Will, Witnessing and Suchness – Osho

You have talked about how the subtle body can be separated from the physical body using one’s willpower. Can the subtle body of a seeker who follows the discipline of witnessing, or that of a seeker who follows the discipline of tathata, suchness, be separated without exercising the will?

To follow the discipline of witnessing requires a great resolve. Following the discipline of tathata requires even greater resolve. It is the greatest resolution ever. When a man determines to live like a witness, that in itself is a great resolution. For example, a man decides he will not eat. He resolves to remain hungry for the day. Another man decides he will eat, but instead of watching himself eat, he will eat watchfully. This is a more difficult resolution.

It is not too difficult to give up food. The truth is, for those who have plenty to eat, it is easy to go without food for a day or two. That’s why in an affluent society the cults of dieting and fasting become popular. For example, in America the idea of dieting has become very popular. People immediately become attracted to naturopathy.

When people have enough to eat, the idea of fasting once in a while appeals to them. It seems to make one feel lighter and more cheerful. In fact in a poor society, staying hungry may be a kind of use of one’s willpower. But in an affluent society it’s a matter of convenience. Actually, if food becomes sufficiently available throughout the world, fasting will turn out to be a necessity for everyone. People will have to remain with empty stomachs once in a while. But witnessing is a very difficult thing.

Let’s understand it this way. For instance, you make a decision that you won’t walk, that you will remain seated in the same chair for eight hours. Now this is not a big thing. You decided not to walk, so you are not walking. Someone else decides he will walk for eight hours — this is not a big thing either, because since he decided to walk, he is walking. But witnessing means you’ll walk, and at the same time you will also know that ‘you’ are not walking. What does witnessing mean? It means you’ll walk as well as know that it is not ‘you’ who is walking — that ‘you’ are simply witnessing the act of walking. This is a much more subtle resolution, a supreme resolution indeed.

Tathata, suchness, is the supreme most resolution; it’s the ultimate resolve. There is no determination higher than this. Even the resolve to enter death voluntarily is not so great a resolve really. Tathata means accepting things as they are. In a way, even the resolve to die voluntarily has its roots somewhere in non-acceptance. That is, we want to know what death is; we want to verify whether death actually occurs or not.

Tathata means, if death appears we will die; if life remains we’ll continue to live. Neither are we concerned with life, nor with death. If darkness falls we’ll stay in the dark; if the light appears we’ll settle with light. If something good comes to us we’ll receive it; if something bad befalls us we’ll bear it. Whatsoever happens, we are willing to accept it — we deny nothing. Let me explain this to you with an example.

Diogenes was passing through a forest. He walked around naked — had a beautiful body. It seems quite possible man must have started wearing clothes in order to cover his ugliness. This seems highly possible. We are always interested in hiding the ugly parts of our body. But this man Diogenes was a very handsome man. He lived naked.

So as he was passing through the forest, four men engaged in the business of capturing and selling slaves saw him. They figured if they could capture this man — good looking, strong, powerful – they may receive a good price for him. But they felt very apprehensive and couldn’t find any way to capture him without risking their lives.

Somehow, they tried and managed to surround him. Diogenes stood in the middle, calm and unperturbed. He asked, “What do you want to do?” The men were very surprised. They took out chains. Diogenes stretched out his hands. Full of fear and with trembling hands, the captors began to chain him.

Diogenes said, “No need to tremble. Come; let me tie the chains for you.” He helped them put on the chains. The men were simply flabbergasted.

After having chained him firmly, they said, “What sort of a man are you? We are putting you in chains and you are helping us! We were afraid this might lead to some fighting and trouble.”

Diogenes said, “You are having fun chaining me, I am having fun in being chained. Where is the need for any trouble? It’s great! Now tell me, where do we go from here?”

The men said, “We feel very embarrassed in telling you that we are in the business of slavery. We’ll now take you to the marketplace and put you up for sale.”

Diogenes said, “Good, let’s go.” He took off with great excitement and began walking even faster than the captors.

They said, “Please slow down a little. What’s the hurry?”

Diogenes said, “Now that we are going to the marketplace, why not reach in time?”

So finally they reached the marketplace. It was very crowded. Those who had come to buy slaves turned their eyes toward Diogenes. They had rarely seen a slave of this quality, because he looked more like an emperor. A huge crowd gathered around him. He was made to stand on the platform where the slaves were auctioned. Raising his voice, the auctioneer said, “Here is a slave for sale. Come forward and name your price.”

Diogenes said, “Shut up, you fool! Ask these men, did I walk in front, or did they? Did they tie the chains on me or did I let them tie the chains on me?”

His captors said, “The man is right. Left to ourselves, we don’t believe we could have captured him. And indeed he walked ahead of us so fast that we could not keep pace with him — we had to practically run behind him. So it is not correct to say we have brought him to the marketplace. The truth is, we have followed him to this place. And it is not right to say we have made him a slave. The fact is, this man agreed lo become a slave, we didn’t make him.”

Diogenes said, “Stop talking nonsense you fools, and let me do my own auctioneering! Besides, this man’s voice is not loud enough, no one will be able to hear him in this large crowd.”

So Diogenes raised his voice and said, “A master has come here for sale. Anyone interested in buying him should come forward.” Someone from the crowd asked, “You call yourself a master?”

Diogenes said, “Yes, I call myself a master. I tied the chains on my own. I have come here on my own, willingly. I stand here for sale of my own free will. And I shall leave whenever I choose to leave. Nothing can happen against my will, because whatsoever happens I make that my will.”

