Thought Birth Control – Osho

The road that leads to samsara, to the world, is the same as the road that leads to the self. Only the direction is different. What has been in front of you for so long will now be behind you and you will have to direct your sight to what was at your back. The road is the same. We must simply turn, do an about-face. We must turn our backs on what we were facing and face that which was at our backs.

Please ask yourself where your face is turned now. What are you seeing? In what direction is the current of your vision, of your consciousness, flowing? Experience it. Observe it. You will find it is flowing outwardly. All your thoughts are about the world outside. All the time you are thinking about external things, about the world outside. When your eyes are open you see outside; when they are closed you see the same outside – because the forms and images of outside things that are imprinted on the mind rise up and surround us even when our eyes are closed. There is a world of objects outside and inside us there is another world of thoughts, the echo of outside things. Although it is inside this other world it is also outside, because the “I”, the ego, is outside as well. The witness also sees the “I”, the ego, so, therefore, that too is outside.

We are surrounded by objects and by thoughts, but you will see on deeper consideration that being encircled by objects is no hindrance on the path of self-realization, while being surrounded by thoughts is an obstacle. Can objects encircle the soul? Objects can only encircle objects. The soul is surrounded by thoughts. The current of vision, of consciousness, flows towards thoughts. Thoughts and thoughts alone are in front of us everywhere and our sight is curtained by them.

We must turn our faces from thoughts towards thoughtlessness. But this change of direction is revolutionary! How can it be done? First we must know how thoughts are born and only then can we stop them from coming into being. Generally so-called seekers begin to suppress thoughts before they understand how they are born. Some of them may go crazy trying but none of them; will ever be free of thoughts. The suppression of thoughts does not help because new thoughts arise every moment. They are like those giants of mythology who, when one head was lopped off, grew ten more.

I do not ask you to destroy thoughts because they die of their own accord every moment. Thoughts are very short-lived; no thought endures for long. A particular thought does not last long but the thought-process does. Thoughts die one after another but the flow of thoughts persists. No sooner does one thought die than another takes its place. This process takes place very quickly and this is the problem. It is not the death of a thought but its quick rebirth that is the real problem. Therefore I do not ask you to kill thoughts. I want you to understand the process of their birth and how you can rid yourselves of this process. One who comprehends the process of the birth of thoughts can easily be freed from it. But one who does not understand the process goes on creating fresh thoughts and at the same time tries to resist them. Instead of thoughts coming to an end, the consequence is that the person fighting them breaks down himself.

Again I repeat: thoughts are not the problem but the birth of thoughts is the problem. How they are born is the problem. If we can stop their coming into being, if we can exercise thought birth-control, the thoughts that have already been born will disappear in a moment. Thoughts die out every second but their total destruction does not happen because new thoughts spring up incessantly. I say it is not that we have to destroy thoughts but that we have to stop their coming into being. Stopping their birth is as good as their destruction. We all know that the mind is fickle. But what does this mean? It means that no thought endures for long. It is born and it passes away. If we can only stop its birth we will be saved from the violence involved in killing it and it will die of its own accord.

How is thought born? The conception and birth of a thought is the result of our reaction to the outside world. There is a world of events and objects outside and our reaction to this world is alone responsible for the birth of thoughts. I look at a flower. Looking is not thinking and if I simply go on looking no thought will be created. But if as soon as I look at it I say, “It is a very beautiful flower,” a thought has been born. If on the other hand I continue looking at the flower I will experience and enjoy its beauty, but no thought will be born. But as soon as we have an experience we begin to express it in words. With this expression of experience through the symbols of words, thought comes into being.

I am looking at you, and if I just keep on looking at you without expressing it in words, what will happen? As you are now you cannot even imagine what will happen. There will be a great revolution, the likes of which has never been seen before. Words get in the way and stop that revolution from taking place. The birth of thoughts hinders that revolution. If I keep on looking at you and do not give it any expression in words, if I simply keep on looking I will find during the process that a wonderful and divine grace descends upon me and that a quality of emptiness, of the void, is spreading all around. And in this emptiness, in this absence of words, the direction of consciousness takes a new turning and then I do not see only you but even the one who watches over us all gradually begins to appear. There is a new awakening on the horizon of our consciousness, as if we are waking from a dream, and our minds are filled with pure light and infinite peace.


Excerpted from The Perfect Way, Chapter 2

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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


What is Beyond Enlightenment? – Osho

What is beyond enlightenment?

Maneesha, beyond enlightenment is only beyondness. Enlightenment is the last host. Beyond it, all boundaries disappear, all experiences disappear. Experience comes to its utmost in enlightenment; it is the very peak of all that is beautiful, of all that is immortal, of all that is blissful — but it is an experience. Beyond enlightenment there is no experience at all, because the experiencer has disappeared. Enlightenment is not only the peak of experience; it is also the finest definition of your being. Beyond it, there is only nothingness; you will not come again to a point which has to be transcended.

Experience, the experiencer, enlightenment — all have been left behind. You are part of the tremendous nothingness that is infinite. This is the nothingness out of which the whole existence comes, the womb; and this is the nothingness in which all the existence disappears.

Science has something parallel; there is bound to be something parallel. The spiritual experience is of the interior world, and science is the exploration of the exterior. But both are wings of the same existence — the inwardness and the outwardness — they always have similar points.

Scientists have come to a strange conclusion in this century, that a few stars suddenly disappear… and stars are not small things; they are not so small as they look to you. They look small because they are so far away, millions of light years away, but they are huge.

Our sun is a star, but of a mediocre size, medium size. In comparison to the earth it is vast, but in comparison to other stars it is a small, medium-sized star. There are stars which are a thousand times bigger than the sun.

And in this century, for the first time we had the instruments of observation and we were very much puzzled: suddenly a star disappears, not even leaving a trace behind of where it has gone. Such a huge phenomenon, and not even footprints — in what direction has it gone? It has just moved simply into nothingness. This was happening continually.

It took almost twenty years to figure out this new phenomenon: that in existence there are black holes. You cannot see them, but they have tremendous gravitation. Even the biggest star, if it comes within their radius of magnetism, will be pulled in. And once it is pulled into a black hole, it disappears. It is the ultimate death. We can only see the effect; we cannot see the black hole, we only see that one star is disappearing.

After the black hole was almost an established theory, scientists started thinking that there must be something like a white hole — there has to be. If it is possible that in a certain gravitation, magnetic force, a big star simply disappears out of existence…. We have been aware that every day stars are born. From where are they coming? – Nobody has asked it before.

In fact, birth we always take for granted; nobody asks from where the babies are coming.

Death we never accept, because we are so much afraid of it.

There is not a single philosophy in the whole history of man which thinks about where the babies come from, but there are philosophies and philosophies thinking about what is dead, where people go on disappearing to, what happens after death.

In my whole life I have come across millions of people, and not a single person has asked what happens before birth — and thousands have asked what happens after death. I have always been thinking, why is birth taken without any question? Why is death not taken in the same way?

We were aware for centuries, almost three centuries, that stars are being born every day—big stars, huge stars — and nobody raised the question, “From where are these stars coming?” But when we came to know about the black holes and we saw the stars disappearing, then the second question became almost an absolute necessity. If black holes can take stars into nothingness, then there must be something like white holes where things… stars come out of nothingness.

