Both are imaginary, the master and the sword
Many times I have heard you tell the Zen story that, “if you meet the master on the way, kill him.”
Osho, does it really have to be like that? If we meet on the path, can we not just laugh, and chat a little while, and then if we must part, do so gracefully, with a namaste and a smile?
The story is not about any actual path, and not about any actual meeting with the master. The story is about when you are meditating and things are disappearing from the mind – it is becoming silent. The last to go will be the one you have loved most. That is, the last will be the master. It is in your meditation, when everything else is gone, that still you will be seeing the master. Now, chit-chatting will disturb your meditation, and preparing a cup of coffee will not help.
The saying looks hard, but it is true: Cut the head of the master! It is in your imagination that you are cutting. By chit-chatting or laughing or talking, you will not get rid of the master. You have to be very simple and straight; you need a sword, and cut the head of the master and pass on. Dont look back!
The master is saying this so that you can enter into suneeta-shunyata, into nothingness, into nirvana. The master is making you aware that even he should not be a hindrance to you.
And I will be a hindrance. You have loved me so much that you may be able to everything from the mind, but then I will be there – and you have to me too. It is not an actual thing, it is just about your imagination, about the last trick of your mind.
Your mind will bring in the master because the mind knows you cannot throw away the master. You have thrown away everything else, and that is the last resort of the mind to prevent you from going into meditation. And if you are afraid – if you feel this is being ungrateful, if you feel this is not the right thing to do – to cut the head of the master, then you are playing into the hands of the mind. It has nothing to do with the master, because there is no master – it is just your mind projecting.
And don’t ask, “From where am I to get a sword?” It has been asked, down the centuries. Whenever masters have said to their disciples, “If you meet me on the way, cut my head,” the disciples have asked, “But from where have I to get a sword?”
I will tell you a Sufi story. Mulla Nasruddin has applied for a job on a ship. He is being interviewed, and the captain and the high officials of the company are asking questions. The captain asks, “If the waters are in a turmoil, and the wind is blowing very strong and there is a danger of the ship being upturned or swayed into a direction it does not want to go, what are you going to do?”
He said, “Simple, I will throw out an anchor.”
The captain said, “That’s right. But suppose another storm comes up; what are you going to do?”
He said, “Nothing else; I will throw out another anchor.”
The captain said, “It is right, but suppose a third storm comes up. What are you going to do?”
He said, “The same! I will throw out an anchor.”
And the captain said, “But from where are you getting these anchors?”
And Mulla Nasruddin said, “From where are you getting these storms? From the same place!”
Just as the master is imagination, your sword is also an imagination. If the mind can provide you with one imagination, it is capable of providing you with the other thing – and perhaps happily, because you are going to kill the master. The mind is very happy when you are against the master – angry, resentful – and now he will be bursting with joy that you are going to kill the master. He will present you a beautiful sword immediately – just ask.
Both are imaginary, the master and the sword. And you have to go beyond imagination. So this must be the last barrier, and once there is nobody, nothingness opens up – you are connected with existence, you are connected with your reality.
Osho, Beyond Psychology, Ch 26, Q 3