This Oneness is That Art Thou – Osho

The enquiry about the oneness of the soul and the brahman to the great saying like “That Art Thou” is known as the right listening. And thinking in the right way on the meaning of what has been listened to is known as right contemplation.

And to harmonize and center one’s mind with the meaning, shorn of all doubts – that which is derived from right listening and right contemplation is what is known as meditation.

And finally, when the meditator and meditation are eliminated, and only you are fixed, meditating upon the means, then the mind becomes unwavering and settled like a flame in a place without air. And that is called samadhi.

-Adhyatma Upanishad

This sutra uses four words as four steps – four steps towards the unknown. The first is shravan. Shravan means right listening – not just listening, but right listening.

We listen, everyone listens, but right listening is a rare achievement. So what is the difference between listening and right listening, shravan?

Right listening means not just a fragmentary listening. I am saying something, you are listening to it there. Your ears are being used; you may not be just behind your ears at all; you may have gone somewhere else. You may not be present there. If you are not present there in your totality, then it cannot be right listening.

Right listening means you have become just your ears – the whole being is listening. No thinking inside, no thoughts, no thought process, only listening. Try it sometimes; it is a deep meditation in itself. Some birds are singing – the crows – just become listening, forget everything – just be the ears. The wind is passing through the trees, the leaves are rustling; just become the ears, forget everything – no thought process, just listen. Become the ears. Then it is right listening, then your whole being is absorbed into it, then you are totally present.

And the Upanishads say that the esoteric, ultimate formulas of spiritual alchemy cannot be given to you unless you are in a moment of right listening. These spiritual formulas – ultimate, secret keys – cannot be handed over to you as you are: unconscious of yourself, fragmentary, partial, listening but not present there. These keys can be handed to you only when your total being has become receptive to take them in. They are seeds, and the seeds are powerful; they will explode in you. And they will begin to grow in you, but one has to become just a womb to receive them. If your ears have become just wombs to receive, and your total presence is there; if your whole body is listening – every fiber, every cell of the body is listening – only then these “great sentences” as they are called, mahavakyas, can be delivered to you.

So it has been a tradition in India, in the old India of ancient days, not to write down these mahavakyas, these great secret formulas – because if they are written, anyone can read them. He may not be ready. He may not be reading, he may not be listening, but he can become acquainted and that acquaintance becomes a barrier. When he begins to feel that he knows – and these secrets are not to be known through words, they can be known only through experience . . .

So the rishis, the writers of these Upanishads insisted for centuries not to write at all. These secrets were given from one individual to another, and not in an ordinary way – in a very extraordinary process. A teacher, a master would give these secrets to a disciple. And the disciple must wait, sometimes for years; just being near the master, forgetting himself completely; just becoming attention, just being attentive – whatsoever the master says, to listen; whatsoever he orders, to do. He had just to be obedient, serve, and remain there – constantly remaining in the presence of the master and waiting for the right moment. And the disciple cannot decide when the right moment is, so leaving it to the master, remaining in a let-go and waiting . . . and suddenly one day, any moment, the master will say it. When the master finds that now you can listen with your total being, that now you have become a womb, just receptivity, and now the secrets can be handed to you – then he will tell you.

And he will tell you very simple things; this sentence is very simple, the simplest, but the most difficult to realize: That Art Thou – Tat Twamasi.

We discussed last night that the Upanishads call the ultimate, “that.” So “that” is there; you are here. What is the relationship? What is the bridge between the two? This sentence says: That Art Thou.

“That” is not far away from you, it is just within you.

It is a within beyond.

It looks, it appears very far away because you have not recognized it; otherwise, it is just here and now within you. You are that.

This is a very simple sentence; even a small child can understand it and learn it. But it takes lives and lives to realize it. That Art Thou, I am That. To realize this, that my being is one with the universal being, to realize that my being and the universal being are not two things, but one . . . how to realize it?

The first step is right listening – listen to the master in a right way. And the right way means, listen to the master with your total being, with your total receptivity. Become just ears; only then you can understand it.

The second step is right thinking. You can think in two ways: you can think negatively, then it is wrong; you can think positively, then it is right. Negative thinking starts with denial, negating. Negative thinking starts with a no, the no is the starting point. Observe within yourself whether you start with no. Whenever something is said, what is the first feeling arising in you? – no or yes? And you will find ninety-nine percent of the time a no arising in you. You may not have observed it. Even for futile things where no “no” is needed, “no” arises. A Child asking his mother, “Can I play outside?” Immediately – “No!” She may not even be aware why she is saying no.

No is our basic attitude. Why? – because with “no” you feel you are somebody. The mother feels she is somebody – she can say no. The child is negated, the child’s ego is hurt and the mother’s ego is fulfilled. “No” is ego-fulfilling; it is food for the ego, that’s why we train ourselves in saying no.

Move anywhere in life and you will find no-sayers everywhere, because with no you feel authority – you are someone, you can say no. To say “yessir” makes you feel inferior; you feel that you are someone’s subordinate, nobody. Only then do you say “Yessir.” Yes is positive and no is negative. Remember this: no is ego-fulfilling; yes is the method to discover the self. No is strengthening the ego; yes is destroying it.

Right thinking means yes-saying. First find out whether you can say yes – if you cannot say yes, if it is impossible to say yes, only then say no. But our method is first to say no; if it is impossible to say no, only then, defeatedly, say yes. And wait for the moment when you can say no. No-oriented mind and yes-oriented mind . . .

In a religious search, no-saying is just undoing yourself because there, no-saying will not help. You are not there to strengthen your egos. Yes-saying . . . try it someday. Take it as a vow, that for twenty-four hours you will try in every situation to start with yes. And look what a deep relaxation it gives to you. Just ordinary things! – the child asking to go to the cinema… he will go; your no means nothing. On the contrary, your no becomes inviting, your no becomes attractive, because when you are strengthening your ego, the child is also trying to strengthen his. He will try to go against your no, and he knows ways to make your no a yes, he knows how to transform it. He knows it needs just a little effort, insistence, and your no becomes yes.

For twenty-four hours try in every way to start with yes. You will feel much difficulty, because then you will become aware: immediately, the no comes first! In anything, the no comes first – that has become the habit. Don’t use it; use yes, and then see how the yes relaxed you. And particularly in the spiritual search, if you are working with a master, yes-saying saves much time, much energy. You become a total receptivity, and then in that total receptivity things begin to flower.

Right thinking means to start thinking with yes! It doesn’t mean that you cannot use no; it only means to start with yes. Look with a yes-saying mind. And then if it is impossible, say no. You will not find many points to say no if you start with yes. If you start with no, you will not find many points to say yes. The starting means ninety percent is done – your start is ninety percent, done. Your start colors everything, even the end.

Right thinking means think, but think with a sympathetic mind. Think with a yes-saying mind. Use logic, use reason, but use reason and logic to find out how to say yes. I will repeat: use reason, use logic, but use them as instruments to find out how to say yes. We go on using reason, logic, to find out how to say no. Our whole logic is just a structure to find no. It should be otherwise; then it is right thinking.

The third is right contemplation.

If you find something with right thinking to be true, then contemplate it, then meditate on it. Then try to find some harmony between you and it. Because a truth no lived is not a truth – sometimes it is even more dangerous than an untruth. A truth unlived is a burden. A truth unlived divides your mind. A truth unlived becomes a haunting – it is a nightmare. So it is good not to think about truth if you not going to transform yourself accordingly. Because if you are not going to transform yourself accordingly, the truth will haunt you, disturb your sleep. You will become more uneasy; you will have to suffer much unnecessarily.

So if you are ready to change yourself according to the truth, only then contemplate it; otherwise, it is dangerous. And don’t play with dangers; it is playing with fire. It is better to be unaware of truths, because then you are blissfully ignorant. Ignorance has a certain bliss. The moment you begin to contemplate, that bliss will be destroyed. Uneasiness will come to you; you will feel nowhere, strange, an outsider. Now you cannot go back; there is no going back, there is no movement backwards. You cannot fall again into your blissful ignorance; you can only move forward.

And the third step is right meditation. Right listening, first; right thinking, second; right meditation, third. Now, whatsoever you have found – whatsoever you have encountered in right thinking – meditate on it. Try to create a bridge between you and it. Try to be like it yourself, transform yourself accordingly. Become a shadow to it, and follow it. Unless you do this, the truth will remain just intellectual. It will not become your bones, it will not become your blood, it will not become your heartbeats, it will not be your being. Contemplate, meditate, go on meditating. Remember this: that you become that upon which you meditate.

If you constantly meditate upon anything, by and by you will be transformed by your meditation; you will become like that. Meditation transforms you. Remember, the truth found in right thinking – meditate upon it. Create some harmony between you and the truth. Don’t go on carrying it in your head; let it go deep – so deep that you begin to feel a certain oneness with it. I say, “certain oneness.” You cannot feel totally one with it at the third step, but a certain oneness, a similarity, a certain attunement – not total oneness, That total oneness comes at the fourth step.

That fourth is samadhi, right ecstasy. If the third step is attained and you have begun to feel a certain harmony, attunement, an opening, a bridge with the truth, now immerse yourself in it.

Samadhi means the remaining of only one. In meditation there are three points. Meditation is divided into three: the meditator, the meditated upon, and the relationship – meditation. So meditation has three things in it, three divisions: meditator, meditated upon, and the relationship – meditation. When these three dissolve, the meditator loses himself into meditation, and the meditation drops into the meditated upon. Anyway one remains, and the three are lost. What does it mean? Simple consciousness remains; simple knowing remains; simple awareness remains. You are not aware of anything, just aware. You are not aware; there is no you, just awareness – it is better to say, only awareness remains. Or, you can choose any point among the three – one remains.

There are different sets of seekers. One set says the object of meditation remains, another says the subject of meditation remains; another says object and subject both are lost; only meditation remains. But there is no conflict; this is just a difference in names.

Three are no more; three are lost into oneness.

This oneness is That Art Thou.

This oneness is to come to realize I Am That:

Or That I am – tat twamasi.

Step by step, move into the unknown and become the unknown.

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #44

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

This Oneness is That Art Thou is from the morning talk, Then Only You will be Able to Know is from the evening talk of the same day.

 An MP3 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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

 

Then Only You will be Able to Know – Osho

At the time of this samadhi, the moods of the mind take the form of the soul, and therefore they are not apparent.

But after the meditator had come back from his samadhi, those moods which had disappeared, are inferred by memory.

In this world, which is without a beginning, one accumulates millions of karmas conditioning from actions. They are all destroyed in this samadhi, and inner spontaneous qualities grow.

The great knowers of yoga describe this samadhi as dharmamegha, because it showers like a raincloud and inner spontaneity issues forth its thousand fruit.

Through this samadhi the whole crowd of desires become extinct. And when the holds of karma known as punya and papa, virtue and sin are uprooted, then the great saying – “tat twamasi,” That Art Thou – becomes illumined.

First as indirect knowledge and then as a fruit held in your palm, it becomes direct knowledge.

-Adhyatma Upanishad

In the morning we discussed four steps: right listening, right thinking, right meditation, and right samadhi.

This sutra goes beyond samadhi. This sutra says samadhi is the door into the unknown – not only the unknown, but the unknowable. it opens into the eternal, into the infinite.

The moment you enter samadhi you have to leave your mind behind. Your mind cannot enter samadhi; you can enter, but not your mind. Unless you can leave your mind behind, samadhi is not for you. Your luggage – thinking, memories, karmas, all your past lives, the whole luggage which is your mind – has to be left behind. When you have left your mind behind . . . and this is a basic condition: the mind cannot enter samadhi, only you can enter. Why? Because you are at the center; mind is just the periphery.

If you want to enter the center you have to leave the periphery. You cannot go with the periphery to the center. If you insist, “I will take my periphery, my circumference to the center,” then you will remain on the circumference. Howsoever you endeavor, if you cling to the circumference, you can never enter the center. Entering the center means leaving the periphery, leaving the circumference; mind is the circumference – this is a basic condition.

Samadhi means entering into yourself without the mind. But if you enter samadhi without the mind, you cannot feel samadhi – this is the essence of this sutra – you cannot feel, you cannot think. Really you cannot know what is happening, because the knower, the instrument of knowledge, is the mind.

It is as if you enter a garden. Your eyes are weak, and you cannot see without your specs. And this is the condition: you have to leave your specs at the gate. So you enter without specs. You enter the garden, but you cannot see because the very instrument of seeing is not with you.

Mind is the instrument to know, to feel, to recognize. Mind has been left behind. So a man who enters samadhi enters totally ignorant, just like a child. Jesus says, “Be like children; only then you can enter my kingdom of God. Be like small children.” At the door of samadhi everyone is like a child – with no mind – just being, pure and simple and innocent. But then you cannot see what is happening, you cannot feel what is happening. The happening is there and you are too much in it; there is no distance.

Mind creates the distance between the known and the knower. If there is no mind, the known and the knower merge, they become liquid, they enter into each other and the distance cannot be maintained. And without distance, knowledge is impossible.

So in samadhi you know nothing. In samadhi, knowing, the knower, the known . . . they all cease and they become one ocean, just one unity, liquid, flowing. That doesn’t mean that you are unconscious. You are conscious – fully conscious, for the first time – but the consciousness is so much, the consciousness is so unlimited, the consciousness is so infinite that it is impossible to make any differentiation between who is the knower and what is the known. You are immersed in it totally, as if a drop of water has become one with the ocean.

There is a beautiful story, and Ramakrishna used to repeat it many times. He used to say that there was a great gathering near the ocean once – some religious festival, and a great crowd gathered there. Two pundits, two great scholars also came, and they began to discuss whether the ocean is unfathomable or fathomable, whether the ocean can be measured or not. So they discussed around and around – discussions are always around and around, you go on beating around and around the bush. No discussion goes deep and direct, it cannot.

One simple man, just a villager, an innocent one, said, “I have been listening to your discussion, days have passed, and there seems to be no conclusion. And I think – I am an ignorant man – I suggest that unless you go deep into the ocean, how can you decide whether is is fathomable or not? You remain on the bank and you go on discussing; you go on arguing, quoting scriptures, and authorities. But I am asking a simple question: have you been to the ocean?”

Those two scholars said, “Don’t interfere, you don’t know scriptures.” But the poor man said, “I know the ocean. I need not know your scriptures. You are talking about the ocean; what is the need for scriptures to be brought in? I suggest you take a jump, go to the bottom, and then come back and tell us.”

So those two scholars jumped into the ocean, but they never came back.

Ramakrishna says, “They never came back because those two scholars were really men of salt, so as they went in, they began to melt. They were just salt; their bodies were made of salt.”

In a way it is not inconceivable. Our bodies are made of ocean water, they are salty. Your body is seventy-five percent water – seventy-five percent! – and the water is just the same as the water which is found in oceans. The proportion of salt in your bodies is the same as it is in the ocean water, because man is just a developed form of fish and nothing else. So the story is not very absurd.

Man comes from the ocean, and is salty. Those two scholars were men of salt; their bodies were made of salt. They came out of the ocean – everyone has come out of the ocean. Now science says that man has come out of the ocean, just a developed form of fish – nothing else. And who can say whether he is developed or not? If you ask the fish, they could not say that. They would say that some fish have gone astray – out of the ocean. They could not say those fish have developed – there would seem to be no reason. Only in man’s reasoning it seems that man has developed; in a fish’s reason it cannot seem so.

The two scholars never came back; the crowd waited and waited and waited. Ramakrishna used to say, “They cannot come back, because the deeper they went the more they melted, and when they reached the bottom, they were no more. So who can come back and who can say?”

When you leave the mind behind, you leave the bank; you take a jump into the ocean and you are part of the ocean – just the salt. When you enter into samadhi you take a jump into the ocean of consciousness – and you are consciousness. So when consciousness takes a jump into greater consciousness, infinite consciousness, it becomes one, the division is lost; you cannot experience anything. You experience the absolute, but you cannot say it is an experience. You cannot feel it as an experience.

This sutra says, when consciousness comes back to the mind again, and sees retrospectively from the specs of the mind what has happened, then it infers.

So all knowledge about God is inference. Those who have known . . . they too have to think it, to remember it, to live it again in memory, through the mind; then they can say what has happened: existence, consciousness, bliss – sachidananda. This is not the experience itself; it is mind looking at the experience – that’s why the division. There was no division in the experience itself; mind divides it into three.

And remember, mind divides everything into three. Three is the basic division of the mind – it divides anything into three.

Look at the world, all the divisions, and you will find the basic division is always of three – always three; not only in religion, but in science also. Now they say – since the atom was split – now they say the basic unity of the atom is constituted of three elements: electron, neutron, proton. You may call them Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh – trimurti, the three figures.

The basic division by the mind is three. Seen by the mind retrospectively, mind infers what has happened. Existence has happened, consciousness has happened, bliss has happened – but this is an inference.

This sutra says when you come back from that peak of ecstasy, back to the ground, you look again – now you remember. So all the scriptures, all that has been said about the ultimate truth is an inference of the mind, from memory. Remember it.

