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

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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

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.

Meditation is Objectless – Osho

By meditating upon the lord Parameshwar, consorted by mother Uma, the highest lord, the all-powerful, the three-eyed, and the ever silent, the meditator reaches Him who is the source of all manifestation, the witness of all, and who is beyond ignorance.

-Kaivalya Upanishad

Meditation is object-less. If you use any object, then it is not meditation; it becomes thinking. It becomes contemplation; it becomes reflection, but not meditation.

This is the most essential point to be understood. This is the essence of a meditative state: that it is object-less. Only consciousness is there, but not conscious about anything.

Consciousness without being conscious of anything – this is the nature of meditation. But this may create a very depressed mood; this may create pessimism in the mind. It is so difficult to throw even a single thought out of the mind – how can one conceive of being totally thoughtless? It is so difficult to get rid of one object of the mind, that it is inconceivable how to be totally object-less; how to be just a mirror, how to be just conscious without being conscious of anything.

We are never conscious without being conscious of anything – something is always there. And there are some psychologists, some schools of psychology, who say that it is impossible to be conscious without any object. Consciousness to them means consciousness of something. Something must be there; otherwise, we will go to sleep; otherwise, we will become unconscious. But yoga says that ordinarily this is right: as far as the ordinary mind is concerned, if there is no object the mind will go down into sleep, slip down into unconsciousness.

We also are aware of it. If you are thinking something in the night, then sleep becomes impossible, because if some object is present in the mind then you cannot drop into sleep, into unconsciousness. So if you are thinking, then you cannot go to sleep; you go to sleep only when thinking has ceased. When thinking has ceased but there is no sleep, only then will you understand what is meant by meditation – but we never know any moment like that. When thoughts cease, thinking ceases, sleep takes over. You are not even aware when sleep has come; you become unconscious.

This is what hypnosis uses as a technique. Hypnosis – any method of hypnotism, any method – uses only this technique: to fix the mind somewhere on one object so intensely that the mind becomes bored of one object. This is the tendency of the mind – mind needs novelty; something new every moment, then it feels alert. If you are in a situation where you have to be aware of only one thing repeatedly then the mind feels bored, and boredom becomes the gate to sleep. So hypnotism uses it. It will give you any object to concentrate on, to concentrate your total consciousness on; then you will feel bored, by and by sleepy, and then sleep will take over. The very word hypnosis means induced sleep. So sleep can be induced if mind is devoid of thoughts.

But yoga says that this is right as far as the ordinary mind is concerned, but this is not right for a meditative mind. Through meditation, mind takes on a new quality, and it becomes possible to be conscious without thoughts. But it is difficult, and to take the jump is arduous.

In Zen there are two schools: one is known as the sudden enlightenment school, and another as the gradual enlightenment school. The sudden school says that any enlightenment is sudden. You have to take a jump from thought to no-thought, from ignorance to knowledge, from sleep to enlightenment. You have to take a sudden jump. But there are very few followers of the sudden school; there cannot be, because it is inconceivable.

There is another school which is known as the gradual enlightenment school. There are many, many followers of it, because the moment one says “gradual,” we are at ease – now we can do something. And in steps, gradually, in degrees we can proceed. In a sudden phenomenon there is no time, so you cannot postpone – you cannot say tomorrow. If the phenomenon can happen suddenly, this very moment, then your mind cannot excuse itself; there is no basis to postpone it. With a gradual school you can say, “Okay, we will try in this life, and if not in this life, then in another life. Gradually we will reach the peak. One step, second step – by steps we will reach to the ultimate.” Then you have to divide.

But this Upanishad belongs to neither. This is neither sudden nor gradual. This Upanishad takes a middle way. It says: It is difficult to take a sudden jump, and it is tedious and long to think in terms of degrees. Then you can go on thinking in infinite degrees. So this Upanishad says: Only one step is enough – neither sudden nor gradual. Only one step – only one step in between. To be object-less, to be thought-less and conscious is the goal. Only take one step: from many thoughts to one thought, and from one thought to no-thought. This one thought is suggested in this sutra.

This sutra says:

By meditating upon the lord Parameshwar, consorted by mother Uma, the highest lord, the all-powerful, the three-eyed, and the ever silent, the meditator reaches Him who is the source of all manifestation, the witness of all, and who is beyond ignorance.

From the world to the ultimate, take any image of God as a single step. This will look strange because we think of God as the ultimate. But the Upanishads never think of God as the ultimate. They say,

“God is a step towards the ultimate.” And they always use for the ultimate the term brahman, the absolute. God, Ishwara, Parameshwara, is just a step towards the ultimate. God is not the ultimate end. God is just to be used as a technical help for the jump into the ultimate abyss.

Use God as a jumping board from the worldly mind to the ultimate abyss.

This image of God used as a technical help is very typical and strange, because ordinarily the religious mind feels that God is to be achieved. But yoga says, “God is also just a technical help.” That’s why there are systems of yoga which are godless – for example even Buddha’s system. Buddha never talks about God – he discarded God. He created other steps; he discarded God. Mahavira never, never uses the word “God.” He discarded it – he used other techniques as jumping boards. But the ultimate remains the same: Hindus call it brahman, Buddhists call it nirvana, Jainas call it kaivalya. The ultimate remains the same: God is used as a technical help. Any imagery, any symbolism can be used. But it must be such a symbol that when you have used it, you are capable of discarding it.

Buddha has told a parable. He says:

Some villagers crossed a stream by boat. But then they thought, “This boat has helped us so much; otherwise, to cross the stream was impossible. So we must not discard this boat.” Then they carried the boat on their heads into the town.

Then the whole village gathered and everyone began to ask, “What is the matter? Have you come to sell this boat in the town? or why are you carrying it? The boat seems so old – just a ruin. Who will purchase it? And we have never seen anyone carrying a boat on the head. Why are you carrying it?”

