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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 5
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Chapter 5: Love Yourself and Watch

To make you spiritually weak they have found a sure method, one hundred percent guaranteed, and that is to teach you not to love yourself. If a man cannot love himself he cannot love anybody else either. The teaching is very tricky. They say “Love others,” because they know if you cannot love yourself you cannot love at all. But they go on saying, “Love others, love humanity, love God, love nature, love your wife, your husband, your children, your parents, but don’t love yourself” - because to love oneself is selfish according to them.

They condemn self-love as they condemn nothing else - and they have made their teaching look very logical. They say: “If you love yourself you will become an egoist, if you love yourself you will become narcissistic.” It is not true. A man who loves himself finds that there is no ego in him. It is by loving others without loving yourself, trying to love others, that the ego arises.

The missionaries, the social reformers, the social servants, have the greatest egos in the world - naturally, because they think themselves to be superior human beings. They are not ordinary: ordinary people love themselves; they love others, they love great ideals, they love God. And all their love is false, because all their love is without any roots.

A man who loves himself takes the first step towards real love.

It is like throwing a pebble into a silent lake: the first circular ripples will arise around the pebble, very close to the pebble, naturally - where else can they arise? And then they will go on spreading; they will reach the farthest shore. If you stop the ripples arising close to the pebble, there will be no other ripples at all. Then you cannot hope to create ripples reaching to the farthest shores; it is impossible.

The priests and the politicians became aware of the phenomenon: stop people loving themselves and you have destroyed their capacity to love. Now whatsoever they think is love will be only pseudo. It may be duty, but not love - and “duty is a four-letter dirty word.” Parents are fulfilling their duties towards their children, and then in return children will fulfill their duties towards their parents. The wife is dutiful towards her husband and the husband is dutiful towards his wife. Where is love?

Love knows nothing of duty. Duty is a burden, a formality. Love is a joy, a sharing; love is informal. The lover never feels that he has done enough, the lover always feels that more was possible. The lover never feels, “I have obliged the other.” On the contrary, he feels, “Because my love has been received, I am obliged. The other has obliged me by receiving my gift, by not rejecting it.” The man of duty thinks, “I am higher, spiritual, extraordinary. Look how I serve people!”

These servants of the people are the most pseudo people in the world, and the most mischievous too. If we can get rid of the public servants, humanity will be unburdened, will feel very light, will be able to dance again, sing again.

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