The Beauty of Egoless Moments – Osho

You are teaching us to believe in nothing. But why should I try to drop my ego without believing that life is better without an ego? Before I drop my ego I cannot know how life is without an ego. Therefore I have to believe that life is better without an ego before I try to drop the ego. But I can’t believe it, because I suppose that life without an ego is life without a will of my own. The idea of giving up my own will is horrible to me. I cannot imagine that anybody would do this of his own free will, because my ego is all I have. Osho, Please talk to us about this. 

Bernd Schweiger. It happens all the time that I say one thing and you understand something else for the simple reason that I am talking from a state of no-mind and you are listening through the mind. It is as if a person who is awake is talking to a person who is fast asleep. Yes, even in sleep you can hear a few words, fragments of words, maybe even fragments of sentences. But you will not be able to understand exactly what is being said to you. You are bound to misunderstand.

That is one of the problems faced by all those people who have experienced something of the beyond. The beyond cannot he put into words. It remains inexpressible for the simple reason that you can understand only that which you have experienced.

I am not saying drop the ego; that is impossible. Even if you want to drop it you cannot drop it. It is impossible because the ego does not exist. How can you drop something which does not exist? You can only drop something which exists in the first place. But the ego is a false phenomenon; nobody has ever been able to drop it.

Then what do I mean when I say learn the secret of being egoless? I do not mean that you have to drop it but that you have to understand it. There is no question of belief.

Now the whole question has come out of your misunderstanding, but you are making it look so logical that anybody looking at your question will think, “Of course, how can you drop the ego without believing that life will be better without the ego?” And I say don’t believe in anything. I repeat again: don’t believe in anything. I am not saying that you should believe me and become egoless, I am simply saying – sharing my own experience – that the more I tried to understand the ego the more I became aware that it is non-existential. When I became fully conscious of it, it disappeared.

It disappears of its own accord. You don’t drop it. If you drop it, then who will drop it? Then the ego will survive; then it will be the ego dropping another ego, dropping the gross ego. And the gross is not dangerous; the subtle ego is more dangerous. Then you will become a pious egoist, you will become a humble egoist, you will become a spiritual egoist. Then you will become an “egoless” egoist. And that is getting into more trouble because that is getting into more contradictions.

All that I am saying to you is very simple. Try to understand what this ego is. Just look at it, watch it. Become aware of all its subtle ways, how it comes in. And there are moments when it is not – watch those moments also. Even you have those moments when it is not. It needs constant pedaling – it is like a bicycle. If you go on pedaling it, it can go on moving; if you stop pedaling it… how far can it go without pedaling? Maybe a few feet, maybe one furlong, two furlongs, but then it is bound to fall.

The ego needs to be constantly nourished. There are moments when you forget to nourish it and it disappears. For example, seeing a beautiful sunset it disappears because the sunset possesses you so totally. It is so beautiful, it is so extraordinary, so exquisite, it fills you with wonder and awe; for a moment you forget completely that you are, only the sunset is, and the clouds and the luminous colors on the clouds, and the birds coming back to their nests, and the day ending, entering into a silent night; as the sun starts disappearing below the horizon, something in you stops.

It happened to Ramakrishna – his first experience of egolessness. He was only thirteen. He was coming home from the field – he was a poor man’s son and he lived in a small village. He was passing by the lake. A silent evening, the sunset, and there was nobody on the lake; his coming to the lake… There was a big crowd of white cranes sitting by the side of the lake. They suddenly flew up – it was so sudden, as if out of nowhere – and against the backdrop of a black cloud which was shining like velvet against the setting sun, those white cranes in a row flashed before his eyes like lightning. It was a moment, a tremendous moment!

He fell on the ground. He was so possessed by the beauty of it he became unconscious. He had to be carried home by others. After one hour somebody found him Lying down there on the shore of the lake. It took six hours for him to be brought back to consciousness. When he came back to consciousness he started crying. And they asked, “Why are you crying? You should be happy – you have come back to consciousness.”

He said, “No, I am crying because I have come back to the ordinary world. I was not unconscious. I had moved to a higher plane of consciousness, I had moved to some new plane. I don’t know what it was, but I was not there and still there was great joy. I have never tasted such joy!”

That was his first experience, his first satori: a moment of egolessness. Then he started seeking and searching for it deliberately, consciously. He would go to the lake again and again in the morning, in the evening, in the night, and it started happening again and again more easily.

It happens to you too; it has happened to everybody. God comes to everybody. You may have forgotten him; he has not forgotten you – he cannot. It is not only that you are searching for him; he is also groping for you, he is also searching for you.

I am not telling you to drop the ego, I am telling you to understand it, to see it. Seeing it, it disappears. And see and become aware of those moments when it disappears of its own accord. Making love, it disappears. In a deep orgasm, it disappears; you melt, merge into existence. The wave again becomes the ocean; it is no more separate, it falls back into the ocean. It is only for a moment. Remain conscious of that moment and you will see the beauty of it. Once you have seen the beauty of egoless moments, then it will be easy for you to see the ugliness of the ego, the misery of the ego.

You need not believe me; I am simply inviting you to experience it. I am utterly against belief – belief is the cause of destroying religion on the earth. It is belief that has made religions false and pseudo.

Now listen to your question again, Schweiger.

You say: You are teaching us to believe in nothing.

Absolutely true.

But why should I try to drop my ego…?

Who has said this? You must have heard it, that I can understand, but I have not said it.

A young man went to a sex therapist for advice about his staying power. “Ah yes, ” said the therapist. “Premature ejaculation is quite a common problem for many young men. It is entirely due to over-eagerness and there is a definite cure.”

“What is that, doctor?” asked the young man.

“Next time you go to bed with a woman, imagine that you are about to eat a delicious meal in a gourmet restaurant. Imagine every aspect of the meal, from the soup to the coffee.

“Begin with the soup… imagine it steaming in the bowl… taste each spoonful. Next, order the wine, perhaps a rose’. Smell the bouquet of the wine, look at it sparkling with each sip. Imagine the main course… perhaps a mushroom-garnished steak with a baked potato, sour cream and chives and a fresh green salad. Eat it very slowly, tasting each bite. After the main course order dessert… perhaps a chocolate mousse or a pecan pie with whipped cream. And then… you are ready for your coffee… Brazilian, French roast, or maybe cappuccino. Then you can relax and feel the contentment of having enjoyed a very satisfying meal.

“By the time you have enjoyed such a banquet in your imagination your problem will disappear. You will have such an orgasm, such fulfillment – together! ”

The young man thanked the therapist and went away, delighted. That same evening in bed with his woman friend, they began making love. So he started to fantasize. He pictured the restaurant in his mind, sat down at the table, and called out, “Hey, waiter, we’ll have the tomato soup… and a cup of coffee!”

You may have heard it, but I have not said it!

You say: Before I drop my ego I cannot know how life is without an ego.

You have known it many times already. Nobody is so poor… I have never come across a man who has never known a few moments of it. Just try to remember. Or now, if you cannot remember, just try every day to watch. Soon you will be able to see a few moments which are without ego. Even this moment, if you are not too concerned about your question, this moment can be without ego; it is so for everybody else. It may not be for you because you will be so disturbed that I am destroying such a logical question of yours, that I am avoiding the real question, that I am trying to evade it, that I am not being logical. I never am, because what I am trying to indicate is basically supra-logical.

If you just try to listen to me as if this were not Schweiger’s question but some other fool’s – some idiot has asked this, not you – then even this moment can be of tremendous beauty and you can experience egolessness. And then you can compare. Only your own experience and comparison will make it possible for you to decide. Who am I to decide for you? I never decide for anybody else.


From Tao: the Golden Gate, V.1, Chapter Eight

Tao-The Golden Gate, V.1

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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The Head and the Heart – Osho

How is it possible that Gurdjieff needed another head, an Ouspensky, to work on a third psychology, the psychology of the buddhas, while you work by yourself and you can be both in the state of mind and no-mind?

There have been two kinds of Masters in the world. One kind, the first, has always needed somebody else to express, to interpret, to philosophize, to communicate what the Master has experienced. Gurdjieff is not alone in that; he needed P.D. Ouspensky – without Ouspensky he would not have been known at all. Ramakrishna comes in the same category; he needed a Vivekananda – without Vivekananda Ramakrishna would have remained absolutely unheard of.

So has been the case with many Masters, for the simple reason that their whole work concerned the heart center. They became crystallized in the heart center – so much so that it was impossible for them to move to the head and to use their own heads. It appeared far easier for them to use somebody else’s head rather than their own.

But there was a difficulty in it. One thing was good about it: the Master himself was not constantly moving between two extremes from mind to no-mind, from no-mind to mind – there was no movement in his being; he was absolutely crystallized. But another kind of trouble was there: the man who was being used as a medium – Ouspensky, Vivekananda, or others – was himself not an enlightened person. Gurdjieff could use Ouspensky’s head, but not exactly the way he would have liked to. Ouspensky’s own mind was bound to color Gurdjieff’s experience; he was bound to bring his own prejudices, his own philosophy, his own understanding to it. He had no experience of his own, he was simply a medium. But the medium is not just an empty vehicle, he has his own mind, and anything passing through his mind is going to be changed a little bit here, a little bit there.

Ouspensky introduced Gurdjieff to the world, but he introduced Gurdjieff in his own way. One cannot blame Ouspensky. What could he do? He tried his best. I think he was one of the best interpreters that any Master has ever been able to find; but still an interpreter is an interpreter. It can’t be the same; it is impossible to be the same. Hence sooner or later they had to part from each other.

In the last days of Ouspensky’s life he became almost an enemy to Gurdjieff. He started saying, “Now Gurdjieff has gone mad. At first he was moving in the right direction, but the later Gurdjieff has gone astray.” He could not say that the whole of Gurdjieff’s teaching was wrong because his own teaching was based on Gurdjieff’s teaching, but he divided Gurdjieff in two: the first part of Gurdjieff – when Ouspensky was with him – was right and the later part was wrong. In fact, the later part was the culmination of the first part.

But why did this happen? It was almost bound to happen because sooner or later Ouspensky’s own mind was going to become a barrier. When he first came to Gurdjieff he was absolutely surrendered to him – surrendered in the sense that he was fascinated by his personality, fascinated intellectually – because he was a great intellectual – absolutely surrendered in the intellectual sense, not in the existential sense. If he had been existentially surrendered he would have been of no use because Gurdjieff needed a head, he was in search of a head. He had many other followers who were devoted to him from their very innermost core, but they were not going to become his interpreters to the world.

When Ouspensky came to Gurdjieff he was already a world-famous mathematician, a philosopher. His own book, Tertium Organum, had already been translated into almost all the great languages of the world. And that book, Tertium Organum, is really something tremendous; coming out of a man who was unenlightened it is almost a miracle. Intellectually he managed something which nobody has ever been able to manage. He knew nothing, he had not experienced anything, but his intellectual grasp… his intellect was really sharp. He belongs to the topmost intellectuals of the whole history of humanity; there are very few competitors to rival him. Only once in a while….

Socrates had such a man, Plato. Socrates was the heart of the teaching, Plato was the head.

Exactly the same was repeated in the case of Gurdjieff: Gurdjieff was the heart, Ouspensky became the head. And if I have to choose between the two my choice will be Ouspensky, not Plato. Ouspensky is simply unbelievable; his insight, without any self-realization, is so accurate that anybody who has not experienced will think that Ouspensky was a Buddha, a Christ. Only a Buddha will be able to detect the flaws, not anyone else. The flaws are there but ordinarily undetectable.

He started writing books on Gurdjieff. He wrote one of his greatest contributions, In Search of the Miraculous, then he wrote The Fourth Way. And these two books introduced Gurdjieff to the world; otherwise, he would have remained an absolutely unknown Master. Maybe a few people would have come in personal contact with him and would have been benefited, but Ouspensky made him available to millions.

