Aurobindo, Krishnamurti and Ramana Maharshi – Osho

This talk was from a series that was originally given in Hindi and subsequently translated into English.

Questioner: Shree Arvind (Aurobindo) has written a commentary on the Geeta in which he talks about the relationship between the creation and its perception. From one point of view it is reality that is important, and from another its perception is important. In his concept of the supramental he believes that divine consciousness is going to descend on this earth, but this concept of his seems to be dualistic. What do you say? And do you think that Raman Maharshi’s concept of ajatvad, of unborn reality, is closer to you and to Chaitanya’s concept of achintya bhedabhedvad, or unthinkable dualistic non-dualism?….

All Arvind’s (Aurobindo) talk of supraconsciousness and the supramental is within the confines of the rational mind. He never goes beyond reason. Even when he speaks about the transcendence of reason, he uses rationalistic concepts. Arvind is a rationalist. Everything he says and the words and concepts he uses to say it belong to the grammar of rationalism. There is a great consistency in the statements of Arvind which is not there in statements from supra-rationalism. You cannot find the same logical consistency in the statements of mystics. A mystic speaks in terms of contradictions and paradoxes. He says one word and soon contradicts it by another word that follows it. A mystic is self-contradictory. Arvind never contradicts himself.

Arvind is a great system-maker, and a system maker can never be a supra-rational. A system is made with the help of reason. Supra-rational people are always unsystematic; they don’t have a system. System is integral to logic; that which is illogical cannot follow a methodology or order.

The unthinkable cannot be systematized. All the thinkers of this century who have crossed the threshold of reason are fragmentary in their statements; none of them followed a logical order. Wittgenstein, Husserl, Heidegger, Marlo Ponti and the rest of them, have made fragmentary statements. Krishnamurti belongs to the same category which denies system, order. Their statements are atomic, and they contradict themselves.

Arvind’s case is very different. The truth is, after Shankara there has been no greater system-builder in India than Arvind. But this is what makes for the weakness and poverty of his philosophy. He is very skilled in playing with words, concepts and theories. But the irony is that the reality of life is far beyond words, concepts and doctrines. His trouble is that he was wholly educated in the West where he learned Aristotelian logic, Darwinian Theory of Evolution and the scientific way of thinking.

His mind is wholly western; no one in India today is more western in his way of thinking than Arvind.

And ironically he chose to interpret the eastern philosophy, with the result that he reduced the whole thing into a system. The East has no logical system. All its profound insights transcend logic and thought; they cannot be achieved through thinking. Eastern experiences go beyond the known. The knower and knowledge itself; they all belong to the unknown and the unknowable – what we call mystery. And Arvind applies his western mind to interpret the transmental experiences and insights of the East. He divides them into categories and makes a system out of them, which no other eastern person could have done.

So while Arvind always talks of the unthinkable he uses the instrument of thought and the thinkable throughout. Consequently his unthinkable is nothing but a bundle of words. If Arvind had the experience of the unthinkable he could not have categorized it, because it defies all categories. One who really knows the unthinkable cannot live with categories and concepts.

Curiously enough, Arvind creates concepts out of things that have never been conceptualized. His concept of the supramental is a case in point. But he goes on fabricating categories and concepts and fitting them into logic and reason. And he does it without any inhibitions.

The other part of your question is relevant in this context. In a sense, no religious thinking subscribes to the concept of evolution.

In this respect, we can divide the religions of the world into two groups. One group believes in the theory of creation with a beginning and an end, and the other believes in an existence that has no beginning and no end. Hinduism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism believe in creation; they believe that God created the universe. The other group of religions like Jainism and Buddhism, deny the theory of creation; according to them, that which is, is beginningless. It was never created.

All those who believe in creation cannot accept the theory of evolution. If they accept it, it would mean God created an incomplete world which developed gradually to its present state. But how can a perfect God create an imperfect world? Evolution means that the world grows gradually, and creation means that the whole world comes into being altogether.

