From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva

Hardbound edition just released!
I am happy to announce that the hardbound edition of the book that Amido and I created, From Lemurs to Lamas is now available.
All told there are four different versions to choose from: by far the hardbound is the nicest with many color photos bringing to life the words on the pages; the paperback edition with b&w photos; the Kindle e-book, and for those friends in the U.S. there is even a deluxe paperback edition also with color photos.
Whichever edition that you choose I do hope that you enjoy the journey, From Lemurs to Lamas. Love.

From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva is a travelogue of the heart, a diary of the soul, and a handbook for meditation. Combining From Lemurs to Lamas with the author’s second book, Here to Now and Behind, and adding some new content, makes this a collection of stories, essays, poems, and insights spanning more than fifty years of inquiry.

The book first relates stories of the mysteries of life and travels on an overland journey through Africa, Madagascar, Nepal, and India, finally arriving at the Shree Rajneesh Ashram in Poona. There are stories of the magic of Being in the Poona ashram, the opening of a Rajneesh Meditation Center in the heart of the USA, and the transformation of living life to its fullest in Osho’s Rajneeshpuram, Oregon commune of Wild Wild Country fame.

In addition to the stories of the journey to Osho, and life in his communes, the book relates stories of meeting several masters, teachers, and misfits, including: the 16th Karmapa, Jean Klein, U.G. Krishnamurti, and Vimala Thakar.

Layered throughout the book are essays, poems, insights, and photos that have occurred along the Way, on this journey, Here to Now and Behind.

From the Foreword:

As the editor of From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva, I have had the pleasure of reading this book several times, from varying perspectives. I coined the term ‘mediting’ to describe attempts to really get to the meaning of the more potent essays. Before I could even attempt to consider what little tweaks I could make to optimize readability and comprehension, I had to first accept the invitation to consider a slew of questions that occur on the pathless path.

Purushottama from at an early age experiences the futility of a life spent in the material world, the outer world where ambition, wealth, power, etc. beckon. He has a glimpse of the riches found in the interior, through grace, through LSD, through discovering a heart connection with Meher Baba. This prompts a leap into the unknown – into a life of more immediate experience – embarking on a journey that took him to India where he met the living master he sought.

From Lemurs to Lamas details the insights that occur in all stages of his life. Descriptions of life in the Buddhafield that emanated from Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, later named Osho, evoke the very presence itself, the magic and the melting. Every aspect of life in the ashram in Poona, India, and later at the ranch in Oregon — from the therapy groups to the actual assigned job to interactions with fellow workers and bosses, not to mention daily discourses and occasional darshans – supported a deeper understanding and an opening of the heart.

The second section of this book distinctly turns from out to in. The gifts of the master and commune have been embraced and internalized. Now Purushottama finds the inner guru. His musings, poetic expressions, aphorisms, and essays are compelling. He thoroughly examines the questions that arise from his inward exploration, for example, what is turning in.  With impeccable logic he uncovers the meaning of I am not the body. He acknowledges the human desire to help others and illuminates the pitfalls of such intent.

The most significant overarching theme, however, is the steady encouragement for each of us to begin the journey, or to pick it up again if it has paused, that permeates these essays. He so clearly conveys that in meditation one is always beginning for it is the reverse of accumulation. Wherever we are on the journey is the place to begin.


Now available in four editions.

There are many ways you can read From Lemurs to Lamas, the newly released hardbound edition, two paperback versions and the Kindle e-book. Not all of the editions are available in every market. All of the editions are available in the United States. To see which editions are available elsewhere check these Amazon sites: Amazon.com; Amazon.in; Amazon.co.uk; Amazon.de; Amazon.fr; Amazon.es; Amazon.nl; Amazon.co.jp; Amazon.com.br; Amazon.ca.

Just released hardbound edition!

Hardbound edition now available in the U.S. and E.U.


Paperback edition


Kindle E-Book








And for our friends in the U.S. there is also a deluxe paperback edition with color photos.

special color photo Paperback edition


If these editions are not available to you in your country or if you feel that you cannot afford to buy a copy, here you can download a PDF copy of From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a BodhisattvaEnjoy!



Seeking the Way – Osho

Seek out the way.

Pause and consider awhile. Is it the way you desire, or is it that there is a dim perspective in your visions of great heights to be scaled by yourself, of a great future for you to compass? Be warned. The way is to be sought for its own sake, not with regard to your feet that shall tread it.

Seek out the way. The way is not known. It cannot be made known to you by others; it cannot be given to you. The way cannot be shown, it cannot be transferred. You have to seek it.

Ordinarily, we think that we have to seek the goal, but the way is already given. There are so many ways that people go on talking about and they all reach the same goal. The goal has to be discovered, the goal has to be reached, but the way? The way is available. In fact, it is too available, there are too many ways.

But it is not so, because the goal and the way are not two things. The way itself becomes the goal. The first step is also the last because the way and the goal are not two things. The way as you proceed on it, transforms itself into the goal. The real thing is not to think about the goal. The basic thinking has to be about the way. Discover the way: Seek out the way.

But our minds are so conditioned that everyone thinks he has been given a way by birth. Someone is a Christian, someone is a Hindu, someone is a Mohammedan. They think that the way has been given to them by society, by the culture, by their education.

No, the way cannot be given by anyone.

Neither the society nor the culture nor the education can give you the way. You will have to seek it because, through seeking, you will be transformed.

A borrowed way is a dead way. You cannot travel on it; it will not lead you anywhere. You can believe in it, you can have consolation in it, you can postpone your journey because of it – because you know the way, you can travel on it any day – but the moment you start travelling, the way that is borrowed, given, will be of no help.

You will have to seek your own way.

It is difficult to seek it; many errors are possible. But nothing is gained without errors, so be courageous enough to err. You may move on the wrong path, but it is better to move on the wrong path than not to move at all, because at least you will learn movement, at least you will learn what a wrong path is. That too is good, because elimination will help. You will move on this path and find out what is wrong. You will move on another path and find out what is wrong. And through knowing what is wrong, you will come to understand what is right.

So don’t be afraid to err. don’t be afraid to move on the wrong path. Those who are too afraid of being in error and of moving on the wrong path become paralyzed. Then they remain where they are; they never move.

Be courageous and seek out your own path. And don’t imitate anyone else’s path. Imitation will not lead you to freedom. It is not a question of following one path or another; it is a question of seeking. Be a seeker and not a follower. And know the distinction well.

A follower is an imitator. A seeker also follows, but he is not an imitator. A seeker also follows, but he follows in order to seek, to discover. He remains alert, he remains aware.

A follower becomes blind, he becomes dependent – spiritually a slave. He throws his responsibility on someone else’s shoulders and then hangs on. A seeker is responsible for himself. He’s alert, responsible – discovering something new every day, experimenting with something new every day. He’s unafraid, vulnerable, open to any new light, ready to move into any dimension that comes to his vision. If he feels the path he is on is wrong, he will not say, “But I have invested so much on this path. Now I cannot change.” He will throw the path, throw his whole investment in it, move back to where he was before and start learning again from A-B-C.

A seeker is always ready to change, but a follower is stubborn. He will close his eyes rather than see the light because he has invested so much.

A Jain monk came to me and he said, “I have been a Jain monk for thirty years and I know well that I have chosen a path that is not for me, but now I cannot leave it because if I leave, what will I do? I have no education. I was initiated into monkhood when I was just a child. These thirty years of monkhood have made me totally dependent on others. I cannot do anything; I cannot do any physical labor.

“And I am so respected! Even big capitalists come to me and bow down their heads. If I leave the monkhood – and I know now that this is not for me – these same people who touch my feet now will not employ me even as a peon. So what am I to do?” There is much investment. The whole prestige. respect. honor is at stake now.

So I told him, “If you are really a seeker, throw it all out. Be a beggar or be a fool, but don’t be false. When you know this path is not for you then throw everything that comes to you through this path. Don’t be false, don’t be inauthentic.”

He said, “I will think about it. But it seems difficult.”

He has been thinking about it for three years. He has not come back to see me. He won’t come. He is a follower. not a seeker. A seeker can throw everything the moment he comes to realize that something is not for him. There is no hesitation.

This sutra says Seek out the way. Be a seeker; don’t be a believer.

The fourteenth sutra:

Seek the way by retreating within.

Whenever you find something that appeals to you, to your reason, to your logic, to your mind – something that looks rational, looks to be true – it is not enough. Your reason may say it is true, but it may not be true. Unless you experiment with it, unless you experience something through it, nothing has been discovered. Through logic, nothing is discovered. Logic is a help, but don’t make it the ultimate criterion. The ultimate criterion is always within. Experiment and experience. And unless you experience something, don’t believe that you have found it, that the way has become revealed to you. Only through experience do theories become truth.

Seek the way by retreating within. Whenever you have found a technique, a way – retreat within, go within. Experiment with it there: in your subjectivity, in your heart. Experience it. Don’t just go on thinking about what meditation is. Do it! Only then will you know what it is. One technique may not work for you. Then throw it and try another. There are hundreds of meditation techniques. One technique is bound to work for you.

Humanity has been struggling to be liberated for thousands of years, and every type of man has attained liberation. Every type of technique has been found. You are not new; you have been before. Many like you have been before and they have travelled the path. Many techniques have been discovered. Try. But be authentic, be serious when you try. And try with your total energy. If nothing comes out of a particular technique, then throw it and move to another.

In the old days, when a disciple came to a teacher, the first thing the teacher would try to observe would be whether the disciple suited him and whether he suited the disciple. If the teacher thought the disciple was not meant to be with him, if he felt that the disciple would be helped more by someone else – even by someone who was against him – he would tell the disciple, “Go to that master!”

The disciple would say, “But I have heard that he is against you. He says that what you are doing is wrong.”

The teacher would say, “Don’t bother about what he says. He will suit you; his way will suit you. Go to him. Try there.”

Go on trying different techniques, but try with your total heart. Otherwise, you may throw a technique that was right for you. So try with your total heart. If something happens, good. Move on it, move deeply. But if you have tried with your total mind and total energy and nothing happens, then throw the technique; it is not for you. But don’t throw it before you have tried it – before you have tried it with your totality. Seek the way by retreating within.

And the fifteenth sutra:

Seek the way by advancing boldly without.

Even if you experiment with a technique, and experience something within, there is every possibility that it may be just a delusion. It may be just a projection of the mind, it may be just a dream, a wish fulfillment. Don’t think that you have achieved the way. Now, whatsoever you have achieved within, try it without. Whatsoever you know within your heart, now transform it in your character; now live it. You have experienced it. Now live it, make it your life.

If you feel that silence has occurred to you through this experience, allow the silence to move, allow the ripples of the silence around you to move beyond you. Let your silence reach to others. Let others also feel that you have become silent. If you go on being angry outwardly and still you say, “I am a great meditator,” you are just deluding yourself. Don’t delude, don’t deceive, because only you will be the loser, no one else. Whatsoever has happened within you – if you feel that you have experienced the inner light . . . What is the criterion to know whether it is a delusion or a reality? The criterion is that your outer life will change accordingly.

If you have really experienced the inner light, sex will disappear. Love will happen to you, but sex will disappear; sexuality will disappear. Love, a very loving personality, will take its place. There will be no desire for sex. If the desire for sex remains, you have not experienced the inner light. Then the inner light is just a projection of the mind.

And so on and so forth. Whatsoever you have experienced within must come out. It must be allowed to move into your life because that is the real test, the real criterion. If you have come to a deep silence, hatred will go. If it remains, and it has not become transformed totally into love, then you have not felt the inner silence. With hatred, inner silence is impossible. You may have felt something cultivated, you may have cultivated a stillness . . .

If you go on repeating a mantra, you will create a stillness that is cultivated, false, but your outer life will remain the same. If the inner changes, the outer must change, but the reverse is not true. You can change the outer and there is no necessity for the inner to change. That’s what hypocrisy means. You can change the outer – you can be very loving outwardly – and filled with hatred within. You change the outer, you create a false mask. a facade.

You can see it everywhere, particularly in this country where so much religion has been taught. The only end result is this: a hypocritical society. Masks, not real faces. Look at any face and you will find that it is unreal. Something else is hidden behind it, something quite the contrary.

You can change the outer and there is no necessity for the inner to change. But if the inner changes, it is inevitable that the outer must change. When the inner changes, the outer changes automatically.

If it is not changing, then your inner change is just a delusion.

These three sutras are very meaningful:

Seek out the way.

Seek the way by retreating within.

Seek the way by advancing boldly without.


From The New Alchemy: To Turn You On, Discourse #7

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.

Encountering the Unconscious – Osho

Considering the example of sensual instinct, kindly explain what are the practical ways to encounter the unconscious mind, and how can one know that one has become free from it?

The unconscious is not really unconscious. Rather, it is only less conscious. So the difference between conscious and unconscious is not of polar opposites, but of degrees. Unconscious and conscious are related, joined; they are not two. But our ways of thinking are based on a particular false system of logic which divides everything into polar opposites.

Reality is never divided like that; only logic is divided. Our logic says either yes or no; our logic says either light or darkness – and there is nothing in between as far as logic goes. But life is neither white nor black. It is, rather, a great expanse of grey. One extreme becomes white, another extreme becomes black, and life is a great expanse of grey, degrees of grey. But for logic white and black are realities and there is nothing in between – but life is always in between these two. So, really, every problem should be understood not as a logical problem, but as a life problem – only then can you do something with it. If you are too fixed with this false logic, then you will never be able to solve any problem.

Aristotle has proved to be one of the greatest menaces, blocks to the human mind, because he created a system – which became dominant all over the world – that divides everything into two opposites. Really, this is a strange fact. We have nothing for the in between reality – not even words.

De Bono, a modern non-Aristotelian logician, has created a new word – “po”. He says that we have only two words, “yes” or “no”, and there is no neutral word. “Yes” is one opposite, “no” is another – there is no neutral word. So he has coined a new word – “po”. “Po” means “I am neither for nor against.” If you say something and I say “po” it means, “I have heard you I am neither for nor against. I am not making any judgment.” Or, to say “po” means: “Perhaps you are right, perhaps you are wrong. Both are possible.” Or the use of the word “po” means: “This is also one point of view. I need not be on the ‘yes’ side or the ‘no’. It is not a compulsion.”

