Compassion: Love Come of Age – Osho

Buddha was saying again and again to his disciples that meditation and compassion should grow side by side. These days I have been feeling your compassion as never before, and I have also been feeling the urge to start learning from it, at least the ABC. For now, the only thing that makes me feel close to it are those warm tears that flow down my cheeks as I look at you.

Beloved, can you please talk about compassion and how to go into it from the stage I’m at.

Chidananda, Gautam Buddha’s emphasis on compassion was a very new phenomenon as far as the mystics of old were concerned. Gautam Buddha makes a historical dividing line from the past; before him meditation was enough, nobody had emphasized compassion together with meditation. And the reason was that meditation brings enlightenment, your blossoming, your ultimate expression of being. What more do you need? As far as the individual is concerned, meditation is enough. Gautam Buddha’s greatness consists in introducing compassion even before you start meditating. You should be more loving, more kind, more compassionate.

There is a hidden science behind it. Before a man becomes enlightened, if he has a heart full of compassion there is a possibility that after meditation he will help others to achieve the same beatitude, to the same height, to the same celebration as he has achieved. Gautam Buddha makes it possible for enlightenment to be infectious. But if the person feels that he has come back home, why bother about anybody else?

Buddha makes enlightenment for the first time unselfish; he makes it a social responsibility. It is a great change. But compassion should be learned before enlightenment happens. If it is not learned before, then after enlightenment there is nothing to learn. When one becomes so ecstatic in himself then even compassion seems to be preventing his own joy – a kind of disturbance in his ecstasy… That’s why there have been hundreds of enlightened people, but very few masters.

To be enlightened does not mean necessarily that you will become a master. Becoming a master means you have tremendous compassion, and you feel ashamed to go alone into those beautiful spaces that enlightenment makes available. You want to help the people who are blind, in darkness, groping their way. It becomes a joy to help them, it is not a disturbance.

In fact, it becomes a richer ecstasy when you see so many people flowering around you; you are not a solitary tree who has blossomed in a forest where no other tree is blossoming. When the whole forest blossoms with you, the joy becomes a thousand fold; you have used your enlightenment to bring a revolution in the world. Gautam Buddha is not only enlightened, but an enlightened revolutionary.

His concern with the world, with people, is immense. He was teaching his disciples that when you meditate and you feel silence, serenity, a deep joy bubbling inside your being, don’t hold onto it; give it to the whole world. And don’t be worried, because the more you give it, the more you will become capable of getting it. The gesture of giving is of tremendous importance once you know that giving does not take anything from you; on the contrary, it multiplies your experiences. But the man who has never been compassionate does not know the secret of giving, does not know the secret of sharing.

It happened that one of his disciples, a layman – he was not a sannyasin, but he was very much devoted to Gautam Buddha – said, “I will do it … but I want just to make one exception. I will give all my joy and all my meditation and all my inner treasures to the whole world – except my neighbor, because that fellow is really nasty.”

Neighbors are always enemies. Gautam Buddha said to him, “You forget the world, you simply give to your neighbor.”

He said, “What are you saying?”

Buddha said, “If you can give to your neighbor, only then will you be freed from this antagonistic attitude towards a human being.”

Compassion basically means accepting people’s frailties, their weaknesses, not expecting them to behave like gods. That is cruelty, because they will not be able to behave like gods and then they will fall in your estimation, and they will also fall in their own self-respect. You have dangerously crippled them, you have damaged their dignity. One of the fundamentals of compassion is to make everybody dignified, everybody aware that what has happened to you can happen to him; that he is not a hopeless case, that he is not unworthy, that enlightenment is not to be deserved, it is your very self-nature.

But these words should come from the enlightened man, only then can they create trust. If they come from unenlightened scholars, they cannot create trust. The word, through the enlightened man, starts breathing, starts having a heartbeat of its own. It becomes living, it goes directly into your heart – it is not an intellectual gymnastics. But with the scholar it is a different thing. He himself is not certain of what he is talking about, what he is writing about. He is in the same uncertainty as you are.

Gautam Buddha is one of the landmarks in the evolution of consciousness; his contribution is great, immeasurable. And in his contribution, the idea of compassion is the most essential. But you have to remember that by being compassionate you don’t become higher; otherwise you spoil the whole thing. It becomes an ego trip. Remember not to humiliate the other person by being compassionate; otherwise you are not being compassionate, behind the words you are enjoying their humiliation.

Compassion has to be understood, because it is love come of age. Ordinary love is very childish, it is a good game for teenagers. The faster you grow out of it the better, because your love is a blind biological force. It has nothing to do with your spiritual growth; that’s why all love affairs turn in a strange way, become very bitter.

That which was so alluring, so exciting, so challenging, for which you could have died … now you could still die – but not for it, you could die to get rid of it.

A great psychologist, Alfred Adler, went to a madhouse to see in what condition the mad people were, what their problems were, and if he and his understanding about man’s psychology could be of any help.

The superintendent knew he was a world famous figure… but there happened to be a very strange case. He saw a man behind bars, in a cell, who was keeping a photograph on his chest – and tears were coming from his eyes. Alfred Adler knew the man, because the man was a professor in the university where Alfred Adler had addressed the professors many times. He was a very learned man. What had happened to this poor guy?

The superintendent said, “It is a very complicated and strange story. When you know the whole of it, you will not be able to believe it. He loved a woman – the picture is of that woman. He still loves her; he cannot forget her for a moment. He never loses hold of the picture; even in the night he sleeps with the picture. And these tears … one cannot believe how many tears he has. They seem to be inexhaustible, they go on flowing. Because the woman refused to marry him, that triggered something in him and he went mad.

“Now he does not talk to anyone. We have tried in every possible way to break the ice and somehow bring him back to normality, but he does not talk, he does not want to see anybody. If you go in front of him, he closes his eyes. He wants to see only his beloved. That picture is more real to him than anything else in the world. And that ‘no’ is hurting him so deeply… he eats well but he goes on losing weight. He has become almost a skeleton.”

Alfred Adler said, “I knew the man before; he was a perfectly healthy, a robust person. He has aged as if he had skipped at least twenty years. He was young when I knew him, just a year ago.”

The superintendent said, “He is simply committing slow suicide. That ‘no’ has been too heavy; he really loved the woman.”

They moved on, and in the second cell there was a man rolling around like a maniac, hitting the walls, beating the bars, shouting as loudly as he could, “Just leave me! I want to do one thing only – to kill that woman!”

And the superintendent said to Alfred Adler, “You will be surprised now, really surprised. The woman who refused the first man – and he has gone mad because he could not conceive of his life without her – is the same woman this man married. And just within six months of marriage things have gone so poisonous that he wants to murder her. He has made efforts to murder her; he was caught by the police and forced into the madhouse.”

Alfred Adler, in his autobiography, remembers the incident, and he said, “What kind of love is this? They both loved, but the first one, to whom she said no, still loves her; and the second one, to whom she said yes, wants to kill the woman. That is his only goal in life. He said, ‘Any day, someday you will let me out. My only project is to kill that woman and surrender myself to the police. You can shoot me, you can hang me, whatever you want to do – I am no longer interested. But let me do at least one thing first – kill that woman. She destroyed my peace, my life, my joy, everything.’”

Love is a blind force. The only successful lovers have been those who never succeeded in getting their beloveds. All the great stories of lovers: Laila and Majnu, Shiri and Farhad, Soni and Mahival… these are the three Eastern stories of great love. But all the three never could get together; society, parents, everything became a barrier. And I think perhaps it was good. Once lovers get married, then there is no love story left.

Majnu was fortunate that he never got hold of Laila. What happens when two blind forces come together? Because both are blind and unconscious, the outcome cannot be a great harmony. The outcome can only be a battlefield of domination, of humiliation, of all kinds of conflicts.

The very word ‘compassion’ will remind you about passion. When passion becomes alert and aware, the whole energy of love comes to a refinement; it becomes compassion.

Love is always addressed to one person, and its deepest desire is to possess that person. But the same is the case from the other side – and that becomes the cause of creating a hell.

Compassion is not addressed to anybody. It is not a relationship; it is simply your very being. You enjoy being compassionate to the trees, to the birds, to the animals, to human beings, to everybody – unconditionally, not asking for anything in return. Compassion is a freedom from blind biology. Before you become enlightened, you should keep alert that your love energy is not repressed. That’s what old religions have been doing: they teach you condemnation of your love. So you repress your love energy, and that is the energy which can be transformed into compassion. But by condemnation there is no possibility of transformation.

So your saints are absolutely without any compassion; in their eyes you will not see any compassion. They are absolutely dry bones, with no juice at all. To live with a saint for twenty-four hours is enough to experience what hell is like. Perhaps people are aware of this fact, so they immediately touch the feet of the saint and run away.

One of the great philosophers of our age, Bertrand Russell, has emphatically declared, “If there is hell and heaven, I want to go to hell.” Why? Just to avoid the saints, because heaven will be full of all these dead, dull, dusty, saints. And Bertrand Russell thinks, “I could not tolerate this company even for a minute. And to think of eternity, forever, to be surrounded by these corpses, who don’t know any love, who don’t know any friendship, who never go on holidays…”

A saint always remains seven days a week a saint. It is not allowed for him that at least on one day, Sunday, he should enjoy being a human being. No, he remains stiff, and this stiffness goes on growing as time passes.

