A Man of Zen

Swami Om Prakash Saraswati’s Mahaparinirvana Day

A born rebel or a freedom fighter or a highly educated person or a top corporate executive or a sannyasin? Is it possible to find such a versatile being? YES! Everything is possible with the blessings of Osho for the authentic seekers who came to Him and remained at His feet, before taking the highest flight and dissolving into the Ultimate. Swami Om Prakash Saraswati is one such blessed being who scaled the peaks of worldly success and then surrendered unconditionally at the feet of the Master, dissolving himself completely. Lovingly known as “Swamiji”, he is the epitome of absolute surrender by a disciple to his Guru.

Born on December 31, 1918, in Faridnagar near Meerut in UP, India; Swamiji was a born rebel, questioning everything – any injustice or violence. As a resolute & earnest youth, Swamiji joined government service and was soon married. The absence of meritocracy and abundance of inefficiencies plaguing government service compelled him to quit his otherwise stable job; and he joined the renowned corporate DCM at Kota, Rajasthan; as a senior executive. During his stint as the Accounts Head, he was inspired by a series of magazine articles of Osho, then known as Acharya Rajneesh. Allured by Osho’s magnetism, he attended that momentous meditation camp at Mt. Abu, Rajasthan in 1971 and was initiated into sannyas. Guided by his Master, he integrated his family life and professional life with his inner journey with remarkable elegance. His life is truly exemplary of a sannyasin balancing a life of career, family, meditation and aloneness. He moved to Delhi to take care of his wife who needed personal and medical care and continue to work in the DCM.  After his wife died in 1976 Swamiji took pre mature retirement from his work and was invited by Osho to relocate to the Ashram in Pune, a call that he was eagerly awaiting.

In 1978, Osho sent Swamiji to Delhi to start a meditation center and He also gave Swamiji the name for this new Centre – Rajyoga Rajneesh Dhyan Kendra. This is how the Centre (now known as Osho Rajyoga) came into being. Swamiji’s powerful presence made this Centre the fulcrum of Osho’s work for the entire northern India conducting meditation camps, distributing audio/video discourses, publishing magazines and more. In 1981, when Osho went to the United States, the Center began publishing a newsletter “Rajneesh Buddhafield” to connect people with Rajneeshpuram, Oregon. The creation of Osho Dham, a meditation campus on the outskirts of Delhi, was the culmination of Swamiji’s efforts to provide a suitable space for meditation for a large number of seekers with restful accommodation facilities. Swamiji’s commitment and love enabled the realization of Osho’s vision ‘to bring meditation to the marketplace’ when Osho World Galleria was inaugurated at Ansal Plaza, a fashionable mall in the heart of south Delhi. The creation of the website www.oshoworld.com a treasure chest of Osho’s audio & video discourses, ebooks, posters, meditations and articles; and the publication of monthly magazines Osho World Patrika and Osho News were further manifestations of Swamiji’s vision to make Osho available to a Seeker in any corner of the world.

As Swamiji blossomed in meditation, his inner growth manifested in his work. He is an inspiration to young disciples on the journey of meditation. Swamiji attained enlightenment on May 21, 2001. He continued to meditate, work and provide vision for the future to spread the message of his beloved Master till he attained his Mahaparinirvana on March 27, 2003. Like a drop that dissolves into the Ocean, Swamiji merged with the vast ocean of Osho.

“A disciple becomes almost a part of the very being of the Master. There arises an invisible connection between the two hearts. They dance together.” OSHO

Osho Says…..



I AM NOT TO BLAME. The whole blame goes to this old guy Yoka. Yoka is one of the rarest enlightened people; his sayings are tremendously beautiful. Very few sayings are available, but each saying is a diamond unique in itself. Reading his sayings, I came across this statement:


I love the statement that the “man of Zen walks in Zen and sits in Zen” for the simple reason that meditation cannot be just a part of your life. You cannot make a fragment of your life meditative; it is not possible to be meditative for one hour and then non-meditative for twenty-three hours. It is absolutely impossible. If you are doing that, that means your meditation is false. Meditation can either be a twenty-four-hour affair or it cannot be at all.

It is like breathing: you cannot breathe for one hour and then put it aside for twenty-three hours, otherwise you will be dead. You have to go on breathing. Even while you are asleep you have to go on breathing. Even in a deep coma you have to go on breathing.

Meditation is the breath of your soul. Just as breathing is the life of the body, meditation is the life of the soul.

The people who are not aware of meditation are spiritually dead.

George Gurdjieff used to say that very few people have souls — and he is right. One is born not with a soul but only with a seed which can grow into a soul — which may not grow. It will depend on you. You will have to create the right soil, the right climate for it to grow, to bloom. You will have to provoke the spring into coming to you so that your soul can flower, otherwise you are just a body-mind. The soul is only an empty word. Meditation makes it a reality. Meditation is the climate in which the soul happens.

Zen is another name for meditation. The word zen comes from the Sanskrit root dhyan — it has traveled far.

