The Circle is Complete – Osho

There are three ordinary states of consciousness. One is waking, jagrut, the second is swabha, dreaming, and the third is sushupti, dreamless deep sleep.

Man ordinarily lives in these three states, sometimes waking, sometimes dreaming, sometimes fast asleep; this is the wheel man moves in. And because of these three states of mind many things have arisen into human consciousness and in human culture, civilization.

The first kind of consciousness, waking, creates its own culture, its own civilization; the West represents it. The second kind of culture is created by the second kind of consciousness, dreaming; the East represents it. That’s why you find it very difficult to communicate; the Western mind finds it almost impossible to communicate with the Eastern mind. It is not only a question of language – language you may understand – the question is of the orientation.

The waking consciousness is objective: it thinks of the object, of the reality there outside; it is a kind of concentration. The Western mind has evolved powers of concentration hence the birth of science; out of the powers of concentration, science is born. The East could not give birth to science, and the reason is that the East has not paid much attention to the first kind of consciousness.

The East thinks in terms of dreams. The East thinks in terms of the inner. The East thinks in terms of the subjective. The East thinks with closed eyes; the West thinks with open eyes. The West concentrates; the Eastern mind meditates, that’s why in the East you will find visionaries, poets – people who have experienced great revelations inside. But they cannot prove it; the experiences remain individual, private. The Western emphasis is on the objective, the public: when you are wakeful, whatsoever you see others can also see. You are seeing me here, everybody can see me – one who has eyes can see – there is no need for any proof. The sun rises, and you know: the proof exists in the very experience. And everybody is experiencing it – there can be a collective consensus about it. But when I say I have seen the sun rise in the evening it is no more a collective experience; it is no more objective, it becomes subjective.

In the East you will find people who have experienced kundalini rising in them, great light exploding as if thousands and thousands of suns have suddenly risen on the horizon; you will find people who have seen lotuses blooming inside – and to the Western mind it looks all nonsense. The Western mind has developed technology, science – objectivity. It lives in the first, the waking, state; the visionary is rejected. In the West the visionary is a marginal phenomenon, he exists on the outskirts of civilization. He is at most tolerated; he is harmless, he can be tolerated. But he has no roots in the culture at large, he is not the main current. In the East the scientist lives in the same way – on the margin; he is not the main current. He can be tolerated, he can be used, but the respect goes to the visionary, to the dreamer, to the poet who dreams great dreams.

These are the two ordinary states; the third state happens to both, but you cannot catch hold of it, the mind dissolves. In sushupti, in dreamless sleep, you disappear as an ego, and you disappear so utterly that you cannot even remember in the morning what happened. You can remember your dreams, you cannot remember your dreamless sleep, at most it can be remembered as gaps. You can say ‘I slept so deeply that there were not even dreams.’ But that is guess-work; there is no direct experience of sushupti.

No culture has evolved out of sushupti because there is no possibility to catch hold of it directly. But that is the deepest ordinary state of mind. It is out of sushupti, dreamless sleep, that you get rejuvenated every day. You go to the source, you move to the source, you are again in contact with the primal consciousness, you are again in contact with your ground. You are no more human, you are no more Hindu, no more Christian, you are no more a man or a woman, black or white, you are no more Eastern, Western; all disappears – all distinctions. You are, but there is no identity, that’s why out of dreamless sleep great peace is felt.

If you move into deeper meditation, you will come to the third state where one can become aware of dreamless sleep too. And many have stopped there; because it is so blissful, many religions have stopped there, they don’t go beyond it.

There is a fourth state also, and unless you reach to the fourth, go on remembering that the third is very alluring, the third is very beautiful, very blissful, but still you have not arrived home. The fourth is the home; the Eastern mystics have called it turiya, turiya means the fourth.

Waking is objective, outer; it is a kind of concentration. Dreaming is between the outer and the inner, a link between waking and deep sleep, and deep sleep is the inner. Then what is the fourth, the turiya? It is both and neither. It is both inner and outer, and because it is both, that’s why it is neither. It transcends both, it is non-dual, it is total. Now nothing is outer, nothing is inner. Objects disappear and, simultaneously, the subject too; there is no experience and no experiencer. This fourth state is called samadhi, satori. And the beauty of the fourth is that you can live in the world and yet be not of it.

Zen believes in the fourth. Those who believe in the third have to leave the world, they have to go to the Himalayan caves. Only there is it possible that they can fall into continuous deep dreamless sleep. It is falling into a beautiful coma. Its spiritual worth is nothing, although there is no misery, no anxiety, because the mind is put aside. But it is a state of coma, it is escapist. And the man has not known yet what the truth is. He has chosen one thing: escaping.

The Western mind moves deeper and deeper into the world, into activity, and the Eastern mind moves out of activity, more and more out of the world.

Now, here both kinds of people have gathered. When the Western mind comes to me he always asks how to relate with people – that is his basic question – how to be more loving, caring, how to grow deeper into relationship. No Indian, no Easterner, ever asks this – that is not his question at all, his question is how to get out of relationship, how to forget all this misery – birth and death, and reincarnation, and the whole wheel – how to stop it, how to jump out of it. You can watch it, it is very apparent. The Western mind is clear-cut, logical, rational, mathematical, alert. The Eastern mind is dreaming and, according to Western standards, lousy, sloppy, messy, because in a dream you cannot be very clear-cut, otherwise the dream will disappear. To the Eastern mind the Western mind is worldly, calculating, cunning, clever.

The third kind has happened both in the East and the West very rarely. In the West monasteries have existed, and people have renounced the world and moved – in the East too. One who becomes interested in dreamless sleep — and it is greatly satisfying – no doubt about it, there is great pleasure in it, it is very tranquil, undisturbed, but it is a kind of death, not life. And there is fear that it can be disturbed – any small thing can disturb it – a small thought can move, and all is lost. A small dream is enough to destroy it.

Zen people have worked for the fourth. The fourth means: live in the world like a lotus leaf in water, be awake and yet remain centred. So all that is needed to be done, be in the cyclone and yet remain in the centre of it, unaffected by it. Naturally, the Zen man creates the most alive, living, streaming, pulsating life. The Zen man creates action in inaction, or inaction through action. Polarities meet and merge, and wherever polarities meet and merge there is God.

The fourth is the primal state, the very basic and fundamental state out of which these three have arisen. These three are branches, the fourth is the root.

The sutras of today you will be able to understand only if you understand this approach, the approach through the fourth, through totality. One has not to escape, one has to go into the deepest world but is not to be lost there. One has to remain conscious, one has to remain alert, and one has to go deep into the world. The meeting of the extremes will bring you the richest crop of life.

It happened…

Vivekananda once told his Master, Ramakrishna, that his highest spiritual aspiration was to remain immersed for days on end in nirvikalpa samadhi, the disappearance of all forms into absolute Godhead. He sincerely longed for what he then considered to be the ultimate spiritual experience. But Ramakrishna, who had once spent six months in unbroken nirvikalpa, his body kept alive only by force feeding, relied ‘You are a fool. There is a realization higher than nirvikalpa samadhi.’ Vivekananda was at that time dedicated to the third dimension of contemplation, and Ramakrishna was attempting to turn him toward the fourth dimension, or turiya.

Nirvikalpa samadhi is a state of deep sleep. All has disappeared; it is absent, it is negative. The cup is empty, utterly empty; ready to be filled, but not yet filled. The empty cup is not the goal – cannot be the goal; emptying is only the method so that one day the cup can be filled with the presence of God. But God exists as the world – there is no other God. God has appeared as the world; God is not somewhere else. The world is God manifest. One has to empty oneself to prepare, but one has to remain in close contact with the world otherwise one becomes disconnected.

This is my approach to sannyas too. That’s why I don’t say leave the world, I say live in the world, accept the challenge of it because behind it, behind the screen of it, is God himself. If you accept the challenge and if you live the challenge totally, you will find that all that is needed is here. It has to be discovered. Become more and more alert and conscious.