De Bono has derived this word from words like hyPOthesis or POtentiality. This “po” is a neutral word, not loaded with any judgment, condemnation or appreciation. Just use the word “po” and you will feel the difference. You are not taking any standpoint in the polar opposites.

So when I say “conscious” and “unconscious”, I don’t mean the Freudian opposition. For Freud, conscious is conscious and unconscious is unconscious. The difference is that of white and black, yes and no, life and death. When I say “unconscious” I mean “less conscious”. When I say “conscious” I mean “less unconscious”. They overlap each other.

So what to do to encounter the unconscious? As far as Freud is concerned the encounter is impossible. Because it is unconscious, how can you encounter it? The question means the same as if someone says, “How to see in darkness?” Mm? The question is irrelevant, meaningless. If you put it in this way, “How to see in darkness?” and if I say, “With light,” then the question has not been answered at all because you ask, “How to see in darkness?” and if there is light then there is no darkness – you are seeing light.

So, really, in darkness no one can see. When we say “darkness” we mean that now seeing is not possible. What do you mean when you say “darkness”? You mean that now seeing is not possible. What do you mean when you say “light”? You mean that now things can be seen. Really, you have never seen light: you have only seen light reflected in things which you can see. You have never seen light itself – no one can see it. We see only things, not light, and because things are seen, we assume, infer, that light is there.

You have not seen darkness; no one has seen it. Really, darkness is just an inference. Because nothing is seen, you say there is darkness. So when someone asks, “How to see in darkness?” the words look meaningful, but they are not. Language is very deceptive, and unless one becomes careful in using language one will never be able to solve any problem. Ninety-nine percent of problems are just linguistic problems, but if you don’t know how to penetrate the garb of language you will never be able to tackle the real problem.

If you ask Freud how to encounter the unconscious, he will say, “It is nonsense; you cannot encounter it. If you encounter it, it will become conscious, because encountering is a conscious phenomenon.” But if you ask me how to encounter the unconscious, I will say, “Yes, there are ways to encounter it” – because for me, the first thing to be noted is that “unconscious” means simply “less conscious”. So if you grow more conscious, you can encounter it – so it depends.

Secondly, unconscious and conscious are not fixed boundaries. They change every moment – just like the retina of the eye. It is changing constantly. If there is more light, it is narrowed down. If there is less light, then it widens. It is constantly making an equilibrium with the light outside. So your eye is not really a fixed thing; it is constantly changing. Just like that is your consciousness. Really, to understand the phenomenon of consciousness by the analogy of the eye is very relevant, because consciousness is the inner eye, the eye of the soul. So just like your eye, your consciousness is constantly expanding or shrinking. It depends.

For example, if you are angry, you become more unconscious. The unconscious is now more spread, and only a very minor part of you remains conscious. Sometimes even that part is not there either – you become completely unconscious. But in a sudden accident: you are on the road and suddenly you feel that an accident is going to be there and you are on the verge of death – you suddenly become conscious and there is no unconscious at all. The whole mind is conscious. And this change is continuously taking place.

So when I say conscious and unconscious, I don’t mean any fixed boundaries. There are none, there are no fixed boundaries. It is a fluctuating phenomenon. It depends on you to be less conscious or more conscious. You can create consciousness; you can train and discipline yourself for more consciousness or for less consciousness. If you train yourself for less consciousness, you will never be able to encounter the unconscious. Really, you will even become incapable of encountering the conscious.

When someone has taken some intoxicant, he is training his mind to be totally unconscious. When you go into sleep, or if you can be hypnotized, or if you can auto hypnotize yourself, then you lose consciousness. There are many tricks, and many of those tricks which help you to be more unconscious are even known as religious practices. If you do any monotonous, repetitive thing – for example, if you go on continuously saying “Ram-Ram-Ram-ram”, in a very monotonous tone, you will become less conscious. And this constant repetition of “Ram-Ram-Ram”, in a monotonous tone, will be just auto-hypnotic. You will go to sleep: it is good for sleep.

If you can create monotony then you will be less conscious, because a bored mind cannot remain conscious. The boredom is too much, and the mind would like to go to sleep.

We know, every mother knows, how to put a child to sleep. A lullaby does nothing but create boredom. Every mother knows how to put a child to sleep. With a lullaby – a constant repetition of certain words – the child is bored, so he goes into sleep. This lullaby can be created by movement, by anything which is monotonous – by anything! Just move the child monotonously, rotate the child monotonously, and he will go to sleep because he feels bored. Even if you put the child’s head near your heart he will go to sleep, because your heartbeat is a very boring thing. So put the child near your heart, and he will feel bored because of the constant repetition of the heartbeat. The child knows it very well because for nine months continuously he has heard it. Even old persons can use the “tick-tick” of a clock for going into sleep, and the reason is only the resemblance to the heartbeat. So if you feel that sleep is not coming, just concentrate on your clock and feel the beat, and soon you will drop into sleep.

You can create unconsciousness by creating boredom. By taking any intoxicant, by taking any drug, any sedative, any tranquillizer, you can create unconsciousness. Consciousness also can be created, but then quite different methods have to be used.

Sufi mystics use whirling dances. With such vigorous whirling you cannot sleep. It is impossible. How can you fall asleep when dancing? Someone seeing your dance may go to sleep; for him it may become a boring thing – but you cannot go. So Sufis use dance to create more activity inside, more vitality, so that consciousness spreads. And these dances are not really dances. They look like dances. The Sufi who is doing the dance is constantly remembering every movement of the body. No movement should be done unconsciously. Even if a hand is raised, then this hand must be raised with full consciousness that you are raising the hand – now the hand is raised; now you are dropping it again. No movement should be allowed unconsciously. You are whirling around, dancing vigorously; no movement is to be made unconsciously. Every movement must be done consciously, with full alertness.

Then suddenly the unconscious drops, and with three months of dancing continuously, for hours, you encounter the unconscious. You penetrate deep, deep, deep, and suddenly you become aware of everything that is inside. That is what I mean by encountering the unconscious. Nothing remains which is not in clear vision. Your totality, all your instincts, all your suppressions, your whole biological structure, everything – not only of this life, but of all lives – suddenly is revealed. You are thrown into a new world which was hidden or, rather, to which you were not alert. It was there, but you were asleep – or your consciousness was so narrowed down that it escaped.

Your consciousness is just like a torch – narrowed. You enter darkness with a torch; you have a light, but it is a narrow, focused light. You can see something, but all else remains in darkness. When I say that nothing unconscious remains, I mean unfocused consciousness – unfocused. A focused consciousness will always choose something to see and choose many things not to see; it is a choice. So I use the similarity: just like a torch, narrowed down. One point will become very clear, but everything else will be in darkness. This is what we ordinarily do through concentration.

The more you concentrate, the less you will be able to encounter the unconscious. You will be able to know something very definitely at the cost of not knowing many things. That’s why experts, by and by, become just ignorant – ignorant of the whole world: because they have narrowed down their minds to a particular thing in order to know more about it. So it has been said that an expert is a person who knows more and more about less and less. In the end, only a point remains focused which he knows at the cost of ignoring everything else.

This is how concentration works. So through concentration you can never encounter the unconscious. You can encounter the unconscious only with meditation – and this is the difference between concentration and meditation. Meditation means your mind working not as a torch but like a flame: everything is enlightened around it – everything. It is not narrowed down; the light is diffused. It is not moving in one direction – it is moving in all directions simultaneously so the whole is enlightened.

How to do it? I said Sufis use dance as an active meditation and then they can encounter the unconscious. Zen monks in Japan use absurd problems to encounter it. You face some problem which cannot be solved – which cannot be solved at all! Howsoever you try, the problem is such that it cannot be solved. They call such problems “koans” – absurd problems.

For example, they will say to some seeker, “Find out what your original face is.” And by original face they mean the face you had before you were born, or the face you will have after you die – the original face. They will say, “Find out how your original face looks.” How can you find it out? One has to meditate on it. The problem is such that you cannot solve it by intellect, by reason. You have to ponder over it, meditate over it, go on meditating and searching: “What is my original face?” And the teacher will be there with his staff, and he will look around to see if someone is going into sleep. Then the teacher’s staff will be on your head. You cannot sleep; sleep is not allowed at all. You have to be constantly awake.

So a Zen teacher is a hard taskmaster. You have to meditate before him, and he will not allow you to drop into sleep – because the moment when you are dropping into sleep is the moment to encounter the unconscious. If you can remain out of sleep, then the unconscious will be revealed – because that is the line. The very line from where you drop into sleep is the line where you can enter into the unconscious.

You can try this. You have been sleeping every day, but you have not encountered sleep yet. You have not seen it – what it is, how it comes, how you drop into it. You have not known anything about it. You have been dropping into it daily, coming out of it, but you have not felt the moment when sleep comes on the mind – what happens. So try this, and with three months’ effort, suddenly, one day, you will enter sleep knowingly: drop on your bed, close your eyes, and then remember, remember that sleep is coming and “I am to remain awake when the sleep comes.” It is very arduous, but it happens. One day it will not happen, one week it will not happen. Persist every day, constantly remembering that sleep is coming and, “I am not to allow it without knowing. I must be aware when sleep enters. I must go on feeling how sleep takes over, what it is.”

And one day, suddenly, sleep is there and you are still awake. That very moment you become aware of your unconscious also. And once you become aware of your unconscious you will never be asleep again in the old way. Sleep will be there, but you will be awake simultaneously. A center in you will go on knowing. All around will be sleep, and a center will go on knowing. When this center knows dreams become impossible. And when dreams become impossible, daydreams also become impossible. Then you are asleep in a different sense, and then you will be awake in the morning in a different sense. That different quality comes by the encounter.

But this may look difficult, so I suggest to you a simpler exercise to encounter the unconscious. Close the doors of your room and put a big mirror just in front of you. The room must be dark. And then put a small flame by the side of the mirror in such a way that it is not directly reflected in it. Just your face is reflected in the mirror, not the flame. Then constantly stare into your own eyes in the mirror. Do not blink. This is a forty-minute experiment, and within two or three days you will be able to keep your eyes unblinking.

Even if tears come, let them come, but persist in not blinking and go on staring constantly into your eyes. Do not change the stare. Go on staring into the eyes, your own, and within two or three days you will become aware of a very strange phenomenon. Your face will begin to take new shapes. You may even be scared. The face in the mirror will begin to change. Sometimes a very different face will be there which you have never known as yours.

But, really, all these faces belong to you. Now the subconscious mind is beginning to explode. These faces, these masks, are yours. Sometimes even a face that belongs to a past life may come in. After one week of constant staring for forty minutes, your face will become a flux, just a film-like flux. Many faces will be coming and going constantly. After three weeks, you will not be able to remember which is your face. You will not be able to remember your own face, because you have seen so many faces coming and going.

If you continue, then any day, after three weeks, the most strange thing happens: suddenly there is no face in the mirror. The mirror is vacant, you are staring into emptiness. There is no face at all. This is the moment: close your eyes and encounter the unconscious. When there is no face in the mirror, just close the eyes – this is the most significant moment – close the eyes, look inside, and you will face the unconscious. You will be naked – completely naked, as you are. All deceptions will fall.

This is the reality, but the society has created many, many layers in order that you will not be aware of it. Once you know yourself in your nakedness, your total nakedness, you begin to be a different person. Then you cannot deceive yourself. Then you know what you are. And unless you know what you are you can never become transformed, because any transformation becomes possible only in this naked reality: this naked reality is potential for any transformation. No deception can be transformed. Your original face is now here and you can transform it. And, really, just a will to transform it will affect the transformation.

But you cannot become transformed! You cannot transform your false faces. You can change them, but you cannot transform them: by “change” I mean you can replace them with another false face. A thief can become a monk, a criminal can become a saint. It is very easy to change, to replace the masks, the faces. These are not transformations at all.

Transformation means becoming that which you really are. So the moment you face the unconscious, encounter the unconscious, you are face to face with your reality, with your authentic being.

The false societal being is not there, your name is not there, your form is not there, your face is not there. The naked forces of nature are there, and with these naked forces any transformation is possible – and by just willing it! Nothing is to be done. You just will, and things begin to happen. If you face yourself in this nakedness, just will whatsoever you like, and it will be.

In the Bible it is said: “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” In the Koran it is said: “God said, ‘Let there be the world,’ and there was the world.” Really, these are parables – parables of the willpower which is hidden in you. When you encounter your naked reality, the basic, elemental forces, you become a creator, a god. Just say, utter a word, and it happens. Say, “Let there be light,” and there will be light. Before the encounter, if you are trying to transform darkness into light it is not possible. So this encounter is basic, foundational, for any religious happening.

Many, many methods have been invented. There are sudden methods, there are gradual methods. I have told you about a gradual method. There are sudden methods, but with a sudden method it is always very difficult – because with a sudden method it can happen that you may simply die. With a sudden method it can happen that you may suddenly go mad – because the phenomenon is so sudden that you cannot conceive of it. You just drop, shattered.

This happened in the Gita. Arjuna is forcing Krishna to reveal his cosmic form. Krishna goes on talking about other things, but Arjuna is persistent and he says, “I must see. I cannot believe unless I see. If you are really a god, then reveal to me your cosmic from!” Krishna reveals it, but it is so sudden, and Arjuna is not prepared at all. He begins to cry and says to Krishna, “Close it! Close it! I am scared to death!”

So if you come to it through some sudden method, it is dangerous. Sudden methods are there, but they can be practiced only in a group – in a group where others can help you. Really, ashrams were created for these sudden methods because they cannot be practiced alone. A group is needed, adepts are needed, and a constant vigilance is needed, because sometimes you may drop unconscious for months continuously. Then if there is no one who knows what to do, you may be taken for dead. You may be buried or burnt. Many times, Ramakrishna happened to go into deep Samadhi. For six days or for two weeks continuously he had to be forcefully spoon-fed because he was just as if unconscious. A group is needed for sudden methods, and a teacher becomes an absolute necessity.

Sudden methods dropped from Indian practices because of Buddha, Mahavir and Shankaracharya because they insisted that monks should travel continuously. They didn’t allow monks to be in ashrams. They were not to remain anywhere for more than three days. There was a need for this because at the time of Mahavir and Buddha, ashrams became just exploitation centers; they became just big businesses. So Mahavir and Buddha both insisted that a sannyasin shouldn’t remain anywhere more than three days. And three days is a very psychological limit, because in order to be attuned with some place or with some people you need more than three days.

