Accept My Invitation – Osho

The Welcome, June 3, 1964 

I see man engulfed in deep darkness. He has become like a house whose lamp has been snuffed out on a dark night. Something in him has been extinguished. But a lamp that has been extinguished can be relit.

I see as well that man has lost all direction. He has become like a boat that has lost its way on the high seas. He has forgotten where he wants to go and what he wants to be. But the memory of what has been forgotten can be re-awakened in him.

Although there is darkness there is no cause for despair. The deeper the darkness the closer the dawn. In the offing I see a spiritual regeneration for the whole world. A new man is about to be born and we are in the throes of his birth. But this regeneration needs the cooperation of each of us. It is to happen through us and through us alone. We cannot afford to be mere spectators. We must all prepare for this rebirth within ourselves.

The approach of that new day, of that dawning, will only happen if we fill ourselves with light. It is up to us to turn that possibility into a reality. We are all bricks of the edifice of tomorrow and we are the rays of light out of which the future sun will be born. We are creators not just spectators. The need, however, is not only for the creation of the future, it is for the creation of the present itself, it is for the creation of ourselves. It is by creating himself that man creates humanity. The individual is the component of society and both evolution and revolution can take place through him. You are that component.

This is why I want to call you. I want to awaken you from your slumber. Don’t you see that your lives have become quite meaningless and useless, totally boring? Life has lost all meaning, all purpose. But this is natural. Without light in man’s heart there cannot be any meaning in his life. There cannot be any joy in his life when there is no light in his inner being.

The fact that we find ourselves superfluous and overburdened today is not because life in itself is useless. Life is one endless fulfillment. But we have forgotten the path that leads to that destination, to that fulfillment. We simply exist and have nothing to do with life. This is not living; it is just waiting for death. And how can waiting for death be anything but boring? How can it be a joy?

I have come here to tell you this: there is a way to awaken from this bad dream you have mistaken for life. The path has always been there. The path that leads from darkness into light is eternal. It is there for certain, but we have turned our faces from it. I want you to turn your faces towards it. This path is dharma, religion. It is the means of rekindling the light in man; it is giving direction to man’s drifting boat. Mahavira has said for those being swept away by the rapid current of the world, with its old age and its death, that religion is the only island of safety, the anchor, the destination and the refuge.

Are you thirsty for the light that fills life with joy? Do you want to attain the truth that gives man immortality? If so, I invite you. Accept my invitation – for joy, for light, for deathlessness. It is simply a matter of opening your eyes. And then you will inhabit a new world of light. You don’t have to do anything else; you just have to open your eyes. You just have to wake up and look.

Nothing in man has really been extinguished nor has he really lost direction, but if his eyes are closed the darkness spreads everywhere and all sense of direction is lost. By shutting his eyes a man loses everything; by opening them he becomes a king.

I am calling to awaken you from your dream of downfall to the majesty of an emperor. I wish to transform your defeat into victory, your darkness into light, your death into immortality. Are you ready to embark upon this voyage with me?

Before we begin our work please accept my love. It is the only thing with which I can welcome you to the loneliness and seclusion of these hills. I have nothing else to give you. I want to share with you the infinite love the presence of God has created in me. I wish to distribute it. And the wonder of it is that the more I share it, the more it grows! Real wealth increases with distribution but the wealth that decreases by sharing is not real wealth at all.

Will you then accept my love? I see acceptance in your eyes and that they are overflowing with love in response.

Love begets love and hate begets hate. Whatever we give you is returned in kind. This is an eternal law. So whatever you desire is what you should give unto the world. You cannot receive flowers in exchange for thorns.

I see flowers of love and peace blooming in your eyes, and I am deeply gratified. Now there are not so many different people here. Love unites and transforms the many into one. Physical bodies are separate and will continue to be so, but there is something behind these bodies that brings people together and unites them in love. It is only when this unity is attained that anything can be said and that anything can be understood. Communication is only possible in love and in love alone.

We have gathered in this lonely place so that I can tell you something and so that you can listen to me. This telling and this listening are only possible on the level of love. The doors of the heart open only to love. And remember it is only when you hear with the heart and not with the head that you can really hear anything. You may ask, “Does the heart hear as well?”But I say that whenever there is hearing it is the heart alone that hears. So far the head has never heard anything. The head is stone deaf. And this is also true of speaking. Only when words come from the heart are they meaningful. Only words that come from the heart have the fragrance of fresh flowers; otherwise they are not only stale and faded but are like artificial flowers, made of paper.

I shall pour out my heart to you and if your hearts allow me to enter there will be meeting and communication. It is at this moment of communion that the thing words are powerless to express is communicated. Many unsaid things can also be heard like this, and that which cannot be put into words, that which is between the lines can also be communicated. Words are very impotent symbols but if listened to in total peace of mind and in silence they become powerful.

This is what I call hearing with the heart.

But even when we are listening to someone we are full of thoughts about ourselves. And that is false listening. Then you are not true listeners. You are under the illusion you are hearing but as a matter of fact you are not. For right-hearing it is necessary for the mind to be in a state of perfect, silent watchfulness. You should simply listen and not do anything else. Only then can you hear and understand. And that understanding becomes a light and brings about a transformation in you. Without this state of mind you do not listen to anyone, you just go on listening to yourself. The tumult raging within you absorbs you. And when you are so engrossed nothing can be communicated to you. You seem to be seeing but you do not see; you seem to be hearing but you do not hear.

Christ also said, “Those who have eyes to see, let them see. Those who have ears to hear let them hear.” Did those to whom he spoke not have eyes and ears? Of course they had eyes and ears, but the mere presence of eyes and ears is not enough for seeing and for hearing.

Something else is necessary and without it the existence or non-existence of eyes and ears is irrelevant. That something else is inner silence and watchful awareness. It is only when these qualities are there that the doors of the mind are open and that something can be said and heard.

I expect this kind of hearing from you during the period of this Sadhana Camp. Once you have mastered the art it becomes your lifelong companion. It alone can rid you of trivial preoccupation. It can awaken you to the great, mysterious world outside and you will begin to experience the eternal light of consciousness. That is what is behind the tumult of the mind.

Right-seeing and right-hearing are not only a necessity for this Sadhana Camp but are the foundation of all right-living. Just as everything is clearly reflected in a lake that is totally calm, without ripples, that which is the truth, that which is God will be reflected in you when you become calm and still like the lake.

I see such silence and calm coming to you and I see your eyes inviting me to say what it is I wish to say. They are urging me to share the truths I have seen that have moved my soul. Your hearts are eager and impatient to hear about them. Seeing that you are so willing and ready to hear me, my heart is impelled to pour itself out to you. In these peaceful surroundings, when your minds are perfectly calm as well, I shall certainly be able to say what it is I wish to say to all of you. It often happens that I must refrain from speaking when I see deaf hearts before me. Doesn’t light remain outside when it find the doors of your house closed? In the same way I often stand outside many a house. But it is a good sign that your doors are open. It is a good beginning.

We shall start the five-day program of this Sadhana Camp tomorrow morning and by way of introduction I would now like to say a few things.

For one’s sadhana, for the realization of truth, the mind has to be prepared in the way one prepares the soil for the cultivation of flowers. And so, I would like you to bear a few maxims in mind.

The first maxim is: live in the present. During the Camp do not be carried away by your habit of thinking about the past and the future. If you allow yourself to be carried away, the living moment, the really important thing will be wasted and will pass away uselessly. Neither the past nor the future exists. The past is only memory; the future, imagination. Only the present is real and alive. And if the truth is to be known it can only be known through the present.

During the Camp, please keep yourselves aloof from the past as well as from the future. Accept that they do not exist. Only the moment you are in exists. Only the moment in which you are exists and nothing else. You have to live in it and to live it completely. Sleep as soundly tonight as if your whole past has been cut adrift. Die to the past. And in the morning get up as a new man, because it is a new morning. Let him who went to bed not awaken. Let him go to sleep for good. Let him who is ever-new and ever-fresh arise.

To live in the present, keep remembering – and stay on guard twenty-four hours every day to see that mechanical thinking about the past and future does not start up again. Watching is enough. If you watch, it won’t start up again. Watching and awareness break the habit.

The second maxim is: live naturally. Man’s entire behaviour is artificial and the result of conditioning. We always wrap ourselves in a phony mantle and because of this covering we gradually forget our real being. Shed this false skin and throw it away. We have not gathered here to stage a drama but to know and to see ourselves as we really are. Just as actors in a play remove their costumes and make up and put them aside after the performance, in these five days, you must remove your false masks and set them aside. Let that which is fundamental and natural in you come out – and live in it. One’s sadhana, one’s path, develops only through simple and natural living. During the days of this Sadhana Camp be aware that you hold no position, have no profession, have no status. Divest yourself of all these masks. You are simply you, quite an ordinary human being with no name, no status, no class, no family, no caste – a nameless person, a very ordinary individual. You have to learn to live like this because in reality this is what you are.

