The Unknowable Self – Osho

The eyes cannot approach it, neither can speech nor mind. We do not, therefore, know it, nor do we know how to teach it. It is different from what is known and it is different from what is unknown. Thus we have heard from our predecessors who instructed us about it.

What speech cannot reveal but what reveals speech – know thou that alone as Brahman and not this – anything objective – that people worship here.

What mind does not comprehend but what comprehends the mind – know thou that alone as Brahman and not this that people worship here.


The deepest mystery of existence is the phenomenon of knowledge. You can know everything except your own self. The knower cannot be known because to know something means to reduce it to an object. The very process of knowledge depends on duality. I can know you because I am here, inside, and you are there, outside. You become an object. But I cannot know my self because I cannot make my self an object. I cannot encounter my self in any objective way. I cannot put my self in front of me. And if I could put my self in front of me then that which is put in front of me would not be my self. How can that which can be put in front of me be my self? Really, the inner one which will look at it will remain my self.

Self is subjective and this subjectivity cannot be made objective. Hence, the paradox: that which knows all cannot know itself; that which is the source of all knowledge remains unknowable. If you can understand this, then this sutra will reveal much. This is one of the most profound sutras. It goes deeper than all that the mystics have said. It says self-knowledge is impossible. You have heard, it has been preached, it has been told everywhere, “Know thyself.” But how can you know your self? You can know everything other than you. One point will always remain unknown, unknowable. That point is you.

The word self-knowledge is not good at all. Knowledge of the self is not possible. But this may create a deep pessimism in you. If knowledge of the self is not possible, then the whole of religion becomes absurd because this is what religion is meant to do – to give you self-knowledge. Then there must be some other meaning to the word self-knowledge. Then there must be something, a hidden dimension, through which you can know the self and still not make it an object. Knowledge must be possible in an altogether different sense.

In the world, whatsoever we know is objective and the subject remains unknowable, the knower remains unknowable. But can this knower be known? This is the basic question, the basic problem. If there is only one way of knowing – that is objective knowledge – then it cannot be known. Hence, all the scientific thinkers will deny that the self exists. Their denial is meaningful. All those who are trained to think in terms of object, of objectivity, they will say there is no self.

Their saying this means that they cannot conceive of another type of knowing. They think that there is only one type of knowing and that is objective. The self cannot be made objective; hence, it cannot be known. And that which cannot be known cannot be said to exist. How can you say that it exists? The moment you say that it exists you have said that you have known it. You cannot assert its existence. If it is not known, not only not known but also unknowable, then how can you say that it exists? […]

The very word science means knowledge. And if something is unknowable, science will not approve of it, science will not agree to it. Science means that which can be known. Only then is science not mystical. It cannot fall into absurdities. For science, the very word self-knowledge is absurd. But still, religion is meaningful because there is another dimension of knowing.

Try to understand that dimension of knowing where the known is not reduced to an object. For instance, if a lamp is burning in a dark room, everything in the room is lighted, is known through the light of the lamp. But the lamp is also known by its own light. Everything else – chairs, furniture, the walls, paintings on the walls – they are known through the light. But through what is the light itself known?

The light is self-enlightening: just by its presence it reveals others and it reveals itself also. But these two revelations are different. When the chair is known through the light, the chair is an object. The light falls on it and if the light disappears the chair cannot be known. The knowledge of the chair depends on the light but the knowledge of the light itself doesn’t depend on the chair. If you remove everything the light will still be light. There will be nothing to reveal but it will go on revealing itself. The revelation of the light is self-revelation.

Similar is the case with the inner phenomenon, the inner self. Everything is known through it but it itself is known not by anything else – it is a self-revealing phenomenon. It reveals itself. Self-knowledge doesn’t mean that the self is known by someone else because then the someone else will be the self. So whatsoever is known in an objective way cannot be the self. Always the knower will be the self. But how can this self be known? The self is a self-evident, self-revealing phenomenon; nothing else is needed to know it. You need not reduce it to an object.

