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There has never been any peace. There have been only two periods in history: the period we know as war, and the period we call peace, which is a cover up – in reality it should be called preparation for another war. The whole history consists only of two things: war and preparation for war. And you are asking me, "Since peace was officially restored to the world at the end of World War Two, what have the politicians been doing?"
The politicians have been doing exactly what they have always been doing: creating more conflict, more unrest, more discrimination, more destructive weapons – and preparing for the third world war.
Once, Albert Einstein was asked: "You, being the scientist who discovered atomic energy, must be able to inform us what is going to happen in the third world war."
Einstein had tears in his eyes and he said, "Don't ask me about the third world war – I do not know anything about it. But if you want to know about the fourth world war, I can say something."
The journalist who was asking the question was immensely surprised and amazed: The man is not saying anything about the third world war, says he knows nothing about it, but he is ready to say something about the fourth world war? He asked excitedly, "Then please tell me about the fourth world war."
Einstein said, "Only one thing can be said about it – that it is never going to happen." The third world war will be the last world war. For this last world war, politicians have been preparing since peace was officially restored after the second world war.
The politician and his game are the ugliest things you can conceive of. We are facing a dark night, and I am reminded of the old saying that "When the night is darkest, the dawn is very close by." But I hesitate to say that this dark night that is surrounding us will have any dawn to it.
I will just tell you exactly what has been happening since 1945 – and people are kept in absolute ignorance; they are not aware that they are sitting on a volcano which can erupt any moment. They are kept engaged in trivia, and the real problems are kept hidden as if they don't exist.
Since 1945 there have been one hundred and five wars fought in sixty-six countries – all of them in the Third World. One is necessarily tempted to ask, "Why in the Third World?" America and the Soviet Union both have gone so far ahead in developing destructive weapons, that the weapons used in the second world war are out of date. For them, they are of no use. They have to be sold somewhere; some market is needed, and the market is possible only if there is war.
America goes on giving weapons to Pakistan. Then, naturally, India goes on taking weapons from the Soviet Union. And this has been happening in the Third World: one country purchases out-of-date material from the Soviet Union; then its enemy purchases from America. This is good business.
And they don't want these people to stop wars, because otherwise, where are they going to sell these weapons on which they have spent billions of dollars? And these poor countries and their politicians are ready to purchase them, although their people are dying of hunger – seventy-five percent of their budget goes towards war.
On the average, each war has lasted three and a half years. So who says peace has been restored? One hundred and five wars in sixty-six countries, each war lasting at least three and a half years – and you call it peace?
These wars caused sixteen million deaths. In the second world war, there were also millions of deaths. Since the second world war, which is the time of peace, sixteen million people have been killed in wars – and still you go on calling it peace?
But the politicians are so cunning, and people are so blind that they will not look around at what is happening. They will go on fighting about small things: which district should remain in which state? Belgaum is a district here; should it remain in Maharashtra? – because it is a boundary district between the states of Karnataka and Maharashtra.
There are people belonging to both languages, and they have been killing each other continually for three decades – and just a small thing cannot be decided.
In fact, nobody wants to decide it. Otherwise, what is the problem? Just a small plebiscite, a vote under neutral observation, and people can decide where they want to be. There is no need for killing each other. But it seems politicians are deeply interested in trouble continuing somewhere or other, so that they are needed.
Sixteen million people have been killed, and yet in every school and every college and in every university, they go on repeating, "We are living in a period of peace." In fact, the world war was almost more peaceful!
The majority of the wars have been in Asia. It is one of the strategies of the powerful nations and their politicians that they should fight always in some other country; the Soviet Union and America should fight in Afghanistan.
So the people of Afghanistan are killed; Afghanistan becomes a graveyard, and America and the Soviet Union are both profited by selling weapons. They are sending their experts, their weapons; they are training the Afghanis, and Afghanis are killing other Afghanis. One side has weapons from America, the other side has weapons from the Soviet Union.
Nine million civilians have been killed in conventional wars since Hiroshima. In ancient times, civilians were never killed. It is absolutely absurd: if your armies are fighting, the people who are fighting in armies may be killed, but now there seems to be no sensibility, no reasonability – nine million people who are civilians are killed. There may be small children, women, old people – who have nothing to do with the war, who may be reading in their schools, who may be working in their factories, or who may be cooking in their kitchens.
Just a few days ago Ronald Reagan, for no reason at all, attacked Libya – he bombed the civilian parts of Libya. His target was Kaddafi, and because Kaddafi has three houses inside the city, all his three houses had to be bombed. And in bombing his houses, other houses were burned and bombed. And just now, investigators have come to know that while the bombing was going on, professional killers were searching inside Libya for Kaddafi because it was possible he might not be killed by the bombs, he might not be in his own house.