In a new house, you cannot feel at ease unless three days have passed. This is a psychological attuning time. If you remain in a house for more than three days, then the house begins to look as if it is yours. So a sannyasin must not remain anywhere more than three days. Buddha and Mahavir insisted. But because of their insistence, ashrams were destroyed and school methods dropped out of practice – because a wandering monk cannot practice sudden methods. He may be in a village, but no one may know anything about it, and if he practices a sudden method and the happening happens, then he will be in danger: he will have to die.

So Mahavir, Buddha and, later on, Shankaracharya, all these three, insisted that monks go on wandering continuously. They must not remain in one place; they should be homeless wanderers. So it was good in one way, and it proved bad in another. It proved good because establishments were destroyed, but it proved bad also because with establishments certain very, very significant practices, methods, just went into oblivion.

Sudden methods require the constant vigilance of a group. A teacher becomes a necessity. So Buddha could say, “You can know even without me,” but a Patanjali cannot say that. Krishnamurti can say, “No teacher is needed,” but a Gurdjieff cannot say that. And the real reason for these differences is their methods: Gurdjieff has school methods and Krishnamurti belongs to the tradition of wanderers, no school methods, so no teacher is needed.

With gradual methods you can proceed alone because there is no danger. You have to proceed inch by inch, and as far as a one-inch happening is concerned, you can control it yourself. But if you have to take a jump with no steps in between, then you will need someone who knows where you are going to fall, who knows what can happen. A teacher is not really needed to show you the methods; he is needed really, afterwards when the method has done something and you have moved into the unknown.

So there are sudden methods, but I will not talk about them. I have given you one gradual method, and there are many. I will not talk about the sudden methods because it is dangerous to talk about them. If someone is interested, then he can be led – but talking is impossible. That’s why school teaching has always insisted that nothing should be written – because once you write something it becomes public and anyone can do it. Anyone can become just a victim of his own curiosity, and then no help will be coming. So even when something is written about sudden practices, a basic link is always missing.

So those who begin practices through scriptures are always in danger, and many times it happens that they just go mad – because a missing link is always bound to be there, and that missing link is always supplied by word of mouth from the teacher to the disciple. And it is a private and secret process, the missing link. because that is the key. No scripture is really complete and no scripture can ever be really complete, because those who know can never write a thing completely. Something must remain hidden, as a key, so no one can use it. You can read about it, you can comment on it, you can write a thesis upon it, but you cannot practice it because a certain key is not given in the scripture itself. Or, if it is given, it is given in such a way that you cannot decode it; the technique to decode it is not given in it.

So nothing about sudden practices – but you can do something gradually. And this mirror meditation is a very powerful method – very powerful – to know one’s own abyss and to know one’s own naked reality. And once you have known it, you become the master. Then just say something, and things begin to take shape. In that encounter, if you say, “I must die this moment,” you will die that very moment. If you say, “I must become a Buddha this very moment,” you will become a Buddha that very moment. Time is not required at all – just a will.

You may begin to think that then it is very easy, but it is a difficult problem. First, to reach it is difficult, though not so difficult, but to will in that moment is very difficult. Such a vital silence takes you over, you cannot even think. Your mind cannot even move. You are in such awe, everything stops – even breathing. A very still moment, totally silent, and will becomes impossible. So one has to train oneself how to will in that still moment – how to will without words, how to will without thoughts. That is possible, but then one has to practice for it.

You are looking at a flower: look at the flower, feel the beauty of it – but don’t use the word “beautiful”, not even in the mind. Look at it, let it be absorbed in you, reach to it, but don’t use words. Feel the beauty of it, but don’t say, “It is beautiful,” not even in the mind. Don’t verbalize, and gradually you will become capable of feeling a flower as beautiful without using the word.

Really, it is not difficult: it is natural. You feel first; then the word comes. But we are so habituated with words that there is no gap. The feeling is there, and suddenly, you have not even felt, and the word comes. So create a gap. Just feel the beauty of it, but don’t use the word.

If you can dissociate words from feeling, then you can dissociate even feeling from Existence. Then let the flower be there and you be there as two presences, but don’t allow the feeling to come in. Don’t even feel now that the flower is beautiful. Don’t feel! Let the flower be there and you be there arrowed in a deep embrace without any ripple of feeling. Then you will feel beauty without feeling. Really, then you will be the beauty of the flower. It will not be a feeling; you will be the flower. Then you have existentially felt something. When you can do this, you can will. When everything is lost – thought, words, feeling – then you can will existentially.

To help this will, many things have been used. One is that the seeker must constantly go on thinking, “When the thing comes, when that happening happens, what am I going to be?” The sutras of the Upanishads like “Aham brahmasmi” – I am the Brahman – are not meant as literal statements. These sutras are not meant as statements, they are not meant as philosophical theories, they are meant to engrave a deep will in the very cells of your being. So when that moment comes, you don’t need your mind to tell you, “I am the Brahman.” Your body begins to feel it, your cells begin to feel it, your every fiber begins to feel it: “Aham brahmasmi.” And this feeling does not need to be created by you. It will have gone deep into your existence. Then suddenly when you encounter the unconscious and the moment of will has come, and you can become a creator – your whole existence begins to vibrate “Aham brahmasmi.” And the moment your existence begins to vibrate “Aham brahmasmi,” you become a Brahma – you become! Whatsoever you can feel, you become.

This should not be known as metaphysics – it is not! It is an experience. So you can know it only through experiencing. Do not decide whether it is right or wrong; do not think in terms of yes and no. Just say, “Po – okay,” and make some effort. Just say, “Okay! It may be.” Don’t decide – because we are very hasty deciders. Someone will say, “No, it is not possible.” Really, he is saying. “I am not going to try”; he is not saying it is not possible. He is deceiving himself. He is saying, “I am not going to try,” and because of this “I am not going to try”, how can it be possible? He is rationalizing for himself.

Someone else says, “Yes, it is possible. It has happened to many. It has happened to my guru, to my teacher, it has happened to this one and that.” He is also not going to try because he is making it a trivial fact: “It has happened to many, so it is not such a thing for which one has to try!” He feels, “It can happen to me also.” No, don’t say yes or no. Just take it as an experiment, a hypothesis, to be worked out. Religion is not a given thing; one has to create it in oneself. It is not something which is given to you or which can be given; it is something which you have to uncover in yourself.

So don’t decide unless you experience, don’t decide unless you know. Never decide beforehand. Otherwise, you can go on continuously listening to things, thinking about them, and doing nothing – because thinking is not doing; thinking is just an escape from doing.


From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.1 #6, Q1

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

For a related post see A Still Mind: The Door to the Divine.

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

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

What is the Zen Attitude towards Death?

What is the Zen attitude towards death?

Laughter. Yes, laughter is the Zen attitude towards death. And towards life too, because life and death are not separate. Whatsoever is your attitude towards life will be your attitude towards death, because death comes as the ultimate flowering of life. Life exists for death. Life exists through death. Without death there will be no life at all. Death is not the end but the culmination, the crescendo. Death is not the enemy, it is the friend. It makes life possible.

So the Zen attitude about death is exactly the same as is the Zen attitude towards life – that of laughter, joy, celebration. And if you can laugh at death, in death, you are free from all. You are freedom then. If you cannot laugh at death you will not be able to laugh in life either. Because death is always coming. Each act in life, each move in life, brings death closer. Each moment that you live, you get closer to death. If you cannot laugh with death, how can you laugh with life and in life?

But there is a difference between the Zen Buddhists and the other religions. Other religions are not that deep. Other religions also say that there is no need to fear death, because the soul is immortal. But in the very idea of the immortality of the soul, your mind is seeking eternity and nothing else. In the very idea of immortality you are denying death, you are saying there is no death. You are saying “So why be afraid? There is no death. I am going to live – if not as this body, still I am going to live as this soul. My essential being will continue. So why fear death? Death will not be destroying me. I will remain, I.will persist, I will continue.” The other religions compromise with your desire to remain for ever. They give you a consolation. They say, “Don’t be worried. You will be in some other body, in some other form, but you will continue.” This seems to be a clinging.

But the Zen approach towards death is utterly different, immensely profound. Other religions say death is not to be worried about, not to be feared, because the soul is eternal. Zen says: There cannot be any death, because you are not. There is nobody to die. See the difference – there is nobody to die. The self exists not, so death cannot take anything away from you. Life cannot give you anything, and death cannot take anything away. There is no purpose in life and no purpose in death. There is nobody to die. Other religions say you will not die, so don’t be worried about death. Zen says: You exist not – for whom are you worrying? There is nobody in life and there will be nobody in death. You are pure emptiness. Nothing has ever happened there.

Zen does not compromise with your desire for eternity. It does not compromise for your security; it does not compromise with your ego in any form. Zen is utterly radical, it cuts the very root. Zen says: The idea to survive for ever is idiotic. What are you going to do if you survive for ever? Are you not yet finished with your doing? Have you not yet become frustrated enough with your doing? Have you not seen the foolishness and the stupidity of your being? What does it bring to you except misery? The more you are an ego, the more miserable you are. Can’t you see it, that the ego functions like a wound? It hurts. Still you want to continue this wound, still you want to continue this wound for ever and ever. You don’t want to be cured. Ego is illness, to be egoless is to be cured. But you want to be saved for ever.

In your very idea of remaining forever, being saved for ever, there is a kind of miserliness. Other religions say: Save. Save yourself. Zen says: Spend. Spend yourself. Because to be utterly spent is to be saved.

A Christian was walking with Mulla Nasruddin, they had gone for a morning walk. And the Christian showed Mulla Nasruddin his church. He said, “This is my church. Look.” And on the church there was a big board – on the board was written: Jesus Saves! Mulla Nasruddin looked at it and said, “So what! My wife saves better.”

Saving of any kind is a miserly attitude towards life. Spend – don’t hoard. Relax your clinging. Don’t keep your hands clenched like fists. Open them, be spent. Be spent like a flower which has released its fragrance to the winds. Be spent like a candle which has lived its night, danced, and now is no more. The Buddhist word for nirvana means ’putting out the candle’. When you are utterly spent, when you have authentically lived and spent yourself totally and there is nothing left in you except emptiness, you have arrived home. Because emptiness is the home.

You are the world. When you are not, you have come home.

The Zen attitude towards life is that of laughter, of living, of enjoying, of celebrating. Zen is not anti-life it is life-affirmative. It accepts all that is. It does not say deny this, deny that. It says all is good: live it, live it as totally as possible. Being total in anything is to be religious. Being partial in anything is to be worldly. And live so totally that when death comes you can live death totally too. Laugh so totally that when death comes you can have your last laugh.

A great master, Lo-shan, was coming closer to his death. When he sensed that death was close, Lo-shan called everyone into the Buddha-hall and ascended the lecture seat. First he held his left hand open for several minutes. No one understood, so he told the monks from the eastern side of the monastery to leave. Then he held his right hand open. Still no one understood, so he told the monks from the western side of the monastery to leave. Only the laymen remained. He said to them, ’If any of you really want to show gratitude to Buddha for his compassion to you, spare no efforts in spreading the Dharma. Now, get out! Get out of here!’ Then, laughing loudly, the master fell over dead.

Now this man, Lo-shan, is going to die. He gathers all his disciples. He opens one of his hands, nobody understands. He is saying, “With an open hand I lived, with an open hand I am going. Totally I lived, totally I am going. I was never closed. Now death is knocking on the door, my doors are open.” Then he raised his other hand. People did not understand. Then he said to the people, “Buddha had such immense compassion on you.”

What is the compassion of Buddha? The compassion of Buddha is this – that knowing perfectly well that you will not understand, he tried. That is his compassion. Knowing perfectly well that it is impossible to understand something that Buddha says, he tried his whole life to help you to understand. That is his compassion. He is trying to help you see that which you cannot see. Trying to bring into language and words that which cannot be reduced to words. Trying to do the impossible, that is his compassion.

Lo-shan said to the people, “Do one thing also – spread Buddha’s word, his dharma. Whatsoever he has said, go on spreading it.” Maybe somebody may understand sometime. Even if one understands in thousands, that’s enough. Even if one blooms in millions, that is enough. One person flowering fills the whole earth with his fragrance. Yes, a single individual flower of consciousness transforms the whole quality of consciousness on the earth. It raises the consciousness of the whole earth.

And then he told them, “Now, get out! Get out of here!” What does he mean by “Get out, get out of here!”? He is telling them: The mind in which you are, get out, get out of the mind. The ego in which you are, get out of the ego. But Zen masters have their own ways of expression. First, he threw out half the monks from one gate, then the other half from another gate. Then only laymen remained. And now he tells them, “Get out! Get out of here!” Then, laughing loudly, the master fell over dead.

What is his laughter? Why is he laughing? There is a Zen parable:

Thus he arrived before a great castle on whose facade were carved the words “I belong to no one and to all. Before entering you were already here. When you leave you will remain.”

He is laughing at the ridiculousness, absurdity. The absurdity of everything and all. Everything is so contradictory. Life exists through death, love exists through hate, compassion exists through anger. And only those who are not can be. And those who are cannot be. It is so absurd, it is so contradictory. He is having his last laughter at this whole situation of so-called life. It is not logical, that’s why he is laughing. It is so illogical. What can you do with such an illogical phenomenon? You can have a good laugh.

Another master, Etsugen, shortly before he died, called his monks together. It was December first. “I have decided to die on the eighth of this month,” he told them. “That’s the day of the Buddha’s enlightenment. If you have any questions left about the Teaching, you’d better ask them before then.”

Because the master continued with his regular duties during the next few days, some of the monks thought he was having a little fun at their expense. Most, however, were struck with grief.

By the evening of the seventh, nothing unusual had happened. Nonetheless, Etsugen had them all assemble and taught them for the last time about the Buddha’s enlightenment. He then arranged his affairs and went into his room.

At dawn he took a bath, put on his ceremonial robes, and sitting erect in the lotus posture composed this death poem:

Shakyamuni descended the mountain.

I went up.

In my teaching,

I guess I’ve always been something of a maverick.