Diogenes is saying, “Whatsoever happens, I make that my will.” This man has indeed attained to tathata, suchness. What it means is: whatever goes on, he is ready for it. He resists nothing at all. In no way can you defeat him, because he will already be a defeated man; you cannot beat him because he will readily allow you to hurt him; you cannot subjugate him because he will readily submit. You can’t do anything to such a man, because no matter what you do, he will not resist. This is indeed a demonstration of a truly supreme resolve.

So tathata is the ultimate will. One who has attained tathata has attained God. Therefore, the question is not whether a seeker who follows the discipline of witnessing, or one who follows the discipline of tathata would attain the same as a seeker who attains by following the discipline of will. It is already attained by him without any problem.

The discipline of will is the most elementary. The discipline of witnessing is of the intermediary kind, and tathata is the ultimate sadhana, the ultimate discipline. So start with the practice of will, take a voyage through witnessing, and reach ultimately to tathata, suchness. There is no conflict among the three.

Please explain the difference between witnessing and tathata.

In witnessing, the duality is present. The witness finds himself separate from that which he experiences.

If a thorn pricks his foot, the witnessing man says, “The thorn has not pricked me, it has pricked my body — I am only the knower of it. The piercing has occurred at one place, while the awareness of it is present somewhere else.”

So in the mind of a witness there exists a duality, a separation between the experiencing of an event and the actual occurrence of it. Therefore, he cannot rise up to the state of advaita, nonduality. And this is why the seeker who stops at the level of being a witness, a watcher, remains confined to a kind of dualism. He ultimately divides the existence into conscious and unconscious. Conscious means the one who knows, and the unconscious means that which is known. So eventually he is bound to end up dividing existence into purusha and prakriti.

Both of these words, purusha and prakriti, are highly significant. Perhaps the true meaning of prakriti may not have occurred to you, prakriti doesn’t mean ‘nature’; in fact, there is no word for prakriti In English. Prakriti means that which was in existence before everything came to be — pra-kriti. Prakriti does not mean srishti or nature, because srishti means that which exists after creation. The word prakriti means that which was before creation.

The word purusha is also very meaningful. The equivalents of such words are extremely difficult to find in any other language of the world, because all these words are born out of very special experiences. You know what pur means; pur means the city. For example, Kanpur, Nagpur. So pur indicates the city, and the one who resides in the city is the purusha. The human body is like a town, a city, and there is someone who resides in it — he is the purusha. Prakriti, therefore, is the pur, and the one who lives in it – – separate, unattached — is the purusha.

So the witness comes as far as the separation of purusha and prakriti. He will set them apart as two entities — the conscious and the unconscious, and a distance will be created between the knower and the known.

Tathata is even more remarkable — the ultimate. Tathata means, there is no duality. There is neither a knower nor is there anything to be known. Or, in other words, the knower is the known. Now it is not that the thorn is hurting me and I am aware of it; or that the thorn and I are separate from each other. It is not even that it would have been better if the thorn had not pierced me, or that it would be good if the thorn came out — no, there is nothing of this sort. Now, everything is accepted: the presence of the thorn, the pricking of it, the awareness of being pricked by it, the experience of pain — everything. And they are different parts of the same thing. Therefore, I am the thorn. I am the very occurrence of pricking. I am the awareness of this occurrence. I myself am the very realization of this all — I am all of this.

That’s why there is no going beyond this ‘I’, my very being. I cannot think, “It would have been better if the thorn had not pricked me” — how can I? For I am the very thorn, the pricking of it, and the knowing of being pricked as well. Nor can I think, “It would be good if the thorn didn’t prick me,” because that would be tantamount to tearing myself apart from my very own being.

Tathata is the ultimate state there is. In that state, whatsoever is, is. It’s a state of the ultimate acceptance of that-which-is. It contains no distinctions. But one cannot reach tathata without having been first a witness. However, one can stop at the level of witnessing, if he so desires, and choose not to arrive at tathata. Similarly, without the use of will, one cannot attain the state of witnessing. Although, having gained willpower, one may wish to stay there and not come to the point of witnessing.

One who stops with attaining firmness of resolve would of course become very powerful, but he won’t be able to attain wisdom. And therefore, the ability to make a resolve can be misused, because wisdom is not required to attain it. One will surely gain a lot of power, but that is precisely why he can abuse it.

The entire black magic is a product of willpower. One who practices it gains a lot of power, but he lacks wisdom totally. He can end up using that power without any discrimination.

A man of will becomes filled with power. It is difficult to predict right away what use he will make of it.  He can obviously put it to bad use. Power in itself is neutral. Nevertheless, it is necessary — whether one intends to use it for good or for evil. And as I see it, rather than remaining a weakling, it is better if one uses his power for evil purposes — for the simple reason that one who commits an evil act now may someday use the same power for a good cause. One who cannot do evil can never do good either. That’s why I say it’s better to be powerful than to be impotent and a wimp.

So a man of power can set out on the path of good as well as evil. It is better to follow the course of goodness, because if followed rightly, it will bring you to the state of witnessing. You won’t end up as a witness if you follow the course of evil; rather, you will simply wander around within the confines of your willpower. Then you will get into mesmerism and hypnotism, tantras and mantras, witchcraft and voodooism. All kinds of things will crop up, but they won’t lead you on a journey toward the soul.

This is becoming lost. The power will indeed be there, but gone astray. If the power is put on the course of goodness, it is sure to give rise to the witness within you, and ultimately that power can be used to know and attain oneself. This is what I call the course of goodness. By the course of evil I mean controlling, possessing, enslaving the other. This is what black magic is. Making use of the power for the purpose of attaining oneself, knowing who am I, what am I, and living authentically, is moving in goodness. And it will indeed lead one toward becoming a witness.

