The Bell Tolls for Thee – Osho

What is the ego?

It is a false entity. It is not. There are two great falsities in the world. One is ego and another is death. These two things exist not. And they are not separate, they are joined together. They are aspects of the same coin; two aspects of the same untruth.

If you have ego, then you will be afraid of death, then death is bound to come – because you are clinging to a falsity. How long can you cling to it? Sooner or later you will have to see that it is false.

You can go on avoiding; you can go on delaying and postponing, but not for ever.

Death is the death of the ego. And ego is not in the first place. So a person who becomes free of ego also becomes free of death. Then there is nobody to die!

It is like: a great wave in the ocean believes that “I am, and I am separate from the ocean.” This is ego. Soon the great wave will disappear in the ocean. Then it will feel death. And even while it is there, high in the sky, dancing the dance, whispering with the winds, having a dialogue with the sun, still the fear will be there, that sooner or later it is going to die. Because other waves are dying! And just a moment before, they were alive.

You are living amongst people who are dying, continuously somebody or other dies. The bell tolls for thee. Don’t send anybody to ask for whom the bell tolls – it tolls for thee. Whenever somebody dies, it brings home the truth that you are going to die. But why did somebody die? Why in the first place? Because the wave believed itself to be separate from the ocean. If the wave knew that “I am not separate from the ocean,” where is death? That wave becomes a Sufi. That wave becomes a Buddha, the wave who knows that “I am not separate from the ocean. I am the ocean. So hum – I am that;” then there is no death.

Ego is a false entity. It is needed – just as your name is needed. Your name is a false entity.

Everybody is born without any name. But we have to give a certain name, otherwise it will be impossible in the world – how to call him? How to address him? How to send a letter to him? How to give money or borrow money from him? How to drag him to the court? It will be so impossible if everybody is nameless. It will be sheer chaos! This world cannot exist; it will be a totally different kind of world.

And it will be very difficult to remember who your wife is and who your son is and who your husband is. All will be chaos. Names are needed, labels are needed. But they are false. They are utilitarian, but they are not true. When you give the name to the child, you are giving a name to the nameless. And exactly like that is the ego. The name is for others to use and the ego is for yourself to use. You will have to say ‘I’. You will have to say, “I am thirsty.” The reality is only that there is thirst. But if you go and suddenly declare in the marketplace, “There is thirst!” then it will be very difficult – who is thirsty? Where is it? You have to say, “I am thirsty.” That “I am thirsty” is just utilitarian. In reality all that is, is thirst, hunger, love. These things are true, but the ‘I’ is just needed to manage your life.

If you understand this, there is no problem. You can use it and you can know that you are not separate from existence. I also use the word ’I’ – Buddha uses it, Krishna uses it, Christ uses it. It cannot be dropped. There is no need to drop it! You just have to see the point that the word is utilitarian – useful in day-to-day life, but has no existential status.

Don’t be befooled by the word. Don’t start believing that the word is the reality. But it happens. I have heard Charles de Gaulle was a very egoistic person, as politicians are bound to be. A story is told about him:

One winter night upon retiring, his wife shivered and said, “My God, it’s cold.”

Yielding slightly, de Gaulle replied, “In bed, Madam, you may call me Charles.”

People can start believing. Then you have given the word a reality which is not there, which does not belong there.

The MacGregors of Scotland were all big, husky, country men. They knew the wilds of their own surroundings, but had little use for the finer aspects of civilization. When a problem arose with respect to their land rights, the head of the clan – known as The MacGregor – sent to the university in Edinburgh for an attorney.

The city lawyer was pale and slight next to the clansmen, but he had the expertise they needed, so he was generously thanked and invited to share the MacGregor’ gargantuan dinner. Entering the huge dining hall, the lawyer was pointed to one end of the table overflowing with food.

The lawyer, not wanting to usurp the master’s place at the head of the table, said, “Oh, sir, I could not sit in the chair of The MacGregor himself.”

“You may sit,” The MacGregor assured him, “since it is he himself who invites you to do so.”

Looking around at the tall sons beside him, the lawyer backed off further. “Only The MacGregor should sit at the head of the table,” he said.

The MacGregor laughed heartily and clapped the attorney on the back. “Sit where you are told, you foolish little man, for wherever The MacGregor sits, THERE is the head of the table.”

The ego is just a belief in your specialness, in your personality, a belief in yourself – and the belief is utterly false, not based in truth at all.

I am not. You are not. Only God is. Know it, and then you can use the word. But then it is just a word. It does not denote any reality. Only one is. Many are appearances. Many are false. Falseness consists of many and multiplicity. Truth consists of one.


From The Perfect Master, V.2, Chapter Eight

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Don’t Get Lost on the Way – Osho

Outward expression, declaring to the world the joy I feel, certainly has its limitations, its point of frustration. But falling inside, it looks limitless, endless – A vast cool cave – And nobody is there. What concerns me is: If I wander in, in the silence and stillness will you be there? 

Deva Surabhi, I rarely promise – but if you are absolutely certain that you will go on digging deeper and deeper to the very ultimate center of your being, I promise you I will be there to welcome you.

Because the center is one… we are different only on the periphery.

Just think of a circle and a center: from the center towards the circle many lines can go. On the periphery those lines are very distant; as they move towards the center they come closer, and closer, and closer, and closer. And those who have reached the center are all ready to welcome you.

Not only will I be there, you will also find all those people whom I have been talking about. Just reach to the center, so I can introduce you to Chuang Tzu, to Lao Tzu, to Kabir, to Gautam Buddha, to Eknath, to Hotei, to Tilopa, Naropa… unique people; every one a unique flower, with a fragrance of his own.

