The Question of Meditation – J. Krishnamurti

We are going to discuss the question of meditation; it is a rather complex question and before we go into it, we have to be very clear about this searching, this seeking for experience, trying to find out a reality. We have to understand the meaning of seeking and the searching out of truth, the intellectual groping after something new, which is not of time, which is not brought about by one’s demands, compulsions and despair. Is truth ever to be found by seeking? Is it recognizable when one has found it? If one has, can one say, ‘this is the truth’ – ‘This is the real’? Has search any meaning at all? Most religious people are always talking about seeking truth; and we are asking if truth can ever be sought after. In the idea of seeking, of finding, is there not also the idea of recognition – the idea that if I find something I must be able to recognize it? Does not recognition imply that I have already known it? Is truth ‘recognizable’ – in the sense of its having already been experienced, so that one is able to say, ‘This is it’? So what is the value of seeking at all? Or, if there is no value in it, then is there value only in constant observation, constant listening? – Which is not the same as seeking. When there is constant observation there is no movement of the past. ‘To observe’ implies seeing very clearly; to see very clearly there must be freedom, freedom from resentment, freedom from enmity, from any prejudice or grudge, freedom from all those memories that one has stored up as knowledge, which interfere with seeing. When there is that quality, that kind of freedom with constant observation – not only of the things outside but also inwardly – of what is actually going on, what then is the need of seeking at all? – For it is all there, the fact, the ‘what is’, it is observed. But the moment we want to change ‘what is’ into something else, the process of distortion takes place.

Observing freely, without any distortion, without any evaluation, without any desire for pleasure, in just observing, we see that ‘what is’ undergoes an extraordinary change.

Most of us try to fill our life with knowledge, with entertainment, with spiritual aspirations and beliefs, which, as we observe, have very little value; we want to experience something transcendental, something beyond all worldly things, we want to experience something immense, that has no borders, that has no time. To ‘experience’ something immeasurable one must understand the implications of ‘experience.’ Why do we want ‘experience’ at all?

Please do not accept or deny what the speaker is saying, just examine it. The speaker – let us again be definite about that matter – has no value whatsoever. (It’s like the telephone, you do not obey what the telephone says. The telephone has no authority, but you listen to it.) If you listen with care there is in that, affection, not agreement or disagreement, but a quality of mind that says, “Let’s see what you’re talking about, let us see if it has any value at all, let us see what is true and what is false.” Do not accept or deny, but observe and listen, not only to what is being said, but also to your reactions, to your distortions, as you are listening; see your prejudices, your opinions, your images, your experiences, see how they are going to prevent you from listening.

We are asking: what is the significance of experience? Has it any significance? Can experience wake up a mind that is asleep, that has come to certain conclusions and is held and conditioned by beliefs? Can experience wake it up, shatter all that structure? Can such a mind – so conditioned, so burdened by its own innumerable problems and despairs and sorrows – respond to any challenge? – can it? And if it does respond, must not the response be inadequate and therefore lead to more conflict? Always to seek for wider, deeper, transcendental experience, is a form of escape from the actual reality of ‘what is’, which is ourselves, our own conditioned mind. A mind that is extraordinarily awake, intelligent, free, why should it need, why should it have, any ‘experience’ at all? Light is light, it does not ask for more light. The desire for more ‘experience’ is escape from the actual, the ‘what is’.

If one is free from this everlasting search, free from the demand and the desire to experience something extraordinary, then we can proceed to find out what meditation is. That word – like the words ‘love’, ‘death,’ ‘beauty,’ ‘happiness’ – is so loaded. There are so many schools which teach you how to meditate. But to understand what meditation is, one must lay the foundation of righteous behavior. Without that foundation, meditation is really a form of self-hypnosis; without being free from anger, jealousy, envy, greed, acquisitiveness, hate, competition, the desire for success – all the moral, respectable forms of what is considered righteous – without laying the right foundation, without actually living a daily life free of the distortion of personal fear, anxiety, greed and so on meditation has very little meaning. The laying of that foundation is all-important. So one asks: what is virtue? What is morality?

Please do not say that this question is bourgeois, that is has no meaning in a society which is permissive, which allows anything. We are not concerned with that kind of society; we are concerned with a life completely free from fear, a life which is capable of deep, abiding love. Without that, meditation becomes a deviation; it is like taking a drug – as so many have done – to have an extraordinary experience and yet leading a shoddy little life. Those who take drugs do have some strange experiences, they see perhaps a little more colour, they become perhaps a little more sensitive, and being sensitive, in that chemical state, they do perhaps see things without space between the ‘observer’ and the thing observed; but when the chemical effect is over, they are back to where they were with fear, with boredom, back again in the old routine – so they have to take the drug again.

Unless one lays the foundation of virtue, meditation becomes a trick to control the mind, to make the mind quiet, to force the mind to conform to the pattern of a system that says, “Do these things and you will have great reward.” But such a mind – do what you will with all the methods and the systems that are offered – will remain small, petty, conditioned, and therefore worthless. One has to inquire into what virtue is, what behavior is. Is behavior the result of environ- mental conditioning, of a society, of a culture, in which one has been brought up? – You behave according to that. Is that virtue? Or does virtue lie in freedom from the social morality of greed, envy and all the rest of it? – Which is considered highly respectable. Can virtue be cultivated? – And if it can be cultivated then does it not become a mechanical thing and therefore have no virtue at all? Virtue is something that is living, flowing, that is constantly renewing itself; it cannot possibly be put together in time; it is like suggesting that you can cultivate humility. Can you cultivate humility? It is only the vain man that ‘cultivates’ humility; whatever he may cultivate he will still remain vain. But in seeing very clearly the nature of vanity and pride, in that very seeing there is freedom from that vanity and pride – and in that there is humility.

When this is very clear then we can proceed to find out what meditation is. If one cannot do this very deeply, in a most real and serious way – not just for one or two days then drop it – please do not talk about meditation. Meditation, if you understand what it is, is one of the most extraordinary things; but you cannot possibly understand it unless you have come to the end of seeking, groping, wanting, greedily clutching at something which you consider truth – which is your own projection. You cannot come to it unless you are no longer demanding ‘experience’ at all, but are understanding the confusion in which one lives, the disorder of one’s own life. In the observation of that disorder, order comes – which is not a blueprint. When you have done this – which in itself is meditation – then we can ask, not only what meditation is, but also what meditation is not, because in the denial of that which is false, the truth is.

