The Mind is the Watched – Osho

I have come to a dead end. I see the impotence of the mind and feel all action useless. Does the mind totally die only in samadhi? 

Please say something about mind and action in witnessing.

Vinod Bharti, you say, “I have come to a dead end”—but I don’t feel it so. Not yet, because when you really come to a dead end, a transformation immediately happens. You are coming closer to it; of that much I am certain. The dead end is not far away, but you have not come to it yet. Your whole question proves it.

You are coming closer, you are feeling intuitively that it is not far away—but it has not been reached yet. Still, there is hope. Still, deep down, you are dreaming that this is not going to be the dead end; hence the question arises.

You say, “I see the impotence of the mind….” You have not seen it yet, you only think you have. Seeing and thinking are totally different, but one can get mixed up very easily. Thinking can pretend to be seeing. You are not seeing the impotence of the mind; otherwise even this question would not arise. If the mind is really impotent, what can it ask? What can it think about? It simply falls from you, it withers away.

But the shadow is on you, and that’s a good sign. The day is not far away when you WILL see the impotence of the mind—and then immediately the transformation. Then, immediately, a sudden enlightening experience. All questions disappear; all answers disappear, because when the mind is seen, really seen as impotent, what is there to ask and what is there to find? The mind simply evaporates. Then life is left, pure life, unhindered, undistorted by the mind.

Then you will not say that you feel all action useless. If you see the impotence of the mind, the mind disappears but action becomes for the first time tremendously beautiful. There is no question of utility at all. Life has no utility in itself. What is the use of a rose flower?—but still it goes on growing, still it goes on opening, still it goes on releasing its fragrance. What is the use of it? What is the use of the sun rising every day? Is there any use for the sun itself? What is the use of the starry night?

The word “use” is part of the paraphernalia of the mind. Mind always thinks in terms of utility. The mind is a Jew; it always thinks in terms of purpose, profit, utility. When the mind disappears, action does not disappear, activity disappears—and there is a great difference between the two. Activity has utility; action is pure joy, pure beauty. You act not because something has to be achieved, you act because action is a dance, is a song. You act because you are so full of energy.

Have you watched a child running on the sea beach? You ask him, “Why are you running? What is the purpose of your running? What are you going to gain out of it?” Have you watched the child collecting seashells on the beach? You ask him, “What is the utility of it all? You can use your time in a more utilitarian way. Why waste your time?”

The child is not concerned about utility at all, he is enjoying his energy. He is so full of energy, so bubbling with energy that it is a sheer dance — any excuse will do. These are just excuses — seashells, pebbles, colored stones. These are just excuses — the sun, the beautiful beach…just excuses to run and to jump and to shout with joy. There is no utility at all. “Energy is delight” — that is a statement made by William Blake, one of the most mystical poets of the West. Energy IS delight. When there is great energy, what are you going to do with it? It is bound to explode.

Action comes out of energy, out of delight. Activity is businesslike. Action is poetry. Activity creates a bondage because it is result oriented: you are doing it not for its own sake, you are doing it for some goal. There is a motive, and then there is frustration. Out of a hundred cases, ninety-nine times you will not achieve the goal, so ninety-nine times you will be in misery, frustration. You did not enjoy the activity itself, you were waiting for the result. Now the result has come, and ninety-nine times out of a hundred there is frustration. And don’t hope for the remaining one percent, because when you achieve the goal, there is frustration also. The goal is achieved, but suddenly you realize that all the dreams you have been dreaming about the goal are not fulfilled.

You have achieved the money, but where is the joy that you have always been hoping for when the money was there? You have that great marble palace, but you are the same poor man — the same emptiness inside, the same hollowness. You used to live in a hut, now you start living in a palace — but the SAME person. You were miserable in the hut, and you will be even more miserable in the palace, because the palace has more space and of course when there is more space you will be more miserable. What else can you do with that space? All that you know is how to be miserable.

So you see poor people and you see rich people. The only difference is that the poor people are still hoping. There is hope; hence poor people are not so frustrated. Rich people have lost all their hopes; they are more frustrated. The poor person can still dream — he can still go on counting in his mind how great a bank balance he will have next year and the year after. Soon the day will come when he will be rich and he will have a car and a good house and a good wife, and the children will be going to good schools. But what can the rich man dream? All that he can dream about he has already, and nothing is happening out of it. The money is there, but he is as empty as ever.

There are two kinds of poor people: the poor poor and the rich poor. And remember, the second category is far worse.

Activity means there is a goal; activity is only a means to that end. Action means that the means and the end are together in it. That’s the difference between action and activity.

Vinod Bharti, activity will become useless, but then action arises and action has a totally different dimension. You act for the sheer joy of acting. For example, I am speaking to you — it is not activity, hence I am not concerned with the result at all. It is a pure act. I enjoy communicating with you, I enjoy communing with you. I am grateful to you that you allow me. If you don’t allow me, I will have to talk to the trees or to the rocks, or I will have to talk to myself! I am obliged to you; you need not be obliged to me. It is a pure act. There is something in me that wants to relate. There is no goal orientation — I am not expecting anything from you. If something happens, good; if nothing happens, even better! If you become enlightened, good; if you don’t become enlightened, far out! — for the simple reason that if you all become enlightened, who am I going to talk to? So please, delay your enlightenment as long as you can — this much of a favor you have to do for me! It is a simple act. No motive, no future in it — just the present.

Hence I am not trying to create a system of thought — I cannot, because to create a system of thought you have to be motivated. Then you have to link everything in a certain logical order. I can enjoy fragments.

When P. D. Ouspensky wrote his first book on Gurdjieff, he gave it the title In Search of the Miraculous. He was a man of a philosophic bent, a great mathematician, logician and philosopher.

When he showed the book to George Gurdjieff, his master, Gurdjieff just looked here and there for a few minutes and then he said, “Give it a subtitle too: Fragments of a Teaching.”

He was a little puzzled, because he had tried to make a whole system and Gurdjieff was suggesting an extra title. “The main title, In Search of the Miraculous,” Gurdjieff said, “is okay, but it needs the subtitle, Fragments of a Teaching — in fact, Fragments of an Unknown Teaching.”

Ouspensky asked, “Why?”

Gurdjieff said, “Because I cannot create a system of thought — these are all fragments.”

And you can see it happening here. You can collect all my thoughts, but they will be only fragments — fragments but not a system. To create a system, you need to be goal oriented. You have to follow a certain structure, and you have to go on like an arrow towards a target.

That is not possible either for a man like me or Gurdjieff. We cannot follow any goal. Our every act is complete in itself, entire in itself. It has no relationship with the past and no relationship with the future. It is total. If I die this very moment, there will be no desire in me even to have completed the sentence.

Action is an end unto itself; it has no utility. When the mind is seen to be impotent, the mind disappears. In that very seeing, the mind disappears. And, of course, with it all utilitarian activities will also disappear, because mind is the cause of goal orientation. It contains all your motives. It contains your past and the future; it does not contain the present at all. And when there is no mind, all that is left is pure present. You act moment to moment, and each moment is enough unto itself. Hence the beauty of the statements of Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, because each statement is in itself perfect, it needs nothing. You can take any statement from anywhere, and you can meditate over it and it will give you the taste of Tao, Dhamma — truth.

Buddha used to say again and again that the taste of the sea is the same. You can taste it from anywhere, from any shore — the taste is the same. This shore or that makes no difference. Each statement of a buddha has the taste of truth. But it is not concerned with utility….

Vinod Bharti, you are feeling in an intuitive way that something is coming closer of which you are afraid: “the dead end.” Everybody becomes afraid, and out of fear the question has arisen. You ask, “I have come to a dead end. I see the impotence of the mind and feel all action useless. Does the mind totally die only in samadhi?”

Just the reverse is the case: when the mind dies totally, what is left is samadhi. So I cannot say that the mind dies totally only in samadhi; that will be putting things upside down. The mind dies first, and then what is left is called samadhi. That state of no-mind is called samadhi.

But the death of the mind frightens, scares one. That’s what you are feeling: the shadow of death. It is not YOUR death, it is the death of the mind which is not you. But for many lives we have lived identified with the mind, so when the death of the mind comes closer it feels as if WE are going to die. It is not a dead end for YOU, it is certainly a dead end for the mind. That too has not come yet, but the mind is freaking out, because once it has come, then there is no way out for the mind. If it can escape just before the dead end, then there is a possibility of surviving…hence the question.

You say: “Please say something about mind and action in witnessing.” In witnessing, mind remains only as a biocomputer, a mechanism, but separate from you; you are no longer identified with it. When you want any memory you can use the mind just as you can put on your tape recorder. Mind is really a tape recorder. But it is not continuously on, not twenty-four hours on. When needed, the witness, the man of meditation, the man of awareness, is capable of putting the mind on or off. He puts it on when there is some need.

If I am talking to you, I have to put the mind on; otherwise language will not be possible. No-mind is silent; there is no language; only mind can supply the language. I have to use the mind to relate with your mind; that’s the only way to relate with your mind, so I put it on.

When I go back and sit in the car, I put it off. Before Heeren turns the ignition on, I turn MY ignition off! In my room I don’t need my mind. When my secretary comes with the letters, or with some work, I say to her, “Hello!” And inside I say, “Hello, mind. My secretary has come!” Otherwise there is no need for the mind.

When you are witnessing, the mind remains, but not constantly working. Your identity is broken. You are the watcher; the mind is the watched. It is a beautiful mechanism, one of the most beautiful mechanisms that nature has given to you. So you can use it when needed for factual memory — for phone numbers, for addresses, for names, for faces…. It is a good tool, but that’s all it is. It need not sit upon you continuously twenty-four hours a day. Even while you are sleeping, it is sitting on your chest torturing you, giving you nightmares. All kinds of relevant and irrelevant thoughts go on and on.

It does two harms. One: you lose your purity of witnessing, you don’t remain a mirror. Your mirror becomes so covered with the dust of thoughts that you start becoming closed to existence, you cannot reflect existence. The full moon is there, but your mirror does not reflect it. How many people are there who see the full moon? Even if they see it, they don’t SEE — their seeing is not of any value. They don’t rejoice, they don’t dance. How many people are there who see the flowers? Just now the birds are singing, but how many people are there who are aware of the birds and the wind passing through the trees?

When the mind is no longer hovering over you continuously, you become aware of infinite beauty, of truth, of the celebration that goes on and on in existence. But the mind is there, put aside — you can put it on when needed.

And when activity ceases, action is born. Action means response; activity means reaction. When you are in action, it means the mind is put aside and your consciousness is in a direct contact with existence; hence the response is immediate. Then whatsoever you do is not ready-made. It is not a ready-made answer given by the mind; you are responding to the reality as it is. Then there is beauty, because your action is true to the situation.

But millions of people in the world are simply living through ready-made answers. They are already carrying the answer; they don’t listen, they don’t see the situation confronting them. They are more interested in the answer that they are carrying within themselves than in the question itself, and they go on living their answer again and again. That’s why their life becomes a boredom, a repetitive boredom, a drag. It is no longer a dance, it cannot be a dance.

Action is a dance; activity is a drag. Activity is always untrue to the situation; action is always true to the situation. And activity is always inadequate because it carries an answer from the past, and life goes on changing every moment, so whatsoever you bring from the past is never adequate, it always falls short. So whatsoever you do, there is frustration; you feel that you have not been able to cope with reality. You always feel something is missing, you always feel your reaction was not exactly as it should have been. And the reason is that you have simply repeated, parrot-like, a ready-made answer, cheap but untrue – untrue because the situation is new.

Vinod Bharti, the mind will be there but with a new status, with a new functioning. It will be under your control: you will be the master, not the mind. You will use it when it is needed; you will not use it when it is not needed. It cannot insist that you have to listen to it, that you have to go on listening to it. Even if you are sleeping, it goes on knocking on your doors; it does not allow you even to have a beautiful sleep.

The second loss is that because the mind is working twenty-four hours a day, from the cradle to the grave, it becomes mediocre, it becomes stupid. It never has enough energy, it becomes very weak; hence the impotence. If the mind has time to rest, it will again become rejuvenated, it will again be fresh.

The mind of a buddha is always fresh, it is always young. It is always responding with such freshness, with such newness that it seems unbelievable. Your questions may be the same, but the answers of a buddha always have a new nuance to them, a new flavor, a new fragrance. You can go on listening to the Buddha for years, and still you will remain enchanted. Even if he repeats something it is never the same — the context is different, the color is different, the meaning is different.

The mind will be there, more alive, more potent, more restful, younger, fresher — not your master but a good servant, an obedient servant. Activity will disappear totally; there will arise action.

Action means there is no goal to it. Just as the poets say “poetry for poetry’s sake” or “art for art’s sake,” the same is the situation with the mystic. His action is for action’s sake; there is no other goal to it. He enjoys it just like a small child, innocently he enjoys it.

Vinod Bharti, witnessing is the miracle that changes everything in your life. Then the dead end is only a new beginning, a death and a birth — the death of the old, a total death; a discontinuity with the old, and the arrival of something absolutely unknown, the arrival of the new. It is a resurrection — a crucifixion and a resurrection. But the resurrection is possible only after crucifixion.

The dead end is going to come, but it is the beginning also. And you will see the beginning immediately, when the dead end has come. If you are just thinking about it, that it is coming, it is coming…the mind can even say, “It has come — beware, escape! While there is time, run away!” Then you will miss the other side of it. You will see only the cross, you will miss the resurrection.

You are thinking the mind is impotent. Your thinking is on the right track, but thinking will not help, seeing is needed. Become a witness so that you can see that the mind is impotent. Feel that activities are useless, but not action. Action continues. Buddha lived for forty-two years after his enlightenment. Action continued, activities disappeared.


From Come, Come, Yet Again Come, Chapter One

Come, Come, Yet Again Come

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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The Groove Goes Deep – Osho

Last night you said that desires move between the dead past and the imaginary future. Please explain how and why this dead past proves so dynamic and powerful that it compels a person to flow into the process of endless desire. How can one be free from this dynamic past, the unconscious and the collective unconscious?