But as those books spread all over the world and thousands of people started moving towards Gurdjieff, Ouspensky also became very egoistic – naturally, because he was the cause of the whole thing. In fact, he started thinking, “Without me, what is Gurdjieff? Who is Gurdjieff without me? Who was he? When I met him he was just a refugee living in a refugee camp in Constantinople, almost starving. Nobody had ever heard about him. I have made him world famous; the whole credit goes to me.” This idea went to his head – it became too much for him – and in subtle ways he started to dominate the movement. And you cannot dominate a man like Gurdjieff, you cannot dictate to a man like Gurdjieff. They had to part.

In the last days of his life Ouspensky was so against Gurdjieff that he would not tolerate anybody mentioning Gurdjieff’s name to him; in his presence Gurdjieff’s name was not mentioned. Even in his books Gurdjieff’s name was reduced to only “G”; the full name disappeared. After the break just “G” remained – somebody anonymous, “‘G’ said . . .,” not “Gurdjieff.” And he made it clear, very clear: “We have parted and I have developed my own system.” He started gathering his own followers. Those followers were not allowed to read Gurdjieff’s books, those followers were not allowed to go and see Gurdjieff. While Ouspensky was alive he was very suspicious of anybody who wanted to go to Gurdjieff or who even wanted to study his books.

But Gurdjieff was aware that this was going to happen. Still, there was no other way; some head had to be used. Gurdjieff’s work was such that he was absolutely crystallized in his heart; he could not move to the head.

So was the case with Ramakrishna. Vivekananda was an ordinary intellectual, not even of the caliber of Ouspensky, but he made Ramakrishna world famous. Ramakrishna died very early, that’s why Vivekananda and Ramakrishna never parted; otherwise the parting was absolutely certain. But Ramakrishna died and Vivekananda became his whole and sole representative. He dominated all the followers, he dominated the whole movement; he became for them the representative of Ramakrishna. If Ramakrishna had lived, the same thing would have happened sooner or later because Vivekananda was just head and nothing else, nothing of the heart. Even if he talks about the heart it is just head-talk, the head talking about the heart, it is not heart-full. There is no love in it, there is no meditation in it, there is no prayer in it, just intellectual analysis. He knew the scriptures and he forced his ideas on Ramakrishna’s ideas. And Ramakrishna had died so there was nobody to say no to it.

Vivekananda destroyed the whole beauty of Ramakrishna. But that was going to happen because Ramakrishna was not a man of the head at all.

But this has not always been the case. Buddha never depended on anybody else. He was capable of moving from mind to no-mind, from no-mind to mind; that is his greatness. That is a far greater achievement than that of Gurdjieff or Ramakrishna because their achievements are in a way limited. Buddha is very liquid; he is not solid like a rock, he is more fluid – like a river.

So was the case with Lao Tzu: he never depended on anybody else, he said whatever he had to say. He said it himself, and as beautifully as it could be said. And their philosophies are bound to be far more pure because they come from the original man, they come from the original realization, from the very source; there is no via media. So is the case with Zarathustra, Jesus, Krishna, Mahavira.

This is the second category of Masters. The first category is easier in a way; it is easy to be crystallized at one center. It is a far more complex process, a longer and far more arduous journey, to remain alive at both extremes. These are the two extremes: the head and the heart. But it is possible. It has happened before. It is happening right now in front of you.

I live in silence, but my work consists of much intellectual communication. I live in silence, but I have to use words. But when I use words, those words contain my silence. I don’t need anybody else to interpret me; hence there is a far greater possibility that whatsoever I am saying will remain pure for a longer period of time.

And now, since Buddha, many scientific developments have happened….

We don’t know what Buddha actually said although he never used anybody like Ouspensky or Plato or Vivekananda; he himself was his own interpreter. But there arose a problem when he died. He spoke for forty-two years – he became enlightened when he was about forty and then he lived to eighty-two. For forty-two years he was speaking morning, afternoon, evening. Now there were no scientific methods for recording what he was saying. When he died the first question was how to collect it all. He had said so much – forty-two years is a long time, and many had become enlightened in those forty-two years. But those who became enlightened had become crystallized in the heart because that is easier, simpler, and people tend to move to the simplest process, to the shortcut. Why bother? If you can reach a point directly, straight, then why go roundabout? And when Buddha was alive there was no need for anybody else to interpret him; he was his own spokesman, so the need was never felt.

There were thousands of arhats and bodhisattvas; they all gathered. Only those were called to the gathering who had become enlightened – obviously, because they would not misinterpret Buddha. And that’s true, they could not misinterpret him – it was impossible for them. They had also experienced the same universe of the beyond, they had also moved to the farther shore.

But they all said, “We have never bothered much about his words since we became enlightened. We have listened to him because his words were sweet. We have listened to him because his words were pure music. We have listened to him because just listening to him was a joy. We have listened to him because that was the only way to be close to him. Just to sit by his side and listen to him was a rejoicing, it was a benediction. But we did not bother about what he was saying; once we attained there was no need. We were not listening from the head and we were not collecting in the memory; our own heads and memories stopped functioning long ago.”

Somebody became enlightened thirty years before Buddha died. Now for thirty years he sat there by the side of Buddha listening as one listens to the wind passing through the pine trees or one listens to the song of the birds or one listens to the rain falling on the roof. But they were not listening intellectually. So they said, “We have not carried any memory of it. Whatsoever he must have said was beautiful, but what he said we cannot recollect. Just to be with him was such a joy.”

It was very difficult now – how to collect his words? The only man who had lived continuously with Buddha for forty-two years was Ananda; he was his personal attendant, his caretaker. He had listened to him, almost every word that he had uttered was heard by Ananda. Even if he was talking to somebody privately, Ananda was present. Ananda was almost always present, like a shadow. He had heard everything – whatsoever had fallen from his lips. And he must have said many things to Ananda when there was nobody there. They must have talked just on going to bed in the night.  Ananda used to sleep in the same room just to take care of him – he may need something in the night. He may feel cold, he may feel hot, he may like the window to be opened or closed, or he may feel thirsty and may need some water or something, or – he was getting old – he may feel sick. So Ananda was there continuously.

They all said, “We should ask Ananda.” But then there was a very great problem: Ananda was not yet enlightened. He had heard everything that Buddha uttered publicly, uttered privately. They must have gossiped together; there was nobody else who could have said, “I am friendly with Buddha,” except Ananda. And Ananda was also his cousin-brother, and not only a cousin-brother but two years older than Buddha. So when he had come to be initiated he asked for a few things before his initiation, because in India the elder brother has to be respected just like your father. Even the elder cousin-brother has to be respected just like your father.

So Ananda said to Buddha, “Before I take initiation…. Once I become your bhikkhu, your sannyasin, I will have to follow your orders, your commandments. Then whatsoever you say I will have to do. But before that I order you, as your elder brother, to grant me three things. Remember these three things. First: I will always be with you. You cannot say to me, ‘Ananda, go somewhere else, do something else.’ You cannot send me to some other village to preach, to convert people, to give your message. This is my first order to you. Second: I will be always present. Even if you are talking to somebody privately I want to hear everything. Whatsoever you are going to say in your life I want to be an audience to it. So you will not be able to tell me, ‘This is a private talk, you go out.’ I will not go, remember it! And thirdly: I am not much interested in being enlightened, I am much more interested in just being with you. So if enlightenment means separating from you I don’t care a bit about it. Only if I can remain with you even after enlightenment, am I willing to be enlightened, otherwise forget about it.”

And Buddha nodded his yes to all these three orders – he had to, he was younger than Ananda – and he followed those three things his whole life.

The conference of the arhats and the bodhisattvas decided that only Ananda could relate Buddha’s words. And he had a beautiful memory; he had listened to everything very attentively. ”But the problem is he is not yet enlightened; we cannot rely upon him. His mind may play tricks, his mind may change things unconsciously. He may not do it deliberately, he may not do it consciously, but he still has a great unconscious in him. He may think he has heard that Buddha said this and he may never have said it. He may delete a few words; he may add a few words. Who knows? And we don’t have any criterion because many things that he has heard only he has heard; there is no other witness.”

And Ananda was sitting outside the hall. The doors were closed and he was weeping outside on the steps. He was weeping because he was not allowed inside. An eighty-four-year-old man weeping like a child! The man who had lived for forty-two years with Buddha was not allowed in! Now he was really in anguish. Why did he not become enlightened? Why did he not insist7 He made a vow, a decision: “I will not move from these steps until I become enlightened.” He closed his eyes, he forgot the whole world. And it is said that within twenty-four hours, without changing his posture, he became enlightened.

When he became enlightened he was allowed in. Then he related… all these scriptures were related by Ananda. But who knows? He became enlightened afterwards. All those memories belong to the mind of an unenlightened person; even though he had become enlightened, those memories were not those of an enlightened person. It is not absolutely certain that what is reported is exactly what Buddha said.

But now science has given all the technology. Each single word – not only the word but the pauses in between – the very nuances of the words, the way they are uttered, the very gestures, all can be recorded. The words can be recorded, the gestures can be photographed, films can be made, tapes can be made.

Now the best way for any enlightened person is not to depend on anybody else, although that path is difficult, far more difficult, because you have to do two things together. You have to constantly shuttle back and forth, back and forth. You have to constantly go into wordlessness and come out from that emptiness into the world of words. It is a difficult phenomenon, the most difficult phenomenon in the whole of existence; because when you enter into silence it is so beautiful that to come back to the universe of words looks absurd, meaningless. It is as if you have reached to the sunlit peaks and then you come back to the dark holes where people live in the valley, the slums. When you have touched the sunlit peaks, when you can live there and you can float like a cloud in the infinite sky, to come back to the muddy earth, to crawl again with people who are living in mud seems to be very absurd. But there is no other way. If you have compassion enough you have to go into this difficult process.

It depends on many things too. It depends on the whole process by which a Master has reached through many lives. Ramakrishna was never an intellectual in any of his lives. A simple man – in this life he was a simple man. Even if he had wanted to it would have been impossible for him to become a Vivekananda too. It was easier to find somebody who could do that work.

Gurdjieff, when he was very young, only twelve years of age, became part of a party of seekers: thirty people who made a decision that they would go to the different parts of the world and find out whether truth was only talk or there were a few people who had known it. Just a twelve-year-old boy, but he was chosen to join the party for the simple reason that he had great stamina, he had great power. One thing was certain about him: whatsoever he decided, he would risk all for it. He would not look back, he would never escape even if he had to lose his life he would lose his life. And three times he was almost shot dead – almost, but he pulled himself back into life somehow; the purpose was still unfulfilled.

Those thirty people traveled all over the world. They came to India; they went to Tibet and the whole Middle East, all the Sufi monasteries, all the Himalayan monasteries. And they had decided to come back to a certain place in the Middle East and to relate whatsoever they had gained; after each twelve years they were going to meet. At the end of the first twelve years almost half of them did not return; they must have died somehow, or forgotten the mission, or become entangled somewhere. Somebody must have got married, fallen in love. A thousand and one things can happen – people are accident-prone. Only fifteen people returned. And after the next twelve years only three people came back. And the third time only Gurdjieff was there, all the others had disappeared. What happened to them nobody knows.

But this man had very great decisiveness: if he had decided then nothing was going to deter him. He was almost killed three times; the only thing that saved him was his mission, that he had to go back, and he pulled himself out of his death. It needed great inner power.

He had no time to become an intellectual. He was moving with mystics – from one monastery to another monastery, from one cave to another cave, from one country to another country. He came to India, he went to Tibet, he went up to Japan; he gathered knowledge from all over the world. By the time he himself became enlightened there was no time left for him to intellectualize it, to put it into words. He knew the taste, but the words were not there. He needed a man like Ouspensky.

My own approach has been totally different. I began as an intellectual – not only in this life but in many lives. My whole work in many lives has been concerned with the intellect – refining the intellect, sharpening the intellect. In this life I began as an atheist with an absolute denial of God.

You cannot be an atheist if you are not supra-intellectual, and I was an absolute atheist. People used to avoid me because I was doubting each and every thing and my doubt was contagious. Even my teachers would avoid me.

One of my teachers was dying; I went to see him. He said, “Please… I am happy that you have come, but don’t say a single word because this is not the time. I am dying and I want to die believing that God is.”