Any system, any method that teaches you how to meditate is obviously false. One can see why, intellectually, logically, for if you practice something according to a method – however noble, however ancient, however modern, however popular – you are making yourself mechanical, you are doing something over and over again in order to achieve something. In meditation the end is not different from the means. But the method promises you something; it is a means to an end. If the means is mechanical, then the end is also something brought about by the machine; the mechanical minds says, “I’ll get something.” One has to be completely free from all methods, all systems; that is already the beginning of meditation; you are already denying something which is utterly false and meaningless. And again, there are those who practice ‘awareness.’ Can you practice awareness? – If you are ‘practicing’ awareness, then you are all the time being inattentive.

So, be aware of inattention, not practice how to be attentive; if you are aware of your inattention, out of that awareness there is attention, you do not have to practice it. Do please understand this; it is so clear and so simple. You do not have to go to Burma, China, India, places which are romantic but not factual. I remember once travelling in a car, in India, with a group of people.

I was sitting in front with the driver, there were three behind who were talking about awareness, wanting to discuss with me what awareness is. The car was going very fast. A goat was in the road and the driver did not pay much attention and ran over the poor animal. The gentlemen behind were discussing what is awareness; they never knew what had happened! You laugh; but that is what we are all doing, we are intellectually concerned with the idea of awareness, the verbal, dialectical investigation of opinion, yet not actually aware of what is taking place.

There is no practice, only the living thing. And there comes the question: how is thought to be controlled? Thought wanders all over the place; you want to think about something, it is off on something else. They say practice, control; think about a picture, a sentence, or whatever it is, concentrate; thought buzzes off in another direction, so you pull it back and this battle goes on, backward and forward. So one asks: what is the need for control of thought at all and who is the entity that is going to control thought?

Please follow this closely. Unless one understands this real question, one will not be able to see what meditation means. When one says, “I must control thought,” who is the controller, the censor?

Is the censor different from the thing he wants to control, shape or change into a different quality? – are they not both the same? What happens when the ‘thinker’ sees that he is the thought – which he is – that the ‘experiencer’ is the experience? Then what is one to do? Are you following the question? The thinker is the thought and thought wanders off; then the thinker, thinking he is separate, says, ‘I must control it.’ Is the thinker different from the thing called thought? If there is no thought, is there a thinker?

What takes place when the thinker sees he is the thought? What actually takes place when the ‘thinker’ is the thought as the ‘observer’ is the observed? What takes place? In that there is no separation, no division and therefore no conflict therefore thought is no longer to be controlled, shaped; then what takes place? Is there then any wandering of thought at all? Before, there was control of thought, there was concentration of thought, there was the conflict between the ‘thinker’ who wanted to control thought, and thought wandering off. That goes on all the time with all of us.

Then there is the sudden realization that the ‘thinker’ is the thought – a realization, not a verbal statement, but an actuality. Then what takes place? Is there such a thing as thought wandering? It is only when the ‘observer’ is different from thought that he censors it; then he can say, ‘This is right or this is wrong thought,” or “Thought is wandering away I must control it.” But when the thinker realizes that he is the thought, is there a wandering at all? Go into it, sirs, don’t accept it, you will see it for yourself. It is only when there is a resistance that there is conflict; the resistance is created by the thinker who thinks he is separate from the thought; but when the thinker realizes that he is the thought, there is no resistance – which does not mean that thought goes all over the place and does what it likes, on the contrary.

The whole concept of control and concentration undergoes a tremendous change; it becomes attention, something entirely different. If one understands the nature of attention, that attention can be focused, one understands that it is quite different from concentration, which is exclusion. Then you will ask, “Can I do anything without concentration?” “Do I not need concentration in order to do anything?” But can you not do something with attention? – Which is not concentration. ‘Attention’ implies to attend, that is to listen, hear, see, with all the totality of your being, with your body, with your nerves, with your eyes, with your ears, with your mind, with your heart, completely. In that total attention – in which there is no division – you can do anything; and in such attention is no resistance. So then, the next thing is, can the mind in which is included the brain – the brain being conditioned, the brain being the result of thousands of thousands of years of evolution, the brain which is the storehouse of memory – can that become quiet? Because it is only when the total mind is silent, quiet, that there is perception, seeing clearly, with a mind that is not confused.

How can the mind be quiet, be still? I do not know if you have seen for yourself that to look at a beautiful tree, or a cloud full of light and glory, you must look completely, silently, otherwise you are not looking directly at it, you are looking at it with some image of pleasure, or the memory of yesterday, you are not actually looking at it, you are looking at the image rather than at the fact.

So, one asks, can the totality of the mind, the brain included, be completely still? People have asked this question – really very serious people – they have not been able to solve it, they have tried tricks, they have said that the mind can be made still through the repetition of words. Have you ever tried it – repeating “Ave Maria,” or those Sanskrit words that some people bring over from India, mantras – repeating certain- words to make the mind still? It does not matter what word it is, make it rhythmic-Coca Cola, any word – repeat it often and you will see that your mind becomes quiet; but it is a dull mind, it is not a sensitive mind, alert, active, vital, passionate, intense. A dull mind though it may say, “I have had tremendous transcendental experience,” is deceiving itself.

So it is not in the repetition of words, nor in trying to force it; too many tricks have been played upon the mind for it to be quiet; yet one knows deeply within oneself that when the mind is quiet then the whole thing is over, that then there is true perception.

How is the mind, the brain included, to be completely quiet?

Some say breathe properly, take deep breaths, that is, get more oxygen into your blood; a shoddy little mind breathing very deeply, day after day, can be fairly quiet; but it is still what it is, a shoddy little mind. Or practice yoga? – Again, so many things are involved in this. Yoga means skill in action, not merely the practice of certain exercises which are necessary to keep the body healthy, strong, sensitive – which includes eating the right food, not stuffing it with a lot of meat and so on (we won’t go into all that, you are all probably meat eaters). Skill in action demands great sensitivity of the body, a lightness of the body, eating the right food, not what your tongue dictates, or what you are used to. Then what is one to do? Who puts this question? One sees very clearly that our lives are in disorder, inwardly and outwardly; and yet order is necessary, as orderly as mathematical order and that can come about only by observing the disorder, not by trying to conform to the blueprint of what others may consider, or you yourself may consider, order. By seeing, by being aware of the disorder, out of that comes order. One also sees that the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, sensitive, alert, not caught in any habit, physical or psychological; how is that to come about? Who puts this question? Is the question put by the mind that chatters, the mind that has so much knowledge? Has it learned a new thing? – which is, “I can see very clearly only when I am quiet, therefore, I must be quiet.” Then it says, “How am I to be quiet?” Surely such a question is wrong in itself; the moment it asks ‘how’ it is looking for a system, therefore destroying the very thing that is being inquired into, which is: how can the mind be completely still? – Not mechanically, not forced, not compelled to be still. A mind that is not compelled to be still is extraordinarily active, sensitive, alert.

