As Eternal as Existence
Birthday of Lebanese Poet Mikhail Naimy
17th October is the birthday of the Lebanese poet and philosopher Mikhail Naimy. He is regarded as the most significant spiritual writer of the 20th century made famous by his work The Book of Mirdad.
Osho has spoken on Naimy in His discourses. Osho says The Book of Mirdad is one of the greatest masterpieces of art, beauty, meditation and consciousness. It has been one of my most loved books. Naimy shows tremendous insight, which only a mystic is capable of. This book should made into a film and just watching that film you will feel a great upliftment. This book should be made available to every library, to every university but unfortunately it remains unknown to a vast majority of the world.
Osho says The Book of Mirdad has been created by a man who knows the inner workings of human consciousness. He was not a writer; hence, nobody ever bothered to give him a Nobel prize. He was our contemporary, he died in 1988. His book has not been translated into many languages for the simple reason that the book is unique — it is not a book; it is a device. And it is not meant to be read, it is meant to create a certain atmosphere around you. If you are ready, available, receptive, the atmosphere will be created and there will be great silence. And silence is always blissful.
I SUSPECTED YOU OF STEALING MY CREATIVITY, AND IN MY UNCONSCIOUSNESS MADE A SECRET BARGAIN WITH YOU: “OKAY, TAKE IT. AND IN EXCHANGE GIVE ME LOVE AND MEDITATION AND BLISS AND MYSELF.” YOU GAVE ME GLIMPSES, AND THEN THEY TOO DISAPPEARED, AND I WAS ANGRY AT YOU.
BELOVED THIEF — I LOVE CALLING YOU `BELOVED THIEF’ — BELOVED THIEF, WILL YOU STEAL ME?
Prem Pankaja, you are saying, “I suspected you of stealing my creativity.” That’s absolutely wrong. In the first place, what was your creativity? Third-rate, trashy novels? You know it perfectly well. You thought it to be creativity? I have not stolen your creativity. Just by being here you became aware what kind of rubbish you were writing. Yes, those novels were selling — because there are people hungry for trash, just waiting for something third-class, because they cannot comprehend anything better. I have not stolen your creativity, because my whole purpose is to give you creativity. And if your old creativity is gone it is because you are now more understanding, more alert, more conscious, and you cannot go on creating that trash.
I have cleaned you of all rubbish. You had come to me with a mind full of bullshit! It has been a tremendous work to clean your mind. And you tell me that I have stolen your creativity? Now there is the possibility of your being creative. Now you can create something really beautiful, something that remains even when you are gone, which has a longer life than your life. Even today the absurd stories of Chuang Tzu are as beautiful, as enchanting as they would have been to his contemporaries. Twenty-five centuries have passed, but those stories of Chuang Tzu still retain the freshness of this morning’s roses. And he wrote nothing but absurd stories — absurd for the simple reason that the whole humanity is absurd — to make you aware how absurd you are.
One morning he woke up very sad. That was very strange, because he was a man who was continuously blissful, an enlightened being. His disciples said, “This is a very strange experience. We never expected that you could ever be sad.”
He said, “But something happened. I was also not expecting it, but it happened. Things go on happening without your expectations. And I am in such a dilemma.” They said, “Just tell us, perhaps we can be of some use, of some help.”
He said, “I will tell you, knowing that nobody can help me, neither you nor anybody else. But I will tell you, just to give you some idea of how much I am in a dilemma.
“Last night when I went to sleep, I knew perfectly well that I was Chuang Tzu. And in the night I had a dream that I had become a butterfly.” All the disciples laughed. They said, “You are too much. A dream is a dream, don’t be bothered about it.”
Chuang Tzu said, “You have not heard the whole story. Then in the morning when I woke up, I found that I am Chuang Tzu again.” So they said, “The problem is solved. What is the problem? It was just a dream, it has passed away. You are again Chuang Tzu.”
He said, “You idiots, you don’t understand the problem. The problem is: if Chuang Tzu can become a butterfly, then what is the guarantee that it is not now the butterfly who has become Chuang Tzu? And do you want me to be a butterfly? My problem is that a great doubt has arisen in me. I think perhaps the butterfly has gone to sleep now and is dreaming that she is Chuang Tzu. If Chuang Tzu can dream that he is a butterfly, what is wrong with vice versa? The butterfly can dream. And I have lost my identity. Who am I, I ask you?”
