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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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Some material used here (images and text excerpts) is Copyright © OSHO International Foundation, www.osho.com/copyright

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Meditation and Brahmacharya – Krishna Radha

Beloved Chinmaya

Chinmaya was a hard man to miss in the ashram. He was tall with very dark skin and long, shiny, thick, black hair. His eyes were also very dark and so piercing that I could feel the fire coming out of them. He had a moustache, a long beard and on rare occasions a lovely smile, but for the most part he seemed serious and self-absorbed. His skin was smooth to touch and his body very flexible, as was to be expected from a man steeped in the ways of yoga.

He had come to Osho five years earlier, with a small following of his own disciples, and walked around the ashram in an aloof, silent, Buddha-like way. He also had a certain charisma — you couldn’t help but turn around whenever he passed by — and Indian sannyasin would often stop, bow down and touch his feet, as if recognising him as next in line to Osho.

What attracted my attention was the odd things he did during meditation, like half-closing his eyelids and then rolling his eyes upwards so that you could see only the white parts. It looked strange and yet very spiritual, and since I was on a deep spiritual quest myself I thought, “Hmm, he might be the perfect match for me.”

I don’t really remember how we came together. All I know is that I was the one who set out to catch him, not the other way around. He was the unreachable castle which I, Joan of Arc, had decided to conquer; a habit of mine that over the years has pushed me into chasing several unattainable men.

Being with Chinmaya was a gift in an unexpected sense: he encouraged me to go even more deeply into meditation, so that besides Dynamic in the morning and Kundalini in the evening, I was experimenting with lots of other techniques, sometimes alone and sometimes with him. In that way we clicked immediately, but on a sexual level it was difficult for us to connect. Our love-making was awkward, as if the energy between us could not flow easily in that direction.

After our second night together, I got a message from Osho to come and see him with Chinmaya –a real surprise, because I had no idea that he knew we were together. Next evening we went to darshan and sat in front of the Master.

I can’t remember Osho’s exact words, but he said something like “You have experienced meeting sexually and it is already too much for you. You are making love too much. From now on you just make love together twice a month.”

I was stunned.

What? Twice a month? After Osho had, just a few weeks before, given me a technique for coming to full orgasm and encouraging me to go for my own pleasure and sexual fulfillment? And now I end up in a situation that seems more like Yoga than Tantra, where I am meditating like crazy, working five hours a day and then, on top of it, I can’t make love more than twice a month?

Yet I did not protest. After the initial shock wore off, I took it as an invitation to explore something new. Of one thing I was sure: Osho was not trying to make life difficult for me, or punish me in any way. If he made a suggestion like this, there must be something in it.

Chinmaya and I continued to sleep together, not every night but often. Of course, I was waiting for the moment when our two weeks would be over, thinking “it’s going to be the biggest thing of my life,” and when the time came it was so disappointing, so incredibly disappointing, that it was almost like a disaster.

Then I had to leave India and go back to Italy for three weeks, mainly to get a new passport — my old one had expired — and a new visa for India. I also had to check in with my family and assure them that their wayward daughter was still alive and relatively sane.

While I was gone, Chinmaya wrote to tell me that he had become “brahmacharya” and had shaved his head. I wasn’t sure what “brahmacharya” meant — I had a vague idea that he was going to be celibate with everyone except me — but a few days later, while still in Italy, I decided to shave my head as well, causing everybody around me to think I had head lice.

Back in Pune, the bomb dropped. Chinmaya explained that “brahmacharya” meant that he wasn’t going to have sex with anyone, including me.

A couple of days later, I went to see Osho and said, “Well, now Chinmaya is brahmacharya, so what about me? Should I find a new boyfriend?”

He smiled and said, “Why? You have known the relaxation of sex, now you should know the power of celibacy. And everyone should know both. Unless you have known both you haven’t known the full map.

So I decided to become celibate. Chinmaya and I were meeting every day and in the beginning it was a bit awkward, lying together, knowing that we were not going to make love. But then, to my surprise and delight, it became one of the most beautiful experiences.

Knowing that we did not have to do anything, to come to any end, to complete anything, created such a relaxation, such an openness between Chinmaya and myself — plus, of course, so much meditation that we were doing together — that it opened the doors of my sexuality in a totally different way.

On a biological level, I guess the fact that I was only twenty-one years old, a time when young people’s sex hormone levels are very high, strengthened the experience. The energy was building and building, pumping through my system.

As the energy built up between us without being released, just looking into each other’s eyes became a sexual experience, sending ripples of electricity through my body; just touching fingers became an erotic, almost orgasmic sensation.

The feeling spread beyond any personal relationship. We were lying together, we were touching, we were looking into each other’s eyes and yet it was as if everything was making love with me, to me, for me. It became so intense that I started to have the same experience with nature.

-Krishna Radha aka Radha C. Luglio

You can read more about Yoga Chinmaya here.

Radha is a Meditation teacher and internationally renowned Tantra expert. She is the inspirer of Tantralife School.

The More He Kills Me, The More Grateful I Become – Yoga Chinmaya

An interview Maneesha conducted with Yoga Chinmaya around 1977, which was published in the darshan diary, The Buddha Disease.

Chinmaya was one of the first disciples of Osho and has been living in the ashram with the two dozen or so other Indian sannyasins for some years now. Over the past year particularly, he as come to be regarded – not unkindly – as the ashram’s pundit, or Mulla Nasrudin alternately. The questions he puts to Osho in the morning discourse are invariably lengthy and very intellectual, setting Chinmaya up for the inevitable Zen whack from Osho and friendly chaffing from fellow-sannyasins!

Well-loved – particularly by Indian sannyasins – Chinmaya has something of a following himself, and has established a reputation for being able to produce deeply significant and highly esoteric reasons for the most innocent of happenings around Osho!

It was interesting to talk with him about his first meeting with Osho because at that time Osho was professor at the University of Jabalpur.

Coming from a family who followed the orthodox Hindu tradition Chinmaya remained discontent with that way of life and started searching intently by himself…

Chinmaya: In 1965, I came across a very small article written by Osho – he used to write articles for magazines and newspapers, Sunday articles. I came across this article – ‘Love, non-violence, meditation and samadhi’ – and it struck me very deeply because I was well-acquainted with previous literature about yoga and bhakti and had been in contact with a few yogis and wandering monks.

I immediately caught the quality and joyousness of Osho and felt that I had to meet this man. I read his first book of meditation ‘The Path of Self-Realisation’ originally in Hindi, so I had grasped this basic attitude towards religious experience, about an approach to life that was against all techniques, all gurus, scriptures, traditions, patterns, disciplines, and I was a very staunch student to yoga, so I became more curious. This man seemed to be very much a stirrer-up of debate and yet very charismatic.

Chinmaya procured Osho’s address and made his way to where he lived…

Chinmaya: Finally I was in front of his bungalow and read the name-plate ‘Acharya (teacher) Rajneesh’, and I relaxed.

Slowly I opened the gate and entered into the beautiful rose garden which he himself used to maintain and has mentioned many time. I entered the main building and just gave a sharp knock on the door and hear the sound, “Please come in.” I pushed the door open and just in front of me Osho was sitting.

I was attracted immediately because he was so healthy and shiny and beautiful… and so young! He was writing on a pad – perhaps some article for a magazine. Immediately he put his pen aside and welcomed me.

He asked what my occupation was and what I practised in religion and he listened very carefully to my description of what I was practising. I told him that I had read a few of his articles and books and that I had many questions that I would like to ask him because I was a yoga student and he was so much against techniques. He was against even concentration, all physiological techniques, breath techniques, meditation techniques, visualisation techniques, feeling and sound techniques.

He slowly explained how the techniques are harmful, how they are violent, how they manipulate the human brain and how risky that is.

So he talked for about one and a half hours and then he said, “Enough for today!” I said, “No! I still have half my questions unanswered!” He said to come again next morning.

Maneesha: Can you describe a little more about him as a person?

Chinmaya: He used to always sit on a mattress bed and visitors would sit with him on the same mattress. He used to always have a bare chest and wear a white lunghi.

I found him tremendously magnetic and just radiating energy, bubbling over with energy. It was as if you were near a cyclone of energy. He was so robust and healthy and strong that you completely forgot who you were, where you were… the past just disappeared because he took your attention completely at every level. He was so refreshing, so rejuvenating to be near, that all problems, all the past, was completely forgotten. For the first time you felt that you could solve everything in life and I felt for the first time that here was a man who could reply to all my thousands of questions!

I used to meditate about life, about problems, existence, different kinds of life, about the causes of misery, and for over ten years I used to write diaries about my contemplations. My diaries were full of queries – one query leading to another and one question leading to deeper and deeper and deeper questions. I used to raise my hands in a lovely place far away from the city and used to pray, “Who is there on earth who can reply to my questions?”

In questioning I used to go deeper and deeper and came to a point of futility and helplessness. Then I used to be left in silence and nowhereness.

Later on I became aware that I was following a very specific meditation procedure – that was the ‘koan’, a Zen method. After the questioning and relaxing into silence I used to go into meditation and I had many experiences which I would not decode at that time – I used to feel my head becoming bigger and bigger and bigger.

