Yearly Archives: 2010

Osho asks “Who am I?”

I used to ask myself, “Who am I?” It is impossible to count how many days and nights I passed in this query. The intellect gave answers heard from others, or born of conditioning. All of them were borrowed, lifeless. They brought no contentment. They resonated a little at the surface, and then disappeared. The inner being was not touched by them. No echo of them was heard in the depths. There were many answers to the question, but none was correct. And I was untouched by them. They could not rise to the level of the question.

Then I saw that the question came from the center but the replies touched only the periphery. The question was mine, but the answers came from outside; the question arose from my innermost being, the replies were imposed from outside. This insight became a revolution. A new dimension was revealed.

The responses of the intellect were meaningless. They had no relevance to the problem. An illusion had shattered. And what a relief it was!

It seemed as if a closed door had been flung open, filling the darkness with light. The intellect had been providing the answers – that was the mistake. Because of these false answers, the real answer could not arise. Some truth was struggling to surface. In the depths of consciousness some seed was seeking the way to break open the ground in order to reach the light. Intellect was the obstruction.

When this was made plain, the answers began to subside. Knowledge acquired from outside began to evaporate. The question went ever deeper. I did not do anything, only kept on watching.

Something novel was happening. I was speechless. What was there to do? I was, at the most, simply a witness. The reactions of the periphery were fading, perishing, becoming nonexistent. The center now began to resonate more fully.

“Who am I?” My entire being was throbbing with this thirst.

What a violent storm it was! Every breath quaked and trembled in it.

“Who am I?” – Like an arrow, the question pierced through everything and moved within.

I remember – what an acute thirst it was! My very life had turned into thirst. Everything was burning. And like a flame of fire the question stood forth, “Who am I?”

The surprise was that the intellect was completely silent. The incessant flow of thoughts had stopped. What had happened? The periphery was absolutely still. There were no thoughts, no conditioning of the past.

Only I was there – and there was the question too. No, no – I myself was the question.

And then the explosion. In a moment, everything was transformed. The question had dropped.

The answer had come from some unknown dimension.

Truth is attained through a sudden explosion, not gradually.

It cannot be compelled to appear. It comes.

Emptiness is the solution, not words. Becoming answer-less is the answer.

Someone asked yesterday – and someone or the other asks every day – “What is the answer?”

I say, “If I mention it, it is meaningless. Its meaning lies in realizing it oneself.”


From Seeds of Wisdom #13

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

You can read the entire book online at Osho Library.

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

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Who Am I? – a poem

My father is the sky in which I breathe
My mother is the earth on which I walk
I know their son but I am not he.

Then, who am I?

My heart is love
My head insight
I am both no neither.

So, who am I?

When I close my eyes, the whole world disappears
When I open my eyes, I am reborn
I witness all of life.

But, who Is this I?


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Beyond the Astral Body – Osho

I have understood that the witness is pure consciousness, unaffected by the body and mind it takes temporary residence in. So, first: how do personality and conditioning persist from one life to another? And second: does not that which makes us unique individuals have a continuum?

Maneesha, first you have to understand that you have not only this body of flesh and bones and blood, not only this brain which is part of the body. Behind the brain you have a mind — that mind is abstract — and behind the body you have an astral body. The word `astral’ comes from stars; it means a light…. Instead of flesh or bones, only a body made of light. This body of light, the astral body, has the mind in it.

When you die, your physical body and your physical mind are left behind. But the astral body travels with you, with the mind, with all the remembrances of the past life and the body, remembering all the scars and the wounds that have happened to the physical body. This abstract phenomenon travels with you; hiding within it is your ultimate, existential center.

Until you know the center, you will have to travel continuously from one body to another body. You have been traveling already for thousands of lives, gathering more and more memories in your astral mind, more and more memories in your astral body. Although your center is unaffected, it is surrounded by the astral body, and the astral body goes on from womb to womb, from grave to grave. That is your individuality; it has a continuum.

But the continuum comes to an end when you become a buddha.