In samadhi, mind is not there; that’s why you become spontaneous. Mind is the instrument which always destroys spontaneity. Mind always brings the past into the present, and that destroys spontaneity. This part of the sutra has also to be understood before we enter into meditation.

A spontaneous act is never from the mind. A spontaneous act always happens in the present. If it happens through the mind, then the past has come in. I say something to you; you react – the reaction is from the mind. You think about it, you bring your past memories, your knowledge, your experiences, and then you react accordingly. Then this act is not spontaneous; this act is dead; it is not alive. Reaction is dead, never alive; response is alive and spontaneous. I say something to you and you respond – immediately, without bringing the past in, without bringing the mind in – you respond.

For example, if you ask something to a buddha, to an enlightened one, you will get confused. If you ask the same question today and the same tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, you are not going to get the same answer. It is impossible for a buddha. He is not reacting. He is not a parrot; he responds. You ask the question and immediately his consciousness responds – responds to it. It is not a reaction of the mind; it is an encounter, direct, immediate. Every moment you go on asking the same question, but the same answer will not be coming.

Repetition is through the mind. Spontaneous consciousness is always new and fresh.

This sutra says that samadhi brings you back to your center of spontaneity. That spontaneity is known in the upanishadic terminology as dharma. Dharma means your natural, spontaneous being, undistorted by the mind; your natural, spontaneous mirror, undistorted by anything, pure and innocent. Through samadhi you become spontaneous. Really, through samadhi you become religious. Before that, you can belong to a religion, but you are not religious. You can be a Christian, you can be a Hindu or a Mohammedan, but you are not religious.

You belong to a certain organization, a certain church, a certain sect. This belonging is mental. When you enter samadhi for the first time, you come into the world of dharma, of real religion. Now you become spontaneous, you become natural. Nothing is imposed from the mind, you act in totality, moment to moment. Your acts become atomic, always new and fresh and young. Whatsoever you do now is always fresh. This freshness of being is known as dharma. This is what a religious mind is. And unless you become a religious mind in this way, through samadhi, you cannot know what is meant by this mahavakyatat twamasithat art thou. When you become spontaneous then you know you are that.

With the ultimate, now you are one.

Now your finite being is not finite.

Now the divine is not far away.

Now you are divine, and the divine is you – the duality is lost. You become for the first time a knower that this sutra of tat twamasi – That Art Thou – is real, authentic. Now you can become a witness, now you can say, “This is so, because I have known it.” And unless you can say, “I have known it,” nothing is worthwhile.

Just a few days ago, a theologian came to me and he began to talk about God. I asked him again and again, “Please tell me, have you known? Have you seen?” But he began to quote The Bible; he began to quote scriptures. And he said, “This is written there, and that is written there.”

I told him, “It may be written; I accept that it is written there, but that’s not my question. I am asking whether you have known it?” But he would not answer the question. He would again repeat, “Jesus has said this in the New Testament.” He opened the book – he had a book of the New Testament in his pocket. He opened the book and he began to read.

I told him again and again, “Don’t read it! I have read it already, so I know what is written in it. Tell me directly, have you seen? Have you realized?” But there was no answer.

If someone asks you, “Have you seen the divine?” and you go on quoting the Upanishads, that’s stupid. Say yes or no – and you cannot deceive, because there is no question of deceiving anyone. Say to yourself whether you have seen it, known it, realized it. If you have not, then start on a long journey – from right listening to right thinking; from right thinking to right meditation; from right meditation to right samadhi. Then only you will be able to know. And unless you know, the whole knowledge of the world is futile – unless you know.

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #45

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

Then Only You will be Able to Know is from the evening talk, This Oneness is That Art Thou is from the morning talk of the same day.

An MP3 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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

Know it as the State of Vairagya – Osho

When desires do not arise even in the face of the objects of enjoyment, know it as the state of vairagya – non-attachment, desireless ness. And when the ego ceases to rise, know it as the highest state of knowledge.

When the moods that have become extinct do not arise again, that state is known as one of the indifference.

And the sage whose wisdom has become steady attains eternal bliss. One whose mind has dissolved into the supreme becomes innocent and inactive. And the moods of the mind then dissolve in the unity of the supreme self, and the purified individual self remains choiceless and in a state of pure consciousness.

This state is called wisdom, or pragya and one who has attained this wisdom throughout is called jivanmukta – one free in life itself.

One who has no egoistic feeling in respect of his body and the senses, and besides has ceased to think in terms of “me” and “mine” in respect to other objects, is called a jivanmukta.

When desires do not arise even in the face of the objects of enjoyment, know it as the state of vairagya – non-attachment, desirelessness. And when the ego ceases to arise, know it as the highest state of knowledge.

-Adhyatma Upanishad

Definitions about certain states of inner search, “in-search,” are helpful, because when you enter yourself, you are alone. You will need certain definitions, certain criteria so that you can feel inside what is happening – where you are.

In the in-search one is always alone. One needs certain criteria to feel where one is. And the inner world is uncharted, no map exists which can be given to you. And even if some maps exist, they don’t belong to you; they cannot be applicable to you. Buddha says something – that is about his own inner journey; that may not be your route at all. Really, it cannot be your route. Every individual enters into the inner world differently, uniquely, because every individual stands on a certain spot where no one else stands; every individual is unique. Buddha stands somewhere – you cannot stand on that spot. He starts his journey from there; every journey starts from where you are. So we have different routes to move on, no map can be helpful.

So this sutra is not going to give you a certain map, no. Just certain liquid definitions – you can feel your own path – and certain happenings inside, so that you know where you are, where you are moving, whether you are moving or not, whether you are nearing your goal or not.

First the definition of vairagya – because that is the entrance. Unless you are non-attached to the world you cannot enter inwards. Your back must be towards the world; only then your face is towards the inner center. So vairagya is the door – non-attachment to the world. What is the definition?

You can force yourself to be non-attached, you can force yourself in the about-turn. You can face the inner world forcibly, you can stand with your back to the world, but just your back to the world is not enough. Your mind may be still moving in the world.

It is not very difficult to go away, to leave, to renounce – it is not very difficult. You can escape to the Himalayas and the world is left far behind – but your mind will still be moving in the world. Non-attachment, vairagya means: When desires do not arise even in the face of the objects of enjoyment.

You can close your eyes; you don’t see anything. That is not vairagya, because with closed eyes you can continue desiring. Really, with closed eyes desires become stronger. With closed eyes the world is more charming than with open eyes. Really, if your eyes are open, sooner or later the world loses its charm. The more you penetrate it, the more you know it and see it, the attraction disappears. The attraction is in ignorance; with closed eyes it is more.

Non-attachment is authentic if your eyes are open and objects of enjoyment are there, and no desire arises in you. A naked, beautiful woman is before you and no desire arises. Tantra has used this sutra. Tantra is based on this sutra. Tantra says: Do not escape, because you cannot escape your mind. And the real problem is not the world of objects; the real problem is the mind. So wherever you go, you will be there, and you are the problem! How can you escape from yourself? Go anywhere, the mind will be there. You can escape from the world, but not from the mind, and mind is the real world. So tantra says, “Do not move away; rather go deep in the world, fully conscious, with open eyes, aware of the desires moving in you. Look at the world deeply.” Tantra has developed its own techniques. The tantra technique is that if someone feels sexual desire, then just enforcing brahmacharya, celibacy, will not do. If you force celibacy on someone, if he takes a vow that now he will remain celibate, he will simply suppress sexuality and nothing else. And suppressed sex is dangerous – more dangerous than ordinary sex. Then the whole mind will become sexual. The suppressed energy will move inside; it cannot go out, so it moves more inside. It creates grooves, it becomes cerebral; the whole mind becomes sexual. The sex center gathers more and more energy, and ultimately the whole body becomes a sex center.

Tantra says this is not the way to go beyond sex; this is stupid. Tantra has its own scientific techniques. Tantra says, “Okay, there is desire, there is sex – then move into sex, but move fully conscious.” That is the only condition: If you want to touch a beautiful body, touch, but remain conscious, alert that you are touching the beautiful body. And then when you are touching, analyze your touch – what is happening? Observe your touch – what is happening? If you can observe your touch, the touch becomes futile, absurd, stupid; nothing is happening. Nothing is happening.

So tantra has techniques . . . Look at a beautiful naked body; observe it, and observe what is happening inside you. The desire arises: observe the desire, and observe the naked body. And really with a naked body, with a full alert mind, sex is neither suppressed nor indulged; it simply disappears. It may look contradictory – but bodies have become so important only because of clothes. Clothes are deeply sexual. They give the bodies a charm, a hidden charm, a secret attraction which is not there at all. Bodies are just bodies. You hide them and the very hiding creates a desire to look at them, to see. Humanity has become so body-conscious only because of clothes. The clothes create a secret desire to unclothe, to undress. […]

Any desire becomes futile if you observe it, if you know it in its totality. Tantra says do not escape; rather, be aware and move into the objects of enjoyment, and one day suddenly all the objects lose their charm.

This sutra says this is the definition of vairagya:

When desires do not arise even in the face of the objects of enjoyment, know it as the state of vairagya – non-attachment, desirelessness.

And when the ego ceases to arise, know it as the highest state of knowledge.

This is the criterion for knowledge, wisdom – when there is no ego, when ego doesn’t arise.

Ego can arise in any situation. The ego is very subtle and its ways are very mysterious. On anything, ego can feed itself. You meditate and through your meditation your ego can be strengthened: “I am a meditator.” And the whole point is lost, the whole meditation is lost. “I am a religious man. I go to church every Sunday, never miss.” The ego has arisen. It has taken a religious shape, but the shape doesn’t matter. “I fast,” or “I take a certain food,” or “I do this or that” – any ritual. “I do yoga” – whatsoever. If you feel that your “I” is strengthened, know that you are not on the path of knowing, you are falling down into ignorance.

Go on observing whatsoever you are doing. Do one thing continuously: go on observing whether your ego is strengthened by it. If you continuously observe, observation is a poison to the ego, it cannot arise. It arises only when you are not observing, when you are unconscious, unaware, unattentive. Go on observing, and wherever the ego arises just be a witness to it. Know well that the ego is arising: “I am meditating, certain experiences are happening, and the ego feels good.” And the ego says, “Now you are on the path. Now you have known the inner light. Now the kundalini has arisen. Now you are extraordinary. Soon you are going to be a siddha – one who has achieved. The goal is now nearer.” Know well: with this feeling of the goal being nearer, you are missing the goal. This ego feeling good is a fatal disease.

This sutra says, when the ego doesn’t arise, it is the highest state of knowledge. When the feeling of “I” doesn’t arise, you are but there is no “I.”

We go on saying, “I am.” The man of knowledge rarely feels only “am,” not “I” – just “amness,” existence, being, with no “I” attached to it. “Amness” is vast, infinite; “I” is finite. “Amness” is brahman.

When there is no “I,” when there is only simple “amness,” when the “I” is dead, this state is known as the state of a jivanmukta – one who has achieved freedom in life, one who has achieved freedom while in the body, one who has known the infinite while alive.

You can also become a jivanmukta. The only problem is you. Throw it out, and you are. Nothing new is to be gained; the freedom is there hidden in you, but you are attached to the ego. That creates a boundary, a limitation. Look beyond the ego, and suddenly you enter another world. And it was always there, just to be seen, but our eyes have become fixed; we cannot move our eyes. We go on looking in one direction – the direction of the ego. The reverse is the dimension of the non-ego, and non-ego is the path.

One who has egoistic feeling in respect of his body and the senses, and besides has ceased to think in terms of “me” and “mine” in respect to other objects, is called a jivanmukta.

Egolessness is a great death. When you die only your body dies; when you attain mukti, freedom, your mind dies.

In the old scriptures the master, the guru, is known also as death: acharyo mrityu. The teacher is death, great death. He is, because through him your ego dies; he kills you. In a way he is death, and in a way eternal life, because when the ego is no more, for the first time you are.

Die to be reborn.

Jesus says, “Whosoever loses himself, attains, and whosoever clings to himself loses.”

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #46

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

Start Watching Thoughts – Osho

How can I tell the difference between one part of the mind observing another part of the mind, and the watcher? Can the watcher watch itself? One time I thought I had got it and then the same day I heard you say in a discourse, “If you think you’ve got the watcher, you’ve missed.” Since then, I try watching feelings in the body, thoughts, and emotions. Mostly, I’m just caught in them. But, once in a while, rarely, I feel tremendously relaxed and nothing stays – It just keeps moving is there anything to do?

Deva Waduda, one has to start watching the body – walking, sitting, going to bed, eating. One should start from the most solid, because it is easier, and then one should move to subtler experiences. One should start watching thoughts, and when one becomes an expert in watching thoughts, then one should start watching feelings. After you feel that you can watch your feelings, then you should start watching your moods, which are even more subtle than your feelings, and more vague.

The miracle of watching is that as you are watching the body, your watcher is becoming stronger; as you are watching the thoughts, your watcher is becoming stronger; as you are watching the feelings, the watcher is becoming even more strong. When you are watching your moods the watcher is so strong that it can remain itself – watching itself – just as a candle in the dark night not only lights everything around it, it also lights itself.

To find the watcher in its purity is the greatest achievement in spirituality, because the watcher in you is your very soul; the watcher in you is your immortality. But never for a single moment think, “I have got it,” because that is the moment when you miss. Watching is an eternal process; you always go on becoming deeper and deeper, but you never come to the end where you can say “I have got it.” In fact, the deeper you go, the more you become aware that you have entered into a process which is eternal – without any beginning and without any end.

But people are watching only others; they never bother to watch themselves. Everybody is watching – that is the most superficial watching – what the other person is doing, what the other person is wearing, how he looks . . . Everybody is watching; watching is not something new to be introduced in your life. It has only to be deepened, taken away from others, and arrowed towards your own inner feelings, thoughts, moods – and finally, the watcher itself.

A Jew is sitting in a train opposite a priest. “Tell me, your worship,” the Jew asks, “why do you wear your collar back to front?”

“Because I am a father,” answers the priest.

“I am also a father, and I don’t wear my collar like that,” says the Jew. “Oh,” says the priest, “but I am a father to thousands.”

“Then maybe,” replies the Jew, “it is your trousers you should wear back to front.”

People are very watchful about everybody else.

Two Polacks went out for a walk; suddenly it began to rain. “Quick,” said one man, “open your umbrella.”

“It won’t help,” said his friend, “my umbrella is full of holes.”

“Then why did you bring it in the first place?”

“I did not think it would rain.”

You can laugh very easily about the ridiculous acts of other people, but have you ever laughed about yourself? Have you ever caught yourself doing something ridiculous? No, you keep yourself completely unwatched; your whole watching is about others, and that is not of any help.

Use this energy of watchfulness for a transformation of your being. It can bring you so much bliss and so much benediction that you cannot even dream about it. A simple process, but once you start using it on yourself it becomes a meditation. One can make meditations out of anything.

Anything that leads you to yourself is meditation. And it is immensely significant to find your own meditation, because in the very finding you will find great joy. And because it is your own finding – not some ritual imposed upon you – you will love to go deeper into it. The deeper you go into it, the happier you will feel – peaceful, more silent, more together, more dignified, more graceful.

You all know watching, so there is no question of learning it. It is just a question of changing the object of watching. Bring them closer.

Watch your body, and you will be surprised. I can move my hand without watching, and I can move my hand with watching. You will not see the difference, but I can feel the difference. When I move it with watchfulness, there is a grace and beauty in it, a peacefulness, and a silence. You can walk, watching each step; it will give you all the benefit that walking can give you as an exercise, plus it will give you the benefit of a great simple meditation.

The temple in Bodhgaya where Gautam Buddha became enlightened has been made in memory of two things . . . one is a Bodhi tree under which he used to sit. Just by the side of the tree there are small stones for a slow walk. He was meditating, sitting, and when he would feel that sitting had been too much – a little exercise was needed for the body – he would walk on those stones. That was his walking meditation.

When I was in Bodhgaya, having a meditation camp there, I went to the temple. I saw Buddhist lamas from Tibet, from Japan, from China. They were all paying their respect to the tree, and I saw not a single one paying his respect to those stones on which Buddha had walked miles and miles. I told them, “This is not right. You should not forget those stones. They have been touched by Gautam Buddha’s feet millions of times. But I know why you are not paying any attention to them, because you have forgotten completely that Buddha was emphasizing that you should watch every act of your body: walking, sitting, lying down.”

You should not let a single moment go by unconsciously. Watchfulness will sharpen your consciousness. This is the essential religion – all else is simply talk. But Waduda, you ask me, “Is there something more?” No, if you can do only watchfulness, nothing else is needed.

My effort here is to make religion as simple as possible. All the religions have done just the opposite: they have made things very complex – so complex that people have never tried them. For example, in the Buddhist scriptures there are thirty-three thousand principles to be followed by a Buddhist monk; even to remember them is impossible. Just the very number thirty-three thousand is enough to freak you out: “I am finished! My whole life will be disturbed and destroyed.”

I teach you: just find a single principle that suits you, that feels in tune with you, and that is enough.

-Osho

From The Golden Future, Discourse #18, Q3

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

That Flame is Known as Knowing – Osho

This sutra is very significant for a sadhak, for a seeker.

