Osho on Martin Luther
Question - Beloved Osho, Many germans think Martin Luther to be a great rebel. He toppled the absolute power of the pope, made the latin bible available to all by translating it, and married a nun. Yet he immediately joined other vested interests. And the whole event is called "The Reformation." Can you please speak on the difference between rebellion and reformation, and whether real rebellion can turn into reformation.
Osho - Prem Nirvano, I have never spoken on Martin Luther for a particular reason. He was neither rebellious, nor religious; he was a pure politician. He toppled the power of the pope, not because he was against power -- he wanted to have it himself, he was jealous of it. Because he could not get it, he created a split in Christianity between those who followed the pope and those who followed him.
His desire for power was so great that as soon as he had created the split in Christianity, he immediately joined hands with the vested interests. This is not possible for a rebel. A rebel is always a rebel. It does not matter who has the power, he is always against people having power; his whole philosophy is decentralization of power. Power should not be centralized in a few hands, either political or economic or religious. It should be decentralized. It should be given to everybody -- to every individual, his own power. Nobody should be in possession of somebody else's power.
Martin Luther was a cunning politician. It was because of his cunningness and political acumen that he managed to create a rift in Christianity, pretending to be a great rebel. Jealousy finds a thousand and one ways to hide its face. His whole mind was bent upon becoming the pope, but if it was not possible, then he would not allow anybody else to remain in absolute power. The people who followed him are not accidentally called Protestants. Basically, he was protesting against the power of the pope, not so that the power should be distributed, but so that he should be given the power. And just to show that he does not care about the pope, he married a nun and he translated the BIBLE into the living languages.
The pope was against both: a monk should be a celibate, and the pope was
not willing to have the BIBLE translated into the ordinary languages
which people use. The reasons are clear -- it is not only the pope, all
the religions in the world have resisted having their holy scriptures
translated into the living languages which people speak. The fear is
that if they can understand what is written in the holy scripture, they
will pass through a great shock -- because there is nothing much holy in
these so-called holy scriptures cannot even be considered great
literature. Their standard is so mundane, so mediocre that all the
religions of the world have thought it is better that they should remain
in languages which nobody understands anymore.
Translated, they fall flat on the ground; there is nothing much in them. They are so ordinary that sometimes one feels ashamed -- this is my holy scripture? Many of the holy scriptures are full of obscenity, full of pornography. The HOLY BIBLE has five hundred pages of sheer pornography. The pope was afraid because to bring the BIBLE into ordinary living languages, which people know and use, was dangerous. And celibacy was the fundamental attitude of all religions, not only of Christianity.
Martin Luther was so angry because he could not become the pope -- and it was not in his hands to become the pope; a pope is elected by the cardinals. They have a special way of electing a pope: there are perhaps two hundred topmost cardinals who gather in the Vatican whenever a pope dies. There is a special place in the Vatican where there are two hundred small cells. Those cardinals move into those cells for twenty-four hours, fasting, praying, finding the message of God within their hearts: who should be the pope? After twenty-four hours, they write the name of one of the cardinals from amongst those two hundred cardinals, and then all those pieces of paper are collected. Whoever gets more votes, whoever gets his name written by more cardinals than anybody else, is chosen as the pope.
It is a very strange election: you cannot campaign, you cannot ask somebody, "Please give your vote to me" -- it is prohibited. And you cannot meet anybody else while you are deciding; you are closed in your small cell. It is hoped that, fasting and praying, you will do something which will be right, which will not come out of political considerations but which will come out of deeper feelings: who is really capable of being the head of the whole religion? -- because he is going to be the representative of Jesus Christ.
Martin Luther had no hope ... but he could create a protest, and he chose two particular points on which people would support him -- this is simple politics -- because many priests, bishops, and cardinals wanted to get married, but had not the courage to fight against the tradition. When Martin Luther married a nun, immediately so many other priests and bishops followed -- not that they were convinced that Martin Luther's ideology was right, but because he was giving them an opportunity to get married and yet remain a Christian. They were tired of suppressing.
And the masses supported him because he was bringing the BIBLE into the language of the people. People wanted to know what was in the BIBLE; it was a mystery to them. Martin Luther could not become the pope of the whole of Christianity, but he became the head of the Protestant Church. He became a second pope of a sect which had broken away from the mainstream. I have never spoken on him consideredly, because I don't count him, in any way, amongst the religious people -- he was not rebellious at all. He was simply jealous, and that is the reason why, as he separated from the church and created a new sect, he immediately joined hands with the establishments of other vested interests. He needed power, he needed money, he needed new churches; he needed everything to create a whole religion -- and he created it.
It is called in the books of history, Nirvano, "The Reformation." In a very ordinary way, it can be called a reformation -- nothing much to brag about. What is great in marrying a nun? Is there some great revolution happening? Millions of people are married. What is great in translating the BIBLE from Latin? It was translated from Hebrew into Greek, from Greek into Latin, so what was the problem? It had already been translated into different languages; now it could be translated into English, into German. Yes, there was some kind of reformation, but I don't give any value to it.
One man came to me a few years ago with a letter of introduction from
one of my old professors: "This man is very revolutionary, you will like
him. I am sending him to you, he always wanted to meet you."
In another place I met a man who was known in that area as very
revolutionary -- and what was he doing? He was doing collective
marriages. Ordinarily, one man goes to marry a woman, but he would
collect a dozen women and a dozen men to cut expenses -- just one priest
can do the whole process for one dozen couples, there is no need to do
it one dozen times. And he was thought to be a great social
But these are the things that are thought to be revolutionary. What Martin Luther has done is just ordinary; it does not make any change in human consciousness. It has not raised the Protestant Christians, in any way, higher in consciousness than the Catholics. It does not in any way contribute to the betterment of humanity. It has just fulfilled the egoistic desire of Martin Luther to be a pope himself, the head of the Protestant religion; he claimed to be the real successor of Jesus Christ. I am not interested at all in these kinds of reformations; basically, they are stupid. But people will start proclaiming such things to be revolution, social reformation. Revolution is a big word. It should change some foundations of life. Reformation is not that big, but still it should formulate better life systems.
What has Martin Luther done? He translated the BIBLE into German, and
became himself a head and proclaimed, "I am the real representative of
Jesus Christ" -- because he did not have any hope or any possibility to
be chosen as pope. He was so stubborn and so egoistic that nobody wanted
him. He was not even a cardinal -- the question of being chosen as pope
does not arise.
And the masses loved the idea that the BIBLE should be available in
their own language, but it changes nothing. Instead of one pope, now
there are two popes. Instead of one Christianity, now there are two
Christianities. And what is the difference between them? -- just these
are the differences, not even worth calling differences.
Source - Osho Book "The New Dawn"
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