When you penetrate deeply to the center, you are also cutting the astral body apart, making a way through the mind, beyond the mind, through the astral body and beyond the astral body, to the center of your being. Once you have reached to the center of your being, the continuum of your individuality stops. Now begins the universal existence.

You will not enter into another womb again, and you will not be burnt on another funeral pyre again. Now you will be one with the whole.

Of course, everything has a cost. You will have to drop your long-cherished love of individuality. Millions of years you have loved your individuality, but your individuality at the final stage is a hindrance.

Now take a jump out of the continuum and become one with the whole. You will disappear just like a dewdrop in the ocean. But it is the ultimate bliss; it is the most profound ecstasy to become the oceanic, to become the cosmic. You will never repent that you have lost your individuality.

What was in your individuality?

Have you ever thought?

Your individuality was a light prison, which carried you from one womb, passing through the grave, to another womb, and repeating the same things again and again and again.

That’s why in the East they call it the life and death cycle. To jump out of this cycle is the whole purpose of meditation — to come out of this continuum, which has been just a deep anguish, anxiety and angst, and to disappear into the blue sky.

This disappearance is not your death. This disappearance makes you one with the whole.

And to be one with the whole is the greatest joy, the greatest blissfulness. Nothing is more significant, more full of splendor, more majestic. Here all the buddhas have disappeared in the ultimate eternity of existence. It is freedom from individuality, freedom from yourself.

You have known freedom from others, but you don’t recognize that you are still a slave of your own individuality. It is a cage… it may be golden.

Open the cage and fly across the sun into the blue sky and disappear, without leaving any footprints, any trace behind.

This Gautam the Buddha used to call anatta, no self, no mind, no you, no I. This in fact can be said in another way….

I have told you about Kabir, one of the great mystics of India. When he was young he became enlightened, and he wrote a small poem, in which comes the line: The drop has disappeared in the ocean.

When he was dying, he called his son Kamaal and told him to change that line. Kamaal said, “It is so beautiful — the dewdrop has disappeared in the ocean. Why are you changing it? And what is the substitute?”

Kabir said, “These are my last breaths; don’t argue, simply do what I am saying. You write instead: The ocean has disappeared in the dewdrop. That was my first impression, this is my last impression.” And he closed his eyes.

But both the impressions are beautiful. In the beginning, of course, you will see the dewdrop is disappearing in the ocean. But finally you will realize the ocean has disappeared in the dewdrop.


From One Seed Makes the Whole Earth Green

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An 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.

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Making the Two 1

No-body is Here

No-mind is Now


I slips out

in two

the 1


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The Divine Discontent – William Samuel

For all of us there comes a time when we finally get down to brass tacks, living and being the Spiritual Life. Usually, adversity of some sort, health, business, grief, loneliness or boredom, drives us to this decision.

Oftentimes it is fear of one kind or another. Perhaps we simply yield to the prodding of others, or to the urge of an intangible feeling within–the “divine discontent”; but whatever the reasons for our action, one fact is certain: the decision that brings it about is very personal. It is an alone experience that takes place within.

You know this is a fact.

All have discovered that, from the moment we act on the decision to discover Reality, we begin to find it. The moment we sincerely begin a determination of the Absolute, it continues of its own accord until Reality is disclosed!

The acted-upon decision to determine fact from fiction is somewhat like pushing a canoe into a river where it is quickly caught up in the silent and effortless flow to a happy and Infinite awakening. It is like putting seed in fertile ground.

“Mr. Samuel, be specific! Exactly what action is required? Church activity? Prayer? Healing? Self-immolation?”

Here is the answer: our first action is the effortless turning within to the Self to listen to the Heart. This is it. This is all!

Is this a disappointing oversimplification? Did your erudite nature expect a profound revelation, a metaphysical pronouncement of reason and logic to shake the intellect?

So you, like so many, expect Reality to come forth only from blinding flashes of Light and ecstatic Illumination?

