Is a Harmonious World Possible?
The yearning for a utopia is basically the yearning for harmony in the individual and in the society. The harmony has never existed; there has always been a chaos.
Society has been divided into different cultures, different religions, different nations – and all based on superstitions. None of the divisions are valid. But these divisions show that man is divided within himself: these are the projections of his own inner conflict. He is not one within, that's why he could not create one society, one humanity outside.
The cause is not outside. The outside is only the reflection of the inner man.
Man has developed from the animals.
This is profoundly supported by modern psychoanalysis, particularly Carl Gustav Jung's school, because in the collective unconscious of man there are memories which belong to animalhood.
If man is taken deep into hypnosis, first he enters the unconscious mind, which is just the repressed part of this life. If he is hypnotized even more deeply, then he enters into the collective unconscious, which has memories of being animals. People start screaming – in that stage they cannot speak a language. They start moaning or crying, but language is impossible; they can shout, but in an animal way. And in the collective unconscious state, if they are allowed to move or they are told to move, they move on all fours – they don't stand up.
In the collective unconscious there are certainly remnants that suggest that they have been sometime in some animal body. And different people come from different animal bodies. That may be the cause of such a difference in individuals. And sometimes you can see a similarity – somebody behaves like a dog, somebody behaves like a fox, somebody behaves like a lion.
And there is great support in folklore, in ancient parables like Aesop's Fables, or Panchtantra in India – which is the most ancient – in which all the stories are about animals, but are very significant for human beings and represent certain human types.
And man still carries much of the animal's instinct – his anger, his hatred, his jealousy, his possessiveness, his cunningness. All that has been condemned in man seems to belong to a very deep-rooted unconscious. And the whole work of spiritual alchemy is how to get rid of the animal past.
Without getting rid of the animal past, man will remain divided. The animal past and his humanity cannot exist as one, because humanity has just the opposite qualities.
So all that man can do is become a hypocrite.
As far as formal behavior is concerned, he follows the ideals of humanity – of love and of truth, of freedom, of non-possessiveness, compassion. But it remains only a very thin layer, and at any moment the hidden animal can come up; any accident can bring it up. And whether it comes up or not, the inner consciousness is divided.
This divided consciousness has been creating the yearning and the question: How to become a harmonious whole as far as the individual is concerned? And the same is true about the whole society: How can we make the society a harmonious whole – where there is no war, no conflict – no classes, no divisions of color, caste, religion, nation?
Because of people like Thomas Moore, who wrote the book Utopia, the name became synonymous with all idealistic goals – but they have not grasped the real problem. That's why it seems their idea of a utopia is never going to happen. If you think of society as becoming an ideal society, a paradise, it seems to be impossible: There are so many conflicts, and there seems to be no way to harmonize them.
Every religion wants to conquer the whole world, not to be harmonized.
Every nation wants to conquer the whole world, not to be harmonized.
Every culture wants to spread all over the world and to destroy all other cultures, not to bring a harmony between them.
So utopia became synonymous with something which is simply imaginary. And there are dreamers – the very word "utopia" also means "that which is never going to happen." But still man goes on thinking in those terms again and again. There seems to be some deep-rooted urge.... But his thinking is about the symptoms – that's why it seems to be never going to happen. He is not looking at the causes. The causes are individuals.
Utopia is possible. A harmonious human society is possible, should be possible, because it will be the best opportunity for everyone to grow, the best opportunity for everyone to be himself. The richest possibilities will be available to everyone. So it seems that the way it is, society is absolutely stupid.
The utopians are not dreamers, but your so-called realists who condemn utopians are stupid. But both are agreed on one point – that something has to be done in the society.
Prince Kropotkin, Bakunin, and their followers would like all the governments to be dissolved – as if it is in their hands, as if you simply say so and the governments will dissolve. These are the anarchists, who are the best utopians. Reading them, it seems that whatever they are saying is significant. But they have no means to materialize it, and they have no idea how it is going to happen. And there is Karl Marx, Engels, and Lenin – the Marxists, the communists, and different schools of socialism, connected with different dreamers. Even George Bernard Shaw had his own idea of socialism, and he had a small group called the Fabian Society. He was propagating a kind of socialist world, totally different from the communist world that exists today.
There are fascists who think that it is a question of more control and more government power; just the opposite pole of anarchists, who want no government – all the source of corruption is government.