The past is not dynamic at all: it is totally dead. But still it has a weight – a dead weight. That dead weight works; it is not dynamic at all. Why the dead weight works has to be understood.

The past is so forceful because it is the known, the experienced, and mind always feels fearful of the unknown, the unexperienced. And how can you desire the unknown? You cannot desire the unknown. Only the known can be desired. So desires are always repetitious. They repeat, they are circular. You always move in the same pattern, in the same circle. The mind becomes just a groove of repetitions, and the more you repeat a particular thing, the more weighty it becomes, because the groove goes deep.

So the past is important not because it is dynamic; it forces you to do something and to desire not because it is forceful, powerful, alive – but only because it is a dead groove. And the past has been repeated so many times that to repeat it has become easy and automatic. The more you repeat a particular thing the more convenient and easier it becomes. The basic convenience is this: that if you are repeating a thing, you need not be aware.

Awareness is the most inconvenient thing. If you are repeating a particular thing, then you need not be aware. You can be just deep asleep, and the thing can be repeated automatically, mechanically. So it is convenient to repeat the past because you need not be aware. You can go on sleeping, and the mind will repeat itself.

That’s why those who say that desirelessness is the state of bliss also say that desirelessness is synonymous with awareness. You cannot be desireless unless you are totally aware. Or, if you are aware you will find that you are desireless, because desires can have a repetitive force upon the mind only when you are not aware. So the more asleep the mind is, the more repetitive and the more mechanical. So the past has the grip only because it is a repetition – and because it is the known. How can you desire the unknown?

For the unknown there can be no desire. The unknown is inconceivable. That’s why, even when we begin to desire God, we are not desiring the unknown. By “God” we must mean something which I known. So go deep: what do you mean by “God”? – Particularly your God. What do you mean by it? You will find under the garb of “God” something known, something experienced.

It may be eternal pleasure. So the so-called religious persons go on saying, “Why are you wasting your life in desires which are momentary? Come to us! Here is the fulfillment; here is the possibility to achieve permanent, eternal pleasure.” The language can be understood. You know the momentary pleasure, so you can desire permanent pleasure – but under the garb of God there is pleasure.

You may be seeking God only because you are fearful of death. Then, under the garb of God, you are really asking for immortality, not to die ever, an eternal life. You know this life – that is your experience – now you want to make it eternal. So whenever we talk about God, the Divine, Liberation, mokhsa, don’t be deceived by the words because the words may be hiding something totally different. And they are hiding it – because how can you desire the unknown? How can you conceive of it? How can you ask for it?

Really, the phenomenon is quite different. When you are not in desire, the unknown comes to you – you cannot desire it. When you are desireless the unknown comes to you. You cannot desire it! The state of desirelessness is the opening for the unknown to come. You cannot desire it because the very desire will become the hindrance.

So mind goes on repeating; it is a mechanical thing. So the dynamism is not in the mind – mind is just a dead, mechanical thing – the dynamism is in your consciousness, and if your consciousness is identified with the mind then the dead mind becomes dynamic. The dynamism belongs to your energy; it is not part of your mind. You are the dynamism behind it. If you are identified with the mind, if you think that you are the mind, then the mind begins to be dynamic. If you are not identified with the mind, then the mind is just dead – just a dead weight, just a mechanical accumulation.

It is a long accumulation – millennia of evolution, many, many, many lives are accumulated there. It is not only that your mind belongs to this life – it belongs to life as such. It has evolved, so it has deep grooves. It is not only that you fall in love: your father and mother have fallen in love before you; their fathers and their mothers and theirs and theirs – they have all fallen in love. The mind has a deep groove of falling in love, so when you fall m love don’t be deceived that you are falling in love. The whole humanity is behind you; the whole humanity has made the groove. It is in your bones, it is in your cells, it is in your very metabolism. Every cell has a sex part in it, and every cell has a groove, and every cell has a mind, memory – long memories, beginningless memories. So if you are identified with this mind, it becomes a force – a dynamic force. You give the energy, but the dead machine begins to move. You pedal it.

So remember: energy belongs to you; dynamism belongs to you. Mind is a mechanical thing produced by millennia of evolution, but it has deep grooves. And if you are identified, then you will have to flow through those grooves. There is no escape then.

So the first thing is how not to identify, how to remember constantly that mind is one thing and you are something else. It is difficult, it is arduous – but it is possible. It is not impossible. And once, if you have even a moment’s glimpse of unidentified Existence, then you will never be the same again. Once you come to know that mind is not the force: “I am the force, the vitality comes from me,” if even for a single moment you have the glimpse of your mastery, then mind will never be master again. And only then can you move into the unknown.

Mind cannot move into the unknown: it is produced by the known. It is a product of the known, so it cannot move into the unknown. That’s why mind can never know what Truth is, what God is.  Mind can never know what freedom is, mind can never know what life is – because intrinsically mind is dead. It is dead: dust accumulated through centuries and centuries – just dust, memory dust.

It seems that mind forces you. It doesn’t force you really; it only gives you the easiest grooves.

It supplies to you only the repeated routine tracks, and you fall victim to convenience – because to break a new route and to create a new track and to move in a new groove is very difficult and inconvenient. That is what is meant by tapa – austerity. If you begin to move in some new grooves which are created not by the mind but created by consciousness, then you are in tapascharya – in austerity. It is arduous.

Gurdjieff had many exercises. One exercise was to deny the mechanism sometimes. You are hungry: just deny and let your body suffer. You be just calm and quiet, and remember that the body is hungry. Don’t suppress it; don’t force it not to be hungry. It is hungry; you know. But at the same time say to it, “I am not going to fulfill this hunger today. Be hungry, suffer! Now, I am not going to move today in this supplied groove. I will remain aloof.”

And, suddenly, if you can do this, you begin to feel a gap. The body is hungry, but somewhere there is a distance between you and it. If you try to occupy your mind, then you have missed the point. If you go to the temple and begin to do kirtan and singing just to forget the hunger, then you have missed the point. Let the body be hungry. Don’t occupy your mind to escape from hunger. Remain hungry, but just tell the body, “Today I am not going to fall in the trap.” You remain hungry, you suffer.

There are persons who are doing fasting, but meaninglessly because whenever they fast they try to occupy the mind so that the hunger should not be known and should not be felt. If the hunger is not felt, the whole point is missed! Then you are playing tricks. Let the hunger be there in its totality, in its intensity. Let it be there; don’t escape from it. Let the fact of it be there, present, and remain aloof and tell the body, “Today I am not going to give you anything.” There is neither conflict nor suppression nor any escape.

If you can do this, then suddenly you become aware of a gap. Your mind asks for something. For example, someone has become angry. He is angry with you, and the mind begins to react, to be angry. Just tell the mind, “I am not going to fall in the trap this time.” Be aloof. Let the anger be there in the mind, but be aloof. Don’t cooperate, don’t be identified, and you will feel that anger is somewhere else. It surrounds you, but it is not in you, it doesn’t belong to you. It is just like smoke around you. It goes on, goes on, and waits for you to come and cooperate.

There will be every temptation. This is what is really meant by temptation. Mm? – no devil is there to tempt you. Your own mind tempts you, because that’s the most convenient way to be and to behave. Convenience is the temptation; convenience is the devil. The mind will say, “Be angry!” The situation is there and the mechanism is just on. Always, whenever this situation was there, you have been angry, so the mind supplies you again with the same reaction.

As far as it goes it is good because mind makes you ready to do something you have always been doing; but sometimes just stand off, off the track, and tell the mind, “Okay, anger is there outside. Someone is angry with me. You are supplying, me with an old reaction, a stereotyped reaction, but this time I am not going to cooperate. I will just stand here and observe and see what happens.” Suddenly the whole situation changes.

If you don’t cooperate the mind falls dead, because it is your cooperation which gives it dynamism, energy. It is your energy, but you only become aware when it is used by the mind. Don’t give it any cooperation, and the mind will just fall down as if without a backbone – just a dead snake with no life. It will be there, and for the first time you will become aware of a certain energy in you which doesn’t belong to the mind but belongs to you.

This energy is pure energy, and with this energy one can move into the unknown. Really, this energy moves into the unknown if it is not associated with the mind. If it is associated with the mind, then it moves into the known. If it moves into the known, then it takes the shape of desire. If it moves into the unknown, then it takes the shape of desirelessness. Then there is sheer movement – a play of energy, a sheer dance of energy, an overflowing energy moving into the unknown.

Mind can only supply the known. If you can be detached from your mind, the energy will have to move, it cannot remain static. That is what is meant by energy: it has to move! Movement is its very life. Movement is not a quality of energy: movement is the very life! It is not that energy cannot be without movement – no! It is the very life, intrinsic.

Energy means movement, so it moves. If mind supplies its grooves, then it moves into the grooves. If there is no supply of grooves and if you have just put off the mind, then too it moves, but now the movement is into the uncharted. This movement is the play, the leela this movement is creative; this movement is spiritual. And it is desireless. It is not because there is some desire that you move. It is because you cannot do anything else but move: you are energy and movement. So see the difference.

When mind works, it works as a dead weight, a mechanical weight, through the past. It pushes you towards the future. Because the past is pushing towards the future, the past again projects its own desires. So first understand the repetitiveness of desires.

There are not so many desires. Really, there are very few. You go on repeating them. Just count how many desires you have. They are not many – very few! You will not even be able to find enough to count on your fingers. How many desires do you have? Very few! And, really, if you look deeply, you may even find that only one desire is there. There are modifications of it, but really only one desire, and the same desire is being repeated continuously. Life after life it is being repeated. You go on repeating and then it begins to seem, it begins to appear, that you are helpless, that the wheel is moving and you cannot do anything. It is not so. You are helpless only because you have forgotten totally that the energy by which the wheel is moving is given by you.

Because of the past, the future is just a repetition. It is the projected past. You again desire the same thing, and you go on again and again. That’s why I said that past and future are parts of mind, not parts of time. Time is just here and now, the present. If mind is not working, then energy will be here and now in the moment. It will move because it is energy, but now the movement will be into the unknown. The known is not there at all. Mind is not, so the known is not.

Someone asked Hui-Hai, “How did you achieve? How did you reach?”

Hui-Hai said, “When I became a no-mind, then I achieved, then I reached.”

We are minds. That means: tethered to the past. If we can become no-minds that means untethered to the past – then the moment is free, fresh, and energy moves – not for something but because it is energy. Remember the difference exactly: it moves not for something; it moves because it is energy.

A river is moving; ordinarily we think it is moving for the sea. How can it know? It is not moving for the sea. It is moving because it is energy. Ultimately, the sea happens to be there; that is another thing. So when you move into the unknown, ultimately you reach to the Divine. It happens to be there. If your movement is pure, you reach it.

The river goes on moving without knowing, without any map. The past cannot supply the map because the river is not going to move on the past tracks again, so every step is into the unknown. And where it is going, there is no way to know. It is not moving because of any desire; it is not moving for something. The future is unknown – just unknown, dark. It moves. Why does it move? It moves because it is energy.

A seed is moving, a tree is growing, stars are moving. Why do they move? Have they to reach somewhere? No! They move because they are energy; pure energy is moving. Because pure energy cannot do anything else, it moves. So when you become just pure energy, not mind but no-mind energy, you move; and then every step is just into the unknown. Then life becomes bliss, it becomes ecstatic, because the old is never repeated again. Never will the morning be the same again, never again this moment. Now it is a sensation, a thrill every time. This thrill creates Meera’s dance; this thrill creates Chaitanya’s singing with this thrill, every moment something new is bursting, exploding. A Buddha is never bored. He looks fresh.

Maulingputta came to Buddha. He was a very inquiring young man, a great scholar, one who knew all that can be known from scriptures, a great pundit. When he came to Buddha he began to ask many questions. The second day again he asked many questions. The third day again he asked many questions. Ananda, another disciple of Buddha’s, was just bored. He asked Buddha, “Are you not bored? He is repeating the same questions again and again.”

Buddha asked Ananda, “Has he repeated? Has he repeated a single question?”

Every moment is so new for a Buddha-conscious mind. For a Buddha-like mind, everything is so new, how can you repeat the old question again? Even the questioner does not remain the same. How can you ask the same question you asked yesterday? The Ganges has flowed so much, so how can you ask the same question again? You will never be the same again yourself.

And Buddha said, “Even if he is asking the same questions, he is not asking the same person. So how can I say he is repeating? He must have asked someone else. Yesterday where was l? The energy has moved.”

Someone was very angry, insulted Buddha; then felt sorry, and the next day came to ask Buddha’s forgiveness. Buddha was just bewildered, and he said, “You are a strange man! You insult one person and then you ask pardon from somebody else.”

The man said, “What are you saying? Am I strange, or are you? I came yesterday and insulted you. I felt very sorry and I couldn’t sleep.”

Buddha said, “That’s why you are still repeating. But I could sleep and now I am a different man. The river has gone on. It is not the same bank again, and I will never be the same so now you are in difficulty, because you cannot ask pardon of a man you will never meet. If I ever meet him I will tell him whatsoever you have said to me.”

This energy moves into the unknown. It is fresh, young, so a Buddha can never be old. The body, of course, will become old, but a Buddha can never be old. He will remain young. That’s why we have never pictured Ram, Krishna or Buddha as old. They became old, but we have no pictures of Krishna’s old age, of Ram’s old age, of Buddha’s old age, of Mahavir’s old age. We have no pictures!

It is not that they never became old – the body has to follow the common lot – but by not creating pictures of their old age we have just meant something more. Really, they were never old because they were so moving – so moving and so young. For such persons death is not an end. It is again a further movement. It is not an end at all.

So mind is not dynamic: mind is mechanical. It can become dynamic if you cooperate with it. Don’t cooperate with it! Remember your aloofness, create a distance. Be aware, and then the mind will be there but you will be outside.