Here is the unadorned Truth, stripped of the ego’s covering of abstruseness and intellectualism. Truth is simple. It is always simple. The Truth is easy and uncomplicated. It is tender and effortlessly available. Its location is not limited to the great libraries, nor to universities, temples and cathedrals. Truth, and the honest statements about it, are simplicity itself. It is found with the heart, with the Self, here and now.

For years we have gone outside to teachers, leaders, and holy books, when the entire universe of Truth has been within us all the while. Its confirmation is found nowhere else.

Where? Within the Heart! Here! Now! REALITY IS EASILY COMPREHENDED inevitably; intellectual mankind complicates everything and makes a mystery of truth.

In intellectual circles the idea is prevalent that Reality is relative at best and can never really be known; that all we can do is get closer to it—and that, say the ministers, philosophers, theologians, and educators, takes years of study, prayer, self-immolation, self-denial, suffering, toil and perhaps a death or two thrown in for good measure.


Reality is real, not relative, and it can be discovered without labor!

Instead of effort, it is the tenderest labor of love; it is happiness beyond belief; it is reward that hasn’t even been dreamt of!

Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

For this proof, the first action is simply, quietly to turn within to one’s Self, there to listen to the Heart, where Truth is and where the answers are!

THE ANSWER IS HERE One’s own Heart is here, consequently the Truth is here.

It is comforting to desist from the rat race for a moment and acknowledge that Truth is at hand. Truth is the solution to all that seems untrue, hence unreal.

How wonderful to realize, no matter what the apparent problem, that one is never any farther from the Happiness, Peace and Tranquility he may think he needs than himself. “Himself” is right here, this very now, closer than breathing.

“My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them forever-more; Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you”.

-William Samuel

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I Am a Dream-Breaker – Osho

By merely believing there is no darkness you do not have light.

An ideology that teaches one to believe that sin does not exist and that the soul is not involved in sin is very dangerous. It is just a means of forgetting one’s sinful condition. It does not lead to the extinction of sin but to forgetting about sin. And forgetting about sin is worse than the existence of sin. Are you able to see your sins? Being aware of them is good, beneficial. But being unable to see them, being ignorant of them is harmful, because when they have been seen they begin to goad us, to prick at us to transform ourselves. Awareness of sin brings about change and the full consciousness of sin brings about instantaneous transformation.

Therefore please don’t get involved in talk about the purity of the soul, enlightenment and so on. The soul has nothing to do with belief. It is something to be realized directly when the sin-ridden personality has been cast off and when the seeker, breaking through the layers of darkness, enters his own secret, innermost, centre of light. It is a direct realization. It is not something that can be imagined.

Any imaginary concept of it is probably going to be very harmful. It can become a hindrance and can stand in the way of attaining the light, because if you believe there is no darkness, there is no question of your being able to remove something you do not believe exists. And if the soul commits neither good nor evil, then what is the point of rising above them? These meaningless statements and questions of our so-called philosophers have thrown many people into worlds of delusion. This poison has spread far and wide and because of it, we think of ourselves as God. And at the same time it would be difficult, on this earth, to find greater sinners than us!

Don’t forget, also, that all this self-glorification and talk about the purity of the soul is really directed towards ignoring the existence of sin. It is very difficult for those who fall into the trap of this talk to get out of it later. It is easy to become free from sin but it is very difficult to escape the clutches of this dangerous kind of philosophy.

The fact that the soul is pure is neither a theory nor a principle, it is a direct realization. And any discussion about it is useless. It is just like creating an illusion in the mind of a sick man that his sickness does not exist. If the sick man accepts this as gospel, the result won’t be recovery but certain death.

Those who know do not discuss realization. They talk about the sadhana, the path that leads to realization. It is not the realization but the sadhana that should be considered. Realization is bound to follow the sadhana. It is useless to think about it. And if anyone takes realization for granted his sadhana will become impossible for him.

