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Courage is not the absence of fear, says Osho. It is, rather, the total presence of fear, with the courage to face it. This book provides a bird's-eye view of the whole terrain—where fears originate, how to understand them, and how to find the courage to face them. In the process, Osho proposes that whenever we are faced with uncertainty and change in our lives, it is actually a cause for celebration. Instead of trying to hang on to the familiar and the known, we can learn to enjoy these situations as ...
Courage is not the absence of fear, says Osho. It is, rather, the total presence of fear, with the courage to face it. This book provides a bird's-eye view of the whole terrain—where fears originate, how to understand them, and how to find the courage to face them. In the process, Osho proposes that whenever we are faced with uncertainty and change in our lives, it is actually a cause for celebration. Instead of trying to hang on to the familiar and the known, we can learn to enjoy these situations as opportunities for adventure and for deepening our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
The book begins with an in-depth exploration of the meaning of courage and how it is expressed in the everyday life of the individual. Unlike books that focus on heroic acts of courage in exceptional circumstances, the focus here is on developing the inner courage that enables us to lead authentic and fulfilling lives on a day-to-day basis. This is the courage to change when change is needed, the courage to stand up for our own truth, even against the opinions of others, and the courage to embrace the unknown in spite of our fears-in our relationships, in our careers, or in the ongoing journey of understanding who we are and why we are here.
Courage also features a number of meditation techniques specifically designed by Osho to help people deal with their fears.
WHAT IS COURAGE?
In the beginning there is not much difference between the coward and the courageous person. The only difference is, the coward listens to his fears and follows them, and the courageous person puts them aside and goes ahead. The courageous person goes into the unknown in spite of all the fears.
Courage means going into the unknown in spite of all the fears. Courage does not mean fearlessness. Fearlessness happens if you go on being courageous and more courageous. That is the ultimate experience of courage—fearlessness: That is the fragrance when the courage has become absolute. But in the beginning there is not much difference between the coward and the courageous person. The only difference is that the coward listens to his fears and follows them, and the courageous person puts them aside and goes ahead. The courageous person goes into the unknown in spite of all the fears. He knows the fears, the fears are there.
When you go into the uncharted sea, like Columbus did, there is fear, immense fear, because one never knows what is going to happen. You are leaving the shore of safety. You were perfectly okay, in a way; only one thing was missing—adventure. Going into the unknown gives you a thrill. The heart starts pulsating again; again you are alive, fully alive. Every fiber of your being is alive because you have accepted the challenge of the unknown.
To accept the challenge of the unknown, in spite of all fears, is courage. The fears are there, but if you go on accepting the challenge again and again, slowly slowly those fears disappear. The experience of the joy that the unknown brings, the great ecstasy that starts happening with the unknown, makes you strong enough, gives you a certain integrity, makes your intelligence sharp. For the first time you start feeling that life is not just a boredom but an adventure. Then slowly slowly fears disappear; then you are always seeking and searching for some adventure.
But basically courage is risking the known for the unknown, the familiar for the unfamiliar, the comfortable for the uncomfortable, arduous pilgrimage to some unknown destination. One never knows whether one will be able to make it or not. It is gambling, but only the gamblers know what life is.
THE TAO OF COURAGE
Life does not listen to your logic; it goes on its own way, undisturbed. You have to listen to life; life will not listen to your logic, it does not bother about your logic.
When you move into life, what do you see? A great storm comes, and big trees fall. They should survive, according to Charles Darwin, because they are the fittest, strongest, most powerful. Look at an ancient tree, three hundred feet high, three thousand years old. The very presence of the tree creates strength, gives a feeling of strength and power. Millions of roots have spread inside the earth, gone deep, and the tree is standing with power. Of course the tree fights—it doesn’t want to yield, to surrender—but after the storm, it has fallen, it is dead, it is no longer alive, and all that strength has gone. The storm was too much—the storm is always too much, because the storm comes from the whole, and a tree is just an individual.
Then there are small plants and ordinary grass—when the storm comes the grass yields, and the storm cannot do any harm to it. At the most it can give it a good cleansing, that’s all; all the dirt that has gathered on it is washed away. The storm gives it a good bath, and when the storm has gone, the small plants and the grasses are again dancing high. The grass has almost no roots, it can be pulled out by a small child, but the storm was defeated. What happened?
The grass followed the way of Tao, the way of Lao Tzu, and the big tree followed Charles Darwin. The big tree was very logical: it tried to resist, it tried to show its strength. If you try to show your strength, you will be defeated. All Hitlers, all Napoleons, all Alexanders are big trees, strong trees. They will all be defeated. Lao Tzus are just like small plants: nobody can defeat them because they are always ready to yield. How can you defeat a person who yields, who says, “I am already defeated,” who says, “Sir, you enjoy your victory, there is no need to create any trouble. I’m defeated.” Even an Alexander will feel futile before a Lao Tzu, he cannot do anything. It happened; it happened exactly like that … .
A sannyasin, a mystic by the name of Dandamis, existed in the days of Alexander, in the days when Alexander was in India. Friends had told Alexander when he was leaving for India that when he came back he should bring a sannyasin, because that rare flower flowered only in India. They said, “We would like to see the phenomenon of sannyas, what it is, what exactly a sannyasin is.”
He was so engaged in war and struggle and fight that he almost forgot about it, but when he was going back, just on the boundary of India, he suddenly remembered. He was leaving the last village, so he asked his soldiers to go into the village and inquire if there was a sannyasin around there somewhere. By accident Dandamis was there in the village, by the riverside, and the people said, “You have come at the right time. There are many sannyasins, but a real sannyasin is always rare, and he is here now. You can have darshan, you can go and visit him.”
Alexander laughed. He said, “I’m not here to have darshan, my soldiers will go and fetch him. I will take him back to the capital of my country.”
The villagers said, “It won’t be so easy … .”
Alexander could not believe it—what difficulty could there be? He had conquered emperors, great kings, so with a beggar, a sannyasin, what difficulty could there be? His soldiers went to see this Dandamis, who was standing naked on the bank of the river. They said, “Alexander the Great invites you to accompany him to his country. All comforts, whatsoever you need, will be provided. You will be a royal guest.”
The naked fakir laughed and said, “You go and tell your master that a man who calls himself great cannot be great. And nobody can take me anywhere—a sannyasin moves like a cloud, in total freedom. I am not enslaved to anybody.”
They said, “You must have heard about Alexander, he is a dangerous man. If you say no to him, he won’t listen, he will simply cut your head off!”
Alexander had to go, because the soldiers said, “He is a rare man, luminous, there is something of the unknown around him. He is naked, but you don’t feel in his presence that he is naked—later on you remember. He is so powerful that in his presence you simply forget the whole world. He is magnetic, and a great silence surrounds him and the whole area feels as if it is delighting in the man. He is worth seeing, but there seems to be trouble ahead for him, the poor man, because he says that nobody can take him anywhere, that he is nobody’s slave.”
Alexander went to see him with a naked sword in his hand. Dandamis laughed and said, “Put down your sword, it is useless here. Put it back in the sheath; it is useless here because you can cut only my body, and that I left long ago. Your sword cannot cut me, so put it back; don’t be childish.”
And it is said that this was the first time Alexander followed somebody else’s order; just because of the very presence of the man, he couldn’t remember who he was. He put his sword back in the sheath and said, “I have never come across such a beautiful man.” And when he was back in his camp he said, “It is difficult to kill a man who is ready to die, it is meaningless to kill him. You can kill a person who fights, then there is some meaning in killing; but you can’t kill a man who is ready and who is saying, ‘This is my head, you can cut it off.’”
And Dandamis actually said, “This is my head, you can cut it off. When the head falls, you will see it falling on the sand and I will also see it falling on the sand, because I am not my body. I am a witness.”