Dhyan means a state of absolute silence, of thoughtless silence, but full of awareness. Even the thought that “I am aware” is enough to distract you from your meditation. Even to know that “I am in meditation” is enough to destroy it.

A state of meditation is an innocent, silent state. You are blissfully unaware of your awareness. You are, but you are utterly relaxed. You are not in a state of sleep; you are fully alert, more alert than ever. You are alertness, rather. Dhyan is the greatest contribution of the East to the evolution of humanity.

Buddha himself never used Sanskrit; he used a language that was used by the masses of those days, he used Pali. In Pali, dhyan becomes jhan. When Buddha’s message reached China, jhan became chan. And when it traveled from China to Japan, it became zen. But it originates from dhyan. Dhyan means meditation, but the English word “meditation” does not have that flavor, it has a long association with contemplation. The English word “meditation” means meditation upon something; there is an object of meditation. And in Zen there is no object at all, only pure subjectivity. You are aware, but not aware of something. There is nothing to be aware of; everything has disappeared. You are not even aware of nothingness, because then nothingness becomes your object, then nothingness becomes your thought. You are not aware of emptiness either. You are simply aware; there is no object to your awareness. The mirror is empty, reflecting nothing, because there is nothing to reflect.

You have to remember it, otherwise “meditation” can give you a wrong impression. Whenever the word “meditation” is used, immediately the question arises, “On what?” That question is irrelevant. If you are asking, “On what?” then you are asking what to think about, contemplate about, concentrate on — and that is not meditation. Concentration is not meditation, concentration is an effort of the mind to focus itself. It has certain purposes of its own. It is a method in science — useful, but it is not meditation. Contemplation is a little vague, more abstract. In concentration, the object is more visible; in contemplation, the object is abstract. You concentrate on a flame of light; you contemplate on love. And in Christianity, contemplation and meditation have become synonymous.

Meditation should be given a new meaning, a new fragrance — the fragrance of Zen. Concentration is of the mind, meditation is not of the mind at all, and contemplation is just in between, in a limbo. It is something of the mind and something of the no-mind, a mixture; a state where mind and no-mind meet, the boundary. One has to reach to the absolute state of awareness: that is Zen. You cannot do it every morning for a few minutes or for half an hour and then forget all about it. It has to become like your heartbeat. You have to sit in it, you have to walk in it. Yes, you have even to sleep in it.

Ananda, one of Gautam Buddha’s chief disciples, asked Buddha, “One thing always puzzles me and I cannot contain my curiosity anymore although my question is irrelevant. The question is that when you go to sleep you remain the whole night in the same posture. Wherever you put your hands, your feet, whatsoever side you lie on, you remain exactly the same, like a statue. You don’t move, you don’t change your side, you don’t move your hands,. your feet — nothing changes. You wake up in the morning in exactly the same posture that you had gone to sleep in. One night, just out of curiosity, I looked at you the whole night — not a single movement. Are you controlling yourself even in your sleep?”

Buddha said, “There is no question of control. I am awake, I am in meditation. I sleep in meditation. Just as I wake up early in the morning in meditation, every night I go to sleep in meditation. My day is my meditation, my night too. I remain absolutely calm and quiet because deep down I am perfectly aware. The flame of meditation goes on burning smokeless. That’s why there is no need to move.”

Yoka says:


This is of great significance for you all. Meditation has to become something so deep in you that wherever you go it remains, abides with you; whatsoever you do it is always there. Only then can your life be transformed. Then not only will you be meditative in your life, you will be meditative in your death too. You will die in deep meditation. That’s how Buddha died. That’s how all the Buddhas have always died: their death is something exquisitely beautiful. Their life is beautiful, their death too. There is no gap between their life and death. Their death is a crescendo of their life, the ultimate peak, the absolute expression.

When Buddha died he was eighty-two years old. He called his disciples together — just as he used to when he talked to them every morning. They all gathered. Nobody was thinking at all about his death. And then Buddha said, “This is my last sermon to you. Whatsoever I had to say to you I have said. Forty-two years I have been telling you, saying to you… I have poured out my whole heart. Now, if somebody has any question left he can ask, because this is the last day of my life. Today I leave for the other shore. My boat has arrived.” They were shocked! They had come just to listen to the daily discourse. They were not thinking that he was going to die — and without making any fuss about death! It was just a simple phenomenon, a simple declaration that “My boat has come and I have to leave. If you have any question left you can ask me, because if you don’t ask me today, I will never again be available. Then the question will remain with you. So please, be kind and don’t be shy,” he told his disciples.

They started crying. And Buddha said, “Stop all this nonsense! This is no time to waste on crying and weeping! Ask if you have something to ask, otherwise let me go. The time has come. I cannot linger any longer.”

They said, ‘We have nothing to ask. You have given more than we would have ever asked. You have answered all the questions that we have asked, that we could have asked. You have answered questions which for centuries will be fulfilling for all kinds of inquirers.”

Then Buddha said, “So I can take leave of you. Good-bye.”

