Both are Half Right, Half Wrong – Osho

I have just arrived from the West—Paris—where I had heard about you and read some of your books.  They touched me very deeply and one question arose in me:

How is your spiritual dimension and the work you do on a spiritual level capable of conducting and enlightening the behavior of a man involved in action on a materialistic level, for instance, urbanism, struggle against hunger, thirst and all other distresses?

Jacques Daumal, I do not divide existence into these old dichotomies, the materialistic plane and the spiritual plane. There is only one reality: matter is its visible form and spirit its invisible form. Just like your body and your soul— your body cannot be without your soul and your soul cannot be without your body.

In fact, the whole split of the past has been a heavy burden on the human heart — the split between body and soul. It has created a schizophrenic humanity. As I see it, schizophrenia is not a disease that happens once in a while to a person. The whole humanity up to now has been schizophrenic. It is very rarely, only once in a while, that a man like Jesus, or Buddha, or Mahavira, or Socrates, or Pythagoras, or Lao Tzu, has been able to escape from this schizophrenic pattern of our living.

To divide reality into antagonistic, inimical realism is dangerous because it is dividing man. Man is a miniature universe; if you divide the universe the man is divided, if you divide the man the universe is divided. And I believe in the undivided, organic unity of existence.

To me there is no distinction between the spiritual and the material. You can be spiritual and function on the materialistic plane—and your functioning will be more joyous, your functioning will be more aesthetic, more sensitive. Your functioning on the materialistic plane will not be tense, will not be full of anguish and anxiety.

Once a man came to Buddha and asked, “The world is in such a distress, people are in so much misery — how can you manage to sit silently and so joyously?”

Buddha said, “If somebody is suffering from fever, has the doctor also to lie down by his side and suffer? Has the doctor out of compassion to get the infection and lie down by the side of the patient and be feverish? Is that going to help the patient? In fact, whereas there was only one person ill, now there are two persons ill — the world is doubly ill! The doctor need not be ill to help the patient; the doctor has to be healthy to help the patient. The healthier he is, the better; the healthier he is, the more help is possible through him.”

I am not against working on the material plane. Whatsoever work you are doing — urbanism, struggle against hunger, struggle for ecological balance, struggle against poverty, exploitation, oppression, struggle for freedom — whatsoever your work on the material plane; it is going to be benefited, tremendously benefited, if you become more spiritually rooted, centered, calm, quiet, cool, because then the whole quality of your work will be changed. Then you will be able to think in a more cool manner, and you will be able to act more gracefully. Your understanding of your own inner being will be of tremendous help to help others.

I am not a spiritualist in the old sense and I am not a materialist either in the old sense. The Charvakas in India, Epicurus in Greece, Karl Marx and others, they are materialists. They say only matter is true and consciousness is only an epiphenomenon, a by-product; it has no reality of its own. And then there are people like Shankara, Nagarjuna, who say just the same thing in a reverse manner. They say the soul is real and the body is unreal, maya, illusion, an epiphenomenon, a by-product; it has no reality of its own.

To me, both are half right, half wrong. And a half-truth is far more dangerous than a whole lie — at least it is whole. A whole lie has a certain beauty, but a half-truth is ugly — ugly and dangerous too — ugly because it is half. It is like cutting a man into two parts.

Just the other day I was reading a story:

It was very hot, and a man with his young daughter was passing by the side of a swimming pool of an intercontinental hotel. It was so hot, the girl said, “I would like to go in the pool and cool myself.”

The father said, “Okay, I will sit underneath the tree, and you go ahead.”

But she was stopped immediately by the guard and he said, “This pool is restricted. It is not allowed here for Jews… and you look Jewish.”

The father said, “Listen: I am Jewish. My daughter’s mother is not Jewish, she is a Christian, so my daughter is half Jew, half Christian. Can you allow her to take a bath only up to the waist?”

Dividing man is dangerous, because man is an organic unity. But this is how down the ages it has been done, and now it has become almost a routine thinking, a conditioning.

Daumal, you are still thinking in the old categories. I don’t belong to any school — the school of the materialists or the school of the so-called spiritualists. My approach is total, it is holistic. I believe that man is both together, spiritual and material. In fact, I have to use the words ‘spiritual’ and ‘material’ just because they have always been used. In fact man is psychosomatic, not material and spiritual, because that ‘and’ creates duality. There is no ‘and’ between the material and the spiritual, not even a hyphen. Man is material-spiritual — I use it as one word, material-spiritual. And both the sides….

Spiritual means the center of your being and the material means the circumference of your being. The circumference cannot be there if there is no center, and the center cannot be there if there is no circumference.

My work here is to help your center become a clarity, a purity. Then that purity will be reflected on the circumference too. If your center is beautiful your circumference is bound to become beautiful, and if your circumference is beautiful your center is bound to be affected by that beauty.

My sannyasin is a total man, he is a new man. The effort is that he will be beautiful from both the sides. […]

We are trying to create a harmony, a new synthesis.

-Osho

From The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, V.3, Discourse #2

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There is No Ladder – Osho

Every day you talk about the ‘Earth’ and about the ‘Sky’ – About the potential and about the ultimate. But what is the ‘ladder’ in between? What is the process that happens in between? Why do you not talk about the ‘ladder’?

The ladder exists not. There is no ladder. There is no in between. There is not any gap, it is all one. The earth and sky are not disconnected. They are already joined together. They are in a deep union, communion. The very idea of the ladder arises because we have been taught that there is a gap between this world and the other. There is none. It has not to be bridged. The other shore is in this shore. You are not to go anywhere; you are not to do anything. The potential is actual, and the first step is the last step. But the mind boggles down, the mind cannot conceive it. Mind always wants to have steps, ladders.

