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About Sat Sangha Salon

Inspired by the salons of the Enlightenment which were gatherings to discuss truth and life as they saw it.

Here we will gather and commune with the words from those who have known that which cannot be said. You will find words from those in whom the greatest transformation has taken place. Although you can find differences in expressions, it is remarkable how much you will find in common.

It is my interest to look where they are pointing and occasionally explore their unique observations. I hope you find them inspirational, inviting, instructive and ultimately Enlightening.

Their words can only point us to the truth. But in order to live a life of truth it is necessary for each of us to make the inquiry individually for ourselves into our own Being and finally into the mystery of non-Being.

“All beings are from the very beginning Buddhas.” -Hakuin’s Song of Meditation

If for any reason you wish to contact me, you may do so at: pgoodnight(at)yahoo(dot)com.

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Matter is Consciousness Itself – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: I was lucky to have holy company all my life. Is it enough for self-realisation?

Maharaj: It depends what you make of it.

Q: I was told that the liberating action of satsang is automatic. Just like a river carries one to the estuary, so the subtle and silent influence of good people will take me to reality.

M: It will take you to the river, but the crossing is your own. Freedom cannot be gained nor kept without will-to-freedom. You must strive for liberation; the least you can do is uncover and remove the obstacles diligently. If you want peace you must strive for it. You will not get peace just by keeping quiet.

Q: A child just grows. He does not make plans for growth, nor has he a pattern; nor does he grow by fragments, a hand here a leg there; he grows integrally and unconsciously.

M: Because he is free of imagination. You can also grow like this, but you must not indulge in forecasts and plans, born of memory and anticipation. It is one of the peculiarities of a jnani that he is not concerned with the future. Your concern with future is due to fear of pain and desire for pleasure, to the jnani all is bliss: he is happy with whatever comes.

Q: Surely, there are many things that would make even a jnani miserable.

M: A jnani may meet with difficulties, but they do not make him suffer. Bringing up a child from birth to maturity may seem a hard task, but to a mother the memories of hardships are a joy. There is nothing wrong with the world. What is wrong is in the way you look at it. It is your own imagination that misleads you. Without imagination there is no world. Your conviction that you are conscious of a world is the world. The world you perceive is made of consciousness; what you call matter is consciousness Itself. You are the space (akash) in which it moves, the time in which it lasts, the love that gives it life. Cut off imagination and attachment and what remains?

Q: The world remains. I remain.

M: Yes. But how different it is when you can see it as it is, not through the screen of desire and fear.

Q: What for are all these distinctions—reality and illusion, wisdom and ignorance, saint and sinner? Everyone is in search of happiness, everyone strives desperately; everyone is a Yogi and his life a school of wisdom. Each learns his own way the lessons he needs. Society approves of some, disapproves of others; there are no rules that apply everywhere and for all time.

M: In my world love is the only law. I do not ask for love, I give it. Such is my nature.

Q: I see you living your life according to a pattern. You run a meditation class in the morning, lecture and have discussions regularly; twice daily there is worship (puja) and religious singing (bhajan) in the evening. You seem to adhere to the routine scrupulously.

M: The worship and the singing are as I found them and I saw no reason to interfere. The general routine is according to the wishes of the people with whom I happen to live or who come to listen. They are working people, with many obligations and the timings are for their convenience. Some repetitive routine is inevitable. Even animals and plants have their time-tables.

Q: Yes, we see a regular sequence in all life. Who maintains the order? Is there an inner ruler, who lays down laws and enforces order?

M: Everything moves according to its nature. Where is the need of a policeman? Every action creates a reaction, which balances and neutralises the action. Everything happens, but there is a continuous cancelling out, and in the end it is as if nothing happened.

Q: Do not console me with final harmonies. The accounts tally, but the loss is mine.

M: Wait and see. You may end up with a profit good enough to justify the outlays.

Q: There is a long life behind me and I often wonder whether its many events took place by accident, or there was a plan. Was there a pattern laid down before I was born by which I had to live my life? If yes, who made the plans and who enforced them? Could there be deviations and mistakes? Some say destiny is immutable and every second of life is predetermined; others say that pure accident decides everything.

M: You can have it as you like. You can distinguish in your life a pattern or see merely a chain of accidents. Explanations are meant to please the mind. They need not be true. Reality is indefinable and indescribable.

Q: Sir, you are escaping my question! I want to know how you look at it. Wherever we look we find structure of unbelievable intelligence and beauty. How can I believe that the universe is formless and chaotic? Your world, the world in which you live, may be formless, but it need not be chaotic.

M: The objective universe has structure, is orderly and beautiful. Nobody can deny it. But structure and pattern, imply constraint and compulsion. My world is absolutely free; everything in it is self-determined. Therefore I keep on saying that all happens by itself. There is order in my world too, but it is not imposed from outside. It comes spontaneously and immediately, because of its timelessness. Perfection is not in the future. It is now.

Q: Does your world affect mine?

M: At one point only—at the point of the now. It gives it momentary being, a fleeting sense of reality. In full awareness the contact is established. It needs effortless, un-self-conscious attention.

Q: Is not attention an attitude of mind?

M: Yes, when the mind is eager for reality, it gives attention. There is nothing wrong with your world, it is your thinking yourself to be separate from it that creates disorder. Selfishness is the source of all evil.

Q: I am coming back to my question. Before I was born, did my inner self decide the details of my life, or was it entirely accidental and at the mercy of heredity and circumstances?

M: Those who claim to have selected their father and mother and decided how they are going to live their next life may know for themselves. I know for myself. I was never born.

Q: I see you sitting in front of me and replying my questions.

M: You see the body only which, of course, was born and will die.

Q: It is the life-story of thus body-mind that I am interested in. Was it laid down by you or somebody else, or did it happen accidentally?

