Cancer: Disease of the Mind

World Cancer Day

Led by Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008, World Cancer Day is an international day marked on 4 February to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. The primary goal of World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancerand is an opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer.The day is observed by the United Nations.World Cancer Day targets misinformation, raises awareness, and reduces stigma. Multiple initiatives are run on World Cancer Day to show support for those affected by cancer. 

The UICC, has announced that, “This World Cancer Day, we recognise the power of knowledge. We know that every single one of us has the ability to make a difference, large or small, and that together we can make real progress in reducing the global impact of cancer. This 4 February, we call on you, whoever and wherever you are, to play your part in creating a cancer-free world. This World Cancer Day, what will you learn about the gap in cancer care?” The theme of the year 2022 –The first year of the ‘Close the Care Gap’ campaign is all about understanding and recognising the inequities in cancer care around the globe. This is the year to question the status quo and help reduce stigma; to listen to the perspectives of the people living with cancer and their communities and let those lived experiences guide our thoughts and actions.

Osho talks about cancer and its cure, and explains, “modern research on hypnosis proves that every disease — at least in principle — can be transformed, changed, can be dropped, if the mind is changed. And the vice versa is also true: if the mind is convinced by hypnosis, then disease can be created also…Cancer is a modern disease; it has come because of the stress, tension and anxiety of life. There has, in fact, been no cure for it up to now through the body. If cancer can be treated through the mind, then everything can be treated through the mind…A fool cannot be cured… and a fool cannot be hypnotized. Ordinarily, amongst the common masses, the idea is prevalent that very intelligent people cannot be hypnotized. That is absolutely wrong. Only fools cannot be hypnotized, idiots cannot be hypnotized, mad people cannot be hypnotized. The greater the intelligence, the more possibility there is of your going deep into hypnosis — because in hypnosis your trust is needed, the first requirement is your trust. The first requirement is your cooperation, and an idiot, a madman, cannot cooperate and cannot trust.”

Osho Says…..


The first thing:

truth has no obligation to be a fact. Fact is a lower phenomenon: truth is a higher phenomenon. Sometimes the truth may be factual, sometimes not. The fact cannot be decisive about it. There are higher experiences in life which cannot be contained by facts.

But I can understand. The question is from Chinmaya. The Western mind is too much addicted to facts. Anything that is factual seems to be real and anything that is not factual necessarily seems to be unreal. This is a Western obsession. Truth is sometimes factual, sometimes not — that’s why I say truth has no obligation to be factual. Because of this, the Western scientific mind cannot accept the human soul — because it is not factual. The body is factual; the soul is truth, not fact.

And the way facts are known, truths are not known; the approach has to be completely different. For example, you see a rose. The beauty is truth but not fact. You cannot prove it. There is no way to prove the beauty of the rose. You can prove its colour, you can prove its weight, you can prove its chemistry, but you cannot prove its aesthetics. But there is something even higher than beauty. Tennyson is reported to have said, ‘If I can understand a single flower, root and all, I would have understood the whole existence’ — because the flower contains something which is more than the fact: its hidden reality, its intrinsic reality. But that reality cannot be approached by the gross instruments of scientific experimentation.

Truth has to be approached in a different way — through meditation, through love.


Cancer is basically a psychological disease; it is basically a disease of the mind, not a physical one. When the mind becomes very tense, so tense that it is intolerable, it starts affecting the body tissues. That’s why cancer exists only when civilisation becomes very, very sophisticated. In primitive societies you cannot find cancer. People are not so sophisticated. The higher — by ‘higher’ I mean complicated — the more sophisticated, the more complex a society is, the more cancer will happen.

So when I said to Chinmaya, ‘FROM THE DAY YOU TOOK SANNYAS YOUR CANCER WAS GONE,’ I was saying many things.

Sannyas is dropping the mind. Sannyas is exactly that — that you surrender the mind. Sannyas means you surrender all your complexities, obsessions, neuroses. Sannyas means that now you are ready to live a simple, ordinary life. Sannyas means that you are ready to become primal, innocent, childlike.

Cancer has to disappear.

Cancer can exist only in a certain neurotic state of mind. If the mind relaxes, sooner or later the body will follow and will relax.

It is because of this fact that scientific investigation has not yet been able to find a cure for cancer. It is almost impossible to find a cure for cancer — and the day they find a cure for cancer they will create even more dangerous diseases in the world — because the cure will mean repression. The day they can find strong enough drugs to repress cancer, then some other disease will erupt. That poison will start flowing through some other channel. That’s how it has happened down the ages. Simple diseases were cured and difficult diseases came into being. You cure one disease, another disease comes in. And the second one is more complex than the first. The first was a natural reaction of the body, the second is an unnatural, abnormal reaction of the body. You repress the second and the third will come and the third will be even more difficult to tackle. And so on, so forth. Now cancer is at the top. If cancer is repressed then even more difficult diseases will erupt in the human body and the human mind.