Alexander had to report to his friends, “There were sannyasins that I could have brought, but they were not sannyasins. Then I came across a man who was really something rare—and you have heard rightly, this flower is rare, but nobody can force him because he is not afraid of death. When a person is not afraid of death, how can you force him to do anything?”
It is your fear that makes you a slave—it is your fear. When you are fearless you are no longer a slave; in fact, it is your fear that forces you to make others slaves before they can try to make a slave out of you.
A man who is fearless is neither afraid of anybody nor makes anybody afraid of him. Fear totally disappears.
THE WAY OF THE HEART
The word courage is very interesting. It comes from a Latin root cor, which means “heart.” So to be courageous means to live with the heart. And weaklings, only weaklings, live with the head; afraid, they create a security of logic around themselves. Fearful, they close every window and door—with theology, concepts, words, theories—and inside those closed doors and windows, they hide.
The way of the heart is the way of courage. It is to live in insecurity; it is to live in love, and trust; it is to move in the unknown. It is leaving the past and allowing the future to be. Courage is to move on dangerous paths. Life is dangerous, and only cowards can avoid the danger—but then, they are already dead. A person who is alive, really alive, vitally alive, will always move into the unknown. There is danger there, but he will take the risk. The heart is always ready to the the risk, the heart is a gambler. The head is a businessman. The head always calculates—it is cunning. The heart is noncalculating.
This English word courage is beautiful, very interesting. To live through the heart is to discover meaning. A poet lives through the heart and, by and by, in the heart he starts listening to the sounds of the unknown. The head cannot listen; it is very far away from the unknown. The head is filled with the known.
What is your mind? It is all that you have known. It is the past, the dead, that which has gone. Mind is nothing but the accumulated past, the memory. Heart is the future; heart is always the hope, heart is always somewhere in the future. Head thinks about the past; heart dreams about the future.
The heart is always
ready to take the
risk, the heart
is a gambler.
The head is a
The head always
The future is yet to come. The future is yet to be. The future has yet a possibility—it will come, it is already coming. Every moment the future is becoming the present, and the present is becoming the past. The past has no possibility, it has been used. You have already moved away from it—it is exhausted, it is a dead thing, it is like a grave. The future is like a seed; it is coming, ever coming, always reaching and meeting with the present. You are always moving. The present is nothing but a movement into the future. It is the step that you have already taken; it is going into the future.
EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD WANTS TO BE TRUE because just to be true brings so much joy and such an abundance of blissfulness—why should one be false? You have to have the courage for a little deeper insight: Why are you afraid? What can the world do to you? People can laugh at you, it will do them good—laughter is always a medicine, healthful. People can think you are mad … just because they think you are mad, you don’t become mad.
Why are you afraid?
What can the world
do to you?
People can laugh at
you; it will do them
always a medicine,
And if you are authentic about your joy, your tears, your dance, sooner or later there will be people who will start understanding you, who may start joining your caravan. I myself had started alone on the path, and then people went on coming and it became a worldwide caravan! And I have not invited anybody; I have simply done whatever I felt was coming from my heart.
My responsibility is toward my heart, not toward anybody else in the world. So is your responsibility only toward your own being. Don’t go against it, because going against it is committing suicide, is destroying yourself. And what is the gain? Even if people give you respect, and people think that you are a very sober, respectable, honorable man, these things are not going to nourish your being. They are not going to give you any more insight into life and its tremendous beauty.
How many millions of people have lived before you on this earth? You don’t even know their names; whether they ever lived or not does not make any difference. There have been saints and there have been sinners, and there have been very respectable people, and there have been all kinds of eccentrics, crazy, but they have all disappeared—not even a trace has remained on the earth.
Your sole concern should be to take care of and protect those qualities that you can take with you when death destroys your body, your mind, because these qualities will be your sole companions. They are the only real values, and the people who attain them—only they live; others only pretend to live.
The KGB knocks on Yussel Finkelstein’s door one dark night. Yussel opens the door. The KGB man barks out, “Does Yussel Finkelstein live here?”
“No,” replies Yussel, standing there in his frayed pajamas.
“No? So what is your name then?”
The KGB man knocks him to the ground and says,
“Did you just say that you did not live here?”
Yussel replies, “You call this living?”
Just living is not always living. Look at your life. Can you call it a blessing? Can you call it a gift, a present of existence? Would you like this life to be given to you again and again?
DON’T LISTEN TO THE SCRIPTURES—listen to your own heart. That is the only scripture I prescribe: listen very attentively, very consciously, and you will never be wrong. And listening to your own heart, you will never be divided. Listening to your own heart, you will start moving in the right direction, without ever thinking of what is right and what is wrong.
The whole art for the new humanity will consist in the secret of listening to the heart consciously, alertly, attentively. And follow it, go wherever it takes you. Yes, sometimes it will take you into dangers—but remember, those dangers are needed to make you ripe. Sometimes it will take you astray—but remember again, those goings astray are part of growth. Many times you will fall—rise up again, because this is how one gathers strength, by falling and rising again. This is how one becomes integrated.
But don’t follow rules imposed from the outside. No imposed rule can ever be right—because rules are invented by people who want to rule you! Yes, sometimes there have been great enlightened people in the world, too—a Buddha, a Jesus, a Krishna, a Mohammed. They have not given rules to the world—they have given their love. But sooner or later the disciples gather together and start making codes of conduct. Once the Master is gone, once the light is gone and they are in deep darkness, they start groping for certain rules to follow, because now the light in which they could have seen is no longer there. Now they will have to depend on rules.
What Jesus did was his own heart’s whispering, and what Christians go on doing is not their own hearts’ whispering. They are imitators—and the moment you imitate you insult your humanity, you insult your God.
Never be an imitator, be always original. Don’t become a carbon copy. But that’s what is happening all over the world—carbon copies and carbon copies.
Life is really a dance if you are an original—and you are meant to be an original. Just look how different Krishna is from Buddha. If Krishna had followed Buddha, we would have missed one of the most beautiful men of this earth. Or if Buddha had followed Krishna, he would have been just a poor specimen. Just think of Buddha playing on the flute!—he would have disturbed many people’s sleep, he was not a flute player. Just think of Buddha dancing; it looks so ridiculous, just absurd.
And the same is the case with Krishna. Sitting underneath a tree with no flute, with no crown of peacock feathers, with no beautiful clothes—just sitting like a beggar under a tree with closed eyes, nobody dancing around him, nothing of the dance, nothing of the song—and Krishna would look so poor, so impoverished. A Buddha is a Buddha, a Krishna is a Krishna, and you are you. And you are not in any way less than anybody else. Respect yourself, respect your own inner voice and follow it.
A Buddha is a
Buddha, a Krishna
is a Krishna, and
you are you.
And you are not in any way less than
Respect yourself, respect your own
inner voice and
And remember, I am not guaranteeing you that it will always lead you to the right. Many times it will take you to the wrong, because to come to the right door one has to knock first on many wrong doors. That’s how it is. If you suddenly stumble upon the right door, you will not be able to recognize that it is right. So remember, in the ultimate reckoning no effort is ever wasted; all efforts contribute to the ultimate climax of your growth.
So don’t be hesitant, don’t be worried too much about going wrong. That is one of the problems: people have been taught never to do anything wrong, and then they become so hesitant, so fearful, so frightened of doing wrong, that they become stuck. They cannot move, something wrong may happen. So they become like rocks, they lose all movement.
Commit as many
mistakes as possible,
remembering only one
thing: don’t commit
the same mistake
And you will be
Commit as many mistakes as possible, remembering only one thing: don’t commit the same mistake again. And you will be growing. It is part of your freedom to go astray, it is part of your dignity to go even against God. And it is sometimes beautiful to go even against God. This is how you will start having a spine; otherwise there are millions of people, spineless.