Bertrand Russell’s choice to be in hell I appreciate very much, because I can understand what he means by it. He is saying that in hell you will find all the juicy people of the world – the poets, the painters, the rebellious spirits, the scientists, the creative people, the dancers, the actors, the singers, the musicians. Hell must be really a heaven, because heaven is nothing but a hell!

Things have gone so wrong, and the basic reason for their going wrong is that love energy has been repressed. Gautam Buddha’s contribution is, “Don’t repress your love energy. Refine it, and use meditation to refine it.”

So side by side, as meditation grows it goes on refining your love energy and makes it compassion. Before your meditation reaches to its highest climax and explodes into a beautiful experience of enlightenment, compassion will be very close. It will become possible for the enlightened person to let his energies flow – and now he has all the energies of the world – through the roots of compassion, to anyone who is ready to receive. Only this type of man becomes a master.

To become enlightened is simple, but to become a master is a very complex phenomenon, because it needs meditation plus compassion. Just meditation is easy, just compassion is easy; but both together, simultaneously growing, becomes a complex affair.

But the people, who become enlightened and never share their experience because they don’t feel any compassion don’t help the evolution of consciousness on the earth; they don’t raise the level of humanity. Only the masters have been able to raise consciousness. Whatsoever small consciousness you have, the whole credit goes to the few masters who managed to remain compassionate, even after their enlightenment. It will be difficult for you to understand, because enlightenment is so absorbing that one tends to forget the whole world.

One is so utterly satisfied that he does not have any space to think of all those millions who are also groping for the same experience – knowingly, unknowingly. Rightly or wrongly, but a compassion remains present; then it is impossible to forget those people. In fact, this is the moment when you have something to give, something to share. And sharing is such a joy. You have known through compassion, slowly slowly, that the more you share, the more you have. If you can share your enlightenment too, your enlightenment will have much more richness, much more aliveness, much more celebration, many more dimensions.

Enlightenment can be one-dimensional – that’s what has happened to many people. It satisfies them, and they disappear into the universal source. But enlightenment can be multi-dimensional; it can bring so many flowers to the world. And you owe something to the world because you are sons of this earth.

I am reminded of Zarathustra’s saying, “Never betray the earth. Even in your highest glory, don’t forget the earth; it is your mother. And don’t forget the people. They may have been hindrances, they may have been enemies to you; they may have tried in every way to destroy you; they may have already crucified you, stoned you to death, or poisoned you – but don’t forget them. Whatever they have done, they have done in an unconscious state. And if you cannot forgive them, who is going to forgive them? And your forgiving them is going to enrich you immeasurably.”

Chidananda, you are asking, “Gautam Buddha was saying again and again to his disciples that meditation and compassion should grow side by side.” That’s his uniqueness amongst all other mystics.

“These days I have been feeling your compassion as never before, and I have also been feeling the urge to start learning from it, at least the ABC. For now, the only thing that makes me feel close to it are those warm tears that flow down my cheeks as I look at you. Beloved, can you please talk about compassion, and how to grow into it from the stage I am at?”

You simply allow it to grow on its own. You are in a right space; those tears are indications. If you start doing something to make the process of growth faster, you may damage the whole thing. It is almost like a gardener – he cannot pull up his plants to make them grow faster. The pulling may destroy the whole plant. It may come out of the earth with the roots, and you may not be able to give it life again. The gardener has to take care; he has to water, he has to give nourishment, he has to give all kinds of manure, but he has not to touch the plant. The plant will grow on its own, it is a spontaneous growth.

You are feeling that the seed has broken, and perhaps just two green leaves have sprouted out of the earth. Rejoice, and in every way support it, but don’t try to hurry up the process. There are processes which cannot be hurried – you can kill them. They are so delicate that they grow only on their own. You can support them, you can put around them everything that they need, but leave them absolutely to themselves.

You are exactly in a right space. Enjoy your tears, enjoy your laughter – and not only when you are with me. Slowly, slowly bring the same space with other people. Perhaps they will not be able to understand you. They may start consoling you, “Chidananda, don’t cry. What has happened? Has your girlfriend left you? Or are you in some financial trouble?” Just tell them that your girlfriend has not left, that you are not in financial trouble, but thank them for their sympathy. Tell them your tears are not of sadness or failure; your tears are out of your joy.

Joy is the nourishment for your compassion … a very subtle food. Sing, dance, play on musical instruments, and all this will support the delicate phenomenon that has already been born in you. But don’t do anything to hurry up the process, because that hurrying up comes from the mind. The mind is always in a hurry, the mind is always speeding; but all great things grow very slowly, very silently, without making any noise.

Just watch that anything that goes against compassion you don’t give any support to. Jealousy, competition, an effort to dominate – all that goes against compassion. And you will know immediately because your compassion will start wavering. The moment you feel your compassion is shaky, you must be doing something that is going against it. You can poison your compassion by stupid things, which don’t give you anything except anxiety, anguish, struggle, and a sheer wastage of a tremendously precious life.

A beautiful story for you:

Paddy came home an hour earlier than usual and found his wife stark naked on the bed. When he asked why, she explained, “I am protesting because I don’t have any nice clothes to wear.”

Paddy pulled open the closet door. “That’s ridiculous,” he said, “look in here. There is a yellow dress, a red dress, a print dress, a pantsuit … Hi, Bill!” And he goes on, “A green dress…”

This is compassion!

It is compassion to his wife, it is compassion to Bill. No jealousy, no fight, just simply, “Hi, Bill! How are you?” and he goes on. He never even enquires, “What are you doing in my closet?”

Compassion is very understanding. It is the finest understanding that is possible to man.

As he was approaching an intersection, the man’s car lost its brakes and bumped into the rear of a car with “Just Married” written all over it. The damage was slight but the man sincerely offered his apologies to the newlywed couple.

“Aw, it doesn’t matter,” replied the husband. “It has been one of those days.”

An understanding, a deep understanding that now everything is possible… Once one is married, then he can expect all kinds of accidents. The greatest accident has already happened – now nothing matters.

A man of compassion should not be disturbed by small things in life, which are happening every moment. Only then, in an indirect way, are you helping your compassionate energies to accumulate, to crystallize, to become stronger, and to go on rising with your meditation.

So the day the blissful moment comes, when you are full of light, there will be at least one companion: compassion. And immediately a new style of life… because now you have so much that you can bless the whole world.

Although Gautam Buddha insisted consistently, finally he had to make a division, a categorization amongst his disciples. One category he calls arhatas; they are enlightened people, but without compassion. They have put their whole energy into meditation, but they have not listened about compassion. And the other he calls bodhisattvas; they have listened to his message of compassion. They are enlightened with compassion, so they are not in a hurry to go to the other shore; they want to linger on this shore, with all kinds of difficulties, to help people. Their boat has arrived, and perhaps the captain is saying, “Don’t waste time, the call has come from the other shore, which you have been seeking all your life.”

But they persuade the captain to wait a little, so that they can share their joy, their wisdom, their light, their love with all those people who are also searching the same. This will become a trust in them: “Yes, there is another shore, and when you are ripe a boat comes to take you to the other shore. There is a shore of immortals, there is a shore where no misery exists, there is a shore where life is simply a moment-to-moment song and a dance. Let me at least give them a little taste before. I leave the world.”

And masters have tried in every possible way to cling to something so that they are not swept away to the other shore. According to Buddha, compassion is the best, because compassion is also a desire, in the final analysis. The idea to help somebody is also a desire, and while you can keep the desire you cannot be taken to the other shore. It is a very thin thread that keeps you attached to the world. Everything is broken, all chains are broken – a thin thread of love … But Buddha’s emphasis is, keep that thin thread as long as possible; as many people that can be helped, help them.

Your enlightenment should not have a selfish motive, it should not be just yours; you should make it shared as widely, to as many people as possible. That’s the only way to raise the consciousness on the earth – which has given you life, which has given you the chance to become enlightened.

This is the moment to pay back something, although you cannot pay back everything that life has given to you. But something – just two flowers, in gratitude.

-Osho

From The New Dawn, Chapter 22   The New Dawn

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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Let Love Be Your Only Law – Osho

let love be your meditation

let love be your only law

i have only one commandment

because to me the whole religiousness

is contained in this single word

love

all the bibles, all the gitas, all the korans

if in any scripture there is something valuable

then it is bound to be some aspect of love

love has many aspects

it is a multi-dimensional phenomenon

the way to find it is meditation

meditation simply means becoming utterly silent

so that your mind is no more an interference

mind is full of desires, motives, goals, purposes

and love cannot be found by the mind

because love has no motive, no purpose

love has nothing to achieve, nothing to gain

it is not a means to some end

it is an end unto itself

hence mind is incapable of even comprehending

what love is

mind has to be put aside

that putting aside of the mind

is what meditation is all about

when the mind is put aside

you are in a state of meditation

no-mind is meditation

and in that state, love blossoms

suddenly you explode into love

your whole life becomes an overflowing love

but without silence it is not possible

one has to attain to such a deep silence that

not even a slight tremor of the mind remains in it

not even a small ripple of thought, desire

motive, greed, anger, no past, no future

when mind has completely ceased

then one hears the music of silence

the song of silence

the Sound of One Hand Clapping

-Osho   From The Sound of One Hand Clapping

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Buddham Sharanam Gachchhami – Osho

Beloved Osho,

Is this a question, a realization, or a declaration?