They were all silent. He had been telling absurd stories: now he has created an absurd situation. What to say to this man? And he was their master, so they could not be rude to him. They said, “We should go and meditate over it. What else can we do?” Then his chief disciple, Lieh Tzu, came and all the disciples said, “Perhaps you can do something. The master is very sad. He is sitting in his bed, not coming out.”
Lieh Tzu listened to everything, then went to the well, pulled out a bucket of water, carried in the bucket of water, and poured it on Chuang Tzu.
He said, “You idiot, what are you doing?” And he jumped out of bed.
Lieh Tzu said, “I am bringing you to your senses. Now tell me who you are, a butterfly or Chuang Tzu?”
Chuang Tzu laughed. He said, “My son, if you had been here before, you could have saved me from so much sadness. The whole morning I was waiting for you, hoping that perhaps you would find some solution.”
Lieh Tzu said, “Should I bring another bucket?”
Chuang Tzu said, “No, this is enough. I have found my identity. The water was too cold and you have spoiled my bed too.” Now the story is still fresh, it will never be old. It will always remain fresh, as if it has just happened now. You can see the whole thing: Chuang Tzu jumping out of the bed and saying, “If you had been here before, you could have saved me from so much sadness.”
Creativity is a very rare phenomenon. For example, Kahlil Gibran, when he was only twenty-one years old, wrote his first book: THE PROPHET. And then his whole life he tried to write something better than THE PROPHET, and he failed. There are at least thirty books written by a more mature, more experienced, more educated man, but even the last book he wrote before he died is nothing compared with THE PROPHET. If you ask me, only THE PROPHET is the creative expression of his being. Everything else is just mind trying to be creative. THE PROPHET came out of his being without any effort. He was so young, and he was not thinking that he was going to produce a masterpiece which would remain significant for centuries. And once he had produced it and the whole world had responded with such great respect — it has been translated into all the languages; people find it holier than any BIBLE or any KORAN or any BHAGAVADGITA.
But he himself got into trouble not knowing that THE PROPHET came out of no-mind. He was just playing; he had no idea that he could become a great writer. He was not writing for anybody. He was filled with insights and he was putting them on paper. His friends persuaded him, saying, “This is a great work, you should publish it.” He was reluctant, hesitant, thinking, “I was only twenty-one years old when I wrote this. People will laugh.” But finally they succeeded in persuading him, and the book was published. After that he tried thirty other books along the same lines. But they looked like carbon copies, faraway echoes of THE PROPHET — but not that solidity, not that intuitiveness, not that beauty, not that grandeur. And it is not only with Kahlil Gibran; it is so with many creative people. All that they have produced is not creative. It is production, composition, it may even be good, but it is not something that is going to be eternally fresh and young. Unless something remains eternally fresh and young you have not created anything.
Michael Naimy has written one book, THE BOOK OF MIRDAD, which in quality goes even higher than Kahlil Gibran’s THE PROPHET. But Mikhail Naimy is again in the same trap. He must have thought that if he could write THE BOOK OF MIRDAD — which should remain as long as man is on this planet, one of the greatest creations of man … He struggled his whole life, but he could not surpass it. THE BOOK OF MIRDAD had happened to him. Creativity is not something that you do, you simply allow the universal force to function through you. You become just a medium. You give your hands, your body, your heart, your being to existence and then existence sings a song and it becomes eternal, as eternal as existence itself. Only that is creativity. Other than that, I cannot conceive of anything creative.
I have not stolen your creativity, Pankaja; I want you to be creative! You have the possibility, the potentiality, but you are wasting your potential on absolutely meaningless novels. Yes, they were giving you money, they were being sold. But nobody will read your novels twice; once is enough, more than enough. And anybody who reads your novel will read it and then throw it out of the train window. It is of no use after that. It is just ordinary trash, and you know it. But you don’t know one thing: that you have the possibility of becoming a creator. I have taken away your so-called creativity to give you an authentic relationship with existence, so something great can be born out of you. And that is the greatest bliss and benediction any man can experience: when existence uses you as a medium. That means existence has loved you enough, accepted you deeply — your worth, your value. Existence needed you. And this is one of the things to be remembered: that the greatest need of man is to be needed. If nobody needs you, you will commit suicide. And if existence itself needs you, you will be raised to such heights that you have never dreamed of. I would like you to be a creator. And it is good that you are finished with your old so-called creativity.