So they said, “This boat is not ordinary; this has helped us to cross the stream. Without this, it would have been impossible to come to this village, so we cannot be ungrateful to it. Now we will have to carry it.”

Buddha always used this parable, and he said, “Every technique, every symbol, every ritual is just a vehicle. The moment you have crossed the stream, discard it. Don’t go on carrying it; otherwise, you will be just stupid.”

We can understand that those villagers were stupid, foolish. But as far as religious vehicles, techniques, boats are concerned, everyone carries them continuously. If I give you a name “Rama” as a japa, as a repetitive method for your meditation, then one day it is bound to happen that you will come to me and say, “Now I feel very blissful with this mantra. Now I am more at peace, more relaxed. Now I am more fresh, now I am less disturbed, now I am less tense. So now what more to do?”

And if I tell you to drop this name now that you have crossed the stream . . . now that you have come to the other shore, now drop this name also, then you will feel disturbed. I have advised many, and when I say to them, “Drop this,” they say, “What are you telling us? How can we drop this? It is inconceivable. We cannot do this. And this seems profane – how can we? This is a very holy name, and this has helped us so much that we cannot discard it.”

No ordinary person – even a Ramakrishna . . . Ramakrishna used the name of Mother Kali as a mantra continually, for years. He achieved much through it, but not the ultimate. He became silent, he became purified, he became holy; he became everything that we can conceive of a religious man. He became totally a religious man – but still a discontent within, still a desire, the desire for the ultimate. He had not reached the end.

Then he met a Vedanta teacher, Totapuri. And he said to Totapuri, “I have reached a very deep silence but still something is missing; I feel it, something is missing. So what to do now?” So Totapuri said, “Now drop the name of Mother Kali. Drop it – you are carrying the vessel; you are carrying the boat. You have crossed the river; now don’t carry this boat.” Ramakrishna was absolutely disturbed. He said, “What are you telling me? – A person like you, a renowned teacher – what are you telling me? To drop the name of Mother Kali? This is simply irreligious, unholy! What are you telling me? Don’t tell me such things!” He began to perspire; he began to tremble – a person like Ramakrishna.

Totapuri laughed and he said, “I knew this. You will feel much disturbed, your whole base has to be destroyed. You have made it a foundation; hitherto this has been your base. Now this has to be destroyed; otherwise, you cannot go further.”

For three days Ramakrishna wept, because he had heard such irreligious words. He couldn’t speak to anyone; he just closed his door, wept; cried, “Mother! Mother!” and wept. And Totapuri would come and knock at the door, and would say, “Ramakrishna, come to your senses. Drop this name.”

After three days, fasting, weeping, Ramakrishna came out, and he said, “If you say, I will do it. But first let me go to the Mother and ask her permission. I cannot do it would her permission.” This is how a boat can become so meaningful . . . and don’t laugh at it; even if you are in the state of Ramakrishna, this will happen.

Ramakrishna went to ask the Mother – of course permission was given, because deep down Ramakrishna himself felt that now this name is the only obstacle. If it drops, consciousness will be totally pure; there will be no disturbance. But he couldn’t utter it, he couldn’t say it. He went to Mother – there was no one; this was his own deep-down unconscious which gave the permission. He asked the Mother . . . If one goes in a very devoted way, continuously, to feel in an image the divine presence, one’s own deep unconscious becomes projected. And even from the image, things can come which are just being put there by oneself. It was his own unconscious; it was his own deep existence which responded. So permission was given. He came back, of course, weeping, because the conscious was still clinging, clinging to the name. His own unconscious was ready. He was totally purified, and this last step was to be taken – had to be taken, it was a must!

So the unconscious allowed him, but the conscious began to feel guilty again. He came back. Totapuri said, “Don’t feel any guilt. When the Mother herself has allowed, now you drop it.” So Ramakrishna sat before Totapuri, closed his eyes, went into deep meditation. Tears were flowing. Hours pass and Totapuri goes on saying, “Now drop it! Don’t continue!” And Ramakrishna is continuing. Tears are flowing; he is weeping and trembling. He cannot stop.

He opens his eyes and says, “It seems impossible. I cannot stop. It seems it is absolutely impossible to stop! How can I myself drop the name? It is my heart of hearts. How can I drop it? This is just . . . it seems suicidal, as if I am killing myself. I cannot.” And poor Totapuri insists, “Try again, try again.”

Then Totapuri says, “This is the last, and I will not remain here for a single moment longer. I am not going to remain here; I will leave this place. So try again, only one.” And he brought a piece of glass, and he said, “When you are meditating and when I feel that the image of Kali has come into your consciousness as an object, I will cut your forehead on the third eye spot with this piece of glass. And when I cut your forehead, you cut the image inside.”

Ramakrishna said, “But how can I cut it? And with what? How can I cut it and with what? There is no weapon!”

Totapuri said, “If you can create an image, so alive, by imagination, why can you not create a sword? You have created the image of Kali so loving, so radiant, so alive, so why not create a sword? You are so capable a man – imagine a sword and then cut it! Otherwise, I am going to leave and you will not find me again.”

And Totapuri was a a rare man; to miss that man was to miss for lives. And Ramakrishna knew this, that this was the only man who could help; otherwise, one would have to wait, for lives even. And one is not certain that even after waiting for many lives, a man like Totapuri will be there. So Totapuri stood, and he said, “Now I’ll leave. You try.”

Ramakrishna closed his eyes – he was weeping, he was crying, screaming; and then Totapuri cut his head. And in a single stroke, Ramakrishna dared – this is the most daring thing – he dared: he cut the image within. The image broke into two. Tears stopped, crying stopped. And Ramakrishna began to laugh and Ramakrishna began to dance. And Totapuri said, “Now I am leaving. Just tell me in one sentence what has happened.”

So Ramakrishna opened his eyes and said, “The last barrier has dropped.” And Totapuri disappeared.