And yet look how easy it is to take realization without-sadhana for granted! This way one begins to feel the joy of freedom from sin without actually being rid of it, and in the deep spell of illusion beggars begin to feel the joy of emperors. What a joy it must be for beggars to be told they’re emperors! It is no wonder that those who tell them so are respected and that they worship them by falling at their feet. There cannot be an easier and cheaper liberation from poverty and sin! This phony philosophy gives you a very easy freedom but sadhana requires great effort on your part.

I hope you are not caught in the trap of any philosophy or philosopher. I hope you have not resorted to any such short cut. The easiest and cheapest way is just to believe that the soul is pure and enlightened, that the soul is Brahma itself and that there is nothing to be done by you – and of course, that whatever you happen to be doing at the time is the best thing because nothing needs to be given up.

Don’t forget that even truth can be abused, and even the noblest truth can be used to hide the meanest ones. This has happened in the past and it happens every day. Cowardice can be hidden by non-violence; sin can be hidden under the philosophy of the purity and enlightenment of the soul, and no-action under the garb of sannyas.

I want to warn you against these dangers. If you aren’t wary of them you cannot make much progress in the direction of the self. Don’t seek shelter in any philosophical lean-to to try to get away from the sin and darkness that have enshrouded you. Know them. Become familiar with them. They are there. Don’t forget they exist. Even though they are like dreams, they are still there. And don’t think that dreams don’t exist. Even a dream has an existence. It can also overwhelm us, disturb us. Saying “It was just a dream”, leads nowhere. There is no other solution than waking up. But if he likes, a man can even dream he has woken up. A false philosophy, a philosophy-without-sadhana does the very same thing. It does not awaken you; it simply causes a dream of awakening. This is a dream within a dream. Haven’t you had dreams where you have seen yourself as awake?

Merely believing and saying that there is no sin, no darkness, serves no purpose. It is only an expression of your desire, not of the truth. It is our desire that there should be no sin, no darkness, but desiring alone is not enough. It is important. And gradually these philosophers begin to believe the dreams of accomplishment, just like a beggar who wants to be a king will ultimately start dreaming he has become one. They are always wishing for it and they finally imagine they have achieved what they wanted, but in actuality they have not achieved anything. And so it is easy to forget defeat. And they have a sigh of satisfaction in their sleep because they’ve achieved in a dream what they could not in reality.

I hope you are not seeking such satisfaction here.

If so, you have come to the wrong person. I cannot give you any dreams. I cannot give you any basis for self-deception.

I am a dream-breaker and I want to wake you from your slumber.


From The Perfect Way

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Present in your Absence – Jean Klein

What we call mind does not exist. The mind is a number of functions, a number of qualities. When these functions come to a stop, because there are moments in life when we do not use the mind, then there is an absence of functions. But this absence of function is not the silence we mean here. The mind may be silent from time to time, but the nature of our mind is function. To concentrate on the stillness of the mind may give you a certain relaxation, but this in itself is a state, a blank state. We are not speaking of this emptiness. We are speaking of an emptiness without duration, without time.

It is very difficult for us to represent space without a center and without a periphery. When you look out of the window here, you first see trees, bushes, meadows, stars, the moon. You look at objects in relation to other objects. Your looking is a kind of comparison. You know yourself only in objects because you relate with your personality which is an object too. So what is important for you is to experience the absence of all objects, including your center, your personality. Your presence is in the absence of all objects. In other words, you are really present only in your absence. Do you see what I mean?

It is important that the mind sees this kind of geometrical representation. Your absence can never be represented. You cannot think it or feel it. That is why, in reality, metaphysically speaking, we can never name it, we can only express it negatively. We can only express our reality negatively, never positively. What we are fundamentally is our absence. And when you ask how can you experience your absence, you cannot experience it, because it is in the absence of the experiencer. Your absence is your wholeness. When obliged to give a description, one could say, “It is a feeling without feeling it.”

