The Doctrine of Sameness – Osho

I consider the doctrine of sameness as the absolute ground of reality.

Buddha says: Things are not different, they are the same; they only look different, they only appear different. The tree there, and the rock, and you, and the animals and the stars, are not different. At the innermost core, reality is one and the same. Substance is one and the same, there are no distinctions. Distinctions are dreams.

Physicists call that one reality ‘electricity’ or ‘energy’. Materialists, Marxists, communists, call that reality ‘matter’. idealists call that reality ‘mind’. Yogis call that reality ‘consciousness’. Buddha calls that reality ‘nothingness’.

Now, this word ‘nothingness’ is very important. ‘Nothingness’ means: no-thing-ness. No thing is. All things are just forms, dreams. We are different only in form, and forms are just dreams. It is as if out of gold you can make many sorts of ornaments. Those forms, different ornaments, are just dreams, because the gold is the reality. Behind all the forms is gold; behind all the forms is one reality. Buddha says: That sameness is the absolute ground of reality.

If you go in, you leave the form. First you leave the form of the body. Have you observed it? — people who are close to me and meditating, come again and again to that insight — and these sayings can be understood only if you have certain insights of your own. Otherwise, it is impossible to understand them. When you are meditating, many times it happens that you forget your form, your body; you don’t know who you are and how you look. You forget your face. In fact, in deep meditation, you completely become oblivious of your body. When you close your eyes, you are formless. Your mind also has form. You are a Hindu, Christian, Mohammedan, Jain, Buddhist; then you have a form of the mind: you think in terms of being a Christian, you have a certain identity, dogma defines you. But if you go still deeper, mind also disappears. Then you are no more a Christian.

At the deepest core you are neither a body nor a mind. Then what are you?

Buddha says: Nothingness, no-thing-ness: now you are not a thing, now you are universal. Now you are not confined in any idea, you are infinite. You are that which has always been there and will remain always. You are eternal. Then there is no birth to you and there is no death to you. You are like the sky: clouds come and go and the sky remains untouched by them. Millions of times clouds have come and gone, and the sky has remained pure and virgin. It has not been corrupted or polluted by them. You are the inner sky. And when all forms disappear, the inner and the outer also disappear — because they are also forms. Then there is nothing inner and nothing outer… oneness, sameness.

Buddha does not call it ‘God’ — because to call it ‘God’ you may start thinking again of form. But that’s exactly what the word ‘God’ means, or should mean — God is that sameness that exists in all. ‘God’ means existence, isness. The tree is, the rock is, the cloud is, the man is — forms are different but isness is the same. As far as isness is concerned, a tree and you are the same. The form is different: the tree is green and you are not green, and the tree has flowers and you don’t have any flowers, and the bird can fly into the sky and you cannot fly; but these are differences of the form. But isness is the same. To look into that isness is what meditation is all about. And to come to realize that isness is nirvana.

This is the last message, the last sutra of this Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters. This is the forty-second sutra, Buddha’s ultimate message. I don’t think you will be able to understand it right now. Intellectually of course you can understand it, but the real understanding has to be existential. That will come only if you follow the path of inner discipline to the point where you can drop it. If you follow the path of meditation to the point where even meditation becomes a hindrance, and you drop it…. It is as if you move on a staircase from one floor to another, but when you have reached to the next floor you get off the staircase. You don’t cling to it. All methods are staircases — or in Buddha’s terminology: All methods are like boats; you cross the river, then you leave the boat, and you forget all about it.

Methods have to be used and then dropped. It has to be remembered from the very beginning — because there is every possibility that you may become too attached to the method. You become so attached that the method becomes a clinging: you start possessing it and it starts possessing you. Then the medicine has become a disease.

It happens: you are ill, you take medicine. Then illness goes but you cannot leave the medicine now. You have become accustomed to the medicine, to the drug. When the illness has gone, throw the medicine immediately.

Meditation is a medicine — because you are ill you have to use it. When wellness has come, then drop it immediately.

All devices have to be dropped one day, and all scriptures have to be dropped one day. This is the greatness of Buddha: that he says that even his teachings, his methods, have to be dropped.

When Zarathustra was saying goodbye to his disciples, the last thing that he said to his disciples has to be remembered. Keep it in your heart. This is what Buddha is saying in the last sutra. Said Zarathustra to his disciples, “Now I am going and this is my last message: Beware of Zarathustra!” And he left.

Beware of Zarathustra? Beware of the Master… because you can fall in love too much. You can become too much attached. The real Master is one who helps you to fall in love, and then helps you to stand on your own so that you can leave the Master. A real Master never becomes a crutch for you. Never! Before he sees that you are clinging too much, he starts getting out of your life — because the ultimate goal is freedom —freedom from all crutches, freedom from all props, freedom from every discipline, doctrine, method. Freedom from all: that’s the goal.

Always remember that goal. Remembering that goal will help you not to go astray.

A small story and I will finish this discourse. It is a Hassid story: The Three Prisoners.

After the death of Rabbi Uri of Istalisk, who was called ‘The Seraph’, one of the Hassidim came to Rabbi Birnham and wanted to become his disciple. Rabbi Birnham asked, “What was your teacher’s way of instructing you to serve?”

“His way,” said the Hassid, “was to plant humanity in our hearts. That was why everyone who came to him, whether he was a nobleman or a scholar, had first to fill two large buckets at the well in the marketplace, or to do some other hard and menial labor in the street.”

Rabbi Birnham said, “I shall tell you a story….

“Three men, two of them wise and one foolish, were once put in a dungeon black as night, and every day food and eating utensils were lowered down to them. The darkness and the misery of the imprisonment had deprived the fool of his last bit of sense, so that he no longer knew how to use the utensils; he could not see. One of his companions showed him, but the next day he had forgotten again. And so his wise companion had to teach him continually. But the third prisoner sat in silence and did not bother about the fool.

“Once the second prisoner asked him why he never offered his help. ‘Look,’ said the other, ‘you take infinite trouble and yet you never reach the goal because every day destroys your work. But I, sitting here, am not just sitting. I am trying to bore a hole in the wall so that the light and sun can enter, and all three of us can see everything.’ ”

Now, there are two types of Masters in the world. The first type I call the teacher. He teaches you things: disciplines. virtue, character, but next day you forget. Again he teaches you the same, and next day you forget again. The second I call the Master. He does not teach you virtue, he does not teach you character, he does not teach you ordinary humility, humbleness, poverty — no. He bores a hole into your being so that light can penetrate, and you can see yourself. He tries to make you aware, full of light. That’s the real Master. In the East we call him Satguru, the right Master. Teachers are many; Satgurus are very few and far between. Remember this distinction.