M: There is a catch in your very question. I make no distinction between the body and the universe. Each is the cause of the other; each is the other, in truth. But I am out of it all. When I am telling you that I was never born, why go on asking me what were my preparations for the next birth? The moment you allow your imagination to spin, it at once spins out a universe. It is not at all as you imagine and I am not bound by your imaginings.

Q: It requires intelligence and energy to build and maintain a living body. Where do they come from?

M: There is only imagination. The intelligence and power are all used up in your imagination. It has absorbed you so completely that you just cannot grasp how far from reality you have wandered. No doubt imagination is richly creative. Universe within universe are built on it. Yet they are all in space and time, past and future, which just do not exist.

Q: I have read recently a report about a little girl who was very cruelly handled in her early childhood. She was badly mutilated and disfigured and grew up in an orphanage, completely estranged from its surroundings. This little girl was quiet and obedient, but completely indifferent. One of the nuns who were looking after the children, was convinced that the girl was not mentally retarded, but merely withdrawn, irresponsive. A psychoanalyst was asked to take up the case and for full two years he would see the child once a week and try to break the wall of isolation. She was docile and well-behaved, but would give no attention to her doctor. He brought her a toy house, with rooms and movable furniture and dolls representing father, mother and their children. It brought out a response, the girl got interested. One day the old hurts revived and came to the surface. Gradually she recovered, a number of operations brought back her face and body to normal and she grew into an efficient and attractive young woman. It took the doctor more than five years, but the work was done. He was a real Guru! He did not put down conditions nor talk about readiness and eligibility. Without faith, without hope, out of love only he tried and tried again.

M: Yes, that is the nature of a Guru. He will never give up. But, to succeed, he must not be met with too much resistance. Doubt and disobedience necessarily delay. Given confidence and pliability, he can bring about a radical change in the disciple speedily. Deep insight in the Guru and earnestness in the disciple, both are needed. Whatever was her condition, the girl in your story suffered for lack of earnestness in people. The most difficult are the intellectuals. They talk a lot, but are not serious.

What you call realisation is a natural thing. When you are ready, your Guru will be waiting. Sadhana is effortless. When the relationship with your teacher is right you grow. Above all, trust him. He cannot mislead you.

Q: Even when he asks me to do something patently wrong?

M: Do it. A Sanyassi had been asked by his Guru to marry. He obeyed and suffered bitterly. But his four children were all saints and seers, the greatest in Maharashtra. Be happy with whatever comes from your Guru and you will grow to perfection without striving.

Q: Sir, have you any wants or wishes. Can I do anything for you?

M: What can you give me that I do not have? Material things are needed for contentment. But I am contented with myself. What else do I need?

Q: Surely, when you are hungry you need food and when sick you need medicine.

M: Hunger brings the food and illness brings the medicine. It is all nature’s work.

Q: lf I bring something I believe you need, will you accept it?

M: The love that made you offer will make me accept.

Q: If somebody offers to build you a beautiful Ashram?

M: Let him, by all means. Let him spend a fortune, employ hundreds, feed thousands.

Q: Is it not a desire?

M: Not at all. I am only asking him to do it properly, not stingily, half-heartedly. He is fulfilling his own desire, not mine. Let him do it well and be famous among men and gods.

Q: But do you want it?

M: I do not want it.

Q: Will you accept it?

M: I don’t need it.

Q: Will you stay in it?

M: If I am compelled.

Q: What can compel you?

M: Love of those who are in search of light.

Q: Yes, I see your point. Now, how am I to go into samadhi?

M: If you are in the right state, whatever you see will put you into samadhi. After all, samadhi is nothing unusual. When the mind is intensely interested, it becomes one with the object of interest — the seer and the seen become one in seeing, the hearer and the heard become one in hearing, the lover and the loved become one in loving. Every experience can be the ground for samadhi.

Q: Are you always in a state of samadhi?

M: Of course not Samadhi is a state of mind, after all. I am beyond all experience, even of samadhi. I am the great devourer and destroyer: whatever I touch dissolves into void (akash).

Q: I need samadhis for self-realisation.

M: You have all the self-realisation you need, but you do not trust it. Have courage, trust yourself, go, talk, act; give it a chance to prove itself. With some, realisation comes imperceptibly, but somehow they need convincing. They have changed, but they do not notice it. Such non-spectacular cases are often the most reliable.

Q: Can one believe himself to be realised and be mistaken?

M: Of course. The very idea ‘I am self-realised’ is a mistake. There is no ‘I am this’. ‘I am that’ in the Natural State.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter 61

You Are the Abode of the Ultimate – Osho

Patanjali says, “Kaivalya is the state of enlightenment that follows the remergence of the gunas, due to their becoming devoid of the object of the Purusa. In this state the Purusa is established in his real nature.” You have come back home. The journey has been long, torturous, arduous, but you have come back home. The fish has jumped into the ocean which is pure consciousness.

Patanjali does not say anything more about it, because more cannot be said. And when Patanjali says, “Finish; the end,” he does not only mean that the Yoga Sutras finish here. He says, “All possibility to express ends here. All possibility to say anything about the ultimate reality ends here. Beyond this is only experience. Expression ends here.” And nobody has been able to go beyond it – nobody. Not a single exception exists in the whole history of human consciousness. People have tried. Very few have even reached to where Patanjali had reached, but nobody has been able to go beyond Patanjali.

That’s why I say he’s the alpha and the omega. He starts from the very beginning; nobody has been able to find a better beginning than him. He begins from the very beginning and he comes to the very end. When he says, “Finish,” he’s simply saying expression is finished, definition is finished, description is finished. If you have really come with him up to now, there is only experience beyond.

