Truth is. It needs no effort on your part to invent it. Truth has to be discovered, not invented. And what is hindering us from discovering it? We have been taught many lies, mountains of lies. Those are the barriers which go on falsifying the truth, which do not allow our hearts to reflect that which is.
Truth is not a logical conclusion. Truth is existence, reality. It is already here — it has always been here. Only truth exists. Then why cannot we find it? How do we manage not to find it? Because from the very childhood we are taught falsities, prejudices, ideologies, religions, philosophies…all lead you astray.
Truth is not an idea. You need not be a Hindu to know it, or a Mohammedan, or a Christian. If you are a Hindu you will never know it; your very being a Hindu will keep you blind. What do we mean when we say, “I am a Hindu, or a Mohammedan, or a Jew”? We mean, “I have already got ideas about truth — ideas from the Bible or the Koran or the Gita, but I have got ideas already. I don’t know the truth, but I know much about it.” And that knowing much about it is the only problem that has to be solved.
Once you drop your ideas about truth you will be confronting it, within and without both. You will be facing it — because there is nothing else!
But the parents, the society, the state, the church, the educational system, they all depend on lies. As the child is born they start trapping it into lies. And the child is helpless. He cannot escape his parents, he is utterly dependent. You can exploit his dependence…and it has been exploited down the ages.
Nobody has been exploited so much as children — neither the proletariat nor women, nobody has been exploited so much and so deeply and so destructively as the innocent children. Because they are helpless and dependent they have to learn whatsoever you teach them. They have to imbibe all the falsehoods that you go on forcing upon them. It is a question of survival for them — they cannot survive without you. It is a question of life and death! They have to be Hindus, they have to be Mohammedans, they have to be Jainas, they have to be Buddhists, they have to be communists. Whatsoever you are interested in putting into their minds, you go on putting it in.
Instead of making them more alert, more aware, more alive, more reflective, instead of making them more mirror like, pure, you make them full of ideas…layers and layers of dust. And then it becomes impossible for them to see that which is. They start seeing that which is not and they stop seeing that which is.
Hence, to be really religious means a rebirth: again becoming like a child, dropping all that the society has given to you.
Religion is a rebellion — a rebellion against all that has been forced upon you, a rebellion against being reduced to a computer. Just look inside! Whatsoever you know, you have been told; it is not your knowing, it is not authentic. How can it be authentic if it is not yours? You are not a witness to it, you are just a victim — a victim of circumstances. It is just an accident to be born in India or to be born in England. It is just an accident to be born in a Hindu family or in a Christian family. Because of these accidents your essential nature has been lost — you have been forced to lose it. If you want to regain it you will have to be reborn.
That’s precisely what the meaning is when Jesus says to Nicodemus, “Unless you are born again you will not enter into the Kingdom of God.” He does not mean that you actually have to die, commit suicide, and then be born again. That won’t help, because again you will be born to some parents in a certain society, within a certain church, and again the same stupidity is going to be done to you.
Jesus means by ‘rebirth’ that deliberately, consciously, now you are capable of dropping all that has been taught to you. Drop your knowledge and become innocent. And that is the only way to become innocent. Knowledge is a contamination. To be in a state of not-knowing is innocence, and to function from that state is the only way to know the truth.
Meditate over these tremendously significant sutras of Gautama the Buddha. He says:
Mistaking the false for the true
and the true for the false,
you overlook the heart
and fill yourself with desire.
Mind is nothing but desire. The heart knows no desire. You will be surprised to hear it, that all desires belong to the head. The heart lives in the present; it pulsates, beats, in the here-now. It knows nothing of the past and it knows nothing of the future. It is always now, here.
And I am not talking about a certain philosophy. I am simply stating a fact so simple you can observe it within yourself: your heart is beating now. It cannot beat in the past, it cannot beat in the future. The heart only knows the present, hence it is utterly pure. It is not polluted by the past memories, by knowledge, by experience, by all that you have been told and taught, by the scriptures, by the traditions. It knows nothing of all that nonsense! And it knows nothing of the future, of the morrow. For it, past exists no more, the future not yet. It is utterly here. It is immediate.
