Like a Great Surprise – Osho

It all seems so simple – I just can’t understand it. I keep grasping at it and it eludes me, a music that can almost be smelt, a taste that can almost be felt.

Sometimes I am on the very threshold; other times it’s not in a million years, not for me.

Krishna Prabhu, it is simple, hence it is impossible to understand it. If it was complex, understanding would be possible. Only a complex thing can be understood, because a complex thing can be analyzed, divided, broken into parts. A simple thing is indivisible; you cannot analyze it, you cannot dissect it. It is simply there; it is impossible to understand it.

That’s why all that is simple eludes knowledge. God is simple, that’s why science cannot know him. Love is simple, that’s why science can have no idea what it is. Whenever you come across a simple thing you have to drop the effort to understand it; only then can you understand it. A totally new kind of understanding will be needed – an understanding of the heart, which does not analyze, which does not dissect.

See: science dissects, analyzes, divides. It goes on trying to find the smaller and the smaller part – it reaches to the atom, to the electron, and it goes on dividing. It will never know about the whole, it will know only about the parts. And once it comes against a part which cannot be divided, again it is elusive.

Now, science knows nothing about the electrons yet, because they can’t be divided yet. Once you divide them you will know – you will know how they are composed, of what they are composed. But then again you are facing something else – the new division – and that eludes knowledge.

Religion moves in a totally different way. It does not go to the part, it goes to the whole. ‘God’ means the whole – the undivided whole, the totality of all. How can you understand God? In the very effort to understand, you have become separate from it; God is no more total. The one who is trying to understand is separate – division has started, you are on the way to science. The known and the knower have become separate; the first division has happened. Now it is a process ad infinitum.

God can be known only if you remain in an undivided relatedness with the whole. You don’t become a knower, you don’t become an observer. You don’t stand out of it – you can’t. You ARE in it, you ARE it – how can you know it? You can BE it! And that is a totally different kind of knowing, a different kind of understanding – the understanding that arises out of being.

You cannot know love from the outside, but you can be love – and then you will know. But that knowing will not be part of your head. The head will still remain ignorant; you will know, but you will not be able to translate it into the language that the head can understand.

You ask me: It all seems so simple

Not that it seems simple, it is simple! But you have been taught again and again that if something is simple you will be able to understand it immediately. That is absolute nonsense. The simple is impossible to understand. The simple is elusive; there is no meeting between the effort to understand and between that which is simple. Either the simple has to be denied… If you say that it doesn’t exist then you are okay, then the problem has been dropped.

That’s what science has been doing: “There is no God, there is no soul, there is no love.” Deny all those simple things, then you can at least have your peace of mind; there is nothing left which haunts you. Science denies God just in self-defense – otherwise God stands there like an impossible problem. And the scientist cannot become a knower if even God has not been understood. And God cannot be understood. The simple way is: say that there is no God, so there is no question of understanding. Then you are at ease.

Religion says: God is, only God is. In fact to say ‘God is’ is repetitive, because God means is-ness. All that is, is God; God is not a separate entity. This is-ness, just this, is God. How can you understand it? You have to drop understanding, you have to become ignorant. If you approach God with your knowledge, knowledgeability, you will go on missing. You have to drop all your knowledge. You have to allow your scriptures to disappear, your doctrines to depart; say goodbye to them, and forever.

And suddenly, the moment you are in a state of no-knowledge, that is the state of meditation – the state of no-knowledge, the state of innocence.

Blessed are the ignorant. Why? Because only they can know. Jesus goes on saying to his disciples, “Unless you are like small children you will not enter into my kingdom of God.” Why small children? Innocent, ignorant, non-knowledgeable. Carrying nothing in the mind, just empty, with no ideas, no thoughts to project – not in any way trying to understand.

Innocence gives you wonder, creates awe. You simply feel a great Aha! like a tidal wave arising in your being. Body, mind, soul, all are involved in this Aha! All has stopped. You are there – not as a knower, you are dissolved as a knower. And then the knowing happens, because then the being happens. Then you are in tune with the whole.

That harmony, that rhythm, that togetherness with the whole, is what religion calls understanding. You are not to be an observer – in fact you are not to be at all. Then the simple is understood. And the simple is great, and the simple has splendour.

You say: It all seems so simple – I just can’t understand it.

True. You can’t, nobody can. Drop the effort – that effort will tire you. And when one becomes too tired doing something impossible, one starts denying it. If you cannot know, you cannot know, you cannot know… a moment comes when it is too much to tolerate it. The question becomes heavy on your heart. For sheer self-defense you start saying, “It is not there. If it was there then I would have understood it. Because I cannot understand it, it cannot be there. It is. pseudo-puzzle. God is not there – a created problem.”

Then you can rest. You can go back to sleep, you can walk again, you can again live your mediocre life. It is the cowards who deny God – cowards because they cannot gather courage to be ignorant enough to know the simple.

I have heard:

The farmer had just returned from a drive in his carriage. His dog, who had been running alongside, threw himself on the grass, his sides heaving with his heavy panting. “It is not the road that tires him,” explained the farmer, “but his zig-zagging. We have ridden for about five miles, but the dog has covered twenty-five miles. There was not a cat he did not chase, not a dog he did not bark at, not a driveway he did not investigate. Straight travelling did not tire him, only the zig-zagging did.”

Philosophy is zig-zagging. Religion is straight.