Maneesha: Osho felt to you to be absolutely unique at that time?

Chinmaya: Yes. Later on I became aware that he was working on the minds of people for the first ten, twelve years of public contact after enlightenment and postgraduation. He had in his mind how he would go step by step dealing with the consciousness of Indian citizens who were in contact with him.

At that time he was using negation and debate, challenging people and their ideas and beliefs, challenging the intelligentsia of the nation – and hitting hard. He used to disturb them terribly – just as if he wanted to wash out the rubbish from their minds so that he could put out his new vision and ideas.

Maneesha: What was so disturbing about him, if in effect what he was saying at this stage was not unlike what Krishnamurti was saying?

Chinmaya: His life was entirely different from Krishnamurti’s. For many years – at least twenty years – Osho used to live in guru fashion – long hair, lungis and a big cover sheet over his chest and wooden sandals. He looked like a spiritual man. By all means, the outer appearance and the inner personality – he was the perfect spiritual man, whereas Krishnamurti looked very much like a layman.

Osho used to talk more about god; he used the words ‘god’ and ‘mukti’ and he used to emphasize meditations more than Krishnamurti did. He used to say that the relaxation of body and mind is a very gradual process which leads to the inner silence and emptiness.

He used to have deeper public contact – like going to religious festivals, religious discourses, where many spiritual heads would be; he was entering the traditional fields of religion in India. He would meet different spiritual leaders on the stage as one of them but always against them – firing!

He was more into the practical problems of religion rather than remaining aloof and just talking. He used to take initiative on the practical dimension – holding meditation camps, going for spiritual tours. And he was talking not only to the very sophisticated but moving into lower public life too.

Krishnamurti was always very reserved and limited in his contact whereas Osho – Acharya Rajneesh he used to be called at that time – would even go to inaugurate a shop, a juice drink shop! He would go for picnics with his students when he was a professor and would attend many seminars of his students and professors and philosophers. He used to go for drives to the forest, to picnics and boating and would always take groups with him.

He always attracted young people to him and they started slowly becoming crazily in love with him.

Chinmaya continued to explore everything of a spiritual nature for he felt that Osho had no practical approach at that time that one could use in everyday life. He visited gurus and pundits in the Himalayas and stayed for some time at Muktananda’s ashram but decided he was coming too confined to a specific system.

In 1968 he was asked by a group of Osho’s followers to conduct yoga classes in Mumbai – a move supported by Osho.

Osho had resigned from his post as professor in August 1966 and begun to travel extensively around India. By 1970 Osho had moved his headquarters to Mumbai…

Chinmaya: Before coming to Mumbai to make his headquarters he had been talking to a group of sixty thousand about being aware of socialism, and in the mornings was leading meditation classes.

One morning he came and we were expecting the old techniques – ‘relax your body, relax your breathing, relax your thoughts’ and this and that, but he said, “Today I’m going to introduce you to a completely new method of meditation!” We became alert and then he described his first chaotic meditation. Suddenly there were explosions – cries and noises and sounds of panting and falling down and dancing and banging into each other! People were even tearing at their clothes – people were crazy in the second stage.

We were shocked completely by this sudden experience with a new technique, but he encouraged us to continue it.

At the end of April, 1971, just before visiting Ahmedabad, Osho called me and said that a new phase of his spiritual work would start – the work between master and disciples. He said that we should find a new name for him and especially asked me to bring a list of possible names. He liked the name ‘Bhagwan’ and immediately ordered me to change his names in recent publications and called me one evening to announce the change of name in public and to explain why he had changed from Acharya Rajneesh to Bhagwan Rajneesh.

It caused much controversy all over India because the word ‘Bhagwan’ is highly respected; no man would dare to call himself god. Many articles appeared against the change and Osho received hundreds and hundreds of letters against it. After one month he suddenly wrote a press note of about fifteen lines, saying:

“I am nobody – only he is. Whatsoever, the existence, the infinite reality, states, I just respond to it. So I am not a person. Not a messiah, not a teerthanka – but I am nothing less!”

The excitement continued for about eight months and then everybody settled.

Chinmaya said that the outcry was, in part, because Osho had become such an active, social figure and a threat to many…

Chinmaya: About three-quarters of the intelligentsia were focused on him. They were disturbed – and magnetised – by him. Everyone became alert that this man would do something explosive and every field was thinking that he belonged to their field.

Politicians used to think that he would take over the Government of India, educationists were thinking he would start hundreds of educational institutions all over India. Culturists, literary people, thought of him as the top authority but they were not completely adjusted to him.

They used to regards him as a genius, as a scholar, a revolutionary, a unique thinker – unparalleled – but they were not ready to accept him as a god or as a buddha or as someone other-worldly. Those who were opposing him on religion were popes – shankaracharyas – who had vested interest in religion, and he was trying to uproot them from the establishment.

Osho closed himself in his Mumbai residence, only meeting seekers, devotees, disciples. He stopped all interviews to VIP’s and press reporters and he was not in any way interested in scholars. Then he started having thousands of disciples. Those who were deeply into religious life and practical spirituality were feeling his divinity even in his lectures on life problems, on education and culture. He used to bring the flowering of god-consciousness to everything.

Chinmaya became Osho’s secretary for three years, organizing lectures, meditation programmes and camps…

I used to see him a lot at this time – I used to sit with him for approximately one to two hours a day and I used to have conversations and consultations with him. In the first early years I also used to travel with him for lectures and camps.

Before residing with him I was living in his ideas, his expressions, in the world of his words and, a little bit, the world of his meditation. But then I started living with him, my relationship became of being to being, the words and his wisdom became secondary and a spiritual closeness became deeper and deeper. Slowly, slowly I started dropping scholarship and knowledge and mind trips and became concerned with inner silence and spiritual questions.

Maneesha: You must be the most-often-mentioned sannyasin in Osho’s discourses now! Do you think Osho is saying certain things about you as a device for you?

Chinmaya: Osho wants to explode my ego forever. I constantly feel that he’s on my head all the time just like a volcano trying to explode and wash out my ego forever. His compassion, which is also a divine fire, is burning me so that the impure gold is being passed through the furnace of spiritual fire so that in the final process only absolutely pure gold comes out.

The more he kills me, the more grateful I become… tears of gratefulness overflow from my eyes.

Text and photos from The Buddha Disease, Chapter 10

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

You can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

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

This was first seen on Osho News.

You can read more about Yoga Chinmaya here.

Wake Up Into No-mind

Obituary for Swami Yoga Chinmaya, Nov 8, 1942-August 15 2019.

6th body enlightened; 9th level bodhisattva

“Relax into your being
Stop doing so much
Live in nonduality”

These words are his last words to me in April 2019. He was Osho to me since I met him in January 1986 in Kathmandu. He said, “I can offer you intimacy, Bodhicitta.” Carolyn and I tore up our tickets back to America, moved to the Pokhara commune, and have lived with Chinmaya-ji for most of the last 34 years. 10 years ago I asked him, “Swamiji, when you answer me, how much is you and how much is Osho?” He answered, “There is no one here, it is all Osho.”

Swamiji was a different mirror to each person. These are Bodhicitta’s recollections. When Pune One disbanded, he asked Osho “Where should I go?” Osho, “Go home.” Chinmaya, “Where is my home?” He traveled around India and Nepal collecting the small group who became loyal to him and have remained with him for 40 years, to this day. They bought some land in Pokhara, Nepal and started a small commune there, Osho Teerth. Osho called him and his fellow travelers back to Pune in 1987, saying that He did not have long to live and they should be in His presence. After Osho left His body, Chinmaya proposed starting the Osho Neo- yoga Institute in Pune. His plan was a program to move people from the fourth body to the fifth body. His conditions were that he should choose who was acceptable to the program, and that half the people should be on scholarship because most of the Indians could not afford Resort prices. The inner circle rejected his request. He told me, “They do not understand me here.”

A couple of weeks later he and Swami Krisna Saraswati, his personal secretary of forty years, asked me and Carolyn to move to the Himalayas with them. It was an instant YES. A new community was started in Bageswar, Uttaranchal. Between 20 and 30 of us lived there full-time. Hundreds of devotees from all over India, Europe, America, and Japan would circulate through. Chinmaya kept an increasingly private profile. He forbade any photos to be taken of him in the last 20 years. He asked that no mention be made of him or us in Osho publications. He never tape recorded any of his talks nor published any of his remarks.

I remember around the year 2000 when a visitor asked him how Osho’s work in the world was going, he said “Osho’s work is going fantastically. 90% of it does not have an Osho label on it!” The visitor reproached him for not leading camps and being a public figure the way several other prominent sannyasins were. He said “what we are doing in Bageswar is supporting the meditation 90 million people around the planet. You cannot understand what is happening.” He said that the forces that destroyed the commune and Osho were still active in the world, and that the esoteric work would continue to be conducted telepathically amongst those who are able to access it. It is unhackable.

About 2002, on a rooftop in Munsyari, he said to Carolyn and myself, “Osho is as available today as both a continuous energy and a moment to moment guiding intelligence as he was when he was in the body. It is our receptivity that determines how much we receive.”

