Today is the birthday of a German philosopher Immanuel Kant. He is one of the best known disciplined person of his times. Kant’s comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics have made him one of the most influential figures in modern Western philosophy.
Critique of Pure Reason is one of his most well-known works. Kant published other important works on ethics, religion, law, aesthetics, astronomy, and history during his lifetime. These include the Universal Natural History, the Critique of Practical Reason, the Critique Judgment, Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason, and the Metaphysics of Morals. Kant’s health was not good in later age and even got worse, before his death he uttered “Es ist gut (It is good)”. His unfinished final work was published as Opus Postumum.
Osho says “One of the great German philosophers, Immanuel Kant, even dropped the idea that you can see things as they are in themselves, because he had no way of knowing meditatively. He was a great mind — but the greater the mind, the greater the difficulty of seeing clearly. Your mind grabs every information that reaches to you, screens it, sorts out whatever is adjustable with your existing knowledge, allows it, and whatever is going to disturb your mind — anything new, unfamiliar, a stranger — it rejects.”
IS THERE ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE STATE OF NO-MIND AND BEING PRESENT?
Shunyam Kaveen, it is an intellectual question, nothing to do with your experience; because if you have experienced even a glimpse of no-mind, all questions including this will simply disappear. Questions belong to the territory of the mind.
No-mind means absolute silence — no question, no answer, no thought at all. Hence we call it no-mind.
First you have to understand the mind, because that’s where you are, that’s from where the question is arising. Unless you understand your space — the point from where you are raising the question — you will not be able, even intellectually, to comprehend some difference between no-mind and being present. There is no difference in experience, just two names for the same experience from two different aspects, two different angles. No-mind is experienced within you. Nobody else can see it; it is purely subjective.
With no-mind comes tremendous presence. When you are in the mind you are almost absent.
The quantity of your presence or absence has to be measured by your consciousness. You have such a small layer of consciousness — that’s your only presence. Otherwise, ninety percent you are absent. But
the man of no-mind is one hundred percent present. You can feel his presence from the outside. You cannot see his no-mind. The presence of his being is a radiation of a silent state within. That is beyond you, but if you are available, receptive, you can experience something of the tremendous presence of his being. In each of his gestures, in each of his looks, in each of his words, or even in his silence, you can be touched by his presence of being.
The presence of being comes into existence only when the person as such disappears. It is the melted state of the person — the presence — as if the flower has disappeared and only the fragrance has remained. You cannot catch hold of it, but you can be surrounded by it. Such people who have their being absolutely present — one hundred percent alert — are known in the world of language as having charisma. There is no other charisma. There is only one charisma and one charismatic aura and that aura comes from no-mind. But no-mind is the center within and the aura is the circumference of that mind, that no-mind. When inside you everything becomes silent, you are no more as you used to be — a person. Now you are just a fragrance, a presence …
But your presence has deepened. It has become a solid pillar of light. Anybody who is intelligent is bound to feel something new that he has never experienced before. So these are two viewpoints: one is the inner experience of no-mind, and the other is from outside. It is the by-product of no-mind, the presence of being.
But first you have to understand the mind, because that’s where you are and that’s from where the journey has to start towards no-mind, culminating finally into a beautiful fragrance — awareness — a magic aura around you. People have named it in different ways, because people are different. Somebody will say, “It is a hypnotic force.” Somebody will say, “It is something like magnetism.” Somebody will say, “It is mesmerism.” Somebody will say, “It is charisma.” Somebody will say, “We don’t know exactly what it is.” One thing is certain: it has a tremendous gravity, it pulls you towards itself. And if you are courageous you can be drowned in it and you can be transformed in that drowning. It will be your death and your resurrection, both. As you are, you will die, as you should be, you will be born. But mind is a very dark place. To comprehend light from there is almost like a blind man trying to comprehend light.
A young English gentleman returns from a stay at a stately home.
“How was your weekend?” asks a friend.
“Well,” he replies, “if the soup had been as warm as the wine, and the wine had been as old as the chicken, and the chicken had been as tender as the maid, and the maid had been as willing as the duchess, it would have been a perfect weekend.”
This is how the mind functions. If you look into your mind you will start laughing at your own mind. It is never in the present. It can’t have presence because the basic quality is missing. It is never in the present. Either it is in the past, which is no more — just a memory, a faded memory, a faraway echo;
perhaps a dream that you had seen sometime, but not more than that — signatures on the water. You have not even completed your signature and it has disappeared. That’s how the past goes on disappearing. You have not even lived it and it slips out of your hands. And then the mind goes on thinking about it.
So either the mind is past-oriented or it is future-oriented. Because it has missed the past, out of sheer necessity a projection arises about the future. The past is no more in your hands, it is gone, and gone forever. There is no way to bring it back. All that you can do is to project into the future whatever you wanted to do, however you wanted to live … Naturally, while you are thinking about the future, making it fuller than your yesterdays, you are missing the present moment. Your mind moves like a pendulum from the past to the future, from the future to the past. It never stops just in the middle, where reality is.
You are always real, but your mind is always unreal. You are always in the present, you cannot be anywhere else. But your mind is never here, it is all over the world. It will not be just at the point where you are. Except for that place, it can roam all over the world. It can go to the moon, it can go to Everest … Everything is possible for it, whether it is memory or imagination, but the mind has no contact with the present. Your body is far more present, it is totally different from your mind. And very strangely, all the religions have condemned the body, not the mind; because they themselves were using the mind for the faraway future, farther away than ordinary people think about…My approach is totally different from all religions: I want you to respect your body, because it is in the present, and that will give you the clue — a direct route to your being; because the being is also in the present.