So don’t get too much into the objects – don’t become a Westerner, and don’t get too much into the dreams – don’t become an Easterner. Don’t get too obsessed with kundalini and experiences like that because those are all mind things. Remain alert while moving with people, while moving in the world, remain alert while moving in dreams. And there are beautiful dreams too, spiritual dreams too – remain alert, don’t get distracted by them. And when you are able to be alert in the objective world and then alert in the dreaming world, slowly, slowly you will become alert in the dreamless deep sleep too. And then you are at the gate of the fourth. And when you enter the fourth, you are back into the world; the circle is complete. But now you are the centre of the cyclone.

-Osho

From The Sun Rises in the Evening, Chapter Seven

It is a ‘Releasement’ – Osho

Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise

From outward things, whate’er you may believe.

There is an inmost centre in us all,

Where truth abides in fullness; and around,

Wall upon wall, the gross flesh, hems it in,

This perfect, clear perception – which is truth.

A baffling and perverting carnal mesh

Binds it, and makes all error; and to know

Rather consists in opening out a way

Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape,

Than in effecting entry for a light

Supposed to be without.

Yes, these words of Robert Browning are right, absolutely right. Truth is not something outside. Truth is not an object that you have to find, search for, seek. Truth is your subjectivity: truth is the one who is seeking; truth is not the sought, but the seeker himself. To think of truth as something outside is to miss from the very beginning; and once you take a wrong step, you go on taking more and more wrong steps because one step leads to another. It is a chain.

The first step is the most important step. In fact, it is almost half the journey. If the first step is right, you have already arrived; you have moved in the right direction.

Truth is not without but within. And everybody has been seeking it without, hence everybody is missing it. And it is not only true about truth but about all search as such. Bliss is within, so is beauty, so is love, so is joy. All the values that one wants to attain to are within one’s own being.

These words of Robert Browning are of immense significance: 

Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise

From outward things, whate’er you may believe.

And man has believed down the ages in some truth which is somewhere in heaven far away. And one has to travel to it, and one has to go on a long, long pilgrimage. There is bound to be great effort – practicing, cultivating, preparing – and truth is all the time waiting for you within yourself.

All the beliefs mislead you because all the beliefs are based on the false idea that truth is an object. People come to me and they ask ‘Where is God?’ And they think that they are asking a very relevant question – as if God can be somewhere. They have not looked into the problem deeply. First they have to search into this questioning itself.  Who is the one asking for God? Who is this one searching for God? One should start from the very start. ‘Who am I?’ is the only significant question one can ask. And once this question is solved, all other questions are solved because God is found.

Raman Maharshi used to give only one meditation to everyone, whosoever would come to him: just to go on and on pondering, observing, watching, witnessing one thing – to let this question become so utterly your existence that it persists even when you are asleep – Who am I? And it has not to be repeated like a mantra. If you repeat it like a mantra you will have missed the point; it is not a mantra, it is an inquiry, and the greatest inquiry there is. It has not to be used as a meditation technique; it has to become your very life. Walking, let the inquiry be there – ‘Who is walking?’ Listening right now, let the inquiry be there – ‘Who is listening?’ And finally the inquiry has to penetrate to such profound depths that when you ask ‘Who am I?’ the inquiry is there – ‘Who is asking this question?’

Move to the innermost centre of your being. This inquiry is a movement withinwards. And this single question can solve all the problems; it is a master key: it unlocks all the locks.

Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise

From outward things, whate’er you may believe.

Your belief is not going to change the nature of things. You can believe that a rose flower is a lotus – and you can believe stubbornly, you can believe blindly and madly – but the rose remains a rose; just by your belief it is not transformed into a lotus. Yes, you can remain in a kind of illusion, you can remain hallucinating, you can even start seeing it as a lotus. Belief creates dreams, but it cannot create reality. Belief cannot deliver reality to you because all belief is a hindrance. Belief basically means that you have believed before knowing; you are deceiving yourself. All believers are deceivers: they have lied to themselves. They have not known God, and they have started believing in a Christian God or a Jewish God or a Hindu God. They know nothing; they have not experienced anything.

Once a man came to me. He had listened for ten days, and then he came to me. He was crying, and he was an old man. And he said ‘You have destroyed all that I have believed, and now I am at a loss. For almost thirty-five years I have practiced a certain kind of life. I have done all that possibly can be done. And I was living in a beautiful dream, and you have shattered it all. I was thinking that I had started seeing God. I had great visions of God, and now they all have disappeared.’ And he was crying like a small child whose toys have been taken away, he said ‘Now, help me to start again!’  And I had to laugh even though he was crying, I said ’Start again? Then you will be getting trapped into another illusion. What do you mean by starting again?’ He said ‘My old beliefs are destroyed; now, give me new beliefs. That’s what I mean.’

People go on changing beliefs, but that never brings a radical revolution; it cannot bring. A Hindu can become a Mohammedan – nothing changes; just you have changed your dream. A Christian becomes a Buddhist – nothing changes; deep down everything remains the same. Unless you drop believing nothing is going to change, because belief is a deception. Belief means that you don’t know and yet you think you know. And the less you know, the more stubbornly you believe – naturally, you have to complement it. The less you know, the more arrogant, the more dogmatic, more violent you are in your belief – ready to fight, kill and be killed because you are afraid. If somebody brings light to you, and you come to SEE that your belief is just a belief and nothing else, then all that you have invested in it has gone down the drain, then your life has been a stupid life. The life of a believer is a stupid life, it is unintelligent.

Robert Browning is right. He says ‘whate’er you may believe.’ Your beliefs cannot make any change. Truth is as it is. Truth is not an object; you cannot believe in it, you cannot worship it, you cannot pray to it. Truth is your hidden reality. You are part of it, it is part of you; there is no separation between you and truth. And the first door to be opened has to open within you, then all the doors open. I am not saying that truth is not there without, but once it is known within, then you will know it without. There is no other way. Once you have seen it within yourself, then you will see it in a tree, in a mountain, in a star – in everything. Because now you have tasted the centre; now the centre is everywhere. Now you have known the inside of things. God is the inside of things.

But the first approach, the first acquaintance, has to happen within you because that inside which exists within you is the closest inside. How can you penetrate into the inside of a tree? It is very, very far away. You have not even penetrated your own inside – where you already are.

It happened…

Leo Tolstoy had gone for a morning walk with Chekhov. They came across a beautiful horse in the woods, and Tolstoy started talking about the horse. And he talked in such a way that Chekhov could not believe it. He said “What are you saying? You are talking as if you know the very inside of the horse!” – because Tolstoy was talking about ‘this morning, these birds, these trees, this sun, this sky, these clouds…’ and how the horse was feeling about the clouds, and how he was feeling about the trees and the smell of the wet earth; how the horse was feeling about the grass and the flowers and the sun. And he was saying it as if it were directly from the horse’s mouth. Checkhov himself was a great artist, a great novelist, a great genius, but he had never visualized how the horse would feel. And Tolstoy was saying it so deeply, profoundly, that he said “Leo Tolstoy, I feel as if you had once been a horse in your past lives!” Tolstoy started laughing, and said “No, but the day I came across my own inside, I came across everybody’s inside. Before that, I knew myself as the body – I knew myself as if from the outside.”

Have you any acquaintance with yourself from the inside, or do you only know that which the mirror says about you? That is as if you were standing outside yourself and looking from there. You know all that people say about you. Somebody says that you are beautiful, and you think you are beautiful; and somebody says that you are ugly, and you start feeling miserable; and somebody says that you are intelligent, and you are flying high; and somebody says that you are stupid, and you are shattered. Again, this is nothing but a mirror: others’ opinions cannot be more than mirrors. But have you never seen yourself from the inside? And there you are; there you have always been, you are abiding there. And if you cannot know this space that you are abiding in, how can you know the inner reality of a tree or a mountain or a star? And how can you know the inner reality of the totality?

God is inside of totality. But to enter into that, one has to enter within one’s own door.

Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise

From outward things, whate’er you may believe.

There is an inmost centre in us all

Where truth abides in fullness… 

True, absolutely true. And sometimes it happens that poets come very close to the mystics. Poetry comes closer to religion than anything else. Poetry is a glimpse into truth; mysticism is living there. Poetry is like the Himalayas seen from far away – those sunlit peaks, those virgin snows; religion is living there as those sunlit peaks, as that virgin snow. Poetry is a distant vision of truth; mysticism, or religion, is becoming one with it, knowing it as one’s innermost centre. But poetry comes closest. 

