The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.
Buddha has actually called it the lion's roar. When a man reaches an absolutely silent state he roars like a lion. For the first time he knows what freedom is because now there is no fear of anybody's opinion. What people say does not matter. Whether they call you a saint or a sinner is immaterial; your whole and sole judge is God. And by 'God' a person is not meant at all, God simply means the whole universe.
It is not a question of having to face a person; you have to face the trees, the rivers, the mountains, the stars -- the whole universe. And this is our universe, we are part of it. There is no need to be afraid of it, there is no need to hide anything from it. In fact, even if you try you cannot hide. The whole knows it already, the whole knows more about you than you know.
And the second point is even more significant; the second is, God has already judged. It is not something that is going to happen in the future, it has already happened: he has judged. So even the fear of that judgment withers away. It is not a question of some Judgment Day at the end.
You need not tremble. The judgment day happened on the first day; the moment he created you he already judged you. He knows you, you are his creation. If something goes wrong with you he is responsible, not you. If you go astray he is responsible, not you. How can you be responsible? -- you are not your own creation. If you paint and something goes wrong you cannot say that the painting is the cause of it -- the painter is the cause.
So there is no need to be afraid of the crowd or of some imaginary god at the end of the world asking you what you have done and what you have not done. He has already judged -- that is really significant -- it has already happened so you are free. And the moment one knows that one is totally free to be oneself, life starts having a dynamic quality to it.
Fear creates fetters, freedom gives you wings.
FREEDOM GIVES YOU WINGS
I have been a misfit my whole life -- in my family, in my religion, in my country -- and I have enjoyed it all the way, because to be a misfit is to be an individual.
To fit with the existing established order is to lose your individuality. And that's your whole world.
The moment you compromise and lose your individuality, you have lost everything. You have committed suicide. The people who fit in the world are people who have destroyed themselves.
Certainly it needs courage, a tremendously strong sense for freedom; otherwise, you cannot stand alone against the whole world. But to stand against the whole world is the beginning of such a great joy, rejoicing and blessing, that those who have never been misfits cannot understand it.
All the great names in the history of man were just misfits in their society. All the people who have contributed to the happiness of man and the beauty of the earth have been misfits. To be a misfit is a tremendously valuable quality.
Never compromise on any point. The very compromise is the beginning of your destruction.
I do not mean that you have to be stubborn; if you see something is right, go along with it. But the moment you realize that something is not right, then even if the whole world feels it is right, it is not right for you. And then stick to your position -- that will give you stamina, strength, a certain integrity.
And to be a misfit does not mean to be an egoist. If you are an egoist, sooner or later you will compromise. When you find any group of people, any society, any country, which helps you to be more egoistic, you will immediately fit with that society. The real misfit is a humble man, that's why nobody can absorb him. He is free because he is free of the ego.
My understanding is that only people of intelligence, individuality, are rejected. The people who are obedient, who have no individuality, no freedom of expression, never say no to anything, are always ready to say yes, even against their wills -- these are the people who gain much respectability in the world. They become presidents, they become prime ministers, they are honored in every possible way, for the simple reason that they committed suicide. They are no longer living, they are simply fossilized. How can you fit living people into a certain pattern? Every individual is unique -- why should he fit into another's mold?
The whole misery of the world can be explained very simply: everybody has been cut, molded, arranged by others without their even bothering to find out what he was supposed to be by nature. They don't give a chance to existence. From the very moment the child is born, they start spoiling him -- with all good intentions, of course. No parent does it consciously, but he was conditioned in the same way. He repeats the same with his children; he knows nothing else.
The disobedient child is continuously condemned. The obedient child is, on the other hand, continuously praised. But have you heard of any obedient child having become world-famous in any dimension of creativity? Have you heard of any obedient child who has attained the Nobel prize for anything -- literature, peace, science? The obedient child becomes just the common crowd.
I have lived continuously as a misfit everywhere, and I have enjoyed it, every inch of it, every drop of it. It is such a beautiful journey, to be just yourself.
FREEDOM FROM, FREEDOM FOR
Never think in terms of being free from; always think in terms of being free for. And the difference is vast, tremendously vast. Don't think in terms of from -- think for. Be free for God, be free for truth, but don't think that you want to be free from the crowd, free from the church, free from this and that. You may be able to go far away one day, but you will never be free, never. It is going to be some sort of suppression.
Why are you so afraid of the crowd? ... If the pull is there, then your fear simply shows your pull, your attraction. Wherever you go you will remain dominated by the crowd.
What I am saying is, just look at the facts of it -- that there is no need to think in terms of the crowd. Just think in terms of your being. It can be dropped right now. You cannot be free if you struggle. You can drop it because there is no point in struggling.
The crowd is not the problem -- you are the problem. The crowd is not pulling you -- you are being pulled, not by somebody else but by your own unconscious conditioning. Always remember not to throw the responsibility somewhere on somebody else, because then you will never be free of it. Deep down it is your responsibility. Why should one be so much against the crowd? Poor crowd! Why should you be so much against it? Why do you carry such a wound?
The crowd cannot do anything unless you cooperate. So the question is of your cooperation. You can drop the cooperation just now, just like that. If you put any effort into it, then you will be in trouble. So do it instantly. It is just on the spur of the moment, of spontaneous understanding, if you can see the point that if you fight, you will be fighting a losing battle. In the very fighting you are emphasizing the crowd.
That's what has happened to millions of people. Somebody wants to escape from women -- in India they have done that for centuries. Then they become more and more engrossed in it. They want to get rid of sex, and their whole mind then becomes sexual; they think only of sex and nothing else. They fast, and they will not go to sleep; they will do this and that pranayama and yoga and a thousand and one things -- all nonsense. The more they fight with sex the more they are enforcing it, the more they are concentrating on it. It becomes so significant, out of all proportion.
That is what has happened to Christian monasteries. They became so repressed, just afraid. The same can happen to you if you become afraid too much of the crowd. The crowd cannot do anything unless you cooperate, so it is a question of your alertness. Don't cooperate!
This is my observation: that whatsoever happens to you, you are responsible. Nobody else is doing it to you. You wanted it to be done, so it has been done. Somebody exploits you because you wanted to be exploited. Somebody has put you into a prison because you wanted to be imprisoned. There must have been a certain search for it. Maybe you used to call it security. Your names may have been different, your labels may have been different, but you were hankering to be imprisoned because in a prison one is safe and there is no insecurity.
But don't fight with the prison walls. Look inside. Find that hankering for security, and how the crowd can manipulate you. You must be asking for something from the crowd -- recognition, honor, respect, respectability. If you ask them, you have to repay them. Then the crowd says, "Okay, we give you respect, and you give us your freedom." It is a simple bargain. But the crowd has never done anything to you -- it is basically you. So get out of your own way!
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
Published by St. Martin's Press, NY.
About The Author
This article has been excerpted, with permission, from "Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously" by Osho, who is one of the best-known and most provocative spiritual teachers of the twentieth century. ©1999 Osho International Foundation. For more information, visit www.osho.com