Co-existence: The Way of the East

Osho on East n West


It is not a matter of striking a balance, between Lao Tzu and the present day Science. If Lao Tzu’s view-point comes within the understanding of man, a completely new Science can come into being. This is because his way of looking at life is entirely different.

The Science that developed on the basis of the Aristotalean theories is incomplete and ignorant. It has tried to discover and understand a very infinitesimal part of life, leaving the greater part of it alone. You may call it childish. It has made no effort to understand the Totality at all. It is also true that so far it could not; now it can. After discovering atomic weapons and developing Atomic-energy, Science will be constrained to revise and reconstruct in its fundamentals.

You may ask why? If Science progresses as it has been progressing so far, it can only proceed towards the extinction of mankind. There is no other dimension open to it. Science has to rethink about its old conceptions for now they suspect there is a basic mistake in its very fundaments. They find that all their efforts yield only destructive results. Our efforts to improve life have been herculean but the result has always been the opposite. All efforts lead to pain and sorrow. Therefore Science has to revise its old conceptions. After all reconsiderations if they discover their fault, they will find it is the error of following Aristotle. Then the Science that is evolved will not be based on possibility towards extinction but on co-operation with existence. All the bases will change.

The science that is based on antagonism towards nature always thinks in the language of destruction.

We will understand this better by an example: Take for instance, the mosquito which causes malaria. The Aristotalean Science says, exterminate the mosquito if you want to be rid of malaria. This is the language of destruction. But it is very likely that there is something that is conducive to life that comes with the mosquitoes. If the mosquitoes are destroyed, this will stop coming. Mosquitoes can be useful to life in other respects also but this we can only know after their compete annihilation. Then perhaps we shall have to try and replace them again! If Lao Tzu was faced with the problem of eradicating Malaria, he would never think in terms of destroying the mosquitoes. He would have suggested two methods. He would have suggested a change of attitude towards the mosquitoes or a change in man’s physical system to make him immune to malaria. There is no need whatsoever of destroying the mosquito. It is also possible to change the composition of the mosquitoes’ body system by which it would not be an enemy of man but rather a friend. Either or both of these methods can be implemented.

If we had followed the Lao Tzu method, we would have worked out an accord between the two. If it is possible to annihilate the mosquito completely, why should it be difficult to annihilate the poison within it? And if the mosquito can be completely destroyed or its poison removed from its system, then there is no reason why man’s resistance cannot be built up to withstand the poison of the mosquito? Lao Tzu would definitely be in favor of increasing man’s power of resistance. There are always two ways to any problem. Now for instance, it is sunny outside. One way is that I use the Umbrella to keep the sun away. In that case, I treat the sun as my enemy and I prevent its rays from reaching me. There is another way also — I can make my body so strong and healthy that it can withstand the rays of the sun. Lao Tzu would say: “Make your bodies strong. Then you will feel the sun to be your friend for it is never so sunny as to be unbearable to a healthy body. The sun seems a foe only to weak and unhealthy bodies.

We should think on the lines of establishing friendship and accord with everything in life. Struggle ultimately leads to suicide. How long will we struggle? The theory of struggle is — to destroy everything that harms us.

Today we destroy the mosquito, tomorrow we find the Chinese are causing us harm. Then why not destroy them? Then we feel the Indians are dangerous — so destroy them… and so on. This is the language of war which is applicable everywhere. Whatever you find harmful, destroy it. America thinks of destroying Russia and Russia thinks of destroying America. But after the Atomic research, both America and Russia have understood the fact, that this language of annihilation does not hold good any longer. Now neither can destroy the other and save itself. There can only be a period of 10 minutes before the destroyer gets destroyed himself. The aggressor will die 10 minutes after and there will be no time to acclaim victory! Therefore, since the last ten years, America and Russia have began to think in terms of co-operation for hostility has lost its meaning. So now the trend is of co-existence.

It is not, however, enough to think in terms of co-existence only between man and man. Co-existence should be complete. The same principle should hold good vis-a-vis all existence. Our attitude should be one of friendliness even towards disease and illness.

Lao Tzu’s language, is the language of co-existence towards the Total Existence. And we cannot differentiate and choose to co-exist with one and not with the other, for if the element of hostility remains, we may become hostile towards those with whom we are in enmity. A new Science will be born — in accordance with Lao Tzu’s way of thinking. And if we understand Lao Tzu thoroughly, Lao Tzu implies the Eastern mind — the Eastern way of thinking. Aristotle means the Western mind — the Western way of thinking.