Ramakrishna tried and tried for many years to find the man again, to give him thanks, but Totapuri was not found again.

So don’t laugh. This middle step can become a barrier, or it can become a jumping board – it depends on you. Use any image, but remember continuously that this is just a technical help.

Remember continuously that this has to be dropped. If you can remember it, then you can use any method, any technique, any image, any help. It is artificial, but for our minds – which cannot take a sudden jump – it helps.

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #24

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.

The Master of the Shouts – Osho

A little note about Rinzai, master of the irrational.

Rinzai, also known as Lin-Chi, was born in the early ninth century and was to become the founder of one of the most significant schools of Zen.

Brilliant as a child, later, when Rinzai became a priest, he studied the sutras and scriptures. Realizing the answer did not lie within them, he went on pilgrimage, visiting Obaku and Daigu, two great masters. After his enlightenment he became priest of a small temple on the banks of the Hu-t’o River.

Maneesha has asked:

Our beloved master, Rinzai became known as the master of the shouts. His specialty consists . . . he used shouts as a method to silence you – a sudden shout. You are asking about God, you are asking about heaven, you are asking about great philosophical or theological problems and the master immediately shouts. Your mind gets a shock, almost an electric shock. For a moment you are not, only the shout is. For a moment the mind stops, time stops – and that is the whole secret of meditation.

Many mystics around the world have used sounds, but in a very superficial way. Rinzai used shouts in a tremendously deep way. His shouts would become just like a sword entering in you, piercing to the very center.

You can understand . . . when you shout Yaa-Hoo! your mind disappears. Yaa-Hoo! has no meaning, but shouting it you get suddenly thrown to your own center, and once you have touched your own center, even for a simple glimpse, your life has started changing.

Rinzai would shout at the disciples to give them a first experience of their centering. You are both a circumference and a center. You live on the circumference; the shout simply pushes you to the center. Once you experience being at the center you suddenly see the whole world changing. Your eyes are no more the same; your clarity and transparency are absolute. You see the same green leaves greener, the same roses rosier, the same life as a festival, as a ceremony. You would love to dance.

And then the disciples, once they learned that the shout can help them to reach to their very center . . . It was a strange sight when Rinzai started accepting disciples near the river. The disciples would be shouting around the whole valley, and the valley would resound with shouts. You could tell from miles away that you were somewhere close to Rinzai. It was not only that he was shouting, but that shouting was a method to throw you from the circumference to the center.

There are many ways to throw you to the center. Every way is valid if you reach to your center, because your center is the only immortal part in you. Everything else is going to die.

Today Professor Barks is here. He has done a tremendous job in translating Rumi. He has come as close as possible, but I don’t think he knows that Rumi’s whole effort by whirling is to find the center. If you whirl for hours, you will see slowly that something at the very center is not moving at all, and that is you. Your body is whirling, but your consciousness is a pillar of light.

Rumi attained his first enlightenment by whirling for thirty-six hours continuously. People thought he was mad. Even today a small group of his followers continues. They are called whirling dervishes. But the point is the same: whirling, your whole body becomes a cyclone, and your witnessing self becomes the center. Everything moves around you, but the center remains unmoving. To know this unmoving center is to know the very master key of all the mysteries of life.

Rinzai had no idea about Rumi, neither did Rumi have any idea about Rinzai, but both were working on the same strategy – somehow to force you to the center. As your consciousness becomes deeper, as it becomes an easy thing to go to the center just like you go in your house and come out, you have become a buddha.

Then slowly, slowly your center starts changing your circumference. Then you cannot be violent, then you cannot be destructive; then you are love. Not that you love – you are love. Then you are silence, then you are truth, although the old you has disappeared. That was your circumference, that was the cyclone that is gone. Now, only the center remains.

Rinzai’s method is far simpler than Rumi’s. Very few people will be able to whirl for hours, but shouting is a simpler method. Anybody can shout and can shout wholeheartedly, and it can be very intense and urgent. Whirling you will take hours to find out the center; shouting, a split second and you are at the center.

The anecdote…

Rinzai became known as the master of the shouts. On one occasion a monk asked, “What about the cardinal principle of the Buddha-dharma?”

Now, he is asking something important. What is the cardinal principle of the religion of Buddha?

Rinzai shouted – the monk bowed.

“Do you say that’s a good shout?” Rinzai asked.

The monk commented: “The thief in the grass has met complete defeat.”

“What is my offence?” Rinzai asked.

The monk replied, “It won’t be pardoned a second time.”

Rinzai gave another shout.

The first shout of Rinzai was perfectly good. The monk bowed down because he felt a great relief by moving from the circumference to the center. But Rinzai was a little suspicious. Because everything in this world becomes traditional, it had started becoming traditional that Rinzai will shout and you have to bow down to show that you have understood it, that it has reached to your center. It was becoming a tradition.

This is very unfortunate. Everything becomes a habit, a ritual, a tradition, and loses all meaning. Now, his bowing down may be true or may be just a mannerism. That’s why Rinzai asked, “Do you say that’s a good shout?”

The monk commented: “The thief in the grass has met complete defeat.”

What does he mean by this? The monk is saying, “You have been found being unsuccessful. Your shout missed.”

The monk commented: “The thief in the grass has met complete defeat.”

“What is my offense?” Rinzai asked.

The monk replied, “It won’t be pardoned a second time.”

The monk is saying, “Your shout missed.” He is not saying that shouting at him a second time will not be pardoned; he is saying, “Your being a failure will not be pardoned – It won’t be pardoned a second time. The first time I forgive you; you missed, you did not reach to my center. I bowed down because you tried, you tried hard. But the second time it will not be pardoned.”

Anybody reading it will think that he is saying, “If you shout a second time it will not be pardoned.” That is not the case. He is saying, “Your failure will not be pardoned a second time.”

Rinzai gave a shout – and the anecdote ends suddenly. After the shout there is silence. The second shout succeeded. Now the monk is silent, Rinzai is silent.