If the urge to attain the state of witnessing is satisfied with the knowing of oneself, the seeker reaches up to the fifth body and stops there. However, if the urge is further intensified, one discovers that he is not alone, he contains everything; that the sun and the moon and the stars, the rocks, the soil, the flowers are all part of him; that his very being, his existence incorporates all the rest. If the seeker proceeds with such an intense feeling, he reaches tathata.

Tathata, suchness, is the ultimate flowering of religion, it is the supreme achievement. It is total acceptance. Whatsoever happens, one is open and agreeable to it. Only such an individual can become totally silent, because even a little bit of resentment can prolong the restlessness. One’s restlessness and tension will continue to remain if he carries even a small degree of complaint. Even the slightest idea, “It didn’t happen the way it should have,” and the tension will continue to persist.

The experience of supreme silence, the experience of the greatest freedom from tension, and that of the ultimate liberation is possible only in the state of tathata. However, only a man of will can eventually attain the state of witnessing, and only his going deeper into witnessing can bring him to the state of tathata. One who has not yet known what being a witness means can never know what total acceptance is.

One who hasn’t realized that he is separate from the thorn which is pricking him is not yet ready to know that the thorn is a part of him. In fact, one who comes to experience the separateness of the thorn can take the next step of feeling one with the thorn as well.

So tathata is the fundamental principle. Among all the spiritual disciplines discovered all over the world, tathata is the greatest. That’s why one of Buddha’s names is Tathagat. It would be good to have some understanding of what this word tathagat means. It will be useful in comprehending the meaning of tathata.

Buddha has used the word Tathagat for himself. He would say, for instance, “Tathagat said….” Tathagat means thus came, thus gone. Just as a breeze comes and goes away without any purpose, without any meaning. Just as a breath of air enters your room and goes out — without any reason. So the one whose coming and going away is as unmotivated, as desireless as the breeze, such a being is called Tathagat. But who would come and go like a breeze?

He alone can pass like a breeze who has attained to tathata. Only he to whom the coming and the going makes no difference can move like a breeze. If he needs to come, he comes; if he needs to go, he goes — the same as Diogenes did. It made no difference to him whether people put him in chains or did not put him in chains. Diogenes said later on, “Only one who is prone to be a slave can be nervous about becoming a slave. Since no one can make me a slave, why should I be afraid I might be taken as a slave?

One who carries even the slightest anxiety that he may be turned into a slave, he alone will remain in fear of it. And one who has such a fear is indeed a slave. Since I happen to be the lord and master myself, you can never enslave me. Even in chains, I am the master, and will remain so in your prison as well. It makes no difference where you throw me; I still remain the lord and master. My mastership is total and complete.”

So the journey consists of this: from will to witness, and from witness to tathata.

-OSHO

From And Now and Here, Chapter 15

And Now and Here

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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What Is Sin? – Osho

In the morning you said that one who realizes the Brahman thus destroys sin and is well established in Brahman. In this reference, explain the difference between the concept of sin in the Upanishads and in the bible. And also please explain the implications in human life.

There is a very basic difference. To the biblical religions – to Jews, Christians, and even Mohammedans – the concept of sin is totally different than it is to the Hindus and Buddhists. The concept of sin in Christianity, in The Bible, is related to your acts – to what you do. What you do may be a sin, or it may not be a sin; it may be a virtue but it is related to your doing. To the Upanishads, it is not related to the doing at all. What you do is irrelevant; what you are is the point. It is not the doing but the being itself that is significant.

So what will it mean to call a man a sinner? We mean that he is ignorant, unaware of his own self. Because of this ignorance, his acts become sins. The act can become a sin only because the doer is ignorant, unaware, unconscious, is living in a state of sleep. Ignorance is sin and awareness is virtue. Your acts are irrelevant because they are not central; in the center is your consciousness. If something is wrong with the consciousness, your acts will go wrong. If the consciousness is set right, your acts will follow.

So just to go on changing your acts will not lead you anywhere. You can commit a sin, you can repent a sin, you can replace a sin by a virtue, by a virtuous act – but it will not be of any meaning for the Upanishads if you remain the same. Unless you change, your consciousness changes, unless you attain a new plane of being, a new plenitude, just a change of your acts is useless.

So the Upanishads do not think in terms of acts; they think in terms of your being. Alert, aware, conscious, you are virtuous. Why? – Because the more you are alert and conscious and aware, the less is the possibility of committing a sin. The basic requirement for committing a sin is to be unconscious.

For example, you can be angry only if you forget yourself. If you are self-remembering, aware, anger is impossible. It cannot exist with awareness. No coexistence is possible. When you are aware, it is not that you control your anger, restrain your anger, suppress your anger – no! It simply cannot be there. In a fully aware person, anger cannot exist; just as in a fully lighted room darkness cannot exist. The coexistence is impossible.

The moment you bring a lamp into the dark room, the darkness is no more there. With the light the darkness cannot exist. And the Upanishads say it is futile and foolish to fight with darkness because you cannot fight with darkness. If you fight you will be defeated. Howsoever strong you may be, you cannot fight darkness because darkness is only the absence of light. Bring the light and darkness disappears.

The Upanishads say sin is darkness. Bring the light of consciousness and sin disappears. Do not fight with the sin; do not be concerned directly with the sin; do not think in terms of sin. Otherwise you will feel guilty and it will not be a spiritual growth; rather, it will be a fall.

Christianity has made people very guilty because whatsoever you do is a sin and you have to fight with it. And nothing comes out of it. The more you fight with a sin, the deeper its roots go in you. The more you fight, the stronger it becomes. The more you fight, the more you are a victim of it. Why? – Because the fight is with darkness. You cannot win; there is no possibility of victory. And when you get defeated again and again, you become guilty, inferior.