I said, “You cannot. Seeing me, the doubt has already arisen.’

He said, “What do you mean?”

And the thing started! Before he died, just after twelve hours, he died an atheist. And I was so happy! I had to work for twelve hours continuously. Out of desperation he said, “Okay, let me die peacefully. I say that there is no God. Are you happy? Now leave me alone!”

My university professors were always in difficulties. I was expelled from one college, then another, and then thrown out of one university. Finally one university admitted me with the condition – I had to sign it, a written condition – that I would not ask any questions and I would not argue with the professors.

I said okay. I signed it and the Vice-Chancellor was very happy. And I said, “Now, a few things. What do you mean by ‘argument’?”

He said, “Here you go!”

I said, ”I have not written that I would not ask for any clarification. I can ask for a clarification. What do you mean by an ‘argument’? And if I cannot ask a question, what is the point of your whole department of philosophy? – because all your philosophers ask questions. The whole of philosophy depends on doubt; doubt is the base of all philosophy. If I cannot doubt your stupid philosophers, your stupid professors, then how am I going to learn philosophy?”

He said, “Look at what you are saying! You are calling my professors, in front of me, stupid!”

I said, “They are stupid, otherwise why these conditions? Can you think of somebody being intelligent and asking his students not to question him? Is this a sign of intelligence? A professor will invite questions. An intelligent professor will be happy with a student who can argue well.”

That remained a problem. My whole approach from the very beginning was not that of a Ramakrishna. I am not a devotional type, not at all. I have arrived at God through atheism, not through theism. I have arrived at God not by believing in him but by absolutely doubting him. I have come to a certainty because I have doubted and I went on doubting till there was no possibility to doubt anymore, till I came across something indubitable. That has been my process.

That was not the process of Gurdjieff. He was learning from Masters, moving from one Master to another Master, learning techniques and methods and devices. He learned many devices, but he learned in a very surrendered spirit, that of a disciple.

I have never been anybody’s disciple; nobody has been my Master. In fact, nobody was ready to accept me as a disciple, because who would like to create trouble?


My whole approach has been a totally different approach than that of Ramakrishna and Gurdjieff. I have arrived through doubt; I have arrived through deep and profound skepticism. I have arrived not through belief but through the denial of all belief and disbelief too, because disbelief is belief in a negative form.

A moment came in my life when all beliefs and all disbeliefs disappeared and I was left utterly empty. In that emptiness the explosion happened. Hence it is not so difficult for me, so I can argue easily. I can even argue against argument; that’s what I am going to continue to do. I can argue against intellect because I know how to use intellect.

Ramakrishna had never used his intellect; he started from the heart. And the same is the case with Gurdjieff. Buddha could use the intellect because he was the son of a king, well educated, well cultured. All the great philosophers of the country were called to teach him; he knew what the intellectual approach was. And then he became fed up with it.

The same happened with me. I know what can be achieved through intellectual effort: nothing can be achieved through it. When I say it I say it through my own experience.

But it has been beautiful in one way. It did not result in giving me truth – it cannot give truth to anybody – but in an indirect way it has cleansed the ground, it has prepared the ground. It has not helped me to realize myself, but it has helped me to communicate whatsoever I have realized.

I can communicate with you very easily, with no problems. You can ask all kinds of questions, you can ask, you can doubt, because I know that all these questions and doubts can be quashed, they can be destroyed. And it is good that you should ask because then I can destroy your questions. Once all your questions are destroyed, the answer arises in your own being. In that utter emptiness something wells up; it is already there.

I am not in favor of repressing doubt by believing. You are not here to believe in me, you are here to bring out all your disbelief. Your doubts, your questions, all are respected, welcome, so that they can be taken out from you. Slowly, slowly a silence, a state of not-knowing arises. And the state of not-knowing is the state of wisdom, is the state of enlightenment.


Excerpt from Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Chapter Eight

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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On Nietzsche’s “God Is Dead” – Osho

Friends, a new series of talks begins today: God Is Dead, Now Zen Is the Only Living Truth. The series is dedicated to Friedrich Nietzsche, who was the first man in the history of mankind to declare, “God is dead, therefore man is free.”

It was a tremendous statement; its implications are many. First I would like to discuss Nietzsche’s statement.

All the religions believe that God created the world and also mankind. But if you are created by someone, you are only a puppet; you don’t have your own soul. And if you are created by somebody, he can uncreate you any moment. He neither asked you whether you wanted to be created, nor is he going to ask you, “Do you want to be uncreated?”

God is the greatest dictator, if you accept the fiction that he created the world and also created mankind. If God is a reality, then man is a slave, a puppet. All the strings are in his hands, even your life. Then there is no question of any enlightenment. Then there is no question of there being any Gautam the Buddha, because there is no freedom at all. He pulls the strings, you dance; he pulls the strings, you cry; he pulls the strings, you start murders, suicide, war. You are just a puppet and he is the puppeteer.

Then there is no question of sin or virtue, no question of sinners and saints. Nothing is good and nothing is bad, because you are only a puppet. A puppet cannot be responsible for its actions.

Responsibility belongs to someone who has the freedom to act. Either God can exist or freedom, both cannot exist together. That is the basic implication of Friedrich Nietzsche’s statement: God is dead, therefore man is free.

No theologian, no founder of religions thought about this, that if you accept God as the creator, you are destroying the whole dignity of consciousness, of freedom, of love. You are taking all responsibility from man, and you are taking all his freedom away. You are reducing the whole of existence to just the whim of a strange fellow called God.

But Nietzsche’s statement is bound to be only one side of the coin. He is perfectly right, but only about one side of the coin. He has made a very significant and meaningful statement, but he has forgotten one thing, which was bound to happen because his statement is based on rationality, logic and intellect. It is not based on meditation.

Man is free, but free for what? If there is no God and man is free, that will simply mean man is now capable of doing anything, good or bad; there is nobody to judge him, nobody to forgive him. This freedom will be simply licentiousness.

There comes the other side. You remove God and you leave man utterly empty. Of course, you declare his freedom, but to what purpose? How is he going to use his freedom creatively, responsibly? How is he going to avoid freedom being reduced to licentiousness?

Friedrich Nietzsche was not aware of any meditations – that is the other side of the coin. Man is free, but his freedom can only be a joy and a blessing to him if he is rooted in meditation. Remove God – that is perfectly okay, he has been the greatest danger to human freedom – but give man also some meaning and significance, some creativity, some receptivity, some path to find his eternal existence. Zen is the other side of the coin.

Zen does not have any God, that’s its beauty. But it has a tremendous science to transform your consciousness, to bring so much awareness to you that you cannot commit evil. It is not a commandment from outside; it comes from your innermost being. Once you know your center of being, once you know you are one with the cosmos – and the cosmos has never been created, it has been there always and always, and will be there always and always, from eternity to eternity – once you know your luminous being, your hidden Gautam Buddha, it is impossible to do anything wrong, it is impossible to do anything evil, it is impossible to do any sin.

Friedrich Nietzsche in his last phase of life became almost insane. He was hospitalized, kept in a mad asylum. Such a great giant, what happened to him? He had concluded, “God is dead,” but it is a negative conclusion. He became empty, but his freedom was meaningless. There was no joy in it because it was only freedom FROM God, but for what? Freedom has two sides: from and for. The other side was missing. That drove him insane.

Emptiness always drives people insane. You need some grounding, you need some centering, you need some relationship with existence. God being dead, all your relationship with existence was finished. God being dead, you were left alone without roots. A tree cannot live without roots, nor can you.

God was non-existential, but it was a good consolation. It used to fill people’s interior, although it was a lie. But even a lie, repeated thousands and thousands of times for millennia, becomes almost a truth. God has been a great consolation to people in their fear, in their dread, in their awareness of old age and death, and beyond – the unknown darkness. God has been a tremendous consolation, although it was a lie. Lies can console you, you have to understand it. In fact lies are sweeter than the truth.

Gautam Buddha is reported to have said, “Truth is bitter in the beginning, sweet in the end, and lies are sweet in the beginning, bitter in the end” – when they are exposed. Then comes a tremendous bitterness, that you have been deceived by all your parents, by all your teachers, by all your priests, by all your so-called leaders. You have been continuously deceived. That frustration brings up a great distrust in everybody. “Nobody is worthy of trust…” It creates a vacuum.

So Nietzsche was insane in this last phase of his life, it was the inevitable conclusion of his negative approach. An intellect can only be negative; it can argue and criticize and be sarcastic, but it cannot give you any nourishment. From no negative standpoint can you get any nourishment. So he lost his God, and he lost his consolation. He became free just to be mad.

And it is not only Friedrich Nietzsche, so it cannot be said that it was just an accident. Many intellectual giants find themselves in mad asylums or commit suicide, because nobody can live in a negative darkness. One needs light and a positive, affirmative experience of truth. Nietzsche demolished the light and created a vacuum in himself and in others who followed him.

If you feel deep down a vacuum, utter emptiness with no meaning, it is because of Friedrich Nietzsche. A whole philosophy has grown in the West: Nietzsche is the founder of this very negative approach to life.

Soren Kierkegaard, and Jean-Paul Sartre, and Marcel, and Jaspers, and Martin Heidegger – all the great giants of the first half of this century – were talking only about meaninglessness, anguish, suffering, anxiety, dread, fear, angst. And this philosophy has been called in the West existentialism. It is not. It is simply non-existentialism. It destroys everything that has consoled you.

I agree with the destruction because what was consoling man were only lies. God, heaven, hell – all were fictions created to console man. It is good they are destroyed, but you are leaving man in an utter vacuum. Out of that vacuum existentialism is born, that’s why it talks only about meaninglessness: “Life has no meaning.” It talks about no significance: “You are just an accident. Whether you are here or not does not matter at all to existence.” And these people call their philosophy existentialism. They should call it accidentalism. You are not needed; just by accident, on the margin, somehow you have popped up. God was making you a puppet, and these philosophers from Nietzsche to Jean-Paul Sartre are making you accidental.

And there is a tremendous need in man’s being to be related to existence. He needs roots in existence, because only when the roots go deep into existence will he blossom into a buddha, will he blossom into millions of flowers, will his life not be meaningless. Then his life will be tremendously overflowing with meaning, significance, blissfulness; his life will be simply a celebration.

But the conclusion of the so-called existentialists is that you are unnecessary, that your life has no meaning, no significance. Existence is not in need of you at all!

So I want to complete Friedrich Nietzsche’s work; it is incomplete. It will lead the whole of humanity to madness – not only Friedrich Nietzsche, but the whole of humanity. Without God certainly you are free, but for what? You are left with empty hands. You were with empty hands before also, because the hands that looked full were full of lies. Now you are absolutely aware that the hands are empty and there is nowhere to go.

I have heard about one very famous atheist. He died, and his wife brought his best clothes, best shoes, before he was put in the coffin – the best tie, the costliest possible. She wanted to give him a good farewell, a good send-off. He was dressed as he had never dressed in his whole life.

And then friends came, and neighbors came. And one woman said, “Wow! He’s all dressed up and nowhere to go.” He was an atheist, so he did not believe in God, he did not believe in heaven, he did not believe in hell – nowhere to go, and so well-dressed!

But this is the situation any negative philosophy is going to leave for the whole of mankind: well dressed, ready to go, but nowhere to go! This situation creates insanity.

It was not an accident that Friedrich Nietzsche became insane; it was the outcome of his negative philosophy. Hence, I am calling this series, “God is Dead, Now Zen Is the Only Living Truth.”

I absolutely agree with Friedrich Nietzsche as far as God is concerned, but I want to complete his statement, which he could not do. He was not an awakened being; he was not an enlightened being.

Gautam Buddha also does not have a God, nor does Mahavira have a God, but they never went mad. All the Zen masters and all the great Tao masters – Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu – nobody went mad, and they don’t have any God. They don’t have any hell or heaven. What is the difference? Why did Gautam Buddha not go mad?

And it is not only Gautam Buddha. In twenty-five centuries hundreds of his people have become enlightened, and they don’t even talk about a God. They don’t even say that there is no God, because there is no point. They are not atheists. I am not an atheist, nor am I a theist. God simply is not there, so there is no question of atheism or theism.

