Beauty Cannot Lead to Enlightenment – Osho

Was Rabindrinath’s longing, his creative angst, the very thing that in the end became an obstacle to his enlightenment? Am I also destined to die with tears in my eyes, and a pocket full of songs?

Milarepa, a poet is not in search of truth. His search is for beauty, and through the search for beauty nobody has ever become enlightened. One can become a great poet, a great painter, a great singer, a great dancer; but on the path of beauty, enlightenment is not possible.

The seeker of truth, and only the seeker of truth, attains to enlightenment. And this is the miracle of enlightenment that once you have discovered truth, then beauty, the good, and all that is valuable simply become available to you.

Beauty cannot lead to enlightenment, but enlightenment opens your eyes to all dimensions and all directions.

Rabindranath was very close to enlightenment, but his search was not for enlightenment – he was searching for the beautiful. And the search for the beautiful, deep down is the search for expressing beauty – in words, in music, in dance, in any kind of creativity. The seeker of beauty is really seeking a vision which he can reproduce in his poetry, in his song, in his painting. Always the search is inner, but the goal is somewhere outside. And that’s the problem for all great creative people: they come to know, but then expression becomes difficult; they come to experience beauty, but how to share it? You may see a rose flower and be suddenly overwhelmed by its beauty, but how to share it? How to express it?

The concern of the artist is expression; the concern of the seeker is experience. Neither of them is able to express, but because the seeker of truth is totally concerned with experiencing, he comes to enlightenment, and he can die with a smile on his face, with fulfillment, whether he has been able to say something about it or not – that is not his concern, that is not his angst, his anxiety.

The artist also comes to know what he is seeking, but his problem is that basically, his interest in seeking beauty is for expression – and expression is almost impossible. At the most you can stutter a little bit – all your songs are stutterings of great poets. They look beautiful to you, immensely meaningful and significant, but to the poet… he knows he has failed.

All artists, either in the East or in the West, have felt an immense failure. They have tried their best, and they have produced great pieces of art – for us they are great pieces of art, but for them they are faraway echoes of their experience. Hence, they die either mad….

Almost seventy percent of painters, dancers, poets have gone mad. They have made too much effort. They have put too much tension into their being, so that it brought a breakdown, a nervous breakdown. And many of the artists have even committed suicide. The wound of failure became unbearable: to live any longer and to carry the same wound, and feeling again and again… became too difficult, and it was better to destroy oneself. And those who have not gone mad or committed suicide, they have also not died in a blissful way.

In the East, we have defined the ultimate values as three: satyam, shivam, sundaram. Satyam means truth – that is the highest. The seeker, the mystic follows that path. Then comes shivam: goodness, virtue. The moralist, the saint, the sage – they follow that path. And sundaram means beauty. The poets, the singers, the musicians – they follow that path.

Those who attain to truth automatically come to know what is good and what is beauty. Those who follow good, neither come to know what is true, nor do they come to know what is beauty. The followers of good – the moralists, the puritans – also never achieve enlightenment. All that they achieve is a repressed personality – very beautiful on the surface, but deep inside very ugly. They have great reputation, honor, respect, but inside they are hollow.

The people who follow sundaram, beauty, are inside fulfilled, utterly fulfilled, but their misery is that, that is not their aim: just to be fulfilled. They want all that they have experienced to be brought into language, into paintings, into sculpture, into architecture. Hence, even though they have experienced beautiful spaces they remain anxiety-ridden.

The people who follow beauty are most often not very respectable – not in the same sense as the saints are. They are very natural people, very loving and very lovable, but they don’t have any ego, any idea of holier-than-thou; they remain just simple and ordinary.

These three values have been for centuries followed separately. So the people who have become enlightened have never painted, have never made beautiful statues, have never composed music; they have never danced. They have never followed the dictates of the society, they have never followed the conventions of the society; hence most of them have been crucified, poisoned, killed – because people want you to be a puritan, a moralist. In people’s eyes morality is a social value, truth is not. Beauty is for entertainment; they don’t take it seriously.

I have been trying in many ways to open new doors – this is one of the most important doors. I want you to be a seeker of truth, but when you have attained to truth you should not be without songs and without dances. Beauty is a little lower value than truth, but the man of truth can express beauty more clearly than the poet, than the painter. For the higher, the lower is always understandable – not vice versa.

The man who has attained truth should also take care that his life radiates godliness, goodness. It may not be in tune with the morality of the society – it cannot be, because that morality is created by blind, unconscious people, just as a convention. For the man of truth it is not convention, it is simply his life. In utter nudity, he should make his life available to existence, to people, so that the ordinary morality of convention slowly, slowly changes into a real and authentic morality of a man who knows the truth.

