Know it as the State of Vairagya – Osho

When desires do not arise even in the face of the objects of enjoyment, know it as the state of vairagya – non-attachment, desireless ness. And when the ego ceases to rise, know it as the highest state of knowledge.

When the moods that have become extinct do not arise again, that state is known as one of the indifference.

And the sage whose wisdom has become steady attains eternal bliss. One whose mind has dissolved into the supreme becomes innocent and inactive. And the moods of the mind then dissolve in the unity of the supreme self, and the purified individual self remains choiceless and in a state of pure consciousness.

This state is called wisdom, or pragya and one who has attained this wisdom throughout is called jivanmukta – one free in life itself.

One who has egoistic feeling in respect of his body and the senses, and besides has ceased to think in terms of “me” and “mine” in respect to other objects, is called a jivanmukta.

When desires do not arise even in the face of the objects of enjoyment, know it as the state of vairagya – non-attachment, desirelessness. And when the ego ceases to arise, know it as the highest state of knowledge.

-Adhyatma Upanishad

Definitions about certain states of inner search, “in-search,” are helpful, because when you enter yourself, you are alone. You will need certain definitions, certain criteria so that you can feel inside what is happening – where you are.

In the in-search one is always alone. One needs certain criteria to feel where one is. And the inner world is uncharted, no map exists which can be given to you. And even if some maps exist, they don’t belong to you; they cannot be applicable to you. Buddha says something – that is about his own inner journey; that may not be your route at all. Really, it cannot be your route. Every individual enters into the inner world differently, uniquely, because every individual stands on a certain spot where no one else stands; every individual is unique. Buddha stands somewhere – you cannot stand on that spot. He starts his journey from there; every journey starts from where you are. So we have different routes to move on, no map can be helpful.

So this sutra is not going to give you a certain map, no. Just certain liquid definitions – you can feel your own path – and certain happenings inside, so that you know where you are, where you are moving, whether you are moving or not, whether you are nearing your goal or not.

First the definition of vairagya – because that is the entrance. Unless you are non-attached to the world you cannot enter inwards. Your back must be towards the world; only then your face is towards the inner center. So vairagya is the door – non-attachment to the world. What is the definition?

You can force yourself to be non-attached, you can force yourself in the about-turn. You can face the inner world forcibly, you can stand with your back to the world, but just your back to the world is not enough. Your mind may be still moving in the world.

It is not very difficult to go away, to leave, to renounce – it is not very difficult. You can escape to the Himalayas and the world is left far behind – but your mind will still be moving in the world. Non-attachment, vairagya means: When desires do not arise even in the face of the objects of enjoyment.

You can close your eyes; you don’t see anything. That is not vairagya, because with closed eyes you can continue desiring. Really, with closed eyes desires become stronger. With closed eyes the world is more charming than with open eyes. Really, if your eyes are open, sooner or later the world loses its charm. The more you penetrate it, the more you know it and see it, the attraction disappears. The attraction is in ignorance; with closed eyes it is more.

Non-attachment is authentic if your eyes are open and objects of enjoyment are there, and no desire arises in you. A naked, beautiful woman is before you and no desire arises. Tantra has used this sutra. Tantra is based on this sutra. Tantra says: Do not escape, because you cannot escape your mind. And the real problem is not the world of objects; the real problem is the mind. So wherever you go, you will be there, and you are the problem! How can you escape from yourself? Go anywhere, the mind will be there. You can escape from the world, but not from the mind, and mind is the real world. So tantra says, “Do not move away; rather go deep in the world, fully conscious, with open eyes, aware of the desires moving in you. Look at the world deeply.” Tantra has developed its own techniques. The tantra technique is that if someone feels sexual desire, then just enforcing brahmacharya, celibacy, will not do. If you force celibacy on someone, if he takes a vow that now he will remain celibate, he will simply suppress sexuality and nothing else. And suppressed sex is dangerous – more dangerous than ordinary sex. Then the whole mind will become sexual. The suppressed energy will move inside; it cannot go out, so it moves more inside. It creates grooves, it becomes cerebral; the whole mind becomes sexual. The sex center gathers more and more energy, and ultimately the whole body becomes a sex center.

Tantra says this is not the way to go beyond sex; this is stupid. Tantra has its own scientific techniques. Tantra says, “Okay, there is desire, there is sex – then move into sex, but move fully conscious.” That is the only condition: If you want to touch a beautiful body, touch, but remain conscious, alert that you are touching the beautiful body. And then when you are touching, analyze your touch – what is happening? Observe your touch – what is happening? If you can observe your touch, the touch becomes futile, absurd, stupid; nothing is happening. nothing is happening.

So tantra has techniques . . . Look at a beautiful naked body; observe it, and observe what is happening inside you. The desire arises: observe the desire, and observe the naked body. And really with a naked body, with a full alert mind, sex is neither suppressed nor indulged; it simply disappears. It may look contradictory – but bodies have become so important only because of clothes. Clothes are deeply sexual. They give the bodies a charm, a hidden charm, a secret attraction which is not there at all. Bodies are just bodies. You hide them and the very hiding creates a desire to look at them, to see. Humanity has become so body-conscious only because of clothes. The clothes create a secret desire to unclothe, to undress. […]

Any desire becomes futile if you observe it, if you know it in its totality. Tantra says do not escape; rather, be aware and move into the objects of enjoyment, and one day suddenly all the objects lose their charm.

This sutra says this is the definition of vairagya:

When desires do not arise even in the face of the objects of enjoyment, know it as the state of vairagya – non-attachment, desirelessness.

And when the ego ceases to arise, know it as the highest state of knowledge.

This is the criterion for knowledge, wisdom – when there is no ego, when ego doesn’t arise.

Ego can arise in any situation. The ego is very subtle and its ways are very mysterious. On anything, ego can feed itself. You meditate and through your meditation your ego can be strengthened: “I am a meditator.” And the whole point is lost, the whole meditation is lost. “I am a religious man. I go to church every Sunday, never miss.” The ego has arisen. It has taken a religious shape, but the shape doesn’t matter. “I fast,” or “I take a certain food,” or “I do this or that” – any ritual. “I do yoga” – whatsoever. If you feel that your “I” is strengthened, know that you are not on the path of knowing, you are falling down into ignorance.

Go on observing whatsoever you are doing. Do one thing continuously: go on observing whether your ego is strengthened by it. If you continuously observe, observation is a poison to the ego, it cannot arise. It arises only when you are not observing, when you are unconscious, unaware, unattentive. Go on observing, and wherever the ego arises just be a witness to it. Know well that the ego is arising: “I am meditating, certain experiences are happening, and the ego feels good.” And the ego says, “Now you are on the path. Now you have known the inner light. Now the kundalini has arisen. Now you are extraordinary. Soon you are going to be a siddha – one who has achieved. The goal is now nearer.” Know well: with this feeling of the goal being nearer, you are missing the goal. This ego feeling good is a fatal disease.

This sutra says, when the ego doesn’t arise, it is the highest state of knowledge. When the feeling of “I” doesn’t arise, you are but there is no “I.”

We go on saying, “I am.” The man of knowledge rarely feels only “am,” not “I” – just “amness,” existence, being, with no “I” attached to it. “Amness” is vast, infinite; “I” is finite. “Amness” is brahman.

When there is no “I,” when there is only simple “amness,” when the “I” is dead, this state is known as the state of a jivanmukta – one who has achieved freedom in lie, one who has achieved freedom while in the body, one who has known the infinite while alive.

You can also become a jivanmukta. The only problem is you. Throw it out, and you are. Nothing new is to be gained; the freedom is there hidden in you, but you are attached to the ego. That creates a boundary, a limitation. Look beyond the ego, and suddenly you enter another world. And it was always there, just to be seen, but our eyes have become fixed; we cannot move our eyes. We go on looking in one direction – the direction of the ego. The reverse is the dimension of the non-ego, and non-ego is the path.

One who has egoistic feeling in respect of his body and the senses, and besides has ceased to think in terms of “me” and “mine” in respect to other objects, is called a jivanmukta.

Egolessness is a great death. When you die only your body dies; when you attain mukti, freedom, your mind dies.

In the old scriptures the master, the guru, is known also as death: acharyo mrityu. The teacher is death, great death. He is, because through him your ego dies; he kills you. In a way he is death, and in a way eternal life, because when the ego is no more, for the first time you are.

Die to be reborn.

Jesus says, “Whosoever loses himself, attains, and whosoever clings to himself loses.”


From That Art Thou, Discourse #46

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.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from and

That Flame is Known as Knowing – Osho

This sutra is very significant for a sadhak, for a seeker.

Knowing is the fruit of non-attachment.

Desirelessness is the perfect knowledge. And the peace that flows from this experience of inner bliss is the proof of Desirelessness.

That which doesn’t happen in succession from among the above-mentioned steps indicates that the step preceding it has been fruitless.

To shun the objects of enjoyment is the highest contentment, and the bliss of self is itself incomparable.

-Adhyatma Upanishad

Many things have to be understood – and not only to be understood, but to be lived. The first is that knowledge is not knowing.

Knowledge and knowing are different dimensions. Knowledge is information. You can collect it, you can accumulate it; you can become a man of great knowledge, but that will not lead you to knowing.

Knowing is experience.

Knowledge is information. For example, you can know everything about God that has been said anywhere, anytime, by anyone. You can collect information about God through Krishna, Christ, Mohammed, Mahavira, Confucius, Lao Tzu, and thousands of others. You can collect in your mind all the scriptures of the world. You can become The Bible, you can become a Gita, you can become the Vedas, but you will remain the same. This knowledge is not going to affect you at all; you will remain unaffected. Knowledge will become something in the head, and nothing in the heart. The head will go on becoming bigger and bigger, but the heart will remain the same. And it may happen – unfortunately it happens – that as the head grows bigger, the heart is forgotten completely.

The heart is the center of knowing; the head is the center for knowledge. You know through the heart; you become a man of knowledge through the head. The head-oriented personality can know much without knowing anything. You know everything about God, but that doesn’t mean you know God. Because to know God, one has to die first – but to know about God, no transformation is needed, no inner transformation is needed. To know about God, you can know as you are – but to enter knowing you will have to be transformed first. You will not do as you are, you cannot be accepted as you are.

Knowing needs a deep transformation first.

Your totality will have to be rearranged; only then you enter knowing. You can know about love – poets have written, and generally those poets who have not known love at all, because their writing is just a substitute. If you know love, it is one thing; if you have not known love, it is different – the quality is different. The difference is not quantitative, it is qualitative.

Poets have written about love – you can collect all that knowledge. You can go on singing about love, you can become a master of the knowledge about love, you can write a Ph.D. thesis about love – but that doesn’t mean that you know love. To know love, libraries are not needed. To know love, a loving heart is needed; scriptures won’t do, a loving heart is needed.

This sutra says: Knowledge is not knowing. Don’t be deceived by knowledge; remember: Knowledge is not knowing. If you want to enter knowing, throw away all knowledge.

But how does one enter knowing? To enter knowledge is easy: there are schools, colleges, universities – the whole mechanism of knowledge is there. How to enter knowing?

Knowing is an individual effort; knowledge, a social effort. Society needs knowledge, because every generation which is dying has to impart knowledge to the coming generation. Teachers are the link; they go on giving knowledge to new generations, and knowledge goes on accumulating more and more. Society needs knowledge because society cannot function without knowledge.

The individual needs knowing, because the individual can never reach bliss unless he knows through his heart. Society is not interested in knowing. You will have to make an individual effort. What is that effort? These are the steps . . .

Knowing is the fruit of non-attachment. This looks absurd – “Knowing is the fruit of non-attachment” – vairagya.

This is a very beautiful Sanskrit word, vairagya. The word “non-attachment” carries the meaning, but just so-so. Vairagya means one who has turned away from the world, one who has known the futility of the world, one who has come to understand that you cannot achieve bliss through senses. Vairagya means: the outward search is futile; you have come to conclude this as your experience.

This conclusion cannot be transferred to you. If someone else is saying, “This world is futile,” this conclusion cannot become your conclusion. You will have to pass through experience, fully aware. Whenever you feel desire, move into desire fully aware and when you reach the fulfillment of the desire, know well what has happened – whether any hope has been fulfilled or just frustrated. Go on moving in desire, alert, and then you will come to understand that all desire is futile, all attachment is meaningless; it creates misery, it never creates any bliss. Vairagya means this conclusion reached through awareness, reached through experiencing – and knowing is the fruit of vairagya, of nonattachment.

Why? Why is knowing the fruit of non-attachment? Because when you are not attached to the world, suddenly you are thrown inside. There is nowhere to move; all outer directions have been stopped by that non-attachment. Now there is no dimension to move out – you cannot move without, so your consciousness for the first time returns home. It moves inside.

The Upanishads say there are eleven directions. Eight directions we know: north, east, west, et cetera, eight directions. The Upanishads say there are eleven directions: the eight directions we know; and two directions of going up and down, so they become ten. The Upanishads say there are eleven directions: ten going out; one coming in. When these ten directions have become futile, this is vairagya – but the energy has to move. Energy means movement; energy cannot be static. Ten directions – in which energy was moving and moving for millenia – have become futile; this is vairagya. Now you don’t want to move out. Suddenly the whole energy which was being dissipated without, begins to move within. And the more within it moves, the nearer the center, the energy becomes more and more one.

Make one circle, and then start from the circumference to move towards the center. You can draw many lines from the circumference to the center. Two lines drawn from this periphery, this circumference, to the center . . . as they come nearer the center, they will come closer and closer. They will come nearer and nearer, and at the center they will meet. When this energy which has been dissipated in ten directions, begins to move towards the center, all this energy goes in; all the flowing currents of energy come nearer and nearer. And at the center they meet and crystallize. That crystallization becomes a flame – that crystallization, that intense crystallization becomes a flame.

That flame is known as knowing.

By that flame, for the first time your world is enlightened.

Now there is no more darkness.

Now you move in light; now you have light inside.

Concentrated energy becomes light. Concentrated energy, crystallized energy, becomes inner light. That is known as knowing.

And desirelessness is the fruit of knowledge. The Sanskrit word is beautiful again: the word is uparati. Uparati means total relaxation. Knowledge is the fruit of vairagya. Knowing is the fruit of non-attachment, of energy not moving without. Knowing is the fruit of energy not moving without.

If there is no knowing, and you don’t attain the inner flame, then know well that your non-attachment has been false, pseudo. Knowledge, the flame, is inevitable if non-attachment has been real, authentic – not borrowed.

I say to you that knowing comes through non-attachment. So you can force yourself to be nonattached – that will be borrowed, and then knowing will not follow. Life is an authentic process; you cannot borrow anything from anyone. You have to live, you have to pass through, you have to move into experiences and attain. I say to you, “Knowing comes through vairagya.” So you try to be non-attached – that effort will not help. You will become a vairagi – you will become a “nonattached man,” but there will be no knowledge, no knowing. Your Vairagya, your non-attachment is a borrowed thing; it is not a conclusion in your life. It is just foreign to you… someone has said, it has entered into your mind, but your mind has not come to conclude it by itself.