Jesus says, “My way is straight and narrow.” Religion is the shortest possible way between two points – between the knower and the known, the shortest possible way. It joins the knower and the known directly, without any zig-zagging. Philosophy zig-zags, and zig-zags so much that finally it loses all track of the goal.

What is the shortest distance between two points? Love is the shortest distance between two points – two alive points, two beings, two existences. Love is the shortest distance, knowledge the longest.

And that’s why religion has a totally different dimension in relating to existence. Those who have become accustomed to zig-zagging – analyzing, interpreting, philosophizing – they will go on chasing every cat, every dog, they will go on exploring every driveway, and they will be tiring themselves and reaching nowhere. They don’t have any sense of direction.

The simple man, the innocent man, simply goes straight.

And Jesus also says, “The way is straight and narrow.” Why narrow? It is so narrow that it cannot contain your ego. Only you can go – but you will have to leave your ego outside, outside the door. It is so narrow, two persons cannot walk together. You cannot take your child with you, you cannot take your aging mother with you, you cannot take your beloved with you.

Even a Buddha cannot take you with him. Buddhas only point the way – because two persons cannot walk on it, it is so narrow. One has to go alone: the flight of the alone to the alone. And so alone that not even your ego is with you, and so alone that not even your mind is with you, and so utterly alone that not even your self is with you.

You go into it as absolute silence, as a disappearing person, as an appearing presence.

It all seems so simple – I just can’t understand it. I keep grasping at it and it eludes me…

That’s why it eludes you. Not that it is elusive; that is not its nature. It appears to elude you, Krishna Prabhu, because you are trying to grasp it. You create the elusiveness in it by your grasping.

There are things which cannot be grasped. You cannot grasp the sky in your hand – or can you? You cannot grasp it in your fist; if you try you will miss. The more the fist becomes strong, closed, the less sky it will have in it. Open the fist and you have the whole sky available.

But mind is very much a miser, a hoarder. It always hoards; it immediately closes up on things. If you know something you immediately close up on it, you immediately reduce it to knowledge. That’s why knowing is constantly being reduced to knowledge – and the moment you reduce knowing to knowledge you have killed it. Then you have only a dead bird in your hands – it cannot fly into the sky; then you will never see it again on its wings.

Knowing is alive, a bird on the wing. Knowledge is a killed bird – it is in your hands, but you can only have the dead body. The soul has flown, and that was the real thing, the essential thing. You have missed the real and you are hoarding the unreal. But that’s our way, that’s what we do with everything. Knowing is immediately reduced to knowledge.

Leave your knowing as knowing! Existence consists not of nouns but of verbs. All nouns are false: no noun is true, can be true. There is no tree, there are only treeing phenomena. There is no river, only riverings.

When you say, “This is a man,” what are you saying? You are reducing a verb to a noun – because the man is growing! It is a growth, it is a process. It is not the same even for two seconds, it is a flow.

You say, “This is my friend” – but the time that you take in saying “This is my friend” may be enough to turn him into your enemy. You say ‘love’? There is no love, only loving. See life and you will be surprised: there is no life, only living.

Reduce all nouns to verbs and you will have a far clearer perspective of life. But no verb can be grasped. Nouns can be grasped; because of the miserly mind, man lives through nouns and has forgotten verbs.

And this miserliness penetrates into everything you do. Why grasp? You see a beautiful flower and immediately you are on the way to pluck it. Why? It was beautiful on the stem, alive, rooted in God. And you killed it. And are you thinking you are going to give it to your girlfriend? You are presenting death to your girlfriend! Or do you think you are going to put this flower at the feet of the god in the temple? That god is dead, this flower is dead, and between these two deaths you are dead. The flower was already offered to God on the bush – it was with God, you took it away from God to offer it to a stone. Why this immediate desire to pluck the flower?

I have heard: A friend was visiting George Bernard Shaw. He was very much against people plucking flowers from his garden – he had put notice-boards all over the garden: “Don’t Pluck Flowers.” The friend asked, “Don’t you love flowers? Don’t you like flowers being arranged on your table?”

Bernard Shaw said, “I love flowers, that’s why. I love children too, but I would not like anybody to cut off their heads and arrange those heads on my table.”

The idea of the ego is always to kill and destroy. Why? Because once a thing is destroyed you are in control. You can control only dead things. That’s why people worship dead gods in the temples, and they worship dead masters.

When Buddha is alive they will not worship him, they will worship Krishna. When Buddha is gone they will worship Buddha, they will not worship Christ. When Christ is gone they will worship Christ, they will not worship Kabir – and so on and so forth. Once a master is gone, great shrines are raised in his name and people start worshipping him. But while he is alive they stone him to death, they crucify him, they reject him, they deny him. Why? Why are you so much interested in death?

With death you become masters. With an alive master you cannot be in control, he will be in control. With an alive flower the flower is in control, not you; once plucked, you are in control. Then you can go on doing any stupid nonsense – you can call it ikebana and you can go on arranging flowers and you can go on learning flower arrangement, and that is all nonsense.

You have destroyed the flower, now you are feeling guilty. Hence ikebana – it is out of guilt. Now you are trying somehow to pretend that you are creating beauty again. There is deep guilt – you have destroyed beauty. It was perfectly beautiful on the bush, on the stem, in the wind, with the sun.

But the mind has a constant desire to grasp. Watch this miserliness.

I have heard:

A rich old miser became critically ill and the doctor prescribed a medicine with the following warning: “If after taking the medicine you perspire, it is a sign that you will recover. If you don’t perspire, only God can help.”