But when you ask ‘how’ then there is the division between the observer and the thing observed.

When you realize that there is no method, no system, that no mantram, no teacher, nothing in the world that is going to help you to be quiet, when you realize the truth that it is only the quiet mind that sees, then the mind becomes extraordinarily quiet. It is like seeing danger and avoiding it; in the same way, seeing that the mind must be completely quiet, it is quiet.

Now the quality of silence matters. A very small mind can be very quiet, it has its little space in which to be quiet; that little space, with its little quietness, is the deadest thing – you know what it is. But a mind that has limitless space and that quietness, that stillness, has no center as the ‘me’, the ‘observer,’ is quite different.

In that silence there is no ‘observer’ at all; that quality of silence has vast space, it is without border and intensely active; the activity of that silence is entirely different from the activity which is self-centered. If the mind has gone that far (and really it is not that far, it is always there if you know how to look), then perhaps that which man has sought throughout the centuries, God, truth, the immeasurable, the nameless, the timeless, is there – without your invitation, it is there. Such a man is blessed, there is truth for him and ecstasy.

Shall we talk this over, ask questions? You might say to me, “What value has all this in daily life? I’ve got to live, go to the office; there is the family, there is the boss, competition – what has all this got to do with it?” Do you not ask that question? If you ask it, then you have not followed all that has been said this morning.

Meditation is not something different from daily life; do not go off into the corner of a room and meditate for ten minutes, then come out of it and be a butcher – both metaphorically and actually.

Meditation is one of the most serious things; you do it all day, in the office, with the family, when you say to somebody, “I love you” when you are considering your children, when you educate them to become soldiers, to kill, to be nationalized, worshipping the flag, educating them to enter into this trap of the modern world; watching all that, realizing your part in it, all that is part of meditation. And when you so meditate you will find in it an extraordinary beauty; you will act rightly at every moment; and if you do not act rightly at a given moment it does not matter, you will pick it up again – you will not waste time in regret. Meditation is part of life, not something different from life.

-J. Krishnamurti

From The Flight of the Eagle, Chapter Three

A Transfer of Energy – Jean Klein

While meditating must we chase away all the thoughts that come to us? What should we do when they do come? So very often we get caught up in them and let ourselves be carried away.

Ah! So you bring me back to this question which I thought I had already spoken of often. See you live in a dream state. Whether you chase thoughts away or let them carry you away, you end up in exactly the same situation. You remain in the subject/object relation. The doer is reinforced.

Well, what should I do then?

Absolutely nothing. Doing and not doing amount to exactly the same thing. The last thing is to try to gain tranquility, to try to become calm.

You have taken note; you have already seen yourself being carried away by your thoughts. Just seeing it implies a transfer of energy away from being lost in your usual thought patterns toward reality. There is already some distance, so as other thoughts occur, quite a different attitude will settle within you and you will eventually find yourself outside the whole process. In the end you will become aware of a current of energy preceding each thought. The continuous swinging between having and becoming will die out too and you will be absorbed into the present, “now.” Then there is peace, silence, tranquility, bug no personal identity to be silent.

I have taken note for years that thoughts carry me away. If there has been a transfer of energy it has made no difference in my life. I cannot see how simply taking note can be enough, unless of course I am taking note in the wrong way.

Taking note does not mean you jot it down in your mental diary and forget about it. Here you make it a concept. You have emphasized the fact, not the seeing. This is the lazy way, the passive way. Taking note means that you remain alert, you see the fact and the alertness remains after seeing the fact. See how the seeing acts on you, how it feels to be the seer. The background is emphasized. This is where the transfer of energy occurs.

-Jean Klein

From I Am, pp. 62-63

 

Witnessing Without a Center

Perhaps this can be helpful to someone. I have noticed recently that when I watch thoughts (content) there is a container (me). But when I watch the activity (not content), there is only witnessing.

This is important because that means that as long as I am engaging in the content the “me” remains. And if I take one step back and watch the movement, witnessing is, without a center. And this witnessing without a center is delicious.

This “take one step back” is really a misnomer. It is not a question of doing anything but simply “not doing.” Engaging in the content is “doing.” To watch without either grasping or rejecting is not doing and it is by watching without engagement that one finds oneself first witnessing the movement without content and when that movement is also witnessed without engagement, then one is Not, and only awareness Is.

-purushottama

Meditation: An Experience of Death in Life – Osho

There is nothing comparable to the death experience in life, except deep meditation.

So those who know meditation, they know something of death—that’s the only way to know before dying.

If I am saying there is no more significant experience in life than death, I am saying it, not because I have died and come back to tell you, but because I know that in meditation you move into the same space as death—because in meditation you are no more your physiology, no more your biology, no more your chemistry, no more your psychology. All those are left far away.

You come to your innermost center where there is only pure awareness. That pure awareness will be with you when you die because that cannot be taken away. All these other things which can be taken away, we take away with our own hands in meditation.

So meditation is an experience of death in life.

And it is so beautiful, so indescibably beautiful that only one thing can be said about death: it must be that experience multiplied by millions.

The experience of meditation multiplied by millions is the experience of death.

And when you pass on you simply leave your form behind. You are absolutely intact, and for the first time out of the prison of physiology, biology, psychology.

All the walls are broken and you are free.

For the first time you can open your wings to the existential.

-Osho

From Ignorance to Innocence, Chapter Five

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

You can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

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Wakefulness is the Way to Life – Osho

One of the most important things to be understood about man is that man is asleep. Even while he thinks he is awake, he is not. His wakefulness is very fragile; his wakefulness is so tiny it doesn’t matter at all. His wakefulness is only a beautiful name, but utterly empty.