The English word “ecstasy” is very beautiful and meaningful. You may not have even conceived of what this word means – “ecstasy”. It means to stand outside; the word means to stand outside. If you can stand outside of yourself, if you can be outside of yourself, you are in ecstasy. Someone has suggested that to translate “Samadhi” as ”ecstasy” is not good because the word “Samadhi” doesn’t mean to stand outside. Really, Samadhi means to stand inside. So someone has suggested a new word, he has coined a new word: instead of ecstasy he says it is better to translate Samadhi as “instasy” – to stand inside.

Really, these two words mean two different things, but in a certain way they mean the same. If you can stand out of your mind, then you will be able to stand in yourself. If you can stand outside yourself – the so-called self – then you will be, for the first time, inside. So ecstasy is “instasy”. Then you will be in your center.

If you are out of your mind, then you will be centered in yourself. So going out of the mind is going into consciousness. That’s why mind has to be understood as mechanical, as a mechanism, as accumulation, as the past. And once you feel it, you are out of it. But we go on, we continue to identify ourselves with it.

Whenever you say, “This is my thought,” you are identifying. Change the language, and sometimes it helps very much – if you can just change the language! Language has such a deep grip. Say, “This belongs to my past mind,” and feel the difference. When you say, “This is my thought,” you are identified. Say, “This belongs to my mind, my past mind,” and feel how only a change of language creates a distance.

For example, we say, “My mind is tense.” Then you are identified. We even say, “I am tense.” Then there is even more identification. When I say, “I am tense,” there is no gap. When I say, “My mind is tense,” there is a little gap. If I can say, “I am aware that the mind is tense,” then there is a greater gap, and the greater the gap, the less will be the tension.

When we say, “I am tense,” it looks as if someone else is responsible. So psychology suggests never to say “I am tense,” because subtly it makes someone else responsible. They say that rather than to say “I am tense,” one should say, “I am tensing.” Then the responsibility is yours.

So break the old habits of language, mind, thoughts, and then your energy will move. And once the mind is not there, you are free for the first time.


From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.1, Chapter Four

Ultimate Alchemy, V. 1

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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To Be One Again – Osho

Man is not an island; nothing is. All is interrelated, all is interdependent. Independence – the very word – is false, so is dependence. The reality is interdependence.

Everything is so deeply connected with everything else that nothing can exist apart. If you can understand a small rose flower in its totality, root and all, you will have understood the whole cosmos, because the whole cosmos is involved in that small rose flower. In the smallest leaf of grass all is contained.

But remember, as Fa Tsang said to the Empress: All illustrations, all descriptions are static, and existence is a dynamic flux. It is a river. Each thing goes on moving into each other thing. It is impossible to draw lines where one thing ends and another begins; there are no demarcating lines – there cannot be. So all distinctions are only for practical purposes, they have no existential value.

This is the first thing to be understood. This is very fundamental to the Taoist alchemy. Once this is understood, then the whole alchemy of Taoism becomes comprehensible. Then the lower can be transformed into the higher, because the lower contains the higher already. The baser metal can be transformed into gold because nothing is separate – the baser contains the gold already. As above, so below; as below, so above.

The very idea that all is interconnected makes transformation possible. If things are not interconnected then there is no possibility of any transformation. If the world consists of the philosopher Liebnitz’s monads – windowless, separate, atomic individuals, not connecting with each other at all because they are windowless – then there is no possibility of any transformation.

Transformation is conceivable only because you are me, I am you; we interpenetrate. Can you think of yourself as separate even for a single moment? You cannot even imagine yourself as separate. The flower cannot be separated from the tree; the moment it is separated it dies. The tree cannot be separated from the earth. The earth cannot be separated from the sun. The sun cannot be separated from other stars, and so on and so forth. You separate the leaf, and the leaf dies. You separate the flower, the flower dies. You separate the tree from the earth, the tree dies. You separate the earth from the sun, and the earth dies.

Death means separation. Life means no separation. Hence the ego is bound to die because that is your idea of separation. To think of one’s self in terms of ego is the only cause of death – because the ego is already dead. You can go on flogging the dead horse, but for how long? It is going to die; it is already dead, that’s why it is going to die. That which is alive in you cannot die; life is eternal. But life is not yours, you cannot possess it. Life belongs to all. Life has a vastness, infinity. Death is tiny, death is individual; life is universal. So when you live, you are part of the universe, and when you die you die only because you think you are separate.

The more you feel part of the whole, the more life you will have.

Jesus says, ‘Come to me and I will give you life abundant.’ What is the secret of life abundant?

The secret is: die as the ego, disappear as a separate entity, and the whole universe and all that it contains is yours. Stop possessing, and all is yours. Possess, and you are tiny and limited, and you are going to die. The secret of becoming more alive consists of a single phenomenon of dropping the idea of separation. And whenever it happens, you feel life becoming aflame in you.

Even if it happens in small measures… If you fall in love with somebody, life is aflame in you. And it is not that much has happened, just two persons are feeling one. Learn the lesson from love. Just two persons feeling one, and what joy, and what ecstasy! Think. If you fall in love with the whole then how much ecstasy and how much joy is going to happen! That is life abundant, life infinite.

Separate yourself… There are a few people who live so egoistically that they cannot love; they are the most miserable people in the world. My definition of hell is; to live in separation is hell. To live in non-separation is heaven. To disappear completely, utterly into the whole, is moksha, nirvana. It is ultimate freedom.

The second thing to be understood: that life is polar. That is also very fundamental to the Taoist approach. But the polarity is not that of opposition. The polarity means that the opposites are complementary to each other, they support each other. Life cannot exist without death, hence death is not the enemy. How can death be the enemy of life if life cannot exist without it? It has to be the friend. It prepares the ground for life: it helps life, it provokes life, it challenges life.

Just think. If your body were going to live for eternity, you would not live at all, you would have an infinity to postpone everything. ’Why love today if there is tomorrow? And if tomorrow is infinite, then why bother? Why dance today? We will see tomorrow.’ Just imagine. If your bodily life were going to be eternal, your postponement would become eternal.

You cannot postpone because you are not certain whether there is going to be any tomorrow or not. Nobody knows whether the next breath will come in or not, hence only foolish people postpone. The wise man lives, and the wise man lives here-now. He cannot afford postponement because he knows ‘Only this moment is mine, only this very moment is mine. The next moment may be, may not be. How can I postpone? How can I say “tomorrow”?’

The foolish man postpones until tomorrow, the wise man lives now. The wise man knows no other time than now and no other space than here, and the foolish man goes into things which could have been postponed for eternity – he lives them right now. If he is angry, he lives it right now. If he is loving, he says, ‘We will see tomorrow.’ All that is stupid he goes on living, and all that is luminous he goes on postponing. The wise man also postpones, but he only postpones stupid things.

Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples, ‘When my grandfather died I was only nine years old. He called me close to his death-bed and whispered in my ear.’ He had tremendous love for this small boy. He must have seen the potential of the boy. He whispered in the ears of the boy, ’I have nothing to give to you except a simple piece of advice, and I don’t know whether you will be able to understand it right now or not. But remember it! Some day you may become capable enough, mature enough to understand it. Just remember it. And it is simple advice. If you want to do anything wrong, postpone it for twenty-four hours. And if you want to do something right, never postpone it even for a single moment. If you want to be angry, violent, aggressive, postpone it for twenty-four hours. If you want to be loving, sharing, do not postpone it even for a single moment. Just live it right now, immediately!’

And Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples, ‘That simple advice transformed my whole life.’ How can you be angry if you can postpone it for twenty-four hours? It is impossible. To be so calm and quiet as to postpone it for twenty-four hours is enough guarantee that you are not going to be angry. And who can be angry if he can postpone it for twenty-four hours? Twenty-four hours of contemplation, and the whole absurdity will be plain to you: the whole thing will look ridiculous.

And Gurdjieff was really transformed by this simple message. Sometimes very simple messages can transform you, but you have to live them.

Life exists because there is death. Death gives intensity to life. Death challenges life, it provokes you to live, and to live to the maximum, at the optimum, because – who knows – there may be no tomorrow. Death is always provoking you, goading you to live, and to live totally. Then death is not against life but a friend.

So is the case with all the polarities: the negative and the positive, love and hate, beauty and ugliness, day and night, summer and winter. And so is the case with man and woman. Man cannot be without the woman, and the woman cannot be without the man. They are part of one dialectical process. Between these two poles there is both attraction and repulsion, because attraction and repulsion cannot be separated. Hence you feel attracted towards the woman or towards the man and repulsed at the same time. A part of you wants to be with the woman, a part of you wants to be alone.

You are always hesitating. If you are with the woman or with the man, you start longing for the freedom to be on your own, to be alone. Suddenly you become very interested in being alone and free, and you don’t know where this desire to be free is coming from. The woman or the man, the other, is provoking it. The moment you have left the other, this desire, this longing, this great longing to be alone will disappear. And then you are surprised, really surprised. When you are alone you simply feel lonely. You don’t feel that joy that you had contemplated, you don’t see any freedom; you simply see loneliness surrounding you. And your whole existence becomes cold, frozen, dark. Again the desire arises to be with the other. Now you hanker for love, for togetherness.

This is the problem between man and woman. They are attracted and repulsed together, simultaneously. They want to come to be together and they want to be separate and alone, on their own. Hence the constant conflict between man and woman.

Marriage is a love-hate affair, an attraction-repulsion affair. If the marriage lasts long, it can only last if there are mini-divorces happening every day – only then can it last long. If the man and the woman have decided not to fight, then it is a plastic marriage. They will be together, they will manage to be together, but they will never be together in reality; they will never know those moments of unity. They are only pretending. They are being polite, but not true, not authentic.

Marriage is a kind of intimate enmity. It is an intimate enmity, it is a friendly fight, it is a war. Yes, between two wars there are peaceful moments too, and they are beautiful because of the two wars.

Couples go on fighting – that’s how they keep alive the flame of love. Once they fight, they go away from each other. When they are far away from each other, in their psychologies, they start hankering for the other, they start missing the other. Then they start seeking and groping for the other. Then they come close, and very close, because they have tasted something of loneliness. Now they want to be very close. Once they have tasted of closeness they want to be separate again.

So don’t be worried about it. It is a fundamental phenomenon. You cannot escape it. The only way to escape is to have a pretend marriage, which is not a true marriage. ‘Remain polite to each other.’ It is a kind of contract, that ‘I need you and you need me,’ that ‘I will scratch your back and you scratch my back’ – that’s all – ‘because I need you and you need me. You are my security, I will be your security.’ It is a legal contract but not marriage.

This is the second fundamental to be understood before you can enter into the sutras.

And the third and the most important thing: the third fundamental is that no man is only man and no woman is only woman. Man is both, woman is both; both are both. Man contains a woman within him, and so is the case with a woman: the woman contains a man within her. So it is not only a question of the outside man or outside woman, it is also an inner phenomenon, because the outer and the inner correspond. Just as I said ‘as below, so above’, I can say ‘as outer, so inner’.

Your inner reality is also the same as your outer reality: they correspond, they balance. Now more complexity arises because each man has a woman within him, and he has to come to terms with her. It is not just a question of having a woman outside that you love; otherwise things would have been less complicated.

Whenever two persons are in love, there are really four persons – in each bed there are four persons. Complexity you can understand. Whenever two persons make love, there are four persons making love. It is always group sex, because the man has a woman inside him, and the woman has a man inside her. And it is bound to be so because each is born out of the marriage of a man and a woman. Something of the father will be in you – fifty percent; something of the mother will be in you – fifty percent. To each person the father contributes and the mother contributes. You may be biologically a man – that simply shows that physically you have the mechanism of the man – but deep in your psyche you are neither man nor woman, you are both. That’s why I say if we have to use one word for both man and woman…

Up to now we have been using ‘man’ – that means it contains both. It is only because man has been very dominant in the past. But in the future the pendulum may swing to the other pole, and that will be far more true, because the word ‘man’ does not contain woman, the word ‘woman’ contains man. It will be better to use ‘woman’ as a general word for both.

And so is the case with ‘he’ and ‘she’. ‘She’ contains ‘he’, but ‘he’ does not contain ‘she’. It will be better to use ‘she’ for both, ‘woman’ for both. It will be better to use ‘she’ for God than ‘he’. But both contain each other. Because of this there is a possibility of homosexuality – because of this fundamental duality inside. You may be a man on the outside, and you may become attuned to your inner woman inside. There is no problem in it. Your spirit remains free. Inside it can either become identified with the inner man or it can become identified with the inner woman.

If you are physically a man and you become identified with the woman inside, homosexuality will be the consequence. It can happen in many ways, it can happen for many reasons. So homosexuality is possible because of this inner duality.

And now science is even capable of changing your physical sex. That too is possible, because the Taoist finding has been found to be scientifically true, too. Now just by changing the hormones and your chemistry a little bit, the man can become a woman and the woman can become a man – even physiologically. That simply shows that you are both. Even the difference in the body is only of emphasis.

And sometimes it happens of its own accord too. It has been found that a woman becomes a man or a man becomes a woman. The difference must not have been much – may have been very, very slight: fifty-one percent man, forty-nine percent woman; the balance is just a little more on the side of being a man. It can change in the course of life – new hormones, new food, new climate, new atmosphere, new emotions, illnesses, or anything, can change the balance and the man can become a woman or the woman can become a man. And now science knows that it can be done very easily.

There is every possibility that in future people will change their sex more often, because if you can live both the polarities in one life, then why not? If you can enjoy both visions, then why not? You will have more freedom. You have lived as a man for thirty-five years, and enough is enough. And you would like to see how it is from the other side, because there is no other way to know how it is from the other side than to be on that side.

My own observation of thousands of people has been this: that if a person is a man in this life, in the next life he is born as a woman, and vice versa. And the reason is simple: he becomes tired of being a man, or becomes tired of being a woman, and starts hankering deep down for the other pole. And, naturally, in the next life, because of this great desire to be the other, he is born as the other.

These are the three fundamentals. First: everything is interdependent. Second: life is polar and the polarities are not opposites but complementaries. And third: that each is double inside, no one is single.

