My First Enlightened Sannyasin – Osho

The moment my grandfather died, my Nani was still laughing the last flicker of her laughter, then she controlled herself. She was certainly a woman who could control herself. But I was not impressed by her control, I was impressed by her laughter in the very face of death.

Again and again I asked her, “Nani, can you tell me why you laughed so loudly when death was so imminent? If even a child like me was aware of it, it is not possible that you were not aware.”

She said, “I was aware, that is why I laughed. I laughed at the poor man trying to stop the wheel unnecessarily, because neither birth nor death means anything in the ultimate sense.”

I had to wait for the time when I could ask and argue with her. When I myself become enlightened, I thought, then I will ask her – and that’s what I did.

The first thing I did after my enlightenment, at the age of twenty-one, was to rush to the village where my grandmother was, my father’s village. She never left that place where her husband had been burned. That very place became her home. She forgot all the luxuries that she had been accustomed to. She forgot all the gardens, the fields, and the lake that she had possessed. She simply never went back, even to settle things.

She said, “What is the point? All is settled. My husband is dead, and the child I love is not there; all is settled.”

Immediately after my enlightenment I rushed to the village to meet two people… first Magga Baba, the man I was talking about before. You will certainly wonder why. Because I wanted somebody to say to me, “You are enlightened”… I knew it, but I wanted to hear it from the outside too. Magga Baba was the only man I could ask at that time. I had heard that he had recently returned to the village.

I rushed to him. The village was two miles from the station. You cannot believe how I rushed to see him. I reached the neem tree….

The word neem cannot be translated because I don’t think anything like the neem tree exists in the West at all. The neem tree is something strange: if you taste the leaves they are very bitter.

You cannot believe that poison could taste more poisonous. In fact it is just the opposite, it is not poisonous. If you eat a few leaves from the neem tree every day… which is a difficult thing. I have done it for years; fifty leaves in the morning and fifty again in the evening. Now, to eat fifty leaves of the neem tree really needs someone who is determined to kill himself!

It is so bitter, but it purifies the blood and keeps you absolutely free from any infection, even in India, which is a miracle! Even the wind passing through the leaves of a neem tree is thought to be purer than any other. People plant neem trees around their houses just to keep the air pure and unpolluted. It is a scientifically proven fact that the neem tree keeps away all kinds of infection by creating a wall of protection.

I rushed to the neem tree where Magga Baba sat, and the moment he saw me do you know what he did? I could not believe it myself – he touched my feet and wept. I felt very embarrassed because a crowd had gathered and they all thought Magga Baba had now really gone mad. Up till then he had been a little mad but now he was totally gone, gone forever… gate, gate – gone, and gone forever. But Magga Baba laughed, and for the first time before the people he said to me, “My boy, you have done it! But I knew that one day you would do it.”

I touched his feet. For the first time he tried to prevent me from doing it, saying, “No, no, don’t touch my feet anymore.”

But I still touched them, even though he insisted. I didn’t care and said, “Shut up! You look after your business and let me do mine. If I am enlightened as you say, please don’t prevent an enlightened man from touching your feet.”

He started laughing again and said, “You rascal! You are enlightened, but still a rascal.”

I then rushed to my home – that is, my Nani’s home, not my father’s – because she was the woman I wanted to tell what had happened. But strange are the ways of existence: she was standing at the door, looking at me, a little amazed. She said, “What has happened to you? You are no longer the same.” She was not enlightened, but intelligent enough to see the difference in me.

I said, “Yes, I am no longer the same, and I have come to share the experience that has happened to me.”

She said, “Please, as far as I am concerned, always remain my Raja, my little child.”

So I didn’t say anything to her. One day passed, then in the middle of the night she woke me up.

With tears in her eyes she said, “Forgive me. You are no longer the same. You may pretend but I can see through your pretense. There is no need to pretend. You can tell me what has happened to you. The child I used to know is dead, but someone far better and luminous has taken his place. I cannot call you my own any more, but that does not matter. Now you will be able to be called by millions as theirs, and everybody will be able to feel you as his or hers. I withdraw my claim, but also teach me the way.”

This is the first time I have told anybody; my Nani was my first disciple. I taught her the way. My way is simple: to be silent, to experience in one’s self that which is always the observer, and never the observed; to know the knower, and forget the known.

My way is simple, as simple as Lao Tzu’s, Chuang Tzu’s, Krishna’s, Christ’s, Moses’, Zarathustra’s… because only the names differ, the way is the same. Only pilgrims are different; the pilgrimage is the same. And the truth, the process, is very simple.

I was fortunate to have had my own grandmother as my first disciple, because I have never found anybody else to be so simple. I have found many very simple people, very close to her simplicity, but the profoundness of her simplicity was such that nobody has ever been able to transcend it, not even my father. He was simple, utterly simple, and very profound, but not in comparison to her. I am sorry to say, he was far away, and my mother is very, very far away; she is not even close to my father’s simplicity. You will be surprised to know – and I am declaring it for the first time – my Nani was not only my first disciple, she was my first enlightened disciple too, and she became enlightened long before I started initiating people into sannyas. She was never a sannyasin.

She died in 1970, the year when I started initiating people into sannyas. She was on her deathbed when she heard about my movement. Although I did not hear it myself, one of my brothers reported to me that these were her last words…. “It was as if she were talking to you,” my brother told me. “She said, ‘Raja, now you have started a movement of sannyas, but it is too late. I cannot be your sannyasin because by the time you reach here I will not be in this body, but let it be reported to you that I wanted to be your sannyasin.’”

She died before I reached her, exactly twelve hours before. It was a long journey from Bombay to that small village, but she had insisted that nobody should touch her body until I arrived, then whatever I decided should be done. If I wanted her body to be buried, then it would be okay. If I wanted her body to be burned, that too would be okay. If I wanted something else to happen, then that too would be okay.

When I reached home I could not believe my eyes: she was eighty years of age and yet looked so young. She had died twelve hours before, but still there was no sign of deterioration. I said to her, “Nani, I have come. I know you will not be able to answer me this time. I’m just telling you so that you can hear. There is no need to answer.” Suddenly, almost a miracle! Not only was I present, but my father too, and the whole family, were there. In fact the whole neighborhood had gathered. They all saw one thing: a tear rolled down from her left eye – after twelve hours!

Doctors – please note it, Devaraj – had declared her dead. Now, dead men don’t weep; even real men rarely do, what to say about dead men? But there was a tear rolling from her eye. I took it as an answer, and what more could be expected? I gave fire to her funeral, as was her wish. I did not do that even to my father’s body.

In India it is almost an absolute law that the eldest son should begin the fire for his father’s funeral pyre. I did not do it. As far as my father’s body was concerned, I did not even go to his funeral. The last funeral I attended was my Nani’s.

That day I told my father, “Listen, Dadda, I will not be able to come to your funeral.”

