Touchstone of Truth – Osho

Through studying texts like Vedanta and the Ashtavakra Geeta, I have learnt that whatever is worth attaining has already been attained. Making efforts for it is going astray. I have deepened this conviction, so why has self-realization not happened? Please show me the path.

Never think that what you understand from scriptures is your own understanding. Never think what you understand from words has become your own experience.

Hearing Ashtavakra, many people will feel, “Far out, everything is already attained.” But it is not attained this way. What connection is there between your listening to Ashtavakra and attaining? It has already happened: this must be your own experience. The recognition, the blessing, must be yours; it is not an intellectual conclusion. Intellect will quickly accept it. What could be easier than, “It has already happened. Good, our troubles are over. Now there is no need to search, no need to meditate, no need to worship or pray – it has already happened.”

Intellect is ready to accept – not because it has grasped the truth. It accepts because the difficulties of the path can be dropped, efforts of sadhana dropped, and the need to continue meditating is dropped. Soon you look around and find that you have not attained. If it could happen merely by the intellect grasping it, there could be spiritual universities. There is no university of spiritual study. It is not attained from scriptures; it is attained by your own spontaneous inspired wisdom.

Listen to Ashtavakra, but don’t be in a hurry to believe. Your greed makes you hurry. Your greed will tell you, “This is very handy. We already have the treasure, so the whole botheration of attaining is over. Now there is nowhere to go, now there is nothing to do.”

You always wanted to attain without effort. But remember the desire to attain is still there behind all this: attain without doing! Previously you thought of striving to attain; now you think of attaining without exertion – but the desire to attain is still there. This is why the question arises of why self-realization has not yet happened.

For one who has understood: “Forget about self-realization, what’s the use?” If you had understood Ashtavakra, no other question could arise. The question “Self-realization has not happened” indicates that while accepting what Ashtavakra says, you are watching from the corner of your eye: is it attained yet or not? Your eye is still focused on attaining.

People come to me and I tell them, “Meditation cannot go deep as long as you continue desiring. As long as you expect to attain something – bliss, God, atma – meditation will not go deep, because thinking of attaining is greed. It is ambition, it is politics. It is not yet religion.” They say, “Okay, we’ll meditate without thinking about it, but we will attain, won’t we?”

There is no difference. They are ready to stop desiring because, “You say this is the way to attain, so we won’t think of it – but still, we will attain it, won’t we?”

You are not able to rid yourself of greed. Hearing Ashtavakra many people will very quickly accept that it has happened. If it could happen so quickly… and it is not that there is any barrier to it happening. The barrier is the foolishness of your desiring. The happening is so near!

Ashtavakra is right – it has already happened. But only when all desire for attaining disappears then this, “It has happened already,” will be understood. Then you will know from your totality that it is attained. But at the moment it is just an intellectual diversion: “If a great master like Ashtavakra said it, it must be right.” You are hurrying to believe. Your belief is impotent. Without doubting you have quickly accepted it.

In this country the habit has disappeared of doubting anything stated in scriptures. If it is in the scriptures it must be right.

One day Mulla Nasruddin came carrying a very handsome umbrella. I asked him, “Where did you get it? Such fine umbrellas are not made here.”

He said, “My sister sent a gift.”

I said, “Nasruddin! You have always said that you don’t have any sisters.”

He replied, “It is true.”

Then I said, “Yet this gift is sent by your sister…?”

He said, “If you don’t believe me: here, it is written on the handle, ‘A gift for my beloved brother, from your sister.’ I was coming out of a restaurant and these letters on the umbrella – I thought it seems I do have a sister. When it is written it has to be believed. And perhaps there is some sister or cousin…. And religious people have always said you should take every woman except your wife as your mother or sister.”

When something is published – and in the scriptures… belief in the written word is very strong.
When you tell someone something, he asks where it was this published. If you say where he will believe what you said. It is as if there is some power in writing. Say how ancient it is – people will accept it. It is as if truth is somehow related to age. Who said it? Ashtavakra? Buddha? Mahavir? – then it must be right.

