Birthday of Vilayat Ali Khan
28th August is the birthday of Indian classical sitar player – Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan born in Gouripur in East Bengal. He was first and foremost a traditional interpreter of grand, basic ragas such as Yaman, Shree, Todi, Darbari and Bhairavi. He was known for improvisation with his knack for finding the different patterns in the ragas he played.Vilayat Khan was both a traditional sitar player and a maverick innovator in his music. He was given a lot of credit for developing a sitar style called ‘gayaki ang’, where his sitar attempted to mimic the sound of the human voice and seemed to give the audience a sense that the sitar was singing. He was awarded a Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan in 1964 and 1968 respectively, but refused to accept them. He started playing the Sitar when he was just eight and practiced around 8-14 hours a day. It was noticed that sitarist Ustad Vilayat Khan had an incredible aura while playing. The instrument seemed like it is an extension of his body and Ustad Vilayat used to be so immersed in his performance that it is almost as though he is so aware of what entails the magical music he creates.
Osho says, “I know a great Indian musician, Vilayat Ali Khan, one of the best sitarists in the world. He used to practice from early morning, nearabout four o’clock, up to nine or ten o’clock — five to six hours every day. He was staying with me, and just sitting in the garden, I asked him, “Now you are world famous; what is the need to practice?” He said, “You don’t know. If I don’t practice one day, I can see the difference. If I don’t practice two days, then those who understand music can see the difference. If I don’t practice three days, even those who don’t understand music can see the difference. It is such a subtle phenomenon that you have to continue to revive it, to live it, to go deeper and deeper into it. You cannot stop.”
IN ‘NEWSWEEK’ I READ A JOKE WITHIN AN ARTICLE ON SO-CALLED QUICK-FIX THERAPY. A MIDDLE-AGED MAN HAD BEEN THE DESPAIR OF HIS FAMILY FOR YEARS BECAUSE OF HIS COMPULSIVE HABIT OF TEARING PAPER TO BITS AND SCATTERING THE PIECES ALL OVER THE GROUND WHEREVER HE WENT. HIS FAMILY DRAGGED HIM TO FAMOUS FREUDIANS, JUNGIANS, AND ADLERIANS AT GREAT EXPENSE BUT WITH FRUSTRATING RESULTS. TRYING TO SHED LIGHT INTO THE DISMAL ABYSS OF HIS UNCONSCIOUS, WHERE THE HABIT MUST HAVE ITS HOME, FAILED. FINALLY HIS RELATIVES TOOK HIM TO AN OBSCURE BUT INNOVATIVE NEW PSYCHOTHERAPIST. THIS MAGICIAN TOOK A LITTLE WALK WITH HIS NEW PATIENT UP AND DOWN HIS OFFICE, WHISPERING SOMETHING IN HIS EAR. THEN HE DECLARED TO THE SURPRISED FAMILY, “YOU CAN TAKE HIM HOME; HE’S CURED.”A YEAR LATER THE HABIT HADN’T RETURNED AND THE GRATEFUL FAMILY ASKED THE DOCTOR WHAT HE HAD TOLD HIS PATIENT. HE SAID, SHRUGGING HIS SHOULDERS, “DON’T TEAR PAPER.” OSHO, THIS REMINDS ME SO MUCH OF WHAT I ONCE HEARD YOU SAY: “THERE ARE TWO THINGS IN EXISTENCE WHICH ARE INFINITE: ONE IS THE PATIENCE AND LOVE OF THE MASTER AND THE OTHER IS THE STUPIDITY OF THE DISCIPLE.” FOR YEARS YOU HAVE BEEN WHISPERING IN OUR EARS YOUR SIMPLE YET SO POWERFUL AND TRANSFORMATIVE MESSAGE. I FEEL STUPID, BUT I SIMPLY TRY TO WAIT SILENTLY AND NOT TEAR UP MORE PAPER.
