Acausal Enlightenment – Osho

I have heard that enlightenment, or the natural state of man, is something acausal—it just happens. And all our endeavors to bring about awareness, to be aware, are actually taking us away from this state since they are all mind games, and these activities for self-awareness are just a “holy business.” I cannot imagine what my life would be if I gave up the search since it has permeated my life as long as I can remember. If there is no way to integrate, nothing one can do, why all this activity? Why bother? Yet what else is there to do? Please comment.

Deva Samadhi,

It is one of the most significant questions to be asked. We will have to go deep into it. It is true, absolutely true, that enlightenment is acausal: it cannot be caused by our efforts. But that does not mean that you have to cease making efforts, because then too it will not happen.

This mystery, this paradox, has to be understood deeply. The tendency of the logical mind is either to decide that enlightenment is causal so that one can make efforts to achieve it, or it is acausal, it happens only when it happens of its own accord, then there is no need to make any efforts.

In both ways you will miss. If you think it is causal, and make efforts, you will miss, because it is not causal. If you think it is not causal, that hence there is no need to make any efforts—why bother—you will miss again.

The reality is: you have to make all possible efforts, yet it is not going to happen through your efforts, but you will be prepared through your efforts to receive it when it happens. It is acausal. It will happen. It is not a doing on your part. But when it happens, will you be ready to see it? That is the point, the very crux of the matter. When it happens, will you be ready to recognize it? When it happens, will you be ready to welcome it, to open your heart to it, to receive it into your being? Will you be ready to become a host to the guest when it knocks on your doors?

Your efforts are not going to create enlightenment: your efforts are simply going to make you more and more available to it, open to it, vulnerable to it. Your efforts are going to make a womb out of your being so you can be pregnant with it. It is going to happen from the beyond.

And it is not that it is going to happen somewhere in the future — it is already happening.

You are just not ready.

When it happened to Buddha, it could have happened to the whole earth, to the whole of humanity. But Buddha was ready to receive it and others were not ready to receive it. The sun rises: it will rise only for those who have eyes, it will not rise for those who are blind.

If you go to the physician, he can help — he can help you to get rid of your blindness. His medicines are not going to create the sunrise; his medicines are of no use as far as the sunrise is concerned. It happens on its own — it is already happening, happening every day — but it never happens to the blind person or to the person who is not blind yet keeps his eyes closed.

Samadhi, your efforts will only open your eyes. And this is part of the opening of your eyes — to understand that enlightenment is acausal. But this is not yet your understanding, remember.

You say: I have heard that enlightenment or the natural state of man is something acausal….

You have heard it. It is not going to help you—unless you start feeling that it is acausal.

And how are you going to feel that it is acausal? By making all possible efforts and failing again and again and again, one day suddenly the realization happens that efforts can’t make it. In that realization you don’t start thinking, “Why bother?” You don’t start thinking of stopping efforts. Efforts simply stop in that understanding. In that understanding efforts evaporate.

That’s how it happened to Gautam the Buddha. For six years he made all possible human efforts to achieve it, but because it is not an achievement he could not achieve it. And the more efforts he made, the more frustrated he became — obviously. If you don’t make any efforts for it you will not be frustrated, and when you make efforts with your total heart, it hurts to fail each time. He staked his whole life for it, and yet it was not happening. He was not holding anything back. If he had been holding anything back, then this understanding that happened to him would not have been possible—that all efforts are futile.

It happens only to those who are not holding anything back, when you have put all that you have at stake, when nothing is left behind, when you are utterly empty, you have emptied yourself totally, and it is not happening, then the understanding arises, “My efforts are futile. My efforts are ego efforts —the ego is futile. My efforts are my own mind games. The mind itself is the barrier.”

But this has to become your own experience, Samadhi. It is not going to help if you have heard it. You can hear great truths, but unless they arise in your own being they are not true. A heard truth is a lie: only an experienced truth is a truth. And only the experienced truth liberates. How will you experience it? You would like to have it without any efforts. You would like it to happen as it happened to Buddha — minus those six years that preceded it. Those six years of tremendous effort are a must. Then one day suddenly, one evening when the sun was setting, the revelation happened to him: “My efforts cannot take me beyond myself.” This is so natural! It is like pulling yourself up by your own shoestrings — it is utterly futile. But how is one going to know it?

Those six long years … and they must have looked like sixty years to him, because they were really painful. All kinds of ascetic practices, long fasts, torturing the body, doing all kinds of yoga exercises, many of which are just stupid: standing on your head, distorting your body, utterly ridiculous postures — he did all! Whatsoever was said to him, he followed it literally, word for word. He went to all kinds of teachers; they must have all been pseudo. Not even a single one of them was a Buddha, was yet enlightened. They gave him many strategies to work out.