And now I’m off to hell – yo-ho!

The inquisitiveness of men is pure folly.

Then, shutting his eyes, and still sitting, he died.

A Zen master can die any moment. He can decide. Why? Because he is already dead. The day he became enlightened, he died. Now only the visible form goes on living – inside, all is emptiness. He is thoroughly dead. So any day he can drop this form. It is just a soap-bubble: a small prick and it will be gone. And you cannot choose a better day to die than Buddha’s enlightenment day, because that day Buddha died.

About Buddha there is a beautiful story. He was born on a certain day, the same day he became enlightened, and the same day he died. The birth, the enlightenment and death, all these three great things happened on the same day. This is very indicative – it says birth, enlightenment and death are all the same. It has a message: They are all alike. They are not different, their quality is the same.

Birth is a kind of death. When a child is born out of the womb, if the child can verbalize what is happening he will say, “I am dying.” Because he has lived for nine months in the womb in such comfort, in such luxury, in such convenience. No worry, no problem, no work. Everything is available, you need not even ask for it. He need not even breathe on his own, the mother breathes for him. He need not eat, the mother eats for him. He simply lives. It is paradise.

Psychologists say that the search for paradise is nothing but the memory, the nostalgia, of the womb. Because you have lived in those nine months at the highest peak of comfort, luxury. And the whole search for paradise is for nothing but how to enter into that kind of warm womb again.

In India, the innermost part of the temple is called garbha, womb – very meaningfully. Where the deity of the temple sits, the innermost shrine, is called garbha – the womb. In ordinary life also we are searching the same comfort. When you feel a room is cozy, what do you really remember when you say that the room is cozy? Warm, alive, receptive, welcoming. You are not a stranger, you are a welcome guest. You are reminded of something of those nine months. Science goes on improving comfort, luxury, but not yet have we been able – and I think we will never be able – to create the womb situation again.

The child has lived in such abundance, it is just a continuous celebration. In silence, in utter silence. Now he is being thrown out. And he does not know anything about the outside world, whether there is any world or not. He is thrown out of his home. If the child can say anything he will say “I am dying.” You call it birth, you who are outside – but ask the child, just think of the child. The child will think, ”I am being uprooted, I am thrown out. I am being rejected.” The child clings, the child does not want to go out. The child feels it a kind of death. On one side it is death, on another side it is birth.

And so is enlightenment, again. On one side, on the side of the mind, it is death. The mind feels “I am dying.” The mind clings. The mind tries in every way to prevent this enlightenment happening. The mind creates a thousand and one questions, doubts, inquiries, distractions. Wants to pull you back – “Where are you going? You will die.”

This happens here every day. Whenever a person starts moving closer to meditation, fear arises. Great fear. His whole being is at stake, he starts trembling. Actual trembling arises in his being. Now he is facing the abyss – on one side it is death, on another side it will be birth. If the mind dies he will be born as consciousness. If thought dies he will be born as samadhi, as no-thought. If the mind disappears he will be born as no-mind. If this noise of the mind disappears then he will be born as silence. On one side it will be death, another side birth.

And so is death. Each death is also a birth, and each birth is also a death.

This story of Buddha’s being born on a certain day at a certain time, then at the same time and the same day becoming enlightened, at the same time and the same day dying, is meaningful. It simply says that all these three things are the same. One thing is missing, I would like to add that too. If you really fall in love then the whole list is complete. All these four things, then your whole life is complete. If I am to write Buddha’s story again, I will add this too, that he fell in love on the same day at the same time. Because that too is a birth and a death. The people who were writing Buddha’s story were not so courageous. They have dropped the idea of love, that seems to be dangerous.

These are the four greatest things in life, the four directions of life. This is the whole sky of life.

Etsugen decided to die on Buddha’s enlightenment day. Many Zen monks have been deciding to die on that day. And they die on that day. And they don’t commit suicide and they don’t take any poison – they just collapse. But their collapse is beautiful. They collapse with a smile, with laughter.

And this is a tradition in Zen, that before a master dies he has to compose a death poem. That too is very significant. Death should be received with poetry, with joy. That is your last statement, your testament. It should be in poetry. It should be poetry – prose won’t do, prose will look a little too worldly. Something more, something of a song. Etsugen wrote this poem. “Shakyamuni” is the name of Buddha.

Shakyamuni descended the mountain.

I went up.

He is saying “I have been just the opposite of Buddha.” Only a Zen master can say that. Otherwise, followers are followers – they are imitators, they are carbon-copies. But real followers are not, they are authentic beings. They live their life. They live with great respect for the master, with immense respect for the master, but they live their life. In fact, that immense respect for the master will make you capable to live your own life.

Buddha lived his own life. If you are really respectful towards him you will live your own life, that’s how you will pay your homage.

Shakyamuni descended the mountain

I went up.

In my teaching

I guess I’ve always been something of a maverick.

And now I’m off to hell – yo-ho!

The inquisitiveness of men is pure folly.

He is saying “Now I am off to hell.” He is joking. Only a Zen master can joke at the last moment. Only a Zen master can have the guts to say, “Now I am off to hell.” In fact, Zen people say that wherever a master is, there is heaven. If he is in hell, hell will be heaven. Heaven is his climate; he carries it with himself.

“Then, shutting his eyes, and still sitting, he died.” So silently, so poetically, so radically.

And the third story.

When the master, Tenno, was dying, he called to his room the monk in charge of food and clothing in the temple. When the monk sat down by the bed, Tenno asked, “Do you understand?”

Now, he has not said anything and he asks, “Do you understand?”

“No,” the monk was puzzled and said.

Tenno laughed, and said, “Do you understand?”

The monk said, “No.” And was more puzzled.

Then Tenno, picking up his pillow, hurled it through the window, and said, “Do you understand?”

And the monk said, “No. And you are making me more and more confused.”

Then he said, “Okay, then I will do the real thing.” He closed his eyes, gave a lion’s roar, and died.

He was dying. This disciple was not yet insightful. He was dying – if you have loved your master, if you have really loved your master, you will know what is happening to him. That’s why he asked, “Do you understand?” He is asking “Have you not come to know that I am dying? Has it not reached to your heart yet that I am dying?” At the last moment he is testing his disciple. Even death is being used as a kind of teaching. Even death is being used as the last effort to awaken the disciple. Then he laughed, and asked “Do you understand?” The laughter was so total, if the disciple had looked into the eyes of the master and heard the laughter, there was the whole teaching of Buddha in it, all the scriptures in it. The totality of it. And he would have seen that the master is leaving the body.

But he must have got into thinking. The master asked, “Do you understand?” And he has not said anything – what does he mean by “Do you understand?” The disciple must have gone into his mind. Because he had gone into his mind, the master laughed to bring him out of his mind. Because nothing brings you out of your mind like laughter.

Somebody has asked “Why, Osho, do you go on telling jokes?” That’s why. Nothing brings you out of your mind like laughter. When you have a good laugh the logic disappears – at that moment, at least. And the jokes are so absurd. They are jokes because they are absurd; you laugh because they are ridiculous, you laugh because they don’t follow the rules of logic, they go just against it. They take such an unexpected turn that your thinking could not have concluded. Because of that unexpected turn, because of that sudden leap . . . the whole joke goes in one way, then comes the punchline. And the punchline is a leap, it is discontinuous.

 A joke is a great meditation.

The master laughed. Loud was his laughter, total was his laughter. He wanted to bring this disciple out of his mind – he had gone too much into thinking. He was thinking “Why has he asked, ‘Do you understand?’ What does he mean?” He has asked a simple question – a question to provoke the disciple to be alert of the master’s situation, what is happening to him. If the disciple was really in tune with the master, that would have been a shock: “Do you understand?” And he would have opened his eyes and he would have looked into the being of the master and would have felt that the master is ready to leave the body. But he went into thinking and missed the point. Hence the master tried again by laughing. And asked, “Do you understand?” Still the disciple was more puzzled, because he could not see why the master is laughing. He started thinking “Why?”

The moment you bring the question “Why?” you are moving into the rut, the dead rut, of the mind. Once you have asked why, you miss the meditative moment. Seeing that the disciple is very gross, he had to be gross. He had to throw his pillow out of the window – he had to do something absolutely meaningless, just to shock. But the disciple was more puzzled, even more puzzled.

Then he gave a lion’s roar. And died. It is said that for many centuries the roar was heard in his monastery. Whenever people would sit silently and meditate they would hear the lion’s roar. This was his last shock. And then he died. Why did he do this, this lion’s roar? Maybe nothing is bringing him out of his mind – this utterly absurd thing, a lion’s roar for no reason at all, may bring him out of the mind. And then he died. If nothing else brings him out of his mind, then death will bring him. And if even for a single moment you can taste the space called no-mind, then you know that there is nobody to die.

Nobody lives, nobody dies. Nothingness lives, nothingness dies. You are not. Have a good laugh at this situation. You are not and you exist. You are not and you are. This is the cosmic joke.

You ask me, What is the Zen attitude towards death?

Laughter. But that is their attitude towards life too.


From This Very Body the Buddha, Discourse #8

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.

A Still Mind: The Door to the Divine – Osho

Nishal-gyanam asanam.

Non-wavering knowing is asana – the posture.

Man is neither a body, nor a mind alone – he is both. Even to say that he is both is wrong in a way because body and mind are separate only as two words. Existence is one. Body is nothing but the outermost core of your consciousness, the grossest expression of consciousness. And consciousness, on the other hand, is nothing more than the subtlest body, the most refined part of the body. You exist in between.

These are not two things, but two ends of one thing. So whenever knowing becomes non-wavering, body is also affected; non-wavering knowing creates a non-wavering body. But the vice versa is not true. You can impose non-wavering on the body, but the knowing will not become non-wavering. It can help – a very little. It can be helpful, but not much.

Body posture became very important because we are body oriented. Even those who say that we are not bodies think in terms of body. Even those who say, “We are not bodies,” their thinking, their mind, remains tethered to the body. Even they begin with body postures. Asana means giving your body a posture in which the body becomes non-wavering, still. It is supposed that if the body is still, then the mind will go into stillness.

This is not true – the contrary is true! If the mind becomes still, then the body becomes still. And then a very mysterious phenomenon happens: if the mind is still, you can go on dancing but your body will remain still. And if your mind is not still, you can be just dead but still the body will be wavering, because the mind wavering creates subtle vibrations which come to the body and the body goes on wavering inside. Try it. You can sit just like a statue – dead, stonelike. Close your eyes and feel. Outwardly, no one can say that your body is wavering, but inwardly you will know that it is. A subtle trembling is there. Even if it cannot be detected from the outside, you can feel it from the inside.

If your mind is totally still, then even if you are dancing you will feel from inside that the body is still. A Buddha is still even when he is walking, and a non-Buddha is not still even when he is dead. The vibrations come from your center, they originate from you, and then they spread towards the body. The body is not the originator, it is not the source, so you cannot stop them from the periphery. You can impose, you can practice, but inside there will be turmoil – and this imposing will create more conflict than stillness.

So this sutra says that to practice meditation, posture – a still posture – is needed. But what do we mean by a posture? This sutra says that “a non-wavering knowing” is the posture. If the mind is non-wavering, then you are in the right posture. In that right posture everything can happen.

So don’t deceive yourself by creating bodily imitations. You can create them; that is very easy. On the circumference, on the periphery, to impose stillness is very easy. But that is not your stillness. You remain in turmoil, you remain wavering. From the center the waves must not come.

What is this non-wavering knowledge? It is one of the deepest secrets. To understand it we will have to go deep into the very construction of mind, so let us begin.

Mind has many types of thoughts. Every thought is a wavering, every thought is a wave. If there are no thoughts, then the mind will be non-wavering. A single thought, and you have trembled. A single thought, and you are not still. And a single thought is not a single thought: it is a very complex phenomenon. A single thought is created by many waves; a single word even is created by many waves. So only when many waves are there in the mind is a single word created, and a single thought has many words. Thousands and thousands of ripples create one thought.

Thought is the outermost, but waves have preceded. You become aware only when waves become thoughts because your awareness is so gross. You cannot be aware when waves are pure waves still in the formation of becoming a thought. The more you will become aware, the more you will feel that thought has many layers. Thought form is the last. Before thought there are seed waves which create the thought, and before the seed waves there are still deeper roots which create seeds.

Seeds create thought. At least three layers are very easily visible for a conscious mind. But we are not conscious: we are asleep. So we become aware only when waves take the grossest form – thought. As far as we know, thought seems to be the most subtle thing. It is not. Thought really has become a thing. When there are pure waves, you cannot even detect what is going to happen, what thought is going to be created in you. So we become aware only when waves become thought.

A single thought implies thousands of waves, so we can conceive how much we are wavering – continuous thinking, not a single moment of no thought, one thought followed by another constantly, no gap. So we are really a wavering, a trembling phenomenon. Soren Kierkegaard has said that man is a trembling – just a trembling and nothing else. And he is right in a way. As far as we are concerned, man is a trembling. A Buddha may not be, but then Buddha is not a man.

This thought process is the process of wavering. So non-wavering means a no-thought state of mind. Really, the sutra says “non-wavering knowing” – mind is not even mentioned. So first, three layers of mind have to be distinctly understood.

One is the conscious mind, and one type of thought belongs to the conscious level. These thoughts are the least important. They constitute moment-to-moment reactions, reflexes. You are on the road and a snake passes and you jump. The snake gives you a stimulus and you respond. So one type of thought is like this: stimulus outside and a response from the periphery. Really, you don’t think: you just act. A snake is there: you act; you become aware and you act. You don’t go inside to ask what to do. The house is on fire and you run. This is a peripheral reaction.

So one type of thought is the moment-to-moment reflex type. Even a Buddha has to react in this way. This is natural; nothing is wrong with it. If you react moment-to-moment, then nothing is wrong with the mind – but that is not the only layer.

Then there is a second layer. This second layer is the subconscious. Religions call it “conscience.” Really, this second layer is created by the society; it is a society in you. Society penetrates everyone, because society cannot control you unless it penetrates you; so it becomes a part of you. The upbringing, the education, the parents, the teachers – what are they doing? They are doing one thing: they are creating the subconscious mind. They are giving you thoughts. structures, ideals, values. These thoughts belong to the second layer They are helpful, they have their utility, but they are harmful also. They are instruments to move easily, conveniently in the society, but they are barriers also.