And it is not only a promise to Surabhi, it is a promise to you all: the day you reach the center, you will find me there ahead of you. I am already there, just waiting for you. Don’t get lost on the way: reach to the very end.


From The Rebellious Spirit, Chapter Nine

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Something That I Cannot Look At – Osho

Inside, there is something that I cannot look at, I can only be it. And then I am at the center of experiencing my mind, my body, and what comes to my senses. This feels ecstatic, yet is very subtle, and easily disappears when I again identify with what is experienced. Is this my mind entering by a back door, or am I going in the right direction?

Prem Vijen, the experience that you are going through happens to everyone when he first comes into contact with his being. Our whole experience of the past is of identification. When you are full of anger, you don’t say, “I see anger in my mind,” you say “I am angry.” In fact you are not angry, you are just a watcher. The anger is on the screen of the mind.

But identification is the greatest spiritual disease. We get very easily identified because for centuries that has been our habit. So when for the first time you get out of identification, you become centered, naturally you cannot see your being, just as you cannot see your eyes.

To see your eyes you need a mirror and to see your being you need a master, or someone who is already totally centered. In his presence you may be able to see reflected – just as in a mirror things are reflected – your being. But you cannot see directly your being.

I have been telling you many functions of the master. This is one of the most subtle and perhaps the last function. The master is already settled. You are wavering: one moment you are at the center, then you can see your body and your mind and your thoughts and feelings. There is a gap between you and your body-mind system. But the gap is very small and very fresh, and the habit of being identified is very old and very strong.

So one moment you feel you are the being… but the very desire to see the being disturbs the whole thing. You cannot see it. You need a mirror to see it, and no ordinary mirror will do. You need a mirror of consciousness… And then too you will not be seeing your being, just the reflection of it.

In the completely silent and settled lake of somebody’s consciousness, you may be able to see a reflection of your being. But to try to see your being alone is not possible; it just is not in the nature of things. You can be the being – you are the being. You can experience the ecstasy of being there at the very center; you can feel immense joy, fulfillment, contentment. But the moment the desire to see it arises you have already slipped out of it, you have come back into the mind.

Because the gap is very small you will not even be aware when you are slipping. But it is a tremendously significant experience that you are going through. If the gap is small today, tomorrow it may be bigger. If the gap has already happened, the day is not far away when the desire to see yourself will disappear.

You will simply be yourself, full of ecstasy. And as you become centered, everything else – your body, your mind, your thoughts – will go on becoming farther away from you. Just a little patience, and just a little awareness…

You say, “It is very subtle and easily disappears when I again identify with what is experienced.”

Being is never experienced. Experience means a memory, it is already past. Being is always a process of experiencing.

Perhaps the word experiencing does not exist in the dictionaries, but that’s exactly the existential situation. It is always a process which goes on deepening. You can never come to a moment when you can say, “I have experienced.” That will be the moment when you have fallen out of the flow of experiencing.

“Is this my mind,” you are asking, “entering by a back door, or am I going in the right direction?”

Both are true. When you are centered within yourself and feeling ecstatic, you are going in the right direction. The moment you start thinking about it, what this experience is, how to see it, the mind is coming from the back door.

You have to avoid the mind completely. As far as you are concerned, there is no enemy in the whole world except mind. Mind is your enemy for the simple reason that your whole experience of past is accumulated there.

And you have always experienced identification…. You say, “I am thirsty, I am hungry,” without ever thinking what you are saying. Just look at the process: are you really hungry, or are you aware that there is hunger in your body? Are you really thirsty, or can you experience the thirst in your throat, in your body?

But because of the language which has been made up by people who are not enlightened… There exists no enlightened language in the world yet – and perhaps never will exist – for the simple reason that language is needed for communication.

There are only three possibilities of communication. Two ignorant persons can communicate very easily; they are in the same boat. They are surrounded by the same darkness, their identifications are same.

Secondly, communication is a little difficult, but can happen, between an enlightened person and one who is ignorant. The difficulty is created by the ignorant person, because he knows the language of ignorance but he does not know the language of enlightenment; hence, constant misunderstanding.

But the enlightened people of the world have tried their hardest somehow to reach you. They have succeeded in reaching a few people only. The task seems to be immensely difficult.

And there is a third possibility – two enlightened people. But they will sit in silence, that is their communication. So I don’t see any possibility that there will ever be an enlightened language.

The language that we have created is basically faulty. For example, when you say “the tree,” you make a noun of a process. The tree is not static; it is treeing, it is growing. Even when you see with your own eyes a river flowing, you don’t use the word rivering, you use the word river. River makes it something static. It never is – not even for a single moment. It is constantly flowing; that’s its intrinsic nature.

The same is true about everything that we have made static. You are growing, even this very moment. When you came this morning to see me you were younger; now you are a little older. By the time you will be going, you will be very much older.

Existence consists not of nouns and pronouns; existence consists only of processes. Hence, we cannot use the word experience; we can only use the word experiencing. We cannot use the word love; we can only use the word loving. We cannot use the word friendship, we can only use the word friendliness.

But then talking with people will become impossible: “I am coming from rivering. On the way I saw many people becoming old….” People will think you have gone cuckoo. In fact you are stating the actual facticity, the very existential nature of things, beings. Everything is always in constant movement; howsoever slow, the movement is there.

You have to learn something very basic that in the inward world, please, don’t use the wrong language. The wrong language is not only a mistaken language; it becomes your mind also. And your mind is full of all wrong identifications of the past.

You are entering into a totally new territory of your being. This territory belongs to no language, it belongs only to silence. So when it happens, remain utterly silent and relish it. Rejoice in it, feel it, taste it, but don’t try to see it. Don’t try to figure out what is happening. Don’t bring your logic in and don’t bring your old intellectual acumen to try to understand something which is beyond intellect.