You sleep in the night, you sleep in the day; from birth to death you go on changing your patterns of sleep, but you never really awake. Just by opening the eyes don’t befool yourself that you are awake. Unless the inner eyes open, unless your inside becomes full of light, unless you can see yourself, who you are, don’t think that you are awake.

That is the greatest illusion man lives in. And once you accept that you are already awake, then there is no question of making any effort to be awake.

The first thing to sink deep in your heart is that you are asleep, utterly asleep. You are dreaming, day in, day out. You are dreaming sometimes with open eyes and sometimes with closed eyes, but you are dreaming, you are a dream. You are not yet a reality.

And, of course, in a dream whatsoever you do is meaningless, whatsoever you think is pointless, whatsoever you project remains part of your dreams and never allows you to see that which is. Hence Buddha’s insistence… and not only Gautama the Buddha but all the buddhas have insisted on only one thing: Awake! Continuously, for centuries, their whole teaching can be contained in a single word: Be awake!

And they have been devising methods, strategies, they have been creating contexts and spaces, and energy fields in which you can be shocked into awareness. Yes, unless you are shocked, shaken to your very foundations, you will not awaken. The sleep has been so long, it has reached to the very core of your being; you are soaked in it. Each cell of your body and each fiber of your mind has become full of sleep. It is not a small phenomenon. Hence great effort is needed to be alert, to be attentive, to be watchful, to become a witness.

If on any one single theme all the buddhas of the world agree, this is the theme: that man as he is is asleep, and man as he should be should be awake. Wakefulness is the goal, and wakefulness is the taste of all their teachings. Zarathustra, Lao Tzu, Jesus, Buddha, Bahauddin, Kabir, Nanak — all the awakened ones have been teaching one single theme, in different languages, in different metaphors, but their song is the same. Just as the sea tastes of salt whether the sea is tasted from the north or from the east or from the west, the sea always tastes of salt — the taste of buddhahood is wakefulness.

But you will not make any effort if you go on believing that you are already awake; then there is no question of making any effort. Why bother? And you have created religions, gods, prayers, rituals, out of your dreams — your gods are as much part of your dreams as anything else. Your politics is part of your dreams, your religions are part of your dreams, your poetry, your painting, your art — whatsoever you do, because you are asleep, you make it according to your own state of mind.

The Bible says God created man in his own image — the truth seems to be just the opposite: man has created God in his own image. Your gods are false because you are false. Your religion is pseudo because you are pseudo. Your scriptures cannot have any significance because you don’t have any significance.

Two priests are playing golf. The younger one misses an easy putt and says, “Shit!” The older one berates him for this, saying that if he continues to use profanity like that God will certainly blast him with a thunderbolt. They keep playing and the younger priest misses another putt, and again says, “Shit!”

The skies suddenly open: a thunderbolt flashes out, and strikes the older priest dead. There is a pause, and the heavenly voice is heard saying in accents of thunder, “Shit!”

Your gods cannot be different from you. Who will create them? Who will give them shape and color and form? You create them, you sculpt them; they have eyes like you, noses like you — and minds like you! The Old Testament God says, “I am a very jealous God!” Now who has created this God who is jealous? God cannot be jealous. And if God is jealous, then what is wrong in being jealous? If even God is jealous, why should you be thought to be doing something wrong when you are jealous? Then jealousy is divine.

The Old Testament God says, “I am a very angry God! If you don’t follow my commandments, I will destroy you. You will be thrown into hellfire for eternity. And because I am very jealous,” the God says, “don’t worship anybody else. I cannot tolerate it.”

Who created such a God? It must be out of our own jealousy, out of our own anger, that we have created this image.

A Jew who has a long run of bad luck goes out into the woods and lifts his voice in prayer and recrimination. “Oh, God,” he asks heaven tearfully, “haven’t I always been a good Jew? Haven’t I always given charity, even to those damn goyim? Didn’t I bring up my family decent? Never drink, swear, gamble; no bad women, nothing! Why do you do this to me God? Why? Why?”

A dark cloud suddenly appears overhead, and a tremendous voice replies, “You piss me off!”

The God certainly cannot be different from you. It is your projection, it is your shadow. It echoes you and nobody else. That’s why there are so many gods in the world. The Hindus have a certain idea about God — the Hindu idea — it reflects the Hindu mind.

If you go back into Hindu scriptures you will be surprised. You will not be able to believe what kind of gods Hindus have created — very sexual. Adultery is very common amongst Hindu gods, and not only do they play their games of adultery in the Hindu paradise, they can’t even leave the earth alone; they come to the earth too, to rape women, to seduce simple women. They don’t even leave the wives of the great seers alone. And because they have infinite power they can even appear as the husbands, they can look like the husbands. And the women have no idea who is hiding behind the facade.

Who has created these gods? — it must have been deep down a very sexual mind.

And the same is the case with all other gods of all other religions. It is because of this that Buddha never talked about God. He said: What is the point of talking about God to people who are asleep? They will listen in their sleep. They will dream about whatsoever is said to them, and they will create their own gods — which will be utterly false, utterly impotent, utterly meaningless. It is better not to have such gods.

That’s why Buddha is not interested in talking about gods. His whole interest is in waking you up.

It is said about a Buddhist enlightened master who was sitting by the side of the river one evening, enjoying the sound of the water, the sound of the wind passing through the trees….  A man came and asked him, “Can you tell me in a single word the essence of your religion?”

The master remained silent, utterly silent, as if he had not heard the question. The questioner said, “Are you deaf or something?”

The master said, “I have heard your question, and I have answered it too! Silence is the answer. I remained silent —that pause, that interval, was my answer.”

The man said, “I cannot understand such a mysterious answer. Can’t you be a little more clear?”

So the master wrote on the sand “meditation,” in small letters with his finger. The man said, “I can read now. It is a little better than at first. At least I have got a word to ponder over. But can’t you make it a little more clear?”

The master  wrote again “meditation.” Of course this time he wrote in bigger letters. The man was feeling a little embarrassed, puzzled, offended, angry. He said, “Again you write meditation? Can’t you be a little clear for me?”

And the master wrote in very big letters, capital letters, “MEDITATION.”

The man said, “You seem to be mad.”

