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Chapter 4: Madness or Meditation

The first question:

Osho,
You said that there are only two alternatives for man, either madness or meditation. But millions of people on the Earth have not reached to either of the two. Do you think they will?

They have reached! They have not reached to meditation, but they have reached to madness. And the difference between the mad who are in the madhouses and the mad who are outside is only of degrees. There is no qualitative difference, the difference is only of quantity. You may be less mad, they may be more mad, but man as he is is mad.

Why do I say man as he is is mad? Madness means many things. One, you are not centered. If you are not centered you will be insane. Not centered, many voices in you - you are many, you are a multitude. And no one is a master in the house, and every servant of the house claims to be the master. There is confusion, conflict and a continuous struggle. You are in a continuous civil war. If this civil war is not going on then you will be in meditation. It continues day and night, for twenty-four hours. Write down whatsoever goes on in your mind for a few minutes, and be honest. Write down exactly whatsoever goes on and you yourself will feel that this is mad.

I have a particular technique I use with many persons. I say to them, sit in a closed room and then start talking loudly, whatsoever comes in the mind. Talk loudly so that you can listen. This fifteen minutes of talking, and you will feel that you are listening to a madman. Absurd, inconsistent, unrelated fragments float in the mind - and that is your mind! So you may be ninety-nine percent mad and someone else has crossed the boundary, he has gone beyond one hundred percent. Those who have gone beyond one hundred percent, we put them in the madhouses. We cannot put you in the madhouse because there are not so many madhouses. And there cannot be - then the whole Earth has to be a madhouse.

Khalil Gibran writes a small anecdote. He says one of his friends became mad so he was put in a madhouse. Then just out of love, compassion, he went to see him, to visit him. He was sitting under a tree in the garden of the madhouse, surrounded by a very big wall. Khalil Gibran went there, sat by the side with his friend on the bench and asked him, “Do you ever think about why you are here?”

The madman laughed and he said, “I am here because I wanted to leave that big madhouse outside. And I am at peace here. In this madhouse - you call it a madhouse - no one is mad.”

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