Knowing is the fruit of non-attachment.

Desirelessness is the perfect knowledge. And the peace that flows from this experience of inner bliss is the proof of Desirelessness.

That which doesn’t happen in succession from among the above-mentioned steps indicates that the step preceding it has been fruitless.

To shun the objects of enjoyment is the highest contentment, and the bliss of self is itself incomparable.

-Adhyatma Upanishad

Many things have to be understood – and not only to be understood, but to be lived. The first is that knowledge is not knowing.

Knowledge and knowing are different dimensions. Knowledge is information. You can collect it, you can accumulate it; you can become a man of great knowledge, but that will not lead you to knowing.

Knowing is experience.

Knowledge is information. For example, you can know everything about God that has been said anywhere, anytime, by anyone. You can collect information about God through Krishna, Christ, Mohammed, Mahavira, Confucius, Lao Tzu, and thousands of others. You can collect in your mind all the scriptures of the world. You can become The Bible, you can become a Gita, you can become the Vedas, but you will remain the same. This knowledge is not going to affect you at all; you will remain unaffected. Knowledge will become something in the head, and nothing in the heart. The head will go on becoming bigger and bigger, but the heart will remain the same. And it may happen – unfortunately it happens – that as the head grows bigger, the heart is forgotten completely.

The heart is the center of knowing; the head is the center for knowledge. You know through the heart; you become a man of knowledge through the head. The head-oriented personality can know much without knowing anything. You know everything about God, but that doesn’t mean you know God. Because to know God, one has to die first – but to know about God, no transformation is needed, no inner transformation is needed. To know about God, you can know as you are – but to enter knowing you will have to be transformed first. You will not do as you are, you cannot be accepted as you are.

Knowing needs a deep transformation first.

Your totality will have to be rearranged; only then you enter knowing. You can know about love – poets have written, and generally those poets who have not known love at all, because their writing is just a substitute. If you know love, it is one thing; if you have not known love, it is different – the quality is different. The difference is not quantitative, it is qualitative.

Poets have written about love – you can collect all that knowledge. You can go on singing about love, you can become a master of the knowledge about love, you can write a Ph.D. thesis about love – but that doesn’t mean that you know love. To know love, libraries are not needed. To know love, a loving heart is needed; scriptures won’t do, a loving heart is needed.

This sutra says: Knowledge is not knowing. Don’t be deceived by knowledge; remember: Knowledge is not knowing. If you want to enter knowing, throw away all knowledge.

But how does one enter knowing? To enter knowledge is easy: there are schools, colleges, universities – the whole mechanism of knowledge is there. How to enter knowing?

Knowing is an individual effort; knowledge, a social effort. Society needs knowledge, because every generation which is dying has to impart knowledge to the coming generation. Teachers are the link; they go on giving knowledge to new generations, and knowledge goes on accumulating more and more. Society needs knowledge because society cannot function without knowledge.

The individual needs knowing, because the individual can never reach bliss unless he knows through his heart. Society is not interested in knowing. You will have to make an individual effort. What is that effort? These are the steps . . .

Knowing is the fruit of non-attachment. This looks absurd – “Knowing is the fruit of non-attachment” – vairagya.

This is a very beautiful Sanskrit word, vairagya. The word “non-attachment” carries the meaning, but just so-so. Vairagya means one who has turned away from the world, one who has known the futility of the world, one who has come to understand that you cannot achieve bliss through senses. Vairagya means: the outward search is futile; you have come to conclude this as your experience.

This conclusion cannot be transferred to you. If someone else is saying, “This world is futile,” this conclusion cannot become your conclusion. You will have to pass through experience, fully aware. Whenever you feel desire, move into desire fully aware and when you reach the fulfillment of the desire, know well what has happened – whether any hope has been fulfilled or just frustrated. Go on moving in desire, alert, and then you will come to understand that all desire is futile, all attachment is meaningless; it creates misery, it never creates any bliss. Vairagya means this conclusion reached through awareness, reached through experiencing – and knowing is the fruit of vairagya, of nonattachment.

Why? Why is knowing the fruit of non-attachment? Because when you are not attached to the world, suddenly you are thrown inside. There is nowhere to move; all outer directions have been stopped by that non-attachment. Now there is no dimension to move out – you cannot move without, so your consciousness for the first time returns home. It moves inside.

The Upanishads say there are eleven directions. Eight directions we know: north, east, west, et cetera, eight directions. The Upanishads say there are eleven directions: the eight directions we know; and two directions of going up and down, so they become ten. The Upanishads say there are eleven directions: ten going out; one coming in. When these ten directions have become futile, this is vairagya – but the energy has to move. Energy means movement; energy cannot be static. Ten directions – in which energy was moving and moving for millenia – have become futile; this is vairagya. Now you don’t want to move out. Suddenly the whole energy which was being dissipated without, begins to move within. And the more within it moves, the nearer the center, the energy becomes more and more one.

Make one circle, and then start from the circumference to move towards the center. You can draw many lines from the circumference to the center. Two lines drawn from this periphery, this circumference, to the center . . . as they come nearer the center, they will come closer and closer. They will come nearer and nearer, and at the center they will meet. When this energy which has been dissipated in ten directions, begins to move towards the center, all this energy goes in; all the flowing currents of energy come nearer and nearer. And at the center they meet and crystallize. That crystallization becomes a flame – that crystallization, that intense crystallization becomes a flame.

That flame is known as knowing.

By that flame, for the first time your world is enlightened.

Now there is no more darkness.

Now you move in light; now you have light inside.

Concentrated energy becomes light. Concentrated energy, crystallized energy, becomes inner light. That is known as knowing.

And desirelessness is the fruit of knowledge. The Sanskrit word is beautiful again: the word is uparati. Uparati means total relaxation. Knowledge is the fruit of vairagya. Knowing is the fruit of non-attachment, of energy not moving without. Knowing is the fruit of energy not moving without.

If there is no knowing, and you don’t attain the inner flame, then know well that your non-attachment has been false, pseudo. Knowledge, the flame, is inevitable if non-attachment has been real, authentic – not borrowed.

I say to you that knowing comes through non-attachment. So you can force yourself to be nonattached – that will be borrowed, and then knowing will not follow. Life is an authentic process; you cannot borrow anything from anyone. You have to live, you have to pass through, you have to move into experiences and attain. I say to you, “Knowing comes through vairagya.” So you try to be non-attached – that effort will not help. You will become a vairagi – you will become a “nonattached man,” but there will be no knowledge, no knowing. Your Vairagya, your non-attachment is a borrowed thing; it is not a conclusion in your life. It is just foreign to you… someone has said, it has entered into your mind, but your mind has not come to conclude it by itself.

So this sutra says that if knowledge is not following, then know well that the first step has been futile and pseudo, unauthentic. If knowledge comes, if the flame of knowing is there, then you will feel a deep relaxation. This is uparati – deep relaxation, existential, not physical, not mental – existential, total relaxation. What is meant by total relaxation, uparati? It means, energy moving nowhere – not even within.

First the energy was moving outward in ten directions. Then energy began to move inwards in one direction – but it was moving. Movement cannot be relaxed; movement creates its own strain, effort, struggle – any movement is a struggle. When this inner moving energy becomes a flame, there is no movement; all motivation is lost. Energy is for the first time not moving but just is. You are – going nowhere.

First the ten directions became futile; now the eleventh also has become futile. You are neither moving out nor in; you are not moving at all. This is total relaxation, this is uparati. Your existence has become relaxed. For the first time you are simply existence, nothing more – simply existence. If uparati, this total relaxation, does not follow knowing, then know well that the knowing was pseudo, false. Then you must have deceived yourself, you must have quoted scriptures. You must have borrowed knowledge and you must have deceived yourself that this was your knowledge.

We go on deceiving. Pundits are the great deceivers. But by repetition, continuously reading, they begin to feel that they know. They have not known, but they begin to feel that they know. This is auto-hypnosis. If you go on reading the Gita, The Bible, the Koran – go on, go on, go on for lives together – that constant repetition creates an auto-hypnosis. You begin to feel that you know. Really, you know too much! So it is bound to happen – this deception, this feeling that you know. You know everything! – really, if a Jesus is there to compete with you in an examination, he cannot compete. If Krishna himself is there to compete with a pundit, he is bound to be a failure; because a Krishna cannot repeat the same Gita again; it is impossible. Only a pundit can repeat it exactly as it is. For a Krishna, repetition is impossible. If he is going to say something, it will become another Gita, but the same Gita can never be repeated. He cannot remember what he said in Kurushetra to Arjuna, but a pundit can repeat it.

Knowing is not repetitive; knowledge is repetitive. Knowledge is mechanical repetition.

Knowing is existential experiencing.

So if your knowledge is not knowing but just knowledge, information, then uparati, total relaxation, will not follow. So, if total relaxation is there – if you find a person of knowing – he will be totally relaxed, like a child, totally. Even a child is not totally relaxed. He is like a flower – but even a flower is not totally relaxed, because a flower is moving, the energy is moving; a child is moving. Total relaxation is incomparable, unique. You cannot find any comparison.

And inner silence, inner peace, is the fruit of total relaxation. Inner silence – shanti – inner peace, is the fruit of total relaxation.

One who is totally relaxed becomes silent. Nothing happens in him now. There is no happening, because every happening is noise, every happening has its own noise. Now there is no experience inside, because every experience disturbs silence.

The man of total relaxation is absolutely silent.

Now nothing happens in him.

He is; simply he is.  No experiences now – no experiences, remember this.

You will not have visions, because visions are a disturbance. You will not see light, you will not hear sound; you will not be taking an interview with God. No experience. Silence means no experience now. Everything has fallen. You have become just existence – no knower, no known, no experiencer, no experience.

This is what is meant by silence.

If silence doesn’t follow total relaxation, uparati, then know well that the relaxation must have been a deception; it was not total. It may have been physical relaxation, it may have been psychological relaxation, but it was not total.

The relaxation was not spontaneous; you must have forced it.

We can force even relaxation. We can go on forcing things upon ourselves. We can force silence: you can sit like a buddha, like a buddha statue with closed eyes, just like stone – but you remain the same stupid man inside, it makes no difference. Forced, stupidity cannot go; you cannot force it out because who will force it out? The same stupid mind forcing itself; it becomes a vicious circle.

So you can find many stupid minds; particularly in India you can find them sitting like buddhas. They have just forced it, they have become like statues, but inside nothing has happened, because the silence is not there which is an inevitable consequence of total relaxation.

I am reminded . . .

Rinzai, one of the greatest Zen masters, used to ask whenever someone would come to him to be accepted as a disciple, “What do you want? For what have you come to me?” Generally, those seekers would reply, “We want to be like Gautam Buddha, Shakyamuni. We want to be like that.” So he would say, “Go away immediately, because we have one thousand stone Buddhas in our temple and we need no more. Go away immediately. Don’t come again. The house, this temple is already too crowded with Buddhas – one thousand.”

Rinzai lived in a temple where there were one thousand stone Buddhas. He would say, “Go away. There is no room, it is already crowded.” And he was a lover of Buddha; he revered Buddha like anything, but he said, “Just by sitting like a Buddha you will not become a Buddha. You can force yourself, but the spontaneous flame will not come that way. So try to be yourself; don’t try to be a Buddha.”

You can try to be a Buddha, but how can you try to be yourself?

Leave all effort, leave all trying to be someone else.

Then you will be yourself – and that being yourself is relaxation.

If you want to be a Buddha or a Jesus or a Krishna, you can never attain relaxation. The very effort to be someone else is strain, tension, anguish, conflict.

So if silence doesn’t follow, then know well your relaxation has been forced.

To shun the objects of enjoyment is the highest contentment. And the bliss of self is itself incomparable.

If you go through these four steps: vairagya, gyan, uparati, shanti – non-attachment, knowing, total relaxation, and the ultimate silence – then you achieve the incomparable self, the unique self that you are.

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #42

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

What is Truth? – Osho

What is Truth?

This is the question every man has to answer on his own. And unless a man answers this question he is not truly a man.

This question has haunted humanity down the centuries. It is as old as man himself because man became man only when he asked this question. Unless we know what truth is, our whole effort to live, our whole effort to make a meaning out of life is futile.

It is ultimate, but urgent also, to know from where life has arisen, and to want to know the source and the goal, to know the inner running current that holds everything, to know the thread which is the ultimate law of existence.

When we ask the question, “What is truth?” we are entering into the world of man for the first time. If you have not asked the question yet then you live below human beings. Ask the question, and you become part of humanity. And when the question is dissolved you go beyond humanity, you become a God.

Below the questioning you remain part of the animal kingdom; with the question you enter on the path; and again being without the question you have come to realize that you have come home. The question is very difficult because just by asking, it cannot be solved. One has to put one’s whole life at the stake.

This is the question that Pontius Pilate asked Jesus. At the last moment, when Jesus was going to be crucified, Pontius Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” And Jesus did not answer him. Christian mystics have pondered over it. Why did Jesus not answer it? Why did he remain silent?

There are three possibilities. One, that the question was not sincere. A man like Jesus answers only when the question is sincere. When is a question sincere? A question is sincere when a questioner is ready to do something about it. If it is just curiosity then it is not worth answering. If it has an intense passion, a deep desire, so deep that the questioner is ready to put his whole life at the stake – nothing less will do – then only is the question sincere. A man like Jesus will answer only when the question has been asked from the very core of one’s being. So the first possibility is that Pilate’s question was not sincere. Seeing the insincerity, Jesus remained silent.

Pilate was a well-educated man, a man who had succeeded at least in the eyes of the world. He was the viceroy, a Roman Governor-general. He was at the peak of his career – power, prestige, wealth, everything was his. Whatsoever he had been doing in his life had paid him well. Facing him was Jesus, almost a hobo, a failure, one who had not achieved anything at least in the eyes of the world. He had no power, no prestige, not even respectability. He was just at the other end of life, a tremendous failure, mocked, jeered, insulted. Whatsoever he had been doing had all failed. It had not paid him in any way. His life was futile, at least for others.

The successful man asked the failure, “What is truth?”

There are two types of successes in the world. One, the worldly, which is not really a success but just trying to deceive yourself, just trying to keep up faces, appearances. The eyes are full of tears but you go on smiling; the heart is miserable, but you go on showing something else, just the opposite, to the world. They say “nothing succeeds like success” but I would like to tell you “nothing fails like success.” As far as the inner journey is concerned, as far as the transcendental is concerned, nothing fails like success and nothing succeeds like failure.

The first possibility is that the question was not sincere, it was asked just by the way. The man was well-educated, well-trained in philosophical concepts. He could have asked the question as a philosophical question. Then Jesus remained silent because the question was not really asked and there was no need to answer it.

The second possibility is that the question was sincere, that the question was not just a childish curiosity, that there was passion behind it, that it was authentic. Then why did Jesus remain silent? He remained silent because if this ultimate question is authentically asked then silence is the answer, because there is no way to answer it except silence. The question is so profound that words will not be capable of answering it. The question is so deep that words will not be able to reach it, to touch it – only silence will.

If the second is the case then Jesus did answer it, but he answered it by silence.

A third possibility is also there: that the question was sincere and yet not so sincere – that it was ambiguous, split, which was probably the case because where can you find a man who is total? A part of him was authentically asking, another part was pretending, “Even if you don’t answer I am not in a hurry. And even if you don’t answer, I don’t mind because in fact I don’t need it. In fact, I know the answer already, I am asking just to test you.”

The question was ambiguous, Janus-faced. That seems to be more probable because that is how man is and has always been – split. A part of Pilate feels the truth of this man who is standing before him – a complete, utter failure but yet his eyes are luminous, yet he has a glow. Pilate can feel it, can almost touch it. Yet another part, the egoist part, is not ready to surrender so he pretends he is asking only casually, “Even if you don’t answer, don’t be worried. It is not my need. In fact, I already know the answer.”

If this ambiguity was the case, then Jesus would also remain silent because when a question is ambiguous and the person is divided, no answer is possible. Because the answer can be understood only in your undivided consciousness, the question can be answered only when you are no longer split, when you are one, when you are in a unison, unity. Only then can you understand it.

Jesus’ silence before Pontius Pilate is very significant, pregnant with many meanings. But Jesus has answered the question somewhere else, it is recorded in the New Testament. Somewhere else he says, “I am the Truth.”

I would like you to go a little bit into history then it will be very easy to understand today’s parable.

Homer asked the same question in 850 B.C. and he answered that ‘the Whole is supported by Fate and Fate is the Truth’.

This is not really an answer; in fact, it is avoiding. When you say, ‘It is Fate,’ you don’t say much; in fact, you are not saying anything, you are simply playing with a word. You have simply shifted the question. It doesn’t answer. If somebody is miserable and you say, “It is Fate,” how have you answered it? Your answering has not added anything to the already known situation. You have simply labelled it. “One is suffering because it is Fate.” But why is it so? Why is Fate so? No, it is not a real answer. In fact, it is a lie. But one can believe in such things. Many people still do as Homer did. They have not risen above that level of consciousness.

Then came Thales, 575 B.C. He said that the whole consists of nothing but water. Water is the basic element of truth, of life, of existence.