Now starts the existential. One can be it, but one cannot say it. One can live in it, but one cannot define it. Words won’t help. All language is impotent beyond this point. Simply saying this much: that one achieves to one’s own true nature – Patanjali stops. That’s the goal: to know one’s nature and to live in it – because unless we reach to our own natures we will be in misery. All misery is indicative that we are living somehow unnaturally. All misery is simply symptomatic that somehow our nature is not being fulfilled, that somehow we are not in tune with our reality. The misery is not your enemy; it is just a symptom. It indicates. It is like a thermometer; it simply shows that you are going wrong somewhere. Put it all right, put yourself right; bring yourself in harmony, come back, tune yourself. When every misery disappears one is in tune with one’s nature.

That nature Lao Tzu calls tao, Patanjali calls kaivalya, Mahavir calls moksha, Buddha calls nirvana. But whatsoever you want to call it – it has no name and it has no form – it is in you, present, right this moment. You have lost the ocean because you have come out of your Self. You have moved too much in the outer world. Move inwards. Now, let this be your pilgrimage: move inwards.

It happened: A Sufi mystic, Bayazid, was going on a pilgrimage to Mecca. It was difficult. He was poor and somehow he had managed the travelling expenses by begging for years. Now he was very happy. He had almost the necessary money to go to Mecca, and then he travelled. By the time he reached near Mecca, just outside the town he met a fakir, his Master. He was sitting there just under a tree, and he said, “Oh fool, where are you going?” Bayazid looked at him; he had never seen such a luminous being. He came near him and the man said, “Give me whatsoever you have! Where are you going?” He said, “I am going to Mecca for a pilgrimage.” He said, “Finish. There is now no need; you just worship me. You can move around me as many times as you like. You can do your parikrama, your circumlocution, around me. I am Mecca.” And Bayazid was so filled with this person’s magnetism that he gave all his money, he worshipped. Then the old man said, “Now go back home”; and he went back home.

When he went into his town people gathered and said, “Something seems to have happened to you. So really it works, going to Mecca works? You are looking luminous, so full of light.” He said, “Stop this nonsense! One old man met me – he changed my whole pilgrimage. He says, ‘Go home,’ and since then I have been going home, inwards. I have arrived. I have arrived, I have reached to my Mecca.”

The outer Mecca is not the real Mecca. The real Mecca is inside you. You are the temple of God.You are the abode of the ultimate. So the question is not where to find truth, the question is: how have you lost it? The question is not where to go; you are already there – stop going.

Drop from all the paths. All paths are of desire, extensions of desire, projections of desire: going somewhere, going somewhere, always somewhere else, never here.

Seeker, leave all paths, because all paths lead there, and He is here.

-OSHO

From Yoga: The Path to Liberation, Chapter Nine (previously published as Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, V.10)

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 online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Freedom and Interdependence – Osho

For forty-five years I lived in prison, mostly made by myself. Now I know it is possible to become more and more free. But what to do, when you feel you need a safe place, a good climate to grow? Another prison? How to be free anywhere, any time? I feel sorrow and rebellion in me about that.

Yvonne, freedom has nothing to do with the outside; one can be free even in an actual prison. Freedom is something inner; it is of the consciousness. You can be free anywhere—chained, in a jail, you can be free—and you can be unfree outside the jail, in your own home, visibly absolutely free, but you will be a prisoner if your consciousness is not free.

You are confusing outer freedom with inner freedom. As far as the outside is concerned you can never be absolutely free—let it be clear once and forever. As far as outside is concerned you are not alone, so how can you be absolutely free? There are millions of people around you. On the outside, life has to be a compromise. If you were alone on the earth you would have been absolutely free, but you are not alone.

On the road you have to keep to the left. And Yvonne will feel this is a great bondage: “Why? Why should I be forced to be on the left? I am a free man. If I want to walk on the right I will walk on the right. If I want to walk in the middle of the road I will walk in the middle of the road.” In India you can do it—India is a free country, remember! It is the greatest democracy in the world, so right, left, middle, anywhere you can walk!

But one man’s freedom becomes so many people’s problem. You are free to be yourself, but you should not be an interference in other people’s lives.

A man of understanding will respect his freedom as much as he will respect others’ freedom, because if nobody respects your freedom, your freedom will be destroyed. It is a mutual understanding: “I respect your freedom, you respect my freedom, then we both can be free.” But it is a compromise. I have not to interfere with your being, I am not free to trespass on you.

You want to sing loudly in the middle of the night. Of course you are a free person, and if you cannot sing loudly in your own house, what kind of freedom is this? But the neighbors have to sleep too; then there has to be a compromise.

On the outside we are interdependent. Nobody can be absolutely independent. Life is an interdependence. Not only with people are you interdependent, you are interdependent with everything. If you cut all the trees you will die because they are constantly supplying you with oxygen. You are dependent on them—and they are dependent on you because you are constantly giving them carbon dioxide. We take oxygen in and exhale carbon dioxide; the trees do just the opposite, they exhale oxygen and inhale carbon dioxide.

So when people like Mahendra are smoking, trees must be feeling tremendously happy because more carbon dioxide is being created for them! Listening to me these trees will be feeling very sad that I am telling you to go to the root cause of it and then smoking will disappear. That means trees won’t get as much carbon dioxide as they were getting before!

We are interdependent, not only with the trees—with the sun, with the moon, with the stars. Everything is an interdependence.

Just tomorrow there is going to be a solar eclipse, a total eclipse. It will have tremendous effects on the life on earth. If you look at the sun directly you can go blind forever. Avoid looking at the sun—in fact, don’t come out. There will be every temptation to come out because in the middle of the day, near about four-thirty in the afternoon, you can see stars in the sky; just as in the night you have always seen them, in the middle of the day you can see stars. There will be great temptation to come out and see, but avoid it, don’t come out. It is dangerous to the eyes, it is dangerous to your nervous system, it is dangerous to your mind mechanism. Many people will go berserk, many people will go blind. Women who are pregnant should avoid coming out absolutely because the child in the womb is very very vulnerable. He has no safeguards yet; he is soft, so soft he can be affected by anything. And in the solar eclipse, when it is total, dangerous rays enter into the atmosphere.