In India we have the concept of Ardhanarishwar. That corresponds to the Taoist approach.

Shiva has been sculpted, painted as both – half man, half woman. Half of his body is that of a man and half of his body is that of a woman. When for the first time those statues were discovered by the West, the West laughed – it looked so absurd. What is the point of it? Now they have understood what the point of it is. It is one of the most fundamental things of life.

So are you, just like Shiva, half-half.

These sutras are concerned with this inner polarity, and unless you transcend this inner polarity you will not attain to the One, you will remain two. Meditation is a way to transcend this polarity within you. Meditation takes you away from all dualisms.

In ordinary life you remain dual. And in the space of twenty-four hours you change many times from one pole to the other. Watch. You may be a man, but sometimes you are very feminine, very vulnerable. You may be a woman, but sometimes in the daytime you are very masculine. When the woman is masculine she becomes very very aggressive – more aggressive than any man can ever be, because her aggressiveness is very fresh, unused, just like unused land is very fertile. And so is the case with man. If a man is tender, he is very tender – more than the woman, because that is unused soil, that part of his being has not been used; it is fresh, very alive. So this strange phenomenon is observed again and again if you become a little watchful.

Woman is generally loving; man is not generally loving. Woman is only sometimes quarrelsome, but when she is, then she really is. Man is only sometimes loving, but when he is he really is. Those are the unused parts of their being. When they are used they have a freshness.

This inner polarity keeps you in a kind of anguish, conflict; without it you cannot exist. The One remains invisible – that’s why God is invisible. To become visible the One has to become two. You have to write with white chalk on a blackboard, only then can those words be seen.

To exist, one needs contrast. That is why in the daytime you cannot see stars, in the nighttime you can see – the darkness of the night becomes the background. The stars are there as much as in the night – they don’t go anywhere, they can’t go anywhere; they are where they are. They don’t start coming in the night, they don’t start hiding somewhere in the day. They are where they are, but in the day the contrast is missing. You cannot see them, they are invisible.

God is invisible. If he wants to become man and woman, he will have to become two, he will have to become matter and spirit, he will have to become body and soul, he will have to become this and that. Only the two are visible. The world consists of the ’two’. The world is dual. And the moment you can manage to make this duality disappear in oneness, you will become invisible. It has great significance, but it is a metaphor. It does not mean that you cannot see Lao Tzu or you cannot see me. You are seeing me already, but still you are not seeing me. That part has become invisible. The polarity has disappeared inside, the duality is no more there. Only the dual can be seen, the non-dual becomes unseen.

God has to become two, only then the game, the play, is possible. Ancient Indian scriptures say he felt very lonely. ‘He’ means God. He felt very lonely. He longed for the other, that’s why he became two. He became man and woman, cow and bull, and so on and so forth. The whole existence is sexual. By ‘sexual’ I mean dual. The whole existence is sexual. Sooner or later science is going to discover that there are planets which are male and there are planets which are female. It has to be so. Ancient astrology says so, and I perfectly agree with it – everything is dual. That’s why the sun is represented as being male and the moon as being female. It is not poetry, it is fact. Science may not yet have discovered it, but it has to be so. If everything is dual, then there cannot be any exceptions.

Your attraction for the woman or for the man keeps you in manifestation. Now you will be able to understand why the great mystics down the ages have been teaching you how to go beyond sex – because unless you go beyond sex, you will not go into God. Unless you go beyond sex, you will never go beyond the two, you will remain tethered to the duality of the world. The ‘world’ means God manifest, and ‘God’ means the world disappearing into un-manifestation again. That too is a duality: manifestation, non-manifestation.

In Christian theology things are not so deep, they are very superficial. In Christian theology you have only creation. What about de-creation? How can there be creation without de-creation? In the Eastern theology they are both together: Srushti means creation; pralaya means de-creation. There is a moment when God becomes manifest, and then there is a moment when God becomes unmanifest again – all disappears into nothingness, zero follows, just like you, as I told you in the beginning.

You are with your beloved, you become tired, you want to meditate, you want to go to the Himalayas. God also becomes tired of the world – naturally so. Then he wants to go into retirement. Then he disappears into oneness. Dissolution follows. All disappears. But again, how long can you sit in a Himalayan cave? Even God becomes tired of it. He starts seeking and searching and creating the other again.

And exactly so it happens in each individual soul. You live life, then you become tired, then you want to go beyond life. You have lived your body, and you are tired. Now you want to go beyond the body. And then you can understand my insistence, why I say don’t be afraid of the world and don’t escape from the world, because the world is the very place where renunciation happens. It is one of the poles. That’s why I don’t say escape from the woman or the man. If you escape you may remain interested. Don’t escape. Live it through and through. Indulge in the world, and the very indulgence will become renunciation. Out of that very indulgence you will start feeling that now it is time to disappear into absolute aloneness. And if you are really tired, only then can you go into that absolute aloneness.

People are bound to misunderstand me. In India I am one of the most misunderstood men. They think I am teaching people indulgence. I am teaching renunciation. They think I am teaching a worldly kind of sannyas. They don’t understand. I am teaching real sannyas, because real sannyas arises only out of worldly experience. Real sannyas is not possible in a cave in the Himalayas. It will be unreal, imposed, and deep down you will remain worldly and you will continue to hanker and dream of the world.

Live in the world. Really live in it so you get tired, wearied, finished with it – so much so that one day suddenly it loses all meaning for you, and the renunciation has happened.

To me, the real renunciation happens in the market-place and only in the market-place.


From The Secret of Secrets, V.1, Chapter Five

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

The Secret of Secrets

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

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

Love is Greater than Truth – Osho

We can practice right behavior, and behavior according to duty, but then we will be waring false faces, as we are inwardly, as you say, a madhouse. So should we act as we feel, or act as we ought?

The first thing to be understood: you have to be authentic to yourself – sincere, honest. But that doesn’t mean that you have to hurt others through your honesty and sincerity, that doesn’t mean that you have to disturb others, that doesn’t mean that you have to disturb the rules of the game. All relationships are just rules of the game, and many times you will have to act and wear masks, false faces. The only thing to remember is: don’t become the mask. Use it if it is good, and keep the rules, but don’t become the mask, don’t get identified. Act it, don’t get identified with it.

This is a great problem, particularly in the West for the new generation. They have heard too much; they have already been seduced by this idea: be sincere and be honest. This is good, but you don’t know how cunning and destructive the mind is. Your mind can find excuses. You can say a truth, not because you love truth so much but just to hurt somebody; you can use it as a weapon. And if you are using it as a weapon it is not truth, it is worse than a lie.

Sometimes you can help somebody through a lie, and sometimes relationship becomes more easy through a lie. Then use it – but don’t get identified with it. What I am saying is: Be a good player, learn the rules of the game; don’t be too adamant about anything.

It happened: I came back from the university and my father and my mother were worried; they were worried about me, about what I was going to do. They were worried about my marriage. So my father started sending messages through his friends asking my opinion whether I was ready to get married or not. So I told his friends, “This is between me and my father, don’t you come in. Tell my father that he can ask me.”

And he was afraid, because I have never said no to him for anything. So he was afraid, he was afraid because I would not say no. Even if I didn’t want to be married I would say yes – that was the worry in his mind. Even if I didn’t want to get into a householder’s life, I would not say no, I would say yes. And that yes would be false. So what to do? He couldn’t ask me – he has not asked yet – because he knew well that I would not break any rule. I would have said yes.

Then he tried through my mother. She asked me one night; she came to my bed, sat there, and asked me what I thought about marriage. So I said, “I have not married yet, so I have no experience. You know well, you have the experience, so you tell me. Take fifteen days: think over it, contemplate, and if you feel you have achieved something through it, then just order me. I will follow the order. Don’t ask about my opinion – I have none, because I have no experience. You are experienced. If you were again given a chance, would you get married?”

She said, “You are trying to confuse me.”

I said, “You take your time, at your own ease. I will wait for two weeks, then you order me. I will just follow… because I don’t know.”

So for two weeks she was worried. She could not sleep, because she knew if she said to marry I would obey. Then she would be responsible, not I. So after two weeks she said, ”I am not going to say anything, because if I look to my own experience, then I would not like you to move into that life. But I cannot say anything now.”

So this is how I remained unmarried. Sincerely, authentically, I was not ready to marry, I was not intending it at all. But I could have acted. And nothing is wrong, because every experience helps you to grow. No-marriage helps, marriage also helps; there is not much difference. Everything helps you to grow in its own way.

The one thing to remember is: life is a great complexity. You are not alone here, there are many others related to you. Be sincere unto yourself, never be false there. Know well what you want, and for yourself remain that. But there are others also; don’t unnecessarily hurt them. And if you need to wear masks, wear them and enjoy them, but remember, they are not your original face, and be capable of taking them off any moment. Remain the master, don’t become the slave; otherwise you can be violent through your sincerity, unnecessarily you can be violent.

I have seen persons who are cruel, violent, aggressive, sadistic – but sincere, very true, authentic. But they are using their authenticity just for their sadism. They want to make others suffer, and their trick is such that you cannot escape them. They are true, so you cannot say, “You are bad.” They are good people, they are never bad, so no one can say to them, “You are bad.” They are always good, and they do the bad through their good.

Don’t do that, and don’t take life too seriously. Nothing is wrong in masks also, faces also. Just as in the drama on the stage they use faces and enjoy and the audience also enjoys, why not enjoy them in real life also? It is not more than a drama. But I am not saying for you to be dishonest. Be sincere with yourself, don’t get identified. But life is great; there are many around you related in many invisible nets. Don’t hurt anybody.

I will tell you one anecdote. It happened, Buddha became enlightened, and then he came back to his town after twelve years. He had escaped one night from his house without even telling his wife that he was leaving. He had gone to her room. She was sleeping with Buddha’s child, the only child, who was just a few days old.

Buddha wanted to touch the small child, to feel, to love and embrace, but then he thought, “If the wife is awakened she may start crying and weeping and may create a mess. The whole house will gather, and then it will be difficult to leave.” So he simply escaped from the door; he just looked in and escaped like a coward. Then for twelve years he never came back.

After twelve years, when he had become enlightened, he came back. His chief disciple was Ananda. Ananda was his elder cousin-brother, and before he took initiation with Buddha he had asked for a few promises. He took sannyas, he took initiation from Buddha, but he was older than Buddha, “So,” he said, “before I take initiation give me some promises as your elder brother, because once I have been initiated you will be the master and I will be the disciple. Then I cannot ask anything. Now I can even order you. These are the rules of the game.”

So Buddha said, “Okay.” He was enlightened, and this unenlightened man was saying, “I am your elder brother.” So Buddha said, “Okay. What do you want?”

He said, “Three promises. One: I will always be with you, you cannot send me anywhere else; wherever you go I will be your shadow. Second: even in the night when you sleep in a room I can come in and out – even while you are asleep. No rules will apply to me. And third: even at midnight when you are asleep, if I bring someone, a seeker, you will have to answer his questions.”

Buddha said, “Okay. You are my elder brother, so I promise.” Then Ananda took initiation, then he become a disciple, and Buddha followed these three things his whole life.

When he came back to his home, he said to Ananda, “Just make one exception, Ananda. My wife Yashodhara has been waiting for twelve years. She is bound to be very angry, and she is a very proud woman. Twelve years is a long time, and I have not been a good husband to her. I escaped from her like a coward, I didn’t even tell her. And I know that if I had told her she would have accepted it because she loves me so much, but I couldn’t gather the courage.
Now after twelve years, if you come with me when I go to meet my wife, she will feel even worse. She will think that this is a trick; that I have brought you with me so that she cannot express her mind, her suppressed anger, and the many things of these twelve years. And she will behave in a ladylike way, because she belongs to a very good family, a royal family. She will not even cry, no tears will come to her eyes; she will keep the rules of the game. So please, Ananda, only one exception I ask you, and I will never ask any other exception. You just wait outside.”

Ananda said, “Bhante, I think you are enlightened. You are no longer a husband and she is no longer a wife, so why play this game?”

Buddha said, “I am enlightened, she is not. I am no longer a husband, but she is still a wife, and I don’t want to hurt her. Let her keep her mind a little while and I will persuade her. I will persuade her to take a jump and become a sannyasin. But give me a chance. I am enlightened, she is not.”

So Buddha went inside the palace. Of course, Yashodhara was mad. She started saying things; she was angry, crying, weeping, tears coming down, and Buddha stood there, silent, listening to everything patiently, with deep compassion. When all her anger was out she looked at Buddha; when her tears were no more there in her eyes then she looked at Buddha. Then she realized that this man was no longer a husband and she had been talking to a ghost of her memory. The man who left her was no more there. This was totally a different man.

She surrendered, and she said to Buddha, “Why have you come? You are no longer a husband.”

Buddha repeated again, “I may not be a husband, but you are still a wife, and I have come to help you so that you can also transcend this misery, this relationship, this world.”

Others are there, consider them, and don’t try to be violent through so-called good things. So when it is said, “right conduct,” it means right relationship with others. You need not be false. When you can be true without hurting anybody, be true. But if you feel that your truth is going to hurt many and is unnecessary, it can be avoided, then avoid it, because it is not only going to hurt others, it will create patterns of cause, and those causes will return as effects on you, they will become your karmas. Then you will get entangled, and the more entangled you are the more you will have to behave in wrong ways.

Just stop. Just see the situation. If you can be true without hurting anybody, be true. To me, love is greater than truth. Be loving. And if you feel that your truth will be hurtful and violent, it is better to lie than to be true. Wait for the right moment when you can be true, and help the other person to come to such a state where your truth will not hurt him. Don’t be in a hurry.

And life is a big drama; don’t take it too seriously – because seriousness is also a disease of the mind, seriousness is part of the ego. Be playful, don’t be too serious. So sometimes you will have to use masks, because there are children around you and they like masks, they like false faces, and they enjoy. Help them to grow so they can face the real face, they can encounter it. But before they can encounter it, don’t create any trouble. Right conduct is just consideration for others.