Forget all about what you have been told, “This is right and this is wrong.” Life is not so fixed. The thing that is right today may be wrong tomorrow, the thing that is wrong this moment may be right the next moment. Life cannot be pigeonholed; you cannot label it so easily, “This is right and this is wrong.” Life is not a chemist’s shop where every bottle is labeled and you know what is what. Life is a mystery: one moment something fits and then it is right; another moment, so much water has gone down the Ganges that it no longer fits and it is wrong.
What is my definition of right? That which is harmonious with existence is right, and that which is disharmonious with existence is wrong. You will have to be very alert each moment, because it has to be decided each moment afresh. You cannot depend on ready-made answers for what is right and what is wrong. Only stupid people depend on ready-made answers because then they need not be intelligent, there is no need. You already know what is right and what is wrong, you can memorize the list; the list is not very big.
The Ten Commandments—so simple!—you know what is right and what is wrong. But life goes on changing continuously. If Moses comes back, I don’t think he will give you the same ten commandments—he cannot. After three thousand years, how can he give you the same commandments? He will have to invent something new.
But my own understanding is this: whenever commandments are given, they create difficulties for people because by the time they are given they are already out of date. Life moves so fast; it is a dynamism, it is not static. It is not a stagnant pool, it is a Ganges, it goes on flowing. It is never the same for two consecutive moments. So one thing may be right this moment and may not be right the next.
Then what to do? The only possible thing is to make people so aware that they themselves can decide how to respond to a changing life.
A Zen story:
There were two temples, rivals. Both the masters—they must have been only so–called masters, must have really been priests—were so much against each other that they told their followers never to look at the other temple.
Each of the priests had a boy to serve him, to go and fetch things for him, to go on errands. The priest of the first temple told his boy servant, “Never talk to the other boy. Those people are dangerous.”
But boys are boys. One day they met on the road, and the boy from the first temple asked the other, “Where are you going?”
given, they create
difficulties for people,
because by the time
they are given
they are already
out of date.
Life moves so fast; it
is a dynamism, it is
The other said, “Wherever the wind takes me.” He must have been listening to great Zen things in the temple; he said, “Wherever the wind takes me.” A great statement, pure Tao.
But the first boy was very much embarrassed, offended, and he could not find how to answer him. Frustrated, angry, and also feeling guilty … “My master said not to talk with these people. These people really are dangerous. Now, what kind of answer is this? He has humiliated me.”
He went to his master and told him what had happened: “I am sorry that I talked to him. You were right, those people are strange. What kind of answer is this? I asked him, ‘Where are you going?’—a simple, formal question—and I knew he was going to the market, just as I was going to the market. But he said, ‘Wherever the wind takes me.’”
The master said, “I warned you, but you didn’t listen. Now look, tomorrow you stand at the same place again. When he comes, ask him, ‘Where are you going?’ and he will say, ‘Wherever the wind takes me.’ Then you also be a little more philosophical. Say, ‘If you don’t have any legs, then?’—because the soul is bodiless and the wind cannot take the soul anywhere—‘What about that?’”
The boy wanted to be absolutely ready; the whole night he repeated it again and again and again. And next morning very early he went there, stood on the right spot, and at the exact time the other boy came. He was very happy, now he was going to show him what real philosophy is. So he asked, “Where are you going?” And he was waiting … .
But the boy said, “I am going to fetch vegetables from the market.”
Now, what to do with the philosophy he had learned?
Life is like that. You cannot prepare for it, you cannot be ready for it. That’s its beauty, that’s its wonder, that it always takes you unawares, it always comes as a surprise. If you have eyes you will see that each moment is a surprise and no ready-made answer is ever applicable.
THE WAY OF INTELLIGENCE
Intelligence is aliveness, it is spontaneity. It is openness, it is vulnerability. It is impartiality, it is the courage to function without conclusions. And why do I say it is a courage? It is a courage because when you function out of a conclusion the conclusion protects you; the conclusion gives you security, safety. You know it well, you know how to come to it, you are very efficient with it. To function without a conclusion is to function in innocence. There is no security; you may go wrong, you may go astray.
One who is ready to go on the exploration called truth has to be ready also to commit many errors, mistakes—has to be able to risk. One may go astray, but that is how one arrives. Going many many times astray, one learns how not to go astray. Committing many mistakes, one learns what is a mistake and how not to commit it. Knowing what is error, one comes closer and closer to what is truth. It is an individual exploration; you cannot depend on others’ conclusions.
mistakes, one learns
what is a mistake and
how not to commit it.
Knowing what is
error, one comes
closer and closer to
what is truth.
It is an individual.
cannot depend on
YOU WERE BORN AS A NO-MIND. Let this sink into your heart as deeply as possible because through that, a door opens. If you were born as a no-mind, then the mind is just a social product. It is nothing natural, it is cultivated. It has been put together on top of you. Deep down you are still free, you can get out of it. One can never get out of nature, but one can get out of the artificial any moment one decides to.
Existence precedes thinking. So existence is not a state of mind, t is a state beyond. To be, not to think, is the way to know the fundamental. Science means thinking, philosophy means thinking, theology means thinking. Religiousness does not mean thinking. The religious approach is a nonthinking approach. It is more intimate, it brings you closer to reality. It drops all that hinders, it unblocks you; you start flowing into life. You don’t think that you are separate, looking. You don’t think that you are a watcher, aloof, distant. You meet, mingle, and merge into reality.
And there is a different kind of knowing. It cannot be called “knowledge.” It is more like love, less like knowledge. It is so intimate that the word knowledge is not sufficient to express it. The word love is more adequate, more expressive.
In the history of human consciousness, the first thing that evolved was magic. Magic was a combination of science and religion. Magic had something of the mind and something of the no-mind. Then out of magic grew philosophy. Then out of philosophy grew science. Magic was both no-mind and mind. Philosophy was only mind. And then mind plus experimentation became science. Religiousness is a state of no-mind.
Religiousness and science are the two approaches to reality. Science approaches through the secondary; religiousness goes direct. Science is an indirect approach; religiousness is an immediate approach. Science goes round and round; religiousness simply penetrates to the heart of reality.
A few more things … . Thinking can think only about the known—it can chew the already chewed. Thinking can never be original. How can you think about the unknown? Whatsoever you can manage to think will belong to the known. You can think only because you know. At the most, thinking can create new combinations.You can think about a horse who flies in the sky, who is made of gold, but nothing is new. You know birds who fly in the sky, you know gold, you know horses; you combine the three together. At the most, thinking can imagine new combinations, but it cannot know the unknown. The unknown remains beyond it. So thinking goes in a circle, goes on knowing the known again and again and again. It goes on chewing the chewed. Thinking is never original.
To come upon reality originally, radically, to come upon reality without any mediator—to come upon reality as if you are the first person to exist—that is liberating. That very newness of it liberates.
TRUTH IS AN EXPERIENCE, NOT A BELIEF. Truth never comes by studying about it; truth has to be encountered, truth has to be faced. The person who studies about love is like the person who studies about the Himalayas by looking at the map of the mountains. The map is not the mountain! And if you start believing in the map, you will go on missing the mountain. If you become too much obsessed with the map, the mountain may be there just in front of you, but still you will not be able to see it.
And that’s how it is. The mountain is in front of you, but your eyes are full of maps—maps of the mountain, maps about the same mountain, made by different explorers. Somebody has climbed the mountain from the north side, somebody from the east. They have made different maps: Koran, Bible, Gita—different maps of the same truth. But you are too full of the maps, too burdened by their weight; you cannot move even an inch. You cannot see the mountain just standing in front of you, its virgin snow peaks shining like gold in the morning sun. You don’t have the eyes to see it.
The prejudiced eye is blind, the heart full of conclusions is dead. Too many a priori assumptions and your intelligence starts losing its sharpness, its beauty, its intensity. It becomes dull.
Dull intelligence is what is called intellect. Your so-called intelligentsia are not really intelligent, they are just intellectual. Intellect is a corpse. You can decorate it—you can decorate it with great pearls, diamonds, emeralds, but still a corpse is a corpse.