His main methods:
living with us;
sitting with us at lunch and dinner and for an hour or more after each meal.

We would sit in silence in a circle. Occasionally someone would ask a question.

We would either listen to or watch Osho discourses every other night.
Individual meetings, sometimes several hours long, when we requested and he thought us ready.

He also loved to travel around the Himalayas and would pack us in the van for short trips to view sunsets and sunrises, local beauty spots and places where enlightened teachers had lived. There were 2 to 4 week long trips through to Tibet, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Assam and Kashmir. He had no tolerance for spiritual ego trips and would find ways, devices that would allow people on the trip to leave of their own volition. He took no sides in the political squabbles amongst Osho people. He would often show us videos and discuss other enlightened Masters. Anandamurti was his favorite. He also commented on and shared with us about Krishnamurthi, Meher Baba, Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle, Tony Parsons, Gurdjieff and Neem Karoli Baba to name a few.

In around 2015 he moved to Delhi, and then to Goa because of his declining health. Hundreds of sannyasins from around the globe continued to visit him though he became increasingly physically inaccessible. In 2016 he picked me up at the airport, and on the way home to the house he said to me “I am just a happening and you are just a happening Bodhicitta. There is nobody here.” He said to me in a meeting that the costume and the mala and the club of sannyasins were no longer necessary for Osho to spread in the world. He made it clear that the transmission, the attunement and synchronization of energy with other people was the essential transmission. That the words, thoughts and understandings came later and did not necessarily require a Pledge of Allegiance to Osho.

The next year I asked him if I was enlightened, he replied “Perhaps, perhaps not.” This is my koan.

This spring I was preoccupied with the world situation, both domestically and internationally. I sent word to him about my concern.
His response.

“Wake up into no-mind
Hence all thoughts and concepts disappear
They are the source of the problem”

-Anand Bodhicitta aka Andrew Ferber

You can read more about Yoga Chinmaya here.

An Extraordinary Intoxication – Osho

It feels to me that my body is like a cage or bottle, in which a very powerful lion is imprisoned and he has been sleeping there for many lives, but now he has been awakened by your harassment. He is hungry and very impatient to be freed from the cage. Many times during the day he becomes enraged and roars, he leaps up roaring. Every cell of my body trembles from this roaring and leaping up, and the forehead and upper part of the head begin to burst with energy. After this I fall deep into an extraordinary intoxication and ecstasy. Then the lion becomes a little quiet, shakes, walks slowly and goes on growling. And then in kirtan or in remembering you he dances ecstatically. Please explain what is going on? 

Yoga Chinmaya has asked.

… what is happening is good. It is happening just as it should. Don’t be frightened by it. Let it happen. Help it in every way. A unique process has begun, whose final crescendo is liberation.

We are certainly imprisoned in the body – a lion locked up in a cage. Confined for such a long time that the lion has forgotten his own roar. Confined for such a long time that the lion has started thinking the cage is his home. No only this, he has started thinking, “I am the cage. I am the body!”

A hit is needed. That’s why you are with me, so I can hit – and you wake up.

These words that I say to you are not mere words. Think of them as arrows. They will pierce you. Sometimes you will be angry with me too. Because everything was moving along peacefully, comfortably and suddenly there is confusion. But there is no other way to wake you up; you will have to pass through pain.

When energy rises within, the body will not be able to bear it. The body has not been made to endure it. The capacity of the body is very small. The energy is vast. As if one wants to enclose the whole sky in a small courtyard… so when the energy awakens many disturbances will arise in the body. The head will be splitting with pain.

And sometimes it happens that even after enlightenment disturbances continue in the body. It is completely natural before enlightenment, because the body is not ready. It is as if you put one thousand candles of electricity into an electric line that has the capacity to carry one hundred candles – it will rattle and catch fire! It is just the same when the energy which had been sound asleep within you awakens – it manifests and your body is not ready for it. Your body is ready to accept your being a beggar; it cannot accept your being an emperor. The body has limits, you have no limits.

… it will be jolted, storms will arise. Before enlightenment happens, before samadhi, these shocks are completely natural. And sometimes it happens that samadhi happens and the shocks continue coming, the storms continue, because the body was not able to get ready.

This is what happened in Krishnamurti’s case. The process continued forty years after attaining the ultimate. The body could not absorb the shock. Krishnamurti will wake up in the middle of the night shouting and screaming. He starts to growl – really growling. And for forty years he has had a headache that doesn’t go away, it comes and goes but it never totally leaves him. Sometimes the pain is so strong that it feels his head will burst.

From the standpoint of the body, these last forty years have been years of great difficulty for Krishnamurti. Sometimes it happens this way. But usually the body becomes ready as samadhi happens. But with Krishnamurti the body could not adjust because samadhi had been forced. The thinkers that brought Krishnamurti up, those Theosophists worked hard, made untiring efforts to bring on samadhi. Their aspiration was to give birth to a world teacher. The world needs it – if a Buddha can be incarnated….

If Krishnamurti had worked only by his own efforts, perhaps he would have needed one or two more births. But then this problem would not have arisen. The worked was forced: what needed two lifetimes to happen, happened instantly. It happened but the body could not get ready. It happened suddenly when the body was not ready. So there have been forty years of physical suffering. Even now Krishnamurti growls at night and wakes up again and again from his sleep. The energy won’t let him sleep. He screams!

It seems amazing that a person who has achieved the ultimate should scream at night. But the cause is clear. An enlightenment that should have taken two lifetimes to happen, was forced too quickly. Because of this the body was not ready and the process continues. It has happened but this process continues. He has reached home but the body remains behind, still being dragged along.

The being has reached home, the body has not reached. The pain and suffering of this dragging continues.

Don’t be frightened by what’s happening. These are the first indications of samadhi, the first steps of samadhi. Take them as auspicious, accept them happily. If you are ready to accept them as blessings, then very soon they will slowly become quiet. And as soon as the body begins to accept, begins to cooperate, the readiness and capacity of the body increase.

You have called out to the infinite, so you will have to become infinite. You have challenged the vastness, so you will have to become vast.

There is a very unique story in the Old Testament – the story of Jacob. Jacob was seeking god. He distributed all his wealth. He sent all his beloved friends, his wife, his children, his servants – he sent them all far away. He was waiting for god on the deserted bank of a river. God arrived.

But it was very strange – Jacob started wrestling with god. Does anyone wrestle with god? But Jacob started struggling with god. It is said that they fought the whole night. As morning approached, as dawn was about to come Jacob was defeated. When god was about to leave him, Jacob fell at god’s feet and said, “Please give me your blessing.”

God said, “What is your name?”

Jacob told him his name.

God said, “Today you have become Israel” – the name that the Jews are known by – “From today on you are Israel. Now you are no longer Jacob, Jacob has died.” – Just as I change your name when I give you sannyas initiation. The old is gone.

God told Jacob: “Jacob has died, from now on you are Israel.”

This story is from the Old Testament. There is no other story of someone fighting with god. But there is a great truth in this story. When that ultimate energy descends, what happens is almost like a fight. And when the ultimate experience happens and you are defeated by the divine and the body is vanquished and you accept defeat – then your final initiation happens. In that moment divine blessings shower on you. Then you are new. That is when you taste the nectar of the eternal for the first time.

Yoga Chinmaya is almost there where Jacob must have been. It is difficult to say how long the night may be. It is hard to say how long the struggle will last. No prediction can be made. But this struggle is auspicious.

Cooperate with this energy. This lion inside that wants freedom – it is you. This energy that wants to rise towards the head, that wants to go from the sex center to the crown chakra, that wants to create a path – it is you. For many lives it has been subdued and lying coiled up, now it is starting to raise its hood. You are fortunate, you are lucky. With this you are approaching the final blessing.

Your real transformation will happen.

Krishnamurti has written in his notebook, whenever my head is splitting, when at night I cannot sleep and the screaming and shouting come and something inside me growls – after all this is over a unique experience comes. After this a great peace descends. Blessings shower in every direction. Everywhere lotuses and more lotuses are blooming.

Exactly this is starting to happen to Chinmaya. It is good.

After this I fall deep into an extraordinary intoxication and ecstasy.

When the energy arises after it has had its struggle, and the body becomes a little ready, then a new ecstasy will come: there is growth. You have come up a little. You have transcended a little. You have come out of the prison a little, you have found open sky. You will be fulfilled. You will dance, you will dance for joy.

Then the lion becomes a little quiet, shakes, walks slowly and goes on growling. And then in kirtan or in remembering you he dances ecstatically.

The lion wants to dance. There isn’t room enough to dance in the body. More space is needed for dancing – what space is available in the body? Dance can only happen outside of the body. This is why if you dance totally you will find you no longer remain a body. In the ultimate grace of dance, at the ultimate height, you are out of the body. The body goes on turning, goes on moving rhythmically but you are outside, you are no longer inside.

