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Osho on Alcohol

A man who lives consciously is so drunk with the sheer joy of breathing, with the sheer joy of being,
with the joy of the birds singing and the sun rising in the morning… he is so drunk with existence that
he needs no other drug — alcohol, LSD, mescaline or marijuana. He needs nothing! He is always in a
psychedelic ecstasy, and that ecstasy is something his inner being releases; it is his own fragrance. Not
only is he drunk — whosoever comes to him, stays with him, becomes drunk with his being. I am a
drunkard! If you allow yourself to be here and available to me, you are bound to become drunkards.

Intoxicants will disappear from the world only when meditation has become a world-wide
phenomenon, when each single individual has created some meditativeness in his being; when each
single individual has become aware, “There is no need to be miserable. Misery is created by me. Life is
not misery: life’s nature is bliss. It is my stupidity that I am creating misery out of it.” Misery needs
great efforts, bliss is natural — you cannot create bliss, you can only create misery. And if you don’t
create misery, bliss comes of its own accord. Bliss comes effortlessly — you cannot practise it. But for
misery you have to make great efforts — and you ARE making great efforts to remain miserable. You
have invested much in your misery.

Why in the first place do you run after spurious pleasures? This woman, that man… why do you run
after spurious pleasures? What is the rationale behind it? The rationale is that you are already in
sorrow. You want somehow to forget all about it; you want to drown yourself in alcohol, in sex, in
money, in power politics — you want somewhere to drown yourself.

The person who is interested in alcohol must be living in misery, in a kind of suffering. That’s why he
wants somehow to forget it all. Alcohol is nothing but a chemical strategy to forget your miseries,
anxieties, your problems, to forget yourself.

The appeal of wine is really because you are so egoistic. You are too burdened by it and sometimes you
want to forget it. So the world will have to follow alcohol or Tao — these are the alternatives. Only a
religious man, a really religious man, can be beyond alcohol, marijuana, lsd — any type of drug. Only
a religious man can be beyond them; otherwise how can you be beyond them? The ego is too much, the
burden is too much, it is constantly on your head. You HAVE to forget yourselves. But if wine can do
so much, you cannot conceive of what the divine wine can do. What is the wine doing? For certain
moments, through chemical changes in the brain, in the body, you forget yourself. But this is
momentary. Deep down you are there, and after a few hours the chemical effect is gone, your body has
thrown the wine out and the ego asserts itself again. But there is a wine, I tell you — God is that wine,
Tao, or whatsoever name you like to call it. Once you taste it, the ego is gone forever. Nobody ever
comes back from that drunkenness. That is why Sufis always talk of wine, Sufis always talk of women.
Their woman is not the woman you know — God is the woman. And their wine is not the wine that
you know — God is the wine.

When you are too worried, too tense and you take to alcohol. Yes, for a few hours you will forget all
your worries and all your tensions, but the alcohol cannot take your worries away forever; it cannot
solve them. And while you are drowned in alcohol those worries are growing, becoming stronger; you
are giving them time to grow. And when you are back the next morning with a hangover and a
headache added to the worries, you will be surprised; they are bigger than when you had left them.
Then it becomes a pattern of life: become again and again intoxicated so you can forget — but again
and again you have to face your life. This is not an intelligent way to live. I am against all intoxicants,
against all drugs. They don’t help; they only help you to postpone problems. I would like to really
solve your problems. I have solved mine, and the problems are the same, more or less.

Your dreams are like intoxicants. You can drink alcohol, but how long can you remain in it? Tomorrow
you will be back, and all the worries and all the anxieties will be back, and you were trying to escape
from them. There is no escape, there is only understanding which helps. Escape does not help at all;
your troubles will go on increasing
Pleasure is escape. That’s why pleasure is not worth it. In fact it is not pleasure, it is a sort of suicide.
You escape from the problems, you put your back to the problems, but this is no way to solve them.
You will have to come back, because once you have become conscious, unconsciousness cannot be a
permanent state of affairs. You can have a dive into unconsciousness, but how long can you remain
underwater? For a second — and then you are back again to the surface. You cannot remain
unconscious for long. Alcohol or drugs or sex or anything in which you become unconscious, in which
you lose for a moment all your worries, forget about them — it is a forgetfulness, but forgetfulness
cannot be a permanent state. So this is not helping in any way, pleasure doesn’t help. You have to come
back again and again — and then it becomes a vicious circle. When you come back and you find the
anguish is waiting, the anxiety, all the problems — rather, they have increased — you become afraid,
you become nervous. Your whole being trembles and becomes fear; then you have to escape again and
again. The more you escape, the more problems increase. The more problems you face, the more
alcohol is needed. And then the quantity of the intoxicant has to be increased continuously because you
become attuned to it. You take a certain quantity of a drug: the first day you feel unconscious. After a
few days you are not unconscious; you are still conscious, worries are still there knocking at the door,
you can hear — you need a greater quantity. The greater quantity will also become less.