Better than Fate, something more tangible, but very fragmentary. Water does not go very deep, does not explain much. It is reducing the higher to the lowest. Thales must have had a scientific mind; that’s what science goes on doing. You ask about mind and they say it is nothing but matter. The higher is reduced to the lower; the sky is explained by the earth. Mind is a great evolution. To explain the mind by matter is a scientific fallacy.

Thales was the first scientist of the world. He tried to explain the unknowable by something known: he called it water, the liquid element, the liquidity, the flow. But the answer is very fragmentary. It has something of truth in it but not all of it. And a fragmentary truth is almost more dangerous than a lie because it has a certain appearance of truth and it can deceive more. That fragment of truth can become very deceptive; it can cover the whole lie and make it appear as if it is the truth.

Then came Pythagoras, 530 B.C. He says that the whole consists only of numbers, mathematical symbols. He has even more of a scientific attitude than Thales – mathematics. Meaningful, but mathematics is not life. In fact, all that is very alive is nonmathematical. Love is non-mathematical, you cannot reduce it to numbers. Poetry is nonmathematical. Just think of a life consisting only of numbers – one, two, three, four – all poetry disappears, all love disappears, all dreaming disappears. Life will not be worth living.

That’s how it is happening today. Scientists have reduced everything to mathematics. Life is not equal to equations howsoever accurate the equations; life is more than mathematics can ever explain. The mathematics cannot explain the mathematician, the mathematician who deals in numbers is higher and bigger than numbers. It has to be so; those numbers are just toys in his hands. But who is this player? Whenever life is reduced to mathematics it loses charm, it loses charisma, it loses mystery. And suddenly everything seems to be worthless. Mystery is needed; it is subtle nourishment for growth.

I have heard two mathematicians talking. One said to another, ‘Is there any meaning in life? Is there any worth? Is there any purpose?’

The other said, ‘But what else can you do with it?’

The first asked, ‘Is there any meaning to live for in life?’ and the other says, ‘What else can you do with it?’ If life has to be lived just as if you are a victim, as if somebody is playing a trick upon you, as if you are being thrown into this torture chamber, into this concentration camp called the earth, then even if you live, you don’t live enough. You slowly commit suicide. You by and by, by and by, go on disappearing. Suicide becomes a constant thought in the mind if life has no mystery.

Then came Anaxagoras, 450 B.C. and his answer is mind. Certainly he took a great leap from water, number, fate; he took a great jump. Anaxagoras is a great milestone in the history of humanity. ‘Mind,’ he says. ‘The whole existence is made up of the stuff called mind.’

Better, but Jesus would not agree, Buddha would not agree. Yes, certainly better than what others were saying, but Zen would not agree. Matter, mind . . . Zen says no-mind. One has to go higher still because mind still carries the duality with matter.

Good, great in a way, a radical step; from object Anaxagoras turns to the subject, from the outer he turns to the inner. He opens the door. He is the first psychologist in the world because he emphasizes mind more than matter. He says matter is also made of mind: he explains the lower with the higher.

You can explain in two ways. Go and see beautiful white lotus flowers in a pond; they come out of the dirty mud. Then there are two possibilities: either you explain the lotus by the dirty mud or you explain the dirty mud by the lotus. And both will lead you in totally different dimensions. If you say that this lotus is nothing but dirty mud because it comes out of it, your life will lose all significance, meaning, beauty. Then you will live in the dirty mud.

That’s what Freud has been doing; that’s what Marx has done. They have great skill in reducing everything to the dirty mud. Buddha attains to enlightenment, ask Freud and he will say it is nothing but sex energy. There is a truth in it, because it arises out of sex, but the sex functions like dirty mud and out of it arises the lotus.

Ask Buddha;. He will say sex is nothing but the beginning of enlightenment, the very first steps of nirvana. That’s how Tantra was born.

These are two ways and you will have to remember that your life will depend more or less on the way you interpret, on the way you choose. You can try to reduce the lotus to dirty mud, it can be done and it is very scientific. It can be done very scientifically because all that this lotus has was in the mud. It can be dissected and everything can be found, and then the mud can be dissected, and whatsoever the lotus has, everything will be found in the mud; nothing special, nothing extra, nothing from the outside has entered into the lotus so it is nothing but the mud. If you are choosing your life with this attitude, your life will be just nothing but mud.

And the person who says that the mud is nothing but potential white lotuses, that the mud is nothing but a waiting to manifest its beauty in lotuses, has a higher standpoint, the standpoint of a religious man. Then the whole life becomes full of splendor, significance, glory. Then wherever you look, you can find God, you can find the white lotus. Then everything is moving towards a peak. Then there is evolution. Then there is future, possibility. Then even the impossible becomes possible.

With the first attitude – the dirty-mud-attitude I call it – even the possible seems to be impossible. But with the second attitude – the lotus-attitude I call it – you can see deeply into mud and you can see hidden lotuses there. And the dirty mud is no more dirty mud, it is just potentiality. Then sex becomes potentiality for samadhi, the body becomes potentiality for the soul, the world becomes the abode of God.

Anaxagoras was one of the greatest revolutionaries, a radical thinker. This word radical is beautiful. It means: pertaining to the roots. He changed the outlook. He said mind. He took a necessary step, but that too was not enough.

Then came Protagoras, 445 B.C. and he said “Man.” Now his standpoint is more total. Mind is a fragment of man. Man is many things more, mind plus. If Anaxagoras is thought to be absolutely true then you will remain in the head; that is what has happened to many people. They have not moved beyond Anaxagoras. They go on living in the head because mind is all. Then mind becomes dictatorial, it goes on a great ego trip. It starts dominating everything and crippling everything. It becomes a destructive force.

No, you are not only mind. You are mind, certainly, but plus. Many more things are there.

A lotus cannot exist alone; the flower cannot exist alone. It will need many more things to exist: the pond, the water, the air, the sun, its connection with the mud, and leaves, and a thousand and one things. So if you think only in terms of the lotus and you forget all connections with the universe, your lotus will be a plastic lotus. It will not be a real lotus, it will not be inter-connected, it will not be rooted in existence.

Protagoras has a more holy attitude, wholistic attitude. Man, and the totality of man – the body, the mind, the soul – becomes truth.

Then came Socrates, 435 B. C. and he said: wisdom, knowing, knowledge. When man attains to maturity, he becomes wise; when man comes to fulfillment, then wisdom arises.

Wisdom is the essence of man, the fragrance of the lotus flower. A still higher attitude.

And then came Jesus who says, “I am the truth.” This one statement is one of the greatest statements ever made in the world. Either it is the greatest truth ever uttered or it is the most egoistic and arrogant statement ever made. “I am the truth.” It depends how you decode it. Ordinarily, when you hear that Jesus says, “I am the truth,” you think this man is a megalomaniac, has gone mad. He is uttering nonsense. This man is truth? Jesus is truth? Then what about us all?

Jesus is not saying that, you have misunderstood him. When he says, “I am truth,” he is not saying, “Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph, is the truth.” What he is saying is totally different. He is saying “I am-ness, I am, is the truth,” so wherever there is this “I am-ness” there is truth. When you say “I am” you are uttering truth. Your “I am” and my “I am” are not two things, we both participate there. Your name is different, your form is different, my name is different, my form is different, but when I say “I, I am” and you say “I am” we refer to some common experience, we refer to some common root. Your “I am-ness” and my “I am-ness” are not different, are not separate, they belong to one “I am-ness” of God. When Jesus says “I am the truth” he means wherever this integration is felt of being totally “I am”, there is truth.

Ordinarily you are many I’s – you don’t have any capital I; you have many I’s, lower case. Gurdjieff used to say that we should not use the word I, only God can use it because you don’t have any single I, you have many i’s like a crowd. For one moment one I comes on the top, and becomes the ruler; in another moment it is gone and another I comes over and rules.

You can watch it. It is so simple. One moment you say, “I am happy. I am tremendously happy, at the top of the world” and the next moment you are unhappy, at the lowest bottom of the world, in the seventh hell. Are both these I’s the same? One moment you were flowing and you were compassionate and loving and another moment you were closed and frozen and dead. Are these two I’s the same? One moment you could have forgiven anything and another moment just any small tiny thing and you cannot forgive. Are these two I’s the same? One moment you are sitting in silence, in zazen, meditating, and you look so Buddha-like, and another moment, for a small thing, you are nagging, fighting. You will yourself feel ridiculous later on. For what were you getting so hot? For what were you creating so much fuss? It was not worth it. But another i was ruling over you.

You are like a wheel of many I’s; those I’s are like spokes. The wheel goes on moving, one spoke comes on top; hardly before it has come it starts declining. It goes on changing. Again it will come up and again you will feel a different being existing there within you. Watch. Have you got an I? Any substantial I? Any essential I? Can you say that you have some permanent I in you? A crystalized I in you?

You promise, and next moment you have forgotten your promise. Gurdjieff used to say that unless you have a permanent I, who will promise? You will not be able to fulfil it. Who will fulfil it? You say to a woman, “I love you and I will love you forever and forever.” Wait! What are you uttering? What nonsense! Forever and ever? How can you promise? You don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, you don’t know who is going to rule you tomorrow. Your promises will create trouble for you. You cannot promise because you are not there. Only a man like Gurdjieff or Jesus can promise. Yes, he can promise because he knows that he will remain the same; whatsoever changes in the world will not affect him. He will remain the same, he has come to a crystalized soul. Now he knows that his wheel has stopped. He is in total possession of his being. He can promise.

But ordinarily people go on promising, and you never see the fact that no promise has ever been fulfilled by you. You completely forget about it. You don’t even remember it because that remembrance will be like a wound. You find out ways and means to rationalize: you cannot fulfil it because the other person has changed, you cannot fulfil it because the circumstances have changed, you cannot fulfil it because you were foolish at the time you made it. And again you will make promises.

Man is an animal who goes on promising, never fulfilling any promise because he cannot fulfil it; man as he exists has too many I’s. When Jesus says “I am the truth” he is saying that whosoever attains to “I am-ness” is truth.

And this truth is not something philosophical, this truth is something existential. You cannot come to it by logic, argumentation; you cannot come to it by finding a right premise and then moving to a right syllogism and then reaching to a right conclusion. No, that is not the way. You will have to come to it through an inner discipline. That’s what Zen is all about.

-Osho

From Dang Dang Doko Dang, Discourse #9

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

An Experimental Approach – Douglas Harding

Good evening to you and welcome to Discovery. My name is Barbara O’Shuller, and my guest is Douglas Harding, an Englishman who is here in this area to speak among other things about the fine art of living free from stress.  He is a speaker, an architect, author, and teacher.

Welcome Douglas.

Welcome. (Laughter) Welcome to you, if I may say that.

You certainly may.

Welcome to you in my space. Yes.

You’ve got some very provocative titles for your books, and I am going to share them first off, and then maybe ask you to talk about them. On Having No Head, is one. All of these are published by Penguin Arcana. Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious, that’s all one book, The Little Book of Life and Death, Head Off Stress, and a novel, The Trial of the Man Who Said He was God. Wonderful titles.

Provocative, I think.

Very provocative. Let’s start with number four, the novel that hasn’t come out yet, The Trial of the Man Who Said He was God. Who is this man and why did he say he was God?

Well, it’s a blasphemy trial, in the year 2003. It’s, I suppose, almost like science fiction in a way. And here’s this chap who says that nearer to him than all else, at the very center of his life, is the origin of the world, is the indwelling spirit, reality, God – many names. It could be Buddha-nature, could be the kingdom of heaven, or whatever, and that is central in his life.

And that he himself is very real, as a person, as a man, but that man is peripheral to that center. So the human part of him is not central. The human part is there, and for instance, and in particular, what he sees in the mirror is his human face and human personality. And that is what other people pick up. It’s out there, it’s about a meter or two away from the center, and that’s where he keeps his humanity, and that is on show for other people. They are receiving it. That’s where they hold their cameras to photograph him. That’s where he finds that guy, in my case Douglas – why, he is there in the mirror. And this man who is on trial for blasphemy is saying who he really, really, really is, this indwelling deity or reality, spirit, essence. That that is who he really, really is, and that’s the center of his life.

The whole art of life is to go there, stay there, because you never came out of it anyway. It’s where you belong; it’s home. And he says that this is deeply traditional, and it’s what all the great religions are saying at the very heart of the heart of the heart of them. And he is saying that those people who are trying him for blasphemy in the year 2003, why, they are the blasphemers because what they are doing is to put the guy in the mirror – that they see in the mirror – they turn that person around and bring him forward and put that person at the center of their world. And this is blasphemy because the center of your world, the world of everyone, the center of being, the right center, where we are, is in fact the reality we come from, our source. So that is what the trial is about, and it’s what the first book is about On Having No Head, you see. Instead of a head here, a meatball, which I am supposed to be looking out of, why, when I look here, you see, I’m looking at you Barbara now, and I don’t find anything in your way. I find the meatball is non-existent here, and I am space for Barbara, which is a great improvement, I can say, on what people told me was here.

Hmm. Who is putting him on trial? Where is this taking place in 2003?

Well, I don’t tell you where it is taking place, but I guess it is Great Britain, somewhere.

Aren’t we enlightened enough now, and hopefully will be in 2003, not to be putting people on trial for discovering their own divinity?

Well, you see, the issue of blasphemy is a very important one. Some people have said it’s the great issue of the last part of the century. I mean, Salman Rushdie, you see, had been under threat of annihilation, under threat of being polished off . . . .

Still is. I saw something in the paper today.

And still is. Yes. And there is a great deal in the world, I mean, no doubt not so much in this country or in Great Britain, but in the world; this is a very alive issue. And people are being jailed and even polished off, even executed, now, on account of this – of alleged blasphemy. So it is a very real issue. But the point is not really, the book is not to put in a plea for tolerance and a liberal, open view about these things. That is not the point. The point is that this trial taking place in the future – it’s an account of the trial, you see – this trial is a peg on which to hang the doctrine, the teaching, the experience which my whole life is about, which is seeing who you really, really are at center. And when he defends himself against 27 witnesses, you see, it comes out what he is saying, and he is answering the people who say he is talking nonsense. So, I think it is an excellent peg on which to hang what I have to say.

Well, let’s go back to the first book, On Having No Head, and maybe explore through that some of what you are all about.

I think that is a good idea, Barbara. So, what would you like me to do? Tell you what it’s all about?

Well, I certainly want you to tell me what it is all about, but maybe what we should do, is go back a little further and find out how you found out about what it’s all about. As in who are you, and what is your experience?

Yes, well that is a good starting point, isn’t it? Well, I am English, I am 83, they tell me, and somewhat long in the tooth, if I have any teeth to be long in! And I was an architect, but all my life, since youth really, my passion has not been architecture at all. I earned my living at it, but my passion is to find out who I really, really, really am. The issue of my identity has been what makes me tick all along. I find it absolutely fascinating, and there are many reasons why I think this is the great issue of my life and should be of other people’s lives – our true identity. The reasons I have, which you might like me to mention, for looking at this, rather than being nose to the grindstone doing architecture – why, I earned my living at architecture – but this is my passion. Who am I? Who is this architect?

My reasons for looking into this matter were that I was such a terrible mess. I mean as a young man, I really was incredibly shy, uptight, stressed, and socially very badly adjusted, and lots of problems like that. So that was a reason for looking to see, to find a cure for this condition. And the great religious traditions have said, the cure is central in my life. The cure of my problem is to see, Barbara, who has the problem. The cure of my problem, I don’t  care what the problem is, is to see who has the problem.

That’s a tricky one, isn’t it?

I had terrible problems and I had to see, therefore, who had the problem. But I think my main reason, apart from being a mess, which is a good reason, my main reason I think . .

That’s a good starting place.

Well, my main reason was not that really. My main reason was gratitude and surprise, at having happened. I think people . . .

At having happened at all?

At having happened at all. I needn’t have happened, you see. But I am so pleased to have happened! And I think it’s a miserable, horrible, chicken-hearted thing to go through life never asking, “Who is going through life?” And taking everybody’s word, Barbara, but my own word.

Look, I’ve got inside information which is denied to everyone because nobody can come here and be where I am any more than anyone can go where you are and be you. And here I have information about who I am, first-hand information, and I find, when I really look here and dare to be my own authority, and look at where I am coming from, I find I am exactly the opposite, but exactly the opposite, of what I have been advertised to be, or what people tell me I am, or what language tells me I am. I find I am the exact opposite, and my troubles, my stress, my agony, my anguish came, very largely I think, I’m sure, from lying about who I am, taking everybody’s word for what I am, and not daring to have a look for myself. And nobody can tell me what it is like here but me because nobody is here. Everybody is too far away. They are about a foot, at least a foot or two away, aren’t they? A meter away. And I have inside information. And when I dare to look here, which I did and do, I find that everything is the exact opposite of what I had supposed, and what society tells me.

And you suggest that language gets in our way of this?

