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

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Part of a Golden Chain – Osho

Second sutra: Remember all those who have attained before you, cherish their memory – that will help you on the way. There will be many moments when suspicion will arise, doubts will arise; there will be long, long dark nights of the soul when you will feel utterly lost, when you will start thinking of going back and being just the ordinary person you had been before. In those moments revere the memory of The Buddhas revere the memory of all those great heroes who have attained to truth.

In Pythagoras’ language, the hero means one who has become enlightened, who has attained the truth. The only heroic deed in life is to become realized. All else is very ordinary.

You can become very famous – it is very easy. You can have political power – it does not need much intelligence. You can earn money – you have only to be a little cunning and calculative. These are not great things.

The only great thing that makes a life great and sublime is to know truth, is to know God, is to be truth, is to be God. But the journey is very alone.

Revere the memory of the illustrious heroes

… of Buddha, of Lao Tzu, of Krishna, of Christ, of Moses, of Mohammed, of Mahavira. Remember! That’s why I am talking on so many Masters: so you can remember that you are not alone on the path. Many have succeeded before you. You will also succeed. If so many have succeeded, why not you? Many have preceded you and reached. You are not moving alone; many are ahead of you. It is a long procession of truth-seekers. You are part of a great chain. You may be a small drop, but you are part of a great river – the river of Buddhas, of all the enlightened people of the world.

That’s why I am talking about so many enlightened people: to give you courage, to give you confidence; to give you the sense that you are in a great chain, part of a golden chain, and you are not moving alone. There is no need to be afraid. You cannot be lost!


Excerpt from Philosophia Perennis, V.1, Discourse #1

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Only That Harmony Can Give You a New Birth – Osho

Pythagoras represents the Eternal Pilgrim for Philosophia Perennis – the perennial philosophy of life. He is a seeker of truth par excellence. He staked all that he had for the search. He traveled far and wide, almost the whole known world of those days, in search of the Masters, of the mystery schools, of any hidden secrets. From Greece he went to Egypt – in search of the lost Atlantis and its secrets.

In Egypt, the great library of Alexandria was still intact. It had all the secrets of the past preserved. It was the greatest library that has ever existed on the earth; later on it was destroyed by a Mohammedan fanatic. The library was so big that when it was burnt, for six months the fire continued.

Just twenty-five centuries before Pythagoras, a great continent, Atlantis, had disappeared into the ocean. The ocean that is called ‘Atlantic’ is so called because of that continent, Atlantis.

Atlantis was the ancient most continent of the earth, and civilization had reached the highest possible peaks. But whenever a civilization reaches a great peak there is a danger: the danger of falling apart, the danger of committing suicide.

Humanity is facing that same danger again. When man becomes powerful, he does not know what to do with that power. When the power is too much and the understanding is too little, power has always proved dangerous. Atlantis was not drowned in the ocean by any natural calamity. It was actually the same thing that is happening today: it was man’s own power over nature. It was through atomic energy that Atlantis was drowned – it was man’s own suicide. But all the scriptures and all the secrets of Atlantis were still preserved in Alexandria.

All over the world there are parables, stories, about the great flood. Those stories have come from the drowning of Atlantis. All those stories – Christian, Jewish, Hindu – they all talk about a great flood that had come once in the past and had destroyed almost the whole civilization. Just a few initiates, adepts, had survived. Noah is an adept; a great Master, and Noah’s ark is just a symbol. A few people escaped the calamity. With them, all the secrets that the civilization had attained survived. They were preserved in Alexandria.

Pythagoras lived in Alexandria for years. He studied; he was initiated into the mystery schools of Egypt – particularly the mysteries of Hermes. Then he came to India, was initiated into all that the brahmins of this ancient land had discovered, all that India had known in the inner world of man.

For years he was in India, then he travelled to Tibet and then to China. That was the whole known world. His whole life he was a seeker, a pilgrim, in search of a philosophy – philosophy in the true sense of the word: love for wisdom. He was a lover, a philosopher – not in the modern sense of the word but in the old, ancient sense of the word. Because a lover cannot only speculate, a lover cannot only think about truth: a lover has to search, risk, adventure.

