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Question - Beloved Master, Please could you tell me the difference between Innocence and Stupidity?

Osho - Innocence is the ultimate flowering of your consciousness. Even a child is not innocent; he is simply ignorant. He does not know, but he is not aware that he knows not. The child most probably will become stupid, because the society needs stupid people, the religions need stupid people, the politicians need stupid people. All vested interests need the masses to remain stupid. Their stupidity is the opportunity for all vested interests to exploit them.

It is very rare that somebody rebels against religions, politics, social structure, and tries to retain his individuality; chooses ignorance rather than to be knowledgeable, because ignorance at least is natural. In being knowledgeable you have gone far away from your nature. The person who rebels against all these vested interests and discovers that he knows nothing, that he only knows one thing, that he knows nothing -- he is the innocent man.

When Bodhidharma was asked by Emperor Wu of China, "Who are you?," Bodhidharma said, "I do not know." It was not ignorance. Bodhidharma is one of those few people who have come to innocence.
Socrates' last statement is, "I know only that I know nothing."

Stupidity is common. It comes in all sizes, all shapes: Christian stupidity, Hindu stupidity, Mohammedan stupidity, Buddhist stupidity, communist stupidity. One thing about stupidity: it never looks inwards. It can see outside -- for example, a Hindu can see that Jesus cannot be enlightened, for the simple reason that he drinks wine and moves with prostitutes. It is impossible for Hindu stupidity to recognize Jesus as enlightened.

The Christian cannot see Krishna as enlightened. He had sixteen thousand wives, all forcibly taken from their husbands, from their children -- and the man is the perfect incarnation of God! It is difficult for the Christian to see how Krishna can be the incarnation of God. He forces Arjuna to go to war, convinces him -- against his will -- to go into a war which is known in India as the Great War, which destroyed India forever. It broke India's spine; since then India has never been able to reach any heights. It was available to all kinds of invaders, easily available to become enslaved. The whole responsibility goes to Krishna.

Osho on Innocence and Stupidity

Now, a Christian who believes, "Love your enemy, love even your neighbor"... I am always wondering why Jesus has not said, "Love your wife too, love your husband too" -- because the enemy is far away, to love the enemy is easy. To love the neighbor is more difficult, and to love the wife or the husband is almost impossible.

The Christian teaching seems to be of peace, and Krishna's teaching seems to be of war, violence. No, it is not possible for Christians to accept Krishna. They can see the stupidity of Indians who believe in Krishna. The Christian cannot accept even Gautam Buddha, for the simple reason that he never healed sick people, he never gave eyes to the blind, he never raised the dead back to life. Then what kind of a savior is he? He never served anybody, and service is religion to the Christian mind.

Just look from the other side. If you ask the Buddhist, "Do you think Jesus Christ is a savior?" he will simply laugh. He will say, "Saviors are not crucified. Jesus could not save himself; he is a pretender, a hypocrite, claiming that he can save the whole humanity."

And the Hindus, the Jainas, the Buddhists, all the Indian religions, believe that if a certain person is crucified, that means in his past life he must have committed really grave crimes, perhaps murders. Otherwise crucifixion is impossible; it has to be related to his life.

Jainas say that when Mahavira, their savior, walks on the road, even thorns move away. Because Mahavira has not committed any crime in his past life, he cannot suffer even a thorn. Hindus say, if Meera is given poison, the poison turns into nectar, because she has not committed any sin in her past life. So Jesus' crucifixion, which is very significant to the Christian, is simply a proof for Hindus, Jainas, Buddhists, that this man was simply a pretender.

Stupidity has this trait: it can see in others, but it cannot look withinwards. No Christian can see anything wrong in Jesus Christ, no Hindu can see anything wrong in Krishna, no Buddhist can see anything wrong in Gautam Buddha. Suddenly their intelligence disappears; they become immediately retarded, they fall back. This is one of the characteristics of stupid people.

Stupid people can become very knowledgeable. They can become great scholars, popes, shankaracharyas, Ayatollah Khomeiniacs, great rabbis full of knowledge, but no knowing of their own. All knowledge is borrowed. In themselves they are just empty; they are covering that emptiness with borrowed knowledge. It is not their own intelligence that has become sharpened, it is only their intellectuality that has become too full of information.