The master said, “I have already come down very much. The first answer was the right answer, the second was not so right, the third even more wrong, the fourth has gone very wrong” — because when you write “MEDITATION” with capital letters you have made a god out of it.

That’s why the word ‘God’ is written with capital ‘G’. Whenever you want to make something supreme, ultimate, you write it with a capital letter.

The master said, “I have already committed a sin.” He erased all those words he had written, and he said, “Please listen to my first answer — only then I am true.”

Silence is the space in which one awakens, and the noisy mind is the space in which one remains asleep. If your mind continues chattering, you are asleep. Sitting silently, if the mind disappears and you can hear the chattering birds and no mind inside, a silence…this whistle of the bird, the chirping, and no mind functioning in your head, utter silence…then awareness wells up in you. It does not come from the outside, it arises in you, it grows in you. Otherwise remember: you are asleep.

A husband and wife were asleep. About 3 AM the wife dreamt of secretly meeting another man. Then she dreamt she saw her husband coming.

In her sleep she shrieked, “Heavens, my husband!”

Her husband, waking suddenly, leapt out of the window.

And remember, it is not a laughing matter; it is the reality, it is how you are living. It is how man exists in his ordinary state.

A wife tries to win back her husband’s love, on the advice of a woman friend, by bringing him his slippers and pipe when he comes home late one night, giving him a tall drink, cuddling up in his lap dressed only in a silk dressing gown, and ending with the murmured offer, “Let’s go upstairs, darling!”

“I might as well,” says her bemused husband, “I’ll get hell when I get home anyway!”

We go on living absolutely inattentive to what is happening around us. Yes, we have become very efficient in doing things. What we are doing, we have become so efficient in doing that we don’t need any awareness to do it. It has become mechanical, automatic. We function like robots. We are not men yet; we are machines.

That’s what George Gurdjieff used to say again and again, that man as he exists is a machine. He offended many people, because nobody likes to be called a machine. Machines like to be called gods; then they feel very happy, puffed up. Gurdjieff used to call people machines, and he was right. If you watch yourself you will know how mechanically you behave.

The Russian psychologist Pavlov, and the American psychologist Skinner, are ninety-nine point nine percent right about man: they believe that man is a beautiful machine, that’s all. There is no soul in him. I say ninety-nine point nine percent they are right; they only miss by a very small margin. In that small margin are the buddhas, the awakened ones. But they can be forgiven, because Pavlov never came across a buddha — he came across millions of people like you.

Skinner has been studying men and rats and finds no difference. Rats are simple beings, that’s all; man is a little more complicated. Man is a highly sophisticated machine, rats are simple machines. It is easier to study rats; that’s why psychologists go on studying rats. They study rats and they conclude about man — and their conclusions are almost right. I say “almost,” mind you, because that point one percent is the most important phenomenon that has happened: a Buddha, a Jesus, a Mohammed. These few awakened people are the real men, but where can B.F. Skinner find a buddha? Certainly not in America.

I have heard:

A man asked a rabbi, “Why didn’t Jesus choose to be born in twentieth-century America?”

The rabbi shrugged his shoulders and said, “In America? It would have been impossible. Where can you find a virgin, firstly? And secondly, where will you find three wise men?”

And without a virgin mother and three wise men, how can Jesus be born?

I have heard:

In a church, the priest asked the audience, “Please stand up, all the women who are virgins!”

Just one woman with a small baby girl stood up. Certainly she was a mother, and the priest said, “Do you think yourself to be a virgin? You are a mother!”

She said, “Yes, I am — but this girl is a virgin, and she cannot stand on her own.”

Where is B.F. Skinner going to find a buddha? And even if he can find a buddha, his preconceived prejudices, ideas, will not allow him to see. He will go on seeing his rats. He cannot understand anything that rats cannot do. Now, rats don’t meditate, rats don’t become enlightened. And his conception of man is only a magnified form of a rat. And still I say that he is right about the greater majority of people; his conclusions are not wrong. And buddhas will agree with him about the so-called normal humanity: the normal humanity is utterly asleep. Even animals are not so asleep.

Have you seen a deer in the jungle — how alert he looks, how watchfully he walks? Have you seen a bird sitting on the tree — how intelligently he goes on watching what is happening all around? You move towards the bird — there is a certain space he allows; beyond that, one step more, and he flies away. He has a certain alertness about his territory. If somebody enters into that territory then it is dangerous.

If you look around you will be surprised: man seems to be the most asleep animal on the earth.

A woman buys a parrot at an auction of the furnishings of a fancy whorehouse, and keeps the parrot’s cage covered for two weeks to make it forget its profane vocabulary. When the cage is finally uncovered, the parrot looks around and remarks, “Awrrk! New house. New madam.” When the woman’s daughters come in, he adds, “Awrrk! New girls.”

When her husband comes home that night, the parrot says, “Awrrk! Awrrk! Same old customers. Hello, Joe!”

Man is in a very fallen state. In fact, that is the meaning of the Christian parable of the fall of Adam, his expulsion. But why were Adam and Eve expelled from paradise? They were expelled because they had eaten the fruit of knowledge. They were expelled because they had become minds, and they had lost their consciousness. If you become a mind you lose consciousness — mind means sleep, mind means noise, mind means mechanicalness.

If you become a mind you lose consciousness. Hence, the whole work that has to be done is: how to become consciousness again and lose the mind. You have to throw out of your system all that you have gathered as knowledge. It is knowledge that keeps you asleep; hence, the more knowledgeable a person is, the more asleep.

That has been my own observation too. Innocent villagers are far more alert and awake than the professors in the universities and the pundits in the temples. The pundits are nothing but parrots; the academicians in the universities are full of nothing but holy cow dung, full of absolutely meaningless noise — just minds and no consciousness.

People who work with nature , farmers, gardeners, woodcutters, carpenters, painters — they are far more alert than the people that function in the universities as deans and vice-chancellors and chancellors. Because when you work with nature, nature is alert, trees are alert; their form of alertness is certainly different, but they are very alert.

Now there are scientific proofs of their alertness. If the woodcutter comes with an axe in his hand and with the deliberate desire to cut the tree, all the trees that see him coming tremble. Now there are scientific proofs about it; I am not talking poetry, I am talking science when I say this. Now there are instruments to measure whether the tree is happy or unhappy, afraid or unafraid, sad or ecstatic. When the woodcutter comes, all the trees that see him start trembling. They become aware that death is close by. And the woodcutter has not cut any tree yet — just his coming….

