I Don’t Belong to Any Path – Osho

I took sannyas from Swami Shivand of Rishikesh after reading his book Brahmacharya and other books of his.

After some years, I was attracted to Sri Ramana Maharshi and thereafter to Sri Aurobindo due to his integral approach to the divine. From 1959 onwards I was doing meditation on the lines indicated by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Thereafter J. Krishnamurti’s approach attracted me, now yours.

I enjoy and feel happy whenever I read Sri Aurobindo’s works, since he emphasizes living a full life and realization of Integral Divine and gives much emphasis to physical transformation.

You also emphasize not to negate life but to live fully, and have given a new meaning to sannyas.

Hence I am here to embrace this also.

I wonder whether I am on the right path or drifting?

What is this multifarious attraction in me?

Could you help me with a right path if I am drifting?

The first thing to be understood: Before one can come to the right door, one has to knock on many doors. Life is an adventure – of courage, daring, and basically it is trial and error. One has to go astray many times to come to the right path. And when I say the right path, I don’t mean that Sri Ramana’s path is not right, but it must not have been right for the questioner; otherwise there is no need.

Once you have come to the right path for you… and it is always a question of the individual, it has nothing to do with Ramana, Aurobindo or me; it is a question of you. If you have come to me and you feel at home, then your journey has finished. Now there is no need to drift any more, now you can settle and start working – because in drifting work is impossible.

It is as if you start constructing a house and just in the middle you are attracted to something else and you leave it and you start another house; and just in the middle again you are attracted to something else. Then you will live like a vagabond. The house will never be completed. One has to settle somewhere, one has to commit somewhere, one has to take the fatal decision. But it is not difficult. If you have courage, it happens.

One has to be available to many sources. It is good that you have been to Shivanand, to Ramana, to Aurobindo. It shows you have been seeking – but it also shows that nowhere could you feel at home. So the journey continues. The journey has to continue until you come to a point where you can say: Yes, I have arrived. Now there is no need for any more departures. And you can relax. Then the real work starts.

Whatsoever you have been doing is just moving from one place to another. The journey is exciting, but the journey is not the goal. One becomes enriched by the journey. You must have become enriched being open to so many sources; you must have learnt many things – but still the journey continues. Then you will have to seek again and again.

Now you are here. Try to see and try to understand: do you fit with me, or do I fit with you?

Sometimes it is possible that you may have learnt only one thing – how to drift again and again, how to go away again and again. It can become a mechanical habit. Then you will be gone from here also. So don’t allow mechanical habits to lead you. If you don’t fit with me it is perfectly good to go away, because then your being here is going to be a sheer wastage of time for you. But if you fit, then take courage and be committed – because only after the commitment does real work start, never before it.

You think you have been to Shivanand and you think you have been initiated by him, but the initiation has not happened yet, otherwise you would not have been here. Initiation means a commitment: that now one has looked all around – now this is the place to settle. Shivanand may have initiated you, but you have not taken the initiation yet. You have been just a visitor. You have not become intimate with any system of growth.

It is as if the plant has been removed from one place to another again and again. The plant cannot grow; the plant needs that it should settle on one ground so that roots can go deep. If you go on removing the plant again and again, the roots will never grow; and if roots cannot go deeper, the plant cannot go higher.

Hence commitment. Commitment means: now this is the soil for me and I am ready to settle for it. It is risky because, who knows, a better soil may be available somewhere else. So the risk is there, but one has to take that risk some day or other. If you go on and on just waiting for something better, something better, the time may be lost, and by the time you have arrived you will be dead.

The real thing is work. It is good to go around, have a look, visit many places, many people – but don’t make it a habit. That habit is dangerous. It won’t allow you roots. And if roots are not there, the tree cannot be alive, flowers are not possible; fragrance will not spread from you, your life will remain empty.

So the first thing: don’t make your past a pattern to be repeated in the future. Now you are here: don’t do the same thing to me as you have been doing to Shivanand, Ramana, Aurobindo. You don’t know what you have done.

It happened:

A great painter, James McNeill Whistler, is reported to have displayed a just-completed painting to Mark Twain.

Mark looked at the painting judiciously from a variety of angles and distances while Whistler waited impatiently for the verdict.

Finally, Mark leaned forward and, making an erasing gesture with his hand, said, “I’d eradicate that cloud if I were you.”

Whistler cried out in agony, “Careful! The paint is still wet!”

“That’s all right,” said Mark coolly, “I’m wearing gloves.”

You must be wearing gloves. You think you were initiated by Shivanand, but it has not happened. Your gloves won’t allow it. You must be living in a capsule, closed. You must be clever, logical, cunning. You have been on the alert not to be committed anywhere deeply. Hence, before the commitment happens, you move.

You say: “I took sannyas from Swami Shivanand of Rishikesh after reading his book, Brahmacharya, and other books of his.”