Really, when all objects are removed from the mind, when all the furniture is removed from the mind, suddenly the self reveals itself. It is self-revealing. Really, that is the difference between matter and consciousness: matter is not self-revealing and consciousness is self-revealing; matter has to be known by someone else and consciousness knows itself. That is the basic difference between matter and consciousness. There are trees but if there is no conscious being they cannot be revealed; they need someone’s consciousness so that they can be revealed.

There are rocks, beautiful rocks, but if there is no consciousness they will not be beautiful because then no one will become aware that they are there. Their existence will be mute. Even those rocks will not be able to know that they exist. Existence will be there but there will be no revelation of it.

A small child comes playing near the rock: suddenly the rock is revealed. Now it is not a mute existence. Through the child the rock has become assertive. Now the tree is revealed. Now everything around the child becomes alive in a new meaning. The child has become a source of revelation. Everything around him becomes alive. Hence, the deeper your consciousness, the deeper you reveal existence.

When a buddha is born the whole existence celebrates in him because of such a deep consciousness. All that is hidden in matter becomes manifest. It was never known before. Just by the presence of an enlightened person, the whole existence around him is enlightened. Everything becomes alive, feels through him. Consciousness reveals others, but there is no need to reveal it for another consciousness. It is self-revelatory.

Take it from another angle: everything needs proof because everything can be doubted. But you cannot doubt the self; therefore, the self never needs any proof. Can you doubt the self? […] No proof is needed, no argument is needed. It is self-evident.

Mahavira denied God: he said there is no God. But he couldn’t say there is no self. Then the very self became divine for him. He said, “Only the self is God.” And that is true: in you, the self is the nearest thing to divine existence. That is why it cannot be doubted. It is self-evident, self-revealing, self-enlightening.

This is the second way of knowing. The scientific way is to know a thing as an object. The religious way is to know the subject as the subject. In a scientific way, knowledge has three parts: the knower, the known and the knowledge. The knowledge is just a bridge between the knower and the known. But the religious knowing does not have three parts. The knower is the known and the knower is the knowledge. This knowing is not divided into three. It is one, it is undivided.

Now we will enter the sutra:

The eyes cannot approach it, neither can speech nor mind. We do not, therefore, know it, nor do we know how to teach it. It is different from what is known and it is different from what is unknown. Thus we have heard from our predecessors who instructed us about it.

The eyes cannot approach it, neither can speech nor mind. The eyes can approach everything else because everything else is in front of the eyes and the self is not in the front. The self is behind the eyes, only the self is behind the eyes. Everything else is in front. You can encounter everything through the eyes but you cannot encounter the self because it is not in front; that is one thing. So eyes cannot be used to see it. Really, you will have to become blind to see it. Not actually, but the eyes must become so vacant, non-seeing, so closed, not functioning, only then will you know it. Eyes cannot approach it. You will have to come to it without eyes. You will have to come to it just like a blind man.

So really, a blind man and a man with eyes are not different as far as the self is concerned. As far as the world is concerned the blind man is at a great loss; he cannot know anything. But as far as the self is concerned, he is not at any loss – not at all. And if he is a wise man, his blindness may be a help to him.

That is why we in India have called blind men pragya chakshu – wise eyes. It is not that every blind man is wise but potentially he is nearer to the self than those who have eyes, because those who have eyes have wandered far away through the eyes into the world. They have gone very, very far away. You can move on through the eyes to the very end of the world. And science goes on creating more powerful eyes for you so that you can see minute parts, atomic phenomena, and so that you can see to distant stars.

Science goes on removing you from the self. So the more an age becomes scientific, the less it comes to religious knowledge. Now you have more powerful instruments with which to go away, and you have gone – far away from your self.

Senses have become powerful. Really, science is doing nothing but creating more powerful senses for man: your hand can now reach to the moon; your eyes can now reach to distant stars. Every sense has been magnified, and this goes on.