I am reminded…. Mulla Nasruddin had applied for a post on a ship. He was interviewed.

The captain and the high officials of the ship were sitting in a room. Mulla entered. The captain asked, “If the seas are in a turmoil, winds are strong, waves are huge and mountainous, what are you going to do to save the ship? It is tossed from here to there….” Mulla Nasruddin said, “It is not much of a problem: I will just drop a huge anchor to keep the ship stable against the winds, against the waves. It is not much of a problem.”

The captain again said, “Suppose another mountainous wave comes and the ship is going to be drowned; what are you going to do?”

He said, “Nothing—another huge anchor.”

The captain looked at him and asked a third time, “Suppose it is a great typhoon and it is impossible to save the ship. What are you going to do?”

He said, “Nothing, the same—a huge anchor.”

The captain said, “From where are you getting these huge anchors?”

He said, “From the same place. From where are you getting these great, mountainous waves, strong winds?—from the same place. You go on getting them; I will go on getting bigger and bigger anchors.”

If there are holes in existence where things simply disappear into non-existence, then there must be holes from where things appear from nothingness — and just a little imagination is needed. Scientists have not worked on it yet.

My suggestion is that a black hole is like a door: from one side it is a black door, a black hole—things go into it and disappear into nothingness. And from the other side of the tunnel—it is the same door, just from the other side — it is a white hole; things are born again, renewed. It is the same womb.

Beyond enlightenment you enter into nothingness.

Experience disappears, experiencer disappears.

Just pure nothingness remains, utter silence.

Perhaps this is the destiny of every human being, sooner or later to be achieved.

We don’t know yet whether there is a white hole or not—there must be.

Just as you enter beyond enlightenment into nothingness, there must be a possibility of coming out of nothingness back into form, back into existence—renewed, refreshed, luminous—on a totally different plane. Because nothing is destroyed, things can only go into a dormant state; things can go only into deep sleep. Then in the morning they wake up again. This is how the existence goes on.

In the West, this idea has never happened in the two thousand years’ history of philosophy. They only think of this creation: “Who created this?” and they get into troubles because whatever the answer is, it is going to create more questions.

In the East we have a conception of circles of existence and non-existence, just like day and night. Creation is followed by de-creation, everything goes into nothingness, just as day is followed by night and everything goes into darkness. And the period is going to be the same: as long as the creation is, so is the resting period going to be; and again there will be a creation of a higher order.

And this will go on from eternity to eternity — creation, de-creation, creation, again de-creation—but each time the morning is more beautiful. Each dawn is more colorful, more alive; the birds are singing better, the flowers are bigger, with more fragrance.

And the East has a tremendous courage of accepting the idea that this will go on forever and forever. There has never been any beginning, and there will be no end.

After enlightenment, you have to disappear. The world is left behind, the body is left behind, the mind is left behind; just your consciousness, as individuality, is still there.

To go beyond enlightenment is to go beyond individuality and to become universal. This way, each individual will go on moving into nothingness. And one day, the whole existence moves into nothingness and a great peace, a great night, a deep, dark womb, a great awaiting for the dawn…. And it has been happening always, and each time you are always born on a higher level of consciousness.

Enlightenment is the goal of human beings. But those who are enlightened cannot remain static; they will have to move, they will have to change. And now they have only one thing to lose—themselves.

They have enjoyed everything. They have enjoyed the purity of individuality; now they have to enjoy the disappearing of individuality. They have seen the beauty of individuality; now they have to see the disappearance and its beauty, and the silence that follows, that abysmal serenity that follows.


From Beyond Enlightenment, Chapter One

Beyond Enlightenment

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Transcending the Seven Bodies – Osho

You said we have seven bodies: an etheric body, a mental body and so on. Sometimes it is difficult to adjust the Indian language to the terms of Western Psychology. We have no theory for this in the West, so how can we translate these different bodies into our language? The spiritual is no problem, but the etheric? The astral?

The words can be translated, but from sources where you haven’t looked for them. Jung was better than Freud as far as the search beyond superficial consciousness is concerned, but Jung too is just a beginning. You can get more of a glimpse of what is meant by these things from Steiner’s Anthroposophy or from Theosophical writings: Madame Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine, Isis Unveiled and other works, or the works of Annie Besant, Leadbeater, Colonel Alcott. You can get a glimpse from Rosicrucian doctrines. There is also a great Hermetic tradition in the West, as well as the secret writings of the Essenes, the Hermetic fraternity by whom Christ was initiated. And more recently, Gurdjieff and Ouspensky can be of help. So something can be found in fragments, and these fragments can be put together.

And what I have said I have said in your terminology. I have used only one word that is not part of Western terminology: the nirvanic. The other six terms – the physical, the etheric, the astral, the mental, the spiritual and the cosmic – are not Indian. They belong to the West as well. In the West the seventh has never been talked about, not because there were no persons who knew about it, but because the seventh is impossible to communicate.

If you find these terms difficult, then you can simply use “the first,” ”the second,” “the third” and so on. Don’t use any terms to describe them; just describe them. The description will be enough; terminology is of no consequence.

These seven can be approached from so many directions. As far as dream is concerned, Freud’s, Jung’s and Adler’s terms can be used. What they know as the conscious is the first body. The unconscious is the second – not exactly the same, but near enough to it. What they call the collective unconscious is the third – again, not exactly the same but something approximate to it. And if there are no common terms in usage, new terms can be coined. That is always better, in fact, because new terms have no old connotations. When a new term is used, because you have no previous association with it, it becomes more significant and is understood more deeply. So you can coin new words.

The etheric means that which is concerned with the sky and with space. The astral means the minutest, the sukshma, the last one, the atomic, beyond which matter ceases to exist. For the mental there are no difficulties. For the spiritual there are no difficulties. For the cosmic too there are no difficulties.

Then you come to the seventh, the nirvanic. Nirvanic means total cessation, the absolute void. Not even the seed exists now; everything has ceased. Linguistically the word means extinction of the flame. The flame has gone out; the light is turned off. Then you cannot ask where it has gone. It has just ceased to be.

Nirvana means the flame that has gone out. Now it is nowhere, or everywhere. It has no particular point of existence and no particular time or moment of existence. Now it is space itself, time itself. It is existence or non-existence; it makes no difference. Because it is everywhere, you can use either term. If it is SOMEwhere it cannot be everywhere, and if it is everywhere it cannot be SOMEwhere, so nowhere and everywhere mean the same thing. So for the seventh body you will have to use ‘nirvanic’, because there is no better word for it.

Words in themselves have no meaning at all. Only experiences have meaning. Only if you have experienced something of these seven bodies will it be meaningful to you. To help you, there are different methods to be used on each plane.

Begin from the physical. Then every other step opens for you. The moment you work on the first body, you have glimpses of the second. So begin from the physical. Be aware of it moment to moment; and not only outwardly aware. You can become aware of your body from the inside also.

