The Phenomenon of Suicide – Osho

I come from a family where there are four suicides on the maternal side, including my grandmother. How does this affect one’s death? What help to overcome this perversion of death which runs as a theme through the family? 

The phenomenon of death is one of the most mysterious and so is the phenomenon of suicide. Don’t decide from the surface what suicide is. It can be many things. My own understanding is that people who commit suicide are the most sensitive people in the world, very intelligent. Because of their sensitivity, because of their intelligence, they find it difficult to cope with this neurotic world.

The society is neurotic. It exists on neurotic foundations. Its whole history is a history of madness, of violence, war, destruction. Somebody says, “My country is the greatest country in the world” — now this is neurosis. Somebody says, “My religion is the greatest and the highest religion in the world” — now this is neurosis. And this neurosis has gone to the very blood and to the bones, and people have become very, very dull, insensitive. They had to become, otherwise life would be impossible.

You have to become insensitive to cope with this dull life around you; otherwise you start falling out of tune. If you start falling out of tune with the society, the society declares you mad. The society is mad, but if you are not in adjustment with it, it declares you mad. So, either you have to go mad, or you have to find a way out of the society; that’s what suicide is. Life becomes intolerable. It seems impossible to cope with so many people around you – and they are all insane. What will you do if you are thrown into an insane asylum?

It happened to one of my friends; he was in a mental asylum. He was put there by the court for nine months. After six months — he was mad, so he could do it — he found a big bottle of phenol in the bathroom and he drank it. For fifteen days he suffered diarrhea and vomiting, and because of that diarrhea and vomiting he came back into the world. His system was purified, the poison disappeared. He was telling me that those next three months were the most difficult — “The first six months were beautiful because I was mad, and everybody was also mad. Things were going simply beautifully, there was no problem. I was in tune with the whole madness around me.”

When he drank phenol, and those fifteen days of diarrhea and vomiting, somehow by an accident his system got purified, his stomach got purified. He could not eat for those fifteen days — the vomiting was too much — so he had to fast. He rested in bed for fifteen days. That rest, that fasting, that purifying helped — it was an accident — and he became sane. He went to the doctors, told them “I have become sane”; they all laughed. They said, “Everybody says so.” The more he insisted, the more they insisted, “You are mad, because every madman says so. You simply go and do your work. You cannot be released before the court’s order comes.”

“Those three months were impossible,” he said, “nightmarish!” Many times he thought about suicide. But he is a man of strong will. And it was only a question of three months, he could wait. It was intolerable! — somebody was pulling his hair, somebody was pulling his leg, somebody would simply jump upon him. All that had been going on for six months, but he had also been part in it. He was also doing the same things; he was a perfect member of that mad society. But for three months it was impossible because he was sane and everybody was insane.

In this neurotic world, if you are sane, sensitive, intelligent, either you have to go mad, or you have to commit suicide — or you have to become a sannyasin. What else is there?

The question is from Jane Ferber; she is Bodhicitta’s wife. She has come to me in the right time. She can become a sannyasin and avoid suicide.

In the East suicide does not exist so much, because sannyas is an alternative. You can respectfully drop out; the East accepts it. You can start doing your own thing; the East has respect for it. Hence, the difference between India and America is of five times: for one Indian committing suicide, five Americans commit suicide. And the phenomenon of suicide is a growing phenomenon in America. Intelligence is growing, sensitivity is growing, and the society is dull. And the society does not provide an intelligent world — then what to do? Just go on suffering unnecessarily?

Then one starts thinking, “Why not drop it all? Why not finish it? Why not give the ticket back to God?” In America, if sannyas becomes a great movement, the rate of suicide will start falling, because people will have a far better and more creative alternative of dropping out. Have you watched it happen that hippies don’t commit suicide? It is the square world, the conventional world where suicide is more prevalent. The hippie has dropped out. He is a kind of sannyasin — not yet fully alert to what he is doing but on the right way; moving, groping, but in the right direction. The hippie is the beginning of sannyas. The hippie is saying, “I don’t want to be a part of this rotten game, I don’t want to be a part of this political game. I see things, and I would like to live my own life. I don’t want to become anybody’s slave. I don’t want to be killed on any war front. I don’t want to fight — there are far more beautiful things to do.”

But for millions there is nothing; the society has taken away all possibilities for their growth. They are stuck. People commit suicide because they are feeling stuck and they don’t see any way out. They come to a cul-de-sac. And the more intelligent you are, the sooner you will come to that cul-de-sac, that impasse. And then what are you supposed to do? The society does not give you any alternative; the society does not allow an alternative society.

Sannyas is an alternative society. It looks strange that in India the suicide rate is the lowest in the world. Logically it should be the highest, because people are suffering, people are miserable, starving. But this strange phenomenon happens everywhere: poor people don’t commit suicide. They have nothing to live for, they have nothing to die for. Because they are starved, they are occupied with their food, shelter, money, things like that. They cannot afford to think about suicide, they are not yet that affluent. America has everything, India has nothing.

Just the other day I was reading… Somebody has written: “Americans have a smiling Jimmy Carter, Johnny Cash and Bob Hope. And Indians have a dry, dull, dead Morarji Desai, no cash, and very little hope.”

But still people don’t commit suicide: they go on living, they enjoy life. Even beggars are thrilled, excited. There is nothing to be excited about, but they are hoping.

Why is it happening so much in America? — the ordinary problems of life have disappeared, the mind is free to rise higher than the ordinary consciousness. The mind can rise beyond body, beyond mind itself. The consciousness is ready to take wings and the society does not allow it. Out of ten suicides, about nine are sensitive people. Seeing the meaninglessness of life, seeing the indignity that life imposes, seeing the compromises that one has to make for nothing, seeing all the taciturnity, looking around and seeing this — “a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing” — they decide to get rid of the body. If they could have wings in the body, they would not decide so.