Remember, a computer has no intelligence, but it has memory. It can have as much information as you feed to it. The stupid person can become a great scholar, a world-famous scholar, but he is just a computer. All knowledge is information; it is his memory, not his experience. In his experience he proves very stupid. I will give you two instances of two very great scholars.

One is a great Greek scholar, thought to be one of the greatest mathematicians; he discovered many things in mathematics. He discovered the principle of averages -- that is his greatest contribution to the world. Before him nobody had ever thought about the principle of averages.

One Sunday morning he took his family for a picnic. They had to cross a small river. The wife said, "Take the children on your shoulders" -- they had four children. "Two I will take, two you take."
He said, "Wait. I am a mathematician, and no ordinary mathematician. Let me first see the average height of the children and the average depth of the river."

Naturally, the river somewhere was very shallow, somewhere very deep. The bigger children were taller, the smaller children were shorter. But the average... he figured it out on the sand with his finger and found that the average height of the children was enough that the average depth of the river could not drown them.

The wife insisted, "You keep your average: I don't understand mathematics, I can only see that there is danger."
He said, "Don't be afraid. You just follow me." And then the children started drowning, because the average is just a pure mathematical concept. It does not exist, it is not found in reality.

And when the wife shouted, "The children are drowning!" do you know what he did? He did not go to save the children, he rushed back to the bank. He said, "Then there must have been some mistake in my calculations; otherwise, how is it possible? Their average height is greater than the average depth of the river." This is stupidity. The man is a great mathematician, but if you put his mathematics aside, he is simply retarded.

The second example I give you is about Karl Marx. He was a chain-smoker, and one day he found a cheaper brand of cigarette. He was an economist, and certainly one of the great economists of the world. And if you think of his influence, he is the greatest economist because he has influenced more than half the world. Communism is his philosophy, his economic theory.

Seeing the cheaper brand, he purchased as many boxes as he could carry home. When the wife saw him carrying so many boxes of cigarettes, she said, "What are you doing? Doctors are saying to you, 'Stop smoking!' Your friends are saying to you, 'Stop smoking!'"

And Karl Marx with a big smile said, "You don't know -- I have found a way. Now there is no need to be worried about earning money. If I smoke one cigarette, so much money is saved in comparison to the older brand; the more I smoke, the more money is saved. So now I am not going to do anything except smoke, because you have always been asking me for money, money, money. Now have as much money as you want!"

The wife could not understand how the money could be saved by smoking. But this is an economic theory, it does not correspond to reality. She had to inform his closest friend, Friedrich Engels, "He has gone mad. In his room he is sitting and smoking continuously -- to save money!"
Engels came, and he asked, "What is the matter?"

Marx said, "Now I can explain to you, you are an intelligent man. My wife cannot understand higher economics. I was smoking up to now a brand which was costly. Now this is a cheaper brand; with each cigarette so much money is saved. The natural consequence is: the more you smoke, the more money is saved."

This is sheer stupidity. He may have been a great economist, but that is only scholarship, computer scholarship. As far as his own experience is concerned, he is behaving stupidly. So stupidity can become very knowledgeable. That does not mean that it has disappeared; you have simply covered it up.

Innocence is not knowledgeable. Innocence simply means a clean clarity, insight with no preconceived ideas, knowledge. Innocence simply means just to be a mirror, which is empty but able to reflect anything that comes before it. Innocence is the greatest achievement. Only a very few people have been able to become innocent.

It is said, when a person becomes so innocent, he is just like a child. Remember the words "like a child." He is not a child. There is a certain similarity. The child is ignorant, without knowledge, a clean slate, a tabula rasa -- but he will soon gather knowledge, because he is ignorant and it hurts to remain ignorant.

Osho on Innocence and Stupidity

The innocent man is also a tabula rasa, but he will never again accumulate knowledge. It has already been too hard to drop it. It has been too hard to get rid of the mind and its accumulations. The child is bound to get lost in the world of knowledge. Socrates or Bodhidharma are not corruptible; nobody can corrupt them. They have passed through all the dark stages of corruption, and they have survived. Now their state is of pure silence. They know nothing as far as knowledgeability is concerned.