And you are saying, ” … and in my unconsciousness made a secret bargain with you: Okay, take it. And in exchange give me love and meditation and bliss and myself.” You are asking too much. I am an old Jew. For all your trash you have made a secret bargain with me to give you “love, meditation, bliss and myself”! There is no need to make a bargain with me. I am not a businessman. Once upon a time I was a Jew, but no more. You can have all — love, meditation, bliss and yourself — for nothing. You don’t have to pay for them, but you will have to work for them. You will have to work upon yourself. I am showering love, but you are protecting yourself with an open umbrella. Now if I take the umbrella you will say, “You are stealing again.” And I don’t want to interfere in your freedom. It is your umbrella and if you want to open it, it is your decision. But you can close it — it is not raining. Just keep it by your side. You are from England … These two places are strange: England and Bengal in India. No psychoanalyst has ever tried to figure out why these people are umbrella-fixated. They talk about father-fixation, mother-fixation, what about umbrella-fixation?
And again you are wrong, Pankaja: “You gave me glimpses …” I have never given you any glimpses. Whenever you closed your umbrella you got them. And this is beautiful, first you think that I gave you glimpses, then naturally I know the second thing is going to happen: ” … and then they too disappeared, and I was angry at you.” Now don’t pull me unnecessarily into your mess! Just look at your umbrella. Whenever you close it you have glimpses; whenever you open it, glimpses disappear. It has nothing to do with me. Just watch your mind. Whenever your mind comes in, glimpses disappear. You allow the mind in spite of me: whenever your mind is absent in spite of you, you have the glimpses. Don’t throw the responsibility on me in any way. I can neither give you glimpses nor can I take them away. I never interfere in anybody’s freedom. To me it is sacrilegious; your freedom is such a sacred thing to me. I want you to be dignified in your freedom. These words that you write take you in the wrong direction. You start looking for me to give you something.
You have everything you need: you just need to discover it within yourself. I can show you the way, I can show you the methods … That’s what I am doing every day. Somehow — from some angle, from some aspect — perhaps you may discover how to find your treasure. It is your treasure, and if you have lost it, it is your own blindness. Mind is utterly blind. Put the mind aside and you will regain your insight. The Hindus in this country have called it the third eye: when you move beyond mind you have a strange experience, an eye opening inwards. You start seeing your own splendor. You are as full of bliss, splendor, glory as any Gautam Buddha.
Existence is very communist. It gives you the inner treasures equally. Differences arise because you discover the treasures slowly. But the last thing you are saying is right. You are saying, “Beloved thief — I love calling you `beloved thief’ — beloved thief, will you steal me?” Perhaps only in this country … God has been given many names — the Sufis have given one hundred names: ninety-nine can be pronounced, the hundredth can be experienced but cannot be pronounced — but in India there are thousands of names given to God. The most beautiful is hari. And hari means `the great thief’. Really courageous are the people who call God `the great thief’, because he steals your heart! So you can say — although I have not stolen anything — I take away only that which does not belong to you! And I give you only that which you have got already! So my work is very simple. But if you love the word `thief’ — it is an ancient name of God — you can use that name, whether I steal anything from you or not.
Sometimes I think of stealing your umbrella. What will I do with the umbrella? Thinking about it, I don’t need it. I have never had an umbrella in my whole life. So once in a while I become attracted — why not have Pankaja’s umbrella? That is the only experience I’m missing. But then it is unnecessary — because I never go anywhere. If I keep the umbrella open inside my room, you will start thinking, “Now he has really gone crazy.” But it will be great if you can simply make a gift of your umbrella to me. In that way I cannot say no to you — I never say no to anyone. You will enjoy giving a gift, although I know the umbrella is very old. I will not even touch it, my doctors don’t allow me. They go on insisting, “You should not touch old rotten things.” They say, “You are allergic, you should not touch such things.” But still I will accept your umbrella, just so that you can get rid of it. I will throw it away; there is no other way. It cannot enter into my house, but just to help you to get rid of it … as a gift. And once you are vulnerable, open, and receptive, all my love is yours. Meditation will grow on its own accord with your trust.