This second layer has to be understood more. This second layer consists of ideas within, fixed ideas, fixations. So whenever your peripheral mind is working moment-to-moment, it is not pure. Only a child is pure, innocent – he is working moment-to-moment. There is no subconscious to interfere.

You are not working moment-to-moment. The subconscious is constantly interfering. It is giving you choice: what to choose, what not to choose. Every moment it is making you narrow. You become just unaware of many things because of the subconscious. It will not allow you to be aware of everything. And about many things you become too much aware because this subconscious mind forces you constantly to be aware of them.

Every society creates a different type of subconscious, so, really, one’s being a Hindu or a Christian or a Jain belongs to the subconscious mind. As far as the peripheral mind is concerned, everyone reacts in the same way; it is natural. But the subconscious mind is not natural; it is a social product. So we behave in different ways. You see a church. A Hindu can pass without even becoming aware that there is a church. He need not be aware. But a Christian cannot pass without becoming aware that there is a church. He may even be anti-Christian – consciously he may even be like Bertrand Russell who can write a book called Why I am not a Christian – but he will become aware. The subconscious is working there.

A Brahmin, he can intellectually understand that the problem of untouchability is just violent, cruel, and intellectually he can think that it is not good, but this is the conscious mind. The subconscious is working there. If you ask him to marry a Sudra girl, somewhere deeply he is struck. He cannot conceive of it. Even to eat with an untouchable becomes difficult. Intellectually he understands nothing is wrong in it, but the subconscious goes on projecting and pushing. And he cannot react naturally: the subconscious distorts, perverts.

This subconscious is supplying you constantly with many ideas which you think are your own. They are not. They have been fed to you just like a computer is fed. You can get information out of a computer only if you have previously fed it. The same is the case with man also, with mind also. Whatsoever you are getting out is just because of what has been fed in before. Everything has been fed in. This is what we mean by education, the so-called education: feeding information. So it is ready in the unconscious every moment. It is so ready, really, that even when you don’t need it, it comes up. It constantly overfloods your mind, and it becomes a constant wavering, a constant trembling. This subconscious mind is the root cause of so many social evils.

Really, the world could be one if there were no subconscious mind. Then there would be no distinction between a Hindu and a Mohammedan. The distinction is of the subconscious feeding, and it goes so deep that you cannot even feel how it works. You cannot go behind it. It goes so deep that you always remain in front and you feel helpless. But the society is also helpless. It is a substitute – a poor substitute, but a substitute. Unless man becomes totally aware, the society cannot dispense with the subconscious.

For example, if a man becomes totally aware, he cannot be a thief. But man, as he is, is not aware at all, so society has to create a substitute for awareness: it must put a strong suggestion inside that theft is bad, evil, sin, that you must not be a thief. This idea must be put deep in the subconscious so that when you begin to think of theft the subconscious comes up and says, “No. this is sin,” and you are stopped. This is a social substitute for awareness – and unless man comes to awareness the society cannot dispense with the subconscious, because it has to give you some rules. Unless you are so aware that rules are not needed at all, the subconscious will have to be maintained.

So each society has to create a subconscious. And I call that society good – remember it – I call that society good which creates a subconscious that can be dispensed with very easily; and I call a society bad which creates such a subconscious that cannot be dispensed with: because if it cannot be dispensed with, then it becomes a hindrance when you try to be aware. And, really, no such good society exists now which gives you a dispensable substitute, a dispensable subconscious, which gives you a subconscious as a utilitarian instrument so that the moment you become aware, you can throw it.

To me, that society is good and religious which gives you an inherent freedom about the subconscious. But no society gives it. so. no society is religious, really. Every society is totalitarian, and every society takes your mind in such a way that you become just an automaton – and you go on thinking and deceiving yourself that your thoughts are yours. They are not! Even the very language we use is contaminated, the words we use are contaminated. We cannot use a single word without the subconscious being there. It comes suddenly. Society uses it very cunningly, and then your reactions, your reflexes, are not spontaneous. […]

This subconscious mind is constantly working, day and night. The mind’s working is double. One working belongs to your conscious mind. It is concerned with how to control the subconscious consciously, constantly. Then the subconscious is controlling the conscious mind. It is working to control your reactions, your actions, your reflexes, everything. Whatsoever you are doing must be controlled! This is the society’s grip on you. You are just moving in society’s hands. No value is yours. How can it be? How can a value be yours when you are not at all aware? Only awareness can give you authentic, individual values.

All these values are supplied. If the society is vegetarian, then you have vegetarian values. If the society is non-vegetarian, then you have non-vegetarian values. If the society believes in this, then you are a believer in it. If the society doesn’t believe, then you are a disbeliever. But you are not; only society is there.

This is a double control: one control is on your conscious mind, your behavior. Another control is more deep and more dangerous, and that is the control on your instinctive nature. The first part is conscious, the second is subconscious. The subconscious is created by society. And the third is the instinctive. which is given by biological nature: that which you really are biologically, that which you are born with. That’s a third part, the deepest: the biological instinctive nature.

This second, subconscious mind is controlling outward behavior and also controlling inward instincts. Nothing should be allowed to come up to the conscious mind from your instinctive nature if the society is against it. Nothing should be allowed to come up – even up to your consciousness. So this subconscious creates a great barrier for the instinctive nature.

For example, sex is an instinct, the deepest, because without it life cannot exist on earth. So life depends on sex. It is not easily dispensable; obviously, it must not be – otherwise life will become just impossible. So it has a deep grip. But the society is anti-sex; it is bound to be. The more a society is organized, the more it will be anti-sex – because if your sex instinct can be controlled then everything can be controlled, and if your sex instinct cannot be controlled then nothing can be controlled. So it becomes a fighting ground.

You must be aware that whenever a society becomes sexually free, that society cannot exist. It is defeated. When Greek culture became sexually free, Greek civilization had to die. When Roman civilization became sexually free, it had to die. Now America cannot exist anymore. America has begun to be sexually free. The moment a society becomes sexually free, the individual is not in its grip. You cannot force him.

Really, unless you suppress sex you cannot force your youth to war. It is impossible. You can force your youth into war only if you suppress sex. So the hippie slogan is really meaningful: “Make love, not war!” So society has to suppress the deepest instinct. Once it is suppressed, you can never rebel. Many things have to be understood about it.

Children, when they mature sexually, begin to be rebellious – never before. The moment a boy is mature he will begin to be rebellious against his parents, never before – because with sex comes individuality. With sex he really becomes a man, never before. Now he can be independent. Now he has the initial energy with him, because he can propagate, he can reproduce. Now he is complete.

At fourteen, a boy is complete, a girl is complete. They can be independent of their fathers and mothers, so rebellion begins to take shape. If the society has to control them, sex must be suppressed. All instincts have to be suppressed because we have not been able yet to create a society in which freedom is not against all, in which one individual’s freedom is not against all. We have not yet been able!

We are still primitive, not yet civilized, because a society can be called civilized and cultured only when each individual grows to his total potentiality, is not suppressed. But politics will not allow it, religions will not allow it, because once you give total freedom to instinctive nature, then churches and temples and the so-called religious business cannot continue. Religion will be there, more authentic, but religions cannot continue: because if you cannot create fear, then no one will come to this religious business.

People come because of fear; and if you suppress their instincts, they become fearful – fearful of themselves. A child feels existential fear for the first time when his sex is suppressed. He feels guilty. He begins to feel that something is wrong, and he begins to feel also that “No one has this evil that I am having inside. I am guilty.” You create guilt; then you can control. Then he feels inferior inside, afraid. This fear is then exploited by religious heads, by political leadership, because they all want to dominate.

You can dominate only when people are fearful. And how can you create fear? If you can convince them that something which is constantly within them is sin, they will be fearful. They will be fearful! All the time sex will be there, and they will become afraid – afraid of themselves and guilty. They cannot enjoy anything then. Then the whole life becomes a frustration. Then they go on seeking somewhere help, guidance, someone to take away their responsibility, someone to lead them to heaven, someone to protect them from hell.

This third, instinctive layer is the unconscious. The subconscious is controlling it every moment – every moment! And it controls so fanatically that everything is destroyed – or at least distorted. We never feel from the third layer what real instinct is. We never feel! Everything is distorted. From this subconscious mind – the most suppressed, the most distorted, the most destroyed – come all the miseries. All the miseries, all the paranoia, all the schizophrenia, all mental diseases, they come from this third layer.

These three – conscious, subconscious and unconscious – these are the three types of thoughts. The deeper the layer from where the thought comes, the more irrelevant it looks. So if you just write down your thoughts as they happen, you will feel that you are just mad. What is going on in your mind? What type of thinking is going on? Most of it looks irrelevant. It is not! It is relevant, only with missing links – because the subconscious will not allow everything to come up. Something escapes and comes to the mind, and the gaps are there.

That’s why you cannot understand your dreams: because even in dreams the subconscious is always alert not to allow everything, and the unconscious has to try symbolic routes. It has to change everything just to escape the censor of the subconscious. So it goes on giving you messages in symbolic, pictorial forms.

Your mind is flooded: first, with outward reactions and reflections which are natural; second, by subconscious thoughts which have been produced by the society; and third, by instinctive nature which has been suppressed totally. These three constantly flood the mind. And because of these you are constantly wavering – constantly wavering and trembling. You cannot even sleep. Dreams will continue; that means mind will continue wavering. Twenty-four hours a day, the mind is just a mad thing going round and round and round.

In this state of affairs, how can you be still? How can you attain the posture, the non-wavering mind? How can you achieve it? And when the rishi says that non-wavering knowing is the posture – the right posture – he means that unless these layers are broken and the contents released, you will never be in a state of pure knowing. The mind will not be cleansed; you will not attain the purity of perception. So what to do? What to do to achieve this non-wavering knowing?

Three things: one, whenever you are living moment-to-moment, don’t allow your subconscious to interfere constantly. Sometimes, just drop the subconscious and live in the moment. It is not needed. sometimes it is needed. When you are driving, the subconscious is needed, because the skill of driving becomes a part of the subconscious. That’s why you can talk and you can smoke and you can think and you can drive. The driving is now not a conscious effort. It has been taken over by the subconscious. So it is good to use it whenever it is needed, but when it is not needed, just drop it – put it aside! Without any murmur, just put it aside and be in the moment.

There are many moments when the subconscious is not needed, but only because of old habit you go on using it. You have come back from the office and you are sitting in your garden: why should the subconscious come in now? You can listen to the birds just as once you listened when you were a child without a subconscious.

Relax in these moments, and just be there near the reality. Don’t allow your subconscious mind to come in. Just put it aside! Play with children, put the subconscious aside.

A father who cannot play with his children as their equal cannot really be a right father, because no communication is possible unless you are equal to them. A mother cannot really be a mother unless she can become a child again with her child. Then there is a rapport. Then both become equal. Then there is a friendship. Then a different quality of love comes in. So, really, a child never feels independent, free, at liberty with his parents – never! He begins to feel freedom for the first time when he goes to his chums – not with his parents.

So remember constantly that whenever you can relax your subconscious, relax it! It is not needed to be there every moment.

There are many moments, but you will not relax it even in your bed. You have gone to sleep and it is working. You want to sleep and it will not allow you. It says, “I am to do much work.” It goes on thinking; it goes on working. You can put off the light – mm? – that means you stop the first, the peripheral mind. Now there will be no light; you will not be able to see. You can close the doors. Now there will be no noise, no sound. You have completely closed yourself off from outside stimuli. That means now you need not react, so the first layer of the mind is relaxed.

But what to do with the second layer? You put off the light, close the doors, close your ears, close your eyes, but it goes on working – because you have never allowed it not to work. And, really. A man is not the master of his mind unless he achieves this: that when he wants to work with the mind he works; when he doesn’t want to work the mind, he doesn’t. And the second capacity is the greater. […]

It needs only the breaking of an old habit. But you have never tried it. You have used your subconscious constantly; your subconscious mind doesn’t have any memory of when you have allowed it not to work. So the first thing to do is to allow your subconscious mind sometimes to be put aside. Don’t use it, and soon you will have a less wavering mind. You can become capable of this, and it is not difficult. You must only become conscious of your subconscious workings. Don’t allow – just relax sometimes and tell your subconscious mind: “Stop!”

One thing more to remember: never fight with it; otherwise, you will never be capable of this nonwavering. Never fight with it, because when a master begins to fight with his servant, he accepts equality. When a master begins to fight with a servant, he has accepted him as the master. So please remember: never fight with the subconscious mind; otherwise, you will be defeated. Just order it – never fight.

Know the difference – what I mean when I say just order it. Just say to it, “Stop!” and begin to work. Never fight with it! This is a mantra, and the mind begins to follow it. Just say, “Stop!” Nothing more, nothing less. Say, “Stop totally!” and begin to behave as if the mind had stopped. And soon you will become capable, and you will be just wonder-struck at how this mind stops by just saying “Stop!” It is because mind has no will.

You might have seen someone in a hypnotic trance. What happens? In a hypnotic trance, the hypnotist goes on simply giving orders and the mind follows – the man follows. Absurd orders, and the man begins to follow, the hypnotized subject follows them. Why? Because the conscious mind has only been put to sleep, and the subconscious mind has no will of its own. Just tell it to do something and it will do it.

But we are not aware of our own capacity, so rather than ordering we go on begging, or, at the most, we begin to fight. When you fight, you are divided. Your own will begins to fight with you. The subconscious mind has no will at all. So, if you want to stop smoking, don’t try. Just order and stop. Don’t try at all. If you fall in the trap of trying you will never win, because you have accepted something which is not there. You just say to the mind, “Now I stop this very moment,” and soon you will become aware that things begin to happen. It is natural! Nothing is strange about it: it is just natural. Once you have to be aware of it, that’s all. So just put the subconscious mind aside and begin to live in the moment.

Then the second thing you have to do is: when you have become capable of putting the mind aside when something outside is working as a stimulus, then try the other way – when some instinct is coming up, just put the subconscious mind aside. It will be a bit difficult, but when the first thing is achieved it will not be difficult at all. Just see now that again the sex is coming up, the anger is coming up, and just say to the subconscious mind, “Let me face it directly. Don’t come in – let me face it directly! You are not needed.” Just order the mind and face the instinct directly. And once you begin to encounter your own instincts directly, you will be the master without the need of any control.