This is why I have invariably included dance in my methods of meditation, because there is nothing more miraculous for meditation than dancing. If you dance fully, if you dance totally, then in that dance your being comes out of the body. The body will go on moving in rhythm but you will experience that you are out of the body. And then your real dance begins: below, the body will go on dancing; above, you will dance. The body on the earth, you in the sky! The body in the earthly, you in the celestial. The body will dance the dance of matter, you will dance the dance of consciousness. You will become Nataraj, the king of the dance.

You ask, “Please explain what is going on?

The unprecedented is happening, the wondrous is happening, the rare is happening! What is happening is not to be explained, it is to be experienced. Whatever I say will not help you understand this experience, at the most it can help you become capable of accepting it more easily. Accept it with joy. Do not repress it.

Naturally the idea will come to suppress it thinking, “What madness is this, I am growling like a lion? What is this roaring? People will think I am mad!” So naturally the idea will come to suppress it, to hide it – don’t let anyone know. What will they say?

Don’t worry. Don’t bother about what anyone says. If people say you are mad, then go mad! Has anyone become enlightened without going mad? Give your attention to your interiority. If bliss is coming from this, if ecstasy is coming, if wine is raining then don’t worry. This world has nothing so valuable as this to give to you. So don’t make any compromise with the world. Don’t sell an inch of your being, even if in exchange you will get the whole universe as your kingdom. Jesus has said, what use is it if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? If you save your soul, even if you lose the whole world you have everything.

Have courage, be daring. Let your trust, your faith in yourself grow. Soon your body will start gradually accepting it. Then the roaring will disappear. Then only dance will remain. Then the lion will not suffer, because the lion will have found a path: when he wants to go out he can go out, when he wants to come in he can come in. Then this body is no longer a jail, then this body becomes a place to relax. When you want to come in, come inside; when you want to go out, go outside.

When you can go out and in as easily as you come and go from your house… it is cool, you feel cold; you go outside and sit in the sunshine. Then the sunshine increases, the sun climbs high, it starts getting hot, you start sweating – you get up and come in. Just as you come and go from your house, then the house is not a prison – if you are sitting in prison you don’t have the possibility to come out or go in whenever your heart feels like it. In jail you are a prisoner; at home you are a master. When your lion can dance outside, can fly in the sky, can play with the moon and stars – then there is no problem. Then there is no fight with the body. Then the body is a place for relaxation. When you get tired you can return inside and rest. Then there is no enmity with the body either. Then the body is a temple.

-Osho

From Enlightenment: The Only Revolution, Chapter Eight

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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.

On August 15, 2019, Sambuddha Swami Yoga Chinmaya left the body behind and disappeared into the Great Mystery. Read the intimate tribute, Wake Up Into No-Mind.

You can read more about Yoga Chinmaya here.

The Deepest Freedom – Dipa Ma

The Deepest Freedom

“Gradually I became acquainted with suffering,

the cause of suffering,

the arising of suffering,

and the end of suffering.”

DIPA MA BELIEVED, unconditionally, that enlightenment—total liberation of the mind and heart—is the purpose of human life and the primary reason for meditation practice. She never tired of reminding her students: “You must practice to know at least one stage of enlightenment. Otherwise you have not made use of your human life.”

In the Theravada tradition, little is written about the actual experience of enlightenment. The reticence of many teachers on this subject is largely to avoid setting up an attitude of striving. This chapter brings enlightenment experiences out into the open, with the aim of showing that there is nothing secret or supernatural about them. Although it might be inferred from these stories that enlightenment can happen rather easily, there are also stories of awakening taking many years or even decades.

While there is no “right way” on this path, and consequently nothing to judge, compare, or anticipate, Joseph Goldstein offers this important caveat: “The experience of enlightenment is about letting go of ‘self.’ Over the years, I’ve seen people who have experienced enlightenment use it to create more self. They attach to the experience and identify with it. This is missing the point, and it can create a lot of suffering.”

Kamikaze yogi

My first two three-month retreats were blasting through, “bliss bomb”–type retreats, where I described myself as a kamikaze yogi. But my third three-month retreat was weeping from the first day until the end. At times, I would have such incredible internal aching and tearing apart that I thought I couldn’t sit more than five minutes. At first, when I reported this to Dipa Ma, she suggested I just “note it.”

But finally there was a certain point where I really thought I was going to explode if I sat any longer. Dipa Ma sat down next to me, took my hand, held it and caressed it with love and gentleness, like caressing a baby. While she was doing this, she assured me, “If you make it through this, you will earn great merit.”

Doing this, she gave me an absolute transmission of her confidence and love. My doubt disappeared; I totally believed her words. I went back to the hall and sat on my cushion, and . . . something just opened up. I don’t know how much I should describe of it. I started to have experiences like you see in the classical texts on enlightenment. She was guiding me with special resolutions during this time.

I am grateful that she kept me practicing. Even though for two and a half months I was racked with restlessness and achiness and wanted to “roll up the mat” and go home, she kept me going.

-Anonymous

Did you get enlightened?

Dipa Ma came to teach a class at my school for three weeks. At the end of the class, we were to do a weekend intensive retreat with her. The day before the intensive she said to me, “You are going to have a ‘realization experience’.” I wondered, “What is this supposed to mean?”

That night, I meditated for a while, and then I got up because I was getting very sleepy. I went back to my room, and something shifted. I realized I needed to go back and meditate some more, so I went back to meditate, and I got extremely concentrated.

There was simply the watching of my breath. I was noting every microcosm of the rising and falling, every little bit, and I had the ability to watch the intentions of thoughts coming. It was like a bubble that would break, then the thought would be there, then it would pass, and there would be stillness, then another intention of the thought would arise, then break like a bubble on the surface of water and so on. It was not me doing this, because I absolutely had no capacity for that level of concentration. I think it was simply by Dipa Ma’s grace. There was incredible stillness, and a huge amount of space in between thoughts where nothing was going on.

Then there was a huge shift in awareness, as if I went “out” somewhere where attention reversed. There was no body anymore, just the arising and passing away of things. It completely blew me away.

The next day Dipa Ma asked me, “Well, did you get enlightened?” Later, because I was so new at meditation—I didn’t have a background or context for this experience—a lot of fear came up. First there was this incredible insight, then fear arose when I saw that everything was being annihilated moment after moment. My mind became so confused; I didn’t have the ability to watch the confusion, and it was a long time before the experience matured in me. It was three years before I had the desire to meditate again.

-Anonymous

Enlightenment was rather matter-of-fact to Dipa Ma’s Indian students. Jack Engler recalls that they practiced within the context of their families and daily life. “When Dipa Ma recognized a certain kind of ripeness in them, she would say, ‘Arrange your affairs, see if you can get two weeks off from the family, and come and stay in this room next to me and just devote yourself for ten or fourteen days to this practice.’ That’s when enlightenment happened to them. That is all the intensive practice they did, and even then, some of them had to return home during that time to take care of family matters.”

Just two or three days

I took my mother [Dipa Ma’s sister Hema] every evening to the monastery, and once I met a Burmese lady there who told me about her practice at home with her small children. She worked in the day, and she did meditation at night when her children were asleep. Within two months, she said, she finished the first stage [of enlightenment].

So I took that example while I was teaching full time and studying in my master’s program. I got up at 4 AM and meditated until 5:30 AM. I went to school until 3:30 PM, then I took my mother to the monastery. After that I would do my homework until 9 PM. Then I would do walking meditation for an hour with my dog. Then I would sit for another hour until 11 PM. At 11, I went to sleep.

All the time, on the bus to school, during my classes, everywhere, I practiced noting [mentally noting each sensory experience]. After about two or three weeks, Munindra told me to take my vacation and come and meditate. I told him it was impossible to take time off school, and he said, “Well, just two or three days will do.” So I went for Thursday through Sunday. Since there was so little time, I decided to stay up all night Thursday, and I kept meditating into Friday.

On Friday night at about 1 AM, I thought something “went wrong.” In the morning, I told my mother and Dipa Ma that something strange had happened. They started laughing and laughing. They told me it was the first stage, and they were very glad for me.

-Daw Than Myint

Okay, a tiger is coming

On the very first day I met her, Nani [Dipa Ma] gave me meditation instructions and told me, “You can practice at home.” I went home that afternoon and immediately started practicing for twenty days. During the twenty days of meditation, I felt I had a high fever, I felt like a hot iron was penetrating my body. Then I saw snakes everywhere, and tigers were jumping at me. I reported this to Nani, and she told me, “Don’t worry. Don’t take any medicine. You have a fever, but it is not a disease: it will spontaneously leave. Just be mindful of it. Just feel it and note it. When snakes or tigers come, don’t worry. Just notice, ‘Okay, a tiger is coming.’ That is all.”

Then I began having vivid pictures of dead bodies. I saw many, many dead bodies in an arid place, and I had to walk on the dead bodies. I was terrified. Nani said, “Don’t fear. Just make a mental note of ‘seeing.’ These visions are from our many births. What we have done in previous births often comes to mind in meditation.” From her instruction, I noted, “seeing a dead body,” and “walking on dead bodies.” I also kept noting, “I’m seeing in my mind.”

Soon there was just awareness, everything stopped, my mind became clear and peaceful, and I came to awaken. All my pains were eradicated. I came to understand what was my body, what was my mind, and what was the way of meditation. There was no turning back. After twenty days, I left my seat and went out into the world.