And one thing more, far more strange: if the woodcutter is simply passing by there with no deliberate idea to cut a tree, then no tree becomes afraid. It is the same woodcutter, with the same axe. It seems that his intention to cut a tree affects the trees. It means that his intention is being understood; it means the very vibe is being decoded by the trees.

And one more significant fact has been observed scientifically: that if you go into the forest and kill an animal, it is not only the animal kingdom around that becomes shaken, but trees also. If you kill a deer, all the deer that are around feel the vibe of murder, become sad; a great trembling arises in them. Suddenly they are afraid for no particular reason at all. They may not have seen the deer being killed, but somehow, in a subtle way, they are affected — instinctively, intuitively. But it is not only the deer which are affected — the trees are affected, the parrots are affected, the tigers are affected, the eagles are affected, the grass leaves are affected. Murder has happened, destruction has happened, death has happened — everything that is around is affected.

Man seems to be the most asleep….

These sutras of Buddha have to be meditated on deeply, imbibed, followed.

Wakefulness is the way to life.

You are alive only in the proportion that you are aware. Awareness is the difference between death and life. You are not alive just because you are breathing, you are not alive just because your heart is beating. Physiologically you can be kept alive in a hospital, without any consciousness. Your heart will go on beating and you will be able to breathe. You can be kept in such a mechanical arrangement that you will remain alive for years — in the sense of breathing and the heart beating and the blood circulating. There are now many people around the world in advanced countries who are just vegetating in the hospitals, because advanced technology has made it possible for your death to be postponed indefinitely — for years, for centuries, you can be kept alive. If this is life, then you can be kept alive. But this is not life at all. Just to vegetate is not life.

Buddhas have a different definition. Their definition consists of awareness. They don’t say you are alive because you can breathe, they don’t say you are alive because your blood circulates; they say you are alive if you are awake. So except for the awakened ones nobody is really alive. You are corpses — walking, talking, doing things — you are robots.

Wakefulness is the way to life, says Buddha. Become more wakeful and you will become more alive. And life is God — there is no other God. Hence Buddha talks about life and awareness. Life is the goal and awareness is the methodology, the technique to attain it.

-Osho

Excerpt from Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, V.1, Chapter Five

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Just Learn to be Aware in all Situations – Osho

Relaxation has always been one of the most valuable states of being for me. “Watchfulness” seems to be possible only then, or at least so much easier. Beloved Master, would you like to comment on how “relaxation” is connected to “awareness”?

Sadhan, they are not only connected with each other, they are almost two sides of the same coin. You cannot separate them. Either you can begin with awareness, and then you will find yourself relaxing… What is your tension? Your identification with all kinds of thoughts, fears, death, bankruptcy, the dollar going down… all kinds of fears are there. These are your tensions, and they affect your body also. Your body also becomes tense, because body and mind are not two separate entities. Body-mind is a single system, so when the mind becomes tense, the body becomes tense.

You can start with awareness; then awareness takes you away from the mind and the identifications with the mind. Naturally, the body starts relaxing. You are no more attached, and tensions cannot exist in the light of awareness.

You can start from the other end also. Just relax… let all tensions drop… and as you relax you will be surprised that a certain awareness is arising in you. They are inseparable. But to start from awareness is easier; to start with relaxation is a little difficult, because even the effort to relax creates a certain tension.

There is an American book – and if you want to discover all kinds of stupid books, America is the place. The moment I saw the title of the book, I could not believe it. The title is, You Must Relax. Now if the ‘must’ is there, how can you relax? The must will make you tense; the very word immediately creates tension. ‘Must’ comes like a commandment from God. Perhaps the person who is writing the book knows nothing about relaxation and knows nothing about the complexities of relaxation.

Hence, in the East we have never started meditation from relaxation; we have started meditation from awareness. Then relaxation comes on its own accord, you don’t have to bring it. If you have to bring it there will be a certain tension. It should come on its own; then only will it be pure relaxation.

And it comes….

If you want to, you can try from relaxation, but not according to American advisors, but in the sense of experience of the inner world.  America is the most childish place on the earth. Europe is a little older – but the East has lived for thousands of years in the search for its inner self.

America is only three hundred years old – in the life of a nation three hundred years are nothing – hence, America is the greatest danger to the world. Nuclear weapons in the hands of children… Russia will behave more rationally; it is an old and ancient land and has all the experiences of a long history. In America there is no history. Everybody knows his father’s name, forefather’s name and that’s all. There your family tree ends.

In India it is very difficult. One of the scholars of this very city, Lokmanya Tilak, proved – and his proof has not yet been disproved by any argument by other scholars. Now almost the whole century has passed, but his evidence is such that it cannot be disproved.

The Western scholars used to argue that Rigveda, the most ancient book in the world, is five thousand years old. There was a difficulty because according to Christianity God created the world four thousand and four years before Jesus Christ, so now it is only six thousand years old. Now they have to put everything, fit everything into six thousand years; beyond that they cannot go. Going beyond means going against Christianity, against The Bible, against Jesus Christ, and it is too risky.

Lokmanya Tilak proved with intrinsic logic that in Rigveda there is a description of a certain constellation of stars about which astronomers are absolutely certain that it happened ninety thousand years ago. There is no way to describe it unless these people had been the observers of that constellation, and it has not happened since then.

Lokmanya Tilak proved that Rigveda may not be older, but it is certainly ninety thousand years old. And one thing brings another thing in. In Rigveda, the founder of Jainism, Adinatha, is mentioned with great respect. That means that if Hinduism is ninety thousand years old, Jainism must be even older, because nobody talks with such respect about contemporaries – particularly contemporaries who are not willing to agree with you.

Adinatha did not agree on any point with Hinduism; that makes it certain that he was not a contemporary. Perhaps by the time Rigveda was written, he had been dead for a thousand years. People have a certain tendency to be respectful about the dead, and the longer they are dead, the more respectful they become. So I am giving you a recipe: if you want to become respectable, be dead, and everybody will be respectful to you.

Have you watched? – When somebody dies, nobody speaks anything against him. It is simply etiquette and mannerism.

