Neo-Advaita Meets Dzogchen: The Unraveling of a Pseudo-Enlightenment

The following is an excerpt from Sam Harris’s book Waking Up. I must confess that I have not read Sam’s book, but I find the excerpt below to be an incredibly insightful exposé on the deficiencies of neo-advaita.

“Poonja-ji’s influence on me was profound, especially because it came as a corrective to all the strenuous and unsatisfying efforts, I had been making in meditation up to that point. But the dangers inherent in his approach soon became obvious. The all-or-nothing quality of Poonjaji’s teaching obliged him to acknowledge the full enlightenment of any person who was grandiose or manic enough to claim it. Thus, I repeatedly witnessed fellow students declare their complete and undying freedom, all the while appearing quite ordinary—or worse. In certain cases, these people had clearly had some sort of breakthrough, but Poonja-ji’s insistence upon the finality of every legitimate insight led many of them to delude themselves about their spiritual attainments. Some left India and became gurus. From what I could tell, Poonja-ji gave everyone his blessing to spread his teachings in this way. He once suggested that I do it, and yet it was clear to me that I was not qualified to be anyone’s guru. Nearly twenty years have passed, and I’m still not. Of course, from Poonja-ji’s point of view, this is an illusion. And yet there simply is a difference between a person like myself, who is generally distracted by thought, and one who isn’t and cannot be. I don’t know where to place Poonja-ji on this continuum of wisdom, but he appeared to be a lot farther along than his students. Whether Poonja-ji was capable of seeing the difference between himself and other people, I do not know. But his insistence that no difference existed began to seem either dogmatic or delusional.

On one occasion, events conspired to perfectly illuminate the flaw in Poonja-ji’s teaching. A small group of experienced practitioners (among us several teachers of meditation) had organized a trip to India and Nepal to spend ten days with Poonja-ji in Lucknow, followed by ten days in Kathmandu, to receive teachings on the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Dzogchen. As it happened, during our time in Lucknow, a woman from Switzerland became “enlightened” in Poonja-ji’s presence. For the better part of a week, she was celebrated as something akin to the next Buddha. Poonja-ji repeatedly put her forward as evidence of how fully the truth could be realized without making any effort at all in meditation, and we had the pleasure of seeing this woman sit beside Poonja-ji on a raised platform expounding upon how blissful it now was in her corner of the universe. She was, in fact, radiantly happy, and it was by no means clear that Poonja-ji had made a mistake in recognizing her. She would say things like “There is nothing but consciousness, and there is no difference between it and reality itself.” Coming from such a nice, guileless person, there was little reason to doubt the profundity of her experience.

When it came time for our group to leave India for Nepal, this woman asked if she could join us. Because she was such good company, we encouraged her to come along. A few of us were also curious to see how her realization would appear in another context. And so it came to pass that a woman whose enlightenment had just been confirmed by one of the greatest living exponents of Advaita Vedanta was in the room when we received our first teachings from Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, who was generally thought to be one of the greatest living Dzogchen masters. Of all the Buddhist teachings, those of Dzogchen most closely resemble the teachings of Advaita. The two traditions seek to provoke the same insight into the nonduality of consciousness, but, generally speaking, only Dzogchen makes it absolutely clear that one must practice this insight to the point of stability and that one can do so without succumbing to the dualistic striving that haunts most other paths.

At a certain point in our discussions with Tulku Urgyen, our Swiss prodigy declared her boundless freedom in terms similar to those she had used to such great effect with Poonja-ji. After a few highly amusing exchanges, during which we watched Tulku Urgyen struggle to understand what our translator was telling him, he gave a short laugh and looked the woman over with renewed interest.

“How long has it been since you were last lost in thought?” he asked.

“I haven’t had any thoughts for over a week,” the woman replied.

Tulku Urgyen smiled.

“A week?”

“Yes.”

“No thoughts?”

“No, my mind is completely still. It’s just pure consciousness.”

“That’s very interesting. Okay, so this is what is going to happen now: We are all going to wait for you to have your next thought. There’s no hurry. We are all very patient people. We are just going to sit here and wait. Please tell us when you notice a thought arise in your mind.”

It is difficult to convey what a brilliant and subtle intervention this was. It may have been the most inspired moment of teaching I have ever witnessed. After a few moments, a look of doubt appeared on our friend’s face.

“Okay . . . Wait a minute . . . Oh . . . That could have been a thought there . . . Okay . . .”

Over the next thirty seconds, we watched this woman’s enlightenment completely unravel. It became clear that she had been merely thinking about how expansive her experience of consciousness had become—how it was perfectly free of thought, immaculate, just like space—without noticing that she was thinking incessantly. She had been telling herself the story of her enlightenment—and she had been getting away with it because she happened to be an extraordinarily happy person for whom everything was going very well for the time being.

This was the danger of nondual teachings of the sort that Poonja-ji was handing out to all comers. It was easy to delude oneself into thinking that one had achieved a permanent breakthrough, especially because he insisted that all breakthroughs must be permanent. What the Dzogchen teachings make clear, however, is that thinking about what is beyond thought is still thinking, and a glimpse of selflessness is generally only the beginning of a process that must reach fruition. Being able to stand perfectly free of the feeling of self is the start of one’s spiritual journey, not its end.”

-Sam Harris

From Waking Up, Chapter 4

A Direct Apperception – Jean Klein

Presence, the now, refers to our eternity. We can never think of it, represent it, because we are it. It is an instantaneous apperception that it refers to our totality. Every step undertaken to find it is going away. It is the ultimate goal in every human being to know it, to be it. It is everlasting peace and joy.

Jean:  Any questions?

Q:        You’ve said that it is only through inquiry, by asking the question, “Who am I?” that we come to know our real nature, ourselves. At what point in a life time does the question really come up? When do we really feel the question?

Jean:  It needs a certain maturity to come to this question. By maturity I mean that you know, in a certain way already, what you are not. This knowing what you are not brings you to the fore feeling what you are. The moment you know what you are not, you are free from all directions, and you are brought back to the starting point which means, “Who am I?” And in this moment, there is no more reference to anything, anything known. And then, I would say, you are taken by reality. There is no more a knower and something known. There is only being the known.

Q:        But how can I ask the question so that it doesn’t remain mental? So that it has real transformative power to change my life? Otherwise, it remains mental repetition, or a mental inquiry. How do I make it a really existential question, living question?

Jean:  When you ask the question, you don’t know the answer. So automatically you find yourself in a state of not knowing. In this state of not knowing, your mind is completely unfurnished. You are free from all representation. It is only in this state of not knowing, in this openness of not knowing, waiting for the eventual known. When the waiting becomes free from what it is waiting for – in this waiting without waiting – there is the living answer.

Q:        What does it mean to be enlightened?

Jean:  It supposes that there is somebody to be enlightened. As long as you take yourself for somebody, you live in darkness. When you realize that the somebody is a mental image, and it is when you think of it and you produce it. Then you give it up. This image has no more a role to play. And in this instantaneous giving up, it gives you up. It produces, I would say, a great laughing. In this laughing, it’s like you will feel yourself free from all representation. You function in daily life and all functions refer to you.

Q:        Many teachers teach different forms of meditation practice. If a person sincerely follows a meditation practice, will that lead him to the consciousness or the non-state that you have referred to?

Jean:  Going to meditation means to find yourself in a laboratory. The entity which looks for peace, joy, security, in other words God, will never find it because our cerebrality can never know what truth really is. So, as long you can find the meditator, meditation is an illusion. And this giving up the meditator and even the meditation, then what remains, I would say, is a current of love. There is not another, only the love.

Q:        But the conditioning to take ourself as a person runs so deeply, don’t we need some kind of technique or process to break ourselves of this identification, to decondition the mind and the body?

Jean:  Every state, every object refers to the now. It appears in the now, and it vanishes in the now. Every technique remains [keeps] you in the realm of the mind, but that can never free yourself from the mind, free from memory. So I would say, see really what is next to you, what is the near to you, look at your nearness. It can never be an object. It can never be a state. You are your nearness. Otherwise, there is conditioning and conditioning. To see it really clearly means wisdom.

Q:        Jean, isn’t this rather confusing for someone who would come to one of your seminars and find that there is meditation. There is bodywork, an advaita yoga you might say, where we are working with sensation and feeling the energy body. All of which ultimately have to be objects. All of which are existent and not eternal. What do they have to do with this nearness, this presence you are speaking of?

Jean:  We are working with objects, sensation, feelings, but really, we don’t know this original perceptions, original feelings. We know only a certain pattern. In this session, you become familiar with listening, listening to your sensation, to your feelings, your reactions, resistance. In this listening, you give the feeling, the sensations, the opportunity to unfold itself in the observation. It comes to a new reorchestration of your feelings and sensations. This unfolding is only possible because you are open to it, you welcome it. Now welcoming is an idea, but really with your whole being being open to it, what refers to your totality. You realize that it isn’t you, that you are not in the body, in the perception, in the feeling.

Sometimes we use certain techniques, which generally are used in a progressive way, but it is only occasionally. It is the idea behind that which we are looking for – we are it fundamentally – because in the end all things appear in the now, and it has its reality in the now. It is the now which gives the perceptions, the apperceivings, its reality. I would say, only then we have a certain reality. We have an expanded reality, but at the end, it belongs to the now, to the present. All what appears is a prolongation, an expansion, of the now, of consciousness, of awareness.

So, it brings you back, in other words, to your real nature, because all that is done emphasizes not on the object part but on the ultimate subject part, consciousness.

Q:        This listening that you speak of, is this an integral part of being or is it an attribute, a way toward being?

Jean:  The listening of which you are speaking is free from all memory. There are no expectations. There is no goal. In this listening we are looking away from the goal, looking away from the target. So it is unconditioned listening. In listening, the listening is open to itself. It refers to itself. And at the end, it knows itself by itself.

Q:        You said that all objects point to our true nature or the background, do some objects point more directly, and just what do you mean by this?

Jean:  All objects point where [toward] your real nature, but then? When? you see nearer an object the smallest sense perceptions. It belongs to our five senses. So generally, when the mind is not informed that you are behind all sense perceptions, then you are more or less fixed to the sense perceptions. So your question, is there other form of objects which reveals your real nature, I would say these are objects which point directly to beauty. This means these are objects which have been conceived, produced in beauty, and these objects, the artist which offers it to you in a certain way, don’t emphasize the object part what is producing. It is why he produced it in a very economic way. He frees the object of its objectivity. So the listener, or the person who looks at it, may be free from the senses and brought back to real beauty.

The artist has from time to time, this feeling of absolute beauty, free from the person. And then this state, free from the person, the artist likes, I would say, to thank – thanking to be allowed to be. And this thanking brings him to offering. He offers it. And the object which he offers is free from any anecdotic part, and free from keeping it for the senses. So in a certain way, he shares his inner beauty. His beauty is your own beauty and oneness. It is so in listening to music, and it is also looking at any art objects – sculpture, painting, architecture, and so on.

Q:        In this enlightened non-state, what about feelings and emotions? Do you feel anger or happiness and joy in the same way or is there a difference?

Jean:  When you are established in the now, the present, there is no place for somebody who reacts, who resists. All what appears to you, appears to your totality. All counterparts – positive, negative – are, I would say, abolished. You may say certain things appearing in your life are not completely appropriate. That is sure, but there would not be a reaction. When you qualify it, it is more or less; it is not functional, but you are not more psychologically involved in it.

Q:        Jean, I would like to ask a question about relationships. When two people come together, like a man and a woman, and live with each other, and one of them is interested in this kind of approach to life and the other perhaps isn’t, it is often a lot of ground for conflict, which has led me to feel sometimes that it might be better if I were living alone. It might be somehow easier to accomplish this kind of awakening. And I wondered what you had to say about that?

Jean:  It is love which brought both together. And it is in this oneness that the personality of each unfolds, but both personalities refer to oneness, to love. When the personality of the woman, of the man don’t refer to the oneness, to love, you can be sure there is a kind of degeneration because the personality, the character, or what you call the individual, has its reality in this oneness, in love. It is so on every level. Every activity in its own level refers to this oneness. Otherwise, there is a moment, there is no more stimulation. It is this oneness which gives life to all activities. The moment we believe in this restricted being, of personality to personality, of man and woman, then you can be sure there is not only a kind of degeneration in its form of energy, but there is constant comparison because the personality is completely insecure, looks for security, for the moment that doesn’t refer to the oneness. There is only asking, demanding. So, you must refer to the original encounter, you as a man with a woman which means love.

Q:        Jean, you just mentioned referring to the oneness. I notice that when I experience fear, I identify almost totally with my body and biological survival. How can I break that restricted identification when I am in that state?

Jean:  Fear is first a perception. You feel fear. And then feeling, you qualify it. You name it; you say “fear”. But the word fear is memory refers to a certain pattern that you have, the notion that you mean by fear. So the idea of fear doesn’t refer to the actual fear, the actual perception. So pedagogically I would say, free yourself from the concept fear then you face really the perception which is localized in your body.

See in this moment how you function. You try to change the fear. You try to escape. You try by all means to refuse it. In the refusing, in the escaping, you give more or less fuel to the fear. When you see it really, there is a moment natural that you allow the fear to be fear. And it becomes energy – really energy alive. You accept it completely. It is not psychological acceptance, but it is functional acceptance – accepted to know it more and more deeply. Then the perception refers completely to your accepting. It is in this accepting position that what you accept frees itself; and it dissolves in you, in your presence. It reveals really what you are profoundly.

Live with the fear more and more deeply. Accept it. Even love it. You are not more bound it. When you are not more bound to it, when you are not more involved in it, it frees itself. It is a reaction. But in accepting it you will come completely through the fear. You remain completely a witness to it. It vanishes in your witnessing. It means intimate living. You are able to do it.

Q:        Jean, this question has probably come up many, many times, but it is the issue of money and our desire for it, and how we use it, and our feeling that it is going to provide security for us. Could you speak about the issue of money and our proper relationship to it.

Jean:  I have observed that many people have a wrong relationship with money. First, I would say that you are not the owner of your money. You are the administrator. And being an administrator of your money, you are detached in a certain way. You have a non-relation with your money because an ownership is avidity, a striving, a coming. An administrator is only functioning. Try functioning with your money and spending it and then earning it.

The first thing what I think is that you are completely emotional, psychologically involved with your money. It is generally when you take your money for [as] yourself, an expansion of yourself, belonging to yourself, that you will have a bad death. You will only dying [die] but never really dying [die]. It is your money which keeps you from dying. Many people take risk with your [their] body and mind, but they would never take risk with the money, for money is something which keeps you. Owns you. Lets you never go. Because there is a moment in life that they have to go. But what is important [is] that when you be really [are] an administrator of your money, the distribution and the earning become really functional. It’s been coming to you because somebody has spent it.

Apparently, I don’t see that you spending money [is] an augury. The question may be more or less the mind. (Soft laughter.)

Q:        Thank you.

(More laughter.)

Jean:  I think in daily life you should come often back to the starting point and the starting point you can never think of it because the moment you think of the starting point the point is already in the past. The starting point is the presence, the eternal now. All flows out from the now, and all appears and disappears in the now. And the now is a kind of original perception. It is a direct apperception; you know yourself in your totality. There is not a knower there is only known.

-Jean Klein

From Dialogues with Jean Klein, Part 1

Here you can read more from Jean Klein.

Here you can listen to A Direct Apperception (Dialogues with Jean Klean part 1).

Here you can listen to Dialogues with Jean Klein part 2.

Here you can watch the videos of the Dialogues with Jean Klein on YouTube.

The Great Dance of Suchness – Osho

Brahman is well known by the name Tatvanam – that – so it is to be meditated upon as Tatvanam – that. All beings love him who know Brahman as such.

“Sir, teach me the Upanishad.”

“The Upanishad has been imparted to you. We have, verily, imparted to you the Upanishad relating to Brahman.”

Of the Upanishad, tapas – austerities; daman – self-restraint; and karma –dedicated work; form the support. The Vedas are its limbs, and truth its abode.

One who realizes it – knowledge of Brahman – thus destroys sin and is well established in Brahman, the infinite, the blissful and the highest.

-Kenopanishad

The word god is not God, because the ultimate cannot have a name. It is nameless – because names are given by others. A child is born. The child is born nameless, then a name is to be given. That name doesn’t come from the inner source of the child’s consciousness. It comes from without. It is a label – useful, utilitarian, but artificial. The child will become a victim. He will identify himself with this name, which is given, which really doesn’t belong to him.

But who will give a name to the Brahman? There are no parents, no society, no ‘other’. And what is the use when the Brahman alone is? A name is needed because you are not alone. You need to be categorized, named, defined, so that others can call you, remember you. If you are alone on the earth, you will not need a name. And Brahman is alone, so who will give him a name? There is no other and there is no utility in it either.

So that is the first thing to be understood and very basic to the Upanishad – because all the religions have given certain names. Hindus have given thousands of names. They have a book, Vishnu Sahastranam – God’s one thousand names. The whole book consists only of names. Christians, Mohammedans, Hindus, all have given certain names to God to make prayer possible. The name remains false but how are you going to call the divine? How are you going to invoke him? How are you going to relate yourself to him? You need a name for the divine, but the Upanishads are not ready to give a name.

The Upanishads are the purest teaching possible; they do not make any compromise. They do not make any compromise for you. They are rigorous, very hard and they try to remain totally pure. So what do the Upanishads call Brahman? They simply call him Tat – that. They do not give him a name. ‘That’ is not a name; ‘that’ is an indication. And there is a great difference. When you do not have a name, then you indicate and say “That.” It is a finger pointing toward the unknown. ‘That’ is a finger pointing toward the unknown, so the Upanishads call him Tat.

You may have heard one of the most famous sentences of the Upanishads: Tat-vam-asi – That art thou. You are also the Brahman, but the Upanishads go on calling him ‘that’. Even to say calling him is not good because the moment we use he, him, the ultimate becomes a person. The Upanishads do not say that he is a person; he is just a force, energy, life, but not a person. So they insist on calling him Tat – that. That is the only name given by the Upanishads to the ultimate.