Something beyond forces me to put this on paper; though I am writing this, the words are not mine.

It is past midnight, about five o’clock on the full moonlight night of the Indian month known as “Bhadra the Thursday,” The Guruvar Master’s Day in Indian language.

I am in vipassana meditation, as my eyes open, a dazzling light brightens the room. I cannot keep my eyes open, as the light is too dazzling. After a few minutes, I can open my eyes and I become quite aware.

Two figures are standing before me: one is beloved Bhagwan with folded hands and that gentle, beautiful smile; and the other is Gautam Buddha in Gyan Mudra. It is Buddha’s third body.

He looks at beloved Bhagwan, and after a few moments he touches the feet of Bhagwan and merges with his body, smilingly.

I hear him saying:

“I have fulfilled my promise. I was to come as Maitreya after two thousand five hundred years, and I have come. If you have eyes, you will see me; if you have ears you will hear me; if you have a heart you will feel and recognize me. My third body I had kept in existence to rebirth, to help whoever wanted my help.

“With due respect and adoration, I have to state that I could have merged with Krishnamurtiji, but due to his insistence on being original I could not merge and help individuals through him. I was hopeful, as he was especially prepared for my appearance – but he was adamant. His body suffered a lot due to his resistance to accepting me. He preferred and chose ceaseless pain and suffering for this.

“My third body now cannot remain in existence if it is not accepted for rebirth or merging. The time I had decided for it is coming close to an end so I cannot wait any longer, and hence I am merging my third body with Bhagwan’s energy without disturbing his individuality.

“He is like an ocean; many small and big rivers merge with it, but still the ocean remains, unperturbed. Its identity remains as an ocean without any change.

“In him, all enlightenments – past, present and future – have become alive and active; a unique event that has not happened before, nor will it happen again. Bhagwan is total acceptance, total emptiness, total nothingness, and unbounded compassion. He is both Purna and Shunya incarnated.

“From my third body, I address him as ‘Bhagwan,’ but from now onwards he will not be only ‘Bhagwan Rajneesh,’ he will be ‘Bhagwan Rajneesh, the Buddha Lord Maitreya’ – A Buddha, A True Friend to All.”

Thus saying, Buddha’s third body merged with our beloved, beautiful Bhagwan.

Bhagwan’s radiance was increasing and filled the whole universe. I remember the prophecy of Lama Karmapa, who had predicted this event, but had asked me not to talk about the event till it happened. Now it has happened and flowers have showered.

So let it be known to all, let it be shouted from the rooftops that Bhagwan Rajneesh, the Buddha Lord Maitreya, is here; Buddha has fulfilled his promise.

The light was fading, the full moon was setting slowly in the West with its cool, silent fading light; and in the East the new sun was rising with a light orange glow, silently bringing a new day, and with it a new journey.

Beloved, beautiful Bhagwan slowly, slowly disappeared with a gentle smile and folded hands, leaving me in that gentle morning light with a heart full of gratitude and eyes full of tears.

Beloved Osho, I bow down to you, announcing to the world that Bhagwan Rajneesh, the Buddha Lord Maitreya, is here and the flowers have showered. To date, Masters have declared themselves, but today a disciple declares with gratitude that the Master, the Buddha, a Real Friend, has come with a new radiance to help all.

Beloved Osho, I have nothing to offer – not even a flower – and yet I offer everything. Thus, something is given and something is taken.

Oh beloved sannyasins, devotees and friends who are present here are the blessed ones to hear this declaration and witness this unique event.

Oh sannyasins, rejoice, celebrate and sing, “BUDDHAM SHARANAM GACHCHHAMI;

SANGHAM SHARANAM GACHCHHAMI; DHAMMAM SHARANAM GACHCHHAMI.”

Beloved Osho, I was reluctant to write this to you, but something unknown forces me to write to you. I do not know whether this is right to do or not. Will you please comment on the event?

Govind Siddharth, it is not a question.

It is a realization, and it is a declaration.

Whatever you have experienced was not a dream. Your whole life may have been a dream, but this experience is absolute reality. That’s why you felt an unknown force compelling you to declare it. You had to declare it – it is impossible to hide the truth.

It has not only happened to you alone; there are two more persons present here to whom the same experience at the same time has happened. They are also hesitating whether to declare it or not. The hesitation is natural, because the declaration is so big and you feel so small, but you cannot keep it within you. It is just like a pregnant woman – how long can she hide that she is pregnant? One day she is going to give birth to a child.

Every truth is a living experience.

And the very nature of life is expression, expansion, declaration. Each flower declares it, each morning the sun declares it, each night millions of stars declare it. Of course their language of declaration is different – a flower declares it by its fragrance, the star declares it by its light, the moon declares it by its beauty.

But truth, beauty, good… these three – satyam, shivam, sundaram – are the basic, the fundamental trinity of existence. You cannot hide them.

One feels embarrassed – how to say it? And to say it in a world which is skeptical, in a world where people are deaf as far as truth is concerned, where people are blind as far as beauty is concerned, where people don’t have hearts as far as feeling, sensitivity is concerned… one feels alone to declare such a thing.

But it is not out of egoism – you cannot declare such a thing out of egoism because the ego will feel very embarrassed, and ego does not like to feel embarrassed. It is out of humbleness that one declares such experiences.

I was waiting… out of those three persons, who is going to declare it first? Govind Siddharth has proved really humble, courageous. Whatever he is saying, he has seen – not in sleep, not in dream.

It is true that J. Krishnamurti was prepared for exactly this phenomenon.

Gautam Buddha had promised that after twenty-five centuries he will be coming as Lord Maitreya. Maitreya means ‘the friend’.

Of course, his own body was burned and could not be kept for twenty-five centuries; the technology was not yet developed. Now it is possible. There are ten bodies in the world which are being kept. They are dead, it is very expensive to keep them, but those people were very rich people and they have willed that their bodies should be kept – because science is saying that within ten or twelve years, at the most twelve, we will be able to revive dead bodies. These rich people have allowed their bodies to be kept, so that when the technology is ready to revive them, they can be revived back to life again.

Gautam Buddha had to use a totally different kind of technology – not scientific but occult. The physical body died. But there are other bodies within this body which don’t die, and he has lived with his third body. He cannot be born through a womb; that is impossible, that is against the nature of things. Once you are enlightened, you cannot be born through the natural process, through a womb.

It is his compassion. No one before him has ever tried. Perhaps no one before him had such compassion.

The story is that Gautam Buddha reaches the door of nirvana – and once you enter the door you disappear into the universe. The doors are opened, the doorkeeper welcomes him. But Buddha refuses to enter the door and he says, “I will stay here outside the door, because millions of my fellow travelers are groping in the dark. I will try in every possible way to help them. Unless every living being has passed through the door, I will wait. I am going to be the last.”

This is not just a parable, not just a fictitious story, but something absolutely factual in the world of mysticism. It is not factual in the world of matter, it is factual in the world of the spirit.

J. Krishnamurti was prepared by very learned scholars who had found in all the scriptures – Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, Indian – the promise of Buddha that after twenty-five centuries he would be coming back: “I will find a way. I cannot come through a womb but I can enter into a living being, can merge my soul with his soul.” When the theosophists found this, they started searching for somebody who could be prepared – in purity, in discipline, in meditation, consciously – so that he can become a vehicle of Lord Maitreya.

They worked really hard on J. Krishnamurti.

He was not the only one they worked on. They had chosen at least five children of immense intelligence, and they worked on all five. One of the five was Nityananda, Krishnamurti’s elder brother. He died; he died because of too much arduous discipline. He was immensely intelligent. He would have become a great scientist, a great philosopher, but he was not meant to become a great mystic – and perhaps not a vehicle of Gautam Buddha.

Training those five – and when Nityananda died, the four – slowly it became clear that Krishnamurti was the best out of the four. One was Raj Gopal, who was made personal secretary to J. Krishnamurti. And he betrayed J. Krishnamurti because he carried that resentment for his whole life. He was chosen for the same purpose, and finally he was just made a personal private-secretary. He was angry, resentful, but he didn’t show it.

He was the managing trustee of all the properties that belonged to the organization which was created for Krishnamurti – its name was “The Star of the East.” The royalties for all of Krishnamurti’s books were going to Raj Gopal. And just five years ago, he simply betrayed J. Krishnamurti. He simply said, “You have nothing to do with the organization, the money, the books, the royalties.” At the age of eighty-five, Krishnamurti had to begin again from ABC.

This man, Raj Gopal, must have had a tremendous patience, because for sixty years he kept the resentment repressed in himself, waiting for the right moment when Krishnamurti was so old that he could not do anything. At that moment he would desert him. He took away all the assets of Krishnamurti Foundation – he was the head of the foundation – and Krishnamurti was left, at the age of eighty-five, just a beggar.