Yes. Let me give you an example of this. An absolutely hot, stop press instance now, I would say, straight from the shoulder, so to speak.  Well, here in front of me is my new friend who I met 10 minutes ago called Barbara. And there she is, and here in front of this mike here is someone taking Barbara in, in receipt of Barbara, you see. Well, I find that society and language tell me that Barbara and I are in a symmetrical relationship and face-to-face. And that there is something here called a head, a face – a meatball I call it! – there is something here in receipt of her. And we are in a symmetrical relationship and it’s a face-to-face situation.

I find this absolute utter and total nonsense and that I am busted wide open for Barbara at this time, and there is nothing in Barbara’s way. And we are not face-to-face. There is a face there, Barbara’s face, and Douglas’s absence of face here, which is in receipt of her.

Yes

So, I have nothing, thank God, to keep Barbara out with, and the only face I have at this time is a charming lady’s face about half a century younger than Douglas’s face (when I see Douglas’s face in the mirror). I am busted wide open for you, and it’s true! But if you say, “Well Douglas, you are a crazy man, of course there is something here, but you can’t see it,” I swear to you, there is nothing here and, Barbara, if you don’t . . . .

There is nothing here either is there?

Well, that’s for you to say! Well you see, if you say, “Douglas you are a crazy man. There is something here,” I say, “All right Barbara, come and see.” And you see, Barbara, if you were to come up to me now, I suppose we are about 4 ft 6 apart now, aren’t we – 5 feet apart – and if you want to take a picture of Douglas, why, you would take it there. There you get the top half of him, probably. If you came half way, a couple of feet, you would get his face, wouldn’t you?

Hmm.

And then if you came here to 6 inches with your camera, you would get a picture of his nose, or an eye, or lips. And then you would have to start putting sophisticated lenses on, even exchange your optical microscope for an electron microscope, and then your pictures – but pictures – would be of tissues, of cells, molecules, atoms. Well atoms are nearly all empty space.

That’s right.

And you come in, even leaving atoms behind, to particles, and even God knows what they are or even where they are, or even when they are, I mean, they are so absent, aren’t they? So, I complete the story and I say, “I have come all the way up to this place and I have lost Douglas, and instead, I’ve lost Douglas, a decaying, old, 83-year-old, stale meatball, and I have now there in front of me a much younger (and I almost said, more delicious . . . [laughter]) on your shoulders,” so you see!

And I find this hilarious. I find it lubricates personal relationships, and it’s an instance of many, many things. Only one instance of the ways society and language con us into denying who we really, really, really are. And when I look here and see who I really, really am, as I am doing at this moment, I am capacity, aware capacity. I am space which is infinite space, every which way, for it is awake space, an unbounded space for the world, at this time, (Barbara representing the world) for Barbara to happen in. And I find this delightful. It removes fear from my life, it removes stress, and I just enjoy life this way.

What a wonderful perspective!

You can see, it’s true, isn’t it?

Yes, quite.

And we are trading faces, aren’t we?

Yes, it’s wonderful.

Yes, it is wonderful. It really is wonderful. Yes. We are trading faces. You see, the thing is – this is very important, Barbara –  we are built not for confrontation; we are built for loving. Now I am not talking about the feeling of love. I am talking about the set up in which love is possible. In which love flourishes. And I say, in the real world when we dare to have a look and question language and social conditioning, in the real world, we are incredibly blessed, and we are built for loving. We are built open for one another.

And society runs on the face-to-face model of confrontation in all languages as face to face, visage á visage, face á face, and in all languages it’s a symmetry. And this is a lie. It’s not true. You see two other people, they are face-to-face, but it is never true of oneself, vis-á-vis someone over there.

So, it is just a totally different way of life. But this is only one instance of the difference between who I find myself to be here, and who my language, and society, and parents, and teachers, bless their hearts, told me was here. So, what I do in all these books, in all my meetings with people, is to go round and say, “Dare to look for yourself at what you are looking out of, and you will find that you are this immense, immortal, imperishable, awake capacity for the world. And this is the heart of all the great religions.

Hmm. Douglas, let’s talk about more lies. Tell me some more lies.

Yes. I will tell you another lie. Jeff and I drove here from San Francisco. No, well, from Santa Cruz actually. Did we move or did the country move? The question is, if we look at which moved, the country or the car? And you see, when we are very, very little, we sit in the car and we tell the truth. And the telegraph poles go rushing by and the buildings turn; and the whole scenes are ballets and the whole scene dances; and this is the truth. And then we grow up and we set it out differently and our story is that the world grinds to a halt and we move along the freeway.

Well, what happens, Barbara, to all that motion? All the dance in the world, all that motion, what happens to it? I say it comes in here, and I lose my inner tranquility. Now I say, now let me tell the truth, restore the commotion to the world where it belongs, I find my inner peace and the world dances. And this is evidence of who I really, really, really am, the indwelling deity, the reality that we are never moved.

Aristotle said, “God is the unmoved mover of the world.” Well, when you get in your car, get a hold of the wheel and see, first of all you notice the driver doesn’t have a head. You know, if you had a video camera here – and when people want to sell you a car, frequently they show it like this – a headless driver, feet on the controls, hands on the wheel, and there I am a headless driver and the whole scene is moving through me. And so, if we dare to look, we find the one here never moved an inch. Who you really, really, really are never moved. Yet another example.

So let us talk about The Little Book of Life and Death. What is this death stuff all about if we are immortal and full of this, this grandeur of the universe?

Yes. Well, the one I see in the mirror, Barbara, is dying, has been dying for 83 years, hasn’t he? I mean, he gets older every time I look in the mirror and that is my death certificate; that is the one who is dying. And what we do is bring that one in the mirror where he belongs, you see, turn him around and put him here, and this is a kind of suicide really. He belongs there in the mirror, over there in other people. If I take that picture in the mirror and try and bring it here, it disappears as I bring it here. In order to find my face again, I have to put it out there, but when I look here at this clarity, this place, there is nothing here to perish. Nothing here to perish. So, it is the case of coming home, seeing there is nothing here to perish. As simple as that.

Who I am, who I am, is imperishable. The shelf life of that chap out there, what is it? Short. The shelf life of the one here is infinite, it is not biodegradable, is  it?

So, what do you talk about in The Little Book of Life and Death? What kind of  . . . .

I talk about that. The point is, where is death? Where is life and where is death? Well, let me put it like this. Every thing perishes. Every thing perishes. An atom will perish, a particle will perish, people perish, even stars, planets, galaxies perish. Everything perishes – has births and death. Galaxies last a long time, particles, very little time. But every thing perishes.

About the thing here? No, I am not a thing here. Here is no thing, therefore it’s imperishable. And I look here, I find no thing to perish. It’s as simple as that.

And this agrees so much with what, for instance, St. Paul said. He asked the questions, “Oh death, where is your sting? Oh grave, where is your victory?” Well, it’s there. We now answer the apostle, death is there and not here.

So, death cannot get to me. This place is free of every thing, visibly, Barbara, empty, open, speckless. Therefore, it cannot perish because there is nothing there to perish.

And this again agrees with the teaching of all the great traditions, which say that we really, really are at the center, the imperishable origin of the world, not a product of the world.

Yes. Can we track with you from that young man who was having a hard time of it and beginning the journey of discovering these things? And maybe if you talk a little bit about your journey early on and how you developed these concepts, the understanding of the lies, and beginning to put the truth of the world back into place?

Well, I happened to notice (and it was very surprising) that where I was, was open to the world. I happened to be walking in the Himalayas at the time, but that had nothing to do with it really. I just happened to notice, looking out my body, I saw my legs there, and my hands and arms, my chest, and so on. Everything came to a stop here, you see, above my shoulders. On my shoulders, let’s say, was the whole scene. And I was enlarged. I was the scene; I was the Himalayas. I was Everest, and all that and I was full of that scene. And there was nothing here in the way. I am not telling you I don’t have a head. Of course I have a head, of course I have a brain, and all that stuff, eyes and so on. But I don’t have them here. I have them over there in your camera, in other people, in my mirror, and they are there. And here is the absence of all that.

Yes.

This is after all deeply traditional. You take Tennyson, he says, “Nearer is He . . .” (He is talking about God, you see.) “Nearer is He than breathing, closer than hands and feet.” In the Koran . . .

Yes.

Mohammed says, “Allah is nearer to me than my own neck vein.”

Yes.

Well, I believe that that’s it. Eckhart, a great, great Christian, philosopher, mystic of the 13th, 14th century, preached a sermon, a delightfully brief sermon, “God’s in. I’m out. God’s in. I’m out.”

“God’s in. I’m out.”

“God’s in, I’m out.” That’s the whole thing. I mean, God is nearer to me than Douglas is, you see. I mean, Douglas is around. Douglas is important to me. You know, there he is.  He’s what I give to other people, or what I inflict on other people, you see. But who I really, really, really am here, visibly, is this one.

And this is common, not only to the great religions but, I think, the great poets of the world – well, Tennyson for a start. Perhaps not the greatest but what about Shakespeare? Shakespeare is onto this absolutely. In Measure for Measure, he’s got lines like this, which you will remember. “Man, proud man, dressed in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what is most assured, his glassy essence like an angry ape, plays such tricks before high heaven as make the angels weep.” So, what Shakespeare is saying, is, Barbara, that we have a choice. You know, we either perceive what is so evident, what is so on show – our glassy essence, this space here – either we perceive that, enjoy that, live from that, or we are in terrible danger of behaving like angry apes.

Mm.

Now that is strong stuff, isn’t it?

Sounds appropriate. When you were in the Himalayas, did you have any other experiences that helped to contribute to this understanding?

No, I think that this is so radical nothing will compete with it. I mean, this is the heart of the heart of the matter, isn’t it? I mean, everything else flows from that. But I do say this, that having seen this curious thing, you know, being headless, what should I say – enjoy that, live from that and all the other things shall come.

And you see, also, I found – this is rather interesting – I found that I could share this with nobody. People either thought I was extremely profound, mystical, symbolical, and impenetrable, or they thought I was just raving mad, you see. So I failed to share this with people. And for eighteen years I never was sure I shared it with anybody.

But I did in the middle of that time have a very comforting thing because I discovered the early Zen Masters of the 8th and 9th centuries in China. And they were saying that the whole art of life— they called it Enlightenment, a word I hate but still they called it satori or Enlightenment – the whole art of life and the cure for our troubles and the answer to our problems is to see our true face. And this is called our original face.

Well I say, I have two faces, the acquired one I see in the mirror, and the original one here. And the original one is the face of God or the Buddha-nature or whatever, the true face we have which is an infinite, imperishable, perfect capacity for what was given. Now the one in the mirror is the acquired face and that one we put here illegitimately because, in fact, it belongs there and not here. And when we are very miserable, Barbara, you see, we haven’t been taken for a ride, we haven’t been conned, we haven’t come under the influence of language and so forth. And every mum and some dads know that the one in the mirror there, is for a little child, a baby, a friend, never oneself. A long process of indoctrination and you get the kid – and you must do, to join the club, this is what is necessary – to get the kid to agree that that is my face. It’s not natural. It’s an acquired thing. And when we are very, very little, we are honest, you see, we are busted wide open. This is the charm of children that they are they are busted wide open for the world.

Seeing is an acquired thing isn’t it, period? Seeing, understanding the world through sight, we learn that don’t we?

Yes, we do but I am talking about something which so basic. Are we coming from a thing, which is a perishing, limited, small, decaying, ageing thing, solid, opaque, small, and very, very brief? Come on. Or are we coming from the imperishable capacity that contains the world?

So what happens to this awareness of the imperishable capacity after the perishable part dissolves?

Well, it is really not quite a proper question, if I may say so? Because it is timeless, you see. And after and before don’t quite apply. And where we are coming from is timeless and where there is no thing, no change. I mean there is no change. There is no way of registering time, and if there is no way of registering time, why, hey ho, there is no time!

Anyway, I have a little experiment here, you see, which I do and people think it’s idiotic but I find it very true. You see, I look at the time now, and I look at the time in the studio here, and it’s twenty to eight in Carmel, or Monterey, whichever it is. It is twenty to eight in England now, where I have come from – another time. And in Tokyo, another time. Each place has got its own time. Well, what’s the time here, right where I am, this side of the microphone? What’s the time right here, no distance from me?

Now I’ve got my watch here, and it says the time out there is, a couple of feet away, no, a foot away, is 7:39. And I bring my watch up, you know, gradually, and gosh, at an inch away, I’m not sure what time it is. And half an inch, even the watch is going! And at no distance there is no time to register.

So you see, who you really, really, really are, this one never moved, Barbara. It, she, or he, God – excuse the term, I like that term – he is who you really, really, really are, and he never moved, and he has no boundaries. He is speckless, and he is faceless, and contains the whole world. And this is where you are coming from, and it is absolutely timeless.

Most of us, I think, worry about when the perishable part is no longer contained in the form that we so preferred, what happens to memory and what happens to this continuity that we feel that we would like to call Douglas, or Barbara, or Jeff?

Yes. Well, quite right. Emily Brontë wrote a rather famous and splendid poem called “Last Lines.” And she said a true thing, I think. “When suns and universes cease to be, every existence will exist in thee.” In other words, in the timeless, is a kind of freezer, which prevents things from perishing, you see. It contains perishable things. And, Barbara, you see, the content of the timeless will never recover from containing Barbara, or even Douglas. You are established there in the timeless. And I would say, I am not professing to understand this. Presently, I shall know more about it from direct experience!

[Laughter.] We are talking with Douglas Harding on KAZU 90.3. This is Discovery. So, we have gone through The Little Book of Life and Death, and On Having No Head, and we started with your novel that is not published yet, The Trial of the Man Who Said He was God. Let’s talk about Head Off Stress. The world is full of stress, probably because we are still believing all these lies.

Well, I think that might be so partly, Barbara. But I think the situation is this – things are built on stress, they run on stress. Our cars run on gas. I mean, things are held together by stress. Stress is a good thing there because it holds things together and prevents them falling apart. What is stress but a system of complementary pressures, forces, isn’t it.?

Mm.

And the whole world runs on stress. And it is a good thing and a necessary thing. The world is a stress system. What we do is to get out there, imagine ourselves out there, involved in that stress world. And of course, we take on stress and it gives us a hard time because we are not essentially – who we really, really, really are – is not only not out there, subject to stress, but is absolutely and totally free of stress from where we are at the center. And the one you are really looking out of, Barbara, at this time, is unstressable.

So, if you want to be hot you go to the Equator, if you want to be cool, you go to the North Pole, and if you want to be unstressed, you come home to the place you have never left, because nothing is there to be stressed. It’s as simple as that. And it’s a case of coming home, coming home, to the place you have never left, the place you are looking out of, and seeing there is nothing there to be stressed.

And you can come home on any ticket. Any ticket home is a good ticket, and I can point to this place. And we shall be doing some experiments like that in our workshop here, or in Santa Cruz rather. And we can point to this place we are looking out of, we can see when we put on our glasses – two lenses – we put on our glasses, and we see we are looking not out of two pupils in a meatball, we are looking out of one enormous frameless window. And not in our own direct experience are two little pupils. Well, that is coming home from the stress world to the world where there is nothing to be stressed. So, if you want to be free of stress, go where there isn’t any, and that is right where you are.

Mm. Let’s talk a little more about what people will be experiencing in the workshop. What is a workshop with Douglas Harding?

Well, one of the things I say is don’t believe a word I am saying. You are the authority.  You see, we are suffering all of us from indoctrination, from being grievously intimidated, and we allow people to tell us what it is like where we are. Nobody is in a position to tell you what you are like where you are. You are the authority. So, in a workshop I say don’t believe a thing I say, test it. Test it, because you are the authority on who you are. And this workshop is about who you really, really are. And I say who you really, really, really are is unbelievably blessed, splendid, perfect, and the answer to all your problems is who you really, really, really are.

So, we get together in a workshop to do sundry experiments –  quite a lot of them – for coming home to the place we’ve never left and finding this blessing, this energy, a freedom which is there for free where we are.

And the workshop normally consists of three or four sections. A spiel, an introductory spiel, rather along the lines of what we are doing here, you see. Then the experiments which are the nitty gritty. They are what count. The words are kind of froth, the experiments are what count. So the first thing is a spiel, saying why we are getting together. The second thing are the experiments, all of them bringing us home to this infinitely neglected treasure in the space where we are coming from. And the third part is – well everyone sees this. I don’t allow anyone not to see it, it’s so obvious, isn’t it? The experiments don’t give you a chance, you’ve got to see it. Everybody gets the point, just as you do. I mean, immediately you got the point. So, in a workshop everybody gets the point. Now what they do with it is another matter.

So we go on then to look at how we live this, which is the great thing. It’s not much use seeing it and then putting it on one side by all the other amusing things we’ve encountered. The workshop addresses the practicality of this and how we keep it alive. And we have questions also.

And I think around that time towards the end, we get on to what for me is really a crucial matter and that is a case of confidence. What horse am I backing in life? Am I backing Douglas who is a loser? Come on, he is a loser, I mean, he is dying. He has been dying for 83 years. He’s a loser. I mean, I am not distressed about that because, I mean, it’s his nature. He is not a winner, and in so far as I trust him, things go wrong. But when I trust who I really, really, really am, where I am coming from – my true nature, my Buddha-nature, or the indwelling Holy Spirit, or the kingdom of heaven, or God, or whatever you like to call this which I really, really am – if I give up my trust, give up my self-confidence in that little guy, and rely on this one, I find I am taken care of, and that things work out. I don’t get what I want but I get what I need. So that is what the workshop is about.