In one small town a man died. The tradition is that before a man is lowered down into his grave somebody should say some good things about him. Everybody looked at each other – but because he was such a rascal they could not find single word. He had tortured almost everybody in the town; he was such a harassment that everybody was deep down very happy that finally he had died: “Now we can relax a little.” So nobody was ready to say something good about the man, because everybody knew that people would laugh if they said something good.

Finally one man stood up and said, “Compared to his other four brothers he was an angel. His other four brothers are still alive; you should not forget that fact.” And it was true; those other four brothers were even more nasty, more dangerous. But he managed to say something good about the man – that compared to the four brothers he was an angel. 

Rigveda mentioning Adinatha with deep respect can mean only one thing, that Adinatha was dead long before. About contemporaries, it is very difficult, it hurts your ego… and particularly for those who are not in agreement with you. Not only that, but their arguments are far superior to yours and you cannot even answer them. Then it becomes very difficult to respect them, and condemnation comes on them from all sides. But Rigveda has a whole passage devoted just to making Adinatha almost a god, with not a single word of criticism.

On this point Jainism can be said to be even older than ninety thousand years. Now, these people have history. America is just a baby – or not even a baby, just in pregnancy. Compared to ninety thousand years… maybe it has just been conceived. It is dangerous to give these people nuclear weapons.

There are political, religious, sociological, economical problems, all torturing you. To begin with relaxation is difficult; hence, in the East we have never started from relaxation. But if you want to, I have a certain idea how you should start. I have been working with my Western sannyasins and I have become aware of the fact that they don’t belong to the East and they don’t know the Eastern current of consciousness; they are coming from a different tradition which has never known any awareness.

For the Western sannyasins especially, I have created meditations like dynamic meditation. While I was taking camps of meditators I used a gibberish meditation and the kundalini meditation. If you want to start from relaxation, then these meditations have to be done first. They will take out all tensions from your mind and body, and then relaxation is very easy. You don’t know how much you are holding in, and that that is the cause of tension.

When I was allowing gibberish meditation in the camps in the mountains… It is difficult to allow it here because the neighbors start going mad. They start phoning the police and the commissioner, saying, “Our whole life is being destroyed!” They don’t know that if they would participate in their own houses, their lives would come out of the insanity in which they are living. But they are not even aware of their insanity.

The gibberish meditation was that everybody was allowed to say loudly whatever comes into his mind. And it was such a joy to hear what people were saying, irrelevant, absurd – because I was the only witness. People were doing all kinds of things, and the only condition was that you should not touch anybody else. You could do whatever you wanted…. Somebody was standing on his head, somebody had thrown off his clothes and become naked, running all around – for the whole hour.

One man used to sit every day in front me – he must have been a broker or something – and as the meditation would begin, first he would smile, just at the idea of what he was going to do. Then he would take up his phone, “Hello, hello…” From the his corner of his eyes he would go on looking at me. I would avoid looking at him so as not to disturb his meditation. He was selling his shares, purchasing – the whole hour he was on the phone.

Everybody was doing the strange things that they were holding back. When the meditation would end there were ten minutes for relaxation and you could see that in those ten minutes people fell down – not with any effort, but because they were utterly tired. All the rubbish had been thrown out, so they had a certain cleanliness, and they relaxed. Thousands of people… and you could not even think that there were a thousand people.

People used to come to me and say, “Prolong those ten minutes, because in our whole life we have never seen such relaxation, such joy. We had never thought we would ever understand what awareness is, but we felt it was coming.”

So if you want to start with relaxation, first you have to go through a cathartic process. Dynamic meditation, latihan, kundalini or gibberish. You may not know from where this word gibberish comes; it comes from a Sufi mystic whose name was Jabbar – and that was his only meditation. Whoever would come, he would say, “Sit down and start” – and people knew what he meant. He never talked, he never gave any discourses; he simply taught people gibberish.

For example, once in a while he would give people a demonstration. For half an hour he would talk all kinds of nonsense in nobody knows what language. It was not a language; he would go on teaching people just whatever came to his mind. That was his only teaching – and to those who had understood it he would simply say, “Sit down and start.”

But Jabbar helped many people to become utterly silent. How long you can go on? – the mind becomes empty. Slowly, slowly a deep nothingness… and in that nothingness a flame of awareness. It is always present, surrounded by your gibberish. The gibberish has to be taken out; that is your poison.

The same is true about the body. Your body has tensions. Just start making any movements that the body wants to make. You should not manipulate it. If it wants to dance, it wants to jog, it wants to run, it wants to roll down on the ground, you should not do it, you should simply allow it. Tell the body, “You are free, do whatever you want” – and you will be surprised, “My God. All these things the body wanted to do but I was holding back, and that was the tension.”

So there are two kinds of tension, the body tensions and the mind tensions. Both have to be released before you can start relaxation, which will bring you to awareness.

But beginning from awareness is far easier, and particularly for those who can understand the process of awareness, which is very simple. The whole day you are using it about things – cars, in the traffic – even in the Poona traffic you survive! It is absolutely mad.

Just a few days ago I read about Athens. Athens is even worse than Poona. The government made a special seven day competition for the taxi drivers and they had put golden trophies for those who were the best at following traffic rules, the second and the third. But in the whole of Athens they could not find a single person. The police were getting worried; the days were almost finished, and the last day they wanted to find anyhow three – they may not be perfect, but those prizes had to be distributed.

One man they found was following the traffic rules exactly, so they were very happy. They rushed towards him with the trophy, but seeing the police coming towards him the man went against a red light. Who wants to get unnecessarily into trouble? The police were shouting, “Wait!” – but he did not listen, he was immediately gone, against the light. They tried with two other people, but nobody would stop, seeing the police. So after seven days’ effort, those three prizes are still sitting in the headquarters of the police, and Athens is going on as rejoicingly as ever.

You can have a little taste in Poona, but still you survive because you remain alert, aware. Perhaps the worst traffic situation is in Italy. That’s why I was telling you the other day that the people who sell cars have come to the conclusion that if the man first tries to look at the engine of the car he is a German. If the man first looks at the beautiful lines and curves of the car he is French. But if the man first looks at the horn, whether it works or not, he is an Italian – because the real thing is the horn, otherwise you cannot survive.

You are using awareness without being aware of it, but only about outside things. It is the same awareness that has to be used for the inside traffic. When you close your eyes there is a traffic of thoughts, emotions, dreams, imaginations; all kinds of things start flashing by.