Another boy who was trained was a German. Seeing that he was not going to be chosen, he behaved just like a German: he created a new organization and revolted against the theosophical movement, created a split in the movement. And the German section of the theosophical society became a separate party. He became the leader of it, hoping that he would compete with J. Krishnamurti not understanding at all that these matters are not of competition.

Krishnamurti himself, after years of training and discipline… rather than becoming pure, rather than becoming a right-vehicle, he became so hateful towards all the ringleaders who were torturing him – telling him to fast, telling him to wake up early in the morning at three o’clock, have a cold bath at three o’clock – with all good intentions, but they never realized the fact that you cannot make anybody a Gautam Buddha. It is not a question of training. However good the intentions are, the result is going to be a disaster.

When Krishnamurti reached the age of twenty-five, they gathered the chief leaders of the theosophical movement in Holland, where Krishnamurti was going to declare that Gautam Buddha had entered into him and he has become the world teacher.

But he was a sincere man. Gautam Buddha did not enter. If he had been a man like the pope or

Ayatollah Khomeini he could have said, “Yes, Gautam Buddha has entered in me and I am the world teacher.” But he refused. He said, “No Gautam Buddha has not entered in me, and I am not the world teacher. Not only that, I am not going to be a teacher at all.”

It was such a shock to the six thousand leaders of the movement who had come from all over the world. They could not believe it – they had prepared this man, they had fought for this man in the courts, they had done everything that was possible to give him the best education. He never gave an indication that he was unwilling. And at the last moment, when he stood up, he declared, “I dissolve the organization, ‘The Star of the East’. I am not the world teacher.” It was a reaction. You cannot force anybody into paradise. A forced paradise will become hell, because the basic element of freedom is missing.

Gautam Buddha’s third body has been hovering around the world to find someone to become a vehicle, so that whatever he said twenty-five centuries ago can be updated, resurrected, made fit for the modern man – for the new man who is going to be born.

In twenty-five centuries so much dust has gathered that unless something absolutely fresh begins…

There are millions of Buddhists, there are thousands of great Buddhist monks; it looks simply absurd that he should not choose a vehicle from these people. It will be just natural and logical to choose a Dalai Lama or a great Buddhist monk, learned.

But you have to remember – that is one of my basic emphases – that these people cannot be chosen, because they are still hanging on to the Buddha that was twenty-five centuries ago. To choose them as vehicles is just meaningless; they will be repeating the same.

I love Gautam Buddha as I have not loved any other master, but my love is not blind. I have criticized him as severely as possible. I have praised him when I have found him right – right for today, right for tomorrow, right for the new humanity to come. And I have criticized him severely whenever I have found that he is twenty-five centuries old, still carrying conditionings, rotten ideas which are of no use for the new man, but will be a great hindrance.

Govind Siddharth must have been puzzled seeing what he has seen, because I would appear to be the last man that Gautam Buddha would choose to be a vehicle.

But this is the beauty of Gautam Buddha: he understands that the message has to be for the present and for the future, that he needs an absolutely fresh being – unattached to any old tradition, his tradition included – a man absolutely untraditional, unorthodox. A man of today, as fresh as today’s rose – even if the man goes many times against the teachings of the old Buddha.

I was not going to declare it for the simple reason that then it would become difficult for me to criticize the old man. So I was keeping completely aloof, so that my freedom and my independence are not in any way curtailed.

I have my own message.

If Gautam Buddha finds that my message has the essentials of his message too, then it is his choice.  It is not a burden on me. I will go on criticizing him whenever I find anything that is not right for human growth in the future.

But Govind Siddharth’s difficulty was that he could not keep it a secret. One of the most difficult things in the world is to keep a secret – and such a secret!

But I will remain exactly the same as I am, no compromise. Gautam Buddha and all the masters of the past can choose me as their vehicles, but I will not allow any pollution. My message will remain my message.

Yes, they can… and Govind Siddharth says it rightly: The river can fall into the ocean; thousands of rivers can fall into the ocean – they don’t make the ocean sweet. They themselves become salty.

Gautam Buddha has chosen me as his vehicle because it was difficult now to keep hanging around in his third body anymore. Twenty-five centuries have passed; in fact a few more years have passed. He had to choose, but he has chosen a person who has his own message. It will surely be beautiful if it coincides with his essentials, but if it does not coincide, then I am going to be as hard on him as I have been before. It will not make any difference.

I am not going to be his voice; I am going to remain my voice.

But what Govind Siddharth has seen is a tremendous experience, a great realization.

There are two more persons present here – if they gather courage, then their questions will be coming. If they cannot gather courage, then they will always remain burdened with a secret. It is better to bring it in the open and be free of it – and anyway it is in the open, Govind Siddharth has done almost 99.9 percent of the work. Nothing is left for you.

Anybody who has been close to me has felt it many times, that I bring Gautam Buddha, his life, his stories, more than those of anybody else to illustrate some of my ideas. Gautam Buddha comes very close to me. The difference is not of twenty-five centuries – maybe only twenty-five centimeters – but the difference is there.

I am not a person who compromises.

I will not be compromising with Gautam Buddha either, but whatever is ultimate truth is nobody’s possession, neither Gautam Buddha’s nor mine. Only the non-essentials are different; the essential is always the same. And my effort is to cut all non-essentials and give you only the pure, essential message, because only the essential religion is going to survive in the future. The non-essential rituals are all going to be dead.

With this century ending, there will be a religiousness in the world but no religions.

Perhaps he has chosen a right man.

And he has also chosen a right man in Govind Siddharth to declare the fact. I was not going to declare it, because declaration from my side brings a certain compromise, as if I have become a vehicle of somebody else’s message.

I am nobody’s vehicle. In fact, my message and Gautam Buddha’s message are almost parallel – so parallel, so similar that it can be said that he was my vehicle or it can be said that I am his vehicle. But it is not going to change my approach in any way. Now I will be even harder on Gautam Buddha, so that only the most essential and the purest part of him reaches to humanity in the future.

-Osho

From The Osho Upanishad, chapter 35.

There is a related post concerning Govind Siddharth’s meeting with the 16th Karmapa at Osho and the 16th Karmapa.

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 Challenge of Emptiness – Vimala Thakar

vimala

Vimala Thakar on the Spiritual Emancipation of Women
an interview by Shanti Adams

Shanti Adams: This morning I would like to talk with you about women in relationship to spiritual liberation.
In the course of the last ten years I have been part of a community of men and women who are students of spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen. We have been trying to live, together in a mixed community, what we have learned through being with him and through practicing and studying his teaching. Initially, the people who joined this community did not attach any particular importance to being either male or female. Speaking for myself, I was never drawn to women’s movements. I was just interested in the truth. I’m not a feminist and I’m not an antifeminist either. I have no doubt that real freedom transcends nationality, transcends religious bias and also transcends gender.

At first there didn’t seem to be any particular differences in our community between male and female conditioning when it came to spiritual practice or liberation. But over time, deep differences between male and female conditioning seem to have emerged. And this doesn’t seem to be just an individual matter; each sex as a group seems to have its own distinct conditioning.

Let me give you an example. Really trying to live these teachings requires an ability to observe one’s conditioning, habits, and tendencies clearly—or objectively—and to actually transcend them or be free of them. One thing that is beginning to emerge is that women often have difficulty with that kind of objectivity. For example, when a tendency or habit is revealed, women often take it more personally and in some cases will initially be defensive. They tend to feel hurt and they seem to have more difficulty than the men not being distracted by their emotional response to what has been seen. The men don’t seem to get quite so distracted by their fear or their pride, and they seem to be more interested in just looking objectively at whatever it is that they may be facing. This tendency to take things personally, and therefore to defend themselves, seems to be something that the women in particular are coming up against.

Vimala Thakar: The objectification of the inner psychological life is extremely difficult for women.

Woman has had a role to play in human history. She has been the wife, the mother, the sister, protected by others, especially by men. In India the Hindu religion says woman is always to be protected—in childhood by the father, in young age by the husband, and in old age by her son. It is said that she does not deserve freedom. That is the basic principle. And I feel that perhaps in other countries also she has had only one role to play. It is a secondary role, protected by the male, and she did not require objectivity. As a subjective person she always has to react. Man has to act, man has to earn; she has to take care. In this secondary role, she never lived for herself as a human being. She lived for the parents, for the husband, for the children, for the family. The family institution has survived at the cost of woman. So the inner freedom of objectifying her own emotions or perceiving the situation entirely objectively is very difficult for women, very difficult. And man finds it easy, objectification. But it is very difficult for men to transcend their egos. Woman, through emotional strength and emotional integrity can go beyond the ego easier than man. Man can objectify more quickly and easier than woman.

There are certain limitations because of the role that man and woman have played in human history and civilization. The woman immediately withdraws into her own shell to protect her emotions, her reactions, everything.

SA: Yes, I recognize that.