And he closed his eyes, sat in a lotus posture, and started moving towards the other shore.

It is said: the first step was that he left his body, the second step was that he left his mind, the third step was that he left his heart, the fourth step was that he left his soul. He disappeared into the universal so peacefully, so silently, so joyously. The birds were chirping; it was early morning — the sun was still on the horizon. And ten thousand sannyasins were sitting and watching Buddha dying with such grace! They forgot completely that this was death. There was nothing of death as they had always conceived it. It was such an extraordinary experience. So much meditative energy was released that many became enlightened that very day, that very moment. Those who were just on the verge were pushed into the unknown.

Thousands, it is said, became enlightened through Buddha’s beautiful death. We don’t call it death, we call it Mahaparinirvana, dissolving into the absolute — just like an ice cube melting, dissolving into the ocean. He lived in meditation, he died in meditation.

It is because of Yoka that I have chosen this title ‘Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen.” In this simple phrase, the whole experience of all the awakened ones is condensed.


Yes, Zen is like the roar of a lion. All other religions speak in a way that does not hurt so much. They are compromising; they compromise with your sleep. Zen is non-compromising. It does not care about your sleep and your beautiful dreams. It shocks you, it shatters you. Its whole effort is to wake you, whatsoever the cost. Yes, it is like a lion’s roar.


It can be heard only with a deep love for truth. It can be heard only by those who are real inquirers, not just curious, not just spectators, not just philosophers, but who are really ready to go through a radical transformation — who are ready to die and be reborn. It is only for those few people who have guts and courage, because it is not a Sunday religion like Christianity, that each Sunday you go to the church and your paradise is assured. It is not like Mohammedanism, that you pray five times, go on repeating like a parrot the same words, which are not your words, which are not spontaneous to you, which have been imposed by others on you — you may not even know their meaning.

It is such a stupid world! Mohammedans pray in Arabic, which they don’t understand; Hindus pray in Sanskrit, which they don’t understand; and now Buddhists pray in Pali, which they don’t understand — for the simple reason that priests have been very much insistent on keeping the dead language because those prayers are very poor if they are translated into the language which you understand. You will be at a loss — you will not be able to see what there is to pray in them; they will lose all the mystery. The mystery is because you don’t understand them. Hence Latin, Greek, Arabic, Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit — dead languages which nobody understands anymore. Priests go on insisting that prayers should be in those dead languages. You are saying something the meaning of which is not known to you. What kind of prayer is this? To whom are you addressing it? You don’t know anything about God. And what you are saying is not arising out of your heart, you are just being a gramophone record — His Master’s Voice.

Zen is not interested in such compromises. It wants you to really wake up. And it is hard work, a thankless job.

A Zen Master has chosen something for which nobody is going to thank him. Everybody will feel sabotaged by him and everybody will feel hurt by him. Everybody will feel he is disturbing their sleep. Only very few people, who are real inquirers, who are ready to risk all, will be able to understand, because Zen says your whole life has to be transformed, not just a part of your life.

When you are in the temple, in the mosque, in the synagogue, you become religious, and when you are outside of it you are irreligious, just the old self. Then your being in the temple is a pretension. It divides you, it creates a schizophrenic humanity, it creates people who have split minds. If you go and see them praying in the mosques, in the temples, you will say, “How beautiful they are!” And the same people in the marketplace become so ugly. And the same people will kill each other with such cruelty you could not have conceived of it! If you had seen them praying in the mosque, in the church, you would not have believed that they would butcher each other so cruelly, so mechanically.

Christians have killed thousands of Mohammedans, Mohammedans have killed thousands of Christians Hindus have killed Mohammedans, Mohammedans have killed Hindus, Hindus have killed Buddhists, and so on and so forth. All these religions have been enemies to each other. They talk of love, but that is only mere talk; the reality is totally different. And why is it so? because their prayer is false.

Zen wants you to be religious, not in a formal way, but to be really religious in your day-to-day life. Zen does not divide your life into the mundane and the sacred, it says everything is sacred. So eating, be meditative. Walking, be meditative. Whatsoever you are doing… taking a bath, be meditative. Wherever you are, you are in the temple. This whole existence is God’s temple! Behave as you would like to behave in a temple. God is present everywhere.

Zen does not talk about God at all, but only of godliness: a certain quality, a fragrance which is everywhere. Only when you have the capacity to learn will you be able to see it. All that is needed on your part is the capacity to be silent, receptive, welcoming, open.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen

Chapter #1

Chapter title: The Breath of the Soul

5 March 1980 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘Zen, meditation, transformation, enlightenment, Mahaparinirvana’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
  2. The Diamond Sutra
  3. The First Principle
  4. The Heart Sutra
  5. Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
  6. The Tantra Vision, Vol 1, 2
  7. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
  8. The Path of the Mystic
  9. Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen: The Antidote to All Poisons
  10. The Great Zen Master Ta Hui
  11. Zen: The Path of Paradox
  12. Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap and Zing
  13. Hsin Hsin Ming: The Book of Nothing
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