Karl Marx says it is not history but the economic structure of the society. Sigmund Freud says it is not the economic structure of the society but the unconscious structure of your psyche – unconscious! You cannot do anything about it, it is beyond you. You are conscious and it is unconscious; there is no bridge. You are utterly unaware of it. The enemy goes on functioning from such dark corners inside you and there is no possibility of bringing any light to it. At the most we can analyze, understand the situation, and be adjusted to it. All these philosophies, psychologies, sociologies, are inventions of man to avoid one single phenomenon: the phenomenon of responsibility.
A really religious person is born the moment you accept your responsibility for yourself, the moment you say, “Whatsoever I am is my choice – not of the past but of the present. It is my choice in this moment, and if I want to change it I am absolutely free to change it. Nobody can hinder me – no social force, no state, no history, no economics, no unconscious, can hinder me. If I am determined to change it, I can change it.”
Yes, in the beginning the responsibility looks like a heavy, heavy weight; it feels good to throw the responsibility on somebody else. At least you can enjoy this much: “I am not responsible.” You can enjoy that you are just a victim, helpless. In the beginning to accept responsibility for yourself totally, unconditionally, is heavy. It creates despair, anguish, anxiety, but only in the beginning. Once it is accepted, slowly, slowly you become aware of the great potential and the great freedom that it brings.
If I am responsible for my misery, it also automatically means that I am responsible for my bliss. If I am responsible for my misery, I can stop it immediately. Let me repeat the word immediately – not even for a single moment does one have to wait. It is not a question of changing your past lives, it is not a question of changing the whole society, it is not a question of bringing the dictatorship of the proletariat, and it is not a question of going into years and years of psychoanalysis. It is a simple question of accepting the responsibility: “Whosoever I am, I have created my climate, my being.”
Man is born only as a potential. He can become a thorn for himself and for others, he can also become a flower for himself and for others. And remember, whatsoever you are for others you are for yourself too, and whatsoever you are for yourself you are for others too. If you are a flower to yourself, your fragrance is bound to be released; it will reach others. If you are a thorn to yourself, how can you be a flower to others?
This is one of the greatest contributions of Gautama the Buddha to the world: he makes the individual absolutely, categorically, irrevocably responsible. Very courageous people accepted it, only rare individuals accepted it. Cowards always want to escape from responsibility.
The people who followed Buddha became disciples and devotees. The people for whom Buddha became the master were a rare kind of people: really courageous, ready to risk all, ready to accept the anguish of being reborn – because this is a rebirth! Dropping all these philosophies which make somebody else, xyz, responsible for your being – it is a rebirth. Accepting the whole responsibility of your being, whatsoever you are; good, bad, sinner, saint – means you have taken a great quantum leap. But soon the responsibility turns into freedom. Such a great liberation happens through it!