But I am not mad. You are my witnesses. It does not create a vacuum in me; on the contrary, there being no God, I have gained the dignity of an individual who is free – free to become a buddha. That is the ultimate goal of freedom. Unless your freedom becomes your very flowering of awareness, and the experience of freedom leads you into eternity, leads you into the roots, into the cosmos and existence, you are going to be mad. Your life will be meaningless, with no significance. Whatever you do it does not matter.

Existence according to the so-called existentialists, who are all following Friedrich Nietzsche, the founder, is absolutely unintelligent. They have taken away God, so they think – according to logic it seems apparently true – if there is no God, existence also becomes dead, with no intelligence, with no life. God used to be the life, God used to be the consciousness. God used to be the very meaning, the very salt of our being. With God no longer there, this whole existence becomes soulless, life becomes just a by-product of matter. So when you die, everything will die, nothing will remain.

And there is no question of being good or bad. Existence is absolutely indifferent; it does not care about you. God used to care about you. Once God is removed, a great strangeness starts happening between you and existence. There is no relationship, existence does not care, cannot care because it is not conscious anymore. It is no longer an intelligent universe; it is simply dead matter, just as you are. And the life that you know is only a by-product.

A by-product disappears immediately when the elements that were creating it separate. For example, some religions believe that man is made of five elements: earth, air, fire, water, sky.

Once these five elements are together, life is produced as a by-product. When these five elements separate in death, life disappears.

To make it clear to you… in the beginning as you learn to ride a bicycle you fall many times. I have also learned, but I did not fall while learning, because first I watched the learners and why they fall.

They fall because they don’t have confidence. To be on two wheels you need tremendous balance, and if you hesitate… it is just like walking on a tightrope. If you hesitate just for a moment those two wheels cannot keep you on your seat. Those two wheels can keep you in balance only at a certain speed, and the learner is bound to move slowly. Obviously – it seems to be rational – if you are a learner, you should not go with great speed.

I watched all my friends learning to bicycle, and they always said to me, “Why don’t you learn?”

I said, “I am watching first. I am watching why you fall, and why after a few days you stop falling.” And once I got the point, the very first time I went as fast as possible!

All my friends were puzzled. They said, “We have never seen a learner go that fast. A learner is bound to fall a few times, then he learns how to balance.”

I said, “I have been watching, and I got the clue. The clue is you are not confident, not alert that a certain speed is needed to keep the bicycle moving. You cannot stop it and sit on top of it without falling; a certain momentum is needed, so you have to go on pedaling.”

Once I knew exactly what the problem was, I simply went so fast that my whole village wondered, “What will happen to him, because he does not know… and he is going with such speed!”

It was difficult for me to know how to stop; if I stopped, the cycle was going to fall. So I had to go to a place where there was a huge bodhi tree near the railway station, almost three miles from my house. Three miles I rushed so fast that people gave way, stood aside. They said, “This is absolute madness!”

But my madness had a method in it. I was going directly to that tree, because I knew the tree had become hollow. I rode my bicycle into the hollow tree so the front wheel was inside the tree. Then I could stop, there was no problem about falling.

One villager who was working in his field saw this. He said, “This is strange.” He asked me, “If there is no tree like this how are you going to stop?”

I said, “Now I have learned how to stop, because I just did it; I will not need a tree anymore. But this was my first experience. I had not seen the other people stopping, I had seen them falling. So I had no experience about stopping, that’s why I was riding so fast to reach to the bodhi tree.” One part of it had become completely hollow, and it was a huge tree, so I knew that it would be right to put my wheel inside and be held up by the tree. But once I had stopped, I had learned how to stop.

When I came to learn driving… Majid will be surprised that the man who was teaching me driving was called Majid, he was a Mohammedan. He was one of the best drivers in the city, and he loved me very much. In fact, he chose my first car. So he told me, “I will teach you.”

I said, “I don’t like to be taught. You just drive slowly so I can see and watch.”

He said, “What do you mean?”

I said, “I learn only by watching. I don’t want any teacher ever!”

He said, “But it is dangerous! A bicycle was okay. At the most you could have hurt yourself or one other, and not much. But a car is a dangerous thing.”

I said, “I am a dangerous man. You just drive it slowly and tell me everything about where is the pedal, where is the accelerator, where is the brake… you just tell me. And then you slowly move, and I will be walking by your side, just watching what you are doing.”

He said, “If you want it this way, I can do it, but I am very much afraid. If you do the same thing with the car as you have done with the bicycle…”

I said, “That’s why I am trying to watch more closely.” And once I got the idea I told him to get out. And I did the same thing as I had done with the bicycle.

I went so fast. Majid, my teacher, was running behind me, shouting, “Not that fast!” And in that city there was no limit on speed, because in Indian streets you cannot go above fifty-five. There is no need to put a sign everywhere that the speed limit is fifty-five miles per hour, you cannot go above fifty-five anyway.

But that poor fellow was very much afraid. He came running after me. He was a very tall man, a champion runner, there was every possibility that he could have become champion of the whole of India, and he might perhaps someday have participated in the Olympics. He tried hard to follow me, but soon I disappeared from his vision.

When I came back, he was praying under a tree, praying to God for my safety. And when I stopped by his side, so close that he jumped, he forgot all the prayer.

I said, “Don’t be worried. I have learned the whole thing. What were you doing here?”

He said, “I followed you, but soon you disappeared. Then I thought, the only thing is to pray to God to help him, because he knows nothing about driving. He is sitting in the driver’s seat for the first time, and he has gone nobody knows where. How did you turn? Where did you turn back?”

I said, “I had no idea how to turn, because you were just moving straight and I was walking by your side. So I had to go around the city. I had no idea how to turn, what signals to give, because you had not given any signals. But I managed. I went round the whole city so fast, the traffic was simply giving way. And I came back.”

And he said, “KHUDA HAFIZ.” It means, “God saved you.”

I said, “Don’t bring God in.”

Once you know that a certain balance is needed between the negative and the positive, then you have your roots in existence. It is one extreme to believe in God; it is another extreme not to believe in God, and you have to be just in the middle, absolutely balanced. Atheism becomes irrelevant, theism becomes irrelevant. But your balancing brings a new light, a new joy, a new blissfulness to you, a new intelligence which is not of the mind. That intelligence which is not of the mind makes you aware that the whole existence is tremendously intelligent. It is not only alive, it has sensitivity, it has intelligence.

Once you know your inner being is balanced and silent and peaceful, suddenly doors that have been closed by your thoughts simply move, and the whole existence becomes clear to you. You are not accidental. Existence needs you. Without you something will be missing in existence and nobody can replace it.

That’s what gives you dignity, that the whole existence will miss you. The stars and sun and moon, the trees and birds and earth – everything in the universe will feel a small place is vacant which cannot be filled by anybody except you. This gives you a tremendous joy, a fulfillment that you are related to existence, and existence cares for you. Once you are clean and clear, you can see tremendous love falling on you from all dimensions.

You are the highest evolution of existence, of intelligence, and it is dependent on you. If you grow higher than the mind and its intelligence, towards no-mind and its intelligence, existence is going to celebrate: one man again has reached to the ultimate peak. One part of existence has suddenly risen to the highest possibilities of the intrinsic potential in everybody.

There is a parable that the day Gautam Buddha became enlightened, the tree under which he had become enlightened, suddenly without any wind, started moving. He was amazed because there was no wind, no other tree around was moving, not even a single leaf was moving. But the tree under which he was sitting was moving, as if it was dancing. It does not have legs, it is so rooted in the earth, but it can at least show its joy.

It is a very strange phenomenon that certain chemicals which make you intelligent, which give you a better mind, are found in the bodhi tree in greater amounts than in any other tree. So it is not just coincidence that the tree under which Gautam Buddha became enlightened is still called according to his name. Bodhi means enlightenment. And the tree, scientists have found, has a larger amount of intelligence than any other tree in the world. It has so much of those chemicals it is overflowing.

When Manjushri, one of Gautam Buddha’s closest disciples, became enlightened, the story is that the tree under which he was sitting suddenly started showering with flowers, and it was not the season for the tree to bring flowers.

It may be just a parable. But these parables indicate that we are not separate from existence, that our joy will be shared even by the trees, even by the rocks, that our enlightenment will be a festival for the whole of existence.

It is meditation that fulfills your inner being and takes away the vacuum that used to be filled by a great lie, God. And many lies have grown around him.

If you remain with the negative you are going to be insane sooner or later, because you have lost all contact with existence, you have lost every meaning, every possibility of finding meaning. You have certainly dropped lies, which is good, but that is not enough to find the truth.

Drop the lies and make some effort to go inwards to find the truth. That is the whole science of Zen. That’s why I have entitled the series, God Is Dead, Now Zen Is the Only Living Truth. If God is dead and you don’t come close to the experience of Zen, you will become insane. Your sanity depends now only on Zen, that is the only way to find the truth. Then you are absolutely related with existence, and you are no longer a puppet, you are a master.

And a man who knows his relation, his deep relation with existence, cannot commit anything against existence, against life. It is simply impossible. He can only pour as much blissfulness, as much benediction, as much grace as you are ready to receive. But his sources are inexhaustible. When you have found your inexhaustible sources of life and its ecstasy, then it does not matter whether you have a God or not. It does not matter whether there is a hell or a heaven. It does not matter at all.

So religious people when they read Zen are simply puzzled, because it is not talking about anything they have been taught from the very beginning. It is talking about strange dialogues which have nothing… NO place for God, no place for paradise, no place for hell. It is a scientific religion. Its search is not based on belief; its search is based on experience. Just as science is objectively based on experiment, Zen is based subjectively on experience. One science goes outward, another science goes inward.

Nietzsche has no idea how to go inward. The West has been a wrong place for people like Friedrich Nietzsche. If he had been in the East, he would have been a far greater master, a man of absolute sanity. He would have been in the same category, in the same family, as the buddhas.

But unfortunately the West has not learned the lesson even now. It goes on working so hard on objects. Even one tenth of our energy will be enough to find the inner truth. Even an Albert Einstein dies in deep frustration. The frustration was so great that before he died he was asked, “If you are born again, what are you going to be?” He said, “Never again a physicist. I would rather be a plumber.”

The greatest physicist the world has known dies in such frustration that he does not want anything to do with physics, anything to do with science. He wants a simple job like plumbing. But even that is not going to help. If physics has not helped, if mathematics has not helped, if such a great intelligence like Albert Einstein dies in frustration, being a plumber is not going to help. Still you are outside. A scientist may be too deeply involved; a plumber may not be that much involved, but he is still working outside. Being a plumber is not going to give him what he needs. He needs the silence of meditation. From that silence flowers meaning, significance, a tremendous joy that you are not accidental.

I say unto you, that what I am teaching you is authentic existentialism, and what in the West is thought to be existentialism is only accidentalism. I am teaching you how to come in contact with existence, how to find out where you are connected, wired with existence. From where are you getting your life moment to moment? Where is your intelligence coming from? If existence is unintelligent, how can you be intelligent? Where will you get it from?

When you see the rose flowers blossoming, have you ever thought that all this color, all this softness, all this beauty was hidden somewhere in the seed? But the seed alone was not enough to become a rose; it needed the support of existence – the soil, the water, the sun. Then the seed disappeared into the soil and the rosebush started growing. Now it needs air, it needs water, it needs the earth, it needs the sun, it needs the moon. All these together transform the seed which was almost like a dead piece of stone. Suddenly a transformation, a metamorphosis. These roses, these colors, this beauty, this fragrance, cannot come from it unless existence has it already. It all may be hidden; it may be covered in the seed. But anything that happens means it was there already – maybe as a potential.

You have intelligence…

I have told you the story of Ramakrishna and Keshav Chandra Sen. Keshav Chandra was one of the most intelligent people of his time. He founded a religion just on his intellectual philosophy, brahmasamaj, the society for God. And he had hundreds and thousands of intelligent people, a very intelligent group, as his followers. And he was puzzled that this uneducated Ramakrishna, who had not even completed the primary school – in India the primary school, the lowest school, takes four years; he had done only half…. Why were thousands of people going to this idiot? That was in Keshav Chandra Sen’s mind.