So when the eclipse happens I would like all my sannyasins to go inside their rooms, close the doors, sit in deep meditation. It will last only a few minutes. Avoid the temptation of coming out, and don’t try to find out devices through which you can see it without being harmed. No device is absolutely foolproof; it is better to avoid it.

Now life is so interdependent… the sun is so far away. It takes ten minutes for the rays of the sun to reach to the earth, and rays move with tremendous speed—one hundred eighty-six thousand miles per second. But we are related to other suns and other solar systems too. Everything in existence is interdependent, so you cannot be absolutely free on the outside—and there is no need either.

Enjoy this interdependence. Don’t call it bondage. It is not dependence, it is INTER-dependence. You are dependent on others, others are dependent on you. It is a brotherhood, it is relatedness. Even the smallest grass leaf is related to the greatest star.

But in the inner world, in the inner kingdom, you can be absolutely free. So the whole question is of the inner. And then, Yvonne, you will not feel sad and rebellious; there is no need. Understand that the outer interdependence is a must, it is inevitable; nothing can be done about it. It is part of how things are. Accept it. When nothing can be done about it, acceptance is the only way. And accept it JOYOUSLY, not as a resignation. Accept it! This is our universe; we are part of it. We are not islands, we are part of the whole continent. We are not egos.

Yvonne, your idea of freedom is rooted somewhere in the idea of the ego. We are not egos. The ego is a false entity—because we are not separate, how can we have egos? It is good as far as language is concerned; it is utilitarian to use the word ‘I’, but it has no substance in it. It is pure shadow, utterly empty. A useful word, utilitarian, but not real.

But inner freedom IS possible. It happens as you go deeper and deeper into awareness. Watch your body, watch your thought processes.

Just the other day Buddha was saying: Watch, witness the whole process of your thoughts. And slowly, slowly, you will see you are neither anger nor greed, neither Hindu nor Mohammedan nor Christian, neither Catholic nor communist. Slowly, slowly, you will be aware that you are not any thought—you are not mind at all. You are a pure witness. The experience of pure witnessing is the experience of total freedom, but it is an inward phenomenon. And a man who is inwardly totally free has no hankering to be outwardly free. He is capable of accepting nature as it is.

Yvonne, create inner freedom through witnessing. Sannyas is only for the inner freedom. And live out of inner freedom and then you will be able to see the interdependence on the outside. It is beautiful and it is a blessing. There is no need to rebel against it. Relax into it, surrender to it. And remember: only a person who is really free can surrender.

-OSHO

From The Dhammapada, the Way of the Buddha, V.9, Chapter Four

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 online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

What Is God – Osho

What is God?

Prem Sukavi, God is not a person. That is one of the greatest misunderstandings, and it has prevailed so long that it has become almost a fact. Even if a lie is repeated continuously for centuries it is bound to appear as if it is a truth.

God is a presence, not a person. Hence all worshipping is sheer stupidity. Prayerfulness is needed, not prayer. There is nobody to pray to; there is no possibility of any dialogue between you and God. Dialogue is possible only between two persons, and God is not a person but a presence – like beauty, like joy.

God simply means godliness. It is because of this fact that Buddha denied the existence of God. He wanted to emphasize that God is a quality, an experience – like love. You cannot talk to love, you can live it. You need not create temples of love, you need not make statues of love, and bowing down to those statues will be just nonsense. And that’s what has been happening in the churches, in the temples, in the mosques.

Man has lived under this impression of God as a person, and then two calamities have happened through it. One is the so-called religious man, who thinks God is somewhere above in the sky and you have to praise him to persuade him to confer favors on you, to help you to fulfill your desires, to make your ambitions succeed, to give you the wealth of this world and of the other world. And this is sheer wastage of time and energy.

And on the opposite pole the people who saw the stupidity of it all became atheists; they started denying the existence of God. They were right in a sense, but they were also wrong. They started denying not only the personality of God, they started to deny even the experience of God.

The theist is wrong, the atheist is wrong, and man needs a new vision so that he can be freed from both the prisons.

God is the ultimate experience of silence, of beauty, of bliss, a state of inner celebration. Once you start looking at God as godliness there will be a radical change in your approach. Then prayer is no more valid; meditation becomes valid.

Martin Buber says prayer is a dialogue; then between you and God there is an “I-thou” relationship – the duality persists. Buddha is far closer to the truth: you simply drop all chattering of the mind, you slip out of the mind like a snake slipping out of the old skin. You become profoundly silent. There is no question of any dialogue, no question of any monologue either. Words have disappeared from your consciousness. There is no desire for which favors have to be asked, no ambition to be fulfilled.

One is now and here. In that tranquility, in that calmness, you become aware of a luminous quality to existence. Then the trees and the mountains and the rivers and the people are all surrounded with a subtle aura. They are all radiating life, and it is one life in different forms. The flowering of one existence in millions of forms, in millions of flowers.

THIS experience is God. And it is everybody’s birthright, because whether you know it or not you are already part of it. The only possibility is you may not recognize it or you may recognize it. The difference between the enlightened person and the unenlightened person is not of quality – they both are absolutely alike. There is only one small difference: that the enlightened person is aware; he recognizes the ultimate pervading the whole, permeating the whole, vibrating, pulsating. He recognizes the heartbeat of the universe. He recognizes that the universe is not dead, it is alive.

This aliveness is God!

The unenlightened person is asleep, asleep and full of dreams. Those dreams function as a barrier; they don’t allow him to see the truth of his own reality. And, of course, when you are not even aware of your own reality, how can you be aware of the reality of others? The first experience has to happen within you. Once you have seen the light within you will be able to see it everywhere.

God has to be freed from all concepts of personality. Personality is a prison. God has to be freed from any particular form; only then he can have all the forms. He has to be freed from any particular name so that all the names become his.