The secrets of life are very simple, but the mind tries to make them complex. Mind loves complexity, for the simple reason that mind is needed only if there is something complex. If there is nothing complex, the very necessity for mind’s existence disappears. Mind does not want to let go of his mastery over you. He is only a servant but he has managed to become the master, and things have become upside down in your life.
The joke simply indicates a very obvious fact. The man was tearing up bits of paper and throwing them all over; naturally everybody thought something has gone wrong: he needs psychoanalysis, he needs some great person who understands the ways of the mind so that he can be fixed up. Nobody even bothered to tell him, “Don’t do this.” It was obvious that the man was getting insane, so they went to the Freudians, the Adlerians, the Jungians, to great psychoanalysts. And all those psychoanalysts must have worked hard, for hours, for years, analyzing the dreams of the man to find out why he tears up bits of paper and throws them all over the place. But nobody succeeded. As a last resort they took him to a magician, and he cured the man. But NEWSWEEK is a snobbish magazine, so the joke is not complete. That’s why you don’t see what is so great about the joke.
The magician walked up and down the staircase and then whispered in the ear of the man, “You stop tearing papers; otherwise I will kick you down from the top.” And he was a strong man.
“So take heed, because I don’t believe in psychoanalysis or anything, I simply believe in kicking. And I kick people from this place. Then they go rolling down hundreds of steps to the road. Now you can go home; just remember that I have only one trick. When any kind of mentally sick person is brought to me, I cure him. That’s why I have been walking with you up and down these steps, to show you what it means when I kick you. So now just go home and remember it. Next time I will not say anything, I will simply do it.” And the man understood it; anybody would have understood it. They have left that part out of the joke and destroyed the beauty of it. That man must have been enjoying just a childish thing, tearing papers into bits, into pieces, and throwing them all over the place. And it became an enjoyment because everybody was puzzled. It was simply a childish phenomenon. The man was retarded; he did not need any psychoanalysis. He needed a good kick — that was the language that he understood immediately. In many ways we go on thinking about simple things in complex ways. Our problems are mostly very simple, but the mind confuses you…
Most of the diseases are of the mind — and seventy percent of diseases are of the mind — can be easily cured. The most basic thing is to accept; don’t deny, because your denial is against the pride of the man. The more you deny, the more he is going to insist: it is a simple logic. You are denying his understanding, you are denying his feeling, you are denying his humanity, his dignity.
You are saying, “You don’t know anything” — about his own body! The first step is to accept: “You are right. Those who have denied you were wrong.” And immediately half of the ground is covered. Now there is a sympathetic relationship with the person. Those who suffer with any mental sickness need sympathy; they need approval, not denial. They don’t want you to reduce them into a mad, insane person. Just give them sympathy, give them understanding, be loving. Let them come close to you and then find a simple way. Don’t go roundabout with Freudian scriptures — they are almost holy scriptures, and the literature of psychoanalysis goes on increasing, goes on becoming bigger and bigger. And you start trying all those ideas on the poor man, and he has nothing much.
My own understanding is that every man needs love, and every man also needs to love. Every man needs friendship, friendliness, sympathy — and every man wants to give it, too…
I have seen all kinds of cases concerned with the mind. All that they need is a very sympathetic, friendly, loving approach, and in every case a unique treatment — because whatever has been done to the man is ordinary, common, and slowly slowly the patient starts feeling that he has been successful in defeating all kinds of doctors — allopathic, homeopathic, naturopathic, ayurvedic, acupuncturists, acupressurists — all kinds of people, and yet nobody can cure him. He starts having a certain ego about it, that his sickness is something very special. He wants it to be accepted as special. It is a substitute.This has to be understood: everybody wants to be special, extraordinary — a great musician, a great dancer, a great poet — but everybody cannot manage. It needs a long, arduous discipline to become a great musician.