Many things are implied, of course. One: if there is no name, or if Tat, that, is the only name, prayer becomes impossible. You can meditate on that, but you cannot pray. The Upanishads really do not believe in prayer; they believe in meditation. Prayer is something addressed to a person. Meditation is simply sinking, drowning, within yourself. The person is somewhere outside you but that, the Brahman, the ultimate force, is within you. You need not relate to it as the other; you can simply drown yourself inwardly. You can simply sink within yourself and you will find that – because “That art thou.”

To take Brahman as the other is false for the Upanishads. Not that the other is not Brahman: everything is Brahman; the other also, the outer also, is Brahman. But the Upanishads say that if you cannot feel him within, it is impossible for you to feel him without – because the nearest source is within; the without is far away. And if the nearest has not been known, how can you know the faraway, the distant? If you cannot feel him in yourself, how can you feel him in others? It is impossible.

The first step must be taken within. From there the Brahman, that, is nearest. You are that. To say nearest is false; there is not even that much distance – because even when someone is near there is distance. Nearness shows a certain distance; nearness is a sort of distance. He is not even near you – because you are that. So why go wandering without? He is in the home. You are looking for the guest and he is the host. You are waiting for the guest to come, and he is already the host. He is you.

So the first implication is: for the Upanishads there is no prayer; there is meditation. Prayer is a relationship between two, just like love. Meditation is not a relationship between two. It is just like surrender. Meditation is going withinwards, surrendering yourself unto yourself – not clinging to the periphery but sinking deep to the center. And when you are at your center you are in that – Tat, Brahman.

The second implication: when the Upanishads call him that, it means he is not the creator; rather, he is the creation – because the moment we say, “God is the creator,” we have made him a person. And not only have we made him a person: we have divided existence into two – the creator and the created. The duality has entered. The Upanishads say that he is the creation. Or to be more accurate, he is the creativity – the very force of creation.

I always like to illustrate this point by the phenomenon of dance. A painter paints but the moment he has painted his picture, the painter is separate from the picture. Now the painter can die, and the picture will remain. Or you can destroy the picture but by doing that the painter will not be destroyed – they are separate. Now the picture can exist for centuries without the painter. The painter is not needed. Once painted, it is finished; the relationship is broken.

Look at the dancer! He dances but the dance is not separate; it cannot be separated. If the dancer is dead, then the dance is dead. Dance is not separate from the dancer; the dance cannot exist without the dancer. And the dancer cannot exist without the dance either because the moment there is no dance, the person may be there, but he is not a dancer.

God’s relation to the world, for the Upanishads, is that of dance and the dancer. Hence, we have pictured Shiva as Nataraj, the dancer. A very deep meaning is there – that this world is not something secondary that God has created, then forgotten about and become separate from. The world is not of a secondary order. It is as much of the first order as the divine himself because this world is just a dance, a leela, a play. It cannot be separated.

Calling Brahman That says all that is is Brahman, all that is, is he – the manifested and the unmanifested, the creation and the creator. He is both.

The word that – Tat – also has a very subtle meaning. Buddha has used that meaning very much and Buddhists have a separate school of teaching just based on this word. Buddha has called that suchness, he has called it tathata; hence Buddha’s name, Tathagata – the man who has achieved suchness, who has achieved That.

This word suchness is very beautiful. What does it mean? If you are born, Buddha will say, “Such is the case that you are born.” No other comment. If you die, he will say, “Such is the case – you die!” No other comment, no reaction to it; things are such. Then everything becomes acceptable. If you say, “Things are such that now I have become old, ill; things are such that I am defeated; things are such that I am victorious; things are such . . .” then you don’t claim anything, and you don’t feel frustrated because you don’t expect anything. Such is the nature of things. Then one who is born will die, one who is healthy will become ill, one who is young will become old, one who is beautiful will become ugly. Such is the nature of things.

Unnecessarily you get worried about it; this suchness is not going to change because of your worry. Unnecessarily you get involved in it; your involvement is not going to change anything. Things will go on moving in their own way. The suchness, the river of suchness, will go on moving in spite of you. Whatsoever you do makes no difference; whatsoever you think makes no difference. You cannot make any difference in the nature of things.

Once this feeling settles within your heart, then life has no frustration for you. Then life cannot frustrate you, then life cannot disappoint you. And with this feeling of suchness a subtle joy arises in your being. Then you can enjoy everything – you are no more, really. With the feeling that “Such is the nature, such is existence, such is the course of things,” your ego disappears.

How can your ego exist? It exists only when you think that you can make certain changes in the nature of things. It exists only when you think that you are a creator – you can change the course, you can manipulate nature. This very moment, when you think that you can manipulate nature, ego enters, you become egoistic. You start functioning and thinking as if you are separate.

Someone asked Rinzai, “What’s your sadhana – what’s your meditation?”

So he said, “No meditation. When I feel hungry, I feel hungry, and I go begging. When I feel sleepy, I fall asleep. When sleep is gone and I feel awake, I am awake. I have no other sadhana – no other meditation, no other practice. I move with things as they are. When it is hot, I move into the shadow of a tree; the very nature moves towards shadow. When it becomes cold under the shadow of a tree, I move under the sun – but I am not doing anything. Such is the nature of things.”

Look at the beauty: he says, “Such is the nature of things. When feeling hungry, I go begging – not that I go begging . . . such is the nature of things. The hunger goes begging. Not that I move from the hot sun towards the shadow of a tree – such is the nature of things. The body moves and I allow it all to happen, and I am happy because I allow everything to happen. Nothing can make me miserable.”

Misery enters into you because you start interfering, you become resistant. You don’t allow the suchness to move; you start creating blocks for it. You want to change the course of things, then misery enters.

Someone gives you respect, honors you – you feel elated. You think something very great is within you and now it is being appreciated. It was always there – that was your feeling – but now people have become recognizant, now people have become more understanding so they can recognize the greatness of your being. But then dishonor follows… and such is the nature of things, that dishonor follows honor, it is the shadow of it. It is just the other part, the other aspect of the same coin. And when it follows you feel dejected, you feel depressed, you feel like committing suicide. The whole world has gone wrong around you; the whole world has become inimical to you.

The person who understands the nature of things will enjoy both. He will say, “Such is the nature of things, that people honor me. And such is the nature of things, that dishonor follows honor, defeat follows victory, happiness is followed by unhappiness, health is followed by disease – such is the nature of things! Youth is followed by old age and birth is followed by death – such is the nature of things!”

So whatsoever is the case, if you can feel it is so and nothing else is possible, then that which is possible happens. It is always happening – that which is possible. And that which is impossible is never happening. And if you start asking for the impossible, you are trying to move against the nature of things. The philosophy of suchness or that, thatness, is simply this statement: “Do not try for the impossible; move with the possible and you will never be unhappy.” Bliss happens to those who can move with a feeling of suchness.

Buddha became old and his followers thought, “Buddha should not become old. A buddha becoming old?” The followers could not conceive of this because followers have their own fantasies. They think Buddha is not part of the nature of things. They think he must not die, that he must always remain young. So Ananda said to Buddha, “It is very depressing that now old age is settling upon you. We never imagined that you, one who has become awakened, one who has realized the ultimate, should become old.”

Buddha said, “Such is the nature of things. For everyone, whether a buddha or non-buddha, enlightened or ignorant, the nature of things is the same – equal. I will become old and I will die, because whosoever is born will die. Such is the nature of things.” Ananda is unhappy; Buddha is not. Ananda is unhappy because he is expecting something impossible, against the nature of things.

When Shri Aurobindo died, the whole ashram of Shri Aurobindo was not ready to accept the fact that Aurobindo could die. They couldn’t believe it. The followers all over the world were surprised that Shri Aurobindo could die. For a few months this was the rumor – that he will resurrect again. And for a few days they tried to preserve the body. This was the rumor around the circle of his followers – that he is in deep samadhi, in deep meditation, and he has not died. But after three days, the body started deteriorating and a bad smell started coming out of it. He was really dead. Such is the nature of things.

Nature is a great equalizer; it makes no distinctions. And it is good that it doesn’t make any distinctions. It is not partial. If you are awakened, the only change will be this – that you will accept this suchness. If you are ignorant, the only difference will be this – that you will go on resisting, fighting with the suchness. This is the only difference – the only, I say. And this difference is great, the greatest, because the moment you realize that things move in their own way, that nature has its own law, its own order, you are freed from it. Not that it will change its laws for you, but that you will have changed, your attitude will have changed. You will say, “Such is the nature of things.”

Brahman is the ultimate nature of things, the very suchness. With this comes total acceptance. In total acceptance, suffering disappears. Suffering is your resistance, suffering is your nonacceptance. You create your own suffering. Bliss is always available but because of your attitudes you are not available to it. Now we will enter the sutra.

Brahman is well known by the name Tatvanam – that – so it is to be meditated upon as Tatvanam – that. All beings love him who know Brahman as such.

Brahman is well known by the name that – Tat – so it is to be meditated upon as Tat – as that. Do not meditate upon him as a person. Then your imagination will have entered. There is no person there. Do not meditate upon him as sagun – with attributes. That is not the teaching of the Upanishads. Do not conceive of him in some form. Just remember him as that.

But this is very difficult. How do you remember him as that? You can remember him as Krishna, as Rama, as Christ, as Buddha, but how can you remember him as that? The very concept of ‘that’ shatters your mind. It will stop. If you remember him as that, as the suchness of things, as this great cosmos – and all is implied in it – your mind will stop through shock. You cannot think about that – or can you? You can think about Krishna because you can picture, you can imagine, that he is playing on his flute or he is dancing and his girlfriends, gopis, are dancing around him – or can you picture him making love to Radha?

You can picture him but how to picture ‘that’? There is no flute, there are no girlfriends, there is no dance. There is nothing to be pictured. How can you imagine that? Imagination stops. If you really try to conceive of that, through that very effort mind will stop and you will enter meditation. This that is just like a Zen koan. That which cannot be conceived – if you try to conceive of it your mind will stop and stopping of the mind is meditation.

The very effort to meditate on that is absurd. You cannot meditate upon that: there is nothing to meditate upon; there is no object. That is not an object. But if you try hard, in the very effort . . . because you cannot meditate upon it . . . Not that you will succeed in meditating upon that – in the very effort, in the very failure that you cannot think about it, thinking will stop . . . Because thinking has no goal it cannot move with that and when thinking stops you are in meditation.

It is not that Tat, the Brahman, will appear before you; it is not that you will come to know and realize the truth in front of you – no! The moment your thinking has stopped, you have become that, you have fallen into it. The wave has disappeared into the ocean. And this disappearing always happens within because you fall from there. The wave disappears in the ocean. you are that. Meditating upon that, you will become that.

The Upanishads go on saying that one who knows the Brahman becomes the Brahman; one who meditates upon him becomes him: he becomes that.

Brahman is well known by the name that, so it is to be meditated upon as that. All beings love him who know Brahman as such.

And the person who comes to know Brahman as that, as the suchness of existence, all beings naturally fall in love with him.

Why does this happen? You suddenly feel love arising within your heart and flowing toward the person who has come to attain suchness. Why does it happen? It is not that it is necessarily so; you can even hate such a person because hate is a form of love. But you cannot be indifferent to such a person, that is the point. If such a person is there, either you can love him or hate him, but you cannot be indifferent. Hate is possible because hate is the opposite form, the reverse, of love. It is just love doing shirshasan – standing on its head. But you cannot be indifferent.

Why does love happen? Why does hate happen? And why is indifference not possible? Because the very being of such a person touches your heart deeply. It goes on playing on your heart; your heart becomes a musical instrument. Just the presence of such a person stirs something within you. The very presence of such a person makes your own ‘that’ alive. It becomes a magnetic force, and your own sleeping Brahman feels its sleep disturbed. Your own sleeping Brahman opens his eyes and looks at this awakened Brahman and a love or hate happens.

If you are receptive, surrendering, trusting, then love will happen. If you are doubtful, skeptical, non-surrendering, egoistic, then hate will happen. But indifference is impossible. You cannot conceive of Buddha moving in a town and someone being indifferent. Either love or hate is bound to happen. But both are relationships; you will start being related.

Love says, “I am ready to move with you.” Hate says, “Do not pull me. I am not ready to surrender; I will resist.” Love says, “I am ready to follow you and fall with you.” Hate says, “I cannot surrender my ego. And just because I cannot surrender my ego I will hate you, because the moment I love the surrender will happen.” And sometimes it happens that when you are in love with a person you may not be so deeply related as when you hate him.

There is one anecdote I have heard: one rishi got angry with someone. He was so angry that he cursed the man. The curse was terrible, and this man would have to be born again and again and suffer. The man fell down at the feet of that rishi and asked forgiveness. But a curse cannot be reversed. The rishi said, “Now nothing can be done to reverse the curse. You will have to pass through it. Only one thing can be done. If you remember God’s name, then the curse will not have such a terrific effect upon you. You will remain detached; you will not suffer so much. But you will have to pass through suffering.”

So the man asked, “Tell me the secret of remembering the name so that I may not forget it.”

Then the rishi said, “Then hate God. Do not love – because love can forget, but hate cannot. Hate God, and go on cursing and cursing him, swearing against him. Just by cursing him you will remember him.”

Love may forget; hate cannot forget. Love can forget because love, by and by, becomes one with the object of love. Hate is a constant vigilance; you have to protect yourself. The pull is there – a buddha is pulling you – you have to struggle. If you lose for a single moment, if you are forgetful for a single moment, you will be in the current. So you have to be constantly alert. Hate is just a love relationship in the reverse order.

A person who happens to be enlightened will attract you – either your love or your hate. But one thing is certain: you cannot be indifferent to him, because he has gone so deep that his depth will resonate within you, will resound, reflect. His depth will call your depth. He will become an invocation. It is not that he will do something: just his being, just his very being, will do something – no effort on his part.

Just looking at a flower, you say, “Beautiful!” Something has happened within you. It is not that the flower has done anything; the flower is completely unaware that you are passing. But you say, “Beautiful!” When your heart says that something is beautiful, something has happened within your heart; the flower has touched you deep down. You see the full moon in the night and suddenly you become silent. The depth, the beauty, the grace, has touched you.

Similar is the case here: when a person who has achieved Brahman, who is enlightened, touches you, it is deeper than any flower can touch. It is deeper than any full moon can touch, it is deeper than anything in the world can touch you because the feeling of Brahman is the deepest, the ultimate core, the very ground. Just by being near such a person you are changed.

Hence so much insistence in India just to be near the master – just to be near the master! The very nearness goes on changing you because the depth calls your depth, the inner silence calls your inner silence, the bliss invokes your bliss. The very presence of a master is seductive. He goes on changing you, transforming you.

“Sir, teach me the Upanishad.”

Now speaks the disciple. Up to now the master was speaking, and now the disciple asks the first and the last question – the only question. This is beautiful . . . because he was simply waiting. You must not have even been aware that there was a disciple. Only the master was speaking, as if the disciple was not. He must have been just ears and eyes; he has not interrupted at all. Now, in the last moment, he asks for something:

“Sir, teach me the Upanishad.”

The word upanishad means the esoteric teaching, the hidden teaching, the secret teaching. Upanishad means the secret path, the secret key – the esoteric, the hidden, the unknown. Upanishad means the mystery. Asks the disciple: “Sir, teach me the Upanishad.”

And the master says,

“The Upanishad has been imparted to you. We have verily imparted to you the Upanishad relating to Brahman.”

Here there is a very subtle and delicate point to be understood. The master has been teaching, talking, and the disciple must have been intensely, intellectually alert, aware, to understand whatsoever was said. And all that can be said has been said. All the knowledge relating to Brahman has been imparted. All that can be verbalized, all that can be spoken has been spoken.

And the student asks, the disciple asks, “Now teach me the Upanishad, the secret of secrets. What is the meaning of it?”

And the master says, “The Upanishad has already been imparted to you.” The master is talking – this is on one level – and while the disciple is engaged in listening, on another level the secret is being imparted.

That is why the disciple is not aware: he is intellectually engaged. His attention is on the words but deep down something else is being transferred. And that transfer is the secret: that is the real Upanishad. But that cannot be said. It is a transfer without words, a communication without language.

Bodhidharma, one of the greatest masters India has ever produced, went to China. It is said about him that he came to China with a scripture that didn’t exist – with a scripture that didn’t exist! He transferred the scripture without transferring anything at all. He must have been a past master in communicating things, silently, without words.

He used to sit looking at the wall; he would never look at his audience. Just his back would be toward you. He would never look at you; he would just look at the wall. And many people would ask Bodhidharma, “What type of way is this? What type of manners? What type of man are you? We have never seen anyone looking at the wall and we have come to listen to you.” Bodhidharma used to say, “When the right man comes, I will turn toward him. And the right man is one who can understand me in silence. I am not interested in you at all.”

And then one day a right man came, and that right man said to Bodhidharma, “Turn toward me; otherwise, I will cut off my head.”

So Bodhidharma turned immediately and said, “So you have come? Now sit in silence and I will impart.”

Not a single word was uttered in imparting and the other was made a master. And Bodhidharma disappeared. He had said, “I was waiting for this man for nine years.” And the other became a master but not a single word was used.

There are layers in your being. The uppermost layer, the most superficial, understands language, and the deepest understands silence. And masters have to create devices. These teachings, verbal teachings, are just devices. I have just been talking to you . . .

One young man came to me just the other day and he said, “You are very contradictory. You go on saying nothing can be said and you go on talking every day continuously for three hours in the morning and in the evening. You are very contradictory. You say nothing can be said about that and yet you go on saying.”

He is right, I am contradictory. Nothing can be said about that, and still I go on saying something. This something is just to catch your attention on one level so that on another level something can penetrate in silence.

The master says, “The Upanishad has already been imparted to you, and you are saying, “Teach me, sir, the Upanishad.” And what have I been doing all the time?” But the disciple was engaged intellectually. He is not yet aware what has happened to him. The news has not yet reached to his intellect. It will take time.