Then suicide has another significance too; it has to be understood. In life everything seems to be common, imitative. You can’t have a car that others don’t have. Millions of people have the same car as you have. Millions of people are living the same life as you are living, seeing the same film, the same movie, the same TV as you are, reading the same newspaper as you do. Life is too common, nothing unique is left for you to do, to be. Suicide seems to be a unique phenomenon: only you can die for yourself, nobody else can die for you. Your death will be your death, nobody else’s. Death is unique!

Look at the phenomenon: death is unique — it defines you as an individual, it gives you individuality. The society has taken your individuality; you are just a cog in the wheel, replaceable. If you die nobody will miss you, you will be replaced. If you are a professor in the university, another will be the professor in the university. Even if you are the president of a country, another will be the president of the country, immediately, the moment you are no more. You are replaceable.

This hurts — that your worth is not much, that you will not be missed, that one day you will disappear and soon those people who will remember you will also disappear. Then, it will be almost as if you had never been. Just think of that day. You will disappear… Yes, for a few days people will remember — your lover will remember you, your children will remember you, maybe a few friends. By and by, their memory will become pale, faint, will start disappearing. But maybe while those people with whom you had a certain kind of intimacy are alive, you may be remembered once in a while. But once they are also gone, then… then you simply disappear, as if you had never been here. Then there is no difference whether you have been here or have not been here.

Life does not give you unique respect. It is very humiliating. It drives you into such a hole where you are just a cog in the wheel, a cog in the vast mechanism. It makes you anonymous.

Death, at least, is unique. And suicide is more unique than death. Why? — because death comes, and suicide is something that you do. Death is beyond you: when it will come, it will come. But suicide you can manage, you are not a victim. Suicide you can manage. With death you will be a victim, with suicide you will be in control. Birth has already happened – now you cannot do anything about it, and you had not done anything before you were born — it was an accident.

There are three things in life which are vital: birth, love, and death. Birth has happened; there is nothing to do about it. You were not even asked whether you wanted to be born or not. You are a victim. Love also happens; you cannot do anything about it, you are helpless. One day you fall in love with somebody, you cannot do anything about it. If you want to fall in love with somebody you cannot manage, it is impossible. And when you fall in love with somebody, if you don’t want — if you want to pull yourself away — that too seems to be difficult. Birth is a happening, so is love. Now only death is left about which something can be done: you can be a victim or you can decide on your own.

A suicide is one who decides, who says, “Let me at least do one thing in this existence where I was almost accidental: I will commit suicide. At least there is one thing I can do!” Birth is impossible to do; love cannot be created if it is not there; but death… death has an alternative. Either you can be a victim or you can be decisive.

This society has taken all dignity from you. That’s why people commit suicide — because their committing suicide will give them a sort of dignity. They can say to God, “I have renounced your world and your life. It was not of worth!” The people who commit suicide are almost always more sensitive than the others who go on dragging, living. And I’m not saying to commit suicide, I am saying there is a higher possibility. Each moment of life can be so beautiful, individual, non-imitative, non-repetitive. Each moment can be so precious! Then there is no need to commit suicide. Each moment can bring such blessing, and each moment can define you as unique — because you are unique! Never before has there been a person like you, and never again will there be.

But the society forces you to become part of a big army. The society never likes a person who goes in his own way. The society wants you to be part of the crowd: be a Hindu, be a Christian, be a Jew, be an American, be an Indian — but be part of a crowd; any crowd, but be part of a crowd. Never be yourself. And those who want to be themselves… and those are the salt of the earth, those people who want to be themselves. They are the most valuable people on the earth. The earth has a little dignity and fragrance because of these people. Then they commit suicide.

Sannyas and suicide are alternatives. This is my experience: you can become a sannyasin only when you have come to the point where, if not sannyas, then suicide. Sannyas means, “I will try to become an individual while alive! I will live my life in my own way. I will not be dictated to, dominated. I will not function like a mechanism, like a robot. I will not have any ideals, and I will not have any goals. I will live in the moment, and I will live on the spur of the moment. I will be spontaneous, and I will risk all for it!”

Sannyas is a risk.

Jane, I would like to say to you: I have looked into your eyes; the possibility of suicide is there too. But I don’t think you will have to commit suicide — sannyas will do! You are more fortunate than the four people in your family who committed suicide. In fact, every intelligent person has the capacity to commit suicide, only idiots never commit. Have you ever heard of any idiot ever committing suicide? He does not care about life; why should he commit suicide? Only a rare intelligence starts feeling the need to do something, because life as it is lived is not worth living. So, either do something and change your life — give it a new shape, a new direction, a new dimension — or why go on carrying this nightmarish burden, day-in day-out, year-in year-out? And it will continue… And medical science is helping you to continue it even longer — a hundred years, a hundred and twenty years. And now those people are saying that a man can live to nearabout three hundred years, easily. Just think if people have to live for three hundred years: the suicide rate would go very high — because then even mediocre minds would start thinking that it is pointless.

Intelligence means seeing deeply into things. Has your life any point? Has your life any joy? Has your life any poetry in it? Has your life any creativity in it? Do you feel grateful that you are here? Do you feel grateful that you were born? Can you thank your God? Can you say with your whole heart that this is a blessing? If you cannot, then why do you go on living? Either make your life a blessing… or why go on burdening this earth? Disappear. Somebody else may occupy your space and may do better. This idea comes to the intelligent mind naturally. It is a very, very natural idea when you are intelligent. Intelligent people commit suicide. And those who are more intelligent than the intelligent people — they take sannyas. They start creating a meaning, they start creating a significance, they start living. Why miss this opportunity?

Heidegger has said: “Death isolates me and makes of me an individual.” It is my death, not that of the multitude to which I belong. Each of us dies his own death; death cannot be repeated. I can sit an examination twice, or thrice; compare my second marriage with my first, and so on and so forth. I die only once. I can get married as many times as I like, I can change my jobs as many times as I like, I can change my town as many times as I like… but I die only once. Death is so challenging because it is at once certain and uncertain. That it will come is certain, when it will do so is uncertain.

