Anything Based on Belief Is Bogus
The scientific vision of objective reality and the subjective experience of existence seem to be two completely separate and unbridgeable dimensions. Is this because of the nature of things, or is it only an illusion of our mind?
“The scientific approach to existence and the religious approach have been in the past separate and unbridgeable. The reason was the insistence of old religions on superstitions, belief systems, denial of inquiry and doubt. In fact, there is nothing unbridgeable between science and religion, and there is no separation either. But religion insisted on belief — science cannot accept that.
“Belief is covering up your ignorance. It never reveals to you the truth; it only gives you certain dogmas, creeds, and you can create an illusion of knowledge through them. But that knowledge is nothing but a delusion.
“Anything based on belief is bogus.
“Because religions insisted continuously on belief, and the basic method of science is doubt, the separation happened. And it became unbridgeable. It is unbridgeable if religion does not arise and face the challenge of doubt.
“The whole responsibility of the religions has been to keep these two as two.
“In my vision, there is only science, with two dimensions. One dimension approaches the outside reality, the other dimension approaches the interior reality. One is objective, the other is subjective. Their methods are not different, their conclusions are not different. Both start from doubt.
“Doubt has been condemned so much that you have forgotten the beauty of it, you have forgotten the richness of it.
“The child is born not with any belief, but he is born with a very curious, doubting, skeptical consciousness.
Doubt is natural, belief is unnatural.
“Belief is imposed by the parents, society, the educational systems, religions. All these people are in the service of ignorance, and they have served ignorance for thousands of years. They have kept humanity in darkness, and there was a reason for it: if humanity is in darkness, knows nothing of reality, then it can be exploited easily, enslaved easily, deceived easily, kept poor, dependent. All these things were involved.
“The old religions were not concerned with truth. They talked about it, but their concern was how to keep people away from truth. And up to now they have succeeded. But now those religions are all on their deathbed and the sooner they die the better.
“Why do you need a belief in the first place? You don’t believe in a roseflower. Nobody asks you, “Do you believe in a roseflower?” You will simply laugh, you will say, “The question of belief does not arise; I know the roseflower.”
“Knowledge needs no belief.
“But the blind man believes in light, has to; he has no eyes. You will be surprised that the blind man not only believes in light, he also believes in darkness. Ordinarily, people think that a blind man must be living in darkness. That is not true, because to see darkness you need eyes. Without eyes you can neither see light nor can you see darkness. Darkness and light are not two things, but two poles of one reality.
“You can define darkness as less light, you can define light as less darkness; the difference is of degree. Our eyes have a certain capacity — very limited. All our senses are very limited. Below that limit you cannot see, above that limit you cannot see. For example, right now thousands of radio waves are passing, but you cannot hear them. You have to use a radio; a mechanism which is more sensitive than your ear can catch those sounds which you cannot catch. The same is true about all the senses.
“The blind man is forced to believe in light, is forced to believe in darkness. And his belief keeps him blind. If he was not given the belief, and if he was told that he is blind and needs his eyes to be cured, that he does not need a philosophy, he needs a physician — perhaps he would be able to see. And the moment he sees light, the question of belief does not arise: he knows it.
“Any belief indicates your ignorance, your blindness, but gives you a false sense — as if you know.
“Just a few days ago the American Scouts leaders rejected one of their best scouts — a fourteen-year-old child, the topmost among all other scouts, winner of many prizes. They were promoting him to a higher post, and he had to fill in a form.
“This is one of the basic beliefs of the Scouts: God exists. The boy refused. He said, ‘I don’t know. And unless I know, how can I say God exists? You are forcing me to lie.’
“In the twentieth century in America, the boy is thrown out of the Scouts because he does not believe in God! I don’t see the point. What does God have to do with the Scouts? And why should this be a fundamental for every scout?
“I hope that the parents of the child take the case to the court. And if they cannot, then we are ready to take the case to the court for the child, because it is simply inhuman. He was the best cadet, and just a stupid thing…. And on that ground also he is more right than all the leaders of the Scouts who have determined their constitution.
“All that he said was, ‘I don’t know. How can I can say God exists or not? First I have to know.’
“Knowledge is punished.
Inquiry is punished.
Darkness, blindness, obedience, are rewarded.
“The case must be decided by the Supreme Court of America in the favor of that little boy who has asserted the very birthright of man: to inquire and to find.
“And the clause about God, should be removed from the Scouts’ principles.
“In the first place God has nothing to do with the Scouts. The Scouts have nothing to do with God. This is an unnecessary hypothesis imposed on children. But behind this whole facade are your politicians, your religious leaders. In a very roundabout way they are forcing on small children the idea of God.
“They are afraid, they are very much frightened of inquiry. Why one should be afraid of inquiry? — the answer is clear. He knows perfectly well that it is only a belief. If you inquire deeply, you are not going to find God. If God is a reality, then all the religions should insist on inquiry.
“I insist: inquire, meditate, go deeper into yourself. You will find a tremendous reality, but not God. You will find consciousness in its ultimate flowering, eternal. But you will not find an old man with a long beard — and the beard must be by this time really long, miles long; for centuries he has been sitting there. You will not find God.