So it happens. While you are here you may not have understood me but that doesn’t make any difference. If there has been a contact in silence, it will take time for you to realize that something has happened within. The news will take time because intellect is very far away from the deepest center of you. If something happens there, you will not become aware. Rather, I will become aware first. So I go on looking at you while you are meditating, just to feel what is happening – because you are not yet able to feel what is happening. It will take time. The message will come one day; it will travel; it will pass through all the centers and layers. And then it will come to your mind and then you will recognize – but it may take years.

Someone very near to me was saying just the other day, “You have not done anything for me, and I have been with you for two years.” The news has not yet reached. It will take time.

The master says:

“The Upanishad has been imparted to you. We have verily imparted to you the Upanishad relating to Brahman.”

Of the Upanishad, tapas – austerities; daman – self-restraint; and karma – dedicated work; form the support. The Vedas are its limbs and truth its abode.

In short, the master defines what the Upanishad calls tapas. Tapas means effort – intense effort. When you bring your total energy to any effort it becomes tapas – any effort! If your total energy is brought to it, it becomes tapas.

While doing meditation, if you withhold yourself it is not tapas. You are just making an effort which is so-so, on the surface. You are not deep in it, not moving in it totally. When you move in it totally, it creates heat; hence, the name tapas. Tapas means heat. When you move totally in any effort, it creates heat within you. Exactly that: it creates heat, and that heat changes many things chemically. You become a different being. You become a different person through tapas because that heat changes you chemically. It makes a different type of personality for you.

Gurdjieff used methods of tapas very much in this age. He would give some method to you, and he would say, “Bring your total effort to it. Not a single fragment should be left behind to watch it. Bring yourself totally in it, become the effort.” And you may be surprised that any effort . . .

Gurdjieff would say to someone, “Go into the garden and dig a hole and bring total effort into the digging. Forget the digger completely; become the digging.” And the man would go, and he would dig and he would dig. The whole day he would have been digging. Then Gurdjieff would come and throw all the mud back and he would say, “This was useless. Start again tomorrow morning.”

And the man would start again the next morning and this would go on for days and days. And he would come every evening and he would throw the mud back, and he would say, “Start again.”

When the digger becomes the digging, when there is no one left behind, when the whole being has moved into effort, it becomes tapas; it becomes a subtle heat.

The master says tapas and daman. Daman is self-restraint, not suppression. This word daman has been very wrongly used. It is not suppression; it is self-restraint. And there is a deep difference.

While doing meditation, while standing in silence, you may feel a sneeze coming. You can suppress it, you can start fighting with it, then it is suppression. But if you simply remain indifferent, if you do not do anything about it, if you do not suppress and you do not express, if you do not do anything about it and you simply remain indifferent, this is self-restraint. You remain in yourself. You don’t move towards the sneeze to do anything.

If you move to express it, you have come out of yourself. If you move to suppress it, again you have come out of yourself. You simply remain in yourself as if the sneeze is happening to someone else – you are not concerned. You don’t suppress it, you don’t fight with it. You simply remain indifferent, a witness. That is self-restraint.

Suppression is easy because you are allowed to do something. Self-restraint is very difficult because you are not allowed to do anything. You are to remain passive, a non-doer, non-active, simply watching.

. . . Tapas, daman and karma – dedicated work – form the support. These three

things form the support of the secret teaching, of the Upanishad. Dedicated work – all karma, all action, is not karma. When a karma is dedicated; when a karma is egoless; when a karma becomes a sort of prayer, a meditation; when a karma is only outwardly a karma and inwardly something else is reaching toward the divine; then it is karma – then it is dedicated work.

For example, you are serving an old man or an ill man. If you can make it a meditation, if you can make it a prayer; if you can see the divine, ‘that’, in that old, ill man; if you serve not to achieve anything, you serve to be in deep meditation – in this moment your service becomes meditation. Then it becomes karma. If you want to achieve anything out of it, it will create a chain of cause and effect.

If you want this old man – he may even be your father – to have property, a bank balance, if your eyes are on the bank balance, then it is not karma. But the bank balance can be there in many shapes: you may be serving this old man to achieve heaven; that again is a bank balance. You may be serving this old man because you have been taught that service leads to God; then again it is a sort of bank balance. You are not here. Your mind is somewhere else.

When karma is totally here and now, when your mind is not moving anywhere else into the future, then it doesn’t create any chain. In this very moment it becomes a meditation.

These three – tapas – austerities; daman – self-restraint; and karma – dedicated work, form the support. The Vedas are its limbs.

Veda is a beautiful word: it simply means knowledge. Whatsoever has been known about the Brahman, wherever, it is all Vedas. So I call The Bible a Veda and I call the Koran a Veda; to me there are thousands and thousands of Vedas. And whenever a person becomes enlightened, whatsoever he says is a Veda. So the Vedas are not only four. The word Veda comes from vid; vid means to know. And wherever this knowing is accumulated, wherever this knowing is symbolized, it becomes a Veda.

The Vedas are its limbs and truth its abode.

These three things have to be remembered: make intense effort so that an inner heat is born and changes you chemically; be in a self-restraint so that you become more self-centered, unmoving, unwavering, centered, rooted; and make your work a karma – a dedicated prayer, a meditation. Try to know all that has been known before. Not that through it you will come to truth but all that will become a help. It can also become a barrier if you become too much attached to it. Otherwise, it will be a help, an indicator.

Ultimately truth is the abode – and truth means that. And that comes to you when you live a life of suchness.

One who realizes it – knowledge of Brahman – thus destroys sin and is well established in Brahman, the infinite, the blissful and the highest.

-Osho

From The Supreme Doctrine, Discourse #16

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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Here Ends this Upanishad – Osho

By listening to these above teachings, the disciple attained knowledge and he exclaimed, “Whither has that world gone? Whither has gone that world I have just seen? Who did it take away? And in what way has it dissolved? Is it not immensely astonishing that it is not?

What have I now to renounce in this great oceanlike brahman, which is whole and full of a nectar of bliss? What is the other? What is more unique? Here, I do not even see anything. I do not even hear anything, and I do not even know anything, because I am the ever-blissful self.

I am unique.
I can be compared to none.
I can be compared only to myself.
I am absolutely alone, without body.
I cannot be indicated.
No symbol can represent me.
I am the supreme god Hari.
I am immeasurably silent.
I am the infinite, absolute, and the most ancient.
I am not the doer.
I am not the one who indulges.
I am without growth.
I am the imperishable.
I am already pure and knowledge itself.
I am the Sadashiv, the eternally good.”

This knowledge was transmitted by the guru to his disciple, Apantaram, who in his turn transmitted it to Brahma. Brahma gave it to Ghora Angirasa, and the latter to Raikwa. Raikwa gave it to Rama, and Rama gave it to all of humanity.

This is the teaching of nirvana, of knowledge, Veda. It is ordained by the Veda itself.

Here ends this Upanishad.

-Adhyatma Upanishad

By listening to these above teachings, the disciple attained knowledge and he exclaimed, “Whither has that world gone? Whither has gone that world I have just seen? Who did it take away? And in what way has it dissolved? Is it not immensely astonishing that it is not?

This is a very unique happening. The teacher was saying that this world is just a dream, and unless this dream ceases, the world of reality, the world of truth cannot be attained. “Cease dreaming and enter the world of reality,” he was teaching. And he would never have imagined that just by listening to this, the disciple attained to knowledge. How can it happen? It is not happening to us. We have heard it also; it has not happened to us. Why? And why could this happen to that disciple? What is the difference? You are listening, but that listening is not of the heart.

You are listening, but that listening is not total.

You are listening, but you go on standing outside.

Only the mechanical part of your ears hears it. Or at the most, the mechanical part of your mind thinks about it, but the heart remains untouched. You go on protecting your heart from the teaching. You are afraid that if this teaching goes deep into your heart, you will not be the same again. And then you will be thrown into insecurity; you will be thrown into the unknown – and everyone is afraid of the unknown. That fear becomes a barrier.

Unless you are ready to go into the unknown, to move into the unchartered, to move in a world where you do not know anything . . . insecurity will be there, you will be vulnerable; danger will be there, even death. Unless you are ready to take a jump into the unknown, this teaching cannot become a deep happening for you.

But to this disciple it happened. He heard it; he must have heard it through his heart. He must have heard it through his total being; he must have become one while the teaching was being delivered. The teacher and the taught must have felt a deep communion. The teacher must have gone deep into the disciple’s heart through his teaching.

The disciple was ready and receptive. He never doubted; he simply believed – there was no question.

The whole Upanishad is without a question, there is no question, no questioning at all. The disciple remains completely silent through the whole discourse. Only in the end do we suddenly become aware that there has been a disciple present. The teacher was talking, the teacher was giving his message, but we were never aware that a disciple was there. Suddenly we become aware in this last part of the Upanishad, when the disciple says, “Whither has gone that world I have just seen? Where is that world? When I came to you, there was a world around me. Now I look and there is no world to be found. Where has it gone? It is immensely astonishing. You were teaching me that the world is not, and now I see that it is not!”

What has happened to the disciple? Now he is looking from a new standpoint; now he is looking from a deeper center. Now he is looking really, from his being. When you look from your being, the world of becoming disappears like a dream.

That’s how I started this commentary on the Upanishad. When we live on the circumference, then the world is real. When we move towards the center, the world becomes more and more unreal. When you stand at your center, when you are centered in yourself, the world completely disappears. What have I now to renounce in this great oceanlike brahman, which is whole and full of nectar of bliss? What is the other? What is more unique?

The disciple is just shocked – what has happened to the world? When for the first time one explodes into that realm of the divine, the first thing is a shock – the world disappears.

And when the world disappears suddenly, you cannot face, you cannot see the other world that arises. The curtain falls, the barriers fall, but your mind has been always attuned to this world of ignorance, of dream. When this dissolves suddenly, you cannot become aware of the other world that is now before you.

Your eyes will need a new attunement; your consciousness will need a new way of looking. Now you will need a new dimension, a new opening in you. Only then you will feel that although the world has disappeared, a new existence has come up and has appeared: Here, I do not even see anything. I do not even hear anything, and I do not even know anything . . .

All old knowledge has become futile. All old ways of seeing have become futile. All the senses have become futile, because they were meaningful only when the world was there – but the world of senses has disappeared, senses have become useless: “I cannot see, I cannot hear, I do not know; because all my knowledge was concerned with the world.”

Whatsoever you know is concerned with the world If the world disappears, what will be the difference between a learned man and one who is ignorant? What will be the difference? No difference – if the world disappears, then the learned will be just like any ignorant man, because all your learning is concerned with the world. So the disciple says: I do not even know anything . . . only this much I know: I am the ever-blissful self . . . unique. I can be compared to none. I can be compared only to myself . . . I am like myself; only this much I know.

The knowledge of a Mahavira, the knowledge of a Buddha, or a Jesus, or a Krishna, is not the knowledge of a learned man. They do not know anything about the world; they know only about their own selves.

Mahavira has said that if you can know your own self, you have known all; and if you know everything except yourself, you know nothing.

They know about their own central force, energy, life. They know about their own inner being, and they do not know anything about the world, because the whole world has disappeared. They know only one thing, that I am the ever-blissful self.

When you know about the world, you know many, many anxieties, you know anguish, you know tensions, you know misery. When you know many things about the world, the misery goes on growing with your knowledge. The more you know, the more miserable you are. We can observe this all over the world. Now, for the first time, we have gathered great knowledge – not only have we gathered, we have dispersed it to everyone through universal teaching, education. And now every man is miserable, and the misery keeps growing. On the one hand, knowledge grows, on the other hand, misery grows.

What is happening? This seems quite inconceivable, because if with knowledge misery grows, then for what is this knowledge? Knowledge of the without goes deeper and deeper, but then misery also goes deeper and deeper.

There is another knowledge also, that this Upanishad is talking about – the knowledge of the inner self. With the knowledge of the inner self, blissfulness grows. So this is just an indication: if you are becoming more and more blissful, know that you are growing in inner knowledge. If you are becoming more and more miserable, know that you are growing in outer knowledge.

The biblical story is beautiful:

Adam was expelled from Eden because he disobeyed God. And what was the disobedience? The disobedience was this: God has forbidden Adam and Eve . . . he has said to them that they are not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. In the Garden of Eden in heaven, there was a tree, the tree of knowledge, and God has forbidden Adam and Eve to touch that tree, to eat the fruit of that tree. But because of this, Adam and Eve must have become attracted to the tree.

The garden was big and there was only one tree of knowledge. But because of this order, they rebelled. And when they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge they were expelled from Eden.

This story is beautiful. They were expelled because of knowledge, and man is continuously being expelled from Eden because of knowledge. The more you know, the more heaven becomes just impossible, and hell the only possibility. But there is another tree also in the Garden of Eden. It is not mentioned in The Bible, but I will tell you about it. That tree is the tree of inner knowledge, and unless you eat the fruit of that tree you can never enter again into heaven.

There are two types of knowledge: knowledge of things and knowledge of self. The devil tempted Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree of knowledge – and the Upanishads tempt you to eat the fruit of the other tree of knowledge. Unless you enter yourself, and eat the fruit of inner knowledge, you cannot be redeemed; you cannot be liberated, you cannot become free. And you can never be blissful.

I am absolutely alone, without body.
I cannot be indicated.
No symbol can represent me.
I am the supreme god Hari.
I am immeasurably silent.
I am the infinite, absolute, and the most ancient.
I am not the doer.
I am not the one who indulges.
I am without growth.
I am the imperishable.
I am already pure and knowledge itself.
I am the Sadashiv, the eternally good.

The disciple tells his teacher his own experience now. The teacher was telling the disciple his experience; the disciple is not saying, “I am convinced now that whatsoever you say is true,” or “I am convinced a little bit, and later on I will think more about it”; nor “Whatsoever you say must be true, because you are a reliable man.” No, he simply tells his own experience. He has not even mentioned it, that “Whatsoever you have taught me is true.” No reference is made to the teaching at all. He simply says, “Now this is my experience: I am the divine, I am Hari. I am immeasurably silent. I am absolute, infinite.” He has attained to experience. This is not a conversion, intellectual; it is a transformation.

This knowledge was transmitted by the guru to his disciple, Apantaram, who in his turn transmitted it to Brahma. Brahma gave it to Ghora Angirasa, and the latter to Raikwa. Raikwa gave it to Rama, and Rama gave it to all of humanity. This is the teaching of nirvan, of knowledge, of the Veda. It is ordained by the Veda itself.

Here ends this Upanishad.

This last paragraph, last sutra, has to be understood:

Knowledge of the absolute is eternal.

It is never new, never old.

It is not a growing body of knowledge.

Science grows; religion is eternal.

Science goes on growing, increasing. No scientific truth is absolute; it is relative. And no scientific truth can be called really a truth, because it is always more or less approximate. Time will change it, time always changes it. Whatsoever Newton said is no longer true; even what Einstein said is now doubtful.

Time changes science, but time never changes religion. Why? – because the religious experience is attained only when you enter a timeless moment. When you enter in yourself and time stops completely – no flow of time is there . . . no past, no present, no future; time stops completely – you are here and now. Only this moment remains, and this moment becomes eternal. In timelessness, religious experience is attained; that’s why time never alters it.

This sutra says that whatsoever is taught in this Upanishad is not something new, it is not original. Our modern world is too obsessed with originality. People go on saying, and trying, and proving that whatsoever is said is original. Particularly in the West, every thinker tries to prove that he is original, that whatsoever he is saying, no one has ever said before. Unless a theory can be proved original it is never appreciated in the West. If someone else has already said it then what is the use? Then what are you doing wasting your time? So everyone tries to be original.

But originality is impossible as far as religion is concerned. As far as science is concerned, originality is possible. In science there are old truths dying, new truths being born. Science is relative, growing. But in religion there can be nothing original. In religion everything is eternal. Whatsoever a buddha says will be said always by anyone who becomes enlightened, who becomes a buddha. Language may differ, terminology may be different, but the experience can never be different.

So in the old India, in the East, it was a tradition always: whenever someone would say something, he would say, “I am not the originator of it. I have also attained to it, but before me it was given by A to B, by B to C, by C to D – it is an eternal message.” When one thinks and says, “I am original,” this is an egoistic standpoint. The ego always tries to be original; only then it feels strengthened. But these teachings are not ego teachings, ego oriented; they are egoless teachings. Those who had attained to egolessness have said them. That’s why this sutra:

This knowledge was transmitted by the guru to his disciple, Apantaram, who in his turn transmitted it to Brahma. Brahma gave it to Ghora Angirasa, and the latter to Raikwa. Raikwa gave it to Rama, and Rama gave it to all of humanity.

Here ends this Upanishad.

The scripture ends here but not the journey. For you, really, now begins the journey. The Upanishad ends, your journey begins.

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #51

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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

Samyak Smriti, Right Remembering – Osho

Prarbdhakarma fulfills itself only when one identifies the self with the body, but it is no good identifying with the body. Who wants to sever this identification and free himself of prarbdhakarma, illusion of the body, is the basis for the projection of prarbdhakarma.

But that which is projected or imagined by illusion can never be real. And how can it arise or manifest if it is not real? And how can it be destroyed if it is not manifested? How can the false, the unreal have the bondage of conditioning?

-Adhyatma Upanishad

This body is the result of ignorance and knowledge destroys it fully. Ignorance then raises doubt as to how this body exists even after realization. To remove this doubt of the ignorant, the scriptures have ordained the concept of prarbdha externally.

In reality there is neither body nor prarbdha.

This sutra is very strange, but very true. To understand this sutra is to understand many, many things about scriptures, about teachers, about masters, methods, techniques, doctrines.

This sutra says that in reality there is no world, in reality there is no suffering; in reality, whatsoever you feel and know is not – but in reality, remember. As far as you are concerned, it is real.

As far as you are concerned, it is real.

We should try to understand it through dream, because the Eastern mind has been very much fascinated by the reality of dream. And this sutra can be understood only through dream.