The miser took the medicine, but failed to perspire. It seemed that the rich man was about to die.

“Let us call on him,” said the mayor to the elders of the town. “Perhaps he will now repent his way and leave something for the church.”

They visited him, and found him in a repentant mood. They brought paper and ink and the mayor got ready to write. “The church,” he said, “is badly in need of repairs.”

“A hundred dollars for the church,” said the miser, and groaned.

“The widows and orphans fund is depleted,” said the mayor.

“A hundred… wait a minute, wait a minute!” the miser cried suddenly. “Cross it out! I’m perspiring! I’m perspiring!”

The mind is always clinging to things. It may be money, it may be meditation. It may be knowledge, it may be love. Watch that the mind always wants to grasp, hold things in hand.

Now, you cannot hold God in your hand. You can hold a flower, you can pluck a flower, but you cannot hold God in your hand. God is too big for that. God means totality. How can you hold this totality in your hand? One has to approach in a different way – one has to surrender oneself into God’s hands. Rather than grasping God, you have to pray to be grasped by him.

You cannot hold the ocean in your hands, but you can drop into the ocean and disappear. That’s the way to be it.

I keep grasping at it and it eludes me, a music that can almost be smelt, a taste that can almost be felt.

If you go on grasping that will remain so, and forever. You will always be just on the verge, and missing. It will be a music that can almost be smelt – but an almost smelt music has not been heard at all. And almost is almost; it is just a way of deluding oneself. Either you have it or you don’t have it – you can’t say, “I almost have it.” You are alive or you are not alive – you cannot say, “I am almost alive.” You cannot say, “I am almost in love.” Either this or that – it is either/or, and there is no middle way. You will always be on the threshold and missing.

Stop grasping at it; drop that very effort to grasp. Allow it to enter into you, be open to it, be vulnerable. Let him grasp you, let him possess you – don’t try to possess him.

Sometimes I am on the very threshold; other times it’s not in a million years , not for me.

And you will be on this see-saw. Again and again you will think you are on the threshold – just one step more and the bird will be in your hands. But that one step will remain impossible. And then of course you feel frustrated – how long can you remain in hope, just standing on the threshold? You become tired. When you become tired, it is a million years away from you… Again you start striving; again one day you will feel it is just on the threshold. This way it will remain – this is how seekers go on missing.

Seeking is not the way to find God. If you want to find him, stop seeking, and find. Stop seeking, and he is found immediately, instantly – not even a single moment is lost. Why? Because in the very effort of seeking him you are forgetting one thing, that he is already in you. The sought is in the seeker – but the seeker cannot see it, he is engrossed too much in his seeking. He is running after it, he is searching for it – his search keeps him so occupied, so engaged, that he cannot look inside and see who is there.

God is already in you, God is already the case. Just stop seeking. And that is the greatest message of Zen: Stop seeking. “Sitting silently, doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself.” Zen does not give you any seeking, it takes all seeking away from you. Seekers are the losers! because in their very search they go on looking at distant lands. They go on looking at stars – they don’t look within themselves.

And do you know? There is an ancient parable:

In the beginning when God created the world, he used to live on MG Road. But then he became tired, because people were continuously nagging him. In the middle of the night the phone would start ringing, and complaints….

“Why have you not done this?” and “Why have you done this, and what is the reason for it?” Naturally he got tired.

He asked his counsellors, “Help me. I would like to go somewhere and hide from people.” He confessed, “In creating man I have committed my greatest mistake.” Do you know? since then he has not created anything else; he is still repenting. That was his last – he became so afraid of man that he stopped being a creator.

They suggested, “You can go to the Himalayas, nobody will come there.” And he said, “You don’t know, within just a few seconds”… and millions of light years are just a few seconds for God – a different time scale. For one who lives in eternity, millions of light years are just moments. He said, “Within moments, you don’t know, a man will be there – Hillary. And Tenzing will be there, and they will reach Everest and find me. And once they have found me then the whole MG Road – then people will start moving there. That won’t help.”

Somebody suggested, “Then why don’t you go to the moon?” He said, “Just a few seconds more, and people will reach there. They are going to reach everywhere!”

Then an old adviser came close to him and whispered something in his ear. And he was very happy and he said, “This is the right thing to do.” The man had whispered in his ear, “My suggestion is: why don’t you hide in man himself? There he will never go. He will go to the mountains, he will go to Everest, he will go to the moon and to Mars and he will go to the planets and stars – he will go everywhere. One thing he will never suspect is that you can be hiding within his own soul.”

God agreed. And since then he has been hiding in you. And you have been searching for him on Everest, on the moon, on the stars, in the scriptures, in the temples, in the mosques, in the churches… Go on searching and you will not find him.

A seeker never finds. Seeking is a sure way of missing. Then who finds him? One who relaxes, one who drops all seeking – just dives deep into one’s own being, sits there silently, starts moving towards the bottom, to the very ground of one’s own being. Sitting in your deepest core, you find him. There is no need to go anywhere.

If you are a seeker, and Krishna Prabhu seems to be a seeker…

Sometimes I am on the very threshold

Yes, it will happen again and again. Again and again you will think, “Now! This time I am going to make it, it is going to happen.” And it will never happen. Then again frustration and the dark night of the soul will follow. Many times you will see that you have almost made it, ninety-nine percent made it – but it will never be a hundred percent. And unless it is a hundred percent it is not at all. ‘Almost’ means nothing, ‘approximately’ means nothing. That one step is as far away as millions of light years, because it cannot be taken.