Now, if you are impressed by a book written on brahmacharya, it shows much about you. You must have something of a problem concerning sex. It has nothing to do with brahmacharya or Shivanand. You must be obsessed somehow with sex – hence the appeal of brahmacharya. You must have been repressing sex. You must have been brought up with wrong ideas about sex; hence you become impressed by Shivanand’s book on celibacy.

It is not that you are impressed by Shivanand – you are still following your own mind. You could not surrender to him. The phenomenon that you call initiation was intellectual; by reading the books, not by being in the presence of the master. You must be an intellectual, calculating, theorizing. This won’t allow you to move in a deep relationship – and the relationship between a master and a disciple is the deepest, deeper than the relationship between a lover and the beloved.

You may have been impressed by what Shivanand has written, but deep down you search for it again and again. It is not Shivanand that you are impressed, influenced by. You have certain ideas in your mind; wherever you find those ideas appreciated, you feel good. With me it is going to be dangerous. I am not going to appreciate any of your ideas; they are all rubbish. I say that even without knowing what your ideas are, because that is not needed. Unless you are aware, all your ideas are rubbish. So it is not a question of saying that this idea is rubbish and that is good. To me, all thoughts are rubbish; only awareness is valuable. And awareness has no ideas in it. It is a simple, pure light of consciousness.

So it is going to be difficult with me. You may have come to the man now who can shake and shock you. With Shivanand, you thought you were with Shivanand, but basically, deep down, you felt that Shivanand was with you; that’s why you lingered there a little while. This is not going to be so here with me. I am not going to be with you, remember; you have to be with me. I am not going to be with you, I repeat, you have to be with me.

So I am not going to fulfill your expectations in any way. If you have theories, I am against them already without knowing them, because I am against mind and my whole emphasis is how to become a no-mind.

But the questioner seems to be too much in the head: then he became interested in Sri Aurobindo, “because he emphasizes living a full life and realization of the integral divine.” You have some fixed ideas, so whosoever seems to be following your ideas you become impressed by. In fact, you remain impressed only with your own ego. You have been playing an ego game. You have been on an ego trip – that’s why Shivanand, Ramana, Aurobindo, nobody could help you.

As far as I know, if somebody comes back from Ramana, then there must be something very deeply wrong. With Shivanand it is not much of a problem, with Aurobindo also it is not much of a problem. Shivanand is just ordinary. Aurobindo is a great intellectual – a mahapundit, a great scholar. So if somebody comes away, nothing is lost; you have not lost much because there was nothing in the first place to be gained. But if you have come away from Ramana, that shows something deep like a cancer in your soul, because persons like Ramana are very rare – thousands of years pass, then sometimes that quality of being arises. Ramana is like a Buddha, a Jesus, or a Krishna – a very rare phenomenon. But I know why you could not get in tune with Ramana – because of your Shivanands and your Aurobindos. To get in tune with a Ramana means to drop your ego completely. Great courage is needed.

Now you are here. If you are really a seeker, then gather courage and drop the ego and the past. Forget the past; it has been nothing but a nightmare. And don’t go on repeating it; otherwise, you can go on repeating to the very end of time, changing from one person to another. This can become a habit; this shows simply your restlessness. Otherwise to come back from Krishnamurti would have been almost impossible. There is no need.

So now become aware of your basic trouble: something in you is betraying your whole effort; something in you is continuously causing clouds around your intelligence. Your awareness is not sharp.

It happened:

The little girl was invited to dinner one night at the home of a friend. The hostess, knowing that many children don’t like spinach, asked if she liked it.

“Oh yes,” the little girl replied. ”I love it.”

When the platter was passed, however, she refused to take any.

“But, dear,” said the hostess, “I thought you said you liked spinach.”

“Oh, I do,” explained the child, “but not enough to eat it.”

Going to Shivanand, Aurobindo, Ramana, Krishnamurti – and you have some idea that you like and you love these people, but your liking is not enough. You don’t love enough; otherwise you would have eaten them and they would have transformed you.

Become aware! As it is you have wasted a long time already. You can also go from this door empty-handed, but remember, the responsibility is yours. If you take courage I am ready to give you whatsoever can be given. But for visitors nothing can be given, and even if it is given they will not be able to understand.

If you are tired of your journey, going from one place to another, from one person to another, if you are really tired, then here I am ready to give you whatsoever you are seeking – but you will have to fulfill one condition, and that is: a total commitment. Unless you become part of my family, nothing can be given. I would like to give you something even then, but you will not be able to take it; or, even if you take it, you will think it is nothing – because your mind will continuously befog you. It won’t allow you to understand, it won’t allow you to see directly. It won’t allow you to see what type of game you have been playing with yourself.