And there are people, the fascists, who want all power in the hands of dictators. They say that It is because of the democratic idea that the society is falling apart, because in democracy the lowest denominator becomes the ruler. He decides who is going to rule; and he is the most ignorant one, he has no understanding. The mob decides how the society should be. So according to the fascist, democracy is only mobocracy, it is not democracy – there is no democracy possible.
According to the communists, the whole problem is simply the class division between the poor and the rich. They think that if all government power goes into the hands of the poor and they have a dictatorship of the proletariat – when all classes have disappeared, and the society has become equal – then soon there will be no need of any state.
They are all concerned with the society. And that is where their failure lies.
As I see it, utopia is not something that is not going to happen, it is something that is possible, but we should go to the causes, not to the symptoms. And the causes are in the individuals, not in the society.
For example, in seventy years, the communist revolution in Soviet Russia was not able to dissolve the dictatorship. Lenin was thinking that ten or fifteen years at the most would be enough, because by that time we would have equalized everybody, distributed wealth equally – then there would be no need for a government.
But after fifteen years they found that the moment you remove the enforced state, people are going to become again unequal. There will be again rich people and there will be again poor people, because there is something in people which makes them rich or poor. So you have to keep them in almost a concentration camp if you want them to remain equal. But this is a strange kind of equality because it destroys all freedom, all individuality.
And the basic idea was that the individual will be given equal opportunity. His needs should be fulfilled equally. He will have everything equal to everybody else. He will share it.
But the ultimate outcome is just the opposite. They have almost destroyed the individual to whom they were trying to give equality, and freedom, and everything good that should be given to individuals. The very individual is removed. They have become afraid of the individual; and the reason is that they are still not aware that however long the enforced state lasts – seventy or seven hundred years – it will not make any difference.
The moment you remove control, there will be a few people who know how to be rich, and there will be a few people who know how to be poor. And they will simply start the whole thing again.
In the beginning they tried... because Karl Marx's idea was that there should be no marriage in communism. And he was very factual about it: that marriage was born because of individual property. His logic was correct. There was a time when there was no marriage. People lived in tribes, and just as animals make love, people made love.
The problem started only when a few people who were more cunning, more clever, more powerful, had managed some property. Now they wanted that their property, after their death, should go to their own children. It is a natural desire that if a person works his whole life and gathers property, land, or creates a kingdom, it should go to his children.
In a subtle way, through the children, because they are his blood, he will be still ruling, he will be still possessing. It is a way to find some substitute for immortality, because the continuity will be there: "I will not be there, but my child will be there – who will represent me, who will be my blood and my bones and my marrow. And then his child will be there and there will be a continuity. So in a subtle sense, I will have immortality. I cannot live forever, so this is a substitute way."
That's why marriage was created; otherwise it was easier for man not to have any marriage, because marriage was simply a responsibility – of children, of a wife. When the woman is pregnant, then you have to feed her.... And there was no need to take all that responsibility. The woman was taking the whole responsibility.
But the man wanted some immortality, and that his property should be possessed by his own blood. And the woman wanted some protection – she was vulnerable. While she was pregnant, she could not work, she could not go hunting; she had to depend on somebody.
So it was in the interest of both to have a contract that they would remain together, would not betray in any sense, because the whole thing was to keep the blood pure.
So Marx's idea was that when communism comes, and property becomes collective, marriage becomes meaningless because its basic reason is removed – now you don't have any private property. Your son will not have anything as an inheritance.
In fact, just as you cannot have private property, you cannot have a private woman; that too is property. And you cannot have a private son or daughter, because that too is private property. So with the disappearance of private property, marriage will disappear.
So after the revolution, for two or three years, in Russia they tried it, but it was impossible. Private property had disappeared, but people were not ready to drop marriage. And even the government found that if marriage disappears, the whole responsibility falls on the government – of the children, of the woman.... So why take an unnecessary responsibility? – and it is not a small thing. It is better to let marriage continue.
So they reversed the policy; they forgot all about Karl Marx, because just within three years they found that this was going to create difficulty, and people were not willing.
People were not willing to drop private property either – it was forcibly taken away from them. Almost one million people were killed – for small private properties. Somebody had a small piece of land, a few acres, and because everything was going to be nationalized....