He said, “What nonsense are you saying? I am still alive.”

I said, “I know you are still alive, but for how long? Just the other day Nani was alive; tomorrow you may not be. I don’t want to take any chances. I want to say right now that I have decided I will not attend any other funeral after my Nani’s, so please forgive me, I will not be coming to your funeral. Of course you will not be there so I am asking your forgiveness today.”

He understood and was a little shocked of course, but he said, “Okay, if this is your decision, but who then is going to give fire at my funeral?”

This is a very significant question in India. In that context it would normally be the eldest son. I said to him, “You already know I am a hobo. I don’t possess anything.”

Magga Baba, although utterly poor, had two possessions: his blanket and his magga – the cup. I don’t have any possessions, although I live like a king. But I don’t possess anything. Nothing is mine. If one day someone comes and says to me, “Leave this place at once,” I will leave immediately. I will not even have to pack anything. Nothing is mine. That’s how one day I left Bombay. Nobody could believe that I would leave so easily without looking back, even once.

I could not go to my father’s funeral, but I had asked his permission beforehand, a long time before, at my Nani’s funeral. My Nani was not a sannyasin, but she was a sannyasin in other ways, in every other way except that I had not given her a name. She died in orange. Although I had not asked her to wear orange, but on the day she became enlightened she stopped wearing her white dress.

In India a widow has to wear white. And why only a widow? – So that she does not look beautiful, a natural logic. And she has to shave her head! Look… what to call these bastards! Just to make a woman ugly they cut off her hair and don’t allow her to use any other color than white. They take all the colorfulness from her life. She cannot attend any celebration, not even the marriage of her own son or daughter! Celebration as such is prohibited for her. The day my Nani became enlightened, I remember – I have noted it down, it will be somewhere – it was the sixteenth of January, 1967.

I say without hesitation that she was my first sannyasin; and not only that, she was my first enlightened sannyasin.

-Osho

Taken from Glimpses of a Golden Childhood, Chapter16

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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He Died in Samadhi – Osho

Osho and his father in Buddha Hall

Osho, would you say something about your father’s death yesterday?

Vivek,

IT WAS NOT A DEATH AT ALL. Or it was the total death. And both mean the same thing. I was hoping that he would die in this way. He died a death that everybody should be ambitious for: he died in samadhi, he died utterly detached from the body and the mind.

I went to see him only three times during this whole month he was in the hospital.

Whenever I felt that he was just on the verge, I went to see him. The first two times I was a little afraid that if he died he would have to be born again; a little attachment to the body was there. His meditation was deepening every day, but a few chains with the body were still intact, were not broken.

Yesterday I went to see him: I was immensely happy that now he could die a right death.

He was no more concerned with the body. Yesterday, early in the morning at three o’clock, he attained his first glimpse of the eternal — and immediately he became aware that now he was going to die. This was the first time he had called me to come; the other two times I had gone on my own. Yesterday he called me to come because he was certain that he was going to die. He wanted to say good-bye, and he said it beautifully — with no tears in the eyes, with no longing for life any more.

Hence, in a way it is not a death but a birth into eternity. He died in time and was born into eternity. Or it is a total death — total in the sense that now he will not be coming any more. And that is the ultimate achievement; there is nothing higher than it.

He left the world in utter silence, in joy, in peace. He left the world like a lotus flower — it was worth celebrating. And these are the occasions for you to learn how to live and how to die.  Each death should be a celebration, but it can be a celebration only if it leads you to higher planes of existence.

He died enlightened. And that’s how I would like each of my sannyasins to die. Life is ugly if you are unenlightened, and even death becomes beautiful if you are enlightened. Life is ugly if you are unenlightened because it is a misery, a hell. Death becomes a door to the divine if you are enlightened; it is no more a misery, it is no more a hell. In fact, on the contrary, it is getting out of all hell, out of all misery.

I am immensely glad that he died the way he died. Remember it: as meditation deepens, you become farther and farther away from your body-mind composite. And when meditation reaches its ultimate peak, you can see everything.

Yesterday morning he was absolutely aware of death, that it had come. And he called me.

This was the first time he had called me, and the moment I saw him I saw that he was no more in the body. All the pains of the body had disappeared. That’s why the doctors were puzzled: the body was functioning in an absolutely normal way. This was the last thing the doctors could have imagined, that he could die. He could have died any day before. He was in deep pain, there were many complexities in the body: his heart was not functioning well, his pulse was missing; there were blood clots in the brain, in the leg, in the hand.

Yesterday he was absolutely normal. They checked, and they said it was impossible; now there was no problem, no danger. But this is how it happens. The day of the danger, according to the physicians, didn’t prove dangerous. The first twenty-four hours when he was admitted to the hospital one month before were the most dangerous; they were afraid that he would die. He didn’t die. Then for the next twenty-four hours they were still hesitant to say whether he would be saved or not. A suggestion had even come from a surgeon to cut the leg off completely, because if blood clots started happening in other places it would be impossible to save him.

But I was against cutting off the leg, because one has to die one day — why distort the body and why create more pain? And just living in itself has no meaning, just lengthening the life has no meaning. I said no. They were surprised. And when he survived for almost four weeks they thought I was right, that there had been no need to cut off the leg; the leg was coming back, becoming alive again. He had started walking also, which Dr. Sardesai thought was a miracle. They had not hoped for that much, that he would be able to walk.

Yesterday he was perfectly normal, everything normal. And that gave me the indication that now death was possible. If meditation happens before death, everything becomes normal. One dies in perfect health, because one is not really dying but entering into a higher plane. The body becomes a stepping-stone.

He was meditating for years. He was a rare man — it is very rare to find a father like him.

A father becoming a disciple of his own son: it is rare. Jesus’ father did not dare to become a disciple, Buddha’s father hesitated for years to become a disciple. But he was meditating for years. Three hours each day, in the morning from three to six, he was sitting in meditation. Yesterday also, in the hospital also, he continued.

Yesterday it happened. One never knows when it will happen. One has to go on digging…one day one comes across the source of water, the source of consciousness. Yesterday it happened; it happened in right time. If he had left his body just one day before he would have been back in the body again soon — a little clinging was there. But yesterday the slate was completely clean. He attained to no-mind, he died like a Buddha.

What more can one have than Buddhahood?

My effort here is to help you all to live like Buddhas and die like Buddhas. The death of a Buddha is both! It is not a death, because life is eternal. Life does not begin with birth and does not end with death. Millions of times you have been born and died; they are all small episodes in the eternal pilgrimage. But because you are unconscious you cannot see that which is beyond birth and death.

As you become more conscious, you can see your original face. He saw his original face yesterday. He heard the one hand clapping, he heard the soundless sound. Hence it is not a death: it is attaining life eternal. On the other hand it can be called a total death – total death in the sense that he will not be coming any more.

Rejoice!

