BETTER TO SEE THE FACE
Osho on Mystic Farid
Fariduddin Masud was a 12th-century Punjabi Sunni Muslim preacher and mystic who went on to become “one of the most revered and distinguished … Muslim mystics” of the medieval period. He is known reverentially as Baba Farid or Shaikh Farid by Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus of the Punjab Region, or simply as Farīduddīn Ganjshakar. Fariduddin Masud was born in 571 AH in Kothewal, 10 km from Multan in the Punjab region. He was a Sunni Muslim and was one of the founding fathers of the Chishti Sufi order. Baba Farid received his early education at Multan. Once his education was over, he moved to Delhi, where he learned the Islamic doctrine from his master, Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki. He later moved to Hansi in Haryana.
Baba Farid, as he is commonly known, has his poetry included in the Guru Granth Sahib, the most sacred scripture of Sikhism, which includes 123 (or 134) hymns composed by Farid. Hazrat Baba Fariduddin reached the pinnacle of spiritual glory through extremely hard “Mujahedas” and persistent “Riyazaat” in order to gain complete mastery over the Nafs (apptetive soul). It is reported that Baba Farid, under his Pir-o-Murshid’s command, performed many awe-inspiring ‘Mujahedas’ (strivings) which drained his vitality although he persevered through spiritual nourishment and determination. Hazrat Baba Fariduddin fasted daily throughout his life and yet he regularly maintained his nightly programme of prayers and devotion. So great was his spiritual vitality that he never gave up fasting even when he was sick. Baba Farid died of Pneumonia on the fifth day of the month of Muharram, CE 1266.
Osho shares a story about Farid, “A man came to Sheik Farid, a Sufi mystic, a great Sufi mystic and a very strange man. The man said, “How can I get out of my chains, my attachment, my ideas, my prejudices?” Farid had his own way of answering things. Rather than answering to the person he simply ran to a pillar which was nearby, clung to the pillar and started shouting, “Save me from the pillar!” The man could not believe what is happening — is he mad or something? And he was shouting so loudly that people started coming from the street in. A crowd gathered and they asked, “What is the matter with you? Have you gone crazy? You are holding the pillar, not the pillar holding you. You can leave it!” And the man also said, “I had thought that this man is a man of great understanding and he seems to be just a madman! I had asked a very subtle question, a very spiritual question which has always been asked by seekers: how to get out of my attachments with ideas things people? And rather than answering me he simply jumped and clung to the pillar and started shouting, ‘Save me from the pillar!'”
Farid looked at the man and he said, “If you can understand this, then you don’t need any answer. Go home and ponder over it. If the pillar is not holding me, neither your chains are holding you — you are holding them. I can leave the pillar — look I am leaving the pillar and I am saved! You also leave…”The man must have been really intelligent — he understood. There was a shock for a moment, the way the question was answered, but in that very shock he could see the point. It penetrated to his very heart. He touched the feet of Farid and said, “It is finished! I have asked the same question to many mahatmas, to many saints, and they gave me great discourses on it, and nothing happened. And your mad effort to answer me has immediately transformed something in me. Now I am not going back to my old world, I am going to be with you. I have found the man I was searching all my life. I needed a man like you who can hit me so hard, who could show me my stupidity.”
A ZEN SAYING IS: BETTER TO SEE THE FACE THAN TO HEAR THE WORDS. WOULDN’T IT BE BETTER TO SEE THE FACE AND TO HEAR THE WORDS?
IT IS ONE THING TO UNDERSTAND words, it is a totally different experience to understand the statements made by mystics. The words are simple. Anybody can understand them, but the implications can be understood only by those who have experienced the same kind of consciousness out of which those words have flowed.
This Zen saying is one of the most significant sayings: BETTER TO SEE THE FACE…By ‘the face’ is meant your original face — not the face that is reflected in the mirror, not the face this is reflected in other people’s eyes, but the face that you had even before your parents were born, the face that you will have when your body has gone back to the dust, when you are dead. ‘The original face’ is a Zen way of speaking about your spiritual reality, about your innermost truth, about your individuality. The face that you are acquainted with is your personality.