Soon the gaps will become bigger, and a day finally comes, Vijen, when you are settled and nothing can distract you from your being. You will see your mind and you will see your body, but on the periphery. And even when they are taken away, killed and destroyed, you will not be affected because you are no more identified.

It is the identification that has to be understood.

A man had a very beautiful house that even the king wanted to purchase. He had made it with such love – he himself was an architect – and the king was jealous because even his palace was not so beautiful. All sorts of rich people had offered that whatever money he wanted he could have, but the man always refused. The palace that he had made was a small palace, hidden in a thick garden, with shrubs, rosebushes. One day he had gone out and when he came home there was a vast crowd and his house was on fire. Either it may have been the conspiracy of the king or the conspiracy of other people who were very jealous of his house. He was an old man, but tears started flowing from his … eyes. It was not just a house for him, it was his very creativity. He was so identified with it, as if it was not the house burning but him. Such a deep attachment…

And then his son came running and told him, “Father, you need not cry for that house. Last night I sold it to the king. He was offering any price we want and there was no question of any negotiation, so I asked three times the price. We can make a house three times bigger, and then the king will know… It is already old and you have so many new ideas, it is a good opportunity.”

The moment he heard that the house was sold, tears disappeared. In fact he started laughing – this is a great coincidence. He started talking with son and with his neighbors, “Perhaps I may purchase the land back, because what is the king going to do with the land? And I will make a three times bigger and more beautiful palace.” He started already dreaming about the future, and the palace was burning.

His second son came running and he told him, “Yes, my older brother is right. We had agreed to sell, but it was only verbal. Neither had the money been given to us, nor had even a sales deed been written. We were waiting for you.” Again the tears came – because now the king is not going to purchase it, he is not going to give the money. He forgot all about the palace three times bigger and he was again crying like a small child. What happened?

The attachment… the identification… the moment you are unidentified with your body, even if the body is on the funeral pyre there will be no problem for you. It is as if somebody else is being burned.

You can also stand by the side in the crowd and nobody will see you.

To be in the being, more and more one has to learn un-identification with everything. Use everything but don’t get attached. I have been telling you to be in the world but don’t be of the world. Be in the world, but don’t let the world enter in you. I have been saying the same thing in other words. Don’t be identified. Use this whole existence, but don’t be possessive. Remain aloof, aware and silently watching.

A man had been bitten by a dog, but did not give it much thought until he noticed that the wound was taking a remarkably long time to heal. Finally he consulted a doctor who took one look at the wound and ordered the dog brought in.

Just as the doctor suspected, the dog had rabies. Since it was too late to give the patient a serum the doctor felt he had to prepare him for the worst.

The poor man sat down at the doctor’s desk and began to write. The physician tried to comfort him.

“Perhaps it won’t be so bad,” he said. ”You needn’t make out your will right now.”

“I’m not making out my will or anything,” replied the man. “I’m just writing out a list of people I’m going to bite.”

This is awareness. Even in such a bad situation he is not identified with the body or death or anything. He is calm and cool and writing a list of the people in the city, all of whom at least he will bite before dying. A very alert mind, a very centered being.


From Satyam Shivam Sundram, Chapter 25

Satyam Shivam Sundram

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Devotion is Not a Path – Osho

What is the path of devotion and does it have a place in your vision of the rebel?

Rafia, devotion is not a path. You don’t have to travel it. Devotion is a way of merging and melting into existence. It is not a pilgrimage; it is simply losing all the boundaries that divide you from existence – it is a love affair.

Love is not a path. Love is a merger with an individual, a deep intimacy of two hearts – so deep that the two hearts start dancing in the same harmony. Although the hearts are two, the harmony is one, the music is one, the dance is one.

What love is between individuals, devotion is between one rebel and the whole existence. He dances in the waves of the ocean, he dances in the dancing trees in the sun, he dances with the stars. His heart responds to the fragrance of the flowers, to the song of the birds, to the silences of the night.

Devotion is not a path. Devotion is the death of the personality. That which is mortal in you, you drop of your own accord; only the immortal remains, the eternal remains, the deathless remains. And naturally the deathless cannot be separate from existence – which is deathless, which is always ongoing, knows no beginning, no end.

Devotion is the highest form of love.

It is possible you may love one person, and love becomes so deep that slowly, slowly the very quality of love changes into devotion. Then that person becomes only a window for you to take a jump into existence. That is the situation of the master, as far as the rebel is concerned.

For my people I am not a savior, I am not a messiah. I am just a door, a bridge to pass on into the infinite.

India has a very strange city – perhaps there is no other city like it in the world – Fateh-pur Sikri. It was made by the great emperor Akbar. He wanted to make a special city for his capital. The whole city had to be totally fresh, a piece of art; and he was going to shift the whole capital from Delhi [Agra] to Fateh-pur Sikri. He was a very demanding man, and it had to be not an ordinary city; every house had to be a palace.

For forty years continuously the city was being built – it is surrounded by a beautiful lake – but it was never inhabited. This is the only city in the whole world which has such beautiful palaces, but nobody ever lived there because Akbar died before he could complete the project. The project was too big – to make a whole capital, absolutely fresh and new, out of a special stone; and all the houses, all the roads in a certain pattern with a certain meaning…. Thousands of artists from all over the world were called to work – stone-cutters, masons, architects.

Akbar had perhaps the greatest empire in the whole world in those days. Under Akbar, India was the greatest land; there was immense money available, but Akbar spent everything.

