Awareness – J. Krishnamurti

j-krishnamurtiQuestioner: I should like to know what you mean by awareness because you have often said that awareness is really what your teaching is about. I’ve tried to understand it by listening to your talks and reading your books, but I don’t seem to get very far. I know it is not a practice, and I understand why you so emphatically repudiate any kind of practice, drill, system, discipline or routine. I see the importance of that, for otherwise it becomes mechanical, and at the end of it the mind has become dull and stupid. I should like, if I may, to explore with you to the very end this question of what it means to be aware. You seem to give some extra, deeper meaning to this word, and yet it seems to me that we are aware of what’s going on all the time. When I’m angry I know it, when I’m sad I know it and when I’m happy I know it.

Krishnamurti: I wonder if we really are aware of anger, sadness, happiness? Or are we aware of these things only when they are all over? Let us begin as though we know nothing about it at all and start from scratch. Let us not make any assertions, dogmatic or subtle, but let us explore this question which, if one really went into it very deeply, would reveal an extraordinary state that the mind had probably never touched, a dimension not touched by superficial awareness. Let us start from the superficial and work through. We see with our eyes, we perceive with our senses the things about us – the colour of the flower, the humming bird over the flower the light of this Californian sun, the thousand sounds of different qualities and subtleties, the depth and the height, the shadow of the tree and the tree itself. We feel in the same way our own bodies, which are the instruments of these different kinds of superficial, sensory perceptions. If these perceptions remained at the superficial level there would be no confusion at all. That flower, that pansy, that rose, are there, and that’s all there is to it. There is no preference, no comparison, no like and dislike, only the thing before us without any psychological involvement. Is all this superficial sensory perception or awareness quite clear? It can be expanded to the stars, to the depth of the seas, and to the ultimate frontiers of scientific observation, using all the instruments of modern technology.

Questioner: Yes, I think I understand that.

Krishnamurti: So you see that the rose and all the universe and the people in it, your own wife if you have one, the stars, the seas, the mountains, the microbes, the atoms, the neutrons, this room, the door, really are there. Now, the next step; what you think about these things, or what you feel about them, is your psychological response to them. And this we call thought or emotion. So the superficial awareness is a very simple matter: the door is there. But the description of the door is not the door, and when you get emotionally involved in the description you don’t see the door. This description might be a word or a scientific treatise or a strong emotional response; none of these is the door itself. This is very important to understand right from the beginning. If we don’t understand this we shall get more and more confused. The description is never the described. Though we are describing something even now, and we have to, the thing we are describing is not our description of it, so please bear this in mind right through our talk. Never confuse the word with the thing it describes. The word is never the real, and we are easily carried away when we come to the next stage of awareness where it becomes personal and we get emotional through the word.

So there is the superficial awareness of the tree, the bird, the door, and there is the response to that, which is thought, feeling, emotion. Now when we become aware of this response, we might call it a second depth of awareness. There is the awareness of the rose, and the awareness of the response to the rose. Often we are unaware of this response to the rose. In reality it is the same awareness which sees the rose and which sees the response. It is one movement and it is wrong to speak of the outer and inner awareness. When there is a visual awareness of the tree without any psychological involvement there is no division in relationship. But when there is a psychological response to the tree, the response is a conditioned response, it is the response of past memory, past experiences, and the response is a division in relationship. This response is the birth of what we shall call the “me” in relationship and the “non-me”. This is how you place yourself in relationship to the world. This is how you create the individual and the community. The world is seen not as it is, but in its various relationships to the “me” of memory. This division is the life and the flourishing of everything we call our psychological being, and from this arises all contradiction and division. Are you very clear that you perceive this? When there is the awareness of the tree there is no evaluation. But when there is a response to the tree, when the tree is judged with like and dislike, then a division takes place in this awareness as the “me” and the “non-me”, the “me” who is different from the thing observed. This “me” is the response, in relationship, of past memory, past experiences. Now can there be an awareness, an observation of the tree, without any judgement, and can there be an observation of the response, the reactions, without any judgement? In this way we eradicate the principle of division, the principle of “me” and “non-me”, both in looking at the tree and in looking at ourselves.

Questioner: I’m trying to follow you. Let’s see if I have got it right. There is an awareness of the tree, that I understand. There is a psychological response to the tree, that I understand also. The psychological response is made up of past memories and past experiences, it is like and dislike, it is the division into the tree and the “me”. Yes, I think I understand all that.

Krishnamurti: Is this as clear as the tree itself, or is it simply the clarity of description? Remember, as we have already said, the described is not the description. What have you got, the thing or its description?

Questioner: I think it is the thing.

Krishnamurti: Therefore there is no “me” who is the description in the seeing of this fact. In the seeing of any fact there is no “me”. There is either the “me” or the seeing, there can’t be both. “Me” is non-seeing. The “me” cannot see, cannot be aware. Questioner: May I stop here? I think I’ve got the feeling of it, but I must let it sink in. May I come again tomorrow?

* * *

Questioner: I think I have really understood, non-verbally, what you said yesterday. There is the awareness of the tree, there is the conditioned response to the tree, and this conditioned response is conflict, it is the action of memory and past experiences, it is like and dislike, it is prejudice. I also understand that this response of prejudice is the birth of what we call the “me” or the censor. I see clearly that the “me”, the “I”, exists in all relationships. Now is there an “I” outside of relationships?

Krishnamurti: We have seen how heavily conditioned our responses are. When you ask if there is a “me” outside of relationship, it becomes a speculative question as long as there is no freedom from these conditioned responses. Do you see that? So our first question is not whether there is a “me” or not outside of conditioned responses, but rather, can the mind, in which is included all our feelings, be free of this conditioning, which is the past? The past is the “me”. There is no “me” in the present. As long as the mind is operating in the past there is the “me”, and the mind is this past, the mind is this “me”.

You can’t say there is the mind and there is the past, whether it is the past of a few days ago or of ten thousand years ago. So we are asking: can the mind free itself from yesterday? Now there are several things involved, aren’t there? First of all there is a superficial awareness. Then there is the awareness of the conditioned response. Then there is the realization that the mind is the past, the mind is this conditioned response. Then there is the question whether this mind can free itself of the past. And all this is one unitary action of awareness because in this there are no conclusions. When we say the mind is the past, this realization is not a verbal conclusion but an actual perception of fact. The French have a word for such a perception of a fact, they call it “constatation”. When we ask whether the mind can be free of the past is this question being asked by the censor, the “me”, who is that very past?

Questioner: Can the mind be free of the past.

Krishnamurti: Who is putting that question? Is it the entity who is the result of a great many conflicts, memories and experiences – is it he who is asking – or does this question arise of itself, out of the perception of the fact? If it is the observer who is putting the question, then he is trying to escape from the fact of himself, because, he says, I have lived so long in pain, in trouble, in sorrow, I should like to go beyond this constant struggle. If he asks the question from that motive his answer will be a taking refuge in some escape. One either turns away from a fact or one faces it. And the word and the symbol are a turning away from it. In fact, just to ask this question at all is already an act of escape, is it not? Let us be aware whether this question is or is not an act of escape. If it is, it is noise. If there is no observer, then there is silence, a complete negation of the whole past. Questioner: Here I am lost. How can I wipe away the past in a few seconds?

Krishnamurti: Let us bear in mind that we are discussing awareness. We are talking over together this question of awareness.

There is the tree, and the conditioned response to the tree, which is the “me” in relationship, the “me” who is the very centre of conflict. Now is it this “me” who is asking the question? – this “me” who, as we have said, is the very structure of the past? If the question is not asked from the structure of the past, if the question is not asked by the “me”, then there is no structure of the past. When the structure is asking the question it is operating in relationship to the fact of itself, it is frightened of itself and it acts to escape from itself. When this structure does not ask the question, it is not acting in relationship to itself. To recapitulate: there is the tree, there is the word, the response to the tree, which is the censor, or the “me”, which comes from the past; and then there is the question: can I escape from all this turmoil and agony? If the “me” is asking this question it is perpetuating itself.

Now, being aware of that, it doesn’t ask the question! Being aware and seeing all the implications of it, the question cannot be asked. It does not ask the question at all because it sees the trap. Now do you see that all this awareness is superficial? It is the same as the awareness which sees the tree.

Questioner: Is there any other kind of awareness? Is there any other dimension to awareness? Krishnamurti: Again let’s be careful, let’s be very clear that we are not asking this question with any motive. If there is a motive we are back in the trap of conditioned response. When the observer is wholly silent, not made silent, there is surely a different quality of awareness coming into being?

Questioner: What action could there possibly be in any circumstances without the observer – what question or what action?