There have been long progressions for reaching to yourself, like yoga. But devices like Rinzai’s are very simple, don’t require any discipline as a prerequisite. Anybody . . . no need of having a certain character; good or bad, sinner or saint, it does not matter. What matters is to reach to the center, because at the center you are neither a sinner nor a saint. Your being a sinner or a saint are all on the periphery. Our whole society lives on the periphery; all our divisions are very superficial.

I am reminded of a great follower of Buddha, Nagarjuna. He lived naked. Perhaps Nagarjuna is the greatest logician that has walked on the earth. Aristotle is no comparison to him, neither is Shankara; Nagarjuna’s argumentation is the most refined. But he used to live naked – a beautiful man – and even kings and queens were disciples to him. In a certain capital the queen was his disciple. She asked him, “You will have to give me a favor. I want to take away your begging bowl.”

He said, “That is not a problem. You can have it.”

She said, “That is only half of it. I have prepared a begging bowl for you. This one you give to me; it will be a present, the most precious to me in the whole world. And I have made a begging bowl which you cannot reject, you have to accept it.”

He said, “I have not seen it either.”

She said, “Seeing or not seeing is not the question. First, give me the promise that you will not reject it.”

So he said, “Okay, I will not reject it.”

She brought out the bowl, and it was made of solid gold, studded with diamonds. Nagarjuna said, “You don’t understand the situation. Whether I reject it or not, I will not be able to keep it even for a few hours. A naked man carrying a begging bowl made of solid gold, studded with great diamonds – do you think I will be able to keep it? But I have promised, so I will accept it.”

A thief was watching the whole transaction. He followed Nagarjuna. He knew that this fellow lives outside the city in a dilapidated temple, and every afternoon after he has taken his food, he goes to sleep. This is a very good time to take this begging bowl away. Anyway, somebody is going to take it away . . .

So he went and he was hiding behind a wall by the side of a window watching that somebody else does not enter inside. Nagarjuna made his place to sleep and he had complete awareness that somebody had been following him.

“Why keep him unnecessarily waiting? Anyway, I am going to sleep and he will take the begging bowl. It is better to give it him. Why make him a thief?” So he threw the begging bowl outside the window where the thief was sitting.

The thief could not believe it. This is really a strange man. A strange desire arose in the thief that it would be good to have a little time to sit at this man’s feet, so he asked from the window, “Can I come in?”

Nagarjuna said, “What do you think I have thrown the begging bowl for? – to bring you in. Come in. That was just an invitation.”

The thief could not understand, but was very much impressed by the man.

Nagarjuna said, “I did not want to make you a thief, that’s why I have thrown the begging bowl. Now you can have it.”

The thief said, “It is so precious; you are a man of great mastery over yourself. I also hope one day I will not be a thief but a master like you.”

Nagarjuna said, “Why postpone it? It is a very simple secret. You can become a master.”

He said, “You don’t understand. I am a thief; I am a born thief. I cannot resist the temptation.”

Nagarjuna said, “It does not matter at all. You can remain a thief. I will give you a small meditation: whatever you do, even if you go to steal in the palace, just be a witness of what you are doing. I don’t want you not to be a thief; do whatever you want to do, but do it with full awareness. Just be a witness.”

He said, “This seems to be simple. I have been going to many saints. They say, ‘First you drop stealing, otherwise you cannot be religious.’ You are the first man who is not asking me to drop stealing.”

Nagarjuna said, “Those saints that you have met are not saints. No saint will ask you to drop stealing. Why? Do it perfectly well. Just remain a witness.”

The thief could not understand the strategy. After the third or fourth day he came back to Nagarjuna and said, “You are very clever. In these four days there have been so many opportunities to steal, but as I go to steal, to take something, immediately my hand relaxes. The moment I witness myself stealing it seems to be so embarrassing that I pull my hand back. For four days I have not been able to steal anything.”

Nagarjuna said, “Now it is your problem; I have nothing to do with it. You can choose. You can choose witnessing, or you can choose stealing.”

The man said, “Only in these four days have I been able to feel my own dignity. I cannot drop witnessing. I am coming with you.”

What witnessing does is again throw you back to your center. At the center you are a buddha. On the periphery, who you are does not matter. Once you start living at the center, slowly, slowly your circumference will start changing its colors. It will become as pure as you are at the center. It will become as compassionate as you are at the center. It will take all the fragrance of the center in all your activities.

The authentic religion does not preach morality. Morality comes on its own accord. The authentic religion teaches you to be centered in yourself. Then everything that is good follows, and what is bad simply does not arise. It is not a question of choice; choicelessly you are good. It is not that you are being good; you cannot be otherwise.

This is the miracle of Zen.

Zen simply means witnessing.

These shouts throw you to the center, and once you have learned to be at the center, you will know that on the periphery you are always a beggar, and at the center you are always an emperor. And who wants to be a beggar?

Religion is the alchemy of transforming beggars into emperors.

A great Zen poet, Ikkyu, wrote:

Crazy madman,
Blowing up a crazy wind,
Wandering here and there,
Amidst brothels and wine shops.

Is there an enlightened monk
Who can match me
Even for a single word?

I paint the south; I paint the north;
I am painting the west and east.

He is saying “People think I am crazy . . . ” Crazy madman, blowing up a crazy wind, wandering here and there, amidst brothels and wine shops.

An authentic buddha is not afraid of brothels and wine shops. The saints who are afraid are really repressed people; they are not transformed beings.

Is there an enlightened monk who can match me?

A buddha can move with absolute freedom in the marketplace. Those who renounce the world are the cowards, the escapists, and they have destroyed all the religions of the world. All the religions are in the hands of the cowards.

An authentic religious man is a lion, and he is so centered in himself that he is not worried about being anywhere. He is so certain of his purity, of his eternity, of his divinity that he knows that if a thief comes to him, it is the thief who will have to change; if a prostitute comes to him, it is the prostitute who will have to change.