Hence there is great curiosity about death, about what it is. One wants to know about it. And there is nothing morbid about this contemplation of death. Accusations of that kind are merely the device of the impersonal ‘they’ — the crowd — to prevent one escaping its tyranny and becoming individuals. What is necessary is to see our life as a being towards death. Once this point has been reached, there is a possibility of deliverance from the banality of everyday life and its servitude to anonymous powers. He who has so confronted his death is stabbed awake thereby. He perceives himself now as an individual distinct from the mass, and is prepared to take over responsibility for his own life. In this way, we decide for authentic against inauthentic existence. We emerge from the mass and become ourselves at last.

Even to contemplate death gives you an individuality, a form, a shape, a definition — because it is your death. It is the only thing left in the world that is unique. And when you think about suicide it becomes even more personal; it is your decision.

And remember, I am not saying that you should go and commit suicide. I am saying that your life, as it is, is leading you towards suicide. Change it.

And contemplate death. It can come any moment, so don’t think that it is morbid to think about death. It is not, because death is the culmination of life, the very crescendo of life. You have to take note of it. It is coming — whether you commit suicide or it comes … but it is coming. It has to happen. You have to prepare for it, and the only way to prepare for death — the right way — is not to commit suicide; the right way is to die each moment to the past. That’s the right way. That’s what a sannyasin is supposed to do: die each moment to the past, never carry the past for a single moment. Each moment, die to the past and be born in the present. That will keep you fresh, young, vibrant, radiant; that will keep you alive, throbbing, excited, ecstatic. And a man who knows how to die each moment to the past knows how to die, and that is the greatest skill and art. So when death comes to such a man, he dances with it, he embraces it! — it is a friend, it is not the enemy. It is God coming to you in the form of death. It is total relaxation into existence. It is becoming again the whole, becoming one again with the whole.

So don’t call this perversion.

You say: “I come from a family where there are four suicides on the maternal side, including my grandmother.”

Don’t condemn those poor people, and don’t think for a moment that they were perverts.

“How does this affect one’s death? What helps to overcome this perversion of death which runs as a theme through the family?”

Don’t call it a perversion; it is not. Those people were simply victims. They could not cope with the neurotic society, and they decided to disappear into the unknown. Have compassion for them, don’t condemn. Don’t abuse them, don’t call names — don’t call it perversion or anything like that. Have compassion for them and love for them.

There is no need to follow them, but feel for them. They must have suffered a lot. One does not decide very easily to drop life: they must have suffered intensely; they must have seen the hell of life. One never decides easily for death, because to survive is a natural instinct. One goes on surviving in all kinds of situations and conditions. One goes on compromising — just to survive. When somebody drops his life that simply shows it is beyond his capacity to compromise; the demand is too much. The demand is so much that it is not worth it; then only one decides to commit suicide. Have compassion for those people.

And if you feel that something is wrong then something is wrong in the society, not in those people. The society is perverted! In a primitive society nobody commits suicide. I have been to primitive tribes in India: for centuries they have not known of anybody committing suicide. They don’t have any record of anybody ever having committed suicide. Why? The society is natural, the society is not perverted. It does not drive people to unnatural things. The society is accepting. It allows everybody his way, his choice to live his life. That is everybody’s right. Even if somebody goes mad, the society accepts it; it is his right to go mad. There is no condemnation. In fact, in a primitive society, mad people are respected like mystics — and they have a kind of mystery around them. If you look into a madman’s eyes and into the eyes of a mystic, there is some similarity — something vast, something undefined, something nebulous, something like a chaos out of which stars are born. The mystic and the madman have some similarity.

All madmen may not be mystics, but all mystics are mad. By ‘mad’ I mean they have gone beyond mind. The madman may have fallen below mind, and the mystic may have gone beyond mind, but one thing is similar — both are not in their minds. In a primitive society even the madman is respected, tremendously respected. If he decides to be mad, that’s okay. Society takes care for his food, for his shelter. Society loves him, loves his madness. Society has no fixed rule; then nobody commits suicide because freedom remains intact.

When society demands slavery and goes on destroying your freedom and crippling you from every side and paralyzing your soul and deadening your heart… one comes to feel it is better to die than to compromise.

Don’t call them perverts. Have compassion for them; they suffered a lot, they were victims. And try to understand what happened to them; that will give you an insight into your own life. And there is no need to repeat it, because I give you an opportunity to be yourself. I open a door for you. If you are understanding you will see the point of it, but if you are not understanding then it is difficult. I can go on shouting and you will hear only that which you can hear, and you will hear only that which you want to hear — that which you want to hear.

A psychologist friend has come: he has written a long question. He says: “Why do you go on saying drop the ego? Nobody has ever been able to drop the ego.”

Now how does he know it — that nobody has ever been able to drop the ego? He says it has not succeeded. How do you know? It has succeeded, although it has succeeded only with very rare and few people. But it has succeeded, and it has succeeded only with rare people because only those rare people allowed it to succeed. It can succeed with everybody, but people don’t allow it to succeed. They are not ready to lose their egos.

He is a psychologist, and he says, “Osho, I see in you too a great ego.” As a psychologist he says, “I see a great ego in you.”

Then you have not seen me at all. Then you have seen something which is your projection.

The ego goes on projecting itself. The ego goes on creating its own reality around itself, its own reflections.

Now, if you can see so deeply into me why have you come here? — you can see deeply into yourself. If you have such great insight, what is the point in coming here? — it is pointless. And if you have decided already that the ego cannot be dropped, that it is not possible, then you have taken a decision without even trying.

And I am not saying the ego can be dropped! I am saying the ego exists not! How can you drop something which doesn’t exist? And Buddha has not said that the ego has to be dropped, he is saying the ego has to be only looked into — and you don’t find it, hence it disappears.

What can you do then — when you go inside your being and you don’t find any ego, you find silence there; no self-dominating, no center like an ego there? Dropping the ego does not mean that you have to drop it. Dropping the ego is only a metaphor. It simply means that when you go in, you look in and you don’t find anything, the ego disappears. In fact, even to say ‘disappears’ is not right, because it was not there in the first place. It is a misunderstanding.