Mind can cope with a ladder; mind cannot cope with a quantum leap. Mind can cope with evolution, mind cannot cope with revolution. That’s why mind is never revolutionary; it is always orthodox, it is always conventional. Mind cannot be revolutionary by its very nature.

You have been taught again and again that the body and soul are two, that God and the world are two. And you have been taught that you have to find God against the world, you have to go beyond the world to find God.

I am giving you a totally new message you are not to go beyond, you are to go within. The beyond is within, and the within is the beyond. All is here-now. In this very moment the whole existence is present in all its possibilities. It is only a shift of consciousness, not a ladder. It is a change of gestalt, not a ladder. Nothing changes, all remains the same – just a leap happens within you. Suddenly you start seeing things which you were not seeing but they were already present; they have always been present.

Have you looked in some gestalt psychology books? – There are pictures. A famous picture is one picture where there is an old woman, and also, hidden in the same lines, is a young woman. You can see the old woman; if you go on looking and looking and looking, suddenly a moment will come and the consciousness will shift to another gestalt and you will start seeing the young woman. If you go on looking at the young woman long enough, suddenly something will change and you will start seeing the old woman again. When you have seen both and you know perfectly well that both are there, even then you cannot see both together. Because the old woman consists of the same lines, the young woman also consists of the same lines; you can see only one at one time. At another time you can see the other, but you cannot see both together, simultaneously.

If you see the world, you cannot see God, that’s true – but God is not opposite to the world, it is just another gestalt. If you see God the world disappears. It doesn’t mean that you have transcended the world. It is the same world; just your vision has made a new gestalt. That’s why you will find it again and again, down the ages, Charavakara, Epicurus, Karl Marx – all the materialists of the world say that only matter exists, consciousness is a by-product, an epi-phenomenon. Consciousness is illusory, the real thing is matter: this is one gestalt. They are not wrong.

Then there is another tradition: Shankara, Vedantins, Berkeley, they say the world exists not, only God is; only consciousness is. Matter is illusory, Maya. They are also not wrong; that is another gestalt – but no one is absolutely true either.

The real man of understanding will say that God can be looked at as the world; the world can be looked at as God.

William James is reported to have said, “Mind is one way in which the world is assembled and things put together; matter is another” – just ways of putting and assembling things together. Neither does matter exist against mind, nor does mind exist against matter. You are body – this is a gestalt; you are soul – that is another gestalt. There is no ladder in between, because these are two gestalts.

Remember the picture again: is there a ladder between the old woman and the young woman? There is no ladder because they consist of the same lines. Nothing changes, the picture remains the same and you don’t go anywhere… but a shift, a flick in consciousness. You see things in one way, you assemble things in one way, then you see things in another way, you assemble things in another way. Neither are materialists right, absolutely right – they are not, they are partially true; nor are Vedantins right – they are partially true. They both suffer from partiality. That’s why their argument can continue forever, it will never be decisive.

Just think of two persons arguing: “In this picture there is a young woman”, and another man says “There is an old woman.” They can go on arguing forever because they have partial truth, and it can never be decisive. They will never be able to commune with each other; they will never be able to understand what the other is saying, because how can one who has seen the young woman believe that the old woman exists there in the picture? And vice- versa. The materialist and the spiritualist go on arguing.

I am neither. I am simply saying to you that which is. Both exist, but both are not separate. We call them two because we can see them in two ways.

You ask me about the ladder – there is no ladder. I am not proposing any gradual, slow progress for you here. That’s how you have lived for many lives: thinking that gradually, gradually, slowly, slowly, you will attain. If you see my point you attain right now!

But you are looking for a ladder.

Somebody has asked, “Osho, these talks are supposed to be on Sufism, but you are not saying anything about Sufism, You are saying many beautiful things but they are not Sufism.”

I am not talking about Sufism, that is true. I talk Sufism, not about Sufism! I am a Sufi, so whatsoever I say is Sufism. I am not giving you steps to move to the beyond, I am simply making my own experience available to you. I am simply sharing my being with you. This is not a message, it is a sharing. It is not a teaching, it is imparting. Being with me can reveal to you that nothing has to be achieved, that all goals are false, that all is already achieved.

I don’t want you to BECOME enlightened. I declare that you are enlightened! But you are not courageous enough; you say, “How can I be enlightened? I will have to wait. Someday I will become enlightened.” You are so cowardly – that’s why you need time even to recognize your Godhood. You have condemned yourself so much that you cannot conceive that you can be a God. Because you cannot conceive that you can be a God, you cannot conceive how Buddha can be a God, how Christ can be a God.

When Christ declares “I am God”, he’s simply saying to you “You are God. Look! I have the courage to declare. You also participate. See the point. I am as much of the flesh as you are; I am as much the body as you are.” There is nothing special about Christ; the only special thing is his courage. Otherwise he is just like you. I am just like you; the only thing is that I respect myself and you don’t respect yourself, I love myself and you don’t love yourself.

You are also very suspicious. That’s why I call myself Bhagwan. There are questions: “Why?”

Because I am! And you are also, but you are not courageous. This Buddhafield is being created so that you can gather courage, so that you can become bold, so that you can say things as they are and you can see things as they are.

I’m not supplying you with any ladder. You would like it very much, because then you can postpone. I am simply saying to you, jump… and be! Have a quantum leap!

There are not stations between you and God. The moment you are concentrated in your courage, suddenly the gestalt changes – God is revealed in millions of forms. And the moment you become God, the whole existence becomes God. If somebody says “I am God and you are not God”, then he is a cheat, he is a charlatan, he is playing a game, he is on an ego-trip.

-Osho

From The Wisdom of the Sands, Volume One, Chapter Eight

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