A State of Silent Identification – Osho

Please explain. Is life an observer and death observed?

No, both are the observed – life and death. Beyond both is the observer. You cannot call that observer ‘life’ because life contains death in it. You cannot call that observer ’death’ because death presupposes life. That observer is just transcendence.

That which you are is neither life nor death. You pass through life, you pass through death, but you are neither. You are just a witness to it all. You pass through happiness, you pass through misery, you pass through disease, you pass through health, you pass through success, you pass through failure – but you are none of these. You remain the watcher, you remain the witness.

That witnessing is beyond all dualities. So don’t try to make it identified with one part of the polarity. Life is one part of the same circle in which the other half, death, exists. Death and life are not apart, they are together. Death and life are two aspects of the same energy, two faces of the same coin – on one side life, on the other side death. Can you think of life without death? Or can you think of death without life? So they are not really opposites but complementaries. They are friends not enemies; they are business partners.

I can understand your question. You would like to be identified with life, so that you can say, ‘I am immortal. No death for me.’ That is your hankering. And I am not saying that you are not immortal, but the word ‘immortal’ is not right. You are eternal, not immortal. ‘Immortal’ means you have no death – always life, always life. ‘Eternity’ means you don’t have either. You are part of this totality that goes on and on – through lives, through deaths, ups and downs, valleys and peaks – and goes on moving. You are that which lives and that which dies, and yet remains aloof… a lotus in the pond, untouched.

It happened, Maharshi Raman was dying. On Thursday April 13th, a doctor brought Maharshi a palliative to relieve the congestion in the lungs, but he refused it. ‘It is not necessary, everything will come right within two days,’ he said. And after two days he died.

At about sunset, Maharshi told the attendants to sit him up. They knew already that every movement, every touch, was painful, but he told them not to worry about that. He was suffering from cancer – he had a throat cancer, very painful. Even to drink water was impossible, to eat anything was impossible, to move his head was impossible. Even to say a few words was very difficult. He sat with one of the attendants supporting his head. A doctor began to give him oxygen, but with a wave of his right hand he motioned him away.

Unexpectedly, a group of devotees sitting on the verandah outside the hall began singing ‘Arunachala-Siva’ – a bhajan that Maharshi liked very much. He liked that spot, Arunachala, very much; the hill he used to live upon – that hill is called ‘Arunachala’. And the bhajan was a praise, a praise for the hill.

On hearing it, Maharshi’s eyes opened and shone. He gave a brief smile of indescribable tenderness. From the outer edges of his eyes tears of bliss rolled down.

Somebody asked him, ‘Maharshi, are you really leaving us?’

It was hard for him to say, but still he uttered these few words: ‘They say that I am dying – but I am not going away. Where could I go? I am always here.’

One more breath, and no more. There was no struggle, no spasm, no other sign of death: only that the next breath did not come.

What he says is of immense significance – ‘Where could I go? I am always here.’ There is nowhere to go. This is the only existence there is, this is the only dance there is – where can one go? Life comes and goes, death comes and goes – but where can ONE go? You were there before life.

That’s why Zen masters go on saying to their disciples: Go meditate, and try to see the face that you had before you were born – or sometimes even before your parents were born, or before your grand-parents were born. Look for the original face that you had before you were born.

You were there before birth and you will be there after death. Life is between birth and death. You are not life. You are eternity, you are timelessness. You will be here and now, always and always. But don’t call it immortality, because the word ‘mortal’ comes from ‘death’. It is not immortality – it is life-less, it is death-less.

Remember always, whenever you are dropping the duality, drop the WHOLE of it. If you save half, the other half is saved automatically. If you think that you are life, then you will remain afraid of death. Then you can go on convincing yourself that you are not going to die – but you are identified with life, and you know life dies.

Life is an expression, a manifestation. Death is the energy again moving into unmanifestation. Life is one act of the energy, death is another act, but the energy is beyond acts: it is being.

Yakusan’s manner of death was a piece with his life – a great Zen master, Yakusan. When he was about to die, he yelled out, ‘The hall’s falling down! The hall’s falling down!’ The monks brought various things and began to prop it up. Yakusan threw up his hands and said, ‘None of you understand what I meant!’ and died.

‘The hall’ is based on life-and-death duality. The duality is the house, the hall. The duality is falling – that’s what Yakusan means when he says, ‘The hall is falling down.’ The dual is disappearing and the non-dual is arising… the clouds are disappearing and only the pure sky is left. That pure sky cannot be identified by any word that comes from any pair of any duality. You cannot call it light, because light is a part of darkness, a partner with darkness. You cannot call it love, because love is a partner with hate. You cannot call it man, because man is a partner with woman. You cannot call it any name, because all names are part of dualities.