The prejudiced eye is
blind, the heart full
of conclusions is dead.
Too many a priori
assumptions and your
losing its sharpness, its
beauty, its intensity.
It becomes dull.
Dull intelligence is
what is called
To be alive is a totally different matter.
SCIENCE MEANS BEING DEFINITE, being absolutely definite, about facts. And if you are very definite about facts, then you cannot feel the mysterious—the more definite you are, the more mystery evaporates. Mystery needs a certain vagueness; mystery needs something undefined, undemarcated. Science is factual; mystery is not factual, it is existential.
A fact is only a part of existence, a very small part, and science deals with parts because it is easier to deal with parts. They are smaller, you can analyze them; you are not overwhelmed by them, you can possess them in your hands. You can dissect them, you can label them, you can be absolutely certain about their qualities, quantities, possibilities—but in that very process mystery is being killed. Science is the murder of mystery.
If you want to experience the mysterious, you will have to enter through another door, from a totally different dimension. The dimension of the mind is the dimension of science, and the dimension of meditation is the dimension of the miraculous, the mysterious.
Science is the murder
If you want to
mysterious, you will
have to enter through
another door, from a
Meditation makes everything undefined. Meditation takes you into the unknown, the uncharted. Meditation takes you slowly, slowly into a kind of dissolution where the observer and the observed become one. Now, that is not possible in science. The observer has to be the observer, and the observed has to be the observed, and a clear-cut distinction has to be maintained continuously. Not even for a single moment should you forget yourself; not even for a single moment should you become interested, dissolved, overwhelmed, passionate, loving toward the object of your inquiry. You have to be detached, you have to be very cold—cold, absolutely indifferent. And indifference kills mystery.
If you really want the experience of the mysterious, then you will have to open a new door in your being. I am not saying stop being a scientist; I am simply saying that science can remain a peripheral activity to you. When in the lab be a scientist, but when you come out of the lab forget all about science. Then listen to the birds—and not in a scientific way! Look at the flowers—and not in a scientific way, because when you look at a rose in a scientific way, it is a totally different kind of thing that you are looking at. It is not the same rose that a poet experiences.
The experience does not depend on the object. The experience depends on the experiencer, on the quality of experiencing.
LOOKING AT A FLOWER, BECOME THE FLOWER, dance around the flower, sing a song. The wind is cool and crisp, the sun is warm, and the flower is in its prime. The flower is dancing in the wind, rejoicing, singing a song, singing alleluia. Participate with it! Drop indifference, objectivity, detachment. Drop all your scientific attitudes. Become a little more fluid, more melting, more merging. Let the flower speak to your heart, let the flower enter your being. Invite him—he is a guest! And then you will have some taste of mystery.
This is the first step toward the mysterious, and if you can be a participant for a moment, you have known the key, the secret of the ultimate step. Then become a participant in everything that you are doing. Walking, don’t just do it mechanically, don’t just go on watching it—be it. Dancing, don’t do it technically; technique is irrelevant. You may be technically correct and yet you will miss the whole joy of it. Dissolve yourself in the dance, become the dance, forget about the dancer.
When such deep unity starts happening in many, many phases of your life, when all around you start having such tremendous experiences of disappearance, egolessness, nothingness … when the flower is there and you are not, the rainbow is there and you are not … when the clouds are roaming in the sky both within and without, and you are not … when there is utter silence as far as you are concerned—when there is nobody in you, just a pure silence, a virgin silence, undistracted, undisturbed by logic, thought, emotion, feeling—that is the moment of meditation. Mind is gone, and when mind is gone mystery enters.
THE WAY OF TRUST
Because they don’t
trust their intelligence.
They are afraid, they
are afraid that they
may be cheated.
TRUST IS THE GREATEST INTELLIGENCE. Why don’t people trust? Because they don’t trust their intelligence. They are afraid, they are afraid that they may be cheated. They are afraid; that’s why they doubt. Doubt is out of fear. Doubt is out of a kind of insecurity in your own intelligence. You are not so confident that you can trust and you can go into trust. Trust needs great intelligence, courage, integrity. It needs a great heart to go into it. If you don’t have enough intelligence, you protect yourself through doubt.
If you have intelligence, you are ready to go into the unknown because you know that even if the whole known world disappears and you are left in the unknown, you will be able to settle there. You will be able to make a home there in the unknown. You trust your intelligence. Doubt is on guard; intelligence keeps itself open because intelligence knows, “Whatsoever happens, I will be able to take the challenge, to respond adequately.” The mediocre mind has not that trust in itself. Knowledge is mediocre.
To be in the state of not knowing is intelligence, it is awareness—and it is noncumulative. Each moment that which happens disappears; it leaves no trace behind, no existential trace. One comes out of it again pure, again innocent, again like a child.
Don’t try to understand life. Live it! Don’t try to understand love. Move into love. Then you will know—and that knowing will come out of your experiencing. That knowing will never destroy the mystery: the more you know, the more you know that much remains to be known.
Life is not a problem.
To look at it as a
problem is to take
a wrong step.
It is a mystery to be
Life is not a problem. To look at it as a problem is to take a wrong step. It is a mystery to be lived, loved, experienced.
In fact, the mind that is always after explanations is an afraid mind. Because of great fear he wants everything to be explained. He cannot go into anything before it is explained to him. With explanations he feels that now the territory is familiar; now he knows the geography, now he can move with the map and the guidebook and the timetable. He is never ready to move in an unknown territory, uncharted, without a map, without a guide. But life is like that, and no map is possible because life goes on changing. Every moment it is now. There is nothing old under the sun, I say to you: everything is new. It is a tremendous dynamism, an absolute movement. Only change is permanent, only change never changes.
Everything else goes on changing, so you cannot have a map; by the time the map is ready it is already out of date. By the time the map is available it is useless, life has changed its tracks. Life has started playing a new game. You cannot cope with life with maps because it is not measurable, and you cannot cope with life by consulting guidebooks because guidebooks are possible only if things are stagnant. Life is not stagnant—it is a dynamism, it is a process. You cannot have a map of it. It is not measurable, it is an unmeasurable mystery. Don’t ask for explanations.
And this I call maturity of mind: when somebody comes to the point of looking at life without any questions, and simply dives into it with courage and fearlessness.
THE WHOLE WORLD IS FULL OF PSEUDORELIGIOUS PEOPLE—churches, temples, gurudwaras, mosques, full of religious people. And can’t you see that the world is absolutely irreligious? With so many religious people, the world is so irreligious—how is this miracle happening? Everybody is religious and the total is irreligiousness. The religion is false. People have “cultivated” trust. Trust has become a belief, not an experience. They have been taught to believe, they have not been taught to know—that’s where humanity has missed.
Never believe. If you cannot trust it is better to doubt, because through doubt, someday or other the possibility of trust will arise. You cannot live with doubt eternally. Doubt is disease; it is an illness. In doubt you can never feel fulfilled; in doubt you will always tremble; in doubt you will always remain in anguish and divided and indecisive. In doubt you will remain in a nightmare. So one day or other you will start seeking how to go beyond it. So I say it is good to be an atheist rather than a theist, a pseudotheist.
You have been taught to believe—from the very childhood, everybody’s mind has been conditioned to believe: believe in God, believe in the soul, believe in this and believe in that. Now that belief has entered into your bones and your blood, but it remains a belief—you have not known. And unless you know, you cannot be liberated. Knowledge liberates, only knowing liberates. All beliefs are borrowed; others have given them to you, they are not your flowerings. And how can a borrowed thing lead you toward the real, the absolutely real? Drop all that you have taken from others. It is better to be a beggar than to be rich—rich not by your own earning but rich through stolen goods; rich through borrowed things, rich through tradition, rich through heritage. No, it is better to be a beggar but to be on one’s own. That poverty has a richness in it because it is true, and your richness of belief is very poor. Those beliefs can never go very deep; they remain skin-deep at the most. Scratch a little, and the disbelief comes out.