Krishnamurti: Again, are you asking this question from this side of the river, or is it from the other bank? If you are on the other bank, you will not ask this question; if you are on that bank, your action will be from that bank. So there is an awareness of this bank, with all its structure, its nature and all its traps, and to try to escape from the trap is to fall into another trap. And what deadly monotony there is in all that! Awareness has shown us the nature of the trap, and therefore there is the negation of all traps; so the mind is now empty. It is empty of the “me” and of the trap. This mind has a different quality, a different dimension of awareness. This awareness is not aware that it is aware.

Questioner: My God, this is too difficult. You are saying things that seem true, that sound true, but I’m not there yet. Can you put it differently? Can you push me out of my trap? 9

Krishnamurti: Nobody can push you out of your trap – no guru, no drug, no mantra, nobody, including myself – nobody, especially myself. All that you have to do is to be aware from the beginning to the end, not become inattentive in the middle of it. This new quality of awareness is attention, and in this attention there is no frontier made by the “me”. This attention is the highest form of virtue, therefore it is love. It is supreme intelligence, and there cannot be attention if you are not sensitive to the structure and the nature of these man-made traps.

-J. Krishnamurti

From The Urgency of Change, Chapter One

 

A Movement of Great Ecstasy – J. Krishnamurti

 

27308206_86aecb8533_oPerception without the word, which is without thought, is one of the strangest phenomena. Then the perception is much more acute, not only with the brain, but also with all the senses. Such perception is not the fragmentary perception of the intellect nor the affair of the emotions. It can be called a total perception, and it is part of meditation. Perception without the perceiver in meditation is to commune with the height and depth of the immense. This perception is entirely different from seeing an object without an observer, because in the perception of meditation there is no object and therefore no experience. Meditation can, however, take place when the eyes are open and one is surrounded by objects of every kind. But then these objects have no importance at all. One sees them but there is no process of recognition, which means there is no experiencing.

What meaning has such meditation? There is no meaning; there is no utility. But in that meditation there is a movement of great ecstasy which is not to be confounded with pleasure. It is this ecstasy which gives to the eye, to the brain and to the heart, the quality of innocency. Without seeing life as something totally new, it is a routine, a boredom, a meaningless affair. So meditation is of the greatest importance. It opens the door to the incalculable, to the measureless.

-J. Krishnamurti,

From Meditations 1969, Part 2

Self-Realization: A Personal Account – Albert Blackburn

Beginning on page 5:

July 2, 1944 was another beautiful day for a drive to Ojai. This time I was accompanied by my wife and two Theosophical friends from Pasadena. We all had an animated discussion about Theosophy on the way up. Krishnamurti’s talk on this day included reference to the dualistic nature of thought and the mind’s play between the pairs of opposites (good & bad, right & wrong, yours & mind, etc.) After the talk, we had a picnic lunch down by a beautiful stream under the trees. I spent the rest of the afternoon awaiting my 5:00 o’clock interview. The interview was to be given at Arya Vihara at the east end of the Ojai Valley, an old redwood house which had been purchased in the early 1920’s for Krishnamurti and his brother Nitya by Annie Besant and a group calling themselves The Brothers Association.

My wife and friends waited in the car while I went into the house for my interview. I had been trying to think of what to say. I thought I had all of the answers to life’s problems. What could we talk about?

Krishanji—as I later came to call him—met me at the door and asked me to be seated in a chair in the small redwood room. Then he sat down facing me and after a brief period of silence he said, “Well, sir, what do you want to talk about?” This of course was the same question I had been asking myself all afternoon. I began by asking how I could actually live a celibate life under the conditions in which I was living. I brought up the subject of celibacy and the goals I had set for myself.

His response was, “Why do you want to live a celibate life?”

I told him of my wishes to develop my psychic powers and live a spiritual life.

Krishnamurti asked me what my wife thought about my wishes for celibacy an I explained how this proposed way of life was so important to me that I really didn’t care what she thought about it; it was something I felt compelled to do.

“But don’t you feel that she has some rights in this matter?”

Even so, I replied, I still feel that way about it.

Krishnaji apparently saw that I was determined on this course of action; he dropped the subject. He obviously was not going to give me any magical solution to my problem with sex.

The interview came to an end and we both left the room to stand on the outside porch. The afternoon sun was low in the western sky and the scene from this elevation overlooking the Ojai Valley was very beautiful. I remarked to him about this beauty and he replied, “Yes, it is beautiful, but isn’t it a shame that the war is still going on?”

That’s true but I suppose it is all according to The Plan.”

Krishnaji said, “What plan?”

I said, “You know, the Plan of Evolution?”

“All of the great teachers have talked about evolution; Christ, Buddha, and all the others.”

“That’s funny, I don’t remember the Buddha saying anything about evolution. Of course, there is such a thing as physical evolution such as from and oxcart to an airplane, but I don’t think this is what you mean by evolution.”

He was right! I didn’t mean physical evolution. I meant the idea that I had always entertained pertaining to spiritual evolution. He then asked, “Is there such a thing as evolution in the way you mean it?”

Suddenly I saw that a basic idea upon which I had based all my life and hopes was not valid in the way I had believed it to be. There was no spiritual evolution, only the freeing of the consciousness from conditioning.

I was utterly shattered by this discovery and in desperation I asked him, “Is there nothing real in this world outside of the pairs of opposites?”

“Yes, that tree is real and your little dog is real, but what you think about them is not real.”

I suppose he could see the shock and void I was facing, as he kindly said, “Please come and see me again on Thursday afternoon and we will talk more about these things.” He then said goodbye and we parted.

My mind was in utter turmoil. The very foundations of my psychological world had been torn apart. I felt that I was in a void and doubted by ability to drive home. However, Krishnaji had pointed out the obvious fact that physical things did have a reality in themselves. This meant that my car was real and the steering wheel which I could firmly hold onto could be my link with reality. I have no recollection of the trip home.

The next three days are also totally lost to personal memory. I know that I did not eat or sleep during this time. There was no “me” to do these things and I suppose the body was quiet.

When I came back to normal functioning it was with an entirely new perspective. My first conscious act was to resign from the Theosophical Society. It had been the whole basis of  my life; now for me it was dead. I now saw from a new perspective the occult studies that had held such a fascination for me before. Not that these studies represented falseness, only that I had transcended them. They were part of the dualistic thought process. Because of my sudden awareness of the state of being beyond thought, these occult studies no longer held interest for me. Ambition was gone: there was no future so how could there be ambition? Fear was gone: what is there to be afraid of when one is going nowhere and hence has nothing to gain or lose? There were no problems because there was a new discernment moment-by-moment into the true relationship between myself and the environment. There was a direct perception into all relationships and a feeling of oneness with everyone and everything. The word love took on a different meaning. With the personal element removed, there was an integral feeling of love and compassion for every living thing: a knowing what was right and the desire to help. There was the knowing that never again could I consciously escape the facts of life by being dishonest in order to protect myself or in order to gain anything for myself. From that moment on I felt completely responsible for my own actions, aware now that freedom is an intrinsic part of life, and thus I must never again consciously stand in another’s way or cast my shadow across another’s path. All life was really one, and the actuality of it was overwhelming. There was a seeing the virtues spoken of in the Bible were an intrinsic part of this unified consciousness. I no longer needed to worry about expending the effort required to live virtuously. No discipline was required, no effort need be exerted, the path and I were one, constant companions in this new state of being. There was a state of acceptance of whatever life brought and true faith born in the knowledge that in doing my best, with no thought of self, whatever happened would be all right. There was the birth of insight into many things and with it the ability to see the true in the true and the false in the false.

I felt as though I had been living in a very cluttered house surrounded by innumerable “things.” These things were ideas, and conclusions which I had created. Suddenly my house had been swept clean and I was alone—not lonely, but in a state of complete freedom—free to start from scratch to discover the true values in living. Concepts such as right and wrong, good and bad, moral and immoral were stripped away as absolutes. Now, these judgments were only relative terms. As Krishnaji had said, it was a pathless land. There was no one who could give advice. There was no authority! It was a new dimension: a timeless state. There was no fear.

I remember writing Krishnaji a note in which I told him that I felt as a little bird must feel when it has outgrown its nest: it must fly but doesn’t know how.

Thursday I drove up to see Krishnaji again. The trip helped to bring me down to earth and by the time I had arrived, there was a grounding in physical reality. I tried to explain to him some of the fantastic things that had happened, but he would stop me on each attempt to describe this to him. Each time he would bring me back to the present moment and refused to discuss anything which had happened in the past. This attitude of his applied to all meetings that I have ever had with him over the past 39 years. Though I didn’t appreciate it at that time, his wisdom in this matter was well grounded in fact, as subsequent events have shown.

During this interview he said, “Find the answer to the question, ‘What is the I?’” Naturally at that moment, I could not answer the question. However, the question had been posed, it did register in my mind, and was to bear its own fruit in a most interesting way.