It is significant that originally the word shristhi, meaning creation, belonged to the Hindus, and prakriti, meaning pre-creation, belonged to the Jainas and Buddhists and Sankhyaites. In the course of time, however, they got mixed up. But the Hindus cannot accept the word prakriti, which means that which is is there from the time before creation, that which is uncreated, which is eternal.

Creation means something which was not always there and which was created and which can be terminated.

The concept of the pre-created, the uncreated, of prakriti, belongs to an altogether different school which does not believe in creation. Sankhyaites, Jainas, and Buddhists don’t have the concept of a creator because when nothing is created, the question of a creator does not arise. So God disappeared, he has no place in their philosophies. God is needed only in the form of a creator, and so those who rejected creation also rejected God. God as creator belongs only to those who accept the idea of creation.

Arvind brought with him the idea of evolution from the West. When Arvind was a student in England, Darwin’s ideas were sweeping across Europe. Evidently he was very much influenced by them.

After his return to India he studied eastern philosophy, and studied it deeply. I deliberately use the word ”studied” to say that he did not know the truth on his own, his knowledge was merely intellectual. Although he possessed a sharp intellect, his direct experience of truth was very dim.

Consequently he produced a crossbreed of eastern mysticism and western rationalism, which is an anomaly. India’s psyche is not much concerned with the study of nature, matter and their evolution, it is basically concerned with the understanding of mind and spirit. The meeting of the western thought of evolution with the eastern understanding of the psyche gave rise to a strange idea of psychic evolution, which became Arvind’s lifework. Like nature, he thought consciousness evolves too.

Arvind added something new to the idea of evolution which is his own, and for this very reason it is utterly wrong. Very often original ideas are wrong, because they happen to be the finding of a single person. It is true that traditional beliefs, in the course of time, degenerate into fossils, but they have a validity of their own because millions of people go out to find them. This new idea which built Arvind’s reputation concerns the descent of divine consciousness.

Down the centuries we have believed that man has to rise and ascend to God; it is always an upward journey, an ascent. Arvind thinks otherwise: he thinks that God will descend and meet man. In a way this is also like the two sides of a coin. The truth happens to be exactly in the middle. That truth is that both man and God move towards each other and meet somewhere midway. This meeting always happens somewhere midway, but the old idea emphasized man’s efforts – and not without reason. As far as God is concerned, he is always available to man providing man wants to meet him. That much is certain, and therefore God can be left out of this consideration. But it is not certain that man will make a move to meet God. So it mostly depends on man and his journey towards God, his efforts. God’s journey towards man can be taken for granted. Too much emphasis on God moving toward man is likely to weaken man’s efforts.

Arvind starts from the wrong end when he says that God is going to descend on us. But he has great appeal to people who are not interested in doing anything on their own. They took enthusiastically to Arvind’s idea of the descent of the supramental energy and they rushed to Pondicherry. In recent years more Indians have gone to Pondicherry than anywhere else. There, God could be had for a song. They need not move a finger, because God on his own was on his way to them. There could not be a cheaper bargain than this. And when God descends he will descend on one and all; he will not make any distinctions. Many people believe that Arvind alone, sitting in seclusion at Pondicherry, will work for it and divine energy will be available to all, like the river Ganges was available when it was brought to earth by Bhagirath. Arvind is to be another Bhagirath, and at a much higher level. It has put a premium on man’s greed and led to a lot of illusions.

I think that is a very wrong idea. It is true God descends, but he descends only on those who ascend to him. A great deal depends on the individual and his efforts. Divine energy descends on those who prepare themselves for it, who deserve it. And there is no reason for God to be collectively available to one and all. In fact, God is always available, but only to those who aspire and strive for him. And it is always the individual, not a collective or a society, who walks the path to God. And he has to go all alone. And if God is going to descend on all, why do you think he will exclude animals, trees and rocks?