The word ‘personality’ comes from a Greek root PERSONA. PERSONA means a mask. Personality is a mask, and you don’t have one personality either, you have many, for different purposes. You are continuously changing your personalities every moment. As the situation changes, your personality changes. Your mask is not one, there are many masks. When you are in need and you approach a friend, you have a different face. When your friend is in need and he approaches you, you have a totally different face. These two faces are not the same at all, and for each situation you have a mask appropriate for it. And amidst this crowd of masks your original face is lost. You are more concerned with what people say about you. Why? — because their eyes, their opinions, their ideas give you your face. Your face is borrowed. If somebody says you are beautiful, you are happy. If somebody says you are ugly, disgusting, you are unhappy.
Your face is dependent on what others say about you. If they call you a saint you start flying above the clouds. And if they call you a sinner, you are crushed below the earth. You don’t know who you are, hence so much concern with other’s opinions, so much concern with mirrors. Your whole idea about yourself is borrowed — borrowed from those people who have no idea who they are themselves. It is a very strange world, very insane.
The saying can be understoood very easily. That’s what Casper vogel has done, he thinks he understands. BETTER TO SEE THE FACE THAN TO HEAR THE WORDS. Thinking that he has understood it, he asks: WOULDN’T IT BE BETTER TO SEE THE FACE AND TO HEAR THE WORDS? Once you have seen the original face there is no need to hear the words. The original face is encountered only in absolute silence. Words have no business there. Words are left far behind, far away. You have to go beyond the mind, only then can you see the face.
Mind consists of words. The moment you go beyond the mind you have gone beyond words. There is nothing to hear, but only to see.
That’s why we have called the great mystics the seers. And in the East, particularly in India, philosophy is called DARSHAN. DARSHAN means the art of seeing. It is not right to translate philosophy as DARSHAN or DARSHAN as philosophy. It is a mis-translation. But people like Casper Vogel go on doing these things. Scholars like Dr. Radhakrishnan and others have translated the Indian vision into other languages, and they have called it ‘Indian philosophy’. In India philosophy has not really existed at all — philosophy in the Greek sense of the word, philosophy in the sense Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Russell or Wittgenstein will understand. Philosophy in the East is not philosophy, it is PHILOUSIA. Philosophy means love for knowledge, love for wisdom; PHILOUSIA means desire for essence or isness.
Truth is not something to be thought about, it is something to be experienced, seen. The Zen people call it your original face. It has nothing to do with the face, with your body, with your mind; it has nothing to do even with your heart. The ordinary Indian religious person thinks there are three ways to reach God: GYAN YOGA — the path of knowledge; KARMA YOGA — the path of action; and BHAKTI YOGA — the path of devotion. Vivekananda also agrees with the ordinary mind, and he says these are the three paths to God. None of these is really a path to God. Action belongs to the body and the body has to be left behind. Knowledge belongs to the mind and the mind has to be left behind. Devotion belongs to the heart and the heart has to be left behind. Only when you have transcended these three do you know what Zen is.
Zen comes from the Sanskrit word DHYANA; it has a beautiful history. Gautam the Buddha never used the Sanskrit language for two reasons. One, it was the language of the scholars, the pundits, and they are the most stupid people in the world. Buddha never wanted to use the language of the scholars and the pundits and the priests. He used the language of the people. Of course Sanskrit is very sophisticated. The exact meaning of ‘sanskrit’ is: that which is very sophisticated, cultured, refined. But it became so refined that it lost all contact with reality; it became so refined that it became abstract, it lost aliveness; it became conceptual, it became philosophy in itself. Buddha dropped Sanskrit; he never used it. He used Pali, the language of the people. It is more raw but closer to the earth; more pragmatic, more primitive, but closer to reality. Primitive languages are always closer to reality. They are not yet in the hands of the scholars, the professors, the philosophers. In Pali, DHYANA IS pronounced JHANA. From JHANA has come the Japanese word ZEN.
Zen is the only path. Vivekananda is utterly wrong in saying that there are three paths; there is only one path. There is only one reality and one path to it, and that is DHYANA — meditation. Meditation is not knowledge, it is not action, it is not feeling: it is transcendence of all these three. And when you have transcended the three you enter the fourth — TURIYA. We have been meditating over the Mandukya Upanishad all these days. The Mandukya Upanishad is concerned with the fourth, TURIYA. Zen is the fourth, meditation is the fourth. And
the original face is discovered only when all the turmoil of activity, thinking, feeling, has ceased, when you have fallen into a tremendously silent space. There are no words to hear, there is only to see — or even better will be, only to be. One simply is. And in that isness is revealed all that is hidden. There is no need to say anything. When you have tasted yourself, what is the point of saying anything.