A blind man is closed in himself; he cannot go out. But he can go in, if he is not disturbed by the fact that he is blind and if he is helped by the society to know that this is not a misfortune but a blessing in disguise.

That is what we mean when we call blind men pragya chakshu. We say, “Don’t be worried about the ordinary eyes. You can gain those inner eyes through which you can know yourself, so do not be worried about them. Forget them completely. You are not losing anything because no one gains anything through the eyes. You can move within easily because the other door is closed.”

Eyes are your doors for going out. Through eyes you are moving, through eyes the desire, through eyes the illusion, through eyes the projection – through eyes moves the whole world. But the innermost cannot be approached through the eyes. You will have to become blind. Not that you have to throw away your eyes but that your eyes must become vacant, objectless, without dreams. Your eyes must become empty – empty of things, empty of pictures, empty of reflections.

If you can look into the eyes of an enlightened one, you will see they are totally different. A buddha looks at you and still he is not looking at you. You do not become a part of his eyes. His look is vacant. Sometimes you may get scared because you will feel that he is indifferent to you. He is looking at you so vacantly, not paying any attention to you.

Really, he cannot pay any attention to you. The attention is lost now; he has only awareness. He cannot be attentive to anything exclusively because that exclusiveness is created by desire. He looks at you as if not looking. You never become a part of his eyes. If you can become a part of his eyes, then you will become a part of his mind – because eyes are just the door for the mind; they go on collecting the outer world into the inner. Eyes must become blind. Only then can you see your self.

This sutra says that the eyes cannot approach it; it is unapproachable by the eyes. But we go on asking how to see God and we go on saying that unless we see God we cannot believe. You cannot see; seeing is of no help. You can see only the world. God cannot be seen. And if someone says that he has seen God, he is in illusion. He has seen a vision, a dream – a beautiful dream, a holy dream, but still a dream. So if you say that you have seen Krishna and you have seen Rama and you have seen Jesus, you are dreaming – good dreams, beautiful dreams, but still dreams. You cannot see him. Eyes are of no help there. Through the eyes he cannot be approached. You must become blind to see him.

When you lose your eyes – really, when there is no desire to see – your eyes become vacant. Suddenly it is revealed within. It doesn’t need any eyes to see it; it is self-revelatory. Generally, things are not self-revelatory; hence, eyes are needed. It is self-revelatory! Really, in a deeper sense, when you see through the eyes he is seeing through the eyes, not the eyes themselves. That is another dimension to be known.

When I look at you are my eyes looking at you? Eyes are just windows. I am looking at you through the eyes. Eyes are just windows; I am standing behind them. If I stand in the window and look out to the hills, will you say that the window is looking at the hills? The window will not be mentioned at all. I am looking through the window. Eyes are just apertures, windows. The consciousness looks through them and there is no need for this consciousness to look at itself through the eyes. The eyes are for others. The eyes are devices to look at the other. For your self no eyes are needed.

For example, if I want to look at the hills I will look out of the windows, but if I want to look at my self there is no need for the window. I can close the window. There is no need for it because I am not outside the window, I am inside it. For everything else eyes are helpful. Everything can be approached through them; only the self cannot be approached through them.

The eyes cannot approach it: remember this! Then the false question of, “How can I see God?” will drop. You will not create that question or create around that question a false search. You will not ask where you can see him, where he can be found. He is nowhere, and really, eyes are irrelevant for him. He is hidden behind, within. Close your eyes and he will be revealed.

But just by closing the physical eyes he may not be revealed because just by closing the physical eyes you are not closing anything. The world you have gathered in goes on and you go on looking at it. I can close my eyes and still I can see you there. Then the eyes are not vacant. Then the eyes are still filled. When all the pictures disappear, all the impressions disappear, the eyes are vacant. And when the eyes are vacant you can approach it, you can approach the inner.