So this sutra says that if knowledge is not following, then know well that the first step has been futile and pseudo, unauthentic. If knowledge comes, if the flame of knowing is there, then you will feel a deep relaxation. This is uparati – deep relaxation, existential, not physical, not mental – existential, total relaxation. What is meant by total relaxation, uparati? It means, energy moving nowhere – not even within.

First the energy was moving outward in ten directions. Then energy began to move inwards in one direction – but it was moving. Movement cannot be relaxed; movement creates its own strain, effort, struggle – any movement is a struggle. When this inner moving energy becomes a flame, there is no movement; all motivation is lost. Energy is for the first time not moving but just is. You are – going nowhere.

First the ten directions became futile; now the eleventh also has become futile. You are neither moving out nor in; you are not moving at all. This is total relaxation, this is uparati. Your existence has become relaxed. For the first time you are simply existence, nothing more – simply existence. If uparati, this total relaxation, does not follow knowing, then know well that the knowing was pseudo, false. Then you must have deceived yourself, you must have quoted scriptures. You must have borrowed knowledge and you must have deceived yourself that this was your knowledge.

We go on deceiving. Pundits are the great deceivers. But by repetition, continuously reading, they begin to feel that they know. They have not known, but they begin to feel that they know. This is auto-hypnosis. If you go on reading the Gita, The Bible, the Koran – go on, go on, go on for lives together – that constant repetition creates an auto-hypnosis. You begin to feel that you know. Really, you know too much! So it is bound to happen – this deception, this feeling that you know. You know everything! – really, if a Jesus is there to compete with you in an examination, he cannot compete. If Krishna himself is there to compete with a pundit, he is bound to be a failure; because a Krishna cannot repeat the same Gita again; it is impossible. Only a pundit can repeat it exactly as it is. For a Krishna, repetition is impossible. If he is going to say something, it will become another Gita, but the same Gita can never be repeated. He cannot remember what he said in Kurushetra to Arjuna, but a pundit can repeat it.

Knowing is not repetitive; knowledge is repetitive. Knowledge is mechanical repetition.

Knowing is existential experiencing.

So if your knowledge is not knowing but just knowledge, information, then uparati, total relaxation, will not follow. So, if total relaxation is there – if you find a person of knowing – he will be totally relaxed, like a child, totally. Even a child is not totally relaxed. He is like a flower – but even a flower is not totally relaxed, because a flower is moving, the energy is moving; a child is moving. Total relaxation is incomparable, unique. You cannot find any comparison.

And inner silence, inner peace, is the fruit of total relaxation. Inner silence – shanti – inner peace, is the fruit of total relaxation.

One who is totally relaxed becomes silent. Nothing happens in him now. There is no happening, because every happening is noise, every happening has its own noise. Now there is no experience inside, because every experience disturbs silence.

The man of total relaxation is absolutely silent.

Now nothing happens in him.

He is; simply he is.  No experiences now – no experiences, remember this.

You will not have visions, because visions are a disturbance. You will not see light, you will not hear sound; you will not be taking an interview with God. No experience. Silence means no experience now. Everything has fallen. You have become just existence – no knower, no known, no experiencer, no experience.

This is what is meant by silence.

If silence doesn’t follow total relaxation, uparati, then know well that the relaxation must have been a deception; it was not total. It may have been physical relaxation, it may have been psychological relaxation, but it was not total.

The relaxation was not spontaneous; you must have forced it.

We can force even relaxation. We can go on forcing things upon ourselves. We can force silence: you can sit like a buddha, like a buddha statue with closed eyes, just like stone – but you remain the same stupid man inside, it makes no difference. Forced, stupidity cannot go; you cannot force it out because who will force it out? The same stupid mind forcing itself; it becomes a vicious circle.

So you can find many stupid minds; particularly in India you can find them sitting like buddhas. They have just forced it, they have become like statues, but inside nothing has happened, because the silence is not there which is an inevitable consequence of total relaxation.

I am reminded . . .

Rinzai, one of the greatest Zen masters, used to ask whenever someone would come to him to be accepted as a disciple, “What do you want? For what have you come to me?” Generally, those seekers would reply, “We want to be like Gautam Buddha, Shakyamuni. We want to be like that.” So he would say, “Go away immediately, because we have one thousand stone Buddhas in our temple and we need no more. Go away immediately. Don’t come again. The house, this temple is already too crowded with Buddhas – one thousand.”

Rinzai lived in a temple where there were one thousand stone Buddhas. He would say, “Go away. There is no room, it is already crowded.” And he was a lover of Buddha; he revered Buddha like anything, but he said, “Just by sitting like a Buddha you will not become a Buddha. You can force yourself, but the spontaneous flame will not come that way. So try to be yourself; don’t try to be a Buddha.”

You can try to be a Buddha, but how can you try to be yourself?

Leave all effort, leave all trying to be someone else.

Then you will be yourself – and that being yourself is relaxation.

If you want to be a Buddha or a Jesus or a Krishna, you can never attain relaxation. The very effort to be someone else is strain, tension, anguish, conflict.

So if silence doesn’t follow, then know well your relaxation has been forced.

To shun the objects of enjoyment is the highest contentment. And the bliss of self is itself incomparable.

If you go through these four steps: vairagya, gyan, uparati, shanti – non-attachment, knowing, total relaxation, and the ultimate silence – then you achieve the incomparable self, the unique self that you are.


From That Art Thou, Discourse #42

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.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from and

What is Truth? – Osho

What is Truth?

This is the question every man has to answer on his own. And unless a man answers this question he is not truly a man.

This question has haunted humanity down the centuries. It is as old as man himself because man became man only when he asked this question. Unless we know what truth is, our whole effort to live, our whole effort to make a meaning out of life is futile.

It is ultimate, but urgent also, to know from where life has arisen, and to want to know the source and the goal, to know the inner running current that holds everything, to know the thread which is the ultimate law of existence.

When we ask the question, “What is truth?” we are entering into the world of man for the first time. If you have not asked the question yet then you live below human beings. Ask the question, and you become part of humanity. And when the question is dissolved you go beyond humanity, you become a God.

Below the questioning you remain part of the animal kingdom; with the question you enter on the path; and again being without the question you have come to realize that you have come home. The question is very difficult because just by asking, it cannot be solved. One has to put one’s whole life at the stake.

This is the question that Pontius Pilate asked Jesus. At the last moment, when Jesus was going to be crucified, Pontius Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” And Jesus did not answer him. Christian mystics have pondered over it. Why did Jesus not answer it? Why did he remain silent?

There are three possibilities. One, that the question was not sincere. A man like Jesus answers only when the question is sincere. When is a question sincere? A question is sincere when a questioner is ready to do something about it. If it is just curiosity then it is not worth answering. If it has an intense passion, a deep desire, so deep that the questioner is ready to put his whole life at the stake – nothing less will do – then only is the question sincere. A man like Jesus will answer only when the question has been asked from the very core of one’s being. So the first possibility is that Pilate’s question was not sincere. Seeing the insincerity, Jesus remained silent.

Pilate was a well-educated man, a man who had succeeded at least in the eyes of the world. He was the viceroy, a Roman Governor-general. He was at the peak of his career – power, prestige, wealth, everything was his. Whatsoever he had been doing in his life had paid him well. Facing him was Jesus, almost a hobo, a failure, one who had not achieved anything at least in the eyes of the world. He had no power, no prestige, not even respectability. He was just at the other end of life, a tremendous failure, mocked, jeered, insulted. Whatsoever he had been doing had all failed. It had not paid him in any way. His life was futile, at least for others.

The successful man asked the failure, “What is truth?”

There are two types of successes in the world. One, the worldly, which is not really a success but just trying to deceive yourself, just trying to keep up faces, appearances. The eyes are full of tears but you go on smiling; the heart is miserable, but you go on showing something else, just the opposite, to the world. They say “nothing succeeds like success” but I would like to tell you “nothing fails like success.” As far as the inner journey is concerned, as far as the transcendental is concerned, nothing fails like success and nothing succeeds like failure.

The first possibility is that the question was not sincere, it was asked just by the way. The man was well-educated, well-trained in philosophical concepts. He could have asked the question as a philosophical question. Then Jesus remained silent because the question was not really asked and there was no need to answer it.

The second possibility is that the question was sincere, that the question was not just a childish curiosity, that there was passion behind it, that it was authentic. Then why did Jesus remain silent? He remained silent because if this ultimate question is authentically asked then silence is the answer, because there is no way to answer it except silence. The question is so profound that words will not be capable of answering it. The question is so deep that words will not be able to reach it, to touch it – only silence will.

If the second is the case then Jesus did answer it, but he answered it by silence.

A third possibility is also there: that the question was sincere and yet not so sincere – that it was ambiguous, split, which was probably the case because where can you find a man who is total? A part of him was authentically asking, another part was pretending, “Even if you don’t answer I am not in a hurry. And even if you don’t answer, I don’t mind because in fact I don’t need it. In fact, I know the answer already, I am asking just to test you.”

The question was ambiguous, Janus-faced. That seems to be more probable because that is how man is and has always been – split. A part of Pilate feels the truth of this man who is standing before him – a complete, utter failure but yet his eyes are luminous, yet he has a glow. Pilate can feel it, can almost touch it. Yet another part, the egoist part, is not ready to surrender so he pretends he is asking only casually, “Even if you don’t answer, don’t be worried. It is not my need. In fact, I already know the answer.”

If this ambiguity was the case, then Jesus would also remain silent because when a question is ambiguous and the person is divided, no answer is possible. Because the answer can be understood only in your undivided consciousness, the question can be answered only when you are no longer split, when you are one, when you are in a unison, unity. Only then can you understand it.

Jesus’ silence before Pontius Pilate is very significant, pregnant with many meanings. But Jesus has answered the question somewhere else, it is recorded in the New Testament. Somewhere else he says, “I am the Truth.”

I would like you to go a little bit into history then it will be very easy to understand today’s parable.

Homer asked the same question in 850 B.C. and he answered that ‘the Whole is supported by Fate and Fate is the Truth’.

This is not really an answer; in fact, it is avoiding. When you say, ‘It is Fate,’ you don’t say much; in fact, you are not saying anything, you are simply playing with a word. You have simply shifted the question. It doesn’t answer. If somebody is miserable and you say, “It is Fate,” how have you answered it? Your answering has not added anything to the already known situation. You have simply labelled it. “One is suffering because it is Fate.” But why is it so? Why is Fate so? No, it is not a real answer. In fact, it is a lie. But one can believe in such things. Many people still do as Homer did. They have not risen above that level of consciousness.

Then came Thales, 575 B.C. He said that the whole consists of nothing but water. Water is the basic element of truth, of life, of existence.

Better than Fate, something more tangible, but very fragmentary. Water does not go very deep, does not explain much. It is reducing the higher to the lowest. Thales must have had a scientific mind; that’s what science goes on doing. You ask about mind and they say it is nothing but matter. The higher is reduced to the lower; the sky is explained by the earth. Mind is a great evolution. To explain the mind by matter is a scientific fallacy.

Thales was the first scientist of the world. He tried to explain the unknowable by something known: he called it water, the liquid element, the liquidity, the flow. But the answer is very fragmentary. It has something of truth in it but not all of it. And a fragmentary truth is almost more dangerous than a lie because it has a certain appearance of truth and it can deceive more. That fragment of truth can become very deceptive; it can cover the whole lie and make it appear as if it is the truth.

Then came Pythagoras, 530 B.C. He says that the whole consists only of numbers, mathematical symbols. He has even more of a scientific attitude than Thales – mathematics. Meaningful, but mathematics is not life. In fact, all that is very alive is nonmathematical. Love is non-mathematical, you cannot reduce it to numbers. Poetry is nonmathematical. Just think of a life consisting only of numbers – one, two, three, four – all poetry disappears, all love disappears, all dreaming disappears. Life will not be worth living.

That’s how it is happening today. Scientists have reduced everything to mathematics. Life is not equal to equations howsoever accurate the equations; life is more than mathematics can ever explain. The mathematics cannot explain the mathematician, the mathematician who deals in numbers is higher and bigger than numbers. It has to be so; those numbers are just toys in his hands. But who is this player? Whenever life is reduced to mathematics it loses charm, it loses charisma, it loses mystery. And suddenly everything seems to be worthless. Mystery is needed; it is subtle nourishment for growth.

I have heard two mathematicians talking. One said to another, ‘Is there any meaning in life? Is there any worth? Is there any purpose?’

The other said, ‘But what else can you do with it?’

The first asked, ‘Is there any meaning to live for in life?’ and the other says, ‘What else can you do with it?’ If life has to be lived just as if you are a victim, as if somebody is playing a trick upon you, as if you are being thrown into this torture chamber, into this concentration camp called the earth, then even if you live, you don’t live enough. You slowly commit suicide. You by and by, by and by, go on disappearing. Suicide becomes a constant thought in the mind if life has no mystery.

Then came Anaxagoras, 450 B.C. and his answer is mind. Certainly he took a great leap from water, number, fate; he took a great jump. Anaxagoras is a great milestone in the history of humanity. ‘Mind,’ he says. ‘The whole existence is made up of the stuff called mind.’

Better, but Jesus would not agree, Buddha would not agree. Yes, certainly better than what others were saying, but Zen would not agree. Matter, mind . . . Zen says no-mind. One has to go higher still because mind still carries the duality with matter.

Good, great in a way, a radical step; from object Anaxagoras turns to the subject, from the outer he turns to the inner. He opens the door. He is the first psychologist in the world because he emphasizes mind more than matter. He says matter is also made of mind: he explains the lower with the higher.

You can explain in two ways. Go and see beautiful white lotus flowers in a pond; they come out of the dirty mud. Then there are two possibilities: either you explain the lotus by the dirty mud or you explain the dirty mud by the lotus. And both will lead you in totally different dimensions. If you say that this lotus is nothing but dirty mud because it comes out of it, your life will lose all significance, meaning, beauty. Then you will live in the dirty mud.

That’s what Freud has been doing; that’s what Marx has done. They have great skill in reducing everything to the dirty mud. Buddha attains to enlightenment, ask Freud and he will say it is nothing but sex energy. There is a truth in it, because it arises out of sex, but the sex functions like dirty mud and out of it arises the lotus.

Ask Buddha;. He will say sex is nothing but the beginning of enlightenment, the very first steps of nirvana. That’s how Tantra was born.

These are two ways and you will have to remember that your life will depend more or less on the way you interpret, on the way you choose. You can try to reduce the lotus to dirty mud, it can be done and it is very scientific. It can be done very scientifically because all that this lotus has was in the mud. It can be dissected and everything can be found, and then the mud can be dissected, and whatsoever the lotus has, everything will be found in the mud; nothing special, nothing extra, nothing from the outside has entered into the lotus so it is nothing but the mud. If you are choosing your life with this attitude, your life will be just nothing but mud.

And the person who says that the mud is nothing but potential white lotuses, that the mud is nothing but a waiting to manifest its beauty in lotuses, has a higher standpoint, the standpoint of a religious man. Then the whole life becomes full of splendor, significance, glory. Then wherever you look, you can find God, you can find the white lotus. Then everything is moving towards a peak. Then there is evolution. Then there is future, possibility. Then even the impossible becomes possible.

