Chapter 13: Be, Know Thyself, Keep the Measure
We poor modern Greeks don’t know what the true religion of our ancestors was. So-called scholars have no answer as they are confused by the rich mythology of poets. However, at Delphi only three admonitions were engraved on the original temple: Be, Know yourself, Keep the measure.
Would you, Osho, reveal how these three mysterious precepts - including meditation, self-awareness, et cetera, but no god - could constitute the whole religion acceptable to men like Socrates, Heraclitus and Diogenes?
Greece lost its golden age not because of mythological scholarship or poetic imagination; it lost its golden age the day it decided to poison Socrates. It killed its own highest expression of spirit.
In the death of Socrates starts the decline of a tremendously beautiful and great civilization which has given to the world people like Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Epicurus, Plotinus and many more. The whole Western civilization owes its origins to the Greek genius.
To understand why it has become poor - not only outwardly but inwardly too - you will have to understand that when a civilization kills a man like Socrates, Socrates is not killed, that very civilization is killed.
Socrates’ death has to be understood because without understanding it, Greece and its intelligence cannot come back to the heights it has already known.
Democracy was born in Greece but unfortunately we have not been able, up to now, to tolerate or forgive the giants amongst us. Their very presence becomes a deep wound in our being. Rather than becoming a challenge, a great invitation for a pilgrimage to the heights of consciousness, it becomes a wound. And it is very difficult to live with that wound. Something has to be done, and the easiest way is to destroy the man who makes you feel small.
The height of Socrates or Diogenes simply makes the ordinary man so inferior. But there are two ways to face this situation; one has never been used. The unused way is that the presence of Socrates or Pythagoras should become a deep certainty that “what can happen to another man can also happen to me. In their heights are my heights, hidden inside. In their freedom are the seeds of my freedom. In their sky, the stars have become clear - just a little effort is needed and my dark night can also be full of stars.” Their presence should become a guarantee of human potential, of human growth, of possibilities which ordinarily look too far away.
But if Socrates can touch those stars, in his hands our hands are also hidden, because no two human beings are essentially different. All differences are non-essential; the intrinsic man is one and the same. But this path has not been chosen - because it was difficult, because it would have to be proved by traveling to the same heights on the same lonely path, to attain to the same light and the same consciousness.
Man chooses the easier. He does not bother whether the easier is truer or not. The easier is to remove the man like Socrates. His removal will take away the wound that his presence creates. Then you can be happy in your ordinariness, then you can rejoice in your retardedness, then there is no one who can hurt your ego.