If you are with a teacher you may become a good man, but you cannot become enlightened. And your goodness will always remain on a volcano; it can erupt any moment. If you are with a teacher he will teach you outward things — how to discipline yourself, how to be good, how to be a servant, how to serve people, how to be non-violent, how to be loving, kind, compassionate. He will teach you a thousand and one things.

If you come to a Master, he teaches only one thing — that is: how to become aware, how to bore a hole into your being so light can enter into your imprisonment. And in that light, everything starts happening of its own accord.

And when things happen of their own accord, they have a beauty to them. Then there is great benediction.

-Osho

From The Buddha Said…, Chapter 22

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Also published as The Discipline of Transcendence V. 4, Chapter Eleven

 

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

 

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

 

The Nature of Darkness – Osho

Let us first meditate a little on the nature of darkness. It is one of the most mysterious things in existence – and your life is so much involved in it, you cannot afford not to think about it. One has to come to terms with the nature of darkness because the same is the nature of sleep, and the same is the nature of death, and the same is the nature of all ignorance.

The first thing, if you meditate on darkness, that will be revealed to you is that darkness does not exist, it is there without any existence. It is more mysterious than light. It has no existence at all; rather, on the contrary, it is just an absence of light. There is no darkness anywhere, you cannot find it, it is simply an absence. It is not in itself, it has no “in-itself” existence, it is simply that the light is not present.

If the light is there, there is no darkness; if the light is not there, there is darkness – absence of light, it is not a presence of something. That’s why light comes and goes – darkness remains. It is not, but it persists. Light you can create, light you can destroy, but you cannot create darkness and you cannot destroy darkness: it is always there without being there at all.

The second thing, if you contemplate, you will come to realize that because it is nonexistential you cannot do anything to it. And if you try to do anything to it, you will be defeated. Darkness cannot be defeated, how can you defeat something which is not? And when you will be defeated you will think: “It is very powerful because it has defeated me.” This is absurd! Darkness has no power; how can a thing have power which is not? You are not defeated by the darkness and its power, you are defeated by your foolishness. In the first place you started fighting – that was foolish. How can you fight with something which is not? And remember, you have been fighting with many things which are not, they are just like darkness.

The whole morality is a fight against darkness, that’s why it is stupid. The whole morality, unconditionally, is a fight with darkness, fighting with something which in itself is not. Hate is not real, it is just the absence of love. Anger is not real, it is just the absence of compassion. Ignorance is not real, it is just the absence of buddhahood, of enlightenment. Sex is not real, it is just the absence of brahmacharya. And the whole morality goes on fighting with that which is not. A moralist can never succeed, it is impossible. Finally he has to be defeated – his whole effort is nonsense.

And there is the distinction between religion and morality: morality tries to fight with darkness, and religion tries to awaken the light which is hidden within. It doesn’t bother about the darkness, it simply tries to find the light within. Once the light is there, darkness disappears; once the light is there, you need not do anything to darkness – simply it is not there.

This is the second thing, that nothing can be done to darkness directly. If you want to do something with darkness, you will have to do something with light, not with darkness. Put the light off and the darkness is there; put the light on and the darkness is not there – but you cannot put on and put off darkness; you cannot bring it from somewhere, you cannot push it out. If you want to do something with darkness, you have to go via light, you have to go in an indirect way.

Never fight things which are not. The mind is tempted to fight, but that temptation is dangerous: you will waste your energy and life and dissipate yourself. Don’t be tempted by the mind; simply see whether a thing has a real existence or is just an absence. If it is an absence then don’t fight with it, then seek the thing of which it is the absence – then you will be on the right track.

The third thing about darkness is that it is involved deeply with your existence in many millions of ways.

Whenever you are angry, your light within has disappeared. In fact, you are angry because the light has disappeared, the darkness has entered. You can be angry only when you are unconscious, you cannot be angry consciously. Try it: either you will lose consciousness and anger will be there, or you will remain conscious and anger will not arise – you cannot be angry consciously. What does it mean? It means the nature of consciousness is just like light, and the nature of anger is just like darkness – you cannot have both. If the light is there, you cannot have darkness; if you are conscious, you cannot be angry.

People come to me continuously and ask how not to be angry. They are asking a wrong question – and when you ask a wrong question it is very difficult to get the right answer. First ask the right question. Don’t ask how to dispel darkness, don’t ask how to dispel worries, anguish, anxiety; just analyze your mind and see why they are there in the first place. They are there because you are not conscious enough. So ask the right question: How to be more and more conscious? If you ask how not to be angry, you will become the victim of some moralist. And if you ask the question how to be more conscious, so anger cannot exist, so lust cannot exist, so greed cannot exist, then you are on the right track, then you will become a religious seeker.

Morality is a false coin; it deceives people. It is not religion at all. Religion has nothing to do with morality, because religion has nothing to do with darkness. It is a positive effort to awaken you. It does not bother about your character; what you do is meaningless and you cannot change it. You may decorate it, you cannot change it. You may color it in beautiful ways, you may paint it, but you cannot change it.

There is only one transformation, only one revolution, and that revolution comes not by being concerned with your character, by your acts, by your doings, but being concerned with your BEING. Being is a positive phenomenon; once the being is alert, awake, conscious, suddenly darkness disappears – your being is of the nature of light.

And the fourth thing… then we can enter the sutra. Sleep is just like darkness. It is not accidental that you find it difficult to sleep when there is light; it is simply natural. Darkness has an affinity with sleep; that’s why it is easy to sleep in the night. Darkness all around creates the milieu in which you can fall into sleep very easily.

What happens in sleep? You lose consciousness by and by. There comes an interval period in which you dream. Dreaming means half-conscious, half-unconscious; just on the midway, moving towards total unconsciousness; from your waking state you are moving to total unconsciousness. On the path dreams exist. Dreams mean only that you are half-awake and half-asleep. That’s why, if you dream continuously the whole night, you feel tired in the morning. And if you are not allowed to dream, then too you will feel tired – because dreams exist for a certain reason.

In your waking hours you accumulate many things: thoughts, feelings, incomplete matters hang in the mind. You looked at a beautiful woman on the road and suddenly a desire arose in you. But you are a man of character, manners, civilized; you simply push it down, you will not look at it, you will go on with your work – an incomplete desire hangs around you. It has to be completed, otherwise you will not be able to fall into deep sleep. It will pull you back again and again. It will say, “Come up! That woman was really beautiful, her body had a charm. And you are a fool, what are you doing here? Seek her – you have missed an opportunity!”

The desire hanging there will not allow you to fall into sleep. The mind creates a dream: again you are on the road, the beautiful woman passes, but this time you are alone without any civilization around you. No manners are needed, no etiquette is needed. You are like an animal, you are natural, no morality. This is your own private world; no police constable can enter into it, no judge can judge it. You are simply alone; there will not be even a witness. Now you can play with your lust: you will have a sexual dream. That dream completes the hanging desire, then you fall into sleep. But if you continuously dream, then too you will feel tired.