Although the people were poor, still they wanted to cling to their property. At least they had something; and now even that was going to be taken out of their hands. They were hoping to get something more – that's why they had had the revolution, and fought for it. Now what they had was going to be taken out of their hands. It was going to become government property, it was going to be nationalized....
And for small things – somebody may have had just a few hens, or a cow, and he was not willing... because that was all that he had. A small house... and he was not willing for it to be nationalized.
These poor people – one million people were killed to make the whole country aware that nationalization had to happen. Even if you had only a cow and you didn't give it to the government, you were finished.
And the government was thinking that people would be willing to separate... but this is how the merely theoretical and logical people have always failed to understand man. They have never looked into his psychology.
This was true, that marriage was created after private property came into being – marriage followed it. Logically, as private property is dissolved, marriage should disappear. But they don't understand the human mind. As property was taken away, people became even more possessive of each other because nothing was left. Their land has gone, their animals have gone, their houses have gone. Now they don't want to lose their wife or their husband or their children. This is too much.
Logic is one thing... and unless we try to understand man more psychologically and less logically, we are always going to commit mistakes. Marx was proved wrong.
When everything was taken away people were clinging to each other more, more than before, because now that was their only possession: a woman, a husband, children.... And it was such a gap in their life; their whole property had gone and now their wife was also to be nationalized. They could not conceive the idea because their mind and their tradition said, "That is prostitution." Their children had to be nationalized – they had not fought the revolution for this.
So finally the government had to reverse the policy; otherwise in their constitution.... In the first constitution they had declared that now there shall be no marriage; and the question of divorce did not arise. Just within three years they had to change it.
And in Russia then marriage was stricter than anywhere else. Divorce was more difficult than anywhere else, because the government did not want unnecessary changes. That creates paperwork and more bureaucracy. So the government wants people to remain together, not to unnecessarily change partners. And divorce creates law cases about the children – who should have them, the father or mother; it is unnecessary.
The government thinks of efficiency – less bureaucracy, less paperwork – and people are creating unnecessary paperwork, so it is very difficult to get a divorce.
And as time passed, they found that there was no way to keep people equal without force. But what kind of a utopia is it which is kept by force? And because the communist party has all the force, a new kind of division has come into being, a new class of the bureaucrats: those who have power, and those who don't have any power.
It is very difficult to become a member, to obtain membership of the communist party in Russia, because that is entering into the power elite. The communist party has made many other groups – first you have to be a member of those groups, and you have to be checked in every way. When they find that you are really reliable, absolutely reliable, trustworthy, then you may enter into the communist party. And the party is not increasing its membership because that means dividing power.
The party wants to remain as small as possible so that the power is in a few hands. There is now a powerful class. For seventy years the same group were ruling the country, and the whole country was powerless.
The people were never so powerless under a capitalist regime or under a feudal regime. Under the czars they were never so powerless. It was possible for a poor man, if he was intelligent enough, to become rich. Now it is not so easy. You may be intelligent, but it is not so easy to enter from the powerless class into the class which holds power. The distance between the two classes is far more than it was before.
There is always mobility in a capitalist society because there are not only poor people and rich people, there is a big middle class, and the middle class is continuously moving. A few people of the middle class are moving into the super-rich, and more people are moving into the poor class. A few poor people are moving into the middle class; a few rich people are falling into the middle class, or may even fall into the poor class... there is mobility.
In a communist society there is an absolutely static state. Classes are now completely cut off from each other.
They were going to create a classless society, and they have created the strictest society with static classes.
It is almost a repetition of Hinduism.
What Manu did five thousand years ago, communists did in Russia. Manu made Hindu society into four classes. There is no mobility. You are born a brahmin, that is the only way to be a brahmin. And that is the highest society, the topmost class. Then number two is the warriors, the kings – the chhatriyas. But you are born in that caste, it is not a question that you can move. Then third is the class of the vaishyas, the business people; you are born in it. And the fourth is the sudras, the untouchables.
All are born into their caste. That's why, until Christianity started converting so many Hindus, particularly the sudras, who were ready, very willing to become Christians, because at least they would be touchable.... Amongst Hindus, sudras are untouchable, and there is no way to get out of the structure.