With the first attitude – the dirty-mud-attitude I call it – even the possible seems to be impossible. But with the second attitude – the lotus-attitude I call it – you can see deeply into mud and you can see hidden lotuses there. And the dirty mud is no more dirty mud, it is just potentiality. Then sex becomes potentiality for samadhi, the body becomes potentiality for the soul, the world becomes the abode of God.

Anaxagoras was one of the greatest revolutionaries, a radical thinker. This word radical is beautiful. It means: pertaining to the roots. He changed the outlook. He said mind. He took a necessary step, but that too was not enough.

Then came Protagoras, 445 B.C. and he said “Man.” Now his standpoint is more total. Mind is a fragment of man. Man is many things more, mind plus. If Anaxagoras is thought to be absolutely true then you will remain in the head; that is what has happened to many people. They have not moved beyond Anaxagoras. They go on living in the head because mind is all. Then mind becomes dictatorial, it goes on a great ego trip. It starts dominating everything and crippling everything. It becomes a destructive force.

No, you are not only mind. You are mind, certainly, but plus. Many more things are there.

A lotus cannot exist alone; the flower cannot exist alone. It will need many more things to exist: the pond, the water, the air, the sun, its connection with the mud, and leaves, and a thousand and one things. So if you think only in terms of the lotus and you forget all connections with the universe, your lotus will be a plastic lotus. It will not be a real lotus, it will not be inter-connected, it will not be rooted in existence.

Protagoras has a more holy attitude, wholistic attitude. Man, and the totality of man – the body, the mind, the soul – becomes truth.

Then came Socrates, 435 B. C. and he said: wisdom, knowing, knowledge. When man attains to maturity, he becomes wise; when man comes to fulfillment, then wisdom arises.

Wisdom is the essence of man, the fragrance of the lotus flower. A still higher attitude.

And then came Jesus who says, “I am the truth.” This one statement is one of the greatest statements ever made in the world. Either it is the greatest truth ever uttered or it is the most egoistic and arrogant statement ever made. “I am the truth.” It depends how you decode it. Ordinarily, when you hear that Jesus says, “I am the truth,” you think this man is a megalomaniac, has gone mad. He is uttering nonsense. This man is truth? Jesus is truth? Then what about us all?

Jesus is not saying that, you have misunderstood him. When he says, “I am truth,” he is not saying, “Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph, is the truth.” What he is saying is totally different. He is saying “I am-ness, I am, is the truth,” so wherever there is this “I am-ness” there is truth. When you say “I am” you are uttering truth. Your “I am” and my “I am” are not two things, we both participate there. Your name is different, your form is different, my name is different, my form is different, but when I say “I, I am” and you say “I am” we refer to some common experience, we refer to some common root. Your “I am-ness” and my “I am-ness” are not different, are not separate, they belong to one “I am-ness” of God. When Jesus says “I am the truth” he means wherever this integration is felt of being totally “I am”, there is truth.

Ordinarily you are many I’s – you don’t have any capital I; you have many I’s, lower case. Gurdjieff used to say that we should not use the word I, only God can use it because you don’t have any single I, you have many i’s like a crowd. For one moment one I comes on the top, and becomes the ruler; in another moment it is gone and another I comes over and rules.

You can watch it. It is so simple. One moment you say, “I am happy. I am tremendously happy, at the top of the world” and the next moment you are unhappy, at the lowest bottom of the world, in the seventh hell. Are both these I’s the same? One moment you were flowing and you were compassionate and loving and another moment you were closed and frozen and dead. Are these two I’s the same? One moment you could have forgiven anything and another moment just any small tiny thing and you cannot forgive. Are these two I’s the same? One moment you are sitting in silence, in zazen, meditating, and you look so Buddha-like, and another moment, for a small thing, you are nagging, fighting. You will yourself feel ridiculous later on. For what were you getting so hot? For what were you creating so much fuss? It was not worth it. But another i was ruling over you.

You are like a wheel of many I’s; those I’s are like spokes. The wheel goes on moving, one spoke comes on top; hardly before it has come it starts declining. It goes on changing. Again it will come up and again you will feel a different being existing there within you. Watch. Have you got an I? Any substantial I? Any essential I? Can you say that you have some permanent I in you? A crystalized I in you?

You promise, and next moment you have forgotten your promise. Gurdjieff used to say that unless you have a permanent I, who will promise? You will not be able to fulfil it. Who will fulfil it? You say to a woman, “I love you and I will love you forever and forever.” Wait! What are you uttering? What nonsense! Forever and ever? How can you promise? You don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, you don’t know who is going to rule you tomorrow. Your promises will create trouble for you. You cannot promise because you are not there. Only a man like Gurdjieff or Jesus can promise. Yes, he can promise because he knows that he will remain the same; whatsoever changes in the world will not affect him. He will remain the same, he has come to a crystalized soul. Now he knows that his wheel has stopped. He is in total possession of his being. He can promise.

But ordinarily people go on promising, and you never see the fact that no promise has ever been fulfilled by you. You completely forget about it. You don’t even remember it because that remembrance will be like a wound. You find out ways and means to rationalize: you cannot fulfil it because the other person has changed, you cannot fulfil it because the circumstances have changed, you cannot fulfil it because you were foolish at the time you made it. And again you will make promises.

Man is an animal who goes on promising, never fulfilling any promise because he cannot fulfil it; man as he exists has too many I’s. When Jesus says “I am the truth” he is saying that whosoever attains to “I am-ness” is truth.

And this truth is not something philosophical, this truth is something existential. You cannot come to it by logic, argumentation; you cannot come to it by finding a right premise and then moving to a right syllogism and then reaching to a right conclusion. No, that is not the way. You will have to come to it through an inner discipline. That’s what Zen is all about.


From Dang Dang Doko Dang, Discourse #9

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That Which Is – Osho

The supreme self is formed by the word “that” which has maya, illusion as its disguise – which is the source of the world, which is invested with the quality of omniscience, omnipresent, et cetera; which is mixed with the indirectness, and which is reality itself.

And that which is the shelter of the I-experience, and of the word “I” and whose knowledge about his own inner being is false, is called by the word “thou” – twam.

The supreme has maya, or illusion, as its disguise, and the self has ignorance as its disguise. Being shorn of them, only the supreme self remains, which is indivisible: satchidananda – existence, consciousness and bliss.

-Adhyatma Upanishad

The Upanishads do not believe in a personal God. Neither do they believe in any personal relationship with the divine. They say that personal relationship is impossible, inconceivable. Why? – because the Upanishads say that personality itself is illusory. Try to understand this.

I am a person. It means I am separate from existence – personality means separation. I cannot be a person if I am not defined, I cannot be a person if I am not different. I cannot be a person if I am not separate. Personality exists as an island, defined, demarked, different, separate. The Upanishads say, personalities are false; you only appear to be persons, you are not.

The inner being is impersonal; it has no limitations, no boundaries. It begins nowhere and ends nowhere. It goes on and on to the infinite; it is the infinite and eternal. In space and in time both, it is undefined, undifferentiated; it is not separate like an island.

This word “personality” is very beautiful; we don’t have such a beautiful word in Sanskrit or Hindi. This word “personality” comes from a Greek root which means mask. The Greek root is persona. “Persona” means mask. Actors used it to deceive or to create the impression of some face in a drama. The original word means just a mask, a face, artificial. So if you are playing in a drama, acting as Rama, you can use a false face which gives the impression that you are Rama. Inside you are not Rama, only the face is Rama. The word personality comes from “persona.”

We all have personalities, which are simply masks. Inside there is no person at all; inside you are just eternal energy, infinite energy. Outside you have a face. That face is not you, that face is just like any mask in any drama. The world is a great drama and you have faces to play – and that’s why one face is not enough. The drama is so long and so big and multi-dimensional, so everyone has many faces. You are not one person, you are many persons together.

When you are talking to your friend, you have a different face; you are not the same person. When you are encountering your enemy, you have a different face; this is not the same face. You are with your beloved; this is a different face; you are with your wife – this is a different face. You can see: a couple is passing, and you can say whether they are husband and wife or not. If they are happy, they are not; if the feel blissful, ecstatic, they are not – the man must be moving with someone else’s wife. With one’s own wife it is a suffering, a pain, a burden – a duty. Any duty becomes a burden; it is not fun; it is not play.

Look at a person moving with his wife . . . he cannot look here and there; if a beautiful woman passes, he will remain a monk. Then you can know the man is moving with his wife, because the wife is observing him every moment – “Where are you looking? Why are you looking?” And he will have to explain everything back home. Of course, no explanation is ever accepted, but still explanations have to be given.

You are talking to your servant; look at your face in the mirror. You are talking to your boss; look – look at your tail, which is absent but still working, wagging. It is not there, but it is there.

Man has many faces, has to have, because every moment you need a new face. And the more civilized, the more faces; and the more civilized and cultured, the easier it is to change faces immediately. Really, you are not even aware that you go on changing faces; the whole thing has become automatic.

So personality is not personality, it is really personalities. Every man is many men – a crowd inside, and many faces constantly changing moment to moment. But are you your faces?

In Zen, in Japan, whenever a seeker comes to a master, the master says to him, “Meditate – and this is the object of your meditation; I give you this object for your meditation: find your original face. Find out how you looked before you were born; or find out how you will look when you have died. Find your original face – which is yours, not for others.”

All our faces are for others. Have you any face of your own? You cannot have, because faces are basically for others. You do not need them for yourself, there is no need. You are faceless. Really, the original face is faceless. You have no face inside – all the faces are outside; they are for others, meant to be for others.

The Upanishads say that you are impersonal inside – just life, not a person; just energy, not a person; just vitality, not a person; just existence, not a person. So how can you create a relationship with the divine? How can you create any relationship with the original source of life? When you don’t have any face, how can the divine have any face? The divine is faceless. The divine has no face, he need not have any. The divine is just pure existence with no body and no face. So you cannot be related personally.

Religions have talked in terms of personal relationship. Some religions call God father, mother, brother, beloved, or anything you wish – but they go on thinking in terms of relationship, of being related. They go on thinking in terms of anthropocentric attitudes. The father is a human relationship. Brother, mother, beloved, all – all relationships are human. You think in terms of relationship with the divine; you miss the point, because the divine is not a person, and there is no possibility of personal relationship. That’s why the Upanishads never call God the father. They never call God the mother; they never call God the beloved or the lover. They simply call God “that” – tat.

This word “that” is very basic to upanishadic teaching and philosophy. When you say “that,” it gives no sense of personality. When you call existence “that,” you cannot be related to it – there is no possibility. How can you be related to “that”? You cannot be related to “that.” What does it mean? Does it mean that you cannot be really related to the divine? No, but this shows that to be related to the divine is going to be altogether a different relationship; the quality cannot be human. Rather the relationship with the divine is going to be the very reverse of a human relationship.

When I am related to someone as husband and wife, or brother and sister, or father and son . . . two are needed in any relationship. Relationship can exist only between two points – two relators. This is how human relationship exists: between two. It is a flow, a bridge between two; it is dual. Human relationship is dual: two points are needed, then it can exist between these two. But with “that” – pure existence, divine, or God – you cannot be related in a dual way. You can be related only when you become one. You can be related only when you are no more. As long as you are, there can be no relationship. When you are not, then you are related. But then the very word becomes absurd, because relation always means between two. How can there be relationship when only one exists?

But this is the reverse of relationship. To call the divine “that,” indicates many things; there are many implications. One, you cannot be related in the ordinary sense of relationship with the divine. You can be related in a very extraordinary sense, absurd sense, when you have become one. Secondly, you cannot worship “that”; that’s impossible.

The Upanishads don’t preach any worship, any prayer – no. It would be good to understand the difference between prayer and meditation. The Upanishads teach meditation, never prayer. Prayer is always personal, a dialogue between you and the divine. But how can you have a dialogue with “that”? Impossible – the person must be there; only then a dialogue is possible.

One of the greatest Jewish thinkers of this age, Martin Buber, has written a book, I and Thou. Jewish thinking is dual, just the contrary of the upanishadic thinking. Buber says, “I and Thou – this is the basic relationship between man and man, and between man and the divine also. Because this is the only relationship: I and Thou.

When you stand before God as “I,” and God becomes “thou,” you are related. Buber says that when God becomes “thou,” you are in love. The Upanishads will not agree. They say if God is “thou,” then you are still there to call him “thou.” The “I” exists, and “I” is the barrier: the ego exits and the ego cannot be related. And if you think that the ego is related to the divine, then this thinking is false and pseudo. Really, you are in imagination. If God becomes “thou,” it is imaginary. The Upanishads say: “that.” But we can say “I and thou”; we cannot say “I and that,” because there is no relationship between “I” and “that.” The “I” must drop; only then the “that” evolves, arises. With the dropping of the “I,” the “that” is born. It is there, but the “I” is a barrier. When the barrier drops for the first time you realize existence as it is – that which is.

So the Upanishads always call the ultimate truth “that” – tat.

The second thing to be understood in this sutra, is that the nature of “that” is sat, chid, anandasatchidananda. Sat means existence; chid means consciousness; ananda means bliss.

These three are the attributes of “that”:

It exists, it is conscious, and it is bliss.

The very nature of it is bliss.

If you can attain these three qualities, you have attained “that.” You exist – go deep. Everyone says, “I exist.” You were a child and you said, “I exist.” Where is that existence now? You have become young; you again say, “I exist.” You will become old.

The child said, “I exist”; the young man said, “I exist”; the old man says, “I exist.” And the child is no more, and the young man is no more, and the old is dropping himself, disappearing. Who says “I exist”? Who is that which goes on existing? Childhood transforms into youth, youth into old age; life becomes death. Who is that which says, “I exist”? Have you known it?

When you say, “I exist,” you always identify your “I” with the state you are in. If you are a child, you mean “I, the child, exists.” If you are old, you mean, “I, the old man, exists.” If you say, “I” . . . and if you are a man, you mean a man exists; if you are a woman, you mean “I exist, a woman exists.” Always the state is identified with the ”I,” and states go on changing. So really, you have not known that which exists; you have known only that which goes on changing.

The Upanishads say that which goes on changing is not existential; it is dreamlike. That which is always eternal, is existential. So attain in yourself the point, the center, which can say, “I exist, never changing, eternal, absolutely eternal.” If you can attain this point of existence, you will attain the two automatically, immediately: you will become absolutely conscious and you will become absolutely filled with bliss. Or, try from other routes. There are three attributes, so there can be three basic routes. Either attain existence – then the other two will follow, or attain any other one of the two, and the remaining two will follow.

Attain consciousness, become fully conscious; you are not. We are asleep, unconscious, moving as if in somnambulism, asleep. You are doing things like an automaton. Look at a man eating: he is eating here, but his mind is not here. His mind may be in his office or somewhere else. If the mind is not here, then he is eating in his sleep. It has become a routine, so he is going on. You are walking, your legs are walking but you are not in the legs. You are no longer there; you have already reached the goal where the legs have to reach. Or, you may be lagging behind, but you are not there with the legs, fully conscious that “I am moving, walking, eating.”