This whole effort of fighting with sins, with wrongdoings, makes you feel guilty and inferior. You start feeling that you are absolutely unworthy, that you cannot do anything. Your spirit is not integrated through this fight; rather, it becomes ill with an inferiority complex, a guilt complex.

The Upanishads say sins are not important. What you do is immaterial, what you are is the point. If you are committing sins it shows only one thing: that you are fast asleep, unaware. So do not fight with the sins; rather, on the contrary, move within and become more and more alert. As alertness grows within, sins disappear without. A moment comes when you are simply a flame of light within, alert to whatsoever you do, alert to whatsoever moves in the mind, alert to whatsoever happens in you. There is no sin then.

And this is possible; this victory is just within your hands. Then you will never have the feeling of being guilty and inferior; you will never feel that you are unworthy. The more you make an effort to be conscious, the more and more you will feel accepted, worthy, welcome – the more you will feel that in you God has some destiny to fulfill.

I call this approach more scientific, more religious, because it gives man a dignity. If you are concerned with sin as an act, it gives you guiltiness and guiltiness cannot make you religious. And through guilt you cannot feel the divine because your own guilt becomes a barrier. If you are deeply in guilt, you cannot feel in any way grateful to the divine. The gratitude cannot exist there.

When you are accepted, when you feel worthy, when you feel the abode of the divine, when you feel that a center in you exists which is beyond all acts, when you come nearer and nearer to this inner flame, you become more and more grateful. Gratitude is the perfume that happens to a religious mind. Guilt is just bad odor, just a bad smell. If you feel guilty, around you there is a bad odor, a bad smell.

To me, the Upanishads are more penetrating because they reach to the very being, to the very core of the problem. Christian or Jewish attitudes are more superficial because they touch on the periphery. They touch the act, not the being. And they think that by changing the acts the being will be changed. It is not possible. You can go on changing the acts but the being cannot be changed because the periphery cannot change the center, the outer cannot change the inner, the superficial cannot change the basic. But if you change the center, the periphery changes automatically; if you change the inner, the outer follows it.

If I change you, your shadow will be changed. But if I try to paint your shadow and change it, you will not be changed by it. And my whole effort will be futile because a shadow cannot even be painted. If you move, the shadow will move with you and my paint will remain on the earth and your shadow will remain untouched. Working with acts is like working with the shadow. What you do is just superficial. What you are, what your being is, is the central thing.

The Upanishads touch the being, so they call agyan – ignorance, unawareness – the only sin.

So the sutra says that one who realizes thus destroys sin. Just by realizing the Brahman sins are destroyed – all your past sins. You may have committed many wrong acts through lives and lives; they are accumulated there. And they are also destroyed just by your reaching and touching the innermost core of your being.

How are they destroyed? Our calculating minds will think, “I will have to repay each sin. For each sin I will have to do something virtuous to cancel it.” But the Upanishads say that just by realizing IT, just by realizing the suchness, all sins are destroyed.

How are they destroyed? – Because you are not doing anything to destroy them. The phenomenon is very subtle. It is just like this: you dream in the night that you are committing adultery, you are committing murder, you have burned a whole city – that you have committed many sins. In the morning you are awake. The dream lingers a little, you remember it but you do not feel any guilt about it – or do you feel it? If you still feel some guilt about it, that means you are not yet awake. You are still sleepy and the dream still has a little hangover around you; it is still with you. When you are really alert and awake, you can laugh about the whole thing because it was a dream. Really, you never committed anything.

The Upanishads say this is the happening: when a person is awakened into Brahman, all the lives that he has lived and all that he has done simply disappears like a long dream. With a new awareness, all that is past appears to be illusory, as if it never happened, or as if it happened in a story – a dream-drama.

That is why Upanishads call this world maya – illusory. Not that it is not, not that it is unreal, but because of this happening, when a person awakens into deep meditation, the whole world he has been living in up to now appears dreamlike; it has no substance to it now.

Hence, this sutra: this sutra says when one realizes that, the suchness of existence, the Brahman, all sins are destroyed. Nothing is to be done about them. They simply are no more with you, you have passed them, you have gone beyond them. Now they belong to a past memory with no substance in it. You can relate them as if they were dreams.

The Upanishads say that human consciousness has four states. One: while you are awake, the waking consciousness; second: while you are dreaming, the dreaming consciousness; third: while you are so fast asleep that there is no dream, the sleeping consciousness. And beyond these three is the fourth. The Upanishads have not given it a name. They simply call it the fourth – turiya. Turiya means the fourth. That fourth is the state where you realize Brahman. All of the first three states are illusory if you enter the fourth. Think of it in this way because that fourth is not yet your experience. But you have experienced these three; thinking about these three, something can be inferred about the fourth.

While you are awake, while you are in the waking consciousness during the day, what happens?

The dreaming consciousness has disappeared, it is no more. The sleeping consciousness has disappeared, it is no more. Then the night will fall and you will fall asleep again; dreams will start. When the dreams start you change the consciousness. The gear of consciousness is changed; now all that was in your waking consciousness simply disappears.

You were awake in Mount Abu but you can dream you are in London or New York or Calcutta. Mount Abu simply disappears; it is no more for the dreaming consciousness. For the dreaming consciousness London is more real and you cannot even remember that you were in Mount Abu while awake. It disappears so completely that there is not even a trace left. And you cannot feel any contradiction and you cannot raise any question: “How did it happen? I was in Mount Abu and now I am in London.” No, not even a doubt arises because the one has so totally disappeared that you cannot bring it in to compare.

In the waking state you were living with your wife in the house. In the dream the wife has disappeared, the house has disappeared. You are living with another woman; you have again married. And there is not even any guilt that you have not divorced your wife – because you cannot compare. The first has disappeared so completely that there is no contradiction, no inconsistency about it.