He wanted the capital to be complete before his death. But seeing that it seemed to be impossible, that the capital would take at least forty years more to be absolutely complete, he decided, “At least while I am alive, half of the capital – particularly the offices of the government and the special people – should move.”

A beautiful bridge was made across the lake to join it with the main road; the city was almost a small island inside the lake. Akbar asked his wise people to find a beautiful sentence to be engraved on the main gate of the bridge, to welcome any visitor to the city.

They searched and searched in all the scriptures, in all the literature of the world. It is strange that, although they were Mohammedans, they could find a sentence which was absolutely suitable only in the sayings of Jesus, as if it was being said specially to be engraved on the capital of Fateh-pur Sikri. The sentence is, “It is only a bridge. Remember, don’t make your house on it – it is a place to pass on.” It is a statement about life. Life is a bridge. Don’t make your house on it – it is a place to pass on.

Akbar loved the sentence. It is engraved on Fateh-pur Sikri’s main gate. But before any move could happen, he died. His son had been against the idea from the very beginning, for the simple reason that the whole treasury had been destroyed. Nothing else had been done, only a dead capital had been made – and Delhi [Agra] was doing perfectly well. There was no need, and in fact he had no money left to continue the project for forty more years, so the project was dropped; nobody ever moved. It became a monument, a great memory of the dream of a great king. But to me the most important thing is the sentence on the bridge.

That’s what a master is, for a rebel. That’s what love is, for a rebel. For a rebel, love and the master are synonymous. When his love becomes so deep with the master that he cannot think of himself as separate in any way, love has transformed itself into a new height. That height has been known as devotion.

Devotion is not a path. Devotion is only a love affair, purified to its ultimate state. Then whomsoever you love becomes a door, a bridge to the universal organic unity, the experience of your small identity dissolving in the ocean just like a dewdrop slipping from a lotus leaf.


From The Rebel, Chapter 20

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Magical Surgery – Osho

When I hear you talk about past lives I get scared. I have never had any remembrance, just a vague feeling, and somewhere I know that I don’t want to know… Unless it’s a remembrance of you. And about future lives, I get so sad – Just the idea of starting all over again, the family, the school, the fight for survival, and, above all you won’t be there. 

How will I remember you, how will I not forget this tremendous gift that you are? I would like this moment to stretch into eternity… And forget about anything else. Is there any great magical surgery possible? I want to heal….

Kavisho, I am exactly doing the magical surgery you are asking about. Do you think my work consists only of communicating words, concepts, and philosophies to you? You are lying down on my surgical table.

There is no need for you to remember the past. Whenever I have talked about the past, it is just to make you aware that you have missed many opportunities before. Make it a point that you don’t miss now.

Thousands of lives have passed, and you have been moving in a wheel, in a routine. This time, come out of the circle. And if you can come out of the circle this time, there will be no future life for you – eternity will be yours.

And that’s what you are asking me: Is there any possibility to stretch this moment into eternity? This is the opportunity: this silence, this dance, this blissfulness can help you to come out of the vicious circle, and you will never enter another womb again. You will remain here – not embodied, but just as pure consciousness, spread all over existence.

My whole effort is to persuade you to take a jump from being a dewdrop and become the ocean.

And the surgery is not very difficult; it is one of the simplest things possible: just get out of your mind. Become a witness to the mind; watch all its traffic pass by. Don’t be part of the traffic; stand by the side of the road – because you are not the mind.

Once this statement becomes your experience – that you are not the mind – then there is no question of being born into another stupid routine. It is the mind and the identity with the mind which is the cause of continuously moving in a circle. Disidentify. You are neither the body nor the mind. You are simply the pure watcher.

It is a simple method – the simplest possible method for the greatest experience – the most shortcut way. Whenever you have time – lying down on your bed, no special posture is needed, or standing under your shower – just remain a watcher: of the body, of the freshness of the water, of the coolness, and of the thoughts that are passing in the mind. Just by watching, mind disappears. One day, you suddenly find an absolute silence within you – no traffic… the road is empty. The surgery is complete. You will not be born again in another body, although you will remain as part of eternal life.

And don’t be worried – I will be there. I am already there just calling you all to the sunlit peaks of consciousness from your dark valleys. Start climbing.

You can miss me only in one way, and that is: if you choose your mind, then you cannot choose me. If you choose me, you will have to drop your mind.

In the eternity of life, we all will be meeting – of course, without our old photographs, without our old faces. But nobody loses his individuality of consciousness even in the universal. He becomes part of the universal, and yet that universality does not destroy his individuality but enhances it. So not only me, but all the souls that have moved into time and gone beyond time, are still here now.

There is a beautiful story in the life of Mahavira. The followers of Mahavira have not been able to explain the mystery of the story. The story is certainly not historical; it is a parable, poetry, an indirect way of saying the truth. It says that Mahavira never spoke. The historical fact is that for forty years, he spoke continuously. But the story is that Mahavira never spoke. He was always silent, and in the audience there were three categories: one was of those who had left their bodies and had not entered in bodies again. They were all around – only visible to Mahavira, not visible to anybody else.

In the second category were human beings – seekers and searchers who had come to him, pulled by his great magnetic, charismatic personality.

And there was a third group, of his most intimate disciples – eleven disciples. They were also human beings, but they have to be put into a separate category because they had come to such communion with the master that they could understand his silence.

He never spoke – but those eleven disciples, called ganadharas, spoke to the people who could not understand silence. They said to people what Mahavira had communicated to them in his silence.

And there were two pieces of evidence whether they had heard rightly or not. One was that all the eleven had their own disciples: there were eleven branches of the disciples; if they all spoke the same message, that was one evidence that nobody had heard wrongly, that nobody was trying to make up the message himself.

