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Chapter 3: Is That So?

He would not deny, he would not accept. He didn’t make any commitment. He didn’t say, “I am not responsible.” He didn’t say, “I am responsible.” He simply said a very noncommittal thing; he said, “Is that so?” as if he was not related - so detached, so absolutely out of it. He simply asked, “Is that so, that I am the father of the child?”

What does this mean? It means such a total acceptance that even acceptance is not needed. Because when you say, “I accept,” deep down you have denied. When you say yes, then no is implied. He would not even say yes. Who was he to say yes or no? If it had happened, if this was a fact, then he would just be a witness to it. If people had come to think that he was the father, then why unnecessarily disturb them and say something this way or that way? He would not choose. This is what choicelessness is. He would not be this or that, he would not defend himself.

Purity is never on the defense. Morality is always defensive, that’s why morality always takes offense very easily. Just look at a moralist, at a puritan, and he feels offended. If you say something, he feels offended; he will immediately deny and defend himself. But this is one of the basic psychological insights of all seekers: that whenever you defend something, it means you are afraid.

If this Hakuin was an ordinary saint he would have defended himself - and he would also have been true in his defense, there was no problem about it: it was proved later on that the child never belonged to him, he was not the father. An ordinary saint, a so-called saint, a man of morality, even if he was the father, would have defended himself. And this Hakuin - he was not the father, but he did not defend himself.

Innocence is insecurity, that’s why it is innocence. If you defend it and make it secure, it is not innocence - calculation has entered.

What must have happened inside Hakuin? Nothing! He simply listened to the fact that people had come to believe that he was the father, so he asked, “Is that so?” That was all, that is all! He didn’t react in any way - this way or that. He would not say yes, he would not say no. He was not defensive, he was open and vulnerable. Innocence is vulnerable; it is absolute vulnerability, openness.

Whenever you defend, whenever you say that this is not so, you are afraid. Only fear is defensive. Fearlessness cannot be defensive. Fear always armors itself. If somebody says that you are dishonest, you immediately defend. Why? Why be so worried about it? Why react? - because you know that you are dishonest. That’s why it hurts. Truth hurts very much, because the wound is there. You know you are dishonest, and if somebody says you are dishonest, you cannot laugh, you become serious. You have to defend, otherwise the thing will be known. You have to fight, otherwise everybody else will start thinking in those terms.

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