I loved the introduction about the psychological universe that you gave me yesterday. And yet I would like to repeat the question. You say that you were studying us in order to find out which are the difficulties that the seeker finds on the path towards realization of the Self, towards his own awakening. Now you have been studying us for fifteen years, and I would like you to give us some hints on what you find in your living experiment. Or, in other words, what are the patterns the seeker gets most entangled in, and what is the function of the master in that?
There are patterns the seeker gets entangled with.
The first thing is: most of the seekers are lost in an illusory feeling that they have arrived. It is a kind of dream in which you feel you are awake. You are still dreaming – your feeling of being awake is part of the dream.
The same kind of thing happens to the seeker. The mind is capable of creating the illusion that now there is nowhere to go, you have arrived. The mind is a deceiver, and the function of the master in this condition is to make you alert that this is not the reality but only a dream; you have not arrived.
This can happen at many points, again and again. And one can get very irritated and annoyed with the master for the simple reason that whenever you feel you have got it, he simply takes it away and puts you back into your ignorant state.
For example, it was happening to a German sannyasin continuously. Whenever he was in Germany he was living in a beautiful castle of his own – he was very rich – meditating; and then he would get the feeling that he had become enlightened. And the force of the illusion was so much that he could not keep it to himself, he would tell others. Not only would he tell other fellow sannyasins, he started writing letters to the presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens around the world: “I have become enlightened, and if you want any advice on any matters that concern the future of humanity in the world, I can help you.”
He was so certain. This happened three times, and because of his certainty he came to India to get my blessings. Naturally, it shows his certainty that he came for my blessings. One can think that the first time perhaps he was not aware that I would destroy his illusion, but the second time, he came again after two years; and a third time, after two years again he came.
Each time I had to tell him, “You are just being deceived by your own mind. Nothing has happened to you, you are simply the old man – the new man has not arrived. And all that you are doing – writing letters to the U.N., to other governments – are just ways of the ego. And you are in the grip of the ego.”
Close to me, he understood. Three times he became enlightened and I had to make him unenlightened. Now, that is not a good job. The fourth time he never came back; perhaps he is afraid I will make him again unenlightened. Now he remains in his castle and remains enlightened!
It is very easy to live in a beautiful dream. It is hard to see your dreams shattered by reality. In the ancient scriptures of the East it is called the power of maya. Mind has the hypnotic power to create any illusion. If you are after a certain thing, desperately, it is one of the functions of the mind to create the illusion to stop your desperateness. It happens every day to everybody in their dreams, but people don’t learn things.
In the night you go to bed hungry. In the night you are going to have a dream about eating delicious food. The mind is trying to help you so that your sleep is not disturbed; otherwise you are hungry and you are bound to be awakened by your hunger. The mind gives you a dream that you are eating delicious food of your choice, which satisfies your mind. The hunger remains but sleep is not disturbed, The hunger is covered by the illusion of the dream; it is a protection of your sleep.
You feel in sleep that your bladder is full. If the mind does not create the dream that you have gone to the toilet, come back and gone to sleep again, then your sleep will be disturbed – and sleep is a great necessity for the body. The mind is taking care that it is not disturbed again and again; you can have a long sleep, rest, so in the morning you are rejuvenated.
This is the ordinary function of the mind; on a higher plane the same thing happens. It is an ordinary sleep, an ordinary awakening that mind prevents. On the path, it is an extraordinary sleep and an extraordinary awakening. But the mind is programmed – it is just a mechanical thing. It simply does its work without bothering, because it has no way of checking whether it is ordinary sleep or spiritual sleep, ordinary awakening or spiritual awakening.
To the mind it is all the same. Its function is to keep your sleep intact and create a barrier for anything that disturbs your sleep. If you are hungry it gives you food; if you are desperately in search of truth, it gives you truth, it gives you enlightenment. You ask for anything, and it is ready to give it to you.
It can create the illusion of the real thing – that’s its intrinsic power.