-Jean Klein

Living Truth, page 48-49

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Osho comments on John Lennon’s Death

“We’re playing those mind-games together pushing the barrier, planting seeds. Playing the mind-guerilla, chanting the mantra ‘Peace on Earth’. We’ve been playing those mind-games forever… love is the answer, and you know that’s for sure. Love is the flower, you got to let it grow. Yes is the answer, and you know that’s for sure. Yes is surrender and you got to let it grow…”

This song was written by John Lennon about ten years ago. Now he is dead. Lennon was very much in love with you, even though he declared that he was not ready to become a disciple. I can feel this connection myself. I really would like you to say something about his death.

Swatantra Sarjano, words have their own magic, and the poets, the singers, live in the magical world of words, not of realities. They are skillful, very skillful and efficient, as far as the delicate, subtle waves of words, imagination, dreams is concerned, but all that they go on doing is utterly unconscious.

John Lennon on the one hand sings:

Love is the answer, and you know that’s for sure.”

He himself does not know it. He says:

Love is the flower, you got to let it grow.”

But to know it you have to be absolutely awakened, because love is the ultimate peak of consciousness. The poet can imagine about it, the singer can sing about it, the painter can paint about it, but they have seen only reflections of the moon in the lake; they have not seen the moon itself. And, of course, the moon reflected in the lake is just made of the same stuff as dreams are made of. The poets, the singers, are dreamers, they are not seers. So he says:

“Yes is surrender and you got to let it grow…”

His words sound true, but they are only reflections of the moon in the lake. If you dive in the lake you will not find the moon there. In fact, the moment you jump into the water, the reflection will disappear, will be broken into thousands of pieces. It will spread all over the lake; you will not be able to catch hold of it. The reflection is beautiful, but one has not to forget that it is only a reflection and it cannot transform your being.

So he sings: “Love is the answer… Love is the flower… Yes is the answer… Yes is surrender… And you know that’s for sure”—but he himself is absolutely unaware of it; he has not experienced it. A beautiful man, but still lost in dreams and imagination.

The poet lives unconsciously, the seer livers consciously. Sometimes their words are exactly the same—don’t be deceived by the words. If you really want to know whether those words represent reality or just empty wishes you have to look into the life of the man.

Kahlil Gibran has written tremendously beautiful words. They come so close to Christ, to Zarathustra, to Lao Tzu, to Gautam the Buddha, and there is every possibility many people will think that Kahlil Gibran is enlightened. He may even surpass Lao Tzu and Buddha and Christ as far as expression is concerned; his expression may be far more beautiful because he is a skilled poet, a very skilled painter. He has the sensitiveness to appreciate beauty, but howsoever he is appreciating it is unconscious.

Buddha may not say things so beautifully because he is not a poet in the ordinary sense, but whatsoever he says is the truth. His words may fall short of it… in fact, words always fall short of the truth; they are never adequate enough. So don’t decide by words.

Sarjano, you are deciding by words. That’s why you say:

I can feel this connection myself.

Sarjano himself has the quality of a poet, has the sensibility of a creative person. That’s why I have given him the name Sarjano; Sarjano means creativity.

But Kahlil Gibran or John Lennon have to be watched to know whether their truths are really truths or only fabrications of dream, fantasy, imagination; whether they have really experienced those things or they are only empty wishes. You have to watch the Buddha….

Buddha is reported to have said: “Don’t be too bothered about what I say, rather look at me, rather watch me, rather feel me. Let the words disappear. Don’t let the words stand between me and you. Experience my silence, feel the energy that surrounds me, resonate with me—only then will you be able to understand what I am saying.”

If you want to understand a Buddha, his words, you have to watch his life.

Buddha has also said, very poignantly: “Don’t follow my words, rather, follow what I am doing, follow what I am being.”

Sarjano, I can see these words are beautiful:

“We’re playing these min-games together

pushing the barrier, planting the seeds.”

But there is no need to go on playing them forever. There have been people who stopped all those mind-games, but the only way to stop those mind-games is meditation; there has never been any other way. Meditation means entering into a state of no-mind.

If he was really in love with me, then there was nothing to prevent him from coming here. To be in love with me means to be in love with meditation, but he must have been afraid of meditation. If he said that he was not ready to become a disciple he must have been afraid of meditation, of surrender, of saying yes, of falling in love. Why?—because the poets, the singers, the painters, the sculptors, the musicians, are the most egoistic people in the world. They talk about egolessness, saying yes and surrendering and love, but that is mere talk.