So they were bombing the civilians, and professional killers were searching inside Libya to find Kaddafi. They could only kill Kaddafi's daughter. And neither Kaddafi nor the Libyans have done anything wrong against them.
And it is a coincidence that the day England allowed Ronald Reagan to use England as a base for bombing Libya, the parliament of England did not allow me to stay at the airport, in the lounge, for six hours – because I am a dangerous man! And Ronald Reagan is allowed to use England to bomb an innocent country which has done no harm to him. This is as dark a night as humanity has ever faced.
The current war budget is around seven hundred billion dollars per year. Every year, fifteen million people die from malnutrition and disease, and every year seven hundred billion dollars are spent on warfare.
Every minute, thirty children die for want of food and inexpensive vaccines and every minute one point three million dollars of public funds are spent on the world's military budget.
It seems we are not interested in life anymore; we have decided to commit suicide. Man has never been in such a suicidal mood – ever, in the whole of history.
Two hundred and fifty million children have not received even a basic education. A single nuclear submarine equals the annual education budget for one hundred and sixty million school-age children in twenty-three developing countries. Just one submarine! And there are thousands of submarines moving around the ocean all over the world – American and Russian both – and each submarine has nuclear weapons six times more powerful than all the weapons that were used in the second world war. And they are so costly that we could have provided our children with education and food, nutrition. But our interests are not there.
These are the politicians who don't want to be interfered with, who want absolute control of humanity – nobody above them.
The world's forests are disappearing at the rate of eighteen to twenty million hectares a year – an area half the size of California, and California is one of the biggest states in America. Within the next twenty to thirty years, all the tropical forests will be gone; and the implications are tremendous because these forests are supplying you with oxygen and life. If these forests disappear at the rate they are disappearing, mankind will be at a loss to find enough oxygen – from where?
And on the other hand, whatever carbon dioxide you exhale, these forests inhale. If these forests were not there... already there is a very thick layer of carbon dioxide continuously accumulating in the sky, just on the twenty-mile boundary where the atmosphere ends. And because of that carbon dioxide, the temperature of the atmosphere is rising. It is already four degrees higher than it has ever been.
If all the forests disappear, the temperature will become so high that it will do two things: firstly, it will become impossible for life to survive; secondly, all the ice at the north and the south poles, on the Himalayas and the Alps and other mountains, will start melting because of the heat. And this will raise all the oceans by forty feet. It will flood all our cities, all our countries; it will drown almost the whole earth – and this is not a flood that is going to recede.
But these politicians go on doing it. Just a few months ago I was in Nepal. Nepal is the poorest country in the world, but rather than dropping its arrangements for war, it has sold its forests – eternal forests of the Himalayas – to the Soviet Union. And the Soviet Union has cut whole mountainsides and left them dry. And for what? To create more newspapers.
What is the need of so many newspapers? It is almost the same news every day, and now that we have got far better media systems, the newspaper is out of date – there is radio, there is television. Why do you go on clinging to newspapers and destroying all the forests? Just because all the politicians, presidents and prime ministers need their pictures on the front page; their speeches, which are simply bullshit, to be published – without any consideration of what harm they are doing.
During the same period, the world population is expected to increase thirty to forty percent, from five billion to seven billion. This population growth alone will cause requirements for water to double in nearly half the world. Food is another thing... even water will become difficult, because the requirement will be double and we don't have that much water for drinking.
In addition, the United Nations reports say that globally, twenty million hectares a year of farm and grazing land are being reduced to zero productivity. More than one thousand plant and animal species become extinct each year – a rate that is expected to increase. One and a half to two million people in developing countries suffer acute pesticide poisoning annually, and pesticide-related deaths are estimated at ten thousand per year. Officers of India's planning commission reported recently: "We in India are on the verge of an enormous ecological disaster, with our water reserves drying up. What is happening in Africa is going to happen in India within a few decades."
Your population goes on growing, your land goes on becoming more barren, your water supply is becoming less and less, and because forests have been cut, the rivers that go through Nepal to Bangladesh are creating, every year, such floods as have never been seen before. Thousands of people are dying, thousands of villages simply disappear – because those thick trees were making the rivers flow slowly. Now that there are no trees, the rivers come with such force that the ocean is not ready to absorb that much water so quickly. The water starts returning and that returning water creates the floods that happen in Bangladesh.
Neither Indian politicians nor Nepalese politicians are ready to stop cutting the trees. Nobody is interested in human life. Nobody is interested in finding out what our priority should be.
A poor country like India has so many newspapers, so many magazines, which are absolutely unnecessary. And that newsprint paper does not grow in the fields, does not fall from the sky; you have to cut trees. Trees that have taken one hundred fifty years, two hundred years to grow, disappear. And what do you gain from your newspapers? Politicians are the real criminals – not the criminals who are in your jails. It would be a far better world if there was an exchange: all the politicians in the jails, and all the criminals in the politician's positions – they would prove more human.
