Bring the Light

Osho on Misery


LIFE Is a Mystery, and the first Mysterious thing about life is that you can be alive and you may not have life at all. Just being born is not enough to have life. To be born is just an opportunity. You can use it to have life, and you can miss it also. Then you will live a dead life. Only apparently will it look like life, but deep down there will be no alive current in you. Life has to be attained, one has to work for it. It is like a seed in you: it needs much effort, soil, right soil, care, love, awareness. Only then does the seed sprout. Only then is there the possibility that someday the tree will bear fruit, someday it will flower. Unless you reach to the state of flowering you are alive just in name, but you have missed the opportunity. Unless life becomes a celebration, it is not life at all.

Ecstasy, nirvana, enlightenment, whatsoever you want to call it — that is the flowering. If you remain miserable, you are not alive. The very misery shows that you have missed the step. The very misery is an indication that life is struggling within to explode, but the cocoon is too hard. The shell of the seed is not allowing it to come out; the ego is too much and the doors are closed. Misery is nothing but this struggle of life to explode into millions of colors, into millions of rainbows, into millions of flowers, into millions of songs. Misery is a negative state. In fact, misery is nothing but the absence of ecstasy.

This has to be understood deeply, otherwise you will start fighting with the misery, and nobody can fight with an absence. It is just like darkness: you cannot fight with darkness. If you fight, you are simply being stupid. You can light a candle and the darkness disappears, but you cannot fight with the darkness. With whom will you fight? Darkness is not existential, it is not there. It is not something that you can throw out, kill, or beat out. You cannot do anything to darkness. If you do something, your own energies will be dissipated and darkness will remain there just the same, unaffected. If you want to do something with darkness, you have to do something with light, not with darkness at all. You have to light a candle, and suddenly there is no darkness.

Misery is like darkness; it is nothing existential. And if you start fighting with misery, you can go on fighting with misery but more misery will be created. It is just an indication, a natural indication to your being that life is still struggling to be born. The candle is not yet lighted, hence misery. The absence of ecstasy is misery, and something can be done for ecstasy, but nothing can be done with misery.  You are miserable and you go on trying to solve it. Here, on this point, the path of a religious and an irreligious man divide, they separate. The irreligious man starts fighting the misery, trying to create situations in which he will not be miserable, starts pushing the misery somewhere out of his eyes, out of his vision.

The religious man starts seeking ecstasy, starts seeking the blissfulness, starts seeking satchitananda — you may call it God. The irreligious person fights with the absence, the religious person tries to bring the existential: the presence of light, of bliss. These paths are diametrically opposite; nowhere do they meet. They may run parallel for miles together, but they meet nowhere. The irreligious person has to come back to the point from where these two paths divide and separate. He has to come to an understanding that to fight with darkness, with misery, is absurd. Forget about it and, rather, strive for light. Once light is there you need not do anything else; misery disappears…


Life is misery as you know it, life is bliss as I know it. Then we must be talking about different things, because how can life be misery for you and bliss for me? We are not talking about one and the same thing. When you talk about life, you are talking about a life in the seed, a life just in hope, a life of dreams, fantasies; not a real authentic life. You are talking about a life which only desires but doesn’t know, which only hankers but never reaches; a life which is constantly feeling suffocated but thinks that suffocation is comfort; a life which is a miserable hell but always thinks that something is going to happen out of this hell — heaven is to be born out of this hell. How can a heaven be born out of hell? How can ecstasy be born out of your miseries? No, miseries will be born out of your miserable life more and more…

Out of hell, heaven is not born. If you are miserable today, how do you think tomorrow can be happy and blissful? Tomorrow will come out of you. From where else can it come? Tomorrow doesn’t come out of the clock; tomorrow, your tomorrow, comes out of you. All your yesterdays together, plus today, is going to be your tomorrow. It is simple arithmetic: today you are unhappy and miserable; then how, how is it possible that tomorrow is going to be happy and blissful? — impossible! Until you die, it is impossible. Because with your death, all yesterdays die. Then it will not come out of your miseries; then it will be a fresh phenomenon, something which happens for the first time. Then it will not come out of your mind, it will come out of your being. You become dwij, twice born.

Try to understand the phenomenon of misery. Why are you so miserable? What creates so much misery? I watch you, I look inside you; miseries upon miseries, layers upon layers. It is really a miracle how you continue living. It must be that hope is stronger than experience, dream is stronger than reality. Otherwise, how could you continue living? You have nothing to live for except the hope that tomorrow something, somehow, is going to happen which will change everything. Tomorrow is the miracle — and this you have been thinking for many, many lives. Millions of tomorrows came, became todays, but the hope survives. Again hope goes on living. You live not because you have life, but because you have hope.

