Consciousness is Contagious

Osho on Russian Author Maxim Gorky

Born in 1868, in Nizhny Novgorod Maxim Gorky was a Russian writer and political activist. He was nominated five times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Before his success as an author, he traveled widely across the Russian Empire changing jobs frequently, experiences which would later influence his writing.

Gorky’s most famous works are a short story collection Sketches and Stories (1899), plays The Philistines (1901), The Lower Depths (1902) and Children of the Sun (1905), a poem The Song of the Stormy Petrel (1901), his autobiographical trilogy My Childhood, In the World, My Universities (1913–1923), and a novel Mother (1906). Gorky himself judged some of these works as failures, and Mother has been frequently criticized.

Gorky was active in the emerging Marxist communist movement. He publicly opposed the Tsarist regime, and for a time closely associated himself with Lenin and Bogdanov’s Bolshevik wing of the party. For a significant part of his life, he was exiled from Russia and later the Soviet Union. In 1932, he returned to the USSR on Joseph Stalin’s personal invitation and lived there until his death in June 1936. After his return he was officially declared the “founder of Socialist Realism”. Despite his official reputation, Gorky’s relations with the Soviet regime were rather difficult. Modern scholars consider his ideology of God-Building as distinct from the official Marxism-Leninism, and his work fits uneasily under the Socialist Realist label. His work remains controversial.

Osho, talks about dreams and Gorky and says, “For example: you dreamed during the night that you were walking on a road. You go on walking and walking and walking and the road never ends. The non-ending road creates tremendous fear in you because with anything non-ending the mind cannot cope, the mind becomes afraid. Non-ending? It looks very boring. You go on, you go on, you go on — and the road is non-ending. You become tired, you become frustrated, you are fed-up, you fall down — but the road goes on and on. You have limitations and the road seems to be unlimited. If you dream such a dream…. Many people dream about it because there is a message in it. The famous Russian author, Maxim Gorky, used to dream it many times. He said that in his life it was one of the most important dreams — it was repeated almost every month. It must have had a great message otherwise it wouldn’t have been repeated. And it was repeated — that simply shows that Gorky never understood it. Once you understand a dream, once the message is delivered, the dream stops. If a dream is continuously repeated, that simply shows that you have not understood it, so the unconscious goes on knocking at your door. It wants you to understand it.”

Osho Say….


Yes. It is contagious, and it is going to happen exactly in the same way; a few individuals will explore it and then it will become a wildfire. There is no way to prevent it. It is a well-known fact, not only about printing presses but about other discoveries…. The printing press was discovered in different countries unrelated to each other, almost at the same time. It is a strange phenomenon. How does it happen? Something invisible seems to be passing around.

Albert Einstein was asked, “If you had not discovered the theory of relativity, what do you think — would it ever been discovered or not?” Albert Einstein laughed. He said, “At the most, just within two years somebody else would have discovered it.” And he said, “I am saying two years at the LONGEST.” It could have been only two weeks, because human consciousness had come to a point where this discovery was going to happen; who discovers it is not important.

Human consciousness is not a matter of individual islands; it is a vast continent, so the whole continent vibrates with the same rhythm.

It has been found with other discoveries also. Whatever is discovered in the Soviet Union is kept secret, but all over the world other scientists start discovering it, with no information from Soviet scientists. And whatever is discovered by America is kept secret, but in some mysterious way the Soviet scientists discover it just within a few weeks — not more than that.

Human consciousness is one whole; anything that happens at one place creates a subtle vibration that moves all over. Wherever there is somebody capable of catching it, he immediately catches it. So there are things which cannot be kept secret. For example, enlightenment cannot be kept secret; there is no way to keep it secret. Meditation cannot be kept secret. It is not within your hands; it is happening deep down in your consciousness — and every other consciousness around you is going to be affected by it.

You will see it in different spheres. For example, when Gautam Buddha appeared in India, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Confucius appeared in China; Socrates, Plato, Pythagoras appeared in Greece — at the same time, the same flame, the same truth. And there was no communication — even the Himalayas, the highest mountains between China and India, were not able to prevent it. What is happening to Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu passes on, moves on. If you look at the time before the communist revolution in Soviet Russia, it produced the greatest number of the highest quality novelists, the most creative. And not only one — Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Gorky, Turgenev, all are Himalayan peaks, one better than the other. Even after seventy or eighty years we have not been able to produce anything comparable to Dostoyevsky. But just within a small period, in a small place, these people appeared:

consciousness is contagious.

And after the Soviet revolution, not a single man in seventy years has been able to produce even a faraway echo of Maxim Gorky or Turgenev. Something in consciousness died, because communism denied that man has a soul. It prevented the very idea of consciousness. No poet, no great novelist, no great painter, no great artist, no great sculptor… They all disappeared — and before the revolution Russia was producing the world’s highest caliber people.

Yes, this is going to happen:

once a few people explode into light there will be flames, and the fire will spread like wildfire. And that is the only hope for humanity: that the whole of humanity comes up into consciousness, that people become so alert that nobody can deceive them into any stupid act. And war is the most stupid act of all.


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

Discourse name: Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
Chapter title: Consciousness is contagious
Chapter #25
3 March 1986 pm in


Osho has spoken on famous writers and philosophers like Albert Camus, Aristotle, Berkeley, Byron, Bukharin, Confucius, Descartes, Feuerbach, Fyodor Dostoevsky, D.H. Lawrence, H.G. Wells, Hegel, Huxley, John Milton, Kahlil Gibran, Kalidas, Kant, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Nietzsche, Rabindranath Tagore, Schiller, Shakespeare, Socrates, Voltaire, Wittgenstein and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Come Come Yet Again Come
  2. Beyond Psychology
  3. The Dhammapada: the way of the Buddha Vol.1,3,7,9,10,12
  4. The Transmission of The Lamp
  5. I am That
  6. The Perfect Master
  7. The Golden Future
  8. Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind
  9. The Invitation
  10. The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
  11. The Last Testament, Vol 5
  12. God is Dead, Now Zen is the Only Living Truth
  13. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 3
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