Our so-called saints are so much afraid. Their fear shows their repressions. A repressed man is not a religious man; he is simply sick, he needs psychiatric treatment.

-Osho

From Rinzai: The Master of the Irrational, Discourse #1

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.

 

This State of No Thought is Meditation – Osho

Thus, by meditation, they achieve the ultimate reality, which is unthinkable, unmanifest, the one of endless forms, the ever-auspicious, the peaceful, the immortal, the origin of the creator, the one without a beginning, a middle and an end, the only one, the non-dual, the all-pervading, the consciousness, the bliss, the formless, the wonderful.

-Kaivalya Upanishad

This sutra is basically concerned with meditation: What is to be attained by meditation? What is meditation, and for what does it stand?

The Hindi word for meditation is dhyana; the connotation is very different. By meditation, one thing is meant in English; by dhyana something else is meant. So first we must understand the basic difference between these two words. Meditation is not a right translation, because by meditation thinking is implied. When we say someone is meditating, it means someone is thinking about something. In meditation an object is implied. In dhyan, no-object is a basic condition. By dhyan is meant a meditative mood without any object.

Objects must cease, mind must become just a pure mirror – a mirroring, not mirroring anything – just a mirror without any object in it, a pure mirror. By dhyan, this purity of the mind is indicated.

So first, no object should be in the mind. Mind must remain alone without thinking about anything – with no thought, just a consciousness, just an awareness, just an alertness. This alertness without any object is meditation.

So go on dropping objects. Even if one has to use some object as a help to withdraw other objects from the mind, that one object has to be dropped ultimately. Unless that is dropped, it is not meditation.

For example, there are many thoughts in the mind. You can use a mantra; so now there are not many thoughts, just one thought. You can use a name – Rama, Krishna, Jesus, Maria, anything. You go on repeating, “Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama.” Between two “Ramas” no gap should be left, because only from that gap a thought enters. If your “Ramas” go on overlapping each other there will be no gap for any thought to enter. Now you have a mind with one thought. It is still not meditation, it is still thinking – thinking one thought. Ultimately this “Rama” has to be dropped. When you have become attuned with one thought and other thoughts are not entering the mind, then drop it and remain without thought. Many thoughts have been dropped except one; then drop the one, so you come to a state of no-thought.

This state of no-thought is meditation.

This is dhyana, this is pure consciousness.

In this pure consciousness is achieved that which is known as Brahman. This sutra is concerned with the definition of that indefinable.

It cannot be defined, because definition needs something which becomes impossible with the ultimate reality – definition needs comparison. You cannot define anything without comparing it. That divine is non-dual; it is one, so no comparison is possible. How to define it?

Can you say that the divine is man, or woman? You cannot say, though many religions have defined it in that way. Some religions are man-oriented, so they define God as father. Some religions are woman-oriented, so they define God as mother. But He cannot be defined, because “man” and “woman”… these words are relevant in human language; they become irrelevant for the whole universe. The whole universe is neither male nor female. How to define it? What to say about it?

The moment we use any word to define it, it looks absurd, because every human word implies the contrary also. If you say, “He is light,” then where to put darkness? Then what is darkness? Either you will have to deny darkness absolutely from divine nature, or you will have to imply it somewhere; He must comprehend darkness also. So what to say about Him? – light or darkness? If you say both, they become meaningless. He is both, and He is not both. That is the problem; that’s why He cannot be defined. Every word implies duality: the polar opposite must be there to make the word meaningful. Every word, with the total existence, becomes meaningless.

But this sutra tries to define the indefinable – this is only an effort, it never succeeds. But it has to be made. Even in its unsuccessfulness it helps, it indicates. It may not be able to define the divine; it is capable of indicating it.

Wittgenstein has said somewhere, “There are experiences which cannot be said, but which can be shown.” And he is right. There are experiences – you cannot say what they are, but still, you can indicate them. This sutra is an indication.

Some terms have been used; one is: thus by meditation they achieve the ultimate reality, which is unthinkable – which cannot be thought. Why? – because thinking is not, is not something. It is a process of the known; it never leads to the unknown. The unknown is always beyond thinking: You can think something you know; how can you think something which you don’t know?

And then the whole of thinking becomes absurd. If you can think only that which you know, what is the use of it? You know already, so what is the use of thinking it? If only the known can be thought, then the whole process becomes circular: it leads nowhere, you go on in a circle. You know and you think; and you think and you cannot think the unknown. So you go on in a circle – mind works in a circle.

The mind never achieves anything from the unknown. So mind must cease, thinking must cease; this circle must be broken! You must come to a standstill: not thinking, not thinking at all. And the moment you are in a no-thinking state, suddenly you enter the unknown.

It is not only unknown but unknowable also, because even if you have known it, you cannot make it known to others. By your being, they may feel it – by your movements, by your gestures, by your eyes, by your very presence, they may feel it – but still you cannot make it known to them. You may create a thirst in them for it, but you cannot give them a definition. You may lead them towards it, but you cannot make it known to them – unless they know themselves.

This knowing of the unknown is basically, foundationally, an individual affair. It can never be made collective. You cannot go to it en masse. Alone one has to reach it; alone one has to drop oneself. Alone one has to enter it; alone one encounters it. It becomes known to you, but you cannot make it known to others.

That is the basic difference between science and religion.

A scientist discovers something, and then the discovery becomes that of the whole of humanity. But a religious mystic discovers, and the discovery remains his own. It never becomes a collective phenomenon. A Jesus knows, a Boehme knows, an Eckhart knows, but they are helpless; they cannot make it a common property. It cannot become an object of common knowing; humanity remains in the some grip of ignorance. Each one has to approach it by oneself.

The opening is individual; that’s why it is not only unknown by unknowable. And for one reason more, and that reason is still deeper: even if one comes to know it, one never knows it totally. Even when one comes to know it, no one knows it totally! So the unknowable is infinitely unknowable.