Hope is your only life. With the thread of hope you can tolerate all miseries. With just a dream of heaven, you forget the hell all around you. You live in dreams; dreams sustain you. Reality is ugly. Why does so much misery happen and why can’t you see why it is happening? Why can’t you find the cause of it? To find the cause of misery, one has to stop evading it. How can you know a thing if you evade it? How can you know a thing if you escape? If you want to know something, you have to encounter it face to face. Whenever you are miserable, you start hoping; tomorrow immediately becomes more important than today. This is evasion. You have escaped and now hope is functioning as a drug: you are miserable, you take the drug and you forget. Now you are drunk, drunk with hope. There is no drug like hope. No marijuana, no I.SD is comparable. Hope is the ultimate LSD. Because of hope you can tolerate everything, everything! Thousands of hells are nothing.

How does this mechanism of hope function? Whenever you are in misery, sad, depressed, you immediately escape from it, you try to forget it. That’s how it continues. The next time you are miserable — and you will not have to wait long; the moment my talk is finished you will be — don’t try to escape. My talk may also be functioning as an escape — you listen to me, you forget yourself. You listen to me, you have to be attentive towards me, but towards yourself you turn your back. You forget, you forget what your real situation is. I talk about bliss, I talk about ecstasy. That is real to me, but to you it becomes a dream. Again it becomes the hope that if you meditate, if you work for it, then it is going to happen to you also. Don’t use it as a drug. You can use a Master as a drug, and you can be drugged.

My whole effort is to make you more aware, so whenever you are in misery don’t try to escape. Hope is the enemy. Don’t hope, and don’t dream against the reality. If you are sad, then sadness is the reality. Remain with it; remain with it, don’t move, concentrate on it. Face it, let it be. Don’t move to the opposite of it. It is going to be a very bitter experience in the beginning, because when you face sadness, it surrounds you from every, where. You become like a small island and sadness is an ocean all around — and such great waves of sadness! One feels afraid, one feels a trembling to the very being. Tremble, be afraid. Only don’t do one thing — don’t escape. Let it be, penetrate deeply into it. See, watch — don’t judge. You have been doing that for millions of lives. Just watch, penetrate into it. Soon, the bitter experience will not be so bitter. Soon, out of the bitter encounter arises reality. Soon you will be moving, penetrating deeper and deeper — and you will find the cause, what the cause of misery is, why you are so miserable.

The cause is not outside, it is within you, hidden in your misery…

 Find the cause, the effect disappears because then something can be done. Remember, only with the cause can something be done, never with the effect. If you go on fighting with the effect, all fight is in vain. That is the meaning of Patanjali’s method of prati-prasav: go back to the cause, penetrate the effect and reach to the cause. The cause must be there somewhere. The effect is just like smoke surrounding you; but once the smoke surrounds you, you escape into hope. You dream about days when there will be no smoke. This is all foolish. Not only is it foolish, but suicidal, because this is how you are missing the cause.

Patanjali says ‘the discriminating person’. The Sanskrit word is vivek — it means awareness, it means consciousness, it means discriminating force. Because through awareness, you can discriminate between what is what: what is real, what is false, what is the effect and what is the cause. The discriminating person, the man of vivek, the man of awareness, realizes that everything leads to misery. As you are, everything leads to misery. And if you remain as you are, everything will go on leading to misery. It is not a question of changing the situations, it is a question of a very deep-rooted thing within you. Something within you frustrates the very possibility of bliss. Something in you goes against your flowering into a blissful state. The man of awareness comes to know that everything leads to misery, everything.

You have done everything, but have you watched that everything leads to misery? If you hate, it leads to misery; if you love, it leads to misery. There seems to be no logical system in life. A man hates, it leads to misery. Simple logic will say that if hate leads to misery then love must lead to happiness. Then you love, and love also leads to misery. What is this? Is life absolutely absurd, irrational? Is there no logic? Is it a chaos? You do whatsoever you want, and finally comes misery. It seems that misery is the road and every road leads to it. From wherever you want to start, you can start: right, left, in the middle; Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian, Jain; man, woman, knowledge, ignorance, love, hate everything leads to misery. If you are angry it leads to misery; if you are not angry, that too leads to misery. It seems that misery is there and whatsoever you do is irrelevant…

Yes, everything leads to misery — if you remain the same. I will tell you another thing: if you change, everything leads to heaven. If you remain the same, it is you, not what you do. What you do is irrelevant. Deep down, it is you. Whether you hate — you will hate — or whether you love — you will love — it is you who finally creates the phenomenon of misery or ecstasy, misery or bliss — unless you change. Just changing from hate to love, from this woman to that woman, this house to that house, won’t help. You are wasting time and energy. You have to change yourself.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse Series: Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4 Chapter #9

Chapter title: The seer is not the seen

29 April 1975 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘awareness, consciousness, love’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Zen : The Path Of Paradox , Vol 1, 2, 3
  2. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra , Vol 1, 2
  3. Vedanta Seven Steps To Samadhi
  4. The Supreme Doctrine
  5. The Rebel
  6. From Darkness To Life
  7. The Ultimate Alchemy
  8. My Way: The Way of the White Clouds
  9. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  10. The Book of Wisdom
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