. . . Neither can speech nor mind. Verbalization will not help; intellectual thinking will not help. Whatsoever you can think will not be it because thinking is also outgoing, thinking is also for objects. Science insists on thinking; religion insists on no-thinking. Science insists: “Make thinking more rational, then the nature of things will be revealed more accurately.” And religion says: “Do not think, then the nature of the self will be revealed to you.” They are diametrically opposite.

Religion says, “Stop thinking, drop thinking, drop thoughts. They are the barrier.” And science says, “Make thinking more logical, accurate, keener, analytical, rational. Do not bring any type of faith into it; do not bring any type of emotion into it; do not get involved in it. Let it be impartial – logical to the very extreme. Only then will the nature of things be revealed.” And both are right. As far as the world is concerned science is true and as far as the inner subject is concerned religion is true.

But you can fall into a fallacy, and that fallacy is worldwide, universal. A scientist, when he comes to feel that the keener the thinking, the more he reaches to the innermost core of a thing, starts thinking that the same method should be used for the inner search also. The fallacy has started. That method cannot be of any help for the inner search. And really, if the scientist insists on using the same method as he uses in science, the same experimental, objective methodology, then he will come to conclude that there is no self. Not that there is no self but that the method of the scientist is to reveal things; it cannot reveal the self. He will just bypass it. Because of that method he will miss it.

That which is helpful in the world is a hindrance for the inner. The same fallacy has been committed on the opposite pole also. When a religious person reaches the inner self through non-thinking, he starts believing that through non-thinking the nature of the world can also be revealed.

The East has committed that fallacy very deeply; that is why the East couldn’t create any science. You cannot create science through non-thinking. The East has been absolutely nonscientific. There were great minds born here but they couldn’t create any science. They discussed and discussed, philosophically they were superb, but nothing happened in the outside world. Nothing can happen.

The West has now created a great edifice of science, persons like Einstein. But the inner search remains nil. Even when Albert Einstein was dying, he felt frustrated. He had penetrated into the mystery of things in the universe, and he had come to reveal one of its deepest cores – the theory of relativity. But he came to realize that although he had known many things never known before, as far as his own self was concerned it still remained a mystery. Nothing has been known about it. The methods are opposite because the directions are opposite.

To know a thing, you have to move out, to know your self, you have to move in. To move out you have to move in thought: thought is an outgoing process. To move in you have to stop thoughts, cease thinking. Non-thinking is an in-moving process.

This sutra says: . . . Neither can speech nor mind. The mind will not be of much help. Only meditation can be of help. Meditation is to create a ‘no-mind’ within you. Remember this: meditation is to create a no-mind within you; hence, my emphasis on going completely mad so that the mind is dropped. The mind always resists madness. The mind says, “What are you doing? Are you crazy?”

The mind always wants clear-cut logical things. The mind always asks, “Why are you doing it?” And if you cannot answer why, the mind will say, “Stop!”

But life answers no whys. If you fall in love, the mind says, “Why have you fallen in love?” And then you create some idea around it: because the face of the girl is so beautiful . . . This is not the case. Really, the face of the girl looks beautiful because you have fallen in love, not the vice versa. It is not that the face is beautiful and that is why you have fallen in love; otherwise, everyone will fall in love with your girl – but no one is falling. It is not that the face is beautiful but that your love gives it beauty. Your love creates a beauty around it.

That is why you go on laughing about others’ lovers. You think that man is crazy, going mad, falling for that type of girl. You feel repulsed and he feels attracted. You think he is crazy. No, he is not crazy because love is not a logical phenomenon. You fall in love. We call it a falling because you fall from the head. It is not a rising in love, it is a falling because the head sees it as a fall. You have lost your reason; you are going mad.

Love is a sort of madness. Really, life itself is a sort of madness. If you go on asking why, you cannot live for a single moment. If you go on asking, “Why breathe? Why get out of bed today? Why?” there is no answer; “Why go to sleep?” – there is no answer; “Why go on eating every day? Why go on loving the same person every day?” – there is no answer. Life is answerless. You can raise the questions but there is no one to answer them.