Hence, Buddha is silent about it. Whenever somebody asks him, ‘What will happen to you, Sir, when you leave the body?’ he smiles. He does not say a single word – because ALL words will be wrong, inadequate. All words will be false, untrue – because all words come from the dual language. Our language is dual; the non-dual cannot be expressed. That’s why Buddha kept silent about God, about the eternal, about the ultimate – he would not say a single word.

A Ch’an story describes how the Abbot Hui-ming approached the master, Hui-neng. Hui-neng is the second great name in Zen history. The first is Bodhidharma, the second is Hui-neng – these are the two foundation-stones of the whole story of Zen. They laid down the whole structure.

Bodhidharma gave the technique, the Zen technique of meditation, zazen – sitting silently doing nothing, and the grass grows by itself. Non-doing, just witnessing, wei-wu-wei – action through inaction. For nine years he was sitting just facing a wall, this Bodhidharma – that was his technique that he gave to the world, one of the greatest. All other meditations look childish before Bodhidharma’s technique.

Hui-neng gave the koan – another great technique that is very special to Zen. Bodhidharma’s technique is not very special to Zen, it comes from Buddha. In that way Hui-neng is more of an original thinker than Bodhidharma; even Bodhidharma is not so original – Hui-neng gave the koan. ‘Koan’ means an absurd question which cannot be answered, any way you try. It is unanswerable. And one has to meditate on that unanswerable question: ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping?’ Now, one hand cannot clap. So the answer is, from the very beginning, impossible. But one has to think about it.

And Hui-neng says when you think about that which cannot be thought, by and by, slowly, slowly, thinking becomes impossible. One day, suddenly the whole structure of thinking falls to the ground, shattered. Suddenly you are in a state of no-thought. That’s what meditation is.

A Ch’an story describes how the Abbot Hui-ming approached Hui-neng, the sixth patriarch, begging for the doctrine. The patriarch said: ‘For the moment, concentrate your mind, not letting your thoughts dwell either on good or evil.’

Hui-neng, is just sitting there with his staff, ready to hit. And he says to Hui-ming, ‘Just close your eyes. For the moment, concentrate your mind, not letting your thoughts dwell either on good or evil.’ Good or evil is just one kind of duality. You can call it life and death, you can call it hate and love, or good and bad – just one kind of duality.

And Hui-neng says: I am sitting here. You just keep your mind alert, so that it does not fall a victim of the duality of good and bad. Don’t say anything is good, and don’t say anything is bad. Don’t judge. If thoughts pass, let them pass. If Buddha passes, don’t say, ‘Good, I am blessed, I have seen Buddha in my thought.’ Or if a prostitute passes, alluring you, don’t say that this is bad – ‘Why should this thought occur to me? Why should this prostitute follow me?’ Don’t call it any name. Buddha passes, let him pass, remain unconcerned. The prostitute passes, let her pass. Remain unconcerned, just remain yourself. When you are not in duality, you are yourself.

After the Abbot said that he was thus prepared, the Patriarch continued: ‘Now that you are no longer thinking of either good or evil, recall the aspect of the Abbot Ming as he was before his parents had yet brought him to life.’

Now the second question – when the Ming said, ‘I am ready now. Now I am not saying good or bad, I am clean of judgment.’

Must have been a rare man, this Ming himself – must have been meditating. He was a monk, a sannyasin, may have been meditating for years – otherwise it is not so easy. And you cannot deceive a Zen master; you cannot just pretend, ‘Yes, I have attained.’ Immediately your head will be hit hard.

A Zen master does not believe in politeness, a Zen master does not believe in etiquette, a Zen master is a very wild master. And when the Abbot said, ‘Now I am prepared,’ Hui-neng said…

‘Now that you are no longer thinking of either good or evil, recall the aspect of the Abbot Ming as he was before his parents had yet brought him to life.’

Now go backwards. Find out about yourself, who you were before you were born, what you were before you were born. Think of that consciousness, go into it.

The Abbot, under the impact of these words, abruptly entered a state of silent identification. He then did obeisance and said: ‘It is like a man who drinks water. He knows in himself whether it is cold or warm.’

Now he cannot answer; he himself cannot answer. He has tasted, he has known who he was, and who he is, and who he will be – but now he cannot say anything about it. It is unutterable, it is ineffable.

He says only one thing: ‘Sir, it is like a man who drinks water. He knows in himself whether it is cold or warm. Now I know, but I cannot tell you.’

So knows Hui-neng, but he cannot tell. So knows Buddha, but he cannot tell. So know I – but I cannot tell what exactly it is.