Just leave the mind aside … But we are against the body, we are very condemnatory of the body, not knowing at all that this condemnation of the body is breaking the bridge to your being. A man of authentic spirituality is deeply in love with his body, because he knows body shares many things with being. Mind shares nothing, either with body or with being. It is an absolute stranger that has been forcibly put into you by the culture, the religion, the society. They are using the mind to enslave you. And because you are in the mind you continuously go on asking about things of which you have no experience. You don’t know what no-mind is, except a word. You don’t know what presence of being is, except that you have heard about it. Just words won’t do.
Move away from the mind … And when I say to move away from the mind, I am saying to move away from the inner chattering. That is the only disturbance that is preventing you from knowing yourself and this beautiful existence. Because your body is in the present, you are in the present, existence is in the present … They are all herenow. Only the mind is a strange phenomenon.
But you have been manipulated by others so much … Your educational systems, your friends, your family — everybody is trying to make you a great mind. In other words, everybody is trying to pull you away from the present moment.
I am reminded of a great German philosopher, Immanuel Kant. He is a specimen of those people who are absolutely in the mind. He lived according to mind so totally that people used to set their watches, whenever they saw Immanuel Kant going to the university. Never — it may rain, it may rain fire, it may rain cats and dogs, it may be utterly cold, snow falling … Whatever the situation, Kant will reach the university at exactly the same time all the year round, even on holidays. Such a fixed, almost mechanical … He would go on holiday at exactly the same time, remain in the university library, which was specially kept open for him, because otherwise what would he do there the whole day? And he was a very prominent, well-known philosopher, and he would leave the university at exactly the same time every day.
One day it happened … It had rained and there was too much mud on the way — one of his shoes got stuck in the mud. He did not stop to take the shoe out because that would make him reach the university a few seconds later, and that was impossible. He left the shoe there. He just arrived with one shoe. The students could not believe it. Somebody asked, “What happened to the other shoe?”
He said, “It got stuck in the mud, so I left it there, knowing perfectly well nobody is going to steal one shoe. When I return in the evening, then I will pick it up. But I could not have been late.”
A woman proposed to him: “I want to be married to you” — a beautiful young woman. Perhaps no woman has ever received such an answer, before or after Immanuel Kant. Either you say, “Yes,” or you say, “No. Excuse me.” Immanuel Kant said, “I will have to do a great deal of research.”
The woman asked, “About what?”
He said, “I will have to look in all the marriage manuals, all the books concerning marriage, and find out all the pros and cons — whether to marry or not to marry.”
The woman could not imagine that this kind of answer had ever been given to any woman before. Even no is acceptable, even yes, although you are getting into a misery, but it is acceptable. But this kind of indifferent attitude towards the woman — he did not say a single sweet word to her. He did not say anything about her beauty, his whole concern was his mind. He had to convince his mind whether or not marriage is logically the right thing.
It took him three years. It was really a long search. Day and night he was working on it, and he had found three hundred reasons against marriage and three hundred reasons for marriage. So the problem even after three years was the same.
One friend suggested out of compassion, “You wasted three years on this stupid research. In three years you would have experienced all these six hundred, without any research. You should have just said yes to that woman. There was no need to do so much hard work. Three years would have given you all the pros and cons — existentially, experientially.”
But Kant said, “I am in a fix. Both are equal, parallel, balanced. There is no way to choose.”
The friend suggested, “Of the pros you have forgotten one thing: that whenever there is a chance, it is better to say yes and go through the experience. That is one thing more in favor of the pros. The cons cannot give you any experience, and only experience has any validity.”
He understood, it was intellectually right. He immediately went to the woman’s house, knocked on her door. Her old father opened the door and said, “Young man, you are too late. You took too long in your research. My girl is married and has two children.” That was the last thing that was ever heard about his marriage. From then on no woman ever asked him, and he was not the kind of man to ask anybody. He remained unmarried.
The mind is very impotent in a way. It cannot give you any existential juice, any existential experience, and that is the only thing that matters. So please move away from mind. Don’t ask the difference, because there is no difference between no-mind and being present. No-mind is the inner subjective experience and being present is available for everybody. It is the circumference and no-mind is the center. But they are both together. Neither the circumference can be without the center nor the center can be without the circumference.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Sat Chit Anand
Chapter title: Whenever you close your umbrella you have glimpses
1 December 1987 am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Osho has spoken on notable Psychologists and philosophers like Adler, Jung, Sigmund Freud, Assaguoli, Aristotle, Berkeley, Confucius, Descartes, Feuerbach, Hegel, Heidegger, Heraclitus, Huxley, Jaspers, Kant, Kierkegaard, Laing, Marx, Moore, Nietzsche, Plato, Pythagoras, Russell, Sartre, Socrates, Wittgenstein and many others in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Hidden Splendour
- The New Dawn
- This, This, A Thousand Times This: The Very Essence of Zen
- Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
- Beyond Enlightenment
- Beyond Psychology
- Light on The Path
- The Discipline of Transcendence
- The Dhammapada
- From Bondage to Freedom
- From Darkness to Light
- From Ignorance to Innocence
- The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
- From Personality to Individuality
- I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here