Finally he decided he had to go and defeat this man, because he could not think that the man could not be defeated by argument. That was impossible for him to imagine. This idiot from a small village is collecting thousands of people every day! From far and wide people are coming to see him, and to touch his feet!

Keshav Chandra with his followers informed Ramakrishna: “I am coming on such and such a day to challenge you on every point in which you believe. Be ready!”

Ramakrishna’s followers were very much afraid. They knew Keshav Chandra was a great logician; poor Ramakrishna would not be able to answer anything. But Ramakrishna was very joyful, he danced. He said, “I have been waiting all this time. When Keshav Chandra comes that will be a great day of joy!”

His disciples said, “What are you saying? That will be a day of great sadness, because you cannot argue with him.”

Ramakrishna said, “Wait. Who is going to argue with him? I don’t need to argue. Let him come.”

But his disciples were shaky, very shaky, very much afraid that their master was going to be defeated, completely crushed. They knew Keshav Chandra. In that century there was no parallel to Keshav Chandra’s intelligence in this country.

And Keshav Chandra came with one hundred of his topmost disciples to see the argument, the debate, the challenge. Ramakrishna was standing on the road to receive him, far away from the temple where he used to live. And he hugged Keshav Chandra. And Keshav Chandra felt a little embarrassed, and that embarrassment went on growing.

Ramakrishna took his hand in his hand and took him inside. He said, “I have been waiting and waiting for years. Why did you not come before?”

Keshav Chandra said, “He seems to be a strange man, seems not to be afraid at all. Do you understand? I have come here for a discussion!”

Ramakrishna said, “Of course.”

So they sat near the temple by the side of the Ganges, a beautiful place, under a tree.

And Ramakrishna said, “Start.”

So Keshav Chandra asked him, “What do you say about God?”

Ramakrishna said, “Have I to say anything about God? Can’t you see God in my eyes?”

Keshav Chandra looked a little puzzled – “What kind of argument is this?”

And Ramakrishna said, “Can’t you feel God in my hand? Come closer, boy.”

And Keshav Chandra said, “What kind of argument…?”

He had been in many debates; he had defeated many great scholars, and this villager… In Hindi the word for idiot is gamar, but it actually means the villager gaon means village, and gamar means from the village. But gamar is used as stupid, retarded, idiot.

Ramakrishna said, “If you can understand the language of my eyes, if you can understand the energy of my hand, you are proof enough that existence is intelligent. Where have you got your intelligence from?”

This was a grand argument. He was saying, “If you have got this great intelligence – and I know you are a highly intelligent person; I have always loved you – tell me from where it comes? If existence is without intelligence you cannot get it. From where? You are the proof that existence is intelligent, and that is what I mean by God. To me God is not somebody sitting on a cloud. To me God simply means existence is not unintelligent. It is an intelligent universe; we belong and we are needed. It rejoices in our rejoicings, it celebrates in our celebrations, it dances with our dance. Have you seen my dance?” – And he started dancing.

Keshav Chandra said, “What to do!”

But he danced so beautifully. He was a good dancer, because he used to dance in the temple sometimes from morning till evening – no coffee break! He would dance and dance till he would fall on the ground.

So he started dancing with such joy and such grace that suddenly there was a transformation in

Keshav Chandra. He forgot all his logic, he saw the beauty of this man, he saw the splendor of this man, he saw a joy which he had never felt.

All that intellect, all those arguments were just superficial, inside there was utter emptiness. This man was so overflowing. He touched the feet of Ramakrishna and said, “Forgive me. I was absolutely wrong about you. I know nothing, and I have been just philosophizing. You know everything, and you are not saying a single word.”

Ramakrishna said, “I will forgive you only on one condition.”

Keshav Chandra said, “Any condition from your side. I am ready.”

Ramakrishna said, “The condition is that once in a while you have to come to discuss with me, to debate with me, to challenge me.”

This is the way of a mystic; and Keshav Chandra was completely finished. He became a totally different man; he started to come every day. Soon his disciples deserted him: “He has gone mad. That madman infected him so much. There was only one madman, now there are two. He is even dancing with him.”

But Keshav Chandra, who had been a sad man, grudging, complaining about everything, because he was living in a negative space, suddenly blossomed, flowers came to his being, a new fragrance. He forgot all logic. This man helped him have a taste of something that is beyond mind.

Zen is the method to go beyond mind. So we will be discussing God and Zen together. God has to be negated, and Zen has to be planted deep in your being. The lie has to be destroyed and the truth has to be revealed. That’s why I have chosen God and Zen together. God is a lie, Zen is a truth.


Excerpt from God is Dead, Now Zen is the Only Living Truth, Chapter One

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Prajna or Samadhi? – Osho

Beloved Osho,

Once, when Obaku was sitting in Nansen’s reception room, Nansen asked him, “It is said that the Buddha Nature can be clearly seen by those who study both samadhi and prajna equally. What does this mean?”

Obaku answered, “It means that we should not depend on anything at any time.”

Nansen then asked, “I wonder whether the opinion you have just expressed is really your own. “

Of course not!” said Obaku.

Nansen then said, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water for the moment, let me ask whom you intend to have the money for the straw sandals returned to?”

To this question, Obaku made no reply.

Maneesha, although this anecdote seems to be very simple, it is not so. In these few words a tremendously important question has been raised. And unfortunately nobody has discussed that question up to now. I would like to go in detail into what I mean. Once, when Obaku was sitting in Nansen’s reception room, Nansen asked him, “It is said that the Buddha Nature can be clearly seen by those who study both samadhi and prajna equally. What does this mean?”

Before we go into the answer of Obaku, you have to understand the meaning of samadhi and prajna.

It is a very intricate and complex question. Samadhi can be understood watching Ramakrishna. That will give you the basic symptoms which can be observed from the outside.

Ramakrishna used to go into samadhi for hours. Once for six days he was in samadhi. And samadhi to him and to his followers – and there is a great tradition from Patanjali, five thousand years old, which believes in samadhi – means to become perfectly unconscious. To every outsider he was almost in a coma; to the psychologist he had gone deeper into the unconscious layers of the mind.

And there was no way to bring him back.

Automatically, whenever his consciousness surfaced again, he would become aware. And whenever he came out of this samadhi, this deep coma-like unconsciousness, he would weep and cry, “Why have you taken away that great beauty, that great bliss, that great silence that I was experiencing. Time had stopped, the world was forgotten, I was alone and everything was at its perfection. So why have you taken it away?” He was asking the question to existence. “Why don’t you let me continue it?”

Now, Buddha himself would not consider it a samadhi. His samadhi means prajna, and prajna means awareness. You have to become more and more conscious, not unconscious; just two polarities, samadhi and prajna. Prajna is perfect awareness of your being. And samadhi in

Ramakrishna’s case means absolute oblivion. Nobody has gone into the deeper search for what exactly is the difference deep inside.

Both talk about great blissfulness, both talk about eternity, truth, beauty, goodness as their ultimate experience. But one is completely unconscious – you can cut his hand and he will not know – that much unconsciousness; and Buddha is so conscious that before sitting on the floor, first he will look to see if there is any ant or anything that may be killed by his sitting there. In his every act he showed immense awareness.

I have told you the story that one day passing through a street in Vaishali, a fly came and sat on his head. He was talking to Ananda about something. So just automatically the way you do it, he simply waved his hand. Then he suddenly stopped talking to Ananda and again waved his hand. Now there was no fly.

Ananda said, “What are you doing? The fly has gone.”

He said, “The fly has gone, but I acted unconsciously. I waved my hand automatically like a robot. Now I am moving as I should have moved, with full consciousness, awareness.”

So these seem to be two polarities. Both have become a point of great debate as to who is right, because the experience they talk about is the same. My own experience is that mind can be crossed from both ends. One tenth of the mind is conscious, nine tenths of the mind is unconscious. Just think of mind: the upper layer is conscious and nine layers are unconscious. Now mind can be passed from both the ends. You cannot pass from the middle; you will have to travel to the end.

Ramakrishna passed the mind by going deeper and deeper into the unconscious layers. And when the final unconscious layer came, he jumped out of the mind. To the world outside he looked as if he was in a coma. But he reached to the same clear sky although he chose a path which is dark, dismal; he chose the night part of consciousness. But he reached to the same experience.

Buddha never became unconscious in this way. Even walking he was stepping every step fully conscious and gracefully, every gesture fully conscious, gracefully. He transformed his consciousness to such a point that unconscious layers started becoming conscious. The final enlightenment is when all unconscious layers of the mind have become conscious. He also jumps out of the mind.

Both samadhi and prajna are no-mind states, going outside the mind. So the experience is the same but the path is different, very different. One is the white path of light that Buddha followed; one is the path of darkness that Ramakrishna followed. And it is obvious that the people who cannot understand both, who have not followed both the paths and come to the same experience, are going to debate and discuss to no end.

One will say that Ramakrishna’s samadhi is a coma, that he has lost consciousness. Another will say that because Buddha never goes into Ramakrishna-like samadhi, he does not know anything about samadhi. But my experience is, both know the samadhi, both know the prajna.

Ramakrishna first knows samadhi and out of samadhi prajna is born. Buddha knows first prajna and then out of prajna samadhi is born. It is only a question of understanding that existence is always contradictory, made of opposites – night and day, life and death.

Ramakrishna’s path is of unconsciousness. Nobody has deliberately considered the point. And

Buddha’s path is of pure light, of continuous awareness. Even in sleep Buddha sleeps consciously.

So Nansen has raised a very meaningful question.

It is said that the Buddha Nature can be clearly seen by those who study both samadhi and prajna equally. What does this mean?”

Obaku answered, “It means that we should not depend on anything at any time.”

Obaku was not a master, Obaku was a scholar. And this question cannot be decided by any scholarship; no intelligence will do, only experience. So what he answers is absolutely irrelevant.

He says, “It means that we should not depend on anything at any time.” Can you see any relevance to the question? It has nothing to do with samadhi, nothing to do with prajna. He is not only a teacher, but a blind teacher. The question has gone above his head.

Nansen then asked – immediately, which shows what I am saying – “I wonder whether the opinion you have just expressed is really your own.” Anybody could have seen that this is so stupid, it has nothing to do with the question. He could have said, “I don’t know,

I have not experienced either samadhi or prajna. I don’t know whether they end up into the same experience or they lead to different experiences. It is not my own experience, so I can’t say anything.”

That would have been more honest. But looking at his answer, Nansen immediately asked, “I wonder whether the opinion you have just expressed is really your own.”

Even this absurd opinion that you have expressed, I think even this one is not your own. “Of course not!” said Obaku.

Seeing the situation he must have felt it is better to say that this is not my opinion. Nansen then said, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water for the moment... Nansen lived on top of a high mountain for thirty years. To bring water to that height, he had to go miles down to bring water up. To us it may look a little strange that he was asking a price for water. He says, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water, for the moment, let me ask whom you intend to have the money for the straw sandals returned to?”

Zen monks use straw sandals, the same shape as my sandals, but they are made of straw, very beautiful, very aesthetic and very cheap. Nansen is saying, Who has paid for your straw sandals? They look so new. You don’t deserve these straw sandals; they are specially meant for Zen masters. And as for giving you water, I will not ask anything for it, but it has been wasted on a man who does not even know what samadhi is, what is prajna, and still has the guts and the nerve to give an absolutely irrelevant answer; an answer, too, that is not his own. Such a borrowed state is all of scholars, pundits, rabbis.

Nansen exposed Obaku completely to the very innermost core of his being just by asking a small question. But the question is not small, and it is a question which nobody has explained the way I am telling you, that the experiences are not two. Just, the paths leading to the experiences are very different, contrary paths.

One follows the darkness, goes deeper and deeper into the darkness of the mind and the unconscious, reaches to the very end of the mind and jumps out of it. And another tries every possible way to make the unconscious also conscious. And when everything becomes conscious in him, he also takes a jump.

