Be a Light Unto Yourself
14th November is the glittering festival of Diwali. Celebrated with great exuberance throughout the Indian sub-continent, Diwali represents the triumph of light over darkness; of good over evil; of knowledge over ignorance.
Diwali occurs on a no-moon night in the month of Oct-Nov (Amavasya of the Hindu luni-solar calendar month of Kartik) and this has a special significance too. Jainas celebrate it as the night when Mahavira became enlightened. Osho says When there is no darkness within you; when your whole inner temple has become enlightened; when light has reached to every corner and no part of your inner house is in darkness; when your consciousness becomes a continuum with no gaps – Then you are a mukta, a free man. And Meditation is method to transform your unconsciousness into consciousness; your darkness into light
Thoughts are like dirt, clinging to the mirror of the mind. Thoughts, desires, imaginations, memories — all are forms of dirt. Because of them, the purity of the mind is lost. Because of them, the capacity to reflect, the mirror-like quality of the mind is lost. A continuous cleaning is needed. So, meditation is not something that you do once and forget about, because each moment of life you go on gathering dust. It is just like a traveller who is travelling. Each day he goes on gathering dust on his clothes, on his body. Every day he has to take a bath to cleanse his body. Again the next day he will be gathering.
Meditation is like a daily bath. It is not something that once you have done it, you are finished. It should become like a natural thing, matter of fact. As you eat, as you go to sleep, as you take a bath, meditation should become a natural part of your life.
At least twice a day you should cleanse your mind. The best times are the morning, when you are getting ready for the day, the workaday world…. Cleanse your mind so you have clarity, so you have transparency, so you don’t commit errors, mistakes, so you don’t have any evil thoughts, so you don’t have any egoistic thoughts… you go in a purer way to the world. You don’t go with corrupting seeds. And the next best time is before you go to sleep, again meditate. The whole day the dust collects. Clean the mind again… fall asleep. If you really start cleaning it, you will see tremendous changes happening. If you clean it rightly before you go to sleep, dreams will disappear. Because dreams are nothing but the dust gathered the whole day — it goes on moving inside you, goes on creating fantasies, illusions.
If your meditation is going right, your dreams will by and by disappear. Your night will become a peaceful sleep with no dreams. And if the night is without dreams, in the morning you will be able to come up very fresh, very young, virgin. Then meditate again, because even if there have been no dreams, with the very passage of time, dust collects. Even if you have not been travelling on dusty roads, just sitting in your house, dust collects. Even if your windows are closed, and doors are closed, in the morning you will find your room has gathered a little dust. Dust collects. The very passage of time is dust-collecting. In the morning, again meditate. And if you meditate rightly and you become a silent pool of energy, you will move in the world in a totally different way — non-conflicting, non-aggressive, in harmony. Even if somebody hates you, you will transform that energy into love. Then you will move in the world deeply skillfully… with the attitude of aikido. Whatsoever is happening, you will take it, receive it, in a deep love and gratitude. Even if somebody insults you, you will accept it in deep love. And then the insult will be no more an insult. And then you will be nourished by it. By the insult he has thrown a certain amount of energy. He is losing it, you can gain it. You can simply receive it, welcome it. And if this becomes your natural way of life — the way of the sannyasin, not the way of the soldier — every moment you will feel things are growing into a new light and your mind is becoming more and more illuminating.
THE MOST ILLUMINATING IS A MIND WHICH IS THOROUGHLY CLEANSED OF DIRT AND WHICH, REMAINING PURE, RETAINS NO BLEMISHES. FROM THE TIME WHEN THERE WAS YET NO HEAVEN AND EARTH TILL THE PRESENT DAY THERE IS NOTHING IN THE TEN QUARTERS WHICH IS NOT SEEN, OR KNOWN, OR HEARD BY SUCH A MIND.
When your mind is pure, uncontaminated, unpolluted, when not even a thought flickers in your mind, and there is no smoke around your mind — your mind is like a clear sky without clouds — Buddha says you will be able to see everything that is. You will be able to know everything that is. Your sensitivity will be infinite. And whatsoever has existed from the very beginning of time will become available to you. Your knowing will become perfect.