The man of truth should not look at poetry and music and dance as just entertainment for ordinary people. He should make it a point, because he has risen to a height from where he can see beauty in its absolute glory. He can contribute many riches to existence : Each of his words can be a poem in itself, each of his silences can become celestial music, each of his gestures can indicate towards the most beautiful phenomenon, grace.

But this has not been so up to now – they have all followed their paths separately. I want my people to seek the truth, because by seeking it the other two will become available on their own accord. But remember, when you have experienced truth don’t forget that it is part of your compassion to give humanity new dreams of goodness, new visions of morality, ethics, which are not of the marketplace, which are not only conventions. And he should not forget that his truth is so deep inside him that the unconscious people will not be able to have a taste of it – he should create beauty in all possible dimensions.

Once in a while it has been done. For example, when the Taj Mahal was created… it was not the work of great architects, but it is the most beautiful architecture in existence. Shah Jahan, the emperor who was creating it as a memorial grave for his beautiful wife, Mumtaz Mahal – hence the name Taj Mahal – searched for years for Sufi mystics, who have no concern for beauty. He asked the Sufi mystics, “Although it is something lower, and you are not interested in it – and why should one be? – Just for my sake, you design the Taj Mahal. The architects will make it, but the design should come from those who have known beauty in its fullness, from a height.”

George Gurdjieff used to say that there are two kinds of art. One is subjective art – ninety-nine percent of art in the world is subjective: you are simply pouring your feelings, your desires, your longings, your dreams, into whatever you are making. But once in a while there is objective art – only one percent. What he calls objective art is art created by those who were not artists, who were realized people. They created music to help meditation – it was not for entertainment. They created poetry to convey that which cannot be conveyed by prose. They sang, they danced, to give you just a glimpse of their ecstasy, of their inner dance, of their joy, their blissfulness.

In India, there are many places which have objective art. Even Gurdjieff had to mention them, although he was in the West; he was born in the Caucasus, but when he was talking about objective art, he had to fall upon India. Indian classical music is not just for entertainment. Listening to it, you start going deep into yourself. It is not for all, it is only for those who are ready for an inner pilgrimage.

He mentioned the Taj Mahal, too. On the full moon night, when the moon comes just in the middle of the sky, the Taj Mahal becomes the greatest object of meditation that man has created. You just sit silently and look at it, and just looking at it your thoughts will subside. The beauty of it is so enormous that your mind simply feels at a loss. It cannot grasp it, so it becomes silent. The caves of Ajanta and Ellora, the temples of Khajuraho, Puri, and Konark… all these he mentions as objective art – objective because they are not an effort to express feelings or ideas, they are devices, so that for centuries to come people will be able to have the same taste, the same feeling, the same joy.

The pyramids in Egypt are part of objective art. Just in the beginning of this century, when excavations were begun in the pyramids, a cat was found dead inside. The pyramid was three thousand years old – perhaps when they were closing the pyramid, the cat had remained inside and died. For three thousand years the cat had been there, dead, but its body had not deteriorated. That was a miracle: three thousand years, and the body of the cat was as if she had just died. The scientists were puzzled. Finally it was discovered that the shape of the pyramid is the cause.

That particular shape of the pyramid is tremendously capable of preserving things as they are. Even if you put a dead body inside, it will be preserved. Nothing else is needed, because the shape of the pyramid changes the direction of the rays of the sun, and in that change of direction the miracle happens.

Now there are small plastic pyramids, glass pyramids available in the market. And people who are very much health-oriented, they just sit inside that pyramid. A small pyramid, portable – you can fold it, keep it in your suitcase – and wherever you want you can fix the pyramid up like a tent, and just sit inside it for one hour. And you will feel as immense a well-being as you have ever felt.

The possibility is that if these pyramids are used widely, man’s life can be prolonged. If it becomes a routine exercise for every child, in every home, in every school, in every college, life can be stretched up to three hundred years. Just one hour every day inside the pyramid, and you are not to do anything, just sit there. It is helpful in both ways: It will preserve your life, and that one hour of well-being will give you a deep feeling of meditation. The people who created the pyramids must have been mystics who had come to such a clarity, to see things which are not available to us.

I want my people to be seekers of truth. But never forget that you have to bring a revelation into the moral codes of humanity, too. You should not feel satisfied that you have found the truth, and you have found what is good. You should make your good as much manifest and available to humanity as possible. The same is applicable to beauty. One feels a great loss… if Buddha had painted, or composed music, or sang songs, or once in a while danced with his disciples, the world would have been immensely enriched.