The third maxim is: live alone. One’s sadhana is born in complete aloneness, when one is all alone. But generally man is never alone. He is always surrounded by others. And if there is no crowd around him on the outside, he is in the midst of a crowd inside. This crowd has to be dispersed.

Inside, do not allow things to crowd in on you. And the same is true for the outside – live by yourself as if you are all alone at this Camp. You don’t have to maintain relations with anyone else. In the midst of these countless relationships you have forgotten yourselves. All these relationships – enemy or friend, father or son, wife or husband – have so engulfed you that within yourself you can neither find nor know your own being.

Have you ever tried to imagine what you are, away from these relationships of yours? Have you ever discarded the garb of these relationships and seen yourself quite separate from them? Remove yourself from all these relationships and know that you are not the son of your father and mother, not the husband of your wife, not the father of your children, not the friend of your friends, not the enemy of your enemies – and what remains is your real being. What remains in you is your Self. During these days you have to live alone in that being.

By following these maxims you will be able to reach the state of mind that is an absolute necessity for carrying on your sadhana and for attaining peace and the realization of truth. As well as these three maxims, I wish to explain to you the two kinds of meditation we will begin tomorrow.

The first meditation is for the morning. During this meditation you must hold your spine erect, close your eyes and keep your neck straight. Your lips should be closed and your tongue should touch the palate. Breathe slowly but deeply. Concentrate your attention on the navel. Be aware of the tremor felt at the navel because of the breathing. This is all you have to do. This calms the mind and stills thoughts. From this emptiness you ultimately go inside. The second meditation is for the night. Spread your body on the floor and let the limbs relax completely.

Close your eyes and for about two minutes suggest to yourself that the body is relaxing. Gradually the body will become relaxed. Then for two minutes suggest that your breathing is becoming tranquil. The breathing will become quiet. Finally, for another two minutes suggest that thoughts are coming to a halt. This willed autosuggestion leads to complete relaxation and emptiness. When the mind has become perfectly calm, be totally awake in your inner being and be a witness to the tranquility. This witnessing will lead you to your Self.

You must practice these two meditations. But as a matter of fact they are really artificial devices and you are not to stick to them. With their help the mind’s restlessness dissolves. And just as we no longer need a ladder after climbing, one day we have to give up these devices as well. Meditation attains perfection the moment it becomes unnecessary. This very stage is samadhi.

Now the night is well advanced and the sky is filled with stars. The trees and the valleys have gone to sleep. Let us also go to sleep now. How quiet and silent it all is! Let us also merge into this peacefulness. In deep sleep, in dreamless sleep we go to the very place where God dwells. This is the spontaneous, non-conscious samadhi that nature has bestowed upon us. With the help of this Sadhana Camp we can also reach the same destination. But then we will be conscious and aware. This is the difference and it is a great difference indeed. In the former we are asleep; in the latter we are wide awake.

Let us now retire into sleep with the hope that we will attain samadhi. When our hopes are accompanied by determination and right endeavour they are bound to be fulfilled.

May God guide us along the path. This is my only prayer.

-Osho

From The Perfect Way, Prologue

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

The Perfect Way

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

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

The Ultimate Awakening (A Tale of Two Tails) – Osho

There is a story famous in the Upanishads and sometimes mentioned by you, of two birds, who live together on the same tree. One eats the sweet fruits of this tree, while the other eats none of the fruits and remains there witnessing. The bird who revels in eating the fruits experiences much misery in his attachment to them, but when he finally looks up and sees the other bird sitting high in the tree – and sees his glory – he too goes beyond the misery. Will you please explain the significance of this story to us?

 All the agony of life, all its anguish, and also the possibility of all the blessings of life that become available to the man who has attained samadhi are hidden in this story. In this anecdote are contained all the agony and the ecstasy possible to the man. Let us understand first the agony of life and then the ultimate bliss of life; then the meaning of this story will become clear on its own.

Asleep at night you dream that you have lost your way in a dark forest. You search and search, but you cannot find the path. You want to ask somebody the way, but there is nobody there. You are thirsty too, and hungry, but there is no trace of either any spring of water or any fruit as far as you can see. In deep agony you cry and weep so much so that you wake up. And in that waking, everything changes in an instant. Where there was sorrow, laughter prevails; and you start to smile, seeing that your agony was only a dream.

But how is it that the dream touched you so deeply? How is it that the dream felt to be so real?

Why did you get so lost in the dream? Why could you not remember in the dream that this was only a dream? Why did this awareness not arise in you that it was not real, that it was only your imagination? But no, your awareness did not arise, because even during your waking hours it is difficult to be a witness; how could you possibly be a witness in your sleep, in your dream? When even during our waking hours we become the doer, it is a matter of certainty that the same shall be the case in our dreams. And it is this becoming the doer that is our agony in life – that is the whole trouble.

To be the doer means that we assume ourselves to be doing things that are happening on their own. Whatever is happening to our sense organs we assume it is happening to “me”; whatever is happening on the outside, we assume it is happening to our interiority. To be the doer means that where you are only a witness, where your presence is only that of a watcher, you have fallen into the illusion that you are actually a character in the drama you are watching. The one who lost his way in the dream is certainly not you, because you were asleep in bed the whole time! The one wandering in the forest is only a creation of your mind.

I have heard: a man’s wife died. When she was alive she fettered him in every conceivable way, not allowing him the slightest possibility of movement. And the husband was very compliant. Rather than assert himself he would argue within, “Why make an issue of it?” and he just agreed with whatsoever his wife said. Before she died, his wife warned him never to so much as look at another woman; otherwise, she threatened him, she would return as a ghost to haunt him. The man was frightened – and a frightened man is quite capable of conjuring up ghosts. The fear itself becomes the ghost.

For a few days after she had died the man controlled himself – out of fear. And be aware: the control born of fear is no real control; most of your sadhus and holy men are maintaining control over themselves out of fear. They fear they may go to hell, that they may be caught by God in the act of doing something wrong and have to suffer the consequences, so they control themselves. Exactly like this was the control of this widower.

The control based on fear is not only unreal, it is also a great act of self-deception which keeps you from attaining to real control. But still, it can serve for a few days.

So this man managed – but for how long could he maintain it? The desires within him began to argue, “Are you crazy? When she was alive you were afraid, and now even after her death you go on fearing her. Do you really think she can become a ghost? Do you really think it is in her hands to make that decision?”

So he found himself a woman and began to play the lover. That night, when he returned home, he found his wife sitting on the bed waiting for him. He began to tremble so violently with fear that he collapsed. His wife said, “I know where you have just come from!” and then proceeded to tell him the name and address of the woman he had spent the evening with, and every detail of what had passed between them. Now the man was in no doubt. Not only was his wife here as a ghost, but she could repeat to perfection every word he had whispered to his new love, and describe her house, her furniture, and her appearance exactly as they were. And this was only the beginning. Every night his dead wife would appear to torment him. He became very unhappy.

Eventually, in desperation, he went to visit a Zen Master, Nan-in.

When Nan-in heard the man’s story he began to roar with laughter. “This wife who harasses you is not alive,” he said, “but she is no different from those living wives who nag their husbands. All wives are ghosts and all husbands too! Only the mind gives them the appearance of reality. In this world, whatever we give our minds to appears real, but the moment you withdraw your mind, that thing becomes unreal.”

The widower complained to Nan-in that he had not come to listen to clever arguments and knowing words. “You don’t know the trouble I am in,” he said. “The moment I arrive home she is there waiting for me at the door, and my whole body trembles with fear. I was never as terrified of her when she was alive as I am now that she is dead. And I know that she is here too, listening to us, and if you tell me some trick to get rid of her, she will say to me tonight, ’So you have been to see Nan-in, haven’t you, to try to get rid of me!’ What can I do? I want you to tell me how I can get rid of her, but whatever you tell me, she would have heard it too and I am sure it won’t work for me.”

“Don’t worry,” said Nan-in, “I will show you a trick that will work anyway.” There was a pile of seeds lying nearby that someone had presented to Nan-in. Nan-in took a handful, gave them to the widower, and said, “Take these home in your closed fist, and when your wife appears you let her say all she has to say. And then you ask her, ‘How many seeds are there in my fist?’ If she cannot tell you the right number, then you will know that your ghost is all nonsense.”

The man ran home, and when his wife appeared, as usual she recounted to him everything that had passed ”I know very well that you went to see Nan-in,” she said, ”and that he told you to ask me how many seeds are there in your fist. But your little trick won’t work!”

At these words the man became terrified, but still he plucked up the courage to make this last attempt to be rid of her, and asked, “How many seeds are there then?” And the ghost disappeared!

Astonished, the man returned to Nan-in and asked him what the secret was.

“The secret,” said Nan-in, “is that the ghost can only tell you that which is already known to your mind. If you do not know, the ghost cannot tell, because the ghost is only an extension of your mind. If you had counted the seeds in your fist, then your ghost would have been able to tell you the answer. That ghost was your own shadow, your own projection.”