And the second piece of evidence was that whenever those ganadharas, those eleven disciples spoke, the unembodied souls showered flowers, because they were able to understand the silence directly. And they were rejoicing because if these eleven people had not been there, Mahavira’s message would have been lost. Those unembodied people could not communicate with human beings. The flowers were showered on the eleven ganadharas as a proof to all human beings that souls – which had become enlightened before – were still supporting and giving evidence that what these people were saying was exactly what had arisen out of Mahavira’s silence.

It is very difficult to give historical proofs for it. But my own experience is that it may have some basis in reality, because I have come to know a few disciples of my own who can understand when I am not speaking. And whatever they understand is exactly what I wanted to convey, but kept it within myself. Here, also, many of you not only understand my words, but also my silences.

The day the electricity went off many times, I received many letters saying that it was such a great experience to sit silently for those few moments. In any other gathering in the world that would have been a disturbance; but in this gathering it was a tremendous experience – people loved those gaps.

Perhaps those electricity failures were managed; but those people must have come to know that we enjoyed it – and since that day, those electricity failures have stopped.

Kavisho, do not think of the past and do not think of the future. I am here with you and I know your heart. You are here with me, and there is no need to fear that you will miss the opportunity. You are coming closer and closer to the fulfillment – to the ultimate contentment. You are going to be one of my most blessed disciples.


From The Rebellious Spirit, Chapter Thirteen

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Beauty Cannot Lead to Enlightenment – Osho

Was Rabindrinath’s longing, his creative angst, the very thing that in the end became an obstacle to his enlightenment? Am I also destined to die with tears in my eyes, and a pocket full of songs?

Milarepa, a poet is not in search of truth. His search is for beauty, and through the search for beauty nobody has ever become enlightened. One can become a great poet, a great painter, a great singer, a great dancer; but on the path of beauty, enlightenment is not possible.

The seeker of truth, and only the seeker of truth, attains to enlightenment. And this is the miracle of enlightenment that once you have discovered truth, then beauty, the good, and all that is valuable simply become available to you.

Beauty cannot lead to enlightenment, but enlightenment opens your eyes to all dimensions and all directions.

Rabindranath was very close to enlightenment, but his search was not for enlightenment – he was searching for the beautiful. And the search for the beautiful, deep down is the search for expressing beauty – in words, in music, in dance, in any kind of creativity. The seeker of beauty is really seeking a vision which he can reproduce in his poetry, in his song, in his painting. Always the search is inner, but the goal is somewhere outside. And that’s the problem for all great creative people: they come to know, but then expression becomes difficult; they come to experience beauty, but how to share it? You may see a rose flower and be suddenly overwhelmed by its beauty, but how to share it? How to express it?

The concern of the artist is expression; the concern of the seeker is experience. Neither of them is able to express, but because the seeker of truth is totally concerned with experiencing, he comes to enlightenment, and he can die with a smile on his face, with fulfillment, whether he has been able to say something about it or not – that is not his concern, that is not his angst, his anxiety.

The artist also comes to know what he is seeking, but his problem is that basically, his interest in seeking beauty is for expression – and expression is almost impossible. At the most you can stutter a little bit – all your songs are stutterings of great poets. They look beautiful to you, immensely meaningful and significant, but to the poet… he knows he has failed.

All artists, either in the East or in the West, have felt an immense failure. They have tried their best, and they have produced great pieces of art – for us they are great pieces of art, but for them they are faraway echoes of their experience. Hence, they die either mad….

Almost seventy percent of painters, dancers, poets have gone mad. They have made too much effort. They have put too much tension into their being, so that it brought a breakdown, a nervous breakdown. And many of the artists have even committed suicide. The wound of failure became unbearable: to live any longer and to carry the same wound, and feeling again and again… became too difficult, and it was better to destroy oneself. And those who have not gone mad or committed suicide, they have also not died in a blissful way.

In the East, we have defined the ultimate values as three: satyam, shivam, sundaram. Satyam means truth – that is the highest. The seeker, the mystic follows that path. Then comes shivam: goodness, virtue. The moralist, the saint, the sage – they follow that path. And sundaram means beauty. The poets, the singers, the musicians – they follow that path.

Those who attain to truth automatically come to know what is good and what is beauty. Those who follow good, neither come to know what is true, nor do they come to know what is beauty. The followers of good – the moralists, the puritans – also never achieve enlightenment. All that they achieve is a repressed personality – very beautiful on the surface, but deep inside very ugly. They have great reputation, honor, respect, but inside they are hollow.

The people who follow sundaram, beauty, are inside fulfilled, utterly fulfilled, but their misery is that, that is not their aim: just to be fulfilled. They want all that they have experienced to be brought into language, into paintings, into sculpture, into architecture. Hence, even though they have experienced beautiful spaces they remain anxiety-ridden.

The people who follow beauty are most often not very respectable – not in the same sense as the saints are. They are very natural people, very loving and very lovable, but they don’t have any ego, any idea of holier-than-thou; they remain just simple and ordinary.

These three values have been for centuries followed separately. So the people who have become enlightened have never painted, have never made beautiful statues, have never composed music; they have never danced. They have never followed the dictates of the society, they have never followed the conventions of the society; hence most of them have been crucified, poisoned, killed – because people want you to be a puritan, a moralist. In people’s eyes morality is a social value, truth is not. Beauty is for entertainment; they don’t take it seriously.

I have been trying in many ways to open new doors – this is one of the most important doors. I want you to be a seeker of truth, but when you have attained to truth you should not be without songs and without dances. Beauty is a little lower value than truth, but the man of truth can express beauty more clearly than the poet, than the painter. For the higher, the lower is always understandable – not vice versa.