This I call maturity
of mind: when
somebody comes to
the point of looking
at life without any
questions, and simply
dives into it with
You believe in God; then your business fails and suddenly the disbelief is there. You say, “I don’t believe, I cannot believe in God.” You believe in God and your beloved dies, and the disbelief comes up. You believe in God and just by the death of your beloved the belief is destroyed? It is not worth much. Trust can never be destroyed—once it is there, nothing can destroy it. Nothing, absolutely nothing can destroy it.
All beliefs are
have given them
to you, they are
not your flowerings.
And how can a
borrowed thing lead
you toward the real?
So remember, there is a great difference between trust and belief. Trust is personal; belief is social. Trust you have to grow in; belief you can remain in, whatsoever you are, and belief can be imposed on you. Drop beliefs. The fear will be there—because if you drop belief, doubt arises. Each belief is forcing doubt into hiding somewhere, repressing doubt. Don’t be worried about it; let the doubt come. Everybody has to pass through a dark night before he reaches the sunrise. Everybody has to pass through doubt. Long is the journey, dark is the night. But when after the long journey and the dark night the morning arises, then you know it was all worthwhile. Trust cannot be “cultivated”—and never try to cultivate it; that is what has been done by the whole of humanity. Cultivated trust becomes belief Discover trust within yourself, don’t cultivate it. Go deeper into your being, to the very source of your being, and discover it.
INQUIRY WILL NEED TRUST because you will be going into the unknown. It will demand tremendous trust and courage because you are moving away from the conventional and the traditional; you are moving away from the crowd. You are going into the open sea and you don’t know whether the other shore exists at all.
I could not send you into such an inquiry without preparing you to have trust. It will look contradictory, but what can I do?—this is how life is. Only a man of great trust is capable of great doubt, great inquiry.
Trust is personal,
belief is social.
Trust you have to
grow in, belief you
can remain in,
whatsoever you are,
and belief can be
imposed on you.
A man of little trust can only doubt a little. A man of no trust can only pretend that he doubts. He cannot inquire deeply. The depth comes through trust—and it is a risk. Before I send you into the uncharted sea, I have to prepare you for this immense journey on which you will have to go alone—but I can lead you up to the boat. First you have to know about the beauty of trust, the ecstasy of the way of the heart—so when you go into the open ocean of reality you will have courage enough to keep on going. Whatever happens you will have trust enough in yourself
Just see it: how can you trust anybody or anything if you don’t trust yourself? It is impossible. If you doubt yourself how can you trust? It is you who are going to trust, and you don’t trust yourself—how can you trust your trust? It is absolutely necessary that the heart should be opened before intellect can be transformed into intelligence. That’s the difference between intellect and intelligence.
Intelligence is intellect in tune with your heart.
The heart knows how to trust.
A man of little trust
can only doubt a
A man of no trust
can only pretend that
He cannot inquire
deeply. The depth
comes through trust–
and it is a risk.
The intellect knows how to seek and search.
There is an old Eastern story:
Two beggars used to live outside a village. One was blind and one had no legs. One day the forest near the village, where these beggars used to live, caught fire. They were competitors, of course—in the same profession, begging from the same people—and they were continually angry with each other. They were enemies, not friends.
People in the same profession cannot be friends. It is very difficult because it is a question of competition, clients—you take away somebody’s client. Beggars label their clients: “Remember that this is my man; don’t you bother him.” You don’t know to which beggar you belong, who the beggar is whose possession you are, but some beggar on the street has possessed you. He may have fought and won the battle and now you are his possession … .
I used to see a beggar near the university; one day I found him in the market. He was constantly there, near the university, because young people are more generous; older people slowly become more miserly, more afraid. Death is coming close by, now money seems to be the only thing that can help. And if they have money then others may help them also; if they don’t have money even their own sons, their own daughters, won’t bother about them. But young people can be spendthrifts. They are young, they can earn; life is there, a long life ahead.
He was a rich beggar because in India a student reaches university only if he comes from a rich family; otherwise it is a struggle. A few poor people also get there, but it is painful, arduous. I was also from a poor family. The whole night I was working as an editor of a newspaper, and in the day I went to the university. For years I could not sleep more than three or four hours—whenever I could find time in the day or in the night.
So this beggar was very strong. No other beggar could enter the university street, even entry was banned. Everybody knew to whom the university belonged—to that beggar! One day suddenly I saw a young man; the old man was not there. I asked him, “What happened? Where is the old man?”
He said, “He is my father-in-law. He has given the university to me as a gift.” Now, the university did not know that the ownership had changed, that somebody else was now the owner. The young man said, “I have married his girl.”
In India a dowry is given when you marry somebody’s daughter. It is not just that you marry the daughter: your father-in-law has to give you, if he is very rich, a car, a bungalow. If he is not very rich then at least a scooter; if not that, then at least a bicycle, but he has to give something or other—a radio, a transistor set, a television—and some cash. If he is really rich then he gives you an opportunity to go abroad, to study, to become a more educated person, a doctor, an engineer—and he will pay for it.
This beggar’s daughter had got married and as her dowry the young man had been given the whole university. He said, “From today this street and this university belong to me. And my father-in-law has shown me who my clients are.”
I saw the old man in the marketplace so I said to him, “Great! You have done well in giving a dowry.”
“Yes,” he said, “I had only one daughter and I wanted to do something for my son-in-law. I have given him the best place to beg. Now I am here trying again to arrange my monopoly in the market. It is a very tough job here because there are so many beggars, senior ones who have already taken possession of clients. But there is nothing to be worried about. I will manage; I will throw out a few beggars from here”—and certainly he did.
So when the forest was on fire those two beggars thought for a moment. They were enemies, not even on speaking terms, but this was an emergency. The blind man said to the man who had no legs, “Now the only way to escape is that you sit on my shoulders; use my legs and I will use your eyes. That’s the only way we can save ourselves.”
It was immediately understood. There was no problem. The man without legs could not get out; it was impossible for him to cross the forest—it was all on fire. He could have moved a little bit but that would not help. An exit, and a very quick exit, was needed. The blind man also was certain that he could not get out. He did not know where the fire was, where the road was, and where the trees were burning and where they were not. A blind man … he would get lost. But both were intelligent people; they dropped their enmity, became friends, and saved their lives.
This is an Eastern fable. And this is about your intellect and your heart. It has nothing to do with beggars, it has something to do with you. It has nothing to do with the forest on fire, it has something to do with you—because you are on fire. Each moment you are burning, suffering, in misery, anguish. Alone your intellect is blind. It has legs, it can run fast, it can move fast, but because it is blind it cannot choose the right direction in which to go. And it is bound to be continually stumbling, falling, hurting itself and feeling life meaningless. That’s what the intellectuals of the whole world are saying: “Life is meaningless.”
The reason why life seems to them meaningless is that the blind intellect is trying to see the light. It is impossible.
There is a heart within you, which sees, which feels, but which has no legs; it cannot run. It remains where it is, beating, waiting … someday intellect will understand and will be able to use the heart’s eyes.
When I say the word trust I mean the eyes of the heart.
And when I say doubt I mean the legs of your intellect.
Both together can come out of the fire; there is no problem at all. But remember, the intellect has to accept the heart above its shoulders. It has to. The heart has no legs, only eyes, and intellect has to listen to the heart and follow its directions.
In the hands of the heart the intellect becomes intelligent. It is a transformation, a total transformation of energy. Then the person does not become an intellectual, he simply becomes wise.
Wisdom comes through the meeting of the heart and the intellect. And once you have learned the art of how to create a synchronicity between your heartbeats and the workings of your intellect, you have the whole secret in your hands, the master key to open all the mysteries.