-Jyotishmoyee Barua

This most precious thing

When I was doing my research in Calcutta, Dipa Ma brought her neighbor to me, a sixty-five-year-old woman whose name was Madhuri Lata. She had raised her family, her children were gone, and, unlike most Indian families, she was alone with her husband, with no extended family living in the same household. Her husband had said to her, “You have nothing to do now. This ‘aunt’ of yours, Dipa Ma, teaches this meditation practice. Why don’t you talk with her? It’ll give you something to do.”

Madhuri, who had mild developmental delays, went to Dipa Ma, and Dipa Ma gave her the basic instructions [to place her attention on the rise and fall of the abdomen with each inhalation and exhalation and] to note to herself “rising, falling, rising, falling.” Madhuri said, “Okay,” and started to go home, down four flights of stairs and across the alley to her apartment. She didn’t get halfway down the stairs before she forgot the instructions. So, back she came. “What was I supposed to do?” she asked. “Rising, falling, rising, falling,” said Dipa Ma. “Oh, yes, that’s right.”

Four times, Madhuri forgot the instructions and had to come back. Dipa Ma was very patient with her. It took Madhuri almost a year to understand the basic instructions, but once she got them, she was like a tiger. Before she began to practice, Madhuri was bent over at a ninety-degree angle with arthritis, rheumatism, and intestinal problems. When I met her, after her enlightenment experience, she walked with a straight back. No more intestinal problems. She was the simplest, sweetest, gentlest woman. After she told me her enlightenment story, she said, “All this time, I’ve wanted to tell someone about this wonderful thing that happened to me, and I’ve never been able to share this before, this most precious thing in my life.”

-Jack Engler

All emotion is from thinking

Despite severe emotional difficulties, a Vietnamese monk, Venerable Khippa-Panno, was able to attain insight with Dipa Ma’s encouragement. In 1969, he had gone on a retreat during which, for five days, he was unable to stop laughing and crying. His teacher, deciding Khippa-Panno had gone mad, told him to stop the retreat and return home. When Dipa Ma heard this, she invited Khippa-Panno to practice with her.

For a whole month, I practiced at her house. She advised me, “You will overcome this difficulty. If everything is noted, all your emotional difficulties will disappear. When you feel happy, don’t get involved with the happiness. And when you feel sad, don’t get involved with it. Whatever comes, don’t worry. Just be aware of it.” On a later retreat, when I felt the craziness come, I remembered her words. I had so much difficulty with the emotions that I wanted to leave the retreat, but I remembered her faith in me, and her saying, “Your practice is good. Just note everything, and you will overcome the difficulty.” With this knowledge of her confidence in me, my concentration got deeper. Soon I came to see that all emotion was from thinking, nothing more. I found that once I knew how to observe the thoughts that led to the emotions, I could overcome them. And then I came to see that all thoughts were from the past or the future, so I started to live only in the present, and I developed more and more mindfulness. . . . I had no thoughts for a period of time, just mindfulness, and then all my emotional difficulties passed away. Just like that! And then I had an experience. I wasn’t sure what it was. It was only a moment, and there wasn’t anyone to confirm it at the time. My emotional problems have never returned. Later, in 1984, when I saw Dipa Ma in America, she took me aside and asked about my meditation. When I told her, she told me that I had completed the first stage [of enlightenment]. She told me like a mother would tell a child. -Venerable Khippa-Panno

From Dipa Ma, Chapter Six, Schmidt, Amy. Windhorse Publications Ltd. Kindle Edition.

 

Meditation is Love – Dipa Ma

Meditation is love.” Dipa Ma

Dipa Ma Barua was a Buddhist Icon and Master Teacher.

Dipa Ma was a woman of extraordinary wisdom, concentration, and loving kindness. She was a rare example of a mother and grandmother who became a realized Buddhist Master through her unwavering determination and heart. Dipa Ma taught many of the Vipassana Buddhist teachers in the West, and the stories about her continue to inspire Buddhists and spiritual seekers today.

 

About Dipa Ma

Born 1911- Died 1989

Taught Vipassana Buddhism in Myanmar/Burma, India and USA.

Gotama Buddha’s familiar story follows the archetypal hero’s journey: he left behind wife and child and renounced the ordinary world to seek the holy life. Dipa Ma followed a similar path, but with an unexpected turn. Ultimately she took her practice home again, living out her enlightenment in a simple city apartment with her daughter. Her responsibilities as a parent were clarified by her spiritual practice; she made decisions based not on guilt and obligation but on the wisdom and compassion that arose from meditation. Instead of withdrawing to a cave or a forest hermitage, Dipa Ma stayed home and taught from her bedroom—appropriately enough, a room with no door.

Nani Bala Barua, later known as Dipa Ma, was born in 1911 in a village on the plains of Chittagong in what is now Bangladesh. The indigenous Buddhist culture there traces its lineage in an unbroken line back to the Buddha. By the time Dipa Ma was born, meditation practice had almost disappeared among her clan, but they continued to observe Buddhist rituals and customs.

Though intensely interested in Buddhism from a young age, like most Asian women of her era Dipa Ma had little opportunity to undertake serious spiritual training. However, by midlife she came to devote herself fully to meditation, attaining profound levels of insight in only a short time. She found a way to incorporate her family into her spiritual journey and went on to teach specific techniques for practicing mindfulness in the midst of everyday activities.

Dipa Ma’s influence has been widely felt in the West, in part due to her relationship with the three founders of the Insight Meditation Society. She was a primary teacher of Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg, as well as one of Jack Kornfield’s teachers. Kornfield recalls that Dipa Ma’s first questions were always, “How are you feeling? How is your health? Are you eating well?” No matter who showed up or what state they were in, Dipa Ma reached out to them with love. Both Salzberg and Goldstein call her “the most loving person I have ever met.”

IMS teacher Michele McDonald-Smith considers meeting Dipa Ma a turning point in her life. “At the time I met her,” McDonald-Smith says, “there were mostly male role models—male teachers, male buddhas. To meet a woman householder who lived with her daughter and grandson—and who was that enlightened—it was more profound than I can put into words. She embodied what I deeply wanted to be like. For me as a woman householder, I immediately felt, ‘If she can do this, I can do this, too.’”

For lay people who are committed to dharma practice but unlikely to leave home, work and family to live in a temple or monastery, Dipa Ma is a vivid example of what is possible. Even the name she went by suggests her identity as an enlightened householder. After giving birth in middle age to a much-longed-for child, a daughter named Dipa, Nani Bala Barua got the nickname “Dipa Ma,” meaning “mother of Dipa.” The word dipa means “light or lamp of the dharma,” thus the name “mother of light” united the two salient features of her life—dharma and motherhood.

Dipa Ma’s early life followed the expected path of a village girl in East Bengal. At age twelve, she married Rajani Ranjan Barua, an engineer twice her age, who left one week after their wedding to take a job in Burma. After two lonely years in her in-laws’ home, she was sent to Rangoon to join her husband. To the couple’s great disappointment, the young Dipa Ma was unable to become pregnant and to add to this difficulty, her mother died while she was still adjusting to her new life. Although she was eventually able to bear children, she lost two as infants and then fell seriously ill herself. Through it all, Rajani was patient, loving, and wise. The couple adopted her much younger brother, Bijoy, and Rajani suggested to his grieving wife that she treat every person she met as her own child.

Dipa Ma raised her younger brother, gave birth to Dipa, and looked after her husband. However, in her mid-forties, after Bijoy had grown up and left home, Rajani died suddenly, leaving Dipa Ma devastated. For several years she was confined to her bed with heart disease and hypertension, scarcely able to care for herself and her young daughter, and she believed she would soon die if she did not find a way to free herself from her burden of grief. She resolved to learn meditation, convinced it was the only way she could save herself. Soon after, she dreamed of the Buddha softly chanting these verses from the Dhammapada:

Piyato jayati soko,
piyato jayati bhayam
piyato vippamuttassa,
natthi soko kuto bhayam.

Clinging to what is dear brings sorrow.
Clinging to what is dear brings fear.
To one who is entirely free from endearment
There is no sorrow or fear.

Awakening from the dream, Dipa Ma felt a calm determination to devote herself fully to meditation practice. She turned over everything she had been left by her husband to a neighbor, whom she asked to care for her daughter, and arranged to go to the Kamayut Meditation Center in Rangoon, intending to spend the rest of her life there.

Early in the morning during her first day at the center, Dipa Ma was given a room and basic instructions and told to report to the meditation hall late that afternoon. As she sat in meditation through the day, her concentration rapidly deepened. Later, on her way to the meditation hall, she suddenly found herself unable to move. For several minutes, she couldn’t even lift a foot, which puzzled her. Finally she realized that a dog had clamped its teeth around her leg and wouldn’t let go. Amazingly, her concentration had become so deep even in those first few hours of practice that she had felt no pain. Eventually, the dog was pulled away by some monks. Dipa Ma went to a hospital for rabies injections and then returned home to recuperate.