And as far as the last thing is concerned: “Will you steal me?” I have done that already; otherwise you would not have been here. The people who are with me are the people I have already stolen. I have to do strange things, steal people from different countries. Every country is angry. The German government is angry that every German who goes to Poona simply disappears, never comes back! Now the Japanese are trying to compete with the Germans. Wives come and they forget all about their husbands. Husbands come and they write to me, “I don’t want to go back home, although I have a wife and children. What do you suggest?” What can I suggest? You have got a good opportunity to escape. Just be here. If your wife really hates you, she will come! It all depends on how much she hates! She may even become a sannyasin, just to harass you.
Pankaja, you need not be worried about that. Pankaja goes back and forth. She goes to England and then within a few days she is back. I can understand her problems, but once you are my people, then you don’t belong to any family, to any race, to any nation, to any religion. You belong to the whole universe.
Mrs. Grumblebum is always calling on the doctor for medicine for her aches and pains. One day the cures fail. She dies and is buried in the local cemetery.
Two weeks later, the doctor himself dies and is buried in the plot next to Mrs. Grumblebum. The mourners are just leaving the cemetery, when the doctor hears a tapping noise on the side of his coffin.
“Well, Mrs. Grumblebum,” he asks, “what is it now?”
“Please, doctor,” she says, “can you give me something for worms?”
Just old habits, although they have died. Pankaja, it is just old habit that you think you are separate from me and my people. Drop that old habit. That which you used to be is dead; there is now someone absolutely new.
Paddy gets a little high at the party and starts to make a play for the luscious babe playing the piano. But in his drunken fog he trips, and the piano cover closes on his fingers.
His wife, Maureen, goes over and picks him off the floor. “Remind me to put a piece of ice on your black eye when we get home,” she says soothingly.
“But I haven’t got a black eye,” says Paddy.
“I know,” replies Maureen, “but you’re not home yet.”
Pankaja, you are a long-time, old sannyasin, but you have never been totally here. And it happens to people who have been working with their mind and intellect. They cannot be in this silence, in this presence. They become fidgety, their mind starts dreaming about going here and going there. And for years you have been repeating the same cycle. You cannot go away from me, you cannot go away from this silence. Wherever you go I am going to haunt you. So you go on coming back, but this split situation of going and coming disturbs your getting in touch with your being. For a few days you try, and as you come closer to experiencing something, that is the moment when the mind makes much trouble and it starts dreaming of going somewhere. Always remember: mind creates trouble only on the boundary line. It is an indication that this is the moment to remain in your meditations. Perhaps only one step more and you will be out of the fog of the drunken mind. But before reaching the boundary line, you go away. So you have been coming and going for years. Many things that would have happened to you, you yourself have managed not to let them happen to you. It is time enough. And I am not going to be here forever! I don’t want you to repent when I am gone, because then you will think you have missed an opportunity — perhaps for many lives.
It will be easy to find another Gautam Buddha sometime in the future, because he is a traditional saint. It will be possible to find a Jesus Christ — it is almost certain you will find him someday, because he was not enlightened. He has to come back to the earth. But you will not find me again, for two reasons: I am not going to come back to any body again; and for the second reason — you will not find even a similar person again. I have been so eccentric, crazy, so different from the traditional saint, that I don’t think anybody else after me is going to dare copy me. It is impossible. You will repent. There is still time — your spring can come. There is still time for you to achieve your ultimate potential. But don’t waste it in wavering. If you go on taking the plant from one place to another place to another place, it will never grow roots. You have to leave it in one place so that it can grow roots. And without roots there are no flowers. You are longing for the flowers, but you are not taking care of the roots.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Sat Chit Anand Chapter #19
Chapter title: Whenever you close your umbrella you have glimpses
1 December 1987 am
Osho has spoken on eminent poets and philosophers like Byron, Coleridge, D.H. Lawrence, Ghalib, Heinrich Heine, John Ruskin, Kahlil Gibran, Kalidas, Keats, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Milton, Oscar Wilde, Rabindranath Tagore, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Rumi, Rudyard Kipling, Shakespeare, Shelley, William Blake, Wordsworth, Camus, Descartes, Dostoevsky, Gorky, H.G. Wells, Hegel, Huxley, Milton, Naimy, Nietzsche, Tagore and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Books I Have Loved
- From Bondage to Freedom
- The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
- Notes of a Madman
- The Invitation
- YAHOO! The Mystic Rose
- The Book of Wisdom
- The Sword and The Lotus
- Returning to the Source
- Light on the Path
- The Secret
- The Hidden Splendour
- The New Dawn
- Beyond Enlightenment
- The Golden Future
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 4, 5
- Theologia Mystica