From your side you haven’t made any effort to wake up – not a tiny bit. Someone said it, you believed it – and such convenience: you have attained without doing anything!

Krishnamurti’s followers have been listening for forty years – exactly the same people more or less. They have attained nothing. Sometimes one of them comes to me saying, “I know that everything is already attained, but why hasn’t it happened? I listen to Krishnamurti, I understand that everything is already attained.”

These people are greedy. They hoped that instead of having to make any effort they should get it free. They have not heard Krishnamurti nor understood Ashtavakra. They have heard their greed. They have heard through their greed. Then they interpret in their own way.

A friend has asked, “Doing meditations seems irrelevant now. Five meditations a day – and this lecture series on Ashtavakra going on…. It seems stupid.”

It is so easy to drop meditation – so hard to do it. What Ashtavakra attained was not attained through doing, and yet it was not attained without doing anything.

Try to understand. This is a subtle point.

I have told you Buddha attained when he dropped all doing. But first he did everything. Six years of untiring effort, he gave everything to it. By giving everything, he experienced that nothing can be attained by doing. It wasn’t by reading Ashtavakra… even though the Ashtavakra Gita was available in Buddha’s time. He could have studied it – there was no need for six years of effort. He made an untiring effort for six years, and in the midst of this effort he found out it is not attained by effort. He didn’t leave a single stone unturned, proving to himself that it couldn’t be attained by inner effort. There was no desire left inside. He did everything, and he saw that he didn’t attain. His effort became so crystallized that in this crystallization, doing dropped. Then it happened.

I say unto you, the state of non-doing will come when you have done everything. Don’t hurry, otherwise what little meditation you are already doing will be lost, what little prayer you are doing will be lost. Ashtavakra remains far away and the little progress you were making on the journey will stop too.

Before stopping one needs to run totally. Though one does not attain by running, this knowing will be crystallized by it. One day effort will drop, but not from mere intellectual understanding. When every cell, every atom understands it is useless – this is the moment it happens.

Ashtavakra is right in saying that practice is bondage.

But only one who practices will find out.

I am telling you this because I have practiced and found it is a dead end. I am telling you this because I have practiced sadhana and found that no sadhana leads one to the sadhya, to the goal. I meditated and found that no meditation brings one to samadhi.

When this becomes your deep experience, and one day that moment comes when it boils at one hundred degrees, when you have given everything…. Holding back nothing – you have thrown yourself totally into the fire, the effort has become total, the inner fire is total, the sadhana is total; now existence cannot tell you that you have held anything back, all is given – that day, in that crystallization, in that state of ignited consciousness suddenly everything is burnt to ash. All sadhana, all practices, all meditation, all renunciation – suddenly you wake up and find, “Oh! What I was seeking was already attained!”

But if it could happen just by reading Ashtavakra then it would be very convenient. What is hard about reading Ashtavakra? The sutra is so clear and simple. Remember, to understand simple things is the most difficult thing in the world. And the difficulty comes from within you. You hope you won’t have to do anything. It is very hard for people to accept the need to meditate.

This is the acid test – the Ashtavakra Gita. Those who hear Ashtavakra and continue meditating have understood. Those who hear Ashtavakra and stop meditating have not understood Ashtavakra and they lose their meditation too.

Practice and you will find out that practice is a dead end. This is the final phase of practicing. Don’t be in too much of a hurry.

“Through the study of texts like Vedanta and the Ashtavakra Geeta, I have learnt….” Has anyone ever known through study? Has anyone known through memorizing texts? Has anyone ever known through learning scriptures, learning words? This is not knowing; it is information, knowing about. You can say this information is known: “What is worth attaining is already attained.” But when you realize it, everything is finished.