When you need control, you are really not the master. A master never needs control. If you say, “I can control my anger,” you are not the master – because a controlled thing can erupt any moment, and you will remain constantly in fear of that which you have controlled. There will be a constant fight. In any weak moment you will be defeated. So, please, don’t control. Be a master! – don’t control. These are two completely different dimensions.

When I say be a master, this mastery comes only when you encounter your nature, your biological nature as it is, in its purity. I wonder, have you ever seen your sex in its purity without moral teachings coming in, without the gurus and mahatmas dropping in, without the scriptures? Have you seen your sex instinct in its purity, in its pure fire? If you have seen it, you will become the master of it. If you have not seen it, you will remain a cripple and you will remain a defeated one. And howsoever you try to control, you will never be able to control it. That is impossible!

Control is impossible: mastery is possible. But mastery has a different root. Mastery means knowledge; control means fear. When you fear something, you begin to control. When you know something, you become the master: there is no need to control. And knowledge means direct encounter. Instincts should be known in their purity. Drop the subconscious, because it is a constantly disturbing factor. It goes on distorting things; it will never allow you to see things as they are. It will always put the society in between, and you will see things through the society as they are not.

Really, this is the miracle of the subconscious mind – that if you look through it things begin to be as you see them. The subconscious mind can impose any color, any shape on things. Just put it aside; face your biological nature directly. It is beautiful! It is wonderful! Just face it directly. It is Divine! Don’t allow any moralistic nonsense to distort it. See it as it is.

Science observes things, and the basis of its observation is that the observer must not come in: he must remain just an observer. And whatsoever the thing reveals should be allowed. The observer must not come in to disturb and destroy or distort or give a shape or a color. A scientist is working in his lab: even if something comes up which destroys his whole concept, his whole philosophy, his whole religion, he must not allow his mind to come in. He must allow the truth to be revealed as it is.

The same goes for inner working, inner research: allow your biological nature to reveal itself in its pure being. And once you know it you will be the master – because knowledge means mastery, knowledge means power. Only ignorance is weak. And through control there is no knowledge, because the whole concept of control is brought in by the subconscious, by the society.

So if you can do two things with your subconscious: one, allowing the fact of the outside Existence to come to you directly; and then, two, allowing the “facticity” of the inside Existence to be realized in its purity, in its innocence – then a miracle happens. It is a miracle, and that miracle is this: that subconscious and unconscious drop. Then mind is not divided in three. Then mind becomes one. That oneness of mind, undivided oneness, is what the Upanishads call “the knowing” – because even the knower is not there. When these three divisions have dropped, when even this division of knower is not there, then only pure knowing, only mirrorlike knowing remains.

With this knowing, you have two centers: one, the outside periphery where you unite with the universe; and another, the inside where again you unite with the universe. And this knowing joins both the inner and the outer – the atma and the brahma.

This pure knowing is without any trembling. This pure knowing is the posture, the right posture, in which the Enlightenment happens, the Realization happens, in which you become one with Truth. This is the door – but how to cleanse? It is not simply a theory; it is not a theoretical statement at all. It is just a scientific procedure; it is a process. Do something to dissolve the divisions of the mind. And if you want to dissolve the mind, concentrate on the subconscious, the middle portion of the mind, which is society. Drop it!

It is, of course, necessary for a child to be brought up in a society. It is necessary! So the subconscious is a necessary evil: the society has to teach him many things – but they should not become fetters. That’s why I say that a better society, a real, moral society, will also teach, side by side, how to break this subconscious. A better society will give its children the subconscious with a conscious methodology of how to drop it when it is not needed and how to be free of it.

It is needed up to the point when you become aware, when you achieve an awakened state of mind. Until then it is needed. It is just like a blind man’s staff. A staff cannot substitute for eyes: it is just a groping in the dark. But a blind man needs it, and it is helpful – but a blind man can become so much attached to his staff that when his eyes are healed and he has begun to see, he still cannot throw away his staff, and goes on groping. Because groping is easier when the eyes are closed, he remains with closed eyes and goes on groping with his staff.

This subconscious is like a blind man’s staff. A child is born, but he is not born aware. The society has to give him something so that he can move and grope – some values, some ideals, some thoughts. But they should not become the eyes. And what I am saying is: if you drop the divisions and create more awareness within yourself, you will have eyes, and with those eyes this staff is not needed.

But it is a related thing. If you drop the subconscious, you will become aware; if you become aware then the subconscious will drop. So begin from anywhere. You can begin by being more aware, then the subconscious will drop. Mm? This is a samkhya process, this is a samkhya methodology: just be aware and, by and by, the subconscious will drop. The yoga process is a second way – the other, the contrary: drop the subconscious, and you will become more aware. Both are related.

So wherever you want to begin, the important thing is to begin. Begin from anywhere, either from being more conscious or from being less obsessed with the subconscious. And when these divisions drop, you will have a pure knowing. That pure knowing is the posture. With that pure knowing, with that non-wavering knowing, your body will achieve a stillness you have not known at all.

We are not aware: that’s why we don’t know how disturbed we are in our bodies. You cannot sit still, and if you try to sit still then for the first time you will become aware of subtle movements in the body: the leg will begin to say something, the hand will begin to say something, the neck will begin to say something, every part of the body will begin to give you information. Why? It is not that when you sit still the body begins to move; it is moving every moment. It is only because you are otherwise occupied that you are not aware. There are subtle movements continuously: your body is constantly moving and moving. This constant wavering really doesn’t belong to your body. It belongs to your mind. The body only reflects. […]

A Buddha sits just like a statue. It is not that he has forced his body to be still. The mind is still, and the body need not reflect because there is nothing to reflect.[…]

Unless one can be so silent, one can never feel what Existence means, what life means, what the bliss of it is, the benediction. Only in such silence does life descend. You become aware of the music, of the nectar. You begin to feel it, but only in silence. And that silence comes only when you are non-wavering. If you are wavering, if the mind is just wavering and there is trembling inside, you cannot feel that silence.

You cannot attain silence directly: you have to attain non-wavering, then silence comes as a shadow. If non-wavering comes, then silence comes. […]

Silence never divides, silence joins you.

For example, if we are sitting here and everyone becomes so silent that not a thought has any existence, not a single ripple is there in the mind, everyone silent, totally silent, will you be different from anyone else? Will you be different from your neighbors? How can you be different? The feeling of difference is a thought. Do I mean you will feel one with them? No, because the feeling of oneness is a thought. You will simply be one, not a feeling. Really, there will be no one here – just silence. […]

When you begin to be silent you begin to be in deep communion with Existence. Thoughts and thoughts are noises. Waves and waves are thoughts and tremblings inside. They create a barrier, they disrupt – they make you alone. Then you begin to be alone in this whole universe, and that loneliness creates meaninglessness. The more lonely you are, the more you will feel meaningless, futile, useless, and then you will begin to fill yourself with more noise. With radio, television, with anything, you will try to fill yourself, to be occupied. You run from here to there, from this club to that club. Go on running! Don’t leave any gap in which you might become aware of your loneliness! So this whole life just becomes a running from one point to another. This is madness, and the whole earth has become a madhouse.

So attain to this posture – and don’t begin with the body. Begin with the subconscious mind, and then your body will reflect what is happening within. Even now it is reflecting what is happening within. The body is a mirror; it is transparent. Those who have eyes, they know that the body is transparent. You enter here, and I know what is happening inside you – because you cannot enter without showing it. You look at me, and I know what is happening inside your eyes – because how can you raise your eyes without expressing that which is within? It is being shown every moment!

Every moment is an indication. It is related; nothing is irrelevant. Your body is showing every moment, but you don’t know the body language. The body has a language of its own, and it shows – everything! You cannot deceive. You can deceive with your language. but not with your body – not with your body! You can smile, but your lips will say that there is no smile within. You can show something by your face, you can try, but still the face will give hints that this is false.

This body is just giving information every moment. You cannot change it. You can try, but you cannot change it. And even if you succeed in changing your body, you can succeed only in deceiving others not yourself, because the inside cannot change by the outside change. It is not basic. You can cut a tree by the roots, but not by the leaves. If you cut the leaves, new leaves will come up again and one leaf will be replaced by two. Cut two, and four leaves will come out of that spot. The tree will take revenge, the roots will take revenge. They will say, “You are cutting one leaf – we will put two. We are capable of constantly supplying – infinitely.”

So don’t be bothered by leaves. And body has only leaves: roots are deep within. Cut the roots, and the leaves will wither away by themselves. When there are no roots to feed, the leaves will drop by themselves. Your body will change. Change the mind and the body will change. Mind is the root!

Attain a non-wavering knowing, and the door will be open, and you will be able to have a glimpse into the unknown. The unknown is not far off: only you are closed. The unknown is here, but you are running. The unknown is here, but you are in such a hurry and in such speed that you cannot look at it.

Stand still! I don’t mean your body: let your mind stand still, your consciousness, and suddenly you will become aware of something which has always been there. You have been seeking for it, seeking and searching, lives and lives running for it – and it was here. It is so near, and that’s why you have missed it. It is just by the corner, and you have sought it everywhere except this place where you are standing.

Non-wavering reveals to you the here and now. That standing still in consciousness reveals to you the presence which is here.


From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.1, Discourse #5

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

For a related post see Encountering the Unconscious.

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.

In the Gap Descends the Witness – Osho

You describe witnessing as a knack. Often, late at night, which I am in a very relaxed state, witnessing happens. At other times, though, it just seems to be mind watching mind watching mind. Please comment on this knack.

The moment I say that witnessing is a knack, it implies that there is no way to explain it, no way to teach someone about it, no way to train someone in it.

That’s the whole meaning of the word “knack.”

I can say things which are close enough, but they can never be exact descriptions of the knack. It is not an art, not a craft that can be explained in detail, step by step. But if it is happening to you, there is no problem. You should know what it is; you should know the taste of it.

The problem is arising because you must be trying to do it; not allowing the knack to happen, but trying to make an art of it, so that you can control it. Man wants to control everything; it is part of his basic ego.

The knack cannot be controlled. Either you know it or you don’t know it. You can play around it, and sometimes by chance you stumble upon it: suddenly you have come to know it. That is the moment when you have to be aware in what situation it is happening.

In the night, when you are relaxed, you find it happening. That gives you a clue that relaxation, not an effort to attain witnessing, allows the knack to happen. At other times when you are trying, making an effort, an endeavor to get it, then it is mind watching mind watching mind. It is always the mind.

Mind cannot get the knack.

Mind can learn any art, any technique, any craft: a knack is beyond it. It is not its language, it is not its world. A knack is something beyond mind.

So you have to be clearly aware: the thing is happening to you, the failure of the mind is happening to you. Whenever you are trying, you watch – then you find that it is mind watching another part of the mind. And then you find the one who has found this is also another part of the mind. And this can go on ad infinitum.

Mind is capable of dividing itself infinitely. But finally you will find only mind – you will not come to meditation, you will not come to witnessing.

So your failure is helpful. It says, “Don’t make the effort, don’t try.” Your success indicates that it happens when you are relaxed, when you are not trying. In relaxation, mind is no longer functioning.

The mind is going to be in sleep, it is ready to go into sleep; it is not going into an effort because effort will keep you awake. You cannot fall into sleep by effort.

Sleep and witnessing have something in common.

You cannot make the effort – one thing. Every effort is going to be a failure – another thing. Unless you learn that every effort fails, you cannot get the knack. But once in a while when your mind is getting ready to go to sleep – in between, when you are still awake, and the mind is relaxing to go into sleep – suddenly, witnessing happens. You have got the knack!

Now don’t ask me what it is. That may destroy even your night witnessing, because you may start trying it. Just let it happen as it is happening in the night. You can, at the most, create the same atmosphere whenever you want it to happen, and wait. You cannot force it.

One has to learn a great lesson – that there are things beyond you which you cannot force; you can only remain open, available, waiting, and they come. The moment you become tense to get hold of them, they slip away. It is just like in the open fist you have all the air possible. With the closed fist all the air disappears.

You may be thinking that with a closed fist you are catching hold of the air. No, it has slipped out. It does not belong to the closed fist, it belongs only to the open hand – and it is easily available. You just have to see when it happens, what the surroundings are.

The surroundings mean you are going into sleep, you are tired of the whole day’s work – you don’t want to work anymore. In the gap, before the mind slips into sleep and you lose consciousness – the mind is preparing, is getting ready to go into sleep, but you are still awake – in that minute gap, witnessing happens.

Now, you cannot try the knack. You can simply create the outer situation. In the day, anytime, let the mind go into relaxation. Don’t try – as if you are going to create witnessing: you are simply allowing mind to rest. And at a certain point, that same gap will appear, and in the gap descends the witness.

This is the mystery of a knack – its strangeness and its simplicity too.

– Osho

From Light on the Path, Discourse #32

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.

Desire Peace Fervently – Osho

The eleventh sutra:

Desire peace fervently.

The peace you shall desire is that sacred peace which nothing can disturb and in which the soul grows as does the holy flower upon the still lagoons.

Desire peace fervently. No one desires peace. You go on talking about it and go on deceiving yourself that you desire peace, but no one desires it – because once it is desired, peace happens. and it has not happened to you.

No one desires peace. Even if you say that you desire peace you don’t desire it. because this is one of the ultimate laws: if you desire peace it happens. Then where have things gone wrong?

Many people come to me . . .

One student came to me – he was just going to appear in his final M.A. examination. He asked me, “How can I be peaceful? How can I be silent? Help me. I desire peace. I am so disturbed, so tense.”

I asked him, “Why do you desire peace?”

He said, “I want to achieve the gold medal. The examination is about to happen. I am a first-class student but this is going to be my last examination and I desire the gold medal. And if my mind is so tense, how can I achieve it? So help me to be peaceful.” 

Look at the contradiction! And this is happening to everyone.

I told him, “If there was to be no examination, if you had no desire to achieve the gold medal, if you had no ambition to be first class first, would there be any disturbance within you? Would your peace be disturbed?”

He said, “No. Why should it be? Then there would be no problem. I would be at peace. But right now, the examination is there, and I desire the gold medal. So help me to be peaceful.”