Up to now it has been a drifting. Become aware how much you have wasted. Many opportunities were there but you have missed them. Now don’t miss this opportunity! But I know: the mind gets in a rut, it becomes a pattern. You go on repeating the same thing again and again, because you become very efficient in repeating it. Now get out of that vicious circle. I am ready to help if you are ready to take my help. And such a help as this cannot be forced on you. You have to take it or not take it. Your freedom has to decide it; it is your choice.

And don’t ask: What is the right path? All paths are right or wrong. It is not a question of deciding which path is right. The only thing to be decided is which path fits you. Of course, Ramana has a certain path – very simple, absolutely nonintellectual. The head was not required at all on that path; the head was to be dropped. If you had allowed him, you would have been beheaded by him. The head was not part of his path. It is a path of the heart.

Just the opposite is Krishnamurti. The path is absolutely true, but the head has to be used and transcended, not to be dropped. That’s why Krishnamurti appeals tremendously to intellectuals – nothing of the heart; everything is analysis, dissection. He is a great surgeon; he goes on dissecting. You give him any problem – he does not, in fact, answer it; he simply dissects it. And if you are listening with deep participation, sympathy, it will be possible that through his dissection he gives you an insight – not the answer, but the insight – and that is your insight. He simply dissects the problem. He is a rare intellectual man; gone beyond intellect, but has gone through it. Ramana bypasses intellect, he never passes through the intellect; his path is of the heart. Krishnamurti’s path is of intellect, of the head, of understanding, dissection, analysis.

Shivanand is not yet enlightened. He has no path – stumbling in the dark. A traditional man, he can make you knowledgeable, but he cannot help you towards the ultimate understanding. A good man, a very good man, but just a good man, not yet a Jesus or a Buddha, not yet a Krishnamurti or Ramana – a simple man. If he becomes enlightened some day in some life, he will be like Ramana – his path will not be of the head. But he is not yet realized.

And then there is Aurobindo: his path is as yet the path of an unenlightened person, moving towards it but yet in the dark. The morning is not very far away, but it has not happened yet. If some day it happens, then he will be a man like Krishnamurti; he will go through the head – a great scholar, he has much appeal for those who like logic-chopping, hair-splitting.

And here I am: all paths are mine, or no path is mine. I am more concerned with individuals. When you come to me, I don’t have a certain path to give you. I look at you to find which path will be suitable for you. I have no fixed path; I have wandered on all the paths, and all paths are true. If it fits, then any path can lead you to the ultimate. If it doesn’t fit, then you can go on struggling, fighting, but nothing is going to happen; you are trying to pass through a wall. You will be hurt, wounded, that’s all; nothing is going to happen.

I don’t belong to any path, hence all paths belong to me. And I am more concerned with the individual seeker. If I see that devotion, worship, prayer, will be helpful to you, I teach you that. If I see meditation will be helpful to you, I teach that. If I see that just understanding, pure awareness, will be helpful, I teach that. If I feel that awareness is going to make you very tense, does not fit with your type, then I teach you to be lost completely in something, absorbed completely in something. Dancing, get into it so much that you become the dance and there is nobody watching it; don’t create any separation and division between you, become the act.

Hence I am going to be very, very contradictory, because to one person I will say something, to another I will say something else, sometimes even just the opposite, diametrically opposite. So whatsoever I have said to you, somebody may come and say to you: Osho has said something else to me. Don’t listen to anybody. Whatsoever I have said to you, I have said to you. Otherwise, you will be confused.

Millions of paths go towards God. In fact there is nowhere else to go. Wherever you are going, you are going towards God. All paths lead to him. But when you are seeking, only one path can lead you. If you start walking on all paths together, you will be lost. One has to choose a path. So please don’t repeat your old pattern.

Now it will be very difficult. I am hurting your ego knowingly – because when I say Aurobindo is not enlightened, I immediately can feel what is happening to you. It is not a question of Aurobindo – whether he is enlightened or not enlightened, who bothers? It is his problem; it is not my problem, it is not your problem. But if you have been following Aurobindo and I say he has not yet become enlightened, your ego is hurt. You, and following an unenlightened person? – never, it is not possible!

When I say Shivanand is good but ordinary, mediocre, of course you will feel hurt because you have been initiated by Shivanand, and how is it possible? – You, so intelligent, being initiated by a mediocre man? No, it is going to hurt, but I do it knowingly.

I will create every sort of trouble for you so that if you stay, you really stay. If you decide to stay, it will be a real decision to stay with me. I am going to be hard. Shivanand, Ramana, Krishnamurti, Aurobindo, it seems, have been too compassionate towards you; hence you could drift.

I will make every effort so that you can go away. I will create a struggle within you, a friction, because that is the only way now; otherwise your old habit will go on functioning. If you come and ask for sannyas from me, I am not going to give it to you easily… because you have been taking things very easily. This sannyas is going to be arduous.

-Osho

From The Search, Chapter Four

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

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Filed under on Aurobindo, on J. Krishnamurti, on Ramana Maharshi, Osho

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