If your dreams are not allowed…. In the United States they have many sleep labs, and they have come to discover this phenomenon: if a person is not allowed to dream, within three weeks he will go mad. If he is awakened again and again whenever he starts dreaming…. There are visible signs. When a person starts dreaming you can awake him. Particularly his eyelids start fluttering fast; that means he is seeing a dream. When he is not seeing a dream his eyelids rest, because when he starts seeing a dream his eyes are functioning. Awake him and do this the whole night – whenever he starts dreaming, awake him. Within three weeks he will go mad.

Sleep doesn’t seem to be so necessary. If you awake a person… whenever he is not dreaming awake him: he will feel tired, but he will not go mad. What does it mean? It means dreams are a necessity for you. You are such… you are so illusory, your whole existence is such an illusion – what Hindus have called maya – that dreams are needed. Without dreams you cannot exist: dreams are your food, dreams are your strength, without dreams you will go mad. Dreams are a release of madness, and once the release happens you fall into sleep.

From waking you fall into dreaming and from dreaming you fall into sleep. Every night a normal person has eight cycles of dreaming, and just a few moments between two dreaming cycles he has of deep sleep. In that deep sleep all consciousness disappears, it is absolutely dark. But still you are near the boundary, any emergency will awake you. The house is on fire, you will have to run back to your waking consciousness; or you are a mother and the child starts crying, you will run, rush, towards waking – so you remain on the boundary. You fall into deep darkness, but remain on the boundary.

In death you fall exactly to the center. Death and sleep are similar, the quality is the same. In sleep, every day, you fall into darkness, complete darkness; that means you completely become unconscious, the very opposite pole of buddhahood. A buddha is totally awakened, and every night you fall to total unawakened state, absolute darkness.

In the Gita, Krishna says to Arjuna that when everybody is fast asleep, the yogi is still awake. That doesn’t mean that he never sleeps: he sleeps, but only his body sleeps, his body rests. He has no dreams because he has no desires, so he cannot have incomplete desires. And he has no sleep like you – even in deepest rest his consciousness is clear, his consciousness burns like a flame.

Every night you fall into sleep, you fall into deep unconsciousness, a coma. In death you fall in a deeper coma. These are all like darkness. That’s why you are afraid of darkness, because it is deathlike. And there are people who are afraid of sleep also, because sleep is also deathlike.

I have come across many people who cannot sleep, and they want to sleep. And when I tried to understand their mind, I came to realize that they are basically afraid. They say they would like to sleep because they feel tired, but deep down they are afraid of sleep – and that is creating the whole trouble. Ninety percent insomnia is fear of sleep; you are afraid. You are afraid of darkness; you will be afraid of sleep also, and the fear comes from the fear of death.

Once you understand that these are all darknesses and your inner nature is that of light, things start changing. Then there is no sleep for you, only rest; then there is no death for you, only a change of clothes, of bodies, only a change of garments. But that can happen if you realize the inner flame, your nature, your innermost being.

-Osho

From Tantra: The Supreme Understanding, Chapter Three

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

The Circle is Complete – Osho

There are three ordinary states of consciousness. One is waking, jagrut, the second is swabha, dreaming, and the third is sushupti, dreamless deep sleep.

Man ordinarily lives in these three states, sometimes waking, sometimes dreaming, sometimes fast asleep; this is the wheel man moves in. And because of these three states of mind many things have arisen into human consciousness and in human culture, civilization.

The first kind of consciousness, waking, creates its own culture, its own civilization; the West represents it. The second kind of culture is created by the second kind of consciousness, dreaming; the East represents it. That’s why you find it very difficult to communicate; the Western mind finds it almost impossible to communicate with the Eastern mind. It is not only a question of language – language you may understand – the question is of the orientation.

The waking consciousness is objective: it thinks of the object, of the reality there outside; it is a kind of concentration. The Western mind has evolved powers of concentration hence the birth of science; out of the powers of concentration, science is born. The East could not give birth to science, and the reason is that the East has not paid much attention to the first kind of consciousness.

The East thinks in terms of dreams. The East thinks in terms of the inner. The East thinks in terms of the subjective. The East thinks with closed eyes; the West thinks with open eyes. The West concentrates; the Eastern mind meditates, that’s why in the East you will find visionaries, poets – people who have experienced great revelations inside. But they cannot prove it; the experiences remain individual, private. The Western emphasis is on the objective, the public: when you are wakeful, whatsoever you see others can also see. You are seeing me here, everybody can see me – one who has eyes can see – there is no need for any proof. The sun rises, and you know: the proof exists in the very experience. And everybody is experiencing it – there can be a collective consensus about it. But when I say I have seen the sun rise in the evening it is no more a collective experience; it is no more objective, it becomes subjective.

In the East you will find people who have experienced kundalini rising in them, great light exploding as if thousands and thousands of suns have suddenly risen on the horizon; you will find people who have seen lotuses blooming inside – and to the Western mind it looks all nonsense. The Western mind has developed technology, science – objectivity. It lives in the first, the waking, state; the visionary is rejected. In the West the visionary is a marginal phenomenon, he exists on the outskirts of civilization. He is at most tolerated; he is harmless, he can be tolerated. But he has no roots in the culture at large, he is not the main current. In the East the scientist lives in the same way – on the margin; he is not the main current. He can be tolerated, he can be used, but the respect goes to the visionary, to the dreamer, to the poet who dreams great dreams.

These are the two ordinary states; the third state happens to both, but you cannot catch hold of it, the mind dissolves. In sushupti, in dreamless sleep, you disappear as an ego, and you disappear so utterly that you cannot even remember in the morning what happened. You can remember your dreams, you cannot remember your dreamless sleep, at most it can be remembered as gaps. You can say ‘I slept so deeply that there were not even dreams.’ But that is guess-work; there is no direct experience of sushupti.

No culture has evolved out of sushupti because there is no possibility to catch hold of it directly. But that is the deepest ordinary state of mind. It is out of sushupti, dreamless sleep, that you get rejuvenated every day. You go to the source, you move to the source, you are again in contact with the primal consciousness, you are again in contact with your ground. You are no more human, you are no more Hindu, no more Christian, you are no more a man or a woman, black or white, you are no more Eastern, Western; all disappears – all distinctions. You are, but there is no identity, that’s why out of dreamless sleep great peace is felt.

If you move into deeper meditation, you will come to the third state where one can become aware of dreamless sleep too. And many have stopped there; because it is so blissful, many religions have stopped there, they don’t go beyond it.

There is a fourth state also, and unless you reach to the fourth, go on remembering that the third is very alluring, the third is very beautiful, very blissful, but still you have not arrived home. The fourth is the home; the Eastern mystics have called it turiya, turiya means the fourth.