-Osho

Taken from Be Still and Know, Chapter 9

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

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The Enlightenment of Govind Siddharth – Osho

Beloved Osho,

The other day I had narrated an event, and yesterday you replied in your own way. The event, the question and answer, is known to you and me only. Now I can understand what must have transpired between Bhagwan Buddha and the disciple Mahakashyap. Beloved beautiful Osho, it’s not the language but the silence that has and had asked, that has answered and had answered. Words are not spoken, but I have listened. There was a flower between Bhagwan Buddha and the disciple Mahakashyap. Between you and me there was something else. You know and I know what it was – Something that you brought and gave, and something that I received. Everybody has seen it, and yet no one knows it. The disciple Mahakashyap laughed, and I shed tears. My beloved, beautiful lord, my heart bows down to you full of gratitude and thankfulness, and eyes full of tears of joy and happiness. The event is repeated again on September the twenty-second, nineteen eighty-six. Let this be recorded. Osho, would you like to comment?

Govind Siddharth, the laughter of Mahakashyap and the tears of yours do not mean different things. Perhaps you laughed more deeply than Mahakashyap. When laughter is abysmal, it can only come out into tears – tears of joy, tears of gratitude, tears of blissfulness.

Yes, something has transpired between me and you. And the date that you are giving is absolutely accurate; it will be on record.

The master can give only something which cannot be seen by the ordinary eyes.

Even though Gautam Buddha had given the flower to Mahakashyap it was not the flower that made him laugh, it was something else. The flower was just an excuse. Everybody saw the flower. Only a few – those who had eyes to see the invisible and to hear the unsaid – were able to understand that the flower was not the real thing, it was a cover-up.

And for twenty-five centuries, mystics have been discussing what was really transmitted. It cannot be just the flower; the flower can be given to anybody. Something else was given. But Buddha was very kind, even to those who are blind. If he had not given the flower and just transmitted the wordless message, Mahakashyap would have laughed all the same. But the people who could not see the invisible would have thought either that Mahakashyap was mad, or would have felt ashamed that they could not see what had transpired between the master and the greatest disciple.

After twenty-five centuries, man has come of age; and I hope that I can transfer the unseeable without hiding it behind an excuse. Neither has Govind Siddharth to feel ashamed for his tears nor do the others have to feel that he must be mad because they can’t see anything happening – and particularly in this temple of the mystery school. Only those few people are present who will understand at least the possibility of something mysterious, miraculous happening. You are here only for that miracle; you are not here to listen to a talk, to listen to words, theories, philosophies.

You are here to taste something of the beyond.

And that day, Govind Siddharth tasted something of the beyond. He experienced the flowering. I have not given a flower to him, but he has experienced the flowering of his inner lotus.

Every one of you, sooner or later, is going to taste, to experience the same mystery.

He is what Gautam Buddha used to call “become an elder.”

He has arrived to the point which we call enlightenment.

And you should rejoice in it because one of you becoming enlightened makes it easier for you to become enlightened, makes it possible, brings it within your reach.

It is not an impossibility. You don’t have to be special, unique – a savior, a prophet. In your very ordinariness, in your very simplicity, in your very humanity you have the potential.

Govind Siddharth becomes a proof for your potential.

You should rejoice as if you have become enlightened. His becoming enlightened is your becoming enlightened; it is only a question of time. But he is enough of a proof and a guarantee.

Enlightenment is not something that comes from above. It is something that grows in you, the seed everyone is carrying for lives together.

Jesus used to say, “You can throw the seeds: some may fall on the rocks and will never grow. Some may fall on the footpath: they will grow but will be crushed by people continually passing on the footpath. Some will fall into the right soil and will grow and realize their ultimate flowering, will dance in the wind, in the sun, in the rain – expressing their gratitude to existence.”

This is a garden.

Whatever I am saying to you is just providing you with a right soil.

Slowly, slowly, a few seeds will start sprouting. Each seed sprouting should fill you with great celebration because it reflects you. It reflects your future, it indicates all the possibilities that are hidden in you.

The day I had given sannyas to Govind Siddharth… I remember it. Why had I given him the name Siddharth? Siddharth is Gautam Buddha’s original name – when he became enlightened, people slowly, slowly forgot Siddharth. ’Buddha’ means the enlightened one; Gautama is his family name.

He was Gautam Siddharth, now he had become Gautam Buddha. Siddharth was the seed, his buddhahood was the flowering.

Siddharth is a beautiful name. It was given to him by a very strange man; nobody knows his name. He had come the day Gautam Buddha was born. He was an old, very old, almost ancient saint living in the Himalayas. He rushed, because his death was very close. His disciples asked, “Where are you going? At this age don’t go for any travel, it can prove dangerous.”

But the old man said, “It doesn’t matter. I will have to go, because if I don’t reach in time I will never be able to see a child who is going to become an awakened being. I have been doing everything to become awakened – I have failed. Perhaps whatever I was doing was wrong, perhaps whatever I was doing was not intense enough, was not total enough, although it may have been right. But a child is born, and I want to see him.

And he reached, down the hills… Gautam Buddha was born just near the Himalayas on the boundary line of Nepal and India. As he reached…. The king Shuddhodhana, Gautam Buddha’s father, had never seen such an old man. He touched his feet, asked him why he had come – he could have called on him, since he was too old to travel.

He said, “There was no time. I want to see the child that has been born to your wife.” The child was brought. The old man touched the feet of the child.

The king could not believe it. He said, “What are you doing? You are a great, respected saint and you are touching the feet of a child?”

That old man said, “I am old, I am respected as a saint, but I am not yet awakened. My spiritual sleep still continues. But this child is going to become an awakened soul. This is his last life. I give him the name Siddhartha.”

The father said, “But what is the meaning of this name Siddhartha? It is not common” – it was at least not common in those days. The old man explained the meaning of Siddharth: it means one who is going to achieve the meaning of life.

When I gave sannyas to Govind Siddharth I thought for a moment for his name, and I felt so definitely that he was going to achieve the meaning that I gave him the same name, Siddhartha. And he has fulfilled my feeling of that moment. He has fulfilled a promise that he had not given to me.

It is not only his enlightenment; it is yours, too. Participate in it, celebrate it. That should be the way of every disciple. Anyone coming home, a part of you has also come home with him – recognize it.

And Govind Siddhartha is doubly blessed: my blessings are with him, and now Gautam Buddha’s blessings are also with him.

And you should accept this celebration as a challenge too. It opens a door. Forget all the nonsense that has been imposed on you for centuries – that Krishna becomes enlightened because he is already born as an incarnation of God. In fact, if he is born as an incarnation of God then his enlightenment is not much to be celebrated. He is already God, he cannot be more than what he is: he is dead.