Truth is the beloved. How can you go on only thinking about it? You have to be connected with the beloved through the heart. The search cannot be only intellectual; it has to be deep down intuitive. Maybe the beginning has to be intellectual, but only the beginning. Just the starting point has to be intellectual, but finally it has to reach the very core of your being.

He was one of the most generous of men, most liberal, democratic, unprejudiced, open. He was respected all over the world. From Greece to China he was revered. He was accepted in every mystic school; with great joy he was welcomed everywhere. His name was known in all the lands. Wherever he went he was received with great rejoicing.

Even though he had become enlightened, he still continued to reach into hidden secrets; he still continued to ask to be initiated into new schools. He was trying to create a synthesis; he was trying to know the truth through as many possibilities as is humanly possible. He wanted to know truth in all its aspects, in all its dimensions. He was always ready to bow down to a Master. He himself was an enlightened man – it is very rare. Once you have become enlightened, the search stops, the seeking disappears. There is no point.

Buddha became enlightened… then he never went to any other Master. Jesus became enlightened… then he never went to any other Master. Or Lao Tzu, or Zarathustra, or Moses….

Hence Pythagoras is something unique. No parallel has ever existed. Even after becoming enlightened, he was ready to become a disciple to anybody who was there to reveal some aspect of truth. His search was such that he was ready to learn from anybody. He was an absolute disciple. He was ready to learn from the whole existence. He remained open, and he remained a learner to the very end. The whole effort was… and it was a great effort in those days, to travel from Greece to China. It was full of dangers. The journey was hazardous; it was not easy as it is today. Today things are so easy that you can take your breakfast in New York and your lunch in London, and you can suffer indigestion in Poona. Things are very simple. In those days it was not so simple. It was really a risk; to move from one country to another country took years.

By the time Pythagoras came back, he was a very old man. But seekers gathered around him; a great school was born. And, as it always happens, the society started persecuting him and his school and his disciples. His whole life he searched for the perennial philosophy, and he had found it! He gathered all the fragments into a tremendous harmony, into a great unity. But he was not allowed to work it out in detail; to teach people he was not allowed. He was persecuted from one place to another. Many attempts were made on his life. It was almost impossible for him to teach all that he had gathered. And his treasure was immense – in fact, nobody else has ever had such a treasure as he had. But this is how foolish humanity is, and has always been. This man had done something impossible: he had bridged East and West. He was the first bridge. He had come to know the Eastern mind as deeply as the Western mind. He was a Greek. He was brought up with the Greek logic, with the Greek scientific approach, and then he moved to the East. And then he learnt the ways of intuition. Then he learnt how to be a mystic. He himself was a great mathematician in his own right. And a mathematician becoming a mystic is a revolution, because these are poles apart.

The West represents the male mind, aggressive intellect. The East represents the female mind, receptive intuition. East and West are not just arbitrary – the division is very, very significant and profound. And you should not forget Rudyard Kipling: what he said has significance, has meaning. He says East and West shall never meet. There is a fragment of truth in it, because the meeting seems to be impossible; the ways of their working are so diametrically opposite. The West is aggressive, scientific, ready to conquer nature. The East is non-aggressive, receptive – Ready to be conquered by nature. The West is eager to know. The East is patient. The West takes every initiative to reach into the mysteries of life and existence; it tries to unlock the doors. And the East simply waits in profound trust: “Whenever I am worthy, the truth will be revealed to me.” The West is concentration of the mind: the East is meditation of the mind. The West is thinking: the East is non-thinking. The West is mind: the East is no-mind. And Kipling seems to be logically right, that it seems impossible that East and West could ever meet.

And ‘the East and the West’ does not only represent the earth being divided in two hemispheres: it represents your mind too, your brain too. Your brain is also divided in two hemispheres just like the earth. Your brain has an East in it and a West in it. The left-side hemisphere of your brain is the West; it is connected with the right hand. And the right-side hemisphere of your brain is the East; it is connected with the left hand. The West is rightist. The East is leftist. And the processes of both are so different…. The left hemisphere of your mind calculates, thinks, is logical. All science is produced by it. And the right hemisphere of your brain is a poet, is a mystic. It intuits, it feels. It is vague, cloudy, misty. Nothing is clear. Everything is a kind of chaos, but that chaos has its beauty. There is great poetry in that chaos; there is great song in that chaos. It is very juicy. The calculative mind is a desert like phenomenon. And the non-calculative mind is a garden. Birds sing there and flowers bloom… it is a totally different world.