On the way home I tried to analyze the details of all the events of the past few days. I was again in focus with my everyday life in the physical world but a new dimension had been added. All of the qualities and feelings of the experience were present in the deepest part of my consciousness. I could not forget the essence of the event; it was now an intrinsic part of my nature. With all of this, however, there was now also the reality of my actual life situation to be faced. I was married, with its relationships and responsibilities. There were my wife and son, whom I loved and who certainly needed my help and understanding. There was my home and the airport business in Monrovia. There was the Monrovia Flight School operating in Prescott, Arizona, with a contract to train Navy pilots. World War II was in full swing. I knew that I must give my complete attention to every detail of this situation which I had created through my past thoughts and actions.

Krishnaji had challenged me to answer the question, “What is the I?” This question began working inside me like a seed that had been planted. It seemed an impossible question. Where was I to start? I can see now that this is a fundamental question. Our whole life’s activity is based on the premise that we know what we are. There are certainly plenty of professional authorities who have told us about ourselves. I was well familiar with many of these descriptions: medical terminology concerned with the gross physical body; the psychological terms for the various phases of consciousness; and the esoteric terms form the domain of the occult tradition.

For the next few days I found myself busy with my home life and the airport business. The private airports within 150 miles of the coastline had been closed to flight operations shortly after Pearl Harbor. However, there were other activities which needed supervision at the Monrovia airport. My secretary had moved to the flight operations at Prescott, Arizona, so I found myself alone in the office most of the time.

One morning, having taken care of the things that had to be done, I picked up the booklet of the Krishnamurti Talks of 1936. These were the talks that had been given in various locations around the world. I had been reading this booklet in a desultory manner for the last several weeks, and had gotten up to the fourth talk given in Ommen, Holland on July 29, 1936. I had not picked up this book for the past week, as so many things had been happening in my own life. Now, however, there was time and space in which to read. There had been no intimation of any connection between this material and Krishnaji’s question, “What is the I?” Now a new element had been added to my understanding. The words were alive and had a living quality. They no longer were just furnishing “dead” information but as I read, there was a different quality. Each sentence applied directly to me at that moment. This was what I was actually experiencing at that moment. There was again that heightened awareness which had been experienced the previous Sunday, but this time it was happening at my own level and in direct relationship to what I was involved in. What I was reading was like looking at the innermost functioning of my own mind. I was in direct relationship with the words, they were like a mirror in which I saw and understood the workings of my mind.

In this particular talk Krishnaji was continuing to examine the “I” process, and as his description of its dynamics unfolded, there was a direct link between me and this description.

Suddenly it happened! In the midst of the second paragraph there was again that complete stopping of time and an insight into the situation. The “I” had caught itself in action. At this moment there was no longer any mystery. Krishnaji’s question had been answered! There was no “I” existing separate from the thought process. The “ego” as a permanent entity didn’t exist. What did exist was a process! This process had a name, a past, and a future which was the result of time.

When the thought process stopped, time did not exist. There was only experiencing, not the dual process of experience and the person to whom the experience was happening.

[…]

The result of these contacts with Krishnaji led to many changes in my life. I began to experience more and more frequently the state of consciousness which for obvious reasons I have chosen to call Now-Consciousness.

This has become an ongoing state of experiencing for me over the intervening years. It has brought a transformation in behavioral patterns that I have not consciously sought. Neurotic responses to many life experiences have dropped away. Relationships with nature have taken on a depth of meaning hitherto undreamed of. Each detail of life has become meaningful in a new way. All of the insights previously seen have remained in their essence as a sustaining background through which life is met.

To me, the valuable characteristic of Now-Consciousness is its universal availability for anyone. It can be experienced by rich or poor, in a palace or a hovel, by an intellectual or a simple person. It is the common heritage of everyone. Because of its simplicity it is easily overlooked by the erudite.

It is the only approach to the experiencing of reality that is non-dualistic. Therefore the transformative results are not ego induced. What is discovered is true and uniquely understood by each in his own way. This truth becomes an intrinsic part of one’s nature and leads to right behavioral patterns. In this behavioral change, which so subtly comes about, one finds his or her place in the over-all fabric of life. It is a true uniqueness in which there is no competition or exploitation of another.

I have found that it is all too easy to reach conclusions about anything. Any conclusion or definite answer is a blockage to the ceaseless flow of life which gathers around itself other mental debris. This effectively brings to an end further insights into that particular subject. Therefore what I happen to be now observing is only my individual point of view. My findings may be of interest to others who are also seeking the true meaning of life.

In the early years of his teaching, Krishnamurti had reiterated many times his intention to never betray the truth in order to make it more palatable to his listeners. I was deeply touched by his sense of integrity. In speaking with him one day, I remarked, “Krishnaji, I never what to betray this truth, which has become so important in my life.”

He answered, “Don’t worry, you will never betray the truth if you are careful to only speak or write from your own experience and understanding of life. Never quote or use other people’s material as your own.” This made a profound impression on me and since that time, I have been very careful to follow that course.”

-Albert Blackburn

Excerpts from Now Consciousness: Exploring the World Beyond Thought, Part One

This book is available from IdylwildBooks.com

The Movement of Love – J. Krishnamurti

Meditation is one of the most extraordinary things, and if you do not know what it is you are like the blind man in a world of bright color, shadows and moving light. It is not an intellectual affair, but when the heart enters into the mind, the mind has quite a different quality; it is really, then, limitless, not only in its capacity to think, to act efficiently, but also in its sense of living in a vast space where you are part of everything.

Meditation is the movement of love. It isn’t the love of the one or of the many. It is like water that anyone can drink out of any jar, whether golden or earthenware; it is inexhaustible. And a peculiar thing takes place, which no drug or self-hypnosis can bring about; it is as though the mind enters into itself, beginning at the surface and penetrating ever more deeply, until depth and height have lost their meaning and every form of measurement ceases. In this state there is complete peace—not contentment which has come about through gratification—but a peace that has order, beauty and intensity. It can be destroyed, as you can destroy a flower, and yet because of its very vulnerability it is indestructible. This meditation cannot be learned from another. You must begin without knowing anything about it, and move from innocence to innocence.

The soil in which the meditative mind can begin is the soil of everyday life, the strife, the pain and the fleeting joy. It must begin there, and bring order, and from there move endlessly. But if you are concerned only with making order, then that very order will bring about its own limitation and the mind will be its prisoner. In all this movement you must somehow begin from the other end, from the other shore, and not always be concerned with this shore or how to cross the river. You must take a plunge into the water, not knowing how to swim. And the beauty of meditation is that you never know where you are, where you are going, what the end is.

-J. Krishnamurti

From Meditations, page 9-11

My Connection with Krishnamurti – Osho

Can you tell us about your connection with J. Krishnamurti?

It is a real mystery. I have loved him since I have known him, and he has been very loving towards me. But we have never met; hence the relationship, the connection is something beyond words. We have not seen each other ever, but yet… perhaps we have been the two persons closest to each other in the whole world. We had a tremendous communion that needs no language, that need not be of physical presence. […]

You are asking me about my connection with him. It was the deepest possible connection – which needs no physical contact, which needs no linguistic communication. Not only that, once in a while I used to criticize him, he used to criticize me, and we enjoyed each other’s criticism – knowing perfectly well that the other does not mean it. Now that he is dead, I will miss him because I will not be able to criticize him; it won’t be right. It was such a joy to criticize him. He was the most intelligent man of this century, but he was not understood by people.

He has died, and it seems the world goes on its way without even looking back for a single moment that the most intelligent man is no longer there. It will be difficult to find that sharpness and that intelligence again in centuries. But people are such sleep walkers; they have not taken much note. In newspapers, just in small corners where nobody reads, his death is declared. And it seems that a ninety-year-old man who has been continuously speaking for almost seventy years, moving around the world, trying to help people to get unconditioned, trying to help people to become free – nobody seems even to pay a tribute to the man who has worked the hardest in the whole of history for man’s freedom, for man’s dignity.

I don’t feel sorry for his death. His death is beautiful; he has attained all that life is capable to give. But I certainly feel sorry for the whole world. It goes on missing its greatest flights of consciousness, its highest peaks, its brightest stars. It is too much concerned with trivia.

I feel such a deep affinity with Krishnamurti that even to talk of connection is not right; connection is possible only between two things which are separate. I feel almost a oneness with him. In spite of all his criticisms, in spite of all my criticisms – which were just joking with the old man, provoking the old man… and he was very easily provoked. I just had to send my sannyasins to his meetings to sit in the front row, all in red colors, and he would go mad! He could not tolerate the red color. In his past life he must have been a bull; just a red flag and the bull goes crazy. Bulls have their own personality.

