They are just forerunners – but I am not an after-runner! I am my own self. There are points on which I will not agree even with Gautam Buddha and there are points where I will not agree with Friedrich Nietzsche either. But the spirit of Friedrich Nietzsche is certainly closer to me than anybody else’s, even Gautam Buddha included, for the simple reason that he is the only great thinker who has not created a blind following. He remained aloof and alone. All that he asked was, just be a listener. He never asked for any surrender. That’s where he differs from many founders of religions. They are enslavers of man.
Friedrich Nietzsche may not be right on many points but he is certainly a man who loves freedom and who respects the individuality of the other. He loves the other so much that he cannot convert the other into a follower. Because to convert anybody into a follower is to destroy him, his integrity, his authenticity; is to create a hypocrite, a spiritual slave. And that’s what all founders of religions have done. They have created a spiritual slavery all over the world.
At least Nietzsche has not committed that sin. He was capable – far more capable than any Jesus or Mohammed, Mahavira or Krishna – to impress people, to influence people, to create a blind following. But because he did not do it, I have tremendous respect for him.
He never allowed anyone to be a follower. All that he asked was to be what Mahavira has called shravaka, the listener. You have only to be a listener. The art of listening is enough; no other discipline is required. If you are in the close proximity of a man like Friedrich Nietzsche then just to listen is going to transform your whole being.
Nothing else is needed.
But listening is not so easy, because your mind is continuously chattering. Even while you are listening, your mind is not silent. And a mind that is not silent cannot be a listener; it can only hear, but it cannot listen.
You have to know the difference, clearly, between hearing and listening. Anybody who has ears can hear, but it does not mean that he will be able to listen. For listening he needs something more than only the mechanism of ears; he has to know how to be such that his heart and his ears join in a combination. Ordinarily, they are absolutely disconnected. The ears are joined with the mind, not with the heart. And our whole education, religious or secular, makes it a fundamental rule to force every child so that his ears are connected with his thinking process, not with his love, not with his heart.
Nietzsche wrote, in Ecce Homo,
“Here there speaks no prophet, none of those gruesome hybrids of sickness and will to power called founders of religions. One has above all to hear correctly the tone that proceeds from this mouth, this halcyon tone, if one is not to do pitiable injustice to the meaning of its wisdom…. Here there speaks no fanatic, here there is no preaching, here faith is not demanded: out of an infinite abundance of light and depth of happiness there falls drop after drop, word after word – a tender slowness of pace is the tempo of these discourses. Such things as this reach only the most select: it is an incomparable privilege to be a listener here.”
Osho, this is certainly about you. Was Nietzsche your forerunner?
Maneesha, Nietzsche is certainly my forerunner, just as Chuang Tzu is, or Bodhidharma. There have been mystics in the world which I can call my forerunners. But it does not mean that I have to agree with them in totality.