Life is a sort of madness. Reason is death, it is not life. The more you become rational, the more dead you will be because again and again you will ask why . . . and there is no answer. Then you will not do anything and then you will go on ceasing, shrinking. Life is a mad expansion and in meditation we are moving deeper and deeper into life – to the very depth, to the very central core.

The mind has to be left behind. That is why I say do not ask why – just move. And whatsoever comes to you spontaneously, allow it to happen. If you allow it, in the beginning the mind will say, “Do not do it. What will others think? What will they say? A man like you, so rational, dancing like a child? crying and weeping and screaming like a madman? Do not do this!” The mind will go on checking you and you will need courage not to listen to your mind because the mind cannot approach it. You have to put it aside.

The mind is a device to deal with the world. It is of no use for you. You exist before the mind; you exist deeper than the mind; the mind has come to happen to you. It is just on the periphery. We have different types of minds, but our being is not different. The mind is a gathering, an earning. A child is born; he is born without a mind. He is a simple being, then by and by the mind goes on being created around him. He will need a mind to move in society, to work, to survive – he will need a mind.

The mind is an instrument. That is why every society will create a different type of mind. If you are born in an aboriginal village, hidden in the hills, not knowing any technology of the modern world, oblivious of whatsoever is contemporary, your parents will give you a different type of mind because you have to move in a different world. If you are born in the East, you have a different type of mind, if you are born in the West, you have a different type of mind. Even if you are born in the same village and you are a Christian you will have a different type of mind and if you are a Mohammedan, you will have a different type of mind.

Mind is a creation, a cultivated thing. But the being without mind is the same everywhere. If you penetrate deeply, then another thing will be revealed: if you are a human being, you have one type of mind and the tree standing just outside the window also has a mind – a different type. As far as being is concerned, you and the tree have similar beings. Only the mind differs.

Because the tree has to exist among trees, she has to create a mind, an instrument, to exist among them. You do not need that type of mind. That is why you feel that trees do not speak – you do not know their language. You think animals do not speak; they do not have any language. Really, the case is that because you cannot understand them, you think they have no language. They have their own language. They have their own mind, which is suited to their milieu, suited to their atmosphere, suited to their society.

Mind is a device to survive in the outer world; it is not needed within. And if you carry it, you cannot move within. With the mind you will move out, you cannot move within. Drop the mind, put it aside. Say, “Now you are not needed. I am moving withinwards – you are not needed.”

We do not, therefore, know it, nor do we know how to teach it.

That which can be known by the mind can be taught by the mind. But if it is impossible to know it by the mind, how to teach it? – because the teaching is going to be through the mind. So the Brahman, the absolute, the self, cannot be taught; it is impossible to teach it. Then what am I doing? Or what is a Buddha or a Christ or a Krishna doing? What are they doing if it cannot be taught? And what is the seer of the Upanishad, Kena, doing if it cannot be taught? It cannot be taught, that is absolutely true, but still something can be done.

A situation can be created in which it becomes infectious. It cannot be taught, but the ‘infection’ can be given to you. In a particular situation you can become infected by it. So the whole phenomenon of master and disciple is not a teaching phenomenon. The master is not really teaching anything. The master is just trying to pull you into a situation, to push you into a situation where it can happen to you.

All the devices of yoga and tantra are just to create a situation in which the thing can happen. I can lead you into a situation where you will become aware of a different sort of reality but that reality cannot be taught. Can you teach a blind man what light is? You cannot! Whatsoever you do, you will not be able to teach it. But one thing can be done: you can treat his eyes; the eyes can be operated upon. And if the blind man comes to see, he will know what light is.

Light can be experienced but cannot be taught to a blind man. And we are just like blind men as far as the inner reality is concerned. Your inner eyes can be opened toward it but you cannot be taught it.