The experiment that is in process at Pondicherry is utterly meaningless; there has not been a more meaningless experiment in man’s history. It is a waste of effort, but it goes on because it is very comforting to our greed.

In this context, the questioner has remembered Raman who is just the opposite of Arvind. While Arvind is a great scholar, Raman has nothing to do with scholarship. Arvind is very knowledgeable, he is well informed; Raman is utterly unscholarly, you cannot come across a more unscholarly man than him. While Arvind seems to be all-knowing, Raman is preparing for the non-knowing state; he does not seem to know a thing. That is why man’s highest potentiality is actualized in Raman, and Arvind has missed it. Arvind remains just knowledgeable; Raman really knows the truth. Raman attained to self-knowledge, not knowledge. So his statements are straight and simple, free from the jargon of scriptures and scholarship. Raman is poor in language and logic, but his richness of experience, of being, is immense; as such he is incomparable.

Raman is not a system-maker like Arvind. His statements are atomic; they are just like sutras, aphorisms. He does not have much to say, and he says only that which he knows. Even his words are not enough to say what he really knows. Raman’s whole teaching can be collected on a postcard, not even a full page will be needed. And if you want to make a collection of Arvind’s writings, they will fill a whole library. And it is not that Arvind has said all that he wanted to say. He will have to be born again and again to say it all; he had too much to say. This does not mean that he did not bother to attain real knowing because he had already so much to say. No, this was not the difficulty.

Buddha had much to say and he said it. Buddha was like Raman so far as his experience of truth was concerned, and he was like Arvind in general knowledge. Mahavira has said little, he spent most of his time in silence. His statements are few and far between; they are telegraphic. In his statements Mahavira resembles Raman. Digambaras, one of the two Jaina sects, don’t have any collection of his teachings, while the Shwetambaras have a few scriptures which were compiled five hundred years after Mahavira’s death.

Questioner: You compare Raman with Buddha who happened in distant past. Why not compare him with Krishnamurti, who is so close by?

The question of being close or distant does not arise. Krishnamurti is exactly like Raman. I compare Arvind with Raman and Buddha for a special reason. In the experience of truth, Krishnamurti is very much like Raman, but he lags behind Arvind in knowledge. Of course, he is more articulate and logical than Raman. And there is a great difference between Krishnamurti and Arvind in so far as the use of logic and reason is concerned.

Arvind uses logic to reinforce his arguments; Krishnamurti uses logic to destroy logic; he makes full use of reason in order to lead you beyond reason. But he is not much knowledgeable. That is why I chose Buddha as an example; he compares well with Arvind in knowledge and with Raman in self-knowledge.

As far as Krishnamurti is concerned, he is like Raman in transcendental experience, but he is not scholarly like Arvind.

There is yet another difference between Raman and Krishnamurti. While Raman’s statements are very brief, Krishnamurti’s statements are voluminous. But in spite of their large volume, Krishnamurti’s teachings can be condensed in a brief statement. For forty years Krishnamurti has been repeating the same thing over and over again. His statements can be condensed to a postcard.

But because he uses reason in his statements, they grow in volume. Raman is precise and brief; he avoids volume. You can say that the statements of both Krishnamurti and Raman are atomic, but while Krishnamurti embellishes them with arguments, Raman does not. Raman speaks, like the seers of the Upanishads, in aphorisms. The Upanishads just proclaim: the Brahman, the supreme is; they don’t bother to advance any argument in their support. They make bare statements that, “It is so” and “It is not so.” Raman can be compared with the Upanishadic rishis.

Questioner: Please tell us something about Raman’s ajatvad or the principle of no-birth.

According to Raman and people like him, that which is has no beginning, it was never born, it is unborn. The same thing has always been said in another way: that which is will never die, it is deathless, it is immortal. There are hundreds of statements which proclaim the immortality of Brahman, the ultimate, who is without beginning and without end. Only that which is never born can be immortal, that which is beginningless. This is Raman’s way of describing the eternal.