But the mind is just the opposite of the heart: the mind is never now, here. Either it thinks of beautiful experiences of the past or it desires the same beautiful experiences in the future. It goes on shuttling between past and future, it never stops at the present. It is utterly unaware of the present. For the mind, the present exists not. See the point: the present is the only thing that exists, but for the mind the present is the only thing that exists not. Past is nonexistential, future is nonexistential, but those are the things which are existential for the mind.
The head is the problem… and the heart is the solution. The child functions from the heart. As you start growing, you start moving from the heart to the head. When you graduate from the university you have completely forgotten about the heart. You are hung up in the head, your whole energy has moved to the head. Now you don’t know anything of reality. You are full of garbage — scholarly garbage, academic nonsense. You may be a Ph.D., a D.Litt. You know much, knowing nothing at all! — because real knowing happens in the heart, not in the head. And the universities exist to distract your energies from the heart to the head.
All the universities in the world up to now have been enemies of humanity. Their whole function is to serve the state and the church. They are agents of the status quo, they are agents of the vested interests. They don’t serve you, they serve the powers, the masters, the oppressors, the exploiters. Whosoever happens to be in power the universities serve. They are not in the service of humanity yet.
If they were really in the service of humanity, then the university would be the place to learn rebellion. The university would create revolutionaries. The university would not create conventionalists, conformists; the university would create nonconformists, nonconventional people. It would create rebels — adventurous, ready to risk their lives for truth. That has not happened yet.
It is a sad fact that in the name of education something ugly is continued, something very ugly. Behind a facade, something very criminal continues. And this is the crime: that they divert your energies from the heart to the head, they destroy your capacity to love and they force you to learn logic. Logic is more important than love for them, thinking is more important than sensitivity. This is just putting the bullocks behind the cart. It is totally topsy-turvy.
That’s why humanity is in such a mess: the untrue seems to be true and the true seems to be untrue. They have succeeded in distorting your vision. The buddhas have been fighting against all these vested interests.
Mistaking the false for the true
and true for the false,
you overlook the heart
and fill yourself with desire.
Mind is desire, and you go on filling yourself with more and more desire, more and more ambition, more and more longing for power, prestige, wealth. And you completely forget that there is a heart beating within you which already lives in God, which is already part of the ultimate law — Aes Dhammo Sanantano — which is already part of the inexhaustible, eternal law. You are joined from the heart to God. Your hearts are the roots in the soil of God.
Your hearts are still being nourished by God, by truth, but you are not there. You have vacated the place. You live in your head. Day in, day out, you live in your head; you never descend from there. Even in the night while asleep you go on rumbling in the head… dreams, and dreams upon dreams. In the day thoughts, in the night dreams. They are not different.
The dream is only a translation of thinking in the language of sleep, and vice versa: thinking is nothing but a translation of dreaming in the language of the day. You go on moving between these two: dreaming and thinking. Both are desiring. What do you think? What is there to think except desire? And what do you dream except desire?
Buddha says the false appears to be true because you have become false to your own truth, to your own heart. Come back to the heart, and then you will be able to know the truth as the truth and the false as the false. That is enlightenment, that is coming home.
See the false as false.
But from where to begin? Begin from seeing the false as the false. That’s why all the buddhas appear to be negative, all buddhas appear to be destructive. They negate. Jesus negates. He says again and again: It has been told to you in the past, but I say to you…. And he changes the whole standpoint.
For example, he says: It has been told to you in the past that tit for tat is the law. If somebody throws a brick at you, react by throwing a rock. But I say unto you, if somebody hits you on one cheek, give him the other cheek too. And if somebody takes away your coat, give him your shirt too. And if somebody forces you to go one mile with him, go two miles.
