A Witnessing Consciousness

Osho on Witnessing



THE DIFFERENCE IS VERY CLEARCUT, but subtle and delicate. To be indifferent means to be dead; it does not mean that you are a witness, it simply means you are disconnected from life and all the sources that nourish you. You are only uprooted; that is alienation. Uproot a tree and it will start dying. Its greenness will be gone, soon the foliage will wither away, flowers will not come any more. The spring will come and go but the tree will know nothing of it; it has become alienated from existence. It is no longer rooted in the earth, it is no longer related to the sun, it no longer has any bridge. It is surrounded by walls, all bridges are broken.

That’s what has happened to the modern man: he is an uprooted tree. He has forgotten how to relate with existence, he has forgotten how to whisper with the clouds and the trees and the mountains. He has completely forgotten the language of silence… because it is the language of silence that becomes a bridge between you and the universe that surrounds you. The universe knows no other language. On the earth there are three thousand languages; existence knows no language except the language of silence….

Nicolaas, because we have forgotten silence, forgotten the art of meditation, we have become alienated. We have become small, dirty, muddy pools and we don’t know how to go and be one with the ocean. We go on becoming dirtier every day, shallower every day, because the water goes on evaporating. We are just muddy, our life has no clarity. Our eyes cannot see and our hearts cannot feel. This state is the state of indifference; it is a negative state. The mystics have called it ‘the dark night of the soul’. It is not witnessing, it is just the opposite of witnessing.

When I say be a witness I am not saying become uprooted from life. I am saying live life in all its multi-dimensionality, and YET remain aware. Drink the juices of life, but remember that while you are drinking the juices of life there is a consciousness in you beyond all action, all doing. Drinking, eating, walking, sleeping, are all acts, and there is a consciousness in you which simply reflects, a mirror like phenomenon. It is not indifference. The mirror is not indifferent to you, otherwise why should it bother to reflect you at all? It is immensely interested in you, it reflects you, but it does not become attached. The moment you are gone, you are gone; the mirror does not remain remembering you; the mirror now reflects that which is in front of it.

A witnessing consciousness lives in life but with tremendous non-attachment, with great non-possessiveness; it possesses nothing. It lives totally, it lives passionately, but still knowing that “I don’t possess anything.” The witnessing consciousness is not an island separate from the ocean; it is ONE with the ocean. But still a miracle, a paradox: even being one with the ocean there is a part that remains above the ocean like the tip of the iceberg. That part is your witnessing soul. To create it is the greatest treasure in the world; one becomes a Buddha by creating it.

Falling into indifference you become simply unconscious, you go into a coma. You lose all joy in life; the celebration of life stops for you. Then you don’t exist, you only vegetate. Then you are not a man but only a cabbage — and that too uprooted. You become more and more rotten every day, you stink; no fragrance comes out of you. The same energy that could have become fragrance passing through a witnessing soul becomes a stinking phenomenon by becoming indifferent. But I can understand your question, Nicolaas. From the outside sometimes indifference and witnessing may appear alike. This has been one of the greatest calamities — because they APPEAR alike. Hence true Sannyas was lost and a phony Sannyas became predominant. I call Sannyas phony if it lives in indifference.

The phony Sannyas is escapist. It teaches you not to enjoy life, it teaches you not to love music, it teaches you not to cherish beauty. It teaches you to destroy all the sources that beautify your existence. It teaches you to escape to the caves, ugly caves, to turn your back towards the world that God has given as a gift to you. The phony sannyas is not only against the world, it is against God too, because to be against the world is to be against the creator of the world. If you hate the painting you are bound to hate the painter. If you dislike the dance, how can you like the dancer? God is the painter, the world is his painting. God is the musician, the world is his music. God is the dancer, NATARAJ, and the world is his dance. If you renounce the world, indirectly you are renouncing God.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse Series: Be Still and Know Chapter #5

Chapter title: Watch this! Stranger than fiction 5 September 1979 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘meditation, witnessing, awareness, sannyas’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Book of Wisdom
    1. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
    1. The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
    1. Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
    1. Satyam Shivam Sundram
    1. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra
    1. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega
    1. The Zen Manifesto: Freedom From Oneself
    1. I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
    1. Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 1
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