But even though he used to become angry – he would forget the subject matter he was going to talk on, and he would start criticizing me and my people – later on he would say about me to the hostess where he was staying, “This guy is something. He disturbs my meetings, sending red-robed people. And the moment I see them, I forget what is the subject I have decided to speak on. It happens every time, and I know that he is simply playing a joke. He is not serious, he is not against me; neither am I against him.”

From many of his intimate people I have been informed, “He is not against you. He wants you to know that howsoever angry he becomes, he is not against you.”

I said to them, “I know it. I love the man. But to love a man and once in a while to joke with him, do you think it is contradictory? In fact, I am trying to help him to become a little less serious. A little more sense of humor will not do any harm to him. Only on that point I do not agree with him – he is too serious.”

Religion needs a certain quality of humor to make it more human. If there is no sense of humor in any religious teaching, it becomes more and more intellectual, mathematical, logical, but it loses the human touch. It becomes more and more a scientific subject. But man cannot be just an object of scientific study. There is something in him which transcends scientific study.

Just look around the world. Trees don’t laugh, buffaloes don’t laugh. No animal laughs; it is only man who has the sense of humor. There must be something in it because it happens at the highest evolutionary point – man.

Krishnamurti’s teaching is beautiful, but too serious. And my experience and feeling is that his seventy years went to waste because he was serious. So only people who were long-faced and miserable and serious types collected around him; he was a collector of corpses, and as he became older, those corpses also became older.

I know people who have been listening to him for almost their whole lives; they are as old as he himself was. They are still alive. I know one woman who is ninety-five, and I know many other people. One thing I have seen in all of them, which is common, is that they are too serious.

Life needs a little playfulness, a little humor, a little laughter.

Only on that point am I in absolute disagreement with him; otherwise, he was a genius. He has penetrated as deeply as possible into every dimension of man’s spirituality, but it is all like a desert, tiring. I would like you back in the garden of Eden, innocent, not serious, but like small children playing. This whole existence is playful. This whole existence is full of humor; you just need the sense of humor and you will be surprised.

I have heard about a man in India who used to sell Gandhi caps. Particularly at election times, everybody wants to prove that he is a Gandhian, because the followers of Gandhi had been ruling the country for forty years. If you are a Gandhian your victory in the election is certain. The Gandhian cap – a white cap – symbolizes who you are, and this man used to earn so much money just by making caps and selling them.

But this year he was sick. He was getting old, and he told his young son, “You will have to go to the marketplace” – which was a few miles away from the village – “and I have to tell you only one thing. The way is beautiful; on both sides are very shady trees so that even in the hot sun you can sit under them and it is cool. And there is one big bodhi tree so huge that hundreds of bullock carts can rest underneath it. Avoid it. If you feel like resting, don’t rest under that tree.”

The son said, “But why? – because that must be the coolest place.”

The father said, “That is the problem. It is the coolest place, but the tree is full of monkeys. And it happened with me; I was resting there and when I woke up my whole bag of caps was empty. I was surprised – what happened? Then I suddenly heard the monkeys enjoying – all were wearing caps just the way I was wearing a cap. So they knew how to put it, where to put it, and it looked as if the whole of New Delhi from the president to prime minister, the cabinet and all the parliamentarians were sitting there – all over the tree! And they were enjoying it so much.

“But I am a poor man. Suddenly I remembered the saying that monkeys always imitate, so I took off my cap so they could all see; they all took off their caps. Then I threw my cap away; they all threw their caps away. I collected the caps and went to the market. So just remember in case something like this happens, take your cap off and throw it – they will all throw theirs.”

The son was in a way excited to rest under the same tree and see what would happen. He found the tree – it was beautiful and it was the most shady, and he saw hundreds of monkeys sitting on it. He rested, went to sleep, and exactly what the father had said, happened. The bag was empty; he looked up and the monkeys were looking very happy, very proud, all Gandhians. But he was not worried because he knew the trick. So he simply took off his cap and threw it, and to his great surprise, one monkey came down and took the thrown cap, went back up the tree and put the cap on his head! They all enjoyed it, because this monkey had missed; one cap had been missing.

This must have been the second generation of the monkeys; perhaps the older generation had taught them that if it happens sometimes, “don’t throw your caps but pick up the cap thrown by the merchant. We have been befooled – once to be befooled is okay; twice to be befooled is unforgivable.”

The son looked in shock – what to do? He came back home and told his father. His father said, “I knew it: monkeys are more capable of learning than men. This is their second generation and they have remembered. And I told you specifically, you should not have thrown it so quickly. First you should have taken it off and seen whether they took theirs off or not; then at least you could have saved one cap. You lost even that.”

Existence is hilarious. Everything is in a dancing mood; you just have to be in the same mood to understand it.

I am not sorry that J. Krishnamurti is dead; there was nothing more for him to attain. I am sorry that his teaching did not reach the human heart because it was too dry, juiceless, with no humor, no laughter.

But you will be surprised to know – whatever he was saying was against religions, was against politics, was against the status quo, was against the whole past, yet nobody was condemning him for the simple reason that he was ineffective. There was no reason to take note of him. In India he used to visit only three places – Delhi, Bombay, Madras. And it was the same way around the world… some big cities, and the same people year after year listening to him saying the same things, and nothing has changed in those people because nothing reached to their hearts. It remained only intellectual. […]

Krishnamurti failed because he could not touch the human heart; he could only reach the human head. The heart needs some different approaches. This is where I have differed with him all my life: unless the human heart is reached, you can go on repeating parrot-like, beautiful words – they don’t mean anything. Whatever Krishnamurti was saying is true, but he could not manage to relate it to your heart. In other words, what I am saying is that J. Krishnamurti was a great philosopher but he could not become a master. He could not help people; prepare people for a new life, a new orientation.

But still I love him, because amongst the philosophers he comes the closest to the mystic way of life. He himself avoided the mystic way, bypassed it, and that is the reason for his failure. But he is the only one amongst the modern contemporary thinkers who comes very close, almost on the boundary line of mysticism, and stops there. Perhaps he’s afraid that if he talks about mysticism people will start falling into old patterns, old traditions, old philosophies of mysticism. That fear prevents him from entering. But that fear also prevents other people from entering into the mysteries of life.

I have met thousands of Krishnamurti people – because anybody who has been interested in

Krishnamurti sooner or later is bound to find his way towards me, because where Krishnamurti leaves them, I can take their hand and lead them into the innermost shrine of truth. You can say my connection with Krishnamurti is that Krishnamurti has prepared the ground for me. He has prepared people intellectually for me; now it is my work to take those people deeper than intellect, to the heart; and deeper than the heart, to the being.

Our work is one. Krishnamurti is dead, but his work will not be dead until I am dead. His work will continue.

-Osho

Excerpt from Socrates: Poisoned Again After Twenty-Five Centuries, Chapter 25

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Touchstone of Truth – Osho

Through studying texts like Vedanta and the Ashtavakra Geeta, I have learnt that whatever is worth attaining has already been attained. Making efforts for it is going astray. I have deepened this conviction, so why has self-realization not happened? Please show me the path.

Never think that what you understand from scriptures is your own understanding. Never think what you understand from words has become your own experience.

Hearing Ashtavakra, many people will feel, “Far out, everything is already attained.” But it is not attained this way. What connection is there between your listening to Ashtavakra and attaining? It has already happened: this must be your own experience. The recognition, the blessing, must be yours; it is not an intellectual conclusion. Intellect will quickly accept it. What could be easier than, “It has already happened. Good, our troubles are over. Now there is no need to search, no need to meditate, no need to worship or pray – it has already happened.”

Intellect is ready to accept – not because it has grasped the truth. It accepts because the difficulties of the path can be dropped, efforts of sadhana dropped, and the need to continue meditating is dropped. Soon you look around and find that you have not attained. If it could happen merely by the intellect grasping it, there could be spiritual universities. There is no university of spiritual study. It is not attained from scriptures; it is attained by your own spontaneous inspired wisdom.

Listen to Ashtavakra, but don’t be in a hurry to believe. Your greed makes you hurry. Your greed will tell you, “This is very handy. We already have the treasure, so the whole botheration of attaining is over. Now there is nowhere to go, now there is nothing to do.”

You always wanted to attain without effort. But remember the desire to attain is still there behind all this: attain without doing! Previously you thought of striving to attain; now you think of attaining without exertion – but the desire to attain is still there. This is why the question arises of why self-realization has not yet happened.

For one who has understood: “Forget about self-realization, what’s the use?” If you had understood Ashtavakra, no other question could arise. The question “Self-realization has not happened” indicates that while accepting what Ashtavakra says, you are watching from the corner of your eye: is it attained yet or not? Your eye is still focused on attaining.