Now, rather than going into yourself you are looking at me. And you think you have looked into me! And because you are a psychoanalyst or a psychologist, then you decide. And your decision will become a barrier — because the ego does not exist in me! And I would like to declare: the ego does not exist in you! Even to this psychologist friend I will say: the ego does not exist in him. The ego exists not! It is a non-existential idea, just an idea.

It is like when you see a rope in the dark and you think it is a snake, and you start running, and you are out of breath, and you stumble upon a rock and you get a fracture, and by the morning you come to know that it was only a rope. But it worked tremendously! The snake was not there, but it affected your reality. A misunderstanding is as real as understanding. It is not true, but it is real! That is the difference between reality and truth. A snake seen in a rope is real, because its results, its consequences are going to be real. If you have a weak heart it can be very dangerous seeing a snake in a rope: you can run so fast that you can have heart failure. It can affect your whole life. And it looks so ridiculous; it was just a rope.

What I am saying, or what Buddha is saying is: Just take a lamp and go inside. Have a good look at whether the snake exists or not. Buddha has found it does not exist in him. I have found it does not exist in me. And the day I found it does not exist in me, I looked around into everybody’s eyes and I have never found it. It is an unfounded idea. It is a dream.

But if you are too full of the dream, you can even project it on me. And I cannot do anything about it. If you project, you project. It is as if you are wearing glasses, colored glasses, green glasses, and the whole world looks green. And you come to me and you say, “Osho, you are wearing a green dress.” What can I do? I can only say, “You just take off your glasses.” And you say, “Nobody has ever been able to take off his glasses. It has never happened!” Then it is difficult.

But it is not a problem for me; it is going to be a problem for you. I feel sorry for you, because if this is your idea then you will suffer your whole life — because ego creates suffering. An unreal idea, thought to be real, creates suffering. What is suffering really? Suffering is when you have some ideas which don’t correlate with the truth. Then there is suffering.

For example, you think stones are food and you eat them; then you suffer, then you have a great stomachache. But if it is real food then you don’t suffer, then you are satisfied. Suffering is created by ideas which don’t go with reality; bliss is created when you have ideas which go with reality. Bliss is a coherence between you and the truth; suffering is a dichotomy, a division between you and the truth. When you are not moving with truth you are in hell; when you are moving with truth you are in heaven — that’s all. And that is the whole thing to be understood.

Now this man comes from faraway America. Listening to my tapes, he started feeling for me. He has come here, but if this is his way of looking at things he will miss. And remember, it is not a problem for me. If you think I am a great egoist, thank you — it is not a problem for me. This is your idea, and you are perfectly entitled to have ideas. But if you are so certain about it, what is going to happen?

He says, “I have been to many holy saints of many religions, and they were all egoists.”

You must be wearing the same glasses everywhere. You go on creating your own reality, which is not true. That’s why Buddha insists so much on nothingness, on no-mind – because when the mind has no thoughts you cannot project anything. Then you have to see that which is. When you don’t have any ideas, when you are simply empty, a mirror mirroring, then whatsoever comes in front of you is mirrored. And it is mirrored as it is. But if you have ideas, then you distort. Thoughts are the media for distortion.

If you can see ego in me, you are really doing a miracle. But it is possible… and you can enjoy. But it is only you who will be harmed by your idea, nobody else. If this idea persists, then there will be no possibility of being bridged with me. At least for these few days that you are here, put your ideas aside. And one thing is certain: your psychology has not helped you, otherwise you would not need to be here at all.

Just the other day he was sitting in front of me and talking about his problems. And sometimes I wonder… he has so many problems, and he is a group leader. What will he be doing with people? What kind of help can come from him? And he has such a fat body and he cannot even change that; and he goes on stuffing himself. And these were his problems. And he was so afraid that he was insisting again and again to Laxmi that he needed a private interview, because, “I cannot say things before people.” Why? People will be seeing you, that you are fat. It doesn’t matter whether you say it or not. Everybody has eyes and they can see that you are fat, and that you go on stuffing. How will you avoid Vrindavan people? They will know.

He wanted to have a private interview so that he could tell his problems, and the problem was fatness — “I go on eating and I cannot stop; what should I do?” Your psychology has not even been of that much help, and you think your psychology is capable of knowing me, of seeing me? Don’t be deceived by your own games.

And you have not been to any holy men. I am not saying that they were not holy; I am simply saying that you may have been there, but you have not been with them. If you cannot be with me, how can you be with them? You have not been with any holy man. Wherever you went, you went with your psychology, with all the knowledge that you have gathered around yourself. And it is of no use to you. It is worthless! And you go on advising people. You will create the same kinds of traumas, complexes, in other people too. A therapist can be of help only when his advice is not only for others, but when his advice is his life, when he has lived it and has seen its truth.

You say that the teaching of the ages to drop the ego, drop the mind, has not worked. It has worked! It has worked for me; that’s why I say it has worked. I know it has not worked for you. But there is nothing wrong in the teaching, something is wrong in you; that’s why it is not working in you. It has worked in millions of people. And sometimes it happens that your neighbor may be an enlightened being and you may not be able to see.

It happened…

A seeker came from America. He had heard there was a great Sufi mystic in Dacca, in Bangladesh, so he came rushing — as Americans come. He came rushing: he simply jumped on Dacca! He caught hold of a taxi-driver and said, “Take me to this mystic!”

The taxi-driver laughed. He said, “You are really interested? Then you have found the right man. If you had asked any other taxi-driver, nobody would have known. I know this man. I have lived with this man for almost fifty years.”

“Fifty years? How old is he?” the American asked.

The taxi-driver said, “He is also fifty years old.”

He thought, “This man seems to be crazy!” He tried other taxi-drivers, but nobody knew the man so he had to come back to this crazy man.

And he said, “I had told you that nobody knows him. You come with me and I will take you.” And he took him — and Dacca is an old city and small streets and tiny — and he went zigzag here and there, for hours. And the American was feeling very happy, because the goal was coming closer and closer and closer. After three, four hours, they stopped before a small house, a very poor man’s house. And the taxi-driver said, “You wait, and I will arrange for the master.”

