Dionysius: The Playful One
Osho on Christian Mystic Dionysius
Dionysius The Areopagite was a biblical figure, converted by St. Paul at Athens who acquired a notable posthumous reputation primarily through confusion with later Christians similarly named. After his conversion, Dionysius became the first Bishop of Athens. He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox churches. He is the patron saint of Athens and is venerated as the protector of the Judges and the Judiciary.
Osho, when he talks about Dionysius, says, “Dionysius is one of the greatest Buddhas ever. And whenever the Eastern scholar by any chance, if at all, comes across a person like Dionysius, he starts thinking that he must have borrowed from the East. That seems to be a tacit assumption: that the East has some monopoly over spiritualism. Nobody has any monopoly. East or West cannot make any difference in man s spiritual growth. Jesus could become a Buddha in Jerusalem, Lao Tzu could become a Buddha in China, Dionysius could become a Buddha in Athens. There is no need to borrow from anybody…Dionysius is a rare man: living with stupid Christianity and its rigid organization, being a bishop and still being able to reach to the ultimate peaks of consciousness is something worthy of praise.”
OSHO, HOW WAS IT POSSIBLE FOR DIONYSIUS, AS AN ENLIGHTENED BEING, TO CARRY OUT HIS DUTIES AS BISHOP IN A GUILT-PROMOTING ORGANIZATION? HOW COULD HE PRESENT A FACADE TO THE WORLD WITHOUT CREATING DIVISION WITHIN HIMSELF WITHOUT COMPROMISING HIMSELF — FOR INSTANCE WHEN HE HAD TO FOLLOW STUPID ORDERS FROM HIS ARCHBISHOP?
THIS is one of the most fundamental things to understand: that an enlightened person becomes a perfect actor! He is not a doer, he is only an actor. He does nothing, but he acts perfectly. For him the whole of life is nothing but a drama, so there is no question of compromise, there is no question of getting divided, becoming schizophrenic, there is no question of being two — saying one thing, doing another thing. He remains undivided because life becomes a playfulness; he is no longer serious. You are taking it very seriously, hence the question. It comes out of your seriousness. You don’t know what playfulness is. The enlightened person can be absolutely playful in ANY situation; no situation can disturb him. He can be in a guilt-promoting organization, but he will not promote guilt and he will not promote the organization; in fact, he will sabotage it from within. That’s what Dionysius did, and he did it well: he sabotaged the whole Christian stupidity — from within.
There are two ways: either you fight from the outside or you fight from within. And my feeling is he chose the right course.
If Jesus had also chosen the same way he would have destroyed the Jewish religion completely, but because he fought from the outside he could not change the Judaic tradition. Of course he convinced a few people: he helped a few people to come out of the organization.
Dionysius is not a serious man. No enlightened person is ever serious — cannot be.
It is said about Bodhidharma that the day he became enlightened he started laughing; for days together he laughed. Finally people asked him, “What is going on? Have you gone mad? Now stop laughing!”
He said, “It is very difficult to stop laughing because now I see the whole ridiculousness!”
People asked, “Ridiculousness of what?”
And you will be surprised to know his answer. He said
“The ridiculousness of trying to become enlightened — because everyone is BORN enlightened! We have it already and still we are trying to achieve it. That is the ridiculousness. “
Trying to achieve something which you already have is the most absurd thing possible in the world. How can you achieve it? So if you fail to achieve it, it is not because enlightenment is difficult to achieve but because it is already the case. You are bound to fail. Sooner or later, by failing many times, one day you understand the point. It depends how thick your skull is. If it is very thick it takes many lives; if it is not that thick then it is easier. Then one can see in a single moment that “I am already perfect” and drop the whole effort to become perfect. One starts enjoying life then wherever one is, whatsoever one is. If one is a cobbler one remains a cobbler. Jacob Boehme was a cobbler; he remained a cobbler. And Kabir was a weaver and he remained a weaver. And Gora was a potter and he remained a potter. And Raidas was a shoemaker and he remained a shoemaker. It so happened that Dionysius was a bishop.
Murphy says: Never bow to authority but always tip your hat. That’s what he did his whole life.
In Moscow applicants were being interviewed for a government position. Each was asked, “How much is two and two? The answer was always: ‘Four!”
One candidate, however, replied, “How much do you want it to be?”
He was appointed. Now I will call this man enlightened! To be in Russia and say that two plus two is four is stupidity, sheer stupidity. The man must have been enlightened. I don’t know his name, but that doesn’t matter. He said, “How much do you want it to be? What does it matter? I am ready to play the game according to the rules. A game is a game. You decide the rules and I will play the game!”
You are asking me:… HE HAD TO FOLLOW STUPID ORDERS FROM HIS ARCHBISHOP?
Of course, he knew that they were stupid orders, but still he followed them.