FOR IT HAS GAINED ALL KNOWLEDGE AND FOR THAT REASON IT IS CALLED ILLUMINATING.
And this illumination, this luminosity, does not come from anything outside you. It explodes from your innermost core. You are like a lamp which is covered by many curtains, dark curtains, and no light comes out of it. Then by and by you remove one curtain, then another curtain, then another curtain. And slowly rays start coming — not clear, but a glow. More curtains are removed — the glow becomes more penetrating, more clear. More curtains are removed… one day when all curtains are dropped, you suddenly see that you are a lamp unto yourself.
When Buddha was dying, this was his last message to the world. Ananda, his chief disciple, was crying and weeping. And Buddha said, ‘Stop! What are you doing? Why are you crying and weeping?’
Ananda said, ‘You are leaving us. I was with you for forty years. I walked with you, I slept with you, I ate with you, I listened to you — I was just like a shadow to you, and yet…. You were available and I could not become enlightened. Now I am crying that you are going, you are leaving.
‘Without you it seems impossible for me to become enlightened. With you I could not become. I have missed such a great opportunity. Without you… now there is no hope. That’s why I am crying. I am not crying because you are dying, because I know you cannot die. I am crying because now for me there is no hope. Now, with your death, starts my dark night of the soul. For aeons of time, millions of years, I will be stumbling in the darkness. Hence I am crying — not for you, for myself.’
Buddha smiled and said, ‘Don’t be worried about that, because your light is in your own being. I am not taking your light away. I was not your light. Otherwise you could have become enlightened — if it was in my power to make you enlightened. It is your innermost capacity to become, so be courageous, Ananda, and be a light unto yourself… appa deepo bhava… be a light unto yourself.’
Buddha died and after only twenty-four hours, Ananda became enlightened. What happened? This is one of the mysteries. For forty years he lived with Buddha, and just twenty-four hours after Buddha died, he became enlightened. The very death worked like a great shock. And the last message penetrated very deep. When Buddha was alive, Ananda was listening so-so — as you listen to me. You listen and yet you don’t listen. You say, ‘Okay. If I miss today, tomorrow I will be listening again, so what is the hurry? If this morning is missed, nothing is missed; other mornings will be following. So he had listened half-asleep, half-awake. Maybe he was tired, maybe the night was not good and he had not slept. Maybe the journey was too long and too exhausting. And Buddha was saying the same thing again and again and again, so how long to listen? One starts feeling that one already knows. One starts feeling, ‘Yes, I have heard this before, so what is the point? Why not take a little sleep? A little nap will be good.’ But when Buddha was dying, Ananda must have been alert, utterly alert. He was really trembling — the very idea of millions of years again stumbling in darkness. And Buddha says, ‘Don’t be worried, your light is within you.’ That struck home…
His eyes must have become clear. This death must have penetrated him like a sword. Sharp must have been this moment. And Buddha said, ‘Be a light unto yourself,’ and he died. He died immediately. This was his last utterance on this earth: Be a light unto yourself. This struck home, this penetrated Ananda’s heart, and within twenty-four hours he became enlightened.
That source of luminosity is within you. It is not outside you. If you seek it outside, you seek in vain. Close your eyes and go within yourself. It is there… waiting since eternity. It is your innermost nature. You are luminosity, your being is luminous. This luminosity is not borrowed, it is your innermost core. It is you. You are light — a light unto yourself.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol 2
Chapter title: A light unto yourself
4 September 1976 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘light, meditation, luminosity, enlightenment’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
- From Misery to Enlightenment
- From Bondage to Freedom
- The Invitation
- Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol 2
- The Path of the Mystic
- The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
- The Zen Manifesto: Freedom From Oneself
- The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol 1
- Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
- The Book of Wisdom
- Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 1
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 6
- Beyond Enlightenment
- The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here