The man who has attained truth should also take care that his life radiates godliness, goodness. It may not be in tune with the morality of the society – it cannot be, because that morality is created by blind, unconscious people, just as a convention. For the man of truth it is not convention, it is simply his life. In utter nudity, he should make his life available to existence, to people, so that the ordinary morality of convention slowly, slowly changes into a real and authentic morality of a man who knows the truth.

The man of truth should not look at poetry and music and dance as just entertainment for ordinary people. He should make it a point, because he has risen to a height from where he can see beauty in its absolute glory. He can contribute many riches to existence : Each of his words can be a poem in itself, each of his silences can become celestial music, each of his gestures can indicate towards the most beautiful phenomenon, grace.

But this has not been so up to now – they have all followed their paths separately. I want my people to seek the truth, because by seeking it the other two will become available on their own accord. But remember, when you have experienced truth don’t forget that it is part of your compassion to give humanity new dreams of goodness, new visions of morality, ethics, which are not of the marketplace, which are not only conventions. And he should not forget that his truth is so deep inside him that the unconscious people will not be able to have a taste of it – he should create beauty in all possible dimensions.

Once in a while it has been done. For example, when the Taj Mahal was created… it was not the work of great architects, but it is the most beautiful architecture in existence. Shah Jahan, the emperor who was creating it as a memorial grave for his beautiful wife, Mumtaz Mahal – hence the name Taj Mahal – searched for years for Sufi mystics, who have no concern for beauty. He asked the Sufi mystics, “Although it is something lower, and you are not interested in it – and why should one be? – Just for my sake, you design the Taj Mahal. The architects will make it, but the design should come from those who have known beauty in its fullness, from a height.”

George Gurdjieff used to say that there are two kinds of art. One is subjective art – ninety-nine percent of art in the world is subjective: you are simply pouring your feelings, your desires, your longings, your dreams, into whatever you are making. But once in a while there is objective art – only one percent. What he calls objective art is art created by those who were not artists, who were realized people. They created music to help meditation – it was not for entertainment. They created poetry to convey that which cannot be conveyed by prose. They sang, they danced, to give you just a glimpse of their ecstasy, of their inner dance, of their joy, their blissfulness.

In India, there are many places which have objective art. Even Gurdjieff had to mention them, although he was in the West; he was born in the Caucasus, but when he was talking about objective art, he had to fall upon India. Indian classical music is not just for entertainment. Listening to it, you start going deep into yourself. It is not for all, it is only for those who are ready for an inner pilgrimage.

He mentioned the Taj Mahal, too. On the full moon night, when the moon comes just in the middle of the sky, the Taj Mahal becomes the greatest object of meditation that man has created. You just sit silently and look at it, and just looking at it your thoughts will subside. The beauty of it is so enormous that your mind simply feels at a loss. It cannot grasp it, so it becomes silent. The caves of Ajanta and Ellora, the temples of Khajuraho, Puri, and Konark… all these he mentions as objective art – objective because they are not an effort to express feelings or ideas, they are devices, so that for centuries to come people will be able to have the same taste, the same feeling, the same joy.

The pyramids in Egypt are part of objective art. Just in the beginning of this century, when excavations were begun in the pyramids, a cat was found dead inside. The pyramid was three thousand years old – perhaps when they were closing the pyramid, the cat had remained inside and died. For three thousand years the cat had been there, dead, but its body had not deteriorated. That was a miracle: three thousand years, and the body of the cat was as if she had just died. The scientists were puzzled. Finally it was discovered that the shape of the pyramid is the cause.

That particular shape of the pyramid is tremendously capable of preserving things as they are. Even if you put a dead body inside, it will be preserved. Nothing else is needed, because the shape of the pyramid changes the direction of the rays of the sun, and in that change of direction the miracle happens.

Now there are small plastic pyramids, glass pyramids available in the market. And people who are very much health-oriented, they just sit inside that pyramid. A small pyramid, portable – you can fold it, keep it in your suitcase – and wherever you want you can fix the pyramid up like a tent, and just sit inside it for one hour. And you will feel as immense a well-being as you have ever felt.

The possibility is that if these pyramids are used widely, man’s life can be prolonged. If it becomes a routine exercise for every child, in every home, in every school, in every college, life can be stretched up to three hundred years. Just one hour every day inside the pyramid, and you are not to do anything, just sit there. It is helpful in both ways: It will preserve your life, and that one hour of well-being will give you a deep feeling of meditation. The people who created the pyramids must have been mystics who had come to such a clarity, to see things which are not available to us.

I want my people to be seekers of truth. But never forget that you have to bring a revelation into the moral codes of humanity, too. You should not feel satisfied that you have found the truth, and you have found what is good. You should make your good as much manifest and available to humanity as possible. The same is applicable to beauty. One feels a great loss… if Buddha had painted, or composed music, or sang songs, or once in a while danced with his disciples, the world would have been immensely enriched.

I say to you, remember in those moments when you realize the truth that a great responsibility has fallen on your shoulders: you have to change the ordinary morality into a spiritual code, and you have to change subjective art into objective art. This will be the new expression of the contemporary mystic, and it will make a new breakthrough for the future.

Milarepa, you are asking, “Am I also destined to die with tears in my eyes, and a pocket full of songs?” If you remain interested only in songs and music, you will die with tears in your eyes, and those tears will not be of joy.

Let your search be for the truth, and only on the margin go on practicing your music, composing your songs; so when you reach to your enlightenment you are articulate enough to bring beauty to expression. Then you can go laughing, fulfilled, without any tears.


From The Razor’s Edge, Chapter Ten

The Razor's Edge

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Filed under Osho

Meditate Constantly – Osho

Meditate constantly.