Attain to consciousness. Whatsoever you do, do with a fully conscious mind, mindful, aware, alert. If for a single moment you can be totally aware with no sleep inside anywhere, with no unconscious mind in your being . . . if you have become fully conscious, you have become enlightened. The other two will follow immediately – immediately! It is not right to say “follow” – they will happen immediately. There will be no following – immediately, yugapat. The very moment you are fully conscious, you will be existence, absolute, eternal, and you will be bliss – total.

Or, try to be blissful. Don’t allow your consciousness to be vulnerable to misery. Don’t allow your consciousness the weakness to be miserable. Be strong, resist the temptation of falling into misery. We all have temptations to fall into misery. There are reasons, psychological, because when you are miserable people pay more attention to you.

A child is sick and the whole family moves around him; when the child is not sick, no one cares. The child learns the trick: be miserable, be ill, and then the whole world will just go around you. It never does, but man goes on trying. Do you remember that when you are sick, you have a certain enjoyment in it? A certain satisfaction? Now you can throw everything on your sickness: your business is failing, so what can you do? You are sick. Your mind is not working well, what can you do? You are sick. Now you can throw everything on your sickness. And when you are sick you become a dictator. Now your wife has to follow, your brother has to follow, your children – you are sick. So the old man says to his children, “I am an old man. I am sick, I am going to die.” This creates authority. He says, “You have to listen to me.”

We have investments in misery; that’s why we go on inviting misery. If misery is not coming, we become miserable. No misery? Then where to stand? What to do? When you are in misery, going from one doctor to another, you feel good.

I have heard about a great surgeon, Kenneth Walker. He has written somewhere that he was studying with his teacher . . . he was studying surgery with his teacher. The teacher was a very well-known professor. One day he was sitting, checking some notes, and a patient came to the great doctor, his professor. And the professor said, “Where have you been? For two years I have not seen you. Have you been sick? For two years I have not seen you!”

“Have you been sick?” – of course, when people fall sick they cannot come to the doctor! Those who come are enjoying the trick; they go on changing doctors – from this to that, and they go on saying, “I have been to this doctor and to that, and no one can help me. I am incurable. I have defeated all the doctors.”

I know it in a different way. Many people come to me. They say, “I have been to this guru, I have been to that mahatma, I have been to this and that, and nothing happens.” They have defeated all; now they have come to defeat me – “Nothing happens. Can you do something?” As if someone else is responsible for them, that nothing happens. Really, if something happens, they will become miserable: now they cannot go anywhere else; now they cannot say, “I have been to this man and nothing happens.” They will become miserable if something happens, so they continue . . .

Feel blissful. Don’t allow yourself to be miserable. Don’t help yourself to be miserable. Don’t cooperate with misery; resist the temptation. It is very alluring – resist it! And try to be blissful in every state of mind. Whatsoever happens outside, don’t allow it to disturb your bliss. Go on being blissful.

I will tell you one anecdote. Chuang Tzu, one of the great Taoists of China, was sitting in front of his hut playing on an instrument and singing. Just that very morning his wife had died, and he was singing. The emperor came, just to offer his consolations to Chuang Tzu. Chuang Tzu was a great man, and the emperor respected him very much. It was rare that the emperor should come to a fakir, a poor man. But the emperor felt very awkward when he saw that Chuang Tzu was singing and laughing and sitting under the tree alone. But he had come, and he must have prepared . . . as many of you know by experience. When someone is dead, someone has died, you go and prepare the whole dialogue – what is to be said, how to console, and how to escape immediately! It is a duty to be done, and a very ugly duty. Someone has died and you have to do something, to say something; go there, make a face, be sad, and then escape. The king was prepared, but this Chuang Tzu disturbed everything.

The king came, he saw Chuang Tzu laughing and singing and playing on some instrument; he felt very awkward. Now all that he had thought of could not be said. Chuang Tzu was not sad at all; it was as if there had been no death. Or, he seemed even to be celebrating. So the king said, “Chuang Tzu, I know you are a great sage, but it is enough, more than enough not to be sad. This is going too far . . . to celebrate? Don’t be sad, that’s enough; it suits a saint. But this is going too far. Your wife has died this very morning, and what are you doing? – singing, laughing, and you look so cheerful. Is it your marriage day? Are you going to be married again? What are you doing?”

Chuang Tzu said, “I have made a vow to my teacher that I will remain blissful – whatsoever happens, it is not going to disturb my bliss. So whatsoever happens I always interpret it in such a way that it helps me to be blissful.”

Remember, everything is an interpretation. If you want to be miserable, you will interpret it in that way – everything! If you want to be blissful, the same situation will be interpreted in a different way.

So the king says, “Please let me know, because I have really too many wives, and sometimes wives die. So tell me the trick, the secret: How can you be blissful in such a state?”

Chuang Tzu said, “Everything that happens there outside, happens outside; it is not happening inside. One has to remember constantly. And whatsoever is happening outside need not disturb you, because you are not the outside; you are the inside. So a division, a remembrance, a constant mindfulness. And always look at life with total acceptance. Then you can never be miserable. My wife has died; everyone has to die. Sooner or later, I will die also, so death is a part of life. Once you are born you will die, so nothing untoward has happened – just a natural phenomenon, just a natural process. Secondly, my wife was ill, old, suffering; not only has my wife died, but also her oldness, her suffering has died. And this was worth that; this death was worth it. Now she is at ease. When I saw her face dead, it was the first time in my life I saw her blissful. She was never so blissful. So I am celebrating the event – at last, even my wife is blissful.”

Interpretations . . . and moreover, Chuang Tzu is reported to have said, “This is the last time, the departure day. She was with me for so long. And she helped me and served me, and made my life in many, many ways pleasant, happy, enjoyable. So what do you think? Should not I pay my gratitude, my respects, my thanks on the day of departure, the great departure? I am celebrating all the memories, all the pleasant memories that are associated with my wife. I am singing.”

It depends. If you try to be blissful continuously, if you don’t allow yourself to disturb yourself; if you remain centered in your being, undisturbed, unwavering – immediately the two others will happen. You will attain existence, and you will attain consciousness. These are the three paths. To be blissful is one path; many have tried this.

To be conscious is another path, one of the most followed. Mahavira, Buddha . . . they all followed the path of being conscious. To be existence – that too, the third path. These are the three basic paths, and they are basic paths because these three are the attributes of the ultimate reality.

Any attribute followed becomes a river.

You flow into it and move into the divine, into the supreme ocean. These three rivers fall there.

Really, it is just a symbol. In our mythology, we have been thinking of Ganga, Jamuna, Saraswati – these three rivers – as sacred rivers. These are the three rivers, the three paths. Ganga and Jamuna are visible, and the Saraswati has become invisible.

The path of bliss will be visible. Whosoever follows the path of bliss will be known everywhere, because his bliss will be coming out and flowing. His eyes, his movements, everything will be a blissful gesture. You cannot hide your bliss – that’s impossible.

The man who follows the path of consciousness will also be visible, because his very effort to be consciously continuously, will give a very strange look to his features, to his movements, to his gestures. He will move consciously; his every step will be conscious. And you can see him – you can see a buddha walking; he walks differently. You can see a buddha speaking; he speaks differently. Every gesture is conscious. When every gesture is conscious, it gives a different quality to every movement. It cannot be invisible; it becomes visible. These are the Ganga and Jamuna.

And Saraswati is invisible – the path of existence. He simply goes on inside, remembering who is that which exists – he will not be known; you cannot feel him from outside. So those who have followed the path of existence are the unknown masters; they are not known ordinarily. Unless one goes in deep search of them, they are not known.

Sufis have been following the third path, Saraswati – the invisible, the river which no one can see. So if you ask any Sufi “Where is your master?” you may be sent to a cobbler or to a tailor, or to a sweeper. No one knows; even his neighborhood has never known that he is a master. He is just a cobbler, and even you cannot see how this man is a master. But you will have to live for two, three years, five years with him, in his vicinity, in his presence. And then, by and by, you will become aware that this man is different. But his difference has to be felt. It takes time; it is deep, invisible.

These are the three paths – and three only, because three are the attributes of the divine, of the absolute, or of existence.


From That Art Thou, Discourse #43

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.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from and

Meditation is Objectless – Osho

By meditating upon the lord Parameshwar, consorted by mother Uma, the highest lord, the all-powerful, the three-eyed, and the ever silent, the meditator reaches Him who is the source of all manifestation, the witness of all, and who is beyond ignorance.

-Kaivalya Upanishad

Meditation is object-less. If you use any object, then it is not meditation; it becomes thinking. It becomes contemplation; it becomes reflection, but not meditation.

This is the most essential point to be understood. This is the essence of a meditative state: that it is object-less. Only consciousness is there, but not conscious about anything.

Consciousness without being conscious of anything – this is the nature of meditation. But this may create a very depressed mood; this may create pessimism in the mind. It is so difficult to throw even a single thought out of the mind – how can one conceive of being totally thoughtless? It is so difficult to get rid of one object of the mind, that it is inconceivable how to be totally object-less; how to be just a mirror, how to be just conscious without being conscious of anything.

We are never conscious without being conscious of anything – something is always there. And there are some psychologists, some schools of psychology, who say that it is impossible to be conscious without any object. Consciousness to them means consciousness of something. Something must be there; otherwise, we will go to sleep; otherwise, we will become unconscious. But yoga says that ordinarily this is right: as far as the ordinary mind is concerned, if there is no object the mind will go down into sleep, slip down into unconsciousness.

We also are aware of it. If you are thinking something in the night, then sleep becomes impossible, because if some object is present in the mind then you cannot drop into sleep, into unconsciousness. So if you are thinking, then you cannot go to sleep; you go to sleep only when thinking has ceased. When thinking has ceased but there is no sleep, only then will you understand what is meant by meditation – but we never know any moment like that. When thoughts cease, thinking ceases, sleep takes over. You are not even aware when sleep has come; you become unconscious.

This is what hypnosis uses as a technique. Hypnosis – any method of hypnotism, any method – uses only this technique: to fix the mind somewhere on one object so intensely that the mind becomes bored of one object. This is the tendency of the mind – mind needs novelty; something new every moment, then it feels alert. If you are in a situation where you have to be aware of only one thing repeatedly then the mind feels bored, and boredom becomes the gate to sleep. So hypnotism uses it. It will give you any object to concentrate on, to concentrate your total consciousness on; then you will feel bored, by and by sleepy, and then sleep will take over. The very word hypnosis means induced sleep. So sleep can be induced if mind is devoid of thoughts.

But yoga says that this is right as far as the ordinary mind is concerned, but this is not right for a meditative mind. Through meditation, mind takes on a new quality, and it becomes possible to be conscious without thoughts. But it is difficult, and to take the jump is arduous.

In Zen there are two schools: one is known as the sudden enlightenment school, and another as the gradual enlightenment school. The sudden school says that any enlightenment is sudden. You have to take a jump from thought to no-thought, from ignorance to knowledge, from sleep to enlightenment. You have to take a sudden jump. But there are very few followers of the sudden school; there cannot be, because it is inconceivable.

There is another school which is known as the gradual enlightenment school. There are many, many followers of it, because the moment one says “gradual,” we are at ease – now we can do something. And in steps, gradually, in degrees we can proceed. In a sudden phenomenon there is no time, so you cannot postpone – you cannot say tomorrow. If the phenomenon can happen suddenly, this very moment, then your mind cannot excuse itself; there is no basis to postpone it. With a gradual school you can say, “Okay, we will try in this life, and if not in this life, then in another life. Gradually we will reach the peak. One step, second step – by steps we will reach to the ultimate.” Then you have to divide.

But this Upanishad belongs to neither. This is neither sudden nor gradual. This Upanishad takes a middle way. It says: It is difficult to take a sudden jump, and it is tedious and long to think in terms of degrees. Then you can go on thinking in infinite degrees. So this Upanishad says: Only one step is enough – neither sudden nor gradual. Only one step – only one step in between. To be object-less, to be thought-less and conscious is the goal. Only take one step: from many thoughts to one thought, and from one thought to no-thought. This one thought is suggested in this sutra.

This sutra says:

By meditating upon the lord Parameshwar, consorted by mother Uma, the highest lord, the all-powerful, the three-eyed, and the ever silent, the meditator reaches Him who is the source of all manifestation, the witness of all, and who is beyond ignorance.

From the world to the ultimate, take any image of God as a single step. This will look strange because we think of God as the ultimate. But the Upanishads never think of God as the ultimate. They say,

“God is a step towards the ultimate.” And they always use for the ultimate the term brahman, the absolute. God, Ishwara, Parameshwara, is just a step towards the ultimate. God is not the ultimate end. God is just to be used as a technical help for the jump into the ultimate abyss.

Use God as a jumping board from the worldly mind to the ultimate abyss.

This image of God used as a technical help is very typical and strange, because ordinarily the religious mind feels that God is to be achieved. But yoga says, “God is also just a technical help.” That’s why there are systems of yoga which are godless – for example even Buddha’s system. Buddha never talks about God – he discarded God. He created other steps; he discarded God. Mahavira never, never uses the word “God.” He discarded it – he used other techniques as jumping boards. But the ultimate remains the same: Hindus call it brahman, Buddhists call it nirvana, Jainas call it kaivalya. The ultimate remains the same: God is used as a technical help. Any imagery, any symbolism can be used. But it must be such a symbol that when you have used it, you are capable of discarding it.

Buddha has told a parable. He says:

Some villagers crossed a stream by boat. But then they thought, “This boat has helped us so much; otherwise, to cross the stream was impossible. So we must not discard this boat.” Then they carried the boat on their heads into the town.

Then the whole village gathered and everyone began to ask, “What is the matter? Have you come to sell this boat in the town? or why are you carrying it? The boat seems so old – just a ruin. Who will purchase it? And we have never seen anyone carrying a boat on the head. Why are you carrying it?”

So they said, “This boat is not ordinary; this has helped us to cross the stream. Without this, it would have been impossible to come to this village, so we cannot be ungrateful to it. Now we will have to carry it.”

Buddha always used this parable, and he said, “Every technique, every symbol, every ritual is just a vehicle. The moment you have crossed the stream, discard it. Don’t go on carrying it; otherwise, you will be just stupid.”

We can understand that those villagers were stupid, foolish. But as far as religious vehicles, techniques, boats are concerned, everyone carries them continuously. If I give you a name “Rama” as a japa, as a repetitive method for your meditation, then one day it is bound to happen that you will come to me and say, “Now I feel very blissful with this mantra. Now I am more at peace, more relaxed. Now I am more fresh, now I am less disturbed, now I am less tense. So now what more to do?”

And if I tell you to drop this name now that you have crossed the stream . . . now that you have come to the other shore, now drop this name also, then you will feel disturbed. I have advised many, and when I say to them, “Drop this,” they say, “What are you telling us? How can we drop this? It is inconceivable. We cannot do this. And this seems profane – how can we? This is a very holy name, and this has helped us so much that we cannot discard it.”