I can become aware of my hand as I have seen it from the outside, but there is an inner feeling to it too. When I close my eyes the hand is not seen, but there is still an inner feeling of something being there. So do not be aware of your body as seen from the outside. This cannot lead you inward. The inner feeling is quite different.

When you feel the body from within, you will know for the first time what it is to be inside the body. When you see it only from the outside you cannot know its secrets. You know only the outer boundaries, how it looks to others. If I see my body from the outside, I see it as it looks to others, but I have not known it as it is for me. You can see my hand from the outside and I can see it. It is something objective. You can share the knowledge of it with me. But my hand, looked at in that way, is not known inwardly. It has become public property. You can know it as well as I.

Only the moment I see it from within does it become mine in a way that is unsharable. You cannot know it; you cannot know how I feel it from within. Only I can know it. The body that is known to us is not our body. It is the body that is objectively known to all, the body that a physician can know in a laboratory. It is not the body that is. Only private, personal knowing can lead you inward; public knowledge cannot. That is why physiology or psychology, which are observations from without, have not led to a knowledge of our inner bodies. It is only the physical body that they know about.

So many dilemmas have been created because of this. One may feel beautiful from within, but we can force him to believe that he is ugly. If we are collectively agreed upon it, he may also come to agree. But no one feels ugly within. The inner feeling is always of beauty.

This outer feeling is not really a feeling at all. It is just a fashion, a criterion imposed from without.

A person who is beautiful in one society may be ugly in another; a person who is beautiful in one period of history may not be in another. But the innermost feeling is always of beauty, so if there were no outside criteria there would be no ugliness. We have a fixed image of beauty that everyone shares. That is why there is ugliness and beauty, otherwise not. If we all become blind, no one will be ugly. Everyone will be beautiful.

So the feeling of the body from within is the first step. In different situations the body will feel different from within. When you are in love, you have a particular inner feeling; when you experience hate, the inner feeling is different. If you ask Buddha he will say, “Love is beauty,” because in his inner feeling he knows that when he is loving he is beautiful. When there is hatred, anger, jealousy, something happens inwardly that makes you begin to feel ugly. So you will feel yourself to be different in different situations, in different moments, in different states of mind.

When you are feeling lazy, there is a difference from when you are feeling active. When you are sleepy, there is a difference. These differences must be distinctly known. Only then do you become acquainted with the inner life of your body. Then you know the inner history, the inner geography of yourself in childhood, in youth, in old age.

The moment one becomes aware of his body from within, the second body automatically comes into view. This second body will be known from the outside now. If you know the first body from the inside, then you will become aware of the second body from the outside.

From outside the first body you can never know the second body, but from inside it you can see the outside of the second body. Every body has two dimensions: the outer and the inner. Just like a wall has two sides – one looking outward and the other looking inward – every body has a boundary, a wall. When you come to know the first body from the inside, you become aware of the second body from the outside.

You are now in between: inside the first body and outside the second. This second body, the etheric body, is like condensed smoke. You can pass through it without any hindrance, but it is not transparent; you cannot look into it from the outside. The first body is solid. The second body is just like the first as far as shape is concerned, but it is not solid.

When the first body dies, the second remains alive for thirteen days. It travels with you. Then, after thirteen days, it too is dead. It disperses, evaporates. If you come to know the second body while the first is still alive, you can be aware of this happening.

The second body can go out of your body. Sometimes in meditation this second body goes up or down, and you have a feeling that gravitation has no pull over you; you have left the earth. But when you open your eyes, you are on the ground, and you know that you were there all the time. This feeling that you have risen comes because of the second body, not the first. For the second body there is no gravitation, so the moment you know the second you feel a certain freedom that was unknown to the physical body. Now you can go outside of your body and come back.

This is the second step if you want to know the experiences of your second body. And the method is not difficult. Just wish to be outside your body and you’re outside it. The wish itself is the fulfillment.

For the second body no effort has to be made because there is no gravitational pull. The difficulty for the first body is because of the gravitational force. If I want to come to your house, I will have to fight with the gravitational force. But if there is no gravitation, then the simple desire will be enough. The thing will happen.

The etheric body is the body that is put to work in hypnosis. The first body is not involved in hypnosis; it is the second body. That is why a person with perfect vision can go blind. If the hypnotist says that you have gone blind, you become blind just by believing it. It is the etheric body that has been influenced; the suggestion goes to the etheric body. If you are in a deep trance, your second body can be influenced. A person who is alright can be paralyzed just by suggesting to him that “you are paralyzed.” A hypnotist must not use any language that creates doubt. If he says, “It appears that you have gone blind,” it will not work. He must be absolutely certain about it. Only then will the suggestion work.

So in the second body just say: “I am outside the body.” Just wish to be outside it, and you will be outside it. Ordinary sleep belongs to the first body. It is the first body – exhausted by the day’s labor, work, tension – relaxing. In hypnosis, it is the second body that is put to sleep. If it is put to sleep, you can work with it.

When you get any disease, seventy-five percent of it comes from the second body and spreads to the first. The second body is so suggestible that first year medical students always catch the same disease that is being studied. They begin to have the symptoms. If headache is being discussed, unknowingly everyone goes inside and begins to ask, “Do I have a headache? Do I have these symptoms?” Because going inward affects the etheric body, the suggestion is caught and a headache is projected, created.

The pain of childbirth is not of the first body; it is of the second. So through hypnosis, childbirth can be made absolutely painless – just by suggestion. There are primitive societies in which women do not feel labor pains because the possibility has never entered their minds. But every type of civilization creates common suggestions that then become part and parcel of everybody’s expectations.

Under hypnosis there is no pain. Even surgery can be done under hypnosis without any pain because if the second body gets the suggestion that there will be no pain then there is no pain.

As far as I am concerned, every type of pain, and every type of pleasure too, comes from the second body and spreads to the first. So if the suggestion changes, the same thing that has been painful can become pleasurable, and vice versa.

Change the suggestion, change the etheric mind, and everything will be changed. Just wish totally and it will happen. Totality is the only difference between wish and will. When you have wished something totally, completely, with your whole mind, it becomes willpower.

If you wish totally to go outside of your physiological body, you can go outside it. Then there is a possibility of knowing the second body from within, otherwise not. When you go outside your physical body, you are no longer in between: inside the first and outside the second. Now you are inside the second. The first body is not.

Now you can become aware of your second body from the inside, just as you became aware of your first body from the inside. Be aware of its inner workings, its inner mechanism, the inner life. The first time you try it is difficult, but after that you will always be within two bodies: the first and the second. Your point of attention will now be in two realms, two dimensions.

The moment you are inside the second body you will be outside the third, the astral. As far as the astral is concerned, there is no need even of any will. Just the wish to be inside is enough. There is no question of totality now. If you want to go in, you can go in. The astral body is a vapor like the second body, but it is transparent. So the moment you are outside, you will be inside. You will not even know whether you are inside or outside because the boundary is transparent.

The astral body is the same size as the first two bodies. Up to the fifth body, the size is the same. The content will change, but the size will be the same up to the fifth. With the sixth body the size will be cosmic. And with the seventh, there will be no size at all not even the cosmic.