Then a person lives in prayer – he does not pray, he does not go to the temple, to the church. Wherever he sits he is prayerful, whatsoever he is doing is prayerful, and in that prayerfulness he creates his temple. He is always moving with his temple surrounding him. Wherever he sits the place becomes sacred, whatsoever he touches becomes gold. If he is silent then his silence is golden; if he speaks then his song is golden. If he is alone his aloneness is divine; if he relates then his relating is divine.

The basic, the most fundamental thing is to be aware of your own innermost core, because that is the secret of the whole existence. That’s where the Upanishads are tremendously important. They don’t talk about a God, they talk about godliness. They don t bother about prayer. their whole emphasis is on meditation.

Meditation has two parts: the beginning and the end. The beginning is called dhyana and the end is called samadhi. Dhyana is the seed, samadhi is the flowering. Dhyana means becoming aware of all workings of your mind, all the layers of your mind – your memories, your desires, your thoughts, dreams – becoming aware of all that goes on inside you.

Dhyana is awareness, and samadhi is when the awareness has become so deep, so profound, so total that it is like a fire and it consumes the whole mind and all its functionings. It consumes thoughts, desires, ambitions, hopes, dreams. It consumes the whole stuff the mind is full of.

Samadhi is the state when awareness is there, but there is nothing to be aware inside you; the witness is there, but there is nothing to be witnessed.

Begin with dhyana, with meditation, and end in samadhi, in ecstasy, and you will know what God is.

It is not a hypothesis, it is an experience. You have to LIVE it – that is the only way to know it.

-OSHO

From I Am That, Chapter Two

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 online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Find Out Who You Are – Jean Dunn

Jean Dunn speaks about life with Nisargadatta Maharaj. This interview was recorded by Malcolm Tillis in 1981, while Jean was living in Bombay, India.

Jean Dunn: I am just a normal person of fifty-nine who has been searching all her life until, ten years ago, she heard of Ramana Maharshi. She visited his ashram, went back to the States, then returned to India, where she has been living for the past four years. Two years ago she met Nisargadatta Maharaj, and he became her guru.

Did he give you some form of initiation?
He gave me a mantra and initiation.

How did you first hear about him?
At Ramana Maharshi’s ashram. Many people come to see him; ­there seems to be a tie.

Is it because of the similarity of Self-Inquiry?
It’s no longer that. Maharaj has had cancer of the throat for the past year, so his teachings have been polished; he is saying he’s no longer the consciousness, he observes the consciousness—he’s the Absolute. His teachings are now on that line.

Can you tell me something about his book, I Am That?
It’s in the form of questions and answers. The fifth edition is just coming out. It came out in two volumes in 1973, having been collected and edited by Maurice Frydman, who in late life became a disciple of Maharaj. There has been no further book published. Last year I asked Maharaj—I had been recording all his question and answer periods—if he wanted me to put them together for a book. He said yes. So Seeds of Consciousness will come out this year. Another volume will appear later: Beyond Consciousness.

In spite of his illness he gives darshan every day?
He is in much pain at times but manages to talk twice a day. He is one of the hidden saints, so he only draws a few people at a time. His teachings aren’t for the general public—we are blessed to listen to him.

How does he usually teach?
Up until his illness, it was by questions and answers. Now he will no longer teach the ABCs—he doesn’t have the physical strength; ­ he tells us the position, then it’s up to us.

He seemed to insist that I ask questions.
He wants questions to come out; then there will be silence so that remaining questions will be answered within yourself.

His following is mainly Western, by what I saw.
Westerners are in predominance; thousands have seen him—some for a few days, some stay for months. Some he makes leave at once. He says he doesn’t know why he sends people away, although they want to stay.

Are you living in India on a permanent basis?
Yes, I have a residency permit. I have finished work on the second book; the work is complete. Everything he has to say has been said.

Do you ever miss Western society, your home life?
Never.

Can you say something about your personal relationship to your guru?
There are no words to describe that . . .

Do you have an aim in life? For instance, to become one with him?
My aim in life is to lose an aim in life—that’s his teaching. There’s no purpose to this life; it’s just entertainment. That’s all.

That sounds rather Krishnamurthi-esque.
Many of Krishnamurthi’s followers come here—ten came recently.

How did Maharaj attain enlightenment?
You will find that in the first part of I Am That. I can tell you this: the first time he met his guru— his friend insisted on taking him; he even had to buy the garland to present to the guru—he never wanted to go.

Was he very young then?
He was in his thirties. The bidi (Indian cigarette) shop at the corner belongs to him; his son runs it. He had eight shops, but when his guru died, he left everything—his family and business. He wandered for months all over India, until he met a fellow disciple who convinced him it was better to live in the world. He returned to Bombay, but all the shops had gone except this one. He didn’t want anything; all worldly ambition had gone. When people started coming to him, he built that upstairs room.

It’s minute. What are the dimensions?
Oh, about nine by twelve. I’ve seen that room crowded, mostly by Westerners. He says Indians are not ready for his teachings.

Do you think it was because he didn’t want personal publicity that he appeared to be annoyed with me?
That’s correct. I feel sure that was the idea. He doesn’t want disciples—if they come, it’s fine; if not, that’s also fine. He gains nothing. He has reached the peak because he isn’t enamored of any­thing the world can offer.

Does he ever talk about other gurus and their methods?
He talks about the self-styled gurus who propagate their own con­cepts; but there’s nothing wrong with that at that level.

Does he admire any living teachers?
As far as I know, J. Krishnamurti. In the past, Ramana Maharshi. The other day he said, “Krishnamurti, Ramana and myself are one.”

Does he advocate a vegetarian diet?
That pertains to the body; he doesn’t teach anything to do with that. All he wants you to do is find out who you are.

His followers can drink and indulge in free relationships?
Whatever comes naturally to each person, he should do.

He gives no ethical guidance?
No. As long as you think you are a person and this world is real, then you live by certain rules. Once you understand the complete thing, your life lives itself … There are no rules, no good, no bad—I should do this, I shouldn’t do that. If you think about it, all this is taking place in this life span, in this span of consciousness, and when this consciousness goes, what difference does it make?