That is why faith has been the corner-stone of all religious phenomena. The blind man must have faith; otherwise, he will not allow you to operate on his eyes. He will say, “You may destroy my eyes.” He has none, but he will become scared: What are you going to do? And if he thinks you are going to operate, that you are going to do surgery, he will say, “Do not touch my eyes. You may destroy them. And how am I supposed to know that when you have operated there will be light? And what is light? First tell me. First prove what light is and whether light exists at all. Unless you prove this, I cannot allow you to operate on my eyes.”

And there is no doctor who can prove that there is light. The doctor can only say, “Have faith in me.” Nothing else is possible, no argumentation is possible. The doctor can only say, “Trust in me. Even if you are not going to gain anything; one thing is certain: you are not going to lose anything because you have no eyes to lose.”

That’s what Buddha, Krishna, and Jesus have been saying: “Have faith. And you have nothing to lose, so why get so worried? What can you lose believing in me? What do you have? If you have anything, then escape from me as fast as possible. But you have nothing – nothing to lose – but you are so worried.” People come to me and they say, “How can I believe?” I tell them it is not a question of how because the ‘how’ needs answers. Faith means you have nothing to lose, so why not experiment? Why not try? […]

I say I have known it but I cannot teach you. I can lead you to the point where you will become aware that it exists but I cannot teach you. There is no language to teach it, no mind to teach it. There is no way to teach it, no symbols to teach it. Whatsoever you know, it cannot be translated into that knowledge. It is beyond it. I have known something and I can take you to that point where you will also become aware of it. Then you will say, “It is!”

The mind cannot know it; therefore, we do not know it because whatsoever we know, we know through the mind. Our whole knowledge consists of mind and mind and nothing else. So we cannot know it, nor do we know how to teach it.

It is different from what is known and it is different from what is unknown.

That creates a deeper problem again. It is different from the known . . . obviously, because if it were not different from the known, then you would have known it already.

Whatsoever you know, it is not it. And the way you know, you cannot know it; otherwise you would have known it by now, because you have been in existence for millions and millions of lives. But you have been missing it again and again. And buddhas go on talking about it and you go on listening to them about it and nothing happens.

It is different from the known and it is different from what is unknown.

. . . Because the unknown can be known. ‘Unknown’ means just that which is not known yet. Use the same methods of knowledge and someday it will be known.

Science divides the world into two: the known and the unknown – there is nothing else. Science says the ‘known’ and the ‘unknown’. The known is that which we have come to know and the unknown is that which will be known sooner or later. Religion brings a third category: the unknowable. Religion says there is something which is known, something which is unknown, and something which is unknowable. If there is something which is unknowable, only then is religion possible; otherwise, science is enough. The unknown will go on being reduced to the known.

It is conceivable that one day science will come to the point when there is only one category: the known. By and by, the unknown will become known. At a point somewhere there will be nothing unknown. It can be conceived of through science. But religion says there is something which is neither like the known nor like the unknown: it is unknowable. Whatsoever you do you cannot know it. So when everything becomes known, still the unknowable will be there – the mystery, the mysterious, the mysterium, will remain.

Why insist that it is unknowable? Why not say that it is unknown? – because the known is through the mind and the unknown will become known through the mind and it is behind the mind. Whatsoever you do by the mind, you will never approach it. You will have to drop the mind. And with the mind the known drops and the unknown also because those two are the dimensions of the functioning of the mind. The known and the unknown are the workings of the mind. When the mind drops, both have dropped and you have entered the third dimension. This third dimension is of the unknowable. you are there in that dimension; the self is there.

But the rishi says a very beautiful thing:

Thus we have heard from our predecessors who instructed us about it.

He says, “Thus have we heard from our own masters.” He knows himself also; he can say, “I have known this. This is what I have known.” There is no difficulty in saying it. But he says, “This is what we have heard. Our masters have said it.”