If Jesus is enlightened because he is the only begotten son of God, that is not something to be proud of – because to be the only begotten son… Now, enlightenment cannot be an addition to your being in any way. You have all that a man can be. And because of these people, millions of human beings have shrunk back from the journey thinking that it is only for those towards whom God is especially favorable – “It is not for us ordinary human beings.”

And to make these people special, the priests have done everything in their power. Jesus is not born like any other human being: he is born out of a virgin mother – just to make him special; otherwise, it is absolute nonsense. Nobody can be born out of a virgin mother. Yes, there are unfertilized eggs but nothing is born out of them. They are born out of virgin mothers but they are pure vegetables, there is nothing alive in them.

If Jesus was an unfertilized egg… But then these priests cannot be forgiven – to make him an unfertilized egg, and then crucifying the poor egg! First he is dead, no life, no possibility of life, and then putting him on the cross… the whole story is so fictitious.

Life is possible only with the meeting of man and woman. The woman alone is not capable of giving birth, neither is man capable of giving birth alone. Life is a harmony between the man and the woman, between two polarities a meeting. But just to make him special…

Gautam Buddha is born, the mother is standing. Now, no woman gives birth to a child standing. But perhaps she was practicing some yoga discipline and was able to stand up while giving birth. Even up to this point, it can be accepted rationally – but then Gautam Buddha is born, also standing. The first thing he does is, he walks seven feet. And the second thing he does is to declare that “I am the most awakened being who has ever walked on the earth.” Not even seven minutes old!

But to make them special, these fictitious stories are created around Krishna, around Mahavira, around everybody. These stories are, in a subtle way, to prevent you from becoming enlightened. These are to create a distance between you and those who have become awakened, and the distance is so vast, so unbridgeable that it is better not to try because you are going to fail. There is no possibility of succeeding.

My basic standpoint is that all these people were as ordinary as you are. Yes, they became extraordinary, but so can you become. That extraordinariness is the flowering of your seed, of your potentiality.

What has happened to Govind Siddharth, I hope and bless you all that nobody should be left behind.

You all have to claim your birthright.

-Osho

Taken from The Osho Upanishad, Chapter 36

A few days later Govind Siddharth asked this question:

I have no words to express your love and compassion showering on me. My gratitude and thankfulness cannot be expressed in any word or any language. Please forgive me for my shortcomings. Also, please forgive me, my dearest lord Osho, that you had to bend down to take my head into your hands. I know how painful your back is. It was so painful for me that because of me you had to bend down. On the day of my sannyas, you had taken by hand in your hands. Yesterday you had taken my head in your hands. I hope, pray, and beg everyone’s blessings that I can become worthy of it. My beloved Master, please tell and explain to all that the journey has only begun. I am not yet worthy of their respect. Instead of respect, let all give me their blessings so that one day I can become worthy of really touching your feet. I am requesting and pleading with folded hands to you to tell all to save me from embarrassment, giving respects to me which I do not deserve yet.

Govind Siddharth, the laws of spiritual life are diametrically opposite to those of the ordinary mundane existence.

In the world, one wants to be respected whether one deserves it or not. In fact the less people deserve, the more they want. In the spiritual realm, the more you deserve the less you want.

I am happy to know that you feel embarrassed by people respecting you. That is a sign of real humbleness. And to say that you do not deserve it makes you worthy enough to be respected.

In the world, people declare themselves ‘the great’. When Alexander the Great met Diogenes, he introduced himself: “I am Alexander the Great.”

And Diogenes laughed and he said, “If you were really great, you would not have used that word for yourself. You should be ashamed. The true greatness does not assert itself, the true greatness radiates itself. It needs no language, it needs no expression, it needs no words – its presence is enough.”

And I know the difficulty. When for the first time suddenly people start looking at you with respect, a humble person, a person who deserves it, feels embarrassed. Because it is the ego that demands respect, begs for prestige, power, respectability. True greatness is simply oblivious to it. The moment you respect such a person, he feels embarrassed – “What are you doing?” – Because he is not expecting it, it is so unexpected.

And the humbleness, the simplicity, the innocence does not make anyone holier-than-thou. It makes you stand last in the queue, because you are so certain of your integrity, you need not go shouting about it, you don’t need any recognition from anybody. Your own feeling is so absolute that even if the whole world rejects it, it makes no difference.

Recognition from others is sought only by people who are suffering from inferiority. A real superior man is not aware of his superiority, is not in any need of recognition from others. His superiority is just his nature.

Govind Siddharth, don’t feel embarrassed if people respect you. You will have to learn, and to see people’s respect in a new light; when people respect you, they are respecting their own potential. They are respecting one of their brothers who has arrived. They are recognizing you not as you; you have become a mirror and they can see their possibilities opening. They are thankful to you because you have made them feel, for the first time, not inferior to anybody; you have given them their humanity, their respectability. You have become an argument, a proof for their own possible fulfillment.

So when they respect you, accept it with love, with respect, realizing the fact that they are seeing themselves in you. You have been of tremendous help to them because you come from them, you have been a fellow traveler.

As far as you are concerned it is certainly a beginning, but it is also an ending; it is a death and a resurrection. One chapter is closed, another has opened. One life that you have been living is now just a memory and another life is opening its doors – which you have dreamed about in thousands of ways, in thousands of lives, and for the first time the dream is becoming real. It is a beginning.

And remember it; it is always a beginning.

Changes will be coming, old chapters will be disappearing, new doors will be opening. And a moment comes when your sensitivity is such that each moment you die and each moment you are born. You die to the past and you are born for the future.

But it is tremendously beautiful on your part to feel that you don’t deserve it. That is felt only by people who deserve it.

That’s what I meant when I said that in the spiritual life, laws are diametrically opposite to what they are in the ordinary mundane world. Here you have to try to be somebody, because you go on feeling that you are nobody; you feel so empty, so meaningless, so faceless, that you are begging everybody – “Give me a face, a name, an identity.” And people give it to you but those faces are just masks, those identities are just false. They make you hypocrites. They make you believe what you are not. And you have wasted many of your lives in believing in things which you are not and you have never been.

In such a moment of transformation as Govind Siddharth has passed through, one for the first time drops all the masks, all the old identities. One accepts oneself as nameless, as a nobody. And this is the tremendous miracle: that the moment you accept yourself as nobody, for the first time you have become somebody. For the first time you have attained to your original face.

And if people see it happening… it is good for people, because it will become a remembrance to them. Something that they had forgotten, your presence may make them remember. And you cannot take away their right to thank you. That’s what ‘respect’ means.

The word ‘respect’ is beautiful. It does not mean honor; that is a dictionary meaning. Existentially it means re-spect, a desire to see again. Somebody looks at you, remembers something, wants to remember more, wants to look at you deeper, wants to be closer to you, wants to look into your eyes, wants to hold your hands. It has nothing to do with honor, it is simply an effort to remember his own forgotten treasure.

-Osho

Taken from The Osho Upanishad, Chapter 40

An 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.

