Many, many years ago, in a certain country, there was a young and famous painter. He decided to create a truly great portrait, a lively portrait full of the joy of God, a portrait of a man whose eyes radiated eternal peace. And so, he set out to find someone whose face reflected that eternal, ethereal light.
The artist roamed from village to village, from jungle to jungle, in search of his subject, and at long last he came across a shepherd with shining eyes, with a face and features that held the promise of some celestial home. One look was enough to convince him that God was present in this young man.
The artist painted a portrait of the young shepherd. Millions of copies of the portrait were made and it sold far and wide. People felt great gratitude, just being able to hang the picture on their walls.
After a spell of some twenty years, when the artist had grown old, he decided to paint another portrait. His experience had shown him that life is not all goodness, that Satan also exists in man. The idea of painting a picture of Satan persisted; were he to fulfill the project, then the two pictures would complement each other, would show the complete man. He had already done a painting of godliness; now he wanted to portray evil incarnate.
He sought a man who was not a man but Satan. He went to gambling dens, to bars and to madhouses. This subject had to be full of hell’s fire; his face had to show all that is evil, ugly and sadistic.
After a long search, the artist finally met a prisoner in a jail. The man had committed seven murders and had been sentenced to be hanged in a few days. Hell was evident in the man’s eyes; they spouted hate. His face was the ugliest one could possibly hope to find. The artist began to paint him.
When he had completed the portrait he brought out his earlier picture and set it by the side of the new painting for contrast. It was difficult to assess which was better from an artistic point of view; both were marvelous. He stood, staring at both of them. And then he heard a sob. He turned and saw the chained prisoner, crying. The artist was bewildered. He asked, “My friend, why are you crying? Do these pictures disturb you?”
The prisoner said, “I have been trying to hide something from you all this time, but today I am lost. You obviously do not know that the first picture is also of me. Both portraits are of me. I am the same shepherd you met twenty years ago in the hills. I cry for my downfall in the last twenty years. I have fallen from heaven to hell, from God to Satan.”
I do not know how true this story is, but one thing is for certain: each man’s life has two converse sides; two portraits of everyone are possible. In every man both God and Satan exist; in every man there is the possibility of heaven, and the possibility of hell. A bouquet of beautiful roses can grow in man; a heap of mud can also pile up in him. Every man swings between these two extremes. Man can attain to either of these extremes, but most people are inclined towards the infernal. Those fortunate few who aspire to the eternal, who let godliness grow in them, are rare.
Osho – From sex to superconsciousness
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