One thing I can say, but that will be always negative: It is neither life nor death. It is neither time nor space. It is neither body nor mind. It is neither the visible nor the invisible. It is neither good nor bad. It is neither God nor Devil. I can only negate, I can only say that which it is not.

But what it is, you will have to drink. Only when a man drinks water, he knows… whether it is cold or warm.


From Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol. 2, Chapter 6

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.



I Don’t Belong to Any Path – Osho

I took sannyas from Swami Shivand of Rishikesh after reading his book Brahmacharya and other books of his.

After some years, I was attracted to Sri Ramana Maharshi and thereafter to Sri Aurobindo due to his integral approach to the divine. From 1959 onwards I was doing meditation on the lines indicated by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

Thereafter J. Krishnamurti’s approach attracted me, now yours.

I enjoy and feel happy whenever I read Sri Aurobindo’s works, since he emphasizes living a full life and realization of Integral Divine and gives much emphasis to physical transformation.

You also emphasize not to negate life but to live fully, and have given a new meaning to sannyas.

Hence I am here to embrace this also.

I wonder whether I am on the right path or drifting?

What is this multifarious attraction in me?

Could you help me with a right path if I am drifting?

The first thing to be understood: Before one can come to the right door, one has to knock on many doors. Life is an adventure – of courage, daring, and basically it is trial and error. One has to go astray many times to come to the right path. And when I say the right path, I don’t mean that Sri Ramana’s path is not right, but it must not have been right for the questioner; otherwise there is no need.

Once you have come to the right path for you… and it is always a question of the individual, it has nothing to do with Ramana, Aurobindo or me; it is a question of you. If you have come to me and you feel at home, then your journey has finished. Now there is no need to drift any more, now you can settle and start working – because in drifting work is impossible.

It is as if you start constructing a house and just in the middle you are attracted to something else and you leave it and you start another house; and just in the middle again you are attracted to something else. Then you will live like a vagabond. The house will never be completed. One has to settle somewhere, one has to commit somewhere, one has to take the fatal decision. But it is not difficult. If you have courage, it happens.

One has to be available to many sources. It is good that you have been to Shivanand, to Ramana, to Aurobindo. It shows you have been seeking – but it also shows that nowhere could you feel at home. So the journey continues. The journey has to continue until you come to a point where you can say: Yes, I have arrived. Now there is no need for any more departures. And you can relax. Then the real work starts.

Whatsoever you have been doing is just moving from one place to another. The journey is exciting, but the journey is not the goal. One becomes enriched by the journey. You must have become enriched being open to so many sources; you must have learnt many things – but still the journey continues. Then you will have to seek again and again.

Now you are here. Try to see and try to understand: do you fit with me, or do I fit with you?

Sometimes it is possible that you may have learnt only one thing – how to drift again and again, how to go away again and again. It can become a mechanical habit. Then you will be gone from here also. So don’t allow mechanical habits to lead you. If you don’t fit with me it is perfectly good to go away, because then your being here is going to be a sheer wastage of time for you. But if you fit, then take courage and be committed – because only after the commitment does real work start, never before it.

You think you have been to Shivanand and you think you have been initiated by him, but the initiation has not happened yet, otherwise you would not have been here. Initiation means a commitment: that now one has looked all around – now this is the place to settle. Shivanand may have initiated you, but you have not taken the initiation yet. You have been just a visitor. You have not become intimate with any system of growth.

It is as if the plant has been removed from one place to another again and again. The plant cannot grow; the plant needs that it should settle on one ground so that roots can go deep. If you go on removing the plant again and again, the roots will never grow; and if roots cannot go deeper, the plant cannot go higher.

Hence commitment. Commitment means: now this is the soil for me and I am ready to settle for it. It is risky because, who knows, a better soil may be available somewhere else. So the risk is there, but one has to take that risk some day or other. If you go on and on just waiting for something better, something better, the time may be lost, and by the time you have arrived you will be dead.

The real thing is work. It is good to go around, have a look, visit many places, many people – but don’t make it a habit. That habit is dangerous. It won’t allow you roots. And if roots are not there, the tree cannot be alive, flowers are not possible; fragrance will not spread from you, your life will remain empty.

So the first thing: don’t make your past a pattern to be repeated in the future. Now you are here: don’t do the same thing to me as you have been doing to Shivanand, Ramana, Aurobindo. You don’t know what you have done.

It happened:

A great painter, James McNeill Whistler, is reported to have displayed a just-completed painting to Mark Twain.

Mark looked at the painting judiciously from a variety of angles and distances while Whistler waited impatiently for the verdict.

Finally, Mark leaned forward and, making an erasing gesture with his hand, said, “I’d eradicate that cloud if I were you.”