Waking is objective, outer; it is a kind of concentration. Dreaming is between the outer and the inner, a link between waking and deep sleep, and deep sleep is the inner. Then what is the fourth, the turiya? It is both and neither. It is both inner and outer, and because it is both, that’s why it is neither. It transcends both, it is non-dual, it is total. Now nothing is outer, nothing is inner. Objects disappear and, simultaneously, the subject too; there is no experience and no experiencer. This fourth state is called samadhi, satori. And the beauty of the fourth is that you can live in the world and yet be not of it.

Zen believes in the fourth. Those who believe in the third have to leave the world, they have to go to the Himalayan caves. Only there is it possible that they can fall into continuous deep dreamless sleep. It is falling into a beautiful coma. Its spiritual worth is nothing, although there is no misery, no anxiety, because the mind is put aside. But it is a state of coma, it is escapist. And the man has not known yet what the truth is. He has chosen one thing: escaping.

The Western mind moves deeper and deeper into the world, into activity, and the Eastern mind moves out of activity, more and more out of the world.

Now, here both kinds of people have gathered. When the Western mind comes to me he always asks how to relate with people – that is his basic question – how to be more loving, caring, how to grow deeper into relationship. No Indian, no Easterner, ever asks this – that is not his question at all, his question is how to get out of relationship, how to forget all this misery – birth and death, and reincarnation, and the whole wheel – how to stop it, how to jump out of it. You can watch it, it is very apparent. The Western mind is clear-cut, logical, rational, mathematical, alert. The Eastern mind is dreaming and, according to Western standards, lousy, sloppy, messy, because in a dream you cannot be very clear-cut, otherwise the dream will disappear. To the Eastern mind the Western mind is worldly, calculating, cunning, clever.

The third kind has happened both in the East and the West very rarely. In the West monasteries have existed, and people have renounced the world and moved – in the East too. One who becomes interested in dreamless sleep — and it is greatly satisfying – no doubt about it, there is great pleasure in it, it is very tranquil, undisturbed, but it is a kind of death, not life. And there is fear that it can be disturbed – any small thing can disturb it – a small thought can move, and all is lost. A small dream is enough to destroy it.

Zen people have worked for the fourth. The fourth means: live in the world like a lotus leaf in water, be awake and yet remain centred. So all that is needed to be done, be in the cyclone and yet remain in the centre of it, unaffected by it. Naturally, the Zen man creates the most alive, living, streaming, pulsating life. The Zen man creates action in inaction, or inaction through action. Polarities meet and merge, and wherever polarities meet and merge there is God.

The fourth is the primal state, the very basic and fundamental state out of which these three have arisen. These three are branches, the fourth is the root.

The sutras of today you will be able to understand only if you understand this approach, the approach through the fourth, through totality. One has not to escape, one has to go into the deepest world but is not to be lost there. One has to remain conscious, one has to remain alert, and one has to go deep into the world. The meeting of the extremes will bring you the richest crop of life.

It happened…

Vivekananda once told his Master, Ramakrishna, that his highest spiritual aspiration was to remain immersed for days on end in nirvikalpa samadhi, the disappearance of all forms into absolute Godhead. He sincerely longed for what he then considered to be the ultimate spiritual experience. But Ramakrishna, who had once spent six months in unbroken nirvikalpa, his body kept alive only by force feeding, relied ‘You are a fool. There is a realization higher than nirvikalpa samadhi.’ Vivekananda was at that time dedicated to the third dimension of contemplation, and Ramakrishna was attempting to turn him toward the fourth dimension, or turiya.

Nirvikalpa samadhi is a state of deep sleep. All has disappeared; it is absent, it is negative. The cup is empty, utterly empty; ready to be filled, but not yet filled. The empty cup is not the goal – cannot be the goal; emptying is only the method so that one day the cup can be filled with the presence of God. But God exists as the world – there is no other God. God has appeared as the world; God is not somewhere else. The world is God manifest. One has to empty oneself to prepare, but one has to remain in close contact with the world otherwise one becomes disconnected.

This is my approach to sannyas too. That’s why I don’t say leave the world, I say live in the world, accept the challenge of it because behind it, behind the screen of it, is God himself. If you accept the challenge and if you live the challenge totally, you will find that all that is needed is here. It has to be discovered. Become more and more alert and conscious.

So don’t get too much into the objects – don’t become a Westerner, and don’t get too much into the dreams – don’t become an Easterner. Don’t get too obsessed with kundalini and experiences like that because those are all mind things. Remain alert while moving with people, while moving in the world, remain alert while moving in dreams. And there are beautiful dreams too, spiritual dreams too – remain alert, don’t get distracted by them. And when you are able to be alert in the objective world and then alert in the dreaming world, slowly, slowly you will become alert in the dreamless deep sleep too. And then you are at the gate of the fourth. And when you enter the fourth, you are back into the world; the circle is complete. But now you are the centre of the cyclone.

-Osho

From The Sun Rises in the Evening, Chapter Seven

Is This Enlightenment – Osho

When the internal talking stops, is this enlightenment?

Parivesh, when the internal talking stops, who cares? Who is there to care? Who is there to raise the question ‘Is this enlightenment’? If you can still ask the question, then it is internal talking continuing.

If you can still see that this is enlightenment, then nothing has happened; then the mind is back from the back door. It has jumped upon your enlightenment too, and it has destroyed it.  Enlightenment is not an experience, that’s why nothing can be said about it. Enlightenment is not one of the series of experiences that you have lived through. Enlightenment is not something that happens to you like a content in the mind. When the mind is not there you don’t say ‘This is enlightenment’, you don’t feel it as an experience; rather, on the contrary, you see it as your nature.

It has always been so – just because of that internal talk you were too occupied and you could not see it. It is not a realization; it is only a recognition, a remembrance. It has always been so from the very beginning – just you had got lost into thoughts, fantasies. Now the fantasy is no more there, you are back home. It is your home.

Enlightenment is not an experience; it is your interiority, it is you. One does not become enlightened; one comes to know that one is enlightenment, one is light, one is consciousness. But, Parivesh, your question is philosophical. When the internal talking stops, you ask, Is this enlightenment?

Don’t be philosophical about these things – these are not philosophical things. You cannot think about them; you can only be, and know; be still, and know. If I say ‘Yes, this is enlightenment’ I will only be giving you an idea. That will burden your mind more, that will become part of your internal talk. Then you will not talk much about money, and women, and you may start talking about enlightenment, God, Buddhahood. But it is the same. The object of thinking does not matter much – you can give any object, and the thinking can weave and spin around it. The question is that the thinking should disappear, evaporate.