No ordinary person – even a Ramakrishna . . . Ramakrishna used the name of Mother Kali as a mantra continually, for years. He achieved much through it, but not the ultimate. He became silent, he became purified, he became holy; he became everything that we can conceive of a religious man. He became totally a religious man – but still a discontent within, still a desire, the desire for the ultimate. He had not reached the end.

Then he met a Vedanta teacher, Totapuri. And he said to Totapuri, “I have reached a very deep silence but still something is missing; I feel it, something is missing. So what to do now?” So Totapuri said, “Now drop the name of Mother Kali. Drop it – you are carrying the vessel; you are carrying the boat. You have crossed the river; now don’t carry this boat.” Ramakrishna was absolutely disturbed. He said, “What are you telling me? – A person like you, a renowned teacher – what are you telling me? To drop the name of Mother Kali? This is simply irreligious, unholy! What are you telling me? Don’t tell me such things!” He began to perspire; he began to tremble – a person like Ramakrishna.

Totapuri laughed and he said, “I knew this. You will feel much disturbed, your whole base has to be destroyed. You have made it a foundation; hitherto this has been your base. Now this has to be destroyed; otherwise, you cannot go further.”

For three days Ramakrishna wept, because he had heard such irreligious words. He couldn’t speak to anyone; he just closed his door, wept; cried, “Mother! Mother!” and wept. And Totapuri would come and knock at the door, and would say, “Ramakrishna, come to your senses. Drop this name.”

After three days, fasting, weeping, Ramakrishna came out, and he said, “If you say, I will do it. But first let me go to the Mother and ask her permission. I cannot do it would her permission.” This is how a boat can become so meaningful . . . and don’t laugh at it; even if you are in the state of Ramakrishna, this will happen.

Ramakrishna went to ask the Mother – of course permission was given, because deep down Ramakrishna himself felt that now this name is the only obstacle. If it drops, consciousness will be totally pure; there will be no disturbance. But he couldn’t utter it, he couldn’t say it. He went to Mother – there was no one; this was his own deep-down unconscious which gave the permission. He asked the Mother . . . If one goes in a very devoted way, continuously, to feel in an image the divine presence, one’s own deep unconscious becomes projected. And even from the image, things can come which are just being put there by oneself. It was his own unconscious; it was his own deep existence which responded. So permission was given. He came back, of course, weeping, because the conscious was still clinging, clinging to the name. His own unconscious was ready. He was totally purified, and this last step was to be taken – had to be taken, it was a must!

So the unconscious allowed him, but the conscious began to feel guilty again. He came back. Totapuri said, “Don’t feel any guilt. When the Mother herself has allowed, now you drop it.” So Ramakrishna sat before Totapuri, closed his eyes, went into deep meditation. Tears were flowing. Hours pass and Totapuri goes on saying, “Now drop it! Don’t continue!” And Ramakrishna is continuing. Tears are flowing; he is weeping and trembling. He cannot stop.

He opens his eyes and says, “It seems impossible. I cannot stop. It seems it is absolutely impossible to stop! How can I myself drop the name? It is my heart of hearts. How can I drop it? This is just . . . it seems suicidal, as if I am killing myself. I cannot.” And poor Totapuri insists, “Try again, try again.”

Then Totapuri says, “This is the last, and I will not remain here for a single moment longer. I am not going to remain here; I will leave this place. So try again, only one.” And he brought a piece of glass, and he said, “When you are meditating and when I feel that the image of Kali has come into your consciousness as an object, I will cut your forehead on the third eye spot with this piece of glass. And when I cut your forehead, you cut the image inside.”

Ramakrishna said, “But how can I cut it? And with what? How can I cut it and with what? There is no weapon!”

Totapuri said, “If you can create an image, so alive, by imagination, why can you not create a sword? You have created the image of Kali so loving, so radiant, so alive, so why not create a sword? You are so capable a man – imagine a sword and then cut it! Otherwise, I am going to leave and you will not find me again.”

And Totapuri was a a rare man; to miss that man was to miss for lives. And Ramakrishna knew this, that this was the only man who could help; otherwise, one would have to wait, for lives even. And one is not certain that even after waiting for many lives, a man like Totapuri will be there. So Totapuri stood, and he said, “Now I’ll leave. You try.”

Ramakrishna closed his eyes – he was weeping, he was crying, screaming; and then Totapuri cut his head. And in a single stroke, Ramakrishna dared – this is the most daring thing – he dared: he cut the image within. The image broke into two. Tears stopped, crying stopped. And Ramakrishna began to laugh and Ramakrishna began to dance. And Totapuri said, “Now I am leaving. Just tell me in one sentence what has happened.”

So Ramakrishna opened his eyes and said, “The last barrier has dropped.” And Totapuri disappeared.

Ramakrishna tried and tried for many years to find the man again, to give him thanks, but Totapuri was not found again.

So don’t laugh. This middle step can become a barrier, or it can become a jumping board – it depends on you. Use any image, but remember continuously that this is just a technical help.

Remember continuously that this has to be dropped. If you can remember it, then you can use any method, any technique, any image, any help. It is artificial, but for our minds – which cannot take a sudden jump – it helps.


From That Art Thou, Discourse #24

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.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from and

The Master of the Shouts – Osho

A little note about Rinzai, master of the irrational.

Rinzai, also known as Lin-Chi, was born in the early ninth century and was to become the founder of one of the most significant schools of Zen.

Brilliant as a child, later, when Rinzai became a priest, he studied the sutras and scriptures. Realizing the answer did not lie within them, he went on pilgrimage, visiting Obaku and Daigu, two great masters. After his enlightenment he became priest of a small temple on the banks of the Hu-t’o River.

Maneesha has asked:

Our beloved master, Rinzai became known as the master of the shouts. His specialty consists . . . he used shouts as a method to silence you – a sudden shout. You are asking about God, you are asking about heaven, you are asking about great philosophical or theological problems and the master immediately shouts. Your mind gets a shock, almost an electric shock. For a moment you are not, only the shout is. For a moment the mind stops, time stops – and that is the whole secret of meditation.

Many mystics around the world have used sounds, but in a very superficial way. Rinzai used shouts in a tremendously deep way. His shouts would become just like a sword entering in you, piercing to the very center.

You can understand . . . when you shout Yaa-Hoo! your mind disappears. Yaa-Hoo! has no meaning, but shouting it you get suddenly thrown to your own center, and once you have touched your own center, even for a simple glimpse, your life has started changing.

Rinzai would shout at the disciples to give them a first experience of their centering. You are both a circumference and a center. You live on the circumference; the shout simply pushes you to the center. Once you experience being at the center you suddenly see the whole world changing. Your eyes are no more the same; your clarity and transparency are absolute. You see the same green leaves greener, the same roses rosier, the same life as a festival, as a ceremony. You would love to dance.

And then the disciples, once they learned that the shout can help them to reach to their very center . . . It was a strange sight when Rinzai started accepting disciples near the river. The disciples would be shouting around the whole valley, and the valley would resound with shouts. You could tell from miles away that you were somewhere close to Rinzai. It was not only that he was shouting, but that shouting was a method to throw you from the circumference to the center.

There are many ways to throw you to the center. Every way is valid if you reach to your center, because your center is the only immortal part in you. Everything else is going to die.

Today Professor Barks is here. He has done a tremendous job in translating Rumi. He has come as close as possible, but I don’t think he knows that Rumi’s whole effort by whirling is to find the center. If you whirl for hours, you will see slowly that something at the very center is not moving at all, and that is you. Your body is whirling, but your consciousness is a pillar of light.

Rumi attained his first enlightenment by whirling for thirty-six hours continuously. People thought he was mad. Even today a small group of his followers continues. They are called whirling dervishes. But the point is the same: whirling, your whole body becomes a cyclone, and your witnessing self becomes the center. Everything moves around you, but the center remains unmoving. To know this unmoving center is to know the very master key of all the mysteries of life.

Rinzai had no idea about Rumi, neither did Rumi have any idea about Rinzai, but both were working on the same strategy – somehow to force you to the center. As your consciousness becomes deeper, as it becomes an easy thing to go to the center just like you go in your house and come out, you have become a buddha.

Then slowly, slowly your center starts changing your circumference. Then you cannot be violent, then you cannot be destructive; then you are love. Not that you love – you are love. Then you are silence, then you are truth, although the old you has disappeared. That was your circumference, that was the cyclone that is gone. Now, only the center remains.

Rinzai’s method is far simpler than Rumi’s. Very few people will be able to whirl for hours, but shouting is a simpler method. Anybody can shout and can shout wholeheartedly, and it can be very intense and urgent. Whirling you will take hours to find out the center; shouting, a split second and you are at the center.

The anecdote…

Rinzai became known as the master of the shouts. On one occasion a monk asked, “What about the cardinal principle of the Buddha-dharma?”

Now, he is asking something important. What is the cardinal principle of the religion of Buddha?

Rinzai shouted – the monk bowed.

“Do you say that’s a good shout?” Rinzai asked.

The monk commented: “The thief in the grass has met complete defeat.”

“What is my offence?” Rinzai asked.

The monk replied, “It won’t be pardoned a second time.”

Rinzai gave another shout.

The first shout of Rinzai was perfectly good. The monk bowed down because he felt a great relief by moving from the circumference to the center. But Rinzai was a little suspicious. Because everything in this world becomes traditional, it had started becoming traditional that Rinzai will shout and you have to bow down to show that you have understood it, that it has reached to your center. It was becoming a tradition.

This is very unfortunate. Everything becomes a habit, a ritual, a tradition, and loses all meaning. Now, his bowing down may be true or may be just a mannerism. That’s why Rinzai asked, “Do you say that’s a good shout?”

The monk commented: “The thief in the grass has met complete defeat.”

What does he mean by this? The monk is saying, “You have been found being unsuccessful. Your shout missed.”

The monk commented: “The thief in the grass has met complete defeat.”

“What is my offense?” Rinzai asked.

The monk replied, “It won’t be pardoned a second time.”

The monk is saying, “Your shout missed.” He is not saying that shouting at him a second time will not be pardoned; he is saying, “Your being a failure will not be pardoned – It won’t be pardoned a second time. The first time I forgive you; you missed, you did not reach to my center. I bowed down because you tried, you tried hard. But the second time it will not be pardoned.”

Anybody reading it will think that he is saying, “If you shout a second time it will not be pardoned.” That is not the case. He is saying, “Your failure will not be pardoned a second time.”

Rinzai gave a shout – and the anecdote ends suddenly. After the shout there is silence. The second shout succeeded. Now the monk is silent, Rinzai is silent.

There have been long progressions for reaching to yourself, like yoga. But devices like Rinzai’s are very simple, don’t require any discipline as a prerequisite. Anybody . . . no need of having a certain character; good or bad, sinner or saint, it does not matter. What matters is to reach to the center, because at the center you are neither a sinner nor a saint. Your being a sinner or a saint are all on the periphery. Our whole society lives on the periphery; all our divisions are very superficial.

I am reminded of a great follower of Buddha, Nagarjuna. He lived naked. Perhaps Nagarjuna is the greatest logician that has walked on the earth. Aristotle is no comparison to him, neither is Shankara; Nagarjuna’s argumentation is the most refined. But he used to live naked – a beautiful man – and even kings and queens were disciples to him. In a certain capital the queen was his disciple. She asked him, “You will have to give me a favor. I want to take away your begging bowl.”

He said, “That is not a problem. You can have it.”

She said, “That is only half of it. I have prepared a begging bowl for you. This one you give to me; it will be a present, the most precious to me in the whole world. And I have made a begging bowl which you cannot reject, you have to accept it.”

He said, “I have not seen it either.”

She said, “Seeing or not seeing is not the question. First, give me the promise that you will not reject it.”

So he said, “Okay, I will not reject it.”

She brought out the bowl, and it was made of solid gold, studded with diamonds. Nagarjuna said, “You don’t understand the situation. Whether I reject it or not, I will not be able to keep it even for a few hours. A naked man carrying a begging bowl made of solid gold, studded with great diamonds – do you think I will be able to keep it? But I have promised, so I will accept it.”

A thief was watching the whole transaction. He followed Nagarjuna. He knew that this fellow lives outside the city in a dilapidated temple, and every afternoon after he has taken his food, he goes to sleep. This is a very good time to take this begging bowl away. Anyway, somebody is going to take it away . . .

So he went and he was hiding behind a wall by the side of a window watching that somebody else does not enter inside. Nagarjuna made his place to sleep and he had complete awareness that somebody had been following him.

“Why keep him unnecessarily waiting? Anyway, I am going to sleep and he will take the begging bowl. It is better to give it him. Why make him a thief?” So he threw the begging bowl outside the window where the thief was sitting.

The thief could not believe it. This is really a strange man. A strange desire arose in the thief that it would be good to have a little time to sit at this man’s feet, so he asked from the window, “Can I come in?”

Nagarjuna said, “What do you think I have thrown the begging bowl for? – to bring you in. Come in. That was just an invitation.”

The thief could not understand, but was very much impressed by the man.

Nagarjuna said, “I did not want to make you a thief, that’s why I have thrown the begging bowl. Now you can have it.”

The thief said, “It is so precious; you are a man of great mastery over yourself. I also hope one day I will not be a thief but a master like you.”

Nagarjuna said, “Why postpone it? It is a very simple secret. You can become a master.”

He said, “You don’t understand. I am a thief; I am a born thief. I cannot resist the temptation.”

Nagarjuna said, “It does not matter at all. You can remain a thief. I will give you a small meditation: whatever you do, even if you go to steal in the palace, just be a witness of what you are doing. I don’t want you not to be a thief; do whatever you want to do, but do it with full awareness. Just be a witness.”

He said, “This seems to be simple. I have been going to many saints. They say, ‘First you drop stealing, otherwise you cannot be religious.’ You are the first man who is not asking me to drop stealing.”

Nagarjuna said, “Those saints that you have met are not saints. No saint will ask you to drop stealing. Why? Do it perfectly well. Just remain a witness.”

The thief could not understand the strategy. After the third or fourth day he came back to Nagarjuna and said, “You are very clever. In these four days there have been so many opportunities to steal, but as I go to steal, to take something, immediately my hand relaxes. The moment I witness myself stealing it seems to be so embarrassing that I pull my hand back. For four days I have not been able to steal anything.”

Nagarjuna said, “Now it is your problem; I have nothing to do with it. You can choose. You can choose witnessing, or you can choose stealing.”

The man said, “Only in these four days have I been able to feel my own dignity. I cannot drop witnessing. I am coming with you.”

What witnessing does is again throw you back to your center. At the center you are a buddha. On the periphery, who you are does not matter. Once you start living at the center, slowly, slowly your circumference will start changing its colors. It will become as pure as you are at the center. It will become as compassionate as you are at the center. It will take all the fragrance of the center in all your activities.

The authentic religion does not preach morality. Morality comes on its own accord. The authentic religion teaches you to be centered in yourself. Then everything that is good follows, and what is bad simply does not arise. It is not a question of choice; choicelessly you are good. It is not that you are being good; you cannot be otherwise.

This is the miracle of Zen.

Zen simply means witnessing.

These shouts throw you to the center, and once you have learned to be at the center, you will know that on the periphery you are always a beggar, and at the center you are always an emperor. And who wants to be a beggar?

