Awareness: The Master Key




THE ONLY SIN IS UNAWARENESS, and the only virtue is awareness. That which cannot be done without unawareness is sin. That which can only be done through awareness is virtue.

It is impossible to murder if you are aware; it is impossible to be violent at all — if you are aware. It is impossible to rape, to steal, to torture — these are impossibilities if awareness is there. It is only when unawareness prevails that, in the darkness of unawareness, all kinds of enemies enter you.

Buddha has said: If the light is on in a house, thieves avoid it; and if the watchman is awake, thieves will not even try. And if the people are walking and talking inside, and the house has not yet fallen into sleep, there is no possibility for thieves to enter or even to think about it.

Exactly the same is the case with you: you are a house without any light. The ordinary state of man is that of a mechanical functioning: HOMO MECHANICUS. Only in the name are you a man — otherwise, just a trained, skillful machine, and whatsoever you do is going to be wrong. And remember, I am saying WHATSOEVER you do — even your virtues will not be virtues if you are unaware. How can you be virtuous when you are unaware? Behind your virtue will come a great, enormous ego — it is bound to be so. Even your saintliness, practised, cultivated with great labour and effort, is futile! because it will not bring simplicity, and it will not bring humbleness, and it will not bring that great experience of the divine which happens only when the ego has disappeared. You will live a respectable life as a saint, but as poor as everybody else — inwardly rotten, inwardly a meaningless existence. It is not life, it is only vegetating. Your sins will be sins, your virtues will also be sins. Your immorality will be immorality, your morality will also be immorality.

I don’t teach you morality, and I don’t teach you virtue — because I know, without awareness they are just pretensions, hypocrisies. They make you phony. They don’t liberate you, they can’t liberate you. On the contrary, they imprison you. Only one thing is enough: awareness is a master key. It unlocks all the Locks of existence. Awareness means you live moment-to-moment, alert, conscious of yourself, and conscious of all that is happening around you, in a moment-to-moment response. You are like a mirror. That’s what Pythagoras wants you to understand: you reflect. And you reflect so totally that out of that reflection whatsoever act is born is right — because it fits, it is harmonious with existence. It does not really arise in you, you are not a doer of it. It arises in the total context: the situation, you and all, are involved in it. Out of that wholeness the act is born — it is not your act.

You have not decided to DO it that way; it is not your decision, it is not your thought, it is not your character. You are not doing it: you are only allowing it to happen.

Just as walking early in the morning, the sun has not risen, you come across a snake on the path — there is no time to think… you can only reflect. There is no time to decide what to do and what not to do. You IMMEDIATELY jump! Remember the word ‘immediate’ — not even a single moment is lost. You immediately jump out of the way. Later on you can sit underneath a tree and think about it — what happened, how you did it — and you can pat your own back that you did well. But in fact you have not done it — it happened. It happened out of the total context. You, the snake, the danger of death, the effort of life to protect itself… and a thousand and one other things are involved in it. The total situation caused the act. You were just a medium.

Now, this act fits. You are not the doer of it. In the religious way we can say: God has done it through you. That is only a religious way of speaking, that’s all. The whole has acted through the part — this is virtue. You will never repent for it. And this is really a freeing act. Once it has happened, it is finished. You are again free to act; you will not carry this action in your head. It will not become part of your psychological memory; it will not leave any wound in you. It was so spontaneous that it will not leave any trace. THIS act will never become a karma. This act will never leave any scratch on you. The act which becomes a karma is the act which is not really an act but a reaction which comes from the past, from memory, from thinking. You are the decider, the chooser. It is not out of awareness but unawareness. Then it is all sin. Pradipam, to me, awareness is all. I teach you awareness.

It was Plato who, attempting to convey the meaning of the educative process, told the parable of the cave. Chained within an underground cave, one of the prisoners who has perceived only the illusionary shadows of the real world is unchained and freed to journey into the light. Emerging from the cave he is blinded by the brightness of the sun and for a moment desires to turn back. But he realizes that the only authentic life for man is one lived with a clear vision of things as they are. Though earlier blinded by the light and desiring the darkness, he resolves to leave behind the cave of shadows and its world of illusions. But having seen, having become aware, having perceived clearly, he knows he must return and free others to see through the veil of illusions that chain and imprison them in an unreal world. The moment you become aware, it is not only that your life is transformed: you immediately start functioning in a new way — you start helping others to be transformed. Because once you have seen the light of awareness, once you are out of the cave of unconscious mind, you will be surprised that whatsoever you had known before was not real — it was only shadows of the real. You had dreamt about the real.

And once you have seen the light, you would like to share it. You would like to go back to the cave and unchain other prisoners. That’s what all the great Masters down the ages have been doing. That’s what Pythagoras was doing. He became free — free, out of the cave. For the first time you will be dazzled. For the first time you will feel your eyes are hurting — that is the pain of growth. For the first time the desire, a great desire, will arise to go back into the darkness — because you have become accustomed to it. It was soothing. But once you have seen even a little bit of reality you cannot go back; you have crossed the point of no return. You will HAVE to live in the light. You will have to learn how to absorb light, because the reality is so blissful. And out of the experience of the real, life becomes religious. Out of the experience of the real, you cannot act in the old ways. Pradipam, I know why the question has arisen — because you have tried not to be angry, you have decided so many times, but still it happens. You have tried not to be greedy, but again and again you fall in the trap. You have tried ALL kinds of things to change yourself, but nothing seems ever to happen. You remain the same.