They are very egoistic people, in fact they far surpass even the politicians and the priests, for the simple reason that they are talented people. The politicians are not talented people—they are third-rate, they belong to the world of the mediocres. But poets, singers, musicians, painters, they are talented people. They really have something which they can brag about—they have got something. Their ego has a solid support. The politician is making his house on shifting sands, but the poet—any kind of creative person—Is making his ego on solid ground, on rocklike ground. His foundation is concrete; it is not made of just shifting sands. Hence he has every reason to feel egoistic, but then the danger is even far greater: he will be the last person to surrender, and his whole life he will talk about surrender and about egolessness and about love.

Kahlil Gibran talked about love, surrender, saying yes, but his whole life was quarrelsome. The people he loved, he always fought with them. He was talking about compassion, but he was a very angry man. He would go into childish tantrums for small reasons—aany excuse would do. He would throw things, he would break things—he would go mad! The people who lived with him were always afraid of him, the women who loved him were continuously in misery.

And this is the man who wrote the great book, The Prophet. It stands as one of the ten great books of the whole world and it will remain one of the greatest ever; there is no possibility for somebody to surpass it. And this is coming from a man who was very angry, very violent, very jealous, very egoistic.

Wilhelm Reich has written about how to get rid of jealousy — because jealousy is THE poison for love, it destroys the roots of love. And Wilhelm Reich is one of the greatest creative psychoanalysts after Sigmund Freud. But his wife writes something else—she writes about him: “I have never seen such a jealous person in my life. He was taking all kinds of freedom, he was moving with many women!”—because he was talking about freedom and that relationship should not be any kind of bondage, but about his wife he was very jealous. Almost twenty-four hours a day he was detecting, spying on where she was, with whom she was, what she was doing, was she looking happy with the man. When he went out of the town he would tell his friends to keep watch….

Finally his wife had to divorce him — it was too much of a torture. He was taking every kind of freedom — he was moving with many women — and his wife was not even allowed to have friends, not to mention lovers.

You have to look into the life of the person, because only that is decisive.

Now, Lennon was continuously fighting with his own woman — many times they separated and many times they got together again — and he is talking about mind-games, and he was playing those mind-games himself!

Sarjano, the words are beautiful: Love is the answer. I also say love is the answer, but I mean it! He does not mean it, he is simply saying beautiful words. Beautiful words have their own hypnotic quality. They catch the mind of the singers and the poets and the musicians; they fall in love with beautiful words. He must be in love with the word ‘love’—and remember, the word ‘love’ is not love, the word ‘God’ is not God, the word ‘yes’ is not yes.

Yes is a totally different existential experience. To say yes means to drop your ego entirely. Surrender means disappearing into the whole. He was a nice man, but as unconscious, Sarjano, as you are. That’s why you say:

I can feel this connection myself.

You must be feeling it!

Now the poor man is dead. Somebody played the game—the mind-game—killed him. Many questions have come to me asking that I should say something about his death. To me, birth and death have no significance at all. There are many ways to die, and the best way is to be killed—at least you are not responsible! The worst is to die in your bed and ninety-nine percent of people choose to die in their beds. Beware of the bed, because that is the most dangerous place in the world! All the accidents happen there: birth happens there, love happens there, death happens there. If you can simply renounce the bed you are enlightened!

He died a good death—somebody killed him. One has to die anyway; when one has to die one should choose a good way. I don’t think he chose it and I don’t think the person who killed him chose it either. People are living—all people are living—in utter unconsciousness.

A patient lying on the operating table started screaming, “I don’t want to be cut open! You’ll kill me! I don’t want to die!”

The surgeon tried to calm the patient.

“Just take it easy, sir,” he said. “Look at my long white beard. I’ve done thousands of operations and nothing has ever gone wrong.”

“Oh, doctor, you’re right! I know I can trust you!” replied the patient.