VT: In India women have been prescribed the yoga of devotion, bhakti yoga. In identifying with a god, a goddess, an idol, or a guru, all the emotional strength and vitality is consumed so it doesn’t trouble her in other human relationships. But that is not so all over the world. And in many places man and woman live together, which rarely happens in India. Even in ashrams in India men and women live separately. They come together only for prayers and for meditation in the presence of the teacher. But visiting each others’ rooms and discussing things together—the kind of thing that takes place in other countries—has not yet come to India. So in India they may not have the problem you describe.

In your situation, men and women are on an equal footing. They are trying to understand the teachings and live together. So they will have to go through their different conditionings, conditionings that are not consciously adopted, but are inherited.

It is so true, you are so correct when you say that women withdraw into psychological isolation very easily. They feel that they can protect their feelings, their observations, that way. And that’s a defect because that withdrawal, that retiring or retreating into their shell, prevents them from assimilating the essence of the teachings. They have to accept the world, they have to accept whatever happens in their interactions and be there.

SA: Yes, exactly.

VT: They will have to face attachment also. Without the context of the family, with men and women living together, the biological phenomena of attraction and repulsion are there. You cannot ignore or deny it. So that attraction or repulsion gets expressed in relationship. Like-minded people have come together, and their quest is the same, but after all they are human animals. The animality is there, the instinctive part is still there. It has to be transcended through meditation, but that duality is there. So woman and man have to go through this phenomenon of understanding the attraction, recognizing the attraction or the repulsion, even infatuation, and not accept it but go beyond it. Unless you recognize it you can’t go beyond it. So without feeling guilty, without making a fuss about it, without calling it a sin or a crime, one has to see it as it is.

SA: Precisely, yes. That’s very clear, and that, I think, is the challenge to women who are really serious.

VT: To both.

SA: To both, exactly. That is the challenge, yes. It’s interesting, Vimalaji, what you’re saying about something inherited just by virtue of being, as you said, protected. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. In the West, although this is changing, there is still the fundamental fact that women are the weaker sex. And there’s always this fear of exploitation and so on. I wonder whether an inability to trust, in the biggest sense of the word, has come from this. By trust I mean here a very fundamental trust in life, an ability to actually let go in order to be able to see things clearly for what they are, and not instinctively to defend.

VT: Shanti, besides the inheritance part, the psychological inheritance part, look at the biological factor. In the sexual relationship woman receives and man asserts. This cannot change, this biological factor in the sex life that leaves its imprint on the psychology. The residue of sexual relationship builds up the male psychology and the female psychology, unless one educates oneself in transcending the sex consciousness and the “I” consciousness, the ego, which go together. As long as the “I” consciousness is at the center you cannot escape the sex consciousness, the duality. That duality cannot be negated. It cannot be rejected, it cannot be ignored, it is there.

So besides the psychology of being protected, the receptive role of the woman has also been a handicap to her, and she has to go beyond it. And man has to go beyond that assertive psychology. What is true in the physical and the biological he extends to the psychological realm. There is a kind of assertiveness and domination without being conscious of it. It’s in the blood. So we have to go beyond the biological and the psychological facts and only then will living the nonduality that is the substance of truth become possible. This is a challenge for modern men and women who are exploring together, unlike in India where it is done separately. Doing it while living together requires much more fearlessness.

SA: Yes, that’s true.

VT: I congratulate those who go through these challenges. It is a challenge. There is no precedent for this. Nobody has an answer for it or a remedy. You have no prescriptions, norms, or criteria in any religion for the challenges you are asking about. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism have no answer because they have not faced it this way. There has been segregation. And now there is the segregation that comes about through the feminist movement. So when you say you are neither feminist nor antifeminist I feel very happy.

All the truths have not been verbalized. The last word in spirituality has not yet been said. Truth is infinite and there is hope for humanity because the human potential is inexhaustible. People will find remedies to these challenges, ways to meet these challenges.

SA: What you’re saying about it is very helpful, Vimalaji.

VT: I have seen the difficulties of women in the West, in Europe, in America and in Australia. I have met them. And they do not understand the harsh biological realities, the roles that they have had to play, the scars and scratches and the residue of memory that were left behind, which inhibit the psychology. They have to be conscious of it, recognize it and go beyond it.

SA: Yes, that seems to be the answer, becoming conscious of it. The recognition of it has to precede going beyond it. I think that’s why we are trying to open this up. Because we are beginning to see that there are limitations here that seem very deep, almost instinctive. They need to be penetrated in order for us to go further.

VT: Perception of bondage is the beginning of freedom.

SA: I’m very thrilled to meet you, Vimalaji, because it seems to me that there are very few women teachers like yourself who are teaching real liberation in the world. I haven’t met many. I’ve met more men, such as Krishnamurti and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. It seems that most of the women figures who are leaders in the arena of spirituality are kind of Divine Mother figures, and that’s very different. They’re apparently teaching unconditional love through the expression of who they are, in a sense. But there does not seem to be a real teaching of liberation there. So it’s very inspiring for me to meet someone like yourself who has actually transcended the conditioning that we are speaking about. It seems to me to be unusual.

VT: My dear, it is unusual because, for example in India, Hinduism says woman can never be liberated in a woman’s body. If she behaves, if she follows bhakti yoga, then she may be born again in a male body and then she will be liberated. Buddhists and Jains also never accept that a woman in a woman’s body can be emancipated. Nor do the Catholics accept it. So at best a woman becomes a mother figure, such as Anandamayi Ma, or this figure or that figure. And she teaches as the Mother, not as an emancipated person.

Shall I tell you something? I was visiting Los Angeles in 1968 and I was staying at Ramakrishna Mission. I was asked to give a talk to the inmates of the ashram but they said, “You cannot speak in the chapel because you are a woman. Only sannyasins [monks] can speak there, and a woman cannot be a sannyasin.” The Swamiji there was Swami Prabhavananda, who was a very powerful swami. He wrote books along with Christopher Isherwood on the Bhagavad Gita, and commentaries on the Gita. He knew J. Krishnamurti, and so on. He was a very fine person. I said to him, “Swamiji, excuse me. Will you please remove the photographs of Sarada Devi, Ramakrishna’s wife, from the chapel?” There were two photographs there. So I said, “Since you tell me that I cannot give an address in this chapel, I will not give an address. But, will you please remove those photographs?”

Even in Ramakrishna Mission there is a differentiation. So who will stand up against all this and assert the humanness concealed in woman’s body, the divinity concealed in woman’s body, and demand equality on that level—not just on the physical and psychological levels?

So it is unusual. But let us be thankful that it has happened here.

SA: Yes.

VT: It is something in the orbit of human consciousness. Whether it happens there or here is immaterial. But it can happen.

This person has been hurt in many ways by the ancient Hindu authorities. When I wanted to study the Vedas, the Brahma Sutras, in Varanasi, I went with folded hands to the authorities on the Vedas and they said, “No, a woman should not study the Vedas. What have you to do with the Vedas and the Brahma Sutras?” they said. “No, we won’t teach you.” “Alright,” I said, “I will study by myself.”

For a woman to be unconditionally and totally emancipated is something unacceptable at least to the Indian consciousness, and maybe to the non-Indian consciousness also. This differentiation has to go. There is differentiation that has to do with the body, with different kinds of limitations. But that doesn’t mean that woman is not entitled to liberation.

I am so glad that you are talking about this and that you are looking at the issue in this way. This challenge has to be met. Not aggressively—you don’t have to fight for it, you have to work for it.

SA: Yes, I feel that very strongly because I’ve experienced within myself the very conditioning that we are talking about. And I can see that unless I can recognize this very deeply within myself I cannot transcend it. So I feel this is very important. I feel that it’s up to women individually to meet the challenge of being a woman and all the conditioning, as you were saying, that is biological, hereditary, psychological and so on. I think that’s what you mean by working for it, earning it.

VT: Have you discussed these matters with your teacher?

SA: Very much so. He’s incredibly observant and very passionately interested in each person’s liberation. And initially he had no concept of any differences between the conditioning of men and women. But then over time he was actually the first person to recognize in his female students what he called female pride.

VT: Oh yes, oh yes!

SA: So he was the first person to really get us to start looking at that ourselves. He’s very interested in this, and he’s also very concerned that his female students really meet this challenge. Because some of them are not interested. There is quite a lot of denial still going on among some of his students. But in others there is the recognition that there is something that we need to meet, to understand, to penetrate, in order to be free. There is an awakening to the fact that, as women, to really be able to live what we understand we need to come to terms with this. He’s encouraging all of us individually to really have the fire and the fearlessness and the humility to actually recognize this and to take it on.

VT: How nice.

SA: We were speaking earlier about women seeming to have a bit more difficulty than men being objective and impersonal. When things about themselves are pointed out to them, they often take it personally and defend themselves at first, taking time to come around to accepting what has been revealed, and then overcoming or transcending it. There sometimes seems to be an almost innate visceral response of defending, of protecting, of surviving and maintaining that operates in women. The reason I am saying this is because while I know that men have tendencies they have to face—male traits such as selfishness, aggression and even cowardice have been revealed in our investigation—the men do seem to be able to more easily accept the impersonality of their condition. They do not seem so proud or defensive about these negative tendencies. I was wondering whether underneath their defensiveness women have a deeper fear of nonexistence, a deeper existential insecurity or fear of emptiness, than men.