Whistler cried out in agony, “Careful! The paint is still wet!”

“That’s all right,” said Mark coolly, “I’m wearing gloves.”

You must be wearing gloves. You think you were initiated by Shivanand, but it has not happened. Your gloves won’t allow it. You must be living in a capsule, closed. You must be clever, logical, cunning. You have been on the alert not to be committed anywhere deeply. Hence, before the commitment happens, you move.

You say: “I took sannyas from Swami Shivanand of Rishikesh after reading his book, Brahmacharya, and other books of his.”

Now, if you are impressed by a book written on brahmacharya, it shows much about you. You must have something of a problem concerning sex. It has nothing to do with brahmacharya or Shivanand. You must be obsessed somehow with sex – hence the appeal of brahmacharya. You must have been repressing sex. You must have been brought up with wrong ideas about sex; hence you become impressed by Shivanand’s book on celibacy.

It is not that you are impressed by Shivanand – you are still following your own mind. You could not surrender to him. The phenomenon that you call initiation was intellectual; by reading the books, not by being in the presence of the master. You must be an intellectual, calculating, theorizing. This won’t allow you to move in a deep relationship – and the relationship between a master and a disciple is the deepest, deeper than the relationship between a lover and the beloved.

You may have been impressed by what Shivanand has written, but deep down you search for it again and again. It is not Shivanand that you are impressed, influenced by. You have certain ideas in your mind; wherever you find those ideas appreciated, you feel good. With me it is going to be dangerous. I am not going to appreciate any of your ideas; they are all rubbish. I say that even without knowing what your ideas are, because that is not needed. Unless you are aware, all your ideas are rubbish. So it is not a question of saying that this idea is rubbish and that is good. To me, all thoughts are rubbish; only awareness is valuable. And awareness has no ideas in it. It is a simple, pure light of consciousness.

So it is going to be difficult with me. You may have come to the man now who can shake and shock you. With Shivanand, you thought you were with Shivanand, but basically, deep down, you felt that Shivanand was with you; that’s why you lingered there a little while. This is not going to be so here with me. I am not going to be with you, remember; you have to be with me. I am not going to be with you, I repeat, you have to be with me.

So I am not going to fulfill your expectations in any way. If you have theories, I am against them already without knowing them, because I am against mind and my whole emphasis is how to become a no-mind.

But the questioner seems to be too much in the head: then he became interested in Sri Aurobindo, “because he emphasizes living a full life and realization of the integral divine.” You have some fixed ideas, so whosoever seems to be following your ideas you become impressed by. In fact, you remain impressed only with your own ego. You have been playing an ego game. You have been on an ego trip – that’s why Shivanand, Ramana, Aurobindo, nobody could help you.

As far as I know, if somebody comes back from Ramana, then there must be something very deeply wrong. With Shivanand it is not much of a problem, with Aurobindo also it is not much of a problem. Shivanand is just ordinary. Aurobindo is a great intellectual – a mahapundit, a great scholar. So if somebody comes away, nothing is lost; you have not lost much because there was nothing in the first place to be gained. But if you have come away from Ramana, that shows something deep like a cancer in your soul, because persons like Ramana are very rare – thousands of years pass, then sometimes that quality of being arises. Ramana is like a Buddha, a Jesus, or a Krishna – a very rare phenomenon. But I know why you could not get in tune with Ramana – because of your Shivanands and your Aurobindos. To get in tune with a Ramana means to drop your ego completely. Great courage is needed.

Now you are here. If you are really a seeker, then gather courage and drop the ego and the past. Forget the past; it has been nothing but a nightmare. And don’t go on repeating it; otherwise, you can go on repeating to the very end of time, changing from one person to another. This can become a habit; this shows simply your restlessness. Otherwise to come back from Krishnamurti would have been almost impossible. There is no need.

So now become aware of your basic trouble: something in you is betraying your whole effort; something in you is continuously causing clouds around your intelligence. Your awareness is not sharp.

It happened:

The little girl was invited to dinner one night at the home of a friend. The hostess, knowing that many children don’t like spinach, asked if she liked it.

“Oh yes,” the little girl replied. ”I love it.”

When the platter was passed, however, she refused to take any.

“But, dear,” said the hostess, “I thought you said you liked spinach.”

“Oh, I do,” explained the child, “but not enough to eat it.”

Going to Shivanand, Aurobindo, Ramana, Krishnamurti – and you have some idea that you like and you love these people, but your liking is not enough. You don’t love enough; otherwise you would have eaten them and they would have transformed you.

Become aware! As it is you have wasted a long time already. You can also go from this door empty-handed, but remember, the responsibility is yours. If you take courage I am ready to give you whatsoever can be given. But for visitors nothing can be given, and even if it is given they will not be able to understand.