THE WAY OF INNOCENCE
The real question is not of courage, the real question is that the known is the dead, and the unknown is the living. Clinging to the known is clinging to a corpse. It does not need courage to drop the clinging; in fact, it needs courage to go on clinging to a corpse. You just have to see … That which is familiar to you, which you have lived—what has it given? Where have you reached? Are you not still empty? Is there not immense discontent, a deep frustration and meaninglessness? Somehow you go on managing, hiding the truth and creating lies to remain engaged, involved.
This is the question: to see with clarity that everything that you know is of the past, it is already gone. It is part of a graveyard. Do you want to be in a grave, or do you want to be alive? And this is not the question only today; it will be the same question tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow. It will be the same question at your last breath.
Whatever you know, accumulate—information, knowledge, experience-the moment you have explored them you are finished with them. Now carrying those empty words, that dead load, is crushing your life, burdening your life, preventing you from entering into a living, rejoicing being—which is awaiting you each moment.
The man of understanding dies every moment to the past and is reborn again to the future. His present is always a transformation, a rebirth, a resurrection. It is not a question of courage at all, that is the first thing to be understood. It is a question of clarity, of being clear about what is what.
And second, whenever there is really a question of courage, nobody can give it to you. It is not something that can be presented as a gift. It is something that you are born with, you just have not allowed it to grow, you have not allowed it to assert itself.
In the hands of the
heart the intellect
It is a transformation,
a total transformation
Then the person
does not become an
intellectual, he simply
INNOCENCE IS COURAGE AND CLARITY BOTH. There is no need to have courage if you are innocent. There is no need, either, for any clarity because nothing can be more clear, crystal clear, than innocence. So the whole question is how to protect one’s own innocence.
Innocence is not something to be achieved. It is not something to be learned. It is not something like a talent: painting, music, poetry, sculpture. It is not like those things. It is more like breathing, something you are born with.
Innocence is everybody’s nature. Nobody is born other than innocent.
How can one be born other than innocent? Birth means you have entered the world as a tabula rasa, nothing is written on you. You have only future, no past. That is the meaning of innocence. So first try to understand all the meanings of innocence.
The first is: no past, only future.
The past corrupts because it gives you memories, experiences, expectations. All those combined together make you clever but not clear. They make you cunning but not intelligent. They may help you to succeed in the world, but in your innermost being you will be a failure. And all the success of the world means nothing compared to the failure that finally you are going to face, because ultimately only your inner self remains with you. All is lost: your glory, your power, your name, your fame—all start disappearing like shadows.
The man of
every moment to the
past and is reborn
again to the future.
His present is always
a transformation, a
rebirth, a resurrection.
At the end only that remains which you had brought in the very beginning. You can take from this world only that which you have brought in.
In India it is common wisdom that the world is like a waiting room in a railway station; it is not your house. You are not going to remain in the waiting room forever. Nothing in the waiting room belongs to you—the furniture, the paintings on the wall … . You use them—you see the painting, you sit on the chair, you rest on the bed—but nothing belongs to you. You are just here for a few minutes, or for a few hours at the most, then you will be gone.
Yes, what you have brought in with you, into the waiting room, you will take away with you; that’s yours. What have you brought into the world? And the world certainly is a waiting room. The waiting may not be in seconds, minutes, hours, days, it may be in years; but what does it matter whether you wait seven hours or seventy years?
You may forget, in seventy years, that you are just in a waiting room. You may start thinking perhaps you are the owner, perhaps this is the house you have built. You may start putting your nameplate on the waiting room.
There is no need to
have courage if you
There is no need,
either, for any clarity
because nothing can
be more clear, crystal
clear, than innocence.
So the whole
question is how to
protect one’s own
There are people—I have seen it, because I was traveling so much: people have written their names in the bathrooms of the waiting room. People have engraved their names on the furniture of the waiting room. It looks stupid, but it is very similar to what people do in the world.
There is a very significant story in ancient Jaina scriptures. In India it is believed that if somebody can become the emperor of the whole world he is called a chakravartin. The word chakra means the “wheel.” In ancient India it was a way to avoid unnecessary fighting and violence: a chariot, a golden chariot, very valuable, with beautiful and strong horses, would move from one kingdom to another kingdom. If the other kingdom did not resist and let the chariot pass, that meant that kingdom had accepted the owner of the chariot as its superior. Then there was no need to fight.
In this way the chariot would move, and wherever people obstructed the chariot then there would be war. If the chariot was not obstructed anywhere, then without any war the superiority of the king was proved: he became a chakravartin—one whose wheel has moved around and whom nobody has been able to obstruct. This has been the desire of all the kings, to become a chakravartin.
At the end only that
remains which you
hand brought in the
You can take from
this world only that
which you have
Certainly it needs more power than Alexander the Great had. Just to send your chariot … it needs tremendous power to support it. It needs the absolute certainty that if the chariot is obstructed there is going to be a mass slaughter. It means the man is recognized already, that if he wants to conquer anybody there is no way to prevent him conquering you.
But it is a very symbolic way, more civilized. There is no need to attack, there is no need to start killing; just send a symbolic message. So with the flag of the king the chariot will go, and if the other king feels that there is no point in resisting—that fighting simply means defeat and unnecessary violence, destruction—he welcomes the chariot, and in his capital flowers are thrown over the chariot.
This seems to be a far more civilized way than what countries like the Soviet Union and America are going to do. Just send a beautiful chariot—but that means your strength should be something absolutely certain to you; and not only to you, it should be certain to everybody else. Only then can such a symbol be of any help. So every king had the desire to become a chakravartin someday.
The story is that one man became a chakravartin—and it happens only once in thousands of years that a man becomes a chakravartin. Even Alexander the Great was not a world conqueror; there was yet much left unconquered. And he died very young, he was only thirty-three: there was not even time enough to conquer the world. What to say of conquering, the whole world was not even known! Half of the world was unknown, and the half that was known, even that was not conquered. This man, of whom I am going to tell you the story, became the chakravartin.
It is said that when a chakravartin dies—because a chakravartin happens only in thousands of years, he is a rare being—when he dies he is received in heaven with great rejoicing and he is taken to a special place.
In Jaina mythology, in heaven there is a parallel mountain to the Himalayas. The Himalayas are just made of rocks and earth and ice. The parallel to the Himalayas in heaven is called Sumeru. Sumeru means the ultimate mountain: nothing can be higher than that, nothing can be better than that. It is solid gold; instead of rocks there are diamonds and rubies and emeralds.
When a chakravartin dies he is led to Sumeru mountain to engrave his name on it. That is a rare opportunity; that happens only once in thousands of years. Of course this man was immensely excited that he was going to write his name on Sumeru. That is the ultimate catalog of all the great ones that have been, and will also be the catalog of all the great ones who are going to be. This emperor was becoming party to a lineage of supermen.
The gatekeeper gave him the instruments to engrave his name. He wanted to take a few of his men who had committed suicide just because their emperor was dying—they could not think of living without him. His wife, his prime minister, his commander in chief, all the great people who were around him had all committed suicide, so they had come with him.
The emperor wanted the gatekeeper to let them all come to see him engrave his name, because what is the joy if you go alone and engrave your name and nobody is there even to see?—because the real joy is that the whole world should see.
The gatekeeper said, “You listen to my advice, because this is my inherited profession. My father was a gatekeeper, his father was a gatekeeper; for centuries we have been gatekeepers to Sumeru mountain. Listen to my advice: Don’t take them with you; otherwise you will repent.”
The emperor could not understand, but neither could he ignore the advice—because what interest could that man have in preventing him?
The gatekeeper said, “If you still want them to see, first go engrave your name; then come back and take them with you if you want. I have no objection even now if you want to take them, but just in case you decide not to, then there will be no chance to change your mind … they will be with you. You go alone.”