Of course, it is, as you say, simple, a simple thing to see.

Obvious.

And it’s obvious in many ways, but it is not so easy for people to do. Why is it so hard for people to hear what you are saying, or hear what other sages say about this, or what their neighbor says about it, and why is it so difficult for people to implement it? Why does it take many, many years to begin to . . .?

Well, it doesn’t take many . . . it doesn’t take any time to see it, does it? It’s a piece of cake, the most obvious thing in the whole world. We don’t know what obviousness is until we see this. It’s absolutely obvious. All we’ve got to do is turn our attention around 180° from what we are looking at to what we are looking out of. So, it’s absolutely obvious. And to establish it we keep coming back. Every time you come back to the place you never left and dissolve the hallucinated block here, which is hallucination. Why every time you do that it’s easier, you see, it’s easier every time. So, it’s a matter of practice. And the work has to be done. Yes, the work has to be done. And with some people I think it can result fairly soon in being centered. So you are not out to lunch. You are really with yourself. You are centered. Because the normal human condition is to be out to lunch.

But why is the normal human condition to be out to lunch?

Well, because you are in a kind of coma. We are out there, eccentric, looking at ourselves and wondering what other people see. And donating, building up here the image of something. When we are very little, we were centered and all animals are centered. They are living from their space. But as we grow up and join the human club, we are out to lunch. We must join the human club. It’s very important. But the price is too high. The subscription is too high, and I withdraw my subscription. What we are asked to do, when we belong to the human club, is to survey ourselves from about a meter away through other people’s eyes. Well, you can’t do that. And what I am on about is looking at yourself from where you are, and looking at where you are coming from, seeing what you are looking out of, as well as what you are looking at.

Well, if all of this is at the heart of all the great religious traditions . . .

It is.

. . .what happened? Why aren’t the religious traditions giving us this insight as clearly as you are giving it?

Well, that is a very good question. I think though it’s at the heart of the great religions. I think that religion becomes contaminated in a thousand ways, and the truth, the initial truth, on which the thing was built, the original vision of this, gets overlaid by churchianity, by priests, by the interests, the power trip. The power trip that each religion does develop, really. Power over people. And so the life and the heart of the great religions is that there are some heretics, like Douglas, who go back to the beginning and look at things as they were originally.

And in my view Christ, Jesus, was on to this absolutely. I mean he talked about the man who looks upon himself only from outside and not also within, makes himself small. And how big are you? And I say if you really look and see who you are, you are worldwide. You are worldwide. We make ourselves small. Barbara, we get shrunk in the wash. And you know, when we were very little, infants, we look kind of small, don’t we? About 2 feet long, really very tiny. But do you think an infant for itself is tiny? The infant for itself has got no boundaries, for sure.

That’s true.

And then when we join the club, we shrink from being worldwide into being a little thing.

Now, is it any wonder that young people become anti-social and angry, and rebellious? Is it any wonder when overnight, they got shrunk from being all things to being just what they look like from outside?

So, what I am on about, you know the whole thing is, I am not what I look like. I am not here at zero inches what I look like at a hundred inches. I am not only unlike that, I am the exact opposite. So I tell you, you are getting what Douglas looks like, I’ve got what Douglas is. And they are totally different. And the great human nonsense is to say, “I am here, what do I look like to you over there!” Which is absolute rubbish, isn’t it?

Yes, quite. What is interesting to me though is that we are willing to shrink, and yet some of us, like you, are unwilling to shrink. And what is the difference? Why are most of us willing to go along with this shrinking process, and every once in a while, somebody says, “No, I won’t do this?”

Well, I think it is a mystery; I don’t know the answer. But I think it is connected with the whole origin of the world and of evil, and so on. I think you know, probably the best light we can get on this, is to think of, say, I mean this is like a kind of myth, is think of God, Buddha-nature, reality, with no world, just perfect. God is there for millions and millions of eons and ages just revolving the circle of his own perfections. He is absolutely perfect. Nothing ever happened. And after billions and billions of years, he got bored or she got bored. And what she did was to say, “I’m going to do a terribly difficult thing, a terribly risky thing. I am going to pretend to be three people, Barbara, Jeff, and Douglas, possibly a few more, you see. I am going to pretend to be these different people.” And the result of that was that in order to get the whole thing set up you have to have this illusion thing going, so that people think they are separate from God in their origin.

And so, God set up the thing, playing a game of hide and seek with herself. And this is part of God’s plan that we pretend that we are solid lumps, and we are what we look like. And I say that the great fun of life and the object in life is to come off that and tell the truth.

You say, “Why aren’t many more people on to this?” And that I don’t know. I am doing my best to encourage people; I am doing my little best to encourage people to not only look at this but share it with others.

It’s very easily shareable as we have seen, isn’t it?

Yes. Quite, quite. Who are the most exciting people that you have spent time with in your wonderful 83 years?

Well, I think everybody is of value to me and teaches me. I’ve met many, many teachers and gurus, you and Jeff, now. Everybody teaches me. I am so refreshed by my friends. But perhaps one of the most notable ones I have met . . . well yes, I have had a few friends. I am not going to go name dropping now, but I have had some pretty marvelous friends, and still have. But I think one of the most impressive was Ananda Maya Ma, in Bangalore, in India, who had a vast, vast following of people in north India. And she was onto this. A most beautiful woman.

Yes, somebody was just talking about her last night to me.

Really?

Describe her.

She was a very, very beautiful woman. We shared this thing together when I went to see her in India. I think she is one of the most remarkable people I have known. But the people I share it with, like you now, it is as though one has known those people for ever and ever. Because, look, the barriers are down, Barbara, aren’t they?

I mean, when I see who I am – well, look, look now. I have your face, which you have given me out of your generous heart. You have given me your face which you don’t have, and I have it, and I’m looking after it and treasuring it. That’s a wonderful thing to do, to give me your face. Now, what about what is behind that face? What about the consciousness which is the essence of Barbara? Now will I find that by peeking now into your eyes? I won’t! There are not two little hobgoblins of consciousness behind your pupils. But if I want to find the awareness which is Barbara, that essence, that indwelling Godhead, Godhood, I look here, and what I see here – this space, this capacity. It has no laundry marks of Douglas on it, you see. Or Barbara, or Jeff. It will do for you, and it will do for everyone, and it’s infinite as I look here now. I mean, here it is, and it goes on and on for ever and ever and ever. And it has no personal marks on it. And it is awake, boundless, real, and where we are all coming from. So, I now say to you, there is a double intimacy, if you don’t mind my saying so. It is I have your face. I have your appearance there, for which God be praised. And I am your reality. So I have your appearance over there, and here I am your reality. Now that is so different from the confrontation story in the world, isn’t it? So there we are face-to-face, head-on collision. Confrontation.

You have never confronted anyone in your life. This thing we are built, Barbara, for, busted wide open for each other, aren’t we? It’s really marvelous. And when we start telling the truth of who we are, the world is full of blessing.

Yes. You don’t like the word enlightenment, why?

Well, I mean, because, well partly because it’s been made into such an inaccessible, mysterious thing. I say that we are all, all, living from our enlightenment. And here we are, fully established in our enlightenment. All we’ve got to do is not to achieve it but turn around and acknowledge it. And we build up this absurd picture of something which can only be attained by folding your legs into a granny knot for 20 years or I don’t know what, all sorts of things you see. You know, I say, we don’t know what obviousness is until we see who we really are.

Mm. You mention the word evil. What is evil? Why do we perceive evil? What is that all about?

Well, I think evil is the name we give to alienation, separation. And evil is failure to be open. Evil is turning your back on the world. You see here, who I really, really am here is naked and open, exposed to the world. And the little guy in the mirror, Douglas, has turned his back on the world. Now, he must do so. But if that is the whole story, well, that is evil because what he says is keep out. I can see my little chap in the mirror, around who my ego, imagined personality is constellated, around the little guy. Well, he is, by himself, evil in the sense that he says, “Keep out. I’m just announcing myself. I am shutting the world out because I’m a thing. And I am looking after my thing, and I turn my back on the world. I’ve got enough troubles of my own, thank you very much.” But the one here, who I really, really am which is about a meter away from the one in the mirror, the one I really, really am here is open to the world, busted wide open to the world, naked, and taking on the world’s joy and suffering. You see, I think that one of the reasons why we resist this, Barbara, is we really do say, “I’ve got enough problems of my own. I don’t want to be busted wide open like this.”

Yes. I think that’s true. And maybe we should talk about that. What about suffering? Suffering affects – somebody was talking to me the other day about this – and he said, “If I open up and am available to myself and the world, I’ll be receiving all that suffering and pain.” And that is something we consider and maybe you’ve hit it on the head there. That our willingness to be shrunk comes from our unwillingness to be in what we perceive to be close contact with this suffering that’s beyond us.

That’s beautifully put. Yes. You see, I really think that the answer to my anguish is not to separate it from the world and to see who I really, really am, means to take on the suffering of the world. And in Christianity this is a very powerful ingredient of that faith. And in Buddhism, you know, wisdom without compassion is like a bird with one wing, and compassion which is feeling other’s suffering, is essential to wisdom. Inseparable from wisdom. And I think the way I should put it is, coming from who I really, really am, I am naked and open to the suffering of the world and then can go beyond it to what lies at the back of the suffering, the one here who doesn’t separate himself from any of the suffering in the world. To take it on and acknowledge it, is, I think, to find an incredible peace and joy underneath it, somehow.

Yes, but the journey through to that is such a terrifying one.

Yes, but I think it is even more terrifying if you are in your own little box there, having your personal suffering. You think that the world has chosen you for some really nasty stuff. And there you are full of resentment, suffering your own thing with no way out at all.

Yes.

And I think the way out is to allow yourself to be invaded by the suffering of others and then your heart will . . . . You see, I talk about losing your head, and when . . . I am talking about literally one is headless. But when one loses one’s head and is busted wide open, instead of this meatball which closes me up, then I find my center of gravity, in fact, does move down. And I lose my head and I find my heart. I find my heart. And one does find, of necessity feels – one doesn’t set it up but I think one does find – that the hurt of the world is one’s own hurt.

But that is vast and deep, isn’t it?

Yes, and I think our blessing lies in that direction.

Can you talk about your own entry into that vast, deep place of suffering?

Well, I don’t think one enters into it to take on suffering. I think, I don’t like suffering any more than anyone else does. I don’t want to suffer any more than I need. But what I need to do is to be truthful and come home to who I really am. And when I see who I really am, which I do now, this clarity, this openness, this exposure to the world, this being full of you, and the scene there, when I see that, I think I take care of the whole thing, suffering and all. And I don’t need to do two, three, or four things, see who I am and then address the suffering of the world. I think the seeing who I am embraces all that. And I think when you see who you are, you will find this happening naturally. Your compassion will be awakened.

What’s the importance of sacrifice? The traditions speak of sacrifice?

Well you see, I think we should not be too gloomy about this because it’s really our natural condition, our sacrifice one for another. Look, the only way I can have your face for now is to disappear as Douglas, isn’t it? And this  is death. Douglas dies and is resurrected as Barbara. You see what I mean? And we give our lives for one another, Barbara. This is incredibly beautiful. And all this gloomy sacrifice business is a bind. I think it is something which is so blessed that I give my life for you.

You know, who was it said, Paul I think, “Greater love hath no man than this, than to give his life for a friend.” Well, we give out lives for one another. I give my life for Barbara not because I’m a nice old thing but because I am just truthful, and I am seeing that I am disappearing in your favor. And that is sacrificing Douglas for, well sacrificing the little guy who is perishing for the great one who can never perish. So, what sacrifice? It’s gain, isn’t it, my God?

Yes, interesting.

Yes, ultimate gain.

Douglas, of the traditions that you have studied, which one seemed closest to you, to this heart? Which of the traditions seemed to have less of this crust of inappropriate stuff attached to them? Is it the Zen Buddhist tradition, perhaps?

No, I wouldn’t say so. I think that I would say that, having been brought up in the Christian faith, and for many years, all my early years, deeply in that faith, it’s in my blood. I can’t deny it. I can’t put that on one side for any other faith. But I think that going deeply, deeply into the heart of Christianity I find that many, many insights are shared between that faith and the other faiths. And each moreover, it seems to me that each faith, has a unique contribution to make, so I owe a great deal to Zen, and Zen Buddhism. I owe only slightly less, I think, to Hinduism and some recent Masters like Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta. And I owe a very great deal to Sufism and particularly Jalalludin [Rumi]. So yes, I suppose I am rather ecumenical.

But I think the thing is, one can make the mistake of window shopping and going around saying I don’t belong to any of them because they have all got something true to say, and that means you tend not to go deeply into any one of them. And for me, I think it just sticks with me that – and I suppose this is more a gut reaction, or early conditioning, for me it sticks –  (this realization is basic to me) that the reality behind the universe is none other than self-giving love.

And it is shown in what I was saying. We are built, all of us are built to this Christ pattern, to give our lives for one another, and we vanish in favor of the one there. And it is so beautiful Barbara. It moves my heart and excites my mind. The vision of this sings, really.

Let’s talk about Jalalludin’s view of this. He is the one in the Sufi tradition that we think of when the word “beloved” is used. That great connection with what we are talking about.

Yes, that’s right.

Maybe you’d care to say some more about him?

Yes, I can give you one or two quotes from him. He says, “Dissolve yourself into nothingness. Become nothingness, nothingness, nothingness.”

He talks a lot about losing your head. “Dissolve your head into nothingness.” He talks a lot about that. One thing he said was, “Become vision, vision, vision. Become vision.”

What did he mean by that?

Become vision. Well, what is looking out of here is vision itself, you know. Vision itself. It is the awake perceiver of the whole world. So, he says, “Lose your head  . . . .” Oh, a great deal about headlessness, he’s got. He said, “Heads go rolling like the ball in polo.” “Heads go rolling like the ball in polo.” And he says, seeing into your clarity, your nothingness, is the whole thing.

Did you have a chance to meet Ramana Maharshi?

No, I never did. I was in India when he was alive but I never met him. But I regard him as having had a great influence on my life. And what he said were about three things which I would absolutely take.

First of all, he said, although he didn’t put it quite as neatly as this. He said the answer to your problem, whatever it might be, is to see who has the problem. That’s  one. And the second thing he said – it’s easier to see who you are, than it is to become enlightened – it’s easier to see who you are than to see a gooseberry in the palm of your hand. And the third thing, I can’t think of at the moment. But those will do, won’t they?

Yes, those are two good ones.

Those will do. The answer to your problem is to see who has the problem. And the vision of who you are is the most obvious and accessible thing in the world. Oh, the pity, the pity.

And everyone around him said, “Only you can do it master.” And they put him on a pedestal so high they couldn’t hear a word he said. So sad.

That happens a lot, doesn’t it?

It happens a lot, and it happened very much in his case. I have visited his ashram and people there . . . you know, they can’t see this. And if I go there and say it’s the most obvious thing in the world, look at what your master said, I should probably get my marching orders.

They would chase you out?

I think they would. I think they would a bit. Although I contributed a great deal to their journal, Mountain Path, (but I only did it by quoting him all the time!) which he says it’s available, it’s obvious, and it’s the answer to your problem. And there we are.

Douglas, would you give us a retrospective on, I won’t use the word retrospective, let’s shift it around, about the future of this species who is having a hard time in this shrunken state. How do you feel we are progressing in the last part of the twentieth century? Or not progressing as the case may be?

Going back. Well you see, I think it’s a very fascinating story. And the story began (what was it? a million years ago or five million) when a very smart ape, with a very nice hand for grasping things, and a big forebrain, and so forth, when he became human. And the way he became human was – he saw his face in the water; he saw that specter there, and the specter invaded him. It rushed up his arm and invaded him and parasitized him here. So he took that thing that belongs there in the water, or the mirror (which he probably didn’t have) and he came here, and he became what . . . . He took on what belongs there, a yard away, and he became shrunk. And he joined the human club.

Now five million years is quite a long time to play that game. It is a game and it has produced, gosh, what it has produced including all the equipment in front of me now at this time.  It has produced language and everything else. So, it was a very important game. But gosh, I think it’s a game which five million years of, a million years, is long enough. And I think we should now play a different game. And for the last two and a half thousand years there have been people who have been playing a different game and who see what Ramana Maharshi and others are pointing at. And I think the opportunity now, the human race given these communications, given our dire need, given the experiments which we are able to share with people, because they are a breakthrough, Barbara. They are a breakthrough, making this so directly perceptible – given all those things – I think there is a sporting chance, that we shall make it.

I don’t mean that the whole, that everyone shall be “headless,” but this could become the vision of the cutting edge of our race. A sufficient number of leaders or people who are setting the tone and so on should see this. And I think there is a chance. Because we have come through ages of stagnation, ice ages, we are very versatile, a very tough species. And I do think there is a chance. Anyway, I am doing my best to see. And I think that it’s time we played a new game And confrontation is the name of the old game and it doesn’t work and it takes you to hell.