So after each euphoria, elation, ecstasy, after each feeling of “Now I have arrived,” there will be great depression. You will fall back into a dark hole. Again you will have to grope, again you will have to reach that threshold, and again you will fall.

This has been continuing for so many lives – you are not new here. You have been playing this game for millions of lives: coming closer, coming closer, coming closer, and you feel the ecstasy, now you are just there… and all is missed again, you are falling far away, far away, again disappearing. This wheel goes on moving.

You have to jump out of this wheel. He is not out, so you can never come close to him. If he was far away from you then there would be a possibility sometimes to come close, and there would be a possibility to cross the threshold and reach him and hold him. He is not out, he is your innermost core. He is the beat of your heart and the vitality of your breath and the redness of your blood. He is the pulsation of your being. How can you be just on the threshold?

You have to forget all these thresholds and you have to forget all these distances. And remember always: to be close is also to be distant. Closeness is a kind of distance; you are not yet it.

I teach you the way of non-seeking. I teach you to relax. I teach you to forget all about God and just be yourself.

And one day suddenly, like a great surprise, comes the benediction.

-Osho

From Take It Easy, Discourse #18

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Enjoying this Living Death – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Visitor: The will to live is strong. To drop this identification with the body is like dying in a sense. Is it possible to do it voluntarily?

Maharaj: What you call the body is this food, which is the fuel for the sustenance of your Consciousness. The mind is the product of the vital breath; when the vital breath flows the mind flows and creates the world. Language is an external impression that’s made on the child. The child absorbs the vital breath and then talks. Consciousness is the wish to ‘Be’. That Beingness wants to be perpetuated and does not want to be extinguished. Its quality is the will to live. Which is love itself. It loves to live. Because it wants to live and sustain itself, it creates the right conditions and goes into activity in the world.

V: Isn’t this detachment from the body-mind like a form of death?

M: Yes, it is a sort of death. (Maharaj sings a morning prayer.) “The greatest advantage I’ve got is out of the fact that I am enjoying this living death.” Most of the saints talk about this living death.

V: Can we reach a state like you, where we are willing to experience this death?

M: You don’t lose your Self. The whole process is to understand your mis-identification and come out of it. If you accept this then nothing can touch you. Knowing that you are not the body, watch the vital breath as a flow of the mind. You are here in the spark of “I Amness.” When you acknowledge the “I Amness” you become the spark. I am like space and do not have an identity – this is my “I Amness” from which all the talk is being produced.

Now you have heard me talk at length. Do you still feel it necessary to have all this play of dancing and jumping about in Rajneesh’s ashram to achieve Self-realization?

V: No

M: A common man who feels inclined towards spirituality will be full of concepts. Unless he is made to dance and jump about he will not understand the futility of the mind and its concepts. Only then will he come here to listen to these talks.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From Beyond Freedom, pp. 59-60

The Journey from non-being to No-Being

We must first come to the recognition that we live outside of our center. We live outside of our body. We know our body from the exterior. We know our senses by sensing objects. Without objects we have no knowledge of ourselves. By our contact with outside objects our body exists. If we had no contact we would have no knowledge of ourselves.

Somewhere along the way our center has been touched and we have become aware of its existence. It may just be a dim flame but we know deep down that it is there. We have the power to move into our center. It is only because of what interests us that we remain on the periphery.

We can move to the center by retracing our steps out. We have made and do make the journey out all day long. Our attention moves from our center out through the senses and chases dreams. Our mind is the sixth sense. By becoming aware of the outward movement of our energy and attention it comes to a halt. When the movement is seen in awareness, the movement ceases.

From where does the thought of “I” arise. What is it pointing to? Is it pointing to this body that people see from the outside? Does it point to this collection of memories, thoughts and dreams that are circulating and referred to as “mind?” Is it not pointing to somewhere deep inside?

Let’s make contact there. Let us feel what it is like to inhabit our bodies. We need not worry about reincarnation let us first learn to incarnate this body here and now. We can move our attention to our interiority. We can feel our bodies from the inside. We can sense ourselves behind the senses. We can find ourselves behind the mind.

It is from this interior position that we are able to allow the unconscious mind to let go of all of its content. By not getting involved but remaining a witness the mind lets go of all of its collectibles, all of its memories, dreams and fears. Without either rejecting or grasping, without judging, we remain a witness and stay rooted in our center, in our interiority, in our being.

It is in this center that the witness grows, that we create our soul. Up until this point we have had no soul. We have had no center. There was not anyone home. Now the fire is lit and we are tending the flame.

The next step will be to let go of this center but we cannot let go of what we do not have. We must first become crystallized. We must first come into Being before we can let go into No-being.

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

 

The Great Forgetting – Jean Klein

The whole problem of dying is based on the premise that we are born and that this born something or someone dies. So the first step is this question: Who or what is born and who or what dies?

The idea of being born is just that, an idea. It is second-hand information. It is what our mothers told us. If we ask ourselves, “Do I know that I am born?” and we look closely, we will see that, yes, a perception is born and dies, but we cannot say, “I am born.”

It is vital in all genuine exploration to become free from second-hand information, free from common sense. If we begin by questioning the questions, we will find that we are led to question the questioner. This is the beginning of self-inquiry.