But we do fear ghosts – are already afraid of them in fact. What Shankara means when he calls the world maya, illusion, is that this whole world is a ghost. The world is not, yet it seems to be. It is not, yet it seems to be. It is not and it is. But all its isness is poured into it by you. First you fill it with isness, and then you get caught up and bound by what you have created. You have the power to convert dreams into reality. You get lost in it, you simply forget that you are. Your body experiences hunger, and you think you are hungry. This is illusion. The body may be hungry, but you are never hungry. You cannot be hungry.

It is true you are very close to your body; there is virtually no gap between you and your body but still you are separate. The illusion of identification begins because you are standing too close to your body.

The old scriptures say that if you keep a piece of glass close to a sapphire, the glass also flashes blue. Of course it has not turned blue; it simply falls within the shadow of the sapphire’s blueness. So it is with you and your body. You stand very close to it, but you are not it. But being so close, whatever happens to your body, the shadow of that happening falls on you. You say that you are hungry, but this is an illusion, and in this illusion the world of maya begins. It is the body that hungers, and you say it is you. It is the body that suffers, and you say it is you. When the body grows old, again you say that you have grown old. And when this body is on the verge of death, you say that you are on the verge of death. The mistake has begun.

If only if you could see that the body is hungry and you are seeing this and knowing this; if only you could see that the body is sick, that it is old, that it is on the verge of death and all this you are seeing and knowing as a witness…. You are the witness to all these happenings. The whole drama is enacted in the body, as though the body were a vast stage, and all the characters projections of the mind within that body. And you – you view it all from a distance; you are the audience! There is in you a doer-ness, by which the world is created, and there is in you a witnessing too, through which Brahman is seen. Asleep you cannot remember this; even awake during the day you keep forgetting. The moment your body is hurt, you forget that it is the body, not you, who has been hurt, and that you have simply known the happening.

This is the essence of all sadhana that the moment the doer takes up the space, wake up! Don’t allow him to fill the space. Leave all the actions – the desires, the hungers and thirsts – to the body; let the body do the deeds, and you only keep the capacity to know with you, just the awareness, just the art of seeing.

This is why in India have called philosophy, darshan – seeing. You just protect your ability to see. The moment you are able to see, you will find that all your dreams have disappeared – the ghosts have vanished, the world is not, the dreams have dissolved. You have awakened!

This ultimate awakening we call Buddhahood – buddha means the awakened one – and in this ultimate awakening we attain to the supreme bliss. Sleeping we attain only to agony and anxiety. There is only one agony, and that is to forget the reality of the self, and there is only one bliss – to regain that reality. You can call it whatsoever sounds beautiful to you – self-realization, Brahman realization or samadhi or nirvana – the essence is one.

This is a short anecdote from a Upanishad: there is a tree on which two birds are living. The tree has been since ancient times a symbol of life. Just as the tree reaches out of its seed, spreading its branches out and up towards the open sky, full of the hope and promise that it will touch the sky, so does life grow out from a tiny seed, sprouting with great desires and unending ambitions, to fill the whole sky and span the furthest horizons. The tree is of life and on this life tree sit two birds. One tastes the fruit, indulging in its sweetness; the other only watches – he never tastes, he never enters the field of action, he never becomes a doer. The indulging bird sits on the lower branches of the tree; the witnessing bird sits on the higher branches.

The end result of indulgence is always agony. One finds pleasure in it, but it is always interwoven with misery, because every pleasure brings its own unique misery. And while the pleasures last only momentarily, they leave behind a long trail of miseries. In finding a single pleasure we have to go through many sufferings. And if the pleasures are analyzed in detail they prove to be only illusory.

Viewed closely, it is very doubtful whether what we have called our moments of pleasure were really so! Look back over your life, over forty, fifty, sixty years, and can you really find in all these sixty years a moment of true happiness?

Socrates used to say, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” But if you examine your life, you will be surprised to find that nothing in it can survive close scrutiny. Just turn back and look: where are the moments when you really found happiness? Yes, at first you may recall a few precious moments like when you fell in love for the first time. The memory is very blurred now, and you will have to wipe the dust off those recollections. But if you do this and recapture those moments, you will begin to tremble with the realization that those moments too only gave the illusion of happiness, not happiness itself. And the deeper into those memories you look, the more their so-called happiness will disappear.

Whoever truly reflects finds that life is empty. So the seeker always comes to the experience of his own emptiness. Only fools think that their lives are full. They go through life carrying bags full of stones, and believe them to be jewels. They have only to empty out their baggage and look at their contents to discover the utter barrenness of their lives. To the man who has not seen the emptiness, the door of religion is closed. A man only turns inwards when he finally sees that all his pleasure-seeking is in vain.

There is not a single moment of true happiness, and yet in attempting to find that moment we suffer so much unhappiness.

With great difficulty a man builds himself the house he really wants, and when he finally moves in, he asks where the happiness is – and sets about finding something else with which to continue his search. If he has ten rupees, he devotes his energy to turning it into ten thousand rupees, and when he comes to rest and relax, his task accomplished, he cannot find any happiness in the ten thousand rupees that are now his. But even in this situation we do not allow our mind to really see this fact. It feels so dangerous to do so that we immediately commit ourselves to turning the ten thousand into ten million. This is the way the mind works – and even if we make the ten million we will not be happy; instead we will be busy turning the ten million into ten billion! And the last thing we have any intention of doing is leaving ourselves any space to be able to look back and assess what we are doing, to reflect and meditate on whether we have actually experienced any happiness in pursuing or achieving our goals.

If you face your desires, and all the efforts you have exerted in attempting to achieve them, you will be in trouble. Much effort is there in, but the gain is nil. There is no lack of effort on your part – in fact there is so much of it that you have become completely lost in it! But you fear the examination – and your fear is that you will have to see that your work has been in vain, that you have gained nothing. The fear of failure is indeed great.

I have heard, two beggars were chatting by the roadside. One of them, weeping and bemoaning the hardships of his life – as beggars are apt to do whether they are poor beggars or rich ones – was complaining to the other that his profession was doomed. “I’m not getting any work done – no one wants to give, and half the time people treat me as though I’m invisible. I can’t get people to notice me, and if they do, instead of giving me a few paise they are very generous with advice. The whole world is going to the dogs. The public seems to have no wish to show kindness or be charitable, or demonstrate any love for humanity. People are just out to make money, and unwilling to give even a single paise. I’m fed up! Traveling from one place to another, with nothing to show for my effort – and even traveling is becoming an ordeal; shoved around by the crowds, thrown out of trains one station after another for having no ticket, and everywhere the police on my heels as though they have been appointed especially for this purpose. Life has become intolerable.”

Listening to all this, the other beggar looked at him and asked, “Well, why don’t you give it up then?”

“What!” replied the first one, with an air of indignation, “And accept that I am a failure?”

Where even the beggar is unwilling to accept his failure, how can you possibly do so? It is because the ego is unwilling to accept failure that it is not ready to look at life the way it really is, because to do so is to see the long trail of failures. Everything, without exception, has been a failure. There is no happiness at all but a big crowd of miseries.

This is the lifestyle of the first bird, the indulger. This is his way of life – underneath everything a great agony prevails in him, a profound sorrow. And then in some moment he raises his head and looks at the other bird.

These two birds are so alike – they are twins, born simultaneously, each in the form of the other. But the other – the witnessing bird – sits perfectly still in peace and bliss, with not a trace of unhappiness about him. He is the sun of bliss, perpetually rising, never setting.

What is the secret of his bliss? It is that he is not a doer; he is not after pleasure and enjoyment. He simply sits there on his high branch, watching the games of those below. And when you are not on the merry-go-round, when you are not seeking indulgence, then the happiness may not be yours, but neither is the unhappiness. It is in desiring to make happiness your own that you inevitably make unhappiness yours. It is in saying farewell to happiness by remaining a witness to it that you bid all your unhappiness goodbye. Of course, we all want to bid farewell to unhappiness, but only to our unhappiness! The happiness we want to keep, and go on enjoying. So it is in the unhappiness that people want to be a witness.

Many unhappy people come to me, and tell me that they are witnessing to the best of their ability, but with no result. I tell them to stop witnessing when they are unhappy, and to start witnessing when they are happy. Only if you can successfully witness when you are feeling happy will you be able to witness your unhappiness. It is everybody’s wish to be free from unhappiness – this is in no way a religious penance. But when there is some happiness in your life, then is the time to just witness it, to remain aloof from it. And when your life is peaceful, then too you should try to sit alone and be detached.

If you are practicing meditation and someday the divine peace starts showering on you, immediately disidentify yourself from it. It will not be easy. People generally think that it is bodily indulgences one has to keep a distance from. No, indulgence with meditation is indulgence as well. Someday, dissolved in prayer, a fragrance spreads around you, as though a lotus has blossomed out of nowhere, or a lamp has suddenly begun to glow in darkness, and you are blissed out detach yourself in the same moment. You have to detach yourself not only from all the pleasures you find in women or good food or fine clothes – even in good health – but also from the happiness you find in meditation. Wherever you find happiness, become the witness, not the indulger.