You were informed, you got excited, and it sprouted in greed! Your greed said, “Look, I have been meaninglessly making efforts. Ashtavakra says ‘without doing anything,’ so I will sit without doing anything.” So you sit doing nothing. After a while you observe, “The happening has not happened yet. Why this delay? And Ashtavakra said right now!” You sit looking at the clock, “Five seconds have past, five minutes have past, an hour is almost over – and Ashtavakra said immediately! Right now! There is no need for even a second to pass!” You start thinking he was lying, your trust is broken.

This is not knowing, it is information. Always remember the difference between information and knowing. Information means borrowed. Someone else has known, and listening to him you have become informed. This is information. Knowing is an experience. No one else can know for you; it cannot be borrowed.

I have known – your knowing will not happen from this. My knowing will be mine; your knowing will be yours. Yes, if you collect my words it will be information. Through information one can become a scholar but not a wise man. Knowledge about wisdom can be collected, but not the liberation of wisdom. A whole system of words can be created, but not the beauty of truth. The words will hem you in more, will enslave you more. So you will find scholars very restricted. Where is the open sky? Knowing that what is worth attaining is already attained – if you know it then what is left to ask?

“… Making efforts is going astray.” If you know this then what else is there to ask? ”I have deepened this conviction.” Either there is conviction or there is not; there is no way to deepen it. How can you deepen it? If there is faith there is faith; if there isn’t there isn’t – how will you deepen it? What method is there for making faith deepen? Will you suppress your doubts? Will you sit on top of your doubts? What will you do? Will you falsify your doubts? When the mind raises questions will you ignore them?

Inside, the worm of doubt will be gnawing. It will say, “Now listen, is anything attained without doing anything? Has anything ever happened just by sitting? Things happen by doing; does anything happen by sitting idle? Can you get anything for free? What nonsense are you getting into? What illusion are you suffering from? Get up, move, run; otherwise life will run out – life is already running out! Don’t waste time sitting here like an idiot.”

These doubts will arise: what will you do with them? Will you suppress them? Will you falsify them? Will you say you don’t want to hear about it? Will you throw them into the unconscious? Will you hide them inside, in your basement? Will you avoid looking them in the face?

What will you do to deepen your faith? You will do something like this – you will repress in some way. This faith will be false; disbelief will be smoldering beneath it. This faith is superficial. Above is a threadbare covering; underneath, the coals of disbelief, of doubt. Soon they will burn up your faith. This faith is of no use, you cannot deepen it. Faith is, or faith is not.

It is like someone drawing a circle. If he draws half a circle will you call it a circle? Can half a circle be called a circle? It is an arc, not a circle. It can be called a circle only if it is complete. An incomplete circle is not a circle. Incomplete trust is not trust, because incomplete trust means that distrust is also present. In the empty arc, what will happen? There will be doubt. Doubt and trust cannot move together. It would be like one foot going east, the other foot going west – you won’t get anywhere. It would be like riding in two boats, one going to this shore and one going to that shore – where will you go?

The journeys of doubt and trust are quite separate. You are riding in two boats. What is the meaning of incomplete trust? Does half faith mean half disbelief is also present? If trust exists it is complete, otherwise it exists not.

And remember one important fact: whenever the higher is mixed with the lower, the lower does not lose anything, but the higher does. When you mix the higher with the lower there is no harm to the lower, but the higher is harmed.

A feast is prepared, fine foods are set out. Throw just a small handful of dirt on it. You could say it is a vast feast, what can a small handful of dirt do? But a small handful of dirt destroys the whole feast. The whole feast cannot destroy even this small handful of dirt.

Throw a rock at a flower and nothing happens to the rock, but the flower will be destroyed. The rock is lower, lifeless. The flower is glorious, full of life. The flower is of the sky, the rock is of the earth. The flower is the poetry of life. When the flower and rock collide the flower is completely crushed, the rocked completely unscratched.