Once home, her distraught daughter would not allow her to leave again. With her characteristic practicality and resourcefulness, Dipa Ma recognized that her spiritual journey would have to take a different form. Using the instructions given at her short retreat, she patiently meditated at home, committing herself to the diligent practice of awareness, moment by moment.

After several years, Munindra, a family friend who lived nearby, encouraged Dipa Ma, then fifty-three years old, to come to the meditation center where he was studying under the renowned teacher Mahasi Sayadaw. By her third day there, Dipa Ma entered into much deeper concentration. Her need for sleep vanished, along with her desire to eat. In the following days, she passed through the classic phases of the “progress of insight,” which precede enlightenment. On reaching the first stage, her blood pressure returned to normal, her heart palpitations decreased dramatically, and the weakness that had made her unable to climb stairs was replaced with a healthy vigor. Finally, as the Buddha had predicted in her dream, the grief she had carried for so long vanished.

For the rest of the year, Dipa Ma went back and forth between home and the meditation center, where she rapidly progressed through further stages of enlightenment. (As described in the Visuddhimagga, the Theravada tradition recognizes four such stages, each producing distinct, recognizable changes in the mind.) People who knew her were fascinated by her change from a sickly, grief-stricken woman to a calm, strong, healthy, radiant being.

Inspired by this transformation, Dipa Ma’s friends and family including her daughter, joined her at the meditation center. One of the first to arrive was Dipa Ma’s sister, Hema. Although Hema had eight children, with five still living at home, she managed to make time to practice with her sister for almost a year. During school breaks, the two middle-aged mothers would have as many as six children between them. They lived together as a family, but followed strict retreat discipline, practicing silence, no eye contact, and no eating after noon.

In 1967, the Burmese government ordered all foreign nationals to leave the country. The monks assured Dipa Ma that she could get special permission to stay, an unprecedented honor for a woman and single mother, someone with essentially no standing in society. However, though she wanted to stay in Rangoon, Dipa Ma decided to go to Calcutta, where her daughter would have better social and educational opportunities.

Their new living conditions were modest, even by Calcutta standards. They lived in a small room above a metal-grinding shop in the center of the city. They had no running water, their stove was a charcoal burner on the floor, and they shared a toilet with another family. Dipa Ma slept on a thin straw mat.

Soon word spread in Calcutta that an accomplished meditation teacher had come from Burma. Women trying to fit spiritual training in between the endless demands of managing their households appeared at Dipa Ma’s apartment during the day, seeking instruction. She obliged by offering individualized teaching tailored to full lives—but with no concessions to busyness.

Dipa Ma’s long career of guiding householders had already begun in Burma. One of her first students, Malati, was a widow and a single mother who was caring for six young children. Dipa Ma devised practices Malati could do without leaving her children, such as bringing complete presence of mind to the sensation of her infant nursing at her breast. Just as Dipa Ma had hoped, by practicing mindfulness when she nursed her baby Malati attained the first stage of enlightenment.

In Calcutta, Dipa Ma addressed similar situations again and again. Sudipti was struggling to run a business while caring for a mentally ill son and an invalid mother. Dipa Ma instructed her in Vipassana practice, but Sudipti insisted that she couldn’t find time for meditation because she had so many family and business responsibilities. Dipa Ma told Sudipti that when she found herself thinking about family or business, she could simply think about them mindfully. “Human beings will never solve all their problems,” she taught. “The only way is to bring mindfulness to whatever you are suffering. And if you can manage only five minutes of meditation a day, you should do that.”

At their first meeting, Dipa Ma asked Sudipti if she could meditate right then and there for five minutes. “So I sat with her for five minutes,” Sudipti recalls. “Then she gave me instructions in meditation anyway, even though I said I had no time. Somehow I found five minutes a day, and I followed her instructions. And from this five minutes, I became so inspired. I was able to find longer and longer times to meditate, and soon I was meditating many hours a day, into the night, sometimes all night, after my work was done. I found energy and time I didn’t know I had.”

Another Indian student, Dipak, remembers Dipa Ma teasing him: “Oh, you are coming from the office; your mind must be very busy.” But then she would fiercely command him to change his mind. “I told her that working in a bank there was a lot of calculating, and that my mind was always restless,” said Dipak. “It was impossible to practice; I was too busy.” Dipa Ma was firm, however, insisting that, “If you are busy, then busyness is the meditation. And when you do calculations, know that you are doing calculations. Meditation is always possible, at any time. If you are rushing to the office, then you should be mindful of rushing.”

Householder practice under Dipa Ma could be as demanding as monastic life. Loving but tough, Dipa Ma asked that students follow the five precepts and sleep only four hours a night, as she did. Students meditated several hours a day, reported to her several times a week, and at her instigation undertook self-guided retreats. Joseph Goldstein recalls how the last time he saw Dipa Ma, she told him he should sit for two days—meaning not a two-day retreat but one sitting for two days straight. “I started to laugh, because it seemed so beyond my capacity. But she looked at me with deep compassion, and she just said, ‘Don’t be lazy!’”

Dipa Ma’s path wasn’t attached to a particular place, teacher, lifestyle, or the monastic model. The world was her monastery; mothering and teaching were her practice. She embraced family and meditation as one, in a heart that steadfastly refused to make divisions in life. “She told me, ‘Being a wife, being a mother—these were my first teachers,’” recalls Sharon Kreider, a mother who studied with Dipa Ma. “She taught me that whatever we do, whether one is a teacher, a wife, a mother—they are all noble. They are all equal.”

Dipa Ma became not only the “patron saint of householders,” as one student called her, but also the embodiment of being the practice rather than doing the practice. For Dipa Ma there was simply the practice of being present, being fully awake, all the time, in every situation; she was a living demonstration that the real nature of mind is presence. Joseph Goldstein said that with Dipa Ma there was no sense of someone trying to be mindful; there was just mindfulness doing itself.

“Her mind didn’t make distinctions,” says meditation teacher Jacqueline Mandell. “Meditation, mothering, and practice all flowed into each other in an effortless way. They were all the same. They were one whole. There were no special places to practice, no special circumstances, no special anything. Everything was dhamma.” She urged her students to make every moment count and emphasized bringing mindfulness to cooking, ironing, talking, or any other daily activity. She often said that the whole path of mindfulness is simply awareness of whatever you are doing. “Always know what you are doing,” she would say. “You cannot separate meditation from life.”

While some teachers make the greatest impact through their words, with Dipa Ma it was, Mandell says, “her natural agile attention: shifting from teaching meditation to parenting to grand-parenting to serving tea. A simple presence: all seemed quite ordinary within her completely natural way.” Though Dipa Ma was generous with her instruction, she was often silent or spoke only a few simple words; her students found refuge in her silence and in the unshakeable peace that surrounded her.

By the time she died in 1989, Dipa Ma had several hundred Calcutta students and a large group of Western followers. A continual stream of visitors came to her apartment from early morning until late at night. She never refused anyone. When her daughter urged her to take more time for herself, Dipa Ma would reply, “They are hungry for the dhamma, so let them come.”

Dipa Ma is remembered not only for her seamless mindfulness and her direct instruction, but also for transmitting dharma through blessings. From the moment she arose each morning she blessed everything she came in contact with, including animals and even inanimate objects. She blessed every person she met from head to toe, blowing on them and chanting and stroking their hair. Her students remember being bathed in love, a feeling so strong and deep they didn’t ever want it to end. To this day, one of Dipa Ma’s students, Sandip Mutsuddi, carries her picture in his shirt pocket over his heart. Several times a day, he pulls the picture out to help him remember her lessons and to offer his respect. He has been doing this every day since her death.

Lay practitioners often feel torn between spiritual practice and the requirements of family, work, and social life. We know that our recurrent dilemmas cannot be resolved by separating parts of our lives and weighing one against the other, yet we become easily lost in that moment of dilemma. Perhaps the image of Dipa Ma can reside in our hearts as a reminder that we do not have to choose. Each dilemma can be accepted as a gift, challenging us to find, again and again and yet again, the middle way in which nothing is outside of our compassion. And perhaps the very process of opening to such challenges will produce a form of family practice that reflects how the dharma can be lived in our particular time and place.

(Originally published in Buddhadharma Magazine, Spring 2003, by Amy Schmidt and Sara Jenkins) http://www.lionsroar.com/mother-of-light-the-inspiring-story-of-dipa-ma/

All of this and more can be found at dipama.com.

What is Morality? – Osho

Please talk about morality.

Shantam Divyama, the question about morality is immensely significant, because morality is not that which has been told to you for centuries. All the religions have exploited the idea of morality. They have been teaching in different ways, but the basic foundation is the same: unless you become moral, ethical, you cannot become religious.

By morality they mean that you have to be truthful, you have to be honest, you have to be charitable, you have to be compassionate, you have to be nonviolent. In one word, all these great values have first to be present in you, only then you can move towards being religious.

This whole concept is upside down. According to me, unless you are religious you cannot be moral.

Religion comes first, morality is only a by-product. If you make the by-product into the goal of human character, you will create such a troubled, miserable humanity – and for such a good cause. You are bringing the cart before the bullocks – neither the bullocks can move, nor the cart can move; both are stuck.