Mohammed is against all kinds of images of God, because his people were worshipping for centuries; they had three hundred and sixty-five gods — one god for every day of the year. The Kaaba of Mohammed’s days was one of the greatest temples on the earth — dedicated to three hundred and sixty-five gods! Mohammed destroyed all those idols. It looks negative….
Buddha says: There is no truth in the Vedas, in the Upanishads. Beware of beautiful words, beware of philosophic speculation. Don’t waste your time with hairsplitting, with logic. Be silent! Throw the Vedas out of your head, only then can you be silent. He looks negative, he looks nihilistic, he look dangerous, but that is the only way you can be helped.
You have to be told the false is false. You have to begin with this: neti, neti — neither this nor that. The master has to say to you, “This is false, that is false.” He has to go on pointing out to you whatsoever is false first, because when you have known all that is false, suddenly a transformation happens in your consciousness. When you have become aware of the false, you start becoming aware of the true.
You cannot be taught what is truth, but you can certainly be taught what is not truth. You have been conditioned, you can be unconditioned. You have been hypnotized — as Hindus, Mohammedans, Christians, Jainas…. The function of a master is to dehypnotize you. Once you are dehypnotized, suddenly you will be able to see the truth. The truth need not be taught.
See the false as false, the true as true.
Look into your heart.
Follow your nature.
One of the most significant statements ever: Look into your heart. Follow your nature. He is not saying follow scriptures. He is not saying follow me. He is not saying follow certain rules of conduct. He is not teaching you any morality. He is not trying to create a certain character around you, because all characters are beautiful prison cells. He is not giving you a certain way of life. Rather he is giving you courage, encouragement, to follow your own nature. He wants you to be brave enough to listen to your own heart and go accordingly.
“Follow your nature” means flow with yourself. You are the scripture… and hidden deep down within you is a still, small voice. If you become silent you will be guided from there.
The master has only to make you aware of your inner master. Then his function is fulfilled. Then he can leave you to yourself; he can throw you back upon yourself. A master is not to enslave the disciple; a master is to free him, to give him total freedom. And this is the only possibility of attaining total freedom: Follow your nature. By “nature” Buddha means dhamma. Just as it is the nature of water to flow downwards and it is the nature of fire to rise upwards, so there is a certain nature hidden in you. If all the conditionings that have been put around you by the society are removed, suddenly you will discover your nature. Your nature has become God. Aes dhammo sanantano — this is the eternal, inexhaustible law: your nature is to become God.
Man is a potential god — a bodhisattva. Man is meant to become a god. Less than that won’t satisfy you, less than that is of no use. You can have all the money in the world, all the power, all the prestige possible, and still you will remain empty — unless your divine nature flowers, opens its buds, unless you become a lotus, a one-thousand-petaled lotus, unless your divinity is revealed to you, you can never be contented.
The ordinary religious person is told to remain satisfied, contented, with whatsoever is the case. The so-called religious saints go on teaching people: Be satisfied. Satisfaction is one of their fundamental teachings. That is not the way of the true masters.
The true master creates discontent in you — and such a discontent that nothing of this world can ever satisfy it. He creates such a longing in you, that unless you attain to the ultimate you will remain aflame, afire. He creates pain in your heart, he creates anguish… because life is slipping by every moment, and each moment gone is gone forever, and you have not attained to God yet, and one day is over.
He creates such a deep longing in you, such pain in the heart! He creates tears in your eyes, because only through such divine discontent will you move, will you take the quantum leap, the ultimate jump into the unknown. It is only through such divine discontent that you will gather together all your energies, and you will risk, and you will go on the ultimate adventure of finding who you are.
Follow your own nature. Your nature is consciousness. But you have been told by the priests: follow certain rules of conduct, the Ten Commandments, follow certain principles — not your nature. Priests are very much afraid of your nature, because if you follow your nature you will get out of their grip, you will be a slave no more. You won’t go to the churches and the temples and the mosques, and you won’t listen to your stupid priests, politicians, the so-called leaders. I call them “so-called leaders” because what is actually happening is that blind people are leading other blind people.