Even if you are satisfied, even if your thirst is no more, the infinite unknowability remains – that’s why it is mysterious. And it is good, and it is beautiful that it is so. Because if you can know the divine totally – if the very moment the divine has been known, you have known it totally – it becomes meaningless.

Anything known totally becomes a thing. Anything known totally creates boredom. Anything known totally will again create a new thirst to know something else.

But once the divine is known, no desire to know anything remains – because you can go on in your knowing . . . deeper, deeper, deeper, infinitely deeper; the abyss is endless. You have a beginning in it, but no end. You drop into it, and then you go on dropping, and there comes no substratum, no bottom where you can stand again and say, “Now the dropping has ended.”

This is the mystery. That’s why this sutra says: the formless, the wonderful . . . the mysterious – God is a mysterium. And when I way a mysterium, I mean that you can know it, but still you cannot say, “I have known it.” You can only say, “I have dropped into it”; you can only say, “I have ceased to be”; you can only say, “Now I am no more and He is.” But you cannot say, “I have known it.”

For one reason more it remains unknowable: because the knower is lost. The moment you enter the divine you don’t enter as a knower; you enter as a drop of water entering the ocean. You become one with it. The knower is not separate, so how can you say, ”I have known it”? How can you say that “I am,” still? You are not; only He is.

This is one of the riddles of religious experience: when the knower is lost, the known is known. When the knower is lost, only then knowledge happens.

Kabir has said, “I was searching and searching and searching. Now He is found but the searcher is not. Now He is there but where is Kabir?” The seeker is no more. There has never been a meeting between the seeker and the sought. Never a meeting! – because the two cannot be together. The seeking ends only when the seeker is lost, and only then the sought is found. You are, then He is not. When you are not, then He is; there is no meeting – or you can call this the meeting. This is the riddle of religious experience.

. . . which is unthinkable, unmanifest, the one of endless forms, the ever-auspicious, the peaceful, the immortal, the origin of the creator, the one without a beginning, a middle and an end, the only one, the non-dual, the all-pervading, the consciousness, the bliss, the formless, the wonderful . . . is known through meditation.

These are just indications, and every indication is a negative. Remember that – every indication is a negative. He is unthinkable – you cannot think about it. He is formless – he is without forms. He has no beginning, no middle, no end. He is non-dual – not two. All these are negatives.

Why use so much negativity for such a positive phenomenon as God? He is the positivity; He is the only positive force. Then why use so many negatives? – without form, without the other, everything – everything that has been used to indicate Him, has remained always negative. Why?

There are reasons. The moment you use a positive word, you create a limitation. If I say that He is beautiful, then the ugly is denied. If I say that He is light, then the darkness is denied. If I say that He is good, then the evil is denied. Whatsoever I say positively will deny something.

To use a negative term is to say that He is so infinite that we cannot use any positive term, because positivity becomes a limitation. We cannot say, “He is one”; rather, it is good to say, “He is not two.” It is better to say that He is not two; then He is left totally without any positive demarcation. If we say, “He is one,” then we have encircled Him.

In meditation, the deeper you go, the more deeply you will come to the positive. But when you want to express it, more and more you will have to use negative terms. The ultimate in using negative terms is Buddha. He has used for this ultimate experience the word nirvana. Nirvana simply means cessation. He has not used moksha, liberation, because it is positive; it says something. He has not used brahmalok; it is positive, it says something. He has not used bliss, consciousness – these are positive. He has simply said, nirvana – cessation of everything, nothingness. And he is right, absolutely right. In meditation you will achieve a positive experience. But when you are expressing it, you will have to use absolute negatives.

If we can create a world consciousness about this use of negatives, there will be no fight between religions. Every fight is because a religion has used something positive. This is strange, but one has to understand it. If you use the negative, then two negatives are never in conflict; but if you use two positives, then two positives are always in conflict.

For example, if Islam says that He is one, and Hinduism says that He is all, one begins to feel some conflict somewhere. Use negatives, and then there is no conflict. If you say that He is not two, then He can be both – He can be one and He can be all. When I say He is not two, I don’t deny that He is not all – He can be all. “He is not two” – He can be all. “He is not two” – He can be one. In saying He is not two, both ends – one and all – are implied. If religions are created around negatives, there will be less fight and more understanding.

In the West, all the three religions which have come out of Jewish mystics have all used positives. Christianity, Islam, and the Jewish religion have all used positives. That is one of the reasons they are mostly fighting religions – too much fighting, too much arrogance. They have never used negatives; they have used positive terms. A linguistic factor has created so much violence . . .

All the Indian religions have used negatives, more and more negatives. And Buddhism is exceptional; Buddhism has used absolute negatives. That’s why Buddhism has been one of the most non-fighting religions.

If you use a negative term to indicate the divine, there is no fight. If you use a positive term, a fight is bound to happen. Someone using another… then two positives are always in conflict. Two negatives are never in conflict. That’s why one other strange phenomenon can be understood: Two theists will always be in a fight, but two atheists will never be in a fight, so there are three hundred types of theists in the world, but only one type of atheist.

What is the reason? An atheist anywhere is the same. What is the reason? – the negative, because he stands only with one statement: that there is no God. So how can there be many types of no- Gods? Only one type, one negative, implies everything. The negative is a universal thing: an atheist anywhere – in Tibet, in Germany, in Japan, in China, anywhere – an atheist is simply an atheist. He stands on a negative.

But theists differ. village to village, neighborhood to neighborhood, theists differ. There are so many brands, and so many types, and so many creeds. Why? The moment you use a positive you have defined an area, and all else is excluded. Unless theists also begin to use negatives more, there will not be a universal religion. If theism also bases itself on a negative definition of the divine, then there can be a universal brotherhood.

Meditation leads you to all. But never define it as positive; always define it as nothingness. […]

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #23

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.