We may say, the western way of thinking is Logic and the Eastern way of thinking is Experience. All Science today, stands on the basis of the object. It is research in the field of objects. If ever a science is evolved based on Lao Tzu, Yoga, Patanjali, Buddha, it will be based on the search within the mind of man and never any search outside of him. There can be no accord, no union between these two. If and when the Lao-Tseian Science begins to evolve, the present day science will gradually merge into it, for it is only a part of science. The Science of Experience will be vast and total. This modern science will be absorbed into it and then alone will it attain its worthiness. Then as a part of the whole, it will lose its sting and all that is precious within it, will come to light.

There are many indications now in the West that clearly show the beginning of the onslaught on present day science. Lao Tzu is penetrating from many sides. The meaning of Lao Tzu is — the East. Now there is an architect in America named Wright who has designed a house on the Lao-Tseian style. The whole house is so designed as to look a part of the ground outside and the very mountains and trees around it. Now if a tree comes in the way of his building, Right will not remove the tree, he will rather, shape his building so as to take in the tree as it is. The tree will not be touched at all; it is the house that will be designed accordingly.

If the tree happens to come in the sitting Room, he would so design it that the whole room is in harmony with the tree. So the houses this man builds become a part of nature. Viewed from afar, these houses cannot be seen as such. Lao Tzu feels that houses that stand out are violent. They are violent, like this building ‘Woodlands’. If a house goes up to 26 floors, where will the trees be, where will the mountains be and where man? They are all lost! Only the bare building remains. This is unharmonius, grotesque, for there is no co-existence, no harmony with the surroundings. Such a building stands lone and forlorn, in its own arrogance.

A house should be such that it is covered with trees, it is touched by the hills and riders go racing by its compound walls. When someone passes this house, it should not seem so formidable as to give him the feeling of inferiority. He should not feel like a worm before it. If man feels inferior to a thing of his own creation, the result can be dangerous. The houses created by Wright are such that the gardens, the lawns go within the living rooms. There are trees and plants over-growing on roofs and the house looks as if it has grown out of nature itself. It is not as if it has been constructed. It seems it too, has grown like the trees beside it.

The new architecture of Right has had a great impact on America and Europe. His houses have a unique beauty all their own. There is a rare experience to sit within the shadows of his house. To sit in one of these houses is not to be torn away from nature but to be in the midst of nature. So the Lao-Tseian way of thinking is capturing the Western mind in a thousand ways. The new poet of today is not concerned about the rhyme or the grammar in his poetry; for Lao Tzu says, does the wind worry about the form and rhythm as it blows by? Or do the clouds consider the alliteration and the cadence of their thunder? And yet there is a rhythm in that thunder — a measureless measure. So this measureless form of poetry, in which there is an inner rhythm but no outward metre, is descending upon the whole of the West and also the whole world. In this poetry, there are no notations, no rhyming verse, no measure, no juggling of words and yet there is a perfect flow within — a stream and in this flow there is a harmonized melody.

There are painters in the West who have stopped putting frames on their pictures; for the frame is nowhere except on things created by man. There is no frame to the sky and the Sun or to the flowers and the trees! There is an endless existence. Things do not seem to be ending anywhere. Everything seems to be continuing on and on. So the painters no longer bind their work in frames. They say that is a man-made thing. Also, it is not necessary that everything should come within the picture. The Lao Tzu type of painting was born in China, thousands of years ago. The Tao School of Painting is a different form of painting altogether. Whenever a man like Lao Tzu appears, all functions of the world begin to take shape according to his concept. So the Lao-Tseian types of painting came into being. These pictures have a charm of their own. These pictures bear no frames, they have no beginning and no end. In life also, there is no beginning and no end. All things are beginningless and endless. Only the things that we make have a beginning and an end. So the Lao-Tseian type of pictures start from anywhere and end anywhere.

This new vogue is now gaining ground in modern art, be it painting or poetry or story-telling. The older stories always started with — “Once upon a time”, — there was always a beginning and always an end — “and they lived happily ever after.” Everything was contained in a particular frame-work. The modern stories of today, start from anywhere and end anywhere. In fact, the modern story has a beginning but no end. It is a fragment, for according to the Lao-Tseian Theory, whatever we say, is no more than a fragment; it cannot be whole. We ourselves are not complete. When all things are thus fragments, incomplete, let them remain so. Do not indulge in the useless task of completing them or else, everything will become ugly and grotesque. The Eastern mind is penetrating from all sides: through poetry and paintings, through music and architecture and through sculpture; and the Western world is afraid for it is surrounded on all sides. Hermann Hess has written somewhere that soon the Western world will come to know that its victory over the East was very short lived. But the day the East attacks with all her internal spirit, her conquest will be permanent. Your victory could not be enduring for it was attained by the point of the gun. But if the East chooses to attack with all the knowledge of her experiences gathered over thousands of years, she will attack in an altogether different way. Experience and Knowledge, are not aggressive. They penetrate within a person most unobtrusively; and it is permeating within the mind of man already.