You won’t listen to them anymore if you listen to your own nature. If you know your own inner voice you will become free. Your inner voice has to be crushed, destroyed, utterly destroyed — at least distorted so much that even if you hear it you can’t understand it. And they have succeeded. Unless you struggle hard against them there is no possibility of succeeding. Their exploitation is so old, their oppression is so ancient, their strategies are so cunning… and they have infinite power in their hands. And what are you against them as an individual?
But if you go in, if you listen to your heart, you will attain to such power that no power on the earth can enslave you again.
Follow your nature.… But how to follow your nature if you don’t know what it is? And you are not allowed to know it! You are given precise instructions as to what to do: what to eat, when to get up in the morning, when to go to bed. You have been given precise instructions. Those instructions, if followed, make you a slave. If not followed, they make you a criminal. If followed, you become a saint —but a slave. People will worship you, respect you, but all that respect is a mutual understanding: “If you follow our instructions, we will respect you. If you don’t follow, you will be thrown into jail.”
Either you are made a slave spiritually or a prisoner physically: these are the two alternatives the society gives to you. And it never lets you become aware that there is a source of infinite guidance within you, from where God speaks.
God still speaks, he has not stopped speaking. He is not partial — it is not that he spoke to Mohammed and to Moses and he does not speak to you. He is speaking to you as much as he was speaking to Mohammed. The only difference is, Mohammed was ready to listen and you are not ready to listen. Mohammed was available and you are not available.
To become available to your inner nature is what I call meditation.
Remember these two words. ‘Character’ is an invention of the politicians and the priests; it is a conspiracy against you. Consciousness is your nature. Yes, a man of consciousness has a certain character, but that character follows his consciousness. It is not imposed by anybody else on him; it is his own decision. And he is not encaged in it; he is totally free to change it any moment. As circumstances change, his consciousness gives him different directions and he changes his character.
The man of character — the so-called man of character — is encaged. Even if circumstances change he goes on repeating the same character, although it is no longer relevant, it does not fit. The context in which it was meaningful has disappeared, but he goes on repeating the same nonsense. He is like a parrot. He is a machine: he does not respond, he only reacts.
A man of consciousness responds, and his responses are spontaneous. He is mirror like: he reflects whatsoever confronts him. And out of this spontaneity, out of this consciousness, a new kind of action is born. That action never creates any bondage, any karma. That action frees you. You remain a freedom if you listen to your nature.
But this simple advice seems to be very difficult for people. It should be the simplest thing in the world. Each child is born following his nature, but as you grow up, slowly you lose contact with it — you are forced to lose contact with it. The contact can be regained, it can be rediscovered. Later on, when you become very knowledgeable, encaged in a certain character, utterly blind to your own heart and nature, you start asking such questions.
Just the other day Prem Vijen asked:
“Beloved Master, what do you mean when you say ‘Go in’?” Such a simple statement — “Go in” — and you ask me, “What do you mean?” Can’t you understand these simple words, ‘go in’? I know you understand the words, but going in has become so difficult because you have been taught only how to go out. You can only go out, you only know how to go out. Your consciousness has been turned towards others; it has forgotten the way to itself. You go on knocking on others’ doors, and whenever it is said to you, “Go home,” you say, “What do you mean by ‘going home’?” You know only others’ houses, but you don’t know your own home. And you are carrying it within yourself. You have been forced to become extroverts. One has to learn again ways of inwardness.
Soren Kierkegaard has said: Religion means inwardness — going into your own interiority. But the simple words, ‘go in’, have become so difficult to understand. Mind only knows how to go out; it has no reverse gear in it.