For your whole life you have to remain the same as your forefathers remained for five thousand years. For five thousand years there has been a stratified society. If somebody is a shoemaker, his family has been making shoes for five thousand years. He cannot do any other work, he cannot enter into any other profession. That is not allowed.
Hindus were not a converting religion, because the great question was, if you convert somebody, in what class are you going to put the person? Christianity is a converting religion because it has no classification; you simply become a Christian. If Catholics convert you, you become a Catholic; if Protestants convert you, you become a Protestant.
But in Hinduism you cannot be converted, for the simple reason: Where will you be put? Brahmins won't allow you, and you would not like to be put with the sudras, the untouchables. So then what is the point of coming to a religion where you will not be even touched? Even your shadow will be untouchable. And a brahmin has to take a bath if the shadow of a sudra falls on him. The sudra has not touched him, but his shadow is also untouchable.
Being the ancientmost religion, still Hinduism has not been spreading; it has been shrinking. Buddhism spread all over Asia, and it is only twenty-five centuries old. Hinduism is at least ten thousand years old, or more, but it could not spread, for the simple reason that birth is decisive. You can be a Hindu only by birth, just as you can be a Jew only by birth – and these are the two most ancient religions.
These are really the two basic religions.
Christianity and Mohammedanism are offshoots of Judaism; and Jainism and Buddhism are offshoots of Hinduism. Jainism and Buddhism are both the rebellion of the second class – the chhatriyas, the warriors – because they had the powers. They were the kings, they were the soldiers, they had the power – and yet the brahmin was on top of them. So naturally, sooner or later they were going to revolt, and finally they did revolt. Gautam Buddha and Mahavira are both from the second class. They wanted to be first class, they had the power, and the brahmins had nothing: Why should they be the highest class? So it was a rebellion.
But it was a strange thing that although these two religions got out of the Hindu fold, only Buddhism could spread all over Asia. Jainism could not spread out of India. Buddhism managed to spread out of India: from India it disappeared, but it took over the whole of Asia. And the reason was that it was through Gautam Buddha's very compassionate mind that he allowed anybody to enter into Buddhism.
Jainas, although they had also rebelled against the brahmins, remained of the same mind – that they are higher than the other two classes. They wanted to be higher than brahmins too, but they never started converting anybody, because who would they convert? Brahmins will not be ready to be converted – they are already higher than everybody. Only sudras can be converted because they will be raised on the evaluation scale. But Jainas – Mahavira and his group – were not so compassionate as to take them in.
So Jainism is not a complete culture – it has to depend on Hinduism for everything – it has remained only a philosophy. No Jaina can make shoes – some Hindu sudra has to make the shoes. No Jaina can clean the toilets – some sudra has to do that work.
Although they rebelled against brahmins, their rebellion was just against the superiority of the brahmins, and they wanted themselves to be higher than the brahmins. But they were also not in favor of the lower classes being taken higher.
And the ultimate result was that Jainas have remained a very small religion, confined in numbers. And because they left Hinduism, rather than rising higher than brahmins, they even fell from the second category. Because they left Hinduism, they were no longer chhatriyas. They were no longer considered to be warriors, and they could not be because of their nonviolence. They had to drop the idea of fighting, so the only way was to become business people.
Lower you can go – nobody prevents you – so they had to go from the second class to the third class, and they all became business people. So the rebellion failed very badly. Jainas wanted to become higher than the first class; the outcome of their revolution was that they went from the second class to the third class.
And they are absolutely dependent on Hindus. For their manual work they need workers – they cannot work. And because they became business people, slowly, slowly the Hindu vaishyas, the Hindu business people, and the Jaina business people came closer. Even marriages started happening between them.
By and by they even had to ask brahmins to do their worship work – and they had money to pay for it. So brahmins worshipped for the Jainas – who are against brahminism, against Hinduism; but they had to use Hindus for everything.
Their shoes are made by the sudras; their toilets are cleaned by the sudras. Their properties have to be protected by the chhatriyas, because they cannot take the sword in their hands. They cannot kill, so they cannot fight, they cannot go to war; they have their security force in the warrior race. And finally their priests – the brahmins came in from the back door as their priests.
Manu tried this immobile society – which is still the same – five thousand years ago. That too was a kind of utopia, because he was thinking in terms of there being no class struggle this way.