VT: Nothingness, nobodyness, emptiness—even the intellectual understanding of this frightens women. It frightens women! At the depth of our being there is fear because of our physical vulnerability, because of our secondary role in human civilization. It is in the subconscious, not in the consciousness. On a subconscious level there is fear. If I get converted into or if I mature into nonduality, into nothingness, into nobodyness, what will happen to my physical existence? Will it be more vulnerable? Will I be able to defend myself in case of difficulty, in case of some attack against me? That is a basic fear among women.

So women very rarely take to meditation. They take to devotion, to bhakti yoga. They can take to service, seva yoga or karma yoga. But not meditation, dhyana, samadhi. Consciously, intellectually they understand everything, because regarding the brilliance of the brain there is no distinction such as male and female. But psychologically, at the core of their being is this fear. And that fear has to be dispelled. Woman has to understand that nobodyness or nothingness, the emptiness of consciousness in samadhi or meditation, generates a different kind of energy and awareness which is more protective than self-conscious defensiveness. When woman appreciates that, when she understands that, then this fear will be dispelled. Otherwise it is very natural for a woman to feel frightened even by the idea of nothingness.

SA: It’s amazing, Vimalaji. Everything you say rings perfectly true to our experience. The areas women excel in are exactly what you have said—in service they are very strong, they give everything to help and to support. Physically and emotionally they are very, very giving. They will give everything and work very hard, very selflessly. So it’s very interesting what you say about women being naturally inclined to devotion and to service because that is exactly what is happening in our community. And yet on the other hand, as we have been saying, to really engage with meditation in the truest sense, to really let go into being nobody—many women are unwilling to do that.

VT: There is a subconscious resistance.

SA: Yes, exactly.

VT: They don’t find any resistance on the conscious level. They will say, “No, we do not resist,” and they are being honest. And yet at the deeper level of their being there is an unverbalized resistance.

SA: Exactly. That is exactly what is happening.

VT: That has to be perceived. That has to be recognized. Perhaps if the women recognized the resistance at the subconscious level, it might disappear, it might dissolve.

SA: Yes, that seems to be the only possibility. And I think some of us are just beginning to recognize that. I know, for myself, for many years my teacher pointed this out, and I said no. Because consciously I accepted and was thrilled by the idea of being nobody, by the concept of freedom that that means. But now I’m beginning to see that subconsciously there is a resistance which needs to be completely met in order to be truly free.

VT: To allow the divinity or the absolute truth to use your body, your brain, your mind for the service of humanity is one thing. “I want to serve and I get pleasure out of that service. I’m serving so and so, the cause or the individual.” There is pleasure in that. But to let go of that pleasure and allow the truth to shape your life, to mold it, to give it a direction and to use it for the cosmic purpose, requires tremendous fearlessness. And very few are willing to let go of the last noble pleasure for that.

It’s a noble pleasure to serve. You’re offering service and you’re offering your life and here is someone who says, “No. Not that, not the conscious service, the ‘I’ doing the service. No, not the ‘I’ devoting itself. You are again creating a different field for the survival of limitations. Let it go.” Then the resistance comes, the inhibitions come. Women begin to suffer. They don’t like it if you point it out, even on a conscious level. They hear it, but they don’t receive it. It doesn’t go in because of the subconscious resistance.

SA: Yes, that’s absolutely true.

VT: Oh, yes. One has seen it happening. One has seen it happen in people around you. The emptiness, the nobodyness, as you have rightly put it—that frightens them. Me doing the service, me giving, me working; that is O.K. Yes, we are dealing with the crux of the issue here. Hitting the nail on the head. Such merciless perception of truth, merciless analysis of the subjective world, is very rare to come across. People find it unbearable. Even the verbalization is unbearable to some.

SA: Yes, definitely.

VT: One has to go very slow. That during our first visit we could do that together is an exceptional occurrence. So I have to congratulate your teacher.

SA: Thank you.

VT: Thank you for raising these questions. You are the first person in the last ten years to raise these questions. Non-Indians come to me from at least twenty countries here. Women come from many different nations and discuss with me the problems of women in modern Western culture, but not the question you have raised this morning. It is from a very deep level that this question has come. I’m glad about it.

SA: Thank you. It’s been a fabulous opportunity to explore this together.

VT: For both of us to share. Life is fulfilled in sharing. Not only meals and clothes and money, but when you share your flesh and blood then there is a rare fulfillment.

It takes two to have a conversation, a dialogue. One person can’t do it.

Shanti Adams is a student of Andrew Cohen living in London, England. Her previous contribution to What Is Enlightenment?, “The Long and Winding Road” [July 1994], describes her many years as a spiritual seeker in India.

The entire article/interview can be found at:   http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j10/vimala_challenge.asp?page=1

I find it necessary to publish links to three postings on the What Enlightenment? blog that relates to this interview. Apparently Andrew Cohen used Vimala Thakar’s words to justify the mistreatment of the female members of his community and this was subsequently strongly condemned by Vimalaji. Below you can follow the links and read for yourself.

http://whatenlightenment.blogspot.com/2006/02/vimala-thakars-concealed-criticism-and.html

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

To read more of Vimala Thakar see:  https://o-meditation.com/jai-guru-deva/some-good-books/downloadable-books/vimala-thakar/

Awakening to Total Revolution – Vimala Thakar

Enlightenment and the World Crisis

Awakening to Total Revolution

In a time when the survival of the human race is in question, to continue with the status quo is to cooperate with insanity, to contribute to chaos. When darkness engulfs the spirit of the people, it is urgent for concerned people to awaken, to rise to revolution.

The cleverness of the human mind has led us to the complex, horrifying, and all-encompassing crisis that we now face. The familiar solutions, based on a limited view of what a human being is, continue to fail, to be pathetically inadequate. Yet we pour vast resources into these tired solutions and feel that if we achieve a grand enough scale, the old solutions will meet the new challenges. Do we have the courage to see failures as failures and leave them to the past? Do we have the vitality to go beyond narrow, one-sided views of human life and to open ourselves to totality and wholeness? The call of the hour is to move beyond the fragmentary, to awaken to total revolution.

The call is not to one of the revolutionary formulas of the past; they have failed—why drag them out again even in new regalia? The challenge now is to create an entirely new, vital revolution that takes the whole of life into its sphere. We have never dared embrace the whole of life in all its awesome beauty; we’ve been content to perpetuate fragments, invent corners where we feel conceptually secure and emotionally safe. We could have our safe little nooks and niches were it not for the terrible mess we have made by attempting to break the cosmic wholeness into bite-size bits. It’s an ugly chaos we have created, and we try to remedy the complicated situation with the most superficial of patched-together cures.

Today, with the scars of our past failures marring our existence and the fears of the future weighing heavily on our spirits, we can no longer go on with this dangerous game of fragmentation. We can no longer escape the fact that we are all bonded, equal in wholeness. Science and technology have brought each of us into intimate relationship with all others. We are truly a global human family. Yet as a family, we have not learned how to live together in peace, to live without violence and exploitation. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Bertrand Russell wrote: “Man knows how to fly in the air like a bird, he knows how to swim in water like the fish, but how to live among other human beings, he does not know.”

Penetrating to the Roots of Conflict

Even though our very survival is in question, we tend to look at the crisis superficially, emotionally, sentimentally. We have tried in subtle ways to absolve ourselves of any deep responsibility for the condition of the human family. We perceive ourselves, or our small identity groups, as truly sincere and peace-loving, and we ascribe to outsiders, to those apart, to power-hungry villains, responsibility for aggression and wars.

Yet as members of societies that are prepared for war, how can we set ourselves apart as peace-loving and the others as violent? This is, however, what we attempt to do. We see on the television or hear on the radio news about massacres and wars taking place in different countries, and we feel how stupid it is to wage war and wonder why the politicians and the statesmen don’t have the wisdom to stop all this nonsense. This is the reaction perhaps of every sensitive citizen of the world. But who wages war? Where are the roots of war? Are they in the minds of a handful of individuals ruling over their respective countries? Or are the roots of war in the systems that we have created and have been living by for centuries—the economic, the political, the administrative, the industrial systems? If we are not romantic and sentimental, and do not feel gratified just by reacting emotionally, by expressing how bad the wars are, but rather go deep, won’t we find the roots of war in the systems and structures that we have accepted?

We will discover that there are systems and structures that inevitably lead to aggression, exploitation, and war. We have accepted aggression as a way of living. We create and entrench ourselves in structures which culminate in wars. Retaining the structures and avoiding wars is not possible. You and I as individuals have to realize how we are responsible, how we cooperate with the systems and thereby participate in the violence and wars. And then we must begin to inquire whether we can discontinue cooperating with the systems, whether we can stop participating in wars, and explore alternative ways of living for ourselves.

We must go to the roots of the problem, to the core of the human psyche, recognizing that collective social action begins with action in individual life. We cannot separate the individual and the society. We each contain the society when we accept the value structure of society, when we accept the priorities worked out for us by governments and the states and the political parties. We are expressions of the collective, repeating the pattern created for us, and we feel happy because we are given physical security, economic security, comfort, leisure, entertainment. We have been trained to be obsessed with the idea of security; the idea of tomorrow haunts us much more than the responsibility for today.