And look: there is a great difference. You may misunderstand what I am saying. When you lie, you lie for yourself. And I am saying: if you need, and if you feel the need to lie, only lie for the consideration of others. Never lie for yourself, don’t use any mask for yourself. But if you feel it is going to help others, it will be good for them, use the mask. And inside remain alert that this is just a game you are acting, this is not real.

Sometimes you may need to be angry to your child, to your son, to your daughter. There are situations when anger helps. If you say something to your child coldly, it is not loving. If you say to your child, “Don’t do this,” in a cold manner, it is not loving, it is not going to help. When you say, “Don’t do this!” to your child in anger, deep anger, it reaches the child, and he feels that you love him, that’s why you are angry.

A father who has never been angry with his son has never been loving; anger means that you consider him, you can even be angry. You love him, you feel for him. Sometimes even when you are not feeling angry but you see the need, show the anger, have the face of anger – but remain the master. And if you are the master, then the faces are beautiful, you can use them. But don’t become the face; if you become the face you have become the slave. The whole thing is not to get identified. Remain aloof, distant, and capable at any time to put it on and off – the face is just a device. It will be difficult and complex. It is easy to be untrue, it is easy to be true. The most difficult thing is to be the master of yourself to such an extent that if you want to be untrue you can be untrue, and if you want to be true you can be true.

Gurdjieff’s disciples have written many books about him, and every disciple describes him in a different way. This is very mysterious, it has never happened with any other person in that way.
Sometimes it happened that a person went to see Gurdjieff, then left, and then his friend went to see him. They would report to each other and would both give a different picture.

Gurdjieff was a master of changing faces. It is said that he had become so capable that a person sitting by his right side would feel one thing, and a person sitting by his left side would feel differently. He may have been very loving with his left eye, and that half-face was showing love, and with the other side he may have been angry. And both persons would report to each other outside: “What type of man is this? He was so loving.” The other would say, “You are in some illusion… because he was so angry.”

That is possible and such a mastery is beautiful. It is said that no one reported Gurdjieff’s real face, because he never showed anybody his real face. He was always acting, but helping in a way; in many ways he was helping. He would show you the face that was needed by you for your consideration; he would never show you the face that was not needed by you.

To me, and to the Upanishads also, right conduct means just the right rules of behavior with others. You are not going to be here forever. You cannot change the whole world, you cannot change everybody; you can at the most change yourself. So it is better to change yourself inwardly, and don’t try to be in a continuous fight with everybody. Avoid fight – and faces can be helpful. Avoid unnecessary struggle, because that dissipates energy. Preserve your energy to be used for the inner work. And that work is so significant and it needs all your energy that you can give to it, so don’t waste it in unnecessary things.

For the outside world remain an actor, and don’t think that you are deceiving anybody. If they like deception, that’s what they need, that’s what should be given to them. If children like toys to play with, you are not deceiving them. Don’t give them a real gun; let them play with the toy gun, because they like the toy. And don’t think that the toy gun is false; don’t think, ”I must be true, I must give a real gun to the child. If he needs a gun, then I must give the true thing. How can I give the toy? This is a deception.”

But the child needs the toy, there is no deception; he doesn’t need the real gun. So just look at the other, at what he needs, and give him that which he needs. Don’t give out of your own consideration; give out of consideration for him. Look at him, study and observe him, and behave in such a way that will be helpful to him and will not be unnecessary trouble for you. This is all that is meant by right conduct.


From Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi, Chapter Seven

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Vedanta-Seven Steps to Samadhi

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

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

Perceive One Being as Knower and Known – Osho

Each thing is perceived through knowing.

The Self shines in space through knowing.

Perceive One Being as knower and known.

Whenever you know something, it is known through knowing. The object comes to your mind through the faculty of knowledge. You look at a flower. You know this is a rose flower. The rose flower is there and you are inside. Something from you comes to the rose flower; something from you is projected on the rose flower. Some energy moves from you, comes to the rose, takes its form, color and smell, and comes back and informs you that this is a rose flower.

All knowledge, whatsoever you know, is revealed through the faculty of knowing. Knowing is your faculty. Knowledge is gathered through this faculty. But knowing reveals two things: the known and the knower. Whenever you are knowing a rose flower, your knowledge is half if you forget the knower who is knowing it. So while knowing a rose flower there are three things: the rose flower – the known; and the knower – you; and the relationship between the two – knowledge.

So knowledge can be divided into three points: knower, known and knowing. Knowing is just like a bridge between two points – the subject and the object. Ordinarily your knowledge reveals only the known; the knower remains unrevealed. Ordinarily your knowledge is one-arrowed: it points to the rose but it never points to you. Unless it starts pointing to you, that knowledge will allow you to know about the world, but it will not allow you to know about yourself.

All the techniques of meditation are to reveal the knower. George Gurdjieff used a particular technique just like this. He called it self-remembering. He said that whenever you are knowing something, always remember the knower. Don’t forget it in the object. Remember the subject. Just now you are listening to me. When you are listening to me, you can listen in two ways. One: your mind can be focused towards me – then you forget the listener. Then the speaker is known but the listener is forgotten.

Gurdjieff said that while listening, know the speaker and also know the listener. Your knowledge must be double-arrowed, pointing to two points – the knower and the known. It must not only flow in one direction towards the object. It must flow simultaneously towards two directions – the known and the knower. This he called self-remembering.

Looking at a flower, also remember the one who is looking. Difficult, because if you do try it, if you try to be aware of the knower, you will forget the rose. You have become so fixed to one direction that it will take time. If you become aware of the knower, then the known will be forgotten. If you become aware of the known, then the knower will be forgotten.

But a little effort, and by and by you can be aware of both simultaneously. And when you become capable of being aware of both, this Gurdjieff calls self-remembering. This is one of the oldest techniques that Buddha used, and Gurdjieff again introduced it to the western world.

Buddha called this samyak smriti – right-mindfulness. He said that your mind is not in a right-mindfulness if it knows only one point. It must know both. And then a miracle happens: if you are aware of both the known and the knower, suddenly you become the third – you are neither. Just by endeavoring to be aware of both the known and the knower, you become the third, you become a witness. A third possibility arises immediately – a witnessing self comes into being – because how can you know both? If you are the knower, then you remain fixed to one point. In self-remembering you shift from the fixed point of the knower. Then the knower is your mind and the known is the world, and you become a third point, a consciousness, a witnessing self.

This third point cannot be transcended, and that which cannot be transcended is the ultimate. That which can be transcended is not worthwhile, because then it is not your nature – you can transcend it.

I will try to explain it through an example. In the night you sleep and you dream. In the morning you wake and the dream is lost. While you are awake there is no dream; a different world comes into your view. You move in the streets, you work in a factory or in an office. Then you come back to your home, and again you fall asleep at night. Then this world that you knew while you were awake disappears. Then you don’t remember who you are. Then you don’t know whether you are black or white, poor or rich, wise or foolish. You don’t know anything. You don’t know if you are young or old. You don’t know if you are man or woman. All that was related with the waking consciousness disappears; you enter the world of dreams. You forget the waking world; it is no more. In the morning, again the dreaming world disappears. You come back.

Which is real? – Because while you are dreaming, the real world, the world that you knew when you were awake, is no more. You cannot compare. And while you are awake, the dreaming world is no more. You cannot compare. Which is real? Why do you call the dreaming world unreal? What is the criterion?

If you say, ‘Because it disappears when I am awake,’ this cannot be the criterion, because your waking world disappears when you are dreaming. And really, if you argue this way, then the dreaming world may be more real, because while you are awake you can remember the dream, but while you are dreaming you cannot remember the waking consciousness and the world around it. So which is more real and more deep? The dreaming world completely washes away the world that you call real. Your real world cannot wash away the dreaming world so totally; it seems more solid, more real. And what is the criterion? How to say? How to compare?

Tantra says that both are unreal. Then what is real? Tantra says that the one who knows the dreaming world and the one who knows the waking world, he is real – because he is never transcended. He is never cancelled. Whether you dream or whether you are awake, he is there, uncanceled.

Tantra says that the one who knows the dream, and the one who knows that now the dream has stopped, the one who knows the waking world, and the one who knows that now the waking world has disappeared, is the real. Because there is no point when it is not; it is always there. That which cannot be cancelled by any experience is the real. That which cannot be transcended, beyond which you cannot go, is your Self. If you can go beyond it, then it was not your Self.

This method of Gurdjieff’s, which he calls self-remembering, or Buddha’s method, which he calls right-mindfulness, or this tantra sutra, lead to one thing. They lead within you to a point which is neither to known nor the knower, but a witnessing self which knows both.

This witnessing self is the ultimate, you cannot go beyond it, because now whatsoever you do will be witnessing. Beyond witnessing you cannot move. So witnessing is the ultimate substratum, the basic ground of consciousness. This sutra will reveal it to you.

Each thing is perceived through knowing.

The Self shines in space through knowing.

Perceive One Being as knower and known.

If you can perceive in yourself one point which is both knower and known, then you have transcended object and subject both. Then you have transcended the matter and mind both; then you have transcended the outer and inner both. You have come to a point where the knower and the known are one. There is no division.

With the mind, division will remain. Only with the witnessing self, division disappears. With the witnessing self you cannot say who is the known and who is the knower – it is both. But this has to be based on experience; otherwise it becomes a philosophical discussion. So try it, experiment.

You are sitting near a rose flower: look at it. The first thing to do is be totally attentive, give total attention to the rose, so that the whole world disappears and only the rose remains there – your consciousness is totally attentive to the being of the rose. If the attention is total then the world disappears, because the more the attention is concentrated on the rose, the more everything else falls away. The world disappears; only the rose remains. The rose becomes the world.

This is the first step – to concentrate on the rose. If you cannot concentrate on the rose, it will be difficult to move to the knower, because then your mind is always diverted. So concentration becomes the first step towards meditation. Only the rose remains; the whole world has disappeared. Now you can move inwards; now the rose becomes the point from where you can move. Now see the rose, and start becoming aware of yourself – the knower.

In the beginning you will miss. When you shift to the knower, the rose will drop out of consciousness. It will become faint, it will go away, it will become distant. Again you will come to the rose, and you will forget the self. This hide-and-seek play will go on, but if you persist, sooner or later a moment will come when suddenly you will be in between. The knower, the mind, and the rose will be there, and you will be just in the middle, looking at both. That middle point, that balancing point, is the witness.

Once you know that, you have become both. Then the rose – the known, and the knower – the mind, are just two wings of you. Then the object and the subject are just two wings; you are the center of both. They are extensions of you. Then the world and the divine are both extensions of you. You have come to the very center of being. And this center is just a witness.

Perceive One Being as knower and known.

Start by concentrating on something. When the concentration has come to be total, then try to move inwards, become mindful of yourself, and then try to balance. It will take time – months, even years. It depends on how intense is your effort, because it is the most subtle balancing to come between the two. But it happens, and when it happens you have reached the center of existence. In that center you are rooted, grounded, silent, blissful, in ecstasy, and duality is no more. This is what Hindus have called samadhi. This is what Jesus called the kingdom of God.

Just understanding is verbally will not be of much help, but if you try, from the very beginning you will start to feel that something is happening. When you concentrate on the rose, the world will disappear. This is a miracle – when the whole world disappears. Then you come to understand that it is your attention which is basic, and wherever you move your attention, a world is created, and from wherever you remove your attention, the world drops. So you can create worlds through your attention.

Look at it in this way. You are sitting here. If you are in love with someone, then suddenly only one person remains in this hall; everything else disappears, it is not there. What happens? Why does only one person remain when you are in love? The whole world drops really; it is phantom-like, shadows. Only one person is real, because now your mind is concentrated on one person, your mind is totally absorbed in one person. Everything else becomes shadow-like, a shadow existence – it is not real for you.

Whenever you can concentrate, the very concentration changes the whole pattern of your existence, the whole pattern of your mind. Try it – on anything. You can try it on a Buddha statue or a flower or a tree or anything. Or just on the face of your beloved or your friend – just look at the face.

It will be easy, because if you love some face it is very easy to concentrate. And really, those who tried to concentrate on Buddha, on Jesus, on Krishna, they were lovers; they loved Buddha. So it was very easy for Sariputta or for Modgalayan or for the other disciples to concentrate on Buddha’s face. The moment they looked at Buddha’s face they were easily flowing towards it. The love was there; they were infatuated.

So try to find a face – any face you love will do – and just look in the eyes and concentrate on the face. Suddenly the whole world drops; a new dimension has opened. Your mind is concentrated on one thing – then that person or that thing becomes the whole world.

When I say this, I mean that if your attention is total towards anything, that thing becomes the whole world. You create the world through your attention. Your world you create through your own attention. And when you are totally absorbed, flowing like a river towards the object, then suddenly start becoming aware of the original source from where this attention is flowing. The river is flowing; now become aware of the origin.

In the beginning you will get lost again and again; you will shift. If you move to the origin, you will forget the river and the object; the sea towards which it is flowing. It will change: if you come to the object, you will forget the origin. It is natural, because the mind has become fixed to either the object or to the subject.

That’s why so many persons go into retreat. They just leave the world. Leaving the world basically means leaving the object, so that they can concentrate on themselves. It is easy. If you leave the world and close your eyes and close all your senses, you can be aware of yourself easily, but again that awareness is false because you have chosen one point of duality. This is another extreme of the same disease.

First you were aware of the object – the known, and you were not aware of the subject – the knower. Now you are fixed with the knower and you have forgotten the known, but you remain divided in duality. And this is the old mind again in a new pattern. Nothing has changed.

That’s why my emphasis is not to leave the world of the objects. Don’t leave the world of the objects. Rather, try to become aware of both the subject and the object simultaneously, the outer and the inner simultaneously. If both are there, only then can you be balanced between them. If one is there you will get obsessed with it.

