My Friends and my Fellow Travelers,
I would have loved to use the Urdu words for the same, because they have a depth and a poetry . . . even the very sound of them rings bells in the heart. The ordinary meaning is the same: my friends, my fellow travelers. But I have a very insistent feeling within me to give you the most pregnant words.
Those words are: Mehre hamsafar means “my fellow travelers.” Mehre hamdham means “my heart.” Mehre dost means “my friend.” But such a vast difference . . .
English has become more and more prose and less and less poetry, for the simple reason that it has been serving scientific and objective technological progress. It has to be definite, it cannot be poetic.
You cannot write mathematics into poetry; neither physics, nor chemistry. Because of this predominant factor of science and technology, English has lost its glamor, its splendor, its music. It has to gain it back, because the objective side of life is not enough. Unless your heart is moved, the words are not very much pregnant with meaning and significance.
These five days have been of immense significance. It can be said that almost never in the history of man has such a phenomenon happened. This has been the deep search of meditators for thousands of years that once a man becomes enlightened, once a man becomes full of light and knows his own eternity, he disappears into the ultimate, into the cosmos. He cannot come again through the womb of a woman. He has no desires, he has no longings. He no longer has any of the passions which drag human souls again and again to the birth and death cycle.
But once a man has gone beyond all these mind-produced desires, greed, and anger and violence, once one has come to the very center of his being, he is liberated. Liberated from himself, liberated from the body, liberated from the mind. For the first time he understands that the body will be only a prison. Now that his intuition has absolute clarity he can see that the body is nothing but disease and death – maybe a few moments of pleasure, which go on keeping you in the body in the hope that more pleasure… But soon one realizes, if one has intelligence, that those pleasures are very phenomenal, illusory, just made of the same stuff as dreams are made of.
The moment this recognition happens, your life energy simply opens its wings and flies into the open sky of the cosmos, to dissolve into the ultimate.
But Gautam Buddha is an exception.
In the form of a beautiful story, it is said that when Gautam Buddha died he reached the gates of paradise. There was so much ceremony to receive him, but he refused to enter. He insisted, “Until every human being passes through the gates of paradise I cannot come in. It is against my compassion.”
At the last moment of his death he has predicted that he will be coming back after twenty-five centuries. Of course, he can come only in one way, and that is to possess somebody’s body; the womb is no longer possible for him.
For seven weeks continuously I was witnessing a fire test. Each moment seemed to be the last, and each breath going out was not promising that it would be coming back. In those seven weeks, seven times my heart showed symptoms of failure.
My physician Amrito, at the seventh stroke thought that this was the end. I told him, “The cardiogram can show you how many beats I have missed, but it cannot show you that I am not the heart – I am the witness behind it. And my source of life is not the heart or the body; my source of life is existence itself. I trust in existence, and I trust that this seven weeks’ long dark night will end.”
I would have never told you, but due to Katue Ishida… a woman who has not known me, has just seen my picture and my eyes, and a woman who is a well-known seer and prophetess but rarely speaks. Very rarely people come to her ancient Shinto temple in the forest to ask questions, about their destinies, their future. And most of the time she remains silent; she speaks only when she feels, “Now existence is taking possession of me. I am not speaking; I am only allowing the existence to speak through me.”
My Japanese translator, Geeta, has been informing her of everything that has happened in these five tremendously meaningful days. Because of her prophecy that Gautam Buddha has taken possession of my body as a vehicle, I had to admit the truth. But I had also expressed to her that my individuality and Gautam Buddha’s individuality are twenty-five centuries apart. He was an individualist – I am a greater individualist. I can be the host, but the guest has to remember that he is not my master.
I have never accepted anybody as my master. It has taken me very long to find out myself, but I am immensely happy that I don’t have even to say a ‘thank you’ to anyone. The search has been absolutely alone, tremendously dangerous.
And there are opinions in which I am bound to differ from Gautam Buddha. Four days he stayed with me, and saw clearly that there is no possibility of any compromise.
Compromise always leads you away from the truth. Truth cannot be a compromise – either you know it or you don’t.
Geeta informed Ishida, and she was very much afraid: how will the woman feel? But the woman proved to be of tremendous power. She said, “It does not matter. I love your master and I absolutely agree to whatsoever has happened.” And then she suddenly started crying.
Geeta asked her, “Why are you crying?”
She said, “There are no words. For the first time… continuously, for five days, I have been speaking about your master, and I know nothing of him. I have not read his books, I have just seen his eyes, and a door within me has opened and almost like a flood I have been speaking. This is for the first time in my whole life…” She is in a hurry to come.
But the seven weeks’ fire, the long night of the soul proved to be a blessing in disguise. It has purified me completely. And these five days of Gautam Buddha as Maitreya Buddha – that was his prophecy, that “My name after twenty-five centuries when I come back again, will be Maitreya the Buddha.” The Friend – Maitreya means “the friend.”
It was significant on his part. He was saying, the world of the gurus has ended. The world of the masters and disciples will not be relevant anymore. The master can function only in the capacity of a loving friend. And the disciple has not to be a disciple, has not to surrender to anybody, he has just to listen to the Friend. It is up to him to decide what to do or not. No discipline can be given, no dictation can be given.
In the world of religion this is the beginning of democracy; otherwise, all religions have been dictatorial, fascist, fundamentalist.
I would like you to remember because you have been the witness of all these seven weeks and five days – seven weeks of a constantly deepening darkness, and these five days of the rising sun, of the morning glories, of the birds singing. Again a new beginning, not only in my individuality but also in the individualities of those who have taken the risk to be fellow-travelers with me.
A new dawn, a new man is absolutely needed. Perhaps you are the new man who will destroy all that is rotten and old, that is superstitious and has no roots in intelligence. Perhaps you will be the one to destroy all organized religions, because the moment truth is organized, it dies. […]
The function of the priest has not been to convert you into the hands of the cosmos. On the contrary, he has been in every way preventing you to open your eyes and see the stars, to open your ears and hear the breeze passing through the pine trees. He has not allowed you to see the beauty of the planet, the beauty of the skies. Neither has he been helpful to take you in your innermost being where is your eternal home. He has been exploiting.
The new man, the new humanity means individual religious people, not organized according to any dogma, doctrine, cult, but simply in tune with existence. And the only way to be in tune with existence is what we have called in the East, meditation, in which no priest is needed. You alone are enough unto yourself.
From No Mind the Flowers of Eternity, Discourse #7
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