The Rhythm of Opposites – Osho

One of the greatest poets, Walt Whitman, is reported to have said, “I contradict myself because I am big, I contradict myself because I contain all the opposites, because I am all.” The same thing can be said about Shiva, about Tantra.

Tantra is the search for the rhythm of opposites, of contradictions. Contradictory, opposite standpoints become one in Tantra. This has to be deeply understood, only then will you be able to understand why there are so many contradictory, different techniques. Life is a rhythm between opposites: male and female, positive and negative, day and night, birth and death. Between these opposites moves the river of life. The opposites are the banks – they appear to be contradictory, but they are co-operative. The appearance is false. Life cannot exist without this rhythm between the opposites. And life contains all. Tantra is neither for this nor for that – Tantra is for all. Tantra has no standpoint of its own really. All standpoints that are possible are contained in it. It is big. It can contradict itself because it contains all. It is not partial, it is the whole. Hence it is holy.

All partial standpoints are bound to be profane; they cannot be holy if they don’t contain the opposite. They may be logical and rational, but they cannot be alive. Wherever life exists, it exists through its opposite. It cannot exist alone; the opposite is a must.

In Greek mythology, two gods are at polar opposites: Apollo and Dionysius. Apollo is the god of order, discipline, virtue, morality, culture, and Dionysius is the god of disorder, chaos, freedom, nature. Both are polar opposites. Almost all religions are more or less based on the Apollonian standpoint. They believe in reason, they believe in order, they believe in virtue, they believe in discipline, control… really, they believe in the ego.

But Tantra is basically different: it contains both. It contains the Dionysian standpoint also. It believes in nature, it believes in chaos, it believes in laughing and dancing and singing; it is not just serious, it is both. It is BOTH serious and non-serious. Nietzsche writes in one of his letters, “I can believe only in a dancing god.” He couldn’t find any dancing god. Had he known something about Shiva then the story of his life would have been totally different. Shiva is the dancing god. Nietzsche knew only about the Christian god. That is the only standpoint – very serious. Sometimes the seriousness of the Christian god looks absurd, childish, because the opposite is denied completely. You cannot conceive of a Christian god dancing. Impossible! Dancing looks too earthly. And you cannot conceive of a Christian god laughing – or can you? It is impossible. The Christian god cannot laugh. Laughter will look too worldly. The Christian god is the very spirit of seriousness and Nietzsche couldn’t believe in it.

And I think that no one can believe in such a god because it is half, it is not the whole. Only persons like Billy Graham can believe in it. Somewhere Billy Graham says very seriously that when you are reading sexy magazines you must remember that God is looking at you. This looks foolish. You are reading a sexy magazine and God is reading you reading the sexy magazines! This very attitude is stupid. It is stupid because it doesn’t contain the opposite. You will become stupid and dead if the opposite is denied. But if you can move to the opposite easily with no contradiction, if you can be serious and you can be laughing, if you can sit like a Buddha and you can dance like a Krishna and there is no inherent opposition between these two – you can move from being a Buddha towards being a Krishna easily and smoothly – if you can do this, you will be alive. And if you can do this you will be a Tantric, because Tantra is the basic search for the rhythm which exists between the opposites, for the river which flows between the opposites.

So Tantra goes on working on all and every technique possible. Tantra is not for someone, it is for all. Every type of mind can move through Tantra. Every type of mind cannot be Christian, every type of mind cannot be Hindu, every type of mind cannot be Buddhist. A particular type of mind will be attracted by Buddha, a particular type by Jesus, a particular type by Mohammed. Shiva contains all. Shiva can have an appeal for every type possible. The total, the whole has been included, it is not a partial standpoint. That is why Tantra has no sect. You cannot create a sect around the whole you can create a sect only around a fragment. You can live the whole, but you cannot create a sect. A sect can be created only when you are for something and against something else. If both the opposites are contained, how can you create a sectarian mind? Tantra is the essential religion, it is not a sect. Hence so many techniques.

People keep on coming to me and asking, “There are so many techniques and one technique contradicts the other?’ Yes, it contradicts the other because it is not meant for a particular mind.

In these hundred and twelve techniques, all the types, all the possible types of humanity have been included. Please don’t be concerned with all the techniques, otherwise you will get confused. You simply find that which suits you, that which appeals to you. Towards it you will feel a deep affinity, an attraction; you will fall in love with it. Then forget all the remaining one hundred and eleven techniques Forget them. You just stick to the one that works for you. In these one hundred and twelve techniques, only one technique is for you. If you try many techniques you will get confused, because to try so many techniques you will need a very big mind which can absorb contradiction. That is not possible right now. One day it may become possible. You can become so complete, so total, that you can move easily with many techniques. Then there will be no problem. But then there will also be no need! Right now, is the need. Find your technique.

I can be helpful to you in finding which technique will be suitable for you. And if you feel that other techniques are contradictory to the technique that suits you, don’t think about them. They are contradictory. But they are not for you. At least they are not for you now. One day it may become possible that when you don’t have the ego within, you can move to the opposite without any problem. The ego creates the problem. It is stuck somewhere, it clings to something, it is not liquid, it cannot flow. And Shiva is flowing in all directions.

So remember, don’t start thinking about these techniques: that this technique is against that. Shiva is not trying to create a system, he is not a system-maker. Shiva is giving all the techniques without any systematizing. They cannot be systematized, because a system means that the contradictory, the opposite, must be denied. And here the opposite is included. It is both Apollo and Dionysius; it is both serious and laughing; it is both immanent and transcendent; it is both earthly and unearthly – because it is all.


From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #75

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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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