From Meher Baba to Osho with Love

As the rickshaw pulled to a stop, I looked up and read the sign at the top of the gate – Shree Rajneesh Ashram. Quite a large fellow with a German accent (Haridas) greeted me and I heard myself say, “I’m not where I was going, but I’m sure I am in the right place.” At the Poona train station I had told the rickshaw driver, “Sai Baba Ashram, not Rajneesh Ashram.” He responded, “Yes, yes, baba.” Mistakenly I had been told that there was a Sai Baba Ashram as well as a Rajneesh Ashram in Poona and so I thought I would be able to visit both but had decided to start with the Sai Baba Ashram.

As soon as I stepped out of the rickshaw – I knew there had been no mistake.  After only a day or so, I went to the front office and asked Arup for a Sannyas Darshan, in fact I showed her that I already had a mala; I just needed Bhagwan’s photo attached. I had arrived wearing a Tibetan mala that I had bought from Tibetan refugees in Pokhara, Nepal and all green Indian clothes. Later I heard Osho say that green was the color of the Sufis. I looked Arup straight in the eye and asked if she couldn’t see that I was already a sannyasin. She was not impressed and so I was instructed to do the meditations.

My first exposure to meditation was through Meher Baba. Interestingly enough, in the book Dimensions Beyond the Known, Osho says that Meher Baba and he had used the same meditation technique. It had been seven years earlier, while selling Kansas City Free Press newspapers on a street corner in the Country Club Plaza that I had been introduced to Meher Baba. An older fellow named Charlie walked up to me and started telling me about him. We walked over to a coffee shop and I learned about this modern day Master who was from Poona, India and who had dropped his body six months earlier.

My connection to Meher Baba was totally a heart connection. I had tried to read his book God Speaks but was unable to take it in. I had totally forgotten that Meher Baba was from Poona, but it was the connection to Meher Baba that took me to Poona, both for the Shree Rajneesh Ashram and looking for the Sai Baba Ashram. The interest in Sai Baba stemmed mostly from the fact that one of Meher Baba’s Masters was Sai Baba of Shirdi and this current Sai Baba was proclaiming to be a reincarnation of him.

While staying at the Sunder Lodge I met a beautiful German sannyasin named Gatha and we established a nice connection. After being in Poona for some time she asked me how I was feeling. I remember telling her, “I’m more in love than I have ever been in my life.” I felt that I was swimming in love. When I told her of my meeting with Arup she suggested that I go with her and see Laxmi who was a friend of hers and also Arup’s boss. Because Enlightenment Day was nearing, the soonest I could get an appointment for a Sannyas Darshan was March 28th exactly one week after Osho’s Enlightenment Day celebration on March 21st.

On the day of the celebration of Osho’s Enlightenment I was aware of the anticipation of the unknown. I had only seen Osho in discourse and had not had a darshan (a face to face meeting with him with only a small group present) so I really did not know what to expect but there was a heightened energy around. I also remember consciously taking myself inwards. I wanted to be as present as possible for that first meeting. I spent the entire day not meditating but “being” meditation. I was aware of all the emotions, thoughts, and even body sensations that were visiting but I stayed anchored in that heart space where one is just being.

I believe 1976 was the last year that Celebration Darshans were held in Chuang Tzu Auditorium before moving to the much larger space of Buddha Hall. In that time on Celebration Days, people filed into Chuang Tzu past Bhagwan for darshan. I remember standing in the queue which was long and stretched out towards the front gate. We began lining up in daylight but it was dark before I finally arrived at Osho’s chair. Music was playing during the entire time and as I neared the entrance to Chuang Tzu. A beautiful female voice  was singing Elton John’s Love Song; so appropriate as I was sinking deeper and deeper into heartfulness.

   “Love is the opening door
    Love is what we came here for
    No one could offer you more
    Do you know what I mean
    Have your eyes really seen.”

Just as my space in the line was reaching the entrance to Chuang Tzu the music changed dramatically and became high energy drumming. This increased the excitement and anticipation tenfold. It still was not possible to actually see Osho because of the crowd in front.

Finally I arrived and it was my turn to approach Osho. What followed I still see as if looking through a dream. It was as if some body memory took over. In front of him I bowed down and touched his feet and then my body made motions as if it was pouring water from his feet to my head and this happened several times, then my hands folded in Namaste. When my hands touched it was as if a current had been completed and I felt what can only be described as a powerful electric current circulating between my hara (area around the navel) and my hands clasped in front.  My body then went limp but I did not lose consciousness but simply watched what unfolded. The same German Sannyasin that I had met at the gate on my arrival was there, Haridas. He slung me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes (but very lovingly), carried me out of the auditorium and placed me outside the gate on the ground to gather myself. I had met my Master, a living Buddha.

My sannyas darshan was still one week away and as one could imagine I didn’t know what to expect. Would it be even more powerful? As it turned out it was rather anticlimactic. I followed two Americans who received the names Milarepa and Marpa. Then it was my turn—he told me my name, Swami Prem Purushottama, and asked if it would be easy to pronounce. He said, “Prem means love and Purushottama means God. So love of God or God of love.” He then asked how long I would be staying and that was it.

To this day I do not know what the “current” experience was, perhaps some of our Indian friends can explain, but to me it was my true initiation. Hence in some ways I have two sannyas birthdays. Somehow by keeping it to myself for all these years it has not been able to be what it is, just another naturally ordinary experience with the extraordinary. Now I set it free.

Thank you, Osho. Your Enlightenment that took place so many years ago made each of our own experiences possible. Your sannyasins are eternally grateful.

A few days after my sannyas darshan, I walked out of Sunder Lodge and made a right turn. Up to that time, I had always turned left. The first building I came to was a memorial to Meher Baba. All the while, I had been staying next door to the Guru Prasad Apartments which is the spot where Meher Baba held his East-West Gatherings. At that moment Meher Baba and Osho were One. Tears of gratitude flowed down my cheeks. Buddham Sharanam Gachchhami.

 

-purushottama

This story is from a collection of stories and essays from along the Way titled From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva.

 

Be a Light Unto Ourselves

Why did Osho change the traditional order used for The Three Jewels? At first, I wondered if it was just a mistake that Sheela made when introducing us to them, but later I found discourses in which Osho referred to them in the order that was presented to us.

Buddham Sharanam Gachchhami – I take refuge in the Awakened One

Sangham Sharanam Gachchhami – I take refuge in the Community of the Awakened One

Dhammam Sharanam Gachchhami – I take refuge in the Ultimate Teaching of the Awakened One

Traditionally they are said with Dhammam preceding Sangham. Each of us will have our own insights as to why he changed them, but regardless as to why this is the order that his work has operated on me.