Yes, then you have laid the foundation for changing your life. Suddenly you will find that unhappiness no longer touches you. Unhappiness can only touch the one who seeks happiness. To identify with happiness is to invite unhappiness. And you are all so eager to catch hold of happiness, although it is always the unhappiness that comes into your grasp. You never think that whenever you embrace happiness it turns into unhappiness even as you hold it. You have never taken this into account. You are moving so fast in your search for new happiness, you are in such a hurry that to take stock of the past is to you only wasting time.

Whenever some moment of happiness starts descending upon you, the dance bells start echoing deep within you, gather your awareness at once. This is the real meditation.

To remain aware in the midst of happiness is the real meditation, but it is not easy. You have struggled so long to find this bliss, and now, when bliss descends on you, you are being asked to separate yourself from it. And it is so rare! Thus it is that whenever I ask my sannyasins not to identify with whatever meditation brings them, they look at me as if to say “What! Abandon this hard-earned ecstasy?” And when I look into their eyes I see that what they really want to say is: “Not so soon! Allow me to enjoy this blessing for a little while, allow us to drown in it for a while! This is exactly what we came here looking for, and to ask you how we could extend it beyond the moment – how we could make this happiness of a moment eternal. And you are asking us to let it go!”

But the fact is that I am asking you to separate yourselves from your bliss just because this is the very way to make it eternal! If you are unable to stand aloof from it, then what you have found will also disappear, and tomorrow will find you empty and unhappy once again. This is what happens to meditators. They find a little joy, and the next day they are miserable because they are unable to recapture it. Then they ask, “When is the happiness going to return? How can that door be opened again? Is there no trick that the door remains open and never closes again?” Now, this is the way into misery. Whoever seeks to capture happiness falls into unhappiness; whoever hankers for the repetition of the joys, whatever he had also disappears.

There is a saying of Jesus: ‘Those who have it, it will be taken away from them; those who don’t have it, it will be given to them’. Keep it in your mind in relation to happiness. Any type of happiness is bound to fade away. So don’t cling – let the joys go, throw your happiness away lightly, then nobody will be able to take it from you. And in doing this you will find bliss over and over again. If you go on throwing it away whenever it comes to you, it will be yours a thousand and one times over.

A moment comes when you understand that happiness is an art of throwing away, and unhappiness is the art of holding on. The more you hold onto the more unhappy you are. The unhappiness of those who live in hell is that they are holding onto too many happinesses. The happinesses of those who live in heaven is that they have dropped their hold on all kinds of happiness. If you understand this, you will see that happiness is freedom, while unhappiness is dependency. This is why the ultimate bliss is called moksha – liberation.

Moksha means absolute freedom, where everything has been dropped.

The bird sitting on the higher branch of the tree of life is sitting within you too. He is sitting on your tree. Sometimes, when you are a witness, when your consciousness moves away from the lower bird and becomes one with the higher one, you get a glimpse of him. You catch sight of the blue sky.

The clouds have all disappeared. You may recognize it, you may not; you may understand what you have seen and you may not, but it is rare to find anyone who has never actually known a moment of witnessing. Whenever you have known such a moment, bliss has showered upon you, a gust of cool breeze has come and everything all around you has become alive.

Our experience as a doer is a twenty-four hour thing. Round the clock we are identified with the lower bird, and in so doing, suffer our unhappiness. Now the time has come to raise your eyes and look up at the bird on the higher branch. Since eternity he has been sitting on your tree, waiting for you to cast off your sorrowful state. But you don’t look upwards, you just go on suffering. It seems that you really enjoy your unhappiness – it actually seems that there is a certain happiness for you in remaining unhappy. You have some kind of an investment in your unhappiness. So you go on saying how much you wish to cast off your misery, but the fact of the matter is that you cling on to it. Even if you come to the people in whose presence you can easily throw off your misery, you don’t come totally. Perhaps you leave your soul at home, and come only partially to meet them. You have some vested interest in your unhappiness.

I knew a woman who only complained about her husband whenever she came to see me. She complained about his gambling, his drinking, his laziness, his every action in fact – complaining, endlessly complaining was all she knew. In her husband were contained all the vices, while she worked hard to keep the house in order and to look after him. And certainly, she was very overworked, because there was also a crippled daughter who was bed-ridden and needed assistance even just to eat her meals. With so many burdens imposed upon herself, this woman was truly living the life of a martyr.

Whenever she came to see me she would come out with the same string of complaints against her husband, but when I looked deep into her eyes, it was obvious that she derived some joy from the whole situation. What was clear was that her husband’s drinking and gambling habits gave her ego immense satisfaction – because by comparison with her worthless husband, she had become a priceless diamond!

We live by comparisons. If the husband is the greatest, then his wife has to be ordinary. But in this case the woman was the shining star, and through her husband’s dissipated way of life she found admiration and sympathy for herself throughout the town. Of course, she maintained to one and all that she was deeply distressed and unhappy, but actually the last thing she would want would be to find herself free of the situation in which she lived; because getting rid of the situation would also mean getting rid of all the praise and glory in which she reveled. The crippled girl too was only an instrument with which she could enhance her air of martyrdom – ”Just see how I tend her, comforting her in her sickness and meeting her every need!”

People love suffering because it gives them the opportunity to become martyrs. This lady was not really complaining, she was advertising her virtues. Eventually, the poor crippled girl died. With her death half the woman’s sorrows should have disappeared. In fact she should have found much happiness in the girl’s freedom from a life of suffering, and her own freedom from the cares and anxieties of looking after her. And when her husband finally ran away, this should have brought an end to all her remaining unhappiness. She often used to say to me if he were to die, or leave forever, it would be a blessing. I don’t want to have to see him!

But when he did run off, never to return, her distress was even greater All the color drained from her face, and a deep melancholy settled over her life, as though her whole interest in life had disappeared – which it had: her drinking and gambling husband provided the essence of her life. In her condemnation of his habits lay all the meaning, the purpose, the promise in her life. Now, with him gone, all that sustained her was gone. She was reduced to the stature of an ordinary woman. Now nobody sings her praises, nobody proclaims her long-suffering virtues. When I saw her last it was apparent that she would soon die, because the mechanism that kept her going is no longer there.

Just consider a little how, whenever you talk about your unhappiness, you are playing the martyr behind your words. See how you find happiness in your so-called distress. Man is such a clever decorator! He decorates even his sorrows, converting them into ornaments with his cunning workmanship. And then arises a new difficulty for him; how to cast off the decoration and ornamentation he has created. Had you not decorated your misery, you would have been able to cast it away long ago – you would have walked out of your prison. But through your own devices you have mistaken your prison for your home. Only you are holding yourself in chains, but you have taken the chains for ornaments.

This is why the witnessing bird waits – and probably laughs – watching you suffering below and declaring to the world your great tragedies. And you know very well that that bird is laughing, sitting within you! Sometimes you catch a glimpse, inevitably, because he is your very nature. How can you be entirely oblivious to him? Sometime or other his image must arise in you. Some moment or other you must feel his peace and hear his harmony. In some unsuspecting moment of relaxation he will fill you. But you are avoiding him. You are so involved in being a doer that you are avoiding being a witness. Your enjoyment is in carrying the load of your misery – and in advertising that you are doing so. Your unhappiness has not yet reached boiling point. When it does so you will finally raise your head and look upwards. And once you do so, it will be with amazement that you discover that all the unhappiness you have been suffering, life after life through countless births and deaths, amounts to no more than a nightmare. Your true nature has always been separate from that misery.

This is why Hindus say that you are the eternal bliss, the Brahman, that you have never committed a single sin nor perpetrated any evil act against anyone and cannot do so, because it is not in your nature to create unhappiness.

When Westerners translated the Upanishads they found it difficult to accept this doctrine, and wondered how these could possibly be called religious scriptures. They knew only one religion – Christianity – and the whole of Christian teaching is founded on guilt and sinfulness. You are the sinner, and your struggle is to redeem yourself from your sins. You have strayed, come back to the path. You have been thrown out of the kingdom of heaven, and your task is to please God by confessing all your sins and repenting, so that you can return.

Repentance is the very basis of Christianity, but these Upanishads declare that you have committed no sins at all, and cannot do so even if you want to, because by the very nature of things you are not a doer. You can only dream that you have sinned, or are sinning, but you cannot commit the sin. And no matter how much you wish it, you cannot stray out of God’s kingdom, because there is nothing else but his kingdom. You can be thrown out of this garden where we sit, but you cannot be thrown out of God’s garden, because anywhere you might be thrown to will be his garden.

The Christian garden of Eden must have been very small; the Hindu garden of Eden is vast.