And then you enter the third state, deep sleep, where dreams disappear. Now the waking state, the wife, the house, they have already disappeared. Now the dreaming state, the wife you have just now married, the new house, they have disappeared. Now both states have disappeared. You are so fast asleep that you do not remember anything.

And then in the morning you are entering waking consciousness again. Now the dream has disappeared, the sleep has disappeared. The same wife, the same house, again start – the same world. Now again you are in Mount Abu. The Upanishads say these three states show that whenever one of these states gets a grip on you, the other two disappear.

There is a fourth state. We are making all the effort for that fourth – to be beyond these three. That fourth state is called turiya – total awareness. In that total awareness all these three disappear and all that belongs to these three disappears. That fourth cannot be transcended. There is no fifth state of consciousness. The fourth is the last. Buddhas live in it, Christs live in it, Krishnas live in it. It cannot be transcended. Because it cannot be transcended, it cannot be canceled by anything. Hence, the Upanishads say this is the ultimate reality. All else was just relatively real. That which cannot be canceled by anything is the final, the ultimate, the absolutely real.

The sins, all that you have done, simply disappear because you come to realize your being which is not a doer at all. It has not done anything; it is just a witnessing self. And all that was done, was done by nature – the natural laws.

It is very difficult for the society to understand it. That is why no society exists in the world which has Upanishadic teaching as its basis. No society can exist with it, it is so dangerous a teaching. Hindus go on reading the Upanishads but even they never try to construct a society, to create a society around this teaching, because this is such a high standpoint for looking at things. It says that if a murderer is committing a murder this is how things are – how nature is functioning within him, how nature has become murderous through him. One day, when this man will achieve the final consciousness, he will laugh. He will say, “I never committed this. Just a situation, natural forces, did the whole work.”

But if this is taught right now, this will create a confusion in the mind and a fear that “If this is taught then everyone will commit murder and will say, ‘What can I do? It is how nature is functioning in me.’” This fear is also false because those who commit murder will commit it no matter what you say. We have been giving punishment as much as possible – imprisonment, life sentence, even death – but nothing has changed. Murders go on being committed; rather, they go on increasing.

We have never tried the other alternative. As far as I feel, as far as I know, if we base the society on the Upanishadic teaching, not a single extra murder will be there. Things will remain as they are but there will be more possibility for man to be transformed.

This is difficult because the whole of humanity has been conditioned to believe that man is a sinner and he must be prevented; otherwise he will go on committing sins. He must be imprisoned, punished. He must be tortured so that he is prevented from committing sins. But we have not prevented anyone – not a single man have we been able to prevent.

I have heard that in England, in the old days just two hundred years ago, whenever a thief was caught he was to be flogged naked before the whole town at the crossroads. He would be hanged there and flogged just to teach the whole town what happens if you commit stealing. But then it had to be stopped because the whole village would gather to see the thief being flogged, and the pickpockets would try their art just there on the crowd. And people were so attentive in looking at this torture that they would forget their pockets. So then it became obvious that this was nonsense; no one was learning anything. Exactly there on the spot people were committing stealing, they were doing the exact same thing.

To me, this phenomenon seems to be very symbolic. All our imprisonments, sentences, death sentences, our tortures, have been futile; they have not changed a single man. They cannot because a man is a configuration of so many natural forces. Just by punishing, you cannot change that configuration. A man is such a deep-rooted phenomenon that just by beating him you cannot change his consciousness.

And really, this has been a very long game, very futile because the person who is beating is of the same type. Policemen and thieves, they belong to the same category. Murderers and judges, they belong to the same category. They are just standing on opposite poles but their quality of consciousness is similar. One is committing a sin against the society; another is committing a sin for the society.

If you murder someone you will be murdered by the society and a murder by the society is not a sin. How can you change murder by murder? How can you change violence by violence? You increase it; you double it. You can take revenge but you cannot change anything.

The Upanishads say that when you come to the innermost core of being and become alert, totally alert about what has happened, then you know it was prakriti – nature – which was doing all. You have always been a witness – the purusha.

The deepest philosophy in India has been samkhya, and samkhya says all activity belongs to nature; only consciousness belongs to you. All activity, virtuous or sinful – all activity – belongs to nature. To you belongs only consciousness. Attain consciousness, become one with that, and all sins will be destroyed and you will be established in Brahman.

-Osho

From The Supreme Doctrine, Chapter 17

The Supreme Doctrine

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Consciousness, Witnessing and Awareness – Osho

Question: What is the difference between awareness and witnessing?

There is much difference between awareness and witnessing. Witnessing is still an act; you are doing it, the ego is there. So the phenomenon of witnessing is divided between the subject and the object.

Witnessing is a relationship between subject and object. Awareness is absolutely devoid of any subjectivity or objectivity. There is no one who is witnessing in awareness; there is no one who is being witnessed. Awareness is a total act, integrated; the subject and the object are not related in it; they are dissolved. So awareness doesn’t mean that anyone is aware, nor does it mean that anything is being attended to.

Awareness is total – total subjectivity and total objectivity as a single phenomenon – while in witnessing a duality exists between subject and object. Awareness is non-doing; witnessing implies a doer. But through witnessing awareness is possible, because witnessing means that it is a conscious act; it is an act, but conscious. You can do something and be unconscious – our ordinary activity is unconscious activity – but if you become conscious in it, it becomes witnessing. So from ordinary unconscious activity to awareness there is a gap that can be filled by witnessing.