When we let go of second-hand information, we are face to face with bare facts, precepts rather than concepts. When we leave aside day-dreaming, hypothesis and the taken- for- granted, we are left with the core of the problem, which I would say in this case is: Why speak of death before knowing what life is? Because if we don’t know what life is, how can we even begin to talk of death? So let us first talk about life.

The expressions of life appear and disappear in our awareness. We know what time is, we know what space is, we know what an experience is. How could we know these things if we did not, in some way, also know what timeless, spaceless, experienceless means? Can we know white without reference to black? Can we know dark without reference to light? We know impermanence because in some way we “know” permanence. This permanence is not an experience in time and space. It is not a condition. It does not belong to existence because existence is in time and space. It is essentially nothing, yet in some way we refer to this nothingness very often. It is the background from which we function. It has nothing to do with succession, with past and future. It is cause less and cannot be born.

When we discover this background, the problem of death becomes completely meaningless. When this timeless awareness from which we function unconsciously becomes aware— aware of itself—, then we know that what we are is timeless and spaceless. We know what life is, and it does not enter our mind to even think of death because we live knowingly in this timeless background, in the now, and succession is only an expression of this now.

The real question then is: how can I come to know life so that death is meaningless? I would say that we can never know, in an objective way, what life is. We can only be life, be the knowing. This knowing is an instantaneous apperception, free from space and time, in which there is not a knower and something known. It is the awakening of life in its fullness.

This awakening is our real birth. The phenomenal birth is only an accident and it remains an accident as long as our real nature, our real birth, is not explored. Once we are awake in life, we are profoundly aware that we are not a conceptual object. The object and the reflex to objectify oneself does not arise. It is a state of profound openness, a total absence of being anything, where there is simply life, “isness”. It is timeless and dimensionless, and cannot be objectified, that is, experienced. It is not born and what is not born cannot die. In this original non-state, the idea of death does not even occur.

The fear of dying comes from mis-taking oneself to be the body-mind. This mistake is a thought only. So really the fear of dying comes from the capacity to think. When there is no thought, there is no space and time. Space, time, coming, going, past, future, exist only in thought. They have no autonomous reality. All the fear created by society and religions around so-called dying is mind-fabrication. But it is only an object which can be afraid and you are not an object.

Dying on the biological level does not create fear. Fear is in the mind, not in the body. The fear of dying is only anticipation that “I” will disappear. The idea of a final disappearing destroys all security for the “I” image. But this “You,” “me”, this self-image is also a thought construct built up from memory. The powerful instinct for what is wrongly called self-preservation (the term shows how we have identified with the body-mind) is merely biological survival. Life is desireless but the body-mind is an expression of life, so one could say that the desire to stay alive comes from life itself. As an expression of life, the body accomplishes the course inherent to its nature.

The real meaning of death and dying is completely different from that usually understood by these words. When one knows the continuum that is life, all perceptions (of which our body is but one) are felt as appearing and disappearing in awareness or consciousness. This appearing and disappearing is the real meaning of birth and death. We are born every moment a thought or sensation appears and we die every moment the concept or perception disappears. We die every evening before going to sleep, and we are born every morning. So we need to become acquainted with this dying, this letting-go of the objective world.

We should ask ourselves in our most profound intimacy:
What is there before the thought appears? What is there when the thought disappears? What is there when the body goes to sleep and before it wakes up? When we observe closely, we will find, not the absence we took for granted, but a presence, a presence that cannot, however, be objectified. It is too early, it is our nearest.

If we really know how to go to sleep we will know how to die. We will be already familiar with dying, already familiar with the dissolution of the born. To do this, one must, before going to sleep, lay aside all qualifications. We must become as naked psychologically as we are physically. This means that we put aside all opinions, thought, worries, ideas before we go to sleep. It is an offering of all that we are not. In letting go there is an expansion of mind and body and in all expansion is the fore-feeling of reality, our globality. This should be done each time we sleep until we find that, before the body wakes up in the morning, we are. Presence is already there.

It is better not to postpone this letting-go of the personal entity and all its qualifications until the actual moment of death. Otherwise, it is necessary to have someone who knows life to assist in the final letting go. This is supposedly the priest’s role in the last rites. The function of the priest, shaman, lama or other, is to help one go knowingly through the threshold from the object world to the objectless world. It is to help the dying one forget all the residues of the person and so be open to a new dimension of life. It is an offering back to life of all the expressions that life gave us temporarily. Then what remains is original consciousness.

But whoever is assisting someone over the threshold must be qualified to do so. This simply means that the personality must be absent. In assisting someone to die, one must die with them. The moment you die with the dying one, he or she is stimulated by your dying, by your giving up of all qualifications. Timeless presence, love, has the power to free the dying person from the residues of identification with the phenomenal world. There is no place at all in this assistance for feelings of sadness, pity, fear, nor is there room for talking. All this keeps the dying one grasping onto the objective world.

Ideally, the best way to die is in silence. But when one is steeped in the rituals of a religious tradition, these may help one, in the absence of a qualified priest or real friend, to let go of specific attachments. But the rites must be impersonal, give no hold to the person as, for example, certain sounds draw one beyond the world of sentiment and emotivity.

The way to come to this letting-go is, as I said, the same as before going to sleep. Everything that appears in the moment is seen as a fact. One takes note of the fact without analysis or interference and feels the welcoming in this unconditional taking-note. When we face, in this way, everything that appears, then the openness, attention, in which the perception was welcomed, comes back to us. We find ourselves in the light. This is a natural giving up without intention. So, whether we are dying (and we must!) or assisting someone to die, it is the same procedure. We take a knowing stand in consciousness.