The West is besieged on all sides and with every day it realizes that all its scales of measurements are tottering. Whatever it had accomplished is shaking now. And the East is spreading fast as the clouds spread suddenly sometimes in the sky. By and by, it will spread all over the West. This is but natural, for if we see properly, the grasp of the West is entirely superficial therefore its successes are very quick. The grasp of the East is so deep and profound that it cannot succeed that quickly. Remember, seasonal plants blossom in four months, two months, whereas the perennials take years to bloom. The hold of the East is very deep-seated. Therefore it takes thousands of years before a concept or to gain ground. The hold of the West is very superficial. A single concept succeeds in a hundred years and it is lost also that quickly. But the East can wait. It can wait a long time for the right opportunity.

Lao Tzu is the innermost wisdom of the East. The essence of the East lies hidden in Lao Tzu.

There cannot be an accord, there cannot be an union between the two methods of life-perception. An entirely new science can be born on the concept of Lao Tzu and this birth will take place very soon.

There are many things that do not strike the mind immediately. For instance, Euclid’s Geometry was the mainstay of the West. All the mathematics involved in Science was Euclidean. No one could have ever dreamt that any non-Euclidean Geometry would one day nullify it but since the last 150 years, non-Euclidean Geometry has come into being which is absolutely Lao-Tseian even though people do not know it.

Euclid says, “Two parallel lines never meet.” The non-Euclid Geometry says, “Two parallel lines are already connected.” This is a Lao-Tseian sutra that they are already joined. If we keep drawing these lines till the very end, we find that they meet. The trouble is we do not draw them enough. We see them from close quarters, we do not see far enough; but the distant is a part of the near. Now it has been proved that if two parallel lines are drawn out from both sides, till infinity, they meet…

The basic fundamental of the Western Science for the last 200 years, was the factor of certainty. If there is no certainty in Science, what is the difference, between art and science? There must be absolute certitude, then only Science is Science. But now since the last 15 years, a new concept has taken shape — the concept of Uncertainty. As soon as the atom was broken into electrons, it was discovered that the behaviour of these was most uncertain. We can never predict how they will behave at any given time. The behaviour of the electrons is like that of a human being. Nothing can be predicted about a man who is genuine — what he would do next, whereas a hypocrite can be well predicted in advance. About him we can easily tell that he will be angry three times in the course of the day, he will smoke six times and so on. Nothing however, can be foretold about an authentic person.

The Authentic man sleeps in the night with his wife and their one-day-old child. Never could have Yashodhara dreamt that he would leave them and go away in the middle of the night! There was no ostensible reason for this man to do so! The authentic man, is unpredictable, independent, the unauthentic is predictable, in other words, a slave. We were under the impression that matter was predictable, for after all, matter is matter. But now we know that even matter is energy and energy cannot be predicted. So far the last 15 years, the most intensive research in science is on this principle of uncertainty. Now if science also proves to be uncertain, then what is the difference between Science and Art?

Einstein had said in his later days, that very soon, the statements of Scientists will look like the pronouncements of mystics. Eddington has said in his memories “I used to think that the world is an object. Now as I come to life’s end, I can say, the world is not an object but a thought. It resembles more a thought than a thing.” There is a great difference between a thought and a thing. If the Scientists say that the world resembles more a thought than a thing then what is the difference between this and the statement of the Rishis who declare “The world is God?” The Rishis have said that the world is a Soul, a Consciousness. Now Eddington says, “The world is a thought”, so there is very little difference now between the two.

Science is breaking up in many places. By the turn of this century, it will be gradually destroyed. Its place will be taken by an entirely new consciousness. This new life-consciousness will be one of co-existence and of being one with the vast Totality. It will be a flow of life. It will be spiritual and not material. There will not be a union of the present day science and the new Science. The former must break and fall for it is but a fragment. And the universal spirit will rise from within it. This should be. There is a definite possibility.


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

Discourse Series: The Way of Tao, Volume 1
Chapter #6
Chapter title: The music of opposing notes
24 June 1971 pm in Immortal Study Circle


Osho has spoken on ‘nature, ecology, environment, interdependence, life’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Book of Wisdom
  2. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 9
  3. The Last Testament, Vol 2
  4. From Death to Deathlessness
  5. From Unconciousness to Consciousness
  6. Hari Om Tat Sat
  7. Just Like That
  8. Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 1
  9. Unio Mystica, Vol 1
  10. Guida Spirituale
  11. Om Mani Padme Hum
  12. Come Follow To You, Vol 3
  13. The Golden Future

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