People come to me and I tell them, “Meditation cannot go deep as long as you continue desiring. As long as you expect to attain something – bliss, God, atma – meditation will not go deep, because thinking of attaining is greed. It is ambition, it is politics. It is not yet religion.” They say, “Okay, we’ll meditate without thinking about it, but we will attain, won’t we?”

There is no difference. They are ready to stop desiring because, “You say this is the way to attain, so we won’t think of it – but still, we will attain it, won’t we?”

You are not able to rid yourself of greed. Hearing Ashtavakra many people will very quickly accept that it has happened. If it could happen so quickly… and it is not that there is any barrier to it happening. The barrier is the foolishness of your desiring. The happening is so near!

Ashtavakra is right – it has already happened. But only when all desire for attaining disappears then this, “It has happened already,” will be understood. Then you will know from your totality that it is attained. But at the moment it is just an intellectual diversion: “If a great master like Ashtavakra said it, it must be right.” You are hurrying to believe. Your belief is impotent. Without doubting you have quickly accepted it.

In this country the habit has disappeared of doubting anything stated in scriptures. If it is in the scriptures it must be right.

One day Mulla Nasruddin came carrying a very handsome umbrella. I asked him, “Where did you get it? Such fine umbrellas are not made here.”

He said, “My sister sent a gift.”

I said, “Nasruddin! You have always said that you don’t have any sisters.”

He replied, “It is true.”

Then I said, “Yet this gift is sent by your sister…?”

He said, “If you don’t believe me: here, it is written on the handle, ‘A gift for my beloved brother, from your sister.’ I was coming out of a restaurant and these letters on the umbrella – I thought it seems I do have a sister. When it is written it has to be believed. And perhaps there is some sister or cousin…. And religious people have always said you should take every woman except your wife as your mother or sister.”

When something is published – and in the scriptures… belief in the written word is very strong.
When you tell someone something, he asks where it was this published. If you say where he will believe what you said. It is as if there is some power in writing. Say how ancient it is – people will accept it. It is as if truth is somehow related to age. Who said it? Ashtavakra? Buddha? Mahavir? – then it must be right.

From your side you haven’t made any effort to wake up – not a tiny bit. Someone said it, you believed it – and such convenience: you have attained without doing anything!

Krishnamurti’s followers have been listening for forty years – exactly the same people more or less. They have attained nothing. Sometimes one of them comes to me saying, “I know that everything is already attained, but why hasn’t it happened? I listen to Krishnamurti, I understand that everything is already attained.”

These people are greedy. They hoped that instead of having to make any effort they should get it free. They have not heard Krishnamurti nor understood Ashtavakra. They have heard their greed. They have heard through their greed. Then they interpret in their own way.

A friend has asked, “Doing meditations seems irrelevant now. Five meditations a day – and this lecture series on Ashtavakra going on…. It seems stupid.”

It is so easy to drop meditation – so hard to do it. What Ashtavakra attained was not attained through doing, and yet it was not attained without doing anything.

Try to understand. This is a subtle point.

I have told you Buddha attained when he dropped all doing. But first he did everything. Six years of untiring effort, he gave everything to it. By giving everything, he experienced that nothing can be attained by doing. It wasn’t by reading Ashtavakra… even though the Ashtavakra Gita was available in Buddha’s time. He could have studied it – there was no need for six years of effort. He made an untiring effort for six years, and in the midst of this effort he found out it is not attained by effort. He didn’t leave a single stone unturned, proving to himself that it couldn’t be attained by inner effort. There was no desire left inside. He did everything, and he saw that he didn’t attain. His effort became so crystallized that in this crystallization, doing dropped. Then it happened.

I say unto you, the state of non-doing will come when you have done everything. Don’t hurry, otherwise what little meditation you are already doing will be lost, what little prayer you are doing will be lost. Ashtavakra remains far away and the little progress you were making on the journey will stop too.

Before stopping one needs to run totally. Though one does not attain by running, this knowing will be crystallized by it. One day effort will drop, but not from mere intellectual understanding. When every cell, every atom understands it is useless – this is the moment it happens.

Ashtavakra is right in saying that practice is bondage.

But only one who practices will find out.

I am telling you this because I have practiced and found it is a dead end. I am telling you this because I have practiced sadhana and found that no sadhana leads one to the sadhya, to the goal. I meditated and found that no meditation brings one to samadhi.

When this becomes your deep experience, and one day that moment comes when it boils at one hundred degrees, when you have given everything…. Holding back nothing – you have thrown yourself totally into the fire, the effort has become total, the inner fire is total, the sadhana is total; now existence cannot tell you that you have held anything back, all is given – that day, in that crystallization, in that state of ignited consciousness suddenly everything is burnt to ash. All sadhana, all practices, all meditation, all renunciation – suddenly you wake up and find, “Oh! What I was seeking was already attained!”

But if it could happen just by reading Ashtavakra then it would be very convenient. What is hard about reading Ashtavakra? The sutra is so clear and simple. Remember, to understand simple things is the most difficult thing in the world. And the difficulty comes from within you. You hope you won’t have to do anything. It is very hard for people to accept the need to meditate.

This is the acid test – the Ashtavakra Gita. Those who hear Ashtavakra and continue meditating have understood. Those who hear Ashtavakra and stop meditating have not understood Ashtavakra and they lose their meditation too.

Practice and you will find out that practice is a dead end. This is the final phase of practicing. Don’t be in too much of a hurry.

“Through the study of texts like Vedanta and the Ashtavakra Geeta, I have learnt….” Has anyone ever known through study? Has anyone known through memorizing texts? Has anyone ever known through learning scriptures, learning words? This is not knowing; it is information, knowing about. You can say this information is known: “What is worth attaining is already attained.” But when you realize it, everything is finished.

You were informed, you got excited, and it sprouted in greed! Your greed said, “Look, I have been meaninglessly making efforts. Ashtavakra says ‘without doing anything,’ so I will sit without doing anything.” So you sit doing nothing. After a while you observe, “The happening has not happened yet. Why this delay? And Ashtavakra said right now!” You sit looking at the clock, “Five seconds have past, five minutes have past, an hour is almost over – and Ashtavakra said immediately! Right now! There is no need for even a second to pass!” You start thinking he was lying, your trust is broken.

This is not knowing, it is information. Always remember the difference between information and knowing. Information means borrowed. Someone else has known, and listening to him you have become informed. This is information. Knowing is an experience. No one else can know for you; it cannot be borrowed.

I have known – your knowing will not happen from this. My knowing will be mine; your knowing will be yours. Yes, if you collect my words it will be information. Through information one can become a scholar but not a wise man. Knowledge about wisdom can be collected, but not the liberation of wisdom. A whole system of words can be created, but not the beauty of truth. The words will hem you in more, will enslave you more. So you will find scholars very restricted. Where is the open sky? Knowing that what is worth attaining is already attained – if you know it then what is left to ask?

“… Making efforts is going astray.” If you know this then what else is there to ask? ”I have deepened this conviction.” Either there is conviction or there is not; there is no way to deepen it. How can you deepen it? If there is faith there is faith; if there isn’t there isn’t – how will you deepen it? What method is there for making faith deepen? Will you suppress your doubts? Will you sit on top of your doubts? What will you do? Will you falsify your doubts? When the mind raises questions will you ignore them?

Inside, the worm of doubt will be gnawing. It will say, “Now listen, is anything attained without doing anything? Has anything ever happened just by sitting? Things happen by doing; does anything happen by sitting idle? Can you get anything for free? What nonsense are you getting into? What illusion are you suffering from? Get up, move, run; otherwise life will run out – life is already running out! Don’t waste time sitting here like an idiot.”

These doubts will arise: what will you do with them? Will you suppress them? Will you falsify them? Will you say you don’t want to hear about it? Will you throw them into the unconscious? Will you hide them inside, in your basement? Will you avoid looking them in the face?

What will you do to deepen your faith? You will do something like this – you will repress in some way. This faith will be false; disbelief will be smoldering beneath it. This faith is superficial. Above is a threadbare covering; underneath, the coals of disbelief, of doubt. Soon they will burn up your faith. This faith is of no use, you cannot deepen it. Faith is, or faith is not.

It is like someone drawing a circle. If he draws half a circle will you call it a circle? Can half a circle be called a circle? It is an arc, not a circle. It can be called a circle only if it is complete. An incomplete circle is not a circle. Incomplete trust is not trust, because incomplete trust means that distrust is also present. In the empty arc, what will happen? There will be doubt. Doubt and trust cannot move together. It would be like one foot going east, the other foot going west – you won’t get anywhere. It would be like riding in two boats, one going to this shore and one going to that shore – where will you go?

The journeys of doubt and trust are quite separate. You are riding in two boats. What is the meaning of incomplete trust? Does half faith mean half disbelief is also present? If trust exists it is complete, otherwise it exists not.