Socrates makes a beautiful distinction; it is worth remembering. He says, "There is knowledge which is ignorant, and there is ignorance which knows." It looks contradictory, what he is saying: knowledge which is ignorant, and ignorance which knows. He is talking about innocence.

Innocence has no claim to knowledgeability, but it is open, available, capable of responding spontaneously, just like a mirror reflecting. It is tremendous freedom, and tremendous individuation. Now you can commune with the flowers, with the mountains, with the clouds. You are so innocent that there is even a possibility of communion with existence. Knowledge is a barrier.

I used to have a very famous man once in a while as my guest, Mahatma Bhagwandin. He was the only one, other than Mahatma Gandhi, who was known as "mahatma"; only two persons in India were known as "mahatma." Mahatma means the great soul, the great saint.

Whenever he was my guest, I used to take him for a morning walk. And he was so full of knowledge about everything -- he was an old man -- he knew the name of every flower, its uses, what diseases it can help cure; he knew all the different trees and their uses.

He would continuously talk, and I had to tell him, "You please shut up! -- because I have come for a morning walk. I want to enjoy the flowers, I don't want to become knowledgeable about them. I don't want even to know their Latin names. And your knowledge is a barrier -- you can't see the rose. Your whole knowledge stands between you and the rose -- its Latin name, its properties, its uses in different diseases. The roseflower is lost, far away; you start moving into your knowledge."

I said, "If you want to come with me, then please keep your mouth shut. You can do whatever you want in your mind -- that is your business -- but I don't want to know the names of the trees and the plants and the flowers and the leaves and the trunk and the bark. You destroy my whole morning! I want to remain completely available to this beautiful sunrise, the flowers dancing, the beautiful breeze blowing. I don't want to be hindered by knowledge. My experience of their beauty is enough."

He would remain silent for a few minutes -- but you cannot say to computers, "Shut up!" After a few minutes he would forget again. Seeing something new, he would say, "Look at that plant. This is very good for people who are suffering from migraine."

I said, "You are giving me migraine! Please give me a few leaves of that plant too. You are my migraine. I come every day, I never suffer from migraine." I asked him, "Can't you enjoy at all the beauty, the radiant morning, the freshness of it all? Have you to bring your knowledge in?"

The last time I saw him, he was almost dying. I asked him, "What about your knowledge? You know about all the kinds of plants which can cure everything. Now why are you bothering about allopathy? And I can see that allopathy is not helping."

He was continuously coughing; he had become just bones. And I said, "What happened to your knowledge? You missed your whole life, you never lived it. Your knowledge became a bondage to you, and now you are dying and that knowledge is of no use. Perhaps if you had lived totally, intensely, that experience might have transformed the experience of death too."

To those who do not live, death seems to be an end. To those who live totally, death is not an end but a new beginning: an old house is abandoned, and a new form, a new world opens up. But that depends on whether you have lived or you have just been hung up in your head.

I saw tears in his eyes. He said, "Perhaps you are right. I never lived, I was always accumulating knowledge -- and it has not helped me. My whole life has been just a desert without any oasis. But now it is too late."
I call this stupidity. The man was known as a great sage, but to me he was a great idiot. And he confirmed before dying, with his tears, that he had missed.

Innocence comes as you become more conscious, more alert, and you start dropping unnecessary luggage. Have you ever thought how much unnecessary luggage you are carrying within yourself? A conscious man slowly starts dropping everything, because the most precious treasure in you is to be absolutely unburdened, clean, pure, innocent.

The innocent man is the only wise man. The knowledgeable man is the only stupid man. All your universities and colleges and schools create stupid people. My effort here is to undo what your universities and colleges and schools have done to you -- to deprogram you. And I don't have any other program to replace theirs. I deprogram you and simply leave you deprogrammed.
That is innocence, and it is tremendous intelligence. It is such a great insight that there is no need of knowledgeability.

Source - Osho Book "From Bondage to Freedom"

Related Osho Discourses:
Osho - Why is Jesus thought to be born out of a Virgin Mother?
Osho on what is Innocence and What is the way to become Innocent?

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