First it was I bow down to the Buddha, to the Master. This is the easiest. Who cannot, but bow down to the Master once the Master is met? For me this is what took place in what we refer to as Poona One. It was all Him. He gave us meditations. He gave us daily discourses. He guided us through our personal issues during darshan. He then began working on us in energy darshans; and finally introduced us to Satsang.

Sangham Sharanam Gachchhami was more difficult; and for some almost impossible. To surrender to the commune is much more arduous, because often it means saying yes to stupidity. But it is that saying yes to stupidity that is intelligence because one understands that it is transformative. It is surrender. Surrender means putting aside the conditioning and saying yes. This then lessens the grip that the conditioning has on oneself. In fact, it lessens the grip of oneself. One can let-go of conditioning only with awareness. Not saying yes because of a need for appreciation or because of a hunger for position or power but in the understanding that it is here that the transformation takes hold. It is here that awareness is strengthened and the ego begins to lose its grip.

When I saw Osho take off in the plane from the runway at Rajneeshpuram, I knew at that moment I would never see him again. This was the beginning of Dhamma, the ultimate truth of the awakened one. What does it mean to surrender to the ultimate truth? It is when one starts being the teaching. One starts living the understanding in one’s own light.

The beginning of living the understanding didn’t immediately start at that moment of watching the plane take off, it took a little time. I was still involved with the distribution of Osho’s books. We had to move the books to Colorado and setup distribution anew. And then because of conflict with the organization I moved further and further away until finally I was standing on my own. The call of the inner guru was heard.

For the first time the spark of inquiry was lit. Up to that point I had meditated but it was witnessing phenomena, be it sensations, thoughts or feelings. Now the consciousness was seeking its source. This is what I believe to be conversion. It is here that surrender to Dhamma begins. To me this means Self-Inquiry. It is the movement from seeking to inquiring. It is the movement from the outer guru to the inner guru. Up to this point one is living on borrowed bliss. From this point on, one is relying on one’s own light of understanding that has been lit by Buddha, strengthened by Sangha and is now being stabilized in Dhamma.

This does not mean that one is no longer open to the understanding being expressed through the Masters; on the contrary one is more open than ever. And once the contact with the inner guru is established, there is no fear whether some teaching is valid or not because it is seen from one’s own understanding and there is clarity. The understanding is experienced for oneself, it is acted upon, even more accurately it can be said that the understanding itself, the seeing itself is the acting, is the transformation. It is in the fire of this Being Understanding that the “me” is consumed, impression by impression, Gathe, gathe, para gathe parasam gathe. Bodhi svaha. Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond. O what an awakening all-hail!

Everyone passes through The Three Jewels at their own pace but what is important is that we don’t linger too long on the way and that we continue until finally we are living the Dhamma, being a light unto oneself.

PostScript– It occurs to me that there are many who reading “Be a light unto ourselves” will think that it is ironic for those of us who have lived with a master, who have lived as part of a commune to place importance on being a light unto ourselves.

To those, I would say that is precisely what drew us to the flame. We had become aware that until we were capable of separating ourselves from this conditioning, we would not be that light. We had already discovered that our minds had been filled with conditioning—by our parents, the society, the churches, the politicians and the schools.

We could also see that anyone who has not managed to extricate themselves from that conditioning is simply not capable of being their own light because it is through that conditioning, that mind, which one sees the world, acts and reacts. Is it any wonder that we live in a world in conflict? And we found that meditation is the means of brain washing (de-conditioning).

Meditation is not a learning, rather an unlearning which in the end uncovers the original face.

“Be ye lamps unto yourselves,

be a refuge to yourselves.

 Hold fast to Truth as a lamp;

hold fast to the Truth as a refuge.

Look not for a refuge in anyone beside yourselves.

And those, who shall be a lamp unto themselves,

shall betake themselves to no external refuge,

but holding fast to the Truth as their lamp,

and holding fast to the Truth as their refuge,

they shall reach the topmost height.”

Buddha’s Farewell Message to Ananda

Bodh Gaya

-purushottama

This story is from a collection of stories and essays from along the Way titled From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva.

The Person Is The Past – Alexander Smit

Alexander: There was a moment in your life, probably when you were three of four years old, when you began to experience yourself as something different from the perceivingness. A moment in which you made a swingover to an “I,” that is to say, to a “person,” a self consciousness.

What  you know about yourself is what you remember about yourself. The person, the “I,” consists of nothing but memory pictures from the past. Unlike the images which you make of yourself, awareness does not need any memory. Therefore, all that you know about yourself, and that which you take yourself to be, is old; it is the past. Memory cannot perceive anything new, whereas awareness can. That which you take yourself to be and with which you may identify yourself, are curdled experiences consisting purely and simply of memory pictures. Your so-called experiences are always past. Necessarily the past, for what you know about yourself is derived from memory and is memory. The memory is able to retrieve through images that which is past. But something that is past is not the reality. At best, it is a mental reality. That reality, however, is only short-lived and will eventually dissolve in the awareness.

What sort of reality does the person, composed by you from the past, possess? The reality which you attribute to that past consists of thoughts, mental images, ideas, and concepts. Those images seem to overshadow the reality that you are actually living. Because of that you are living in a world of delusion instead of in the reality. Only the power of discrimination can free you from that. That is why Advaita emphasizes viveka so much, the ability to discriminate between what is delusion and what is reality.

The person, that “somebody” which you have created, cannot be replaced by the concept of “nobody.”

Visitor: That is precisely the point. What I have done is to replace the “somebody” by a “nobody.”

A: It is sufficient to see that what you call the “somebody” or the “person”—that is to say, all the material with which you could identify yourself—is the old, the memory, pictures, and that these do not have any reality. They do have some form of reality, but that reality, in turn, is being attributed by other images again. The reality you are actually living is free from delusion.

V:  I can see that.

A: It isn’t a question of your seeing it: It’s a question of your being there—always.

V: I remember quite well, when I first came here, that you said, “There has got to be a knowing.” My question is: Who knows it?

A: Do you need a “who” in order to know that? At best, the knowing is conscious of a “who,” but there certainly isn’t a “who” that is conscious of the knowing.

V: That knowing happens through the body.

A: Now, if the body is dead, then what does the body know?

V: Then the knowing also isn’t there.

A: So the knowing is the body? The body is still there after death, but the knowing has gone. The knowing does have something to do with the body, but it is not the body. When someone dies, the one who is afraid of dying will disappear. For then it is actually happening, so he needn’t be afraid of it anymore. The one who has the fear of passing away will disappear along with the passing away. It can never take long. You needn’t be afraid of death—the fear will go together with death. If you are afraid to lose your finger, then the fear will have disappeared the moment that you have actually lost it. Those fears are not substantial, not real. In the reality fear disappears. More people have died from the fear of death that through death itself…

V: I am still left with the question of whether the knowing isn’t actually tied up with a “somebody.”

A: No, it isn’t.

V: You are saying. Things happen within the consciousness.