The class struggle can be dropped in two ways. Either there should be no classes; then there will be no class struggle.... That's what communism is doing, but it has failed because a new class has appeared. The other way is that the classes should be so stratified that there is no question of one person moving into another class. No struggle will be there, so there will be no competition. The brahmin will remain a brahmin. He will remain on the top, whether he is poor or rich does not matter. The businessman will remain a businessman. Just because he is rich he cannot become a brahmin, he cannot purchase the caste. He cannot rise; he will remain third class, however rich he is. The sudras will remain sudras: they have to do all the dirty work and they cannot move from there.
This was also a utopia. The idea was that if the classes are completely static, there is not going to be any struggle, competition. In a way Manu succeeded more than Marx, because for five thousand years his idea has remained in practice, and in India the Hindu society has never been in a class struggle. The poor are there, the rich are there, but that is not the real problem for the Hindu. His real problem is those four classes, which are absolutely static. But that is very dangerous because you prevent people from moving in a direction where they can find their potential fulfilled. A sudra may prove to be a great warrior, but he will never be allowed. A brahmin may prove a great industrialist, but he cannot lower himself.
So it saved the society from class struggle, but it destroyed the individual and his potential completely. The genius was ruined. In just the same way it is happening in communism: the individual is destroyed, his genius is ruined. He cannot move upwards even if he has the capacity.
There have been attempts all over the world to make a harmonious human society, but all have failed for the simple reason that nobody has bothered why it is not naturally harmonious.
It is not harmonious because each individual inside is divided, and his divisions are projected onto the society. And unless we dissolve the individual's inner divisions, there is no possibility of really realizing a utopia and creating a harmonious society in the world.
So the only way for an utopia is that your consciousness should grow more, and your unconsciousness should grow less, so finally a moment comes in your life when there is nothing left which is unconscious: you are simply a pure consciousness. Then there is no division.
And this kind of person, who has just consciousness and nothing opposed to it, can become the very brick in creating a society which has no divisions. In other words, only a society which is enlightened enough can fulfill the demand of being harmonious – a society of enlightened people, a society of great meditators who have dropped their divisions.
Instead of thinking in terms of revolution and changing the society, its structure, we should think more of meditation and changing the individual. That is the only possible way that some day we can drop all divisions in the society. But first they have to be dropped in the individual – and they can be dropped there.
It is almost like the fourfold division as Manu conceived the society. You have the conscious, you have the unconscious, you have the collective unconscious, and you have the cosmic unconscious. These are the four divisions within you; as you go deeper you go into darker spaces. Manu also divided society in four. The most conscious part is the brahmin – he makes up the topmost, the wisest part. But he starts with the society.
When Manu first divided the society, somebody may have been a wise man, but it is not necessary that his sons and daughters will also be wise, that generation after generation the wise man will create only wise people – that is a stupid idea. So the first division may have been very accurate. He may have sorted out people correctly: the conscious people on the top, then less conscious people, then more unconscious people, then absolutely unconscious people.
And if Manu calls absolutely unconscious people "sudras," untouchables, there is nothing wrong in it; philosophically it is absolutely right. But practically he went wrong because he did not think that it would not always happen that the unconscious people would produce unconscious people.
It happened that all the enlightened people came from the second class – that is from the warriors – not from the brahmins, which were the topmost class. It is very strange. Even Hindu incarnations – Rama and Krishna – they all belonged to the second class; they were not brahmins. Buddha and Mahavira – they were not brahmins.
So the brahmin class has not produced a single enlightened person, because they became very self-satisfied. They were on the top – what more do you need? Everybody was going to touch their feet; even the king had to touch their feet. They were the purest people, so there was no urge to find more; it was enough. It was very satisfying and gratifying to their egos.
Why did it happen to the chhatriyas, the second class? My understanding is, because they were second class, there was an immense urge for them to surpass the brahmins, and the only way they could find to surpass the brahmins was to become enlightened. Then only could they surpass the brahmins; otherwise they could not.
The brahmins are the most learned scholars. The chhatriyas had to attain something which is higher than learning and scholarship. They had to attain something which is not given by birth, so brahmins cannot claim it. Just by birth nobody can claim enlightenment.