How can a man be truthful if he does not know what truth is? How can a man be honest if he does not know even who he is? How can a man be compassionate if he does not know the source of love within himself? From where will he get the compassion? All that he can do in the name of morality is to become a hypocrite, a pretender. And there is nothing more ugly than to be a hypocrite. He can pretend, he can try hard, but everything will remain superficial and skin-deep. Just scratch him a little bit, and you will find all the animal instincts fully alive, ready to take revenge whenever they can get the opportunity.

Putting morality before religion is one of the greatest crimes that religions have committed against humanity.

The very idea brings a repressed human being. And a repressed human being is sick, psychologically split, constantly in a fight with himself, trying to do things which he does not want to do.

Morality should be very relaxed and easy – just like your shadow; you don’t have to drag it with you, it simply comes on its own. But this has not happened; what has happened is a psychologically sick humanity. Everybody is tense, because whatever you are doing there is a conflict about whether it is right or wrong. Your nature goes in one direction; your conditioning goes just in the opposite direction, and a house divided cannot stand for long. So everybody is somehow pulling himself together; otherwise the danger is always there, just by your side, of having a nervous breakdown.

I do not teach morality at all. Morality should come on its own accord. I teach you directly the experience of your own being. As you become more and more silent, serene, calm and quiet, as you start understanding you own consciousness, as your inner being becomes more and more centered, your actions will reflect morality. It will not be something that you decide to do; it will be something as natural as roses on a rose bush. It is not that the rose bush is doing great austerities, and fasting, and praying to God, and disciplining itself according to the Ten Commandments; the rose bush is doing nothing. The rose bush has just to be healthy, nourished, and the flowers will come in their own time, with great beauty, effortlessly.

A morality that comes with effort is immoral. A morality that comes without effort is the only morality there is.

That’s why I don’t talk about morality at all, because it is morality that has created so many problems for humanity – about everything. They have given you ready-made ideas about what is right, what is wrong. In life, ready-made ideas don’t work, because life goes on changing, just like a river – taking new turns, moving into new territories… from the mountains to the valleys, from the valleys to the plains, from the plains to the ocean.

Heraclitus is right when he says, “You cannot step in the same river twice,” because it is always flowing. The second time you step in, it is different water. I agree with Heraclitus so much that I say unto you, you cannot step in the same river even once – because when your feet are touching its surface, the water underneath is flowing; as your feet are going deeper, the water on the surface is flowing; and by the time you have touched the bottom, so much water has gone… it is not the same water, that your step can not be said to be entering into the same river.

Life is just like the river – a flux. And you are all carrying fixed dogmas. You always find yourself unfit, because if you follow your dogmas, you have to go against life; if you follow life, you have to go against your dogmas.

Hence my whole effort is to make your morality spontaneous. You should be conscious and alert, and respond to every situation with absolute consciousness. Then whatever you do is right. It is not a question of actions being right or wrong, it is a question of consciousness – whether you are doing it consciously or unconsciously like a robot.

My whole philosophy is based on growing your consciousness higher, deeper, to the point when there is no unconsciousness inside you; you have become a pillar of light. In this light, in this clarity, to do anything wrong becomes impossible. It is not that you have to avoid doing it; even if you want to do it, you cannot. And in this consciousness, whatsoever you do becomes a blessing.

Your action out of consciousness is moral, out of unconsciousness is immoral… it may be the same action.

I am reminded of an old story: A king was getting old, and he told his only son, who was going to succeed him, “Before I die you have to learn the art of morality, because a king has to be a model for everyone else in the kingdom; nothing should go wrong in your actions. So I am sending you today to my old master. I am old, he is even older than me, so don’t waste time. Learn everything intensely, totally, without wasting a single moment.”

The prince went to the master and he was surprised – surprised by the fact that the master was a master of archery: “And what has archery to do with morality? Has my father gone senile?” But he had come to the mountains, so he thought, “It is better to see the old man at least once.”

He went in. The old man was immensely beautiful and graceful, surrounded by an aura of silence and peace. He had been thinking he was going to meet a warrior, an archer, but here was a sage. He was getting even more puzzled. He asked the old man, “Are you the master archer?” He said, “You are right.”

The prince said, “I have been sent by my father, the king, who is your disciple, to learn morality from you. I cannot see any connection at all between morality and archery.” The old man laughed and he said, “Soon you will see.”

The prince said, “I am in a hurry. My father is old, and before he dies I want to fulfill his desire.” The master said, “Then get lost, because these things cannot be learned in a hurry. Patience, infinite patience is the very foundation of learning any art, whether it is archery or it is morality.”

Looking at the old man’s eyes the prince remained, and he said, “When are my lessons going to start?” The old man said, “Just now they have started. Patience is your first lesson. And about the second lesson I should make you aware. The second lesson is that you will be cleaning the floors, cleaning in the garden, collecting the old leaves, throwing them out. Be very careful, because I may hit you with a wooden sword at any moment. Although it is wooden, it hits really hard. It has given many people fractures.”

The prince said, “But I have come here to learn morality, not to get fractures!” The old man said, “That will come in its own time, this is only the beginning.” Puzzled, confused… but he knew his father, that if he went back empty-handed the old man would be really enraged. He had to learn. On both sides two mad, old people…. “And this man is trying to teach me morality by hitting me! But let us see what happens.”

And the master started hitting him. He would be washing the floor, and suddenly a hit would come. He would be cleaning the path in the garden, and suddenly a hit would come. But he became surprised, within a week, that a certain intuition was arising in him. Even before the old man had approached him, he would jump out of his way. Whatever he was doing, some part of his consciousness was continuously alert the old man, where he was. And the old man used to walk so silently that it was almost impossible to remain conscious. But he started being conscious, because getting so many hits, his whole body was hurting.

It continued for one month. But in one month he became so capable that the old man was no longer able to hit him. The old man said, “You are really the son of your father. He was also very keen, intense, and total in learning; it won’t take much time. Your first lesson is finished today, because for twenty-four hours I have been trying to hit you, but you have been found always alert, and saved yourself.

“From tomorrow morning you will have to be more alert, because the wooden sword will be replaced by a real sword. The wooden sword at the most could have given you a fracture, but the real sword may even cut off your head. So more awareness will be needed.”

But this one month had been of such great learning… he was never aware that inside him there was so much possibility of intuitive awareness. He was trained, well-trained intellectually, but he had no idea of any intuitiveness. And he was not afraid even of the real sword, because he said, “It is the same. If you cannot hit me with the wooden sword, you cannot hit me with the real sword either. It makes no difference to me.”

For one month the old man was trying in every possible way to hit him with the real sword, and naturally the prince became more and more alert – had to become, there was no other alternative.

And one complete month passed, and the old man could not even touch him. He was very happy, and he said, “I am immensely satisfied. Now the third lesson. Up to now I was hitting you only while you were awake. From this evening, remember that in the night when you are asleep I may hit you at any time. Again it will start with the wooden sword.”

The prince became a little worried – awake it was one thing, but when you are asleep? But these two months had given him tremendous respect, trust in the old man and his art, and also a confidence about his own intuition. And he thought, “If he says it, then perhaps intuition never sleeps.”

And that proved to be the truth. The body sleeps, the mind sleeps, but the intuition is always awake; its very nature is awareness, but we never look at it He had to look, he had to remain alert, even asleep.

The old man started hitting him, and a few times he got really bad hits. But he was grateful, not angry, because after each hit he was becoming more and more alert, even in sleep – just like a small flame, something remained alive in him, alert and watchful. And just in one month he was again able to protect himself even in his sleep. As the old man would come close, very silently, making no noise, no footstep sounds, the young man would jump up out of his bed. He may have been fast asleep, but something remained awake.

And in the next lesson the real sword in appeared his sleep. The next morning the old man said, “Now the last lesson – I will be hitting you with a real sword. And you know my sword, just a single hit and you are finished. You have to gather all your consciousness.” The young man was a little worried, a little afraid, because the game was becoming more and more dangerous.

In the early morning sun the old man was reading a book, sitting under a tree in the rising sun, and the young man was gathering the old leaves from the garden. Suddenly a thought came to him, “This old man has been hitting me for months; it will be a great idea… I should try to hit him and see whether he is alert or not.”

And he was just twenty or twenty-five feet away, when he was just thinking this in his mind – he had not done anything yet – and the old man said, “Boy, I am very old, and your teaching is not finished yet. Don’t have such ideas.” The prince could not believe it. He came and touched his feet, and said, “Forgive me, but I had not done anything, I was only thinking… just an idea.”

The old man said, “When you become fully alert even the sound of your thoughts is heard. It is the question of awareness. You don’t have to do anything, you just think and I will know. And soon you will become capable of the same – just a little more patience .”

And soon the day came when he started suddenly becoming aware that the old man was thinking of hitting him… for no reason. The old man was sitting reading his book, but the idea came so clearly that he went to the master, and said, “So you are going to hit me again? Just a few seconds before I heard the idea.” The master said, “You are right, I was just thinking to finish the page and come. Now there is no need for you to be here. I know your father is old and is waiting for you.”