I know a great Indian musician, Vilayat Ali Khan, one of the best sitarists in the world. He used to practice from early morning, nearabout four o’clock, up to nine or ten o’clock — five to six hours every day. He was staying with me, and just sitting in the garden, I asked him, “Now you are world famous; what is the need to practice?” He said, “You don’t know. If I don’t practice one day, I can see the difference. If I don’t practice two days, then those who understand music can see the difference. If I don’t practice three days, even those who don’t understand music can see the difference. It is such a subtle phenomenon that you have to continue to revive it, to live it, to go deeper and deeper into it. You cannot stop.”
So music is an arduous discipline; sculpture is the same… any creative activity. But to have a special disease needs no discipline. Anybody can have it, and by having it can become special. And you can see this phenomenon happening in many ways. We have seen hippies coming into fashion and then disappearing. Why was the youth attracted? They looked special — they were really defeatist, sick; they were escapists. That is exactly the meaning of “hippie” — one who has shown his hips and escaped from the problems of life. By their long hair, their strange ways of living — in fact dirty ways of living, unhygienic… because they had all come from Christian homes in the beginning, where it was taught “Cleanliness is next to God” — they wanted to deny God, but where to find God? You can be unclean, and you can prove that uncleanliness is your way of life; if cleanliness is the way of the old generation, then uncleanliness is the way of the new generation. And by being unclean, they are denying God. And certainly if there was any God, he would not stand next to a hippie — the hippie stinks.
Now there are punks… I have been seeing their pictures. They cut their hair… half of their hair they cut and the other half they paint green, red. Half of the mustache will be cut, and the other half will be colored. They are simply trying, in a childish way, to compete with Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare, Byron, van Gogh, or Picasso. You have to see in these people nothing but a desire to be recognized — “I am here,” and nobody is taking note. Something has to be done; people have to be compelled to take note. Now if somebody with half of his hair cut off and the other half of his hair colored green passes by you, it is difficult not to look again. That is the meaning of the word respect: respect, looking back, looking again, and that’s what the poor man wanted — respect. Wherever he goes, he will stand out…Really, one wants somebody to say to you, “You are beautiful.” When this is not possible, then as a substitute, “Your ornaments are beautiful, your clothes are beautiful” — anything.
Vincent van Gogh, one of the great painters of a new school of painters, the founder… He was ugly, but that was not his fault. No woman ever loved him. He wanted some woman just to say that she loves him, that he is beautiful. He proposed hesitantly to one of his cousin-sisters. The parents were very much upset that he should dare such a thing! The woman was also very angry. What does he think about himself? Such an ugly fellow — who is going to love him? Just by their side a big candle was burning, and she told Vincent van Gogh, “If you can keep your hand on the flame of the candle till I say yes…” He put his hand on the candle — the woman had not thought that he would do that. The hand was burning but he would not move his hand. The father of the girl had to remove the candle: “He is mad — not only ugly, but mad. He has burned his whole hand!” But nobody sees the simple fact of the heart and its need… that somebody should say, “You are good as you are. You are accepted.” He was ready to burn his hand… his hand remained burned for his whole life.
His younger brother, seeing the situation, thought that it would be good to make some arrangement with a prostitute and tell her the whole thing. “Please be kind to him. Money I will pay, but let at least one woman… and he will not have any way of knowing whether you are a prostitute or not. You just meet him occasionally, casually in the garden, and chitchatting, you just say that you love him. Take him home. At least I want one person to have said that — so he feels not empty, not rejected by the whole world, not insulted and humiliated by everyone.”
The prostitute was a beautiful woman. She did it, and she really felt the man was a great genius — just he was ugly. But when she said, “I love you,” he could not believe it.
He said, “Really? But what do you love in me? — because my face is ugly, everybody says so. And I know it myself, because I look in the mirror. It is ugly.”The woman was at a loss, but she had to find something to say, so she said, “I love your ears; they are beautiful.”