Then a woman came and she said, “The master is waiting for you.” And the man went in, and the taxi-driver was sitting there.

And he said, “Come on, my son, what do you have to ask?”

The American could not believe it. He said, “You are the master?”

He said, “I am the master, and I have lived with this man for fifty years; nobody else knows about it.” And it turned out that he was the master.

… But you have your ideas: “How can a taxi-driver be a master?” Just think of me as a taxi-driver… You will not believe — will you? Will this psychologist friend believe? It will be impossible.

You have ideas. Because of your ideas you go on missing many things that are around. The earth is never empty of masters. There are people everywhere, but you can’t see! And when you want to see them you go to the Vatican because you have some idea that the pope must be enlightened. In fact, how can an enlightened person be a pope? No enlightened person will agree to that nonsense. He may prefer to be a taxi-driver.

Please drop your ideas while you are here, for these few days. Open yourself, don’t be prejudiced from the very beginning that, “This has never happened.” This has happened! This has happened in me. You just look into my eyes, just feel me, and this can happen in you. There is nothing that is hindering it except these ideas, this knowledge. That’s why I say knowledge is a curse. Get rid of your knowledge and you will get rid of your pathology!


From The Heart Sutra, Discourse #4

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For Ayn Rand There Was No Mystery – Osho

Ayn Rand, the originator of objectivism philosophy, went mad and committed suicide. How could this happen to such a rare, logical mind?

Precisely! It happened because of such a logical, rational mind. The rational mind cannot go beyond suicide and madness. That is the ultimate that has to happen. If some logical person is not mad it simply means that he is not logical enough. If some logical person has not committed suicide yet, it simply means that he is mediocre. He has not touched the pinnacle of logicality. If you reach to the pinnacle of logicality, life loses all meaning – because logic cannot give any meaning. Logic takes away all meaning. Logic is destructive, poisonous.

It is love that gives meaning to life, it is love that blooms and flowers, it is love that sings and dances; it is love that becomes celebration. A logical mind by and by loses all possibility of loving – because love is so illogical it cannot exist with logic. They prohibit each other, they exclude each other. If you love, you become illogical; if you are very logical, you become unloving. And without love, what is there to live by, to live with, to live for? What is there?

Ayn Rand was a very egoistic, rationalistic, realistic woman. Her philosophy is that of absolute selfishness. If you are absolutely selfish, how can you be loving? It is impossible. Her philosophy is absolutely realistic, materialistic. When there is only matter, what is there to bloom into? There is no soul. All search disappears. Life is flat and dull. There is no mystery. With the soul enters mystery and life. With mystery there is joy, because there is a possibility to enquire, to explore, to expand.

There is a possibility that something may happen, can happen.

Man is more than he knows. You are more than you know. Not only that, you are more than you can ever know, because your intrinsic reality remains mysterious, always remains unknown, unknowable.

You can go on knowing more and more and more but that does not reduce your mystery. That’s what we mean by soul – utterly mysterious. For Ayn Rand there was no mystery. When there is no mystery, how can there be life? Then what is there to live for? Suicide seems to be the logical conclusion. And if you don’t commit suicide, then madness is the conclusion. Those seem to be the two alternatives. Either go mad – mad means go illogical, drop your rational mind – or commit suicide, drop this useless life.

Jean-Paul Sartre has said: ‘Man is a useless passion.’ Now my feeling is that Sartre is not very, very logical, otherwise he would have committed suicide. If man is a useless passion, if there is no meaning in it, if life is meaninglessness, then why go on living? Why think of tomorrow – that you would like to exist tomorrow? That is very irrational. If nothing is going to happen, if nothing has ever happened, if nothing happens in the very reality, then why go on living? Why go on eating and why go on sleeping and getting up again and again? It is nauseating.

Another book of Sartre’s is Nausea. But it seems it is still philosophical, he has not taken it existentially – otherwise suicide would be the logical conclusion to the philosophy. Beware. These possibilities are in you too. If you become too logical, madness or suicide or both will be the conclusion.

That’s why I teach you love not logic, feeling not reasoning, heart not mind. Then life has such beauty, such beatitude, such joy, that one cannot contain it. It is so much, it is so over-flowing, so overwhelming.

You ask me: Ayn Rand, the originator of objectivism philosophy, went mad and committed suicide. How could this happen to such a rare, logical mind?

I say ‘Precisely. ’


From Sufis: The People of the Path, V. 2, Discourse #10

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Inward Revolution – Osho

On man’s path of evolution is it possible that at some time in the future humanity as a whole can attain enlightenment? At what point of evolution is man today?

With man, the natural, automatic process of evolution ends. Man is the last product of unconscious evolution. With man, conscious evolution begins. Many things are to be taken into account.

First, unconscious evolution is mechanical and natural. It happens by itself. Through this type of evolution, consciousness evolves. But the moment consciousness comes into being; unconscious evolution stops because its purpose has been fulfilled. Unconscious evolution is needed only up to the point where the conscious comes into being. Man has become conscious. In a way, he has transcended nature. Now nature cannot do anything; the last product that was possible through natural evolution has come into being. Now man becomes free to decide whether to evolve or not to evolve.

Secondly, unconscious evolution is collective, but the moment evolution becomes conscious it becomes individual. No collective, automatic evolution proceeds further than mankind. From now on, evolution becomes an individual process. Consciousness creates individuality. Before consciousness evolves, there is no individuality. Only species exist, not individuality. When evolution is still unconscious, it is an automatic process; there is no uncertainty about it.

Things happen through the law of cause and effect. Existence is mechanical and certain. But with man, with consciousness, uncertainty comes into existence. Now, nothing is certain. Evolution may take place or it may not. The potential is there, but the choice will rest entirely with each individual.

That is why anxiety is a human phenomenon. Below man there is no anxiety because there is no choice. Everything happens as it must. There is no choice so there is no chooser, and in the absence of the chooser, anxiety is impossible. Who is to be anxious? Who is to be tense? With the possibility of choice, anxiety follows like a shadow. Everything has to be chosen now; everything is a conscious effort. You alone are responsible. If you fail, you fail. It is your responsibility.