The fourth body is absolutely wall-less. From inside the third body, there is not even a transparent wall. It is just a boundary, wall-less, so there is no difficulty in entering and no need of any method. So one who has achieved the third can achieve the fourth very easily.

But to go beyond the fourth, there is as much difficulty as there was in going beyond the first, because now the mental ceases. The fifth is the spiritual body. Before it can be reached there is again a wall, but not in the same sense as there was a wall between the first body and the second.

The wall is between different dimensions now. It is of a different plane.

The four lower bodies were all concerned with one plane. The division was horizontal. Now, it is vertical. So the wall between the fourth and the fifth is bigger than between any two of the lower bodies – because our ordinary way of looking is horizontal, not vertical. We look from side to side, not up and down. But the movement from the fourth body to the fifth is from a lower plane to a higher plane. The difference is not between outside and inside but between up and down. Not unless you begin to look upward can you move into the fifth.

The mind always looks downward. That is why yoga is against the mind. The mind flows downward just like water. Water has never been made the symbol of any spiritual system because its intrinsic nature is to flow downward. Fire has been the symbol of so many systems. Fire goes upward; it never goes downward. So in moving from the fourth body to the fifth body, fire is the symbol. One must look upward; one must stop seeing downward.

How to look upward? What is the way? You must have heard that in meditation the eyes must be looking upward to the ajna chakra. The eyes must be focused upward as if you are going to see inside your skull. Eyes are only symbolic. The real question is of vision. Our vision, our faculty for seeing, is associated with the eyes, so eyes become the means through which even inward vision happens. If you turn your eyes upward, then your vision too goes upward.

Raja yoga begins with the fourth body. Only hatha yoga begins with the first body; other yogas begin from somewhere else. Theosophy begins from the second body, and other systems begin from the third. As civilization goes on progressing to the fourth body, many persons will be able to begin from there. But only if they have worked through the three lower bodies in their past lives can the fourth be used. Those who study raja yoga from scriptures or from swamis and gurus without knowing whether or not they have worked through their three lower bodies are bound to be disillusioned because one cannot begin from the fourth. The three must be crossed first. Only then does the fourth come.

The fourth is the last body that it is possible to begin from. There are four yogas: hatha yoga for the first body, mantra yoga for the second, bhakti yoga for the third, and raja yoga for the fourth. In ancient days, everybody had to begin with the first body, but now there are so many types of people: one has worked up to the second body in a previous life, another up to the third, et cetera. But as far as dreaming is concerned, one must begin from the first body. Only then can you know the whole range of it, the whole spectrum of it.

So in the fourth body, your consciousness must become like fire – going upward. There are many ways to check this. For example, if the mind is flowing toward sex it is just like water flowing downward, because the sex center is downward. In the fourth body one must begin directing the eyes up, not down.

If consciousness is to go upward, it must begin from a center that is above the eyes, not below the eyes. There is only one center above the eyes from which the movement can be upward: the ajna chakra. Now the two eyes must look upward toward the third eye.

The third eye has been remembered in so many ways. In India, the distinction between a virgin and a girl who is married is made by a color mark on the third eye of the married one. A virgin is bound to look downward toward the sex center, but the moment she is married she must begin to look upward. Sex must change from sexuality to beyond sexuality. To help her to remember to look upward, a color mark, a tilak, is used on the third eye.

Tilak marks have been used on the foreheads of so many types of persons: sannyasins, worshippers – so many types of color marks. Or, it is possible to use chandan – sandalwood paste. The moment your two eyes look upward toward the third eye, a great fire is created at the center; a burning sensation is there. The third eye is beginning to open and it must be kept cool. So in India, sandalwood paste is used. It is not only cool; it also has a particular perfume that is concerned with the third body and the transcendence of it. The coolness of the perfume, and the particular spot where it is placed, becomes an upward attraction, a remembrance of the third eye.

If you close your eyes and I place my finger at your third eye spot, I am not really touching your third eye itself, but you will still begin to feel it. Even this much pressure is enough. Scarcely a touch, just a gentle fingering. So the perfume, the delicate touch of it and its coolness, is enough. Then your attention is always flowing from your eyes to the third eye.

So to cross the fourth body there is only one technique, one method, and that is to look upward.

Shirshasan, the headstand, the reverse position of the body, was used as a method to do this because our eyes are ordinarily looking downward. If you stand on your head you will still be looking downward, but now the downward is upward. The flow of your energy downward will be converted into an upward flow.

That is why in meditation, even without knowing it, some persons will go into reverse positions. They will begin to do shirshasan because the flow of energy has changed. Their minds are so conditioned to the downward flow that when the energy changes direction they will feel uncomfortable. When they begin to stand on their heads they will feel at ease again, because the flow of energy will again be moving downward. But it will not really be moving downward. In relation to your centers, your chakras, the energy will still be moving upward.

So shirshasan has been used as a method to take you from the fourth body to the fifth. The main thing to be remembered is to be looking upward. This can be done through tratak – staring at a fixed object, through concentration on the sun, through so many objects. But it is better to do it inwardly. Just close the eyes!

But first, the first four bodies must be crossed. Only then can it be helpful, otherwise not. Otherwise it may be disturbing; it may create all sorts of mental diseases, because the whole adjustment of the system will be shattered. The four bodies are looking downward, and with your inner mind you are looking upward. Then, there is every possibility that schizophrenia will result.

To me, schizophrenia is the result of such a thing. That is why ordinary psychology cannot go deeply into schizophrenia. The schizophrenic mind is simultaneously working in opposite directions: standing outside and looking inside; standing outside and looking upward. Your whole system must be in harmony. If you have not known your physical body from the inside, then your consciousness should be facing downward. That will be healthy; the adjustment is right. You must never try to turn the outward moving mind upward or schizophrenia, division, will be the result.

Our civilizations, our religions, have been the basic cause for humanity’s split personality. They have not been concerned with the total harmony. There are teachers who teach methods to move upward to persons who are not even inside their own physical body. The method begins to work and part of the person remains outside his body while a second part moves upward. Then there will be a split between the two. He will become two persons: sometimes this, sometimes that; a Jekyll and Hyde.

There is every possibility that a person can become seven people simultaneously. Then the split is complete. He has become seven different energies. One part of him is moving downward, clinging to the first body; another is clinging to the second; another to the third. One part is going upward; another is going somewhere else. He has no center in him at all.

Gurdjieff used to say that such a person is just like a house where the master is absent, and every servant claims he is the master. And no one can deny it, because the master himself is absent. When anybody comes to the house and knocks on the door, the servant who is nearby becomes the master. The next day, another servant answers the door and claims to be the master.

A schizophrenic is without any center. And we are all like that! We have adjusted ourselves to society, that’s all. The difference is only of degrees. The master is absent or asleep, and every part of us claims ownership. When the sex urge is there, sex becomes the master. Your mortality, your family, your religion – everything will be denied. Sex becomes the total owner of the house. And then, when sex has gone, frustration follows. Your reason takes charge and says, “I am the master.” Now reason will claim the whole house and will deny sex a home.

