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Chapter 2: I Call It Reverence for Life

He said, “Nothing else hurts me more. I am a poor man because I have only money and nothing else. I want to do something for you - I feel so much for you - but I am a poor man: except money, I have nothing. And if you refuse my money, you refuse me, because I don’t have anything else. So take this money. If you want to burn it, burn it here right now. If you want to throw it away, throw it away right now - that is your business. But remember: never again refuse money from me, because that means you are refusing me. And I have nothing else to offer.” His tears were so sincere and authentic, and what he said was so meaningful, that I said, “Okay. Give me this money, and take out. You have more in your pockets.”

He said, “That’s right. That’s the man I have been in search of,” and he took it all out. He showed me his pockets, inside out, and said, “Now, right now, I don’t have anything else, but this is the man I have been in search of.” And he invited me to Kolkatta.

Where he lived was a Jaina colony. Jainas tend to live together in one place because they don’t want to associate with “lower human beings.” They are the highest, the purest, the most religious. There, he told me, “I will show you something which will surprise you.” He took me to one of his rooms, opened the window, and said, “Look outside.”

Outside I saw. I could not figure out what it was. There were at least one hundred cots, without any mattresses on them, and one hundred people on those naked cots trying to sleep. I said, “But what is the matter? Why are the mattresses missing, and why don’t they have any pillows? They are certainly in discomfort; you can see they are tossing and turning.”

He said, “You don’t know the reality of what you are seeing. There is something more to it; these people are hired by Jainas.”

I said, “Hired? For what?”

He said, “To sleep on these cots.”

I said, “But what is the purpose of it all?”

He said, “The purpose is that in cots.”

In India, in hot countries, insects of all kinds grow very easily. A certain insect - I don’t know what you call it in English - khatmal.?

Reply: It means ‘bedbug,’ Osho.

Bedbug - that is a parasite. Jainas cannot kill them because of their philosophy of nonviolence. They cannot kill them, but if nobody sleeps on those cots, the bedbugs will die - so they hire people. They will give you five rupees per night: you sleep in a cot full of bedbugs and they will suck your blood the whole night. Nonviolent people are not necessarily life-reverent. Now what kind of business is going on? They are saving the bedbugs - but what about these poor men? But the Jainas don’t think about that. They are paying them so there is no problem with it. The people have agreed to sleep on the cots; and they are paying them.

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