One drop of poison is enough. Remember, doubt is lower. If the rock of doubt falls on the flower of trust, the flower will be flattened and die, the flower will be murdered. Do not think that trust will transform the rock. The rock will destroy the flower.

Either faith is or it is not – there are not two possibilities. When faith exists, it encompasses your whole life, it spreads into every cell. Faith is expansive. But such a faith does not come from the scriptures, it cannot come. Such a faith comes from live experience. It comes when you read the scripture of life, not from reading Ashtavakra.

Understand Ashtavakra, but don’t think this understanding is wisdom. Understand Ashtavakra and preserve this inside yourself, put it away. You have received a touchstone. You didn’t receive wisdom, but an analyst’s experience. And when you do attain wisdom, you can easily test it with the touchstone of Ashtavakra.

The touchstone is not gold. When you go to a goldsmith you see he has a black testing stone. This black stone is not gold. When he receives gold, the goldsmith rubs it on this black stone to find out if it is gold or not.

When you have understood Ashtavakra’s words carefully keep them, pack them away and when your experience of life comes you can test it. Ashtavakra’s touchstone will be helpful then. You will be able to know what has happened. You will have the language to understand it. You will have a method to understand it. Ashtavakra will be your witness.

This is the way I take the scriptures. The scriptures are witnesses. The path of truth is unknown.
You need witnesses on that unknown path. When you first come face to face with truth, truth will be so vast that you will tremble; you will be unable to grasp it. You will shake to your very roots. There will be fear that you could go mad.

Imagine what will happen to a man who has been searching for a treasure for lifetimes and suddenly he finds that the treasure is buried where he is standing – won’t he go mad? ”This seeking for many lives was a waste! The treasure is buried right under my feet!”

Just imagine. It will be a tremendous shock for this man: “So many years I have wasted! This whole time has been a meaningless effort, a nightmare. What I have been seeking was waiting inside.” Won’t a man go mad from such a shock? At that time Ashtavakra’s sweet words will soothe you. At that time the Vedanta, Buddha, the Upanishads, the Bible, the Koran, Buddha, will stand as your witnesses. In that situation you will be unable to comprehend the new experiences that are happening to you. In aloneness it is very difficult.

I am speaking on the scriptures – not because by hearing the scriptures you will become wise. I am speaking on them so that as you move on the path of meditation – if not today, then tomorrow it will happen, it has to happen – when the happening takes place it need not be that gold is in front of you and you cannot comprehend.

I am giving you a touchstone.

Test your experiences on these touchstones.

Ashtavakra is the most precise touchstone. Don’t have faith in Ashtavakra, use Ashtavakra as a touchstone for your own experiences. Make Ashtavakra a witness.

Jesus said to his disciples, “I will be your witness when you arrive.” But his disciples misunderstood. The disciples understood that when they died and reach God’s heaven, then Jesus would bear witness that they were his disciples; “Let them come in – these are mine, they are Christians. Be especially compassionate to them. Let more blessings shower on them.”

But what Jesus meant is something completely different. Jesus said, “when you arrive I will be your witness” – this did not mean that Jesus would be standing there, but that what Jesus had said would be there as a touchstone. When your experience happens, immediately you can test it and unravel the knot. As it is, you have wandered around for so long in untruth, your eyes have become used to it. The shock of truth should not break you apart, should not drive you insane.

Remember, many seekers of truth have gone mad. Many seekers of truth have gone mad just as they neared the stage of becoming enlightened, they became deranged, because the happening is so vast, it is inconceivable, unbelievable. It is as if the whole sky has crashed on you.

Your pot is small and the infinite is raining in your pot. You will be shattered – you won’t be able to contain it. You are face to face with the sun and your eyes will be dazzled and then go dark. The sun is before you and all is darkness, your eyes will shut. At that moment you can use Ashtavakra’s statements to understand the sun. At that time, the voice of Ashtavakra that has been lying in your unconscious will immediately speak. The sutras of the Upanishads will start resounding, the Gita will echo, the Koran will echo – its verses will come forth! Their fragrance will assure you that you have come home, there is nothing to freak out about; this vastness is you.