I say to you, remember in those moments when you realize the truth that a great responsibility has fallen on your shoulders: you have to change the ordinary morality into a spiritual code, and you have to change subjective art into objective art. This will be the new expression of the contemporary mystic, and it will make a new breakthrough for the future.

Milarepa, you are asking, “Am I also destined to die with tears in my eyes, and a pocket full of songs?” If you remain interested only in songs and music, you will die with tears in your eyes, and those tears will not be of joy.

Let your search be for the truth, and only on the margin go on practicing your music, composing your songs; so when you reach to your enlightenment you are articulate enough to bring beauty to expression. Then you can go laughing, fulfilled, without any tears.

-Osho

From The Razor’s Edge, Discourse #10

 

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.

Dancingly Disappear – Osho

Often, when I am deeply relaxed, a strong feeling to die comes up in me. In these moments I feel myself as part of the whole cosmos, and I want to disappear into it. On one hand, it is such a beautiful feeling, and I am so grateful for it. On the other hand I mistrust it: maybe I have not said “yes” to myself, to my being, if the desire to die is so strong. Is it a suicidal desire?

It is not a suicidal desire. One basic thing about suicide is that it arises only in people who are clinging very much to life. And when they fail in their clinging, the mind moves to the opposite pole. The function of the mind is of either/or: either it wants the whole, or none of it. The lust for life cannot be fulfilled totally, because life as such is a temporal thing; it is bound to end at a point, just as it began one day at a point. You cannot have a line with only the beginning; somewhere or other there is bound to be an end.

So the people who commit suicide are not against life; it only appears so. They want life in its totality, they want to grab it whole, and when they fail — and they are bound to fail — then out of frustration, out of failure, they start thinking of death. Then suicide is the only alternative. They will not be satisfied with whatsoever life gives them; they want more and more and more.

Life is short, and the desire for more and more is infinite, so the failure is certain. Somewhere or other there is bound to come a moment when they will feel they have been cheated by life. Nobody is cheating them — they have cheated themselves. They have been asking too much, and they have only been asking, they have not been giving anything, not even gratefulness. In anger, in rage, in revenge the pendulum of the mind moves to the other end — still they do not know with whom they are taking the revenge. They are killing themselves: it does not destroy life, it does not destroy existence.

So this experience is not of a suicidal nature. It is something similar to suicide, but on a very different level and from a very different dimension. When you are relaxed, when there is no tension in you, when there is no desire, when the mind is as silent as a lake without any ripples, a deep feeling arises in you to disappear in this moment, because life has not given you anything better than this. There have been moments of happiness, of pleasure, but this is something far beyond happiness and pleasure; it is pure blissfulness.

To turn back from it is really hard. One wants to go deeper, and one can see going deeper means disappearing. Most of him has already disappeared in relaxation, in silence, in desirelessness. Most of his personality has already gone; just a small thread of the ego is still hanging around. And he would like to take a jump out of this circle of the ego, because if relaxing even within the ego brings so much benediction, one cannot imagine what will be the result if everything is dissolved, so that one can say, “I am not and existence is.”

This is not a suicidal instinct. This is what basically is meant by spiritual liberation: it is liberation from the ego, from desire, even from the lust for life. It is total liberation, it is absolute freedom.

But in this situation the question is bound to arise in everyone. The question is arising not out of your intelligence; the question is arising out of your cowardice. You really want some excuse not to dissolve, not to evaporate into the infinite. Immediately the mind gives you the idea that this is what suicide is: — “Don’t commit suicide. Suicide is a sin, suicide is a crime. Come back!” And you start coming back. And coming back means you become again tense, again full of anxieties, again full of desires. Again the whole tragic drama of your life…

It is your fear of total dissolution. But you don’t want to accept it as a fear, so you give it a condemnatory name — suicide. It has nothing to do with suicide; it is really going deeper into life.

Life has two dimensions. One is horizontal — in which you are all living, in which you are always asking for more and more and more. The quantity is not the question; no quantity is going to satisfy you.

The horizontal line is the quantitative line. You can go on and on. It is like the horizon — as you go on, the horizon goes on receding back. The distance between you and the goal of your more and more, the goal of your desire, remains always exactly the same. It was the same when you were a child, it was the same when you were young, it is the same when you are old. It will remain the same to your last breath. The horizontal line is exactly an illusion. The horizon does not exist, it only appears — there, perhaps just a few miles away, the sky is meeting the earth… it meets nowhere. And out of the horizon comes the horizontal line — unending, because the goal is illusory; you cannot come to make it a reality. And your patience is limited; your span of life is limited. One day you realize that it seems all futile, meaningless: “I am unnecessarily dragging myself, torturing myself, reaching nowhere.” Then the opposite of it arises in you — destroy yourself. It is not worthwhile to live, because life promises, but never delivers the goods.