So, don’t make enlightenment in any way a goal. Enlightenment is the very source, the very ground, of your being. You consist of enlightenment; you are made of this stuff called enlightenment. So, naturally, when you are silent and there is no distraction – thought means distraction, thought means going away from yourself, thought means something has come between you and yourself, thought means you have moved into the future or into the past, thought means you are not here, you are not now: all this is implied in thought – when there is no distraction, you relax into your source. Slowly, slowly you rest into your being.

Martin Heidegger has called this resting into yourself ‘the releasement’. He has also called it ‘the enchanted regioning’. There is a region inside you, the enchanted region, a space where you are still God, where you have not fallen at all – where you cannot fall in the very nature of things; where you still live in the Garden of Eden, where the fall has not happened – cannot happen. One cannot fall from God and God’s paradise; one can only fall asleep. This is my interpretation of the biblical story. Adam has not been driven out of the Garden of Eden, he has fallen asleep. By eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge he has fallen in dreams, he has started thinking. That is the meaning of the whole parable. That is the meaning of the symbol of the Tree of Knowledge: he has started thinking. Thinking, he has gone away – in thinking only; otherwise, he lives in the same place. But he is no more available to God; he has moved into fictions, imaginations.

Wake up, and you have always been enlightened. Just wake up. Open your eyes. Don’t let enlightenment become an idea in you, otherwise you will think about it, and that will be a distraction.

-Osho

From The Sun Rises in the Evening, Chapter Four

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

 

Right-mindfulness is the Flavor – Osho

Please explain ‘right-mindfulness’. If not a goal or something to practice, what is it? 

Sambuddha, right-mindfulness is a strange word.

First: there is no mind in it – hence it is called ‘right-mindfulness’. Secondly, there is nothing right and wrong in it – hence it is called right-mindfulness. This is a Buddhist way of saying things.

It can’t be a goal, because when there is a goal you are always in the wrong. Why are you in the wrong when there is a goal? Because when there is a goal there is desire, when there is desire you are unhappy, discontented. When there is desire, there is anxiety – whether you will be able to make it or not? Will it be possible or not?

When there is desire there is future, and with the future anxiety enters into your being. With the desire you have lost contact with the present.

Right-mindfulness is not a goal, cannot be a goal – because when all desires disappear and all goals disappear and you are here-now… that is the moment of right-mindfulness.

Why is it called ‘right’? It is called right be-cause it knows no division between right and wrong.

Nothing is wrong! And nothing is right. All judgements have disappeared. One is utterly innocent.

When you see a rose flower, does the idea arise in you: “It is right, it is wrong”? When you see the morning star disappearing, does the idea arise in you: “Is it right or is it wrong?” When you start looking at life with no judgement, with no prejudice, then you are in the state of right-mindfulness.

Jesus has said: Judge ye not. Jesus has also said: Resist not evil – not even evil has to be resisted, then arises right-mindfulness. When you are neither moral nor immoral, when you are amoral like trees and animals and birds and beasts, when you are like a small innocent child who has just opened his eyes, with no ideas… then, in that silence, in that purity, it is right-mindfulness.

Why is it called right? It is called right be-cause now it knows nothing as right and wrong – it knows no division, it is indivisible. The acceptance is total! – that’s why it is called right. You have fallen into the suchness of existence. You are no longer standing there like a judge.

Judging is wrong. To be in a state of non-judgement is right. Right, NOT against wrong right because all wrong and right have disappeared. You have no opinion. You don’t carry a philosophy in the mind.

You are simply a mirror! 

When you come before the mirror, the mirror does not say, “You are beautiful, you are ugly” – it simply reflects. It reflects without condemnation, without appreciation – it reflects choicelessly. It just reflects.

When your consciousness has become a mirror and simply reflects whatsoever is the case, it is right-mindfulness. That mirror-like quality….

And it is not a goal, because every goal will bring dust on the mirror. Every goal will stir desires, and desires surround your mirror like mist – then reflection is not true, then suchness is not reflected.

When you have some idea, you cannot be true to reality. You distort reality according to your idea.

You try to mold reality according to your idea. You are to modify reality. You go on looking for your idea. You are searching for support: you would like reality to support your idea, you would like reality to agree with you – -and then you distort. Then you start seeing things which are not there, and you stop seeing things which ARE there. Then you start living in a mind-world.

To live in the mind is wrong. To live without mind is right, because without mind, the consciousness exists in its purity, mirror-like – it simply reflects. It says nothing! It has no interpretation.

It interprets not.

And why is it called mindfulness? This is the translation of a Buddhist term sammasati. Samma means right – the translation is not very correct, cannot be. Samma is a very strange word, very significant, has many meanings; ‘right’ is only one of its meanings. Samma is the root from where samadhi arises; the word samadhi comes from samma.

Samma means many things. One: tranquility, silence, equanimity, balance, undisturbedness, undistractedness, centredness, groundedness – they are all aspects of samma. ‘Right’ is a very poor translation of samma.

And sati  – sammasati. Sati can mean mindfulness, can mean remembrance, can mean reflection, can mean recollectedness, can mean presence. All those meanings are involved in it. Mindfulness is only one of the meanings. It is a very potential and pregnant word—sammasati. It is the seventh step in Buddha’s eight steps – you are very close to reality. The eighth is samadhi.

The seventh is sammasati. You have come very, very close; you are just on the threshold of reality – it has to be very, very significant. When you are utterly present in the presence, when you don’t have any past and don’t have any future… when this cuckoo calling, this train passing, this dog barking, is all… when THIS is all and there is no that, when the word ‘here’ is your whole reality and there is no there, when now contains ALL time and there is no then… then you are in the state of sammasati.

That’s what I go on calling ‘here-now’ – that is sammasati. Then you are utterly present, absolutely present. When something is going on in your mind about the past, you are not here; a part of you is travelling towards the past, and a part of you is travelling towards the future – only a small fragment is here.

When ALL the parts of your being are here, when you are totally at home, nothing is missing, when you are integratedly here, then it is right-mindfulness. In that moment you will reflect reality – as it is, without any distraction, without any distortion. Because you don’t have any thought in the mind, how can you distort it? Thought distorts, thinking is destructive. It goes on imposing – it does not allow you to see that which is.

Right-mindfulness is a state of no-mind, no-thought!

And remember: it is also a state of no-feeling – otherwise, you may think it is a state of feeling. No, it is not – because feeling again creates ripples and the surface of the lake is disturbed, and again the moon is not reflected as it is.

Neither thought disturbs you, nor feeling.

These are the three states: one is thinking – the most disturbed state; second is feeling – less disturbed than thinking, but still disturbed; third is being – no disturbance at all. One is in the head, second is in the heart, third is in your guts. Right-mindfulness is a gut-state: no head, no heart. You are simply there undefined, undefinable.

Sambuddha, you ask me:

Please explain ‘right-mindfulness’. If not a goal or something to practice, what is it? 