Meditate on the Untainted – Osho

They have undisturbed space, resting in a comfortable posture, clean and pure, with the neck head, and body in one line, held erect, in a mental attitude of sannyas, having controlled all the senses, saluting one’s own teacher, guru, devotedly, meditate within the lotus of the heart; the untainted, the pure, the clear and the transparent, the griefless principle of devotion.

-Kaivalya Upanishad

Meditation is a very complex phenomenon. It looks simple; it is not. It is a science, a complete science in itself. It is bound to be, because meditation means a deep mutation of your total being. The whole being has to be transformed, so it is obviously going to be a complex affair.

Man is a complexity; the mutation is bound to be also a complex thing. Some basic elements must be understood. One: your body – your body must be in a deep cooperation; otherwise, meditation will be unnecessarily difficult. Your body must be in such a state that it helps, not hinders. As it is ordinarily, it is a deep hindrance. Your body goes on hindering you; it becomes an obstacle, and if you want to transform, you must purify the body first. And by purifying the body many things are meant. First, you must not be identified with it; that is the first and the most basic impurity.

One must not be identified with one’s body. One must remain in a beyondness, in a transcendence. Neither one should think, “I am the body,” nor one should think, “I am in the body.” Rather, one should remain in a constant remembering: “I am something beyond the body – neither one with it, nor in it, nor within it, but beyond.” Constant remembrance that “I am beyond my body” gives a different dimension to your whole being. Try it, constantly! You are moving, walking, sleeping – whatsoever the state – remember constantly that you are as if something is hovering over the body, beyond the body. Not in it, not within it, not one with it, just something beyond, moving with the body, living with the body, enveloping the body.

Think of it this way. Ordinarily we think, “I am enveloped by the body.” That’s why the word “body” – body means that in which we are embodied. We are within and the body is without: “Body is a casket, a house, and I am in it. Change the thing totally, upside down. Let the body be in and you be out – beyond the body, hovering, enveloping.

If you can change this attitude from yourself being within, to yourself being beyond, you will feel a sudden change: your body will become light; all the heaviness will be gone and your body will become something with wings. You will feel that now you can fly; you can go now, any moment, beyond the forces of gravitation. Try it! From this very moment, begin to think that the body is within, and you are without, encompassing it. And then the body is purified. Why? – because identity becomes impossible. You can identify only with something which is greater than you. No one identifies himself with something which is lesser; identification is always with the greater. You are within a very small point and the body is big and great and everything; that’s why you begin to be identified. Let yourself be the greater one, and let the body be just a minor thing. You will never be identified with it.

Secondly, if you are within, you will have limits; if you are without, you become unlimited. If I am within my body, then I am encircled by my body, I have a finitude, a limitation. If I am beyond my body, then there is no limitation; then I am not only beyond my body, I am beyond all. Then there is no ending to it – then suns will rise in me, stars will move in me, creations will come in me and go out and will cease – then I become the whole universe. Body becomes the center – just a minor center, an atomic existence – and I become the whole universe, encompassing it.

Heidegger has used this word “encompassing.” It is beautiful – encompassing. Feel it, try it, imagine it, and you will come to a new understanding of your own being. When I say imagine it, I say it consideredly. Really, this feeling that “I am the body” is just an imagination. This feeling that “I am in the body” is also just an imagination. Because the society has taught you, this imagination has become unconscious.

For example, I would like to tell you: Many cultures, in different ages, different religions, different thinkings, have considered the body center to be in different places. For example, as far as this contemporary world is concerned, more or less everyone thinks that he is somewhere in the head – not in the legs, not in the hands, not in the belly. If someone insists and asks you, “Where are you? Point it out!” Then you will begin to feel something in the head; you are in the head. But ask a Japanese and he will say that he is in the belly, not in the head – because the whole of Japanese culture has always thought that the spirit lives in the belly. So if you think with your head, the Japanese think with their belly – they say, “We think with our belly.” They say, “The belly must be strong. The belly is the center.” But there have been other cultures – some cultures think that the heart is the center. Then if that culture has been imposed on you, you begin to think that the heart is the center. Really, these are just imaginative identifications.

In a sense, the spirit is nowhere in the body; it encompasses it. Or, it is everywhere in the body and everywhere outside of the body. If any center is maintained in your imagination, the body becomes impurified, burdened with the center – tense, diseased. Let there be no center in the body; let yourself be outside, just encompassing the body. And then the body becomes fresh, young, flowing, liquid, an energy – without any burdened feeling upon it. Then the body cooperates. This light feeling of the body becomes a basic source of help for meditation.

Not only the body, but your heart also must be prepared for meditation to flower in it. Unprepared, much energy is wasted unnecessarily. Prepare the heart.

This sutra says you can prepare the heart by throwing all the impurities out of it. But instead, we go on accumulating. You can forget if someone has helped you, but you cannot forget if someone has harmed you. You can forget something which has been a bliss, but you cannot forget something which has been a suffering. We go on accumulating negatives; these negatives become the impurities for the heart. Everyone goes on accumulating negatives. If someone is friendly to you for years, and for a single moment is not friendly, then all that friendship will go down and that moment of unfriendliness will become the most significant thing – and you will remember it.

This attitude must be changed. One must go on accumulating positives and throwing out negatives; then the heart becomes purified. Go on accumulating positives. Never accumulate anything negative; it is not going to help you, it is going to destroy you.

Someone has been angry to you: don’t remember it. What to do? – one has to remember something – find something positive. Someone is angry – why be so much concerned with the anger? Why not be concerned with the phenomenon of anger? There are some people who are beautiful only when they are angry – why not look at the beauty of it? Even if they are not beautiful, everyone when he is angry, is vital. Why not look at the vitality, the energy, the aliveness, the radiance of it?