Pythagoras was the first man to try the impossible, and he succeeded! In him, East and West became one. In him, yin and yang became one. In him, male and female became one. He was an Ardhanarishwar – a total unity of the polar opposites. Shiva and Shakti together. Intellect of the highest caliber and intuition of the deepest caliber. Pythagoras is a peak, a sunlit peak, and a deep, dark valley too. It is a very rare combination.

But his whole life’s effort was destroyed by the stupid people, by the mediocre masses. These few verses are the only contribution left. These verses can be written on one postcard. This is all that is left of that great man’s effort, endeavour. And this too is not written by his own hand; it seems all that he had written was destroyed.

The day Pythagoras died; thousands of his disciples were massacred and burnt. Only one disciple escaped the school; his name was Lysis. And he escaped, not to save his life – he escaped just to save something of the Master’s teachings. These Golden Verses of Pythagoras were written by Lysis, the only disciple who survived.

The whole school was burnt, and thousands of disciples were simply murdered and butchered. And all that Pythagoras had accumulated on his journeys – great treasures, great scriptures from China, India, Tibet, Egypt, years and years of work – all was burnt.

Lysis wrote these few verses. And, as it has been the ancient tradition that a real disciple knows no other name than his Master’s, these verses are not called LysisVerses – they are called The Golden Verses of Pythagoras. He has not written his name on them.

This has been happening again and again. It happened with Vyasa in India, a great Master. In his name there are so many scriptures that it is impossible that one man could write so many scriptures. It is humanly impossible. Even if one thousand persons wrote their whole lives continuously, then too so many scriptures could not be written. Then what happened? They are all authored by Vyasa – they are not all written by Vyasa but by his disciples. But the real disciple knows no other name than his Master’s. He has disappeared in the Master, so whatsoever he writes, he writes in the name of the Master. So many theories have been evolved by linguists, by scholars, by professors – they think there have been so many Vyasas, many people of the same name. That is all nonsense. There has been only one Vyasa. But down the centuries many people loved him so deeply that when they wrote something, they felt it was the Master writing through them – they signed the Master’s name because they were only vehicles, just instruments, mediums.

The same happened in Egypt to Hermes: many scriptures, all written by the disciples. And the same happened with Orpheus in Greece, and the same with Lao Tzu in China and Confucius in China.

The disciple loses his identity. He becomes utterly one with the Master. But something of immense value has been destroyed by the stupidity of people.

Pythagoras is the first experiment in creating a synthesis. Twenty-five centuries have passed since then and nobody else has tried it again. Nobody else before had done it, and nobody else has done it afterwards either. It needs a mind which is both – scientific and mystic. It is a rare phenomenon. It happens once in a while.

There have been great mystics – Buddha, Lao Tzu, Zarathustra. And there have been great scientists – Newton, Edison, Einstein. But to find a man who is at home with both worlds, easily at home, is very difficult. Pythagoras is that kind of man – a class unto himself. He cannot be categorized by anybody else.

The synthesis that he tried was needed, particularly in his days, as it is needed today – because the world is again at the same point. The world moves in a wheel. The Sanskrit word for ‘the world’ is samsara. Samsara means the wheel. The wheel is big: one circle is completed in twenty-five centuries. Twenty-five centuries before Pythagoras, Atlantis committed suicide – out of man’s own scientific growth. But without wisdom, scientific growth is dangerous. It is putting a sword in the hands of a child.

Now twenty-five centuries have passed since Pythagoras. Again the world is in a chaos. Again the wheel has come to the same point – it always comes to the same point. It takes twenty-five centuries for this moment to happen. After each twenty-five centuries the world comes into a state of great chaos.

Man becomes uprooted, starts feeling meaningless. All the values of life disappear. A great darkness surrounds. Sense of direction is lost. One simply feels accidental. There seems to be no purpose, no significance. Life seems to be just a by-product of chance. It seems existence does not care for you. It seems there is no life after death. It seems whatsoever you do is futile, routine, mechanical. All seems to be pointless.