And, yes, it is not a practice. You cannot practice it, because practice brings goal! Practice is desire, practice is mind. And remember: whenever you practise something, you are imposing something against yourself, otherwise why practise it? Against whom are you practicing? When you practise truth, what will you do? You will repress the untruth – but the untruth will remain there, deep inside you, ready to explode any moment. It will go on accumulating.

When you practice love, what will you do? You will repress hatred. When you practice compassion, what will you do? You will repress anger. And all that is repressed will go on remaining in you, and all that is practiced will remain on the surface, and all that is rejected will go deep into your being. The rejected will become part of your being and the practiced will remain just a coating, a painting on the surface.

And remember: whenever you practice anything, you are angry at it. Naturally so – because all practicing divides you, makes you schizophrenic.

One part of you is trying to manipulate the other part. One part of you is trying to enforce some ideas on the other part. And the part that is trying to enforce is a very impotent part, but articulate – your head. It has no power, but it is very articulate, very clever, very cunning, very argumentative.

And the head goes on imposing on your body, on your heart, which are far more potential, far more powerful; they have energy sources, but they are not articulate, they are not argumentative – they are silent. And the head goes on pretending that it has practiced… and then a situation arises and all practice is thrown away – because the head has no energy.

You think for years that you will never be angry, then one day somebody insults you and in a single moment you have forgotten all that practice. And YOU ARE angry! By the time you come to know that you are angry, anger has already happened. You are burning, you are fire. From where does this fire come? And years of practice! That practice was just on the surface. Mind was pretending; because there was no situation provoking you, mind was able to pretend. Now the situation has arisen and mind is not able to pretend. The reality asserts itself.

That’s why down the ages, through the ages, the so-called religious people have been escaping from society, from life. Why? They are escaping from situations where their practice can be proved wrong; nothing else are they doing. Going to the Himalayas they are simply escaping from the world – because the world brings situations! And their so-called practice and their religion and their discipline is broken again and again. Somebody insults, or a beautiful woman passes by, and all their celibacy and all their brahmacharya and all their ideas are gone. A single beautiful woman is enough to destroy all their years of celibacy.

They escape from women, they escape from the world, they escape from money and the market – they know that they can be moral and religious and saintly only when there is no situation which provokes their reality. Then the mind can go on playing the game in a monastery. When there is no challenge, mind seems to be the master. When there is challenge, mind is no more a master.

Whatsoever you practice remains false. Never out of practice has anything real happened. Beware of this. The real happens only through understanding, not through practice. And what is the difference?

Understanding will say: Remain where situations arise, remain where challenges surround you. Be there where provocations and temptations exist. Test yourself there. Go into situations!

Understanding will say: If anger comes, then go into anger and see what it is. See yourself – don’t trust anybody else’s judgement about it. Go into it! Be burnt by it. Let it leave scars on your being – because one learns only through the hard way. Only your experience will tell you again and again and again that anger is stupid – not that it is a sin! It is simply stupid. And as the understanding grows deeper, anger will be coming less and less. One day… the understanding has touched your very core of being, the light has penetrated you. You have seen through and through that anger is futile: in that very moment anger has disappeared and there has not been any repression.

Remember this: repression is the pitfall for ALL those people who want to transform their lives – they have to avoid repression. Indulgence is not so bad, because indulgence can one day bring understanding, but repression can never bring understanding. How can you understand something which you go on repressing and you don’t look into? – you go on covering it, go on throwing it in the basement of your being.

And remember: the more you practice, the more you pretend, the more you are angry at your own practice. Your real parts, your guts are angry.

The intellectual young man was telling off his girlfriend. “Jane,” he remonstrated, “I don’t think you are the girl for me. My interests are in art, literature and in music. You are only concerned with sports, with gambling and with common activities that are altogether alien to me. In fact, to be blunt about it – you are downright uncouth!”

“Uncouth!” she exploded. “Me?! What are you talking about? Uncouth? Didn’t I go along with you to them operas, them concerts, them lectures, and all that sort of shit?!”

That’s what will happen. You can go on practicing, but deep down you know that you are repressing, that you are rejecting, that you are denying some essential parts of your being. Right-mindfulness is the flavor of understanding, not the outcome of practice. Right-mindfulness is the fragrance – the fragrance of seeing into things deeply, the fragrance of insight.

-OSHO

From Walk Without Feet, Fly Without Wings and Think Without Mind, Chapter Nine

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

What is Satori – Osho

What is satori and how to attain it?

Pratima, satori is exactly your ordinary nature; it is not anything special. Hence there is no question of attaining it – it is already the case. You are in it, you have just forgotten. You have become too occupied with the outside world. You have forgotten your own kingdom, you have forgotten your own treasure, you have forgotten yourself. You have become too concerned with others. You are too much in the world and you don’t give any time, any space for your inner nature to have a dialogue with you, to whisper a few things to you. You have become artificial.

You have created a false ego because nobody can live without a center. You have forgotten your real center, and nobody can live without a center, so you have created a false center as a substitute. That’s the ego. Ego simply means living with a false center.

Satori is dropping the false, entering into the real; just being yourself, your natural self, your ordinary self.

The word “ordinary” has to be remembered because the mind is not interested in the ordinary at all; it wants to be extraordinary, it wants to be special. It is through being special that the ego survives.

It is constantly striving to be more special, more special. It wants to be more rich, more powerful, more respectable; it is ambitious. Hence the word “ordinary” has no appeal for the mind. And that is the beauty of the word “ordinary” – because it has no appeal for the mind.

Mind is an achiever and the ordinary need not be achieved; it is already the case. The extraordinary has to be achieved, the extraordinary becomes the goal. It is far away; you have to make all kinds of efforts, you have to struggle for it, you have to fight for it because there are so many competitors.

To be ordinary… and there is no competition at all. You can just be ordinary, nobody has any objection. People will simply feel sorry for you that you have dropped out of the competitive race.

One competitor less – they will feel good but sorry for you. They will say, “Poor fellow! What happened to him? Why did he have to drop out?” The dropouts are not respectable people. Buddha is a dropout. All real Masters are dropouts. To be a sannyasin means to be a dropout. To drop out of the rat race is to drop in, because when you are in the race you cannot enter in. When you are no longer in the race there is nowhere to go. You start moving inwards because life is a flow: if there is no outer direction it takes the inner direction. If the goal is not there far away in the future, then you start moving into your nature in the present. That is satori.

Satori is very ordinary. Satori means your nature. You have come with it; it is your original face – all other faces are masks.

Yoka says:

A disciple speaks in accordance with the ultimate, the absolute truth.

Remember that one should cut the root and not the branches and the leaves.

What is the root of your misery? The root is your ambition, desiring. One wants to be this and that, one wants to possess this and that, one wants to be somebody, one wants to be significant.