Does he not advise detachment from worldly activities?
This comes naturally. The main and only thing he teaches is to find out who you are. The closer you come to this, the more detached you become from the world; that will happen naturally. You can’t do anything to make that happen. This idea of doing something is an ego idea “I” can accomplish. Maharaj says the consciousness drags you there by the ear because it wants to know about itself, your true nature.

What has he said about leaving the body at physical death?
For him, it will be a great festival— he’s looking forward to it. For those thinking they are the body, it will be a traumatic experience. For an enlightened person, it’s a joyous time.

When he gives you meditation, does he ask what you see inside?
There has to be somebody to see something! (laughter) . . . No, he doesn’t. Visions and experiences take place in consciousness; they have no meaning whatsoever. Before you were born, did you know anything about this world? When you die—will you know anything about this world? You didn’t know you existed—you exist as the Absolute, but you aren’t aware of your existence. When this con­sciousness comes, spontaneously, you know “I am.” You grab a body and become identified with that. He wants you to go back, back, away from this into your true nature. Right now it’s consciousness; the longer we abide in that consciousness only and observe it, we see that everything we see is not ours—there’s a “you” seeing this.

But what does he teach about God?
Without me, there’s no God.

Really?
Yes.

And he’s teaching that?
Yes. Was there a God before you were? Without you, is there a God?

What brought me back into this body?
Do you remember a previous body?

Many people have that recollection. Are you saying we have never taken birth before?
There’s no “we”; there’s no entity; there is universal consciousness, which is continually expressing itself through these bodies.

Maharaj doesn’t believe in karma and reincarnation?
Correct.

Ramana Maharshi taught that, surely?
They will talk to you on this level if this is your level. But if you un­derstand what I’m saying—there’s only universal consciousness ex­pressing itself; there’s no individual—then he will bring you there. He will no longer speak of this. If you die with concepts, these concepts take another form, but they will not be you— you don’t know what that form will be. Concepts will come again until they are all gone.

What does Maharaj teach about selfless service, helping others?
On their level, it’s good. But his teaching is that there are no others, no individual entities; everything happens spontaneously; there’s no doer. He teaches: Let this life live itself and understand you are not this.

We are not “this” then we are “that.” What is “that”?
“That” is consciousness right now.

Right now? What will it be when we leave the body?
The Absolute.

Then what comes back?
Consciousness is continually renewing itself. You throw a piece of food into a corner; within a few days, worms will come—life, con­sciousness. The same consciousness in that worm is in you. It’s not “my” consciousness, “your” consciousness; it’s one universal con­sciousness, and that universal consciousness is you.

At our level of understanding, aren’t all these concepts? Didn’t you find these theories confusing at first?
The first day I came to Maharaj, he said, “My beingness is a product of food . . .  and the same consciousness in the donkey was in Sri Krishna.” I went to get a reservation back home; none was available, so as something inside knew this was true, I went back. He had jerked the rug from under my feet, and he kept on doing this until I lost any place to put my feet. He forces you to let go of all concepts.

Does he often send people away who come to see him?
Often. He never knows why, though. Every moment watching him is like a spectacular movie; every person’s need is taken care of­. I’ve watched that happen. You can sit quietly, but questions you have inside will be answered. Everything happens according to your need. There’s no him; he has no purpose of his own: that’s why this can happen. There’s no ego there to bump against.

Living so close to an enlightened being can’t be easy.
It’s not easy if you have any ego left.

Can you say something about the positive side?
There are no words for it; everything is taken care of automatically. There’s no “you” to thank God for anything anymore. You let go of everything. There’s no you, no separate entity; everything is hap­pening spontaneously. It’s like there’s a quiet space where you are, yet everything is happening around you.

What work did you do in America?
I worked on newspapers.

Is there a reason why people get involved with imperfect teachers?
We as human beings think there’s a reason for everything; there are no reasons, no causes—it’s a causeless happening. As long as we are on this human level and think there’s a cause, we will be able to come up with one. If some people are taken for a ride by false gurus, you can say this is happening to them to get rid of something­—whatever happens is perfect. We are just to understand there’s no personal consciousness; everything is impersonal, you see.

But when we meet a perfect teacher, it’s our consciousness which recognizes that, surely?
Yes.

Then our lives change.
Yes.

That’s the new life?
Correct.

That’s part of the divine plan requiring no effort?
No effort.

To round off, could you say what are the benefits gained from coming into contact with your guru.
I’ve gotten rid of the idea there’s somebody going to benefit from something . . . (much laughter)

Discovering Who You Are – Douglas Harding

[Text from a handout designed by Douglas Harding in the mid-1970s and distributed in workshops organized by Werner Erhart.]

1. Cut a head-sized hole in a card and hold it out in front of you.

2. See how empty that hole is – and how full of the scene. Now slowly put it on until your face fits in the hole. Or is it still empty? What’s happened to its boundaries?

3. Try putting it on again to make sure that, right where you are now, there is this boundless emptiness you can fill with anything you like. This is WHAT and WHO you are!

But (you may say) I can feel my face.

Right! Try fingering your face and head all over and see whether you can fill your space with a coloured, opaque, complicated, limited thing for living in. Is it dark, sticky, small in there? Aren’t you as faceless, transparent, open and vast as ever – with a lot of touch sensations in the nearer regions of your vastness?

But (you may go on) I can’t rely on vision only. How could you show this to a blind man?

Shut your eyes, drop memory and imagination, and notice whether you have any limits now, are in any kind of box. Aren’t you more like room – silence for these sounds to happen in, space for these passing sensations of warmth, pressure, etc., this flow of feelings and thoughts? Just room or capacity – but aware of itself now as that!

Peeling The Onion

But (you may say) everyone else can see there’s a human being here.