Western psychology has not yet been aware of the dream’s actual function, what function it has. Sigmund Freud thinks that its only function is to bring up your repressed desires and allow them a certain illusory reality so that you don’t go insane. The dream is an outlet so the steam that you go on repressing is released. That seems to be the whole understanding of Western psychology about dreams – that it is an outlet. While you are asleep, your dreaming helps you to get rid of many aberrations.
You had seen a beautiful woman while you were awake, but you had to maintain your civilization, the civil code, manners, morality, religion, respectability, and you behaved that way. You could not behave like an animal. That’s actually what you would have liked to do, but all these barriers prevent you.
In the dream you have the freedom to be an animal again, with all the freedom of an animal. You can do whatsoever you want to do with the woman. Nobody is preventing you – no priest, no policeman. Nobody is ever going to know what you did in your dream. Even you yourself will forget in the morning what you did in your dream.
But this is not the only function, this is a very small function of dreaming. In fact Western psychology has not divided mind’s different stages the way the East has done. In Eastern psychology the most superficial state is the waking state – very thin, very artificial. It is a social by-product.
You cannot live alone, you have to live with the society; you have to follow the rules of the game. This thin layer is created by the priests, by the parents, by the pedagogues, and by all kinds of influences on you. And you are given tremendous respect for it, you are rewarded for it.
The second layer is dreaming, which is far truer, far more natural – out of reach of the crowd, society, education, morality, religion. You are more authentic, you are not a hypocrite in your dreaming. The third stage is sleep mixed with dreams. That is even deeper. A few dreams float in it, and these dreams are far more important than the dreams of the second stage because the second-stage dreams are more or less reactions of your waking state. Whatever you have repressed creates them.
The third stage of sleep with dreams… these dreams have nothing to do with your waking state. These are more like visions. And if you can remember them, they can be of tremendous help for you for your spiritual growth. They show you the direction where to go, where the right way is.
These dreams should not be called dreams, and they are not called dreams in the East; they are called visions. And they can happen only when you have reached the sleep of the third strata of your mind. You are far away from your waking world, miles away. The waking world has no effect on it.
These visions are caused by the fourth stage – which is dreamless sleep. This is the fourth stage, when dreams disappear completely – no visions, no dreams; you are simply asleep. This is the deepest in your being. You are at the very bottom of your mind.
Patanjali, one of the most authentic seekers of the mind, and one of the oldest, ancient most people, in many ways very rare…. For example, there are very few people who have created a whole system alone.
Yoga is the creation of one single man, Patanjali – the whole system. And he created it to such a perfection that for five thousand years nothing has been added to it, nothing has been taken out of it. He has exhausted the whole field. It is very rare; it takes centuries for any science to become complete, and many people have to contribute to it.
There are only two cases: One is Patanjali who created a whole science of Yoga; and the other is Aristotle, who created the whole science of logic. And for two thousand years there has been no change, no improvement. But just in this century, Aristotle has lost his ground. Non-Aristotelian logic has come into being – which is absolutely against Aristotle. But Patanjali stands like a peak of the Himalayas – still unchallenged, still perfect and complete.
Patanjali says that the deep sleep, dreamless sleep, is exactly the same as samadhi, superconsciousness, the ultimate experience of being. It is the same; the only difference is you are not aware of it. Dreamless sleep plus awareness is equal to enlightenment.
One has to start with the first layer of waking, and make it alert. It is a very thin layer, very superficial, but it can be used as a preface for greater things to happen. Meditation begins with wakefulness.
You start becoming aware of the moments when you are awake.
Walking, eating, doing your work – anything – you have to make it a point that it is done in awareness, that it is not done like a robot, not mechanically. Even breathing has to be joined with awareness, so you know when the breath is going in and you know when the breath is going out.
The smallest things you have to try – even the blinking of the eyes. The smaller the thing you try, the better, because those are the things which one ignores, and those are the things which will give you a deeper penetration into the thin layer of wakefulness.
Buddha has said that the meditator has to walk keeping his eyes only four feet away, looking at the ground, not looking all around everywhere, reading the posters on the walls, looking at people and what they are doing. He has to keep his eyes focused four feet ahead, and remain alert that he does not move from that posture.