You are dreaming. While dreaming you can never doubt that the dream is a dream. While dreaming, the dream is true, real, as real as any reality – even more real. Why do I say even more real? I say this because when you get up in the morning, you can remember your dream – but when you go into sleep you cannot remember what has happened, what was happening when you were awake. This is a rare phenomenon. In dream you forget your so-called reality completely.

You cannot remember that you are a doctor in the day while you are awake, or an engineer, or a minister. You cannot remember in your dream the facts of the day, when you were awake. The whole reality, the so-called reality of the day is completely washed away by the dream – it seems more powerful. But in the morning when you get up, when sleep has gone, you can remember your dream. It means the reality of your day is not strong enough to completely wash away the reality of the dream. In dream you forget your day completely, but in your day, in your waking state of mind, you can remember your dreams. Dreams appear to be more real – that’s why I say “even more real.”

In dream you can never doubt that whatsoever you are seeing is unreal or real; it IS real, it is felt to be authentically real. Why? Why does dream appear so real? – and this is not your first experience. You have been dreaming for your whole life, and every day in the morning you have come to know that the dream was unreal. Yet, when you go to sleep tonight and dream, you will not remember your whole life’s experience, that dreams are unreal. Again, you will fall into the illusion, and you will feel the dreams as real. In the morning again you will repeat that “it was just a dream, nothing real.” What is happening? So much experience of dreaming, still the dream remains real. Why? – because really, anything becomes real if you are absent.

Your absence gives reality to false things.

In the dream you cannot remember yourself – so whatsoever passes in front of your eyes becomes real because you are not. You are so unreal that anything can be felt as real. If you can remember yourself in the dream, the dream will drop; it will cease immediately.

Gurdjieff used to give this technique to his disciples: to remember themselves continuously. In the day go on remembering “I am, I am.” Do whatsoever you are doing but continuously make it a point to remember “I am” – not verbally, feel it – “I am.” Eating, go on eating, and simultaneously feel “I am.” Remember “I am.” You are walking, go on walking; remember “I am.” This Gurdjieff called “self-remembering.” Buddha has called it “right remembering” – samyak smriti.

Go on remembering – “I am.” If this feeling of “I am” goes deep, it will follow you in sleep also. And when there is a dream, you will remember – “I am.” Suddenly the dream will stop: if you are, then there can be no dream.

This is just to explain to you a greater truth: in this life, the world is because we are not. This is the Upanishad’s basic teaching. In this world, the world is, everything is – you are not. Only you are not; everything is.

That’s why you cannot feel whether it is real or unreal. Remember yourself, be centered in yourself, be conscious, aware. And as you become more intensely aware, you will feel simultaneously that the world is dropping its reality and is changing into a dream. When you become aware totally, the world becomes a dream. This means, if you are real, then whatsoever you experience is a dream – whatsoever, I say – if you are authentically real, conscious, alert, then all your experiences are dreams.

If you are unaware of yourself, then your own reality is projected onto the dreams, then your own reality is transferred to the dreams. Your own existence is transferred to dreams and experiences and thoughts, and they become real. They have a borrowed reality; your own reality has gone to them. They are not real.

For example, look in a mirror. Your face is there in the mirror; it looks real – it is not. It is just a borrowed reality; it is not real at all. You are real, the mirror reflection is just a dream. Forget yourself completely – as it happens particularly with women; they forget themselves completely – and the mirror figure becomes more real. Look at a woman looking into the mirror, observe her. What happens? She is no more – only the mirror is, and the mirror-woman has become real. She has completely forgotten herself. The mind is doing the same.

The world is just a mirror.

You have forgotten yourself, and the reflection has become real.

This is a borrowed reality.

Remember yourself!

Do it with a mirror and you will come to a deep realization. Do it with a mirror: gaze constantly into the mirror, gaze in your eyes reflected in the mirror continuously, for thirty minutes, forty minutes. Go on staring, and constantly go on remembering, “I am real. This is a reflection. This which is mirrored is reflection. I am real, not this reflection.” Go on remembering inside, “I am, I am, I am,” and go on staring into the eyes of the reflected figure – your own figure. Suddenly – any moment this can happen – the reflection will disappear. Suddenly the mirror will be vacant. It is a very strange experience when suddenly you are in front of the mirror, and the face has disappeared and the mirror is vacant. Why does it happen? If you go on remembering “I am, I am,” and this remembering becomes authentic, then the borrowed reality comes back to you and the mirror becomes vacant.

Even for a single moment if you can see the mirror as vacant – no face, nothing reflected – you will feel a sudden upsurge of reality in you. For the first time you may become aware that you are.

This same thing happens with the world when someone becomes a witnessing self. One day, this explosion comes to him – the whole world disappears, the whole world becomes just vacant; only I am, and the whole world has disappeared as if it was never there. This experience is the ultimate. Again, the mirror will reflect your face, but now you know it is just a reflection. Again, the world will come – for one moment you will see the world has disappeared, and again the world will be there – but now it will never be real again. It will be just a dream world, and all the figures will be dream figures. It will be a great drama.

But when you know it as a drama, a pseudo phenomenon, you are freed from it. Then there is no clinging, and then there is no slavery, no bondage.

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #49

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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

 

It Remains in its Suchness – Osho

The yogi, being alone and indifferent like the sky, does not even in the least attach himself with the future.

Even as the ether inside a wine jar remains untouched by the smell of wine, so the self, even in association with its covering, remains uncontaminated by its nature.

As the arrow aimed at its target cannot but hit it after it has left the bow, so the karmas performed before the advent of knowledge will yield its fruit, even after one has attained knowledge. It implies that the fruits of karma done before realization have to be lived out.

As the arrow shot at a tiger cannot be stopped upon learning that it is a cow and not a tiger, but rather goes forth and hits its object just as forcefully.

So the action performed yields its fruits even after knowledge has been attained. One who knows his self as ever young and deathless also remains so.

How could he even have an imagination of the bondage due to past conditions? It means that there is no relationship between the sage and his past conditionings.

-Adhyatma Upanishad

Some very significant and beautiful definitions about the ultimate experience . . .

The first thing to know about the ultimate experience is that it cannot be called an experience, because experience implies the experiencer and the experienced – the subject and the object. But the ultimate experience is absolutely undifferentiated, undivided. The experiencer is the experienced, the observer is the observed, the knower is the known, the lover is the beloved – there are not two; only one remains.

About this one who remains, this sutra says that one is like space, like sky – vacant, empty, yet full, fulfilled; yet whole.

Look at the sky: Sky is just emptiness, but everything exists in the sky. It cannot exist otherwise because to exist you need space, emptiness. So emptiness surrounds the whole existence. Existence comes out of this emptiness and again drops this emptiness – and this emptiness remains untouched, unaffected.

Observe the sky in the rainy days: Clouds come; the whole sky just disappears behind the clouds. You cannot even imagine where the sky has gone. It has gone nowhere; the clouds will rain and disappear, and the same sky will be there. It was always there; even when there were clouds the sky was there in its total emptiness. Clouds cannot disturb it, and clouds cannot affect it – they come and go and the sky remains the same.

It remains in its suchness, in its tathata.

This word “suchness” is to be understood deeply. What do I mean when I say the sky remains in its suchness? It remains in its nature, unchanged by anything that happens in it. It is just like a mirror: The mirror remains untouched in its suchness, in its mirroring – fresh, young, never old. Whatsoever happens before the mirror, whatsoever is reflected in the mirror, comes and goes; the mirror remains unscarred, the mirror remains eternally virgin. This is what is meant by sky. Sky is the eternal virgin. The virginity is never broken, the sky remains unmarried to anything, untouched. Everything happens in it and yet nothing happens to it.

The same sky is within you also. Without, there is space; within also, there is space. Space is everywhere. The space within is known as your self, and the space without is known as the supreme self. The body is just a material barrier – and it is porous, so the outer sky goes on coming in and the inner sky goes on coming out. There is a constant meeting. Your body is just like an earthen pot, porous. You have an earthen pot of the body, it divides, but it cannot divide totally; the space is not broken by it.

To know this inner space is the ultimate experience, because once you know this inner space you have known all; the quality of the inner space is the quality of the outer space. Inner and outer are not really two things; inner and outer are just two terms – because of this earthen pot, this body, we call it the inner space and the outer space. When the body drops, the inner becomes the outer and the outer becomes the inner; they become one.

In and out are false terms. You can put an earthen pot in the ocean; then the ocean is divided by the earthen pot – the ocean without, and the ocean within. But the earthen pot is porous, and some drops will escape from the within to the without, and some drops will go on coming in, from the without to the within. But then the earthen pot melts, and drops, and in and out become one.

When one comes to know this inner space as just an extension of the outer space – or vice versa: when one comes to know this outer space as just as an extension of the inner space, then inner and outer become meaningless. They are.

To know this while in the body is called the state of jivanmukta – while the body is there, the earthen pot is there, you have realized the inner space and the quality of space. Now there is no inner and outer. Of course the body is there, but now you know that the body never divides – the division is false. But the body will continue for a while . . .

The Upanishads say that even when you become a knower of the inner, a knower of the space – and you have come to realize that nothing can disturb you, nothing can scar you, nothing can touch you, your virginity is absolute – even then your past karmas will continue to have their effects. The body will continue; the body will continue to feel pleasure and pain, the body will become old, diseased, the body will die – this will continue.

Knowledge of the inner self is not the cessation of all karmas. The past karmas will drop only when they have reached their target. But now, no new karmas will be accumulated. When you attain to this knowing, past karmas will continue for a while, unless and until their momentum is finished – but new karmas will not be accumulated. And secondly, while these old karmas are going on in their continuity, you will know that they are not related to you. You will remain in your unrelatedness.

So a jivanmukta never says, “This is my body.” He says, “This is my past karma’s body.” He never says, “I am ill and I am suffering.” He only says, “This is a long procession of karmas and their effect; my past karmas reaching to their target – past reaching into the future. I am just a witness to it, unrelated.” Because of this, because of this experience, observation, this realization that all the past karmas of all the past millions of lives have not affected my inner space – it has remained pure, crystal pure, innocent – this realization means cessation of the future.

Then you cannot long for happiness, you cannot long for success, you cannot long for riches, this or that. You cannot be for and against – this should be and this should not be – because now you know that nothing has ever happened to you, and nothing can happen to you. This knowing that the past has been absolutely futile to you – you have been just space, just like sky – like space, you have remained pure, simple, innocent . . . the future drops.

The future is just the past reflected again and again. Desiring something which was pleasant in the past, not desiring something which was unpleasant in the past, is the projection of the future. The future is just the past reflected again and again – modified, a little bit of change here and there, rearranged, re-structured, but all the elements belong to the past.

When the past appears unrelated to you, and you appear just like empty space… clouds have come and gone, lives have come and gone; birth, death, you were this and that – a beggar in one life, an emperor in another, unsuccessful in one, successful in another, educated, uneducated, good and bad, sometimes a thief and sometimes a saint – everything has come and gone, and the inner point has remained untouched. Nothing has happened to it; everything happened around it, near it, in the vicinity, but nothing has happened to it itself – knowing this, the whole future drops completely. Now you cannot project the whole nonsense that you were projecting in the past. Future drops. With future, time drops. With time, cessation of time – you enter the eternal.

But the past will have its fulfillment. Now you can watch the past moving into the future without you. You remain in the present; the past goes on moving into the future until the whole momentum gained in the past is finished.

A jivanmukta means one who has attained to the inner sky, inner space, but still he will have to live in the body. He will have to be a witness to all the past karmas and their consequences. When all the consequences are finished, and the past karmas have dropped, the body will drop. Then a jivanmukta becomes a mukta; then moksha, total freedom is attained.

A jivanmukta attains freedom from the past, freedom from the future – but he cannot attain freedom from the consequences of the past. They will have to be fulfilled . . . but he remains a witness.

One who knows his self as ever-young and deathless also remains so.

How could he even have an imagination of the bondage due to past conditions? It means that there is no relationship between the sage and his past conditionings.

The conditionings go on flowing but there is no relationship; you remain a witness.

If you can become a witness this very moment, you are severed from you past and from your future. Then the mechanism goes on moving, just like you are on a bicycle pedaling. You stop pedaling but the cycle will have some movement still, because of the momentum of the past. You are not pedaling it, but it is not going to stop just now. It will move into the future without you pedaling it. It will go a little while and then it will drop.

The same happens with your body, your mind. It is just a cycle, just a mechanism. It will move, but without you it cannot move far. Unless it is fed continually, fueled continually, it cannot move very far; it will drop.

Buddha was dying. Ananda asked him, “Cannot you be with us a little more? Cannot we have you a little more? I have not yet attained and you are dying, and you are leaving us.” Buddha had said that morning that he was going to die. “So if you have to ask anything,” he had told his disciples, “you can ask. This is my last day. This evening will not come for me. This morning is the last; in the noontime I will drop. When the sun comes to its peak, I will drop.”

So his disciples gathered and they began to weep and cry. And Ananda asked him, “Cannot you stay a little while more?” Buddha said, “That is impossible, because all the past karmas are finished. This is the last day, the last momentum; I feel it can last up to noon. The energy is gone, everything has ceased, and now the mechanism is just going to stop. And nothing can be done, because as far as I am concerned, I stopped pedaling long before – forty years.

Really, I have been dead for forty years as far as I am concerned. I have not been in the body for these forty years; it was only for you that it has appeared I have been in this body. For me, I have been beyond; I have gone out of it long before. But the body had to continue, and now this is impossible. The momentum is just in its last flicker, the flame is just about to go, the oil is completely finished. And I cannot pour more oil into it because the man who could pour is dead for forty years – who could pour more oil into it? So ask, don’t wait. The noon is coming soon – if you have anything to ask, you can ask. The noon is coming very soon.”

This happens – Buddha was a jivanmukta for forty years. A jivanmukta means one who is already dead – of course, the body is alive, and then moksha is attained and body also falls.

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #48

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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

Then Only You will be Able to Know – Osho

At the time of this samadhi, the moods of the mind take the form of the soul, and therefore they are not apparent.

But after the meditator had come back from his samadhi, those moods which had disappeared, are inferred by memory.

In this world, which is without a beginning, one accumulates millions of karmas conditioning from actions. They are all destroyed in this samadhi, and inner spontaneous qualities grow.

The great knowers of yoga describe this samadhi as dharmamegha, because it showers like a raincloud and inner spontaneity issues forth its thousand fruit.

Through this samadhi the whole crowd of desires become extinct. And when the holds of karma known as punya and papa, virtue and sin are uprooted, then the great saying – “tat twamasi,” That Art Thou – becomes illumined.

First as indirect knowledge and then as a fruit held in your palm, it becomes direct knowledge.

-Adhyatma Upanishad

In the morning we discussed four steps: right listening, right thinking, right meditation, and right samadhi.

This sutra goes beyond samadhi. This sutra says samadhi is the door into the unknown – not only the unknown, but the unknowable. it opens into the eternal, into the infinite.

The moment you enter samadhi you have to leave your mind behind. Your mind cannot enter samadhi; you can enter, but not your mind. Unless you can leave your mind behind, samadhi is not for you. Your luggage – thinking, memories, karmas, all your past lives, the whole luggage which is your mind – has to be left behind. When you have left your mind behind . . . and this is a basic condition: the mind cannot enter samadhi, only you can enter. Why? Because you are at the center; mind is just the periphery.

If you want to enter the center you have to leave the periphery. You cannot go with the periphery to the center. If you insist, “I will take my periphery, my circumference to the center,” then you will remain on the circumference. Howsoever you endeavor, if you cling to the circumference, you can never enter the center. Entering the center means leaving the periphery, leaving the circumference; mind is the circumference – this is a basic condition.

Samadhi means entering into yourself without the mind. But if you enter samadhi without the mind, you cannot feel samadhi – this is the essence of this sutra – you cannot feel, you cannot think. Really you cannot know what is happening, because the knower, the instrument of knowledge, is the mind.

It is as if you enter a garden. Your eyes are weak, and you cannot see without your specs. And this is the condition: you have to leave your specs at the gate. So you enter without specs. You enter the garden, but you cannot see because the very instrument of seeing is not with you.

Mind is the instrument to know, to feel, to recognize. Mind has been left behind. So a man who enters samadhi enters totally ignorant, just like a child. Jesus says, “Be like children; only then you can enter my kingdom of God. Be like small children.” At the door of samadhi everyone is like a child – with no mind – just being, pure and simple and innocent. But then you cannot see what is happening, you cannot feel what is happening. The happening is there and you are too much in it; there is no distance.

Mind creates the distance between the known and the knower. If there is no mind, the known and the knower merge, they become liquid, they enter into each other and the distance cannot be maintained. And without distance, knowledge is impossible.

So in samadhi you know nothing. In samadhi, knowing, the knower, the known . . . they all cease and they become one ocean, just one unity, liquid, flowing. That doesn’t mean that you are unconscious. You are conscious – fully conscious, for the first time – but the consciousness is so much, the consciousness is so unlimited, the consciousness is so infinite that it is impossible to make any differentiation between who is the knower and what is the known. You are immersed in it totally, as if a drop of water has become one with the ocean.

There is a beautiful story, and Ramakrishna used to repeat it many times. He used to say that there was a great gathering near the ocean once – some religious festival, and a great crowd gathered there. Two pundits, two great scholars also came, and they began to discuss whether the ocean is unfathomable or fathomable, whether the ocean can be measured or not. So they discussed around and around – discussions are always around and around, you go on beating around and around the bush. No discussion goes deep and direct, it cannot.

One simple man, just a villager, an innocent one, said, “I have been listening to your discussion, days have passed, and there seems to be no conclusion. And I think – I am an ignorant man – I suggest that unless you go deep into the ocean, how can you decide whether is is fathomable or not? You remain on the bank and you go on discussing; you go on arguing, quoting scriptures, and authorities. But I am asking a simple question: have you been to the ocean?”