Going Beyond Fragmentation

If there is a willingness to face these unpleasant facts, and be with these facts, then we can proceed. If we enter into self-pity and depression, then negativity may lead to cynicism and bitterness against others and bitterness against the system. And releasing such negative energy does not help solve the problems. We have to stick with the facts as they are. Whether we like it or not, we are responsible participants in what is happening in the world.

If we sanction violence in our hearts, we are going to cooperate with whomever is waging war. We are participants because psychologically we sanction violence. If we really want to put an end to warfare, we need to explore deep into the human psyche where the roots of violence have a stronghold. Unless we find the roots of violence, ambition, and jealousy, we will not find our way out of chaos. Failure to eliminate their roots will doom us to endless miserable repetitions of the failures of the past. We must see that the inner and the outer are delicately intertwined in a totality and that we cannot deal with the one successfully without the other. The structures and systems condition the inner consciousness, and the conditionings of the consciousness create the structures and systems. We cannot carve out one part of the relationship, make it bright and beautiful, and ignore the rest. The forces of human societal conditionings are powerfully entrenched; they will not be ignored.

Traditionally, there have been two separate approaches. One approach takes us toward the social, the economic, the political problems, and says, “Look here, unless the economic and political problems are solved, there will be no happiness and no peace, there will be no end to suffering. It is the responsibility of every individual to engage in solving these problems according to some ideology. Turning toward the inner life, the imbalances and impurities of the inner life, that is not so important, that can be taken care of later on, for it is a self-centered, egoistic activity. But the responsibility is toward the society, toward the human race, so keep aside all those problems of meditation and silence, inner sophistication, transformation for inner revolution—keep all that aside. First turn toward this.” And the other approach says, “The political and economic problems cannot be solved unless the individual is transformed totally. Be concerned with your psychological mutation, the inner, radical revolution. The political, the economic, the social problems can wait.”

People have generally followed one or the other of these two conventional approaches: religious groups concerned with inner growth and inner revolution, and social activist groups concerned with social service. Traditionally we have created boundaries, and exploration beyond our home territories has been only superficial. The social activists have staked out their territory, the outer life—the socioeconomic, political structures—and the spiritual people have staked out theirs—the inner world of higher dimensions of consciousness, transcendental experiences, and meditation. The two groups, throughout history, have been contemptuous of each other. The social activists consider the spiritual inquirers to be self-indulgent, and the inquirers consider the activists to be caught in a race of activity, denying the essence of living. Traditional spiritual leaders have divided life into worldly and spiritual, and have insisted that the world is illusion. They said, “This world is maya, is an illusion. So whatever action you take should be in relation to the absolute truth and not in relation to maya.” Thus a religious person sitting in meditation for ten hours a day need not mind the tyranny or the exploitation or the cruelties surrounding him. He would say, “That’s not my responsibility. It’s God’s responsibility. God has created the world. He or She will take care of it.”

There have been superficial blendings, as spiritual groups take up social service work and social activists join religious organizations, but a real integration of social action and spirituality at a deep, innovative level has not yet happened to any significant degree. The history of human development has been fragmentary, and the majority of people have been content with the fragmentation. It has the sanction of society. Each fragment of society has its own set of values. Among many social activists, anger, hatred, violence, bitterness, and cynicism are accepted norms, even though the effectiveness of these motivations for peaceful living has been seriously put in doubt. And indifference to the needs of the poor has had shocking acceptance among generations of spiritual people who considered higher states of consciousness much more significant than the misery of the starving millions.

A new challenge awaits us at the beginning of the twenty-first century: to go beyond fragmentation, to go beyond the incompatible sets of values held even by serious-minded people, to mature beyond the self-righteousness of one’s accepted approaches and be open to total living and total revolution. In this era, to become a spiritual inquirer without social consciousness is a luxury that we can ill afford, and to be a social activist without a scientific understanding of the inner workings of the mind is the worst folly. Neither approach in isolation has had any significant success. There is no question now that an inquirer will have to make an effort to be socially conscious or that an activist will have to be persuaded of the moral crisis in the human psyche, the significance of being attentive to the inner life. The challenge awaiting us is to go much deeper as human beings, to abandon superficial prejudices and preferences, to expand understanding to a global scale, integrating the totality of living, and to become aware of the wholeness of which we are a manifestation.

As we deepen in understanding, the arbitrary divisions between inner and outer disappear. The essence of life, the beauty and grandeur of life, is its wholeness. Life in reality cannot be divided into the inner and the outer, the individual and social. We may make arbitrary divisions for the convenience of collective life, for analysis, but essentially any division between inner and outer has no reality, no meaning.

We have accepted the watertight compartments of society, the fragmentation of living as factual and necessary. We live in relationship to these fragments and accept the internalized divisions—the various roles we play, the contradictory value systems, the opposing motives and priorities—as reality. We are at odds with ourselves internally; we believe that the inner is fundamentally different from the outer, that what is me is quite separate from the not-me, that divisions among people and nations are necessary, and yet we wonder why there are tensions, conflicts, wars in the world. The conflicts begin with minds that believe in fragmentation and are ignorant of wholeness.

A holistic approach is a recognition of the homogeneity and wholeness of life. Life is not fragmented; it is not divided. It cannot be divided into spiritual and material, individual and collective. We cannot create compartments in life—political, economic, social, environmental. Whatever we do or don’t do affects and touches the wholeness, the homogeneity. We are forever organically related to wholeness. We are wholeness, and we move in wholeness. The awareness of oneness refuses to recognize separateness. So the holistic approach de-recognizes all the fragmentation in the name of religion or spirituality, all the compartmentalization in the name of social sciences, all the division in the name of politics, all the separation in the name of ideologies. When we understand the truth, we won’t cling to the false. As soon as we recognize the false as the false, we no longer give any value to it. We de-recognize it in daily living. A psychic and psychological de-recognition of all manner of fragmentation is the beginning of positive social action.

When awareness of the totality, of wholeness, dawns upon the heart, and there is awareness of the relationship of every being to every other, then there is no longer any possibility of taking an exclusive approach to a fragment and getting stuck there. As soon as there is awareness of wholeness, every moment becomes sacred, every movement is sacred. The sense of oneness is no longer an intellectual connection. We will in all our actions be whole, total, natural, without effort. Every action or nonaction will have the perfume of wholeness.

Inner Freedom Is a Social Responsibility

Viewing the world as a large pieced-together collection of fragments, some of which are labeled as friend and others as foe, begins internally. We map out our internal territories with the same positive or negative designations as we do external territories, and wars go on there as they do in the world. Internally, we are divided against ourselves; the emotions want one thing, the intellect another, the impulses of the body yet another, and a conflict takes place which is no different in quality, although it is in scale, from that of the world wars. If we are not related to ourselves in wholeness, is it any surprise that we cannot perceive the wholeness of the world? If we believe ourselves each to be a patched-together, unmatched assortment of desirable and undesirable features, motives at odds with each other, undigested beliefs and prejudices, fears, and insecurities, will we not project all this on the world?

Because the source of human conflict, social injustice, and exploitation is in the human psyche, we must begin there to transform society. We investigate the mind, the human psyche, not as an end in itself, as a self-centered activity, but as an act of compassion for the whole human race. We must move deep to the source of decay in society so that the new structures and social systems we design will have a sufficiently healthy root system that they will have an opportunity to flourish. The structures of society need to be transformed, but the hidden motivations and assumptions on which the structures rest need to be transformed as well. The individual and collective values and motives that give sanction to the injustice and exploitation of modern society must become the focus of change as much as the socioeconomic and political structures. We no longer will be able to allow the motivations and values that underlie personal and collective behavior to remain hidden and unexamined. It serves no lasting purpose for us to change the surface structures and behaviors while the deep foundations remain decadent and unsound.

Those of us who have dedicated our lives to social action have considered our personal morality and ethics, our motives and habits, to be private territory. We not only want our personal motivations and habits cut off from public view, but from our own recognition as well. But in truth, the inner life is not a private or personal thing; it’s very much a social issue. The mind is a result of collective human effort. There is not your mind and my mind; it’s a human mind. It’s a collective human mind, organized and standardized through centuries. The values, the norms, the criteria are patterns of behavior organized by collective groups. There is nothing personal or private about them. We may close the doors to our rooms and feel that nobody knows our thoughts, but what we do in so-called privacy affects the life around us. If we spend our days victimized by negative energies and negative thoughts, if we yield to depression, melancholia, and bitterness, these energies pollute the atmosphere. Where then is privacy? We need to learn, as a social responsibility, to look at the mind as something that has been created collectively and to recognize that our individual expressions are expressions of the human mind.