Those who go to the Himalayas and close themselves, they are just like you standing in a reverse position. You are fixed with the objects; they are fixed with the subject. You are fixed with the outer, they are fixed with the inner. Neither you are free nor they, because you cannot be free with the one. With the one you become identified. You can be free only when you become aware of the two. Then you can become the third, and the third is the free point. With one you become identified. With two you can move, you can shift, you can balance, and you can come to a midpoint, an absolute midpoint.

Buddha used to say that his path is a middle path – majjhim nikaya. It has not been really understood why he insisted so much on calling it the middle path. This is the reason: because his whole process was of mindfulness – it is the middle path. Buddha says, ‘Don’t leave the world, and don’t cling to the other world. Rather, be in between. Don’t leave one extreme and move to the other; just be in the middle, because in the middle both are not. Just in the middle you are free. Just in the middle there is no duality. You have come to one, and the duality has become just the extension of you – just two wings.’

Buddha’s middle path is based on this technique. It is beautiful. For so many reasons it is beautiful. One: it is very scientific, because only between two can you balance. If there is only one point, imbalance is bound to be there. So Buddha says that those who are worldly are imbalanced, and those who has renounced are again imbalanced in the other extreme. A balanced man is one who is neither in this extreme nor that; he lives just in the middle. You cannot call him worldly; you cannot call him other-worldly. He is free to move; he is not attached to any. He has come to the midpoint, the golden mean.

Secondly: it is very easy to move to the other extreme – very easy. If you eat too much you can fast easily, but you cannot diet easily. If you talk too much you can go into silence very easily, but you cannot talk less. If you eat too much, it is very easy not to eat at all – this is another extreme. But to eat moderately, to come to a midpoint, is very difficult. To love a person is easy; to hate a person is easy. To be simply indifferent is very difficult. From one extreme you can move to the other.

To remain in the middle is very difficult. Why? Because in the middle you have to lose your mind. Your mind exists in extremes. Mind means the excess. Mind is always an extremist: either you are for or you are against. You cannot be simply neutral. Mind cannot exist in neutrality: it can be here or there – because mind needs the opposite. It needs to be opposed to something. If it is not opposed to anything it disappears. Then there is no functioning for it; it cannot function.

Try this. In any way become neutral, indifferent – suddenly mind has no function. If you are for, you can think; if you are against, you can think. If you are neither for nor against, what is left to think? Buddha says that indifference is the basis of the middle path. upeksha indifference – be indifferent to the extremes. Just try one thing: be indifferent to the extremes. A balancing happens.

This balancing will give you a new dimension of feeling where you are both the knower and the known, the world and the other world, this and that, the body and the mind. You are both, and simultaneously neither – above both. A triangle has come into existence.

You may have seen that many occult, secret societies have used the triangle as their symbol. The triangle is one of the oldest occult symbols just because of this – because the triangle has three angles. Ordinarily you have only two angles, the third is missing. It is not there yet, it has not evolved. The third angle is beyond both. Both belong to it, they are part of it, and still it is beyond and higher than both.

If you do this experiment you will help to create a triangle within yourself. The third angle will arise by and by, and when it comes then you cannot be in misery. Once you can witness, you cannot be in misery. Misery means getting identified with something.

But one subtle point has to be remembered – then you will not even get identified with bliss. That’s why Buddha says, ‘I can say only this much – that there will be no misery. In samadhi, in ecstasy, there will be no misery. I cannot say that there will be bliss.’ Buddha says, ‘I cannot say that. I can simply say there will be no misery.’

And he is right, because bliss means when there is no identification of any type – not even with bliss. This is very subtle. If you feel that you are blissful, sooner or later you will be in misery again. If you feel you are blissful, you are preparing to be miserable again. You are still getting identified with a mood.

You feel happy: now you get identified with happiness. The moment you get identified with happiness, unhappiness has started. Now you will cling to it, now you will become afraid of the opposite, now you will expect it to remain with you constantly. You have created all that is needed for misery to be there and then misery will enter, and when you get identified with happiness, you will get identified with misery. Identification is the disease.

At the third point you are not identified with anything: whatsoever comes and passes, comes and passes; you remain a witness, just a spectator – neutral, indifferent, unidentified.

The morning comes and the sun rises and you witness it. You don’t say, ‘I am the morning.’ Then when the noon comes, you don’t say, ‘I have become the noon.’ You witness it. And when the sun sets and darkness comes and the night, you don’t say, ‘I am the darkness and the night.’ You witness it. You say, ‘There was morning, then there was noon, then there was evening and now there is night. And again there will be morning and the circle will go on and I am just an onlooker. I go on witnessing.’

If the same becomes possible with your moods – moods of the morning and moods of the noon and moods of the evening and the night, and they have their own circle, they go on moving – you become a witness. You say, ‘Now happiness has come – just like a morning. And now night will come – the misery. The moods will go on changing around me, and I will remain centered in myself. I will not get attached to any mood. I will not cling to any mood. I will not hope for anything and I will not feel frustrated. I will simply witness. Whatsoever happens, I will see it. When it comes, I will see; when it goes, I will see.’

Buddha uses this many times. He says again and again that when a thought arises, look at it. A thought of misery, a thought of happiness arises – look at it. It comes to a climax – look at it. Then it starts falling down – look at it. Then it disappears – look at it. Arising, existing, dying, and you remain just a witness; go on looking at it. This third point makes you a witness, sakshi, and to be a witness is the highest possibility of consciousness.


From The Book of Secrets, Chapter 61

The Book of Secrets

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Here you can find all of Shiva’s 112 Meditation Techniques.

Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt Perceive One Being as Knower and Known.

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

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

You are in Prison and You Think You are Free – Osho

George Gurdjieff has said: “You are in prison. If you wish to get out of prison, the first thing you must do is realize that you are in prison. If you think you are free, you can’t escape.”

What are the prisons that I call “home”?

Rama Prem, George Gurdjieff is one of the most significant masters of this age.

He is unique in many ways — nobody has said things in the contemporary world the way Gurdjieff has said them. He is almost like another Bodhidharma or Chuang Tzu, apparently absurd but in reality giving great indications towards the liberation of human consciousness.

You are asking about one of his significant statements. He often used to say, “You are in prison.” Sometimes he was even deeper into the reality, and instead of saying, “You are in prison,” he would say, “You are the prison.” That is more true.

If you wish to get out of prison — or better to say, if you don’t want to be a prison — the first thing you must do is realize that you are in prison… or you are the prison. This is something to be always remembered as one of the first principles for any seeker of truth.

The tendency of the human mind is to deny those things which are ugly, to hide those things which he does not want others to know — to hide in such a way, in such depths of the unconscious that even he himself becomes unaware of them. This way he maintains his superficial personality.

Gurdjieff had a story about it…

There was a magician who used to live in faraway deep forests, and he had many sheep because that was his only food. In those deep forests he was keeping all those sheep just to kill them every day, one by one. Naturally, the sheep were very afraid of the man, and they used to run into the forest being afraid that any day can be their day. Their friends are gone, there is no reliability… tomorrow they may be gone. Out of fear they used to go far away, deep into the forest. And to find them was a tedious job every day.

Finally, the magician did a trick. He hypnotized all the sheep, and told every sheep, “You are an exception; everybody may be killed but you can never be killed. You are no ordinary sheep; you have a divine privilege.” To some he said, “You are not sheep at all; you are lions, you are tigers, you are wolves. Only sheep are killed. You need not hide yourself in the forest; that is very embarrassing, because a lion hiding himself in the forest in the fear that he will be killed… only sheep are killed.” And in this way, he managed to hypnotize all the sheep in different ways.

He even said to a few sheep, “You are men, human beings, and human beings don’t kill each other. You are just like me. Never be afraid and never escape out of fear.” Since that day, no sheep escaped and hid in the forest, although they all saw every day that one sheep was being killed, slaughtered. But naturally everybody thought, That must be a sheep; I am a tiger, a lion, a human being. I am special and exceptional, I have a divine privilege…. So many different stories he put in their minds.

Gurdjieff says that unless you realize the first thing — that you are in prison, that you are the prison — then there is no hope for freedom. If you already believe that you are free, you are a hypnotized sheep which believes himself to be a lion — exceptional, there is no need to be afraid — which even believes he is a human being. He goes on seeing other sheep being killed, and still remains in a hypnotized state, never being aware of his actuality. To be free, if you already know that you are free, there is no problem.

All the religions together, perhaps unintentionally, have created a tremendous hypnotic state. People believe they have immortal souls. I am not saying that they don’t have, I am simply saying that they don’t know what they are believing. And because they believe they have an immortal soul, they never discover that they already have it. They have been told, “You are the very kingdom of God”… and it is so comfortable and so consoling to believe. But then there is no way to seek and search and find whether your hypothetical belief has any truth in it, or is just a hypnotic trick used by the society to keep you unafraid of death, to keep you unafraid of disease, old age, to keep you unafraid of your loneliness.

Your God may be just a psychological hypnosis. It is not your discovery. That is true — that much is absolutely true. It has been implanted in your mind, and because you go on believing in it, your belief prevents any adventure in seeking the truth.

Ordinarily, you have been told continually that unless you believe, you will not find. But the truth is just the contrary. Belief is a barrier, it is not a bridge. Those who believe never find, because they never even begin the search; there is no need.

You are in prison and you think you are free.

You are in chains but you think they are ornaments. You are a slave but you have been told that you are humble, that you are simple, that this is the way a religious person should be. You are surrounded by many hypnotic strategies developed by society down the ages. And those hypnotic strategies are the root cause of your ignorance, of your misery, of your unenlightened state.

Hence the first thing to realize is that you are in prison. The moment you recognize that you are in prison, you cannot tolerate the prison. Nobody can tolerate it; it goes against human dignity. You will start finding ways to get out of it. You will start finding people who have already got out of it. You may start seeking and searching outside help beyond the walls, because there are people beyond the walls ready with every kind of help. But they are absolutely helpless if you believe that you are living in absolute freedom.

If you believe this imprisonment is your home, then of course it is absolute nonsense even to think of getting rid of it. The wall that keeps you a prisoner, you think is a protection. Then there is no question of making a hole in the wall and getting out, or finding a ladder, or taking some help from the outside. A rope can be thrown from the outside, a ladder can be arranged from the outside, but this is possible only if the basic thing, that you are in prison, is recognized. George Gurdjieff was consistently insisting, “This is a basic realization. Without it, there is no progress towards enlightenment. If you think you are free, you can’t escape.”

“What are the prisons that I call `home’?” Rama Prem, all the so-called homes are nothing but prisons, because they don’t give you freedom, they only give you security, safety, and in place they take away your very being, your freedom, your joy, your dance. But certainly they give you security, safety — and naturally you have to pay for it.

The price that one has to pay is immensely great in comparison to what you get. You have to sell your very soul. But then what is the point of safety and security? You were searching for security and safety for your being, and in the very search you have sold your being. Now you are secure and safe, but what is the point? For whom is the safety and security? It does not serve you, it serves those who have managed to convince you that “If you give your soul, your being, we will take care — then you need not be worried, then we are responsible for your safety and security.”

The moment you give up your responsibility, you give up everything. Then you are just an empty shell, without any meaning and without any essence. Your homes are nothing but beautiful prisons made by you, decorated by you. You think they are protecting you; they are destroying you. Certainly they protect you from the rains and they protect you from the winds and they protect you from the sun, but for these trivia they destroy you completely. You lose all joy, you lose all freedom, you lose all sense of direction. You lose the very purpose you are here for. You get lost in your own home. You become too much concerned about the furniture and about the decorations, and you forget yourself completely. This forgetfulness is a kind of deep psychological sleep.

Your wife, your husband, your children — nobody is yours. All are man-made, arbitrary relationships — even your own children are not your own. They come through you; they don’t belong to you. You belong to the past; they belong to the future. There is no connection, there is no relationship; hence, as man has become more and more intelligent there has come a great generation gap.

One great Russian novelist, Turgenev, has written a book — perhaps his best, his masterpiece – Fathers and Sons. The whole book is about the struggle between the fathers and the sons, because the fathers would like the sons just to be their replicas. Naturally, they will not allow the sons any freedom. Obedience they expect; they expect their sons to be their carbon copies. […]

Religions have created all kinds of crimes in the mind of man, just by prohibiting them. They have also created ideas which prevent man from any search. They say, “Believe” — and belief is cheap. You don’t have to do anything. Gurdjieff had to go to such extents that he started saying to people, “You don’t have souls. It is a wrong idea, implanted within you by religions, that everybody has a soul.”

He had to say such a thing just to wake you up to search whether it is true or not; otherwise, everybody was perfectly asleep. What is the need to search? You already have it; God is within you! So do other things which, if you don’t do, you will not get — become a president, prime minister, become the richest man in the world, conquer the world — because these things will not happen on their own. As far as God is concerned you already have him; he is within you, you don’t have to go anywhere. Any day, any rainy day when you can’t go anywhere to conquer the world, and you don’t have anything else to do — to correct the mechanism of your car, or to open your wall clock, or to open your radio or television even though they are functioning perfectly well, but you don’t have anything else to do…. Any day, when you don’t have anything to do, you can find God. He is within you, in your pocket.

Gurdjieff is perhaps the only man in the whole of history who insisted against all religions that you don’t have a soul — that a soul has to be created, then you have it. You are not born with it, you are born only with the possibility. If you make a great effort, perhaps you may achieve it. Otherwise most people are born and die; there is no soul that survives.

He was telling a compassionate lie. He was not right, but I cannot say that he was telling the lie for any other reason than compassion. It is true you are born with the soul, but it has become such an accepted fact that you don’t even look within yourself. Somebody needs to shatter your idea that you are born with a soul, to tell you that inside you are just empty, hollow. Perhaps this may shake you up, wake you up. Perhaps this may give you the idea to look inside at least one time, whether there is a soul or you have been deceived.

And George Gurdjieff helped more people in this century than anybody else, because he created a great longing: “Don’t die before you have created a soul; otherwise nothing will survive the death. Crystallize your being so that death cannot destroy it. But you are not born with it, you have to create it.”