Those two scholars said, “Don’t interfere, you don’t know scriptures.” But the poor man said, “I know the ocean. I need not know your scriptures. You are talking about the ocean; what is the need for scriptures to be brought in? I suggest you take a jump, go to the bottom, and then come back and tell us.”

So those two scholars jumped into the ocean, but they never came back.

Ramakrishna says, “They never came back because those two scholars were really men of salt, so as they went in, they began to melt. They were just salt; their bodies were made of salt.”

In a way it is not inconceivable. Our bodies are made of ocean water, they are salty. Your body is seventy-five percent water – seventy-five percent! – and the water is just the same as the water which is found in oceans. The proportion of salt in your bodies is the same as it is in the ocean water, because man is just a developed form of fish and nothing else. So the story is not very absurd.

Man comes from the ocean, and is salty. Those two scholars were men of salt; their bodies were made of salt. They came out of the ocean – everyone has come out of the ocean. Now science says that man has come out of the ocean, just a developed form of fish – nothing else. And who can say whether he is developed or not? If you ask the fish, they could not say that. They would say that some fish have gone astray – out of the ocean. They could not say those fish have developed – there would seem to be no reason. Only in man’s reasoning it seems that man has developed; in a fish’s reason it cannot seem so.

The two scholars never came back; the crowd waited and waited and waited. Ramakrishna used to say, “They cannot come back, because the deeper they went the more they melted, and when they reached the bottom, they were no more. So who can come back and who can say?”

When you leave the mind behind, you leave the bank; you take a jump into the ocean and you are part of the ocean – just the salt. When you enter into samadhi you take a jump into the ocean of consciousness – and you are consciousness. So when consciousness takes a jump into greater consciousness, infinite consciousness, it becomes one, the division is lost; you cannot experience anything. You experience the absolute, but you cannot say it is an experience. You cannot feel it as an experience.

This sutra says, when consciousness comes back to the mind again, and sees retrospectively from the specs of the mind what has happened, then it infers.

So all knowledge about God is inference. Those who have known . . . they too have to think it, to remember it, to live it again in memory, through the mind; then they can say what has happened: existence, consciousness, bliss – sachidananda. This is not the experience itself; it is mind looking at the experience – that’s why the division. There was no division in the experience itself; mind divides it into three.

And remember, mind divides everything into three. Three is the basic division of the mind – it divides anything into three.

Look at the world, all the divisions, and you will find the basic division is always of three – always three; not only in religion, but in science also. Now they say – since the atom was split – now they say the basic unity of the atom is constituted of three elements: electron, neutron, proton. You may call them Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh – trimurti, the three figures.

The basic division by the mind is three. Seen by the mind retrospectively, mind infers what has happened. Existence has happened, consciousness has happened, bliss has happened – but this is an inference.

This sutra says when you come back from that peak of ecstasy, back to the ground, you look again – now you remember. So all the scriptures, all that has been said about the ultimate truth is an inference of the mind, from memory. Remember it.

In samadhi, mind is not there; that’s why you become spontaneous. Mind is the instrument which always destroys spontaneity. Mind always brings the past into the present, and that destroys spontaneity. This part of the sutra has also to be understood before we enter into meditation.

A spontaneous act is never from the mind. A spontaneous act always happens in the present. If it happens through the mind, then the past has come in. I say something to you; you react – the reaction is from the mind. You think about it, you bring your past memories, your knowledge, your experiences, and then you react accordingly. Then this act is not spontaneous; this act is dead; it is not alive. Reaction is dead, never alive; response is alive and spontaneous. I say something to you and you respond – immediately, without bringing the past in, without bringing the mind in – you respond.

For example, if you ask something to a buddha, to an enlightened one, you will get confused. If you ask the same question today and the same tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, you are not going to get the same answer. It is impossible for a buddha. He is not reacting. He is not a parrot; he responds. You ask the question and immediately his consciousness responds – responds to it. It is not a reaction of the mind; it is an encounter, direct, immediate. Every moment you go on asking the same question, but the same answer will not be coming.

Repetition is through the mind. Spontaneous consciousness is always new and fresh.

This sutra says that samadhi brings you back to your center of spontaneity. That spontaneity is known in the upanishadic terminology as dharma. Dharma means your natural, spontaneous being, undistorted by the mind; your natural, spontaneous mirror, undistorted by anything, pure and innocent. Through samadhi you become spontaneous. Really, through samadhi you become religious. Before that, you can belong to a religion, but you are not religious. You can be a Christian, you can be a Hindu or a Mohammedan, but you are not religious.

You belong to a certain organization, a certain church, a certain sect. This belonging is mental. When you enter samadhi for the first time, you come into the world of dharma, of real religion. Now you become spontaneous, you become natural. Nothing is imposed from the mind, you act in totality, moment to moment. Your acts become atomic, always new and fresh and young. Whatsoever you do now is always fresh. This freshness of being is known as dharma. This is what a religious mind is. And unless you become a religious mind in this way, through samadhi, you cannot know what is meant by this mahavakyatat twamasithat art thou. When you become spontaneous then you know you are that.

With the ultimate, now you are one.

Now your finite being is not finite.

Now the divine is not far away.

Now you are divine, and the divine is you – the duality is lost. You become for the first time a knower that this sutra of tat twamasi – That Art Thou – is real, authentic. Now you can become a witness, now you can say, “This is so, because I have known it.” And unless you can say, “I have known it,” nothing is worthwhile.

Just a few days ago, a theologian came to me and he began to talk about God. I asked him again and again, “Please tell me, have you known? Have you seen?” But he began to quote The Bible; he began to quote scriptures. And he said, “This is written there, and that is written there.”

I told him, “It may be written; I accept that it is written there, but that’s not my question. I am asking whether you have known it?” But he would not answer the question. He would again repeat, “Jesus has said this in the New Testament.” He opened the book – he had a book of the New Testament in his pocket. He opened the book and he began to read.

I told him again and again, “Don’t read it! I have read it already, so I know what is written in it. Tell me directly, have you seen? Have you realized?” But there was no answer.

If someone asks you, “Have you seen the divine?” and you go on quoting the Upanishads, that’s stupid. Say yes or no – and you cannot deceive, because there is no question of deceiving anyone. Say to yourself whether you have seen it, known it, realized it. If you have not, then start on a long journey – from right listening to right thinking; from right thinking to right meditation; from right meditation to right samadhi. Then only you will be able to know. And unless you know, the whole knowledge of the world is futile – unless you know.

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #45

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

Then Only You will be Able to Know is from the evening talk, This Oneness is That Art Thou is from the morning talk of the same day.

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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

Know it as the State of Vairagya – Osho

When desires do not arise even in the face of the objects of enjoyment, know it as the state of vairagya – non-attachment, desireless ness. And when the ego ceases to rise, know it as the highest state of knowledge.

When the moods that have become extinct do not arise again, that state is known as one of the indifference.

And the sage whose wisdom has become steady attains eternal bliss. One whose mind has dissolved into the supreme becomes innocent and inactive. And the moods of the mind then dissolve in the unity of the supreme self, and the purified individual self remains choiceless and in a state of pure consciousness.

This state is called wisdom, or pragya and one who has attained this wisdom throughout is called jivanmukta – one free in life itself.

One who has no egoistic feeling in respect of his body and the senses, and besides has ceased to think in terms of “me” and “mine” in respect to other objects, is called a jivanmukta.

When desires do not arise even in the face of the objects of enjoyment, know it as the state of vairagya – non-attachment, desirelessness. And when the ego ceases to arise, know it as the highest state of knowledge.

-Adhyatma Upanishad

Definitions about certain states of inner search, “in-search,” are helpful, because when you enter yourself, you are alone. You will need certain definitions, certain criteria so that you can feel inside what is happening – where you are.

In the in-search one is always alone. One needs certain criteria to feel where one is. And the inner world is uncharted, no map exists which can be given to you. And even if some maps exist, they don’t belong to you; they cannot be applicable to you. Buddha says something – that is about his own inner journey; that may not be your route at all. Really, it cannot be your route. Every individual enters into the inner world differently, uniquely, because every individual stands on a certain spot where no one else stands; every individual is unique. Buddha stands somewhere – you cannot stand on that spot. He starts his journey from there; every journey starts from where you are. So we have different routes to move on, no map can be helpful.

So this sutra is not going to give you a certain map, no. Just certain liquid definitions – you can feel your own path – and certain happenings inside, so that you know where you are, where you are moving, whether you are moving or not, whether you are nearing your goal or not.

First the definition of vairagya – because that is the entrance. Unless you are non-attached to the world you cannot enter inwards. Your back must be towards the world; only then your face is towards the inner center. So vairagya is the door – non-attachment to the world. What is the definition?

You can force yourself to be non-attached, you can force yourself in the about-turn. You can face the inner world forcibly, you can stand with your back to the world, but just your back to the world is not enough. Your mind may be still moving in the world.

It is not very difficult to go away, to leave, to renounce – it is not very difficult. You can escape to the Himalayas and the world is left far behind – but your mind will still be moving in the world. Non-attachment, vairagya means: When desires do not arise even in the face of the objects of enjoyment.

You can close your eyes; you don’t see anything. That is not vairagya, because with closed eyes you can continue desiring. Really, with closed eyes desires become stronger. With closed eyes the world is more charming than with open eyes. Really, if your eyes are open, sooner or later the world loses its charm. The more you penetrate it, the more you know it and see it, the attraction disappears. The attraction is in ignorance; with closed eyes it is more.

Non-attachment is authentic if your eyes are open and objects of enjoyment are there, and no desire arises in you. A naked, beautiful woman is before you and no desire arises. Tantra has used this sutra. Tantra is based on this sutra. Tantra says: Do not escape, because you cannot escape your mind. And the real problem is not the world of objects; the real problem is the mind. So wherever you go, you will be there, and you are the problem! How can you escape from yourself? Go anywhere, the mind will be there. You can escape from the world, but not from the mind, and mind is the real world. So tantra says, “Do not move away; rather go deep in the world, fully conscious, with open eyes, aware of the desires moving in you. Look at the world deeply.” Tantra has developed its own techniques. The tantra technique is that if someone feels sexual desire, then just enforcing brahmacharya, celibacy, will not do. If you force celibacy on someone, if he takes a vow that now he will remain celibate, he will simply suppress sexuality and nothing else. And suppressed sex is dangerous – more dangerous than ordinary sex. Then the whole mind will become sexual. The suppressed energy will move inside; it cannot go out, so it moves more inside. It creates grooves, it becomes cerebral; the whole mind becomes sexual. The sex center gathers more and more energy, and ultimately the whole body becomes a sex center.

Tantra says this is not the way to go beyond sex; this is stupid. Tantra has its own scientific techniques. Tantra says, “Okay, there is desire, there is sex – then move into sex, but move fully conscious.” That is the only condition: If you want to touch a beautiful body, touch, but remain conscious, alert that you are touching the beautiful body. And then when you are touching, analyze your touch – what is happening? Observe your touch – what is happening? If you can observe your touch, the touch becomes futile, absurd, stupid; nothing is happening. Nothing is happening.

So tantra has techniques . . . Look at a beautiful naked body; observe it, and observe what is happening inside you. The desire arises: observe the desire, and observe the naked body. And really with a naked body, with a full alert mind, sex is neither suppressed nor indulged; it simply disappears. It may look contradictory – but bodies have become so important only because of clothes. Clothes are deeply sexual. They give the bodies a charm, a hidden charm, a secret attraction which is not there at all. Bodies are just bodies. You hide them and the very hiding creates a desire to look at them, to see. Humanity has become so body-conscious only because of clothes. The clothes create a secret desire to unclothe, to undress. […]

Any desire becomes futile if you observe it, if you know it in its totality. Tantra says do not escape; rather, be aware and move into the objects of enjoyment, and one day suddenly all the objects lose their charm.

This sutra says this is the definition of vairagya:

When desires do not arise even in the face of the objects of enjoyment, know it as the state of vairagya – non-attachment, desirelessness.

And when the ego ceases to arise, know it as the highest state of knowledge.

This is the criterion for knowledge, wisdom – when there is no ego, when ego doesn’t arise.

Ego can arise in any situation. The ego is very subtle and its ways are very mysterious. On anything, ego can feed itself. You meditate and through your meditation your ego can be strengthened: “I am a meditator.” And the whole point is lost, the whole meditation is lost. “I am a religious man. I go to church every Sunday, never miss.” The ego has arisen. It has taken a religious shape, but the shape doesn’t matter. “I fast,” or “I take a certain food,” or “I do this or that” – any ritual. “I do yoga” – whatsoever. If you feel that your “I” is strengthened, know that you are not on the path of knowing, you are falling down into ignorance.

Go on observing whatsoever you are doing. Do one thing continuously: go on observing whether your ego is strengthened by it. If you continuously observe, observation is a poison to the ego, it cannot arise. It arises only when you are not observing, when you are unconscious, unaware, unattentive. Go on observing, and wherever the ego arises just be a witness to it. Know well that the ego is arising: “I am meditating, certain experiences are happening, and the ego feels good.” And the ego says, “Now you are on the path. Now you have known the inner light. Now the kundalini has arisen. Now you are extraordinary. Soon you are going to be a siddha – one who has achieved. The goal is now nearer.” Know well: with this feeling of the goal being nearer, you are missing the goal. This ego feeling good is a fatal disease.

This sutra says, when the ego doesn’t arise, it is the highest state of knowledge. When the feeling of “I” doesn’t arise, you are but there is no “I.”

We go on saying, “I am.” The man of knowledge rarely feels only “am,” not “I” – just “amness,” existence, being, with no “I” attached to it. “Amness” is vast, infinite; “I” is finite. “Amness” is brahman.

When there is no “I,” when there is only simple “amness,” when the “I” is dead, this state is known as the state of a jivanmukta – one who has achieved freedom in life, one who has achieved freedom while in the body, one who has known the infinite while alive.

You can also become a jivanmukta. The only problem is you. Throw it out, and you are. Nothing new is to be gained; the freedom is there hidden in you, but you are attached to the ego. That creates a boundary, a limitation. Look beyond the ego, and suddenly you enter another world. And it was always there, just to be seen, but our eyes have become fixed; we cannot move our eyes. We go on looking in one direction – the direction of the ego. The reverse is the dimension of the non-ego, and non-ego is the path.

One who has egoistic feeling in respect of his body and the senses, and besides has ceased to think in terms of “me” and “mine” in respect to other objects, is called a jivanmukta.

Egolessness is a great death. When you die only your body dies; when you attain mukti, freedom, your mind dies.

In the old scriptures the master, the guru, is known also as death: acharyo mrityu. The teacher is death, great death. He is, because through him your ego dies; he kills you. In a way he is death, and in a way eternal life, because when the ego is no more, for the first time you are.

Die to be reborn.

Jesus says, “Whosoever loses himself, attains, and whosoever clings to himself loses.”

-Osho

From That Art Thou, Discourse #46

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 in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

An Experimental Approach – Douglas Harding

Good evening to you and welcome to Discovery. My name is Barbara O’Shuller, and my guest is Douglas Harding, an Englishman who is here in this area to speak among other things about the fine art of living free from stress.  He is a speaker, an architect, author, and teacher.

Welcome Douglas.

Welcome. (Laughter) Welcome to you, if I may say that.

You certainly may.

Welcome to you in my space. Yes.

You’ve got some very provocative titles for your books, and I am going to share them first off, and then maybe ask you to talk about them. On Having No Head, is one. All of these are published by Penguin Arcana. Zen and the Rediscovery of the Obvious, that’s all one book, The Little Book of Life and Death, Head Off Stress, and a novel, The Trial of the Man Who Said He was God. Wonderful titles.

Provocative, I think.

Very provocative. Let’s start with number four, the novel that hasn’t come out yet, The Trial of the Man Who Said He was God. Who is this man and why did he say he was God?

Well, it’s a blasphemy trial, in the year 2003. It’s, I suppose, almost like science fiction in a way. And here’s this chap who says that nearer to him than all else, at the very center of his life, is the origin of the world, is the indwelling spirit, reality, God – many names. It could be Buddha-nature, could be the kingdom of heaven, or whatever, and that is central in his life.

And that he himself is very real, as a person, as a man, but that man is peripheral to that center. So the human part of him is not central. The human part is there, and for instance, and in particular, what he sees in the mirror is his human face and human personality. And that is what other people pick up. It’s out there, it’s about a meter or two away from the center, and that’s where he keeps his humanity, and that is on show for other people. They are receiving it. That’s where they hold their cameras to photograph him. That’s where he finds that guy, in my case Douglas – why, he is there in the mirror. And this man who is on trial for blasphemy is saying who he really, really, really is, this indwelling deity or reality, spirit, essence. That that is who he really, really is, and that’s the center of his life.

The whole art of life is to go there, stay there, because you never came out of it anyway. It’s where you belong; it’s home. And he says that this is deeply traditional, and it’s what all the great religions are saying at the very heart of the heart of the heart of them. And he is saying that those people who are trying him for blasphemy in the year 2003, why, they are the blasphemers because what they are doing is to put the guy in the mirror – that they see in the mirror – they turn that person around and bring him forward and put that person at the center of their world. And this is blasphemy because the center of your world, the world of everyone, the center of being, the right center, where we are, is in fact the reality we come from, our source. So that is what the trial is about, and it’s what the first book is about On Having No Head, you see. Instead of a head here, a meatball, which I am supposed to be looking out of, why, when I look here, you see, I’m looking at you Barbara now, and I don’t find anything in your way. I find the meatball is non-existent here, and I am space for Barbara, which is a great improvement, I can say, on what people told me was here.

Hmm. Who is putting him on trial? Where is this taking place in 2003?

Well, I don’t tell you where it is taking place, but I guess it is Great Britain, somewhere.

Aren’t we enlightened enough now, and hopefully will be in 2003, not to be putting people on trial for discovering their own divinity?

Well, you see, the issue of blasphemy is a very important one. Some people have said it’s the great issue of the last part of the century. I mean, Salman Rushdie, you see, had been under threat of annihilation, under threat of being polished off . . . .

Still is. I saw something in the paper today.

