I do not understand why enlightened masters are critical of each other. Are they not all working towards the higher good? Are they not different flavors of the same truth?
The question you have asked is almost impossible to answer for the simple reason that you are not enlightened yet. You don’t know the ways of the enlightened ones. You don’t know their devices, you don’t know their methods; hence the misunderstanding. An ancient story may help you…. In a great city there were two sweet shops, and one day the owners of both the shops started fighting with each other. Naturally they had no other way to fight, so they started throwing sweets at each other. And the whole city gathered and people were enjoying the sweets that were falling on the street.
When two enlightened masters criticize each other it brings tremendous joy to those who can understand. Its taste is just unbelievable. They are not enemies, their fight is not of the ego. Their fight has a totally different context.
They fight because they know one thing: that the goal is one, but the paths are many. And each master has to defend his path, knowing perfectly well that other paths are as valid as his. But if he starts saying that all the paths are valid, he will not have the impact, the influence on his people. The journey is long and he needs absolute trust.
He is not a philosopher propounding a system of philosophy. His basic concern is that your commitment to the path should be total. To make it total he condemns all other paths, he criticizes all other ways. It is just out of compassion for you. He knows the people on the other path will also reach; and he knows that out of compassion the master on the other path has to criticize him, has to criticize his ways.
This is just a simple methodology to protect the disciple from influences that can take him astray. And the mind is very, very clever in going astray. If all the paths are valid, then what is the necessity of commitment? If all the paths are valid, then what is the necessity of being total?
If all the paths are valid, then why not travel all the paths, why not go on changing, enjoying different ways, different methods, different sceneries? Each path will pass through different lands; there are paths that will go through the desert, and there are paths which will go through the mountains, and there are paths which will pass through beautiful flowering trees.
But if you travel some time on one path and then you change the path, you will have to start again from ABC. Whatever you have learned on one path is invalid on another path, and if you go on keeping it within you it is going to create tremendous confusion. You are already in a great mess; no master wants you to be more confused!
Your mind always wants change. It does not know devotion; it loves fashions, its interest is always in some novelty. So it will go on moving from one path to another path, becoming more and more confused because each path has its own language, each path has its own unique methods, and each master is going to defend his path against all the other paths.
If you move on many paths you will collect contradictory arguments; you will become so much divided you will not know what to do. And if it becomes your habit to change paths – because the new has a certain attraction for the mind – you will move a few feet on one path, a few feet on another path, but you will never complete the journey.
One day Jalaluddin Rumi took all his students, disciples and devotees to a field. That was his way to teach them things of the beyond, through the examples of the world. He was not a theoretician, he was a very practical man. The disciples were thinking, “What could be the message, going to that faraway field… and why can’t he say it here?”
But when they reached the field, they understood that they were wrong and he was right. The farmer seemed to be almost an insane man. He was digging a well in the field – and he had already dug eight incomplete wells. He would go a few feet and then he would find that there was no water. Then he would start digging another well… and the same story was continued. He had destroyed the whole field and he had not yet found water.
The master, Jalaluddin Rumi, told his disciples, “Can you understand something? If this man had been total and had put his whole energy into only one well, he would have reached to the deepest sources of water long ago. But the way he is going he will destroy the whole field and he will never be able to make a single well. With so much effort he is simply destroying his own land, and getting more and more frustrated, disappointed: what kind of a desert has he purchased? It is not a desert, but one has to go deep to find the sources of water.”
He turned to his disciples and asked them, “Are you going to follow this insane farmer? Sometimes on one path, sometimes on another path, sometimes listening to one, sometimes listening to another… you will collect much knowledge, but all that knowledge is simply junk, because it is not going to give you the enlightenment you were looking for. It is not going to lead you to the waters of eternal life.”
Masters enjoy tremendously criticizing others. If the others are really enlightened, they also enjoy being criticized. They know that the purpose of both is the same: to protect the vagrant mind of the disciple. To keep him on one track, they have to deny that there is any other path anywhere that can lead you except this one.
This is not said out of an egoistic attitude; this is said out of love. This is simply a device to make you committed, devoted. The journey is long, the night is long, and if you go astray you can go on round and round for eternity without finding anything.[…]
Gautam Buddha criticized the seers of the Vedas, he criticized the seers of the Upanishads, he criticized Mahavira, he criticized everybody that he could find – Krishna, Rama, all the Hindu gods. Continuously for forty years he was criticizing every old scripture, every old prophet, every old savior.
But he was not an enemy of anyone. He was criticizing all those people so that you could be unconditioned, so that you could be freed from the clinging with the past which cannot help you. When a living enlightened being is present, he cannot allow you to remain clinging with the dead, which can only be a weight on your heart but cannot become wings for your freedom.
It needs tremendous insight and meditative understanding to have a little glimpse of the world of an enlightened person. I have criticized many: only a few of them were enlightened; most of them were simply frauds. The frauds have to be absolutely exposed to humanity.
Even those who were enlightened have become only a tradition, a convention, a dead belief. You have to be freed from their grip also, because they cannot help you, they can only hinder your path. They can become your chains, but they cannot become your freedom.
I can become your freedom. I am your freedom.
When I am gone I hope there may be still courageous people in the world to criticize me, so that I don’t become a hindrance on anybody’s path. And those who will criticize me will not be my enemies; neither am I the enemy of those whom I have criticized. The working of the enlightened masters just has to be understood.
You should remember only one word, and that is compassion – compassion for you, compassion for all those who are still not centered in their being, who are still far away from themselves, who have to be called back home.
Osho – from Satyam Shivam Sundram