The person who is a seeker will not really be interested in getting only philosophical answers from others; he will be interested in knowing on his own. He will not be interested in philosophy; he will be interested in religion. That is the difference between philosophy and religion. Philosophy is juggling with words, the art of hairsplitting, arguing endlessly about abstract ideas, arriving nowhere. Religion is more like science: it experiments, it emphasizes experience. Science is the religion of the objective world, and religion is the science of the subjective world.

Philosophy is going to die one day; it is already on its deathbed. You can go to the universities and see: every year less and less people are turning to the departments of philosophy. Many philosophy departments are empty, deserted. People are going to science or to religion. Those who are interested in knowing the truth about the world are going to scientific inquiries, to physics, to chemistry, to mathematics, to biology. Or, people who are interested in their own interiority, in their own subjectivity, in their own consciousness, are moving towards religion, more and more towards religion.

Religion is the science of the inner. Philosophy is neither: it is neither the science of the outer nor the science of the inner; it is just in between. It only thinks; it thinks about everything — about science, about religion — but it only thinks. And just by thinking, nothing ever happens. You can make very clever answers, but they are not going to solve your real problems; the problems are real and the answers are just abstract. Real problems can be solved only by real answers.

Hence Buddha says: The seeker can be persuaded to meditate — only the seeker can be persuaded to meditate. Meditation means you start changing your inner world. You start removing dust from the inner world, you start removing all that is unnecessary in the inner world. You remove all that clutter, all the rubbish you are full of. Meditation means emptying yourself of all that the society has put inside you so that you can have a clean, clear vision, so that you can have a mirror-like quality. When a mirror is without any dust it reflects reality; so is the case with meditation.

Meditation means making your consciousness a mirror. Thoughts are like dust, they have to be removed. And thoughts contain everything belonging to the mind: desires, ambitions, memories, fantasies, dreams… all mindstuff is different forms of thoughts, different kinds, different layers of dust. And the dust is so thick that the mirror is not functioning at all — hence you have to ask others. Once the dust is removed you need not ask anyone, you yourself can see. Existence has given you the magic mirror — it is within you.

I have heard a beautiful parable; it must be a parable, it cannot be an historical phenomenon:

When Alexander the Great came to India he collected many valuable treasures. And when he was leaving he came across a fakir, a naked fakir. He asked him, “Do you see my treasures? Have you ever seen anybody with so many treasures?”

The fakir said, “All your treasures are nothing, but I can give you one thing that will really make you rich!”

Alexander could not imagine what this naked fakir could give him. In his begging bowl he had a small mirror. He gave the mirror to Alexander.

Alexander said, “This mirror will make me the richest man in the world? You must be mad!”

The fakir said, “First look in the mirror.”

And Alexander looked into the mirror: it did not show his face — it showed his inner being, it showed his interiority, it showed his subjectivity. His being was reflected in the mirror. He touched the feet of the fakir and said, “You are right — all my treasures are nothing before this mirror.”

And it is said he kept that mirror continuously with him.

The parable is beautiful. That mirror represents meditation. The fakir must have given him some meditation because only meditation can make you aware of who you are.

But Buddha says meditation has to become something constant. Buddha brings a totally new vision of meditation to the world. Before Buddha, meditation was something that you had to do once or twice a day, one hour in the morning, one hour in the evening, and that was all. Buddha gave a totally new interpretation to the whole process of meditation. He said: This kind of meditation that you do one hour in the morning, one hour in the evening, you may do five times or four times a day, is not of much value. Meditation cannot be something that you can do apart from life just for one hour or fifteen minutes. Meditation has to become something synonymous with your life; it has to be like breathing. You cannot breathe one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening, otherwise the evening will never come. It has to be something like breathing: even while you are asleep the breathing continues. You may fall into a coma, but the breathing continues.

Buddha says meditation should become such a constant phenomenon; only then can it transform you. And he evolved a new technique of meditation.  His greatest contribution to the world is vipassana; no other teacher has given such a great gift to the world. Jesus is beautiful, Mahavira is beautiful, Lao Tzu is beautiful, Zarathustra is beautiful, but their contribution, compared to Buddha, is nothing. Even if they are all put together, then too Buddha’s contribution is greater because he gave such a scientific method — simple, yet so penetrating that once you are in tune with it, it becomes a constant factor in your life.

Then you need not do it; you have to do it only in the beginning. Once you have learned the knack of it, it remains with you; you need not do it. Then whatsoever you are doing, it is there. It becomes a backdrop to your life, a background to your life. You are walking, but you walk meditatively. You are eating, but you eat meditatively. You are sleeping, but you sleep meditatively. Remember, even the quality of sleep of a meditator is totally different from the quality of the sleep of a non-meditator. Everything becomes different because a new factor has entered which changes the whole gestalt.

Vipassana simply means watching your breath, looking at your breath. It is not like Yoga Pranayama: it is not changing your breath to a certain rhythm — deep breathing, fast breathing. No, it does not change your breathing at all; it has nothing to do with the breathing. Breathing has only to be used as a device to watch because it is a constant phenomenon in you. You can simply watch it, and it is the most subtle phenomenon. If you can watch your breath then it will be easy for you to watch your thoughts.

One thing immensely great that Buddha contributed was the discovery of the relationship between breath and thought. He was the first man in the whole history of humanity who made it absolutely clear that breathing and thinking are deeply related. Breathing is the bodily part of thinking and thinking is the psychological part of breathing. They are not separate; they are two aspects of the same coin. He is the first man who talks of body-mind as one unity. He talks for the first time about man as a psychosomatic phenomenon. He does not talk about body and mind; he talks about body-mind. They are not two; hence no ‘and’ is needed to join them. They are already one – body-mind — not even a hyphen is needed; bodymind is one phenomenon. And each body process has its counterpart in your psychology and vice versa.