If you are tired of your journey, going from one place to another, from one person to another, if you are really tired, then here I am ready to give you whatsoever you are seeking – but you will have to fulfill one condition, and that is: a total commitment. Unless you become part of my family, nothing can be given. I would like to give you something even then, but you will not be able to take it; or, even if you take it, you will think it is nothing – because your mind will continuously befog you. It won’t allow you to understand, it won’t allow you to see directly. It won’t allow you to see what type of game you have been playing with yourself.

Up to now it has been a drifting. Become aware how much you have wasted. Many opportunities were there but you have missed them. Now don’t miss this opportunity! But I know: the mind gets in a rut, it becomes a pattern. You go on repeating the same thing again and again, because you become very efficient in repeating it. Now get out of that vicious circle. I am ready to help if you are ready to take my help. And such a help as this cannot be forced on you. You have to take it or not take it. Your freedom has to decide it; it is your choice.

And don’t ask: What is the right path? All paths are right or wrong. It is not a question of deciding which path is right. The only thing to be decided is which path fits you. Of course, Ramana has a certain path – very simple, absolutely nonintellectual. The head was not required at all on that path; the head was to be dropped. If you had allowed him, you would have been beheaded by him. The head was not part of his path. It is a path of the heart.

Just the opposite is Krishnamurti. The path is absolutely true, but the head has to be used and transcended, not to be dropped. That’s why Krishnamurti appeals tremendously to intellectuals – nothing of the heart; everything is analysis, dissection. He is a great surgeon; he goes on dissecting. You give him any problem – he does not, in fact, answer it; he simply dissects it. And if you are listening with deep participation, sympathy, it will be possible that through his dissection he gives you an insight – not the answer, but the insight – and that is your insight. He simply dissects the problem. He is a rare intellectual man; gone beyond intellect, but has gone through it. Ramana bypasses intellect, he never passes through the intellect; his path is of the heart. Krishnamurti’s path is of intellect, of the head, of understanding, dissection, analysis.

Shivanand is not yet enlightened. He has no path – stumbling in the dark. A traditional man, he can make you knowledgeable, but he cannot help you towards the ultimate understanding. A good man, a very good man, but just a good man, not yet a Jesus or a Buddha, not yet a Krishnamurti or Ramana – a simple man. If he becomes enlightened some day in some life, he will be like Ramana – his path will not be of the head. But he is not yet realized.

And then there is Aurobindo: his path is as yet the path of an unenlightened person, moving towards it but yet in the dark. The morning is not very far away, but it has not happened yet. If some day it happens, then he will be a man like Krishnamurti; he will go through the head – a great scholar, he has much appeal for those who like logic-chopping, hair-splitting.

And here I am: all paths are mine, or no path is mine. I am more concerned with individuals. When you come to me, I don’t have a certain path to give you. I look at you to find which path will be suitable for you. I have no fixed path; I have wandered on all the paths, and all paths are true. If it fits, then any path can lead you to the ultimate. If it doesn’t fit, then you can go on struggling, fighting, but nothing is going to happen; you are trying to pass through a wall. You will be hurt, wounded, that’s all; nothing is going to happen.

I don’t belong to any path, hence all paths belong to me. And I am more concerned with the individual seeker. If I see that devotion, worship, prayer, will be helpful to you, I teach you that. If I see meditation will be helpful to you, I teach that. If I see that just understanding, pure awareness, will be helpful, I teach that. If I feel that awareness is going to make you very tense, does not fit with your type, then I teach you to be lost completely in something, absorbed completely in something. Dancing, get into it so much that you become the dance and there is nobody watching it; don’t create any separation and division between you, become the act.

Hence I am going to be very, very contradictory, because to one person I will say something, to another I will say something else, sometimes even just the opposite, diametrically opposite. So whatsoever I have said to you, somebody may come and say to you: Osho has said something else to me. Don’t listen to anybody. Whatsoever I have said to you, I have said to you. Otherwise, you will be confused.

Millions of paths go towards God. In fact there is nowhere else to go. Wherever you are going, you are going towards God. All paths lead to him. But when you are seeking, only one path can lead you. If you start walking on all paths together, you will be lost. One has to choose a path. So please don’t repeat your old pattern.

Now it will be very difficult. I am hurting your ego knowingly – because when I say Aurobindo is not enlightened, I immediately can feel what is happening to you. It is not a question of Aurobindo – whether he is enlightened or not enlightened, who bothers? It is his problem; it is not my problem, it is not your problem. But if you have been following Aurobindo and I say he has not yet become enlightened, your ego is hurt. You, and following an unenlightened person? – never, it is not possible!

