Enchanted by the song of a bird singing happily on the branch of a tree, a king had it caught and kept in a cage. Even singing is wrong in the presence of wrong people. The poor bird could not have imagined that his song would get him behind bars! The bird that flew in abandon in the free skies and flitted from one branch to another as he wished, now found himself in a golden cage, inlaid with precious stones to one who has tasted the freedom of the skies? A cage is a cage, whether of gold or iron.
The bird cried and cried, but the king and his courtiers thought he was singing aloud with joy! Some people can cry only like the bird did but to those who cannot perceive the cry would be an expression of joy. The bird was filled with agony and anxiety and he began to think: ”Will my wings remember how to fly if I remain in this cage too long?” If he forgets the sky then of what use even if he were to be freed from the cage!
Only those that have the knowledge and the joy of freedom within their souls know what it is. By merely becoming independent, freedom cannot be known. The bird longed to be free before he lost memory of the sky.
One, morning the bird heard a fakir sing: ”For him who seeks liberation, there is only one way – the
path of Truth. For him who seeks freedom there is only one way – the way of Truth.
And what is Truth?” The mendicant asks in his song.
”Truth is to see things as they are;
to know things as they really exist and
try to live with them as they are and reveal them as such – this is Truth;
and he who attains Truth is liberated.”
This was the Fakir’s song Thus he sang in the streets each day. No one heeded him except the little
bird for, a bird still knows the joy of vast spaces through its flights. Man does not know it any more.
Man is completely oblivious of the wings he has which can take him to some unknown space.
And so the saints and seers of yore tirelessly called out to mankind but who hears? But this little
bird caught the Fakir’s message and that very day it decided to try….
The king was in the palace when someone came to see him. He sent word through his servants to
say that he was not within. The bird shouted: ”No, no! The king is in his palace and he has ordered
his guards to say he is not at home.” The king was angry.
People tend to be displeased when truth is spoken, for all people live in untruths and falsehoods.
And those who are the sovereigns, be they of kingdoms or wealth or religion; those that wield power of any kind are displeased with Truth, for power is always installed on the throne of falsity. Therefore those that hold power always crucify Truth, for if a Truth is allowed to live, it becomes the cross for the governors
The king ordered that this bird be removed immediately – how can Truth reside within palaces? Truth can have a place on the branch of a tree, but within the precincts of the royal abode – it stands no chance. The bird was thrown out of the palace – but that was its cherished desire! He began to
dance in the open and said:
”The fakir is right – if you want to be free, Truth is the only way.”
A parrot watching from a distance cried out: ”Stupid bird, you lost a golden cage and you are happy about it? Not even one is fortunate to have it! It is only obtained by good deeds of our past lives.
But you ignorant fool, you do not know the art of living in a golden cage. The first and foremost rule is to do exactly what the master says without thinking about right and wrong: for he who falls into this error cannot stay within it, Thinking begets rebellion and whosoever begins to think, cannot remain in captivity. Why did you commit the mistake of thinking, you silly bird? To think is dangerous.
Sensible people never think. They stay within their prisons and call it their home, their temple. At the most, you could have decorated the bars from within; a decorated cage give the impression of a house.” Remember, the majority of people adorn their cages in just this fashion and look upon them as their homes.
The bird paid no attention; he was mad with ecstasy, his wings fluttering in the gentle breeze – for he was once again out in the open air. But the parrot continued to give his unasked, for advice. ”Learn the art of retaining the golden cage from us parrots. We always say what the master says. We never say the truth. In fact, we do not care to think that is truth. We say what the master says. What he does, is not to be mentioned. We see with the master’s eyes and thing with his thoughts. We never use our eyes or our brains.” Saying this the parrot quickly went and occupied the open cage. The guard shut the door
The parrot is still within the cage, saying just what the master says. He will remain closed in that cage forever, for the parrots speak everything but the truth. The parrot is a bird after all, but among human beings too, the likes of parrots are numerous. These parrots too, repeat what their masters have said; and for thousands of years they have gone on repeating and to repeating what they have been told. There are parrots of scriptures, there are parrots of sects and cults, there are parrots of temples – the whole of mankind is pestered with the noise these parrots make! And their voices, heard incessantly, capture our minds, so that gradually we too, become parrots. Then we are not even aware that there are open skies and that we have wings to soar into them; we are not even aware of that thing called soul or beatitude!
If you want to maintain peace in your captivity, do not ever mention the word ”Truth.” If life is accepted only as an existence in subjugation and confinement, never ever make the mistake of liking your eyes towards Truth. Consider him your enemy who talks about truth, for truth is dangerous; for truth leads to freedom and freedom offers no security.
There is great security in bondage. How safe is the cage? There is no fear of storms and high winds. The pouring of clouds and the flash of lightning hold no terror. No, there is no fear, man is safe within the bars of his cage.
In the vast skies are many dangers. Imagine, a tiny bird in the endless skies with their terrible storms and mighty gales – there is no protection, there is no safety. That is why the majority of people prefer bondage. If you desire security, ask yourself – do you want to be a captive? If that is so, do not ever talk of Truth. Then captivity, bondage, is the only answer. For be it of politics or religion of wealth or of words, if security is desired, it is best to be dependent.
The quest of Truth is not for those who believe in a safe and secure existence.
It is a quest for eager and fearless souls… for those who have not forgotten their wings and the open skies. Deep within them, some lost remembrance stirs to break ties, pull down walls and fly… fly to that element where there are no walls, no fetters!
Osho – The Beginning of the Beginning