But life has another line —- a vertical line. The vertical line moves in a totally different dimension. In such an experience, for a moment you have turned your face towards the vertical.

You are not asking — that’s why you are being given.

You are not desiring — that’s why so much is made available to you.

You don’t have any goal — that’s why you are so close to it.

Because there is no desire, no goal, no asking, no begging, you don’t have any tension; you are utterly relaxed. In this relaxed state is the meeting with existence.

The fear comes at the moment when you come to dissolve your last part, because then it will be irrevocable; you will not be able to come back.

I have told many times a beautiful poem of Rabindranath Tagore. The poet has been searching for God for millions of lives. He has seen him sometimes, far away, near a star, and he started moving that way, but by the time he reached that star, God has moved to some other place. But he went on searching and searching — he was determined to find God’s home — and the surprise of surprises was, one day he actually reached a house where on the door was written: “God’s Home.”

You can understand his ecstasy, you can understand his joy. He runs up the steps, and just as he is going to knock on the door, suddenly his hand freezes. An idea arises in him: “If by chance this is really the home of God, then I am finished, my seeking is finished. I have become identified with my seeking, with my search. I don’t know anything else. If the door opens and I face God, I am finished — the search is over. Then what? Then there is an eternity of boredom — no excitement, no discovery, no new challenge, because there cannot be any challenge greater than God.”

He starts trembling with fear, takes his shoes off his feet, and descends back down the beautiful marble steps. He took the shoes off so that no noise was made, for his fear was that even a noise on the steps… God may open the door, although he has not knocked. And then he runs as fast as he has never run before. He used to think that he had been running after God as fast as he can, but today, suddenly, he finds energy which was never available to him before. He runs as he has never run, not looking back.

The poem ends, “I am still searching for God. I know his home, so I avoid it and search everywhere else. The excitement is great, the challenge is great, and in my search I continue, I continue to exist. God is a danger — I will be annihilated. But now I am not afraid even of God, because I know His home. So, leaving His home aside, I go on searching for him all around the universe. And deep down I know my search is not for God; my search is to nourish my ego.”

I place Rabindranath Tagore as one of the greatest religious men of our century, although he is not ordinarily related with religion. But only a religious man of tremendous experience can write this poem. It is not just ordinary poetry; it contains such a great truth. And that’s what your question is raising. Relaxed, you come to a moment where you feel you are going to disappear, and then you think, “Perhaps this is a suicidal instinct,” and you come back to your old miserable world. But that miserable world has one thing: it protects your ego, it allows you to be.

This is the strange situation: blissfulness does not allow you; you have to disappear. That’s why you don’t see many blissful people in the world. Misery nourishes your ego — that’s why you see so many miserable people in the world. The basic central point is the ego.

So you have not come to a point of suicide. You have come to a point of nirvana, of cessation, of disappearance, of blowing out the candle. This is the ultimate experience. If you can gather courage, just one step more… Existence is only one step away from you.

Don’t listen to this garbage of your mind saying that this is suicide. You are neither drinking poison, nor are you hanging yourself from a tree, and you are not shooting yourself with a gun — what suicide? You are simply becoming thinner and thinner and thinner. And the moment comes when you are so thin and so spread all over existence that you cannot say you are, but you can say that existence is. This we have called enlightenment, not suicide.

This we have called realization of the ultimate truth. But you have to pay the price. And the price is nothing but dropping the ego. So when such a moment comes, don’t hesitate. Dancingly, disappear… with a great laughter, disappear; with songs on your lips, disappear.

I am not a theoretician, this is not my philosophy. I have come to the same borderline many times and turned back. I have also found the home of God many times and could not knock. Jesus has a few sayings. One of the sayings is, “Knock, and the door shall be opened unto you.” If this sentence has any meaning, it is this meaning that I am giving you now.

So when this moment comes, rejoice and melt. It is human nature — and understandable — that many times you will come back. But those many times don’t count. One time, gather all courage and take a jump.

You will be, but in such a new way that you cannot connect it with the old. It will be a discontinuity. The old was so tiny, so small, so mean, and the new is so vast. From a small dewdrop you have become the ocean. But even the dewdrop slipping from a lotus leaf trembles for a moment, tries to hang on a little more, because he can see the ocean… once he has fallen from the lotus leaf he is gone. Yes, in a way he will not be; as a dewdrop he will be gone. But it is not a loss. He will be oceanic.

And all other oceans are limited.

The ocean of existence is unlimited.

-Osho

From Beyond Psychology, Discourse #4

Beyond Psychology

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.

 

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