Everybody claims the house totally. When anger is there, it becomes the master. Now there is no reason, no consciousness. Nothing else can interfere with the anger. Because of this, we cannot understand others. A person who was loving becomes angry and suddenly there is no love. We are at a loss now to understand whether he is loving or not loving. The love was just a servant, and the anger too is just a servant. The master is absent. That is why you cannot ordinarily rely on anybody else. He is not master of himself; any servant can take over. He is no one; he is not a unity.

What I am saying is that one should not experiment with techniques of looking upward before crossing the first four bodies. Otherwise a split will be created which will be impossible to bridge, and one will have to wait for one’s next life to begin again. It is better to practice techniques that begin from the beginning. If you have passed your first three bodies in past births, then you will pass them again within a moment. There will be no difficulty. You know the territory; you know the way. In a moment, they come before you. You recognize them – and you have passed them! Then you can go further. So my insistence is always to begin from the first body. For everyone!

To move from the fourth body is the most significant thing. Up to the fourth body you are human.  Now you become superhuman. In the first body you are just an animal. Only with the second body does humanity come into being. And only in the fourth does it flower completely. Civilization has never gone beyond the fourth. Beyond the fourth is beyond the human. We cannot classify Christ as a human being. A Buddha, a Mahavira, a Krishna, are beyond the human. They are superhuman.

The upward look is a jump from the fourth body. When I am looking at my first body from outside it, I am just an animal with the possibility of being human. The only difference is that I can become human and the animal cannot. As far as the present situation is concerned, we are both below humanity, subhuman. But I have a possibility to go beyond. And from the second body onward, the flowering of the human being happens.

Even someone in the fourth body looks superhuman to us. They are not. An Einstein or a Voltaire looks superhuman, but they are not. They are the complete flowering of the human being and we are below human, so they are above us. But they are not above the human. Only a Buddha, a Christ or a Zarathustra is more than human. By looking upward, by raising their consciousness upward from the fourth body, they have crossed the boundary of the mind; they have transcended the mental body.

There are parables worth our understanding. Mohammed, looking upward, says that something has come to him from above. We interpret this above geographically, so the sky becomes the abode of the gods. For us, upward means the sky; downward means the layer below the earth. But if we interpret it in this way, the symbol has not been understood. When Mohammed is looking upward he is not looking toward the sky; he is looking toward the ajna chakra. When he says that something has come to him from above, his feeling is right. But, ‘up’ has a different meaning for us.

In every picture, Zarathustra is looking upward. His eyes are never downward. He was looking upward when he first saw the divine. The divine came to him as fire. That is why the Persians have been fire worshippers. This feeling of fire comes from the ajna chakra. When you look upward, the spot feels fiery, as if everything is burning. Because of that burning, you are transformed. The lower being is burnt, it ceases to be, and the upper being is born. That is the meaning of “passing through fire.”

After the fifth body you move into still another realm, another dimension. From the first body to the fourth body the movement is from outside to inside; from the fourth to the fifth it is from downward to upward; from the fifth it is from ego to non-ego. Now the dimension is different. There is no question of outside, inside, upward or downward. The question is of “I” and “non-I.” The question is now concerned with whether there is a center or not.

A person is without any center up to the fifth – split in different parts. Only for the fifth body is there a center: a unity, oneness. But the center becomes the ego. Now this center will be a hindrance for further progress. Every step that was a help becomes a hindrance for further progress. You have to leave every bridge you cross. It was helpful in crossing, but it will become a hindrance if you cling to it.

Up to the fifth body, a center has to be created. Gurdjieff says this fifth center is the crystallization.

Now there are no servants; the master has taken charge. Now the master is the master. He is awakened; he has come back. When the master is present, the servants subside; they become silent.

So when you enter the fifth body, crystallization of the ego happens. But now, for further progress, this crystallization must be lost again. Lost into the void, into the cosmic. Only one who has can lose, so to talk about egolessness before the fifth body is nonsense, absurd. You do not have an ego, so how can you lose it? Or you can say that you have many egos, every servant has an ego. You are multi-egoistic, a multi-personality, a multi-psyche, but not a unified ego.

You cannot lose the ego because you do not have it. A rich man can renounce his riches, but not a poor one. He has nothing to renounce, nothing to lose. But there are poor people who think about renunciation. A rich person is afraid of renunciation because he has something to lose, but a poor one is always ready to renounce. He is ready, but he has nothing to renounce.

The fifth body is the richest. It is the culmination of all that is possible for a human being. The fifth is the peak of individuality, the peak of love, of compassion, of everything that is worthwhile. The thorns have been lost. Now, the flower too must be lost. Then there will simply be perfume, no flower.

The sixth is the realm of perfume, cosmic perfume. No flower, no center. A circumference, but no center. You can say that everything has become a center, or that now there is no center. Just a diffused feeling is there. There is no split, no division – not even the division of the individual into the “I” and the “non-I,” the “I” and “the other.” There is no division at all.

So the individual can be lost in either of two ways: one, schizophrenic, splitting into many sub persons; and another, cosmic – lost into the ultimate; lost into the greater, the greatest, the

Brahma; lost into the expanse. Now the flower is not, but the perfume is.

The flower too is a disturbance, but when only the perfume is, it is perfect. Now there is no source, so it cannot die. It is undying. Everything that has a source will die, but now the flower is not, so there is no source. The perfume is uncaused, so there is no death and no boundary to it. A flower has limitations; perfume is unlimited. There is no barrier to it. It goes on and on, and goes beyond.

So from the fifth body the question is not of upward, downward, sideways, inside, outside. The question is whether to be with an ego or without an ego. And the ego is the most difficult thing of all to lose. The ego is not a problem up to the fifth body because progress is ego-fulfilling. No one wants to be schizophrenic; everyone would prefer to have a crystallized personality. So every sadhaka, every seeker, can progress to the fifth body.

There is no method to move beyond the fifth body because every type of method is bound with the ego. The moment you use a method, the ego is strengthened. So those who are concerned with going beyond the fifth, talk of no-method. They talk of methodlessness, of no-technique. Now there is no how. From the fifth, there is no method possible.

You can use a method up to the fifth, but then no method will be of use because the user is to be lost. If you use anything, the user will become stronger. His ego will go on crystallizing; it will become a nucleus of crystallization. That is why those who have remained in the fifth body say there are infinite souls, infinite spirits. They think of each spirit as if it were an atom. Two atoms cannot meet. They are windowless, doorless; closed to everything outside themselves. Ego is windowless. You can use a word of Leibnitz: ‘monads’. Those who remain in the fifth body become monads: windowless atoms. Now you are alone, and alone, and alone.

But this crystallized ego has to be lost. How to lose it when there is no method? How to go beyond it when there is no path? How to escape from it? There is no door. Zen monks talk about the gateless gate. Now there is no gate, and still one has to go beyond it.

So what to do? The first thing: do not be identified with this crystallization. Just be aware of this closed house of “I.” Just be aware of it – don’t do anything – and there is an explosion! You will be beyond it.

They have a parable in Zen….