The idea of all the religions, although true, has not been helpful; it has become a hindrance. Gurdjieff’s compassion is great. All the religions were against him, obviously, because that is the one point they all agree on — that everybody is born with a soul. But Gurdjieff’s point is more psychological, and more effective in creating liberation. He says you are just empty, and you will remain empty unless you make the effort, with a determined will, to create a center within you. There is possibility, potential, but you have to make it an actuality. His insight was great.

And since Gurdjieff, people have forgotten it completely. He was alive just thirty years ago and just within thirty years people have forgotten the great teacher who was compassionate enough even to lie, just to make you shocked; just to create an opening in you so that you can start searching whether what all the religions have been saying has any truth in it or not.

The first thing he says is to realize you are in prison. The first thing that can also be said is, you have to realize that you are not yet. You have to be. You are a seed, but you have to find the right soil, and nobody else can do it for you. If you go on depending on priests and your so-called saints, you will miss this great opportunity that life has given to you. And one does not know whether a second chance is being given or not. It has to be made emphatically clear to you that there is a possibility — once missed, you have missed it forever.

Gurdjieff created a great turmoil in a few intelligent people, and he put them to great work in finding themselves. I don’t agree with George Gurdjieff as far as his methods are concerned, but as far as this statement is concerned I agree totally. It is simply a psychological fact.

There are people who believe they are intelligent. In fact, it is very difficult to find somebody who believes he is unintelligent. If you can find somebody who believes he is unintelligent, there is a possibility for him to be intelligent. But for all those who already believe they are intelligent, you can’t help them. And certainly this whole humanity is not intelligent. Their actions show it, their behavior shows it, their misery shows it — it shows nothing but their retardedness.

But their belief is that they are geniuses — life is just not giving them the right opportunities to show their talents; otherwise, they could have been Picasso, or Sartre, or Bertrand Russell, or Martin Buber; there is no problem. It is just because life is preventing them; otherwise, they have everything. It is not so.

Now education is universal, particularly in advanced countries, but even universal education does not create universal geniuses. Everybody is educated but even that does not give you the same talent. Man is living in a kind of half-awake and half-asleep state, and it is very easy to believe that you are great – great in intelligence, great in beauty, great in everything — rather than finding greatness, creating greatness, because that will require effort, tremendous effort. And enlightenment is the ultimate intelligence. If you already believe you are intelligent, you have stopped yourself from growing.

Just watch exactly where you are. Be very impartial about judging yourself. See exactly, even if it hurts, that you are a slave — of some political ideology, of some religious theology, of some racial stupidity. Just watch and be very impartial and objective about yourself, and you will find what Gurdjieff calls your prisons. And once you recognize your prisons, it is not difficult to get out, because they are your own creations.

Bernstein died and went to hell. The receptionist asked, “Where do you want to go?”

“Do I have a choice?” asked the surprised Bernstein.

“Certainly! This anteroom is surrounded by closed doors. Just listen at each one and decide which you want to enter.”

Bernstein listened at the first door and heard horrible shrieks of agony. He went to the second, then the third — always hearing screams, cries, and yells. Finally, at the seventh door, he heard nothing but gentle murmuring.

He said quickly, “I’ll take this one.”

The door was flung open and he was propelled inside. He found himself up to his lower lip in a vast sea of shit. With him were millions of others, standing on tiptoe, muttering, “Don’t make waves! Don’t make waves!”

Whatever you have made your life is your own choice. Even in hell you have a choice – everywhere you have a choice. Your life is your own creation. Once you recognize it, then every change is possible.

Churchill’s commentary on man was: “Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.” Man is a very strange animal, strangest of all the animals you see. He goes on believing in things which are not, he goes on believing in things which he has not. He never makes any effort, even in finding one very fundamental thing: who he is, from where he comes, and what is his destiny, where he is going.

People discuss all kinds of things, and people read about all kinds of things, but generally they never bother about themselves. It seems they take themselves for granted, and that’s what Gurdjieff wants to stop: Don’t take yourself for granted. Look inside, search for who you are, and whether you are or if there is just emptiness and something has to be done to bring the seed to sprout, to take care of the seed so that one day it can blossom.

Sinking uneasily into the depths of the psychiatrist’s couch, the patient sighed, “Doctor, I have a problem.” He loosened his collar and continued, “I’ve got one son in Harvard and another at Yale. I’ve just gifted them with twin Ferraris. I have a townhouse on upper Fifth Avenue, and a summer home at East Hampton, and a sprawling ranch in Venezuela.”

“Well,” smiled the psychiatrist, obviously impressed, “either I missed something or you really don’t have a problem.”

“Doc,” the harried chap croaked, “I only make seventy-five dollars a week.”

Naturally you will have problems! You make seventy-five dollars a week, and you imagine all these things: two Ferraris, two sons — one in Harvard, one in Yale — a townhouse, a house in the hills, a big ranch in Venezuela, and seventy-five dollars a week! People create their problems. People are utterly poor in their consciousness, and go on believing that the kingdom of God is within. In your poor consciousness, you can have only a very poor God — seventy-five dollars a week. Your God is as rich as your consciousness is, because the God is another name for your consciousness.


Excerpt from The Invitation, Chapter Four

The Invitation

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Conscious While Dreaming – Osho

Will you please explain to us what are some of the other factors which can make one conscious while dreaming?

This is a significant question for all those who are interested in meditation, because meditation is really a transcending of the process of dreaming. You are constantly dreaming – not only in the night, not only while you are asleep; you are dreaming the whole day. This is the first point to be understood. While you are awake you are still dreaming.

Just close your eyes at any time of the day. Relax the body and you will feel that the dreaming is there. It never disappears; it is only suppressed by our daily activities. It is like the stars in the day. In the night you see the stars. In the day you cannot see them, but they are there always. They are simply suppressed by the sunlight.

If you go into a deep well, then you can see the stars in the sky even in the day. A certain darkness is needed to see the stars. So go into a deep well and look from the bottom, and you will be able to see the stars in the day also. The stars are there. It is not that in the night they are there and in the day they are not, they are always there. In the night you can see them easily. In the day you cannot see them because the sunlight becomes a barrier.

The same is true with dreaming. It is not that you dream while you are asleep. In sleep you can feel dreams easily because the activity of the day is no more there; thus that inner activity can be seen and felt. When you get up in the morning, the dreaming continues inside while you start acting on the outside.

This process of activity, of daily activity, simply suppresses the dreaming. The dreaming is there. Close your eyes, relax in an armchair, and suddenly you can feel: the stars are there; they have not gone anywhere. The dreams are there always. There is a continuous activity.

The second point. If the dreaming continues, you cannot be said to be really awake. In the night you are more asleep, in the day you are less asleep. The difference is relative, because if the dreaming is there you cannot be said to be really awake. Dreaming creates a film over the consciousness. This film becomes like smoke – you are surrounded by it. You cannot be really awake while you are dreaming, whether in the day or in the night. So the second thing: you can only be said to be awake when there is no dreaming at all.

We call Buddha the awakened one. What is this awakening? This awakening is really the cessation of inner dreaming. There is no dream inside. You move there, but there is no dream. It is as if there were no star in the sky; it has become pure space. When there is no dreaming, you become pure space.

This purity, this innocence, this non-dreaming consciousness, is what is known as enlightenment – the awakening. For centuries spirituality all over the world, East or West, has said that man is asleep. Jesus says this, Buddha says this, the Upanishads talk about this: man is asleep. So while you are asleep in the night you are just relatively more asleep; in the day you are less asleep. But spirituality says that man is asleep. This has to be understood.

What is meant by this? Gurdjieff, in this century, emphasized this fact that man is asleep. “In fact,” he said, “man is a sort of sleep. Everyone is deeply asleep.”

What is the reason for saying that? You cannot know, you cannot remember who you are. Do you know who you are? If you meet a person in the street and you ask him who he is and he cannot reply, what will you think? You will think that he is either mad, intoxicated, or just asleep. If he cannot answer who he is, what are you going to think about him? On the spiritual path everyone is like that. You cannot answer who you are.

This is the first meaning when Gurdjieff or Jesus or anyone says that man is asleep: you are not conscious about yourself. You do not know yourself; you have never met yourself. You know many things in the objective world, but you do not know the subject. Your state of mind is as if you had gone to see a film. On the screen the film is running, and you have become so absorbed in it that the only thing you know is the film, the story, whatsoever is appearing on the screen. Then if someone asks you who you are, you cannot say anything.

Dreaming is just the film – just the film! It is the mind reflecting the world. In the mirror of the mind the world is reflected; that is what dreaming is. And you are so deeply involved in it, so much identified with it, that you have completely forgotten who you are. This is what being asleep means: the dreamer is lost in the dreaming. You see everything except yourself; you feel everything except yourself; you know everything except yourself. This self-ignorance is the sleep. Unless dreaming ceases completely, you cannot awaken unto yourself.

You might have felt it sometimes while looking at a film for three hours, and suddenly the film stops and you come back to yourself. You remember that three hours have passed, you remember that it was just a film. You feel your tears… you have been weeping because the film was a tragedy to you, or you were laughing, or you were doing something else, and now you laugh about yourself. What nonsense you were doing! It was just a film, just a story. There was nothing on the screen – just a play of light and shadow, just an electrical play. Now you laugh: you have come back to yourself. But where were you for these three hours?

You were not at your center. You had moved completely to the periphery. There, where the film was moving, you had gone. You were not at your center; you were not with yourself. You were somewhere else.

This happens in dreaming; this is what our life is. The film is only for three hours, but this dreaming is running for lives and lives and lives. Even if suddenly the dreaming stops you will not be able to recognize who you are. Suddenly you will feel very faint, even afraid. You will try to move again into the film because that is known. You are acquainted with it; you are well adjusted to it.

For when the stopping of the dreaming happens there is a path, particularly in Zen, which is known as the path of sudden enlightenment. There are techniques in these one hundred and twelve methods, there are many techniques which can give you sudden awakening. But it can be too much, and you may not be capable of bearing it. You may just explode. You may die even, because you have lived with dreaming so long that you have no memory of who you are if there is no dreaming.

If this whole world should suddenly disappear and you alone are left, it would be such a great shock that you would die. The same would happen if suddenly all dreaming disappeared from the consciousness. Your world will disappear, because your world was your dreaming.

We are not really in the world. Rather, “the world” consists not of outside things to us, but of our dreams. So everyone lives in his own dream world.

Remember, it is not one world that we go on talking about. Geographically it is, but psychologically there are as many worlds as there are minds. Each mind is a world of its own. And if your dreaming disappears, your world disappears. Without dreams it is difficult for you to live. That is why sudden methods are not used generally, only gradual methods are used.

It is good to note this: gradual methods are used not because there is any need of gradual processes. You can suddenly jump into realization this very moment. There is no barrier; there has never been any barrier. You are already that realization, you can jump this very moment. But that may prove dangerous, fatal. You may not be capable of bearing it. It is going to be too much for you.

You are attuned only to false dreams. Reality you cannot face; you cannot encounter it. You are a hothouse plant – you live in your dreams. They help you in many ways. They are not just dreams, for you they are the reality.

Gradual methods are used not because realization needs time. Realization needs no time! Realization needs no time at all. Realization is not something to be attained in the future, but with gradual methods you will attain it in the future. So what are the gradual methods doing? They are not really helping you to “realize realization,” they are helping you to bear it. They are making you capable, strong, so that when the happening happens you can bear it.

There are seven methods through which immediately you can force your way into enlightenment. But you will not be capable of bearing it. You may go blind – too much of light. Or you may suddenly die – too much of bliss.

This dreaming, this deep sleep we are in, how can it be transcended? This question is meaningful in transcending it:

Will you please explain to us what are some of the other factors which can make one conscious while dreaming?

I will talk about two methods more. One we discussed yesterday. Today, two more that are even easier.

One is to start acting, behaving as if the whole world is just a dream. Whatsoever you are doing, remember this is a dream. While eating, remember this is a dream. While walking, remember this is a dream. Let your mind continuously remember while you are awake that everything is a dream. This is the reason for calling the world maya, illusion, dream. This is not a philosophical argument.

Unfortunately, when Shankara was translated into English, German and French, into Western languages, he was understood to be just a philosopher. That has created much misunderstanding. In the West there are philosophers – for example, Berkeley – who say that the world is just a dream, a projection of the mind. But this is a philosophical theory. Berkeley proposes it as an hypothesis.

When Shankara says that the world is a dream it is not philosophical, not a theory. Shankara proposes it as a help, as a support for a particular meditation. And this is the meditation: if you want to remember while dreaming that this is a dream, you will have to start while you are awake. Normally, while you are dreaming you cannot remember that this is a dream; you think that this is a reality.

Why do you think that this is a reality? Because the whole day you are thinking everything is a reality. That has become the attitude, a fixed attitude. While awake you were taking a bath – it was real. While awake you were eating – it was real. While awake you were talking with a friend – it was real. For the whole day, the whole life, whatsoever you are thinking, your attitude is that this is real. This becomes fixed. This becomes a fixed attitude in the mind.

So while you are dreaming in the night, the same attitude goes on working, that this is real. So let us first analyze. There must be some similarity between dreaming and reality; otherwise this attitude would be somewhat difficult.

I am seeing you. Then I close my eyes and I go into a dream, and I see you in my dream. In both seeings there is no difference. While I am actually seeing you, what am I doing? Your picture is reflected in my eyes. I am not seeing you. Your picture is mirrored in my eyes, and then that picture is transformed through mysterious processes – and science is still not in a position to say how. That picture is transformed chemically and carried somewhere inside the head, but science is still not able to say where – where exactly this thing happens. It is not happening in the eyes; the eyes are just windows. I am not seeing you with the eyes, I am seeing you through the eyes.

In the eyes you are reflected. You may be just a picture; you may be a reality, you may be a dream. Remember, dreams are three-dimensional. I can recognize a picture because a picture is two dimensional. Dreams are three-dimensional, so they look exactly like you. And the eyes cannot say whether whatsoever is seen is real or unreal. There is no way to judge; the eyes are not the judge.