When I say Shivanand is good but ordinary, mediocre, of course you will feel hurt because you have been initiated by Shivanand, and how is it possible? – You, so intelligent, being initiated by a mediocre man? No, it is going to hurt, but I do it knowingly.

I will create every sort of trouble for you so that if you stay, you really stay. If you decide to stay, it will be a real decision to stay with me. I am going to be hard. Shivanand, Ramana, Krishnamurti, Aurobindo, it seems, have been too compassionate towards you; hence you could drift.

I will make every effort so that you can go away. I will create a struggle within you, a friction, because that is the only way now; otherwise your old habit will go on functioning. If you come and ask for sannyas from me, I am not going to give it to you easily… because you have been taking things very easily. This sannyas is going to be arduous.


From The Search, Chapter Four

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Aurobindo, Krishnamurti and Ramana Maharshi – Osho

This talk was from a series that was originally given in Hindi and subsequently translated into English.

Questioner: Shree Arvind (Aurobindo) has written a commentary on the Geeta in which he talks about the relationship between the creation and its perception. From one point of view it is reality that is important, and from another its perception is important. In his concept of the supramental he believes that divine consciousness is going to descend on this earth, but this concept of his seems to be dualistic. What do you say? And do you think that Raman Maharshi’s concept of ajatvad, of unborn reality, is closer to you and to Chaitanya’s concept of achintya bhedabhedvad, or unthinkable dualistic non-dualism?….

All Arvind’s (Aurobindo) talk of supraconsciousness and the supramental is within the confines of the rational mind. He never goes beyond reason. Even when he speaks about the transcendence of reason, he uses rationalistic concepts. Arvind is a rationalist. Everything he says and the words and concepts he uses to say it belong to the grammar of rationalism. There is a great consistency in the statements of Arvind which is not there in statements from supra-rationalism. You cannot find the same logical consistency in the statements of mystics. A mystic speaks in terms of contradictions and paradoxes. He says one word and soon contradicts it by another word that follows it. A mystic is self-contradictory. Arvind never contradicts himself.

Arvind is a great system-maker, and a system maker can never be a supra-rational. A system is made with the help of reason. Supra-rational people are always unsystematic; they don’t have a system. System is integral to logic; that which is illogical cannot follow a methodology or order.

The unthinkable cannot be systematized. All the thinkers of this century who have crossed the threshold of reason are fragmentary in their statements; none of them followed a logical order. Wittgenstein, Husserl, Heidegger, Marlo Ponti and the rest of them, have made fragmentary statements. Krishnamurti belongs to the same category which denies system, order. Their statements are atomic, and they contradict themselves.

Arvind’s case is very different. The truth is, after Shankara there has been no greater system-builder in India than Arvind. But this is what makes for the weakness and poverty of his philosophy. He is very skilled in playing with words, concepts and theories. But the irony is that the reality of life is far beyond words, concepts and doctrines. His trouble is that he was wholly educated in the West where he learned Aristotelian logic, Darwinian Theory of Evolution and the scientific way of thinking.

His mind is wholly western; no one in India today is more western in his way of thinking than Arvind.

And ironically he chose to interpret the eastern philosophy, with the result that he reduced the whole thing into a system. The East has no logical system. All its profound insights transcend logic and thought; they cannot be achieved through thinking. Eastern experiences go beyond the known. The knower and knowledge itself; they all belong to the unknown and the unknowable – what we call mystery. And Arvind applies his western mind to interpret the transmental experiences and insights of the East. He divides them into categories and makes a system out of them, which no other eastern person could have done.

So while Arvind always talks of the unthinkable he uses the instrument of thought and the thinkable throughout. Consequently his unthinkable is nothing but a bundle of words. If Arvind had the experience of the unthinkable he could not have categorized it, because it defies all categories. One who really knows the unthinkable cannot live with categories and concepts.

Curiously enough, Arvind creates concepts out of things that have never been conceptualized. His concept of the supramental is a case in point. But he goes on fabricating categories and concepts and fitting them into logic and reason. And he does it without any inhibitions.

The other part of your question is relevant in this context. In a sense, no religious thinking subscribes to the concept of evolution.

In this respect, we can divide the religions of the world into two groups. One group believes in the theory of creation with a beginning and an end, and the other believes in an existence that has no beginning and no end. Hinduism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism believe in creation; they believe that God created the universe. The other group of religions like Jainism and Buddhism, deny the theory of creation; according to them, that which is, is beginningless. It was never created.

All those who believe in creation cannot accept the theory of evolution. If they accept it, it would mean God created an incomplete world which developed gradually to its present state. But how can a perfect God create an imperfect world? Evolution means that the world grows gradually, and creation means that the whole world comes into being altogether.