Hinduism knows no space that is not part of the garden – there is nowhere you could be sent to that is not his garden. Even if God wanted to cast you out, where could he send you? He alone is. So wherever you find yourself, you will still be in him! And he is as much in one place as he is in any other – he cannot be more here and less there.

Understand this a little. Of everything else, there may be more or less – the quantity may change – but not of existence. If something is, then it is no more nor less than anything else. This is a tree, is green; another tree is yellow – the colors differ. This bird here is small while another is large – they differ in size. One man has a small intellect, another has a great intellect, and in this they differ. But the tree is, the bird is, the man is, the stone is, and there is no quantative difference in their isness.

Existence knows no small or large, more or less. In terms of existence, all things are equal. The stone exists as much as you do; your forms of existing may differ, but you each exist as much as the other. That existing, that isness, we call Brahman.

When the Upanishads first went to the West, it was very difficult for Westerners to accept them as religious writings. What kind of religion is this? They thought. They regarded the Upanishads as dangerous. If people believe that they have never sinned, and are incapable of sinning, then how will they confess? How will they repent? And without repentance, how will they enter the divine kingdom? And if the sinner accepts himself as Brahman, then what use will he have for the priest? What will the priest be able to preach? Who will he be able to save? Who will he be able to look after? The church will disappear!

It may surprise you to learn that the Hindu religion is the only religion that has no ministry, no ecclesiastical organization, no priesthood. In the Hindu temple you will find no one like the priest, and no management. It is a religion that proceeds on the basis of individual and personal understandings, and without any organizational structure. There is no governing of affairs; the religion functions through personal, intrinsic experience. The Hindu religion is like a flowing river. Christianity is like the railway train, running on tracks, everything managed and organized. The Hindu religion is an anarchy – and religion can only be anarchic, because religion is not an empire; it is supreme freedom, and this is only possible in a situation of anarchy.

The statement that you have never done anything, and even if you want to you never will do anything, is very anarchic. It is saying that your existence is an ultimate purity. You don’t have to strive for purity, because you have never been impure; you simply have to recognize your essential purity. This is why in India we are not searching for Brahman, all we are doing is trying to regain our memory of Brahman. This is what the mystics mean by smriti – remembrance. This is all we need – a remembering. Kabir calls it surati, which is nothing but the rounded form of the word smriti. It is just like an emperor’s son who might be out begging, and suddenly he realizes what nonsense he is doing, and all begging will cease at once. With this single act of remembrance, the whole quality of his consciousness will change.

The day you have enough of your unhappiness and your interest in it drops, only then the change can happen in your life. And until you are interested in it, who am I to stop you from it? As long as you are interested in it, remain in your unhappiness. Nothing can happen out of hurrying; the fruit will only fall when it is ripe, and it is foolish to pick unripe fruit.

So if you are still interested in your unhappiness, immerse yourself in it, let it be your very destiny. Don’t be in a hurry, don’t drop your journey in the middle just because of hearing something from others; otherwise you will have to start again and complete the journey at some other time in the future. There is no way to bypass it. No growth can be a borrowed phenomenon in this world. So if you find that your interest is still in misery, then accept that this is so, and let your misery come to its climax so that you can be finished with it. If you have to drink poison, then drink it to the dregs and swallow it all so that when you drown in it you can surface again. Your difficulty is that neither do you move towards the nectar nor do you drink the poison fully; hence you are stuck in the middle. You want to drink the poison – this really interests you! – but you don’t want the suffering it is going to bring you, and thus you go on trying to achieve the impossible – to drink poison and feel as though you have drunk nectar! This is not going to come about, because this is not in the nature of things. If you drink nectar bliss is yours; if you take poison misery is yours. So if your taste is for poison, then drink it till you can drink no more, so that your misery becomes complete, so that your misery makes you mature. Your anguish ripens you, your misery prepares you for the ultimate leap. A day will come when you will look upwards and find the other bird sitting there.

And remember this too, that the stories you have heard from others about this bird will be of no use to you – you have to see it yourself. No matter how much the Upanishads tell you about it, still they are like looking at a painting of the Himalayas in which you can see the lofty snow-capped peaks glittering in the sun, but you cannot feel the cool serenity of them Those lines and colors on the canvas – how can they even compare with all that one has known and experienced in being in the Himalayas? You can sit holding the painting close and imagine that you have reached the Himalayas and have found their kingdom of peace and happiness, but in doing so your journey will have come to an end before it has even begun; you will not even stir from your seat.

I have heard: there was once an ass who unfortunately acquired an education. Asses generally have good memory, and this one was brought up in Kashi which is a center of learning full of pundits, and thus it came about that this ass, living in such an atmosphere of scholarliness, soon became himself a pundit. He could recite the scriptures by heart.

You may have noticed that memory is a substitute for intelligence. People with high intelligence tend to be very forgetful, while stupid people, unable to sustain any performance of true intelligence, resort to the use of memory to manage their lives.

This ass had an excellent memory – whatever he read he knew by heart, and he improved himself by listening to the conversations of the pundits and sitting at their feet. Eventually he came to know of marijuana – or bhang, which is so prevalent in Kashi, and he was very enticed by the blissful, cosmic effects it seemed to have on those who took it. Those mind-blowing discussions! Those visions of Brahman! It became obvious to him that bhang was the gateway to Brahman; the way these pundits were affected was just as the scriptures described the great glory of Brahman! He decided he must go in search of bhang.

A few days later, passing an old bookshop, he came across a copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica. He flipped through its pages, and there was a picture of the very plant he was now seeking. He absorbed every detail of the picture, and armed now with the knowledge he needed, he was convinced that the whole glory of bhang was now his. After all, he had seen the behavior of the bhang addicts, and looked into their stoned eyes! He even knew what kind of conversation to hold.

In fact, as far as was possible with words, he was already familiar with bhang. And now he even knew what it looked like, and all that remained was to find the plant. He would start his search right away.

On the banks of the Ganges he found a plant that looked just like the picture in the Encyclopedia Britannica. But how to be sure that it really was the same plant? The ass decided to consult the plant itself – yes, this was the thing to do. As a matter of fact, the plant was not bhang at all; it was just a very common weed, quite useless – a plant that gardeners pull up and throw out whenever they come across it.

The ass approached the plant: “My dear plant,” he said, “are you the very plant, bhang, of which I am in deep search? The very same that is revered in the scriptures? I have seen your picture in the Britannica, and if my memory serves me right, you are the very same plant which I search!”

The plant was just an ordinary weed – nobody had ever before shown it such attention, nobody had regarded it ever with such reverence and given it such a high status. True, its devotee was only an ass, but even the praise of an ass is welcome to the ego! The ego never cares who it is who praises; otherwise praise would disappear from the world. For a moment the plant shrank, delaying the passing of its moment of glory and having to confess that it was not the celebrated bhang plant. But suddenly, impelled by the rare opportunity – a chance that would never come again – the plant said, “Yes, I am the very same. It is I whom you seek!”

Immediately the ass performed all the rituals he had learnt from the bhang experts, and swallowed the plant. Where was the trance? The ass waited, but felt not even the flicker of expanding consciousness. He decided that he must not have studied enough, but decided to try acting like the bhang experts. He made himself wobble about on his legs, and even began giggling and pouring out meaningless words. But inside himself he was dubious. “I’m doing alright,” he thought, “but this is all superficial. Maybe the Encyclopedia Britannica got its information wrong.” Then he thought again: “Maybe the bhang experts are acting just as superficially as I am.” And finally, after a long pause, he thought: “Maybe the plant fooled me.”

He made every effort to convince himself that everything was going alright, but from within he knew that it was all false and nothing was alright.

You can devour all the scriptures and fill yourself up with the knowledge of Brahman, you can listen to the Upanishads telling the story of the witnessing bird, you can learn all the parables by heart, you can even begin to behave as a sannyasin should, and learn to walk and talk as a sannyasin should, but deep within your own intuitive voice will go on insisting that something is wrong. Without your own experiencing of the self, without your own knowing of the self, everything is meaningless. Nothing will be understood by understanding the Upanishadic story. Only when your own inner story unfolds and you are able to see the other bird sitting on your tree of life, will you be able to understand the Upanishad, not before that.

Can you appreciate my difficulty? I explained this story to you knowing well you wouldn’t understand it; knowing well that if you take my words to be your understanding, then the harm is done. But yet I explained the story so that at least you might know that this too is a possibility. Right now it is better that you don’t accept that there is a witness sitting behind you. Who knows, the Upanishads may be wrong, Britannica may have published the wrong picture, the plant may be befooling you! Who knows?

So don’t be in a hurry to assume understanding, because the one who believes quickly is deprived of the knowing. My whole effort is to create the understanding that it is a possibility. That whatever you are is not your whole being, something more is possible; that wherever you are standing, further movement is possible; that your journey is not at an end. That what you have attained is not all there is to be attained, there is something more too. Even if you get only a faint idea of it, there is no harm; in fact, the idea has to be only faint. I am talking to you in order to create this very idea in you. Once the idea has taken root in you, two possibilities are open for you. One is that you can go on reciting and memorizing this idea itself; then even without testing the real thing you can make your legs wobble and manage a reasonable trance within just a few days of practice. Of course, your ecstasy will be unreal, your wobbliness will be fake and you have gone astray.