And still is. Yes. And there is a great deal in the world, I mean, no doubt not so much in this country or in Great Britain, but in the world; this is a very alive issue. And people are being jailed and even polished off, even executed, now, on account of this – of alleged blasphemy. So it is a very real issue. But the point is not really, the book is not to put in a plea for tolerance and a liberal, open view about these things. That is not the point. The point is that this trial taking place in the future – it’s an account of the trial, you see – this trial is a peg on which to hang the doctrine, the teaching, the experience which my whole life is about, which is seeing who you really, really are at center. And when he defends himself against 27 witnesses, you see, it comes out what he is saying, and he is answering the people who say he is talking nonsense. So, I think it is an excellent peg on which to hang what I have to say.

Well, let’s go back to the first book, On Having No Head, and maybe explore through that some of what you are all about.

I think that is a good idea, Barbara. So, what would you like me to do? Tell you what it’s all about?

Well, I certainly want you to tell me what it is all about, but maybe what we should do, is go back a little further and find out how you found out about what it’s all about. As in who are you, and what is your experience?

Yes, well that is a good starting point, isn’t it? Well, I am English, I am 83, they tell me, and somewhat long in the tooth, if I have any teeth to be long in! And I was an architect, but all my life, since youth really, my passion has not been architecture at all. I earned my living at it, but my passion is to find out who I really, really, really am. The issue of my identity has been what makes me tick all along. I find it absolutely fascinating, and there are many reasons why I think this is the great issue of my life and should be of other people’s lives – our true identity. The reasons I have, which you might like me to mention, for looking at this, rather than being nose to the grindstone doing architecture – why, I earned my living at architecture – but this is my passion. Who am I? Who is this architect?

My reasons for looking into this matter were that I was such a terrible mess. I mean as a young man, I really was incredibly shy, uptight, stressed, and socially very badly adjusted, and lots of problems like that. So that was a reason for looking to see, to find a cure for this condition. And the great religious traditions have said, the cure is central in my life. The cure of my problem is to see, Barbara, who has the problem. The cure of my problem, I don’t  care what the problem is, is to see who has the problem.

That’s a tricky one, isn’t it?

I had terrible problems and I had to see, therefore, who had the problem. But I think my main reason, apart from being a mess, which is a good reason, my main reason I think . .

That’s a good starting place.

Well, my main reason was not that really. My main reason was gratitude and surprise, at having happened. I think people . . .

At having happened at all?

At having happened at all. I needn’t have happened, you see. But I am so pleased to have happened! And I think it’s a miserable, horrible, chicken-hearted thing to go through life never asking, “Who is going through life?” And taking everybody’s word, Barbara, but my own word.

Look, I’ve got inside information which is denied to everyone because nobody can come here and be where I am any more than anyone can go where you are and be you. And here I have information about who I am, first-hand information, and I find, when I really look here and dare to be my own authority, and look at where I am coming from, I find I am exactly the opposite, but exactly the opposite, of what I have been advertised to be, or what people tell me I am, or what language tells me I am. I find I am the exact opposite, and my troubles, my stress, my agony, my anguish came, very largely I think, I’m sure, from lying about who I am, taking everybody’s word for what I am, and not daring to have a look for myself. And nobody can tell me what it is like here but me because nobody is here. Everybody is too far away. They are about a foot, at least a foot or two away, aren’t they? A meter away. And I have inside information. And when I dare to look here, which I did and do, I find that everything is the exact opposite of what I had supposed, and what society tells me.

And you suggest that language gets in our way of this?

Yes. Let me give you an example of this. An absolutely hot, stop press instance now, I would say, straight from the shoulder, so to speak.  Well, here in front of me is my new friend who I met 10 minutes ago called Barbara. And there she is, and here in front of this mike here is someone taking Barbara in, in receipt of Barbara, you see. Well, I find that society and language tell me that Barbara and I are in a symmetrical relationship and face-to-face. And that there is something here called a head, a face – a meatball I call it! – there is something here in receipt of her. And we are in a symmetrical relationship and it’s a face-to-face situation.

I find this absolute utter and total nonsense and that I am busted wide open for Barbara at this time, and there is nothing in Barbara’s way. And we are not face-to-face. There is a face there, Barbara’s face, and Douglas’s absence of face here, which is in receipt of her.

Yes

So, I have nothing, thank God, to keep Barbara out with, and the only face I have at this time is a charming lady’s face about half a century younger than Douglas’s face (when I see Douglas’s face in the mirror). I am busted wide open for you, and it’s true! But if you say, “Well Douglas, you are a crazy man, of course there is something here, but you can’t see it,” I swear to you, there is nothing here and, Barbara, if you don’t . . . .

There is nothing here either is there?

Well, that’s for you to say! Well you see, if you say, “Douglas you are a crazy man. There is something here,” I say, “All right Barbara, come and see.” And you see, Barbara, if you were to come up to me now, I suppose we are about 4 ft 6 apart now, aren’t we – 5 feet apart – and if you want to take a picture of Douglas, why, you would take it there. There you get the top half of him, probably. If you came half way, a couple of feet, you would get his face, wouldn’t you?

Hmm.

And then if you came here to 6 inches with your camera, you would get a picture of his nose, or an eye, or lips. And then you would have to start putting sophisticated lenses on, even exchange your optical microscope for an electron microscope, and then your pictures – but pictures – would be of tissues, of cells, molecules, atoms. Well atoms are nearly all empty space.

That’s right.

And you come in, even leaving atoms behind, to particles, and even God knows what they are or even where they are, or even when they are, I mean, they are so absent, aren’t they? So, I complete the story and I say, “I have come all the way up to this place and I have lost Douglas, and instead, I’ve lost Douglas, a decaying, old, 83-year-old, stale meatball, and I have now there in front of me a much younger (and I almost said, more delicious . . . [laughter]) on your shoulders,” so you see!

And I find this hilarious. I find it lubricates personal relationships, and it’s an instance of many, many things. Only one instance of the ways society and language con us into denying who we really, really, really are. And when I look here and see who I really, really am, as I am doing at this moment, I am capacity, aware capacity. I am space which is infinite space, every which way, for it is awake space, an unbounded space for the world, at this time, (Barbara representing the world) for Barbara to happen in. And I find this delightful. It removes fear from my life, it removes stress, and I just enjoy life this way.

What a wonderful perspective!

You can see, it’s true, isn’t it?

Yes, quite.

And we are trading faces, aren’t we?

Yes, it’s wonderful.

Yes, it is wonderful. It really is wonderful. Yes. We are trading faces. You see, the thing is – this is very important, Barbara –  we are built not for confrontation; we are built for loving. Now I am not talking about the feeling of love. I am talking about the set up in which love is possible. In which love flourishes. And I say, in the real world when we dare to have a look and question language and social conditioning, in the real world, we are incredibly blessed, and we are built for loving. We are built open for one another.

And society runs on the face-to-face model of confrontation in all languages as face to face, visage á visage, face á face, and in all languages it’s a symmetry. And this is a lie. It’s not true. You see two other people, they are face-to-face, but it is never true of oneself, vis-á-vis someone over there.

So, it is just a totally different way of life. But this is only one instance of the difference between who I find myself to be here, and who my language, and society, and parents, and teachers, bless their hearts, told me was here. So, what I do in all these books, in all my meetings with people, is to go round and say, “Dare to look for yourself at what you are looking out of, and you will find that you are this immense, immortal, imperishable, awake capacity for the world. And this is the heart of all the great religions.

Hmm. Douglas, let’s talk about more lies. Tell me some more lies.

Yes. I will tell you another lie. Jeff and I drove here from San Francisco. No, well, from Santa Cruz actually. Did we move or did the country move? The question is, if we look at which moved, the country or the car? And you see, when we are very, very little, we sit in the car and we tell the truth. And the telegraph poles go rushing by and the buildings turn; and the whole scenes are ballets and the whole scene dances; and this is the truth. And then we grow up and we set it out differently and our story is that the world grinds to a halt and we move along the freeway.

Well, what happens, Barbara, to all that motion? All the dance in the world, all that motion, what happens to it? I say it comes in here, and I lose my inner tranquility. Now I say, now let me tell the truth, restore the commotion to the world where it belongs, I find my inner peace and the world dances. And this is evidence of who I really, really, really am, the indwelling deity, the reality that we are never moved.

Aristotle said, “God is the unmoved mover of the world.” Well, when you get in your car, get a hold of the wheel and see, first of all you notice the driver doesn’t have a head. You know, if you had a video camera here – and when people want to sell you a car, frequently they show it like this – a headless driver, feet on the controls, hands on the wheel, and there I am a headless driver and the whole scene is moving through me. And so, if we dare to look, we find the one here never moved an inch. Who you really, really, really are never moved. Yet another example.

So let us talk about The Little Book of Life and Death. What is this death stuff all about if we are immortal and full of this, this grandeur of the universe?

Yes. Well, the one I see in the mirror, Barbara, is dying, has been dying for 83 years, hasn’t he? I mean, he gets older every time I look in the mirror and that is my death certificate; that is the one who is dying. And what we do is bring that one in the mirror where he belongs, you see, turn him around and put him here, and this is a kind of suicide really. He belongs there in the mirror, over there in other people. If I take that picture in the mirror and try and bring it here, it disappears as I bring it here. In order to find my face again, I have to put it out there, but when I look here at this clarity, this place, there is nothing here to perish. Nothing here to perish. So, it is the case of coming home, seeing there is nothing here to perish. As simple as that.

Who I am, who I am, is imperishable. The shelf life of that chap out there, what is it? Short. The shelf life of the one here is infinite, it is not biodegradable, is  it?

So, what do you talk about in The Little Book of Life and Death? What kind of  . . . .

I talk about that. The point is, where is death? Where is life and where is death? Well, let me put it like this. Every thing perishes. Every thing perishes. An atom will perish, a particle will perish, people perish, even stars, planets, galaxies perish. Everything perishes – has births and death. Galaxies last a long time, particles, very little time. But every thing perishes.

About the thing here? No, I am not a thing here. Here is no thing, therefore it’s imperishable. And I look here, I find no thing to perish. It’s as simple as that.

And this agrees so much with what, for instance, St. Paul said. He asked the questions, “Oh death, where is your sting? Oh grave, where is your victory?” Well, it’s there. We now answer the apostle, death is there and not here.

So, death cannot get to me. This place is free of every thing, visibly, Barbara, empty, open, speckless. Therefore, it cannot perish because there is nothing there to perish.

And this again agrees with the teaching of all the great traditions, which say that we really, really are at the center, the imperishable origin of the world, not a product of the world.

Yes. Can we track with you from that young man who was having a hard time of it and beginning the journey of discovering these things? And maybe if you talk a little bit about your journey early on and how you developed these concepts, the understanding of the lies, and beginning to put the truth of the world back into place?

Well, I happened to notice (and it was very surprising) that where I was, was open to the world. I happened to be walking in the Himalayas at the time, but that had nothing to do with it really. I just happened to notice, looking out my body, I saw my legs there, and my hands and arms, my chest, and so on. Everything came to a stop here, you see, above my shoulders. On my shoulders, let’s say, was the whole scene. And I was enlarged. I was the scene; I was the Himalayas. I was Everest, and all that and I was full of that scene. And there was nothing here in the way. I am not telling you I don’t have a head. Of course I have a head, of course I have a brain, and all that stuff, eyes and so on. But I don’t have them here. I have them over there in your camera, in other people, in my mirror, and they are there. And here is the absence of all that.

Yes.

This is after all deeply traditional. You take Tennyson, he says, “Nearer is He . . .” (He is talking about God, you see.) “Nearer is He than breathing, closer than hands and feet.” In the Koran . . .

Yes.

Mohammed says, “Allah is nearer to me than my own neck vein.”

Yes.

Well, I believe that that’s it. Eckhart, a great, great Christian, philosopher, mystic of the 13th, 14th century, preached a sermon, a delightfully brief sermon, “God’s in. I’m out. God’s in. I’m out.”

“God’s in. I’m out.”

“God’s in, I’m out.” That’s the whole thing. I mean, God is nearer to me than Douglas is, you see. I mean, Douglas is around. Douglas is important to me. You know, there he is.  He’s what I give to other people, or what I inflict on other people, you see. But who I really, really, really am here, visibly, is this one.

And this is common, not only to the great religions but, I think, the great poets of the world – well, Tennyson for a start. Perhaps not the greatest but what about Shakespeare? Shakespeare is onto this absolutely. In Measure for Measure, he’s got lines like this, which you will remember. “Man, proud man, dressed in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what is most assured, his glassy essence like an angry ape, plays such tricks before high heaven as make the angels weep.” So, what Shakespeare is saying, is, Barbara, that we have a choice. You know, we either perceive what is so evident, what is so on show – our glassy essence, this space here – either we perceive that, enjoy that, live from that, or we are in terrible danger of behaving like angry apes.

Mm.

Now that is strong stuff, isn’t it?

Sounds appropriate. When you were in the Himalayas, did you have any other experiences that helped to contribute to this understanding?

No, I think that this is so radical nothing will compete with it. I mean, this is the heart of the heart of the matter, isn’t it? I mean, everything else flows from that. But I do say this, that having seen this curious thing, you know, being headless, what should I say – enjoy that, live from that and all the other things shall come.

And you see, also, I found – this is rather interesting – I found that I could share this with nobody. People either thought I was extremely profound, mystical, symbolical, and impenetrable, or they thought I was just raving mad, you see. So I failed to share this with people. And for eighteen years I never was sure I shared it with anybody.

But I did in the middle of that time have a very comforting thing because I discovered the early Zen Masters of the 8th and 9th centuries in China. And they were saying that the whole art of life— they called it Enlightenment, a word I hate but still they called it satori or Enlightenment – the whole art of life and the cure for our troubles and the answer to our problems is to see our true face. And this is called our original face.

Well I say, I have two faces, the acquired one I see in the mirror, and the original one here. And the original one is the face of God or the Buddha-nature or whatever, the true face we have which is an infinite, imperishable, perfect capacity for what was given. Now the one in the mirror is the acquired face and that one we put here illegitimately because, in fact, it belongs there and not here. And when we are very miserable, Barbara, you see, we haven’t been taken for a ride, we haven’t been conned, we haven’t come under the influence of language and so forth. And every mum and some dads know that the one in the mirror there, is for a little child, a baby, a friend, never oneself. A long process of indoctrination and you get the kid – and you must do, to join the club, this is what is necessary – to get the kid to agree that that is my face. It’s not natural. It’s an acquired thing. And when we are very, very little, we are honest, you see, we are busted wide open. This is the charm of children that they are they are busted wide open for the world.

Seeing is an acquired thing isn’t it, period? Seeing, understanding the world through sight, we learn that don’t we?

Yes, we do but I am talking about something which so basic. Are we coming from a thing, which is a perishing, limited, small, decaying, ageing thing, solid, opaque, small, and very, very brief? Come on. Or are we coming from the imperishable capacity that contains the world?

So what happens to this awareness of the imperishable capacity after the perishable part dissolves?

Well, it is really not quite a proper question, if I may say so? Because it is timeless, you see. And after and before don’t quite apply. And where we are coming from is timeless and where there is no thing, no change. I mean there is no change. There is no way of registering time, and if there is no way of registering time, why, hey ho, there is no time!

Anyway, I have a little experiment here, you see, which I do and people think it’s idiotic but I find it very true. You see, I look at the time now, and I look at the time in the studio here, and it’s twenty to eight in Carmel, or Monterey, whichever it is. It is twenty to eight in England now, where I have come from – another time. And in Tokyo, another time. Each place has got its own time. Well, what’s the time here, right where I am, this side of the microphone? What’s the time right here, no distance from me?

Now I’ve got my watch here, and it says the time out there is, a couple of feet away, no, a foot away, is 7:39. And I bring my watch up, you know, gradually, and gosh, at an inch away, I’m not sure what time it is. And half an inch, even the watch is going! And at no distance there is no time to register.

So you see, who you really, really, really are, this one never moved, Barbara. It, she, or he, God – excuse the term, I like that term – he is who you really, really, really are, and he never moved, and he has no boundaries. He is speckless, and he is faceless, and contains the whole world. And this is where you are coming from, and it is absolutely timeless.

Most of us, I think, worry about when the perishable part is no longer contained in the form that we so preferred, what happens to memory and what happens to this continuity that we feel that we would like to call Douglas, or Barbara, or Jeff?

Yes. Well, quite right. Emily Brontë wrote a rather famous and splendid poem called “Last Lines.” And she said a true thing, I think. “When suns and universes cease to be, every existence will exist in thee.” In other words, in the timeless, is a kind of freezer, which prevents things from perishing, you see. It contains perishable things. And, Barbara, you see, the content of the timeless will never recover from containing Barbara, or even Douglas. You are established there in the timeless. And I would say, I am not professing to understand this. Presently, I shall know more about it from direct experience!

[Laughter.] We are talking with Douglas Harding on KAZU 90.3. This is Discovery. So, we have gone through The Little Book of Life and Death, and On Having No Head, and we started with your novel that is not published yet, The Trial of the Man Who Said He was God. Let’s talk about Head Off Stress. The world is full of stress, probably because we are still believing all these lies.

Well, I think that might be so partly, Barbara. But I think the situation is this – things are built on stress, they run on stress. Our cars run on gas. I mean, things are held together by stress. Stress is a good thing there because it holds things together and prevents them falling apart. What is stress but a system of complementary pressures, forces, isn’t it.?

Mm.

And the whole world runs on stress. And it is a good thing and a necessary thing. The world is a stress system. What we do is to get out there, imagine ourselves out there, involved in that stress world. And of course, we take on stress and it gives us a hard time because we are not essentially – who we really, really, really are – is not only not out there, subject to stress, but is absolutely and totally free of stress from where we are at the center. And the one you are really looking out of, Barbara, at this time, is unstressable.

So, if you want to be hot you go to the Equator, if you want to be cool, you go to the North Pole, and if you want to be unstressed, you come home to the place you have never left, because nothing is there to be stressed. It’s as simple as that. And it’s a case of coming home, coming home, to the place you have never left, the place you are looking out of, and seeing there is nothing there to be stressed.

