Is Man Free

A man comes to a master to ask how much man is independent, free. Is he totally free, or is there a limitation? Is there something like fate, kismet, destiny, a God who makes a limitation beyond which you cannot be free?

The mystic answered in his own way – not logically but existentially. He said, “Stand up.”

The man must have felt this was a stupid kind of answer, “I am asking a simple question and he is asking me to stand up.” But he said, “Let us see what happens.” He stood. And the mystic said, “Now, raise one of your legs up.”

The man, by this time must have been thinking he had come to a madman; what has this to do with freedom, independence? But now that he has come… and there must have been a crowd of disciples, and the mystic was so respected; not to follow him would be disrespectful, and there was no harm. So he lifted one of his legs from the earth, so one foot was in the air and he was standing on one foot.

And then the master said, “That’s perfectly good. Just one thing more. Now take the other foot up also.”

“That is impossible!” the man said, “You are asking something impossible. I have taken my right foot up. Now I cannot take my left foot up.”

The master said, “But you were free. In the beginning you could have taken the left foot up. There was no binding order. You were completely free to choose whether to take the left foot up or the right foot up. I had not said anything about it; you just decided. You took the right foot up.

In your very decision, you made it impossible for the left foot to be lifted up. Don’t bother about fate, kismet, God. Just think of simple things.”

From Awareness: The Courage to Be Yourself by Osho.

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