This was perfectly sane advice. The emperor said, “That’s good. I will go alone, engrave my name, come back, and call you all.”
The gatekeeper said, “I am perfectly agreeable to that.”
The emperor went and he saw the Sumeru shining under thousands of suns—because in heaven you cannot be so poor as to have just one sun—thousands of suns, and a golden mountain far bigger than the Himalayas—and the Himalayas are almost two thousand miles long! He could not open his eyes for a moment, it was so glaring there. And then he started looking for a space, the right space, but he was very much puzzled: there was no space; the whole mountain was engraved with names.
He could not believe his eyes. For the first time he became aware what he was. Up to now he was thinking he was a superman who happens once in thousands of years. But time has been from eternity; even thousands of years don’t make any difference, so many chakravartins had happened already. There was no space on that biggest mountain in the whole universe where he could write his small name.
He came back, and now he understood that the gatekeeper was right not to take his wife and his commander in chief and his prime minister and other intimate friends. It was good that they had not seen the situation. They could still believe that their emperor was a rare being.
He took the gatekeeper aside and he said, “But there is no space!”
The gatekeeper said, “That’s what I was telling you. What you have to do is to erase a few names and write down your name. That’s what has been done; my whole life I have been seeing this done, my father used to say this has been done. My father’s father—none of my family have seen Sumeru empty, or with any space, ever.
“Whenever a chakravartin has come he had to erase a few names and write his own name. So this is not the whole history of the chakravartins. Many times it has been erased, many times it has been engraved. You just do your work, and then if you want to show your friends you can bring them in.”
The emperor said, “No, I don’t want to show them and I don’t want to even write my name. What is the point?—someday somebody will come and erase it.
“My whole life has become utterly meaningless. This was my only hope, that Sumeru, the golden mountain in heaven was going to have my name. For this I have lived, for this I have staked my life; for this I was ready to kill the whole world. And anybody else can erase my name and write his. What is the point of writing it? I will not write it.”
The gatekeeper laughed.
The emperor said, “Why are you laughing?”
The gatekeeper said, “This is strange, because this too I have been hearing from my grandfathers—that chakravartins come, and seeing the whole story, just turn back; they don’t write their names. You are not new: anybody having a little intelligence would do the same.”
In this whole world what can you gain? What can you take away with you? Your name, your prestige, your respectability? Your money, your power—what? Your scholarship? You cannot take anything. Everything will have to be dropped here. And in that moment you will understand that all that you possessed was not yours; the very idea of possession was wrong. And because of that possession you were corrupted.
To increase that possession—to have more money, to have more power, to conquer more lands—you were doing things that even you cannot say were right. You were lying, you were dishonest. You were having hundreds of faces. You were not true even for a single moment to anybody or to yourself; you could not be. You had to be false, phony, pretending, because these are things that help you to succeed in the world. Authenticity is not going to help you. Honesty is not going to help you. Truthfulness is not going to help you.
Without possessions, success, fame—who are you? You don’t know. You are your name, you are your fame, you are your prestige, your power. But other than these, who are you? So this whole possessiveness becomes your identity. It gives you a false sense of being. That’s the ego.
Ego is not something mysterious, it is a very simple phenomenon. You don’t know who you are, and to live without knowing who you are is impossible. If I don’t know who I am, then what am I doing here? Then whatsoever I am doing becomes meaningless. The first and the foremost thing is to know who I am. Perhaps then I can do something that fulfills my nature, makes me contented, brings me home.
But if I don’t know who I am, and I go on doing things, how can I manage to reach where my nature was supposed to reach, to lead? I have been running hither and thither, but there is not going to be any point that I can say, “Now I have arrived, this was the place I was searching for.”
You don’t know who you are, so some false identity is needed as a substitute. Your possessions give you that false identity.
You come with an innocent watcher into the world. Everybody comes in the same way, with the same quality of consciousness. But you start bargaining with the grown-up world. They have many things to give to you; you have only one thing to give, and that is your integrity, your self-respect. You don’t have much, a single thing—you can call it anything: innocence, intelligence, authenticity. You have only one thing.
And the child is naturally very much interested in everything he sees around. He is continuously wanting to have this, to have that; that is part of human nature. If you look at the small child, even a just-born baby, you can see he has started groping for something; his hands are trying to find something. He has started the journey.
In the journey he will lose himself, because you can’t get anything in this world without paying for it. And the poor child cannot understand that what he is giving is so valuable that if the whole world is on one side, and his integrity on the other side, then too his integrity will be more weighty, more valuable. The child has no way to know about it. This is the problem, because what he has got he has simply got. He takes it for granted.
Let me tell you one story that will make it clear.
One rich man, very rich, became in the end very frustrated, which is a natural outcome of all success. Nothing fails like success. Success is significant only if you are a failure. Once you succeed then you know that you have been cheated by the world, by the people, by the society. The man had all the riches but no peace of mind. He started looking for peace of mind.
That’s what is happening in America. In America more people are looking for peace of mind than anywhere else. In India I have never come across a person who is looking for peace of mind. Peace of the stomach has to be taken care of first—peace of mind is too far away. From the stomach the mind is almost millions of miles away.
But in America everybody is looking for peace of mind, and of course when you are looking for it, then people will be there ready to give it to you. This is a simple law of economics: wherever there is demand there is supply. It does not matter whether you really need what you are asking for. Nor does anybody bother about what the supply is going to give you—whether it is just bogus advertisement, propaganda, or whether there is something substantial.
In America more
people are looking for
peace of mind than
In India I have never
come across a person
who is looking for
peace of mind.
Peace of the stomach
has to be taken care
Knowing this simple principle, that wherever there is demand there is supply, the cunning and clever people have gone one step ahead. Now they say, “There is no need to wait for demand to happen, you can create the demand.” And that is the whole art of advertisement: it is creating demand.
Before you read the advertisement you had no such demand, you had never felt that this was your need. But reading the advertisement, suddenly you feel, “My God, I have been missing it. And I am such a fool that I never knew that this thing exists.”
Before somebody starts manufacturing something, producing something, even years ahead—three, four years ahead—he starts advertising. The thing is not there yet in the market because first the demand has to reach the minds of people. And once the demand is there, by that time the supply will be ready.
Bernard Shaw has said that when he was new and he published his first book, of course there was no demand—nobody had ever heard about George Bernard Shaw. How can you demand, “I want George Bernard Shaw’s book, his drama”? So what he used to do the whole day … He published the book—he himself was the publisher, he put together the money himself—and then he went from one bookstore to another bookstore asking, “Have you got George Bernard Shaw’s book?”
They said, “George Bernard Shaw? We never heard the name.”
He said, “Strange, such a great man and you have never heard of him and you run a bookstore? Are you out—of—date or something? The first thing you should do is get George Bernard Shaw’s book.” He had published only one book, but he started advertising for several books, because when you are going around, why publicize just one book? And one book does not make a man a great writer.
He would go in different clothes—sometimes with a hat, sometimes with glasses. And people started calling at George Bernard Shaw’s house. And he had to do all this—the advertising, supplying; that’s how he sold his first book. He was asking people on the street, “Have you heard … because I am hearing so much about a certain book written by some George Bernard Shaw. People say it is just great, fantastic. Have you heard?”
They would say, “No, we have never even heard the name.”
He said, “This is strange. I used to think London was a cultured society.” And he went to libraries and clubs and everyplace where there was a possibility to create a demand, and he created the demand. He sold the book, and finally—that’s what he was continuously doing—finally he became one of the greatest writers of this age. He had created the demand.
But if you succeed, there is no need for anybody to create the demand for peace of mind. If you succeed, you lose peace of mind on the way. That is a natural course. Success takes all peace from your mind. It simply sucks everything that is significant in life: peace, silence, joy, love. It goes on taking everything away from you. Finally your hands are full of junk, and all that was valuable is lost. And suddenly you realize peace of mind is needed.