And remember one important fact: whenever the higher is mixed with the lower, the lower does not lose anything, but the higher does. When you mix the higher with the lower there is no harm to the lower, but the higher is harmed.

A feast is prepared, fine foods are set out. Throw just a small handful of dirt on it. You could say it is a vast feast, what can a small handful of dirt do? But a small handful of dirt destroys the whole feast. The whole feast cannot destroy even this small handful of dirt.

Throw a rock at a flower and nothing happens to the rock, but the flower will be destroyed. The rock is lower, lifeless. The flower is glorious, full of life. The flower is of the sky, the rock is of the earth. The flower is the poetry of life. When the flower and rock collide the flower is completely crushed, the rocked completely unscratched.

One drop of poison is enough. Remember, doubt is lower. If the rock of doubt falls on the flower of trust, the flower will be flattened and die, the flower will be murdered. Do not think that trust will transform the rock. The rock will destroy the flower.

Either faith is or it is not – there are not two possibilities. When faith exists, it encompasses your whole life, it spreads into every cell. Faith is expansive. But such a faith does not come from the scriptures, it cannot come. Such a faith comes from live experience. It comes when you read the scripture of life, not from reading Ashtavakra.

Understand Ashtavakra, but don’t think this understanding is wisdom. Understand Ashtavakra and preserve this inside yourself, put it away. You have received a touchstone. You didn’t receive wisdom, but an analyst’s experience. And when you do attain wisdom, you can easily test it with the touchstone of Ashtavakra.

The touchstone is not gold. When you go to a goldsmith you see he has a black testing stone. This black stone is not gold. When he receives gold, the goldsmith rubs it on this black stone to find out if it is gold or not.

When you have understood Ashtavakra’s words carefully keep them, pack them away and when your experience of life comes you can test it. Ashtavakra’s touchstone will be helpful then. You will be able to know what has happened. You will have the language to understand it. You will have a method to understand it. Ashtavakra will be your witness.

This is the way I take the scriptures. The scriptures are witnesses. The path of truth is unknown.
You need witnesses on that unknown path. When you first come face to face with truth, truth will be so vast that you will tremble; you will be unable to grasp it. You will shake to your very roots. There will be fear that you could go mad.

Imagine what will happen to a man who has been searching for a treasure for lifetimes and suddenly he finds that the treasure is buried where he is standing – won’t he go mad? ”This seeking for many lives was a waste! The treasure is buried right under my feet!”

Just imagine. It will be a tremendous shock for this man: “So many years I have wasted! This whole time has been a meaningless effort, a nightmare. What I have been seeking was waiting inside.” Won’t a man go mad from such a shock? At that time Ashtavakra’s sweet words will soothe you. At that time the Vedanta, Buddha, the Upanishads, the Bible, the Koran, Buddha, will stand as your witnesses. In that situation you will be unable to comprehend the new experiences that are happening to you. In aloneness it is very difficult.

I am speaking on the scriptures – not because by hearing the scriptures you will become wise. I am speaking on them so that as you move on the path of meditation – if not today, then tomorrow it will happen, it has to happen – when the happening takes place it need not be that gold is in front of you and you cannot comprehend.

I am giving you a touchstone.

Test your experiences on these touchstones.

Ashtavakra is the most precise touchstone. Don’t have faith in Ashtavakra, use Ashtavakra as a touchstone for your own experiences. Make Ashtavakra a witness.

Jesus said to his disciples, “I will be your witness when you arrive.” But his disciples misunderstood. The disciples understood that when they died and reach God’s heaven, then Jesus would bear witness that they were his disciples; “Let them come in – these are mine, they are Christians. Be especially compassionate to them. Let more blessings shower on them.”

But what Jesus meant is something completely different. Jesus said, “when you arrive I will be your witness” – this did not mean that Jesus would be standing there, but that what Jesus had said would be there as a touchstone. When your experience happens, immediately you can test it and unravel the knot. As it is, you have wandered around for so long in untruth, your eyes have become used to it. The shock of truth should not break you apart, should not drive you insane.

Remember, many seekers of truth have gone mad. Many seekers of truth have gone mad just as they neared the stage of becoming enlightened, they became deranged, because the happening is so vast, it is inconceivable, unbelievable. It is as if the whole sky has crashed on you.

Your pot is small and the infinite is raining in your pot. You will be shattered – you won’t be able to contain it. You are face to face with the sun and your eyes will be dazzled and then go dark. The sun is before you and all is darkness, your eyes will shut. At that moment you can use Ashtavakra’s statements to understand the sun. At that time, the voice of Ashtavakra that has been lying in your unconscious will immediately speak. The sutras of the Upanishads will start resounding, the Gita will echo, the Koran will echo – its verses will come forth! Their fragrance will assure you that you have come home, there is nothing to freak out about; this vastness is you.

Ashtavakra says that you are expansive, you are vast. You are omnipresent. You are void of action, uncorrupted. You are the ultimate reality. These statements will immediately give an explanation.

Merely having faith in them, merely holding on to them, will lead you nowhere. And greed is waiting within you, saying self-realization has not happened.

“To control desire, a continuous stream spreads out from the snake charmer’s pipe. Dense, impenetrable desire quivers in response….”

Listen to it again: “To control desire, a continuous stream spreads out from the snake charmer’s pipe. Dense, impenetrable desire quivers in response like a cobra whose coil is motionless, while the hood dances to and fro.”

You want to become free of desire, but still you spread out a net of desire. You want to be completely clean and pure but still you do it by means of greed, still desire goes on quivering.

See how an alone, uncrowded desire quivers. The snake’s coil is motionless, now only the hood dances to and fro. You have gone to attain God, but your way of attaining is the same as for attaining money. You go to seek God but your desire, your passion is the same as the one who is after material things. Your madness is the same as the madness of one who wants to attain the world. The object of desire has changed, but the desire has not changed.

Listening to Ashtavakra your desire says: “Wow, this is great! I never knew that what I am seeking is already attained. So now I will just sit.” Then you will wait: “Did it happen yet? Did it happen yet? Did it happen yet?…” Desire goes on quivering. “Did it happen yet?” – You haven’t understood.

Listen to Ashtavakra again. Ashtavakra says it is already attained. But how can you hear it, how can you understand it? – Your desire goes on quivering. Until you have chased after your desires, until you have seen the worthlessness of chasing after them, run and fallen down and scraped yourself, you won’t be able to understand. Only through the experience of desire does desire become worthless. Exhausted it falls down broken – in this moment of desirelessness you will understand that what you have been seeking has already happened.

Otherwise you repeat like a parrot. It doesn’t make the slightest difference if you are a Hindu parrot or a Muslim parrot or a Jaina, a Christian, a Buddhist – a parrot is a parrot. A parrot may recite The Bible, a parrot may recite the Koran. A parrot is a parrot, he will go on repeating.

“Inside the temple all bathed and rubbed down, in full voice, engrossed, throats open in loud tones, extremely well practiced they go on chanting Ram-Ram. Inside themselves they are all deaf-mutes, repeating meaninglessly without understanding, dwarfs. But outside the most childish, the most loudmouthed.”

Look in the temples! “Inside the temple, all bathed and rubbed down, in full voice, engrossed….” People seem so innocent in the temples. Look in the market at the same faces that you see in the temples. Their coverings appeared different in the temples. ”… Throats open in loud tones, extremely well practiced….” You must have seen people taking up a rosary and chanting. Wrapped in a blanket printed with Ram-ram, with sandal paste on the forehead – what a spotless, radiant image! When you meet the same man in the market, in the crowds, you won’t be able to recognize him. People have different faces: they wear one face in the market, they wear another face in the temple.

“… Engrossed, throats open in loud tones, extremely well practiced they go on chanting Ram-Ram. Inside themselves they are all deaf-mutes, repeating meaninglessly without understanding, dwarfs. But outside the most childish, the most loudmouthed.” Information can make you a parrot, can give you a big mouth. It can give you the illusion of being religious, can give deceptions. But don’t think it is wisdom. And on the basis of information the conviction that you put forward will be sitting on doubt, riding on the shoulders of doubt. This conviction cannot take you to the door of truth. Don’t put much faith in this conviction – it is worthless.

Faith must come from your own experience. Faith must come from the pure formlessness of your own meditation.

-Osho
From Enlightenment: The Only Revolution, Chapter six   Enlightenment- The Only Revolution

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

You can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

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

The Mystery of Meditation – Osho

What is meditation?

Meditation is not an Indian method; it is not simply a technique. You cannot learn it. It is a growth: a growth of your total living, out of your total living. Meditation is not something that can be added to you as you are. It can come to you only through a basic transformation, a mutation. It is a flowering, a growth. Growth is always out of the total; it is not an addition. You must grow toward meditation.

