Osho responds to a question from Maneesha as she writes of feeling old and wrinkly.
I am feeling ancient lately – not ancient as is wise but ancient as in feeling like a wrinkled up old prune.
Maneesha, there are many people who like wrinkled up old prunes. I don’t like them, that’s true…. And to feel ancient is great! If you are not wise, be otherwise, but don’t feel sad.
It is a particularly difficult problem in the West, and more so for Western women, to think of themselves as ancient. Even ancient women, even the dead, put on lipstick, do a good make-up and hairdo. And you will rarely suspect whether they are alive or dead, to what century they belong.
Particularly in the West I was surprised, seeing a few women… My god! As far as I can see these women should be in their graves, and they are doing shopping! And particularly ancient women have nothing else to do, except shopping.
So don’t be worried about being ancient. Enjoy! If you can enjoy your childhood, your youth, your old age… then suddenly you realise that you were never a child, never young, never old. You are just pure consciousness, which is not confined to any age group.
It is the body-oriented mind, identified too much with the body, which creates difficulty. The Western woman is very body-oriented, and there is reason to be, because youth does not last long enough. It is a fleeting phenomenon. The West is more interested in youth than in anything else. Once you have passed the age of youth, you are ready for the waste-paper basket; nobody cares about you, nobody even looks at you.
In the East the situation is not the same. In the East the older the person is the more he is respected, because he is more experienced. He has lived life; he has known much more. You will also have to pass through the same experiences: it is good to be respectful towards him, because soon you will be old and if this idea becomes fashionable that to be old is not something wrong, but rather experienced and respectable, then your children will respect you when you are old. But you have to create that idea by respecting those who are old.
The West has destroyed completely the respectability of the old person, has taken away the dignity of the old person. And because of that, old men and old women — and women more so, because old men die sooner; they are more fortunate people, they die five years earlier.
And after they are dead, the wife has to live at least five to ten years more alone, old, discarded. Nobody says to her, ‘Sweetheart.’ She waits and waits, and remembers the old days, beautiful days, romantic days when she was also called ‘Darling.’
Now nobody takes note of her and she makes a fool of herself, because she wants attention: uses all kinds of make-up, dyes her hair…. Most probably she has become bald by now, and then she wears some other dead woman’s hair…. It is so strange that people use wigs. A wig means you are using dead people’s hair! And you are not ashamed at all.
Every day there is news in the papers that somebody has got married, the man is ninety-seven, the woman is ninety-four, both are dressed up by their friends. And then strange things happen: they even go for a honeymoon with suitcases labelled ‘Just married.’ It is so hilarious to see such people.
Once a just-married couple reached a hotel on a sea beach. The woman immediately went into the bathroom and she told the man, ‘Put the light out.’
The man said, ‘Why? First you come out, then I will go in the bathroom and then we can go to bed and put the light out.’
She said, ‘No, you put the light out. First I will get into bed, and then you can go to the bathroom. Why do you want to keep the light on?’
The man said, ‘Naturally I want to see you, who you are. All the make-up, whether you are bald, or something else is missing. Naturally I am your husband, I want to know the whole territory. I will keep the light on.’
The woman said, ‘If you insist, then it’s okay. And when you go into the bathroom I will also keep the light on.’
He said, ‘That you cannot do. I am your husband.’
She said, “This is the age of equality between man and woman. And I am not a small child ninety-four years old. I know that certainly you are also missing many things. At ninety-seven years you cannot be intact!’
The man said, ‘Okay, I admit that one of my legs is wooden.’
The woman said, ‘Anything else?’
The man said, ‘One of my eyes is not real.’
The woman laughed. She said, ‘Now you can keep the light on, because both my breasts are finished. You were continuously looking at my breasts: both are just rubber. And you are right’ – and she threw off her hair – ‘take this wig. Just for your sake I have been wearing some dead woman’s hair. And my teeth I will leave in the bathroom!’
Now what… why are you getting married? To torture each other? So many people I have seen when I was moving around the world. I could not believe: why are they not silently asleep in their graves? There seems to be no reason but to go on unnecessarily harassing other people.
And Maneesha, you say:
I would like to do with the approach of old age as Socrates did with the poisoning of his body – just watching every bodily change as they come and knowing it is not me.
There is no need to do it the way Socrates did it. Somehow you want me to be a criminal! Should I provide poison to you?
Just die like human beings die, on their beds, silently, making no fuss about it.
And she is saying,
She is not going to die soon!
Meanwhile, I love dressing up for you in discourse and want to look beautiful for you.
You are making unnecessary efforts. I know already, you are beautiful. There is no need to dress up. I love you, even if you are a wrinkled up old prune. I will not eat, that much I can say. I can love you, but I will love you from a distance.
And she is asking me:
From where you are, you can’t see my wrinkles. Osho, What do you see?
Now this is such a universal question: everybody is worried whether I am seeing him or not! I see perfectly! Don’t be worried about your make-up, dressing; don’t be worried about your wrinkles… because so many people send me eye creams. From now onwards I will start sending them to Maneesha. Because they are all fake: just they are called eye creams and cheat women, nothing changes. They create instead great trouble.
Hamish MacTavish and his wife Maggie have never been flying, so at the local Air Show they decide to take a ride in a small open aircraft. They are just climbing into the back of the plane when the pilot asks for the fare, which is twenty pounds.
‘Twenty pounds?’ screams MacTavish. ‘That is ridiculous, it is far too much!”
‘Okay,’ says the pilot, ’I will make a deal with you. If you can complete this ride without opening your mouth I won’t charge you a penny. But if you make a sound you pay me double!’
Hamish agrees, and they take off. As soon as they are in the air, the pilot starts to loop the plane, flies upside down, sideways, and gives a whole display of aerobatics.
When they land again, the pilot says over his shoulder, ‘Well sir, you win. I never thought you would be able to go through all that without opening your mouth!’
‘It was not easy,’ admits MacTavish, ‘especially when my wife fell out!’
(Osho: Yahoo, the Mystic Rose)