Now, ambition is destroying his peace. He goes on clinging to his ambition and still he desires peace. Peace in the service of ambition is impossible; it is contradictory. Ambition cannot be peaceful. The greed to succeed cannot be peaceful.

If you desire peace, desire peace for itself. Don’t make it a means to something else. It cannot be made a means.

When this sutra says desire peace fervently, it means peace as an end not as a means. No one desires means. Ends are desired and, because of the ends. means are desired. But peace can never be made a means. All that is beautiful, all that is true, all that is good, all that is deep in existence cannot be made into a means. It is always the end. But we desire even God as a means. No one desires God for his own sake; we desire God for some other purpose. Then, the desire is false.

That’s what I mean when I say that no one desires peace unless he desires it for its own sake. You can attain it easily if you desire it as an end. Desire it for itself and it happens, because in the very desire for peace, ambition falls; in the very desire for peace, anxiety disappears; in the very desire for peace, anguish disappears. If you go on being ambitious – desiring success. desiring to be this or that, to be somebody – then peace will not happen to you. Then you will remain anxious, anxiety-ridden, tense. You will remain in anguish and whatever you do will not be of any help. So be clear about it. If you want peace, desire it directly as an end. Then the very desire for peace transforms you.

Really, peace is natural. It is not something that has to be desired. You, yourself, disturb it. It is already there. Peace is natural to you; it is your very being. You disturb it by ambition, you disturb it by greed, you disturb it by anger, you disturb it by violence. It is already there, but you have disturbed it.

Don’t disturb it! If you really desire it, you will not disturb it. Then you will begin to feel it. To attain peace, one has to remove the obstacles to it. Find out why you are not at peace. Why? Then, remove the cause. If ambition is disturbing it, get rid of the ambition and peace will happen. Peace is already there; you need not try for it. Just be aware of why you are disturbing it and don’t disturb it, that’s all. And it will happen. That’s why I say that when peace is really desired it happens immediately. Not even for a single moment does one have to wait.


From The New Alchemy: To Turn You On, Discourse #5

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.

Remain with the Doubt – Osho

I am never born as a body. I am not the ten senses. And I am neither intellect, nor mind nor everlasting ego. I am eternally pure self-nature without vital breath and mind. I am the witness without intellect. And I am the ever knowing self-nature. Ther is no doubt, whatsoever, about it.

-Sarvasar Upanishad

A very long journey from “I” to “thou,” from “thou” to “that,” and from “that” to the beyond. And now again the rishi begins to talk about “Who am I?” Obviously, the first “I” is not referred to, that has been just disposed of. This is a second “I.”

The first “I” constitutes the ego; constitutes whatsoever we have done, whatsoever we have achieved, whatsoever has been our accumulation. This second “I” is not our doing; this second “I” is our being. So we must distinguish between these two: the doing and the being.

The being is something which is there, has been there; it is a priori. It is not your creation, it is not your construction, you have not contributed anything to it, because you are it. So how can you do anything? And whatsoever you have done is just an accumulations around – never on the center; the center has always been there.

The child is born. The child is born with a being, with a center, but with no periphery, with no circumference. The child is born with a being, but with no doing at all. Now the doing will grow; now the child will cultivate the ego. Whatsoever the child is going to do will become part of his ego. If he succeeds, then a superiority is accumulated; if he fails, then an inferiority is accumulated. And whether you begin to feel to be inferior or superior, a certain ego is formed. Even when you feel inferior, you have an ego which feels to be inferior. If you succeed, you have an ego which feels to be superior.

The ego means whatsoever you have done – whether you succeed or fail, it is irrelevant, you create an ego. You begin to assert, “I am this, I am that.” And the more this feeling grows, the more the center is lost, and by and by forgotten. In the end we are nothing but our doings. The being is just lost; we have lost the track.

So first we discussed the “I,” the ego, the superficial, the one created by us – our own creation. Now the rishi is talking about the being – what we are, not what we have done; what we are, pure, simple beingness. Of course when we say “I” and use “I” for it, the meaning is totally different. We again refer to it as an “I,” because this is the innermost center of our existence. But now there is no feeling of “I-ness,” only a reference, only a word to be used and forgotten. This pure “I,” this pure being, can only be described in a negative way, through elimination. We have to say, “This is not, that is not,” and go on denying. And when nothing remains to deny anymore, it is revealed.

There are two ways to indicate a thing. One is direct, positive; another is indirect, negative. The more sublime a phenomenon, the more deep a thing is, you cannot indicate it positively, you cannot figure it out. You cannot say, “This is.” No, that’s not possible. How can you say what love is? How can you say what goodness is? How can you say what God is? If you say something positive, you will feel that much has remained unexpressed, and your word has given a limitation.

Saint Augustine has been asked by someone, “What is God?” Saint Augustine says, “When you do not ask me, I know very well, but when you ask me, everything is lost. So don’t disturb me; go and find out. Please go and find our for yourself. I am not going to answer, because the moment I begin to answer, I feel guilty. Any expression becomes just criminal, because whatsoever I say is nothing compared to that about which I am saying.” This has always been felt, very deeply felt, and so many have just remained silent, mm? – not to be guilty; it is better not to say.

Wittgenstein has written in his Tractatus, “It is better not to say than to say something about a thing which is inexpressible. So be silent, it is better, because at least you are right.” At least you are right! The moment you say something you are bound to be wrong, any assertion is bound to be wrong. So infinite a phenomenon as the deeper “I” . . . It is better to be silent.

But it needs expression. It may be better for the person who is going to say, but it is not better for the person who is going to understand it, to enquire about it. Silence will not do.

So the rishi uses the second method, the negative one. The Upansishads have been using the same method always. That has been their technique, to negate. They will say, “I am that which is never born. I am the unborn one. All that which is born, I am not. So whatsoever is born, I am not.” This is the eliminating process. Whatsoever is born, I am not. Breathing has been born in me. It is born because a child is born without breathing, then he breathes. So the being precedes breathing; being comes first, and then there is breathing. Then there is thinking, then there is ego – all this is born.

If we go still deeper, when the mother becomes pregnant, the first egg has no senses, but the being is there. Then by and by the egg grows and then senses come into being; they are born. After the being is, it is born.

So the rishi says: “I am not the senses, because I am always prior.” I always precede. And whatsoever has succeeded me, I am not.”

“I am not the senses” – that is, I am not the body – “neither am I the mind,” because mind is a later growth, and sometimes mind can be destroyed without destroying you. Sometimes it happens that accidentally the mind is destroyed, and you are.

In the second world war, one English soldier fell down into a ditch. He became unconscious, and he remained unconscious for one week. And when he came back from unconsciousness, he was not the same mind again. He couldn’t recognize anyone – not even himself; he couldn’t recognize his face in the mirror, because all his memory was lost; the whole mechanism was destroyed. But the being was still there. So the mind is a mechanism – something added to you, but not you. It is something instrumental to you, but not you.

The rishi says, “I am not the mind. Neither am I the feeling of being a self.” Neither am I the feeling of being a self, because how can you feel yourself as a self without the mind? The feeling of self is part of the mind, that, “I am.” Go deep into it. We use “I am.” This feeling of “I” is part of our mind. The rishi says, “No not this either. This feeling of being a self is again not my reality, my being.” So when the rishi says, “Not even the feeling of self,” then what remains? “I” drops completely, and only “am-ness” remains. The feeling of “I” belongs to the mind, but “am-ness” belongs to my being itself. A feeling of “am-ness” is what is meant by atma – just “am-ness.”

If you can drop your thinking, you will be, but in an oceanic feeling of “am-ness.” Even this formation of “I,” this formation of self-hood, is not there. That is a later growth.

The rishi is really trying to bring into consciousness, the purest possibility of existence, with nothing added to it – the purest, just a clean slate, nothing written on it. So he is washing everything that we have written on it, and just cleaning the whole thing. When nothing more remains to be washed, he says, “This is the being.” Because whatsoever is written is just doing – howsoever subtle, howsoever hidden, howsoever unconscious – whatsoever is written is a later growth.

So go back, retrace, regress to the original “am-ness.” That, he says, even when there is no breathing, where there is no “minding,” this being is there – without mind, without breathing, without senses. What remains? But what remains? Just a vacuum? Just a nothingness? No, all remains, but in its purity, in its potentiality, in its absolute seed.

Only one positive assertion is made, and that is, “This innermost center is aware, is conscious.” The very nature of it is consciousness. When everything has been eliminated – thoughts, senses, body, mind – when everything has been eliminated, only pure consciousness remains. This is the nature of it.

What is meant by pure consciousness?

By pure consciousness is meant that there is consciousness; not conscious about anything – just a mirror, mirroring nothing. Towards this purity is the whole search. And the rishi says, “There is no doubt about it,” because this is not a doctrine, this is not a philosophical system; this is experience, this is realization. The rishi says, “This I have known; this I have lived; this I have reached.

This is not just a mental projection; this is not just a thought-out system; this is what I have lived and known and experienced.”

This must be understood because this is one of the most emphatic characteristics of Eastern darshan – I will not call it philosophy. It has been called and translated as philosophy very wrongly – not only wrongly, but the very meaning is perverted. By darshan is meant that which you have seen, not thought. By philosophy is meant that which you have thought.

Philosophy means love of thinking. philo means love, sophy means thinking – love of thinking. Darshan is not love of thinking; it is love of seeing. So only one man, Hermann Hesse, has rightly translated it; he has coined a new word to translate darshan into English, and that word is philosiaphilo for love, and sia for seeing – not sophy, but sia.

The Eastern mind has been constantly concerned, not with thinking, but with seeing. They say thinking is a pale substitute. You have seen the sunrise, that is one thing. Someone who is blind can only think about the sunrise. Can there be any parallel? Can there be any comparison? Whatsoever you have seen and whatsoever he may have thought – can there be any link between the two? A blind man thinking about the sunrise is really a very complex phenomenon, primarily, because a blind man has never known what sunrise is, what light is. What does rising mean to a blind man? What does light mean to a blind man? Simple words – only words, mere words with nothing in them – meaningless. He has heard “light,” “sun,” “sunrise”; he can think. What can he think? He can think in a chain of words. He can create a chain of words – simple – a chain of words, not of meanings, because meaning is something which is always felt. A word is meaningless unless you have felt the substance of it. A blind man cannot think about the sunrise because he cannot even think about light; really, he cannot even think about darkness.

We always think, we assume that the blind man is living in darkness. That is simply absurd, because darkness is a phenomenon of the eyes, not of blindness. You have to be not blind to know darkness: darkness is seen, and a blind man cannot see. So a blind man is not in darkness – remember this.

A blind man has never known what darkness is, because for darkness to be felt, you need eyes. So even darkness has not been known. So if you eliminate, negate, and you say to the blind man, “Light is what darkness is not,” it still means nothing. You cannot even use the eliminative process; you cannot say, “Light is not darkness.” He will ask what darkness is. A blind man can think. Thinking is a dimension which need not be experienced. He can think, he can create concepts in his own way – in his own blind ways he can create concepts. He can create some parallelism; he can create some synonyms. He can begin to think in terms of his own experience about light, darkness and sunrise, and he can create a philosophy. Really, only blind men create philosophies, because those who can see will not bother to create philosophies. If you can see, there is no need.

This is the basic difference between Eastern thinking and Western. Western thinking has always remained with thinking; Eastern thinking has always stepped out of thinking, because they say even thinking is a barrier to seeing. If your eyes are filled with thoughts, you cannot see. The eyes must cease all thinking, all ideation, all minding – then the eyes are clear, then you can go deep into reality.

So the rishi says, “There is no doubt about it. Whatsoever I am saying, I have seen, and there is no doubt.” So it is not, “I don’t know, but I propose . . . perhaps . . . it may be so . . . ” It is not so. The rishi is not saying, “Perhaps it may be like this,” or “Perhaps it may be like that.” He is simply saying – he is describing. So it is not that he is proposing any ideology; it is simply this, that he is describing something he has gone into. So he says, “There is no doubt. I myself have know this: this pure consciousness.”

How to go? – because for us still there is doubt. It may not be for him – for the rishi it may not be – but for us there is still doubt. And it is good – if you also say, “Now there is no doubt,” then you are lost, because if there is no doubt for you, you will not go for the journey where the certainty is. You will create a pseudo certainty; all believers create pseudo certainties. They also say, “We believe it is so,” and they have not known.

Unless you know, do not believe.

Unless you know, do not say, “There is no doubt.”

Remain with the doubt.

Doubt is healthy; it pushes you.

But don’t get stuck in the doubt – go ahead, find the state where you can also say, “Now there is no doubt. I know it.” But not before that – not before that. Live with doubt, go with doubt; search, enquire. Don’t make your doubt suicidal – that’s enough – don’t make your doubt suicidal. Let it be a healthy push! Let it be an enquiry, an open enquiry.

So be with doubt. Don’t create any false belief. It is better to be sincerely in doubt, than to be insincerely into belief, because at least you are authentic. And authenticity is very meaningful. An authentic, sincere person can reach – will reach. But a non-authentic, insincere person may go on believing for lives and lives together. He is not even moving a single inch; he cannot move.

So when this rishi says, “There is no doubt,” it is not meant that thereby you begin to believe. The rishi is simply giving a statement about his own stage. He is saying, “For me, there is no doubt. Whatsoever I am saying, I mean it, and I have known it.”

Really, the Upanishads have never given any arguments. Whatsoever they say, they say without any arguments, without any proofs. This is rare! They don’t say why this is so; they say, “This is so.” Why? It is significant. It is very significant, because whenever you try to prove something – you argue something, you gather witnesses for it – it means that you are creating a philosophy, a rationalization, a reasoning, a logical system; but you have not known.

If you have known, then a simple statement is enough. So the rishis give simple statements, and then methods – not proofs. Whatsoever they say, they say, “It is so; now this is the method, you can also know it.” They never give any proofs; quite the opposite.

There are Greek thinkers: Aristotle, or Plato, or even Socrates. They go on giving proofs. They go on giving proofs, arguments. They say, “This is so because . . . And in “because” they will never say, “because I have known it.” They will say, “because this proves it, that proves it; that’s why it is so.” It is a syllogism, a logical syllogism.