Where truth abides in fullness…

Nothing is lacking in you, nothing has to be added to you. You are born perfect, because you are born of perfection. You are perfect, because the perfect is breathing within you, living in you. You are an extension of perfection. If God is perfect, then nothing can be imperfect, because all is his expression. How can it be imperfect? So, there is no need to seek perfection, there is no need to improve upon yourself. All that is needed is to know who you are, and in that very knowing one comes to feel the completion, the perfection. One has not to become perfect; one already is. And because we are trying to become perfect we are becoming more and more ridiculous.

Down the ages man has tried to become more and more perfect, and the only result is that man has become more and more ugly. The very effort is absurd. In trying to become perfect people have become guilty. In trying to become perfect they have become pathological.

In trying to become perfect, and failing again and again – and they have to fail because they are already perfect… You cannot attain to that which you already have, so the effort is doomed to fail. And when you fail again and again and again,, naturally, a great sadness settles; one feels utterly depressed. All hope disappears, and all joy with it. Life becomes an ugly evil; one has to bear it somehow. Life becomes sin. If you are trying to become perfect, life will become sin, because you will fail, you will condemn yourself, you will hate yourself – and a man who hates himself has gone as far away from himself as it is possible to go. 

There is an inmost centre in us all

Where truth abides in fullness; and around,

Wall upon wall, the gross Flesh hems it in,

This perfect, clear perception – which is truth.

Truth is not a thing but the clarity of perception. It is not that you will have to see something; it is only the clarity of seeing that is truth. All objects disappear, all content disappears, only a clarity remains. Everything becomes transparent – you can see, you can see totally; nothing is hidden from you. That perception is truth.

Truth is not an object but an awakening in you. Let me emphasize it again and again that truth is within not without; it is an awakening within you; it is an awareness within you; it is intelligence functioning at its optimum. You cannot see truth; it is not a thing. You cannot grasp truth; it is not a thing. You cannot give or take truth; it is not a thing. It is your inner eye, your inner perception – what the Hindus call the third eye.

To be alert and awake is to be true. So, let us define. Untruth is unconsciousness, and truth is consciousness. Untruth is living like a somnambulist; truth is living like a Buddha, alert, watchful, witnessing.

A baffling and perverting carnal mesh

Binds it, and makes all error; and to know

Rather consists in opening out a way

Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape,

Than in effecting entry for a light

Supposed to be without. 

The splendor is within you. It is just like a fountain hidden behind a rock, and because of the rock it cannot flow. Remove the rock, and the fountain starts flowing. This insight is also of tremendous significance. And I say ‘hidden behind a rock’ not ‘behind rocks’ because there is only one rock. Somebody thinks it is because of greed that he cannot attain to truth, so one has to renounce greed. Somebody else thinks it is because of anger, violence that he cannot attain to truth, so one has to renounce anger, violence. Somebody else thinks it is because of money, possessions, so one has to renounce all possessions. Somebody else thinks it is because of sex, love, attachment, so one has to renounce that. And people think that there are so many rocks: anger, sex, sadness, possessiveness, greed, etcetera, etcetera. No, there are not rocks; there is only one rock, and that rock is unawareness. Everything else is a by-product of that unawareness. It becomes greed, it becomes sex, it becomes anger; it can take many forms. But basically it is only one thing: forgetfulness, unawareness.

We have become completely oblivious of who we are.

… and to know

Rather consists in opening out a way

Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape,

Than in effecting entry for a light

Supposed to be without.

Don’t search for any light outside. The last words of Buddha were “Be a light unto yourself. Be a lamp unto yourself.” Don’t search for light anywhere else; the light is already there, the fire is already there. Just probe a little deeper into your being, enquire. Maybe much ash has gathered around the fire… just probe deep inside, and you will find the spark again. And once you have found a single spark inside yourself, you will become a flame soon, you will be a fire – a fire that purifies, a fire that transforms, a fire that gives you a new birth and a new being.

It is because of this that Martin Heidegger uses the word ‘releasement’ instead of ‘enlightenment’. His word is beautiful. It is a releasement: something is already there; it has only to be released. Just like the seed sprouting, becoming a big tree, and then comes the spring… and there is great joy, and the tree bursts forth into thousands of flowers. But they were all hidden in the seed, the small seed. The seed has been carrying the blueprint for all that: the colour, the shape, the fragrance – all was hidden in the seed. The tree is not anything new. The seed was unmanifest; the tree is its manifestation. It is a releasement.

I like Heidegger’s word, it is beautiful. It is a releasement: enlightenment is a releasement.

You are already that. You have never been other than that. Remember, remind yourself, shake yourself into awareness. Use all the opportunities of life as triggering points, as occasions, so that you can become alert and aware of who you are.

These words of one of the great Greek mystics, Plotinus, will be of help. ‘You do not really go away from It, for It is there; you do not “go” anywhere but remain present to It, yet you turn your back on It.’ Or as Raman Maharshi used to say ‘Enlightenment is simply to admit that you are already enlightened.’

Just to admit… Yes, Raman is stating the simple fact: it is only admitting. You are enlightened; you consist of it. You are made of light; light is the stuff’ that you are made of. Then why can’t you admit it? Why can’t you recognize it? And rather than recognizing it, you do a thousand and one other things: you search for God, you go to the Himalayas, you move to the monasteries, you torture yourselves, you become masochists in the name of religion, you destroy yourselves, you slowly, slowly commit suicide. You do everything, but just a simple thing you never do: you don’t admit. Why can’t you admit it? And nothing is being taken away from you. In recognizing the fact, all is gained, nothing is lost. But you have become too attached to your chains, you have become too attached to your misery – you have started thinking that this is you.

It is like an emperor who has fallen asleep and dreams that he has become a beggar. And in his dream he has a begging bowl and rotten rags, and somebody is trying to snatch the begging bowl from him. And he will fight; he will fight to the very bitter end. It is a question of life and death – somebody trying to snatch his begging bowl? He will give a great fight; he is not going to give it easily – that’s all that he has.

That’s what has happened. Misery is all that you have. You cannot admit that you are enlightened because then you will not be able to afford misery any more. So, many times you come to the brink, many times the recognition is very close by – you see the point – but you withdraw, you immediately start getting as far away from it as possible. You withdraw, you turn back. You have become too attached to your misery: that looks as if that is your kingdom.

This is my observation: listening to thousands of sannyasins, one thing seems to be absolutely certain: that nobody wants to renounce his misery. People are even ready to renounce their little bits of happiness; they are ready. This is strange, but this is how it is. If I say to them ‘Renounce your wife, renounce your children, renounce your home’ they are ready, they say ‘We are ready to go with you, Osho, wherever you say. We can renounce.’ But if I say ‘Renounce your misery, renounce your chains’ then immediately I see that they cannot gather that much courage. They cling to it, they will fight for it.

Raman is simply saying that all that is needed for enlightenment is to admit that you are enlightened. Just think of it. Just for a moment meditate over it. Can you admit that you are enlightened? And immediately you will see that it is difficult, because if you admit that you are enlightened then there will be trouble. And the trouble will be: you cannot be angry, and you cannot be sad, and you cannot fight with your wife or with your husband, and you cannot be possessive. All is lost, and that has been your whole life. Now, this is too much, you will say ‘How can one become enlightened so suddenly? First I will have to practise.’ That is only a way of postponing. You are saying ‘I cannot deny the truth of what you say, but I cannot admit it right now either. Yes, you are right, you must be right; but I have to prepare myself for it.’ And this is how you have been preparing for so many lives.

You missed Buddha, you missed Yoka – you can miss me too.

And you are always preparing, and you are always postponing, and you say ‘Yes, we understand what you are saying.’

Many times you are almost enlightened, and then immediately you shrink back. I say ‘almost’ because you can still shrink back, that’s why I say ‘almost’. Just one step more… but then fear grips you, you become so frightened. Then what will happen to your whole past and all your investments?

You will think that this should not be so – what investment can there be in misery? There is; people remain miserable because through misery they gain sympathy, at least sympathy. If they cannot get love, they can get sympathy, they can get attention.