This has a quality of its own – the Indian heritage, the Indian attitude of saying things, the Indian way of always being humble, not assertive. So Buddha says, “Whatsoever I am saying was known before me by other buddhas. This is nothing new.” This is the emphasis. The emphasis is that this is nothing new, nothing original. And really, truth cannot be original; only untruth can be original. You can invent lies, but you cannot invent truth – or can you?

Truth cannot be invented. Truth is eternal, timeless. So it is absurd to say that I have discovered it. You only rediscover it; you never discover it. It has been discovered again and again, millions of times. It has been known again and again, millions of times. You always rediscover it; you never discover it.

To emphasize this fact the rishis say, “It has been said so by those who preceded us. It has always been known.” He doesn’t claim any originality. That claim belongs to the ego. That claim that “This is my discovery” belongs to the egoistic mind. Really, the ego always feels hurt if you say this is nothing original. If someone says something and you say this is nothing original, he will feel hurt. If someone writes a book and you say, “This is nothing original; it has been written many times by so many people, so why have you unnecessarily labored on it?” he will feel hurt. Every author, every thinker, tries to prove somehow that whatsoever he is saying is original. This is a new disease.

In the West, if you are not saying anything original then what is the use of saying it? Why are you saying it? Do not say it. In the East, quite the opposite has been the case. If you are saying something original, then the East will say: “Wait and ponder over it. Do not assert it, do not say it, because if it is original then something must be wrong with it; otherwise, someone must have known it before. The truth is eternal. If it is original, then something must be wrong with it! You wait! Do not tell anyone; otherwise, you will be in difficulty because you will be proved to be a liar. Wait, ponder, meditate. The world has existed so eternally, beginningless . . . how can you conceive that you come to know an original truth which was not known before? It is impossible!”

But it happens because our span of knowledge is very little. It is just like this: in the season the trees will bloom, the flowers will come. These flowers cannot know about the flowers of the last season. They cannot know because they have never met them. They will think themselves so unique, so original: “We have never been on this earth; this earth has become so beautiful because of us. Because we bloom, the whole existence has bloomed with us.”

They do not know that this has been going on eternally. Every year the season comes and the flowers bloom. But the flowers cannot meet with each other, so every flower thinks that he has come for the first time. This gives him a flavor, an ego. He feels he is something, somebody.

The Eastern emphasis has always been that truth is eternal; you can only rediscover it. Many have known, many will know. You are just a part of a long procession. It is your season, so you have bloomed – but other buddhas have bloomed. It is just like when you fall in love: you think this type of love has never been, that something new has entered into existence. No lover can believe that anyone ever could have loved in the way he loves his beloved.

And this is good as far as it goes. This is good! How can you believe otherwise when you are in love? You think others have loved but not this way; others have loved but it was not such a deep intense thing. It has never happened; it is original.

And the same is with thoughts: when a thought appears on your mind, you think such a thought never happened before. But thoughts are just like clouds: they gather in the sky every year, then they disappear and then they gather again. The world moves in a repetitive circle.

So Indians, particularly wise Indians, have always been emphasizing that whatsoever they say is nothing new; it has all been said before. This is a very deep non-egoistical attitude, and there is a very deep wisdom hidden in it. How can truth wait for me to be discovered? How can it wait for me to discover it? It was discovered again and again. But you discover it and it gets lost again because it cannot be transferred.

If I have come to a truth, I cannot give it to you. It cannot be transferred because truth is not a thing. It is a happening in the being; it cannot be transferred. So the truth that I rediscover will be rediscovered again. And when you rediscover, it you will feel something new has happened, something original. But if you know and if you can feel a non-egoistical way of life, then you will know that the rishi is right: it has been said before, known before.

What speech cannot reveal but what reveals speech – know thou that alone as Brahman and not this – anything objective – that people worship here.