Yoka says: Cut the root… only then are you a disciple. And the moment you cut the root – not the branches, not the leaves – you attain the ultimate truth. The ultimate truth is not far away; it is the immediate truth, it is your truth, it is your very being.

Most people do not recognize the perfect jewel, the jewel of supreme wisdom, satori. It is hidden in the secret place of Tathagata, awaiting its discovery.

It is to live in your suchness; it is hidden in your suchness. Whatsoever you are, live in it. Don’t create any conflict, don’t live through the ideal. Don’t be an idealist, just be natural.

But everybody is being taught to be an idealist: “Become a Jesus” or “Become a Buddha” or “Become a Krishna.” Nobody tells you just to be yourself! Why should you be a Jesus? One Jesus is enough and one Jesus is beautiful – he enriches the existence. Many Jesuses just carrying crosses, and wherever you go you meet them… It won’t look beautiful, it won’t add to the beauty of existence; it will make the whole world ugly. Wherever you go you meet a Mahavira standing naked…. It is because of this that God never creates the same person again. He never repeats; he is original.

He always creates a new person. You have never been before, and there is no one who is like you, and there will never be anybody else like you again. In the whole of eternity you alone are just like you. Look at the beauty of it and the glory of it and the respect that God has shown to you! What more respectability do you need? See the uniqueness of yourself. There is no need to be unique; you are already unique, just as everybody else is unique. You are unique in your ordinariness, in your suchness.

Satori is hidden, says Yoka, in the secret place of your suchness, awaiting its discovery.

It has not to be created, it is already there; you just have to discover it. Go in and discover it! It is waiting and waiting. And centuries have passed and many, many lives have passed, and you have become addicted to extroversion. You never move in.

The first step towards satori is meditation. Satori is the ultimate experience of meditation when meditation is fulfilled, when meditation has reached to its ultimate flowering.

Yoka says:

The world is complete illusion, yet nothing exists which might be called illusion.

The world that you have created through your mind is illusory, but there is another world which is not your creation. When your mind disappears you discover that world: the world of suchness. That is a totally different experience. No words can describe it. Thousands of mystics have tried to describe it, but nobody has ever been able and nobody will ever be able to describe it. It is so mysterious; it is so beautiful that all words fall short. No poetry reaches to its level, no music even touches its feet.

The perfect light of this wisdom enlightens one.

The moment you have put your mind aside – mind means ambition, the ego trip of being this and that – the moment you have put the whole mind aside, a great light explodes in you and you are enlightened. This is satori. It does not come from the outside: you are not delivered by somebody else; you are delivered by your own being, by your own nature.

That is possible only by practicing zazen beyond speculation. You can see clouds naturally in the mirror but to hold on to the reflection is impossible.

That is possible only by practicing zazen… Satori is possible only by practicing zazen. Zazen means:

Just sitting, doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself.

You are simply relaxing into your own being, not doing anything at all. It is not a question of doing; it is simply a question of being. You go on relaxing into your being. A moment comes when you are in your utter purity, in your utter simplicity, in your utter innocence. That is satori.

Zazen is a beautiful word. It simply means just sitting – not even doing meditation. In fact, you cannot do meditation. Meditation is just sitting silently; it is not a question of doing. If you are doing something you are disturbing your meditation.

Somebody is chanting a mantra; he is disturbing his meditation. Somebody is focusing on something; he is disturbing his meditation. Somebody is concentrating, somebody is praying, somebody is thinking of God: they are disturbing their meditation. All these are the doings of the mind, and if the doing continues the mind continues. Stop doing, and where is the mind? When the doing disappears, mind disappears. And the disappearance of the mind is satori.

It is beyond speculation, says Yoka. You cannot think about it, you can only experience it. It is the ultimate experience, and the immediate experience, too, of truth, of beauty, of love, of bliss, of God, of nirvana.

-OSHO

From Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Chapter Four

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Absolute Perfection is Here and Now – Nisargadatta Maharaj

Questioner: The war is on. What is your attitude to it?

Maharaj: In some place or other, in some form or other, the war is always on. Was there a time when there was no war? Some say it is the will of God. Some say it is God’s play. It is another way of saying that wars are inevitable and nobody is responsible.

Q: But what is your own attitude?

M: Why impose attitudes on me? I have no attitude to call my own.

Q: Surely somebody is responsible for this horrible and senseless carnage. Why do people kill each other so readily?

M: Search for the culprit within. The ideas of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ are at the root of all conflict. Be free of them and you will be out of conflict.

Q: What of it that I am out of conflict? It will not affect the war. If I am the cause of war, I am ready to be destroyed. Yet, it stands to reason that the disappearance of a thousand like me will not stop wars. They did not start with my birth nor will end with my death. I am not responsible. Who is?

M: Strife and struggle are a part of existence. Why don’t you enquire who is responsible for existence?

Q: Why do you say that existence and conflict are inseparable? Can there be no existence without strife? I need not fight others to be myself.

M: You fight others all the time for your survival as a separate body-mind, a particular name and form. To live you must destroy. From the moment you were conceived you started a war with your environment—a merciless war of mutual extermination, until death sets you free.

Q: My question remains unanswered. You are merely describing what I know, life and its sorrows. But who is responsible, you do not say. When I press you, you throw the blame on God, or karma, or on my own greed and fear—which merely invites further questions. Give me the final answer.

M: The final answer is this: nothing is. All is a momentary appearance in the field of the universal consciousness; continuity as name and form is a mental formation only, easy to dispel.

Q: I am asking about the immediate, the transitory, the appearance. Here is a picture of a child killed by soldiers. It is a fact—staring at you. You cannot deny it. Now, who is responsible for the death of the child?

M: Nobody and everybody. The world is what it contains and each thing affects all others. We all kill the child and we all die with it. Every event has innumerable causes and produces numberless effects. It is useless to keep accounts, nothing is traceable.

Q: Your people speak of karma and retribution.

M: It is merely a gross approximation: in reality we are all creators and creatures of each other, causing and bearing each other’s burden.

Q: So, the innocent suffers for the guilty?

M: In our ignorance we are innocent; in our actions we are guilty. We sin without knowing and suffer without understanding. Our only hope: to stop, to look, to understand and to get out of the traps of memory. For memory feeds imagination and imagination generates desire and fear.

Q: Why do I imagine at all?

M: The light of consciousness passes through the film of memory and throws pictures on your brain. Because of the deficient and disordered state of your brain, what you perceive is distorted and coloured by feelings of like and dislike. Make your thinking orderly and free from emotional overtones, and you will see people and things as they are, with clarity and charity.