Do you know when you were born? You don’t. Yes, there are records of your birth which others have kept, and through them that you came to know that you were born on a certain date, month and year. This is just information received from others. Apart from this information you have no way to know that you were born. There is no intrinsic, inbuilt source of information within you which can tell you about it; you have no evidence whatsoever to support the fact of your birth. The truth of your innermost being is eternal, so the question of its birth does not arise. In fact, you were never born; you are as eternal as eternity.

You say you will die someday, but how do you know it? Do you know what death is? Do you have any experience of death? No, you will say you have seen others die, and so you infer that you too will die someday. But suppose we arrange things and it is quite possible, that a certain person is not allowed to see any other person die. Can he know on his own that he is ever going to die? He cannot. So it is just your conjecture, based on external evidence that you will die in some future.

There is no internal evidence, no intrinsic source of knowledge within you which can sustain your conjecture that you will die. That is why a strange thing happens, that in spite of so many deaths taking place all around, no one really believes that he is going to die; he believes while others will die he is going to live. Your innermost being knows no birth and no death; it is eternal. You only know that you are.

Raman asks you not to guess, but find out for yourself if there is really birth and death. You have no inner evidence in support of birth and death; the only dependable evidence available within you says, “I am.”

I too, say to you there is every evidence that makes you know, “I am.” And if you go still deeper you will know, “I am not.” Then you will know only a state of “am ness” within you.

– Osho

Excerpted from: Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy, Chapter 14.

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

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

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21 thoughts on “Aurobindo, Krishnamurti and Ramana Maharshi – Osho”

  1. Osho is sheer delight to read. and this is the first series of Hindi lectures where he gave sannyas too. Very good translation from Hindi to English.

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  2. PremG thanks for beatiful question and answer series. I think above post is half as there is no reply from osho about “Chaitanya’s concept of achintya bhedabhedvad”.

    Pl. post it if u can.

    thanks and love.

    Baawra.

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  3. “All Arvind’s (Aurobindo) talk of supraconsciousness and the supramental is within the confines of the rational mind. He never goes beyond reason. Even when he speaks about the transcendence of reason, he uses rationalistic concepts. Arvind is a rationalist. Everything he says and the words and concepts he uses to say it belong to the grammar of rationalism…”

    LOL.

    Arvind must be roaring in laughters reading Osho…

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    1. Perhaps. But Osho was right in that god does not (or at least has not) descended just for the asking – at least for most of us. There seems to be some work to be done – transformation, whatever. Just try it yourself now. Doesn’t work.

      On the other hand, god has to ‘descend’ at some point as our finite selves cannot live long enough to reach the infinite. Perhaps we can instead to to 0 which is much closer.

      Dont know about god only descending on individuals. Could be that he might descent on a society – after all societies are in different levels of development, and if there are collective conciousnesses, they should be evolving / developing too? But that might just bring god to the society – not individuals – after all when a person is enlighened, the parts of his body may not be seperately enlightened too…

      Dont really know – just thoughts…

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    2. But this statement too is purely rational. Rationality is the default state when it come to any form of verbal expression. How on earth could Osho possibly know the inner experience of Arvind? He simply couldn’t have so its all guesswork. Ladies and gentleman you have only yourself as a reference point. One day you just have to accept this.

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      1. Much common sense in that. Osho’s use of language, human rationality and iteration structure of syntax, etc., to convey his expression, is at the same level of usual language and makes his own argument against Aurobindo implode by itself at each sentence. The point is I’m very surprised Osho seems not to realise that. More surprised, in fact, that he doesn’t sense, at least, or indeed *perceive* that Aurobindo is a yogui. I do, and I’m certainly not a “master” (and certainly do not prented to be, either). I do perceive the Mother and Aurobindo almost daily since the 1970s in my own mind and psyche. And the descent of the Shakti, almost daily. Etc. Thousands, like me, know those things intimately, as per personal concrete experience. And not Osho ? Hum .. The least I can say is that it looks quite surprising and strange to me.