Perhaps Buddha’s method is more scientific. There is no question of right and wrong. Both lead to the same space, but Buddha’s method of prajna is more scientific in the way that you cannot miss because you are aware. Ramakrishna’s path is groping in the dark. He may reach to the dawn, he may not reach. And once he has gone into unconsciousness, all is darkness, he cannot see where he is going. It is just by chance that he finds the door out of the mind, just by chance.

Science does not believe in chance, it has to be a certainty. That’s why you will not find more Ramakrishnas in the world, because it is just a coincidence that groping in the dark you find the door and get out of the mind. It happened to Ramakrishna but you will not find another parallel in the whole history of mankind.

Thousands of mystics have reached to the same point. But they have all followed the path of prajna, because when you have a light with you, you need not grope. When you have a light with you, a consciousness, like a torch showing the path, your reaching to the goal has more certainty.

And once you have known the path, then it is very easy. Only the first time are you going into the unknown. But the unknown is not dark; you keep a torch in your hand. Ramakrishna is going into the unknown without a torch. Ramakrishna’s samadhi in a way is special. He is alone of that kind. He is a rare specimen who went into his depths without taking a single candle. It is more than probable that you will not find the door.

When Buddha was asked about it, he said, “There was a palace with one thousand doors; only one door was real, the remaining were fake; they appeared like doors, but when you went close to them, they were just painted doors, there was a flat wall with no opening.

“A blind man got lost in the palace. He went around groping and groping. He touched many painted doors, but they were not really doors and the time he reached the real door, the only one, a fly came to sit on his head. So he became engaged in waving it away and passed the door.”

Nine hundred and ninety-nine doors, and a chance comes; that chance is very fragile, it can be missed by anything: your head starts itching or you become so tired of groping and touching that you say, “Take a chance, leave this one, go ahead.”

So Buddha said, “My path is not of such groping. In my palace all the doors are real. And there is no need to grope because I give you eyes of meditation and a light that burns like a fire within you, which is your very life. With that light and silence of meditation you can find the door. There are a thousand doors, every door is capable of taking you out.”

I am absolutely certain that Buddha is right; but that does not mean that Ramakrishna is wrong. But Ramakrishna cannot be the rule, he can only be the exception. Buddha is providing for everybody, not for exceptions. A rule has to be for everybody. You cannot make a rule on a single exception. Of the followers of Ramakrishna not even a single one has attained samadhi. But Buddha’s followers even today, continuing as a chain, master to disciple in different countries, are attaining prajna.

Whether you call it samadhi or you call it prajna, it is the same; the meaning of both is ultimate wisdom.

Buddhists don’t believe Ramakrishna to be enlightened. One very old Buddhist monk… he was an Englishman, and when he was just a child, his father was appointed to some post in Kalimpong where the child came in contact with Buddhist masters. He became a Buddhist at the age of eighteen. His whole family resisted; they were Christians and said, “What are you doing listening to the Buddhist masters?”

He could see that Christianity is very childish. It has nothing much to give to you. What can you do even if Jesus did walk on water? Even if you learn to walk on water, what spirituality can you attain through it? Even if you can turn water into alcohol, which is a crime, it does not help anyone to be spiritual. What are the teachings of Christians which can be compared to Gautam the Buddha? None comes close to him. He certainly is the Everest of the Himalayas.

So a Buddhist won’t accept Ramakrishna as enlightened. But talking to Buddhist monks and particularly this English monk, I asked him, “Have you ever tried forgetting Buddha’s method and giving some time to using Ramakrishna’s method?”

He said, “No, I have never tried it.”

I said, “Then saying that Ramakrishna never achieved samadhi is going beyond the limits of your experience.”

I have tried both ways, going on the path of light and going on the path of absolute darkness. Nobody does that because once you have reached the path, then why should you bother about other paths?

You have reached the station in a rickshaw, now are you going to come back and try a taxi? People will think you are mad. You have reached, now there is no need to try whether a taxi also reaches the station or not.

But I am a little crazy. Seeing the argument going on for centuries, I decided that the only way to come to a conclusion is, follow both the paths: one time the path of light and another time the path of darkness. When I was following the path of darkness, almost all my friends, my professors thought that I had gone mad. “What is the need if you have reached to the light in the day, what is the need to continue traveling in the night after reaching?”

I said, “There is a need because there is no other way to conclude whether Ramakrishna was also in the same state of consciousness as Buddha.”

But neither has any Buddhist tried nor have any of Ramakrishna’s disciples tried. And I am nobody’s disciple, I am just an outsider; I don’t belong to any religion or any organization. But to come to a conclusion, seeing that for centuries people have been discussing it, I could not conceive any way that it could be decided by argument; the only way to decide it was to follow both the paths.

And now the meditation that I have been teaching to you is a combination of both the paths. It is neither a meditation dependent only on prajna, just being aware; nor is it a meditation just to forget all and drown yourself in deep rest and darkness. I am using both. I am telling you to forget the world, I am telling you forget the body, forget the mind, you are not these things, but keep your light alive as a witness. So you are going on both the paths together.

There is no problem. In fact it is more significant, because you will be achieving the space that

Ramakrishna achieved and that Buddha achieved. And you will have a good laugh that for centuries scholars have been unnecessarily wasting their time. It is always good to experiment because this is not a philosophical question. It is a question of inner experimentation; it is as scientific as any science.

But in a very nice way Nansen said, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water, because I have to carry the drinking water for miles, Let me ask whom you intend to have the money for the straw sandals returned to? Who has paid the money for your straw sandals? Return the money. You are just a teacher; don’t pretend to be a master. To this question, Obaku made no reply.


From Nansen: The Point of Departure, Chapter Seven

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Path of Will or Path of Surrender? – Osho

Osho, last night you spoke about witnessing as a method; other times I have heard you speak about becoming a thing totally, being totally involved in any given situation. Usually I am at a loss as to which of these two to follow: Whether to stand back and witness in a detached way or become something totally – for example, when there is anger or love or sadness. Are these not two opposite paths? Are they both for different kinds of situations or for different types of people? When should one do which?

There are two basic paths – only two. One is of surrendering and another is of willing: the path of surrender and the path of will. They are diametrically opposite as far as going through them is concerned. But they reach to the same goal; they reach to the same realization. So we have to understand a little more in detail.

The path of will starts with your witnessing Self. It is not concerned with your ego directly – only indirectly. To start witnessing, to be aware of your acts, is directly concerned with awakening your inner Self. If the inner Self is awakened, the ego disappears as a consequence. You are not to do anything with the ego directly. They cannot both exist simultaneously. If your Self is awakened, the ego will disappear. The path of will tries to awaken the inner center directly. Many, many methods are used. How to awaken the Self? We will discuss that.

The path of surrender is directly concerned with the ego, not with the Self. When the ego disappears, the inner Self is awakened automatically. The path of surrender is concerned with the ego immediately, directly. You are not to do anything to awaken your inner Self. You are just to surrender your ego. The moment ego is surrendered; you are left with your inner Self awakened.

Of course, these both will work in opposite directions, because one will be concerned with ego and one will be concerned with Self. Their methods, their techniques, will be opposite – and no one can follow both. There is no need to and that is impossible also. Everyone has to choose.

If you choose the path of will, then you are left alone to work upon yourself. It is an arduous thing. One has to struggle – to fight – to fight with old habits which create sleep. Then the only fight is against sleep, and the only ambition is for a deep awakening inside. Those who follow will, they know only one sin, and that sin is spiritual sleepiness.

Many are the techniques. I have discussed some. For example, Gurdjieff used a Sufi exercise. Sufis call it “halt”. For example, you are sitting here, and if you are practising the exercise of “halt” it means total halt. Whenever the teacher says “Stop!” or ”Halt!” then you have to stop totally whatsoever you are doing. If your eyes are open, then stop them there and then. Now you cannot close them.

If your hand is raised, let it be there. Whatsoever your position and gesture, just be frozen in it. No movements! Halt totally! Try this, and suddenly you will have an inner awakening – a feeling. Suddenly you will become aware of your own frozenness.

The whole body is frozen, you have become a solid stone, you are like a statue. But if you go on deceiving yourself, then you have fallen into sleep. You can deceive yourself. You can say, “Who is seeing me? I can close my eyes. They are becoming painful.” You can deceive yourself – then you have fallen into sleep. No – deception is sleep. Don’t deceive yourself, because no one else is concerned. It is up to you. If you can be frozen for a single moment you will begin to see yourself as different, and your center will become aware of your frozen body.

There are other ways. For example, Mahavir and his tradition have used fasting as a method to awaken the Self. If you fast, the body begins to demand, the body begins to overpower you. Mahavir has said, “Just witness – don’t do anything. You feel hungry, so feel hungry. The body asks for food – be a witness to it, don’t do anything. Just be a witness to whatsoever is happening.” And it is a deep thing.

There are only two deep things in the body – sex and food. Nothing is more than these two, because food is needed for individual survival and sex is needed for race survival. Both are survival mechanisms. The individual cannot survive without food and the race cannot survive without sex. So sex is food for the race and food is sex for the individual. These are the deepest things because they are concerned with your survival – the most basic things. You will die without them.

So if you are fasting and just witnessing, then you have touched the deepest sleep. And if you can witness without being identified or bothered – the body is suffering, the body is hungry, the body is demanding and you are just witnessing – suddenly the body will be different. There will be a discontinuity between you and the body; there will be a gap.

Fasting has been used by Mahavir. Mohammedans have used vigilance in the night – no sleep!

Don’t sleep for a week and then you will know how sleepy the whole being becomes, how difficult it is to maintain this vigilance. But if one persists, suddenly a moment comes when the body and you are torn apart. Then you can see that the body needs sleep – it is not your need.

Many are the methods to work directly to create more awareness in yourself, to bring yourself above your so-called sleepy existence. No surrender is needed. Rather, one has to fight against surrender. No surrender is needed, because this is a path of struggle not of surrender. Because of this path, Mahavir was given the name “Mahavir”. “Mahavir” means “the great warrior”. This was not his name. His name was Vardhaman. He was called Mahavir because he was a great warrior as far as this inner struggle is concerned. He had no Guru, no Master, because it is a lonely path. Even to take somebody’s help is not good – it may become your sleep.

There is a story: Mahavir was fasting and remaining silent for years together. In a certain village some mischievous people were disturbing him, harassing him, and he was on a vow of silence.

He was beaten so many times because he would not speak and he remained naked – completely naked. So the villagers were at a loss to understand who he was. And he would not speak! And moreover he was naked! So from one village to another village he would be thrown out, made to leave the village.

The story says Indra, the King of gods, came to him and said to Mahavir, “I can defend you. It has become so painful. You are being beaten unnecessarily, so just allow me to defend you.”

Mahavir rejected the help. Later on, when he was asked why he rejected the help, he said, “This path of will is a lonely path. You cannot even have a helper with you because then the struggle loosens. Then the struggle becomes partial. Then you can depend on someone else, and wherever there is dependence sleep comes in. One has to be totally independent; only then can one be awake.

This is one path, one basic attitude.

All these methods of witnessing belong to this path. So when I say, “Be a witness.” it is meant for those who are travellers on the path of will.

Quite the opposite is the method of surrender. Surrender is concerned with your ego, not with your Self. In surrender you have to give up yourself. Of course, you cannot give the Self; that is impossible.

Whatsoever you can give is bound to be your ego. Only the ego can be given – because it is just incidental to you. It is not even a part of your being, just something added. It is a possession. Of course, the possessor has also become possessed by it. But it is a possession, it is a property – it is not you.

The path of surrender says, “Surrender your ego to the Teacher, to the Divine, to a Buddha.” When someone comes to Buddha and says, “Buddham Sharanam Gauchhami” – I take shelter at your feet. I surrender myself at Buddha’s feet,” what is he doing? The Self cannot be surrendered, so leave it out. Whatsoever you can surrender is your ego. That is your possession; you can surrender it. If you can surrender your ego to someone, it makes no difference to whom – X, Y or Z. The person to be surrendered to is irrelevant in a way. The real thing is surrendering. So you can surrender to a God in the sky. Whether He is there or not is irrelevant. If a concept of the Divine in the sky can help you to surrender your ego, then it is a good device.