It is significant that originally the word shristhi, meaning creation, belonged to the Hindus, and prakriti, meaning pre-creation, belonged to the Jainas and Buddhists and Sankhyaites. In the course of time, however, they got mixed up. But the Hindus cannot accept the word prakriti, which means that which is is there from the time before creation, that which is uncreated, which is eternal.

Creation means something which was not always there and which was created and which can be terminated.

The concept of the pre-created, the uncreated, of prakriti, belongs to an altogether different school which does not believe in creation. Sankhyaites, Jainas, and Buddhists don’t have the concept of a creator because when nothing is created, the question of a creator does not arise. So God disappeared, he has no place in their philosophies. God is needed only in the form of a creator, and so those who rejected creation also rejected God. God as creator belongs only to those who accept the idea of creation.

Arvind brought with him the idea of evolution from the West. When Arvind was a student in England, Darwin’s ideas were sweeping across Europe. Evidently he was very much influenced by them.

After his return to India he studied eastern philosophy, and studied it deeply. I deliberately use the word ”studied” to say that he did not know the truth on his own, his knowledge was merely intellectual. Although he possessed a sharp intellect, his direct experience of truth was very dim.

Consequently he produced a crossbreed of eastern mysticism and western rationalism, which is an anomaly. India’s psyche is not much concerned with the study of nature, matter and their evolution, it is basically concerned with the understanding of mind and spirit. The meeting of the western thought of evolution with the eastern understanding of the psyche gave rise to a strange idea of psychic evolution, which became Arvind’s lifework. Like nature, he thought consciousness evolves too.

Arvind added something new to the idea of evolution which is his own, and for this very reason it is utterly wrong. Very often original ideas are wrong, because they happen to be the finding of a single person. It is true that traditional beliefs, in the course of time, degenerate into fossils, but they have a validity of their own because millions of people go out to find them. This new idea which built Arvind’s reputation concerns the descent of divine consciousness.

Down the centuries we have believed that man has to rise and ascend to God; it is always an upward journey, an ascent. Arvind thinks otherwise: he thinks that God will descend and meet man. In a way this is also like the two sides of a coin. The truth happens to be exactly in the middle. That truth is that both man and God move towards each other and meet somewhere midway. This meeting always happens somewhere midway, but the old idea emphasized man’s efforts – and not without reason. As far as God is concerned, he is always available to man providing man wants to meet him. That much is certain, and therefore God can be left out of this consideration. But it is not certain that man will make a move to meet God. So it mostly depends on man and his journey towards God, his efforts. God’s journey towards man can be taken for granted. Too much emphasis on God moving toward man is likely to weaken man’s efforts.

Arvind starts from the wrong end when he says that God is going to descend on us. But he has great appeal to people who are not interested in doing anything on their own. They took enthusiastically to Arvind’s idea of the descent of the supramental energy and they rushed to Pondicherry. In recent years more Indians have gone to Pondicherry than anywhere else. There, God could be had for a song. They need not move a finger, because God on his own was on his way to them. There could not be a cheaper bargain than this. And when God descends he will descend on one and all; he will not make any distinctions. Many people believe that Arvind alone, sitting in seclusion at Pondicherry, will work for it and divine energy will be available to all, like the river Ganges was available when it was brought to earth by Bhagirath. Arvind is to be another Bhagirath, and at a much higher level. It has put a premium on man’s greed and led to a lot of illusions.

I think that is a very wrong idea. It is true God descends, but he descends only on those who ascend to him. A great deal depends on the individual and his efforts. Divine energy descends on those who prepare themselves for it, who deserve it. And there is no reason for God to be collectively available to one and all. In fact, God is always available, but only to those who aspire and strive for him. And it is always the individual, not a collective or a society, who walks the path to God. And he has to go all alone. And if God is going to descend on all, why do you think he will exclude animals, trees and rocks?

The experiment that is in process at Pondicherry is utterly meaningless; there has not been a more meaningless experiment in man’s history. It is a waste of effort, but it goes on because it is very comforting to our greed.

In this context, the questioner has remembered Raman who is just the opposite of Arvind. While Arvind is a great scholar, Raman has nothing to do with scholarship. Arvind is very knowledgeable, he is well informed; Raman is utterly unscholarly, you cannot come across a more unscholarly man than him. While Arvind seems to be all-knowing, Raman is preparing for the non-knowing state; he does not seem to know a thing. That is why man’s highest potentiality is actualized in Raman, and Arvind has missed it. Arvind remains just knowledgeable; Raman really knows the truth. Raman attained to self-knowledge, not knowledge. So his statements are straight and simple, free from the jargon of scriptures and scholarship. Raman is poor in language and logic, but his richness of experience, of being, is immense; as such he is incomparable.