A bunch of cowboys were sitting around a campfire about to eat dinner. The cook, a grimy, stubble-faced little man, was lecturing the boys, spoon in hand: “The first one of you guys to make a fuss about yer supper gits to do the cookin’ tomorra night!”
There was a careful silence as the slop was served and the eating began.
“God, this tastes like shit!” exclaimed one of the cowboys. Immediately remembering the punishment for his complaint, he added enthusiastically, “But good shit, real good shit!”
“Have you ever wavered from the party line?” a party-member was asked by an official.
The man turned white with fear and protested vehemently, “No, no, no! I have always wavered WITH the party line!”
An enlightened person becomes an actor. I don’t think that Dionysius was in any difficulty; he must have enjoyed the whole show.
Two East German guards were standing near the Berlin wall.
“What do you think of our regime?” asked the first.
“The same as you!” the second replied.
“In that case,” said the first guard, “it is my duty to arrest you!”
It must have been a little difficult, THAT I can understand. It is easier to be free like me: free from all religions, free from all political ideologies, free from all philosophies. So I do not have to bother at all to adjust to any A PRIORI idea, I need not be consistent with anybody. It is easier for me. Why have I chosen this way? The reason is I don’t have a good memory, so I don’t know what I told you yesterday and I cannot be consistent — for that one needs a good memory. If you want to lie you need a good memory, and I don’t have a good memory; I go on forgetting things. But I don’t care about it because I am not at all interested in being consistent. In fact, to me, to be contradictory is part of my message, because if you want the polarities, the opposites to be complementaries, you have to be contradictory. Dionysius had chosen a difficult job. He had to remember continuously what the Christian ideology is, what the dogmatists say, what the Creed is, what is written in the Bible, what all other saints have said. He certainly chose a difficult line, but he must have liked it, because there was nobody forcing him. He could have renounced his job; there was no need to remain a bishop. But one thing is certain: that he was not divided inside, as you are afraid.
You ask: HOW WAS IT POSSIBLE FOR DIONYSIUS, AS AN ENLIGHTENED BEING, TO CARRY OUT HIS DUTIES AS BISHOP IN A GUILT-PROMOTING ORGANIZATION?
He managed well.
HOW COULD HE PRESENT A FACADE TO THE WORLD WITHOUT CREATING A DIVISION WITHIN HIMSELF?
If you know you are acting then there is no problem. The moment you start becoming identified with your acting, then the problem arises. If you are acting, you are acting — it is just a facade. You are not it; you are just a witness of it. Just as you observe other actors, you observe yourself also. This is my suggestion for everyone: if you are in the world of acting — for example, Vinod is sitting here — if you are an actor, act as if it is real life, then you will be the best of actors. And if you are in life, live as if you are an actor and you will be the best of livers.
Once in a while Dionysius may have shouted, once in a while he may have rebelled, but he must have done it in private…But he must have loved it. Nobody was forcing him to be a bishop; it was his choice. So please, Devagiri, don’t be worried about him. He lived a perfectly beautiful life, he died a perfectly beautiful death, he has left a perfectly beautiful message behind. And I don’t think that he would have been any more happy in any other situation. He was absolutely adjusted to the role he was playing. Don’t you be worried about him, you be worried about yourself
A woman visited the psychiatrist with a problem. “You’ve got to help my husband,” she said. “He has delusions and thinks he is an elevator!”
“Send him in,” replied the psychiatrist, “and I’ll try to straighten him out.”
“Oh, I can’t do that,” said the wife. “He is an express elevator and doesn’t stop at your floor!”
Now the wife needs treatment, not the husband, but she is worried about the husband!
Please, don’t you be worried about anybody else. Your own worries are enough. But people try to worry about others; that is a way of distracting themselves from their own worries. It is a way of intoxicating themselves with great problems.
Now what have you got to do with Dionysius? Nothing at all — you have no relationship with him. Or do you think, Devagiri, that you have some blood relationship with the poor man? He was a Catholic bishop, never married — unless he left a few bastards! I don’t know… Don’t be worried about him, you be worried about yourself.
Take life easily, lovingly, playfully, non-seriously. Seriousness is a disease, the greatest disease of the soul, and playfulness the greatest health.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Chapter title: Man’s is Life’s Invention
15 August 1980 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on many Western Mystics like Jesus, Gurdjieff, Magdalen, Rumi, Socrates, Theresa, Zarathustra, St. Francis, Dionysius, Boehme, Eckhart, Baal Shem and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Sermons in Stones
- Come Come Yet Again Come
- Come Follow To You
- Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
- The New Dawn
- The Sword and The Lotus
- Beyond Psychology
- The Empty Boat
- I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
- Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance
- The Perfect Master
- Sufis: The People of the Path
- The Diamond Sutra