Really, yoga shastras say that God is a device to be surrendered to – just a device! So you need not bother whether God is or not. He is just a device, because it will be difficult for you to surrender in a vacuum. So let there be a God, and you surrender. Even a false device can help. For example, you see a rope on the street and you think that it is a snake. It moves like a snake. You are afraid, you are trembling, you are running. You begin to perspire, and your perspiration is real. And there is no snake – there is just a rope mistaken for a snake.

The yoga sutras say that God is a just a device to be surrendered to. Whether God is or is not is not meaningful; you need not bother about it. If He is, you will come to know through surrender. You need not be bothered about it before surrender. If He is, then you will know; if He is not, then you will know. So no discussion, no argument, no proof is needed. And it is very beautiful: they say He is a device, just a hypothetical thing to which you can surrender yourself, to help you surrender.

So a Teacher can become a god; a Teacher is a god. Unless you feel a Teacher as a god, you cannot surrender. Surrendering becomes possible if you feel that Mahavir is a god, Buddha is a god. Then you can surrender easily. Whether a Buddha is a god or not is irrelevant. Again, it is a device, it helps.

Buddha is known to have said that every truth is a device to help; every truth is just a utility. If it works, it is true. And there is no other basis for calling it true or untrue – if it works, it is true!

On the path of surrender, surrendering is the only technique. There are many techniques on the path of will, because you can make many efforts to awaken yourself. But when one is just to surrender, there are no methods.

One day a man came to Ramakrishna. He wanted to donate one thousand gold coins to Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna said, “I don’t need them, but when you have taken such a big burden from your house to Dakshineshwar, to my hut, it will not be good to carry it back again.  Mm? – It will be unnecessary. So just go to the Ganges and throw it in.”

The man, of course, was in a very deep difficulty, great difficulty. What to do? He hesitated, so Ramakrishna said, “You have donated them to me, now they do not belong to you. I order you! Go to the Ganges and throw them!” So he had to.

He went to the Ganges but did not return. One hour passed. Ramakrishna asked someone, “Where has that man gone? Go and find out!” So some disciples went and he was brought back. Ramakrishna asked, “Such a long time? What were you doing?”

So the persons who had gone to find him said, “He was counting them and throwing one piece at a time – one, two, three – one thousand pieces. He would look at a gold coin, count it and then he would throw it.” So Ramakrishna said, “What nonsense! When one is to throw, there is no need to count. When one accumulates, there is a need to count; you have to know how many coins you have. But when you have gone to throw them, why waste time in counting? You can just throw!”

Surrendering is throwing the ego. There is no counting and there are no methods. You just throw it. It itself is the technique. On the path of surrender, surrender is the path and surrender is the technique. On the path of will, will is the path and there are many techniques to work it out.

But surrender is simple in a way. You throw it! The moment you throw your ego – and only the ego can be thrown – suddenly you become aware, aware of your inner center. You reach the same point, but through a very diverse path.

One thing more to be understood and that has been asked: whether to be aware or to be lost in something. Whenever I talk of surrender, I talk of being lost in something. A Meera dancing: she is not aware that she is dancing – she has become the dance. There is no gap. She has surrendered her ego completely. There is dancing – she is not aware; she is completely lost in it. When you are absorbed totally then you are in surrender – absorbed totally. But only the ego can be absorbed – only the ego! And when the ego is absorbed, the Self is there in its total purity.

But that is not the concern. On the path of surrender that is not the concern! Meera is not concerned with awareness, with consciousness – no. She is concerned with being completely unconscious in the Divine dance or in the Divine song – with being lost totally in it. To lose oneself totally…. That which cannot be lost will be there, of course, but it is not the concern.

On the path of will, ego is not the concern – the Self is. On the path of surrender, the Self is not the concern. Remember this difference of emphasis, this difference of focusing. That’s why there is so much controversy, so much controversy, between a devotee and a yogi, a bhakta and a yogi.

The yogi is on the path of will and the bhakta is on the path of surrender, so they speak totally different languages. There is no bridge. The yogi is trying to be, and the bhakta is trying not to be. The yogi is trying to be aware and the bhakta is trying to be totally lost.

Of course, they are bound to speak diametrically opposite languages, and there is much controversy, much argument. But those arguments and those controversies do not really belong to a real devotee or to a real yogi: they belong to scholars, to academicians. Those who think about devotion and about yoga, they go on discussing problems – and then there is no meeting point because that meeting point is reached only through experience. If you stick to the terms and the jargon used, then you will be confused.

A Chaitanya, a bhakta, cannot speak the language of Mahavir. They don’t belong to the same path. They reach to the same point ultimately, but they never travel the same path. So their experiences of the path are bound to be different. The ultimate ecstasy will be the same, but that cannot be said; that is the problem. The ultimate experience will be the same, but that is inexpressible. And whatsoever is expressible is just experiences on the path, and they are found to be difficult and opposite.

A Mahavir will become more and more centered on the path, more and more one Self and Chaitanya will be less and less oneself on the path. He will go on throwing himself unto the Divine feet. To Mahavir it will look like suicide, and to Chaitanya, Mahavir’s path will look a very egoistic thing.

Mahavir says there is no God, so don’t surrender. Really, Mahavir denies God only to make surrender impossible. If yoga proposes God as a device, Mahavir proposes no God, again as a device – a device on the path of will. If there is God, then you cannot proceed on the path of will. It is difficult, because if there is a God then something is more potent than you, more powerful than you. Then something is more high than you, so how can you be authentically your Self?

Mahavir says, “If there is a God, then I am bound to be always in bondage, because something is always above me. And if you say God has created the world and God has created me, then what can I do? Then I am just a puppet in his hands. Then where is the will? Then there is no possibility of will. There is only a deep determinism. Then nothing can be done.” So Mahavir dethrones God just as a device on the path of will. “There is no God,” Mahavir says. ”You are the God and no one else is the God, so there is no need to surrender.”

Chaitanya uses going to the Divine feet – sharanam – as the basic religious effort. But Mahavir says asharanam – never to go anybody’s feet. Of course, sharanam and asharanam – to go and surrender to the Divine feet, and never to go to anybody’s feet because no feet except your own are Divine – these are completely, diametrically opposite standpoints. But just in the beginning and while on the path – they reach to the same thing. Either surrender your ego – then you have not to do anything. You have to do only one thing: surrender your ego. Then you have not to do anything. Then everything will begin to happen. If you cannot surrender then you will have to do much, because then you are on your own to fight, struggle.

Both paths are valid, and there is no question of which is better. It depends on the person who is following. It depends on your type. Every path is valid, and there are many sub-paths, branches.

Some branches belong to the path of will, some to the path of surrender. Paths, sub-paths – everything is valid. But for you not everything can be valid; only one thing can be valid – mm? – For you individually. So don’t get into confusion that: “Everything is valid so I can follow everything.” You cannot follow! You have to follow one path. There is no Truth; there are truths. But for you, one truth has to be chosen.

So the first thing for the seeker is to determine to what type he belongs, what he is, what will be good for him, and what his inner inclination is. Can he surrender? Can you surrender? Can you efface your ego? If that is possible, then simple surrender can do. But it is not so simple – very difficult. To efface the ego is not so simple. To put someone higher than you, to put someone as a God and then surrender – very difficult! Nietzsche has said: “I would like to be in hell if I can be the first there. I would not like to be in heaven if I am put second to anyone there. To be in hell is good if one can be the first.”

Bayazid was a great Sufi mystic. He had a big monastery and many seekers from many parts of the world would come to him. One day a person came and he said, “I want to be here in your monastery. I want to be one of your inmates.”

Bayazid said to the man, “We have two types of inmates: one type who are disciples, another type who are teachers. To which would you like to belong?”

The person had come to find Truth. He said, “Give me a little time to think about it.”

So Bayazid said, “There is no need – you have thought about it. Tell me!”

So he said, “It will be better if I can belong to the group of teachers.”

He had come to seek, but he wanted to belong to the group of teachers, not to the disciples. So Bayazid said, “That second group – of teachers – doesn’t exist in my monastery Mm? – That was just a trick. So you can go. Your path is of the disciples, those who can surrender. So you are not for us and we are not for you.”

The man said. “If that is the case, then I can belong to the disciples.”

So Bayazid said, “No, there is no possibility. You will have to go.”

If you can surrender, you can be a disciple. On the path of will, you are the teacher and you are the disciple. On the path of surrender, you are the disciple. And sometimes this is really arduous.

Ebrahim, a king of Balkh, came to a Sufi Teacher and said. “I have renounced my kingdom – now accept me as your disciple!”

The Teacher said, “Before I accept you, you will have to pass through a certain test.”

Ebrahim said, “I am ready – but I cannot wait, so test me.”

The Teacher said, “Go naked and make a round of your capital. And take one of my sandals and go on beating on your head with it.”

Those who were sitting there were just aghast. An old man said to the Teacher, “What are you doing to that poor man? He has renounced his kingdom. What more do you demand? What are you saying? And I have never seen such things before! Not even you have demanded such things before!”

But the Teacher said, “This has to be fulfilled. Come back, and only then will I think about making you my disciple.”

Ebrahim undressed, took a sandal, began to beat on his head, and passed through the city. He came back, and the Teacher bowed down to Ebrahim and touched his feet. He said, “You are already Enlightened.”

And Ebrahim said, “I myself feel a sudden change. I am a different person. But how, miraculously, have you changed me? The whole city was laughing – I was just mad.”

This is surrender. Then surrendering is enough. It is a sudden method, it can work in a moment, it can explode you in a moment.

On the surface it looks easy – that one has not to do anything, just to surrender. Then you do not know what surrendering means. It can mean anything. If the Teacher says, “Jump into the sea!” then there should be no hesitation. Surrendering means, “Now I am not – now you are. Do whatsoever you like.”

In Egypt there was a mystic, Dhun-Nun. When he was with his Teacher, he came to ask a certain question. The Teacher said, “Unless I say to you, ‘Ask,’ don’t ask, and wait.” For twelve years Dhun-Nun was waiting. He would come daily in the morning – the first man to enter the hut of the Teacher. He would sit there. Many, many others would come to ask and they would be answered. And the Teacher didn’t say to anyone again, “Wait!” It was too much. And that man Dhun-Nun was waiting – for twelve years. He was not allowed to ask. So that was the first thing he uttered, “I want to ask a certain question,” and the Teacher said, “You wait – unless I tell you to ask, you cannot ask. Wait!”

For twelve years he waited. The Teacher wouldn’t even look at him; the Teacher wouldn’t even give any hint that he was going to let him ask. He completely forgot that Dhun-Nun exists. And Dhun-Nun waited day and night for twelve years. Then one day the Teacher moved to him and said, “Dhun-Nun – but now you need not ask. You had come to ask a certain question. Now I allow you, but I think now you need not ask.”

Dhun-Nun bowed, touched the Teacher’s feet and said, “You have given me answer enough.”

What had happened to Dhun-Nun? You cannot wait twelve years unless you have surrendered totally. Then doubts are bound to arise – whether you have become a madman, whether he has forgotten you completely. And to no one else was the Teacher saying “Wait!” For twelve years, thousands and thousands of people would come and ask and he would answer. And this would go on continuously, day after day, and the man waited. It was a total trust. The Teacher said, “Now you need not ask.”

And Dhun-Nun said, “There is no question left. These twelve years, what a miracle you did with me! You did not even look at me. What a miracle! You did not even give a hint!”

Surrender means total trust. Then you are not needed. If you cannot give total trust, if you cannot surrender, then the only way is the path of will. But don’t be confused. I know so many people going around and around confused. They would like something to happen to them just like what happens on the path of surrender, but they are not ready to surrender. They would like to behave like a man of will and would like something to happen as it happens on the path of surrender.

Only yesterday I received a letter, and I receive many letters like that. The letter-writer says, “I want to learn much from you. But I cannot accept you as my Guru. I want to come and live with you, but I cannot become your disciple.” What is he saying? He wants to gain something just like one gains in surrender, but he wants to be intact as far as his will is concerned. This is impossible! One has to choose – and everything is just a device.