And you are too attached to attention. Things are complicated then. You are too attached to attention – people should pay attention to you – and you don’t know what else to do. If you are miserable, they pay attention. If you are ill, they take care of you. If you go mad, everybody is kind to you. Just see the point why so many people go mad and when they go mad. There is a perfect timing to it. Whenever they are passing into some crisis, through some crisis, and they need attention, love, sympathy, care, they immediately choose madness. It is a choice – unconscious, but still a choice.

If they remain sane, everybody is hard. If they remain sane then the world is too much; then the wife is hard, the children are hard, the boss is hard – everything is hard. And they are tired. But if they are insane, if they have a certificate to say that they are mad, if the psychiatrist says that they are not in a position that anything should be expected from them, they can relax. Now nobody expects anything from them, and they can expect everything from everybody else.

Thousands of people who live in madhouses have only learned a trick; this is their way of life; they have learned a style. They are not all mad; they have just found a beautiful way of life where care has to be taken of them by others – they need not worry.

Just look into all the investments that you have put into your misery. You hanker for love, and your husband never sits by your side. You hanker for love, and your wife never comes and massages you. Now, you have a headache, and she comes and she is all love. Just see the point: the headache has become a need; because love is not freely available so you start paying for love with your headache. Whenever you need love, when there is starvation, when you feel that love will be nourishing, suddenly your mind triggers the mechanism – the headache comes.

And I am not saying that you are just pretending, I am not saying that you are pretending – a real headache comes; there is no pretension in it. I am not saying that you are just deceiving your wife, no; you are deceiving your wife and yourself too. The headache is real, but you have learned a trick.

Whenever love is starved, a mechanism triggers itself; it is autonomous. It immediately brings some illness to you, and with illness, love comes. Your wife becomes your mother – you always wanted her to be your mother. You have been in search of a mother not in search of a wife. Every man is in search of a mother. Every woman is in search of a father.

It is difficult to accept it, but it must be so because people’s mental age remains hanging somewhere near about thirteen – nobody grows psychologically more than that. Now, what more can you expect of a thirteen-year-old boy or girl? Psychologically that is the average age, so even the man who is seventy or eighty remains interested in the breasts of women – why? For what? He is still childish. Those breasts symbolize the mother; they are symbols. He is still hankering for a mother, for a warm womb – somebody to encompass him. But the only way seems to be to be ill, to be miserable, to be sad. And it seems that the prize is worth it; that’s why you can’t agree with Raman Maharshi that all that is needed for enlightenment is just a recognition. One has to admit that ‘I am enlightened.’ But from that admission your life will never be the same again; you cannot afford those toys you have been playing with.

-Osho

From The Sun Rises in the Evening, Chapter Three

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Is This Enlightenment – Osho

When the internal talking stops, is this enlightenment?

Parivesh, when the internal talking stops, who cares? Who is there to care? Who is there to raise the question ‘Is this enlightenment’? If you can still ask the question, then it is internal talking continuing.

If you can still see that this is enlightenment, then nothing has happened; then the mind is back from the back door. It has jumped upon your enlightenment too, and it has destroyed it.  Enlightenment is not an experience, that’s why nothing can be said about it. Enlightenment is not one of the series of experiences that you have lived through. Enlightenment is not something that happens to you like a content in the mind. When the mind is not there you don’t say ‘This is enlightenment’, you don’t feel it as an experience; rather, on the contrary, you see it as your nature.

It has always been so – just because of that internal talk you were too occupied and you could not see it. It is not a realization; it is only a recognition, a remembrance. It has always been so from the very beginning – just you had got lost into thoughts, fantasies. Now the fantasy is no more there, you are back home. It is your home.

Enlightenment is not an experience; it is your interiority, it is you. One does not become enlightened; one comes to know that one is enlightenment, one is light, one is consciousness. But, Parivesh, your question is philosophical. When the internal talking stops, you ask, Is this enlightenment?

Don’t be philosophical about these things – these are not philosophical things. You cannot think about them; you can only be, and know; be still, and know. If I say ‘Yes, this is enlightenment’ I will only be giving you an idea. That will burden your mind more, that will become part of your internal talk. Then you will not talk much about money, and women, and you may start talking about enlightenment, God, Buddhahood. But it is the same. The object of thinking does not matter much – you can give any object, and the thinking can weave and spin around it. The question is that the thinking should disappear, evaporate.

So, don’t make enlightenment in any way a goal. Enlightenment is the very source, the very ground, of your being. You consist of enlightenment; you are made of this stuff called enlightenment. So, naturally, when you are silent and there is no distraction – thought means distraction, thought means going away from yourself, thought means something has come between you and yourself, thought means you have moved into the future or into the past, thought means you are not here, you are not now: all this is implied in thought – when there is no distraction, you relax into your source. Slowly, slowly you rest into your being.

Martin Heidegger has called this resting into yourself ‘the releasement’. He has also called it ‘the enchanted regioning’. There is a region inside you, the enchanted region, a space where you are still God, where you have not fallen at all – where you cannot fall in the very nature of things; where you still live in the Garden of Eden, where the fall has not happened – cannot happen. One cannot fall from God and God’s paradise; one can only fall asleep. This is my interpretation of the biblical story. Adam has not been driven out of the Garden of Eden, he has fallen asleep. By eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge he has fallen in dreams, he has started thinking. That is the meaning of the whole parable. That is the meaning of the symbol of the Tree of Knowledge: he has started thinking. Thinking, he has gone away – in thinking only; otherwise, he lives in the same place. But he is no more available to God; he has moved into fictions, imaginations.

Wake up, and you have always been enlightened. Just wake up. Open your eyes. Don’t let enlightenment become an idea in you, otherwise you will think about it, and that will be a distraction.

-Osho

From The Sun Rises in the Evening, Chapter Four

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

 

Right-mindfulness is the Flavor – Osho

Please explain ‘right-mindfulness’. If not a goal or something to practice, what is it? 

Sambuddha, right-mindfulness is a strange word.

First: there is no mind in it – hence it is called ‘right-mindfulness’. Secondly, there is nothing right and wrong in it – hence it is called right-mindfulness. This is a Buddhist way of saying things.

It can’t be a goal, because when there is a goal you are always in the wrong. Why are you in the wrong when there is a goal? Because when there is a goal there is desire, when there is desire you are unhappy, discontented. When there is desire, there is anxiety – whether you will be able to make it or not? Will it be possible or not?

When there is desire there is future, and with the future anxiety enters into your being. With the desire you have lost contact with the present.

Right-mindfulness is not a goal, cannot be a goal – because when all desires disappear and all goals disappear and you are here-now… that is the moment of right-mindfulness.

Why is it called ‘right’? It is called right be-cause it knows no division between right and wrong.

Nothing is wrong! And nothing is right. All judgements have disappeared. One is utterly innocent.

When you see a rose flower, does the idea arise in you: “It is right, it is wrong”? When you see the morning star disappearing, does the idea arise in you: “Is it right or is it wrong?” When you start looking at life with no judgement, with no prejudice, then you are in the state of right-mindfulness.

Jesus has said: Judge ye not. Jesus has also said: Resist not evil – not even evil has to be resisted, then arises right-mindfulness. When you are neither moral nor immoral, when you are amoral like trees and animals and birds and beasts, when you are like a small innocent child who has just opened his eyes, with no ideas… then, in that silence, in that purity, it is right-mindfulness.

Why is it called right? It is called right be-cause now it knows nothing as right and wrong – it knows no division, it is indivisible. The acceptance is total! – that’s why it is called right. You have fallen into the suchness of existence. You are no longer standing there like a judge.

Judging is wrong. To be in a state of non-judgement is right. Right, NOT against wrong right because all wrong and right have disappeared. You have no opinion. You don’t carry a philosophy in the mind.

You are simply a mirror! 

When you come before the mirror, the mirror does not say, “You are beautiful, you are ugly” – it simply reflects. It reflects without condemnation, without appreciation – it reflects choicelessly. It just reflects.

When your consciousness has become a mirror and simply reflects whatsoever is the case, it is right-mindfulness. That mirror-like quality….