Immediately there are suppliers, who don’t know anything about mind, who don’t know anything about peace. I have read one book entitled Peace of Mind by a Jewish rabbi, Joshua Liebman. I have gone through the whole book; the man knows neither about peace nor does he know about the mind. But he is a businessman. He has done a good job without knowing anything about peace of mind.
His book is one of the best sellers in the world because whoever wants peace of mind is bound to sooner or later find Joshua Liebman’s book. And he has written it beautifully. He is a good writer, very articulate, impressive; you will be influenced by it. But peace of mind will remain as far away as it was before, or it may even have gone farther away by your reading this book.
In fact, if a man knows what peace is, and what mind is, he cannot write a book entitled Peace of Mind, because mind is the cause of all unpeace, all restlessness. Peace is when there is no mind. So peace of mind—no commodity like this exists. If mind is there, then peace is not. If peace is there, then mind is not. But to write a book “Peace of No Mind”—nobody is going to purchase it. I have been thinking … but I thought, nobody is going to purchase “Peace of No Mind.” It just will not make sense to them, but that’s exactly the truth.
The child is unaware of what he has brought with him. This rich man was in the same position. He had all the riches in the world, and now he was searching for peace of mind. He went from one sage to another and they all gave great advice, but advice helps nobody.
In fact, only fools give advice, and only fools take advice. Wise people are very reluctant to give you advice because a wise man certainly knows that the only thing in the world which is given freely is advice, and that which is never taken by anybody is advice, so why should he bother?
A wise man first prepares you so that you can take the advice. He does not simply give you advice; you need to be prepared. It may take years to prepare you, to prepare the ground, and only then can you sow the seeds. It will be a fool who simply goes on throwing seeds on rocks and stones without even bothering that he is wasting seeds.
All these sages gave him advice, but nothing clicked. Finally a man whom he had not asked, who was not in any way a famous man—on the contrary, he was thought to be the village idiot—that man stopped him on the road one day and said, “You are unnecessarily wasting your time. None of these are sages; I know them perfectly, but because I am an idiot nobody believes me. Perhaps you will also not believe me, but I know a sage.
“Just seeing you so tortured continuously for peace of mind, I thought it would be better if I showed you the right person. Otherwise I am an idiot; nobody asks me for advice and I never give any advice to anybody. But it was too much: seeing you so sad and so miserable, I broke my silence. You go to this man in the next village.”
If a man knows what
peace is, and what
mind is, he cannot
write a book entitled
Peace of Mind,
because mind is the
cause of all unpeace,
Peace is when there
is no mind.
So peace of mind–no
commodity like this
The rich man immediately went, with a big bag full of precious diamonds, on his beautiful horse. He reached there, he saw that man—this man was known to the Sufis as Mulla Nasruddin.
He asked the Mulla, “Can you help me to attain peace of mind?”
Mulla said, “Help? I can give it to you.”
The rich man thought, “This is strange. First that idiot suggested … and just out of desperation I thought there is no harm, so I came here. This seems to be even a greater idiot: he is saying, ‘I can give it to you.’”
The rich man said, “You can give it to me? I have been to all kinds of sages; they all give advice—do this, do that, discipline yourself, do charity, help the poor, open hospitals, this and that. They say all these things, and in fact I have done all those things; nothing helps. In fact, more and more trouble arises. And you say you can give it to me?”
The Mulla said, “It is so simple. You get down from the horse.” So the rich man got down from the horse. He was holding his bag, and Mulla asked, “What are you holding in your bag so closely to your heart?”
He said, “These are precious diamonds. If you can give me peace, I will give you this bag.” But before he could even figure out what was happening, Mulla took the bag and ran away!
The rich man, for a moment, was in shock; he could not even understand what to do. And then he had to follow him. But it was Mulla’s own town—he knew every street and shortcut, and he was running. The rich man had never run in his whole life and he was so fat … . He was crying and huffing and puffing, and tears were rolling down. He said, “I have been completely cheated! This man has taken away all my life’s hard work, my earnings; everything he has taken away.”
So a crowd followed, and all were laughing. He said, “Are you all idiots? Is this town full of idiots? I have been completely ruined, and rather than catching hold of the thief you are all laughing.”
They said, “He is not a thief, he is a very sage man.”
The rich man said, “That idiot from my village got me into this trouble!” But somehow, running, perspiring, he followed Mulla. Mulla arrived back under the same tree where the horse was still standing. He sat down under the tree with the bag, and the rich man came crying and weeping. Mulla said, “You take this bag.” The rich man took the bag and put it close to his heart. Mulla said, “How does it feel? Can you feel some peace of mind?”
The rich man said, “Yes it feels very peaceful. You are a strange man, and you have strange methods.”
Mulla said, “No strange methods—simple mathematics. Whatever you have, you start taking it for granted. You just have to be given an opportunity to lose it; then immediately you will become aware of what you have lost. You have not gained anything new; it is the same bag that you have been carrying with no peace of mind. Now you are holding the same bag close to your heart and anybody can see how peaceful you are looking, a perfect sage! Just go home and don’t bother people.”
This is the problem for the child, because he comes with innocence, and he is ready to buy anything and give his innocence. He is ready to buy any rubbish and give his courage. He is ready to buy just toys—and what else is there in this world except toys?—and lose his clarity. He will understand only when all these toys are there in his possession and he can’t feel any joy from them, can’t see any achievement, any fulfillment. Then he becomes aware of what he has lost—and he himself has lost it.
In a better world, every family will learn from children. You are in such a hurry to teach them. Nobody seems to learn from them, and they have much to teach you. And you have nothing to teach them.
Just because you are older and powerful you start making them just like you without ever thinking about what you are, where you have reached, what your status is in the inner world. You are a pauper; and you want the same for your child also?
But nobody thinks; otherwise people would learn from small children. Children bring so much from the other world because they are such fresh arrivals. They still carry the silence of the womb, the silence of the very existence.
ALWAYS REMEMBER, TRUST IN THE UNKNOWN. The know is the mind. The unknown cannot be the mind. It may be something else but it cannot be the mind. One thing certain about the mind is that mind is the accumulated known. So, for example, if you come across a fork in the road and the mind says, “Go this way, this is familiar”—that is the mind. If you listen to your being, it would like to go to the unfamiliar, to the unknown. The being is always an adventurer. The mind is very orthodox, very conservative. It wants to move into the track, the trodden path, again and again—the path of least resistance.
In a better world,
every family will
learns from children.
You are in such a
hurry to teach them.
Nobody seems to
learn from them, and
they have much to
So always listen for the unknown. And gather courage to move into the unknown.
To grow to your destiny needs great courage, it needs fearlessness. People who are full of fear cannot move beyond the known. The known gives a kind of comfort, security, safety because it is known. One is perfectly aware, one knows how to deal with it. One can remain almost asleep and go on dealing with it—there is no need to be awake; that’s the convenience with the known.
The moment you cross the boundary of the known, fear arises, because now you will be ignorant, now you will not know what to do, what not to do. Now you will not be so sure of yourself, now mistakes can be committed; you can go astray. That is the fear that keeps people tethered to the known, and once a person is tethered to the known, he is dead.
Life can only be lived dangerously—there is no other way to live it. It is only through danger that life attains to maturity, growth. One needs to be an adventurer, always ready to risk the known for the unknown. And once one has tasted the joys of freedom and fearlessness, one never repents because then one knows what it means to live at the optimum. Then one knows what it means to burn your life’s torch from both ends together. And even a single moment of that intensity is more gratifying than the whole eternity of mediocre living.
COURAGE: THE JOY OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY. Copyright © 1999 by Osho International Foundation. All rights reserved. For information address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.
Posted April 13, 2003
Once again, Osho helps us see the crazy way we have been taught to live. And, he shows us the way out! I really love this master.
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Posted December 18, 2012
Posted June 12, 2011
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