And here I am saying that there is a simple key — awareness. You cannot believe it. How can awareness, just awareness, help when nothing else has been of any help? Keys are always very small; keys are not very big things. A small key can open a very big lock. And why does awareness function as a key? The person who is living in a dream, is deep asleep, has a nightmare, is being tortured, is being killed. And of course fighting, fighting back, he is very much afraid, wants somebody to save him, and finds no way to escape. All around him are enemies with naked swords. Death seems to be certain. Trembling, perspiring, just out of the pain of the nightmare, he awakes. Still his breathing is not natural, still he is perspiring, trembling, but he starts laughing. There is no problem… the dream has disappeared. All those enemies and the naked swords were not realities. He need not ask to be saved; he need not arrange any defence. The whole thing was just a shadow world. Once awakened the whole dream has disappeared. And in the dream he had tried every possible way to protect himself and was finding it impossible. That’s how the case is with you, with everybody.

Anger is a shadow. You cannot be victorious by fighting with a shadow. Greed is a shadow… these are not realities. The reality is that which will remain even when awareness has happened. And this is the miracle: those who have known awareness have not known anything of anger or greed. Not that they dropped them — they simply don’t find them! Once the light is there, darkness is not there.

Buddha is reported to have said when he became enlightened, the first moment of it, he smiled and he said: “This is unbelievable! — so I have been enlightened from the very beginning!? And all those chains and all those imprisonments were just dreams?”

When people would ask him, “What should we do not to be angry, or what should we do not to be greedy, or what should we do not to be so much obsessed with sex or food?” his answer was always the same: Be aware. Bring awareness to your life. His disciple, Ananda, listening again and again to every kind of person — different problems, but the prescription of the physician remains the same — became puzzled. He said, “What is the matter with you? They bring different kinds of illness — somebody brings greed and somebody sex and somebody food and somebody something else — but your prescription remains the same!” And Buddha said, “Their illnesses are different just as people can dream different dreams.”

Here you are: if all of you, all two thousand sannyasins, fall asleep you will have two thousand dreams. Remember, you cannot invite anybody to share your dream — it is very private — not even your wife or your husband, nobody can share it. So two thousand people will have two thousand dreams. But if you come to me and ask how to get rid of this dream, the medicine will remain the same: Wake up! It is not going to be different; the prescription is going to be the same. You can call it awareness, you can call it witnessing, you can call it remembering, you can call it meditation — these are different names for the same medicine. Act with more awareness…The only problem with man is that he is fast asleep — with open eyes! That’s why you are not even aware that you are not aware. Your eyes are open and you are dreaming — a thousand and one dreams, a thousand and one desires. You are not herenow — that is the meaning of not being aware. You are in the past, in the memories — that is a dream. Or you are in the future, in imagination — that is a dream.

Be now, here! If the past is there, you are not aware. If the future is there, you are not aware. Awareness means presence in the present. Just be here this moment. Even if a single thought passes inside you, you are not aware. To be in a thought-process is to be asleep. Not to be in a thought-process is to be awake.

And that crystal purity of being here, of being now… how can you commit any sin? In THAT clarity, the ego disappears — and it is the ego which brings all kinds of problems in life. The ego is violent. And if you try to become humble, you may become humble but the ego will remain there hiding behind your humbleness. Unless you become aware, the ego will go on playing new games. The games will be changed; you may move from one prison cell into another prison cell — that’s all — but you will not get out of the prison. The only way to get out of the prison is to be utterly alert. In that alertness you become crystallized, in that alertness you become centered. And that very centering takes you into the very core of reality. And that experience is so blissful that you cannot remain a thief any more — because all that you need, all that you have ever desired, is fulfilled. In fact, you had never asked so much ever as is showering on you of its own accord. Who would like to be a thief? For what? Who would like to murder? For what? You CANNOT even imagine murdering because now you know nothing can be murdered — all is eternal. It is a futile effort. You cannot kill anything. At the most, you can take the garments away, but the inner being continues. Once you have seen your own inner being, in the light of awareness you have seen the being of all. It is eternity. Death is a falsity. Death happens only in dreams, not in truth, not in reality. How can you rape when you are aware? Awareness brings tremendous love in its wake, and a loving person cannot rape. Rape is possible only when the person has never known anything of love.

And, remember, the people who are rapists are not the only people who rape: you may be a good husband, and a good wife, married legally and everything, and your relationship may be nothing but rape. If you are unaware you cannot do anything else; your relationship will remain that of a rapist. You may be raping in a legal way, authorized, sanctioned by the society, but that doesn’t matter. If your wife is making love to you because it is her duty to make love to the husband whenever the husband wants, it is rape. She is not REALLY in it — it is rape. She is simply fulfilling the duties of a wife. If you are making love to your woman and not being totally present in that moment, it is rape. The woman is raping you; you are raping her.

Love is love only when it is meditative. Love is love only when there is great awareness from both sides. Two nows meeting, two heres meeting; two presences merging, melting into each other — then it is love, and then it has a spiritual quality to it.


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

Discourse Series:

Philosophia Perennis, Vol 1

Chapter #7
Chapter title: Awareness: The Master Key
27 December 1978 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘awareness, witnessing, alertness, consciousness, enlightenment’ 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 Book of Wisdom
  3. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  4. The Discipline of Transcendence
  5. From Death to Deathlessness
  6. From Unconciousness to Consciousness
  7. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra
  8. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega
  9. The Zen Manifesto: Freedom From Oneself
  10. Zen: The Path of Paradox
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  • yamini
    Posted February 8, 2022 4:45 pm 0Likes

    Tum ne mujhe pagal karr diya hai Osho, my love.

  • आशीष धनगर
    आशीष धनगर
    Posted March 3, 2023 6:40 pm 0Likes

    ओशो,इस सदी का अदभुत नायक आपके व्याख्यान अलौकिक एवम् ज्ञान प्रदान करने वाले है। नमन आपको!

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