A goose egg is put in a bottle. The goose comes out of the egg and begins to grow, but the mouth of the bottle is so small that the goose cannot come out of the bottle. It grows bigger and bigger, and the bottle becomes too small to live in. Now, either the bottle will have to be destroyed to save the goose, or the goose will die. Seekers are asked: ”What is to be done? We do not want to lose either. The goose is to be saved and the bottle also. So what to do?” This is the question of the fifth body. When there is no way out and the goose is growing, when the crystallization has become consolidated, what to do now?

The seeker goes inside a room, closes the door and begins to puzzle over it. What to do? Only two things seem to be possible: either to destroy the bottle and save the goose, or to let the goose die and save the bottle. The meditator goes on thinking and thinking. He thinks of something, but then it will be cancelled because there is no way to do it. The teacher sends him back to think some more.

For many nights and many days the seeker goes on thinking, but there is no way to do it. Finally a moment comes when thinking ceases. He runs out shouting, “Eureka! The goose is out!” The teacher never asks how, because the whole thing is just nonsense.

So to move from the fifth body, the problem becomes a Zen koan. One should just be aware of the crystallization – and the goose is out! A moment comes when you are out; there is no “I.” The crystallization has been gained and lost. For the fifth, crystallization – the center, the ego – was essential. As a passage, as a bridge, it was a necessity; otherwise the fifth body could not be crossed. But now it is no longer needed.

There are persons who have achieved the fifth without passing through the fourth. A person who has many riches has achieved the fifth; he has crystallized in a way. A person who has become president of a country has crystallized in a way. A Hitler, a Mussolini, is crystallized in a way. But the crystallization is in the fifth body. If the four lower bodies are not in accordance with it, then the crystallization becomes a disease. Mahavira and Buddha are crystallized too, but their crystallization is different.

We all long to fulfill the ego because of an innermost need to reach the fifth body. But if we choose a shortcut, then in the end we will be lost. The shortest way is through riches, power, politics. The ego can be achieved, but it is a false crystallization; it is not in accordance with your total personality. It is like a corn that forms on your foot and becomes crystallized. It is a false crystallization, an abnormal growth, a disease.

If the goose is out in the fifth, you are in the sixth. From the fifth to the sixth is the realm of mystery. Up to the fifth, scientific methods can be used, so yoga is helpful. But after that it is meaningless, because yoga is a methodology, a scientific technique.

In the fifth, Zen is very helpful. It is a method to go from the fifth to the sixth. Zen flowered in Japan but it began in India. Its roots came from Yoga. Yoga flowered into Zen.

Zen has had much appeal in the West because the Western ego is, in a sense, crystallized. In the West, they are the masters of the world; they have everything. But the ego has become crystallized through the wrong process. It has not developed through the transcendence of the first four bodies.

So Zen has become appealing to the West but it will not help because the crystallization is wrong.

Gurdjieff is much more helpful to the West because he works from the first body to the fifth. He is not helpful beyond the fifth, only up to the fifth, to the crystallization. Through his techniques, you can achieve a proper crystallization.

Zen has been just a fad in the West because it has no roots there. It developed through a very long process in the East, beginning with hatha yoga and culminating in the Buddha. Thousands and thousands of years of humbleness: not of ego but of passivity; not of positive action but of receptivity – through a long duration of the female mind, the receptive mind. The East has always been female, while the West is male: aggressive, positive. The East has been an openness, a receptivity. Zen could be of help in the East because other methods, other systems, worked on the four lower bodies.

These four became the roots, and Zen could flower.

Today, Zen has become almost meaningless in Japan. The reason is that Japan has become absolutely Western. Once the Japanese were the most humble people, but now their humbleness is just a show. It is no longer part of their innermost core. So Zen has been uprooted in Japan and is popular now in the West. But this popularity is only because of the false crystallization of the ego.

From the fifth body to the sixth, Zen is very helpful; but only then, neither before nor beyond. It is absolutely useless for the other bodies, even harmful. To teach university level courses in the primary school not only does not help; it may be harmful.

If Zen is used before the fifth body you may experience satori, but that is not samadhi. Satori is a false samadhi. It is a glimpse of samadhi, but it is just a glimpse. As far as the fourth body – the mental body – is concerned, satori will make you more artistic, more aesthetic. It will create a sense of beauty in you; it will create a feeling of well-being. But it will not be a help in crystallization. It will not help you to move from the fourth body to the fifth.

Only beyond crystallization is Zen helpful. The goose is out of the bottle, without any how. But only at this point can it be practiced, after so many other methods have been used. A painter can paint with closed eyes; he can paint as if it is a game. An actor can act as if he is not acting. In fact, the acting becomes perfect only when it does not look like acting. But many years of labor have gone into it, many years of practice. Now the actor is completely at ease, but that at-easeness is not achieved in a day. It has its own methods.

We walk, but we never know how we do it. If someone asks you how you walk you say, “I just walk. There is no how to it.” But the how takes place when a child begins to walk. He learns. If you were to tell the child that walking needs no method – “you just walk!” – It would be nonsense. The child would not understand it. Krishnamurti has been talking this way, talking with adults who have children’s minds, saying, “You can walk. You just walk!” People listen. They are charmed. Easy! To walk without any method. Then, everyone can walk.

Krishnamurti too has become attractive in the West, and just because of this. If you look at hatha yoga or mantra yoga or bhakti yoga or raja yoga or tantra, it looks so long, so arduous, so difficult. Centuries of labor are needed, births and births. They cannot wait. Some shortcut, something instantaneous must be there. So Krishnamurti appeals to them. He says, “You just walk. You walk into God. There is no method.” But no-method is the most arduous thing to achieve. To act as if one is not acting, to speak as if one is not speaking, to walk effortlessly as if one is not walking, is based on long effort.

Labor and effort are necessary; they are needed. But they have a limitation. They are needed up to the fifth body, but they are useless from the fifth to the sixth. You will go nowhere; the goose will never be out.

That is the problem with Indian yogis. They find it difficult to cross the fifth because they are method-enchanted, method-hypnotized. They have always worked with method. There has been a clear-cut science up to the fifth and they progressed with ease. It was an effort – and they could do it! No matter how much intensity was needed, it was no problem to them. No matter how much effort, they could supply it. But now in the fifth, they have to cross from the realm of method to no-method. Now they are at a loss. They sit down, they stop. And for so many seekers, the fifth becomes the end.

That is why there is talk of five bodies, not seven. Those who have gone only to the fifth think that it is the end. It is not the end; it is a new beginning. Now one must move from the individual to the non-individual. Zen, or methods like Zen, done effortlessly, can be helpful.

Zazen means just sitting, doing nothing. A person who has done much cannot conceive of this. Just sitting and doing nothing! It is inconceivable. A Gandhi cannot conceive of it. He says, “I will spin my wheel. Something must be done. This is my prayer, my meditation.” Non-doing to him means doing nothing. Non-doing has its own realm, its own bliss, its own adjustment, but that is from the fifth body to the sixth. It cannot be understood before that.

From the sixth to the seventh, there is not even no-method. Method is lost in the fifth, and no-method is lost in the sixth. One day you simply find that you are in the seventh. Even the cosmos has gone; only nothingness is. It just happens. It is a happening from the sixth to the seventh. Uncaused, unknown.