We are talking with Douglas Harding. Oh, my goodness we have come very close to the end of our program. Time goes fast, doesn’t it?

Yes, it does.

People say, “Ninety minutes, that’s an awful long time to talk,” and then it goes by just like that. Gosh, I wanted to ask you about modern psychology, but I don’t think we have enough time to do that. Do you have any . . . .

Quickies on that?

Quickies on psychology?

Well, of course it’s a very impressive achievement, Freud and Jung and all that tribe saying all sorts of incredibly valuable things. But if I imagine that that is going to cure my heart’s anguish, I am mistaken. Psychology is a rainforest in which you can lose yourself immediately [laughter]. I mean, you never come out and you know it’s an endless, endless thing. One thing leading to another. Even Freud himself talked about analysis as interminable or terminable. It is not the cure.

Psychology is for polishing up that little guy in the mirror, Douglas. [Laughter.] And he’s a pretty hopeless case to polish. He won’t take a polish really. [Laughter.] And who I really, really am is upstream of psychology. It’s metaphysics, if you wish. And I think that when you come from who you are, and see who you are – and what should I say – tell the truth, submit to the evidence, have the humility to submit to the evidence, that I think is the best thing you can do for your psychology. And then when you look into – why shouldn’t you? – look into psychological methods and processes, you can award marks for those who got it right [Laughter.] Or at least, didn’t get it right but they didn’t stand in the way of this vision.

How about science?

Well yes of course. You see this is absolutely agreeable to modern science. Look, when you go up to a thing, you lose it, don’t you? I don’t care what you take, any darn thing you like, a book, a person, a hand, anything whatever, you lose it. Now, I go all the way up to myself –  I told you about, you know, taking pictures on the way up here . . .

Right. When you get down to the subatomic particles they disappear.

Well sure. That’s right. And I, here, in this place I am pointing at, which is what you perceive as Douglas’s topknot or meatball, here I find no thing whatever. And this is scientifically verifiable because I say, “Come and see.” In other words, to put it more generally, what I am is a  function of the distance or range of the observer. Now, looked at from where you are, I am perceived to be a man. Looked at from much further away, I disappear into why the Monterey Peninsula, and America, and the Earth, and the Solar System, and the Galaxy. Or coming nearer I am perceived to be why, a nose, and then tissues and cells and molecules and  atoms and so on. So what I am is relative to the view, the position of the viewer.

Now, I view myself from zero centimeters and where I am is where this wonderful indwelling Godhead resides. And it is no thing, imperishable consciousness, awake, and real. Real. Reality. And where I am coming from, and the source of all inspiration and energy. We get so tired hallucinating something here to block it out with.

Yes. Well, I’ve got to say goodbye to you Douglas. I don’t’ want to. I’d like to continue this for another hour or so. But I would like to thank you very much for joining us on Discovery. And thank you Jeff for coming and bringing Douglas. And thank you Douglas.

Thank you, Barbara. It’s very special to be interviewed by someone with whom I immediately shared what I have to share.

Thank you. Thank you.

From a radio interview with KAZU, Monterey, California given in 1992.

Here you can listen to the Douglas Harding Monterey Radio Interview.

Here you can find, Who Are We Really?, a video presentation created by one of Douglas’s long time students which illustrates the experiments that Douglas created in order to give us a direct experience of who “we really, really are.”

And here you can find more posts on Douglas Harding.

Unconditional Forgiveness

Nearing completion of my 72nd year on this planet, I find it ever more important for me to keep as clean a slate as possible. And yet, with so many years having passed, it would be impossible for me to find all those who I may have harmed in order to apologize and ask for forgiveness. I also would not require anyone who feels that they may have harmed me to need to ask for my forgiveness.

I have always been a fairly independent guy and do not like to be beholden to anyone. For this reason, I feel it would be terribly cruel to make a condition upon forgiveness to be only granted by the transgressed. And I certainly would not want anyone who I have harmed to have to wait for my apology in order to make themselves whole.

I am reminded of a line from the very first prayer I learned. It is from The Lord’s Prayer, and there are numerous translations, but the one I learned, said, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

The apostle Mathew explains further in Mathew 6:14-15:

“For if you forgive men their trespass, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Personally, I would exchange “your heavenly Father” for “existence”, for “the whole” but I feel there is much truth being conveyed here. Even if you eliminate any reference to “your heavenly father” or even “existence”, it seems clear that you will never be able to forgive yourself if you are not able to forgive others. They seem to be glued together, and inseparable.

Flight 93 National Memorial

Now here is the hard part, but it does seem to be the case. My wholeness, my at peaceness, is not dependent upon anyone else’s forgiveness, but it is wholly dependent on the unconditional forgiveness that I, myself, give. That means, it is entirely possible, for someone who feels they may have hurt me some time in the past to still be feeling the guilt of that, even if I have forgiven them completely. It also means, that it is possible, that someone who I hurt in the past is still feeling the pain of that hurtfulness even if I have forgiven myself in the act of forgiving others. And then it follows, that the only way for the one still feeling pain to be whole even though the transgressor has healed, is for them to unconditionally forgive those who trespassed.

If on the other hand as some suggest, that I can only be whole if there is a reckoning with those who have hurt me, then I am giving complete power over my own well being into the hands of those who have already shown a propensity to harm me. No, I chose not to hold myself captive, and so, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

-purushottama

That Which Is – Osho

The supreme self is formed by the word “that” which has maya, illusion as its disguise – which is the source of the world, which is invested with the quality of omniscience, omnipresent, et cetera; which is mixed with the indirectness, and which is reality itself.

And that which is the shelter of the I-experience, and of the word “I” and whose knowledge about his own inner being is false, is called by the word “thou” – twam.

The supreme has maya, or illusion, as its disguise, and the self has ignorance as its disguise. Being shorn of them, only the supreme self remains, which is indivisible: satchidananda – existence, consciousness and bliss.

-Adhyatma Upanishad

The Upanishads do not believe in a personal God. Neither do they believe in any personal relationship with the divine. They say that personal relationship is impossible, inconceivable. Why? – because the Upanishads say that personality itself is illusory. Try to understand this.

I am a person. It means I am separate from existence – personality means separation. I cannot be a person if I am not defined, I cannot be a person if I am not different. I cannot be a person if I am not separate. Personality exists as an island, defined, demarked, different, separate. The Upanishads say, personalities are false; you only appear to be persons, you are not.

The inner being is impersonal; it has no limitations, no boundaries. It begins nowhere and ends nowhere. It goes on and on to the infinite; it is the infinite and eternal. In space and in time both, it is undefined, undifferentiated; it is not separate like an island.

This word “personality” is very beautiful; we don’t have such a beautiful word in Sanskrit or Hindi. This word “personality” comes from a Greek root which means mask. The Greek root is persona. “Persona” means mask. Actors used it to deceive or to create the impression of some face in a drama. The original word means just a mask, a face, artificial. So if you are playing in a drama, acting as Rama, you can use a false face which gives the impression that you are Rama. Inside you are not Rama, only the face is Rama. The word personality comes from “persona.”

We all have personalities, which are simply masks. Inside there is no person at all; inside you are just eternal energy, infinite energy. Outside you have a face. That face is not you, that face is just like any mask in any drama. The world is a great drama and you have faces to play – and that’s why one face is not enough. The drama is so long and so big and multi-dimensional, so everyone has many faces. You are not one person, you are many persons together.

When you are talking to your friend, you have a different face; you are not the same person. When you are encountering your enemy, you have a different face; this is not the same face. You are with your beloved; this is a different face; you are with your wife – this is a different face. You can see: a couple is passing, and you can say whether they are husband and wife or not. If they are happy, they are not; if the feel blissful, ecstatic, they are not – the man must be moving with someone else’s wife. With one’s own wife it is a suffering, a pain, a burden – a duty. Any duty becomes a burden; it is not fun; it is not play.

Look at a person moving with his wife . . . he cannot look here and there; if a beautiful woman passes, he will remain a monk. Then you can know the man is moving with his wife, because the wife is observing him every moment – “Where are you looking? Why are you looking?” And he will have to explain everything back home. Of course, no explanation is ever accepted, but still explanations have to be given.

You are talking to your servant; look at your face in the mirror. You are talking to your boss; look – look at your tail, which is absent but still working, wagging. It is not there, but it is there.

Man has many faces, has to have, because every moment you need a new face. And the more civilized, the more faces; and the more civilized and cultured, the easier it is to change faces immediately. Really, you are not even aware that you go on changing faces; the whole thing has become automatic.

So personality is not personality, it is really personalities. Every man is many men – a crowd inside, and many faces constantly changing moment to moment. But are you your faces?

In Zen, in Japan, whenever a seeker comes to a master, the master says to him, “Meditate – and this is the object of your meditation; I give you this object for your meditation: find your original face. Find out how you looked before you were born; or find out how you will look when you have died. Find your original face – which is yours, not for others.”

All our faces are for others. Have you any face of your own? You cannot have, because faces are basically for others. You do not need them for yourself, there is no need. You are faceless. Really, the original face is faceless. You have no face inside – all the faces are outside; they are for others, meant to be for others.

The Upanishads say that you are impersonal inside – just life, not a person; just energy, not a person; just vitality, not a person; just existence, not a person. So how can you create a relationship with the divine? How can you create any relationship with the original source of life? When you don’t have any face, how can the divine have any face? The divine is faceless. The divine has no face, he need not have any. The divine is just pure existence with no body and no face. So you cannot be related personally.

Religions have talked in terms of personal relationship. Some religions call God father, mother, brother, beloved, or anything you wish – but they go on thinking in terms of relationship, of being related. They go on thinking in terms of anthropocentric attitudes. The father is a human relationship. Brother, mother, beloved, all – all relationships are human. You think in terms of relationship with the divine; you miss the point, because the divine is not a person, and there is no possibility of personal relationship. That’s why the Upanishads never call God the father. They never call God the mother; they never call God the beloved or the lover. They simply call God “that” – tat.

This word “that” is very basic to upanishadic teaching and philosophy. When you say “that,” it gives no sense of personality. When you call existence “that,” you cannot be related to it – there is no possibility. How can you be related to “that”? You cannot be related to “that.” What does it mean? Does it mean that you cannot be really related to the divine? No, but this shows that to be related to the divine is going to be altogether a different relationship; the quality cannot be human. Rather the relationship with the divine is going to be the very reverse of a human relationship.

When I am related to someone as husband and wife, or brother and sister, or father and son . . . two are needed in any relationship. Relationship can exist only between two points – two relators. This is how human relationship exists: between two. It is a flow, a bridge between two; it is dual. Human relationship is dual: two points are needed, then it can exist between these two. But with “that” – pure existence, divine, or God – you cannot be related in a dual way. You can be related only when you become one. You can be related only when you are no more. As long as you are, there can be no relationship. When you are not, then you are related. But then the very word becomes absurd, because relation always means between two. How can there be relationship when only one exists?

But this is the reverse of relationship. To call the divine “that,” indicates many things; there are many implications. One, you cannot be related in the ordinary sense of relationship with the divine. You can be related in a very extraordinary sense, absurd sense, when you have become one. Secondly, you cannot worship “that”; that’s impossible.

The Upanishads don’t preach any worship, any prayer – no. It would be good to understand the difference between prayer and meditation. The Upanishads teach meditation, never prayer. Prayer is always personal, a dialogue between you and the divine. But how can you have a dialogue with “that”? Impossible – the person must be there; only then a dialogue is possible.

One of the greatest Jewish thinkers of this age, Martin Buber, has written a book, I and Thou. Jewish thinking is dual, just the contrary of the upanishadic thinking. Buber says, “I and Thou – this is the basic relationship between man and man, and between man and the divine also. Because this is the only relationship: I and Thou.

When you stand before God as “I,” and God becomes “thou,” you are related. Buber says that when God becomes “thou,” you are in love. The Upanishads will not agree. They say if God is “thou,” then you are still there to call him “thou.” The “I” exists, and “I” is the barrier: the ego exits and the ego cannot be related. And if you think that the ego is related to the divine, then this thinking is false and pseudo. Really, you are in imagination. If God becomes “thou,” it is imaginary. The Upanishads say: “that.” But we can say “I and thou”; we cannot say “I and that,” because there is no relationship between “I” and “that.” The “I” must drop; only then the “that” evolves, arises. With the dropping of the “I,” the “that” is born. It is there, but the “I” is a barrier. When the barrier drops for the first time you realize existence as it is – that which is.

So the Upanishads always call the ultimate truth “that” – tat.

The second thing to be understood in this sutra, is that the nature of “that” is sat, chid, anandasatchidananda. Sat means existence; chid means consciousness; ananda means bliss.

These three are the attributes of “that”:

It exists, it is conscious, and it is bliss.

The very nature of it is bliss.

If you can attain these three qualities, you have attained “that.” You exist – go deep. Everyone says, “I exist.” You were a child and you said, “I exist.” Where is that existence now? You have become young; you again say, “I exist.” You will become old.

The child said, “I exist”; the young man said, “I exist”; the old man says, “I exist.” And the child is no more, and the young man is no more, and the old is dropping himself, disappearing. Who says “I exist”? Who is that which goes on existing? Childhood transforms into youth, youth into old age; life becomes death. Who is that which says, “I exist”? Have you known it?

When you say, “I exist,” you always identify your “I” with the state you are in. If you are a child, you mean “I, the child, exists.” If you are old, you mean, “I, the old man, exists.” If you say, “I” . . . and if you are a man, you mean a man exists; if you are a woman, you mean “I exist, a woman exists.” Always the state is identified with the ”I,” and states go on changing. So really, you have not known that which exists; you have known only that which goes on changing.

The Upanishads say that which goes on changing is not existential; it is dreamlike. That which is always eternal, is existential. So attain in yourself the point, the center, which can say, “I exist, never changing, eternal, absolutely eternal.” If you can attain this point of existence, you will attain the two automatically, immediately: you will become absolutely conscious and you will become absolutely filled with bliss. Or, try from other routes. There are three attributes, so there can be three basic routes. Either attain existence – then the other two will follow, or attain any other one of the two, and the remaining two will follow.

Attain consciousness, become fully conscious; you are not. We are asleep, unconscious, moving as if in somnambulism, asleep. You are doing things like an automaton. Look at a man eating: he is eating here, but his mind is not here. His mind may be in his office or somewhere else. If the mind is not here, then he is eating in his sleep. It has become a routine, so he is going on. You are walking, your legs are walking but you are not in the legs. You are no longer there; you have already reached the goal where the legs have to reach. Or, you may be lagging behind, but you are not there with the legs, fully conscious that “I am moving, walking, eating.”

Attain to consciousness. Whatsoever you do, do with a fully conscious mind, mindful, aware, alert. If for a single moment you can be totally aware with no sleep inside anywhere, with no unconscious mind in your being . . . if you have become fully conscious, you have become enlightened. The other two will follow immediately – immediately! It is not right to say “follow” – they will happen immediately. There will be no following – immediately, yugapat. The very moment you are fully conscious, you will be existence, absolute, eternal, and you will be bliss – total.

Or, try to be blissful. Don’t allow your consciousness to be vulnerable to misery. Don’t allow your consciousness the weakness to be miserable. Be strong, resist the temptation of falling into misery. We all have temptations to fall into misery. There are reasons, psychological, because when you are miserable people pay more attention to you.

A child is sick and the whole family moves around him; when the child is not sick, no one cares. The child learns the trick: be miserable, be ill, and then the whole world will just go around you. It never does, but man goes on trying. Do you remember that when you are sick, you have a certain enjoyment in it? A certain satisfaction? Now you can throw everything on your sickness: your business is failing, so what can you do? You are sick. Your mind is not working well, what can you do? You are sick. Now you can throw everything on your sickness. And when you are sick you become a dictator. Now your wife has to follow, your brother has to follow, your children – you are sick. So the old man says to his children, “I am an old man. I am sick, I am going to die.” This creates authority. He says, “You have to listen to me.”

We have investments in misery; that’s why we go on inviting misery. If misery is not coming, we become miserable. No misery? Then where to stand? What to do? When you are in misery, going from one doctor to another, you feel good.

I have heard about a great surgeon, Kenneth Walker. He has written somewhere that he was studying with his teacher . . . he was studying surgery with his teacher. The teacher was a very well-known professor. One day he was sitting, checking some notes, and a patient came to the great doctor, his professor. And the professor said, “Where have you been? For two years I have not seen you. Have you been sick? For two years I have not seen you!”

“Have you been sick?” – of course, when people fall sick they cannot come to the doctor! Those who come are enjoying the trick; they go on changing doctors – from this to that, and they go on saying, “I have been to this doctor and to that, and no one can help me. I am incurable. I have defeated all the doctors.”

I know it in a different way. Many people come to me. They say, “I have been to this guru, I have been to that mahatma, I have been to this and that, and nothing happens.” They have defeated all; now they have come to defeat me – “Nothing happens. Can you do something?” As if someone else is responsible for them, that nothing happens. Really, if something happens, they will become miserable: now they cannot go anywhere else; now they cannot say, “I have been to this man and nothing happens.” They will become miserable if something happens, so they continue . . .