The other course is that it becomes clear to you that there is a possibility of something else that can open up; that this book is not yet completed, that there are still a few remaining chapters in it; that you have not yet explored your whole house, that there are still some basements unexplored which might contain the treasure – this idea. But don’t let this idea become your knowledge; let it become your life’s search. Don’t accept it and sit tight; don’t make an intellectual exercise of it, rather let it lead you towards meditation and samadhi.

There are a few points that will help you in looking at the bird sitting on the upper branch of the tree. The first is that you are the first bird sitting on the lower branch. Get yourself acquainted thoroughly with this bird. Suffer its miseries to the fullest; experience its jealousies and its traumas totally. Let the sting of its thorns coming from all directions go deep in you so that their total pain surrounds your heart. And don’t create false, intoxicating ways to forget it – you have so many tricks! You say that you are suffering because of your karmas of previous lives, not because of the karmas of this life.

And why do you say this? What consolation you get out of it? One consolation do you get is that nothing can now be done about the karmas from previous lives. Whatever has happened has happened, and one has to suffer. But if I say that your suffering is caused by your doings in this life, then the matter is close at hand and something can be done. And if I say that it is just because of you becoming the doer in this very moment, then the matter becomes very difficult for you.

The Karma theory is useful – it keeps the whole affair at a comfortable distance, it relegates everything to the past. No, you are not in misery because of karma; you are in misery because you are the doer. You were the doer in your previous lives, you are suffering for that; you are the doer in this life, you are suffering for that. But the reason for your suffering is not what you did, the reason is your identification with the doing. And this you can drop this very moment.

So, slowly, slowly learn to be less of the doer. Instead of searching for that second bird, bring some changes in yourself right where you stand. Start being less of a doer and bring more emphasis on being a witness. In every situation, these two ways are open to you – to become the doer or to become the witness. Try to become the witness.

Sitting here, I am speaking and you are listening. If you are only listening, then you have become the doer; the listening is your doing. If you become the witness, then as I speak you are listening, and you are aware of the act of listening as well. And if the witness in me is awake and the witness in you is awake, then there are four people here where there were only two – one speaker and a witness to his speaking, one listener and a witness to his listening. So you listen as well as witness your listening. You can become the witness this very moment, nothing has to be arranged for it. You hear me speaking – hearing is happening in your body and mind. Now watch this hearing happening! Stand behind the hearing and watch it happening. Even if you get a glimpse of it, you will find that your unhappiness disappears this very moment, that all disharmony evaporates, that all tension vanishes.

So whenever the chance arises to become the doer or the witness, choose the witness. The doer in you is part of a long, old chain of conditioning, and it takes only a small lapse on your part for the doer to overtake. But nothing to worry about because no matter how deep the conditionings of the doer are in you, they are all false, illusory, and the false has no weight, no value, no matter how great its magnitude.

Though you may have forgotten, witnessing is your essential nature. For this reason it is not so very difficult to attain to the witness – it can be reawakened. Whenever you are doing anything – eating a meal, walking along the road, taking a bath – let your emphasis be on watching not on the doing. Taking a shower, watch the body showering; eating, watch the body eating: and soon you will find that the witnessing bird in you has started fluttering its wings. Sensing the ruffling of its feathers, you will become more and more aware of its presence on the tree. And as the sense of its presence grows in you, the presence of the lower bird will gradually disappear.

And let me tell you what the story does not: that finally one day, when your experience of witnessing is total, the lower bird – the doer – will disappear completely, and you will find that there is only one bird on the tree. For the ignorant too there is only one bird – the doer; he cannot see the other one. For the awakened one too there is only one bird – the witness; he cannot see the other one. The Upanishad talks of two birds to encompass the understanding of both, the ignorant and the awake. But in reality there are not two birds; for the ignorant there is one – the doer, and for the knower there is one – the witness. The reason that two birds are talked of in the Upanishad is because there the knower is talking to the ignorant. The knower is presenting his experience and the experience of the ignorant as well. Unless the experience of the ignorant is also taken into account, he won’t begin the journey. A moment will come when you too will see that there is only one bird. And the day there remains only one bird, you have attained to the experience of advait – nonduality. The name of that one bird is advait.

-Osho

From Nowhere to Go But In, Chapter Nine   Nowhere to Go But In

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

The Vertical Ascendance of a Sadhaka – Vimala Thakar

The following dialog took place between Vimala Thakar and Yoga teachers from all over the world in Mount Abu, Rajasthan, India on the 11th of September, 2000.

Question:  What are the most difficult obstacles that a Sadhaka has to overcome during his spiritual path?

It becomes very difficult to break the silence and touch the space with words; words feel very shy to encroach upon the emptiness of silence.  The science of consciousness, Atma Vidya has been the field of study, investigation, exploration, experimentation and verification through the act of living in Ancient India.  Naturally all the literature about Atma Vidya, Adhyatma -Spirituality is in ancient Sanskrit language, so the students of Yoga come across the Sanskrit words and terms when they study Yoga Sutras or Mantra Yoga, Tantra Yoga etc.

You have used the term “sadhaka” in your collective question.  But the investigation does not begin with Sadhana.  Investigation begins first on the theoretical, academic, verbal level.  One has to know with the help of words about what one is going to do as Sadhana.  .

This phase of investigation, this study through travelling, through reading books, through seminars, you may call it intellectual sadhana, but we call it JIGNASYA the urge to enquire, and one who does that is JIGNASU.

When a person living In Europe and America or outside Asia comes to know through scriptures on Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism or even Islam, when the person comes to know that there are different ways of living, where freedom from the prison-house of thought and from the clutches of the mind is possible, then the desire for liberation is born in the heart.  When he knows through that verbal investigation that a different way of living is possible, that people have lived that way, that it is possible for anyone and everyone to be liberated from the grip of the mind and the prison-house of thought structure, then the desire for liberation is born in the heart.  The desire for liberation is called Mumuksha – the desire for Moksha.   Moksha is liberation.  Mukti, Moksha, these are the Sanskrit terms.  One who has the desire for Moksha is called MUMUKSHU.

So the JIGNASU becomes MUMUKSHU.  First he only wanted to know; now he says I have known that It IS possible, so why should I continue living as a slave of the thought and the mind.  If there is a consciousness beyond, if there is a life beyond, well let me explore.  So JIGNASU becomes a MUMUKSHU; a person charged with the flame of enquiry, of exploration.  So he turns to those who have taken the pilgrimage, those who have followed the path of liberation and freedom.  He comes across such persons, sees their lives and he says that I want to educate myself in that way of freedom, in that life style of freedom, so he becomes a SADHAKA.

A Sadhaka is one who launches upon the extensive project of education, learning, discovery.  SADHANA is the process of education, the process of learning, a personal discovery of truth.  One who does that sadhana is called SADHAKA.  So JIGNASU; MUMUKSHU; SADHAKA.  When the process of education is gone through at the physical level, at the verbal level, at the mental level, at cerebral level, and in the movement of daily relationships, then he becomes a SIDDHA.  The education is completed, now it is mature.  SADHANA – SADHAKA and then SIDDHA.

Because you have asked the question and have used the term SADHAKA one must know the background.  SADHANA, SADHAKA is the third phase.  After verbal investigation, comes the phase where one is charged with the desire for liberation from mind and thought.  If that desire is not there, if the urge is not there, then one does not become a Sadhaka.  The Sadhana is for Mukti, Moksha, liberation, enlightenment.  That is the top priority; that is the first priority.  The person is willing to do anything and everything for that discovery of freedom and living in freedom.  So the Sadhaka is the student of life, learning and educating himself.  If the urge for liberation is not there, then you may do Yoga Asanas and Pranayama for 20 years, they will give you health, they will give you symmetrical body, it is a physical and cultural education, very necessary -but that by itself does not lead you to freedom from the mind.  YAMAH- NIYAMAH will give you a disciplined life, even Pratyahara can give you a disciplined life.  There will be a disciplined life at the physical level, at the verbal level.  You will be speaking Truth -Sat yam, you will be non-violent -Ahimsa, there will be Shaucham- cleanliness at the physical, the mental and the verbal level and modesty, humility.  So the Yamahs and Niyamahs will create a very orderly, disciplined person.  Asanas, Pranayama will change the quality of physical life and bring about a different freshness in body-brain complex but that by itself is not the totality of Sadhana, it is only a part.