And while he is looking four feet ahead, he has to be continuously aware of each step that he is taking. He has to walk very slowly. He has to remember the breathing, that it is going in, coming out. He has to remember the blinking of the eyes. He has to be aware of each small thing that is happening.
Being awake plus awareness will lead you to the second step: you can dream with awareness – and that is a tremendous experience. Then dreaming cannot deceive you; you are alert. If you are hungry, you know you are hungry, and you know the dream is trying in every way to provide delicious food, but it is just dream-food, it is not the reality. You can see both the hunger and the food. You know the hunger is true and the food is false.
As you become more and more aware of subtle nuances of dreaming, a great surprise is waiting for you. Dreams become less and less because they don’t need awareness. They are very shy; they don’t want to face awareness. They come only in the shadows of sleep.
But if you are alert, then naturally they stop coming. And when dreams stop coming you fall suddenly into the third state, which is sleep with visions. And there is a clear-cut distinction between dreams and visions.
Dreams disappear when you are aware, visions become more clear and solid when you are aware; they are not shy. They are part of reality, they are predictions, they may be glimpses of your future. Dreams belong to the past, visions belong to the future. They are opening doors of the unknown.
And if you can see clearly, your path is made very simple. So they are of a great help.
But remember the distinction, that awareness makes them very solid, real; they don’t disappear, they become perfectly clear. And soon you start discovering that what you have seen in your visions comes to be true in life.
Dreams are simply repressed parts of life.
They are intuitive, and once you have become aware that you have seen them before…. For example, in the vision you see a man that you have never seen, and the next morning you open your door and the man is standing there. The vision has prepared you for something. The man is no ordinary man, there must be something significant. He is a guest to be honored and respected.
Your intuition has made you already aware of it, that he is carrying a treasure for you. Something is going to happen with this man, something is going to transpire between him and you.
In fact, most of the people find their master through visions. Thinking is of not any help. What can you think about a master?
And the people who go to a master through thinking always go to a wrong person, because thinking is a by-product of the society.
You are born in a Hindu family or a Christian family or a Buddhist family – those families have given you a certain idea of what a saint is. Your thinking cannot go beyond it, and if you go through thinking to find a master, you will end up with somebody who is trying to be a saint according to the expectations of the society. He is not really a saint; he is just rehearsing a part that he wants to play in life.
Only through visions do you come across beings who are not according to your expectations. In fact, they have nothing to do with your mind. It is through the tremendous sensitivity of your intuition that you start seeing something of the future. It is through the height of your awareness that what is future for others becomes present for you.
For example, it is like this: A man is standing by the side of a tree, and he looks at the road – the road is empty. He looks behind him, at the road that he has traveled – it is empty. He looks ahead to the future, the road that he is going to travel – it is empty. But at exactly that same moment, another man is sitting in the tree. He has a bigger perspective, he can see more of the road.
He sees a horseman coming closer to the tree. That horseman is present to him, but that horseman is future to the man who is standing by the side of the tree. So what is future to one man can be present to another: it depends on his height, on his perspective, on his alertness.
It is a known fact that thousands of saints down the ages have predicted their death – the exact time, days before, sometimes months before – because in the old days their disciples were miles away; they had to be informed that the master is going to leave the body. They have to come because the master cannot leave the body without saying goodbye to them, or maybe there is a last message.
So disciples from faraway places will start traveling – it will take time but they will all reach and the master will die exactly at the time he has declared. It is part of the vision – he knows when death is going to happen. To him it is already present; to his disciples it is future – maybe three weeks, maybe four weeks. He has seen it already.
So the vision is a tremendous help to the seeker – where to go? With whom to go? Whom to trust? It is not a question of the mind deciding. The deepest part of your consciousness has already decided, and there is no question of doubt about it.
I am reminded of a Sufi story. A king was told by his prime minister, “In your whole kingdom there is only one beggar, and it is within your powers – you can easily make that beggar a rich man. And that is the only blemish on your kingdom. Your kingdom can be free of beggars, it is already free – there is only one beggar.”
The king said, “I know it. I have tried, but my visions are not in agreement with my mind. That man will remain a beggar; whatever we do is going to be futile.”