If you succeed, you succeed. It is again your responsibility. And every choice is ultimate in a sense.

You cannot undo it, you cannot forget it, you cannot go back on it. Your choice becomes your destiny.

It will remain with you and be a part of you; you cannot deny it. But your choice is always a gamble.

Every choice is made in darkness because nothing is certain.

That is why man suffers from anxiety. He is anxious to his very roots. What torments him, to begin with, is: to be or not to be? to do or not to do? to do this or to do that? ”No choice” is not possible. If you do not choose, then you are choosing not to choose; it is a choice. So you are forced to choose; you are not free not to choose. Not choosing will have as much effect as any other choice.

The dignity, the beauty and the glory of man is this consciousness. But it is a burden also. The glory and the burden come simultaneously the minute you become conscious. Every step is a movement between the two. With man, choice and conscious individuality come into existence. You can evolve, but your evolution will be an individual endeavor. You may evolve to become a buddha or you may not. The choice is yours.

So there are two types of evolution: collective evolution and individual, conscious evolution. ‘Evolution’ implies unconscious, collective progress, so it would be better to use the word ‘revolution’ in talking about man. With man, revolution becomes possible.

Revolution, as I am using the word here, means a conscious, individual effort toward evolution. It is bringing individual responsibility to a peak. Only you are responsible for your own evolution.

Ordinarily, man tries to escape from his responsibility for his own evolution, from the responsibility of freedom of choice. There is a great fear of freedom. When you are a slave the responsibility for your life is never yours; someone else is responsible. So in a way, slavery is a very comfortable thing.

There is no burden. In this respect, slavery is a freedom: freedom from conscious choice. The moment you become completely free, you have to make your own choices. No one forces you to do anything; all alternatives are open to you. Then the struggle with the mind begins. So one becomes afraid of freedom.

Part of the appeal of ideologies such as communism and fascism is that they provide an escape from individual freedom and a shirking of individual responsibility. The burden of responsibility is taken away from the individual; the society becomes responsible. When something goes wrong, you can always point to the state, the organization. Man becomes just a part of the collective structure. But in denying individual freedom, fascism and communism also deny the possibility of human evolution. It is a falling back from the great possibility that revolution offers: the total transformation of human beings. When this happens, you destroy the possibility of achieving the ultimate. You fall back; you again become like animals.

To me, further evolution is possible only with individual responsibility. You alone are responsible! This responsibility is a great blessing in disguise. With this individual responsibility comes the struggle that ultimately leads to choiceless awareness.

The old pattern of unconscious evolution has ended for us. You can fall back into it, but you cannot remain in it. Your being will revolt. Man has become conscious; he has to remain conscious. There is no other way.

Philosophers like Aurobindo have great appeal for escapists. They say that collective evolution is possible. The divine will descend and everyone will become enlightened. But to me that is not possible. And even if it appears possible, it is not worthwhile. If you become enlightened without your own individual effort, then that enlightenment is not worth having. It will not give you the ecstasy that crowns the effort. It will just be taken for granted – like your eyes, your hands, your breathing system. These are great blessings, but no one really values them, cherishes them.

One day you can also be born with enlightenment, just as Aurobindo promises. It will be valueless.

You will have much, but because it has come to you without effort, without toil, it will mean nothing to you; its significance will be lost. Conscious effort is necessary. The achievement is not as significant as the effort itself. Effort gives it its meaning; struggle gives it its significance.

As I see it, enlightenment that comes collectively, unconsciously, as a gift from the divine, is not only impossible but also meaningless. You must struggle for enlightenment. Through struggle, you create the capacity to see and feel and hold on to the bliss that comes.

Unconscious evolution ends with man and conscious evolution – revolution – begins. But conscious evolution does not necessarily begin in any particular man. It begins only if you choose it to begin.

If you do not choose it – as most people do not – you will be in a very tense condition. And present-day humanity is like this: nowhere to go, nothing to be achieved. Nothing can be achieved now without conscious effort. You cannot go back to a state of unconsciousness. The door has closed; the bridge has been broken.

The conscious choice to evolve is a great adventure, the only adventure there is for a human being. The path is arduous; it is bound to be so. Errors are bound to be there, failures, because nothing is certain. This situation creates tension in the mind. You do not know where you are, you do not know where you are going. Your identity is lost. The situation may even reach such a point that you become suicidal.

Suicide is a human phenomenon; it comes with human choice. Animals cannot commit suicide, because to choose death consciously is impossible for them. Birth is unconscious, death is unconscious. But with man – ignorant man, unevolved man – one thing becomes possible: the ability to choose death. Your birth is not your choice. As far as your birth is concerned, you are in the hands of unconscious evolution. In fact, your birth is not a human happening at all. It is animal in nature, because it is not your choice. Only with choice does humanity begin. But you can choose your death – a decisive act. So suicide becomes a definite human act. And if you do not choose conscious evolution, there is every possibility that you may choose to commit suicide. You may not have the courage actively to commit suicide but you will go through a slow, prolonged process of suicide – lingering, waiting to die.

You cannot make anyone else responsible for your evolution. To accept this situation gives you strength. You are on your way to growing, to evolving. We create gods, or we take refuge in gurus, so that we will not have to be responsible for our own lives, for our own evolution. We try to place the responsibility somewhere else, away from us. If we are not able to accept some god or some guru, then we try to escape from responsibility through intoxicants or drugs, through anything that will make us unconscious. But these efforts to deny responsibility are absurd, juvenile, childish. They only postpone the problem; they are not solutions. You can postpone until death, but the problem still remains, and your new birth will continue in the same way.

Once you become aware that you alone are responsible, there is no escape through any type of unconsciousness. And you are foolish if you try to escape, because responsibility is a great opportunity for evolution. Out of the struggle that is created, something new may evolve. To become aware means to know that everything depends on you. Even your god depends on you, because he is created by your imagination.