It all depends on how far off they are. Seen from a distance of 1,000,000 light years you appear as a galaxy (the Milky Way), from a distance of 1 light year as a star (the Solar System), of 100,000 miles as a planet (the Earth), of 10 feet as a human, of 1/1000 inch as a cell. Nearer still you read as molecules, atoms, particles… Only you can complete their outside story and view yourself from 0 inches, as No-thing – and Here is the central Reality, of which all those regional views are your appearances.

But (you may go on) I feel like a human being.

Sometimes. But aren’t you capable of so identifying with your family, your organisation, country, species, or planet (in case of threat from outer space) that you’d die (as man or woman) for them? And in your best moments don’t you embrace the universe? Other times, don’t you narrow down to (say) an aching tooth? You take responsibility for – you become – as much of the world as you choose – because already you are it all. So your feelings about yourself are as elastic and changeable as your appearances. What they are appearances of never changes.

All the same (you insist) I belong, physically, to the human layer of the onion.

As a mere human body you don’t exist. What is that body without its substructure of cells, molecules, atoms, particles? You could spare a kidney, a lung and all four limbs, but what if your Earth and Sun were cut off? The whole of your body is the Whole. As for your mind, don’t your thoughts and feelings cover all layers of the onion – from its empty core?

But what happens to personal relationships, to love, to all communication, if I disappear?

Look at a friend’s face. Dropping memory and imagination, is there anything where you are to shut out that face with? Or are you empty for him or her? Aren’t you built open, built for welcoming, for loving?

Growing Up – Or Down?

There are four stages of your growing up:

1. As an INFANT you were for yourself No-thing.

Like any animal, you were faceless, immense and at large, unseparate from your world – without being aware of all of this.

2. As a CHILD you were for yourself No-thing and something.

You learned to look at yourself from a few feet away “through others’ eyes” and see yourself as a human being – a special one at that. You came to identify with that face in your mirror, and answer to its name. Yet you remained, for yourself, at large, space for your world to happen in. You may occasionally have become fully aware of your space, of yourself-as-you-see-yourself (a child is apt to ask why others have heads and she hasn’t, to protest that she isn’t a girl – she’s not like that at all! – or declare that she is nothing, not present, invisible). Both views of yourself – from outside as a small thing and from inside as this vast No-thing – were true and needful.

3. As a GROWN-DOWN (so-called adult) you are now for yourself that small thing.

Your learned view of yourself from outside has come to overshadow and practically blot out your original view of yourself from inside. You have grown down, not up. Instead of containing your world, it contains you – what’s left of you. Shrunk from being the whole into being this tiny part, you grow greedy, resentful, frightened, unsuccessful, tired, stiff, out of touch with your Source, plain crazy:

Greedy – as you try to regain as much as possible of your lost empire,

Resentful or aggressive – as you seek revenge on a system that has cruelly cut you down to size,

Frightened and lonely – as you see yourself a mere thing, at the mercy of and up against all other things,

Unsuccessful – because working for, and taking responsibility for, yourself as a mere individual human is making sure of failure: the end of all your personal enterprises is death,

Tired – because it takes so much energy building and rebuilding this imaginary box for living in, right where you are,

Stiff, unnatural, phoney – because you act to impress, not express,

Uncreative – because you have cut yourself off from your Source and Centre and see yourself as a mere regional effect,

Crazy – because you “see” something that isn’t there and imagine (contrary to all the evidence) that you are at 0 feet what you look like at 6 feet – a solid, opaque, coloured, outlined lump of stuff. How can your world remain sane if its very Centre has gone insane?

Insofar as you don’t suffer from these handicaps you remain “a child at heart,” more or less unconsciously in touch with the truth of who you are.

4. As a GROWN-UP (truly adult) you are for yourself No-thing and all things.

Stuck at Stage 3 you are a case of arrested development. The experiments show how simple and natural it is to go on to the next stage and truly grow up. In fact, carrying out the experiments and taking their point you have already made it to Stage 4. Congratulations!

Stage 4 isn’t, like the infant, losing yourself in your world. Nor, like some meditators, finding yourself within and letting the world go by. It is simultaneously looking in at your Space and out at what fills it – two-way attention. This means you have nothing left of your very own to shut the world out with – and so it’s all yours!

And this means you go on to take responsibility for those “others” out there, for suffering mankind, the living Earth, all the way to the Whole – because you lie at the empty Source of it all. But you don’t lie back. You find yourself loving and serving your neighbour (Who isn’t your neighbour?) as yourself, because he or she is yourself.

And, sooner or later, you may discover that your overall aim is assisting him or her, and all mankind, and ultimately all beings, to come to this 4th Stage and really grow up. This is a big job – the toughest adventure of them all. (Paradoxically it’s also the easiest, already in the bag, seeing that no being ever strayed from Home or left its Source, anyway.) Meantime your own entry into Stage 4 is natural and obvious. All you have to do is look at the spot you occupy right now, at what’s 12 inches your side of these words, taking in these marks on the screen. And what presently will take in the people around you, houses, animals, stars, the lot – at your pleasure.

You are a Grown-up, no longer a Grown-down.

Again, congratulations!

In Practice

Okay, I’ve got it. But seeing What/Who I am comes in flashes. How to maintain and strengthen this seeing?

The answer comes in 3 parts:

1. Make full use of techniques which re-direct your attention to this neglected spot at the Centre of your Universe. Some simple reminders are given below. Eventually everything you experience takes you back to yourself, its Source, and life becomes one big “workshop exercise.”

2. Spend as much time as possible with friends who share this seeing. The condition is infectious.

3. Above all, work with such friends – performing the humblest or grandest of tasks – at clear-cut goals whose ultimate aim is not “your own” achievement of Stage 4, but the world’s. The marvellous thing is that what’s best for the world is best for you – the best therapy, discipline, work, fun – because you are the world! And this includes all the world’s resources of modern science, communication, organisational know-how. If you are serious about this great enterprise you will neglect no means to its success.