The witness of birth, life and death is one and the same. It is the witness of pain and of love. For while the existence in limitation and separation is sorrowful, we love it. We love it and hate it at the same time. We fight, we kill, we destroy life and property and yet we are affectionate and self-sacrificing. We nurse the child tenderly and orphan it too. Our life is full of contradictions. Yet we cling to it. This clinging is at the root of everything. Still, it is entirely superficial. We hold on to something or somebody, with all our might and next moment we forget it; like a child that shapes its mud-pies and abandons them light-heartedly. Touch them—it will scream with anger, divert the child and he forgets them. For our life is now, and the love of it is now. We love variety, the play of pain and pleasure, we are fascinated by contrasts. For this we need the opposites and their apparent separation. We enjoy them for a time and then get tired and crave for the peace and silence of pure being. The cosmic heart beats ceaselessly. I am the witness and the heart too.

Q: I can see the picture, but who is the painter? Who is responsible for this terrible and yet adorable experience?

M: The painter is in the picture. You separate the painter from the picture and look for him. Don’t separate and don’t put false questions. Things are as they are and nobody in particular is responsible. The idea of personal responsibility comes from the illusion of agency. ‘Somebody must have done it, somebody is responsible’. Society as it is now, with its framework of laws and customs, is based on the idea of a separate and responsible personality, but this is not the only form a society can take. There may be other forms, where the sense of separation is weak and responsibility diffused.

Q: An individual with a weak sense of personality— is he nearer self-realisation?

M: Take the case of a young child. The sense of ‘I-am’ is not yet formed, the personality is rudimentary. The obstacles to self-knowledge are few, but the power and the clarity of awareness, its width and depth are lacking. In the course of years awareness will grow stronger, but also the latent personality will emerge and obscure and complicate. Just as the harder the wood, the hotter the flame, so the stronger the personality, brighter the light generated from its destruction.

Q: Have you no problems?

M: I do have problems. I told you already. To be, to exist with a name and form is painful, yet I love it.

Q: But you love everything!

M: In existence everything is contained. My very nature is to love; even the painful is lovable.

Q: It does not make it less painful. Why not remain in the unlimited?

M: It is the instinct of exploration, the love of the unknown, that brings me into existence. It is in the nature of being to see adventure in becoming, as it is in the very nature of becoming to seek peace in being. This alteration of being and becoming is inevitable; but my home is beyond.

Q: Is your home in God?

M: To love and worship a god is also ignorance. My home is beyond all notions, however sublime.

Q: But God is not a notion! It is the reality beyond existence.

M: You may use any word you like. Whatever you may think of I am beyond it.

Q: Once you know your home, why not stay in it? What takes you out of it?

M: Out of love for corporate existence one is born and once born, one gets involved in destiny. Destiny is inseparable from becoming. The desire to be the particular makes you into a person with all its personal past and future. Look at some great man, what a wonderful man he was! And yet how troubled was his life and limited its fruits. How utterly dependent is the personality of man and how indifferent is its world. And yet we love it and protect it for its very insignificance.

Q: The war is on and there is chaos and you are being asked to take charge of a feeding centre. You are given what is needed, it is only a question of getting through the job. Will you refuse it?

M: To work, or not to work, is one and the same to me. I may take charge, or may not. There may be others, better endowed for such tasks, than I am —professional caterers for instance. But my attitude is different. I do not look at death as a calamity as I do not rejoice at the birth of a child. The child is out for trouble while the dead is out of it. Attachment to life is attachment to sorrow. We love what gives us pain. Such is our nature.

For me the moment of death will be a moment of jubilation, not of fear. I cried when I was born and I shall die laughing.

Q: What is the change in consciousness at the moment of death?

M: What change do you expect? When the film projection ends all remains the same as when it started. The state before you were born was also the state after death, if you remember.

Q: I remember nothing.

M: Because you never tried. It is only a question of tuning in the mind. It requires training, of course.

Q: Why don’t you take part in social work?

M: But I am doing nothing else all the time! And what is the social work you want me to do? Patchwork is not for me. My stand is clear: produce to distribute, feed before you eat, give before you take, think of others before you think of yourself. Only a selfless society based on sharing can be stable and happy. This is the only practical solution. If you do not want it—fight.

Q: It is all a matter of gunas. Where tamas and rajas predominate, there must be war. Where sattva rules, there will be peace.

M: Put it whichever way you like, it comes to the same. Society is built on motives. Put goodwill into the foundations and you will not need specialised social workers.

Q: The world is getting better.

M: The world had all the time to get better, yet it did not. What hope is there for the future? Of course, there have been and will be periods of harmony and peace, when sattva was in ascendance, but things get destroyed by their own perfection. A perfect society is necessarily static and, therefore, it stagnates and decays. From the summit all roads lead downwards. Societies are like people—they are born, they grow to some point of relative perfection and then decay and die.

Q: Is there not a state of absolute perfection which does not decay?

M: Whatever has a beginning must have an end. In the timeless all is perfect, here and now.

Q: But shall we reach the timeless in due course?

M: In due course we shall come back to the starting point. Time cannot take us out of time, as space cannot take us out of space. All you get by waiting is more waiting. Absolute perfection is here and now, not in some future, near or far. The secret is in action—here and now. It is your behaviour that blinds you to yourself. Disregard whatever you think yourself to be and act as if you were absolutely perfect—whatever your idea of perfection may be. All you need is courage.

Q: Where do I find such courage?

M: In yourself, of course. Look within.

Q: Your grace will help.

M: My grace is telling you now: look within. All you need you have. Use it. Behave as best you know, do what you think you should. Don’t be afraid of mistakes; you can always correct them, only intentions matter. The shape things take is not within your power; the motives of your actions are.

Q: How can action born from imperfection lead to perfection?

M: Action does not lead to perfection; perfection is expressed in action. As long as you judge yourself by your expressions give them utmost attention; when you realise your own being, your behaviour will be perfect—spontaneously.

Q: If I am timelessly perfect, then why was I born at all? What is the purpose of this life?

M: It is like asking: what does it profit gold to be made into an ornament? The ornament gets the colour and the beauty of gold; gold is not enriched. Similarly, reality expressed in action makes the action meaningful and beautiful.

Q: What does the real gain through its expressions?

M: What can it gain? Nothing whatsoever. But it is in the nature of love to express itself, to affirm itself, to overcome difficulties. Once you have understood that the world is love in action, you will look at it quite differently. But first your attitude to suffering must change. Suffering is primarily a call for attention, which itself is a movement of love. More than happiness, love wants growth, the widening and deepening of consciousness and being. Whatever prevents becomes a cause of pain, and love does not shirk from pain. Sattva, the energy that works for righteousness and orderly development, must not be thwarted. When obstructed it turns against itself and becomes destructive. Whenever love is withheld and suffering allowed to spread, war becomes inevitable. Our indifference to our neighbour’s sorrow brings suffering to our door.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

From I Am That, Chapter 82