All the cultures, all the religions have been condemning alcohol, opium, hashish, marijuana — but their
condemnation seems to have no effect. Humanity goes on taking drugs, and nobody bothers to ask, if
so many wise people are against it, why are people taking these drugs? And the strange thing is that so
many of these wise people who are against it are taking drugs themselves — perhaps in different ways.
In one country, marijuana may be illegal, hashish may be illegal, LSD may be illegal, but alcohol is
not. And alcohol is more dangerous than any of the other three. Why isn’t alcohol illegal? — because
Jesus used to drink it. Christianity cannot make it illegal; otherwise Jesus would be proved a criminal
— and not an ordinary criminal, because he was even making water into alcohol. And the countries
who have tried…. For example, India, which is not a Christian country, has tried hard to prohibit
alcohol, but has failed. Prohibition makes things even worse. People start making alcohol on their own,
in their own homes. And thousands of people have died from poisoning because they don’t know what
they are drinking. It is being sold underground, and they don’t know how it is being prepared. And
finally those prohibitions have to be withdrawn. One thing that I want to make clear to you is that all
the people who have been against the laws and governments and religions and who are still going for
drugs have a certain argument. And that is that they want their personality to be forgotten. Their person
is so painful, so ugly, that they are ready to commit any illegal act, just to forget it for a few hours. The
influence of intoxicating drugs proves only one thing: man, in his ordinary personality, is living in
despair. He wants for a few hours at least to forget all about the worries and the problems and the
anxieties, and there seems to be no other way. What do you want to protect your person for? Your
person is your problem. And if you are intelligent enough, and you can find some presence where your
person starts melting and disappearing — without any intoxication, without any drugs — then can you
conceive of a greater blessing? Let the person disappear; it is simply a burden, a torture, a pain in the
neck for which there is no medicine.

If you want people not to drink, you have to give them something higher that takes away their
anxieties. They drink because they are tense, they drink because there is anxiety, they drink because
they want to forget. They want to forget the wife, they want to forget the husband, they want to forget
the small kids, they want to forget their business, they want to forget their financial troubles. Unless
you give them a higher consciousness which can solve these problems — then there is no need to
forget anything — unless you give them such a deep alertness and awareness that they can see the root
cause of their misery, and they don’t want just to cover it with alcohol but want to cut it from the
roots… Except meditation there is no way that intoxicant drugs can be prohibited.

Meditation is real spiritual alcohol! It takes you to such deep blissfulness… you don’t have to forget
your blissfulness. Do you want to forget your blissfulness? Alcohol only helps you to forget. Whether
it is anxiety or ecstasy, whether it is tension or relaxation, it simply helps you to forget. Once you are
blissful, happy, once you don’t have any tensions, you will not drink because the drink will simply
destroy your blissfulness, your joy, your dance, your song. Give people some new spiritual awakening.

My alcohol is my alcohol; your alcohol is your alcohol. When I am talking about alcohol, I am not
talking about your alcohol. I am talking about the alcohol of Buddhas. Yes, they are drunk — drunk
with the Divine.
Alcohol can disturb before enlightenment, because it can make you more unconscious — that’s its
whole purpose. Your consciousness is burdened so much with anxieties, worries, anguish, that you take
a drink and feel good because your consciousness goes to sleep. Hence, before enlightenment, any kind
of intoxicant is absolutely to be dropped. It affects your consciousness and drags it downwards towards
darker realms of unconsciousness. And the whole effort of the seeker is to pull the darker parts out into
the light, so this is just the reverse process. But after enlightenment you are free. There is no problem;
now no intoxicant can make your consciousness drop from the height it has reached. You can enjoy
intoxicants if you like, there is no danger. But ordinarily, all the enlightened people in the past have not
used intoxicants after their enlightenment.

So I want to tell you that after enlightenment one can drink any alcoholic beverage. But there is no
need, because the enlightened one has no tensions, no anxiety. He has nothing to drown in alcohol, so
there is no need for him. But just to be a good companion to you, he can drink a little bit once in a
while. That will keep him more human, and that will give you more hope! It will destroy the distance
between the enlightened and the unenlightened. And that is my greatest effort — to destroy any
distance between the enlightened and the unenlightened.

Gurdjieff could not attract many disciples in the West. The reason was, he was not an articulate person.
He knew only the Caucasian language. He was born, strangely, in the same place where Joseph Stalin
was born. They both learned in the same seminary, they were colleagues when they were small
children. And both had the same quality of steel. Joseph Stalin proved his steel, and in the same way
but in a different direction, George Gurdjieff also proved his steel. He was perhaps the strongest man
you can imagine, stronger than Stalin, because Gurdjieff had no power; his power was inner. You
could give him as much alcohol as possible, and you could not make him drunk — that was his power
— no drug had any effect on him, his witnessing was so great. He would go on moving behind the
alcohol, the alcohol would not be able to distract his witnessing.