But the young man said, “What happened about morality?” The old man said, ”Forget all about it.

A man who is so alert can only be moral. He cannot harm anybody, he cannot steal, he cannot be unkind, cruel; he will be naturally loving and compassionate. You forget all about morality!”

This awareness is what I call religiousness. The prince went back. The father was waiting and waiting, and he said, “Have you learned the whole art of archery?” The young man said, ”You sent me to learn the art of morality. From where have you got the idea of archery?” The king said, ”I sent you to learn morality, archery was only a device.”

There are many devices, many ways and methods of meditation to create awareness, to wake up your sleeping intuition. And once it is awake, then there is no need to tell you what is good, what is moral, what is bad, what is immoral; your awareness will be decisive on its own. And it will be spontaneous, fresh and young, and always to the point, because all principles become dead. And if you try to fit your life according to principles, you also become dead.

That’s what has happened to Christians, to Hindus, to Mohammedans, to Jainas, to all the people around the world – they are living according to dead principles. And those dead principles don’t fit with the reality – they cannot fit. Only a spontaneous consciousness…. The difference is something like this: you have a photograph of yourself of the last year, or maybe of your childhood, and if you don’t know that it is your picture of your childhood, you may not even recognize it – because you have changed so much. That picture is dead, it is not growing; you are growing.

Morality is like photographs. Religion is like a mirror. If a child is facing it, it reflects the child; if an old man is facing it, it reflects the old man. It is always spontaneous, in the moment, responding to reality. A conscious human being is just like a mirror – he reflects reality and responds accordingly. His response is moral.

So I am changing the whole emphasis from action to awareness.

And if more and more people can become aware, the world will be a totally different place. A man of awareness will not go to war. Although religious scriptures say that to sacrifice yourself for your nation, for your religion is virtuous, a man of consciousness cannot follow that dead idea. To him, the nation itself is an immoral idea, because it divides humanity – and war is certainly immoral. You may find good names, good words – sometimes it is religion, sometimes it is political ideology, sometimes it is Christianity, sometimes it is communism – good ideas, but the reality is turning human beings into butchers.

You are killing people whom you have never even met. And you know perfectly well that just as you have left a wife behind, crying, who will be waiting for you, just as you have left your old mother and father back at home, hoping that their son comes back alive, just as you have left small children… the man you are killing has also a wife, has also children, has also an old father and mother. And he has done no harm to you; neither have you done any harm to him.

If the world becomes a little more conscious, soldiers will throw away their arms and hug each other, sit down together under a tree and gossip. The politicians cannot force all the armies to kill, to murder. Neither can the popes, the religious leaders convince anybody that for God’s sake you have to kill. Strange… because God has created everybody. Whomsoever you are killing, you are killing God’s creation. If it is true that God created the world, then there should be no war – it is one family; there should be no nations.

These are immoral things: the nations, the religions, anything that discriminates against people and creates conflict.

A man of awareness will not be greedy, because he will be able to see that his greed will create poverty; and the people who will be starving and dying through poverty are his brothers and sisters. It does not matter whether they live in Ethiopia or in India; it does not matter whether their skin is white or black.

Authentic morality is a by-product of consciousness. And the art of consciousness is religion. There is no Hindu religion, there is no Christian religion, there is no Mohammedan religion; there is only one religion, and that is the religion of consciousness – becoming so aware, so enlightened and awakened, that you have eyes to see clearly and can respond according to that clarity.

A man of consciousness cannot be deceived by words. Mohammedans say that if you die in a religious war… how can there be a religious war? War is basically irreligious. But Christians, Mohammedans, and all other religions say that if you die in a religious war, your reward will be great in the other world. For this immoral act of killing people, you will be rewarded. But beautiful words “religious war”, cover it up.

A man of awareness sees deeply and penetratingly through your words. Neither your God can deceive him, nor your holy books can deceive him, nor your nations, nor your politicians. He lives according to his consciousness. He has an individuality, a very crystal clear individuality – a pure mirror, unclouded by anything, with no dust covering it.

But for thousands of years just mere words, and sometimes such stupid, trivial causes, have been killing people. Christianity in the middle ages burnt thousands of women. They created a fiction – the fiction of the devil. There is no devil. There is no God! But people have lived in unconsciousness, and whatsoever the leaders, the so-called saints, go on saying, people have been told to believe: if you don’t believe you will suffer in hell; if you believe you will be rewarded.

People’s intelligence has been destroyed. They have been kept retarded. Otherwise it would be impossible to burn thousands of living women for a strange reason – that these women are having sexual intercourse with the devil. Now nobody is having sexual intercourse with the devil. Only in the middle ages, suddenly, the devil became so much interested in women, and that too, only in Europe…!

A special court was created by the pope, so that if anybody suspects any woman, that she is having some friendship with the devil, you have just to report to the court and the woman will be immediately imprisoned, tortured. And the torture was so intense. They had invented special methods of torture.

Just five, six years ago, something went wrong with my back. There were so many body workers in the commune, and they all tried, but nobody succeeded in fixing it. Finally the best expert in the world from London was called, and he suggested a machine called traction. The machine was brought, and I was put on the machine. And while they were fixing their belts, I remembered that I have read that this traction machine was created in the middle ages by the Christian priests, to torture women. It pulls your legs to one side and your hands to another side. Naturally it pulls your backbone – so if the backbone has slipped somewhere it comes into line.

It was just an accidental invention. One old woman they were torturing had been suffering for twenty years from a bad back, and after their traction, she could not believe it when she stood up – her pain was gone. That’s how the traction machine was transferred from the church to the hospital. It is really torturous, and if you are using it just to torture, then you can go on pulling…. Sometimes even hands were broken, legs were taken out. The torture was so much that the women thought it was better to confess, because while they went on saying, “I have nothing to do with the devil, I don’t know the devil,” the torture continued. It would stop only when you confess that you are having sexual intercourse with the devil.

Thousands of women confessed that they have been having sexual intercourse with the devil. And once they had confessed before the court, then there was no problem. The punishment was to burn the woman alive at the crossroads in the middle of the city.

Nobody ever bothered about whether there was any devil. It was just a word – nobody had seen the devil. If you had tortured these women to make a confession that they are having intercourse with God, they would have confessed that too! There is a limit to what one can tolerate suffering.

Just mere words… but why have people enjoyed killing, suffering, torturing? Because they themselves are unhappy… so unhappy, so miserable. They cannot see anybody else being blissful, being joyous. They want everybody else to suffer more than they are suffering.

Morality has been a very good device to torture people: you don’t have to torture them, they torture themselves – even to make love to your own wife is a sin. They don’t say it about somebody else’s wife, sex is sin; and anything connected with sex becomes sin. Now sex, is something natural – there is no way to avoid it. So you are putting man into a dilemma: fixing in his mind that sex is immoral, and giving him a nature which is sexual and sensuous.

It has been discovered that millions of men around the world suffer from migraine after making love. And I was reading a report of a Christian scientist – because he is Christian, his mind is conditioned himself. He is trying to find all kinds of causes why men suffer from migraines.

He has been working on the project for one year continually. Just now he has produced his report, giving many, many causes – physiological, chemical – and the reality is so simple, there is no need of any investigation. The reality is that you have divided men’s mind into two parts. One part says, “What you are doing is wrong. Don’t do it”; the other part says, “It is impossible to resist the temptation. I’m going to do it.” These two parts start struggling, conflicting.

Migraine is nothing but a conflict, a deep conflict, in your mind. No aboriginal suffers from migraine after making love. Catholics suffer more than anybody else, because their conditioning is so deep that it creates a split in their mind. What they have been saying for centuries is without any base, without any evidence, but they go on repeating it. And once… even if a lie is repeated too often, it starts looking as if it is true.

One should be very much aware about words.

A man goes into a bar and begins to tell a Polish joke. The man sitting next to him, a big, hulking, powerhouse of a man, turns and says menacingly,“I’m Polish. Now you just wait a minute till I get my sons.”

He then calls out, “Ivan, come out here; and bring your brother.” Two men, bigger than the first, appear from the back room. “Joseph,” the man calls out, “You and your cousin come in here,” Two more men, the biggest of all, come in through the back door. All five men crowd around the man

“Now,” says the first Polish man, “Do you want to finish that joke.”

“No,” says the man.

“No? And why not?” says the Polish man, opening and closing his fist, “Are you scared?”

“No,” says the man, “I just don’t feel like having to explain it to five men.”

People are very clever with words. They can hide any kind of reality. He is afraid – those five men can kill him – but he finds a beautiful excuse: “I don’t want to bother myself, explaining to five people the meaning of the joke.”

All the religions have been playing with words, and have not allowed man to be intelligent enough to see through the words. They have created a jungle of words and theologies and dogmas and creeds and cults. And poor man is simply carrying the whole load of it in the name of morality.

I want to tell you, never bother about morality. The only concern for a sincere seeker is awareness, more consciousness. And your consciousness will take care of all your acts. Without any effort, your acts will become moral – just like flowers without any act, without any effort they will blossom around you. Morality is nothing but a conscious man’s life style.

-Osho

From The Razor’s Edge, Chapter 19

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.

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