And it only happened in the second class because it is part of human psychology that the closer you are to the highest class the more competitiveness is within you. The more distant you are the less hope you have that you can manage to compete with the brahmin. The businessman cannot think he can manage to compete. The sudra of course cannot even imagine or dream that he can manage anything. He is not allowed even to read; he is not allowed to be educated. He is kept completely enslaved in his unconsciousness, so there is no question of a sudra becoming enlightened.
The businessman has another competition, and that is of money. That is a horizontal competition amongst businessmen. He is trying to compete to have more money, and he knows he cannot compete with the warriors: a businessman is not a soldier. And he cannot compete with the priest because a businessman is not a scholar.
And the brahmins kept a complete hold on all the great ancient scriptures and literature. They were only to give those books to their children, to their descendants. And for thousands of years those books were not printed, although printing started in China three thousand years ago, and it could have come to India without any difficulty. People must have been aware – they were constantly coming and going to China. If Buddhism could spread all over China, it is impossible that they could not have brought back the mechanism and understanding to print.
But brahmins were against printing. They were even against printing their scriptures when the Britishers came – three hundred years ago – and took over India from the Mohammedans. It was against their will that the scriptures were printed, because they were afraid that once they are printed, they become public property. Then anybody can read them, and anybody can become a scholar. They wanted to keep them to themselves, so there were only handwritten copies which were kept as a family tradition: so each family has its own handwritten copy of certain scriptures. The brahmins monopolized it.
The chhatriyas, the second class, tried – and that was a great effort – to become enlightened to surpass the brahmins. But it is very significant to understand that by becoming enlightened they became divisionless, their being became one. And certainly they became higher than any human being who was divided. There was no question about their superiority.
So even brahmins would come to the enlightened people without bothering that they came from the second class. So brahmins have touched the feet of non-brahmins – which would have been impossible. But once the non-brahmin has become enlightened then the brahmin knows that what he knows is only parrot-like. What this man knows is not parrot-like. He is not a scholar, he is really a knower. So hundreds of brahmins were disciples of Buddha, hundreds of brahmins were disciples of Mahavira.
The world can come to a harmony if meditation is spread far and wide, and people are brought to one consciousness within themselves. This will be a totally different dimension to work with.
Up to now it was revolution. The point was society, its structure. It has failed again and again in different ways. Now it should be the individual – and not revolution, but meditation, transformation.
And it is not so difficult as people think. They may waste six years in getting a master's degree in a university; and they will not think that this is wasting too much time for just a degree which means nothing.
It is only a question of understanding the value of meditation. Then it is easily possible for millions of people to become undivided within themselves. And they will be the first group of humanity to become harmonious. And their harmoniousness, their beauty, their compassion, their love – all their qualities – are bound to resound around the world.
My effort is to make meditation almost a science so it is not something to do with religion.
So anybody can practice it – whether he is a Hindu or a Christian or a Jew or a Mohammedan, it doesn't matter. What his religion is, is irrelevant; he can still meditate. He may not even believe in any religion, he may be an atheist; still he can meditate.
Meditation has to become almost like a wildfire. Then there is some hope. And people are ready: they have been thirsting for something that changes the whole flavor of the society. It is ugly as it is, it is disgusting. It is at the most, tolerable. Somehow people have been tolerating it. But to tolerate is not a very joyful thing.
It should be ecstatic.
It should be enjoyable.
It should bring a dance to people's hearts.
And once these divisions within a person disappear, he can see so clearly about everything. It is not a question of his being knowledgeable, it is a question of his clarity. He can look at every dimension, every direction with such clearness, with such deep sensitivity, perceptiveness, that he may not be knowledgeable but his clarity will give you answers which knowledge cannot give.
This is one of the most important things – the idea of utopia – which has been following man like a shadow for thousands of years. But somehow it got mixed up with the changing of society; the individual never got looked at.
Nobody has paid much attention to the individual – and that is the root cause of all the problems. But because the individual seems to be so small and the society seems so big, people think that we can change society, and then the individuals will change.
This is not going to be so – because "society" is only a word; there are only individuals, there is no society. The society has no soul – you cannot change anything in it.
You can change only the individual, howsoever small he appears.
And once you know the science of how to change the individual, it is applicable to all the individuals everywhere.
And my feeling is that one day we are going to attain a society which will be harmonious, which will be far better than all the ideas that utopians have been producing for thousands of years.
The reality will be far more beautiful.
Osho, Light on the Path, Talk #11
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