Inner freedom from the past, from the thought structure, from the organized, standardized collective mind, is absolutely necessary if we are to meet one another without mistrust or distrust, without fear, to look at each other spontaneously, to listen to one another without any inhibition whatsoever. The study of mind and the exploration of inner freedom is not something utopian, is not something self-centered, but it is urgently necessary so that we as human beings can transcend the barriers that regimentation of thought has created between us. Then we will perceive ourselves, each as an unlabeled human being; not an Indian, an American, a capitalist, or a communist—but as a human being, a miniature wholeness. We have not yet learned to do that. We are together on this small planet, and yet we cannot live together. Physically we are near one another, and psychologically we are miles apart. Clearly the social responsibility for arriving at inner freedom is a very relevant issue. We study the mind because we want the harmony of peace to prevail, because we need the joy of love in our hearts, because we care about the quality of life our children will inherit. We do not undertake such study because we want something new and esoteric for the ego, some transcendental experiences to enhance our self-image. We study the mind as a social responsibility; we recognize that the roots of violence, injustice, exploitation, and greed are in the human psyche, and we turn our clear, precise, objective attention there.

We are related organically, and we have to live that relationship. To be attentive to the dynamics of the inner being is not creating a network of escapes to avoid responsibility. It is not continuing a false superiority that I am sensitive and you are not. It is simply recognizing that our personal relationships and collective relationships are miserable affairs, and that these relationships stimulate fear and anxieties and throw us on the defensive. However much we yearn for peace, emotionally we are not mature enough for peace, and our immaturity affects everything we do, every action we take, even the most worthy of actions.

The elimination of inner disorder takes place in the lives of those who are interested in being truly creative, vital, and passionate whole human beings, and who recognize that inner anarchy and chaos drains energy and manifests in shabby, shoddy behavior in society. To be attentive requires tremendous love of living. It is not for those who choose to drift through life or for those who feel that charitable acts in society justify ugly inward ways of being. The total revolution we are examining is not for the timid or the self-righteous. It is for those who love truth more than pretense. It is for those who sincerely, humbly want to find a way out of this mess that we, each one of us, have created out of indifference, carelessness, and lack of moral courage.

The Choice Is Ours

Most of us are not aware of our motivations for living or our priorities for action. We drift with the tides of societal fashions, floating in and out of social concerns at the whim of societal dictates and on the basis of images created by the media or superficial, personal desires to be helpful, useful persons. We are used to living at the surface, afraid of the depths, and therefore our actions and concerns about humanity are shallow, fragile vessels easily damaged. Ultimately most of us are concerned chiefly with our small lives, our collection of sensual pleasures, our personal salvation, and our anxiety about sickness and death, rather than the misery created by collective indifference and callousness.

We have reached the point, however, where we no longer have the luxury to indulge in self-centered comfort and personal acquisition or to escape into religious pursuits at the cost of collective interests. For us there can be no escape, no withdrawal, no private arena in which we can turn our backs on the sorrows of humanity, saying, “I am not responsible. Others have created a mess; let them mend it.” The writing on the world’s wall is plain: “Learn to live together or in separateness you die!” The choice is ours.

The world today forces us to accept, at least intellectually, our oneness, our interrelatedness. And more and more people are awakening to the urgency of arresting the accelerating madness around us. As yet, however, our ways of responding are superficial, unequal to the complexities of the challenge. We do not take or even consider actions that threaten our security or alter our habitual ways of drifting through life. If we continue to live carelessly, indifferently, emphasizing private gain and personal indulgence, we are essentially opting for the suicide of humanity.

We can become involved in many acts of social service, according to our resources, without ever moving one inch from the center of our private interests; in fact, the very act of social service typically enhances self-image and self-centeredness. But we cannot become involved in true social action, which strikes at the roots of problems in the society and in the human psyche, without moving away from ego-centered motivation. We must look deep into the network of personal motivations and discover what our priorities are. Our yearning for peace must be so urgent that we are willing to free ourselves from the immaturity of ego-centered action, willing to grow into the sane maturity required to face the complex challenges that affect our existence. If we are motivated by desire for acceptance either by the dominant culture or the counterculture, clarity of right action and passion of precise purpose will not be there. We may be praised for our contributions, but unless there is a deep awareness of the essence of our lives, a penetrating clarity about the meaning of human existence, our contributions will not penetrate to the roots of human misery.

To be ready for social responsibility, we will have to be mercilessly honest with ourselves. Wherever we are, we are responsible to resist injustice, to be willing to put our comforts, securities, our lives at stake in fearless noncooperation with injustice and exploitation. If we adopt all the habit patterns of the enslaved—the fear, the acceptance of tyranny, the intellectual and emotional blindness to injustice—we deserve the inevitable consequences that are descending upon us in a dark storm cloud. If we are submissive, clinging to our small islands of security, naturally terror will reign. If we are willing to allow all others to perish—the peoples of other countries, races, castes, cultures, religions; the other creatures of the earth—so that we may flourish and endlessly increase our network of pleasures and comforts, obviously we are doomed to rot and decay. The callousness of letting others be abused so that our petty little lives will be undisturbed, so that all the comforts of a lovely home, pleasant meals, and good entertainment will not be threatened, portends doom for us all.

When we come face-to-face with the actualities of human and planetary suffering, what does the powerful moment of truth do to us? Do we retreat into the comforts of theories and defense mechanisms, or are we awakened at the core of our being? Awareness of misery, without defense structures, will naturally lead to action. The heart cannot witness misery without calling the being to action, without activating the force of love. We may not act on a global or national scale; it may be only on a community or neighborhood scale—but act, respond, we must. Social responsibility flowers naturally when we perceive the world without the involvement of the ego-consciousness. When we relate directly to suffering, we are led to understanding and spontaneous action—but when we perceive the world through the ego, we are cut off from direct relationship, from communion that stirs the deepest level of our being.

The Force of Love Is the Force of Total Revolution

A tender, loving concern for all living creatures will need to arise and reign in our hearts if any of us is to survive. And our lives will be truly blessed only when the misery of one is genuinely felt to be the misery of all. The force of love is the force of total revolution. It is the unreleased force, unknown and unexplored as a dynamic for change.

We have moved very far away from love in our collective lives, dangerously near destruction, close to starvation. Perhaps we have the wisdom now, the awareness that love is as essential to human beings as the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Love is the beauty, the delicate mystery, the soul of life, the radiant unspoiled purity that brings spontaneous joy, songs of ecstasy, poems, paintings, dances, dramas to celebrate its indescribable, never-to-be-fully-captured bliss of being. Can we bring love into the marketplaces, into the homes, the schools, the places of business, and transform them completely? You may call it a utopian challenge, but it is the only one that will make a significant difference or that is fully worthy of the potential of whole human beings.

Compassion is a spontaneous movement of wholeness. It is not a studied decision to help the poor, to be kind to the unfortunate. Compassion has a tremendous momentum that naturally, choicelessly moves us to worthy action. It has the force of intelligence, creativity, and the strength of love. Compassion cannot be cultivated; it derives neither from intellectual conviction nor from emotional reaction. It is simply there when the wholeness of life becomes a fact that is truly lived.

Compassion does not manifest itself when we live on the surface of existence, when we try to piece together a comfortable life out of easily available fragments. Compassion requires a plunge to the depths of life—where oneness is reality and divisions merely an illusion. If we dwell at the superficial layers of being, we’ll be overly conscious of the apparent differences in human beings on the physical and mental level, and of the superficial difference in cultures and behavior. If we penetrate to the essentials, however, we will discover that there is nothing fundamental that differentiates any human being from another, or any human being from any other living creature. All are manifestations of life, created with the same life principles and nurtured by the same life-support systems. Oneness is absolute reality; differentiation has only transitory, relative reality.

It is not sufficient that a few in society penetrate to the depths of living and offer fascinating accounts about the oneness of all beings. What is necessary in these critical times is that all sensitive and caring people make a personal discovery of the fact of oneness and allow compassion to flow in their lives. When compassion and realization of oneness becomes the dynamic of human relationship, then humankind will evolve.

We are suffering throughout the world in the darkness of the misery we have created. By believing in the fragmentary and the superficial, we have failed to live together in peace and harmony, and so darkness looms very large on the horizon. It’s in such darkness that common people such as you and I feel the urgency to go deeper, to abandon superficial approaches that are inadequate and to activate the creative forces available to each of us as expressions of wholeness. The vast intelligence that orders the cosmos is available to all. The beauty of life, the wonder of living, is that we share creativity, intelligence, and unlimited potential with the rest of the cosmos. If the universe is vast and mysterious, we are vast and mysterious. If it contains innumerable creative energies, we contain innumerable creative energies. If it has healing energies, we also have healing energies. To realize that we are not simply physical beings on a material planet, but that we are whole beings, each a miniature cosmos, each related to all of life in intimate, profound ways, should radically transform how we perceive ourselves, our environments, our social problems. Nothing can ever be isolated from wholeness.

There is much unexplored potential in each human being. We are not just flesh and bone or an amalgamation of conditionings. If this were so, our future on this planet would not be very bright. But there is infinitely more to life, and each passionate being who dares to explore beyond the fragmentary and superficial into the mystery of totality helps all humanity perceive what it is to be fully human. Revolution, total revolution, implies experimenting with the impossible. And when an individual takes a step in the direction of the new, the impossible, the whole human race travels through that individual.

– Vimala Thakar

This essay was originally posted on:  http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j19/vimala.asp?page=1

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