Two mystics, Farid and Kabir, met by coincidence. Farid was traveling and his disciples said to him, “We are very close to the commune of Kabir, and it will be a great experience for us if we can see you both being together, talking to each other, sharing your experiences with each other.” Farid agreed. The same happened to Kabir’s disciples. They heard Farid was passing by; they prayed to Kabir, “It will be good if we invite Farid and his followers to be with us just for a few days. It will be of tremendous significance for us just to see you two together, talking, sharing.”
Kabir said, “That’s beautiful! Invite him.” Farid was invited. Kabir himself came outside the village to receive him. They hugged each other, they laughed loudly. Holding hands they walked together to Kabir’s community. Two days they stayed together, and the disciples of Kabir and Farid were utterly disappointed because not a single word was uttered by Farid or Kabir. They sat together, smiled at each other. Sometimes they held each other’s hands. Now how long could the disciples sit and wait and wait? Two days appeared like two years! And they became very tired and bored. And what happened to these people? They all were puzzled because Farid had been talking to the disciples for years. Kabir had been talking to his disciples for years — and suddenly both have become dumb?!
After two days they parted. They again hugged each other, laughed…. The moment Farid was left with his disciples and Kabir was left with his disciples — the disciples were really boiling within — they jumped on their masters and they said, “What happened to you? Why did you suddenly become silent?” Farid said, “But there was nothing to say. The moment I saw him, I also saw that he has seen. So what is there to say? He knows, I know, and we know the same reality.” And Kabir said to his disciples, “Do you want me to appear stupid? I could see that he knows, so there was no need to say anything. Words are needed to show you the path, but he has arrived, so we shared our arrival by hugging, smiling, laughing. We have both arrived at the same space. We enjoyed! We really loved to be together. These two days were tremendously beautiful. But when two zeros come together they become one.”
It is natural. When two absolutely egoless beings come together, there is no separation, there is no wall, there is no barrier between them. A merger, a melting into each other starts happening. Kabir and Farid must have enjoyed those two days of tremendous understanding. But there is nothing to say! Casper Vogel, the moment you have seen the face there is no need for any words. If you are too attached to the words, then avoid the face; then don’t search for reality. Then it is better to go on THINKING about reality; then you are capable of hearing only as much as you can.
Just the other day I was reading a statement of Rudolf Steiner: “If a German comes to a crossroads and sees that one road has a signboard saying: ‘To Heaven,’ and the other road has another sign saying: ‘To the Lecture Hall About Heaven,’ he will go to the second — to listen to the lecture ABOUT heaven.” Germans are philosophical people; they have given birth to great philosophers. Who bothers about heaven? First let us HEAR about it, discuss it, analyze it, whether it exists or not, go through all the theories, ponder over it. And heaven can always wait. Tomorrow the lecture may be there or it may not be — who knows? — but heaven is always there. You can always go to heaven whenever you want, but about the lecture…. One has to rush immediately! Once the clock says eight, the doors are closed and the German is left out. And he has to sit in the front. Look! — Haridas, just sitting by my side…. Do you think Haridas will go to heaven? Never! He will go to the lecture. If you want to hear the words, Casper, then it is better not to bother about the original face. If you have seen the original face you are finished with all words, all philosophy, all religion.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Philosophia Ultima
Chapter title: Truth as it is — Naked
25 December 1980 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on Sufi Masters and Mystics Al-Hillaj-Mansoor, Junnaid, Rabiya Al
Adabiya, Jalaladdin Rumi, Sarmad, Omar Khayyam and many more in His discourses.
Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Be Still and Know
- Come Come Yet Again Come
- The Perfect Master, Vol 1, 2
- Beyond Enlightenment
- The New Dawn
- The Sword and The Lotus
- Om Shantih Shantih Shantih
- And the Flowers Showered
- The Razor’s Edge
- The Revolution
- Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 1, 2
- The Empty Boat