Religion is the alchemy of transforming beggars into emperors.

A great Zen poet, Ikkyu, wrote:

Crazy madman,
Blowing up a crazy wind,
Wandering here and there,
Amidst brothels and wine shops.

Is there an enlightened monk
Who can match me
Even for a single word?

I paint the south; I paint the north;
I am painting the west and east.

He is saying “People think I am crazy . . . ” Crazy madman, blowing up a crazy wind, wandering here and there, amidst brothels and wine shops.

An authentic buddha is not afraid of brothels and wine shops. The saints who are afraid are really repressed people; they are not transformed beings.

Is there an enlightened monk who can match me?

A buddha can move with absolute freedom in the marketplace. Those who renounce the world are the cowards, the escapists, and they have destroyed all the religions of the world. All the religions are in the hands of the cowards.

An authentic religious man is a lion, and he is so centered in himself that he is not worried about being anywhere. He is so certain of his purity, of his eternity, of his divinity that he knows that if a thief comes to him, it is the thief who will have to change; if a prostitute comes to him, it is the prostitute who will have to change.

Our so-called saints are so much afraid. Their fear shows their repressions. A repressed man is not a religious man; he is simply sick, he needs psychiatric treatment.


From Rinzai: The Master of the Irrational, Discourse #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.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from and


This State of No Thought is Meditation – Osho

Thus, by meditation, they achieve the ultimate reality, which is unthinkable, unmanifest, the one of endless forms, the ever-auspicious, the peaceful, the immortal, the origin of the creator, the one without a beginning, a middle and an end, the only one, the non-dual, the all-pervading, the consciousness, the bliss, the formless, the wonderful.

-Kaivalya Upanishad

This sutra is basically concerned with meditation: What is to be attained by meditation? What is meditation, and for what does it stand?

The Hindi word for meditation is dhyana; the connotation is very different. By meditation, one thing is meant in English; by dhyana something else is meant. So first we must understand the basic difference between these two words. Meditation is not a right translation, because by meditation thinking is implied. When we say someone is meditating, it means someone is thinking about something. In meditation an object is implied. In dhyan, no-object is a basic condition. By dhyan is meant a meditative mood without any object.

Objects must cease, mind must become just a pure mirror – a mirroring, not mirroring anything – just a mirror without any object in it, a pure mirror. By dhyan, this purity of the mind is indicated.

So first, no object should be in the mind. Mind must remain alone without thinking about anything – with no thought, just a consciousness, just an awareness, just an alertness. This alertness without any object is meditation.

So go on dropping objects. Even if one has to use some object as a help to withdraw other objects from the mind, that one object has to be dropped ultimately. Unless that is dropped, it is not meditation.

For example, there are many thoughts in the mind. You can use a mantra; so now there are not many thoughts, just one thought. You can use a name – Rama, Krishna, Jesus, Maria, anything. You go on repeating, “Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama.” Between two “Ramas” no gap should be left, because only from that gap a thought enters. If your “Ramas” go on overlapping each other there will be no gap for any thought to enter. Now you have a mind with one thought. It is still not meditation, it is still thinking – thinking one thought. Ultimately this “Rama” has to be dropped. When you have become attuned with one thought and other thoughts are not entering the mind, then drop it and remain without thought. Many thoughts have been dropped except one; then drop the one, so you come to a state of no-thought.

This state of no-thought is meditation.

This is dhyana, this is pure consciousness.

In this pure consciousness is achieved that which is known as Brahman. This sutra is concerned with the definition of that indefinable.

It cannot be defined, because definition needs something which becomes impossible with the ultimate reality – definition needs comparison. You cannot define anything without comparing it. That divine is non-dual; it is one, so no comparison is possible. How to define it?

Can you say that the divine is man, or woman? You cannot say, though many religions have defined it in that way. Some religions are man-oriented, so they define God as father. Some religions are woman-oriented, so they define God as mother. But He cannot be defined, because “man” and “woman”… these words are relevant in human language; they become irrelevant for the whole universe. The whole universe is neither male nor female. How to define it? What to say about it?

The moment we use any word to define it, it looks absurd, because every human word implies the contrary also. If you say, “He is light,” then where to put darkness? Then what is darkness? Either you will have to deny darkness absolutely from divine nature, or you will have to imply it somewhere; He must comprehend darkness also. So what to say about Him? – light or darkness? If you say both, they become meaningless. He is both, and He is not both. That is the problem; that’s why He cannot be defined. Every word implies duality: the polar opposite must be there to make the word meaningful. Every word, with the total existence, becomes meaningless.

But this sutra tries to define the indefinable – this is only an effort, it never succeeds. But it has to be made. Even in its unsuccessfulness it helps, it indicates. It may not be able to define the divine; it is capable of indicating it.

Wittgenstein has said somewhere, “There are experiences which cannot be said, but which can be shown.” And he is right. There are experiences – you cannot say what they are, but still, you can indicate them. This sutra is an indication.

Some terms have been used; one is: thus by meditation they achieve the ultimate reality, which is unthinkable – which cannot be thought. Why? – because thinking is not, is not something. It is a process of the known; it never leads to the unknown. The unknown is always beyond thinking: You can think something you know; how can you think something which you don’t know?

And then the whole of thinking becomes absurd. If you can think only that which you know, what is the use of it? You know already, so what is the use of thinking it? If only the known can be thought, then the whole process becomes circular: it leads nowhere, you go on in a circle. You know and you think; and you think and you cannot think the unknown. So you go on in a circle – mind works in a circle.

The mind never achieves anything from the unknown. So mind must cease, thinking must cease; this circle must be broken! You must come to a standstill: not thinking, not thinking at all. And the moment you are in a no-thinking state, suddenly you enter the unknown.

It is not only unknown but unknowable also, because even if you have known it, you cannot make it known to others. By your being, they may feel it – by your movements, by your gestures, by your eyes, by your very presence, they may feel it – but still you cannot make it known to them. You may create a thirst in them for it, but you cannot give them a definition. You may lead them towards it, but you cannot make it known to them – unless they know themselves.

This knowing of the unknown is basically, foundationally, an individual affair. It can never be made collective. You cannot go to it en masse. Alone one has to reach it; alone one has to drop oneself. Alone one has to enter it; alone one encounters it. It becomes known to you, but you cannot make it known to others.

That is the basic difference between science and religion.

A scientist discovers something, and then the discovery becomes that of the whole of humanity. But a religious mystic discovers, and the discovery remains his own. It never becomes a collective phenomenon. A Jesus knows, a Boehme knows, an Eckhart knows, but they are helpless; they cannot make it a common property. It cannot become an object of common knowing; humanity remains in the some grip of ignorance. Each one has to approach it by oneself.

The opening is individual; that’s why it is not only unknown by unknowable. And for one reason more, and that reason is still deeper: even if one comes to know it, one never knows it totally. Even when one comes to know it, no one knows it totally! So the unknowable is infinitely unknowable.

Even if you are satisfied, even if your thirst is no more, the infinite unknowability remains – that’s why it is mysterious. And it is good, and it is beautiful that it is so. Because if you can know the divine totally – if the very moment the divine has been known, you have known it totally – it becomes meaningless.

Anything known totally becomes a thing. Anything known totally creates boredom. Anything known totally will again create a new thirst to know something else.

But once the divine is known, no desire to know anything remains – because you can go on in your knowing . . . deeper, deeper, deeper, infinitely deeper; the abyss is endless. You have a beginning in it, but no end. You drop into it, and then you go on dropping, and there comes no substratum, no bottom where you can stand again and say, “Now the dropping has ended.”

This is the mystery. That’s why this sutra says: the formless, the wonderful . . . the mysterious – God is a mysterium. And when I way a mysterium, I mean that you can know it, but still you cannot say, “I have known it.” You can only say, “I have dropped into it”; you can only say, “I have ceased to be”; you can only say, “Now I am no more and He is.” But you cannot say, “I have known it.”

For one reason more it remains unknowable: because the knower is lost. The moment you enter the divine you don’t enter as a knower; you enter as a drop of water entering the ocean. You become one with it. The knower is not separate, so how can you say, ”I have known it”? How can you say that “I am,” still? You are not; only He is.

This is one of the riddles of religious experience: when the knower is lost, the known is known. When the knower is lost, only then knowledge happens.

Kabir has said, “I was searching and searching and searching. Now He is found but the searcher is not. Now He is there but where is Kabir?” The seeker is no more. There has never been a meeting between the seeker and the sought. Never a meeting! – because the two cannot be together. The seeking ends only when the seeker is lost, and only then the sought is found. You are, then He is not. When you are not, then He is; there is no meeting – or you can call this the meeting. This is the riddle of religious experience.

. . . which is unthinkable, unmanifest, the one of endless forms, the ever-auspicious, the peaceful, the immortal, the origin of the creator, the one without a beginning, a middle and an end, the only one, the non-dual, the all-pervading, the consciousness, the bliss, the formless, the wonderful . . . is known through meditation.

These are just indications, and every indication is a negative. Remember that – every indication is a negative. He is unthinkable – you cannot think about it. He is formless – he is without forms. He has no beginning, no middle, no end. He is non-dual – not two. All these are negatives.

Why use so much negativity for such a positive phenomenon as God? He is the positivity; He is the only positive force. Then why use so many negatives? – without form, without the other, everything – everything that has been used to indicate Him, has remained always negative. Why?

There are reasons. The moment you use a positive word, you create a limitation. If I say that He is beautiful, then the ugly is denied. If I say that He is light, then the darkness is denied. If I say that He is good, then the evil is denied. Whatsoever I say positively will deny something.

To use a negative term is to say that He is so infinite that we cannot use any positive term, because positivity becomes a limitation. We cannot say, “He is one”; rather, it is good to say, “He is not two.” It is better to say that He is not two; then He is left totally without any positive demarcation. If we say, “He is one,” then we have encircled Him.

In meditation, the deeper you go, the more deeply you will come to the positive. But when you want to express it, more and more you will have to use negative terms. The ultimate in using negative terms is Buddha. He has used for this ultimate experience the word nirvana. Nirvana simply means cessation. He has not used moksha, liberation, because it is positive; it says something. He has not used brahmalok; it is positive, it says something. He has not used bliss, consciousness – these are positive. He has simply said, nirvana – cessation of everything, nothingness. And he is right, absolutely right. In meditation you will achieve a positive experience. But when you are expressing it, you will have to use absolute negatives.

If we can create a world consciousness about this use of negatives, there will be no fight between religions. Every fight is because a religion has used something positive. This is strange, but one has to understand it. If you use the negative, then two negatives are never in conflict; but if you use two positives, then two positives are always in conflict.

For example, if Islam says that He is one, and Hinduism says that He is all, one begins to feel some conflict somewhere. Use negatives, and then there is no conflict. If you say that He is not two, then He can be both – He can be one and He can be all. When I say He is not two, I don’t deny that He is not all – He can be all. “He is not two” – He can be all. “He is not two” – He can be one. In saying He is not two, both ends – one and all – are implied. If religions are created around negatives, there will be less fight and more understanding.

In the West, all the three religions which have come out of Jewish mystics have all used positives. Christianity, Islam, and the Jewish religion have all used positives. That is one of the reasons they are mostly fighting religions – too much fighting, too much arrogance. They have never used negatives; they have used positive terms. A linguistic factor has created so much violence . . .

All the Indian religions have used negatives, more and more negatives. And Buddhism is exceptional; Buddhism has used absolute negatives. That’s why Buddhism has been one of the most non-fighting religions.

If you use a negative term to indicate the divine, there is no fight. If you use a positive term, a fight is bound to happen. Someone using another… then two positives are always in conflict. Two negatives are never in conflict. That’s why one other strange phenomenon can be understood: Two theists will always be in a fight, but two atheists will never be in a fight, so there are three hundred types of theists in the world, but only one type of atheist.

What is the reason? An atheist anywhere is the same. What is the reason? – the negative, because he stands only with one statement: that there is no God. So how can there be many types of no- Gods? Only one type, one negative, implies everything. The negative is a universal thing: an atheist anywhere – in Tibet, in Germany, in Japan, in China, anywhere – an atheist is simply an atheist. He stands on a negative.

But theists differ. village to village, neighborhood to neighborhood, theists differ. There are so many brands, and so many types, and so many creeds. Why? The moment you use a positive you have defined an area, and all else is excluded. Unless theists also begin to use negatives more, there will not be a universal religion. If theism also bases itself on a negative definition of the divine, then there can be a universal brotherhood.

Meditation leads you to all. But never define it as positive; always define it as nothingness. […]


From That Art Thou, Discourse #23

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.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from and

Meditate on the Untainted – Osho

They have undisturbed space, resting in a comfortable posture, clean and pure, with the neck head, and body in one line, held erect, in a mental attitude of sannyas, having controlled all the senses, saluting one’s own teacher, guru, devotedly, meditate within the lotus of the heart; the untainted, the pure, the clear and the transparent, the griefless principle of devotion.

-Kaivalya Upanishad

Meditation is a very complex phenomenon. It looks simple; it is not. It is a science, a complete science in itself. It is bound to be, because meditation means a deep mutation of your total being. The whole being has to be transformed, so it is obviously going to be a complex affair.

Man is a complexity; the mutation is bound to be also a complex thing. Some basic elements must be understood. One: your body – your body must be in a deep cooperation; otherwise, meditation will be unnecessarily difficult. Your body must be in such a state that it helps, not hinders. As it is ordinarily, it is a deep hindrance. Your body goes on hindering you; it becomes an obstacle, and if you want to transform, you must purify the body first. And by purifying the body many things are meant. First, you must not be identified with it; that is the first and the most basic impurity.

One must not be identified with one’s body. One must remain in a beyondness, in a transcendence. Neither one should think, “I am the body,” nor one should think, “I am in the body.” Rather, one should remain in a constant remembering: “I am something beyond the body – neither one with it, nor in it, nor within it, but beyond.” Constant remembrance that “I am beyond my body” gives a different dimension to your whole being. Try it, constantly! You are moving, walking, sleeping – whatsoever the state – remember constantly that you are as if something is hovering over the body, beyond the body. Not in it, not within it, not one with it, just something beyond, moving with the body, living with the body, enveloping the body.

Think of it this way. Ordinarily we think, “I am enveloped by the body.” That’s why the word “body” – body means that in which we are embodied. We are within and the body is without: “Body is a casket, a house, and I am in it. Change the thing totally, upside down. Let the body be in and you be out – beyond the body, hovering, enveloping.

If you can change this attitude from yourself being within, to yourself being beyond, you will feel a sudden change: your body will become light; all the heaviness will be gone and your body will become something with wings. You will feel that now you can fly; you can go now, any moment, beyond the forces of gravitation. Try it! From this very moment, begin to think that the body is within, and you are without, encompassing it. And then the body is purified. Why? – because identity becomes impossible. You can identify only with something which is greater than you. No one identifies himself with something which is lesser; identification is always with the greater. You are within a very small point and the body is big and great and everything; that’s why you begin to be identified. Let yourself be the greater one, and let the body be just a minor thing. You will never be identified with it.

