Chapter 10: The Right Side Up
And I tell you, if you allow yourself to be cheated, in the end you will find that those who were cheating you were really the victims. They have been cheated. And they could not take anything from you because, in the first place, you had nothing.
When death knocks at your door, you will be happy that you allowed people to cheat you rather than cheating them - because there are only two possibilities: either you cheat or you allow people to cheat you. There is no other possibility. If you think, “I will not cheat others, but I will not allow anybody to cheat me,” you are in a wrong attitude of mind. You don’t understand what you are thinking. It is impossible.
The only way not to be cheated is to cheat. Ask Machiavelli, he knows. Ask Kautilya, Chanakya, he knows. Machiavelli says: “The only way to defend yourself is to attack.” He is exactly your cunningness embodied. He is the incarnation of cunningness. But he’s saying a perfectly logical thing: if you don’t want to be cheated, cheat - because that is the only way not to be cheated. There is no other way. But I tell you, if you cheat people, in the end you will find that you have been doing so much and your hands are empty.
Alexander the Great was dying and he told his people, “My hands should be hanging out of the coffin, outside it.”
They were worried. They said, “This has never been done. What are you thinking, and why? Why should your hands be hanging out of the coffin?”
He said, “So that people can see that I am going empty-handed.”
A great understanding dawned on him, but very late, when nothing could be done. He has been accumulating the things of the world, he has become almost the conqueror of the world, and in the end he realizes that hands are empty.
Hands will always be empty if you go on cheating people. Once you understand that there is nothing to fear, let them cheat. In their cheating you, they are not very clever; they are simply foolish. And the more you allow them to cheat, the more you trust them, a different kind of treasure will open its doors to you, that is available only to a childlike consciousness - innocent.
The last question:
What is innocence?
[Osho is silent.]
Enough for today?
[The assembly laughs.]