Only when it is uncaused does it become discontinuous with what went before. If it is caused then there is a continuity and the being cannot be lost, even in the seventh. The seventh is total nonbeing: nirvana, emptiness, non-existence.

There is no possibility of any continuity in moving from existence to non-existence. It is just a jump, uncaused. If it were caused there would be a continuity, and it would be just like the sixth body. So to move from the sixth body to the seventh cannot even be talked about. It is a discontinuity, a gap. Something was, and something now is – and there is no connection between the two. Something has just ceased, and something has just come in. There is no relationship between them. It is as if a guest has left from one door and another guest has entered from the other side.

There is no relationship between the going of one and the coming of the other. They are unrelated.

The seventh body is the ultimate, because now you have crossed even the world of causation. You have gone to the original source, to that which was before creation and that which will be after annihilation. So from the sixth to the seventh there is not even no-method. Nothing is of any help; everything can be a hindrance. From the cosmic to nothingness there is just a happening: uncaused, unprepared for, unasked for.

It happens instantaneously. Only one thing is to be remembered: you must not cling to the sixth. Clinging will prevent you from moving to the seventh. There is no positive way to move to the seventh, but there can be a negative hindrance. You can cling to the Brahma, the cosmos. You can say, “I have reached!” Those who say they have reached cannot go to the seventh.

Those who say, “I have known,” remain in the sixth. So those who wrote the Vedas remained in the sixth. Only a Buddha crosses the sixth because he says, “I do not know.” He refuses to give answers to the ultimate questions. He says, “No one knows. No one has known.” Buddha could not be understood. Those who heard him said, “No, our teachers have known. They say Brahma is.”

But Buddha is talking of the seventh body. No teacher can say he has known about the seventh because the moment you say it you lose touch with it. Once you have known it, you cannot say. Up to the sixth body symbols can be expressive, but there is no symbol for the seventh. It is just an emptiness.

There is a temple in China that is totally empty. There is nothing in it: no image, no scriptures, nothing. It is just bare, naked walls. Even the priest resides outside. He says, “A priest can only be outside the temple; he cannot be inside.” If you ask the priest where the deity of the temple is, he will say, “See it!” – And there is emptiness; there is no one. He will say, “See! Here! Now!” and there is only a naked, bare, empty temple.

If you look for objects then you cannot cross the sixth to the seventh. So there are negative preparations. A negative mind is needed, a mind that is not longing for anything – not even moksha, not even deliverance, not even nirvana, not even truth; a mind that is not waiting for anything – not even for God, for Brahma. It just is, without any longing, without any desire, without any wish. Just is-ness. Then, it happens… and even the cosmos is gone.

So you can cross into the seventh by and by. Begin from the physical and work through the etheric; then the astral, the mental, the spiritual. Up to the fifth you can work and then, from the fifth on, just be aware. Doing is not important then; consciousness is important. And finally, from the sixth to the seventh, even consciousness is not important. Only is-ness, being. This is the potentiality of our seeds. This is our possibility.


From The Psychology of the Esoteric, Chapter Seven, 25 March 1971

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Never Ask What God Is: Just Ask ‘Who Am I?’

God is just knocking on your door. God is always close by. The idea that God is far away in the heavens is just stupidity. He is in your very breath . . .  he is your breath! We just have to understand who we are, and in that very understanding we come to know what God is. And except for that there is no other way to know God.

Understanding oneself becomes the knowledge of God. So the only religious question is ‘Who am l?’ Never ask what God is; just ask ‘Who am I?’ Search for the answer, and never believe in the answers that are given by others. No borrowed answer can be of any help; each person has to come to his own answer. Each person is carrying the answer within him; one just has to dig.


From The Open Secret, Chapter Fourteen

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Your Original Face – Osho

Beloved Osho,

Will we recognize our original face, when we encounter it?

Maneesha, encountering the original face simply means realizing what is real and what is reflection.

You become a reflection when you see the real. It is just like standing before a mirror. It seems you are standing in the mirror. When you realize the fact that you are standing outside the mirror – in the mirror is only the reflection and the reflection is not a truth – then you encounter your original self.

Suddenly you realize that up to now you have lived a false face, this is your original face.

Up to now you have been living as a reflection, a shadow, an unreality. You disappear, only the original face remains. Your question is logical, relevant, because how will you recognize that this is your original face? You will not be there. You will disappear as the original face appears; you will not have to recognize it; you will not be there at all. The original face itself will know that up to now a false personality has been representing you.

Now the false has disappeared and only the truth remains. There is no question of recognizing. You are the false, how can you recognize? When the real comes, the false disappears: they never meet.

This is the fear of searching for oneself; because the moment you find yourself, the way you know yourself now will disappear like a shadow, as if it had never been – just a dream.

I have told you… A drunkard had been fighting in the pub, and had got many scratches on his face. He came home very much afraid of his wife. So very silently, taking his shoes in his hands, he entered into the room, went into the bathroom, looked at his face and said, “My God! So many scratches! How am I going to hide them? In the morning she will find out.”

So he tried somehow to cover up. He could not find anything else but the lipstick of his wife. So he covered his scratches with the lipstick and went back silently to bed. In the early morning his wife shouted from the bathroom, “Who has tried to make a painting with my lipstick on the mirror?”

That drunk had thought that he was putting it on his face, but he was putting it on the mirror because there was the face. He could not see his own face!

We are almost in exactly the same situation. When the original appears, we will suddenly see the false going away. They never meet so there is no question of recognition.


From Nansen: The Point of Departure, Chapter Ten

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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The Ultimate in Consciousness – Osho

What happened to Gurdjieff when he had his car accident?

The system of George Gurdjieff is a little bit strange, and it is certainly different from all other, old approaches. His whole work was concentrated on creating an absolute feeling of distinction between the body and consciousness – not just as a philosophical idea but as an actual experience.

It happens to everybody in death, but most people die unconsciously. The consciousness separates completely from the body to go on its pilgrimage which is eternal. The journey of the body is very small, but it all happens in unconsciousness. It is a natural surgery.

A surgeon cannot remove a small piece of your body while you are conscious. He has to make you unconscious, then he can remove anything. He can kill you; you will never know about it. But if you are conscious, then the pain of a deep-rooted identity being broken is so terrible, so unbearable, that you won’t allow him to do it. It has happened only once in India just at the beginning of this century.

The maharajah of Varanasi had to go through an operation to remove his appendix. The best surgeons from all over the world were attending him. But a great problem arose: he was not ready to take anything from which he loses his consciousness. His whole life’s work was exactly like Gurdjieff’s: he was trying to be conscious and to be separate from the body. And he said, “You can remove the appendix. I will not disturb you.”

But surgeons cannot believe a patient. And such an operation… removing his appendix while he is conscious! He may jump off the table, he may do something; he may destroy not only the operation but even his life.

But on both sides there was a problem. If the operation was delayed there was a danger that the appendix would explode and then death was certain. And because he was no ordinary man, they could not force him. He was ready to die, but he was not ready to take any anesthesia which would make him unconscious.