The politicians go on hiding facts as long as possible, as if by hiding facts you can change anything.
Now many countries are not declaring how many homosexuals they have. Families are not declaring that the person who has died, has died from AIDS. They are bribing doctors to get certificates that he has died of a heart attack, or of cancer – because the family is more worried about its respectability, about what people will think: "Somebody has died of AIDS in your family?"
But hiding the fact means... that man had a wife; he may have transferred the disease to the wife and if there are children, they may be born with the disease – and nobody will know it and they will go on spreading it all around.
The disease is not an ordinary sexual disease – anything that comes out of your body, even your tears, carries the virus. If a child is crying, and just out of kindness and compassion you wipe the tears of the child, there is a danger you may be getting AIDS. Saliva carries the virus, and the whole of humanity is being kept in darkness: kissing should be stopped now – completely!
There is only one small part of humanity – the people who live in Siberia, the Eskimos – they are the only people in the whole of history who have never kissed. And when for the first time they saw Christian missionaries kissing, they could not believe it: "How dirty these people are, mixing saliva with each other! Are they human beings or some kind of monsters?"
Their way is far more scientific and far more hygienic. They don't kiss just to show love – because it can be not love, but death – they rub noses with each other; that looks very clean, unless you have a cold.
The other day it was accepted that ten million people are suffering from AIDS right now; and this is not a definitive report because countries like India have no way of knowing – nor the means to know. Only very developed countries have come to know that ten million people are suffering.... Perhaps at least one hundred million people are suffering in all these backward countries.
For example, in Africa, AIDS is more prevalent than anywhere else. And it was never made known that Africans are not homosexuals, but they have a strange perversion: they make love to women, but not from the front.
There are people around the world, in small villages, who even make love to animals -- and they have given AIDS to animals! And now animals are spreading that AIDS through their milk, through their meat. Things have gone beyond human control.
No doctor wants... even if he comes to know that his patient has AIDS, he does not want to tell the patient because then the patient will insist, "Treat me!" There is no treatment. So the doctor tries, "You have some other disease," and sends him to some other expert because being in contact with the AIDS patient the doctor is in danger, the nurses are in danger. The whole staff is in danger.
In one of the reports I saw about jails... thirty percent of the people in jails are homosexuals. And that does not seem to be an accurate report. It must be the minimum that jail authorities have accepted – because people who are living in jails for twenty years, thirty years, and cannot come in contact with women, are bound to force homosexuality on each other.
The simplest thing would be.... There are separate jails for women – why should they be separate? The prisoners should live in a mixed way, with women and men together, and then AIDS and homosexuality can be avoided. But politicians will not say anything about it, simply because of fear. Their whole object is to say only things which people like, only things which don't go against people's prejudices, their traditional mind – because they depend on people's votes.
That's why I said that religious people should always be consulted by the politicians; their advice should be given every possible attention. But Rajiv Gandhi says that politicians should not be interfered with by religious people. Religious people can be interfered with by politicians – about that, there is no question. This is an unfortunate thing, but it goes on and on, and time is very short.
I used to be very hopeful. Still, I go on hoping against hope that perhaps, in a very dangerous situation, man may awaken. But there seems to be a sadness in my heart because I can see that if nothing is done, then this century is going to be our end. And not only our end, but the end of the whole of existence's dream of creating consciousness. It has been successful only on this planet. There are millions of stars and each star has dozens of planets; only on this small planet has the miracle happened that not only life exists – consciousness exists; not only consciousness exists, but there are people who have reached to the ultimate peak of consciousness: a Gautam Buddha, a Socrates, a Pythagoras, a Chuang Tzu.
Life disappearing from this small planet will make the whole universe so poor that it will take millions of years to come again to this state where consciousness can become enlightened.
My sadness is not about myself. I am absolutely contented. Death cannot take anything from me. My sadness is concerned with the whole of humanity, because their death will take away any opportunity of their becoming enlightened, of their becoming blissful, of their knowing meaning and significance. They have lived in darkness. Are they going to die in darkness too?
I would like my people, at least, not to waste time in postponing their own growth, because politicians are absolutely prepared to destroy each other -- to destroy all and everything. Their lust for power has come to the climax. Before they succeed in committing a global suicide, at least you should have known the god that exists within you.
You should spread your joy and your silence and your laughter to anybody you come in contact with. You cannot give a better gift to your friends, to your acquaintances, to your lovers, to your children.
The time is very short and the work is tremendous, but if you have courage, the challenge can be accepted. Don't depend on politicians; they cannot do anything; they are not even aware of where they have been leading humanity – into what darkness.
Osho, The Hidden Splendor, Talk #7