When the patient awoke after the operation, he looked around and saw the same white beard and said, “Oh, thank you, doctor! You are a saint!”

“It’s okay, son, you don’t have to thank me. I am not your doctor—my name is St. Peter!”

So what can I say about his death? It is perfectly okay! Everything is okay. Just… if he had really come here he would have died a totally different kind of death. He would have died celebrating, he would have died rejoicing. He would have died without any regrets, without any complaints. He would have died in love, in surrender, in yes. That he has missed this time—I hope next time he does not miss it.


From Philosophia Ultima, Chapter 10

Copyright© 1980, OSHO International Foundation

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On Having No Head – Douglas Harding

The best day of my life—my rebirthday, so to speak—was when I found I had no head. This is not a literary gambit, a witticism designed to arouse interest at any cost. I mean it in all seriousness: I have no head.

It was eighteen years ago, when I was thirty-three, that I made the discovery. Though it certainly came out of the blue, it did so in response to an urgent enquiry; I had for several months been absorbed in the question: what am I? The fact that I happened to be walking in the Himalayas at the time probably had little to do with it; though in that country unusual states of mind are said to come more easily. However that may be, a very still clear day, and a view from the ridge where I stood, over misty blue valleys to the highest mountain range in the world, with Kangchenjunga and Everest unprominent among its snow-peaks, made a setting worthy of the grandest vision.

What actually happened was something absurdly simple and unspectacular: I stopped thinking. A peculiar quiet, an odd kind of alert limpness or numbness, came over me. Reason and imagination and all mental chatter died down. For once, words really failed me. Past and future dropped away. I forgot who and what I was, my name, manhood, animalhood, all that could be called mine. It was as if I had been born that instant, brand new, mindless, innocent of all memories. There existed only the Now, that present moment and what was clearly given in it. To look was enough. And what I found was khaki trouserlegs terminating downwards in a pair of brown shoes, khaki sleeves terminating sideways in a pair of pink hands, and a khaki shirtfront terminating upwards in—absolutely nothing whatever! Certainly not in a head.

It took me no time at all to notice that this nothing, this hole where a head should have been was no ordinary vacancy, no mere nothing. On the contrary, it was very much occupied. It was a vast emptiness vastly filled, a nothing that found room for everything—room for grass, trees, shadowy distant hills, and far above them snowpeaks like a row of angular clouds riding the blue sky. I had lost a head and gained a world.

It was all, quite literally, breathtaking. I seemed to stop breathing altogether, absorbed in the Given. Here it was, this superb scene, brightly shining in the clear air, alone and unsupported, mysteriously suspended in the void, and (and this was the real miracle, the wonder and delight) utterly free of “me”, unstained by any observer. Its total presence was my total absence, body and soul. Lighter than air, clearer than glass, altogether released from myself, I was nowhere around.

Yet in spite of the magical and uncanny quality of this vision, it was no dream, no esoteric revelation. Quite the reverse: it felt like a sudden waking from the sleep of ordinary life, an end to dreaming. It was self-luminous reality for once swept clean of all obscuring mind. It was the revelation, at long last, of the perfectly obvious. It was a lucid moment in a confused life-history. It was a ceasing to ignore something which (since early childhood at any rate) I had always been too busy or too clever to see. It was naked, uncritical attention to what had all along been staring me in the face – my utter facelessness. In short, it was all perfectly simple and plain and straightforward, beyond argument, thought, and words. There arose no questions, no reference beyond the experience itself, but only peace and a quiet joy, and the sensation of having dropped an intolerable burden.

-Douglas Harding

Excerpt from On Having No Head, Inner Directions Publishing

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Someone’s Left the Tap On

in the beginning the words flow like water

someone’s left the tap on

i become aware – the water is running

the flow begins to slow

enamored by the words

the shapes of the letters

the colors of the sound

noticing space between words

i am drawn back into myself

the space in which all these words appear

and when the last syllable disappears

there is ….


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Filed under poetry, Prem Purushottama