Desirelessness or desirefulness

Osho on Desirelessness


TO BE TOTALLY FREE OF DESIRE WILL MAKE YOU DEAD — -you will not be alive any more. That’s what has been taught: Be desireless! But what can you do? You can go on cutting desires; the more desires are cut, the poorer your life becomes. If all desires are destroyed, then you have committed suicide, spiritual suicide. No, desire is the energy of life, desire is life.

Then WHAT DO I mean when I say be free of desire?

The second is my meaning: to be free, totally free, to have or not have desire. Desire should not be an obsession — that is the meaning. You should be capable… for example, you see somebody’s beautiful house, newly built, and a desire arises in you to have such a house. Now, are you free to have this desire or not? If you are free, I will say you are desireless. If you say, “I am not free. This desire persists. Even if I want to drop it, I cannot drop it — it haunts me. I see dreams of that house, I think about it. I am afraid to go on that road, because that house creates jealousy in me, that house creates disturbance in me.”

If you say, “I am not capable of either having or not having the desire,” then you are not in a healthy shape — then desires are your masters, you are a victim. And you will suffer much because there are millions of things going around, and if so many desires take possession of you, you will be torn apart.

That’s how it is happening: somebody has become the prime minister, now you want to become the prime minister; somebody has become very rich, now you want to become very rich; somebody has become a famous writer, now you want to become a famous writer. And somebody is something else… and somebody is something else… and all around there are millions of people doing millions of things. And from every nook and corner a desire arises and jumps on you and takes possession of you, and you are not capable of saying yes or no you will go mad. That’s how the whole of humanity is mad. All those desires are pulling you into so many directions. You have become fragmentary, because many desires have possessed parts of your being.

AND those desires are contradictory too. Then it is not only that you are fragmentary: you become a contradiction. One part of you wants to become very rich, another part of you wants to become a poet — now, this is difficult. It is very difficult to become rich and remain a poet. A poet cannot be that cruel; it will be very difficult for him to become rich. Money is not poetry: money is blood, money is exploitation. A poet worth the name cannot exploit. And a poet worth the name will have some vision of beauty. He cannot be so ugly himself as to deprive so many people just for his desire to hoard money.

Now, you want to become a politician, and you also want to meditate; you want to become a meditator too. This is not possible.

Politicians cannot be religious. They can pretend to be religious, but they cannot be religious. How can a politician be religious? — because religion means non-ambitiousness and politics is nothing but pure ambition. Religiousness means: I am happy as I am. Politics means: I will be happy only when I am at the top — I am not happy as I am. I have to run and rush, and I will destroy if it is needed. If by right means, okay; if not, then by wrong means — but I have to be at the top, I have to prove myself. A politician naturally suffers from an inferiority complex. A religious man has no complex — inferiority or superiority.

Politicians pretend to be religious because that pays in politics. Morarji Desai pretends to be religious — that pays in politics. Now, look at the disgusting thing Jimmy Carter has done: he came to India and he asked, first thing in India, three hours for prayer. He knows India is a religious country — three hours for prayer?! Prayer is nothing to be bragged about. You can do it in your bedroom — three minutes are enough — three seconds are enough — just a single moment is enough — because prayer has nothing to do with time: it needs intensity. Now, a three-hour prayer! think of God also a little bit: listening to Jimmy Carter for three hours… poor old man! Nobody thinks of God. And what will you be saying for three hours? You will bore Him to death! But he knows that India is a religious country, people will be impressed by the idea. And what can Jimmy Carter do for three hours, what will he pray for three hours? A politician can-not pray even for three minutes; he will be thinking all the time about politics.

To be religious means to be non-ambitious, to have no ambitions of being somewhere else, somebody else — to be herenow!

Now, if you have these two ideas together, that you want to be a politician and you also want to be a meditator, you will be in difficulty — you will drive yourself crazy. If you are honest, you will go mad; if you are dishonest, then you will not go mad — then you will become a hypocrite. That’s what your politicians are.

And I am not saying that all those who are in religion are not politicians: out of a hundred there are also ninety-nine who are politicians. They are there in a different kind of politics: the religious politics. They have THEIR hierarchy and the priest wants to become the Pope — again it is politics. Or, the sinner wants to become the saint — again it is politics, again it is inferiority complex; again, once you have started doing something holy, religious, saintly, you will carry around yourself that ego of ‘holier than thou’. Then you will have a condemnation of others in your eyes; then everybody is doomed and only you are going to be saved. Then you can look at others with pity: These people are going to hell. This is again politics.

A religious man knows no ego. He is not even humble — remember — he is so egoless he is not even humble. Humbleness is also a pretension of ego; the humble person is also TRYING to be humble and trying to prove that “I am humble”; or even may have ideas deep inside his heart that “I am the MOST humble man in the world.” Again it is the ego!

Many desires will take possession of you and many will be contradictory and you will be pulled apart and you will start falling into pieces, you will lose integrity, you will no more be an individual.


Now, these are the two things: you know desirelessness, then you have to cut your life completely, then everything has to be cut. Then you become a Jain monk — just an empty shell utterly discontented with everything, with yourself; uncreative, no celebration, no flowers ever bloom. Or you know desirefulness: then you become torn apart. Both are ugly states. The right thing to do is to be so totally free from desire that you can choose, that you are always able to choose: to have or not to have. Then you are really free. And then you will have both the creativity, the celebration, the joy of desires, AND the silence and the peace and the calmness of desirelessness.


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

Discourse Series: Walk Without Feet, Fly Without Wings and Think Without Mind
Chapter #3
Chapter title: Love is a Resurrection
3 January 1978 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on Desirelessness, creativity, celebration, joy, silencein many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol 3
  2. Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
  3. The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol 1
  4. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 1, 4, 10
  5. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 2, 3
  6. The Book of Wisdom
  7. From Death to Deathlessness
  8. Unio Mystica, Vol 1
  9. Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance
  10. I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here

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