There was a little polar bear who asked his mother, “Was my daddy also a polar bear?” “Of course your daddy was a polar bear.”
“But,” goes on the little one after a while, “Mommy, just tell me, was my grandfather also a polar bear?”
“Yes, he was also a polar bear.”
Time goes by and the little one keeps asking his mother, “But what about my great-grandfather? Was he a polar bear as well?”
“Yes, he was. But why are you asking?”
“Because I am freezing.”
I was told my father was a polar bear, I was told my grandfather was a polar bear, I was told my great-grandfather was a polar bear; but I am freezing. How can I change this, Osho?
I happen to know your father, and I happen to know your grandfather, and I happen to know your great-grandfather too; and they were also freezing. And their mothers told the same story to them – that your father was a polar bear and your grandfather was a polar bear and your great-grandfather was a polar bear.
If you are freezing, you are freezing; these stories won’t help. This simply proves that even polar bears freeze. Look at the reality and don’t move into traditions and don’t go into the past. If you are freezing, you are freezing. And this is not a consolation at all – that you are a polar bear.
These consolations have been given to humanity. When you are dying, you are dying. Somebody comes and says, “Don’t be afraid; the soul is immortal.” Now, you are dying.
I have heard about a Jew who fell down on a road and was dying; it was a heart attack. A crowd gathered, and they looked for some religious people, some religious person, some priest, because the man was dying. A Catholic priest came forward, not knowing who the person was. He went close to the dying man and said, “Do you believe? Do you declare that you believe in the Trinity – God the Father, the Holy Ghost and the Son Jesus Christ?”
The dying Jew opened his eyes and he said, “I am dying, and he is talking in riddles. Now what am I to do with this trinity? I am dying. What nonsense are you talking about?”
A man is dying and you console him by telling him that the soul is immortal. These consolations are of no help. Somebody is in misery and you tell him, “Don’t be miserable. It is just psychological.” How does it help? You make him even more miserable! These theories are not of much help. They have been invented to console, to deceive.
If you are freezing, you are freezing. Rather than asking whether your father was a polar bear, do some exercise. Jump, jog, or do Dynamic Meditation, and you won’t freeze, I promise you. Forget all about your father and grandfather and great-grandfather. Just listen to your reality. If you are freezing, then do something. And something can always be done. But this is no way; you are on a wrong track. You can go on asking and asking, and of course your poor mother goes on consoling you.
The question is beautiful, very meaningful, has tremendous import. This is how humanity is suffering. Listen to suffering; look into the problem and don’t try to find any solutions outside the problem. Look directly into the problem and you will always find the solution there. Look into the question; don’t ask for the answer.
For example, you can go on asking, “Who am I?” You can go to the Christian and he will say, “You are a son of God, and God loves you very much.” And you will be puzzled, because how can God love you?
A priest told Mulla Nasruddin, “God loves you very much.”
Mulla Nasruddin said, “How can he love me? He does not even know me.”
And the priest said, “That’s why he can love you! We know you! We cannot love you – it is too difficult.”
Or you go to the Hindus and ask, and they say, “You are God himself.” Not the son of God, you are God himself. But still you have your headache and your migraine and you are very puzzled at how God can have a migraine.and it doesn’t solve the problem.
If you want to ask, “Who am I?” don’t go to anybody. Sit silently and ask deeper into your own being. Let the question resound – not verbally, existentially. Let the question be there like an arrow piercing your heart: “Who am I?” And go with the question.
And don’t be in a hurry to answer it, because if you answer it, that answer will have come from somebody else – some priest, some politician, some tradition. Don’t answer from your memory, because your memory is all borrowed. Your memory is just like a computer, very dead! Your memory has nothing to do with knowing. It has been fed into you.
So when you ask, “Who am I?” and your memory says, “You are a great soul,” watch out. Don’t fall into the trap. Just discard all this rubbish; it is all rot. Just go on asking, “Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?” and one day you will see, the question too has disappeared. There is only a thirst left – “Who am I?” Not the question, really, but a thirst – your whole being throbbing with the thirst – “Who am I?”
And one day you will see you are not even there, there is only thirst. And in that intense, passionate state of your being, suddenly you will realize something has exploded. Suddenly you have come face to face with yourself and you know who you are.