Ashtavakra says that you are expansive, you are vast. You are omnipresent. You are void of action, uncorrupted. You are the ultimate reality. These statements will immediately give an explanation.

Merely having faith in them, merely holding on to them, will lead you nowhere. And greed is waiting within you, saying self-realization has not happened.

“To control desire, a continuous stream spreads out from the snake charmer’s pipe. Dense, impenetrable desire quivers in response….”

Listen to it again: “To control desire, a continuous stream spreads out from the snake charmer’s pipe. Dense, impenetrable desire quivers in response like a cobra whose coil is motionless, while the hood dances to and fro.”

You want to become free of desire, but still you spread out a net of desire. You want to be completely clean and pure but still you do it by means of greed, still desire goes on quivering.

See how an alone, uncrowded desire quivers. The snake’s coil is motionless, now only the hood dances to and fro. You have gone to attain God, but your way of attaining is the same as for attaining money. You go to seek God but your desire, your passion is the same as the one who is after material things. Your madness is the same as the madness of one who wants to attain the world. The object of desire has changed, but the desire has not changed.

Listening to Ashtavakra your desire says: “Wow, this is great! I never knew that what I am seeking is already attained. So now I will just sit.” Then you will wait: “Did it happen yet? Did it happen yet? Did it happen yet?…” Desire goes on quivering. “Did it happen yet?” – You haven’t understood.

Listen to Ashtavakra again. Ashtavakra says it is already attained. But how can you hear it, how can you understand it? – Your desire goes on quivering. Until you have chased after your desires, until you have seen the worthlessness of chasing after them, run and fallen down and scraped yourself, you won’t be able to understand. Only through the experience of desire does desire become worthless. Exhausted it falls down broken – in this moment of desirelessness you will understand that what you have been seeking has already happened.

Otherwise you repeat like a parrot. It doesn’t make the slightest difference if you are a Hindu parrot or a Muslim parrot or a Jaina, a Christian, a Buddhist – a parrot is a parrot. A parrot may recite The Bible, a parrot may recite the Koran. A parrot is a parrot, he will go on repeating.

“Inside the temple all bathed and rubbed down, in full voice, engrossed, throats open in loud tones, extremely well practiced they go on chanting Ram-Ram. Inside themselves they are all deaf-mutes, repeating meaninglessly without understanding, dwarfs. But outside the most childish, the most loudmouthed.”

Look in the temples! “Inside the temple, all bathed and rubbed down, in full voice, engrossed….” People seem so innocent in the temples. Look in the market at the same faces that you see in the temples. Their coverings appeared different in the temples. ”… Throats open in loud tones, extremely well practiced….” You must have seen people taking up a rosary and chanting. Wrapped in a blanket printed with Ram-ram, with sandal paste on the forehead – what a spotless, radiant image! When you meet the same man in the market, in the crowds, you won’t be able to recognize him. People have different faces: they wear one face in the market, they wear another face in the temple.

“… Engrossed, throats open in loud tones, extremely well practiced they go on chanting Ram-Ram. Inside themselves they are all deaf-mutes, repeating meaninglessly without understanding, dwarfs. But outside the most childish, the most loudmouthed.” Information can make you a parrot, can give you a big mouth. It can give you the illusion of being religious, can give deceptions. But don’t think it is wisdom. And on the basis of information the conviction that you put forward will be sitting on doubt, riding on the shoulders of doubt. This conviction cannot take you to the door of truth. Don’t put much faith in this conviction – it is worthless.

Faith must come from your own experience. Faith must come from the pure formlessness of your own meditation.

From Enlightenment: The Only Revolution, Discourse #6   Enlightenment- The Only Revolution

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 and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from and

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