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  4. hai dear,
    all the forms of knowledge is same.there can be a variation as much or less in knowledge.there is no ramana,osho,j.k,aurobindo.everything is pure…pure consious.nothing else.me who write you who read also…….

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  5. There is nothing new said by any one….only truth, that is, conciousness, remains. Call it Brahma, Bhooma, atma, or what you will….

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    1. I think it is personally of no consequence what the likes of Aurbindo and Osho thought…. I am only concerned about what Ramana and JK tried to convey to us….

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  6. Osho’s assessment of the philosophy of Aurobindo, as being the outcome of his Western schooling, being influenced by the logic of Aristotle, is correct. After a complete reading of his magnum opus, the Life Divine, one doesn’t find any liberating knowledge in it. Aurobindo was very much obsessed with the idea of the Supramental descending on the Earth, for which he had been laboriously working, being immersed in a continuous trance to achieve it. It is surprising that Aurobino, while decrying Advaita, should have chosen to be immersed in a continuous trance, an act incompatible with his conclusion that the waking state is real, whereas, Ramana, being in accord with the teachings of Advaita, didn’t give importance to such trances, having been available for the public to see him at any point of time, which was not the case with Aurobindo, since he could be seen by the people only on select days his birthday being one. Aurobindo, mischaracterised the Advaita teachings of Sankara as one of a world- negating view, whereas, according to true Advaita, it is not as if the world didn’t exist, but the truth being that the world doesn’t have an independent ontological status, but has its existence only by virtue of the unbroken Light of Brhaman from which viewpoint alone the three states of waking, dream, and deep sleep don’t have any intrinsic reality apart from the common platform of ‘ Turiya’, the fourth state. Hence Advaita has in it a holistic truth being neither idealism nor realism, but constituting the whole. Whereas, while Ramana didn’t find any need to transform the world, which doesn’t exist in the light of his understanding of the truth of the Unborn, he gave a liberating knowledge to humanity through his teaching of inner quest, self- investigation, which consists in not paying attention to the thoughts alien to one’s being, such thoughts arising. only after the first, fundamental thought of ‘I’ , arising, but to turn back the mind to the heart through the, ‘Who Am I ‘, enquiry. Osho is correct, when he says that self-knowledge is not something collective, but is available to only those who want it. Further, there doesn’t seem to be any difference between the teachings of Ramana and J.Krishnamurt, since the teachings of both are based on the irrefragable truth of the individual consciousness being an illusion, the only difference being, as Osho would have it, that whereas Krishnamurt used reason to destroy logic, Ramana, from the very beginning, denied the validity of logic as a fit instrument in knowing oneself. Ramana abided in the highest state of ‘ Sahaja Samadhi’, refusing to play the role of a guru, not emphasising the role of scriptures in the scheme of self discovery. Yet another important point is that Aurobino had spiritual ambitions, which Ramana didn’t have. Perhaps, the excellent writings of Aurobino are owing to has having been stuck up with that kundalini business, which is being exploited by many of the Western soi- distant gurus, charging money from the public to have their Chakras of the Kundalini being heightened. Another aspect, to be emphasised, is the fact that Aurobindo was somewhat secretive, whereas in Ramana’s teachings there are no secrets, Ramana being an open book available to all, being fit to be read by anybody, not containing the puerile distinctions of caste, community, race, intellectual or nonintellectual, since the Self is the true substratum of the entire phenomena.

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    1. yes I agree … but your view that Ramana and Jiddu are in essence the same is not altogether true….though there are more areas fundamental similarities than differences…. it all depends on your perspective…. for me, Ramana Maharshi represented all that is good in all systems but basically taught the supreme importance of mouna and saranagati…. jiddu is a rationalist par excellence though he combines a strange mysticism with his “urgent exhortations” to bring about a ‘mutation’ in the human psyche that alone can save the human race from self-destruction… some of his insights are just incomparable
      .