This total flowering of the personality must be understood correctly. Otherwise one can play games with oneself; one can occupy oneself with mental tricks. And there are so many tricks! Not only can you be fooled by them, not only will you not gain anything, but in a real sense you will be harmed. The very attitude that there is some trick to meditation – to conceive of meditation in terms of method – is basically wrong. And when one begins to play with mental tricks, the very quality of the mind begins to deteriorate.

As mind exists, it is not meditative. The total mind must change before meditation can happen. Then what is the mind as it now exists? How does it function?

The mind is always verbalizing. You can know words, you can know language, you can know the conceptual structure of thinking, but that is not thinking. On the contrary, it is an escape from thinking. You see a flower and you verbalize it; you see a man crossing the street and you verbalize it. The mind can transform every existential thing into words. Then the words become a barrier, an imprisonment. This constant transformation of things into words, of existence into words, is the obstacle to a meditative mind.

So the first requirement toward a meditative mind is to be aware of your constant verbalizing and to be able to stop it. Just see things; do not verbalize. Be aware of their presence, but do not change them into words. Let things be, without language; let persons be, without language; let situations be, without language. It is not impossible; it is natural. It is the situation as it now exists that is artificial, but we have become so habituated to it, it has become so mechanical, that we are not even aware that we are constantly transforming experience into words.

The sunrise is there. You are never aware of the gap between seeing it and verbalizing. You see the sun, you feel it, and immediately you verbalize it. The gap between seeing and verbalizing is lost. One must become aware of the fact that the sunrise is not a word. It is a fact, a presence. The mind automatically changes experiences into words. These words then come between you and the experience.

Meditation means living without words, living non-linguistically. Sometimes it happens spontaneously. When you are in love, presence is felt, not language. Whenever two lovers are intimate with one another they become silent. It is not that there is nothing to express. On the contrary, there is an overwhelming amount to be expressed. But words are never there; they cannot be. They come only when love has gone.

If two lovers are never silent, it is an indication that love has died. Now they are filling the gap with words. When love is alive, words are not there because the very existence of love is so overwhelming, so penetrating, that the barrier of language and words is crossed. And ordinarily, it is only crossed in love.

Meditation is the culmination of love: love not for a single person, but for the total existence. To me, meditation is a living relationship with the total existence that surrounds you. If you can be in love with any situation, then you are in meditation.

And this is not a mental trick. It is not a method of stilling the mind. Rather, it requires a deep understanding of the mechanism of the mind. The moment you understand your mechanical habit of verbalization, of changing existence into words, a gap is created. It comes spontaneously. It follows understanding like a shadow. The real problem is not how to be in meditation, but to know why you are not in meditation. The very process of meditation is negative. It is not adding something to you; it is negating something that has already been added.

Society cannot exist without language; it needs language. But existence does not need it. I am not saying that you should exist without language. You will have to use it. But you must be able to turn the mechanism of verbalization on and off. When you are existing as a social being, the mechanism of language is needed; but when you are alone with existence, you must be able to turn it off. If you can’t turn it off – if it goes on and on, and you are incapable of stopping it – then you have become a slave to it. Mind must be an instrument, not the master.

When mind is the master, a non-meditative state exists. When you are the master, your consciousness is the master, a meditative state exists. So meditation means becoming a master of the mechanism of the mind.

Mind, and the linguistic functioning of the mind, is not the ultimate. You are beyond it; existence is beyond it. Consciousness is beyond linguistics; existence is beyond linguistics. When consciousness and existence are one, they are in communion. This communion is meditation.

Language must be dropped. I don’t mean that you have to suppress it or eliminate it. I only mean that it does not have to be a twenty-four-hour-a-day habit for you. When you walk, you need to move your legs. But if they go on moving when you are sitting, then you are mad. You must be able to turn them off. In the same way, when you are not talking with anyone, language must not be there. It is a technique to communicate. When you are not communicating with anybody it should not be there.

If you are able to do this, you can grow into meditation. Meditation is a growing process, not a technique. A technique is always dead, so it can be added to you, but a process is always alive. It grows, it expands.

Language is needed, but you must not always remain in it. There must be moments when there is no verbalizing, when you just exist. It is not that you are just vegetating. Consciousness is there. And it is more acute, more alive, because language dulls it. Language is bound to be repetitive so it creates boredom. The more important language is to you, the more bored you will be.

Existence is never repetitive. Every rose is a new rose, altogether new. It has never been and it will never be again. But when we call it a rose, the word ‘rose’ is a repetition. It has always been there; it will always be there. You have killed the new with an old word.

Existence is always young, and language is always old. Through language, you escape existence; you escape life, because language is dead. The more involved you are with language, the more deadened you will be by it. A pundit is completely dead because he is nothing but language, words.

Sartre has called his autobiography ’Words’. We live in words. That is, we don’t live. In the end there is only a series of accumulated words and nothing else. Words are like photographs. You see something that is alive and you take a picture of it. The picture is dead. Then you make an album of dead pictures. A person who has not lived in meditation is like a dead album. Only verbal pictures are there, only memories. Nothing has been lived; everything has just been verbalized.

Meditation means living totally, but you can live totally only when you are silent. By being silent I do not mean unconscious. You can be silent and unconscious but it is not a living silence. Again, you have missed.

Through mantras you can auto hypnotize yourself. By simply repeating a word you can create so much boredom in the mind that the mind will go to sleep. You drop into sleep, drop into the unconscious. If you go on chanting “Ram Ram Ram” the mind will fall asleep. Then the barrier of language is not there, but you are unconscious.

Meditation means that language must not be there, but you must be conscious. Otherwise there is no communion with existence, with all that is. No mantra can help, no chanting can help. Auto hypnosis is not meditation. On the contrary, to be in an auto-hypnotic state is a regression. It is not going beyond language; it is falling below it.

So drop all mantras, drop all these techniques. Allow moments to exist where words are not there. You cannot get rid of words with a mantra because the very process uses words. You cannot eliminate language with words; it is impossible.

So what is to be done? In fact, you cannot do anything at all except to understand. Whatever you are able to do can only come from where you are. You are confused, you are not in meditation, your mind is not silent, so anything that comes out of you will only create more confusion. All that can be done right now is to begin to be aware of how the mind functions. That’s all – just be aware. Awareness has nothing to do with words. It is an existential act, not a mental act.

So the first thing is to be aware. Be aware of your mental processes, how your mind works. The moment you become aware of the functioning of your mind, you are not the mind. The very awareness means that you are beyond: aloof, a witness. And the more aware you become, the more you will be able to see the gaps between the experience and the words. Gaps are there, but you are so unaware that they are never seen.

Between two words there is always a gap, however imperceptible, however small. Otherwise the two words cannot remain two; they will become one. Between two notes of music there is always a gap, a silence. Two words or two notes cannot be two unless there is an interval between them. A silence is always there but one has to be really aware, really attentive, to feel it.

The more aware you become, the slower the mind becomes. It is always relative. The less aware you are, the faster the mind is; the more aware you are, the slower the process of the mind is. When you are more aware of the mind, the mind slows down and the gaps between thoughts widen. Then you can see them.

It is just like a film. When a projector is run in slow motion, you see the gaps. If I raise my hand, this has to be shot in a thousand parts. Each part will be a single photograph. If these thousands of single photographs pass before your eyes so fast that you cannot see the gaps, then you see the hand raised as a process. But in slow motion, the gaps can be seen.

Mind is just like a film. Gaps are there. The more attentive you are to your mind, the more you will see them. It is just like a gestalt picture: a picture that contains two distinct images at the same time. One image can be seen or the other can be seen, but you cannot see both simultaneously. It can be a picture of an old lady, and at the same time a picture of a young lady. But if you are focused on one, you will not see the other; and when you are focused on the other, the first is lost. Even if you know perfectly well that you have seen both images, you cannot see them simultaneously.

The same thing happens with the mind. If you see the words you cannot see the gaps, and if you see the gaps you cannot see the words. Every word is followed by a gap and every gap is followed by a word, but you cannot see both simultaneously. If you are focused on the gaps, words will be lost and you will be thrown into meditation.

A consciousness that is focused only on words is non-meditative and a consciousness that is focused only on gaps is meditative. Whenever you become aware of the gaps, the words will be lost. If you observe carefully, you will not find words; you will only find a gap.

 

You can feel the difference between two words, but you cannot feel the difference between two gaps. Words are always plural and the gap is always singular: “the” gap. They merge and become one. Meditation is a focusing on the gap. Then, the whole gestalt changes.

Another thing is to be understood. If you are looking at the gestalt picture and your concentration is focused on the old lady, you cannot see the other picture. But if you continue to concentrate on the old lady – if you go on focusing on her, if you become totally attentive to her – a moment will come when the focus changes and suddenly the old lady has disappeared and the other picture is there.