Secondly, if you are within, you will have limits; if you are without, you become unlimited. If I am within my body, then I am encircled by my body, I have a finitude, a limitation. If I am beyond my body, then there is no limitation; then I am not only beyond my body, I am beyond all. Then there is no ending to it – then suns will rise in me, stars will move in me, creations will come in me and go out and will cease – then I become the whole universe. Body becomes the center – just a minor center, an atomic existence – and I become the whole universe, encompassing it.

Heidegger has used this word “encompassing.” It is beautiful – encompassing. Feel it, try it, imagine it, and you will come to a new understanding of your own being. When I say imagine it, I say it consideredly. Really, this feeling that “I am the body” is just an imagination. This feeling that “I am in the body” is also just an imagination. Because the society has taught you, this imagination has become unconscious.

For example, I would like to tell you: Many cultures, in different ages, different religions, different thinkings, have considered the body center to be in different places. For example, as far as this contemporary world is concerned, more or less everyone thinks that he is somewhere in the head – not in the legs, not in the hands, not in the belly. If someone insists and asks you, “Where are you? Point it out!” Then you will begin to feel something in the head; you are in the head. But ask a Japanese and he will say that he is in the belly, not in the head – because the whole of Japanese culture has always thought that the spirit lives in the belly. So if you think with your head, the Japanese think with their belly – they say, “We think with our belly.” They say, “The belly must be strong. The belly is the center.” But there have been other cultures – some cultures think that the heart is the center. Then if that culture has been imposed on you, you begin to think that the heart is the center. Really, these are just imaginative identifications.

In a sense, the spirit is nowhere in the body; it encompasses it. Or, it is everywhere in the body and everywhere outside of the body. If any center is maintained in your imagination, the body becomes impurified, burdened with the center – tense, diseased. Let there be no center in the body; let yourself be outside, just encompassing the body. And then the body becomes fresh, young, flowing, liquid, an energy – without any burdened feeling upon it. Then the body cooperates. This light feeling of the body becomes a basic source of help for meditation.

Not only the body, but your heart also must be prepared for meditation to flower in it. Unprepared, much energy is wasted unnecessarily. Prepare the heart.

This sutra says you can prepare the heart by throwing all the impurities out of it. But instead, we go on accumulating. You can forget if someone has helped you, but you cannot forget if someone has harmed you. You can forget something which has been a bliss, but you cannot forget something which has been a suffering. We go on accumulating negatives; these negatives become the impurities for the heart. Everyone goes on accumulating negatives. If someone is friendly to you for years, and for a single moment is not friendly, then all that friendship will go down and that moment of unfriendliness will become the most significant thing – and you will remember it.

This attitude must be changed. One must go on accumulating positives and throwing out negatives; then the heart becomes purified. Go on accumulating positives. Never accumulate anything negative; it is not going to help you, it is going to destroy you.

Someone has been angry to you: don’t remember it. What to do? – one has to remember something – find something positive. Someone is angry – why be so much concerned with the anger? Why not be concerned with the phenomenon of anger? There are some people who are beautiful only when they are angry – why not look at the beauty of it? Even if they are not beautiful, everyone when he is angry, is vital. Why not look at the vitality, the energy, the aliveness, the radiance of it?

Why be so much concerned with anger? Why not be concerned with the phenomenon? Something is happening – a beautiful phenomenon in itself, a very radiant phenomenon – energy expressing, alive. Why not look at it in that way? Why not look – when someone is angry – why not look at yourself? What happens to you when someone is angry? If you are also angry then he has won, you are defeated. Why not be victorious? Why not be indifferent? Look at the anger, look at it as if you are looking at a psychodrama – someone is playing a role and you are just a witness. Why not be a witness? And then you will feel grateful to the person who has been angry with you. If you can be a witness when someone is angry, you will feel grateful, because he has given you a situation in which you could know your own mastery.

Whenever someone was with Gurdjieff, he would create many situations. He would create unnecessary situations in which someone would become angry, so angry that everyone would feel that he was going to explode. And then suddenly Gurdjieff would tell him, “Now be aware! Now be a witness to it!” – and everyone would begin to be a witness. Anger becomes a situation, an object to be studied, and that person himself who is angry feels a sudden change, because it has become a study project. Now it is not anger, it has become a drama. So why not look at a thing from the positive, with something to learn from it? Why go on accumulating the negative? This is just a habit – it is not inevitable; it is not.

Buddha could send his disciples to the burning places, to cemeteries to look at dead bodies, to contemplate death, to meditate on death: The body is burning – the dead body is there – it is burning. And Buddha would send his disciples there, to sit there and meditate on death. And meditating on death, the disciple would soon come to realize a different quality of life which never dies. Then he would come dancing, singing, to Buddha – from the dead body burning in the cemetery, he would come running, dancing – why? he should come sad, sorrowful, depressed, dead himself in a way. But he has not accumulated the negative even from a dead body. He has accumulated something positive. He has been meditating on death, and if you meditate on death you become more and more aware of life. He comes running, dancing, grateful – grateful to Buddha, grateful to the dead man also.

Why go on accumulating the negative? – we go on; that’s just a wrong habit. Change it! Always look at the positive, and soon you heart will be purified. Negativities are the diseases of the heart. It begins to feel sore, and then the whole of life will become just a suffering, because you live through your own heart. You go on accumulating negatives; then you have to live through this negativity; then everything becomes just a suffering, a long suffering – meaningless, purposeless, leading to nowhere.

This is suicidal. A negative attitude is suicidal. Purify the heart by looking at the positive. Find everywhere something which can become a cherished accumulation in the heart. When I say, now remember, remember the face which was angry at you in the past – remember the face. Feel the beauty of it, and the whole thing suddenly changes. Someone was abusing you… remember the past, and feel when someone abuses; feel the energy, feel the aliveness, and everything changes – it is up to you.

The body must be purified by encompassing it. The heart must be purified by a positive foundation given to it, negatives denied. Be negative only to negatives, and then, then you can meditate.

On what is one to meditate? – the untainted, the pure, the clear, and the griefless.

Meditate on the untainted.

What is untainted? – only the sky, space is untainted. Meditate on space, pure space, and you will become like it. Whatsoever one meditates on one becomes.

Meditate on purity.

Everyone has felt somewhere a glimpse of purity . . . a flower, a virgin – anywhere. Many moments are there when one begins to feel purity. Meditate on purity . . . a flower, a virgin – anything. Meditate on purity and you will become pure. Whatsoever one meditates on one becomes.

The clear, the transparent – meditate on any transparency. A silent lake – you can look to the very bottom, everything clear; a glass window – so pure, so clear that even you don’t see the glass, that the glass is there. Meditate on any transparency, and you will become transparent, you will become clear.

The griefless – meditate on the griefless . . . anything which is blissful, which is a beauty-tude. We go on meditating on grief; we go on meditating on grief continually. We go on meditating on suffering, then we become part of it. Meditation is the way to make oneself just like the object of the meditation.

Remember a Buddha, a griefless one. Remember a Krishna, a joyous one. Remember anything – a Chaitanya dancing, a Meera singing. Remember anything – a cloud passing in the sky, dancing, rays of the sun coming to you. Remember anything which is blissful to you. Meditate on it and you will become blissful. Don’t continue to meditate on things which you would not like to be like. We go on meditating on wrong things.

Everyone is a meditator, remember. It is not that there are a few people who meditate. Everyone meditates, no one can be without meditation. So what is the difference between a meditator and a non-meditator? The difference is not of meditation, the difference is only of objects. The difference is only of objects. Someone is meditating on sex – he becomes sexual. Someone is meditating on anger – he becomes angry. Someone meditating on some sad event, he becomes sad. Everyone is meditating.

Only Mahavira has divided meditation into four types. Really, this is strange because Mahavira alone has divided meditation into four parts. Many divisions are there, but nothing like Mahavira’s, because Mahavira divides two such things, two such types which no one would like to call meditation. The first he calls raudradhyan – anger meditation. The second he calls artadhyan – suffering meditation. No one has named these. The third he calls dharmadhyan, and the fourth he calls shukladhyan. Dharmadhyan – religious meditation; and shukladhyan – the purest meditation. But he calls all four meditation. The first two, anger meditation and suffering meditation – no one will call these meditation.

If someone is angry, have you felt that he is in a deep meditation? Everything has gone out of his mind, only one point of anger remains. He is focused, the whole world has dropped. Really, when someone is in anger, he is not in this world at all. He is not looking at you, he is not looking at anything; he is not even aware that the whole world exists – only anger exists.

When someone is suffering, deeply suffering – some loved one has died – then he is not aware of anything, only of his own suffering. His suffering encompasses him. Only now the suffering is there, everything has become just illusory. He is in a deep meditation, of course, of the wrong type.

Everyone meditates. The difference is: someone meditates on wrong objects, and someone meditates on right objects. Meditate on some blissful moment. Meditate on something you would like to become like, then meditation becomes a mutation. First, wrong objects are to be dropped, then ultimately right objects are also to be dropped.

When there is no object, and only a meditative consciousness remains, you have achieved the ultimate.


From That Art Thou, Discourse #22

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.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from and

Dhyana has no Gate

Kinzan, Ganto and Seppo were doing zazen when Tozan came in with the tea. Kinzan shut his eyes.
Tozan asked, “Where are you going?”
Kinzan replied, “I am entering dhyana.”
Tozan said, “Dhyana has no gate, how can you enter into it?”

A monk asked Joshu, “What is the way without mistakes?”
Joshu said, “Knowing one’s mind, seeing into one’s nature, is the way without mistakes.”

A monk asked Ganto, “When the three worlds are attacking us, what shall we do?”
“Sit still!” said Ganto.
The monk was surprised and said, “Please explain a little more.”
“Bring me Mount Ro,” said Ganto, “And I will tell you.”

On another occasion, Zuigan asked Ganto, “What is the eternal and fundamental principle of things?”
Ganto replied, “Movement.”
Zuigan asked, “What is this movement?”
Ganto said, “When you see things move, can’t you see this eternal and fundamental principle of things?”
Zuigan was lost in thought, and Ganto said, “If you agree to this, you are still in the dust of this world, if you disagree, you will be always sunk in life and death.”

Maneesha, these small anecdotes are small only in size; in depth, no ocean can compete with them. It is a miracle that in such small dialogues, the greatest of experiences, which are inexpressible, are expressed. Look at this small anecdote:

Kinzan, Ganto and Seppo . . .

all masters,

. . . were doing zazen when Tozan came in with the tea.

Zazen, as you know, means simply sitting and doing nothing. Not even thinking, because thinking is also doing. Simply not doing anything – physical, mental, or spiritual – just being like a flame, unwavering, without any wind around.

. . . Tozan cane in with the tea. Kinzan shut his eyes. Tozan asked, “Where are you going?”

Do you see the point? By closing your eyes, certainly you are going inwards, but exactly where? Because just the word ‘inward’ is not indicative of any destination. The inwardness is as vast as outwardness.

“Where are going?”

Kinzan replied, “I am entering dhyana”


In an ordinary way, his answer is perfect. But Zen is not ordinary, never for a single moment. It is always and always extraordinary – because Tozan immediately said:

“Dhyana – meditation – has no gate; how can you enter into it?”

Now, great masters – just at tea time – talking of great things. Teatime becomes absolutely sacred. Tozan’s point is that dhyana has no gate; it is all openness, it is the whole sky inside – how are you going to enter? From what gate? It has no gate.

Of the remaining three, nobody said anything. It is true; there is no gate inside. And this is also true, that just by sitting silently, doing nothing, without any gate, you enter in. The gate is not a necessity. Can’t you enter this Buddha Hall without a gate? Inside there is no wall, no question of a gate; hence the remaining three masters did not say a single word. Tozan has uttered an ultimate question; only silence can be the answer.

A monk asked Joshu,

“What is the way without mistakes?”

Joshu said, “Knowing one’s mind, seeing into one’s nature, is the way without mistakes.”

Mind can commit mistakes but once you are beyond mind, there is no one to commit mistakes.

Mind can go wrong, but beyond mind there is no way of going wrong. Beyond mind, you are simply drowned into your own nature.

A monk asked Ganto, “When the three worlds are attacking us, what shall we do?”

By the Three Worlds is meant heaven, earth, and hell. And they are all attacking us, throwing us this way or that way, pulling this way or that way.

When the three worlds are attacking us, what shall we do?

Ganto said, “Sit still!”

The monk was surprised and said, “Please explain a little more.”

A little more is not possible. Sit still is more than enough already. Sit still and there is no hell, no heaven, no earth. Just one single universe, all boundaries dissolved, all divisions disappeared. Now what more can be said? But the poor monk could not understand. He asked, “Please explain a little more.”

Ganto said, “Bring me Mount Ro . . .

Ro is Japanese for Mount Sumeru – I have explained it to you, the gold mountain in heaven, a thousand times bigger than the Himalayas. Nobody knows its end and nobody knows its beginning. Ganto said, “Bring me Sumeru and I will tell you.” He is saying to the monk, “Don’t ask stupid questions; otherwise, I have to answer stupidly. Don’t be idiotic; otherwise out of compassion I have to be idiotic with you, just so you have companionship.”

Nobody can bring Mount Sumeru. It is just a mythology, it exists nowhere. And even if it exists, how can you bring it?

Asking a question that assumes something more can be said about meditation than “Sit still” is asking something absolutely impossible.

Sit still and all three worlds disappear. In this moment, listening to the cuckoo, all has disappeared. There is only a deep silence, in, deepening within your being.

On another occasion, Zuigan asked Ganto, “What is the eternal and fundamental principle of things?”

Ganto replied, “Movement”


Zuigan asked, “What is this movement?”

Ganto said, “When you see things move, can’t you see this eternal and fundamental principle of things?”

A rosebush growing, bringing roses . . . a cuckoo suddenly starts singing, and each moment everything is growing that is living. The bamboos are becoming bigger, and even the Himalayas are becoming bigger. Howsoever slow the change . . . the Himalaya becomes one foot higher every year. But in this eternity that is too much. Finally, you can imagine, if it does not stop growing it will become absolutely impossible for another Edmund Hillary to reach Mount Everest. But existence is growing. Trees are growing, you are growing, your consciousness is growing.

Nothing is static. Movement is the fundamental question, and Ganto has put it correctly: When you see things move, can’t you see this eternal principle of things? Life is growth, in short. The moment you stop growing, you are dead.

Life has to be a river, always moving. The moment you become frozen somewhere, the movement is stopped, life disappears.

Even your going in is growing every day, deeper and deeper and deeper. You have to find the eternal source of your being. It is a great dive inside. And every day, every moment, you can go on growing in it. There is no end to it. You don’t simply become a buddha and stop. If you stop, then you become just a stone statue.

I sometimes wonder: all these stone statues of Buddha around the world – are these real people who have stopped growing and become stones? Will they ever understand and start growing again, and talking and walking?

Even Gautam Buddha has accepted that there is something still beyond him. He is not the end, he is only the beginning. A true understanding, an honest expression – Buddha says, “I am only born, now the growth begins.”

Zuigan was lost in thought . . .

