.

It is your unnaturalness that is creating the whole misery, and just as money brings more money, misery brings more misery. Whatever you have attracts its own kind. If you have a little joy, you will attract much joy; if you have a little silence, then even from the faraway stars you will be attracting silence, then even in a crowd, in the marketplace you will be attracting silence.

It depends what you have within you; that becomes the gravitation, and it attracts its own kind. Just a little experience and then there is no need to push you; you will go in that direction on your own.

My whole effort is to give you just a glimpse, just to open a window so you can see the sky with all its colors and sunset. And I know you will come out of the hole to see the whole sky, to see the birds returning home, to see the trees going to sleep, preparing their beds. But right now you have only misery, and that misery goes on attracting more misery. My work is somehow to create a small gap in your miserable existence... just a little window.

Source - Osho Book "Beyond Psychology"

Osho on : Bodhidharma, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Dadu, Gorakh, Guru Nanak Dev, Hakim Sanai, Mahavira, Meera, Sahajo, Sarmad

Osho Stories on: Baal Shem, Diogenes, Naropa, Rabia, Ramanuja, Shirdi Sai Baba

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Osho on Diogenes