Raman is not a system-maker like Arvind. His statements are atomic; they are just like sutras, aphorisms. He does not have much to say, and he says only that which he knows. Even his words are not enough to say what he really knows. Raman’s whole teaching can be collected on a postcard, not even a full page will be needed. And if you want to make a collection of Arvind’s writings, they will fill a whole library. And it is not that Arvind has said all that he wanted to say. He will have to be born again and again to say it all; he had too much to say. This does not mean that he did not bother to attain real knowing because he had already so much to say. No, this was not the difficulty.

Buddha had much to say and he said it. Buddha was like Raman so far as his experience of truth was concerned, and he was like Arvind in general knowledge. Mahavira has said little, he spent most of his time in silence. His statements are few and far between; they are telegraphic. In his statements Mahavira resembles Raman. Digambaras, one of the two Jaina sects, don’t have any collection of his teachings, while the Shwetambaras have a few scriptures which were compiled five hundred years after Mahavira’s death.

Questioner: You compare Raman with Buddha who happened in distant past. Why not compare him with Krishnamurti, who is so close by?

The question of being close or distant does not arise. Krishnamurti is exactly like Raman. I compare Arvind with Raman and Buddha for a special reason. In the experience of truth, Krishnamurti is very much like Raman, but he lags behind Arvind in knowledge. Of course, he is more articulate and logical than Raman. And there is a great difference between Krishnamurti and Arvind in so far as the use of logic and reason is concerned.

Arvind uses logic to reinforce his arguments; Krishnamurti uses logic to destroy logic; he makes full use of reason in order to lead you beyond reason. But he is not much knowledgeable. That is why I chose Buddha as an example; he compares well with Arvind in knowledge and with Raman in self-knowledge.

As far as Krishnamurti is concerned, he is like Raman in transcendental experience, but he is not scholarly like Arvind.

There is yet another difference between Raman and Krishnamurti. While Raman’s statements are very brief, Krishnamurti’s statements are voluminous. But in spite of their large volume, Krishnamurti’s teachings can be condensed in a brief statement. For forty years Krishnamurti has been repeating the same thing over and over again. His statements can be condensed to a postcard.

But because he uses reason in his statements, they grow in volume. Raman is precise and brief; he avoids volume. You can say that the statements of both Krishnamurti and Raman are atomic, but while Krishnamurti embellishes them with arguments, Raman does not. Raman speaks, like the seers of the Upanishads, in aphorisms. The Upanishads just proclaim: the Brahman, the supreme is; they don’t bother to advance any argument in their support. They make bare statements that, “It is so” and “It is not so.” Raman can be compared with the Upanishadic rishis.

Questioner: Please tell us something about Raman’s ajatvad or the principle of no-birth.

According to Raman and people like him, that which is has no beginning, it was never born, it is unborn. The same thing has always been said in another way: that which is will never die, it is deathless, it is immortal. There are hundreds of statements which proclaim the immortality of Brahman, the ultimate, who is without beginning and without end. Only that which is never born can be immortal, that which is beginningless. This is Raman’s way of describing the eternal.

Do you know when you were born? You don’t. Yes, there are records of your birth which others have kept, and through them that you came to know that you were born on a certain date, month and year. This is just information received from others. Apart from this information you have no way to know that you were born. There is no intrinsic, inbuilt source of information within you which can tell you about it; you have no evidence whatsoever to support the fact of your birth. The truth of your innermost being is eternal, so the question of its birth does not arise. In fact, you were never born; you are as eternal as eternity.

You say you will die someday, but how do you know it? Do you know what death is? Do you have any experience of death? No, you will say you have seen others die, and so you infer that you too will die someday. But suppose we arrange things and it is quite possible, that a certain person is not allowed to see any other person die. Can he know on his own that he is ever going to die? He cannot. So it is just your conjecture, based on external evidence that you will die in some future.

There is no internal evidence, no intrinsic source of knowledge within you which can sustain your conjecture that you will die. That is why a strange thing happens, that in spite of so many deaths taking place all around, no one really believes that he is going to die; he believes while others will die he is going to live. Your innermost being knows no birth and no death; it is eternal. You only know that you are.

Raman asks you not to guess, but find out for yourself if there is really birth and death. You have no inner evidence in support of birth and death; the only dependable evidence available within you says, “I am.”

I too, say to you there is every evidence that makes you know, “I am.” And if you go still deeper you will know, “I am not.” Then you will know only a state of “am ness” within you.

– Osho

Excerpted from: Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy, Chapter 14.

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

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