By Ma Prem Naina
Whenever somebody asks us as to who we are, what do we generally answer? Most often than not, we tell our name and our family lineage. But does this family name signify the real person that we are? Because all of us come to this world without a name. Names and identities are imposed on us after we are born. We come namelessinto the world and our identitiesareimposed on us by others.Our name is just a label. Our being born in a particular family is accidental; we could as well have been born in another family and we would not even have noticed the difference. These are just utilitarian needs and it creates a pseudo-self, a created, and manufactured self whileour own real self remains deep down hidden in mist and mystery.
Then we go on labelling others, even children, when we say, “This child is very obedient,” and “That one is disobedient”. When we label others, we create many problems. First of all, if we label somebody, we help him to behave in the mannerthat we have labelled him because he starts feeling that he is under an obligation to prove that the label imposed on him is correct.
The moment we say a man is good, we have stopped looking at him and his personality. We have already labelled him and categorized him. The moment we say,”This man is bad,”- how can we look into his eyes anymore? We have already decided offhand, and we are finished with this man. He no longer is a mystery. It is like we have solved the mystery and put a final label on him. Then we start behaving with these labels, and not the realities.
Little do we realize that life’s dynamics are different. A good man can turn into a bad one, while a bad man can change into good. This change is constant; it is happening every moment but westart behaving and treating others according to our labelling. That’s how we miss the realities and the real persons. It creates a thousand and one complexities and countless unsolvable problems. Oshopoints out, “Wherever two persons are meeting, in reality there is a crowd.Not two persons,but at least four persons are certainly there -your image of the other person and the other person’s image of you in addition to the real persons. They never fit, the real person goes on changing, the real person is a flux.”
The real person is alive and changing. Even if we label him he will not become dead and will continue to live and continue to flow with life. Everything remains possible when we are alive. But the moment we label a man as good, bad, moral, immoral, religious, irreligious, theist or atheist, we consider him as dead. One can only be labelled on his grave, not before it. We can go to a grave and write. Because he is not there to deny you.
Osho explains, “When we are born, we are without any identity, and we seek for one – through our parents, family and friends. Someone may say that you are lazy. You may not like the label, but at least it is something. It gives you an identity, a feeling of being someone. Superficially, you may not like it, but deep down you feel better because you know who you are.As a child you adopt these judgements, both positive and negative, and start believing in them and acting accordingly. It is a hypnosis. And when you grow up, you carry these ideas.
Everybody is just an emptiness. If you accept labels, then you are caught; and every day you reinforce them. This can be a pattern. It is just a false notion, and if you understand that, you can drop it this moment. Man is total emptiness and freedom. You are free to be whoever you like, however you like.”
All labels are destructive. It is destructive to label a person as a sinner or a saint. When too many people label a person in one way, and people tend to think collectively; and the rumour keeps growing, the label becomes bigger and bigger. A day comes when the label is written in such big capital letters, in such neon signs on the person, that he reads it himself and he tries to behave accordingly. The whole society expects him to be that way, otherwise people will be very angry.
On the other hand, when we label a person, he cannot fit into his new roleas somebody else perfectly as it is impossible. It cannot really be done, he can only pretend. At some momentswhen he is not pretendingand is relaxed; the reality asserts itself. For instance, if we label a person as a saintly and good person and he steals during a certain situation and moment, we would think we have been deceived and he is a deceiver. But it is not he who deceived us, it is our own judgement about him that has deceived us. He is moving according to his reality.
Nobody is here to fulfil our expectations. Only cowards try to fulfil others’expectations. A real person will destroy all other people’s expectations about him, because he is not here to be imprisoned by anybody’s ideas. He will remain free. He will remain inconsistent – that is what freedom is. A real, genuine man is inconsistent. Only bogus people are consistent. A real, genuine man carries contradictions within himself. He is utter freedom. He is such a freedom that he can be this and he can be that too. It is his choice -If he wants to be a leftist, he is a leftist, if he wants to be a rightist he becomes a rightist. He is free. He can be an extrovert, he can be an introvert, he can do whatsoever he wants. His freedom lies in his ability to choose what he wants to do in each particular moment.
Ma PremNaina (Naina Rajkumari) is a Master’s in Business Administration and also holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communication. She was initiated into Osho’s Neo Sanyas in 2003 and has been heading the publications and media relations at Osho World Foundation before moving on to join Solidaridad Network Asia as Head of Communications.