Then the picture is transformed into chemical messages. Those chemical messages are like electrical waves; they go somewhere in the head. It is still unknown where the point is that the eyes come in contact with the surface of seeing. Just waves reach to me and then they are decoded. Then I again decode them, and in this way I know what is happening.

I am always inside, and you are always outside, and there is no meeting. So whether you are real or just a dream is a problem. Even this very moment, there is no way to judge whether I am dreaming or you are really here. Listening to me, how can you say that really you are listening to me, that you are not dreaming? There is no way. That is why the attitude which you maintain the whole day is carried over into the night. And while you are dreaming you take it as real.

Try the opposite; that is what Shankara means. He says that the whole world is an illusion, he says the whole world is a dreaming – remember this. But we are stupid people. If Shankara says, “This is a dream,” then we say, “What is the need to do anything? If this is just a dream, then there is no need to eat. Why go on eating and thinking that this is a dream? Don’t eat!” But then remember – when you feel hunger, it is a dream. Or eat, and when you feel that you have eaten too much, remember, this is a dream.

Shankara is not telling you to change the dream, remember, because the effort to change the dream is again falsely based on the belief that it is real; otherwise there is no need to change anything. Shankara is just saying that whatever is the case is a dream.

Remember this: do not do anything to change it, just remember it constantly. Try to remember for three weeks continuously that whatsoever you are doing it is just a dream. In the beginning it is very difficult. You will fall again and again into the old pattern of the mind, you will start thinking that this is a reality. You will have to constantly awaken yourself to remind yourself that “This is a dream.” If for three weeks continuously you can maintain this attitude, then in the fourth or fifth week, any night while dreaming you will suddenly remember that “This is a dream.”

This is one way to penetrate dreams with consciousness, with awareness. If you can remember in the night while dreaming that this is a dream, then in the day you will not need any effort to remember that this is also a dream. You will know it then.

In the beginning, while you are practicing this, it will be just a make-believe. You start just in faith… “This is a dream.” But when you can remember in dreaming that this is a dream, it will become a reality. Then in the day, when you get up you will not feel that you are getting up from sleep, you will feel you are simply getting up from one dreaming to another. Then it will become a reality. And if the whole twenty-four hours becomes dreaming, and you can feel and remember it, you will be standing at your center. Then your consciousness will have become double-arrowed.

You are feeling dreams, and if you are feeling them as dreams you will start to feel the dreamer – the subject. If you take dreams as real, you cannot feel the subject. If the film has become real, you forget yourself. When the film stops and you know that it was unreal, your reality erupts, breaks out; you can feel yourself. This is one way.

This has been one of the oldest Indian methods. That is why we have insisted on the world being unreal. We do not mean it philosophically; we do not say that this house is unreal so you can pass through the walls. We do not mean that! When we say that this house is unreal, it is a device. This is not an argument against the house.

So Berkeley proposed that the whole world is just a dream. One day, in the morning, he was walking with Dr. Johnson. Dr. Johnson was a hardened realist, so Berkeley said, “Have you heard about my theory? I am working on it. I feel that the whole world is unreal, and it cannot be proved that it is real. And the burden of proving it is on those who say that it is real. I say it is unreal – just like dreams. Johnson was not a philosopher, but he had a very astute logical mind.

They are on the street, just walking in the morning on a lonely street. Johnson then takes one stone in his hand and hits Berkeley’s leg. Blood oozes out, and Berkeley screams. Johnson says, “Why are you screaming if the stone is just a dream? Whatsoever you say, you believe in the reality of the stone. What you are saying is one thing, and your behavior is something different and contrary. If your house is just a dream, then to where are you returning? Where are you returning after the morning walk? If your wife is just a dream, you will not meet her again.”

Realists have always argued this way, but they cannot argue this way with Shankara because his is not a philosophical theory. It is not saying anything about the reality; it is not proposing anything about the universe. Rather, it is a device to change your mind, to change the basic fixed attitude so that you can look at the world in a different, an altogether different way.

This is a problem, continuously a problem for Indian thought – because for Indian thought everything is just a device for meditation. We are not concerned about its being true or untrue. We are concerned about its utility in transforming man.

This is emphatically different from the Western mind. When they propose a theory they are concerned with whether this is true or untrue, whether this can be proved logically or not. When we propose anything we are not concerned about its truth; we are concerned about its utility, we are concerned about its capacity, its capability to transform the human mind. It may be true, it may not be true. Really, it is neither – it is simply a device.

I have seen flowers outside. In the morning the sun rises and everything is just beautiful. You have never been outside, and you have never seen flowers, and you have never seen the morning sun. You have never seen the open sky; you do not know what beauty is. You have lived in a closed prison. I want to lead you out. I want you to come out under the open sky to meet these flowers. How am I to do it?

You do not know flowers. If I talk about flowers, you think, “He has gone mad. There are no flowers.” If I talk about the morning sun, you think, “He is a visionary. He sees visions and dreams. He is a poet.” If I talk about the open sky, you will laugh. You will start laughing, “Where is the open sky? There are only walls and walls and walls.”

So what am I to do? I must devise something which you can understand and which helps you to go out, so I say that the house is on fire and I start running. It becomes infectious: you run after me and go out. Then you will know that what I said was neither true nor false. It was just a device. Then you will know flowers and then you can forgive me.

Buddha was doing that, Mahavir was doing that, Shiva was doing that, Shankara was doing that. We can forgive them later on. We have always forgiven them because once we go out we know what they were doing. And then we understand that it was useless to argue with them because it was not a question of arguing. The fire was nowhere, but we could not understand only that language. Flowers were, but we could not understand the language of the flowers, those symbols were meaningless for us.

So this is one way. Then there is a second method at the other pole. This method makes one pole; the other method makes another pole of the same thing. One method is to start feeling, remembering, that everything is a dream. The other is not to think anything about the world, but just to go on remembering that you are.

Gurdjieff used this second method. This second method comes from the Sufi tradition, from Islam. They worked on it very deeply. Remember “I am” – whatsoever you are doing. You are drinking water, you are eating your food – remember, “I am.” Go on eating and go on remembering, “I am, I am.” Do not forget it! It is difficult because you already think that you know you are, so what is the need to go on remembering this? You never remember it, but it is a very, very potential technique.

When walking remember, “I am.” Let the walking be there, go on walking, but be constantly fixed in this self-remembering of “I am, I am, I am.” Do not forget this. You are listening to me – just do it here. You are listening to me. Do not be so much merged, involved, identified. Whatsoever I am saying, remember, go on remembering. Listening is there, words are there, someone is talking, you are – “I am, I am, I am.” Let this “I am” be a constant factor of awareness.

It is very difficult. You cannot remember continuously even for a single minute. Try it. Put your watch before your eyes and look at the hands moving. One second, two seconds, three seconds… go on looking at it. Do two things: look at the movement of the hand which is showing seconds, and continuously remember “I am, I am.” With every second go on remembering “I am.” Within five or six seconds you will feel that you have forgotten. Suddenly you will remember that “Many seconds have passed and I have not remembered ‘I am.’”

Even to remember for one complete minute is a miracle. And if you can remember for one minute, the technique is for you. Then do it. Through it you will be capable of going beyond dreams and of knowing that dreams are dreams.

How does it work? If the whole day you can remember “I am,” then this will penetrate your sleep also. And when you will be dreaming, continuously you will remember, “I am.” If you can remember “I am” in the dream, suddenly the dream becomes just a dream. Then the dream cannot deceive you, then the dream cannot be felt as reality. This is the mechanism: the dream is felt as reality because you are missing the self-remembering; you are missing ”I am.” If there is no remembering of oneself, then the dream becomes reality. If there is the remembering of oneself, then reality, the so-called reality, becomes just a dream.

This is the difference between dreaming and reality. For a meditative mind, or for the science of meditation, this is the only difference. If you are, then the whole reality is just a dream. If you are not, then the dreaming becomes reality.

Nagarjuna says, “Now I am, for the world is not. While I was not, the world was. Only one can exist.” That doesn’t mean that the world has disappeared. Nagarjuna is not talking about this world, he is talking about the world of dreaming. Either you can be or the dreams can be – both cannot be.

So the first step will be to continue remembering ”I am” constantly; simply, ”I am.” Do not say “Ram,” do not say “Shyam.” Do not use any name, because you are not that. Simply use, “I am.”

Try it in any activity and then feel it. The more real you become inside, the more unreal becomes the surrounding world. The reality becomes “I”, and the world becomes unreal. The world is real or the “I” is real – both cannot be real. You are feeling that you are just a dream now; then the world is real. Change the emphasis. Become real, and the world will become unreal.

Gurdjieff worked on this method continuously. His chief disciple, P. D. Ouspensky, relates that when Gurdjieff was working on him with this method, and he was practicing for three months continuously this remembering of “I am, I am, I am,” after three months everything stopped. Thoughts, dreaming, everything stopped. Only one note remained inside like eternal music: “I am, I am, I am, I am.” But then this was not an effort. This was a spontaneous activity going on: “I am.” Then Gurdjieff called Ouspensky out of the house. For three months he had been kept in the house and wasn’t allowed to move out.

Then Gurdjieff said, “Come with me.” They were residing in a Russian town, Tiflis. Gurdjieff called him out and they went into the street. Ouspensky writes in his diary, “For the first time I could understand what Jesus meant when he said that man is asleep. The whole city looked to me as if it was asleep. People were moving in their sleep; shopkeepers were selling in their sleep; customers were buying in their sleep. The whole city was asleep. I looked at Gurdjieff: only he was awake. The whole city was asleep. They were angry, they were fighting, they were loving, buying, selling, doing everything.”

Ouspensky says, “Now I could see their faces, their eyes: they were asleep. They were not there. The inner center was missing; it was not there.” Ouspensky said to Gurdjieff, “I do not want to go there anymore. What has happened to the city? Everyone seems asleep, drugged.”

Gurdjieff said, “Nothing has happened to the city, something has happened to you. You have been undrugged; the city is the same. It is the same place you moved around in three months ago, but you couldn’t see that other people are asleep because you were also asleep. Now you can see because a certain quality of awareness has come to you. With three months of practising “I am” continuously, you have become aware in a very small measure. You have become aware! A part of your consciousness has gone beyond dreaming. That is why you can see that everyone is asleep, dead, moving, drugged, as if hypnotized.”

Ouspensky says, “I couldn’t bear that phenomenon – everyone asleep! Whatsoever they are doing, they are not responsible for it. They are not! How can they be responsible?” He came back and he asked Gurdjieff, “What is this? Am I deceived somehow? Have you done something to me that the whole city seems asleep? I cannot believe my own eyes.”

But this will happen to anyone. If you can remember yourself, then you will know that no one is remembering himself, and in this way each goes on moving. The whole world is asleep. But start while you are awake. Any moment that you remember, start “I am.”


I do not mean that you have to repeat the words “I am,” rather, have the feeling. Taking a bath, feel ”I am.” Let there be the touch of the cold shower, and let yourself be there behind, feeling it and remembering “I am.” Remember, I am not saying that verbally you have to repeat “I am.” You can repeat it, but that repetition will not give you awareness. Repetition may even create more sleep. There are many people who are repeating many things. They go on repeating “Ram, Ram, Ram…” and if they are just repeating without awareness then this ”Ram, Ram, Ram…” becomes a drug. They can sleep well through it.

That is why Mahesh Yogi has so much appeal in the West, because he is giving mantras for people to repeat. And in the West sleep has become one of the most serious problems. Sleep is totally disturbed. Natural sleep has disappeared. Only through tranquilizers and drugs can you sleep; otherwise sleep has become impossible. This is the reason for Mahesh Yogi’s appeal. It is because if you constantly repeat something, that repetition gives you deep sleep; that is all.

So the so-called transcendental meditation is nothing but a psychological tranquilizer. It is nothing – just a tranquilizer. It helps, but it is good for sleep, not for meditation. You can sleep well, a more calm sleep will be there. It is good, but it is not meditation at all. If you repeat a word constantly it creates a certain boredom, and boredom is good for sleep.

So anything monotonous, repetitive can help sleep. The child in the mother’s womb sleeps for nine months continuously, and the reason for this you may not know. The reason is only the “tick-tock, tick-tock” of the heart of the mother. Continuously there is the beat, the heartbeat. It is one of the most monotonous things in the world. With the same beat continuously repeating, the child is drugged. He goes on sleeping.

That is why whenever the child is crying, screaming, creating any problem, the mother puts his head near her heart. Then suddenly he feels good and goes into sleep. Again it is due to the heartbeat. He becomes again a part of the womb. That is why even if you are not a child and your wife, your beloved puts your head on her heart, you will feel sleepy from the monotonous beat.

Psychologists suggest that if you cannot sleep, then concentrate on the clock. Just concentrate on the clock’s tick-tock, tick-tock. It repeats the heartbeat, and you can fall asleep. Anything repetitive will help.

So this “I am,” the remembering of “I am,” is not a verbal mantra. It is not going to be repeated verbally – feel it! Be sensitive to your being. When you touch someone’s hand do not only touch his hand, feel your touch also, feel yourself also – that you are here in this touch, present totally. While eating, do not only eat, feel yourself eating as well. This feeling, this sensitivity must penetrate deeper and deeper into your mind.

One day, suddenly, you are awake at your center, functioning for the first time. And then the whole world becomes a dream, then you can know that your dreaming is a dreaming. And when you know that your dreaming is a dreaming, dreaming stops. It can continue only if it is felt as real. It is stopped if it is felt as unreal.

And once dreaming stops in you, you are a different man. The old man is dead; the sleepy man is dead. That human being which you were, you are no more. For the first time you become aware; for the first time in the whole world that is asleep, you are awake. You become a buddha, an awakened one.

With this awakening there is no misery, after this awakening there is no death, through this awakening there is no more fear. You become for the first time free of everything. To be free of sleep, to be free of dreaming, is to be free of everything. You attain freedom. Hate, anger, greed disappear. You become just love. Not loving, you become just love!


From The Book of Secrets, Chapter Six

The Book of Secrets

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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