What speech cannot reveal, but what reveals speech . . . You cannot say it, you cannot speak it but through speech it is being expressed. Really, without it you cannot speak, without it you cannot see, without it you cannot feel. It is your life! You cannot speak about it, but he is the speaker; you cannot see it anywhere, but he is the seer; you cannot think about it, but he is the thinker; you cannot do anything without it because he is the doer. So whatsoever you do, he is revealed. You cannot reveal it but whatsoever you do he is revealed because he alone is. Brahman means life: he alone is.

What speech cannot reveal but what reveals speech – know thou that alone as Brahman and not this – anything objective – that people worship here.

People go on worshipping idols. They make God an object also because we cannot feel comfortable unless something is there in front of us. We feel uncomfortable, uneasy. A God unknown, unknowable, is difficult. We create an idol and then we put the idol in front of us and worship it.

This is stupid in a way because you created the idol and now you are worshipping it as the creator. You worship the idol as if the idol created you. You created the idol; the real creator is hidden behind. Really, God is not in the worshipped object, it is in the worshipper. It is not in the object to which you pray, it is in the innermost source from where the prayer bubbles up, from where the prayer comes up. It is always within. But for us something becomes significant only when it is without because we have become fixed in a mode where everything to be, must be objective. That creates the problem, so we have created temples and churches and mosques just to objectify that which cannot be objectified. But human stupidity is such . . .

Mohammed preached that he cannot be objectified; you cannot make any idol of him. He was right. He was saying what the Upanishad was saying. But what have the Mohammedans done? They thought it was their duty to destroy idols, to destroy temples, to set them on fire. Because he cannot be objectified, so wherever he is objectified, “Destroy the object.”

See the human stupidity: Mohammed was trying to say that you can forget the object and move within. But they did not forget the object, they became obsessed with the object again. “Move and destroy!” So someone is worshipping God in a stone, and someone is destroying the stone, but both are attached to the stone in their own ways, and both think that the stone is very significant – one to worship it and the other to destroy it. One feels that if he does not worship this stone, he will not be religious, and one feels that if he does not destroy this stone, he will not be religious. The stone is for both very significant. We go on moving to the object. Either we love or we hate, but the object remains there.

The emphasis of those who have known is to forget the object and remain with the subjectivity alone. Do not create any object, any image, any name, any form. Do not create anything. The creator is already there; you cannot improve upon it. Do not do anything. Just move within and know it.

What mind does not comprehend but what comprehends the mind – know thou that alone as Brahman and not this that people worship here.

Mind cannot comprehend him, but he can comprehend the mind. Mind is included in him – everything is included; even the stone is included in him. But the stone cannot include him: this is the point. Draw a big circle and then draw a small circle in it. The big circle includes the small circle; the small circle is part of the big circle, but the small circle cannot include the big circle.

Your mind is included in the divine, but your mind cannot include the divine. It is a part, and the part cannot include the whole. The whole comprehends all, includes all. And when a part starts saying, “I include the whole,” the part has gone mad, the part has gone neurotic.

You – whenever you try to comprehend that, the total, through the mind, you are doing something absurd. It is impossible! A drop of water cannot include the ocean, but the ocean includes it. And if the drop of water says, “I am the ocean,” then the drop has gone crazy. But this drop of water can become the ocean. If this drop of water drops into the ocean, loses the boundaries, loses the finiteness, the limitations, then that drop has become the ocean.

The mind cannot say, “I know.” The mind can drop into the oceanic totality and then it is included there.

Whatsoever we worship is just a game. It is good: if you feel good worshipping, then it is good. It is a good game and I never intend to destroy anybody’s game. If you worship, if you feel good going to a church, it is good: go on doing it. But remember that you are missing the basic point: the ultimate is within the worshipper. So while you worship do not focus your eyes on the worshipped object. Focus yourself within on the worshipper. There it will be revealed, there it is hidden.


From The Supreme Doctrine, Discourse #4

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

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

2 thoughts on “The Unknowable Self – Osho”

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