I have heard that when Ford made his first cars they had no reverse gear. It was a later addition. Without a reverse gear it was really a problem: whenever you wanted to come back you had to go miles unnecessarily, you had to go round. Even if you wanted to go a few feet back, you might have to take a journey of miles. Then Ford became aware that a reverse gear was needed.
I am teaching you here that the reverse gear is there, built in, you have just forgotten about it. You know how to go out. Nobody asks, “What does it mean when you say ‘Go out’?” But everybody wants to ask, “What do you mean when you say ‘Go in’?” Simple words!
Thinking is going out: non-thinking is going in. Think, and you have started moving away from yourself. Thought is the way leading you farther away. Thought is a project. No-thought… and suddenly you are in. Without thought you cannot go out, without desire you cannot go out. You need the fuel of desire and the vehicle of thought to go out.
Sitting silently, doing nothing… not even thinking, not even desiring… and where will you be?
Going in is not really going in. It is simply stopping going out… and suddenly you find yourself in.
Prem Vijen, you need not go in because if you go you will always go out. Going means going out. Stop going! Stop going anywhere! Can’t you sit silently without going anywhere? Yes, physically you can sit, that is not very difficult. You can learn a yoga posture and you can make your body almost a statue, but the problem is — what are you doing inside? Desires, thoughts, memories, imagination, all kinds of projects? — stop them too.
How to stop them? Just become indifferent to them, unconcerned. Even if they are there, don’t pay attention to them. Even if they are there, don’t give them any importance. Even if they are there, let them be. You sit silently inside — watching. Remember that word ‘watching’ — witnessing, just being alert.
Don’t start looking in the dictionaries or in the Encyclopedia Britannica. It is not a question of words! Words are simple to understand; when I say “Go in,” that’s exactly what I mean — go in! Don’t start asking about the words — listen to the hidden message; otherwise you will miss the train.[…]
If you become too much interested in words —”What does it mean to go in? What does it mean, verbally, linguistically?” — Vijen, you are going to miss the train. Don’t waste time with words!
And it is a particularly new kind of disease that has gripped the intellectuals of the world. For at least fifty years the philosophical world has become too much interested in words, linguistic analysis. They don’t ask anymore what God is. They don’t ask anymore whether God exists or not. The contemporary philosophers ask, “What does it mean when you use the word ‘God’?” It is not a question of whether God exists or not. It is not a question of what God is. It is not a question of how to attain God. Now the question has taken a very new turn: “What do you mean when you use the word ‘God’?”
What do you mean when you use the word ‘rose’? Now it is easy: you can take hold of the philosopher, force him to go to the garden, and you can show him the rose: “This is what I mean when I use the word ‘rose’.” But this cannot be done with the word ‘God’ — and this cannot be done with the word ‘meditation’ and this cannot be done with the words ‘going in’. These are subtle phenomena. Don’t become linguistically interested. I am not here to teach you linguistic analysis.
My whole approach is existential. If you really want to know what it means to go in, go in! And the way is: watch your thoughts and don’t get identified with them. Just remain a watcher, utterly indifferent, neither for nor against. Don’t judge, because every judgment brings identification. Don’t say, “These thoughts are wrong,” and don’t say, “These thoughts are good.” Don’t comment on the thoughts. Just let them pass as if it is just traffic passing by, and you are standing by the side of the road unconcerned, looking at the traffic.
It does not matter what is passing by — a bus, a truck, a bicycle. If you can watch the thought process of your mind with such unconcern, with such detachment, that moment is not very far away when one day the whole traffic disappears… because the traffic can exist only if you go on giving energy to it. If you stop giving energy to it…. And that’s what watching is: stopping giving energy to it, stopping energy moving into the traffic. It is your energy that makes those thoughts move. When your energy is not coming they start falling; they cannot stand on their own.
And when the road of the mind is utterly empty, you are in. That’s what I mean, Vijen, when I say “Go in.” And that’s what Buddha means when he says: Follow your nature.
From Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha V.1, 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.