My methods are different from George Gurdjieff’s. I am not in favor of any alcoholic beverages. I am
not in favor of any psychedelic drugs either, because they all create illusory worlds for you and they all
are distractions. They make you more and more oblivious of your own being, unaware of your own
self. My work is based in awareness. The word ‘awareness’ is the golden key here, the master key. You
have to learn to be more aware. Howsoever painful it is in the beginning, be more aware, because it is
by becoming more aware that one day you will become part of the celebration of the whole.

When you see a drunkard coming home in the late night, you cannot believe how he manages. He has
lost all control and all balance because alcohol affects the sixth sense. Every drug affects the sixth
sense and immediately you lose balance.

Just the other day somebody had asked a question: “Jesus used to drink alcohol. What do you say about
it?” I can allow Jesus! He was so conscious that he could afford to drink once in a while. But I cannot
allow you. You are already so unconscious, you are already so burdened; now, making you more
unconscious will be dragging you towards hell. In the East, particularly in India, there has existed a
tremendously beautiful esoteric school of tantrikas. One of their very secret methods is that whenever a
master thinks that a disciple is ready, he allows him to drink alcohol or take some other drug in small
portions, in small quantities, slowly. As his meditation deepens he is allowed to drink bigger amounts.
The only condition to be fulfilled is that he should remain conscious. Even under the influence of the
drug he should remain conscious — that is the only condition to be fulfilled. This is a rare experiment!
And a moment comes when a real meditator can drink as much… he can drink alcohol just like water
and he will remain as centered as ever, as conscious as ever. That is the crucial test. That day the
master says, “Now there is no need to drink at all. You passed through the test.”

In the East there has been a secret tradition of tantrikas who go on practicing meditation — and side by
side they go on taking drugs in greater and greater amounts for a certain reason. They are not interested
in drugs, they are interested in meditation. But they go on increasing the amount of the drug slowly
slowly, so that they can remain alert with the drug. It takes a long time, it is a very subtle process of
awakening. In the hands of the fools it will be destructive, it will be suicidal. Hence it is a sacred
tradition. Only the master gives it to the disciple — and very rarely. If he finds some disciple of such
integrity, then only does he give this process: “Meditate and go on increasing the amount of the drug so
slowly that it never overpowers you and your watchfulness remains intact.” But the drug will start
removing all rocks and it will bring up all that you have repressed down the ages in your many lives.
Watching it you will be allowing it to disappear. That is the magic of watching. If you watch
something, either it is going to disappear totally from your being, or it is going to be dissolved into
your being. If it is something natural, spontaneous, it will be dissolved into your being. That too is
beautiful. If it is something not part of your being, extraneous — has come from the outside, is a
parasite on you — it will evaporate.

You are truer when you have drunk a little too much, and things start surfacing from your unconscious.
Under the influence of alcohol you are truer than you ordinarily are, because the alcohol relaxes the
guard. Then you start saying things you always wanted to say, and you are not worried about anything,
and you are not trying to leave any impression — you are simply being true. Drunkards are beautiful
persons: truer, more authentic. It is ironical that only drunkards are authentic.

Pleasure is when you forget your misery. Misery remains — you forget your misery. You go to the
movie, you become so much focused on the movie, you become so much involved in the story, that
you forget yourself, that for two, three hours you are as if you are not. But outside the movie house you
are back to your routine self and to your routine misery. The stupidity is that because of your
unconsciousness you suffer, and when you want to avoid your suffering you drink alcohol so that you
can forget your suffering. It is because of unconsciousness that you are miserable; then you try to
become more unconscious so that you need not know that you are miserable. This way you go on
deeper and deeper into the unconscious.

Perhaps for a few moments you can drown it in alcohol, but the next morning it will come back, worse
than it was before. Then you call it a hangover. You suffer the hangover; still again you are going to
drink, knowing perfectly well that the hangover is coming.

Your whole life is your choice: you can be in hell, you can be in heaven. And heaven and hell are not
far away from each other. In fact, there is not even a fence between the two, there is no division; they
merge and melt into each other. You can easily move from one space to the other. And people have
tried all kinds of things, but nothing succeeds. People have tried alcohol and drugs and people have
tried prayers, religious rituals — nothing works. Maybe for a moment, or for a few hours, mescaline or
LSD can take you away from your present misery, but in fact they don’t take you away — they simply
make you unaware of it. Only one thing has been successful and that is becoming more conscious,
accepting that it is your responsibility; if you are in misery, then looking at it and finding out how you
have chosen it and why you have chosen it. And seeing that it is your choice is enough.

Ego is very intoxicating, remember it. It is more alcoholic than any alcohol can be. And it is pious;
when it is pretending to be holy it is very pious — and a pious poison is the purest poison. Avoid it.
Come back to the earth. Be simple and see the reality as it is.

In India, we have experienced everything in these thousands of years. There are monks in India who
can drink any amount of alcohol and it does not affect them, any amount of marijuana and it does not
affect them at all, they remain just simply the same. The only thing that in the end they have to try
when nothing else affects them is a cobra snake bite. So they keep cobra snakes with them. On their
tongue they will take a bite by the cobra which can kill you — but to them it just gives a little…. What
drugs give to you, only cobra poison can give them — and sooner or later they become accustomed to