Witnessing is a technique, a method toward awareness. It is not awareness, but, as compared to ordinary activity, unconscious activity, it is a higher step. Something has changed: activity has become conscious; unconsciousness has been replaced by consciousness. But something more still has to be changed. That is, the activity has to be replaced by inactivity. That will be the second step.

It is difficult to jump from ordinary, unconscious action into awareness. It is possible but arduous, so a step in between is helpful. If one begins by witnessing conscious activity, then the jump becomes easier – the jump into awareness without any conscious object, without any conscious subject, without any conscious activity at all. This doesn’t mean that awareness isn’t consciousness; it is pure consciousness, but no one is conscious about it.

There is still a difference between consciousness and awareness. Consciousness is a quality of your mind, but it is not your total mind. Your mind can be both conscious and unconscious, but when you transcend your mind, there is no unconsciousness and no corresponding consciousness. There is awareness.

Awareness means that the total mind has become aware. Now the old mind is not there, but there is the quality of being conscious. Awareness has become the totality; the mind itself is now part of the awareness. We cannot say that the mind is aware; we can only meaningfully say that the mind is conscious. Awareness means transcendence of the mind, so it is not the mind that is aware. It is only through transcendence of the mind, through going beyond mind, that awareness becomes possible.

Consciousness is a quality of the mind, awareness is the transcendence; it is going beyond the mind. Mind, as such, is the medium of duality, so consciousness can never transcend duality. It is always conscious of something, and there is always someone who is conscious. So consciousness is part and parcel of the mind, and mind, as such, is the source of all duality, of all divisions, whether they are between subject and object, activity or inactivity, consciousness or unconsciousness. Every type of duality is mental. Awareness is nondual, so awareness means the state of no mind.

Then what is the relationship between consciousness and witnessing? Witnessing is a state, and consciousness is a means toward witnessing. If you begin to be conscious, you achieve witnessing. If you begin to be conscious of your acts, conscious of your day-to-day happenings, conscious of everything that surrounds you, then you begin to witness.

Witnessing comes as a consequence of consciousness. You cannot practice witnessing; you can only practice consciousness. Witnessing comes as a consequence, as a shadow, as a result, as a by-product. The more you become conscious, the more you go into witnessing, the more you come to be a witness. So consciousness is a method to achieve witnessing. And the second step is that witnessing will become a method to achieve awareness.

So these are the three steps: consciousness, witnessing, awareness. But where we exist is the lowest rank: that is, in unconscious activity. Unconscious activity is the state of our minds.

Through consciousness you can achieve witnessing, and through witnessing you can achieve awareness, and through awareness you can achieve “no achievement.” Through awareness you can achieve all that is already achieved. After awareness there is nothing; awareness is the end.

Awareness is the end of spiritual progress; unawareness is the beginning. Unawareness means a state of material existence. So unawareness and unconsciousness are not both the same.

Unawareness means matter. Matter is not unconscious; it is unaware.

Animal existence is an unconscious existence; human existence is a mind phenomenon – ninety-nine percent unconscious and one percent conscious. This one percent consciousness means you are one percent conscious of your ninety-nine percent unconsciousness. But if you become conscious of your own consciousness, then the one percent will go on increasing, and the ninety-nine percent unconsciousness will go on decreasing.

If you become one hundred percent conscious, you become a witness, a sakshi. If you become a sakshi, you have come to the jumping point from where the jump into awareness becomes possible.

In awareness you lose the witness and only witnessing remains: you lose the doer, you lose the subjectivity, you lose the egocentric consciousness. Then consciousness remains, without the ego. The circumference remains without the center.

This circumference without the center is awareness. Consciousness without any center, without any source, without any motivation, without any source from which it comes – a “no source” consciousness – is awareness.

So you move from the unaware existence that is matter, prakriti, towards awareness. You may call it the divine, the godly, or whatever you choose to call it. Between matter and the divine, the difference is always of consciousness.

-Osho

From Meditation: The Art of Ecstasy, Chapter 14

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Meditation-The Art of Ecstasy

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

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

Aurobindo, Krishnamurti and Ramana Maharshi – Osho

This talk was from a series that was originally given in Hindi and subsequently translated into English.

Questioner: Shree Arvind (Aurobindo) has written a commentary on the Geeta in which he talks about the relationship between the creation and its perception. From one point of view it is reality that is important, and from another its perception is important. In his concept of the supramental he believes that divine consciousness is going to descend on this earth, but this concept of his seems to be dualistic. What do you say? And do you think that Raman Maharshi’s concept of ajatvad, of unborn reality, is closer to you and to Chaitanya’s concept of achintya bhedabhedvad, or unthinkable dualistic non-dualism?….

All Arvind’s (Aurobindo) talk of supraconsciousness and the supramental is within the confines of the rational mind. He never goes beyond reason. Even when he speaks about the transcendence of reason, he uses rationalistic concepts. Arvind is a rationalist. Everything he says and the words and concepts he uses to say it belong to the grammar of rationalism. There is a great consistency in the statements of Arvind which is not there in statements from supra-rationalism. You cannot find the same logical consistency in the statements of mystics. A mystic speaks in terms of contradictions and paradoxes. He says one word and soon contradicts it by another word that follows it. A mystic is self-contradictory. Arvind never contradicts himself.

Arvind is a great system-maker, and a system maker can never be a supra-rational. A system is made with the help of reason. Supra-rational people are always unsystematic; they don’t have a system. System is integral to logic; that which is illogical cannot follow a methodology or order.

The unthinkable cannot be systematized. All the thinkers of this century who have crossed the threshold of reason are fragmentary in their statements; none of them followed a logical order. Wittgenstein, Husserl, Heidegger, Marlo Ponti and the rest of them, have made fragmentary statements. Krishnamurti belongs to the same category which denies system, order. Their statements are atomic, and they contradict themselves.