It is crucial to come to know death while still alive. The quality of life is completely different for one who knows letting-go in the waking state. This is the real meaning of the word death. It is the real significance of the word sacrifice. As Meister Eckhart said, “God is when I am not.” We are only born after the death of all that is personal. Only when we are awake in nothingness can we speak of fullness.

But there is another reason for not leaving the real dying until the last moment. There is the real danger that one will remain stuck to the expressions of life and, at the moment of death, emphasize the object, so
that one is taken passively to what is beyond. Passively here means “not knowingly.”

The question may arise: What difference does it make how I die? Consciousness is not affected by birth or death. There is not one moment without consciousness, so after the death of the body, consciousness is
always there. But how one dies does make a difference, because after the death of the person, although consciousness is, it can be awake—conscious of itself—or not. Generally, after the death of the body-mind, this being consciousness is passive, it is not consciousness conscious of itself. What is of utmost importance, therefore, is to be knowingly consciousness and this can only come about before the body dies. Since most of us only know ourselves as objects and do not know ourselves as consciousness, few,
after death, dissolve in consciousness which knows itself.

Consciousness which knows itself is fulfilled and does not look for further expression. As the residues of the body disperse in global energy, consciousness dissolves in its own light. There is nobody to go
anywhere and nowhere to go.

All ideas about different states and stages of the dissolution of energy are, therefore, meaningless to the awakened one and a hindrance to the one who is in the process of letting go of all qualifications and attachments. Such concepts cause confusion. They are mind-constructs since there is no one left to know such things. As long as there are such ideas, there is still a somebody to know. And as long as there is still a somebody to know, there has been no real dying.

It is possible that in one who is still fixed on the objective world, identified with the personality, children, spouse, money, vocation and so on, it may be difficult for the energy to dissolve. It remains concentrated. That is why there are rituals of various kinds which help dissolve the energy and aid the
giving up of all hold on the phenomenal plane. And it is why sometimes, though the body is not visible, there may still be residues of the personality. One should accept these and take several sessions to systematically empty oneself of all ideas, memories and feelings for the dead person. It is a process of elimination. Then one sees that there is much more to the relationship than one could remember. Memory belongs to our minds, but the real relationship is not limited by memory.

The problem of physical suffering during dying needs to be addressed because the question naturally arises as to how one can come to a real letting-go in the face of acute pain. The first thing to clarify is that
pain must be seen as an object like any other, from the perspective that what we are fundamentally is not an object and cannot be afraid or feel pain. So we must be absolutely clear about our profound non-involvement
in the events surrounding the sensation we call pain or illness.

We cannot say, “I am afraid, I am in pain, I am dying,” because the “I” is unchanged and unchanging. It is the body which feels sensation and the mind that creates fear. Once there is clarity about what one is not
—the body and its sensations, the mind and its thoughts—the suffering is dramatically reduced. Then the sensation, the illness can be faced squarely without psychological interference.

Pain, like every object, is a pointer to our real nature. It must be seen objectively, in front of us as if the body belonged to another. In objectifying it, we are extricated from it, no longer drowned in the illness,
the sensation. And in the psychological space thus created, there will be a glimpse of real freedom from the burden. It is not enough to vaguely note this brief feeling of detachment. We must become truly interested in this feeling of freedom, that is, make it, in turn, an object of attention, sustain and live in this free feeling. With it comes the conviction that one is neither the healthy nor the unhealthy body.

Illness and death are an opportunity, par excellence, to clarify the fundamental error of our existence: that we have identified awareness, consciousness, life, with its object and it is through this mis-take that
all conflict and suffering arise. Illness then is a gift, a gift to help us realize more quickly what we are not. It gives us an opportunity that should not be refused: to be what we are.

Our living in wholeness stimulates our surroundings, our family and friends. I would say it stimulates the life in them. Knowingly or unknowingly, they share life with us and, at death, neither we nor they will
feel isolated. This feeling of life will remain and continue to stimulate them because life is eternal and in it all are oneness.

But generally family and friends do not have an honest relation with the dying one. They continue, in some way, to hold onto, to try to save, the person. They do not let him or her meet the light. This is because relationships in the family are of object to object, person to person. So it is better not to have the family present at the moment of dying if they cannot perform the last rites, be priests, so to speak, that is, die with you.

It is important that the dying one offer up the expressions of life consciously. However, in certain circumstances, clarity may be impaired by the intensity of the pain or the use of medications to relieve it. At the very moment of the final release, nature usually takes itself in charge and pain does not cloud awareness, so when assisting a dying person, a doctor has a great responsibility. First and foremost, he or she must represent health, life and, like the priest, prepare the patient for the final release. The doctor
must also die with the patient. All his talent is needed to first help the patient distance himself from identifying with the object, and then to see precisely how much medication is necessary to make this distancing possible. The patient must retain a profound awareness of what is happening.

Either prolonging life artificially or taking one’s life prematurely is a deep lack of respect for all life has given us. It is a lack of gratitude, a profound ignorance. Life gives us the opportunity for a real birth and all interfering is a refusal of this opportunity. When one awakes in the real “I,” the destiny of all that we are not no longer has any meaning. Pain, an accident, death, is on the film, but we are the light which illuminates the film. So, thinking about the fate of the body and trying to interfere is a mark of ego-centredness and a lack of love.