You can watch it, you can try an experiment. Just stop your breathing for a moment and you will be surprised: the moment you stop your breathing, your thinking stops. Or you can watch another thing: whenever your thinking is going too fast your breathing changes. For example, if you are full of sexual lust and your thinking is getting too hot, your breathing will be different: it will not be rhythmic; it will lose its rhythm. It will be more chaotic, it will be unrhythmic.

When you are angry your breathing changes because your thinking has changed. When you are loving your breathing changes because your thinking has changed. When you are peaceful, at ease, at home, relaxed, your breathing is different. When you are restless, worried, in turmoil, in anguish, your breathing is different. Just by watching your breath you can know what kind of state is happening in your mind.

Meditators come across a point: when the mind really completely ceases, breathing also ceases. And then great fear arises — don’t be afraid. Many meditators have reported to me, “We became very much afraid, very much frightened, because suddenly we became aware that the breathing has stopped.” Naturally, one thinks that when breathing stops death is close by. It is only a question of moments — you are dying. Breathing stops in death; breathing also stops in deep meditation. Hence deep meditation and death have one thing similar: in both the breathing stops. Therefore, if a man knows meditation he has also known death. That’s why the meditator becomes free of the fear of death: he knows breathing can stop and still he is.

Breathing is not life; life is a far bigger phenomenon. Breathing is only a connection with the body. The connection can be cut; that does not mean that life has ended. Life is still there; life does not end just by the disappearance of breathing.

Buddha says: Watch your breathing; let it be normal, as it is. Sitting silently, watch your breath. The sitting posture will also be helpful; the Buddha posture, the lotus posture, is very helpful. When your spine is erect and you are sitting in a lotus posture, your legs crossed, your spine is aligned with the gravitational forces, and the body is at its best relaxed state. Let the spine be erect and the body be loose, hanging on the spine — not tense. The body should be loose, relaxed, the spine erect, so gravitation has the least pull on you.

Have you watched it? If you want to go to sleep you have to lie down, for the simple reason that when you are lying down flat on the ground you are in touch with the gravitational forces at the maximum, because all over the body the gravitational pull works, it pulls you. You immediately start falling asleep. It is difficult to fall asleep standing. The most difficult posture to fall asleep in is the lotus posture. The body is so relaxed there is no need to fall asleep, and the gravitational forces are at the minimum; hence they cannot pull you downwards; they can’t make you heavy and dull and lethargic. You are bright, you are full of life. You are more intelligent in the lotus posture than you can ever be in any other posture. The body affects your mind.

Scientists now agree with this: that it is only because a few of the monkeys somehow… they have not been able to find the reason why and how it happened, and monkeys are monkeys — it may have just happened out of curiosity, a few monkeys tried to stand on two legs and these are the monkeys who became the original men; they were the originators. That was the greatest innovation; nothing else has been greater than that. A few monkeys standing erect on their two legs created a great revolution; the revolution happened in the growth of the mind. The erect posture helped the mind to come out of sleep. It became more intelligent, it became more alert, it became more conscious.

Other animals who move on their four legs have not been able to develop intelligence, although many of them have a mind of almost the same capacity as man. For example, the elephant has a mind of almost the same capacity as man, but has not been able to develop it and I don’t think it is ever going to happen. In circuses they try hard to teach the elephant to sit in a chair or to stand even for a few seconds on two feet, but the body is so heavy the elephant cannot manage to be on two feet. Hence the brain remains clouded; the gravitational pull keeps it unconscious.

Hence this lotus posture is something valuable. It is not just a body phenomenon; it affects the mind, it changes the mind. Sit in a lotus posture — the whole point is that your spine should be erect and should make a ninety-degree angle with the earth. That is the point where you are capable of being the most intelligent, the most alert, the least sleepy.

And then watch your breath, the natural breath. You need not breathe deeply, you don’t change your breathing; you simply watch it as it is. But you will be surprised by one thing: the moment you start watching, it changes — because even the fact of watching is a change and the breathing is no more the same.

Slight changes in your consciousness immediately affect your breathing. You will be able to see it; whenever you watch you will see your breathing has become a little deeper. If it becomes so of its own accord it is okay, but you are not to do it by your will. Watching your breath, slowly, slowly, you will be surprised that as your breath becomes calm and quiet your mind also becomes calm and quiet. And watching the breath will make you capable of watching the mind.

That is just the beginning, the first part of meditation, the physical part. And the second part is the psychological part. Then you can watch more subtle things in your mind — thoughts, desires, memories.

And as you go deeper into watchfulness, a miracle starts happening: as you become watchful less and less traffic happens in the mind, more and more quiet, silence; more and more silent spaces, more and more gaps and intervals. Moments pass and you don’t come across a single thought. Slowly, slowly, minutes pass, hours pass….

And there is a certain arithmetic in it: if you can remain absolutely empty for forty-eight minutes, that very day you will become enlightened, that very moment you will become enlightened. But it is not a question of your effort; don’t go on looking at the watch because each time you look, a thought has come. You have to again count from the very beginning; you are back to zero. There is no need for you to watch the time.

But this has been the experience in the East of all great meditators: that forty-eight minutes seems to be the ultimate point. If this much of a gap is possible, if for this much of a gap thinking stops and you remain alert, with no thought crossing your mind, you are capable of receiving God inside. You have become the host and the guest immediately comes.


From The Dhammapada, the Way of the Buddha, V. 11, Chapter Five

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

The Dhammapada

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.


Filed under Meditation, on Buddha, on Witnessing, Osho