These rishis are just illogical. They say, “This is so.” And if you ask, “Give us proofs,” they say, “This is the method. Experiment with it and you will get the proof.” In a way this is more scientific – less logical, but more scientific – not concerned with arguments at all, but with experiment. Really, this is what scientists are doing. If you ask them, “Why is this so, why does fire burn?” they will say, “Put your hand in it. We don’t know why; we know how it burns.”

So the basic approach of any philosophical ideation is “why?” And the basic scientific approach is always concerned with “how,” never with “why.” The rishi will never ask why we are not minds; he will ask “how” – the method. This is religious science, not philosophical systematizing. Of course, the experiment has to be different, because the lab has to be different. For scientific experimenting a lab is needed outside you; for religious experimentation you are the lab.

How? How can this pure consciousness be achieved? The very description is the process also – this eliminatory method of saying a thing is also the process. When the rishi says, “I am not the body; I am not the senses; I am not the mind” – this is also the method. Go on, go on being more and more conscious of the fact that “I am not the body.” Remain with this fact: “I am not the body.”

Remember this fact – let it go deep in you:

I am not the body.

Begin to feel the gap between you and the body and soon the gap is known, because the gap exists there – you have only forgotten it. It is not to be created; it is there already – you have just forgotten it. You have just escaped from the gap. The gap is always there, but we never go in to see the gap.

Really, this is miraculous in a way, and very strange, that we know our bodies from the outside – even our own bodies we know from the outside. This is as if you live in a house but you have never known the inner walls of the house; you have known only the outer ones – your own house! You cannot describe your body – how it looks from within? You can describe how your body looks in the mirror. But the mirror cannot see the inside; it can only see the outer, the outer shell.

But there is an inside also, because no outside can exist without an inside – or can an outside exist without an inside? But we have never become aware from the inside of our own body.

So be aware:

Close your senses, remain in, and be aware.

And begin to feel your body from the inside. There will be a gap, because there is always a gap. You will come to know that gap, and then you will know what this rishi means when he says, “I am not the body, I am not the senses, I am not the mind.” Go on, deep. Begin to look into your minding itself, into your mind process itself, and then you will begin to be aware that there is still a gap, between you and your mind.

Go on eliminating, and a moment comes when you explode into simple am-ness – without any I, without any self, without any selfhood – into pure authentic, existential being.


From That Art Thou, Discourse #15

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.

Your Lost Innocence – Osho

While watching the changing world outside and the movement of thoughts and emotions within, I become aware of a presence that doesn’t change. It is impossible to define what this is in words, but I do know that it is always the same presence, that when it comes, it is everywhere and nowhere at once; that nothing I’m thinking or feeling can connect with it; that it is so still it doesn’t exist and so sublet that at times it is too alive to bear. I remember encountering this presence first as a child. Beloved Master, am I rediscovering my lost innocence?

Dhyan Arjuna, yes you are rediscovering your lost innocence. Religion is a rediscovery. It is something that we had known, that we had lived, but we have left far behind – so far behind that it seems almost as if it was not a reality but only a dream scene, just a faint memory, a faraway echo. But if you become meditative that echo starts coming closer, the dream starts changing into a reality and the forgotten language of innocence is suddenly remembered. Hence it is not a discovery, it is a rediscovery.

Every child is born feeling the whole universe, not knowing his separation from it. It is by slow education that we teach him to feel separate. We give him a name, we give him an identity, we give him qualities, we give him ambitions – we create a personality around him.

Slowly, slowly, the personality becomes thicker through upbringing, education, religious teaching; and as the personality becomes thicker, he starts forgetting who he used to be in his mother’s womb – because there he was not a doctor, an engineer, there he had no name, there he was not separate from existence. He was so together with the mother – and beyond the mother there was nothing.The womb was all, his whole universe, a very tiny experience of the ultimate reality.

What happens to the child in the mother’s womb happens again to the sage when the whole universe becomes just a womb, and he becomes part of the womb. The child in the mother’s womb never worries, “What will happen tomorrow?” He has no money, no bank account, no business, utterly unemployed, no qualifications. He does not know when night comes, when day comes, when seasons change; he simply lives in utter innocence, in deep trust that everything will be okay, as it has been before. If it is okay today it will be okay tomorrow. He does not think this way, it is just an intrinsic feeling – not words because he does not know words. He knows only feelings, moods, and is always in a jubilant mood, rejoicing – absolute freedom without any responsibility.

Why does every child coming out of the womb give so much pain to the mother? Why is every child born crying? If you try to look deeply into these small matters, they may reveal to you great secrets of life. The child resists getting out of the womb because it has been his home. He does not know any calendar. Nine months are almost an eternity – forever. Since he has known that he is, he has been in the womb, always and always.

Now suddenly his home is being taken away. He is being thrown out, expelled; he resists with all the power that he has. He clings to the womb, that is the problem. The mother wants him to be born sooner, because the longer he remains inside, the more pain she has to suffer. But the child clings, and he is always born crying – every child, without exception.

Only about one man, Lao Tzu, is it said that he was born laughing. It is possible; he was an exceptional man, crazy from the very beginning. Not knowing exactly what to do, that this is the time to cry, he laughed. And he remained that way his whole life, just doing wrong things at wrong times. And the story of his whole life’s strangeness begins with the laughter. Everybody was shocked because no child has ever done that.

But that is the only exception – which may be simply a myth, which may be just a retrospective idea. Seeing Lao Tzu’s whole life, the people who wrote about him must have thought that his beginning could not be the same as everybody else’s; it has to be a little crazy. His whole life . . . his beginning has to be consistent with his life. Perhaps it is only a myth. But even historically, if he had laughed it is an exception, not the rule.

Why is every child born crying? Because his home is being deserted, his world is destroyed – suddenly he finds himself in a strange world amongst strange people. And he continues to cry because every day his freedom becomes less and less, and his responsibility becomes more and more weighty. Finally, he finds there is no freedom left but only duties to be fulfilled, responsibilities to be carried out; he becomes a beast of burden. Seeing this with the clarity of innocent eyes, if he cries you cannot condemn him.

The psychologists say the search for truth, for God, for paradise, is really based on the experience of the child in the womb. He cannot forget it. Even if he forgets it in his conscious mind, it goes on resounding in his unconscious. He is searching again for those beautiful days of total relaxation with no responsibility, and all the freedom of the world available.

And there are people who have found it. My word for it is enlightenment. You can choose any word, but the basic meaning remains the same. One finds that the whole universe is just like a mother’s womb to you: you can trust, you can relax, you can enjoy, you can sing, you can dance. You have an immortal life and a universal consciousness.

Dhyan Arjuna, what is happening to you is exactly a rediscovery. It has to happen to every sannyasin. But they don’t allow it.

People are afraid to relax. People are afraid to trust. People are afraid of tears. People are afraid of anything out of the ordinary, out of the mundane. They resist, and in their resistance, they dig their own grave and they never come to juicy moments, to ecstatic experiences, which are their right; they just have to claim them.

A Jewish man living in Los Angeles goes to see a psychiatrist. He introduces himself as Napoleon “So what seems to be the problem?” asked the doctor.

“Well, Doc, actually everything is great. My army is strong, my palace magnificent and my country is prospering. My only problem is Josephine, my wife.”

“Ah,” says the doctor, “and what is her problem?”

Throwing his hands up in despair, the man says, “She is thinking she is Mrs. Goldberg.”

In his tensions, in his anxieties, in his problems, man loses himself in the crowd. He becomes someone else. He knows that he is not the role he is playing; he is somebody else. This creates a tremendous psychological split in him. He cannot play the role correctly because he knows it is not his authentic being, and he cannot find his authentic being. He has to play the role because the role gives him his livelihood, his wife, his children, his power, his respectability, everything. He cannot risk it all, so he goes on playing the role of Napoleon Bonaparte. Slowly, slowly he starts believing it himself. He has to believe it, otherwise it will be difficult to play the part.

The best actor is the one who forgets his individuality and becomes one with his acting; then his crying is authentic, his love is authentic, then whatever he says is not just the prompted role, it comes from his very heart – it looks almost real. […]

When you have to play a part, you have to be deeply involved in it. You have to become it. Everybody is playing some part, knowing perfectly well that this is not what he is supposed to be. This creates a rift, an anxiety, and that anxiety destroys all your possibilities of relaxing, of trusting, of loving, of having any communion with anybody – a friend, a beloved, a master. You become isolated. You become, with your own decisions, self-exiled, and then you suffer.

So much suffering in the world is not natural; it is a very unnatural state of affairs. One can accept once in a while somebody suffering, but blissfulness should be natural and universal. But you have to deserve it, and for deserving you don’t have to do some great acts – go to the moon or climb Everest.

You have to learn small secrets. But there are people who are not ready to learn small secrets – it is against their egos to learn anything. I have been getting rid of such people continuously, because they are unnecessarily wasting their time and occupying other people’s places.

Just the other day one man wrote, “I enjoy very much when you come in and I enjoy very much when you go back, but in the middle, sitting for one or two hours, I don’t enjoy at all.” Now what to do with such a case? If there are many such cases I can manage a special session for them: I will come and I will go and they are free. There is no need to sit in between. But these stupid people go on hanging around my neck unnecessarily.

Hymie sees an old friend standing on the other side of the road from the Thames Bridge. “David, what are you standing there for?”

“I am going to jump off that bridge. My wife has left me, my children won’t speak to me, and I am bankrupt.”

“So why stand there?”

“The traffic. I could get killed crossing the road.”

He wants to commit suicide by jumping from the bridge and he is afraid of the traffic. Such is the wavering mind of man – one moment one wants to commit suicide, the next moment one wants to live. There is no decisiveness. And without decisiveness, your life will remain wishy-washy. It cannot become a splendor.


From The Rebel, Discourse #4, Q2

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.

Then What is Enlightenment? – Osho

In discourse I followed past words, disregarding feelings, into air and the pattern of my being. Is it really this simple? Now moving into mysterious depths, no universal visions – just me, here amongst the birds, the trees, the people – in all its suchness. No searching, no longing, just living me . . . I know this to be true, but I also need your answer. In this context, then what is enlightenment?

The question that you have asked is not a question, but an expression of what you are feeling. What you are feeling is, “no universal visions – just me, here amongst the birds, the trees, the people – in all its suchness. No searching, no longing, just living me . . . I know this to be true, but I also need your answer.” Then your knowing is not complete. Your knowing has hidden behind it a doubt; otherwise, there is no need of any answer. If you know, then what is the need of my answer?

But I can understand your problem – on the one hand you know the beauty of this moment, the blissfulness of here-now, and yet there is a suspicion underground raising the question, “Is it really true? Is it all? Or is there something more?” And this doubt is arising because of a simple thing. If you had looked at your question a little more deeply, you would have found, “No universal visions – just me.” This “me” is the source of your doubt. If you had said, “No universal visions, no me, here amongst the birds, the trees, the people – in all its suchness. No searching, no longing, just living Me . . .” That “me” is the block. In suchness there is no “me,” only a pure isness – no “I,” no “thou.” And when there is no searching, no longing, the ego cannot exist even for a split second. The searching, the longing, the desiring – these are the very heartbeats of the ego.

You say, “I know this to be true.” You do not know, your mind is deceiving you, because you are still there – in knowing you cannot be. Knowing drowns the “I” and then there is a certainty, “This is true.”

But wherever you find the “I” lingering in some way, beware of it. Its deception is going too far.

You are asking, “In this context, what is enlightenment?” In this context there is no enlightenment. But if the “I” and the “me” have also dissolved in the suchness of things, in the isness of existence, then this would have been the enlightenment. Just a little more awareness . . . you are very close to it. But don’t take it for granted that you have arrived. The old mind tries to the very end; when you are entering the boundaries of enlightenment, then too, it goes on trying with all its power to hold you back.

The experience is beautiful, but your ego is making it not reach to its ultimate climax. You drop the “me,” you drop the “I”, and there will be no need to answer there will be no need for recognition – you will know. But you will not be there, only the knowing will be there, that, “This is it.”

Everybody has to remember about the old mind. It is such a long habit; for many, many lives you have remained attached to it. So it is not surprising that when you are departing from it, it clings to you – perhaps just the last hug, but the hug can go on being prolonged.

I have heard . . . An old Jew is run over in front of a church. A priest runs out and whispers in his ear, “Do you believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost?” The Jew opens his eyes and says, “I am dying and he is asking me riddles!”

Although he is dying, he has a Jewish conditioning and the priest is asking from the background of a Christian mind.

You were very close. You just missed by inches, not even miles. When you again feel this – and you will feel this . . .  It is a great achievement to feel the pure space of no searching, no longing, no universal visions, to feel only the birds singing in the trees, the people all around. But you are missing; you are no more there. Just gather courage not to be, and this very experience becomes enlightenment.

Enlightenment is not something superhuman, it is your basic right. But your ego goes on postponing it, goes on bringing itself between you and your enlightenment. And in such subtle ways that unless you are very alert, you are going to be deceived. When you felt no searching, no longing, you could have felt just life, just living. Why just “living me”? Why confine living to a small prison of “me”?

Feel the heartbeat of the whole universe and let your own separation be dissolved into it. Then you would have said, “The knowing has happened; this is it and there is no other enlightenment.” The absence of the ego and the presence of universal consciousness is what enlightenment means.


From The Razor’s Edge, Discourse #18, Q1

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.

Nobody Comes Running – Osho

I love the expression, “Take one step towards Allah, and he will come running a thousand steps towards you.” It seems to suggest that receptivity is not a totally inactive waiting but requires a certain participation. Even to receive a flower, doesn’t one need to hold out one’s hand? Or am I on the wrong track again?

Yes, Maneesha, you are on a wrong track again. That saying comes from Mohammedism, “Take one step towards Allah, and he will come running a thousand steps toward you.”

But in the world of Zen there is no Allah, and as far as your inside is concerned, just take one step and you are the Allah. Nobody comes running. On the contrary, you come to a standstill. Just one step, inside – that Mohammedan saying is still about the outside God – you take one step and God will come running towards you. But that kind of God does not exist, so don’t unnecessarily waste your step! Save it, you will need it to go in. And the moment you go one step in, you are the Allah. In the world of Zen that kind of statement is not applicable at all.


From Ma Tzu: The Empty Mirror, Discourse #2

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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