Many people have a misconception when they turn to Yoga; they think that Yoga Asanas, Pranayama and Yamah – Niyamah, will naturally lead them to Dhyanam and Samadhi.  But that is a different education because with Yamah- Niyamah, Asana-Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana you have to exercise the physical, the verbal, the mental, the cerebral, you have to make an effort, you have to create an order in the chaos, in the disorder.  The “You”, the centre, the monitor is there, the method and techniques of doing away with disorder and creating order:  that is there.  Yamahs and Niyamahs give you direction for the Asanas, which must be done correctly, a Mantra has to be pronounced correctly, in the proper accent, intonation, punctuation, and articulation.  Even in Dharana, the science and the art of concentration, there is still something to learn – concentrate on the breath, concentrate on the movement of breath, concentrate on an idol, concentrate on the flame of a candle and so on, there is the centre, the knowledge, the direction of effort, the methodology of effort.

People find it easy up to there.  Education can go on smoothly up to the step of Dharana, if the person is really sincere and really very serious about changing the way of living.  It is an alternative way of living.  It is an alternative culture.  It is an alternative dynamics of relationship with your body, with nature, with human beings with non-human species.  It is a holistic change in the way of living, up to that it is comparatively easy and many serious, sincere students of spirituality in the various countries of the world have taken the journey up to there, but then comes the point of DHYANAM or meditation.

You say what is the most difficult obstacle?  I will not call it obstacle, but a difficult point that you have to cross.  If you convert it into an obstacle it can become an obstacle, otherwise it is something that you have to cross, to go over.  What happens is, up to Dharana, the ‘I’, the self, the me, the Ego, the Monitor whatever you call it, can assert itself, can make an effort, can see the result, the product, the result of its effort in time, it can even manipulate the result, so it is satisfied -I have done this, I have progressed.  And naturally through Yoga asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, the dormant energies in the body, in the biological organism, in the psychological structure which were not tapped before, they are stimulated.  The manifestation of those activised powers is called VIBHUTI.  SIDDHI, VIBHUTI.  So up till there, the enthusiasm of the ‘l’, the ‘Me’ is tremendous, because it is doing something, it is getting something, it can measure it, people can see what you have achieved and you can teach it to others.  But then comes the point of DHYANAM, where the mind and the brain are to be educated in relaxation of all movement – that is the difficult point.  The body has to be steady, the speech has to go back into its source, and the mental movement and the movement of the brain have to voluntarily discontinue.  You cannot make them stop, because you are a part of that, you are a part of the past, of the thought structure, the conditionings, you are one of it, you are its product so you can not change it, the ‘You’, the monitor which up till now has been very active has to voluntarily discontinue its movement.

The difficult part comes now of educating the mind and the brain to voluntarily discontinue its movement in every direction.  If you tell the mind there is nothing to know, nothing to experience, nowhere to go, no experiencing, it runs back into the past.  Wants to chew into the memories of the past pleasure, of the past pain, or it wants to jump towards the future that is unborn, that is not here.  It does not give up easily its addiction to motion.  It has been moving, changing itself, changing others, getting something.  It has been busy with the acquisitive movement- acquire knowledge, acquire money, acquire experience, acquire powers, and people acknowledge you, you get social respectability and you can earn money by teaching them.

This part of self-education is a very tough part, because there is no doing.  You have to be with yourself whether you sit down, you stand up, and you walk.  No books, no reading, no knowing, no experiences.  One requires tremendous patience with the cerebral organ, which has been sharpened.  It has been made very sharp and sophisticated and you have purified it through your Yamah -Niyamah etc.  It is very sensitive:  one hundred times more sensitive than any of your electronic gadgets.  So when you sit down with yourself or spend some days with yourself, you notice that immeasurable velocity, that tremendous, fantastic momentum with which the thoughts come and go, the emotions come, the memories come up and the Seer has to be there just seeing it, not looking at it.  Looking is the activity of the monitor, the ‘I’, the ‘Me’, the mind.  Seeing is the energy principle of your life.  You don’t see because you want to see, but because you can’t help it.  It IS an involuntary action.  It is not a movement like thinking, feeling, willing.  It is an instantaneous action.  So be with oneself, be with the total human past contained in your body, not even to watch it, to observe it, but just be in the state of SEEING.  The seeing, the hearing goes on but you are not listening.  You listen to something when you have a motivation, but hearing goes on, you can’t help it, if you are awake, the auditory nerves respond to the sound, the optical nerves respond to the light, to the shape, to the colour of the objects.

To be in that austere state of seeing is the toughest part.  When the seen, that is the past, the known, the conditioned gets exposed to that seeing energy it gets exhausted, that is to say, the seen energy is not unlimited, it is vast, it is gigantic, but it has had a beginning and it can have an end.  One needs patience in educating oneself for being in the state of SEEING without looking, without listening, without comparing, without evaluating, without passing a value judgement on what is seen.  Nobody will know, but you go on doing that inwardly.  So no value judgement, no comparison, no seeking pleasure out of it, no feeling pain out of it.  The seeing is unrelated to that which is seen.  It is not a relationship, it is co-existence of the seeing energy and the seen energy -the DRASHTA, DRASHTUTVAM AND DRISHYA.

The body, the movement of the pranas, your breathing, the movement of the mind, the movement of the brain -all these are seen, they are not your existential essence, they are not the essence of your being.  The seeing energy is the essence, which you might call ATMAN and CHAITANYA.  You might give a variety of names to it, It is just an energy, where seeing and understanding are rolled into one.  It is a perceptive sensitivity.  Looking is an activity, a joint activity of the mind and the optical nerves, but seeing is unrelated to that which is seen, because one did not want to see it, wish to see it, expect to see it, it is there, therefore it is seen.  That is the toughest part, but if that is gone through, then the seen and the seeing energy subside into their sources and there is MAUNAM or silence or emptiness.

So the seeing and the seen are replaced by infinite silence of emptiness.   It is still tougher to be in that state if at all a Sadhaka has patience and humility to be in the state.  Nothing happens, no experiences, you come out of silence after 2 or 3 hours and somebody asks you” what were you doing?”  “I don’t know, nothing”. But you were sitting there with your closed eyes for 3 hours, what happened?”  “Nothing.”  “What did you get out of it?”  “Nothing.”

The immeasurableness and indescribable-ness of that emptiness!  How can you describe emptiness? You can describe an object.  So the ‘I’ consciousness, the Ego that had gone voluntarily into discontinuity jumps back.  It wants to claim and say “I have had an experience of silence”.  The ‘I’ can never have that experience, the ‘I’ can have experience of quietness, of abstinence from speaking, it can have an experience of non-motion but silence is something that cannot be experienced.  Nothing happens to the chemical or metabolic or nervous system.

What is the obstacle on the path of a Sadhaka? – This nothingness and nobody-ness.  To go through that period of solitary silence is difficult especially for those who are living in big cities, they have jobs, they have families.  Unless they move away from their working place and family atmosphere for some time this education from the doer, the experiencer to the Seer, from the Seer into the Silence and then into Meditation, this education cannot happen.  Devoting an hour a day while living in the family, while working at a job is easy, that can be done, but for the revolution to happen, for the mutation to take place, the Silence has to crystallise.  It is only when the silence crystallises as the normal dimension of consciousness that the mutation, the quantum jump into the state of DHYANAM occurs.  It is not the result of any human effort.  You cannot bring it about as the result of your action.  It occurs, it happens if this period of being merged into or being immersed into the ocean of Emptiness is gone through.

You may call it in your language the most difficult obstacle.  As I see it, it is a tough phase in education, because it is going beyond mind, it is going beyond brain into another dimension of consciousness -Dhyanajam anashayam (Patanjali Yoga Sutras IV.  6). Out of meditation is born a Chitta which has no content of thought, emotion, feeling, which has no past, which has no conditionings. The “Prakrit chitta” disappears with meditation and Dhyanajam chittam anashayam emerges.  Chitta, which is emptiness, emptiness as a dimension of consciousness, gets born.  In the beginning it lasts for say few hours and when you are busy in movement of relationships you feel it is slipping out, because that is a period of puberty from one dimension to the other -a touch and go, it slips back into the mental or the cerebral, it becomes aware of it, again gets back into the mental or the cerebral, it becomes aware of it, again gets back into the meditative dimension and then there is a growth into Samadhi, the dimension of invincible equipoise, invincible peace, invincible relaxation.  No action can damage the relaxation.  No speaking for hours can affect the inner state of silence and no relationships which one has to go through in society can even touch the solitude of the consciousness.

So it seems to me that the tough period begins in Sadhana or the difficult period or obstacle period, begins when one is busy educating oneself in DHYANAM.

There is a very well known Sadhaka poet in India, he is still living, he wrote to me that it is better to be in the dimension of the known where you know how to handle thought, emotions, reactions, defence mechanism, patterns of behaviour.  It is much better to be there and safer to be there, than to get transported into the unknown where everything is unknowable.  So the idea of psychic security, by which one has lived, has a strong hold over one.  Even in the study of Yoga, in the subconscious there is that sense of security with the known – the known place, the known people, and the known activities

Meditation –DHYANAM is a romance with the unknown.  I do not know if I have responded to your question, but this being the last meeting of this year, I thought:  let me share with you the journey from JIGNASA to SADHANA – sadhana as a process of education –self-education, mutual education, group education.  How you do it is secondary, but it is an educational process.  Not academic education, which gives you a degree and a job at the end of it.  At the end of this education there is the maturity of Samadhi, it is the consummation of human growth.  It is not an acquisitive movement but it is a movement of constant discovery of the different nuances of truth and reality, a discovery of the different nuances and shades of that cosmic energy which is playing even in your body.