Listening to Ganto,

. . . and Ganto said, “If you agree to this, you are still in the dust of this world.”

This is a very beautiful point to be remembered. If you agree to this, to what I have said, remember: agreement means movement has stopped. You have already agreed. If you agree to this, you are still in the world.

And if you disagree, you will always be sunk in life and death.

What a great insight, that even agreement or disagreement are not allowed. You are to grow beyond all dualities, it does not matter what the duality is. Because every duality means choosing one against the other, and growth stops.

Life is a choicelessness. Never choose. Just be, and allow your being to grow to unknown skies, to unknown spaces. And you will find your buddhahood bringing more and more flowers, showering more and more blessings, bringing greater and greater ecstasies. And there is no end to it.

Manzan wrote a poem:

One minute of sitting, one inch of buddha.

Like lightning, all thoughts come and pass.

Just once look into your mind depths:

Nothing else has ever been.

Two points he is making in his small poem. One minute of sitting – even one minute of sitting without doing anything, no thought is stirred inside you, all is utterly silent – one inch of buddha. You have found at least one inch of buddhahood. And you don’t need much more. Each moment, go on. And whatever you have found will also go on growing. From one inch to one yard, and from one yard to one mile, and from one mile to one light year, and it will go on and on. Buddhahood is a pilgrimage which ends nowhere.

And what is the meaning of sitting? Like lightning, all thoughts come and pass. Just remain watchful. Don’t make any judgment or identification. Just like lightning, let them come and go. You remain in your depths, just silent and witnessing, and you will be surprised: nothing else has ever been, except your inner depth. Your innermost silence is the stuff existence is made of.

Maneesha is asking:


The story of Zuigan seems to hit the nail on the head, doesn’t it?

Is it not so, that we are literally “lost in thought” and found again in meditation?

Maneesha, ordinarily what you are saying is absolutely right. In thought, you are lost, in meditation you are found. But if you want to listen to the answer in Zen language, there is no losing and no finding.

There is simply silence.

You are not.

These songs of cuckoos pass through you just as through a hollow bamboo.

In thoughts, you start imagining that you are. When thoughts are not there, don’t start imagining that now you are really. Once thoughts are gone, you are also simply a thought; you are also gone.

Then what remains is only a pure consciousness, without any “I” attached to it.

You don’t find yourself; you simply lose yourself, both the ways: either you lose yourself in thoughts or you lose yourself in no-thought. But losing yourself in thought is very ordinary; losing yourself in no-thought has a splendor and an eternity of joy and bliss. You are not there, but there is a dance of pure consciousness. It is not your dance – you are gone with your thoughts. You were nothing but the combination of your thoughts. As one by one your thoughts disappear, part by part you melt away. Finally, you are no more.

And this is the moment – when you are no more – that the ultimate is in your hands.

It is a strange situation:

When you are, your hands are empty.

When you are not, your hands are full.

When you are, you are simply misery, anguish. When you are not, there is bliss. You cannot say, “I am blissful”; there is only bliss.

There is only silence.

There is only truth.


From Zen: The Solitary Bird, Cuckoo of the Forest, Discourse #11

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.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from and

Master of Your Own Mind – Osho

Those who have purified the mind by the practice of sannyas and yoga, and those who have come to understand the exact meaning of the spiritual science indicated in the Upanishad’s Vedant, they in the end become capable of attaining brahmalok – the world of brahman. And liberating themselves from everything, they strive to achieve immortality.

Kaivalya Upanishad

The basic problem before a spiritual seeker is not how to know, but how to be. Knowing is not the problem, it is easy. The real problem is how to be, how the being should be strengthened. Knowing can grow easily; knowing has its own ways of growing. But knowing is a parasitic growth.

Knowing grows in the memory, and memory is just mechanical. That’s why we now have mechanical devices which can be fed with memory – we have computers, and a computer is more efficient than any human brain. A computer can do anything that a human brain can do – and a computer can do many more things which a human brain cannot do. Sooner or later, human memory is going to be replaced by mechanical devices. A mechanical device can do whatsoever your mind is doing, and more efficiently, and in less time. A computer can do a mathematical problem in seconds for which you would need an Einstein, or a person of the caliber of Einstein, to work on for at least three months.

Mind is just a mechanical device. It can grow – you go on feeding it with knowledge, with information, and it can grow. You may not be aware of it, but nothing comes out of your mind which has not been put in it before – nothing. Nothing comes out of your mind which is original. In that way, nothing is original as far as mind is concerned; everything is just repetition. Mind is the most repetitive mechanism. You have to feed it, give it something: it will reproduce it. Not a single thought comes to you which is your own – it has been given to you by society, by education, by study, but always it has been given to you. At the most you can make new combinations, that’s all. Nothing more can be done with the mind. This is one growth, a parasitic growth at the cost of your being. By being, I mean the consciousness with which you are born. And by mind, I mean all the accumulation that has come to your consciousness through society, through education, through culture. You are not born with a mind; you are born with a consciousness. Mind is a later growth. That’s why if a person is not taught, if a person is not educated, then he has a lesser mind, a poor mind. If no language is taught to you, you will know no language. If nothing is taught to you, you will know nothing. Mind is a social growth.

Consciousness is part of you, but mind is not part of you; mind is given to you. The whole process of social cultivation, of social imposition, is to produce a mind in you. That’s why a Christian mind is different from a Hindu mind – because a Hindu society is feeding something and a Christian society is feeding something else. A Mohammedan mind is totally different from a Hindu, or a Christian, or a Jaina mind. But a Hindu consciousness or a Mohammedan consciousness or a Christian consciousness, are not different.

Really, a consciousness cannot be called Christian or Hindu or Mohammedan – but minds are. So unless you go beyond your society – you are imprisoned in your upbringing. This mind, which the society gives to everyone . . . it is a necessity; a society has to give it to you. It is good as far as it goes, but it must not become an imprisonment. A moment must be attained where you are freed from your own mind. Then mind begins to work as a mechanical thing in you; you can use it but you are not identified with it.

Of course one has to use language, one has to use mathematics, one has to know history and geography and everything. But it must not be identified with your consciousness. You must remain a witness to it. You must remain separate, unidentified, different from your own mind. This is what meditation means: how to be not identified with the mind – how to create a space between yourself and your own mind. It is difficult because we never make any separation. We go on thinking in terms that the mind means me: mind and me are totally identified. If they are totally identified, then you will never be at peace; then you will never be able to enter the divine, because the divine can be entered only when the social has been left behind.

When whatsoever the society has given you has been renounced, only then you enter the divine, because only then, you enter pure consciousness. Mind is an overgrowth; it must be put aside. By renunciation, I mean renunciation of the social. And your mind is nothing but a social by-product, it depends on your society.

This mind can go on growing. Then you grow in knowledge; go on studying, go on learning new things, more things, and your mind goes on growing. And a mind is infinitely capable to grow; yet scientists cannot say to what extent this mind can grow. It can go on growing, the process seems infinite. It has so much potentiality – seventy million cells working in the mind, and a single cell can have millions of bits of information in it. A single cell of the mind can have so much information stored in it, and the mind has seventy million cells in it. We are not using even a single cell’s capacity – ordinarily, we are not using a single cell’s capacity – and we have seventy million cells. And each cell seems to be capable of infinite accumulation of information. The mind seems to be infinite in its own way – and it is not you! It is just something which has been given to you.

It is useful, it is utilitarian; that’s why we become identified with it. One has to use one’s mind constantly, and one has to use it so constantly that there is no gap. You don’t remember any moment when you were not your mind, that’s the problem: to remember it, and to create a space, a gap, when you are not your mind. You are yourself and mind is just a device which can be used or not used, and you are the master to choose whether to use it or not.

Ordinarily, the mind is the master and you have to follow it. The mind gives you something to think about and you have to think about it. The mind gives you some dream and you have to dream it. And the mind goes on . . .  And sometimes even if you say to your mind, “Stop!” it is not going to stop, it is not going to listen to you at all. Because you have cooperated with it so much, and you have given it your energy and identification so much, that the mind doesn’t remember your mastery at all. You are just a slave.

Meditation means to create a gap so that you can become master, master of your own mind. And mastery means that you are not identified.

I can order my hand to do anything – to move or not to move. Why? – because I am not identified with the hand; otherwise, who is going to order and who is going to be ordered? I can order my hand to move; it moves. But if my hand begins to move and I say, “Stop!” and it is not stopping, what does it mean? It means only one thing: my order is impotent because of too much identification with the hand. The hand has become a master in its own right – it goes on moving. It says, “I am not going to follow your order at all.”

This has happened with the mind. The mind goes on working in its own way; no order can be given to it. There is no intrinsic impossibility – it is only because you have never ordered it, so it doesn’t know that you are the master. The master has remained so silent, has remained so hidden, that the slave has begun to feel himself the master.

If one goes on growing in this mind, one goes on more and more hidden deep down. And the mind becomes such a great thing, it is difficult to assert your consciousness. That’s why a very ordinary villager with a lesser mind, is with more consciousness. An ordinary person – not very educated, not knowing much – has always, of course, less mind but more consciousness. So sometimes a person who has more mind may behave very foolishly, because he has less consciousness. A person who has a developed mind can work very wisely, behave very wisely if the situation is such that the mind knows what to do and what not to do. Then he can behave, work, do anything very efficiently. But any new situation in which the mind is not aware, and he will be stupid, he will behave stupidly.

A villager — an uneducated person, a primitive, with less mind — will behave more consciously in a new situation, because for him new situations are occurring daily, every moment. With no developed mind, he has to work with his consciousness. That’s why the more the world has grown knowledgeable, the less wise it has become. It is difficult not to produce a Buddha, not because we are more ignorant, but because we know more. It is difficult to produce a Jesus, not because anything is lacking — on the contrary, something has grown too much. Knowledge has grown too much, and if knowledge grows too much, the being begins to feel poor.

We value a person because of what he has: knowledge, wealth, power. We never value a person for what he is. If I am a powerful man, then I am valued; if I am a wealthy man, then I am valued; if I am a man of knowledge, then I am valued – but never simply for what I am. If wealth is lost, then my influence will be lost; if knowledge is lost, the my influence will be lost; if power is lost, my influence will be lost, because I was never valued for what I am. Something which I have – having has become so important, and knowledge is a subtle having.

Being means: the purity of my inner existence, nothing added by the outside – neither wealth, nor knowledge, nor anything else – just my inner consciousness in its purity.

This is what I mean, what this Upanishad means by the growth of being. This being can be achieved only by two methods: renunciation – sannyas – and yoga, the science of positive growth. One must renounce identification: one must come to know that I am not the body, I am not the mind. One must renounce all that which is mind, but I am not. One must come to the center point which cannot be renounced.

A Western thinker, Rene Descartes, begins his theosophical speculation with doubt, and he goes on doubting. He goes on doubting everything that can be doubted. He was a very keen penetrating intellectual; really, he was the father of modern Western philosophy. He goes on doubting everything, he makes it a point that “I will not stop doubting unless a moment comes and I encounter something which cannot be doubted. If I can doubt, I will continue to doubt, unless I stumble upon some fact which is indubitable.” So God can be doubted very easily. It is difficult to have faith; it is very easy to doubt, because for doubt you have only to say no. Nothing else is needed.

“No” is a very non-involving word. If you say yes, you are committed. If I say “Yes, God is,” then I cannot remain the same. If I say, “No, God is not,” I will continue to be the same. “No” is the easiest word in a way: you say it, you are not involved, you remain outside. If you say yes, you are involved. You have come in; now you are committed. To say no to anything is very  easy, because then you need not prove anything. If you say yes then you have to prove it – and proofs are, of course, very difficult. Even if things are, proofs are very difficult. Time is. We know time is, everyone feels time is – but can prove that time is?

Saint Augustine says, “Don’t ask about time, because when you don’t ask, I know it is. When you ask, I begin to hesitate – whether it is or not? And if you persist, I become doubtful.” Can we prove time? It is; everyone knows it is. We cannot prove it.

Can we prove love? Everyone knows it is. Even if one has not felt love, one has felt very deeply its absence. Love is felt – either as a presence of absence, but no one can prove it. So anyone can say, “Love is not,” and you cannot disprove their statement.

Descartes goes on denying, doubting: God is denied, then the world itself is denied – even the world which is here and now. You are here, but I can doubt; it may be just a dream to me. And how can I tell the difference whether it is a dream or not? – because sometimes I have dreamt about talking to people. And when I was dreaming and talking, those who were present were as real as you are – and really, in a way more real, because in a dream you cannot doubt. But if you are really present, I can doubt: it may be just a dream, you may not be there at all, but just a dream, a dream happening to me. And I am dreaming that you are, and I am talking to you, to my dream construct. How can I prove that you are really there? There is no way. There is no way to prove that you are. I can touch you . . . but I can touch someone in a dream, and even in dream I can feel someone’s body.

It is difficult – really, in a way, impossible to make a distinction between reality and dreaming. That’s why Berkeley says that this whole world is just a dream, or a Shankara says that this whole world is just a dream. They can say it and they cannot be disproved.

So Descartes says, “This world is not. It is only a thought, a dream. God is not.” Then he goes on denying everything. Ultimately, he comes to himself, and then he begins to thin “whether I am, or not.” Now there is a fact which cannot be denied, because even if all is dreaming, someone is needed to dream. Even if everything is dubitable, someone is needed to doubt. Even if Descartes says “I am not,” this statement has to be made by someone – even to doubt, he is needed. Then he says, “Now I have come upon a point which indubitable. I can doubt everything, but I cannot doubt myself. If I doubt, the doubt proves me. So he gives a very meaningful formula: He says, “Cogito ergo sum. I think – I doubt – therefore I am.”

This “I-am-ness” must be broken apart from mentation, from mind, one has to renounce all that can be renounced – just like Descartes who says, “I must doubt all that can be doubted, unless I come to a point which cannot be doubted.” Just in the same way, one has to continue renouncing – renouncing all that which can be renounced, unless you come to a point which cannot be renounced.

You cannot renounce your being; all else can be renounced. All else you can say, “This I-am.” All that you can say, “This is I,” you can renounce. You can say, “No, this is not I-am. This body, I am not; this world, I am not, this thought, I am not; this thinking, I am not.” Go on, go on denying. Then comes a moment when you cannot deny more. Simple “I-am-ness remains. Not even “I-am-ness,” but only “am-ness.” That “am-ness” is the existential jump.

This is the first part of the sutra: renunciation, sannyas.

So sannyas is a negative process. One has to go on eliminating: “This is I-am-not.” Go on – “This, that, I am not.” This is renouncing, a negative process, elimination. But this is only a part: you have renounced whatsoever you are not; then you have to grow that which you are – that is yoga; that needs the positive, of growth. That is yoga. Now you have to grow that which is in you. How to grow it? – we have been discussing that – by faith, by devotion, by meditation, by practices, bodily and other. That is yoga.

Sannyas plus yoga means religion. Renounce that which you are not, and grow in that, create in that, which you are. Only by such negative and positive processes in a deep harmony, the brahma, the ultimate, is achieved.


From That Art Thou, Discourse #21

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.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from and

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