Arvind’s case is very different. The truth is, after Shankara there has been no greater system-builder in India than Arvind. But this is what makes for the weakness and poverty of his philosophy. He is very skilled in playing with words, concepts and theories. But the irony is that the reality of life is far beyond words, concepts and doctrines. His trouble is that he was wholly educated in the West where he learned Aristotelian logic, Darwinian Theory of Evolution and the scientific way of thinking.

His mind is wholly western; no one in India today is more western in his way of thinking than Arvind.

And ironically he chose to interpret the eastern philosophy, with the result that he reduced the whole thing into a system. The East has no logical system. All its profound insights transcend logic and thought; they cannot be achieved through thinking. Eastern experiences go beyond the known. The knower and knowledge itself; they all belong to the unknown and the unknowable – what we call mystery. And Arvind applies his western mind to interpret the transmental experiences and insights of the East. He divides them into categories and makes a system out of them, which no other eastern person could have done.

So while Arvind always talks of the unthinkable he uses the instrument of thought and the thinkable throughout. Consequently his unthinkable is nothing but a bundle of words. If Arvind had the experience of the unthinkable he could not have categorized it, because it defies all categories. One who really knows the unthinkable cannot live with categories and concepts.

Curiously enough, Arvind creates concepts out of things that have never been conceptualized. His concept of the supramental is a case in point. But he goes on fabricating categories and concepts and fitting them into logic and reason. And he does it without any inhibitions.

The other part of your question is relevant in this context. In a sense, no religious thinking subscribes to the concept of evolution.

In this respect, we can divide the religions of the world into two groups. One group believes in the theory of creation with a beginning and an end, and the other believes in an existence that has no beginning and no end. Hinduism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism believe in creation; they believe that God created the universe. The other group of religions like Jainism and Buddhism, deny the theory of creation; according to them, that which is, is beginningless. It was never created.

All those who believe in creation cannot accept the theory of evolution. If they accept it, it would mean God created an incomplete world which developed gradually to its present state. But how can a perfect God create an imperfect world? Evolution means that the world grows gradually, and creation means that the whole world comes into being altogether.

It is significant that originally the word shristhi, meaning creation, belonged to the Hindus, and prakriti, meaning pre-creation, belonged to the Jainas and Buddhists and Sankhyaites. In the course of time, however, they got mixed up. But the Hindus cannot accept the word prakriti, which means that which is is there from the time before creation, that which is uncreated, which is eternal.

Creation means something which was not always there and which was created and which can be terminated.

The concept of the pre-created, the uncreated, of prakriti, belongs to an altogether different school which does not believe in creation. Sankhyaites, Jainas, and Buddhists don’t have the concept of a creator because when nothing is created, the question of a creator does not arise. So God disappeared, he has no place in their philosophies. God is needed only in the form of a creator, and so those who rejected creation also rejected God. God as creator belongs only to those who accept the idea of creation.

Arvind brought with him the idea of evolution from the West. When Arvind was a student in England, Darwin’s ideas were sweeping across Europe. Evidently he was very much influenced by them.

After his return to India he studied eastern philosophy, and studied it deeply. I deliberately use the word ”studied” to say that he did not know the truth on his own, his knowledge was merely intellectual. Although he possessed a sharp intellect, his direct experience of truth was very dim.

Consequently he produced a crossbreed of eastern mysticism and western rationalism, which is an anomaly. India’s psyche is not much concerned with the study of nature, matter and their evolution, it is basically concerned with the understanding of mind and spirit. The meeting of the western thought of evolution with the eastern understanding of the psyche gave rise to a strange idea of psychic evolution, which became Arvind’s lifework. Like nature, he thought consciousness evolves too.

Arvind added something new to the idea of evolution which is his own, and for this very reason it is utterly wrong. Very often original ideas are wrong, because they happen to be the finding of a single person. It is true that traditional beliefs, in the course of time, degenerate into fossils, but they have a validity of their own because millions of people go out to find them. This new idea which built Arvind’s reputation concerns the descent of divine consciousness.

Down the centuries we have believed that man has to rise and ascend to God; it is always an upward journey, an ascent. Arvind thinks otherwise: he thinks that God will descend and meet man. In a way this is also like the two sides of a coin. The truth happens to be exactly in the middle. That truth is that both man and God move towards each other and meet somewhere midway. This meeting always happens somewhere midway, but the old idea emphasized man’s efforts – and not without reason. As far as God is concerned, he is always available to man providing man wants to meet him. That much is certain, and therefore God can be left out of this consideration. But it is not certain that man will make a move to meet God. So it mostly depends on man and his journey towards God, his efforts. God’s journey towards man can be taken for granted. Too much emphasis on God moving toward man is likely to weaken man’s efforts.

Arvind starts from the wrong end when he says that God is going to descend on us. But he has great appeal to people who are not interested in doing anything on their own. They took enthusiastically to Arvind’s idea of the descent of the supramental energy and they rushed to Pondicherry. In recent years more Indians have gone to Pondicherry than anywhere else. There, God could be had for a song. They need not move a finger, because God on his own was on his way to them. There could not be a cheaper bargain than this. And when God descends he will descend on one and all; he will not make any distinctions. Many people believe that Arvind alone, sitting in seclusion at Pondicherry, will work for it and divine energy will be available to all, like the river Ganges was available when it was brought to earth by Bhagirath. Arvind is to be another Bhagirath, and at a much higher level. It has put a premium on man’s greed and led to a lot of illusions.