A: Yes, but you can’t make consciousness into an object, into a thing. By making a noun of it, it would seem as if qualities may be attributed to it.

V: When Self realization takes place, will there be a “somebody” then who knows it?

A: It is that very “somebody” which will disappear with Self realization. But there isn’t going to be a “nobody” to take its place.

V: Then who knows?

A: There is only the knowing. There isn’t a “somebody” who knows, nor is there a “nobody” who knows. There is only knowingness, love, consciousness. Once a person came here. After one meeting he said, “I know enough. I get it.” “All right,” I said, and I never saw him again.

To see it only once is sufficient. Knowing is sufficient unto itself. Then there is always something that has to go with it—stories, dramas, ideas, philosophy, etc. Ignorance always needs to be supported, because it cannot stand on its own. The knowing-ness which you are, doesn’t need any support. No guru, no disciple, no commentary, no confirmation, not a single reflection.

Self realization is self-sufficient; that is the beauty of it. The whole guru-disciple relationship also is transcended along with it. The reality—that which you really are—is sufficient unto itself. It doesn’t need anyone’s confirmation, not even the confirmation of the teacher or the guru. But until the last moment you will not stop to seek the grace, the blessing, the approval, the confirmation of the guru as the father.

Only the reality which you are actually living suffices. Self realization is self sufficient. That realization can never be confirmed by anything from outside, by an authority, by an outsider. Someone who is truly Self realized doesn’t run into the trap of self complacency, thinking, “I’m enlightened, I don’t need anybody anymore.” It is very subtle . . . Profound knowing will ultimately become silence.

You have to understand that the “person” is obsessive. You can’t tell the memory, “Stop producing images!” Memory simply produces what it produces. In fact, it is producing a three-dimensional delusion. There is only one thing which is staying out of the delusion, and that is the perceivingness. No wonder that is where the emphasis needs to be put. From the delusion you will never be able to realize what that perceivingness is. The will has no grip on the memory and, therefore, not on the “person,” either. They can’t just disappear.  Memory simply continues to deliver. You may forgive but not forget. To forget is not an act of the will. The brains are simply doing their job. That is how it works; that’s the reality.

Thus I see only one possibility, and I’m asking you: Are you able to see that which is beyond memory? That is the perceivingness, the knowingness. That is why Advaita would like to see you moving into that direction.

V: What matters—looking at it from the subject—is to shift the point of gravity.

A: To shift the point of gravity from constantly trying to get a grip on the knowingness from the delusion—to the knowingness itself, to the real essence. That is what matters in these meetings.

V: And all the whirlings produced by the memory are to be viewed from the perceivingness as being more or less irrelevant.

A: No, no, no! That again is a judgment, and undesirable involvement. What matters is the fact that you are choicelessly aware. The word “choiceless” isn’t just anything: It means to be without discrimination, without preference or aversion. Without judgment, for the perceivingness is choiceless.

V: So you let everything pass by?

A: Let me put it this way: Whoever realizes the perceivingness cannot but live and look from that. The possibility to judge remains completely available, but condemnation will prove to be impossible.

V: Everybody is pushing you into the reality value of the person. Is it possible to avoid that?

A: No, it isn’t. Try to see that you are not a person yourself. That is sufficient and that will do the job.

-Alexander Smit

Taken from Consciousness

This excerpt was originally seen in Inner Directions Journal, Spring/Summer 2005.

The entire magazine can be downloaded from:  http://www.innerdirections.org/catalog/journal/Spring-Summer_2005.pdf

For more from Alexander Smit look here.

The Stages of the Path – Meher Baba

All persons have to pass through the state of bondage, but this period of bondage is not to be looked upon as a meaningless episode in the evolution of life. One has to experience being caged if one is to appreciate freedom. If in the entire span of its life a fish has not come out of the water even once, it has no chance of appreciating the value of water. From its birth till its death it has lived only in water, and it is not in a position to understand what water really means to its being. But if it is taken out of water even for a moment, it longs for water and becomes qualified by that experience to appreciate the importance of water. In the same way, if life were constantly free and manifested no bondage, man would miss the real significance of freedom. To experience spiritual bondage and know intense desire to be free from it are both a preparation for the full enjoyment of the freedom that is to come.

As the fish that is taken out of the water longs to go back in the water, the aspirant who has perceived the goal longs to be united with God. In fact, the longing to go back to the source is present in each being from the very time that it is separated from the source by the veil of ignorance; but the being is unconscious of the longing till it, as an aspirant, enters the spiritual path. One can in a sense become accustomed to ignorance, just as a person in a train may get accustomed to the darkness of a tunnel when the train has been passing through it for some time. Even then there is a definite discomfort and a vague and undefinable sense of restlessness owing to the feeling that something is missing. This something is apprehended from the very beginning as being of tremendous significance. In the stages of dense ignorance, this something is often inadvertently identified with the variegated things of this mundane world.

When one’s experience of this world is sufficiently mature, however, the repeated disillusionments in life set one on the right track to discover what is missing. From that moment the individual seeks a reality that is deeper than changing forms. This moment might aptly be described as the first initiation of the aspirant. From the moment of initiation into the path, the longing to unite with the source from which he has been separated becomes articulate and intense. Just as the person in the tunnel longs for light all the more intensely after he sees a streak of light coming from the other end, the person who has had a glimpse of the goal longs to hasten toward it with all the speed he can command.

On the spiritual path there are six stations, the seventh station being the terminus, or the goal. Each intermediate station is, in its own way, a kind of imaginative anticipation of the goal. The veil that separates man from God consists of false imagination, and this veil has many folds. Before entering the path the person is shrouded in this veil of manifold imagination, with the result that he cannot even entertain the thought of being other than a separate, enclosed, finite individual. The ego-consciousness has crystallized out of the working of the manifold false imagination; and the conscious longing for union with God is the first shaking of the entire structure of the ego, which has been built during the period of the false working of imagination.

Traversing the spiritual path consists in undoing the results of the false working of imagination, or dropping several folds of the veil, which has created a sense of unassailable separateness and irredeemable isolation. Thus far, the person had clung firmly to the idea of his separate existence and secured it behind the formidable walls of thick ignorance, but from now on he enters into some kind of communication with the larger Reality. The more he communes with Reality, the thinner becomes the veil of ignorance. With the gradual wearing out of separateness and egoism, he gains an increasing sense of merging in the larger Reality.

The building up of a sense of separateness is a result of flights of imagination. Therefore the breaking through of the self-created sense of separateness and being united with Reality is secured through reversing the false working of imagination. The act of getting rid of imagination altogether may be compared with the act of awakening from deep sleep. The different stages in the process of ridding oneself of false imagination might be compared with the dreams that often serve as a bridge between deep sleep and full wakefulness. The process of getting rid of the manifold working of false imagination is gradual and has seven stages.