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      1. I like your way of thinking. Most likely cause its similar to mine! If we are both right a heck of a lot of work needs to be done to save the earth from being destroyed by human hubris. All good things.

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  7. There is no fundamental difference between the teachings of JK and Bhagavan Ramana, to the extent of my reading, and of course as a result of attempts made to find oneself through the Vichara Marga of Bhagavan Ramana leading to the extinction of ‘ I’, thought, and the choiceless awareness way of understanding the psychological memories with a coordinator concocted by thought to provide stability for itself, such a centre being found to be unreal, only the bundle of memories existing there being no substantial ‘I’, as taught by JK, since both the teachings contain the common denominator of thought, that is the individual I, a psychological, but unreal construct, being understood to be a mere mental fabrication, as taught by JK, and the fact of the I thought being the base of all other thoughts, and one, instead of proceeding along the ways of thought alien, but turning back such thoughts to the Heart, finding the consummation of the fact of pure ‘ I’ bereft of adjuncts being revealed, the method taught by Bhagavan Ramana. Of course, Ramana doesn’t ramble around expounding the mystery of thought, dismissing the validity of thought .as a fit instrument in the scheme of self discovery in the very first instance by pointing out the fact of our true Self always shining timelessly, and that if one but were to pay attention to the origin of thought, the I thought, one will surely land up in the pure Self, which is not something new, but the ever existing reality, the pseudo I thought having so long pretended to be our true Self coming to a grinding halt, Ramana stating the analogy of the stick used in the funeral pyre that itself getting extinguished in that fire. In yet an apparently different way JK wants us to be aware of the ‘What is’ choicelessly, that is not aiming for the ‘What should be’ such a duality not existing according to JK. Both Bhagavan and JK present, in their unique original way, the fact of duality as being unreal, excepting the fact of mere semantics alone being different; and that if one with a steadfast, austere mind conducts the enquiry, both the ways would be found to be identical in that both the way and the goal are one and the same. The other difference between Bhagavan and JK is that Bhagavan is a mere Presence, whereas JK is a teacher, presenting, what he conveys to present in a logical, rational, scientific way, but destroying that logic, whereas Ramana never takes recourse to logic, but in the very first instance hits the bull’s eye in presenting the truth of nonduality. The only other difference in the methodologies adopted by the two is that whereas Ramana is metaphysical in his approach, JK, on the other hand is more psychological and existential in his approach, the consummation of the teachings of both Bhagavan and JK ending up in inner Silence. Ramana reminds us of mythological riishys, that the fact of what has been stated in mythology is not a myth, but a truth, that having been demonstrated in the life of Bhagavan, he being a renunciate both inwardly and outwardly being an ‘ Athivarnasramy’, that is the one who has transcended all the well recognised four ashramas. Bhagavan is much greater than all the Avatars that have so far incarnated in the earthly plane. No one else has so eloquently spoken of Advita, more so have lived in Advaita, the Advaitic truth of the ‘ Ajada’, having been proved by his life.

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  8. Right here is the perfect website for everyone who really wants to find out about this
    topic. You understand a whole lot its almost hard to
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    1. Aurobindo’s dichotomization of creation admitting of its perception smacks of duality as against Ramana’s position of creation as no more than the concoction by the mind, in the absolute state there being neither the creation, nor the creator, all being only pure awareness, according to Ramana.

      Sent from my iPad

      >

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  9. jis tarah dwapar mein sri krishna ko samajhna asan nahi tha usi prakar kalyuga mein sri aurobindo ko samajhna muskil hai.unki ki gayi karyo ki jab koi alochna karta hai to mujhe lagta hai ki ya to us aadmi ne ya to sri aurobindo ki book nahi padhi hai,ya padha hai to samjha nahi hai.please padhe aur bina ahankar ke samajhne ka prayas kare.

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