I think that is a very wrong idea. It is true God descends, but he descends only on those who ascend to him. A great deal depends on the individual and his efforts. Divine energy descends on those who prepare themselves for it, who deserve it. And there is no reason for God to be collectively available to one and all. In fact, God is always available, but only to those who aspire and strive for him. And it is always the individual, not a collective or a society, who walks the path to God. And he has to go all alone. And if God is going to descend on all, why do you think he will exclude animals, trees and rocks?

The experiment that is in process at Pondicherry is utterly meaningless; there has not been a more meaningless experiment in man’s history. It is a waste of effort, but it goes on because it is very comforting to our greed.

In this context, the questioner has remembered Raman who is just the opposite of Arvind. While Arvind is a great scholar, Raman has nothing to do with scholarship. Arvind is very knowledgeable, he is well informed; Raman is utterly unscholarly, you cannot come across a more unscholarly man than him. While Arvind seems to be all-knowing, Raman is preparing for the non-knowing state; he does not seem to know a thing. That is why man’s highest potentiality is actualized in Raman, and Arvind has missed it. Arvind remains just knowledgeable; Raman really knows the truth. Raman attained to self-knowledge, not knowledge. So his statements are straight and simple, free from the jargon of scriptures and scholarship. Raman is poor in language and logic, but his richness of experience, of being, is immense; as such he is incomparable.

Raman is not a system-maker like Arvind. His statements are atomic; they are just like sutras, aphorisms. He does not have much to say, and he says only that which he knows. Even his words are not enough to say what he really knows. Raman’s whole teaching can be collected on a postcard, not even a full page will be needed. And if you want to make a collection of Arvind’s writings, they will fill a whole library. And it is not that Arvind has said all that he wanted to say. He will have to be born again and again to say it all; he had too much to say. This does not mean that he did not bother to attain real knowing because he had already so much to say. No, this was not the difficulty.

Buddha had much to say and he said it. Buddha was like Raman so far as his experience of truth was concerned, and he was like Arvind in general knowledge. Mahavira has said little, he spent most of his time in silence. His statements are few and far between; they are telegraphic. In his statements Mahavira resembles Raman. Digambaras, one of the two Jaina sects, don’t have any collection of his teachings, while the Shwetambaras have a few scriptures which were compiled five hundred years after Mahavira’s death.

Questioner: You compare Raman with Buddha who happened in distant past. Why not compare him with Krishnamurti, who is so close by?

The question of being close or distant does not arise. Krishnamurti is exactly like Raman. I compare Arvind with Raman and Buddha for a special reason. In the experience of truth, Krishnamurti is very much like Raman, but he lags behind Arvind in knowledge. Of course, he is more articulate and logical than Raman. And there is a great difference between Krishnamurti and Arvind in so far as the use of logic and reason is concerned.

Arvind uses logic to reinforce his arguments; Krishnamurti uses logic to destroy logic; he makes full use of reason in order to lead you beyond reason. But he is not much knowledgeable. That is why I chose Buddha as an example; he compares well with Arvind in knowledge and with Raman in self-knowledge.

As far as Krishnamurti is concerned, he is like Raman in transcendental experience, but he is not scholarly like Arvind.

There is yet another difference between Raman and Krishnamurti. While Raman’s statements are very brief, Krishnamurti’s statements are voluminous. But in spite of their large volume, Krishnamurti’s teachings can be condensed in a brief statement. For forty years Krishnamurti has been repeating the same thing over and over again. His statements can be condensed to a postcard.

But because he uses reason in his statements, they grow in volume. Raman is precise and brief; he avoids volume. You can say that the statements of both Krishnamurti and Raman are atomic, but while Krishnamurti embellishes them with arguments, Raman does not. Raman speaks, like the seers of the Upanishads, in aphorisms. The Upanishads just proclaim: the Brahman, the supreme is; they don’t bother to advance any argument in their support. They make bare statements that, “It is so” and “It is not so.” Raman can be compared with the Upanishadic rishis.

Questioner: Please tell us something about Raman’s ajatvad or the principle of no-birth.

According to Raman and people like him, that which is has no beginning, it was never born, it is unborn. The same thing has always been said in another way: that which is will never die, it is deathless, it is immortal. There are hundreds of statements which proclaim the immortality of Brahman, the ultimate, who is without beginning and without end. Only that which is never born can be immortal, that which is beginningless. This is Raman’s way of describing the eternal.

Do you know when you were born? You don’t. Yes, there are records of your birth which others have kept, and through them that you came to know that you were born on a certain date, month and year. This is just information received from others. Apart from this information you have no way to know that you were born. There is no intrinsic, inbuilt source of information within you which can tell you about it; you have no evidence whatsoever to support the fact of your birth. The truth of your innermost being is eternal, so the question of its birth does not arise. In fact, you were never born; you are as eternal as eternity.

You say you will die someday, but how do you know it? Do you know what death is? Do you have any experience of death? No, you will say you have seen others die, and so you infer that you too will die someday. But suppose we arrange things and it is quite possible, that a certain person is not allowed to see any other person die. Can he know on his own that he is ever going to die? He cannot. So it is just your conjecture, based on external evidence that you will die in some future.

There is no internal evidence, no intrinsic source of knowledge within you which can sustain your conjecture that you will die. That is why a strange thing happens, that in spite of so many deaths taking place all around, no one really believes that he is going to die; he believes while others will die he is going to live. Your innermost being knows no birth and no death; it is eternal. You only know that you are.

Raman asks you not to guess, but find out for yourself if there is really birth and death. You have no inner evidence in support of birth and death; the only dependable evidence available within you says, “I am.”

I too, say to you there is every evidence that makes you know, “I am.” And if you go still deeper you will know, “I am not.” Then you will know only a state of “am ness” within you.

– Osho

Excerpted from: Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy, Chapter 14.

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

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