Feel blissful. Don’t allow yourself to be miserable. Don’t help yourself to be miserable. Don’t cooperate with misery; resist the temptation. It is very alluring – resist it! And try to be blissful in every state of mind. Whatsoever happens outside, don’t allow it to disturb your bliss. Go on being blissful.

I will tell you one anecdote. Chuang Tzu, one of the great Taoists of China, was sitting in front of his hut playing on an instrument and singing. Just that very morning his wife had died, and he was singing. The emperor came, just to offer his consolations to Chuang Tzu. Chuang Tzu was a great man, and the emperor respected him very much. It was rare that the emperor should come to a fakir, a poor man. But the emperor felt very awkward when he saw that Chuang Tzu was singing and laughing and sitting under the tree alone. But he had come, and he must have prepared . . . as many of you know by experience. When someone is dead, someone has died, you go and prepare the whole dialogue – what is to be said, how to console, and how to escape immediately! It is a duty to be done, and a very ugly duty. Someone has died and you have to do something, to say something; go there, make a face, be sad, and then escape. The king was prepared, but this Chuang Tzu disturbed everything.

The king came, he saw Chuang Tzu laughing and singing and playing on some instrument; he felt very awkward. Now all that he had thought of could not be said. Chuang Tzu was not sad at all; it was as if there had been no death. Or, he seemed even to be celebrating. So the king said, “Chuang Tzu, I know you are a great sage, but it is enough, more than enough not to be sad. This is going too far . . . to celebrate? Don’t be sad, that’s enough; it suits a saint. But this is going too far. Your wife has died this very morning, and what are you doing? – singing, laughing, and you look so cheerful. Is it your marriage day? Are you going to be married again? What are you doing?”

Chuang Tzu said, “I have made a vow to my teacher that I will remain blissful – whatsoever happens, it is not going to disturb my bliss. So whatsoever happens I always interpret it in such a way that it helps me to be blissful.”

Remember, everything is an interpretation. If you want to be miserable, you will interpret it in that way – everything! If you want to be blissful, the same situation will be interpreted in a different way.

So the king says, “Please let me know, because I have really too many wives, and sometimes wives die. So tell me the trick, the secret: How can you be blissful in such a state?”

Chuang Tzu said, “Everything that happens there outside, happens outside; it is not happening inside. One has to remember constantly. And whatsoever is happening outside need not disturb you, because you are not the outside; you are the inside. So a division, a remembrance, a constant mindfulness. And always look at life with total acceptance. Then you can never be miserable. My wife has died; everyone has to die. Sooner or later, I will die also, so death is a part of life. Once you are born you will die, so nothing untoward has happened – just a natural phenomenon, just a natural process. Secondly, my wife was ill, old, suffering; not only has my wife died, but also her oldness, her suffering has died. And this was worth that; this death was worth it. Now she is at ease. When I saw her face dead, it was the first time in my life I saw her blissful. She was never so blissful. So I am celebrating the event – at last, even my wife is blissful.”

Interpretations . . . and moreover, Chuang Tzu is reported to have said, “This is the last time, the departure day. She was with me for so long. And she helped me and served me, and made my life in many, many ways pleasant, happy, enjoyable. So what do you think? Should not I pay my gratitude, my respects, my thanks on the day of departure, the great departure? I am celebrating all the memories, all the pleasant memories that are associated with my wife. I am singing.”

It depends. If you try to be blissful continuously, if you don’t allow yourself to disturb yourself; if you remain centered in your being, undisturbed, unwavering – immediately the two others will happen. You will attain existence, and you will attain consciousness. These are the three paths. To be blissful is one path; many have tried this.

To be conscious is another path, one of the most followed. Mahavira, Buddha . . . they all followed the path of being conscious. To be existence – that too, the third path. These are the three basic paths, and they are basic paths because these three are the attributes of the ultimate reality.

Any attribute followed becomes a river.

You flow into it and move into the divine, into the supreme ocean. These three rivers fall there.

Really, it is just a symbol. In our mythology, we have been thinking of Ganga, Jamuna, Saraswati – these three rivers – as sacred rivers. These are the three rivers, the three paths. Ganga and Jamuna are visible, and the Saraswati has become invisible.

The path of bliss will be visible. Whosoever follows the path of bliss will be known everywhere, because his bliss will be coming out and flowing. His eyes, his movements, everything will be a blissful gesture. You cannot hide your bliss – that’s impossible.

The man who follows the path of consciousness will also be visible, because his very effort to be consciously continuously, will give a very strange look to his features, to his movements, to his gestures. He will move consciously; his every step will be conscious. And you can see him – you can see a buddha walking; he walks differently. You can see a buddha speaking; he speaks differently. Every gesture is conscious. When every gesture is conscious, it gives a different quality to every movement. It cannot be invisible; it becomes visible. These are the Ganga and Jamuna.

And Saraswati is invisible – the path of existence. He simply goes on inside, remembering who is that which exists – he will not be known; you cannot feel him from outside. So those who have followed the path of existence are the unknown masters; they are not known ordinarily. Unless one goes in deep search of them, they are not known.

Sufis have been following the third path, Saraswati – the invisible, the river which no one can see. So if you ask any Sufi “Where is your master?” you may be sent to a cobbler or to a tailor, or to a sweeper. No one knows; even his neighborhood has never known that he is a master. He is just a cobbler, and even you cannot see how this man is a master. But you will have to live for two, three years, five years with him, in his vicinity, in his presence. And then, by and by, you will become aware that this man is different. But his difference has to be felt. It takes time; it is deep, invisible.

These are the three paths – and three only, because three are the attributes of the divine, of the absolute, or of existence.

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #43

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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The Lover Becomes the Beloved – Osho

He is Brahma, he is Shiva, he is Indra. He is indestructible, the supreme, the self-luminous.

He alone is Vishnu, he is prana, his is sun, fire, he is moon. He alone is all that was and all that will be, the eternal.

Knowing him one goes beyond the sting of death; there is no other way to reach complete freedom.

Experiencing one’s own self in all beings and all beings in the self, one attains the highest brahman, and not by any other means.

-Kaivalya Upanishad

The reality is unknown; the reality is unnamed. The reality is, but indefinable. It is; it is felt. We are part of it; we encounter it everywhere. Wheresoever you move, you move in reality; you live every moment in it; you participate in it every moment. It is not something different from you, you are not something different from it, but still you cannot name it, you cannot pinpoint it, you cannot give it a label. What is it?

This is a problem for a religious mind. It is not a problem for a philosophical mind; the philosopher can say it is existence, naked, pure – it is absolute. For a Heidegger it is not a problem; he can call it simple “is-ness,” being. For a Shankara it is not a problem; he can call it the supreme, the absolute, the brahman. But these are not basically religious types.

For a religious person it becomes a problem, because unless he can name it, he cannot be related to it; unless he can personify it, he cannot feel the relatedness. The intimacy is impossible with a pure “is-ness.” An intimate relationship is not possible with something absolute, with something just like a concept. Being, brahman – how can you feel related with being, with brahman, with “is-ness,” with existence? Relationship is only possible when you personify it. That is the basic difference between philosophical speculation and religious search.

Religion is in search of an intimate relationship with existence; it is not only speculation. For a religious man it is going to be life itself. Philosophy seeks in terms of knowledge, religion in terms of love. When you are seeking in terms of knowledge, you can be an observer, an onlooker. But you are not a participant, you are not deep in it – you are just an outsider. A philosopher is basically an outsider; he goes on thinking, but from without. He will not enter into a deep relationship. He will not get involved; he will not be committed. But religion is nothing if it is not a commitment; religion is nothing if it is not an intimate love relationship. So how to change existence into a love object? This sutra is concerned with this.

This sutra says that he is nameless, but we cannot deal with a nameless. He is nameless, obviously, but we must give a name to it; otherwise, we cannot feel related. And to feel related is a great transformation. Not only is the divine nameless, everything is nameless. A child is born a nameless phenomenon, with no name – but if you don’t give a name to him, he will be unable even to live. If no name is given to him, it will be impossible for him to move. Not only that, but others will not be able to understand him; he himself will not be able to understand himself. Even to understand oneself, one has to be addressed, given a name; otherwise, one cannot even think about oneself – who he is. Of course, this name is just a false label, but it helps.

This is one of the mysteries of life: even falsities help, even untruths help, even dreams help, even illusions help. So a person who is bent upon destroying every illusion, every falsity, every untruth, may prove harmful. One has to remember: something may be false, but don’t destroy it. Let it be there, it has a utility. But the utility should not become the truth. Utility must remain a utility, it must not become the truth.

Man cannot feel in deep relationship with the divine, with existence, unless he names it. Many names are possible – it will depend on the man who is naming. Thousands and thousands of names have been given to him. In India we have a book, Vishnu Sahastranam – a thousand names of Vishnu. The whole book consists only of names – nothing else, just names. It is a very beautiful book, consisting only of names, but in its own way showing that the phenomenon is nameless. Only because of that, thousands of names are possible.

So you can name the divine any way. Call him whatsoever you like, but call him. The emphasis should be on the call, not on the name. Call him Rama, call him Hari, call him Krishna, call him Christ; call him any name – but call! Let there be a deep invocation. Use any name. That name is just artificial, but it will help.

Make any image, but make it. The making is significant. Any image will do, but remember that this is just an artificial help; a technical use must be made of it. In this way also, India has tried many, many experiments – particularly Hindus. They make their idols of mud. Stone came only later on, with Buddhists and Jains; otherwise, Hindus were satisfied with mud images. Stone is a more substantial thing, more permanent; it gives a permanency to a thing. A mud idol is just as impermanent as anything in the world. Hindus tried to make their idols only of mud, so that they remembered: this is just an artificial phenomenon made by us. And they insisted that it must be dissolved soon after.

A Ganesha is made, worshiped, everything done – called, prayed, invoked – and then they go and throw it into the sea. This is very symbolic. This means: this image was just an artificial thing. We created it, we used it; now the use is over and we throw it. Hindus are the least idol-worshipers in the world, but everywhere they are known as the idol-worshipers. They are the least, because they are so courageous to throw away their idols so easily, and with such a celebration. They go to throw their idols into the sea with such a celebration. The throwing is as necessary as the creating.

With the stone idols things changed. No stone idol should be there. Clay idols are beautiful, because even if you are not going to destroy them, they will destroy themselves. Sooner or later, you will become aware that this was just something made for a particular purpose. The purpose is solved, now the artificial help can be dissolved with a thankfulness, with a celebration. No country, no religion, no race, has been so courageous with its idols. Really, sometimes strange things happen.

Hindus are the least idol worshipers, and Mohammedans the most – and they have not worshiped at all. They have not made any idol. Not even a picture of Mohammed is available – not even a picture. How did he look? They have persistently denied any picture, any idol, any image. Not only have they denied them for themselves, they have destroyed others’ also. Others’ images, others’ idols they have destroyed – with a very good wish. Nothing is wrong in it, because they feel idol worship is harmful – harmful to a religious man. It must not be in between; God must be faced directly, immediately. There should be nothing in between – a very good wish, but it proved dangerous!

It proved dangerous; they went on destroying; they destroyed much that was beautiful – much. They destroyed Buddhist monasteries, Hindu temples, Hindu idols, Buddha’s images – they destroyed. All over Asia they destroyed, with a very good wish that nothing should remain between man and God. But they became too concerned with idols. Idol-destroying became their sole religious practice.

This is worship in a negative way – too much concentration on idols; idols became too significant for them. This is how life is strange. I call Hindus the least idol-worshipers, because they can throw away their idols any time the purpose is solved. They use them, but the idols can never use the Hindus; Hindus can use the idols. Mohammedans are so against, yet so concerned; so against but still so attached. They turn really into negative idol-worshipers. Create an image, create any name, create anything that you feel can help you move towards the divine. All names belong to him.

Old Mohammedan names – old, and still Mohammedans are orthodox and old . . . All old Mohammedan names are names of Allah. All old Hindu names – but now all names are not old – are names of Rama. Not only have we tried to give God a thousand names, we have tried to give everyone a name which really belongs to God. This is symbolic. Every name is God’s name, and every name – to whomsoever it belongs – indicates a god.

This sutra says:

He his Brahma, he is Shiva, he is Indra. He is indestructible, the supreme, the self-luminous. He alone is Vishnu, he is prana. He is sun, fire, he is the moon.

He is everything. Call him moon, call him sun, call him Vishnu – call him anything. Whatsoever you call him, remember that the call – the heartfelt call, the prayerful mood – is important. The name is just a device to help you to call him.

He alone is all that was and all that will be, the eternal.

Knowing him one goes beyond the sting of death;

Knowing him one goes beyond the sting of life and death – why? This has to be understood. Why, if you can understand him, why will you go beyond life and death? – because life and death belong to the ego. If you say he is everything that was, if you say he is everything that is, if you say he is everything that ever will be, that means you are not. That means he is and you are not; that means the ego is not – and only the ego is born and only the ego is to die. If he is everything, then he is birth, he is death, he is life. Then how can you conceive of yourself as being born, and as dying?

Birth and death are just two poles of your ego – the feeling that “I am.” If you drop this feeling, then birth is not the beginning and death is not the end. Then something always was, before you were born. Really, you are a continuity, a continuity of the whole past; and when you die, nothing is dying – only the continuity changes, takes a turn. Around the corner the continuity will continue. But if you begin to feel between birth and death that you are, then you will die, then you will have to feel the suffering of dying.

Remember that you are a continuity. The whole universe is involved in you; you are not alone. No man is an island, no man is alone and separate. The world exists as a net, as an interconnection, as inter-relatedness. The whole world exists as one. You are organic to it; you belong to it.

If this feeling comes to you. Knowing him one goes beyond the sting of life and death; there is no other way to reach complete freedom. And unless you are a non-ego, there is no way to attain complete freedom. Ego is the slavery, ego is the suffering, ego is the anguish. Ego is the anxiety, the tension, the disease. So unless there is egolessness . . . and egolessness and God-consciousness mean the same thing. If you become God-conscious, you will become I-unconscious. If you are I-conscious, then you cannot be God-conscious. This is focusing. If you are focused on the ego, the whole universe goes into darkness. If you are focused on the whole universe, the “I” simply disappears. “I” is a focusing of all the energy on a limited link of an unlimited continuity – one link. One link of the whole chain is the ego. Remember the whole continuity.

It will be good if we can think in this way. Could I exist if something had been different in the universe? – I could not exist. Even a millennium before, if something had been different from what it was, I would not be here, because the whole universe is a continuity. Whatsoever I am saying . . . if a Buddha had not been there in the past, or a Jesus had not been there in the past, I couldn’t say this. The whole universe is a continuity. A single event missed in the past would make the whole universe different. And when I say a Buddha, you can understand. But I say, even if a single tree had not been there in the universe, I would not be here.

The whole universe exists as a continuity; it is an intermittent phenomenon. We are here because the universe was such that we could be here. The whole past was such that this meeting becomes possible. Something missing, and the whole thing will change. This feeling of eternal continuity in the past, of eternal continuity in the future, will dissolve the ego completely. You are not; you are just a part – a part which cannot exist alone.

Then the destiny of the whole universe becomes your destiny, then you have no separate individual destiny. That is what is meant by saying one goes beyond life and death. If you have no individual destiny, the whole destiny of the universe is your destiny. Then who is going to die? And who is going to be born? And who is concerned? Then a total acceptance explodes, a total acceptance comes. A tathata, a total acceptance happens. This is freedom; this is ultimate freedom. Now you cannot feel any limitation.

The universe has never felt limitation. You feel it because you separate yourself. I will die as an individual, but I cannot die as a universe. The atoms in my hand will be there; my eyes will be there as someone else’s eyes; my heart will be there as someone else’s heart. I will exist in the trees, in the stones, in the earth, in the sky – I will be there as a universe. I will not be there as myself. My consciousness will be there as someone else’s consciousness. Or even it may not be someone else’s consciousness . . . just a cloud floating in the sky, or just a silence, or just a drop in the ocean. As myself I am going to die, but not as a universe.

This remembrance, this realization is the only freedom – the only and the ultimate. Unless this happens, you are a slave. You will go on feeling limitations, you will go on feeling boundaries, you will go on feeling that this is going to be death, this is going to be birth, this is going to be pain, this is going to be suffering. To create, or to go on believing in individual destiny, is irreligion. The beginning of the feeling that “I am not an individual destiny – destiny belongs to the universe, I belong to the universe” – is the beginning of freedom, is the beginning of religion.

Religion is the search for total freedom. And unless the freedom is total, it is not freedom at all.

Experiencing one’s own self in all beings in the self, one attains the highest brahman, and not by any other means.

This is what I mean by being aware of a universal destiny: by dissolving one’s individual, petty destiny one begins to feel then that he is everything – all. All penetrates into oneself, and one’s own existence penetrates all. Really, it is saying simply that boundaries dissolve.

The observer becomes the observed.

The knower becomes the known.

The lover becomes the beloved.

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #25

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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