These times of chaos, disorder, can either be a great curse, as it happened in Atlantis, or they can prove a quantum leap in human growth. It depends on how we use them. It is only in such great times of chaos that great stars are born.

Pythagoras was not alone. In Greece, Pythagoras and Heraclitus were born. In India, Buddha and Mahavira and many others. In China, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Confucius, Mencius, Lieh Tzu, and many more. In Iran, Zarathustra. In the brahmin tradition, many great Upanishadic seers. In the world of Judaism, Moses…. All these people, these great Masters were born at a certain stage in human history – twenty-five centuries ago.

Now we are again in a great chaos, and man’s fate will depend on what we do. Either we will destroy ourselves like the civilization that destroyed itself in Atlantis – the whole world will become a Hiroshima; we will be drowned in our own knowledge; in our own science we will commit suicide, a collective suicide. A few, a Noah and a few of his followers, may be saved, or may not be…. Or, there is a possibility that we can take a quantum leap.

Either man can commit suicide, or man can be reborn. Both doors are open.

If such times can create people like Heraclitus and Lao Tzu and Zarathustra and Pythagoras and Buddha and Confucius, why can they not create a great humanity? They can. But we go on missing the opportunity.

The ordinary masses live in such unconsciousness that they can’t see even a few steps ahead. They are blind. And they are the majority! The coming twenty-five years, the last part of this century, is going to be of immense value. If we can create a great momentum in the world for meditation, for the inward journey, for tranquility, for stillness, for love, for God… if we can create a space in these coming twenty-five years for God to happen to many, many people, humanity will have a new birth, a resurrection. A new man will be born.

And once you miss these times, then for twenty-five centuries again you will remain the same. A few people will achieve enlightenment, but it will remain only for a few people. Here and there, once in a while, a person will become alert and aware and divine. But the greater part of humanity goes on lagging behind – in darkness, in utter darkness, in absolute misery. The greater part of humanity goes on living in hell.

But these moments when chaos spreads and man loses his roots in the past, becomes unhinged from the past, are great moments. If we can learn something from the past history, if we can learn something from Pythagoras…. People could not use Pythagoras and his understanding, they could not use his great synthesis, they could not use the doors that he had made available. A single individual had done something immense, something impossible, but it was not used.

I am trying to do exactly the same again; I feel a very deep spiritual affinity with Pythagoras. I am also bringing you a synthesis of East and West, of science and religion, of intellect and intuition, of the male mind and the female mind, of the head and the heart, of the right and the left. I am also trying in every possible way to create a great harmony, because only that harmony can save. Only that harmony can give you a new birth.

But there is every possibility that what was done to Pythagoras will be done to me. And there is every possibility what was done to Pythagoras’ followers will be done to my sannyasins. But still, even knowing that possibility, the effort has to be made again. Because this is a valuable time. It comes only once in twenty-five centuries when the wheel can move in a new way, can take a new direction.

You all have to risk, and you have to risk all that you have. And risk it with great joy! because what can be more joyous than to give birth to a new man, to become vehicles for a new man, for a new humanity?

It is going to be painful as every birth is painful. But the pain can be welcomed if you understand what is going to happen through it. If you can see the child coming out of it, then the pain is no more pain – just as the mother can accept the pain of the child’s birth. The pain is irrelevant: her heart is dancing with joy – she is going to give birth to life, she is being creative. She is making this world more alive; a new child is being born through her. God has used her as a vehicle; her womb has proved fertile. She is happy, in great joy. She rejoices, although the pain is there on the periphery. But when this great joy is there, the pain simply functions as a background and makes the joy even more loud. Remember…

My sannyasins can become an energy womb, an energy field. A great synthesis is happening here.

East and West are meeting here. And if we can make this impossible thing happen, man will live in a totally different way in the future. He will not need to live in the same old hell. Man can live in love, in peace. Man can live in great friendliness. Man can live a life which is nothing but a celebration. Man can make this earth divine.

Yes: this very earth can become the paradise and this very body the Buddha.


Excerpted from Philosophia Perennis, Vol. 1, Discourse #1

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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