“All religions are frightened of inquiry — that’s why the separation happened. And all the religions have been against science, because sooner or later science is going to prove — it has proved already-that its method of doubt brings you closer to reality. It opens secrets of life; it makes you really intelligent, alert, knowing what the truth is.
“But science up to now has remained concerned only with the objective world that surrounds you.
“I condemn the religions because they have kept humanity in darkness.
“And I condemn the scientists because they are doing such a stupid thing: they are aware of everything, and inquiring about everything in the world except themselves.
“The scientist in his lab is the only person who is left out of inquiry. Everything else he inquires about and inquires deeply, without any prejudice. But he forgets who the inquirer is. And is there any inquiry possible without an inquirer? Is there any possibility of observing objective reality without an observer? And that’s what science has been doing for three hundred years.
“The religions are criminal, but science has also to take the burden of that crime — not that big, because science is only three hundred years old. But science cannot say anything about the subjective world for or against, because it has not inquired.
“Religions have to disappear completely — they are a kind of cancer on the human soul — and science has to extend its inquiry, make it complete. It is only half. You are just looking at the object and forgetting the person who is looking at it.
“Science has to grow a new dimension that goes inward. Doubt will be the method for both, so there is no question of bridging. Doubt is the center. From that center you can move into objective reality — that’s what science has been doing up to now. You can move from the same doubt into your interiority, which science has not done up to now. It is guilty of that. And because science was not doing it, it left the subjective world in the hands of religions.
“Religions pretend to inquire into the subjective world, the world of consciousness; but it is a pretension, because it starts with a belief. Once you believe in a thing your inquiry is finished. You have already destroyed the question, you have killed the quest. From belief you cannot move into investigation.
“Every inquiry, either objective or subjective, needs an open mind — and doubt gives you that tremendous quality of an open mind.
“Remember — because there is a possibility to be confused — doubt does not mean disbelief, because disbelief is again belief standing on its head.
“Karl Marx and his followers, the communists, say there is no God. This is their belief. Neither Karl Marx nor Lenin nor any other communist has ever bothered to inquire whether God really does not exist. They have accepted it in the same way as Christians and Hindus and Mohammedans and Jews have accepted that there is a God.
“I don’t make any distinction between the atheist and the theist; they are traveling in the same boat. I don’t make any distinction between a Christian, a Hindu, and a communist.
“On the surface there seems to be a great distinction. The communist does not believe in God; religions believe in God. That is very superficial; if you look just a little bit deeper, scratch just a little bit, you will be surprised: belief is as ignorant as disbelief. Both have accepted without any inquiry. Hence I say communism is an atheist religion.
“Mohammedans have their Mecca, Jews have their Jerusalem, communists have their Kremlin. And it is very amusing to see a picture of the Kremlin — it looks like a church! Perhaps it was a church before the revolution. It is not made by communists, certainly. It may have been the biggest church in Soviet Russia. They have captured it and they have made it their central office. But the architecture shows simply that it is a church.
“Not only the architecture of the Kremlin but the minds of people who are dominating from the Kremlin are exactly the same as the popes, as Ayatollah Khomeinis, as the shankaracharyas — no difference! On the fundamentals they agree. Communists believe in Das Kapital, Christians believe in the Bible, but where is the difference? Those books are different, but the person who believes, the mind who believes, is the same.
“Because science has denied — strangely — the very existence of the scientist, it goes on playing games with white rats, experimenting.
“Strange…why not black rats? There too, the color difference. The Negro rat is bound to be stupid — that is their idea — and the white rat is very intelligent.
“I have been to many universities in India, lecturing to the students, to the professors, and I have visited many scientific labs in India. I have always asked them, “Why? At least in India you should not experiment with white rats. Let them experiment in England, in America, but in India…!” And the scientists had no answer to why they are experimenting on the white rat. Just imitators. Strangely, they work on rats, they work on monkeys…from India thousands of monkeys are exported every day to all parts of the world for scientific experimentation.
“Hindus are very angry in India, because to them the monkey is a god, and to export their god for scientific experimentation is certainly unacceptable. But India is poor; the government consists of Hindus — they are against exporting the monkeys, but they get such a good price. And they don’t have much to export; they cannot fulfill their own needs.
“Monkeys are there in millions, and they serve no purpose. On the contrary, they destroy crops, they destroy fruits, vegetables. Of course, they have to eat too. But there is a movement in India by fanatic Hindus that this export should be stopped.
“The scientist goes on working on rats, on monkeys, on everything in the world. He has reached to the molecules, to the atoms, to the electrons. But in all this search, he has forgotten one thing: that he exists too. Without him, the lab is meaningless.
“Who is experimenting? Certainly there is a consciousness, a certain awareness, a certain entity with the capacity to observe. This is such a simple fact; but for three hundred years science has not accepted this simple fact.
“I find them guilty because, if they had accepted this fact and made it a scientific inquiry, religions would have died long ago. If religions are still in existence science has to accept the responsibility.
