OSHO 2 November 2004 ~~~~~~~~~~If you cannot create, you have no right to destroy.
The man with a Garland of Fingers
Either you make your energy creative, or it will turn sour and become destructive. Energy is a dangerous thing--if you have it, you have to use it creatively, otherwise sooner or later you will find it has become destructive. So find something--whatsoever you like--to put your energy into. If you want, painting; or if you want, dancing or singing; or if you want to play an instrument.... Whatsoever you want, find a way in which you can become completely lost. If you can be lost playing a guitar--good! In those moments when you are lost, your energy will be released in a creative way.
If you cannot be lost in painting, in singing, in dancing, in playing guitar or a flute, then you will find lower ways of being lost: anger, rage, aggression; these are lower ways to be lost.
Gautam Buddha initiated a murderer into sannyas--and the murderer was no ordinary murderer. Rudolf Hess is nothing compared to him. His name was Angulimal. Angulimal means a man who wears a garland of human fingers. He had taken a vow that he would kill one thousand people; from each single person he would take one finger so that he could remember how many he had killed and he will make a garland of all those fingers.
In his garland of fingers he had nine hundred and ninety-nine fingers--only one was missing. And that one was missing because his road was closed; nobody was coming that way. But Gautam Buddha entered that closed road. The king had put guards on the road to prevent people, particularly strangers who didn't know that a dangerous man lived behind the hills. The guards told Gautam Buddha, "That is not the road to be used. This is the place where Angulimal lives. Even the king has not the guts to go on this road. That man is simply mad.
"His mother used to go to him. She was the only person who used to go, once in a while, to see him, but even she stopped. The last time she went there he told her, 'Now only one finger is missing, and just because you happen to be my mother... I want to warn you that if you come another time you will not go back. I need one finger desperately. Up to now I have not killed you because other people were available, but now nobody passes on this road except you. So I want to make you aware that next time if you come it will be your responsibility, not mine.' Since that time his mother has not come."
The guards said to Buddha, "Don't unnecessarily take the risk." And do you know what Buddha said to them? Buddha said, "If I don't go then who will go? Only two things are possible: either I will change him, and I cannot miss this challenge; or I will provide him with one finger so that his desire is fulfilled. Anyway I am going to die one day. Giving my head to Angulimal will be at least of some use; otherwise one day I will die and you will put me on the funeral pyre. I think that it is better to fulfil somebody's desire and give him peace of mind. Either he will kill me or I will kill him, but this encounter is going to happen; you just lead the way."
The people who used to follow Gautam Buddha, his close companions who were always in competition to be closer to him, started slowing down. Soon there were miles between Gautam Buddha and his disciples. They all wanted to see what happened, but they didn't want to be too close. Angulimal was sitting on his rock watching. He could not believe his eyes. A very beautiful man of such immense charisma was coming towards him. Who could this man be?
He had never heard of Gautam Buddha, but even this hard heart of Angulimal started feeling a certain softness towards the man. He was looking so beautiful, coming towards him. It was early morning... a cool breeze, and the sun was rising... and the birds were singing and the flowers had opened; and Buddha was coming closer and closer. Finally Angulimal, with his naked sword in his hand, shouted, "Stop!" Gautam Buddha was just a few feet away, and Angulimal said, "Don't take another step because then the responsibility will not be mine. Perhaps you don't know who I am!"
Buddha said, "Do you know who you are?"
Angulimal said, "This is not the point. Neither is it the place nor the time to discuss such things. Your life is in danger!"
Buddha said, "I think otherwise--your life is in danger."
That man said, "I used to think I was mad--you are really mad! And you go on moving closer. Then don't say that I killed an innocent man. You look so innocent and so beautiful that I want you to go back. I will find somebody else. I can wait; there is no hurry. If I can manage nine hundred and ninety-nine... it is only a question of one more, but don't force me to kill you."
Buddha came very close, and Angulimal's hands were trembling. The man was so beautiful, so innocent, so childlike. He had already fallen in love. He had killed so many people... He had never felt this weakness; he had never known what love is. For the first time he was full of love. So there was a contradiction: the hand was holding the sword to kill the person, and his heart was saying, "Put the sword back in the sheath."
Buddha said, "I am ready, but why is your hand shaking?--you are such a great warrior, even kings are afraid of you, and I am just a poor beggar. Except the begging bowl, I don't have anything. You can kill me, and I will feel immensely satisfied that at least my death fulfils somebody's desire; my life has been useful, my death has also been useful. But before you cut my head I have a small desire, and I think you will grant me a small desire before killing me."
Before death, even the hardest enemy is willing to fulfil any desire. Angulimal said, "What do you want?"
Buddha said, "I want you just to cut from the tree a branch which is full of flowers. I will never see these flowers again; I want to see those flowers closely, feel their fragrance and their beauty in this morning sun, their glory."
So Angulimal cut with his sword a whole branch full of flowers. And before he could give it to Buddha, Buddha said, "This was only half the desire; the other half is, please put the branch back on the tree."
Angulimal said, "I was thinking from the very beginning that you are crazy. Now this is the craziest desire. How can I put this branch back?"
Buddha said, "If you cannot create, you have no right to destroy. If you cannot give life, you don't have the right to give death to any living thing."
A moment of silence and a moment of transformation... the sword fell down from his hands. Angulimal fell down at the feet of Gautam Buddha, and he said, "I don't know who you are, but whoever you are, take me to the same space in which you are; initiate me."
By that time the followers of Gautam Buddha had come closer and closer. They were all around and when he fell at Buddha's feet they immediately came close. Somebody raised the question, "Don't initiate this man, he is a murderer!"
Buddha said again, "If I don't initiate him, who will initiate him? And I love the man, I love his courage. And I can see tremendous possibility in him: a single man fighting against the whole world. I want this kind of people, who can stand against the whole world. Up to now he was standing against the world with a sword; now he will stand against the world with a consciousness, which is far sharper than any sword. I told you that murder was going to happen, but it was not certain who was going to be murdered--either I was going to be murdered, or Angulimal. Now you can see Angulimal is murdered. And who I am to judge?"