Finally the surgeons decided, “There is no harm in taking a chance; let him remain awake. Anyway he is going to die. If we don’t operate, he will die. But there is a possibility that perhaps he is right. He may have attained that quality of consolidation such that his consciousness is separate from the body and he may be saved. So it is worth taking a chance. And he is a stubborn man, he won’t listen; he has never listened to anyone.”

And the decision had to be made within minutes; otherwise it would be out of the question. So finally they decided to operate on him. He remained conscious. The operation was done, the appendix removed, and he remained as if nothing was happening. It was an unprecedented phenomenon in the whole history of medicine. It was a miracle.

Gurdjieff’s whole work consisted of separating the consciousness from the body and making the consciousness such a solid force that the body cannot drag it, that the body becomes only a servant and is not a master. And he was trying many kinds of experiments.

For example, he used to drink alcohol. One cannot imagine such a quantity of alcohol… but he would remain perfectly conscious. No quantity of alcohol was able to make him unconscious. His disciples and he, they all would start drinking together, and within a few minutes all were flat on the ground – and he was still drinking.

He was trying in different ways to feel where he was still attached to the body. He would fast, he would not eat for many days – and this was not anything religious, it was purely scientific experimentation. He would eat too much, so much that the whole body would be saying, “Stop!” and he would go on eating just to make the body completely understand that he was not under its control: he would do what he wanted, he was not going to listen to the body.

The car accident was the very culmination of his experiments. It is wrong to say it was an accident; it was not. He did it – purposely, consideredly, consciously. It looked like an accident to everybody.

He always used to drive very fast. All those who were sitting inside the car were just trembling: any moment the car was going to crash with something or other. But that day he was alone in the car, and he knowingly put it on full speed and crashed it into a big tree. He had multiple fractures – the car was completely finished. Doctors said it was unimaginable how he got out of it. He got out of it with all those fractures, blood all over his body, and he walked to the ashram – which was almost one and a half miles from there – and said, ”Call some doctors to check what has happened in the body.”

The doctors could not believe it when they saw the car. Nobody could remain alive after that; the accident was absolutely total. And with so many fractures, he was not unconscious; with so much blood gone, he was not unconscious. He managed to walk one and a half miles… which was absolutely miraculous. He was not supposed to be able to do it!

It was not an accident; he did it on purpose, and within three weeks he was perfectly okay. He wanted to know death before death. That was the purpose of the accident. He wanted to know that even if the body goes through such torture, it is not going to affect his consciousness. And he was immensely happy that he had succeeded, that he had attained what, in his terminology, is ‘crystallization’. Now death meant nothing and now he could die consciously, watching what was happening.

The way he had chosen was a long and hard way. But he was a strange type of man: for him, it was neither long nor hard, for him it was perfectly natural and normal. The car accident should be remembered as a voluntary entering into death. He had almost died, but just through his crystallized consciousness he managed not to die. He refused to die. It is a beautiful experiment, although outlandish.

What he tried to do with it can be done very easily by just becoming aware of your day-to-day activities: walking, sitting, eating, sleeping. They will not be so dramatic, but they will be more simple, more human, more sane.

And Gurdjieff is not a normal human being. He should be taken as an exception, not the rule. Nobody should try to follow him because he will be in trouble. That kind of person cannot be followed, that kind of person is born. You can understand much from their life, but you should never try to imitate them.

And it is not only so with Gurdjieff. There have been many other people in the East, who have died unknown… A few are known, but even the normal Eastern humanity has tried to forget them because their experiments looked outrageous.

In India there are eighty-four siddhas. In the whole history of India there have been eighty-four people who could have talked with Gurdjieff in the same language, who tried all kinds of experiments. Perhaps in a few experiments Gurdjieff may not have been able to compete with those people.

I have been to one of the monasteries of the siddhas. Their monasteries have gone underground. Because of their experiments, the masses were so against them that they have burned their literature, killed their masters, tried to erase… saying that they are not part of the heritage of the East.

In Ladakh, in the Himalayas, there is a small monastery hidden deep in the mountains. They don’t tell anybody that it belongs to the siddhas. There are a few others in India. But unless they trust you, they will not tell you about other monasteries. They are all linked.

In this monastery I saw one experiment that will help to explain Gurdjieff’s experiment to you. They start drinking poison in small quantities, and slowly, slowly they increase the quantity every day. The poison is so dangerous that just a single dose is enough to finish a person. But they come to a point where they can take any quantity of poison and it does not affect their consciousness at all. They remain absolutely normal. And they have absorbed so much poison that if they bite you, you will die; they are full of poison.

And in the monastery they keep big cobra snakes, which have the most dangerous poison. Out of one hundred snakes there are only three percent which have real poison; ninety-seven are just hypocrites, they don’t have real poison. But they can make you freak out if you see them because they look like real snakes. They are snakes, only one thing is missing: they don’t have the poison.

The cobra is the best as far as poison is concerned. And these siddhas, as they are called, have come to a point where drinking poison from the outside, ordinary poison, is just meaningless. They make the cobra bite on their tongue, and the cobra turns upside down and pours all its poison in their mouth. And you will be surprised that the cobra dies! – because that man is so full of poison. The cobra has only very little poison in a small bag attached in his mouth. That’s why the Chinese eat snakes just as a vegetable. Just cut the head off and it is all vegetable!

There is a famous story about a master who was sitting with his disciples and a guest master. And as the cobra is a very delicious dish, cobra was prepared. But the master was suddenly shocked, seeing on the guest master’s plate, the head of the cobra. So he took away the plate and called the cook, who was also a monk and proved to be not only a monk but a master.

The master was very angry, but before he could show his anger the cook said, ”What is the matter?”

The master said, “Look what the matter is. You have cooked even the head of the cobra!”

The cook said, “Don’t be worried.” He took the head and gulped it down in front of everybody else.

And he said, “Now you can eat. Don’t be worried; I have taken care of the head.” There was utter silence and shock. But perhaps he was connected with a certain secret school of siddhas in China too, so there was no danger. He did not die.

These experiments are certainly outrageous, but they have proved that a man is capable of becoming so conscious that there is nothing that can make him unconscious again. He has achieved the ultimate in consciousness. That’s the meaning of Gurdjieff’s experiment. Don’t call it an accident.


From The Path of the Mystic, Chapter Thirty-Five

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Inside Out

We often speak of going or looking inside. But looking with careful attention it can be seen there is simply no such thing as inside/outside. When we close our eyes and just watch whatever appears in our awareness, a bird singing, a thought passing, a sensation in the body there is not any delineation between inside and outside. And it is the same when looking with open eyes. Either they are all outside, meaning outside of the seeing and hence seen or they are all inside, as all being contained in awareness. But I have found no distinction between inside and out.

As a result of finding there is no longer an inside opposed to an outside of me it is discovered that the belief that I am some being residing inside this body is exposed as a mere fabrication. It is much more accurate to describe the situation as the body and for that matter the rest of the manifestation as residing inside my awareness. It is a bit like an inside-out sock that one pulls right-side out. It is here that the Zen story applies “The Goose is Out.”

This revelation is more important than it might first appear. The inside/outside division the mind makes is part and parcel of the me identity and when one sees, and I mean actually sees, not just intellectually understands, then the very foundation of the ego self is pulled out from under.


This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.