It may well be that the survival of the Species – let alone its progress – depends on its growing up to Stage 4 within a relatively short time, so that this stage is regarded as the norm, the standard against which maturity is reckoned. This doesn’t mean that everyone, or even the great majority, will get there so quickly. (After all, though Stage 3 – the Grown-down – is now regarded as normal, huge numbers of people are still more or less at Stage 2, and not yet capable of clearly seeing themselves from out there, as things in the world.)

REMINDERS

Face-to-No-face – So much of your time is spent with people – either imagining you are confronting them face-to-face, or seeing it’s never been like that at all. The most available of all pointers to what you are is also the best recipe for good “personal relationships.”

Single Eye – How many eyes are you looking out of, in your own experience, right now? Check up by slowly putting on your glasses and seeing what happens to those two “windows.” If you don’t wear glasses, make up a pair with your thumbs and forefingers. Outline with your hands the extent of this huge window – frameless, spotless, with nobody looking out of it.

Pointing – Point at your feet, legs, torso… noting how you’re pointing at something, and this something is distant from your finger. Now point at your “face”. What are you pointing at now, dropping memory and imagination? How far is it – are you – from that finger?

Neck-line – Look up at our heavenly bodies, out at your earthly body, down at your human body. Outline with your finger the boundary of that body, on present evidence – the place where it meets your Space.

Travelling – Spinning, driving your car, walking, see whether you are moving in the world, or the world in you.

Other Senses – Observe what happens to the food that goes into holes in people’s head, and what happens to the food that actually has taste. Listen to the Silence-you-are, into which sounds are now popping.

Thoughts and Feelings – Can you discover any thoughts and feelings which aren’t fleeting and don’t belong to the world of objects (ranging from your human to your cosmic body)? Is anything central and permanent except this Awareness, this sense of Being, or I AM? YOU ARE THAT!

-Douglas Harding

As seen at The Headless Way

Then Know That Nothing Disturbs – Osho

You said that noise and disturbances are not outside in the world, but are because of your own minds and ego, but why do the saints and mystics always live in unnoisy crowded places?

Because they are still not saints and mystics. They are still endeavoring, still working. They are seekers, not siddhas. They have not reached. Noise will disturb them, the crowd will disturb them.

The crowd will pull them back to its own level. They are still weak, they need protection. They are still not confident. They cannot move into temptation. They have to protect themselves in the lonely solitude where they can grow and become strong. When they are strong there will be no problem.

Mahavir moved into the wilderness. For twelve years he was alone, silent, not talking, not moving in villages or cities. Then he became enlightened. Then he came back to the world. Buddha was in total silence for six years. Then he came back to the world. Jesus or Mohammed, or anyone – when they are growing they need protected conditions. When they have grown, then there is no problem.

So if you find a mystic afraid of moving in a crowd, then know well that he is still a child, growing. Otherwise why should a mystic be afraid of moving in crowds? Nothing can be done to him by the crowd, by the noise, by the world, by the objects of the world. With all this madness around him, nothing can be done to him. He cannot be touched. He can move and he can live – anywhere it happens for his emptiness to live, he can live.

But in the beginning it is good to be alone, to be in a harmonious, natural surrounding. So remember, don’t think that because you live in a noisy Bombay you are a mystic, or you have grown up and have become a siddha. If you want to grow you will also have to move sometimes, for some definite periods, into loneliness – out of the crowd, out of the concerns of the world, relations of the world, objects of the world – into such a place where you can be alone and not disturbed by others. As you are now you can be disturbed, but once you have the strength, once you have the inner power, once you are crystallized and you know that now no one can shatter your inner center, you can move anywhere. Then the whole world is lonely. Then wherever you are is wilderness. Then the space of silence moves with you because you are the creator of it. Then around you, you create your own inner silence, and wherever you move, you are in silence. No one can penetrate that silence. No noise can disturb it.

But unless the crystallization has happened, don’t believe that you will not be disturbed. You are disturbed, whether you know it or don’t know it. Really, you are so disturbed that you cannot know it. You have become accustomed to disturbance. Every nerve is on edge; you are continuously disturbed. Right now you don’t feel the disturbance – to feel the disturbance sometimes you need to be not disturbed. Only then can you feel it in contrast. You are continuously disturbed but you have become accustomed to it, habituated to it. You think this is how life is. It would be good if you move into the Himalayas for some time. It would be good to go into some remove village, a remote forest, and be alone for a few days’ silence – as if the whole of humanity has disappeared. Then come back to Bombay. Then you will know what disturbance you have been living in. You will be suddenly disturbed. Now you have a contrast. You had an inner music, now it is shattered. For seekers solitariness is good; for siddhas it is irrelevant.

And there are two types of wrong people. With the first type, if you say to them that it is they who are disturbed, the situation is irrelevant, then they will never go into solitariness to have a glimpse of what silence is. Then they will remain here and they will say, “Nothing disturbs us. It is us really, not the surrounding. So we remain here.” And they are disturbed but their theory will become a rationalization.

Then there are other people, the other type of wrong people, who, if you tell them to move into silence, to solitude, because it will help, they will move – but then they will never come back. Then it becomes an addiction and they will remain weak forever, they will always feel afraid of coming back to the world. Then their solitariness has not been a help; rather, it has become a hindrance. They are not stronger through it, they have become weaker. Now they cannot move in the world. Both these types are wrong.

Be the third type, which is the right type. In the beginning, know well that you are disturbed by circumstances; so sometimes try, manage, to move out of them. Then when you are out of them, whatsoever silence you attain, bring it back to your circumstances and try to preserve it. If you can preserve it in the circumstances, then only will the theory have become an experience. Then you know that nothing disturbs. Then you know it is you ultimately who are disturbed or not disturbed.

But make it an experience – just as a theory it is useless.

-OSHO

From The Book of Secrets, Chapter 80

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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