Osho on Epicurus′ Garden

Osho in Garden

I am neither a masochist nor a sadist. I have not come to religion to torture myself; just the opposite has been the case. In fact, I have never come to religion. I have simply been enjoying myself, and religion has happened just by the way. It has been a consequence. I have never practiced the way religious people practice, I have never been in that type of search. I have simply lived in deep acceptance of whatsoever is the case. I have accepted existence and myself, and I have never been in any mood to change myself. Suddenly, the more I accepted myself, the more I accepted existence, a deep silence descended upon me, a bliss. In that bliss, religion has happened to me. So I am not religious in the ordinary sense of the word. If you want to find a parallel, you will have to seek it somewhere other than in religion.
I feel deep affinity with a man who was born two thousand years before in Greece. His name was Epicurus. Nobody thinks of him as religious. People think that he was the most atheistic man ever born, the most materialistic ever born; he was just the opposite of the religious man. But that is not my understanding. Epicurus was a naturally religious man. Remember the words ′naturally religious′; religion happened to him. That′s why people overlooked him, because he never went to seek. The proverb: eat, drink and be merry, comes from Epicurus. And this has become the attitude of the materialist.
But Epicurus, in fact, lived one of the most austere of lives. He lived as simply as nobody has ever lived. Even a Mahavir or a Buddha were not so simple and austere as Epicurus - because their simplicity was cultivated; they had worked for it, it had been a practice. They had thought about it, and they had dropped all that was unnecessary. They had been disciplining themselves to be simple. And whenever there is discipline, there is complexity. There is a fight in the background, and the fight will always be there in the background. Mahavir was naked, nude; he had renounced all - but he had renounced. It was not natural.
Epicurus lived in a small garden. The garden was known as Epicurus′ garden. He had no academy like Aristotle, or a school like Plato; he had a garden. It seems simple and beautiful. A garden seems more natural than an academy. He lived in the garden with a few friends. That seems to be the first commune. They were just living there, not doing anything in particular, working in the garden, having just enough to live.

It is said that the king once came to visit...

And he had been thinking that this man must be living in luxury because his motto was: Eat, drink and be merry. ′If this is the message,′ the King thought, ′I will see people living in luxury, in indulgence.′ But when he arrived he saw very simple people working in the garden, watering trees. The whole day they had been working. They had very few belongings, only enough to live. And by the evening, when they were there having dinner, there was not even any butter; just dry bread and a little milk - but they enjoyed it as if it were a feast. After the dinner, they danced. The day was over and they offered a thanksgiving to the existence. And the King wept - because he had always thought to condemn Epicurus in his mind.
He asked, ′What do you mean by saying, "Eat, drink and be merry?"′
Epicurus said, ′You have seen. For twenty four hours we are happy here. And if you want to be happy, you have to be simple - because the more complex you are, the more unhappy you become. The more complex the life, the more misery it creates. We are simple not because we are seeking God, we are simple because to be simple is to be happy.′
And the King said, ′I would like to send some presents for you. What would you like for the garden and your community?′
And Epicurus was at a loss. He thought and thought and he said, ′We don′t think that anything else is needed. Don′t be offended; you are a great King, you can give everything - but we don′t need. If you insist, you can send a little salt and butter.′
He was an austere man.

In this austerity, religion happens naturally. You don′t think about God, there is no need to; life is God. You don′t pray with folded hands towards the sky; it is foolish. Your whole life, from the morning until the evening, is a prayer. Prayer is an attitude: you live it, you don′t do it.

(Osho - Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol.4 #1)