Two or three days ago, some friends came and they said to me, “People call you God – why do you accept it?”

I told them, “It may be helpful to them. It is not your concern.” They couldn’t understand because for them everything is a fact. Either it is or it is not. To me, everything is a device.

If someone has come to me to surrender, then a certain device is needed for him. And if someone has come not to surrender, then that device is useless for him, it is meaningless. But be clear about what you are and what you are trying to find out and how you want to find it out. Can you give up your ego? Then no need of awareness. Then you need a deep absorption. Be absorbed – dissolve! Don’t be. Forget! Rather than remembering, forgetting. Mm? – I told you that Gurdjieff said remembering is the method. For Meera, for Chaitanya, forgetting is the method: not SMRITI – not remembering; but VISMRITI – forgetting. Forget yourself completely, efface yourself completely!

And if that is not possible for you, then make every effort to be awake. Then don’t lose yourself in anything – not even in music. Mohammed was totally against music only because of this: on the path of will, music is a hindrance because you can forget yourself in it. So don’t forget yourself in anything, don’t lose yourself. But then use techniques to be more and more awake, more and more alert, more and more attentive, more and more conscious.

And remember one thing: you cannot do both. If you are doing both, then you will be very much confused – and your effort will be wasted, and your energy will be unnecessarily dissipated. Choose, and then stick to it. Only then can something happen. It is a long process and arduous. And there are no shortcuts. All the shortcuts are deceptions. But because everyone is lethargic and everyone wants something without doing anything, many shortcuts are invented. There is no shortcut!

It is reported that Euclid, who invented geometry, was also a teacher of Alexander. Euclid was teaching Alexander mathematics, particularly geometry. Alexander said to Euclid, “Don’t go on with this long process. I am not an ordinary student. Find some shortcut!” Euclid didn’t return again. One day passed, two days, three, one week. Alexander inquired.

Euclid wrote a note saying: ‘There are no shortcuts. Whether you are an emperor or a beggar, there are no shortcuts. And if you desire some shortcut, then I am not your teacher. Then you need someone who can deceive you. I am not your teacher. So find someone else. Someone will come up who will say, ‘No, I know the shortcut.’ But in knowledge there are no shortcuts. One has to go the long way.”

So don’t be deceived, and don’t think that if you combine both paths then it will be good for you – no. Every system is perfect in itself, and the moment you combine it with something else, you destroy the organic unity in it.

There are many, many persons who go on talking about a synthesis of religions – which is nonsense! Every religion is a perfect, organic whole. It need not be combined with anything else. If you combine, you destroy everything. There may be similarities in the Bible and the Koran and the Vedas, but these are superficial similarities. Deep down they each have a different organic unity of their own.

So then if one is a Christian, one should be one hundred percent a Christian. And if one is a Hindu, one should be one hundred percent a Hindu. A fifty percent Hindu and a fifty percent Christian is just insane. It is just like fifty percent ayurvedic medicine and fifty percent allopathic medicine. The person will go insane. There is no synthesis between “pathies”, and every religion is like a “pathy”. It is a medicine. It is a science – every technique!

Because I have mentioned medicine, it will be good to finish, to conclude, that the path of will is just like naturopathy – you have to depend upon yourself. No help! The path of surrender is more like allopathy – you can use medicines.

Think of it in this way: when someone is ill, he has two things – an inner, positive possibility of health and an accidental or incidental phenomenon of disease, illness. Naturopathy is not concerned with illness directly. Naturopathy is directly concerned with a positive growth of health. So grow in health! Naturopathy means growing in health positively. When you grow in health, the disease will disappear by itself. You need not be concerned with disease directly.

Allopathy is not concerned with positive health at all. It is concerned with the illness: destroy the illness and you will be healthy automatically.

The path of will is concerned with growing in positive awareness. If you grow, the ego will disappear – that is the disease. The path of surrender is concerned with the disease itself, not with positive growth in health. Destroy the disease – surrender the ego – and you will grow in health.

The path of surrender is allopathic and the path of will is naturopathic. But don’t mix both; otherwise you will be more ill. Then your effort to be healthy will create more problems for you. And everyone is just confused. One goes on thinking that if you use many, many “pathies”, of course, mathematically, you should gain health sooner. Mathematically, logically, it may seem so, but it is not so really. You may even become an impossible case.


From The Ultimate Alchemy, Volume 1, Chapter 16

Ultimate Alchemy, V. 1

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Tantra Failed for Two Reasons – Osho

Do you see shortcomings in the teachings of Tantra that incline you to feel tantric methods are not suitable for us?

It is not a complete system. There is a basic fallacy that human beings fall into: they find a small truth, a part of the truth, and rather than discover the whole, the remaining part they imagine to fill up the gap. Because they have part of the truth, they can argue and they can manage to make a system, but the remaining part is simply their invention.

All the systems have done that. Rather than discovering the whole truth, it is the human tendency to say, “Why bother? We have found a small piece which is enough for the showcase, which is enough to silence any enemy who raises any question” – and the remaining is just invention.

For example, tantra is right that sexual energy is the basic energy, so this energy should be transformed into higher forms. It is a truth. But what happened is that they never went very deep into meditation; meditation remained just secondary. And man’s sexuality shows itself so powerfully that in the name of tantra it became simply sexual orgy. Without meditation that was going to happen. Meditation should have been the most primary thing because that is going to transform the energy, but that became secondary.

And many people, who were sexually perverted, sexually repressed, joined the tantra school. These were the people who brought all their perversions, all their repressions. They were not interested in any transformation, they were interested only in getting rid of their repressions; their interest was basically sexual.

So although tantra has a piece of truth, it could not be used rightly. Unless that piece of truth is put in second place, and meditation moves into first place, it will always happen that in tantra, people will be doing all kinds of perversions. And with a great name, they will not feel that they are doing anything wrong; they will feel they are doing something religious, something spiritual.

Tantra failed for two reasons. One was an inner reason – that meditation was not made the central point. And second, tantra had no special methodology for the perverted and the repressed, so that first their repressions and perversions are settled and they become normal. And once they become normal, then they are introduced to meditation. Only after deep meditation should they be allowed in tantra experiments. It was a wrong arrangement, so the whole thing became, in the name of a great system, just an exploitation of sex.

That’s what many of the therapists are doing. Just the other day I saw Rajen’s advertisement for a tantra group – with an obscene picture. It will attract people because this is real pornography. Why bother to go to see just pictures printed on paper when you can see real people doing pornography? And Rajen has no understanding of meditation, has never meditated.

And these people will feel good, relieved, because the society does not allow them… In the group they will be allowed to do everything they want to do, so much repression will be thrown out, and they will feel relieved and light and they will feel thankful that they have gone through a great tantra experience. And there has been no tantra experience – it was simply a sexual orgy. And within a few days, they will again collect repressions because they cannot do it outside in the society. So they become permanent customers, chronic tantrikas.

And the so-called therapists enjoy the money that they bring. They have nothing to lose, they simply allow freedom. They start with all the great words that I have been using – “freedom,” “expression,” “no repression,” ”just be yourself, and don’t be worried what others are thinking,” “do your own thing.” And those idiots start doing their own thing!

First people should be introduced to meditation, and then they should be introduced to tantra methods. This is not tantra. Tantra methods are totally different. These people who are doing tantra, they don’t know anything about tantra.

For example, Ramakrishna meditated deeply, and whenever he felt any sexual urge disturbing his meditation he would ask his wife Sharda – who was a beautiful woman – to sit on a high stool, naked, and he would sit in front of her just looking at her, meditating on her till that sexual urge subsided. Then he would touch the feet of Sharda, his own wife, and he would thank her, saying, “You have been helping me immensely; otherwise, where would I have gone? The urge needed some expression, and just watching you was enough.”

The temple of Khajuraho has beautiful statues in all sexual postures. It was a tantra school that made the temple and those statues. And the first thing the student had to do was to meditate on each statue – and they are arranged in such a way that from one corner you go around the temple in a circle. It may take six months, but you have to watch each statue until you can see it just as a statue with no sexuality in it – and it is in a sexual posture. But just in your watching it, seeing it for months, it becomes a pure piece of art; all pornography disappears. Then you move to another. And all the perversions of human mind have been put into the statues.

And when you have circled the whole temple, only then will the master allow you inside the temple. Those six months are of immense meditation and of tremendous release, all repressions gone: you are feeling absolutely light. Then the master allows you in. And inside the temple there is no sexual statue; inside the temple there is nothing – emptiness.

Then the master teaches you how to go deeper into your meditation which has arisen in the six months, and now you can go very deep because there is no hindrance, no problem, no sexuality. And this going deep into meditation with no sexual disturbance means the sexual energy is moving with the meditation, not against it. That’s how it is transformed and takes higher forms.

All these so-called therapists know nothing about tantra; know nothing of why it failed. But they are not interested in that, they are interested in exploiting repressed people. And the repressed people are happy because after a seven or ten day tantra session, they feel relieved; they think this is some spiritual growth. But within two or three days all that spiritual growth will be gone, and they are ready for another group.

There are some people – you can call them “groupies” – that move from one group to another group to another group. Their whole life is just a movement from group to group. Just like hippies… but you can call them “groupies.”


Taken from The Path of the Mystic, Chapter 38

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Osho on O-theism

The following is an interview with Kirk Braun, a reporter for the Portland newspaper The Oregonian, which took place in Osho’s Lao Tzu House, Rajneeshpuram, Oregon in 1983. I have taken the liberty of substituting the word O-theism for Rajneeshism as Osho, himself substituted Osho for the name Rajneesh to illustrate that He who is speaking is not limited to the body seen (never born, never died), O-theism is not limited to the body teaching, or even time nor place.

Q: What is your vision for the future of O-theism?

Osho: O-theism is not a religion like Christianity, Hinduism, Mohammedanism, Buddhism, etc. The name should not be misunderstood. It simply shows a poverty of language – to be exactly true, O-theism is a religionless religion. In other words it is a kind of religiousness, not a dogma, cult or creed but only a quality of love, silence, meditation and prayerfulness. Hence it can never end.

It is not beginning with me. It has always existed and it will always exist. It is the very essence of human evolution, of culture consciousness. Buddha, Jesus or Krishna are nothing but expressions of this spirit, but it was not possible in those days for religion to be manifested as well as it can be now. Because Jesus did not know about Buddha, Buddha did not know about Lao Tzu, and Krishna was also unaware of Lao Tzu, etc.

I have traveled all the paths and have looked at the truth from all the windows. What I am saying is going to last forever because nothing more could be added to it.

Buddha was not so sure of his religion. He said that his religion would last for 5,000 years, and that too only if he didn’t allow women to join his commune. And when women entered his commune he said, “Now the religion will only last 500 years.”

All of these people have talked about some aspect of truth and their disciples have understood it as the whole truth. I am talking about the whole truth so the future of my religion is infinite. All other religions will disappear into it as all the rivers disappear into the ocean.

Q: Will the world make any progress in the area of human understanding?

Osho: Certainly. In fact the time in which we are living is of tremendous importance. A revolution in human consciousness is no more a luxury; it has become an absolute need as there are only two alternatives – suicide or a quantum leap in consciousness, which Nietzsche called superman. And I absolutely believe that nobody wants to choose suicide. Up to now man has been surviving without transformation because there was no urgency for change. Nuclear weapons have brought a great urgency for a choice of now or never. There is a simple law that life wants to survive, so in my vision humanity is going to take the same significant change that the monkeys made when monkeys became human.

Q: Do you think O-theists will survive the predicted nuclear holocaust and if so, how?

Osho: As I said earlier monkeys took a jump and became human beings, but not all monkeys did. The remaining ones are still monkeys so let me put your question in a different way.

I will not say that O-theists will survive the holocaust but I can say with an absolute guarantee that those who will survive will be the O-theists and the remaining will be monkeys or commit suicide. In fact the remaining don’t matter.

[NOTE: This was first published in The Rajneesh Times, 19th August 1983 while Osho was in silence.]

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