The shedding of one fold of the veil of imagination is decidedly an advance toward Light and Truth, but it does not amount to becoming one with Reality. It merely means renouncing the more false imagination in favor of the less false imagination. There are different degrees of falseness of imagination corresponding to the degrees of the sense of separateness constituted by ego-consciousness. Each stage in the process of ridding oneself of false imagination is a definite wearing out of the ego. But all intermediate stages on the path, until final realization of the Goal, consist in leaving one flight of imagination for another. They do not amount to cessation of imagination.

These flights of imagination do not bring about any real change in the true being of the Self as it is. What changes is not the Self but its idea of what it is. Suppose in a daydream or fantasy you imagine yourself to be in China while your body is actually in India. When the fantasy comes to an end, you realize that your body is actually not in China but in India. From the subjective point of view, this is like returning from China to India. In the same way, gradual non-identification with the body and progressive identification with the Oversoul is comparable to the actual traversing of the path, though in fact the different intermediate stages on the path are all equally creations of the play of imagination.

The six ascending stages are thus all within the domain of imagination. However at each stage, breaking down the sense of separateness and discovering a merging in the larger Reality are both so strong and clear that the person often has a pseudo sense of Realization. Just as when a person climbing a mountain comes upon a deep valley and is so fascinated by the sight of it that he forgets the real goal and believes for a time that he has arrived at his goal, the aspirant also mistakes the intermediate stages for the goal itself. But a person who is really in earnest about climbing the mountain realizes after a while that the valley has to be crossed, and the aspirant also realizes sooner or later that the intermediate stage has to be transcended. The pseudo sense of Realization that comes at the intermediate stages is like an individual dreaming that he has awakened from sleep although he is actually still asleep. After becoming awake he realizes that his first feeling of awakening was really a dream.

Each definite stage of advancement represents a state of consciousness, and advancement from one state of consciousness to another proceeds side by side with crossing the inner planes. Thus six intermediate planes and their states of consciousness have to be experienced before reaching the seventh plane, which is the end of the journey and where there is final realization of the God state. A plane is comparable to a railway station where a train halts for some time, and the state of consciousness is comparable to the movements of the passenger after getting down at the station.

After entering a new plane of consciousness, a person usually takes some time before he can freely function on that plane. As there is a radical change in the total conditions of mental life, the person experiences a sort of paralysis of mental activity known as samadhi. When the pilgrim enters a new plane, he merges into the plane before he can experience the state characteristic of that plane. Just as a pilgrim who is tired by the strain of a journey sometimes goes to sleep, consciousness-which has made the effort of ascending to a new plane-goes through a period of lowered mental activity comparable to sleep. However, samadhi is fundamentally different from sleep. A person is totally unconscious in sleep; whereas in samadhi he is conscious of bliss or light or power, although he is unconscious of his body and surroundings. After a period of comparative stillness, the mind begins to function on the new plane and experiences a state of consciousness that is utterly different from the state it has left behind.

When the aspirant enters a new plane, he is merged into it; and along with the slowing down of mental activity, he experiences a substantial diminution in the ego-life. This curtailment of the ego-life is different from the final annihilation of the ego, which takes place at the seventh plane. But like the final annihilation at the seventh plane, the different stages of the curtailment of the ego at the intermediate six planes deserve special mention owing to their relative importance. In the Sufi spiritual tradition, the final annihilation of the ego is described as Fana-Fillah. And the earlier samadhi of the six planes of duality have also been recognized as kinds of fana, since they also involve a partial annihilation of the ego.

Through all these fanas of ascending order there is a continuity of progression toward the final Fana-Fillah, and each has some special characteristic. When the pilgrim arrives at the first plane, he experiences his first fana, or minor annihilation of the ego. The pilgrim is temporarily lost to his limited individuality and experiences bliss. Many pilgrims thus merged think they have realized God and hence get stuck in the first plane. If the pilgrim keeps himself free from self-delusion or comes to realize that his attainment is really a transitional phase in his journey, he advances further on the spiritual path and arrives at the second plane.

The merging into the second plane is called fana-e-batili, or the annihilation of the false. The pilgrim is now absorbed in bliss and infinite light. Some think that they have attained the goal and get stranded in the second plane, but others who keep themselves free from self-delusion march onward and enter the third plane. The merging into the third plane is called fana-e-zahiri, or the annihilation of the apparent. Here the pilgrim loses all consciousness of his body and his world for days and experiences infinite power. Since he has no consciousness of the world, he has no occasion for the expression of this power. This is videh samadhi, or the state of divine coma. Consciousness is now completely withdrawn from the entire world.

If the pilgrim advances still further, he arrives at the fourth plane. The merging into the fourth plane is called fana-e-malakuti, or the annihilation leading toward freedom. The pilgrim experiences a peculiar state of consciousness at the fourth plane, since he now not only feels infinite power but also has plenty of occasion for the expression of that power. Further, he not only has occasion for the use of his powers but has a definite inclination to express them. If he falls prey to this temptation, he goes on expressing these powers and gets caught up in the alluring possibilities of the fourth plane. For this reason the fourth plane is one of the most difficult and dangerous to cross. The pilgrim is never spiritually safe, and his reversion is always possible until he has successfully crossed the fourth plane and arrived at the fifth.

The merging into the fifth plane is called fana-e-jabruti, or the annihilation of all desires. Here the incessant activity of the lower intellect comes to a standstill. The pilgrim does not think in the ordinary way, and yet he is indirectly a source of many inspiring thoughts. He sees, but not with the physical eyes. Mind speaks with mind, and there is neither worry nor doubt. He is now spiritually safe and beyond the possibility of a downfall; and yet many a pilgrim on this exalted plane finds it difficult to resist the delusion that he has attained Godhood. In his self-delusion he thinks and says, “I am God,” and believes himself to have arrived at the end of the spiritual path.

But if he moves on, he perceives his mistake and advances to the sixth plane. The merging into the sixth plane is called fana-e-mahabubi, or the annihilation of the self (lover) in the Beloved. Now the pilgrim sees God as directly and as clearly as an ordinary person sees the different things of this world. This continual perception and enjoyment of God does not suffer a break even for an instant. Yet the wayfarer does not become one with God, the Infinite.

If the pilgrim ascends to the seventh plane, he experiences the last merging, which is called Fana-Fillah, or the final annihilation of the self in God. Through this merging the pilgrim loses his separate existence and becomes permanently united with God. He is now one with God and experiences himself as being none other than God. This seventh plane Fana-Fillah is the terminus of the spiritual path, the goal of all search and endeavor. It is the Nirvikalpa state, which is characteristic of conscious Godhood. It is the only real awakening. The pilgrim has now reached the opposite shore of the vast ocean of imagination, and he realizes that this last Truth is the only Truth and that all the other stages on the path are entirely illusory. He has arrived at the final destination.

-Meher Baba

Taken from Discourses

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