And it is not a goal, because every goal will bring dust on the mirror. Every goal will stir desires, and desires surround your mirror like mist – then reflection is not true, then suchness is not reflected.

When you have some idea, you cannot be true to reality. You distort reality according to your idea.

You try to mold reality according to your idea. You are to modify reality. You go on looking for your idea. You are searching for support: you would like reality to support your idea, you would like reality to agree with you – -and then you distort. Then you start seeing things which are not there, and you stop seeing things which ARE there. Then you start living in a mind-world.

To live in the mind is wrong. To live without mind is right, because without mind, the consciousness exists in its purity, mirror-like – it simply reflects. It says nothing! It has no interpretation.

It interprets not.

And why is it called mindfulness? This is the translation of a Buddhist term sammasati. Samma means right – the translation is not very correct, cannot be. Samma is a very strange word, very significant, has many meanings; ‘right’ is only one of its meanings. Samma is the root from where samadhi arises; the word samadhi comes from samma.

Samma means many things. One: tranquility, silence, equanimity, balance, undisturbedness, undistractedness, centredness, groundedness – they are all aspects of samma. ‘Right’ is a very poor translation of samma.

And sati  – sammasati. Sati can mean mindfulness, can mean remembrance, can mean reflection, can mean recollectedness, can mean presence. All those meanings are involved in it. Mindfulness is only one of the meanings. It is a very potential and pregnant word—sammasati. It is the seventh step in Buddha’s eight steps – you are very close to reality. The eighth is samadhi.

The seventh is sammasati. You have come very, very close; you are just on the threshold of reality – it has to be very, very significant. When you are utterly present in the presence, when you don’t have any past and don’t have any future… when this cuckoo calling, this train passing, this dog barking, is all… when THIS is all and there is no that, when the word ‘here’ is your whole reality and there is no there, when now contains ALL time and there is no then… then you are in the state of sammasati.

That’s what I go on calling ‘here-now’ – that is sammasati. Then you are utterly present, absolutely present. When something is going on in your mind about the past, you are not here; a part of you is travelling towards the past, and a part of you is travelling towards the future – only a small fragment is here.

When ALL the parts of your being are here, when you are totally at home, nothing is missing, when you are integratedly here, then it is right-mindfulness. In that moment you will reflect reality – as it is, without any distraction, without any distortion. Because you don’t have any thought in the mind, how can you distort it? Thought distorts, thinking is destructive. It goes on imposing – it does not allow you to see that which is.

Right-mindfulness is a state of no-mind, no-thought!

And remember: it is also a state of no-feeling – otherwise, you may think it is a state of feeling. No, it is not – because feeling again creates ripples and the surface of the lake is disturbed, and again the moon is not reflected as it is.

Neither thought disturbs you, nor feeling.

These are the three states: one is thinking – the most disturbed state; second is feeling – less disturbed than thinking, but still disturbed; third is being – no disturbance at all. One is in the head, second is in the heart, third is in your guts. Right-mindfulness is a gut-state: no head, no heart. You are simply there undefined, undefinable.

Sambuddha, you ask me:

Please explain ‘right-mindfulness’. If not a goal or something to practice, what is it? 

And, yes, it is not a practice. You cannot practice it, because practice brings goal! Practice is desire, practice is mind. And remember: whenever you practise something, you are imposing something against yourself, otherwise why practise it? Against whom are you practicing? When you practise truth, what will you do? You will repress the untruth – but the untruth will remain there, deep inside you, ready to explode any moment. It will go on accumulating.

When you practice love, what will you do? You will repress hatred. When you practice compassion, what will you do? You will repress anger. And all that is repressed will go on remaining in you, and all that is practiced will remain on the surface, and all that is rejected will go deep into your being. The rejected will become part of your being and the practiced will remain just a coating, a painting on the surface.

And remember: whenever you practice anything, you are angry at it. Naturally so – because all practicing divides you, makes you schizophrenic.

One part of you is trying to manipulate the other part. One part of you is trying to enforce some ideas on the other part. And the part that is trying to enforce is a very impotent part, but articulate – your head. It has no power, but it is very articulate, very clever, very cunning, very argumentative.

And the head goes on imposing on your body, on your heart, which are far more potential, far more powerful; they have energy sources, but they are not articulate, they are not argumentative – they are silent. And the head goes on pretending that it has practiced… and then a situation arises and all practice is thrown away – because the head has no energy.

You think for years that you will never be angry, then one day somebody insults you and in a single moment you have forgotten all that practice. And YOU ARE angry! By the time you come to know that you are angry, anger has already happened. You are burning, you are fire. From where does this fire come? And years of practice! That practice was just on the surface. Mind was pretending; because there was no situation provoking you, mind was able to pretend. Now the situation has arisen and mind is not able to pretend. The reality asserts itself.

That’s why down the ages, through the ages, the so-called religious people have been escaping from society, from life. Why? They are escaping from situations where their practice can be proved wrong; nothing else are they doing. Going to the Himalayas they are simply escaping from the world – because the world brings situations! And their so-called practice and their religion and their discipline is broken again and again. Somebody insults, or a beautiful woman passes by, and all their celibacy and all their brahmacharya and all their ideas are gone. A single beautiful woman is enough to destroy all their years of celibacy.

They escape from women, they escape from the world, they escape from money and the market – they know that they can be moral and religious and saintly only when there is no situation which provokes their reality. Then the mind can go on playing the game in a monastery. When there is no challenge, mind seems to be the master. When there is challenge, mind is no more a master.

Whatsoever you practice remains false. Never out of practice has anything real happened. Beware of this. The real happens only through understanding, not through practice. And what is the difference?

Understanding will say: Remain where situations arise, remain where challenges surround you. Be there where provocations and temptations exist. Test yourself there. Go into situations!

Understanding will say: If anger comes, then go into anger and see what it is. See yourself – don’t trust anybody else’s judgement about it. Go into it! Be burnt by it. Let it leave scars on your being – because one learns only through the hard way. Only your experience will tell you again and again and again that anger is stupid – not that it is a sin! It is simply stupid. And as the understanding grows deeper, anger will be coming less and less. One day… the understanding has touched your very core of being, the light has penetrated you. You have seen through and through that anger is futile: in that very moment anger has disappeared and there has not been any repression.

Remember this: repression is the pitfall for ALL those people who want to transform their lives – they have to avoid repression. Indulgence is not so bad, because indulgence can one day bring understanding, but repression can never bring understanding. How can you understand something which you go on repressing and you don’t look into? – you go on covering it, go on throwing it in the basement of your being.

And remember: the more you practice, the more you pretend, the more you are angry at your own practice. Your real parts, your guts are angry.

The intellectual young man was telling off his girlfriend. “Jane,” he remonstrated, “I don’t think you are the girl for me. My interests are in art, literature and in music. You are only concerned with sports, with gambling and with common activities that are altogether alien to me. In fact, to be blunt about it – you are downright uncouth!”

“Uncouth!” she exploded. “Me?! What are you talking about? Uncouth? Didn’t I go along with you to them operas, them concerts, them lectures, and all that sort of shit?!”

That’s what will happen. You can go on practicing, but deep down you know that you are repressing, that you are rejecting, that you are denying some essential parts of your being. Right-mindfulness is the flavor of understanding, not the outcome of practice. Right-mindfulness is the fragrance – the fragrance of seeing into things deeply, the fragrance of insight.

-OSHO

From Walk Without Feet, Fly Without Wings and Think Without Mind, Chapter Nine

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

What is Satori – Osho

What is satori and how to attain it?

Pratima, satori is exactly your ordinary nature; it is not anything special. Hence there is no question of attaining it – it is already the case. You are in it, you have just forgotten. You have become too occupied with the outside world. You have forgotten your own kingdom, you have forgotten your own treasure, you have forgotten yourself. You have become too concerned with others. You are too much in the world and you don’t give any time, any space for your inner nature to have a dialogue with you, to whisper a few things to you. You have become artificial.

You have created a false ego because nobody can live without a center. You have forgotten your real center, and nobody can live without a center, so you have created a false center as a substitute. That’s the ego. Ego simply means living with a false center.

Satori is dropping the false, entering into the real; just being yourself, your natural self, your ordinary self.