Why does this happen? It happens because the mind cannot be focused continuously for a long time. It has to change or it will go to sleep. These are the only two possibilities. If you go on concentrating on one thing, the mind will fall asleep. It cannot remain fixed; it is a living process. If you let it become bored it will go to sleep in order to escape from the stagnancy of your focus. Then it can continue living, in dreams.

This is meditation Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Style. It’s peaceful, refreshing, it can help your physical health and mental equilibrium, but it is not meditation. The same thing can be done by autohypnosis. The Indian word ‘mantra’ means suggestion, nothing else. To take this as meditation is a serious mistake. It is not. And if you think of it as meditation, you will never search for authentic meditation. That is the real harm that is done by such practices and propagandists of such practices. It is just drugging yourself psychologically.

So don’t use any mantra to push words out of the way. Just become aware of the words and the focus of your mind will change automatically to the gaps.

If you identify with words, you will go on jumping from one word to another and you will miss the gap. Another word is something new to focus on. The mind goes on changing; the focus changes. But if you are not identified with words, if you are just a witness – aloof, just watching the words as they go by in a procession – then the whole focus will change and you will become aware of the gap. It is just as if you are on the street, watching people as they pass by. One person has passed and another has not yet come. There is a gap; the street is vacant. If you are watching, then you will know the gap.

And once you know the gap, you are in it; you have jumped into it. It is an abyss – so peace-giving, so consciousness-creating. It is meditation to be in the gap; it is transformation. Now language is not needed; you will drop it. It is a conscious dropping. You are conscious of the silence, the infinite silence. You are part of it, one with it. You are not conscious of the abyss as the other; you are conscious of the abyss as yourself. You know, but now you are the knowing. You observe the gap, but now the observer is the observed.

As far as words and thoughts are concerned, you are a witness, separate, and words are the other. But when there are no words, you are the gap – yet still conscious that you are. Between you and the gap, between consciousness and existence, there is no barrier now. Only words are the barrier. Now you are in an existential situation. This is meditation: to be one with existence, to be totally in it and still conscious. This is the contradiction, this is the paradox. Now you have known a situation in which you were conscious, and yet one with it.

Ordinarily, when we are conscious of anything, the thing becomes the other. If we are identified with something, then it is not the other, but then we are not conscious – as in anger, in sex. We become one only when we are unconscious.

Sex has so much appeal because in sex you become one for a moment. But in that moment, you are unconscious. You seek the unconsciousness because you seek the oneness. But the more you seek it, the more conscious you become. Then you will not feel the bliss of sex, because the bliss was coming from the unconsciousness.

You could become unconscious in a moment of passion. Your consciousness dropped. For a single moment you were in the abyss – but unconscious. But the more you seek it, the more it is lost. Finally a moment comes when you are in sex and the moment of unconsciousness no longer happens. The abyss is lost, the bliss is lost. Then the act becomes stupid. It is just a mechanical release; there is nothing spiritual about it.

We have known only unconscious oneness; we have never known conscious oneness. Meditation is conscious oneness. It is the other pole of sexuality. Sex is one pole, unconscious oneness; meditation is the other pole, conscious oneness. Sex is the lowest point of oneness and meditation is the peak, the highest peak of oneness. The difference is a difference of consciousness.

The Western mind is thinking about meditation now because the appeal of sex has been lost.

Whenever a society becomes non-suppressive sexually, meditation will follow, because uninhibited sex will kill the charm and romance of sex; it will kill the spiritual side of it. Much sex is there, but you cannot continue to be unconscious in it.

A sexually suppressed society can remain sexual, but a non-suppressive, uninhibited society cannot remain with sexuality forever. It will have to be transcended. So if a society is sexual, meditation will follow. To me, a sexually free society is the first step toward seeking, searching.

But of course, because the search is there, it can be exploited. It is being exploited by the East.

Gurus can be supplied; they can be exported. And they are being exported. But only tricks can be learned through these gurus. Understanding comes through life, through living. It cannot be given, transferred.

I cannot give you my understanding. I can talk about it, but I cannot give it to you. You will have to find it. You will have to go into life. You will have to err; you will have to fail; you will have to pass through many frustrations. But only through failures, errors, frustrations, only through the encounter of real living, will you come to meditation. That is why I say it is a growth. Something can be understood, but understanding that comes through another can never be more than intellectual. That is why Krishnamurti demands the impossible. He says, “Do not understand me intellectually” – but nothing except intellectual understanding can come from someone else. That is why Krishnamurti’s effort has been absurd. What he is saying is authentic, but when he demands more than intellectual understanding from the listener, it is impossible. Nothing more can come from someone else, nothing more can be delivered. But intellectual understanding can be enough. If you can understand what I am saying intellectually, you can also understand what has not been said. You can also understand the gaps: what I am not saying, what I cannot say. The first understanding is bound to be intellectual, because the intellect is the door. It can never be spiritual. Spirituality is the inner shrine.

I can only communicate to you intellectually. If you can really understand it, then what has not been said can be felt. I cannot communicate without words, but when I am using words I am also using silences. You will have to be aware of both. If only words are being understood then it is a communication; but if you can be aware of the gaps also, then it is a communion.

One has to begin somewhere. Every beginning is bound to be a false beginning, but one has to begin. Through the false, through the groping, the door is found. One who thinks that he will begin only when the right beginning is there will never begin at all. Even a false step is a step in the right direction because it is a step, a beginning. You begin to grope in the dark and, through groping, the door is found.

That is why I said to be aware of the linguistic process – the process of words – and to seek an awareness of the gaps, the intervals. There will be moments when there will be no conscious effort on your part and you will become aware of the gaps. That is the encounter with the divine, the encounter with the existential. Whenever there is an encounter, do not escape from it. Be with it. It will be fearful at first; it is bound to be. Whenever the unknown is encountered, fear is created because to us the unknown is death. So whenever there is a gap, you will feel death coming to you. Then be dead! Just be in it, and die completely in the gap. And you will be resurrected. By dying your death in silence, life is resurrected. You are alive for the first time, really alive.

So to me, meditation is not a method but a process; meditation is not a technique but an understanding. It cannot be taught; it can only be indicated. You cannot be informed about it because no information is really information. It is from the outside, and meditation comes from your own inner depths.

So search, be a seeker, and do not be a disciple. Then you will not be a disciple of some guru, but a disciple of the total life. Then you will not just be learning words. Spiritual learning cannot come from words but from the gaps, the silences that are always surrounding you. They are there even in the crowd, in the market, in the bazaar. Seek the silences; seek the gaps within and without, and one day you will find that you are in meditation.

Meditation comes to you. It always comes; you cannot bring it. But one has to be in search of it, because only when you are in search will you be open to it, vulnerable to it. You are a host to it. Meditation is a guest. You can invite it and wait for it. It comes to Buddha, it comes to Jesus, it comes to everybody who is ready, who is open and seeking.

But do not learn it from somewhere; otherwise you will be tricked. The mind is always searching for something easier. This becomes the source for exploitation. Then there are gurus and gurudoms, and spiritual life is poisoned.

The most dangerous person is the one who exploits someone’s spiritual urge. If someone robs you of your wealth it is not so serious, if someone fails you it is not so serious, but if someone tricks you and kills, or even postpones, your urge toward meditation, toward the divine, toward ecstasy, then the sin is great and unforgivable.

But that is being done. So be aware of it, and don’t ask anybody, “What is meditation? How do I meditate?” Instead, ask what the hindrances are, what the obstacles are. Ask why we aren’t always in meditation, where the growth has been stopped, where we have been crippled. And do not seek a guru because gurus are crippling. Anyone who gives you ready-made formulas is not a friend but an enemy.

Grope in the dark. Nothing else can be done. The very groping will become the understanding that will liberate you from darkness. Jesus said: “Truth is freedom.” Understand this freedom. Truth is always through understanding. It is not something that you meet and encounter; it is something you grow into. So be in search of understanding, because the more understanding you become, the nearer you will be to truth. And in some unknown, expected, unpredictable moment, when understanding comes to a peak, you are in the abyss. You are no more, and meditation is.

When you are no more, you are in meditation. Meditation is not more of you; it is always beyond you. When you are in the abyss, meditation is there. Then the ego is not; then you are not. Then the being is. That is what religions mean by God: the ultimate being. It is the essence of all religions, all searches, but it is not to be found anywhere ready-made. So be aware of anyone who makes claims about it.

Go on groping and don’t be afraid of failure. Admit failures, but do not commit the same failures again.

Once is all; that is enough. The person who goes on erring in the search for truth is always forgiven. It is a promise from the very depths of existence.

-Osho

From The Psychology of the Esoteric, Chapter Two   Psychology of the Esoteric

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