Everything is ultimately a part of you, and you are responsible for it. There is no one to listen to your excuses; there are no courts of appeal, the whole responsibility is yours. You are alone, absolutely alone. This has to be understood very clearly. The moment a person becomes conscious, he becomes alone. The greater the consciousness, the greater the awareness that you are alone. So, do not escape from this fact through society, friends, associations, crowds. Do not escape from it! It is a great phenomenon; the whole process of evolution has been working toward this.

Consciousness has come to the point now where you know that you are alone. And only in aloneness can you attain enlightenment. I am not saying loneliness. The feeling of loneliness is the feeling that comes when one is escaping from aloneness, when one is not ready to accept it.

If you do not accept the fact of aloneness, then you will feel lonely. Then you will find some crowd or some means of intoxication in which to forget yourself. Loneliness will create its own magic of forgetfulness. If you can be alone even for a single moment, totally alone, the ego will die; the “I” will die. You will explode; you will be no more. The ego cannot remain alone. It can exist only in relation to others. Whenever you are alone, a miracle happens. The ego becomes weak. Now it cannot continue to exist for long. So if you can be courageous enough to be alone, you will gradually become egoless.

To be alone is a very conscious and deliberate act, more deliberate than suicide, because the ego cannot exist alone, but it can exist in suicide. Egoistic people are more prone to suicide. Suicide is always in relation to someone else; it is never an act of aloneness. In suicide, the ego will not suffer.

Rather, it will become more expressive. It will enter into a new birth with greater force. Through aloneness, the ego is shattered. It has nothing to relate to, so it cannot exist. So if you are ready to be alone, unwaveringly alone, neither escaping nor falling back, just accepting the fact of aloneness as it is – it becomes a great opportunity. Then you are just like a seed that has much potential in it. But remember, the seed must destroy itself for the plant to grow. Ego is a seed, a potentiality. If it is shattered, the divine is born. The divine is neither ”I” nor ”thou,” it is one. Through aloneness, you come to this oneness.

You can create false substitutes for this oneness. Hindus become one, Christians become one, Mohammedans become one; India is one, China is one. These are just substitutes for oneness. Oneness comes only through total aloneness.

A crowd can call itself one, but the oneness is always in opposition to something else. Since the crowd is with you, you are at ease. Now you are not responsible any more. You would not burn a mosque alone, you would not destroy a temple alone, but as part of a crowd you can do it, because now you are not individually responsible. Everyone is responsible, so no one in particular is responsible. There is no individual consciousness, only a group consciousness. You regress in a crowd and become like an animal.

The crowd is a false substitute for the feeling of oneness. One who is aware of the situation, aware of his responsibility as a human being, aware of the difficult, arduous task that comes with being human, does not choose any false substitutes. He lives with the facts as they are; he does not create any fictions. Your religions and your political ideologies are just fictions, creating an illusory feeling of oneness.

Oneness comes only when you become egoless, and the ego can die only when you are totally alone. When you are completely alone, you are not. That very moment is the moment of explosion.

You explode into the infinite. This, and only this, is evolution. I call it revolution because it is not unconscious. You may become egoless or you may not. It is up to you. To be alone is the only real revolution. Much courage is needed.

Only a Buddha is alone, only a Jesus or a Mahavir is alone. It is not that they left their families, left the world. It looks that way but it is not. They were not negatively leaving something. The act was positive; it was a movement toward aloneness. They were not leaving. They were in search of being totally alone. The whole search is for that moment of explosion when one is alone. In aloneness there is bliss. And only then is enlightenment achieved. We cannot be alone, others also cannot be alone, so we create groups, families, societies, nations. All nations, all families, all groups are made up of cowards, of those who are not courageous enough to be alone.

Real courage is the courage to be alone. It means a conscious realization of the fact that you are alone and you cannot be otherwise. You can either deceive yourself or you can live with this fact.

You can continue deceiving yourself for lives and lives, but you will just go on in a vicious circle. Only if you can live with this fact of aloneness is the circle broken and you come to the center. That center is the center of divineness, of the whole, the holy. I cannot conceive of a time when every human being will be able to achieve this as a birthright. It is impossible.

Consciousness is individual. Only unconsciousness is collective. Human beings have come to the point of consciousness where they have become individuals. There is no humanity as such; there are only individual human beings. Each human being must realize his own individuality and the responsibility for it. The first thing we must do is to accept aloneness as a basic fact and learn to live with it. We must not create any fictions. If you create fictions you will never be able to know the truth. Fictions are projected, created, cultivated truths that prevent you from knowing what is.

Live with the fact of your aloneness. If you can live with this fact, if there is no fiction between you and this fact, then the truth will be revealed to you. Every fact, if looked into deeply, reveals the truth.

So live with the fact of responsibility, with the fact that you are alone. If you can live with this fact, the explosion will happen. It is arduous, but it is the only way. Through difficulty, through accepting this truth, you reach the point of explosion. Only then is there bliss. If it is given to you ready-made, it loses its worth because you have not earned it. You do not have the capacity to feel the bliss. This capacity comes only from discipline.

If you can live with the fact of your responsibility for yourself, a discipline will automatically come to you. By being totally responsible for yourself, you cannot help but become disciplined. But this discipline is not something forced upon you from the outside. It comes from within. Because of the total responsibility you carry for yourself, each step you take is disciplined. You cannot utter even one word irresponsibly. If you are aware of your own aloneness, you will be aware of the anguish of others also. Then you will not be able to commit a single irresponsible act, because you will feel responsible not only for yourself but for others also. If you can live with the fact of your aloneness, you know that everyone is lonely. Then the son knows that the father is lonely; the wife knows that the husband is lonely; the husband knows that the wife is lonely. Once you know this, it is impossible not to be compassionate.

Living with facts is the only yoga, the only discipline. Once you are totally aware of the human situation, you become religious. You become a master of yourself. But the austerity that comes is not the austerity of an ascetic. It is not forced; it is not ugly. The austerity is aesthetic. You feel that it is the only thing possible, that you cannot do otherwise. Then you renounce things; you become non-possessive.