The word “ordinary” has to be remembered because the mind is not interested in the ordinary at all; it wants to be extraordinary, it wants to be special. It is through being special that the ego survives.

It is constantly striving to be more special, more special. It wants to be more rich, more powerful, more respectable; it is ambitious. Hence the word “ordinary” has no appeal for the mind. And that is the beauty of the word “ordinary” – because it has no appeal for the mind.

Mind is an achiever and the ordinary need not be achieved; it is already the case. The extraordinary has to be achieved, the extraordinary becomes the goal. It is far away; you have to make all kinds of efforts, you have to struggle for it, you have to fight for it because there are so many competitors.

To be ordinary… and there is no competition at all. You can just be ordinary, nobody has any objection. People will simply feel sorry for you that you have dropped out of the competitive race.

One competitor less – they will feel good but sorry for you. They will say, “Poor fellow! What happened to him? Why did he have to drop out?” The dropouts are not respectable people. Buddha is a dropout. All real Masters are dropouts. To be a sannyasin means to be a dropout. To drop out of the rat race is to drop in, because when you are in the race you cannot enter in. When you are no longer in the race there is nowhere to go. You start moving inwards because life is a flow: if there is no outer direction it takes the inner direction. If the goal is not there far away in the future, then you start moving into your nature in the present. That is satori.

Satori is very ordinary. Satori means your nature. You have come with it; it is your original face – all other faces are masks.

Yoka says:

A disciple speaks in accordance with the ultimate, the absolute truth.

Remember that one should cut the root and not the branches and the leaves.

What is the root of your misery? The root is your ambition, desiring. One wants to be this and that, one wants to possess this and that, one wants to be somebody, one wants to be significant.

Yoka says: Cut the root… only then are you a disciple. And the moment you cut the root – not the branches, not the leaves – you attain the ultimate truth. The ultimate truth is not far away; it is the immediate truth, it is your truth, it is your very being.

Most people do not recognize the perfect jewel, the jewel of supreme wisdom, satori. It is hidden in the secret place of Tathagata, awaiting its discovery.

It is to live in your suchness; it is hidden in your suchness. Whatsoever you are, live in it. Don’t create any conflict, don’t live through the ideal. Don’t be an idealist, just be natural.

But everybody is being taught to be an idealist: “Become a Jesus” or “Become a Buddha” or “Become a Krishna.” Nobody tells you just to be yourself! Why should you be a Jesus? One Jesus is enough and one Jesus is beautiful – he enriches the existence. Many Jesuses just carrying crosses, and wherever you go you meet them… It won’t look beautiful, it won’t add to the beauty of existence; it will make the whole world ugly. Wherever you go you meet a Mahavira standing naked…. It is because of this that God never creates the same person again. He never repeats; he is original.

He always creates a new person. You have never been before, and there is no one who is like you, and there will never be anybody else like you again. In the whole of eternity you alone are just like you. Look at the beauty of it and the glory of it and the respect that God has shown to you! What more respectability do you need? See the uniqueness of yourself. There is no need to be unique; you are already unique, just as everybody else is unique. You are unique in your ordinariness, in your suchness.

Satori is hidden, says Yoka, in the secret place of your suchness, awaiting its discovery.

It has not to be created, it is already there; you just have to discover it. Go in and discover it! It is waiting and waiting. And centuries have passed and many, many lives have passed, and you have become addicted to extroversion. You never move in.

The first step towards satori is meditation. Satori is the ultimate experience of meditation when meditation is fulfilled, when meditation has reached to its ultimate flowering.

Yoka says:

The world is complete illusion, yet nothing exists which might be called illusion.

The world that you have created through your mind is illusory, but there is another world which is not your creation. When your mind disappears you discover that world: the world of suchness. That is a totally different experience. No words can describe it. Thousands of mystics have tried to describe it, but nobody has ever been able and nobody will ever be able to describe it. It is so mysterious; it is so beautiful that all words fall short. No poetry reaches to its level, no music even touches its feet.

The perfect light of this wisdom enlightens one.

The moment you have put your mind aside – mind means ambition, the ego trip of being this and that – the moment you have put the whole mind aside, a great light explodes in you and you are enlightened. This is satori. It does not come from the outside: you are not delivered by somebody else; you are delivered by your own being, by your own nature.

That is possible only by practicing zazen beyond speculation. You can see clouds naturally in the mirror but to hold on to the reflection is impossible.

That is possible only by practicing zazen… Satori is possible only by practicing zazen. Zazen means:

Just sitting, doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself.

You are simply relaxing into your own being, not doing anything at all. It is not a question of doing; it is simply a question of being. You go on relaxing into your being. A moment comes when you are in your utter purity, in your utter simplicity, in your utter innocence. That is satori.

Zazen is a beautiful word. It simply means just sitting – not even doing meditation. In fact, you cannot do meditation. Meditation is just sitting silently; it is not a question of doing. If you are doing something you are disturbing your meditation.

Somebody is chanting a mantra; he is disturbing his meditation. Somebody is focusing on something; he is disturbing his meditation. Somebody is concentrating, somebody is praying, somebody is thinking of God: they are disturbing their meditation. All these are the doings of the mind, and if the doing continues the mind continues. Stop doing, and where is the mind? When the doing disappears, mind disappears. And the disappearance of the mind is satori.

It is beyond speculation, says Yoka. You cannot think about it, you can only experience it. It is the ultimate experience, and the immediate experience, too, of truth, of beauty, of love, of bliss, of God, of nirvana.

-OSHO

From Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Chapter Four

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Absolute Perfection is Here and Now – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: The war is on. What is your attitude to it?

Maharaj: In some place or other, in some form or other, the war is always on. Was there a time when there was no war? Some say it is the will of God. Some say it is God’s play. It is another way of saying that wars are inevitable and nobody is responsible.

Q: But what is your own attitude?

M: Why impose attitudes on me? I have no attitude to call my own.

Q: Surely somebody is responsible for this horrible and senseless carnage. Why do people kill each other so readily?

M: Search for the culprit within. The ideas of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ are at the root of all conflict. Be free of them and you will be out of conflict.

Q: What of it that I am out of conflict? It will not affect the war. If I am the cause of war, I am ready to be destroyed. Yet, it stands to reason that the disappearance of a thousand like me will not stop wars. They did not start with my birth nor will end with my death. I am not responsible. Who is?

M: Strife and struggle are a part of existence. Why don’t you enquire who is responsible for existence?

Q: Why do you say that existence and conflict are inseparable? Can there be no existence without strife? I need not fight others to be myself.

M: You fight others all the time for your survival as a separate body-mind, a particular name and form. To live you must destroy. From the moment you were conceived you started a war with your environment—a merciless war of mutual extermination, until death sets you free.

Q: My question remains unanswered. You are merely describing what I know, life and its sorrows. But who is responsible, you do not say. When I press you, you throw the blame on God, or karma, or on my own greed and fear—which merely invites further questions. Give me the final answer.

M: The final answer is this: nothing is. All is a momentary appearance in the field of the universal consciousness; continuity as name and form is a mental formation only, easy to dispel.

Q: I am asking about the immediate, the transitory, the appearance. Here is a picture of a child killed by soldiers. It is a fact—staring at you. You cannot deny it. Now, who is responsible for the death of the child?

M: Nobody and everybody. The world is what it contains and each thing affects all others. We all kill the child and we all die with it. Every event has innumerable causes and produces numberless effects. It is useless to keep accounts, nothing is traceable.

Q: Your people speak of karma and retribution.

M: It is merely a gross approximation: in reality we are all creators and creatures of each other, causing and bearing each other’s burden.

Q: So, the innocent suffers for the guilty?

M: In our ignorance we are innocent; in our actions we are guilty. We sin without knowing and suffer without understanding. Our only hope: to stop, to look, to understand and to get out of the traps of memory. For memory feeds imagination and imagination generates desire and fear.

Q: Why do I imagine at all?

M: The light of consciousness passes through the film of memory and throws pictures on your brain. Because of the deficient and disordered state of your brain, what you perceive is distorted and coloured by feelings of like and dislike. Make your thinking orderly and free from emotional overtones, and you will see people and things as they are, with clarity and charity.