-Vimala Thakar

As seen at:     http://www.ul.ie/~sextonb/vt/Sadhaka.htm

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

With Your Total Heart – Osho

Does reason or intellect have any place at all in sadhana?

Only this much: that reason has to show you that reason is useless, reason has to commit suicide – only this much. One of the greatest Tibetan mystics, Marpa, is reported to have said…. Somebody asked him, “Can’t scriptures help?” He said, “They can. They can help you to go beyond scriptures. That is their only use. Read the scriptures, study them; they will help you to understand that scriptures are useless, and the truth cannot be attained through them.”

Reason can help you only in this way. Reason out, analyze, argue, and through this whole effort you will come to understand that reason cannot lead you to truth. But this is one of the greatest possibilities. Once you realize this you can drop reason, and when reason is dropped, for the first time you start functioning from a totally different center of your being, and that is the heart. And the heart can trust. Reason can never trust, reason by nature is untrusting. Remember, reason can analyze, but can never synthesize. Reason can cut and divide, but can never create a unity or harmony. Reason is just like scissors, scissors can cut and divide.

It happened once that somebody presented Bayazid, one Sufi saint, with a pair of golden scissors. They were valuable, there were some diamonds on those golden scissors, and the man who was presenting them was very happy that it was a rare, unique gift. But Bayazid said, “Take them back, because my whole being is not to cut, not to analyze, not to divide. Rather, you bring a needle and some thread for me, because synthesis is my goal. I want to join things together, not to cut them apart. Golden or not golden,” Bayazid said, “a needle will do. The scissors may be very valuable but they are not for me.”

Reason is scissor like: it cuts, divides, analyzes. That’s why science cannot do without reason. It doubts, that’s its basic function. It is good – for a particular purpose it is good. As far as matter is concerned, as far as the world of the outside is concerned, reason is the method. Science cannot do without reason, because science is analysis, dissection. That’s why science finally reached the atom, the ultimate division. And now they have divided even the atom, and they have reached electrons. They will go on dividing.

Science reaches to the atomic, and religion reaches to the divine. Religion goes on joining things together, and the ultimate unity is God. The totality has been taken in. Religion cannot work with reasoning, just as science cannot work with trust. If you are a scientist you have to doubt, doubt is the very base. But in religion, if you doubt you are lost. In religion you have to trust.

These dimensions are diametrically opposite. Science moves in the without, religion moves into the within. They move diametrically opposite, their dimensions are opposite, so obviously religion must be opposite to the scientific approach. Science means reason, doubt; religion means trust, faith. So only one thing can be done by your reason and that is to realize that reason will not be of much help in the world of sadhana, in the world of inner discipline. Then drop it and allow another center of your being, the heart, to function.

When the heart starts functioning you will have a different world around you – because you create your world. If you are doubting you create a world which is filled with doubt, depression, sadness, darkness. If you work through the heart you create a different world – of radiancy, of love, of prayer, of joy – but that is totally different. And you cannot change from one world to another; you will have to change from one center to another. And these centers are within you, the center which doubts and the center which trusts.

When you fall in love, what is the use of reason? How can you use your reason while falling in love? That’s why reason says it is a fall: “falling in love.” Who created this phraseology, “falling in love”? Why not “rising in love”?

Reason has condemned love; reason says it is a fall. And in a way it is, because from the head you fall to the heart. You start functioning from a different center. But how can you use your reason in love? Is there any way to use it? If you use it, you will destroy the whole phenomenon. The first thing reason will say is, “Doubt!” The first thing reason will say is, “Is there anything in existence which you can call love? Is there anything like love? Dissect it.” And if you dissect, love disappears.

Love is a unity and a very delicate harmony; it cannot be dissected. It is just like a small child jumping, dancing, enjoying. He is alive. You cut the child, dissect him; you put him on a table, a surgeon’s table, and dissect him to find out where life is, what it was that was alive – you will not find it. Not that it was not there; the way you are trying to find it means you will miss, the very method prohibits. The moment you dissect the child he is dead, the life has disappeared, and by dissecting you will come to death, not to life.

Science ultimately leads to death – Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not accidental. And if man still follows science for one more century… even one century is too optimistic; these coming twenty-five years…. If man continuously follows science it may prove a global suicide, because dissection cannot lead to life; the ultimate result is bound to be death. And science cannot believe in life, because you cannot find it anywhere, in any laboratory. You dissect, and life disappears. You dissect your beloved, and love disappears. You go to a surgeon and let him dissect your heart, or take x-rays of your heart to find out whether love is there or not. He may find a cancer there, but he cannot find love. Death can be detected, love cannot be detected. There is no way to have any x-ray of love. Death can be detected; if tb is there, if cancer is there, it can be detected, science can find it out.

Go to a library and look at medical encyclopedias to find a definition of health. You will not find it. You will find every disease defined, but you cannot find any definition of health. Science cannot define health, because health cannot be detected. If you go to a doctor he can tell you that you are ill, but he cannot give you a certificate that you are healthy. He can give you a certificate that you are not ill – that’s another matter, negative; he cannot give you a certificate that you are healthy. And there is no definition of what health is.

Science goes on fighting with a method; the very method creates the world of science. Religion doesn’t work with that method. Religion works through a different type of methodology – the heart is the center. And if you can become headless, only then is religion something meaningful for you. If you are too much in the head, religion is not for you. If you are too much in the head, then prayer is very distant, even love is impossible. You can exploit people, you can kill them, but you cannot love them through reason. Or, reason can create such deceptions.

I was just looking at a Peanuts joke-book. Charlie Brown says there, “I love mankind; it is people that I can’t stand.” “I love mankind; it is people that I can’t stand.” The head can love mankind, because there is no one like mankind. You will not find mankind anywhere. Wherever you go you will find people, and the head cannot stand people.

It is easy to love a country, to love humanity, to love the nation, to love Christianity, to love Islam, to love Hinduism. It is very difficult to love a real person, very difficult, because for the real person the heart will be needed. And these concepts, abstract concepts – humanity, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, or even God – the head can work with, there is no problem, because only thinking is implied, no lived experience is needed. You are not asked to get involved in anything where your heart will be required: just concepts, just logic, mathematics. The head can do that. Science is head work: religion is heart work. You can use your reason only to destroy reason, to help reason to commit suicide.

My whole effort is to persuade you to become headless.

Live without the head, then you will have a life which is totally different from this life you are leading. The life that you are leading is exactly how hell is defined in old scriptures. And if you go into hell, you may not be able to recognize that it is hell; you will think it is only an extension of the old world. You will find everything that you have got already, hell now cannot give you anything new. Man has himself created everything here on this earth.

Help your reason to commit suicide. Fall within to the heart. Let love, prayer, meditation, become the center of your world.

But in the beginning help will be needed, because in the beginning you cannot do anything else – you are there, existing in the head. That’s why I go on talking so much. These talks are useless, they are not needed, but you exist in the head, so somehow you have to drop out. I am not giving you theories, I am not giving you some stuff to think about. I am simply helping your reason to come to a point where it itself realizes that just living in reason is missing life in its totality. In the beginning it is needed. The first step has to be taken out of the head, so the head has to be approached. The moment you have taken that first step, then there is no need. But the first step is most difficult. You are so much obsessed with reason that whatsoever is said, your reason starts working around it. Whatsoever you read here becomes food for your reason.

Religious discourses are really poisons, they are poisonous food. Buddha talks, Krishna talks, Lao Tzu goes on preaching to the disciples. What are they doing? They are doing only one thing: they are giving you poison which looks like food to reason. Reason immediately absorbs it, but it is poison, and reason will have to die. And once reason is dead, for the first time you will be alert, conscious, awakened, and you will see the whole world in a new light.

The world remains the same but you are different, you have changed. Now you can look through different eyes. Then this world is not evil; then there is no suffering in the world. Then the whole world is just the dance of Shiva, just a divine celebration. And the whole life is a play. That’s why Hindus have called it leela: leela means play, a play of divine energy.

Hindus have said that it is not a creation, it is a play. It is not a serious thing; it is simple play – a play of too much energy. But right now you cannot think in that way, that door is closed. Put reason aside, start functioning in a loving way. Bring more heart into your behavior, into your actions, into your movements. Then whatsoever Krishna and Jesus and Lao Tzu have said, that will become a truth to you, it will be revealed. You just need fresh eyes which can see it, hence so much emphasis on trust.

-Osho

From Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi, Chapter Three  

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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