When I said to Chinmaya, ‘FROM THE DAY YOU TOOK SANNYAS YOUR CANCER WAS GONE,’ I was not talking about any fact. I was indicating a truth. And if he had trusted me, it would have been gone. But a subtle doubt must have persisted in him. He says: I REMEMBER FEELING THAT YOUR SAYING THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A DESIGN AND NOT A REAL FACT. A design is higher than a fact. A fact is a very ordinary thing, a design is a higher thing. But we believe in the very, very lower reality, that’s why we go on missing the higher reality. Yes, the colour of the flower is a fact, and the chemistry is a fact — but the poetry, the beauty, the joy that the flower creates in you when you look at it, the awe that suddenly arises in your heart…. It is not factual, true, but is it untrue because it is not factual? No, it is a higher truth.

The higher need not agree with the lower; the lower has to agree with the higher — this is the Eastern approach. The Western approach is to reduce the higher to the lower; the Eastern approach is to raise the lower to the higher. For example, if you go and watch a lotus growing, it grows out of the dirty mud. If you show the lotus to the Western thinker his approach will be, ‘What is it? Nothing but mud.’ ‘Nothing but’ is the approach — ‘Nothing but mud.’ And he is factual — about that there is no doubt. It has come out of the dirty mud, stinking mud. So he says, ‘What is the source of it? Reduce it to the source. Go to the cause.’ The cause is the dirty mud, so this lotus is nothing but dirty mud.

That’s why Freud goes on saying that the experience of Samadhi is nothing but sex. The experience of Samadhi is a lotus blooming, but he goes to the source. And he is true, true in the sense that he is factual. He cannot be refuted on that ground. All your so-called mahatmas together cannot refute him on that ground. He is valid as far as factuality is concerned.

Samadhi is the flowering of sexual energy, but in the same way as the mud becomes a lotus.

Can you really call a lotus just mud, nothing else? Is it not something utterly new? It comes out of the mud, certainly, but can you reduce it back to mud?

The Eastern approach is that even the mud is respectable because a rose may be hidden in it, a lotus may be hidden in it. In the Western mind the lotus becomes condemned because it comes out of mud; in the Eastern mind the mud becomes sacred because it produces a lotus.

We look to the ultimate, we don’t go backwards. We go forwards. We see the ultimate possibility. The West goes on seeing the source, we see the goal. We are not worried about where it comes from, we are more worried about where it is going. The potential, the ultimately potential, that’s what truth is.

In the Western mind, man becomes body; in the Eastern mind, man becomes God. In the Western mind, the world is just materialistic; there exists nothing else but matter. In the Eastern mind, there exists nothing but God, but soul. Matter is also soul — asleep. Matter is potential soul — one day it will become soul. These are different visions. And if you have to choose, choose the Eastern vision because it has reverence for life, reverence for truth. Fact is an ordinary thing. Don’t be too much entangled by the fact.

You say: I REMEMBER FEELING THAT YOUR SAYING THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A DESIGN…. When Chinmaya is saying MIGHT HAVE BEEN A DESIGN he means ‘might have been a lie’.

A design is neither a truth nor a lie. A design is just a creative device. If you trust in it, it works; if you don’t trust in it, it doesn’t work.

It is up to you. You can miss. If the idea arises in you that it may be just a design, what are you saying? You are saying that it may be just a lie. That very idea will be enough to become a barrier. The bridge is broken. Remember, a design is higher than fact. It is lower than truth but higher than fact. It leads you from the fact to the truth; it is a bridge between the two. It is neither factual nor true; it is a lead.

Listen to this….

A Bavarian farmer wanted to sell his pig in nearby Switzerland to get a better price. To avoid paying customs he dressed the pig in his black suit with sunglasses and a hat and put it in the back of his Mercedes.

At the border the custom officer looked inside the car, then gave the farmer the sign to drive on. He turned around to his friend and exploded with laughter.

‘What happened?’ asked his friend.

‘There was a guy sitting inside,’ he answered, with tears of laughter, ‘who looked exactly like a pig!’

This is a design. It worked! The whole point is that it worked. Whether it is a lie or a truth does not matter. It is not factual, that is true; it is not true, that too is there — it is just in-between.


to be with a Master is to be available to his design.


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

Discourse Series: Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 2
Chapter #14
Chapter title: A Singular Mess
9 September 1977 am in Buddha Hall


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

  1. Beyond Psychology
  2. Come Follow To You, Vol 1
  3. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 5, 6, 11
  4. From Bondage to Freedom
  5. From Death to Deathlessness
  6. From Ignorance to Innocence
  7. The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
  8. The Last Testament, Vol 3
  9. Sermons in Stones
  10. The Osho Upanishad
  11. Tao: The Golden Gate, Vol 1
  12. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 3
  13. Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet

Leave a comment