The witness of birth, life and death is one and the same. It is the witness of pain and of love. For while the existence in limitation and separation is sorrowful, we love it. We love it and hate it at the same time. We fight, we kill, we destroy life and property and yet we are affectionate and self-sacrificing. We nurse the child tenderly and orphan it too. Our life is full of contradictions. Yet we cling to it. This clinging is at the root of everything. Still, it is entirely superficial. We hold on to something or somebody, with all our might and next moment we forget it; like a child that shapes its mud-pies and abandons them light-heartedly. Touch them—it will scream with anger, divert the child and he forgets them. For our life is now, and the love of it is now. We love variety, the play of pain and pleasure, we are fascinated by contrasts. For this we need the opposites and their apparent separation. We enjoy them for a time and then get tired and crave for the peace and silence of pure being. The cosmic heart beats ceaselessly. I am the witness and the heart too.

Q: I can see the picture, but who is the painter? Who is responsible for this terrible and yet adorable experience?

M: The painter is in the picture. You separate the painter from the picture and look for him. Don’t separate and don’t put false questions. Things are as they are and nobody in particular is responsible. The idea of personal responsibility comes from the illusion of agency. ‘Somebody must have done it, somebody is responsible’. Society as it is now, with its framework of laws and customs, is based on the idea of a separate and responsible personality, but this is not the only form a society can take. There may be other forms, where the sense of separation is weak and responsibility diffused.

Q: An individual with a weak sense of personality— is he nearer self-realisation?

M: Take the case of a young child. The sense of ‘I-am’ is not yet formed, the personality is rudimentary. The obstacles to self-knowledge are few, but the power and the clarity of awareness, its width and depth are lacking. In the course of years awareness will grow stronger, but also the latent personality will emerge and obscure and complicate. Just as the harder the wood, the hotter the flame, so the stronger the personality, brighter the light generated from its destruction.

Q: Have you no problems?

M: I do have problems. I told you already. To be, to exist with a name and form is painful, yet I love it.

Q: But you love everything!

M: In existence everything is contained. My very nature is to love; even the painful is lovable.

Q: It does not make it less painful. Why not remain in the unlimited?

M: It is the instinct of exploration, the love of the unknown, that brings me into existence. It is in the nature of being to see adventure in becoming, as it is in the very nature of becoming to seek peace in being. This alteration of being and becoming is inevitable; but my home is beyond.

Q: Is your home in God?

M: To love and worship a god is also ignorance. My home is beyond all notions, however sublime.

Q: But God is not a notion! It is the reality beyond existence.

M: You may use any word you like. Whatever you may think of I am beyond it.

Q: Once you know your home, why not stay in it? What takes you out of it?

M: Out of love for corporate existence one is born and once born, one gets involved in destiny. Destiny is inseparable from becoming. The desire to be the particular makes you into a person with all its personal past and future. Look at some great man, what a wonderful man he was! And yet how troubled was his life and limited its fruits. How utterly dependent is the personality of man and how indifferent is its world. And yet we love it and protect it for its very insignificance.

Q: The war is on and there is chaos and you are being asked to take charge of a feeding centre. You are given what is needed, it is only a question of getting through the job. Will you refuse it?

M: To work, or not to work, is one and the same to me. I may take charge, or may not. There may be others, better endowed for such tasks, than I am —professional caterers for instance. But my attitude is different. I do not look at death as a calamity as I do not rejoice at the birth of a child. The child is out for trouble while the dead is out of it. Attachment to life is attachment to sorrow. We love what gives us pain. Such is our nature.

For me the moment of death will be a moment of jubilation, not of fear. I cried when I was born and I shall die laughing.

Q: What is the change in consciousness at the moment of death?

M: What change do you expect? When the film projection ends all remains the same as when it started. The state before you were born was also the state after death, if you remember.

Q: I remember nothing.

M: Because you never tried. It is only a question of tuning in the mind. It requires training, of course.

Q: Why don’t you take part in social work?

M: But I am doing nothing else all the time! And what is the social work you want me to do? Patchwork is not for me. My stand is clear: produce to distribute, feed before you eat, give before you take, think of others before you think of yourself. Only a selfless society based on sharing can be stable and happy. This is the only practical solution. If you do not want it—fight.

Q: It is all a matter of gunas. Where tamas and rajas predominate, there must be war. Where sattva rules, there will be peace.

M: Put it whichever way you like, it comes to the same. Society is built on motives. Put goodwill into the foundations and you will not need specialised social workers.

Q: The world is getting better.

M: The world had all the time to get better, yet it did not. What hope is there for the future? Of course, there have been and will be periods of harmony and peace, when sattva was in ascendance, but things get destroyed by their own perfection. A perfect society is necessarily static and, therefore, it stagnates and decays. From the summit all roads lead downwards. Societies are like people—they are born, they grow to some point of relative perfection and then decay and die.

Q: Is there not a state of absolute perfection which does not decay?

M: Whatever has a beginning must have an end. In the timeless all is perfect, here and now.

Q: But shall we reach the timeless in due course?

M: In due course we shall come back to the starting point. Time cannot take us out of time, as space cannot take us out of space. All you get by waiting is more waiting. Absolute perfection is here and now, not in some future, near or far. The secret is in action—here and now. It is your behaviour that blinds you to yourself. Disregard whatever you think yourself to be and act as if you were absolutely perfect—whatever your idea of perfection may be. All you need is courage.

Q: Where do I find such courage?

M: In yourself, of course. Look within.

Q: Your grace will help.

M: My grace is telling you now: look within. All you need you have. Use it. Behave as best you know, do what you think you should. Don’t be afraid of mistakes; you can always correct them, only intentions matter. The shape things take is not within your power; the motives of your actions are.

Q: How can action born from imperfection lead to perfection?

M: Action does not lead to perfection; perfection is expressed in action. As long as you judge yourself by your expressions give them utmost attention; when you realise your own being, your behaviour will be perfect—spontaneously.

Q: If I am timelessly perfect, then why was I born at all? What is the purpose of this life?

M: It is like asking: what does it profit gold to be made into an ornament? The ornament gets the colour and the beauty of gold; gold is not enriched. Similarly, reality expressed in action makes the action meaningful and beautiful.

Q: What does the real gain through its expressions?

M: What can it gain? Nothing whatsoever. But it is in the nature of love to express itself, to affirm itself, to overcome difficulties. Once you have understood that the world is love in action, you will look at it quite differently. But first your attitude to suffering must change. Suffering is primarily a call for attention, which itself is a movement of love. More than happiness, love wants growth, the widening and deepening of consciousness and being. Whatever prevents becomes a cause of pain, and love does not shirk from pain. Sattva, the energy that works for righteousness and orderly development, must not be thwarted. When obstructed it turns against itself and becomes destructive. Whenever love is withheld and suffering allowed to spread, war becomes inevitable. Our indifference to our neighbour’s sorrow brings suffering to our door.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter 82

Matter is Consciousness Itself – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: I was lucky to have holy company all my life. Is it enough for self-realisation?

Maharaj: It depends what you make of it.

Q: I was told that the liberating action of satsang is automatic. Just like a river carries one to the estuary, so the subtle and silent influence of good people will take me to reality.

M: It will take you to the river, but the crossing is your own. Freedom cannot be gained nor kept without will-to-freedom. You must strive for liberation; the least you can do is uncover and remove the obstacles diligently. If you want peace you must strive for it. You will not get peace just by keeping quiet.

Q: A child just grows. He does not make plans for growth, nor has he a pattern; nor does he grow by fragments, a hand here a leg there; he grows integrally and unconsciously.

M: Because he is free of imagination. You can also grow like this, but you must not indulge in forecasts and plans, born of memory and anticipation. It is one of the peculiarities of a jnani that he is not concerned with the future. Your concern with future is due to fear of pain and desire for pleasure, to the jnani all is bliss: he is happy with whatever comes.

Q: Surely, there are many things that would make even a jnani miserable.