“To me the very word “science” explains my approach. Science means knowing. Any knowledge, any knowing, needs three things: an object to know, a subject to know it, and between the subject and the object arises knowing.
“If man is not on the earth, trees will be there, rose bushes will be there, but they will not know that they are rose bushes. The clouds will come, but nobody will know that this is the rainy season. The sun will rise, but there will be no sunrise because there will be nobody to describe it.
“A knower is the most valuable phenomenon in existence and, because science denied it, religion had absolute freedom to go on insisting on all the old beliefs.
“My work is to help all the religions die peacefully.
“The area that they have been occupying should be occupied by science. We can keep two names: science for objective reality and religion for subjective reality. But there is no need for two names. It is better to have one name — science — with two dimensions: one moving outward, one moving inward.
“Scientific method starts with doubt. It goes on doubting till it comes to a point where doubt is impossible. When it faces reality, doubt falls.
“Religions have been repressing doubt. I have not come across a single religious leader who does not have, deep down in him, doubt still alive. All his beliefs may have repressed it, but they cannot destroy it.
“You can look into your own mind. You believe in God, but don’t you have a doubt about it? In fact, if you don’t have a doubt, why should you believe? You don’t have the disease, then why are you carrying the whole load of medicines? The belief proves the existence of doubt; and the belief remains only on the surface; it pushes, forces the doubt deeper into your unconscious. But it cannot destroy doubt.
“Belief has no power, it is impotent.
Doubt is immense energy.
“Belief is already something dead, a corpse. You can carry the corpse as long as you want, but remember, the corpse is an unnecessary burden on you. Soon you will start stinking just like the corpse. And finally the corpse is going to make you also a corpse. It is not good to keep company with the dead. It is dangerous.
“Belief has to disappear from all languages. Doubt should be enthroned. Belief should be dethroned.
“Why do I praise doubt so much? — because it leads you into inquiry, it raises questions, it takes you into new adventures. It never allows you to remain ignorant. It goes on and on moving till you have found the light.
“People have asked me again and again, “Do you believe in this? Do you believe in that?” And I have been telling them that this is a nonsense question.
“Either I know something or I don’t know. Belief has no place in my being anywhere.
“If I don’t know, then I will try to know — that’s what doubt is, that’s what inquiry is. And if I know, then there is no need to believe; I know it on my own authority. Why should I believe in Jesus Christ or Gautam Buddha? There is no need.
“But the strange thing is, Jesus Christ goes on believing in the old prophets. He has no experience of his own. God is his faith, it is not his experience. Mohammed believes in God.
“I am simply surprised that these people never thought that belief simply proves you are ignorant, you don’t know. You are simply carrying borrowed knowledge from others. Perhaps they were also carrying borrowed knowledge from somebody else. You cannot find the original source from where the belief arose. It arose, certainly, because it exists all over the world. There must be something in human psychology that has given birth to it.
“First, man’s ego does not want to accept ignorance. It wants to pretend to know; and it is very easy too to believe and become a knower….
“Science has to accept that it has been neglecting the most important part of existence: human consciousness. And once science starts moving into man’s interiority, religions will start disappearing on their own accord. They will become meaningless.
“When knowledge is available, who is going to believe?
“When experience is available, who is going to read it in a Bible, in a Koran?
“When you have food available to eat, I don’t think you will choose a book on cookery and read it. That you can do later on, or perhaps you may not need to do it.
“You have within you the secret key, and now it is science’s responsibility to help you to find the key.
“My religion is scientific. That’s why we don’t have any belief system. We have methods, just as science has methods. They explore objects by their methods; we explore our consciousness by our methods.
“Our methods are called meditations.
“They are absolutely scientific.
“No prayer is scientific, because first you have to believe in a God. And only then can you pray, because a prayer has to be addressed.
“Meditation is not to be addressed to anybody; it is just a method of digging within yourself.
“And you are there! — there is no need to believe that you are. In fact, even if you want to deny, you cannot deny yourself. The very denial will prove your existence.
“This is the only thing which is undeniable. Everything else can be denied. Perhaps it is a mirage in the desert, perhaps it is a dream, perhaps you are hallucinating, perhaps you are hypnotized and you are seeing things which are not there.
“Everything in the world can be denied, except you.
“You are the most fundamental reality — undeniable, indubitable.
“And finding it is a scientific experience.
“In the coming world, the new humanity, the new man will not have to bother about how to bridge religion and science, how to bring them closer, how to stop them fighting and destroying each other-there is no need.
“We are creating a science with the same methodology as all other sciences are created. Once we have established meditation as a scientific method — which is not difficult, everybody can do it…. It does not need a big lab — you are the lab! And nothing else is needed: no tubes and no stoves and no chemicals — nothing is needed.
“Everything that you need to know yourself is provided for from your very birth. Just a little one hundred and eighty degree turn….”
Abridged from Osho, From Death to Deathlessness, Talk #20 — There Is a Bigger Universe Within You
Also available as an Audiobook