If he had not been doing them perfectly well, they would have been safe. They would have told him, “Because you are not doing totally, hence you are missing.” But this was impossible: the man was so authentic, so sincere, so innocently total, that even those pseudo teachers had to tell him, “Excuse us, forgive us — this is all we know. And you have done it all, and we cannot expect more from you. Now you have to go somewhere else. This is all we know, and now you know that this is not going to give you enlightenment — it has not given enlightenment to us either. But it is very rare to find a person like you. People come and they do it very partially. With them we can always say, ‘Because you are not total, hence you are missing,’ but we cannot say this to you! Your innocence forbids it. Your totality … we are ashamed. In fact, we ourselves have not done these practices so totally. Forgive us, and find another teacher. And if you ever find enlightenment, don’t forget us. If you ever find truth, please remember us — we are also seeking and searching. We are also blind,” those teachers confessed to Buddha.

After six years of wandering, one evening, sitting silently underneath a tree, by the side of the River Niranjana, this revelation welled up within his being: that human effort cannot help you to transcend humanity. It can only happen: it cannot be caused. But now these six years of austerity had purified him; this fire had made him gold. These six years had helped him to see the utter uselessness of the mind. Now he was ready to be silent, effortless, passive.

That night he slept with no search, not even for truth, because search creates desires, desires can be fulfilled only through effort — the search disappeared! The desires disappeared. The efforts disappeared. For the first time he slept totally relaxed—neither worldly desires tortured him nor other-worldly desires. He had no dreams that night: that was the first night without dreams, because dreams are a by-product of your desires. The worldly people dream of worldly things, the other-worldly people dream of other-worldly things. And the worldly people are not so much deceived, because if in the night you see a dream that you have come upon a great treasure of diamonds — in the morning you know that it was only a dream. But the other-worldly people are very much deceived by their dreams.

Somebody sees Krishna playing on his flute; somebody sees Jesus Christ, somebody sees Rama, and so on and so forth. And they cannot say that these are dreams, they are so valuable to them. They start thinking that these are experiences. These are dreams! As much as other dreams.

And the other-worldly person starts hallucinating in the day too, even with open eye—because the worldly man is in the world, and in the world you cannot hallucinate because others will think you are mad. In the world you live with objects, and you have to prove to others that what you are seeing is a reality. The treasures of your dreams, nobody is going to believe in them. There are so many non-believers around you; they will ask for proofs and proofs you cannot supply. So you can dream only in the night. But the other-worldly, those who have escaped from the world, a person who lives in isolation in a Himalayan cave, has no need to prove; there is nobody to prove to and nobody asks him. He has dropped the objective world; now he lives in his subjectivity — he can dream in the day, he can dream with open eyes.

It is now a well-known, well-established psychological fact that if people go on a long fast in isolation, after the first week they start hallucinating, and after the third week they lose all distinction between what is real and what is unreal. After the third week of fasting, the reality and the dream start getting mixed up.

It is like small children: small children don’t know what is real and what is unreal. So sometimes a child who was dreaming about a beautiful toy wakes up and starts crying for it. And the mother goes on trying to convince him that it was only a dream, but he says, “It was here — how can it be a dream? I had it! Where has my toy gone? Bring it back to me!”

The same thing happens in deep isolation. If it is a prolonged thing, a three weeks’ fast in an isolated cave in the Himalayas, slowly slowly you will start hallucinating. Then you see Krishna playing on the flute — not only that: he starts talking to you. Not only that — he starts playing with you And because it is thought to be spiritual … It is simple madness! But because it is thought to be spiritual you feel very, very gratified, your ego feels very fulfilled. You brag about it, that Krishna has appeared, that you have talked with Krishna, that you have played with him, that he was playing on the flute and you danced around him.

And there are other fools also who will believe it. The whole world is full of superstitious people.

Buddha lived those six long years through all kinds of things like this. It is only by experiencing these things that one day one can conclude that this is all nonsense. And when it is your own realization that it is all nonsense, you need not drop it: it simply disappears.

That night he slept without dreams. And in the early morning when he opened his eyes and the last star was disappearing, something in him disappeared — the ego. He became enlightened .

This enlightenment is not something that has come from the outside—It is your intrinsic nature. It has come from within. But the within and the beyond are synonymous: the within is the beyond. It is through the within that the beyond penetrates.

Then Buddha said, “Enlightenment is not an achievement — it is a gift from existence.”

But those six years had prepared him to receive it.

Samadhi, prepare yourself to receive it. It is acausal, but that does not mean that you have to stop all efforts. If you stop, you will miss. If they stop on their own, because your understanding has penetrated so deeply that it is impossible to make any effort any more, even if you want to you cannot, in that state of effortless passivity you become the host and God becomes the guest.


From The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty, Discourse #3

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

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