There is no way to ask your father, “Who am I?” He does not know himself who he is. There is no way to ask your grandfather or great-grandfather. Don’t ask! Don’t ask your mother, don’t ask society, don’t ask culture, don’t ask civilization. Ask your own innermost core. If you really want to come to know the answer, go inward. And from that inward experience, change happens.
You ask, “How can I change this?” You cannot change it. First you have to face your reality, and that very encounter will change you.
A reporter was trying to get a human-interest story out of an old, old man at a state-supported home for the aged.
“Pop,” asked the brash reporter, “how would you feel if you suddenly got a letter telling you that a forgotten relative had left you five million dollars?”
“Son,” came the answer slowly, “I would still be ninety-four years old.”
Do you get it? The old man is saying, “I am ninety-four years old. Even if I get five million dollars, what am I supposed to do with it? I will still be ninety-four years old.”
What Buddha says, what Mahavira says, what Christ says, is of no help to you. You are freezing – you are still ninety-four years old. Even if the whole knowledge of the world is poured into your head, it is not going to help: you are still freezing, you are still ninety-four years old. Unless some experience arises in you, some vital experience that transforms your being and you become young again, alive again, nothing is of any value.
So don’t ask others. That is the first lesson to be learned. Ask yourself. And then too remember – because others have put answers there already, so those answers will be coming – avoid those answers. The question is yours, so nobody else’s answer can be of any help. The question is yours; the answer has to be yours too.
Buddha has drunk and he is satisfied. Jesus has drunk and he is ecstatic. I have drunk, but how is that going to help your thirst? You will have to drink yourself.
A great Sufi mystic was asked by an emperor to come to his court and pray for them. The mystic came, but he refused to pray. He said, “It is impossible. How can I pray for you?” Said the mystic, “There are a few things one has to do oneself. For example, if you want to make love to a woman, you have to make it yourself. I cannot do it for you on your behalf. Or if you have to blow your nose, you have to blow it yourself. I cannot blow my nose on your behalf; that won’t be of any help. And so it is with prayer. How can I pray for you? You pray. I can only pray for myself.”
And he closed his eyes and moved into great prayer.
That’s what I can do. For me the problem has disappeared, but it has not disappeared through anybody else’s answer. I have not asked anybody. In fact, the whole effort has been to drop all the answers that others have given – very generously.
People go on giving you advice. Very generous they are in their advice! They may not be generous in anything else, but in advice they are very generous, great people. Whether you ask or not they go on giving advice. Advice is the only thing that is given so much and that is never taken. Nobody takes it.
I have heard about two bums sitting under a tree, and one was saying, “I landed into this state because I never listened to anybody’s advice.”
And the other said, “Brother, I landed here because I followed everybody’s advice.”
The journey has to be your own.
You are freezing, I know. You are miserable, I know. Life is hard, I know. And I have no consolation for you. And I don’t believe in consoling you, because all consolation becomes a postponement.
The mother says to the child bear, “Yes, your father was a polar bear,” and for a little while he tries not to freeze because polar bears are not supposed to freeze. But it doesn’t help. Again he asks, “Mother, was my grandfather also a polar bear?” He is trying to know, “Was there something in my heritage that had gone wrong; that’s why I am freezing?” And the mother says, “Yes, your grandfather was also a polar bear.” Again he tries to postpone freezing, but you cannot postpone it. You can delay a little; but again it is there.
Reality cannot be avoided. Theorizations are of no help at all. Forget theories and listen to the fact. You are miserable? Then misery has to be looked into. You are angry? That anger has to be looked into. You feel sexual? Then forget what others say about it; just look into it yourself. It is your life, and you have to live it. Don’t borrow. Never be secondhand. God loves people who are firsthand. He has never been known to love carbon copies. Just be firsthand, be original, be unique, be individual, be yourself, and look into your problems.
And I can say only one thing to you: that in your problem, there is hidden the solution. The problem is just a seed. If you go into it deeply, the solution will sprout out of it. Your ignorance is the seed. If you go deep into it, knowledge will flower out of it. Your shivering, your freezing, is the problem. Go into it, and warmth will arise out of it.
In fact all is given to you – question and answer both, the problem and the solution both, ignorance and knowledge both. Just, you have to look inward.
Osho Ecstasy: The Forgotten Language