And you can come home on any ticket. Any ticket home is a good ticket, and I can point to this place. And we shall be doing some experiments like that in our workshop here, or in Santa Cruz rather. And we can point to this place we are looking out of, we can see when we put on our glasses – two lenses – we put on our glasses, and we see we are looking not out of two pupils in a meatball, we are looking out of one enormous frameless window. And not in our own direct experience are two little pupils. Well, that is coming home from the stress world to the world where there is nothing to be stressed. So, if you want to be free of stress, go where there isn’t any, and that is right where you are.

Mm. Let’s talk a little more about what people will be experiencing in the workshop. What is a workshop with Douglas Harding?

Well, one of the things I say is don’t believe a word I am saying. You are the authority.  You see, we are suffering all of us from indoctrination, from being grievously intimidated, and we allow people to tell us what it is like where we are. Nobody is in a position to tell you what you are like where you are. You are the authority. So, in a workshop I say don’t believe a thing I say, test it. Test it, because you are the authority on who you are. And this workshop is about who you really, really are. And I say who you really, really, really are is unbelievably blessed, splendid, perfect, and the answer to all your problems is who you really, really, really are.

So, we get together in a workshop to do sundry experiments –  quite a lot of them – for coming home to the place we’ve never left and finding this blessing, this energy, a freedom which is there for free where we are.

And the workshop normally consists of three or four sections. A spiel, an introductory spiel, rather along the lines of what we are doing here, you see. Then the experiments which are the nitty gritty. They are what count. The words are kind of froth, the experiments are what count. So the first thing is a spiel, saying why we are getting together. The second thing are the experiments, all of them bringing us home to this infinitely neglected treasure in the space where we are coming from. And the third part is – well everyone sees this. I don’t allow anyone not to see it, it’s so obvious, isn’t it? The experiments don’t give you a chance, you’ve got to see it. Everybody gets the point, just as you do. I mean, immediately you got the point. So, in a workshop everybody gets the point. Now what they do with it is another matter.

So we go on then to look at how we live this, which is the great thing. It’s not much use seeing it and then putting it on one side by all the other amusing things we’ve encountered. The workshop addresses the practicality of this and how we keep it alive. And we have questions also.

And I think around that time towards the end, we get on to what for me is really a crucial matter and that is a case of confidence. What horse am I backing in life? Am I backing Douglas who is a loser? Come on, he is a loser, I mean, he is dying. He has been dying for 83 years. He’s a loser. I mean, I am not distressed about that because, I mean, it’s his nature. He is not a winner, and in so far as I trust him, things go wrong. But when I trust who I really, really, really am, where I am coming from – my true nature, my Buddha-nature, or the indwelling Holy Spirit, or the kingdom of heaven, or God, or whatever you like to call this which I really, really am – if I give up my trust, give up my self-confidence in that little guy, and rely on this one, I find I am taken care of, and that things work out. I don’t get what I want but I get what I need. So that is what the workshop is about.

Of course, it is, as you say, simple, a simple thing to see.

Obvious.

And it’s obvious in many ways, but it is not so easy for people to do. Why is it so hard for people to hear what you are saying, or hear what other sages say about this, or what their neighbor says about it, and why is it so difficult for people to implement it? Why does it take many, many years to begin to . . .?

Well, it doesn’t take many . . . it doesn’t take any time to see it, does it? It’s a piece of cake, the most obvious thing in the whole world. We don’t know what obviousness is until we see this. It’s absolutely obvious. All we’ve got to do is turn our attention around 180° from what we are looking at to what we are looking out of. So, it’s absolutely obvious. And to establish it we keep coming back. Every time you come back to the place you never left and dissolve the hallucinated block here, which is hallucination. Why every time you do that it’s easier, you see, it’s easier every time. So, it’s a matter of practice. And the work has to be done. Yes, the work has to be done. And with some people I think it can result fairly soon in being centered. So you are not out to lunch. You are really with yourself. You are centered. Because the normal human condition is to be out to lunch.

But why is the normal human condition to be out to lunch?

Well, because you are in a kind of coma. We are out there, eccentric, looking at ourselves and wondering what other people see. And donating, building up here the image of something. When we are very little, we were centered and all animals are centered. They are living from their space. But as we grow up and join the human club, we are out to lunch. We must join the human club. It’s very important. But the price is too high. The subscription is too high, and I withdraw my subscription. What we are asked to do, when we belong to the human club, is to survey ourselves from about a meter away through other people’s eyes. Well, you can’t do that. And what I am on about is looking at yourself from where you are, and looking at where you are coming from, seeing what you are looking out of, as well as what you are looking at.

Well, if all of this is at the heart of all the great religious traditions . . .

It is.

. . .what happened? Why aren’t the religious traditions giving us this insight as clearly as you are giving it?

Well, that is a very good question. I think though it’s at the heart of the great religions. I think that religion becomes contaminated in a thousand ways, and the truth, the initial truth, on which the thing was built, the original vision of this, gets overlaid by churchianity, by priests, by the interests, the power trip. The power trip that each religion does develop, really. Power over people. And so the life and the heart of the great religions is that there are some heretics, like Douglas, who go back to the beginning and look at things as they were originally.

And in my view Christ, Jesus, was on to this absolutely. I mean he talked about the man who looks upon himself only from outside and not also within, makes himself small. And how big are you? And I say if you really look and see who you are, you are worldwide. You are worldwide. We make ourselves small. Barbara, we get shrunk in the wash. And you know, when we were very little, infants, we look kind of small, don’t we? About 2 feet long, really very tiny. But do you think an infant for itself is tiny? The infant for itself has got no boundaries, for sure.

That’s true.

And then when we join the club, we shrink from being worldwide into being a little thing.

Now, is it any wonder that young people become anti-social and angry, and rebellious? Is it any wonder when overnight, they got shrunk from being all things to being just what they look like from outside?

So, what I am on about, you know the whole thing is, I am not what I look like. I am not here at zero inches what I look like at a hundred inches. I am not only unlike that, I am the exact opposite. So I tell you, you are getting what Douglas looks like, I’ve got what Douglas is. And they are totally different. And the great human nonsense is to say, “I am here, what do I look like to you over there!” Which is absolute rubbish, isn’t it?

Yes, quite. What is interesting to me though is that we are willing to shrink, and yet some of us, like you, are unwilling to shrink. And what is the difference? Why are most of us willing to go along with this shrinking process, and every once in a while, somebody says, “No, I won’t do this?”

Well, I think it is a mystery; I don’t know the answer. But I think it is connected with the whole origin of the world and of evil, and so on. I think you know, probably the best light we can get on this, is to think of, say, I mean this is like a kind of myth, is think of God, Buddha-nature, reality, with no world, just perfect. God is there for millions and millions of eons and ages just revolving the circle of his own perfections. He is absolutely perfect. Nothing ever happened. And after billions and billions of years, he got bored or she got bored. And what she did was to say, “I’m going to do a terribly difficult thing, a terribly risky thing. I am going to pretend to be three people, Barbara, Jeff, and Douglas, possibly a few more, you see. I am going to pretend to be these different people.” And the result of that was that in order to get the whole thing set up you have to have this illusion thing going, so that people think they are separate from God in their origin.

And so, God set up the thing, playing a game of hide and seek with herself. And this is part of God’s plan that we pretend that we are solid lumps, and we are what we look like. And I say that the great fun of life and the object in life is to come off that and tell the truth.

You say, “Why aren’t many more people on to this?” And that I don’t know. I am doing my best to encourage people; I am doing my little best to encourage people to not only look at this but share it with others.

It’s very easily shareable as we have seen, isn’t it?

Yes. Quite, quite. Who are the most exciting people that you have spent time with in your wonderful 83 years?

Well, I think everybody is of value to me and teaches me. I’ve met many, many teachers and gurus, you and Jeff, now. Everybody teaches me. I am so refreshed by my friends. But perhaps one of the most notable ones I have met . . . well yes, I have had a few friends. I am not going to go name dropping now, but I have had some pretty marvelous friends, and still have. But I think one of the most impressive was Ananda Maya Ma, in Bangalore, in India, who had a vast, vast following of people in north India. And she was onto this. A most beautiful woman.

Yes, somebody was just talking about her last night to me.

Really?

Describe her.

She was a very, very beautiful woman. We shared this thing together when I went to see her in India. I think she is one of the most remarkable people I have known. But the people I share it with, like you now, it is as though one has known those people for ever and ever. Because, look, the barriers are down, Barbara, aren’t they?

I mean, when I see who I am – well, look, look now. I have your face, which you have given me out of your generous heart. You have given me your face which you don’t have, and I have it, and I’m looking after it and treasuring it. That’s a wonderful thing to do, to give me your face. Now, what about what is behind that face? What about the consciousness which is the essence of Barbara? Now will I find that by peeking now into your eyes? I won’t! There are not two little hobgoblins of consciousness behind your pupils. But if I want to find the awareness which is Barbara, that essence, that indwelling Godhead, Godhood, I look here, and what I see here – this space, this capacity. It has no laundry marks of Douglas on it, you see. Or Barbara, or Jeff. It will do for you, and it will do for everyone, and it’s infinite as I look here now. I mean, here it is, and it goes on and on for ever and ever and ever. And it has no personal marks on it. And it is awake, boundless, real, and where we are all coming from. So, I now say to you, there is a double intimacy, if you don’t mind my saying so. It is I have your face. I have your appearance there, for which God be praised. And I am your reality. So I have your appearance over there, and here I am your reality. Now that is so different from the confrontation story in the world, isn’t it? So there we are face-to-face, head-on collision. Confrontation.

You have never confronted anyone in your life. This thing we are built, Barbara, for, busted wide open for each other, aren’t we? It’s really marvelous. And when we start telling the truth of who we are, the world is full of blessing.

Yes. You don’t like the word enlightenment, why?

Well, I mean, because, well partly because it’s been made into such an inaccessible, mysterious thing. I say that we are all, all, living from our enlightenment. And here we are, fully established in our enlightenment. All we’ve got to do is not to achieve it but turn around and acknowledge it. And we build up this absurd picture of something which can only be attained by folding your legs into a granny knot for 20 years or I don’t know what, all sorts of things you see. You know, I say, we don’t know what obviousness is until we see who we really are.

Mm. You mention the word evil. What is evil? Why do we perceive evil? What is that all about?

Well, I think evil is the name we give to alienation, separation. And evil is failure to be open. Evil is turning your back on the world. You see here, who I really, really am here is naked and open, exposed to the world. And the little guy in the mirror, Douglas, has turned his back on the world. Now, he must do so. But if that is the whole story, well, that is evil because what he says is keep out. I can see my little chap in the mirror, around who my ego, imagined personality is constellated, around the little guy. Well, he is, by himself, evil in the sense that he says, “Keep out. I’m just announcing myself. I am shutting the world out because I’m a thing. And I am looking after my thing, and I turn my back on the world. I’ve got enough troubles of my own, thank you very much.” But the one here, who I really, really am which is about a meter away from the one in the mirror, the one I really, really am here is open to the world, busted wide open to the world, naked, and taking on the world’s joy and suffering. You see, I think that one of the reasons why we resist this, Barbara, is we really do say, “I’ve got enough problems of my own. I don’t want to be busted wide open like this.”

Yes. I think that’s true. And maybe we should talk about that. What about suffering? Suffering affects – somebody was talking to me the other day about this – and he said, “If I open up and am available to myself and the world, I’ll be receiving all that suffering and pain.” And that is something we consider and maybe you’ve hit it on the head there. That our willingness to be shrunk comes from our unwillingness to be in what we perceive to be close contact with this suffering that’s beyond us.

That’s beautifully put. Yes. You see, I really think that the answer to my anguish is not to separate it from the world and to see who I really, really am, means to take on the suffering of the world. And in Christianity this is a very powerful ingredient of that faith. And in Buddhism, you know, wisdom without compassion is like a bird with one wing, and compassion which is feeling other’s suffering, is essential to wisdom. Inseparable from wisdom. And I think the way I should put it is, coming from who I really, really am, I am naked and open to the suffering of the world and then can go beyond it to what lies at the back of the suffering, the one here who doesn’t separate himself from any of the suffering in the world. To take it on and acknowledge it, is, I think, to find an incredible peace and joy underneath it, somehow.

Yes, but the journey through to that is such a terrifying one.

Yes, but I think it is even more terrifying if you are in your own little box there, having your personal suffering. You think that the world has chosen you for some really nasty stuff. And there you are full of resentment, suffering your own thing with no way out at all.

Yes.

And I think the way out is to allow yourself to be invaded by the suffering of others and then your heart will . . . . You see, I talk about losing your head, and when . . . I am talking about literally one is headless. But when one loses one’s head and is busted wide open, instead of this meatball which closes me up, then I find my center of gravity, in fact, does move down. And I lose my head and I find my heart. I find my heart. And one does find, of necessity feels – one doesn’t set it up but I think one does find – that the hurt of the world is one’s own hurt.

But that is vast and deep, isn’t it?

Yes, and I think our blessing lies in that direction.

Can you talk about your own entry into that vast, deep place of suffering?

Well, I don’t think one enters into it to take on suffering. I think, I don’t like suffering any more than anyone else does. I don’t want to suffer any more than I need. But what I need to do is to be truthful and come home to who I really am. And when I see who I really am, which I do now, this clarity, this openness, this exposure to the world, this being full of you, and the scene there, when I see that, I think I take care of the whole thing, suffering and all. And I don’t need to do two, three, or four things, see who I am and then address the suffering of the world. I think the seeing who I am embraces all that. And I think when you see who you are, you will find this happening naturally. Your compassion will be awakened.

What’s the importance of sacrifice? The traditions speak of sacrifice?

Well you see, I think we should not be too gloomy about this because it’s really our natural condition, our sacrifice one for another. Look, the only way I can have your face for now is to disappear as Douglas, isn’t it? And this  is death. Douglas dies and is resurrected as Barbara. You see what I mean? And we give our lives for one another, Barbara. This is incredibly beautiful. And all this gloomy sacrifice business is a bind. I think it is something which is so blessed that I give my life for you.

You know, who was it said, Paul I think, “Greater love hath no man than this, than to give his life for a friend.” Well, we give out lives for one another. I give my life for Barbara not because I’m a nice old thing but because I am just truthful, and I am seeing that I am disappearing in your favor. And that is sacrificing Douglas for, well sacrificing the little guy who is perishing for the great one who can never perish. So, what sacrifice? It’s gain, isn’t it, my God?

Yes, interesting.

Yes, ultimate gain.

Douglas, of the traditions that you have studied, which one seemed closest to you, to this heart? Which of the traditions seemed to have less of this crust of inappropriate stuff attached to them? Is it the Zen Buddhist tradition, perhaps?

No, I wouldn’t say so. I think that I would say that, having been brought up in the Christian faith, and for many years, all my early years, deeply in that faith, it’s in my blood. I can’t deny it. I can’t put that on one side for any other faith. But I think that going deeply, deeply into the heart of Christianity I find that many, many insights are shared between that faith and the other faiths. And each moreover, it seems to me that each faith, has a unique contribution to make, so I owe a great deal to Zen, and Zen Buddhism. I owe only slightly less, I think, to Hinduism and some recent Masters like Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta. And I owe a very great deal to Sufism and particularly Jalalludin [Rumi]. So yes, I suppose I am rather ecumenical.

But I think the thing is, one can make the mistake of window shopping and going around saying I don’t belong to any of them because they have all got something true to say, and that means you tend not to go deeply into any one of them. And for me, I think it just sticks with me that – and I suppose this is more a gut reaction, or early conditioning, for me it sticks –  (this realization is basic to me) that the reality behind the universe is none other than self-giving love.

And it is shown in what I was saying. We are built, all of us are built to this Christ pattern, to give our lives for one another, and we vanish in favor of the one there. And it is so beautiful Barbara. It moves my heart and excites my mind. The vision of this sings, really.

Let’s talk about Jalalludin’s view of this. He is the one in the Sufi tradition that we think of when the word “beloved” is used. That great connection with what we are talking about.

Yes, that’s right.

Maybe you’d care to say some more about him?

Yes, I can give you one or two quotes from him. He says, “Dissolve yourself into nothingness. Become nothingness, nothingness, nothingness.”

He talks a lot about losing your head. “Dissolve your head into nothingness.” He talks a lot about that. One thing he said was, “Become vision, vision, vision. Become vision.”

What did he mean by that?

Become vision. Well, what is looking out of here is vision itself, you know. Vision itself. It is the awake perceiver of the whole world. So, he says, “Lose your head  . . . .” Oh, a great deal about headlessness, he’s got. He said, “Heads go rolling like the ball in polo.” “Heads go rolling like the ball in polo.” And he says, seeing into your clarity, your nothingness, is the whole thing.

Did you have a chance to meet Ramana Maharshi?

No, I never did. I was in India when he was alive but I never met him. But I regard him as having had a great influence on my life. And what he said were about three things which I would absolutely take.

First of all, he said, although he didn’t put it quite as neatly as this. He said the answer to your problem, whatever it might be, is to see who has the problem. That’s  one. And the second thing he said – it’s easier to see who you are, than it is to become enlightened – it’s easier to see who you are than to see a gooseberry in the palm of your hand. And the third thing, I can’t think of at the moment. But those will do, won’t they?

Yes, those are two good ones.

Those will do. The answer to your problem is to see who has the problem. And the vision of who you are is the most obvious and accessible thing in the world. Oh, the pity, the pity.

And everyone around him said, “Only you can do it master.” And they put him on a pedestal so high they couldn’t hear a word he said. So sad.

That happens a lot, doesn’t it?

It happens a lot, and it happened very much in his case. I have visited his ashram and people there . . . you know, they can’t see this. And if I go there and say it’s the most obvious thing in the world, look at what your master said, I should probably get my marching orders.

They would chase you out?