M: A jnani may meet with difficulties, but they do not make him suffer. Bringing up a child from birth to maturity may seem a hard task, but to a mother the memories of hardships are a joy. There is nothing wrong with the world. What is wrong is in the way you look at it. It is your own imagination that misleads you. Without imagination there is no world. Your conviction that you are conscious of a world is the world. The world you perceive is made of consciousness; what you call matter is consciousness Itself. You are the space (akash) in which it moves, the time in which it lasts, the love that gives it life. Cut off imagination and attachment and what remains?

Q: The world remains. I remain.

M: Yes. But how different it is when you can see it as it is, not through the screen of desire and fear.

Q: What for are all these distinctions—reality and illusion, wisdom and ignorance, saint and sinner? Everyone is in search of happiness, everyone strives desperately; everyone is a Yogi and his life a school of wisdom. Each learns his own way the lessons he needs. Society approves of some, disapproves of others; there are no rules that apply everywhere and for all time.

M: In my world love is the only law. I do not ask for love, I give it. Such is my nature.

Q: I see you living your life according to a pattern. You run a meditation class in the morning, lecture and have discussions regularly; twice daily there is worship (puja) and religious singing (bhajan) in the evening. You seem to adhere to the routine scrupulously.

M: The worship and the singing are as I found them and I saw no reason to interfere. The general routine is according to the wishes of the people with whom I happen to live or who come to listen. They are working people, with many obligations and the timings are for their convenience. Some repetitive routine is inevitable. Even animals and plants have their time-tables.

Q: Yes, we see a regular sequence in all life. Who maintains the order? Is there an inner ruler, who lays down laws and enforces order?

M: Everything moves according to its nature. Where is the need of a policeman? Every action creates a reaction, which balances and neutralises the action. Everything happens, but there is a continuous cancelling out, and in the end it is as if nothing happened.

Q: Do not console me with final harmonies. The accounts tally, but the loss is mine.

M: Wait and see. You may end up with a profit good enough to justify the outlays.

Q: There is a long life behind me and I often wonder whether its many events took place by accident, or there was a plan. Was there a pattern laid down before I was born by which I had to live my life? If yes, who made the plans and who enforced them? Could there be deviations and mistakes? Some say destiny is immutable and every second of life is predetermined; others say that pure accident decides everything.

M: You can have it as you like. You can distinguish in your life a pattern or see merely a chain of accidents. Explanations are meant to please the mind. They need not be true. Reality is indefinable and indescribable.

Q: Sir, you are escaping my question! I want to know how you look at it. Wherever we look we find structure of unbelievable intelligence and beauty. How can I believe that the universe is formless and chaotic? Your world, the world in which you live, may be formless, but it need not be chaotic.

M: The objective universe has structure, is orderly and beautiful. Nobody can deny it. But structure and pattern, imply constraint and compulsion. My world is absolutely free; everything in it is self-determined. Therefore I keep on saying that all happens by itself. There is order in my world too, but it is not imposed from outside. It comes spontaneously and immediately, because of its timelessness. Perfection is not in the future. It is now.

Q: Does your world affect mine?

M: At one point only—at the point of the now. It gives it momentary being, a fleeting sense of reality. In full awareness the contact is established. It needs effortless, un-self-conscious attention.

Q: Is not attention an attitude of mind?

M: Yes, when the mind is eager for reality, it gives attention. There is nothing wrong with your world, it is your thinking yourself to be separate from it that creates disorder. Selfishness is the source of all evil.

Q: I am coming back to my question. Before I was born, did my inner self decide the details of my life, or was it entirely accidental and at the mercy of heredity and circumstances?

M: Those who claim to have selected their father and mother and decided how they are going to live their next life may know for themselves. I know for myself. I was never born.

Q: I see you sitting in front of me and replying my questions.

M: You see the body only which, of course, was born and will die.

Q: It is the life-story of thus body-mind that I am interested in. Was it laid down by you or somebody else, or did it happen accidentally?

M: There is a catch in your very question. I make no distinction between the body and the universe. Each is the cause of the other; each is the other, in truth. But I am out of it all. When I am telling you that I was never born, why go on asking me what were my preparations for the next birth? The moment you allow your imagination to spin, it at once spins out a universe. It is not at all as you imagine and I am not bound by your imaginings.

Q: It requires intelligence and energy to build and maintain a living body. Where do they come from?

M: There is only imagination. The intelligence and power are all used up in your imagination. It has absorbed you so completely that you just cannot grasp how far from reality you have wandered. No doubt imagination is richly creative. Universe within universe are built on it. Yet they are all in space and time, past and future, which just do not exist.

Q: I have read recently a report about a little girl who was very cruelly handled in her early childhood. She was badly mutilated and disfigured and grew up in an orphanage, completely estranged from its surroundings. This little girl was quiet and obedient, but completely indifferent. One of the nuns who were looking after the children, was convinced that the girl was not mentally retarded, but merely withdrawn, irresponsive. A psychoanalyst was asked to take up the case and for full two years he would see the child once a week and try to break the wall of isolation. She was docile and well-behaved, but would give no attention to her doctor. He brought her a toy house, with rooms and movable furniture and dolls representing father, mother and their children. It brought out a response, the girl got interested. One day the old hurts revived and came to the surface. Gradually she recovered, a number of operations brought back her face and body to normal and she grew into an efficient and attractive young woman. It took the doctor more than five years, but the work was done. He was a real Guru! He did not put down conditions nor talk about readiness and eligibility. Without faith, without hope, out of love only he tried and tried again.

M: Yes, that is the nature of a Guru. He will never give up. But, to succeed, he must not be met with too much resistance. Doubt and disobedience necessarily delay. Given confidence and pliability, he can bring about a radical change in the disciple speedily. Deep insight in the Guru and earnestness in the disciple, both are needed. Whatever was her condition, the girl in your story suffered for lack of earnestness in people. The most difficult are the intellectuals. They talk a lot, but are not serious.

What you call realisation is a natural thing. When you are ready, your Guru will be waiting. Sadhana is effortless. When the relationship with your teacher is right you grow. Above all, trust him. He cannot mislead you.

Q: Even when he asks me to do something patently wrong?

M: Do it. A Sanyassi had been asked by his Guru to marry. He obeyed and suffered bitterly. But his four children were all saints and seers, the greatest in Maharashtra. Be happy with whatever comes from your Guru and you will grow to perfection without striving.

Q: Sir, have you any wants or wishes. Can I do anything for you?

M: What can you give me that I do not have? Material things are needed for contentment. But I am contented with myself. What else do I need?

Q: Surely, when you are hungry you need food and when sick you need medicine.

M: Hunger brings the food and illness brings the medicine. It is all nature’s work.

Q: lf I bring something I believe you need, will you accept it?

M: The love that made you offer will make me accept.

Q: If somebody offers to build you a beautiful Ashram?

M: Let him, by all means. Let him spend a fortune, employ hundreds, feed thousands.

Q: Is it not a desire?

M: Not at all. I am only asking him to do it properly, not stingily, half-heartedly. He is fulfilling his own desire, not mine. Let him do it well and be famous among men and gods.

Q: But do you want it?

M: I do not want it.

Q: Will you accept it?

M: I don’t need it.

Q: Will you stay in it?

M: If I am compelled.

Q: What can compel you?

M: Love of those who are in search of light.

Q: Yes, I see your point. Now, how am I to go into samadhi?

M: If you are in the right state, whatever you see will put you into samadhi. After all, samadhi is nothing unusual. When the mind is intensely interested, it becomes one with the object of interest — the seer and the seen become one in seeing, the hearer and the heard become one in hearing, the lover and the loved become one in loving. Every experience can be the ground for samadhi.

Q: Are you always in a state of samadhi?

M: Of course not Samadhi is a state of mind, after all. I am beyond all experience, even of samadhi. I am the great devourer and destroyer: whatever I touch dissolves into void (akash).

Q: I need samadhis for self-realisation.

M: You have all the self-realisation you need, but you do not trust it. Have courage, trust yourself, go, talk, act; give it a chance to prove itself. With some, realisation comes imperceptibly, but somehow they need convincing. They have changed, but they do not notice it. Such non-spectacular cases are often the most reliable.

Q: Can one believe himself to be realised and be mistaken?

M: Of course. The very idea ‘I am self-realised’ is a mistake. There is no ‘I am this’. ‘I am that’ in the Natural State.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter 61