Only an ego can have concepts and intentions, and as long as we live as the contracted ego we will have a false view of what life is. What we generally call “my life” belongs only to the mind and thus appears to take place in succession. The illusion of life as time gives us the impression that we can
interfere. This wrong seeing is sometimes corrected before dying when there is a panoramic memory of one’s whole life. This is because there is a sudden letting-go of the mind’s control, of the channelling of one’s being into strict succession in time and space. In this sudden letting-go we are ejected into the timeless and facts appear to us without all the intervening thoughts that generally qualify every fact. This panorama usually occurs at a crisis when there is a very dramatic letting-go. In a natural death one is
gently dissolved in being.

Real death is, then, the death of conceptual living. Life is presence, always in the here and now, the moment itself. In the absence of the “person” there is simply living, non-volitional acting. Non-volitional living is living in happiness. It is only in non-intentional living that there is acceptance, and it is only in accepting, in welcoming, that all the elements of a situation can be clearly seen. When we live in accepting, illness has no hold, no substance, and we have the greatest possibility of getting better.

All the changes the body undergoes are hypothetical and transitional, but there is nothing hypothetical about what we really are—consciousness. It is prior to body. It is prior to thought. It is between two concepts or percepts. It is silent awareness, nameless, without attribute. It is the total giving up of all qualifications, freedom from all identifications. It is the eternal presence we take for absence. When one lives knowingly in this presence, there is no death.

Then when you see the moment to go has come, and you have learned how, I would even say learned the technique of giving up, it is extremely beautiful. Dying then is thanking, a thanking for having had the opportunity to know life, to be the knowing, to be thanking itself. In the great forgetting of all that we are not, dying is the total release into openness, openness to the light.

-Jean Klein

Excerpt from The Book of Listening, pp. 67-75

On Meditation – Jean Klein

You will feel in your meditation that there is still a residue of the idea of finding something, but we have very often repeated that the seeker is the sought. What you are fundamentally you can never objectify because you are it. An object is a fraction; it appears in your wholeness, in your globality. When you really come to the understanding that the seeker is the sought, there is a natural giving up of all energy to find something. It is an instantaneous apperception. I don’t say perception, because in perception there is a perceiver and something perceived. An apperception is an instantaneous perceiving of what is perceiving. So it can never be in a relation of subject- object, just as an eye can never see its own seeing. That is why I said you will first find yourself behind yourself. I say behind yourself because you know yourself mainly in subject- object relationship, in your factory, in your forehead. The energy which strikes the factory in a certain moment and makes the factory work is localized behind, so stay with the energy behind and you will find a glimpse of non- subject- object relationship. This glimpse is seen with your whole intelligence which is there in the absence of the person, the thinker, the doer. Understanding, being the understanding, is enlightenment.

( Silence)

You can never perceive your globality, your wholeness. If there is a perceived, it is not your wholeness. Your globality, your wholeness, is it’s own perceiving. So it is clear your globality can never be perceived, it can never be an object. It is non- dual. It must be clear for the mind that what you are looking for is the looking itself. When you really see this with your intelligence and love and understanding, there is a natural giving up of all projected energy. All energy directed towards finding something comes back to its homeground. This moment of equilibrium, you must live. It is purposeless because it is what you fundamentally are.

In this non- dual non- state you cannot speak of relation. You must visualize this relationless state, you must love it, you must approach it with your whole intelligence. This is the only thing that you should remember; everything else that has been said can be put in the waste basket!

– Jean Klein

From Transmission of the Flame, pp. 65-66

Meditation is the Bridge Between Yoga and Advaita

Hakuin begins his Song of Meditation, “All beings are from the very beginning Buddhas.” Nisargadatta Maharaj tells us to take as a hypothesis that we are the “absolute”, because it is not yet our experience. Osho begins his discourse series on The Heart Sutra with these words, “I salute the Buddha within you. You may not be aware of it, you may not have ever dreamed about it — that you are a Buddha, that nobody can be anything else, that buddhahood is the very essential core of your being, that it is not something to happen in the future, that it has happened already.” But he goes on to say “But you are fast asleep, you don’t know who you are. Not that you have to become a Buddha, but only that you have to recognize it, that you have to return to your own source, that you have to look within yourself.”

This paradox that we are already Buddhas but that we do not recognize it is at the heart of much confusion today. It is here where those who are professing a neo-advaitan philosophy clash with the gradualists, with the yogis. But there should be no conflict. It is just that each side is only seeing half of the situation. We Are already enlightened but it is Not yet our experience. We have not Realized our enlightenment and until we do Realize our natural state then the work continues.

It is important for the neo-advaitans to understand that just intellectually knowing that we are already enlightened does not a Buddha make. And in order to uncover that sleeping Buddha there is a transformation yet to take place. And it is also important for the yogis to understand that we are from the very beginning Buddhas and that our work is not to make us into something that we are not already, but to uncover our already existing true nature. Hence it is not a question of becoming but of uncovering.

So what is the bridge between this gulf of understanding?  What is needed for the transformation from the potential to the realized to take place? When Nisargadatta Maharaj was asked what he did before his enlightenment was realized, he said that he accepted the words of his guru “that he was the absolute” and he meditated on the “I am” for three years.  J. Krishnamurti has said that “seeing is transformation.” He says that it is the observation of the mind itself that is the transformation. And Osho’s entire life work was to illuminate ‘meditation’ as the bridge between our current state of living in the mind and the awakened life of no-mind.