The prime minister was a man of intelligence, intellect – he said, “I don’t believe… why should he remain a beggar? If we give him some money, a good house to live in, he will not be a beggar.”
The king said, “Wait for tomorrow morning. Let me check.”
The prime minister said, “With whom are you going to check? I am the person, your adviser – you have to check with me. About whom are you talking?”
The king laughed. He said, “You may not understand. I always have to check my visions, because I have noticed that when my vision has said, ‘Don’t go to war,’ if I went, I was defeated, even though I was mightier than the enemy. And there were times when the enemy was mightier and I was weaker, but my vision said, ‘Go ahead,’ and I was victorious. So it is there that I have to check: what my vision says about this beggar.
“And this is my method that I go to sleep thinking about a certain thing, for example this beggar. I will fall asleep thinking about this beggar. Slowly, slowly it settles to the point where visions happen.”
And the next morning the king said, “It is not possible, but I will give it a try, just to show you that it is not possible.” The beggar used to pass along a bridge. Just in front of the palace there was a river, and he used to pass over the bridge and sit on the other corner of it to beg the whole day.
The king, in disguise, and the prime minister, in disguise went on to the bridge early in the morning when the beggar used to come, with a big pot full of gold coins – enough for the beggar to live his whole life luxuriously. There was nobody on the bridge – it was too early in the morning and it was too cold.
The king put the pot with the gold coins in the middle of the bridge, and they both went away to the other corner to see what happened.
The beggar was coming. He was not blind, and on the whole bridge there was nothing except the pot, but the prime minister was surprised that the beggar was coming with closed eyes. He passed the pot full of gold coins with closed eyes, groping his way.
When he reached close to the king and the prime minister, they asked him, “What is the matter? You are not blind, and you have never done this before. Why are you walking with closed eyes?”
The beggar said, “Just as I got onto the bridge the idea occurred to me: what if I go blind, then how would I manage to walk along the bridge? So I closed my eyes and tried to walk along the bridge as a blind man. And you should be happy that I managed it.”
The king turned to the prime minister: “What do you say? I had seen this whole scene in my vision – that the beggar will pass the pot with closed eyes, and he will have a reason, he will give an argument. It happens to everybody, once in a while, to want to walk with closed eyes to see how it feels – but exactly on that day?”
Once you have become aware of the reality of your visions, you are safe from your dreams, from your mind. And you are in a state where trust is possible. Not that you have to do anything, just your visions will make you trust.
The real masters are found through visions.
And then you can give yourself up totally into the hands of the master. Below this stage, if you go on with awareness, visions will not be happening every day. Once in a while, only when something is very important that existence wants you to be alert about…. It is your connection with life, with existence, with the cosmos.
So visions will happen only once in a while – not an everyday affair – but whenever they happen they are going to materialize in reality soon. You have been warned beforehand.
If you remain aware you will reach the fourth stage – dreamless sleep. The word of Patanjali is sushupti – dreamless sleep. And he says sushupti and samadhi, dreamless sleep and the ultimate awakening, are exactly the same. The only difference is of awareness.
If you can go with awareness into dreamless sleep, it explodes. There is an explosion of light, suddenly you are full of light. Your whole mind – dreams, sleep, everything is gone. There is only pure awareness.
On the way, the disciple can first be misled when he is trying awareness in the waking mind. If you just put a watch with a second hand in front of you and keep your eyes on the second hand, you will be surprised: you cannot continue to remember even for one minute completely. Perhaps fifteen seconds, twenty seconds, at the most thirty seconds, and you will forget. You will get lost in some other idea – and then suddenly you will remember that you were trying to remember.
Even to keep awareness continuous for one minute is difficult, so one has to be aware that it is not child’s play. So when you are trying to be aware of the small things of life, you have to remember that many times you will forget. You will go far away into something else. The moment you remember, don’t feel guilty – that is one of the traps.
If you start feeling guilty, then you cannot come back to the awareness that you were practicing. There is no need to feel guilty, it is natural. Don’t feel repentance. It is simple, and it happens to every seeker. Accept it as natural; otherwise you will be caught in repentance, in the guilt that you cannot remember even for a few moments and you go on forgetting.