What you have been doing in the outside world, do exactly the same with the inside world and you will become a witness. And once tasted, the joy of being a witness is so great, so other-worldly that you would like to go more and more in. Whenever you find time you would like to go more and more in.

It is not a question of any posture; it is not a question of any temple, of any church or synagogue.

Sitting in a public bus or in a railway train, when you have nothing to do just close your eyes. It will save your eyes being tired from looking outside, and it will give you time enough to watch yourself. Those moments will become moments of the most beautiful experiences. And slowly, slowly, as awareness grows your whole personality starts changing. From unawareness to awareness is the greatest quantum leap.

Hymie Goldberg was on holiday in Ireland, driving his new Mercedes. He came to a small farm where the road went right through a large puddle. Paddy was standing next to it, so Hymie leaned out and asked if the puddle was shallow.

Paddy said, “Yes,” so Hymie drove on, only to have his car sink slowly out of sight.

Spluttering with rage and dripping wet, Hymie shouted at Paddy, “You idiot! Why the hell did you tell me it was shallow enough to drive through?”

Paddy scratched his head and said, “I don’t understand it. The water only came half way up my ducks.”

Just learn to be aware in all situations. Make a point of using every situation for awareness.

A man rushed into the Pig and Whistle pub in great agitation.

“Does anyone own a great big black cat with a white collar?” he said in a nervous voice. There was no reply.

“Well, does anyone know of a large black cat with a white collar?” asked the man again, raising his voice above the general noise of the bar. But still there was no answer.

“Oh dear!” muttered the man, “I think I’ve just run over the priest.”

The difference between a politician and an English lady…

When a politician says yes, he means maybe. When he says maybe, he means no. If he says no, he’s no politician.

When an English lady says no, she means maybe. When she says maybe, she means yes. If she says yes, she’s no lady.

-Osho

From Satyam Shivam Sundram, Chapter 25

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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The End is Always Buddhahood – Osho

What is the best way to encourage people in meditation? 

The first thing: for a patient to go to the doctor you must make him realize that he is sick; otherwise there is no need to go to the doctor.

So the people you want to encourage into meditation: first you have to make them aware that they are frustrated, perhaps for so long that they have forgotten that they are sad. They cannot remember when they laughed from their very hearts. They have become robots – they do things because they have to be done but there is no joy in doing them.

They are living an accidental life. Their birth is accidental, their marriage is accidental, their children are accidental, their job is accidental. Their life has no sense of intrinsic growth and direction. That’s why they cannot feel like rejoicing.

So first you have to make them aware where they are – and almost everybody is in the same situation. Death is coming close – you cannot even rely on your being here tomorrow. And your life is an absolute desert – it has not found any oasis, it has not felt any meaning, any significance – and death may destroy all possibilities in the future.

So first you have to make them aware of their meaningless, accidental, frustrated life. They know it, but they try to suppress their knowing in many ways, because to know it continuously is a torture. So they go to the movies to forget it. They go to parties, they go to picnics, they drink alcoholic beverages; they do everything – just to somehow not remember the reality of their life, their hollowness, futility.

This is the most important part – to remind them. And once a person remembers all this, then to lead him towards meditation is a very simple thing, because meditation is the only answer to all the questions of man. It may be frustration, it may be depression, it may be sadness, it may be meaninglessness, it may be anguish: The problems may be many but the answer is one.

Meditation is the answer.

And the simplest method of meditation is just a way of witnessing. There are one hundred and twelve methods of meditation, but witnessing is an essential part of all one hundred and twelve methods. So as far as I am concerned, witnessing is the only method. Those one hundred and twelve are different applications of witnessing.

The essential core, the spirit of meditation is to learn how to witness.

You are seeing a tree: You are there, the tree is there, but can’t you find one thing more? – That you are seeing the tree, that there is a witness in you which is seeing you seeing the tree.

The world is not divided only into the object and the subject. There is also something beyond both, and that beyond is meditation.

So in every act… and I don’t want people to sit for one hour or half an hour in the morning or in the evening. That kind of meditation is not going to help, because if you meditate for one hour, then for twenty-three hours you will be doing just the opposite of it.

Meditation can be victorious: witnessing is such a method that it can spread over twenty-four hours of your day.

Eating, don’t get identified with the eater. The food is there, the eater is there, and you are here, watching. Walking, let the body walk but you simply watch. Slowly, the knack comes. It is a knack, and once you can watch small things….

This crow, crowing… you are listening. These are two – object and subject. But can’t you see a witness who is seeing both? – The crow, the listener, and still there is someone who is watching both. It is such a simple phenomenon. Then you can move into deeper layers: you can watch your thoughts; you can watch your emotions, your moods.

There is no need to say, “I am sad.” The fact is that you are a witness that a cloud of sadness is passing over you. There is anger – you can simply be a witness.  There is no need to say, “I am angry.” You are never angry – there is no way for you to be angry – you are always a witness. The anger comes and goes; you are just a mirror. Things come, get reflected, move – and the mirror remains empty and clean, unscratched by the reflections.

Witnessing is finding your inside mirror.

And once you have found it, miracles start happening. When you are simply witnessing the thoughts, thoughts disappear. Then there is suddenly a tremendous silence you have never known. When you are watching the moods – anger, sadness, happiness – they suddenly disappear and an even greater silence is experienced.

And when there is nothing to watch – then the revolution. Then the witnessing energy turns upon itself because there is nothing to prevent it; there is no object left. The word “object” is beautiful. It simply means that which prevents you, objects you. When there is no object to your witnessing, it simply comes around back to yourself – to the source. And this is the point where one becomes enlightened.

Meditation is only a path: the end is always Buddhahood, enlightenment. And to know this moment is to know all.

Then there is no misery, no frustration, no meaninglessness; then life is no longer an accident. It becomes part of this cosmic whole – an essential part. And a tremendous bliss arises that this whole existence needs you.

Man’s greatest need is to be needed. If somebody needs you, you feel gratified. But if the whole existence needs you, then there is no limit to your bliss. And this existence needs even a small blade of grass as much as the biggest star.

There is no question of inequality. Nobody can substitute for you. If you are not there, then existence will be something less and will remain always something less – it will never be full. That feeling – that this whole immense existence is in need of you – takes all miseries away from you.

For the first time, you have come home.

-Osho

From Light on the Path, Chapter One

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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