That night he went home and cut off one of his ears and packed it, blood flowing all over his face and clothes. Then he went back to the prostitute and gave it to her. He said, “For the first time in my life somebody has liked something in me. It is a milestone. I will not forget this night. I don’t have anything else to present to you, but you liked my ears, so I have brought one of my ears to you.” The woman could not believe it. This man is really mad! She had never thought that by liking his ears, he would cut one off. But you see, he is not mad; he is really a human being with all the human frailties. Just there seems to be no understanding around.
Everybody seems to be closed. Nobody’s heart is with open windows. And nobody’s doors are open to welcome a guest. This whole situation creates strange things. The real needs of the human mind are not fulfilled; it starts behaving strangely. Perhaps that was the only cause of that man tearing up papers and throwing bits here and there — just to make it known that, “I am here, and I am different from everybody else. I am doing something that nobody else does.” Perhaps he was not accepted, not received, not loved. And the cure that he got is worse than the disease. That was really the disease — that nobody loved him — and now the magician gives him the cure: “If you do it again I will give you such a kick that you will roll down all these hundred stairs, and at the end you may just burst into pieces on the road.” But he stopped doing it — that shows that rather than getting love, he got more fear. Fear can also change your behavior, but it is not a change for the better, it is a change for the worse. And while love is available — and it costs nothing — why not use it?
I don’t see that there is any other psychotherapy than love. If the psychotherapist can shower his love, the disease will disappear without any analysis.
All analysis is just bunk. The psychotherapist is avoiding love himself. He is avoiding seeing the patient face to face. He is afraid to recognize the reality. All psychoanalysts of the Freudian camp, which is the biggest camp and the most important, don’t sit in front of the patient. The patient lies down on a couch, and behind the couch sits the psychoanalyst. The patient talks, lying down on the couch, to no one, and the psychoanalyst is just sitting there. No human touch — he cannot even hold the hand of the patient, he cannot look in the eyes of the patient. In the East nothing like psychoanalysis has ever happened for the simple reason that there were thousands of masters, deep in meditation, and anybody who came to them… just their love, their sympathy, the way they looked into the eyes of the patient was enough. People were cured. It was not that without psychoanalysis…In the East what happened to neurotics, to psychotics, was that they were instantly changed. All that they needed was an immense love which asks nothing — a man of peace and silence, whose very presence is medicine.
You will be surprised to know that the words medicine and meditation come from the same root. Medicine cures the body, meditation cures the mind. The root is the same and the meaning is the same — just they function in different fields.And a man who has meditated for a long time becomes an immense source. He radiates something that is not visible to the eyes, but the heart catches it. Something reaches to your innermost being and changes you. Problems are simple. Solutions are simple. Just one has to get out of the mind to see the simplicity. And then whatsoever is done by a man in silence, in peace, in joy, will be medicinal, will be distributing health. It will be a healing force.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Punta Del Este, Uruguay
Discourse Series: The Path of the Mystic
Chapter title: The secrets of life are very simple
24 May 1986 pm in Punta Del Este, Uruguay
Osho has spoken extensively on ‘art, music, painting, poetry, dance,’ and creative geniuses like Picasso, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Salvador Dali, Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Mozart, Wagner, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Vilayat Ali Khan, Tansen, Byron, Bhavabhuti, Coleridge, Dinkar, D.H. Lawrence, Ghalib, John Ruskin, Kalidas, Kahlil Gibran, Keats, Milton, Nijinsky, Omar Khayyam, Shelley, Tagore, Yeats and many more in the course of His talks. More on this subject can be referred to in the following books/discourse titles:
- Ah This
- Be Still and Know
- Beyond Psychology
- Come Follow to You Vol.1-4
- The Guest
- Going All the Way
- This Is It
- The Book of Wisdom
- The Path of the Mystic
- A Sudden Clash of Thunder
- The Last Testament, Vol 2
- From Personality to Individuality
- Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 10
- From Bondage to Freedom