BELOVED OSHO, IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE MARRIED AND TO BE FREE AT THE SAME TIME?
Dharma Priya, it is difficult but not impossible. Just a little understanding is needed.
A few basic truths have to be recognized. One is that nobody is born for another. The second is that nobody is here to fulfill your ideals of how he should be.
The third is that you are master of your own love, and you can give as much as you want – but you cannot demand love from the other person, because nobody is a slave.
If these simple facts are understood, then it does not matter whether you are married or unmarried, you can be together – allowing space to each other, never interfering in each other’s individuality.
In fact, marriage is an out-of-date institution.
In the first place, to live in any institution is not good. Any institution is destructive. Marriage has destroyed almost all possibilities of happiness for millions of people – and all for useless things. In the first place, marriage, the very ritual of marriage, is bogus.
I used to work in a university. One of my colleagues, a professor of psychology, was continuously tortured by his wife. It is very difficult to find a couple who are not tortured; and strangely enough, the wife tortures the man. It has a long history behind it – because man has reduced the woman to a slave, she is taking every opportunity to take revenge. It is all unconscious.
That woman was really a monster – she used to beat the poor fellow. One day he came to me and he said, “You are the only person whom I can tell and trust that you will not say anything to anybody else.”
I said, “I promise.”
He said, “My wife beats me.”
I said, “This is not a secret!”
In some way or other, every wife beats the husband. It may not be physical, but to beat psychologically is more dangerous and more harmful.
But the woman cannot be held responsible for it; for centuries she has been tortured, killed, beaten, buried alive – and all that has accumulated in her unconscious. The nearest man is the husband, so any excuse and she starts creating trouble. The husbands don’t want the neighbors to know; and wives know the weakness, so screaming is one of their methods – throwing things, shouting – so the whole neighborhood knows. And the husband has to compromise immediately, because it is a question of his respectability.
So I told the professor, “Don’t you be worried – they all come to me and say the same thing. The moment somebody says, ?Please don’t tell it to anybody,’ I know what the secret is. I can tell even before they have told me.”
He said, “But I want to get out of this prison – I have lived in it enough. It is a twenty-four hour torture.”
So I said, “There is no problem in it.”
He said, “No problem? But I am married to her!”
I said, “Marriage is just a children’s game. How did you get married?”
He said, “A priest was chanting mantras, the fire was burning….” The fire is thought to be the divine, the presence of the divine. So if you take an oath in front of fire, then you cannot go against it. And he said, “I walked in a circle seven times, and the priest tied my clothes to my wife’s sari. We took the oath, he chanted, and we moved seven times around the fire.”
I said, “Clockwise or…?”
He said, “It is always clockwise.”
I said, “Then there is no problem – bring your wife, I am the priest – because whatever the priest was chanting, you did not understand….”
He said, “No.”
I said, “So that’s perfectly okay. I will chant something that you will not know – nor will I. I will go on inventing as I chant, and you can move seven times anti-clockwise around the fire – and then I will cut the knot that has been tied by the priest, so the marriage is finished.”
He said, “My God! – but who is going to bring my wife here? You suggest a very simple solution, but you don’t know my wife.”
I said, “I know her – because she came even before you did! She also wants to get rid of this continuous quarreling – she is not living a joyous life. Either you can both be joyous or you can both be miserable; it is not possible that one remains joyous and the other remains miserable. So I will convince her – she is almost ready – you just go and tell her that I have sent you. So get into your marriage clothes….”
He said, “Marriage clothes?”
I said, “Yes. The whole ritual has to be done in the reverse order.”
The man never came back. I had to go to his house many times. I would knock, and he would plead, “Forgive me for telling you. When I came home I got such a beating that I forgot all the beatings that had happened before! In this life there is no way out; and now I understand why Hindus have invented future lives!”
But I said to him, “Do you know that on a particular day every year Hindu wives fast and pray to God in the temple that they should get the same husband in the next life?”
He said, “That’s true – but I never thought about it. So how to avoid it?”
I said, “Simply fast on the same day. Go to the temple and pray – silently so your wife cannot hear.
She is praying that she should get the same husband; you simply say, ?One life is enough. My wife is great – give her to somebody else now!'”
He said, “That’s good – that I can do.”
You are asking, Priya: “Is it possible to be married and to be free?”
If you take marriage non-seriously, then you can be free. If you take it seriously, then freedom is impossible. Take marriage just as a game – it is a game. Have a little sense of humor, that it is a role you are playing on the stage of life; but it is not something that belongs to existence or has any reality – it is a fiction.
But people are so stupid that they even start taking fiction for reality. I have seen people reading fiction with tears in their eyes, because in the fiction things are going so tragically.
It is a very good device in the movies that they put the lights off, so everybody can enjoy the movie, laugh, cry, be sad, be happy. If there was light it would be a little difficult – what will others think? And they know perfectly well that the screen is empty – there is nobody; it is just a projected picture. But they forget it completely.
And the same has happened with our lives. Many things which are simply to be taken humorously, we take so seriously – and from that seriousness begins our problem.
In the first place, why should you get married? You love someone, live with someone – it is part of your basic rights. You can live with someone, you can love someone.
Marriage is not something that happens in heaven, it happens here, through the crafty priests. But if you want to join the game with society and don’t want to stand alone and aloof, you make it clear to your wife or to your husband that this marriage is just a game: “Never take it seriously. I will remain as independent as I was before marriage, and you will remain as independent as you were before marriage. Neither I am going to interfere in your life, nor are you going to interfere in my life; we will live as two friends together, sharing our joys, sharing our freedom – but not becoming a burden on each other.
“And any moment we feel that the spring has passed, the honeymoon is over, we will be sincere enough not to go on pretending, but to say to each other that we loved much – and we will remain grateful to each other forever, and the days of love will haunt us in our memories, in our dreams, as golden – but the spring is over. Our paths have come to a point, where although it is sad, we have to part, because now, living together is not a sign of love.
If I love you, I will leave you the moment I see my love has become a misery to you. If you love me, you will leave me the moment you see that your love is creating an imprisonment for me.”
Love is the highest value in life:
It should not be reduced to stupid rituals.
And love and freedom go together – you cannot choose one and leave the other. A man who knows freedom is full of love, and a man who knows love is always willing to give freedom. If you cannot give freedom to the person you love, to whom can you give freedom? Giving freedom is nothing but trusting.
Freedom is an expression of love.
So whether you are married or not, remember, all marriages are fake – just social conveniences.
Their purpose is not to imprison you and bind you to each other; their purpose is to help you to grow with each other. But growth needs freedom; and in the past, all the cultures have forgotten that without freedom, love dies.
You see a bird on the wing in the sun, in the sky, and it looks so beautiful. Attracted by its beauty, you can catch the bird and put it in a golden cage. Do you think it is the same bird? Superficially, yes, it is the same bird who was flying in the sky; but deep down it is not the same bird – because where is its sky, where is its freedom?
This golden cage may be valuable to you; it is not valuable to the bird. For the bird, to be free in the sky is the only valuable thing in life. And the same is true about human beings.