Mahavira is the first man in history who has actually worked out that if a man can remember, be aware, for forty-eight minutes continuously, that’s enough – he will become enlightened, nobody can prevent him. Just forty-eight minutes… but it is difficult even for forty-eight seconds – so many distractions.
No guilt, no repentance – the moment you remember that you have forgotten what you were doing, simply come back; simply come back and start working again.
My emphasis is, simply come back. Don’t cry and weep for the spilled milk; that is stupid. It will take time, but slowly you will become aware that you are remaining alert more and more, perhaps for a whole minute, perhaps two minutes.
And it is such a joy that you have been aware for two minutes – but don’t get caught in the joy. Don’t think that you have attained something. That will become a barrier. These are patterns where one is lost. Just a little gain and one thinks one has come home. Go on working slowly, patiently.
There is no hurry – you have eternity at your disposal.
Don’t try to be speedy. That impatience will not help. Awareness is not like seasonal flowers that grow in six weeks’ time and are then gone. Awareness is like the cedars of Lebanon which take hundreds of years to grow; but they remain for thousands of years and rise to one hundred and fifty feet, two hundred feet high in the sky. They are really very proud people.
Awareness grows very slowly, but it grows. One has to just be patient.
As it grows you will start feeling many things which you have never felt before. For example, you will start feeling that you are carrying many tensions in your body of which you have never been aware because they are subtle tensions. Now your awareness is there you can feel those very subtle, very delicate tensions.
So wherever you feel any tension in the body, relax that part. If your whole body is relaxed, your awareness will grow faster because those tensions are hindrances.
As your awareness grows even more, you will be surprised to know that you don’t dream only in sleep; there is an undercurrent of dreaming even while you are awake. It goes just underneath your wakefulness – close your eyes any moment and you can see some dream passing by like a cloud in the sky. But only when you become a little more aware will it be possible to see that your wakefulness is not true awakenedness.
The dream is floating there – people call it daydream. If they relax in their chair for a moment and close their eyes, immediately the dream takes over. They start thinking that they have become the president of the country, or they are doing great things – or anything, which they know at the very moment they are dreaming is all nonsense. You are not the president of the country, but still the dream has something in it, that it continues in spite of you.
Awareness will make you aware of layers of dreams in your waking state. And they will start dispersing, just as you bring light into a dark room and the darkness starts dispersing.
Awareness functions almost like a light. If you can disperse your dreams in the waking state, your waking state will have a clarity, your intelligence will have a newness to it. These will be the byproducts.
You will be able to see things which you were not able to see before. You will be able to reason, argue. You will be able to see your conditionings, which you were never able to before; you had accepted them in your childhood when there was no argument, no reasoning. […]
So as you become aware, your conditionings will start falling this way and that way. Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism – they will start disappearing from your wakefulness. You will start discovering your own identity, which has been covered with so many labels.
In the second step, dreams can delude you. That is where the master will be of immense help. He can tell you that you are dreaming, that you are awake. The Zen master in Japan has developed a staff; he moves amongst his disciples who are meditating with his staff. So whosoever he feels is dreaming, he hits him on the head… because when you start dreaming, you start dozing. Your face immediately changes. When you are awake, your face has a certain quality; when you start dreaming, it has a different quality – and immediately the hit comes.
Suddenly you are awake and the disciple is expected to bow down and touch the feet of the master in gratitude for his compassion that he did not allow him to fall into the trap of dreams.
In the third stage the master will be helpful in making it clear to you that what you are seeing now are not dreams. Listen to them, follow them – they are indications of your destiny. If you go astray, you will miss fulfillment. These visions are showing you the right path to follow.
But still there is a danger – the danger of getting very egoistic because you can know the future. Not only can you know your future, if you try a little harder you can start seeing other people’s futures. It is in this stage that all astrology has been born. It has nothing to do with stars – that is just a façade to deceive you. It has nothing to do with the lines of the hand.
It is a visionary who can manage to look into your future. But that can give him the role of a prophet.