Why be so much concerned with anger? Why not be concerned with the phenomenon? Something is happening – a beautiful phenomenon in itself, a very radiant phenomenon – energy expressing, alive. Why not look at it in that way? Why not look – when someone is angry – why not look at yourself? What happens to you when someone is angry? If you are also angry then he has won, you are defeated. Why not be victorious? Why not be indifferent? Look at the anger, look at it as if you are looking at a psychodrama – someone is playing a role and you are just a witness. Why not be a witness? And then you will feel grateful to the person who has been angry with you. If you can be a witness when someone is angry, you will feel grateful, because he has given you a situation in which you could know your own mastery.

Whenever someone was with Gurdjieff, he would create many situations. He would create unnecessary situations in which someone would become angry, so angry that everyone would feel that he was going to explode. And then suddenly Gurdjieff would tell him, “Now be aware! Now be a witness to it!” – and everyone would begin to be a witness. Anger becomes a situation, an object to be studied, and that person himself who is angry feels a sudden change, because it has become a study project. Now it is not anger, it has become a drama. So why not look at a thing from the positive, with something to learn from it? Why go on accumulating the negative? This is just a habit – it is not inevitable; it is not.

Buddha could send his disciples to the burning places, to cemeteries to look at dead bodies, to contemplate death, to meditate on death: The body is burning – the dead body is there – it is burning. And Buddha would send his disciples there, to sit there and meditate on death. And meditating on death, the disciple would soon come to realize a different quality of life which never dies. Then he would come dancing, singing, to Buddha – from the dead body burning in the cemetery, he would come running, dancing – why? he should come sad, sorrowful, depressed, dead himself in a way. But he has not accumulated the negative even from a dead body. He has accumulated something positive. He has been meditating on death, and if you meditate on death you become more and more aware of life. He comes running, dancing, grateful – grateful to Buddha, grateful to the dead man also.

Why go on accumulating the negative? – we go on; that’s just a wrong habit. Change it! Always look at the positive, and soon you heart will be purified. Negativities are the diseases of the heart. It begins to feel sore, and then the whole of life will become just a suffering, because you live through your own heart. You go on accumulating negatives; then you have to live through this negativity; then everything becomes just a suffering, a long suffering – meaningless, purposeless, leading to nowhere.

This is suicidal. A negative attitude is suicidal. Purify the heart by looking at the positive. Find everywhere something which can become a cherished accumulation in the heart. When I say, now remember, remember the face which was angry at you in the past – remember the face. Feel the beauty of it, and the whole thing suddenly changes. Someone was abusing you… remember the past, and feel when someone abuses; feel the energy, feel the aliveness, and everything changes – it is up to you.

The body must be purified by encompassing it. The heart must be purified by a positive foundation given to it, negatives denied. Be negative only to negatives, and then, then you can meditate.

On what is one to meditate? – the untainted, the pure, the clear, and the griefless.

Meditate on the untainted.

What is untainted? – only the sky, space is untainted. Meditate on space, pure space, and you will become like it. Whatsoever one meditates on one becomes.

Meditate on purity.

Everyone has felt somewhere a glimpse of purity . . . a flower, a virgin – anywhere. Many moments are there when one begins to feel purity. Meditate on purity . . . a flower, a virgin – anything. Meditate on purity and you will become pure. Whatsoever one meditates on one becomes.

The clear, the transparent – meditate on any transparency. A silent lake – you can look to the very bottom, everything clear; a glass window – so pure, so clear that even you don’t see the glass, that the glass is there. Meditate on any transparency, and you will become transparent, you will become clear.

The griefless – meditate on the griefless . . . anything which is blissful, which is a beauty-tude. We go on meditating on grief; we go on meditating on grief continually. We go on meditating on suffering, then we become part of it. Meditation is the way to make oneself just like the object of the meditation.

Remember a Buddha, a griefless one. Remember a Krishna, a joyous one. Remember anything – a Chaitanya dancing, a Meera singing. Remember anything – a cloud passing in the sky, dancing, rays of the sun coming to you. Remember anything which is blissful to you. Meditate on it and you will become blissful. Don’t continue to meditate on things which you would not like to be like. We go on meditating on wrong things.

Everyone is a meditator, remember. It is not that there are a few people who meditate. Everyone meditates, no one can be without meditation. So what is the difference between a meditator and a non-meditator? The difference is not of meditation, the difference is only of objects. The difference is only of objects. Someone is meditating on sex – he becomes sexual. Someone is meditating on anger – he becomes angry. Someone meditating on some sad event, he becomes sad. Everyone is meditating.

Only Mahavira has divided meditation into four types. Really, this is strange because Mahavira alone has divided meditation into four parts. Many divisions are there, but nothing like Mahavira’s, because Mahavira divides two such things, two such types which no one would like to call meditation. The first he calls raudradhyan – anger meditation. The second he calls artadhyan – suffering meditation. No one has named these. The third he calls dharmadhyan, and the fourth he calls shukladhyan. Dharmadhyan – religious meditation; and shukladhyan – the purest meditation. But he calls all four meditation. The first two, anger meditation and suffering meditation – no one will call these meditation.

If someone is angry, have you felt that he is in a deep meditation? Everything has gone out of his mind, only one point of anger remains. He is focused, the whole world has dropped. Really, when someone is in anger, he is not in this world at all. He is not looking at you, he is not looking at anything; he is not even aware that the whole world exists – only anger exists.

When someone is suffering, deeply suffering – some loved one has died – then he is not aware of anything, only of his own suffering. His suffering encompasses him. Only now the suffering is there, everything has become just illusory. He is in a deep meditation, of course, of the wrong type.

Everyone meditates. The difference is: someone meditates on wrong objects, and someone meditates on right objects. Meditate on some blissful moment. Meditate on something you would like to become like, then meditation becomes a mutation. First, wrong objects are to be dropped, then ultimately right objects are also to be dropped.

When there is no object, and only a meditative consciousness remains, you have achieved the ultimate.

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #22

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.

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