The urge to possess is the urge not to be alone. One cannot be alone, so he seeks company. But the company of other people is not reliable, so he seeks, instead, the company of things. To live with a wife is difficult; to live with a car is not so difficult. So ultimately, possessiveness turns toward things.

You may even try to change persons into things. You try to mold them in such a way that they lose their personalities, their individuality. A wife is a thing, not a person; a husband is a thing, not a person.

If you become aware of your aloneness, then you become aware of the aloneness of others also. Then you know that to try to possess another is trespassing. You never positively renounce. Renunciation becomes the negative shadow of your aloneness. You become non-possessive. Then you can be a lover, but not a husband, not a wife.

With this non-possessiveness comes compassion and austerity. Innocence comes to you. When you deny the facts of life, you cannot be innocent; you become cunning. You deceive yourself and others. But if you are courageous enough to live with the facts as they are, you become innocent.

This innocence is not cultivated. You are it: innocent.

To me, to be innocent is all that is to be achieved. Be innocent, and the divine is always blissfully flowing towards you. Innocence is the capacity to receive, to be part of the divine. Be innocent, and the guest is there. Become the host.

This innocence cannot be cultivated because cultivation is always a contrivance. It is calculated.

But innocence can never be calculated; it is impossible.

Innocence is religiousness. To be innocent is the peak of true realization. But true innocence comes only through a conscious revolution; it is not possible through any collective, unconscious evolution.

Man is alone. He is free to choose heaven or hell, life or death, the ecstasy of realization or the misery of our so-called life.

Sartre said somewhere: “Man is condemned to be free.” You may choose either heaven or hell. Freedom means the freedom to choose either. If you can choose only heaven, then it is not a choice; it is not freedom. Heaven without the choice of hell will be hell itself. Choice always means either/or. It does not mean you are free to choose good only. Then there would be no freedom. If you choose wrongly, freedom becomes a condemnation; but if you choose rightly, it becomes bliss. It depends on you whether your choice turns your freedom into condemnation or into bliss.

The choice is totally your responsibility.

If you are ready, then from within your depths a new dimension can begin: the dimension of revolution. Evolution has ended. Now a revolution is needed to open you up to what is beyond.

It is an individual revolution, an inward revolution.


From The Psychology of the Esoteric, Discourse #1

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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

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

Who is Watching the Mind? – Osho

Can the mind commit suicide?

The mind cannot commit suicide, because whatsoever the mind can do will strengthen the mind. Any doing on the part of the mind makes the mind more strong. So suicide is impossible.

Mind doing something means mind continuing itself — so that is not in the nature of things. But suicide happens. Mind cannot commit it — mm? — let me make it absolutely clear: mind cannot commit it, but suicide happens. It happens through watching the mind, not by doing anything.

The watcher is separate from the mind, it is deeper than the mind, higher than the mind. The watcher is always hidden behind the mind. A thought passes, a feeling arises — who is watching this thought? Not the mind itself — because mind is nothing but the process of thought and feeling. The mind is just the traffic of thinking. Who is watching it? When you say, “An angry thought has arisen in me,” who are ‘you’? In whom has the thought arisen? Who is the container? The thought is the content — who is the container?

The mind is like when you print a book: on white, clean paper, words appear. That empty paper is the container and the printed words are the content. Consciousness is like empty paper. Mind is like written, printed paper.

Whatsoever exists as an object inside you, whatsoever you can see and observe, is the mind. The observer is not the mind, the observed is the mind.

So if you can go on simply observing, without condemning, without in any way creating a conflict with the mind, without indulging it, without following it, without going against it, if you can simply be there indifferent to it, in that indifference suicide happens. It is not that mind commits suicide: when the watcher arises, the witness is there, mind simply disappears.

Mind exists with your cooperation OR your conflict. Both are ways of cooperating — conflict too! When you fight with the mind, you are giving energy to it. In your VERY fight you have accepted the mind, in your very fighting you have accepted the power of the mind over your being. So whether you cooperate or you conflict, in both the cases the mind becomes stronger and stronger.

Just watch. Just be a witness. And, by and by, you will see gaps arising. A thought passes, and another thought does not come immediately — there is an interval. In that interval is peace. In that interval is love. In that interval is all that you have always been seeking — and finding never. In that gap, you are no more an ego. In that gap you are not defined, confined, imprisoned. In that gap you are vast, immense, huge! In that gap you are one with existence — the barrier exists not. Your boundaries are no more there. You melt into existence and the existence melts in you. You start overlapping.

If you go on watching and you don’t get attached to these gaps either… because that is natural now, to get attached to these gaps. If you start hankering for these gaps… because they are tremendously beautiful, they are immensely blissful. It is natural to get attached to them, and desire arises to have more and more of these gaps — then you will miss, then your watcher has disappeared. Then those gaps will again disappear, and again the traffic of the mind will be there.

So the first thing is to become an indifferent watcher. And the second thing is to remember that when beautiful gaps arise, don’t get attached to them, don’t start asking for them, don’t start waiting that they should happen more often. If you can remember these two things — when beautiful gaps come, watch them too, and keep your indifference alive — then one day the traffic simply disappears with the road, they both disappear. And there is tremendous emptiness.

That’s what Buddha calls ‘Nirvana’ — the mind has ceased. This is what I call suicide — but mind has not committed it. Mind cannot commit it. You can help it to happen. You can hinder it, you can help it to happen — it depends on you, not on your mind. All that mind can do will always strengthen the mind.

So meditation is not really mind-effort. Real meditation is not effort at all. Real meditation is just allowing the mind to have its own way, and not interfering in any way whatsoever — just remaining watchful, witnessing. It silences, by and by, it becomes still. One day it is gone. You are left alone.

That aloneness is what your reality is. And in that aloneness nothing is excluded, remember it. In that aloneness everything is included — that aloneness is God. That purity, that innocence, uncorrupted by any thought, is what God is.


From The Discipline of Transcendence, V. 3, Discourse #2

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt Who Is Watching the Mind?

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

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

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