The word “prophet” comes from prophecy. Only in India have there been no prophets – you will be surprised. In Judaism there have been prophets, in Christianity there have been prophets, in Mohammedanism there have been prophets. It is only in India that there have been no prophets, which is strange because this is the most religious part of the world, and the most ancient in religion, deep in religion.
What happened to the prophets? Why did they not appear here? – because every disciple was made aware by the master that these visions are not to make you a prophet, that you are not to move in that direction, that it is a false direction. Use these visions to go deeper, to the fourth. Don’t start using these visions to play around and show your power.
This is the greatest trap that waits for the disciple, because the attraction is immense – to tell somebody his future, that “tomorrow this is going to happen to you.” […]
So this is one of the greatest traps, because as power grows you are closer to being trapped. And this is the last trap.
It happened in the life of Vivekananda in Ramakrishna’s ashram, in Dakshineshwar, in Calcutta, Bengal…. There were many disciples, and Vivekananda was one of the most intellectual disciples of Ramakrishna. There was a very simple man who was also a disciple – his name was Kalu, a poor man. He was so faithful, religious, emotional, that he had in his room hundreds of statues of different gods, because in India the traditional number of gods is thirty-three million. So he had hundreds of statues, and it was such a long affair to worship all those gods that it was only in the afternoon that he was able to take his breakfast.
Early, at four o’clock in the morning, he would take a bath in the Ganges, and then the worship would begin. And of course each god had to be worshipped equally; otherwise somebody may get angry, somebody may feel offended. So the whole day was lost and everybody was laughing at Kalu: “What are you doing? Just one god is enough!”
But Kalu said, “I have become so attached to these hundreds of gods – whom to reject? And whoever I reject will become annoyed. So in this life it is impossible; I have to worship these hundreds of gods and I have to give equal time to each.”
Vivekananda was the most prominent in making a fool of Kalu. He said, ”You are simply stupid – these are just stones! And you are wasting your life.” But Kalu would not listen to anyone; he continued his way.
One day Ramakrishna gave Vivekananda a certain method of awareness to practice: “Go into your cell, close the door and practice it.” When Vivekananda came to a certain stage of awareness he felt himself so full of power that the idea came to his mind, “If I say at this moment just within myself, to Kalu, ‘Take all your gods and throw them into the Ganges,’ he will do it.” He was so certain of it. And he did it, he said to Kalu, in his own cell, just within himself, “Kalu, just collect all your gods” – and this was the time when he was worshipping the gods – and throw them all into the Ganges.”
And Kalu collected all his gods into a big bag and was dragging the bag down the steps when Ramakrishna ran after him, stopped him and said, “What are you doing?”
He said, “Suddenly I heard a voice – it must have come from God himself, because there was nobody in the room – saying, ‘Kalu, collect all your gods and throw them into the Ganges.’ It was so powerful that I could not doubt it.”
Ramakrishna said, “Come back. Take your gods back and I will show you from where the voice has come.” He knocked on Vivekananda’s door. Vivekananda came out and Ramakrishna was very angry. He said, “Vivekananda, this is the last thing I had ever expected of you. I had told you to be aware – not to destroy a poor man’s life. This is his whole life, and he is no harm to anybody. He is so simple-hearted, so loving, such a beautiful man – how could you do it to him? Awareness is not for such things. And from now onwards I will keep the key of your awareness; you will never attain to the same power again.”
It is a very significant story. And it is said Vivekananda died without attaining enlightenment because the key was kept by the master. He never showed Vivekananda the way to go deeper. He tried hard in his own way but always went round and round, could not enter within himself. Although he became Ramakrishna’s successor because he was the most intellectual – a great orator, a very powerful personality, had a certain charisma, influenced people – he himself died a poor man, knowing nothing. And the reason was that he disturbed a simple-hearted man because he got just a little power and he immediately used it – not for the benefit of somebody, but to harm somebody.
There are traps and traps.
And the master is needed in many ways: to keep you aware not to use your power in any harmful way to others, not to use your power in any way harmful to yourself, not to use your power as an ego-trip.
And he has to go on reminding you that you have to transform your sushupti, your dreamless sleep, into samadhi, into superconsciousness.
From Light on the Path, Chapter 18
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