I think they would. I think they would a bit. Although I contributed a great deal to their journal, Mountain Path, (but I only did it by quoting him all the time!) which he says it’s available, it’s obvious, and it’s the answer to your problem. And there we are.

Douglas, would you give us a retrospective on, I won’t use the word retrospective, let’s shift it around, about the future of this species who is having a hard time in this shrunken state. How do you feel we are progressing in the last part of the twentieth century? Or not progressing as the case may be?

Going back. Well you see, I think it’s a very fascinating story. And the story began (what was it? a million years ago or five million) when a very smart ape, with a very nice hand for grasping things, and a big forebrain, and so forth, when he became human. And the way he became human was – he saw his face in the water; he saw that specter there, and the specter invaded him. It rushed up his arm and invaded him and parasitized him here. So he took that thing that belongs there in the water, or the mirror (which he probably didn’t have) and he came here, and he became what . . . . He took on what belongs there, a yard away, and he became shrunk. And he joined the human club.

Now five million years is quite a long time to play that game. It is a game and it has produced, gosh, what it has produced including all the equipment in front of me now at this time.  It has produced language and everything else. So, it was a very important game. But gosh, I think it’s a game which five million years of, a million years, is long enough. And I think we should now play a different game. And for the last two and a half thousand years there have been people who have been playing a different game and who see what Ramana Maharshi and others are pointing at. And I think the opportunity now, the human race given these communications, given our dire need, given the experiments which we are able to share with people, because they are a breakthrough, Barbara. They are a breakthrough, making this so directly perceptible – given all those things – I think there is a sporting chance, that we shall make it.

I don’t mean that the whole, that everyone shall be “headless,” but this could become the vision of the cutting edge of our race. A sufficient number of leaders or people who are setting the tone and so on should see this. And I think there is a chance. Because we have come through ages of stagnation, ice ages, we are very versatile, a very tough species. And I do think there is a chance. Anyway, I am doing my best to see. And I think that it’s time we played a new game And confrontation is the name of the old game and it doesn’t work and it takes you to hell.

We are talking with Douglas Harding. Oh, my goodness we have come very close to the end of our program. Time goes fast, doesn’t it?

Yes, it does.

People say, “Ninety minutes, that’s an awful long time to talk,” and then it goes by just like that. Gosh, I wanted to ask you about modern psychology, but I don’t think we have enough time to do that. Do you have any . . . .

Quickies on that?

Quickies on psychology?

Well, of course it’s a very impressive achievement, Freud and Jung and all that tribe saying all sorts of incredibly valuable things. But if I imagine that that is going to cure my heart’s anguish, I am mistaken. Psychology is a rainforest in which you can lose yourself immediately [laughter]. I mean, you never come out and you know it’s an endless, endless thing. One thing leading to another. Even Freud himself talked about analysis as interminable or terminable. It is not the cure.

Psychology is for polishing up that little guy in the mirror, Douglas. [Laughter.] And he’s a pretty hopeless case to polish. He won’t take a polish really. [Laughter.] And who I really, really am is upstream of psychology. It’s metaphysics, if you wish. And I think that when you come from who you are, and see who you are – and what should I say – tell the truth, submit to the evidence, have the humility to submit to the evidence, that I think is the best thing you can do for your psychology. And then when you look into – why shouldn’t you? – look into psychological methods and processes, you can award marks for those who got it right [Laughter.] Or at least, didn’t get it right but they didn’t stand in the way of this vision.

How about science?

Well yes of course. You see this is absolutely agreeable to modern science. Look, when you go up to a thing, you lose it, don’t you? I don’t care what you take, any darn thing you like, a book, a person, a hand, anything whatever, you lose it. Now, I go all the way up to myself –  I told you about, you know, taking pictures on the way up here . . .

Right. When you get down to the subatomic particles they disappear.

Well sure. That’s right. And I, here, in this place I am pointing at, which is what you perceive as Douglas’s topknot or meatball, here I find no thing whatever. And this is scientifically verifiable because I say, “Come and see.” In other words, to put it more generally, what I am is a  function of the distance or range of the observer. Now, looked at from where you are, I am perceived to be a man. Looked at from much further away, I disappear into why the Monterey Peninsula, and America, and the Earth, and the Solar System, and the Galaxy. Or coming nearer I am perceived to be why, a nose, and then tissues and cells and molecules and  atoms and so on. So what I am is relative to the view, the position of the viewer.

Now, I view myself from zero centimeters and where I am is where this wonderful indwelling Godhead resides. And it is no thing, imperishable consciousness, awake, and real. Real. Reality. And where I am coming from, and the source of all inspiration and energy. We get so tired hallucinating something here to block it out with.

Yes. Well, I’ve got to say goodbye to you Douglas. I don’t’ want to. I’d like to continue this for another hour or so. But I would like to thank you very much for joining us on Discovery. And thank you Jeff for coming and bringing Douglas. And thank you Douglas.

Thank you, Barbara. It’s very special to be interviewed by someone with whom I immediately shared what I have to share.

Thank you. Thank you.

From a radio interview with KAZU, Monterey, California given in 1992.

Here you can listen to the Douglas Harding Monterey Radio Interview.

Here you can find, Who Are We Really?, a video presentation created by one of Douglas’s long time students which illustrates the experiments that Douglas created in order to give us a direct experience of who “we really, really are.”

And here you can find more posts on Douglas Harding.

All Moons in the One Moon

I cannot understand the philosophy of Zen. What should I do to understand it?

Baula, Zen is not a philosophy at all. To approach Zen as if it were a philosophy is to start in a wrong way from the very beginning. A philosophy is something of the mind; Zen is totally beyond the mind. Zen is the process of going above the mind, far away from the mind; it is the process of transcendence, of surpassing the mind. You cannot understand it by the mind; mind has no function in it.

Zen is a state of no-mind; that has to be remembered. It is not Vedanta. Vedanta is a philosophy; you can understand it perfectly well. Zen is not even Buddhism; Buddhism is also a philosophy.

Zen is a very rare flowering – it is one of the strangest things that has happened in the history of consciousness – it is the meeting of Buddha’s experience and Lao Tzu’s experience. Buddha, after all, was part of the Indian heritage: he spoke the language of philosophy; he is perfectly clear, you can understand him. In fact, he avoided all metaphysical questions; he was very simple, clear, logical. But his experience was not of the mind. He was trying to destroy your philosophy by providing you with a negative philosophy. Just as you can take out a thorn from your foot with another thorn, Buddha’s effort was to take out the philosophy from your mind with another philosophy. Once the first thorn has been taken out both thorns can be thrown away and you will be beyond mind.

But when Buddha’s teachings reached China a tremendously beautiful thing happened: a crossbreeding happened. In China, Lao Tzu has given his experience of Tao in a totally non-philosophical way, in a very absurd way, in a very illogical way. But when the Buddhist meditators, Buddhist mystics, met the Taoist mystics they immediately could understand each other heart to heart, not mind to mind. They could feel the same vibe they could see that the same inner world had opened they could smell the same fragrance. And they came closer, and by their coming closer, by their meetings and mergings with each other, something new started growing up; that is Zen. It has both the beauty of Buddha and the beauty of Lao Tzu; it is the child of both. Such a meeting has never happened before or since.

Zen is neither Taoist nor Buddhist; it is both and neither. Hence the traditional Buddhists reject Zen and the traditional Taoists also reject Zen. For the traditional Buddhist it is absurd, for the traditional Taoist it is too philosophical, but to those who are really interested in meditation, Zen is an experience. It is neither absurd nor philosophical because both are terms of the mind; it is something transcendental.

The word “zen” comes from dhyan. Buddha used a certain language, a local language of his times, Pali. In Pali dhyan is pronounced “jhan”; it is from jhan that “zen” has arisen. The word comes from jhan; jhan comes from the Sanskrit dhyan.

To understand Zen you need not make a philosophical effort; you have to go deep into meditation. And what is meditation all about? Meditation is a jump from the mind into no-mind, from thoughts to no-thought. Mind means thinking, no-mind means pure awareness. One simply is aware. Only then, Baula, will you be able to understand Zen – through experience, not through any intellectual effort.

Yoka says:

There is one nature, perfect and penetrative, present in all natures, one reality which includes all, comprising all realities in itself. The one moon is reflected wherever there is water. And all moons in water are comprised in the one moon.

The moment you move beyond the mind, suddenly you have moved from the many to the one. Minds are many, consciousness is one. On the circumference we are different, at the center we are one. That one can be called Brahma, can be called God, the absolute, the truth, nirvana.

Zen calls it no-mind for a particular reason. If you call it God, then people start thinking in terms of a person, they start imagining a person – of course the supreme most person, but their idea of personality is derived from human personality; it is a projection, it is not truth.

The Bible says God created man in his own image; that is not true. Man has created God in his own image; that is far more true. The God that we have created is our idea, it is anthropocentric. If horses were philosophers, then God could not be a man, then God would be a supreme horse.

If donkeys were philosophers – and who knows? – they may be; they look very serious, always brooding, as if in deep contemplation, thinking of great things . . .  Watch a donkey and you will be certainly aware of this simple fact that donkeys are great thinkers. They are constantly somewhere else far away, involved in great esoteric things; that’s why people think they are fools. They are not fools; they are philosophers. If donkeys think, if they are theologians, theosophists, philosophers, then God will be a supreme donkey. God cannot be a man, that’s impossible. They cannot imagine God to be a man.

Hence Zen avoids any anthropocentric terminologies, any words that can become associated with our circumference. It does not call God Brahma because that is a philosophical term; maybe the best philosophical term, but even the best philosophical term is still philosophy, and philosophy is something of the mind – you can think about Brahma.

In India we have been thinking about Brahma for centuries and there are as many interpretations of Brahma as there have been philosophers. Shankara interprets it in one way, Nimbarka in another, Ramanuja still in a different way, and so on and so forth. Not even two philosophers agree and the dispute still continues. Philosophers go on quarreling. They never come to any conclusions, they cannot, because mind has no capacity to conclude about the One.

Even Shankara, the greatest non-dualist, remains a dualist deep down. He talks about Brahma, the One, but to talk about the One he has to bring in maya, illusion; then One becomes two. If you want to talk about the real you will have to talk about the unreal; that is a necessity, an absolute necessity. Without talking about the unreal you cannot talk about the real; without the unreal the real loses all meaning. Human languages are dualistic, hence Shankara got into trouble, great trouble. He tried to sort it out but he could not, and for one thousand years many philosophers who have followed Shankara have tried to find a way out, but they have not been able to. Even if you say that maya means illusion, maya means that which does not exist, you have to talk about it. To define Brahma, you have to use illusion as a support, otherwise who will define it? How will you define it? The One remains indefinable; the One needs something else to define it. So, although the philosophy of Shankara is thought to be non-dualist, it is not. No philosophy can be non-dualist.

Zen is neither dualist nor non-dualist; it is not a philosophy at all. It simply says, “Move from the mind into the no-mind and see.” It believes in seeing.

Yoka says:

The spirit operates naturally through the organs of sense. Thus, the objective world is perceived. This dualism mists the mirror. But when the haze is removed, the light shines forth. Thus, when each individual spirit and the objective world are forgotten and emptied suchness affirms truth.

When all words are gone, your mirror has no more dust on it, no more mist on it. When you look at things you collect impressions; that is the dust – that’s what you call thinking. When you see a rose flower, the rose flower is outside you but it makes a reflection inside you. The rose flower will fade away by the evening, the petals will fall and disappear, but the inner rose flower, the rose that has become imprinted in your memory will continue. It will remain forever with you, you can always remember it. And if you are a sensitive, aesthetic, artistic person you can visualize it again and again; you can imagine it as if it is true. In fact, if you try you will be surprised: you can even experience the fragrance of the rose again. If you create the whole situation in your imagination: the garden, the green grass, the dew on the grass, and you are walking with naked feet on the grass . . . and the sweet smell of the earth and the cool air and the birds singing; you just create the whole atmosphere… and then suddenly you discover a beautiful rose flower hidden behind a bush . . . and the fragrance! And then suddenly you will see: the fragrance has come back to you; the imprint is there. The outer rose is gone, but the inner rose is alive.

Now scientists, particularly brain experts, have discovered that if certain spots in the brain are touched by electrodes, certain memories become immediately active. Those memories are Lying there deep frozen; touched by the electrode they start becoming alive. A very strange experience. If your brain is touched by an electrode at the point where the rose memory is lying deep, suddenly you will forget the present; you will be again in the same garden. Maybe twenty years have passed, but it will be again as real as if you were in the garden again: the same smell, the same wind, the same coolness, the same flower. And if the electrode is taken out, the memory disappears. Put the electrode back again in the same spot and again the memory starts revealing itself.

And one thing more has been discovered: you can do it thousands of times. Again and again the same memory comes, and again and again the memory repeats itself from the very beginning. The moment you remove the electrode it seems that there is an automatic rewinding; the memory coils back into the same original state. Touch it again with the electrode and as the electricity starts flowing the memory begins from the beginning: you are entering the garden again . . . and the same sequence of events. And this can be done thousands of times. In fact, scientists say there is no limit to it; it can be done millions of times.

The outer reality goes on changing, but the mind goes on collecting dust. Your consciousness is a mirror, and you are carrying so much dust from this life and from other lives – such a thick layer of dust! That’s why you cannot understand Zen: because you cannot understand yourself, because you cannot understand life, because you cannot understand existence. Zen is not philosophy; it is existential, not philosophical.

 . . . When the haze is removed, says Yoka, the light shines forth. Thus when each individual spirit and the objective world are forgotten and emptied suchness affirms truth.

When all is emptied – you have forgotten all the memories, you have forgotten even your individual existence, your separate existence; you are no more an island, you have melted into the whole; you are not like an ice cube floating in the water, you have become water itself – this is what Zen is. Then suddenly truth is revealed.

Vision is clear, says Yoka.

These four lines are of tremendous importance.

Vision is clear. But there are no objects to see. There is no person. There is no buddha.

This is the ultimate declaration of Zen. This is the lion’s roar!

Vision is clear.

This is a strange phenomenon. When there are objects to see, your vision is not clear because those objects are making impressions on you. Your vision cannot be clear; it is full of mist. When vision is clear, there are no objects at all, just clarity, just pure consciousness with no content, just seeing and nothing to see, just watchfulness and nothing to watch. A pure observer, a pure witness and nothing to witness.

There is no person.

And when there is nothing to witness, nothing to see, you cannot exist as a separate entity. The “In can exist only with the “thou”; if the “thou” disappears, the “I” disappears. They are part of each other, they are always together like two sides of a coin; you cannot say ”one.” This is what many stupid religious people go on doing: they go on saying to God, “I am not. Thou art.” That is sheer stupidity. In the very saying you are, otherwise who is saying “Thou art”?

There is a famous poem of Jalaluddin Rumi; I agree with him up to a point and then my disagreement starts. On the really essential point I cannot agree with him. My feeling is he must have written that poem before he became enlightened. He was an enlightened man, but the poem is decisive – it must have been written before he became enlightened. The poem is beautiful, because sometimes poets say things almost like seers, but remember they are almost like seers. There is bound to be some flaw, it can’t be flawless. You may not be able to find the flaw.

Listen to the story of the poem.

Jalaluddin says:

A lover comes to his beloved’s home, knocks on the door.

The beloved asks, “Who is there?”

And the lover says, “I am – your lover.”

The beloved says, “The house of love is so small, it cannot contain two, so please go back. When you are no more, then come again. The house of love cannot contain two, it can only contain one.”

So far so good!

The lover goes to the forest, he becomes an ascetic. He meditates, he prays to God. His prayer is only one: “Dissolve me!” Many moons come and go, months pass, years pass, and one day he comes back. He knocks again on the door, and the beloved asks the same question: “Who is there?”

And he says, “Now I am no more, only you are.”

And Rumi says:

The doors open and the lover is received in the home of love.

There I don’t agree – it is too early! Then who is the person who is saying “I am no more”? Even to say that “I am no more,” you are needed. It is as foolish as if you went and knocked at somebody’s house and he leaned out of the window and said, “I am not at home.” That is self-contradictory; you cannot say that. To say it is to prove that you are.

Jalaluddin must have written this poem before he became enlightened. He should have corrected it. But these enlightened people are crazy people. He may have forgotten all about the poem, but it needs correction. I can do the correction. I would like to say that the beloved says, “Go back again because you are still there. First you were positively there, now you are negatively there, but it makes no difference.”

The lover goes back. Now there is no point in praying because prayer has not helped. In fact, prayer cannot help: in prayer the duality persists. You are praying to somebody; God becomes your “thou.” God cannot help. Now he becomes a Zen monk – not a devotee but a real meditator. He simply goes deep within himself, searching and seeking. “Where is this ‘I’?” He tries to find out where it is. And anybody who goes in is bound not to find it because it is not there; it is non-existential; it is only a belief. So he searches and searches and finds it nowhere.

So he comes back, knocks on the door. The beloved asks the same question: “Who is there?” And there is no answer because there is nobody to answer. Just silence. She asks again, “Who is there?” but the silence deepens. She asks again, “Who is there?” but the silence is absolute. She opens the door. Now the lover has come, but he is no more; there is nobody to answer. He has to be taken inside the home, taken by the hand. He is completely, utterly empty.

This is what Zen people call “emptied suchness.”

Vision is clear. But there are no objects to see. There is no person. There is no buddha.

Everything has disappeared. Zen has achieved the ultimate peak of enlightenment; hence it can say that there is no enlightenment either because if the enlightened person goes on thinking, “I am enlightened,” he is not enlightened. If he claims enlightenment then he is not enlightened, because every claim is an ego claim. Enlightenment is not a claim, it is a silent presence.

Baula, don’t try to understand Zen. Go within yourself to find out who you are, where you are. You will not find anybody there, just pure emptiness. And then vision is clear. No person, no Buddha. All is silent, utterly silent. There is nothing to say. In that silence one becomes truth. Not only that one knows truth, one becomes truth. That is the only way to know it.

-Osho

From Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Discourse #16

Copyright © OSHO International Foundation

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

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