So if my enlightenment is only in words, only in concepts and not in my daily life then perhaps it would be best to continue on the journey back to Self and that journey must pass through no-mind.  On the other hand if I see enlightenment as a goal in the future of becoming then too it would be good to come home to Being and out of the goals in the world of mind.

Meditation is the way in.

-purushottama

More from the collected and uncollected posts of Prem Purushottama.

Don’t Get Stuck in the Outer – Osho

You ask: “Do I rightly understand you that even if you and your beloved can transmute your sexual energy into spirituality, that this relationship will not be satisfying either?”

Yes, it will not be satisfying either. In fact, it will create in you the greatest discontent that you have ever felt, because it will make you aware how much is possible. It will make you aware of the tremendous moment of that orgasmic unity, of that spiritual transmutation. But it will remain only momentary. With the outer, nothing can become permanent. And once the moment is gone, the higher was the peak, the lower will be the valley, and you will fall deep down in darkness. But it will make you aware of one thing, that if male and female energy can have a meeting which is non-temporal, then there will be eternal contentment.

How to manage it? Out of this question the whole science of Tantra was born. How to do it? It can be done. It cannot be done with the beloved outside — it cannot be done without the beloved outside, remember that too, because the first glimpse comes from the beloved outside. It is only a glimpse, but with it comes a new vision that, deep down inside yourself, there are both the energies present — male and female.

Man is bisexual — every man, every woman. Half of you is male and half of you is female. If you are a woman, then the female part is on top and the male part is hidden behind, and vice versa. Once you have become aware of this, then a new work starts: your inner woman and inner man can have a meeting and that meeting can remain absolute. There is no need to come back from the peak. But the first vision comes from the outer.

Hence Tantra uses the outer woman, the outer man, as part of inner work. Once you have become aware that you have a woman inside you or a man inside you, then the work takes on a totally new quality, it starts moving in a new dimension. Now the meeting has to happen inside; you have to allow your inner woman and man to meet.

In India we have had that concept for at least five thousand years. You may not have seen the statues of Shiva as Ardhanarishwar: half man, half woman. That is the picture of everybody’s being, inner being. You must have seen shivalinga: it symbolizes the male. But shivalinga is placed in the female sexual organ, it is not alone; they are together. That again represents the inner duality, the inner polarity, but the polarity can meet and merge.

With the outer, the merger will be only for the moment. Then great frustration and great misery… and the higher the moment, the deeper will be the darkness that follows it. But the meeting can happen inwardly.

First learn that the peak is possible, and then feel grateful to the woman who has given you the peak, feel grateful to the man. Tantra worships the woman as the goddess and the man as the god. Any woman who helps you to attain to this vision is a goddess, any man that helps you to attain to this vision is a god. Love becomes sacred because it gives you the first glimpses of the divine. Then the inner work starts. You have worked without, now you have to work within.

Tantra has two phases, two stages: the outer, the extrovert Tantra, and the inner, the introvert Tantra. The beginning has to be always from the without; it is because we are there, so we have to start from the place we are and then move inwards. When the inner man and woman have met and melted, and when you are no more divided inside, you have become one — integrated, crystallized, one — you have attained. This is enlightenment.

But right now everything is upside down. You have completely forgotten the inner; the outer has become your whole life. This is as if somebody is standing on his head and has forgotten completely how to stand on his feet again. Now, standing on your head your life will be really difficult. If you want to go somewhere, if you want to do something, everything will become very, very difficult, almost impossible.

And that is what is happening. People are upside down, because the without has become more important than the within. The without has become all-important, and the within is completely ignored, forgotten.

The real treasure is within. From the without, you can get only hints of the inner treasure; from the without, only arrows pointing to the innermost core of your being; from without, only milestones. But don’t cling to a milestone, and don’t think that this is the goal and you have arrived.

Remember that the ordinary man is living a very abnormal life, because his values are upside down. Money is more important than meditation, logic is more important than love, mind is more important than heart. Power over others is more important than power over one’s own being. Mundane things are more important than finding some treasures which death cannot destroy.

Larry went to an Italian restaurant, and just as the waiter was about to serve, he tripped and dumped a whole bowl of minestrone right in Larry’s lap.

Was Larry angry? Was he even slightly ruffled?

He simply looked up with great dignity and disdain and said, “Waiter, I believe there is a soup in my fly.”

Things are completely upside down. The fly is not in the soup, the soup is in the fly. And that’s why there is so much misery. Everybody seems to be simply running after shadows, knowing perfectly well that there is nothing to happen, that nothing is ever going to happen, but what else to do? Standing by the side of the road when everybody is rushing looks silly. It is better to go on rushing with the crowd.

Let this sink deep in your heart: that unless the within becomes more important than the without, you are living a very abnormal life. The normal person is one whose within is the source of everything that he is doing. The without is only a means, the within is the end.

The love affair that you have with a woman or a man is a means to the end. The end is having a love affair with your inner woman or inner man. The outer has to be used as a learning situation; it is a great opportunity.

I am not against the outer love affair, I am all for it, because without it you will never become aware of the inner. But remember don’t get stuck in the outer.

-Osho

From The Book of Wisdom, Chapter 26, Q3

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

You may also like to read a related post, Old Age is the Last Opportunity.

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.