Discovering Meaning in Your Life
27th December 1571 is the birthday of the German astronomer Johannes Kepler. He was gifted which such extraordinary acuity in mathematics that at the age of 13 he could cast horoscopes of his classmates. He lived in an era where the distinction between astrology and astronomy was blurred but there existed a clear division between astronomy (a branch of maths) and physics (a branch of philosophy). So, Kepler described his own astronomy as “celestial physics”.
His book Astronomia Nova (1609) is integral to the scientific revolution of the 17th century. In this book, Kepler presented the result of his 10-year investigation of the motion of Mars; made a robust case for a heliocentric universe (sun as the centre and planets revolving around it) and first mentioned planets’ elliptical paths. This was the precursor to Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion that definitively described planetary orbits as elliptical rather than circular as previously believed.
Kepler wrote his own epitaph –
I measured the skies, now the shadows I measure
Skybound was the mind, earthbound the body rests.
Deva means divine, Artha means meaning – divine meaning. Meaning has disappeared from man’s life. These 300 years have seen it disappearing slowly slowly. Now man stands utterly devoid of meaning. And he is very hollow, naturally. He feels there is no purpose in life; nothing seems to make sense any more. This is one of the greatest crises that man has ever faced.
Either man will die and will not be able to survive this crisis or man will have a new orientation, will start living in a new way, with a new style, with a new context. Either man will not prove strong enough to go through this crisis of meaninglessness and will commit suicide, or he will be able to bring a new meaning.
The old is gone. The old was fictitious; it had to go someday. The old meaning that man has lived with for centuries was very childish. It was just as children playing with toys are so happy, but one day they come to know that toys are toys and suddenly they will feel lost. That’s what has happened: man has come of age. All the old toys make no sense any more. In these 300 years something immensely valuable has happened: the old meaning is dead and the new is not born yet – and we are in the gap.
Sannyas is an effort to give a new meaning to your life, a new way to discover purpose.
All the old religions are still beating the old drums. And they know that man cannot feel any attraction again for those old toys, but they are desperate and they don’t know what else to do. They cannot conceive of a new meaning. They cannot live without meaning so all they can conceive is bringing the old meaning back. But it can’t be brought back. Man cannot be thrown back to his childhood again; it is impossible. Life always moves forward. Those dreams are gone, that paradise is lost.
It started with Galileo – he was the beginning of a great revolution. He said that the earth is not the center of existence, of the universe; and that was the first blow to the old toys. The earth had always been thought to be the center and the whole universe to be serving the earth. In the name of the earth man was at the center, the very center of existence; the whole universe was to serve man. Man had dignity, superiority. He was just a little below the angels: just one step more and he would be an angel; two steps more and he would be a God. Paradise was not far away. Life had a certain context. But Galileo said that the earth is not the center… and he was right. The old toy was taken.
Once the earth was no more the center, man was just ordinary. He was no more powerful, he was no more in the higher position, just below the angels; suddenly God was very far away. The universe was big and the earth was so small – the sun is sixty thousand times bigger, and this is a very mediocre sun; then there are other suns, millions of them. Suddenly man was lost. He belonged to a very very mediocre sun and to a very very small planet, earth… almost negligible, of no significance. That was the beginning of a great revolution. Man was dethroned.
And then came Kepler and he said that even the sun is not the center – the sun itself is moving around some bigger sun. The earth was thrown even further away… almost of no value. Then came Darwin and he said that man is not just below the angels, he is just an evolution of the monkey. That was a great blow. Man had always thought of himself as the son of God; now he was nothing more than the son of a monkey, a baboon, a chimpanzee. His own image fell into pieces. This went on and on….
Then Marx said that consciousness is just a by-product; in reality there is no soul. Man is only matter. Then Freud said that there is no reason; man lives irrationally, at the mercy of the unconscious, is not the master of his own life. It is impossible to think that he can be the master of existence – he is not even the master of his own body, of his own mind. Nine-tenths of his mind is unconscious, irrational, and he is just a victim. He is just fulfilling a certain program that has been given by blind nature to him. All Buddhas, all Christs, Krishnas, simply disappeared and became myths; they had never existed. And it went on and on.
Now, the ultimate is B.F. Skinner who says that man has no freedom, no dignity, that we have to drop the whole idea of man’s freedom, dignity, etcetera. All nonsense! And Delgado says that man is just a machine. We have to accept it, we have to be courageous enough to accept it – that man is just a machine, a small electrical instrument.
In these 300 years from Galileo to Delgado, all meaning, all dignity, all purpose has disappeared. Delgado says we should not ask the question, “What is man?” We should only ask what we want to make of him. Man is a machine – we can make anything out of him.
This is the situation and, in this situation, a great insight is needed again which can make life meaningful. Man cannot live by bread alone and man cannot live by science alone either. Man needs religion, but the religion cannot be of the past. It cannot be Christianity, it cannot be Judaism, it cannot be Hinduism – they are all out of date, their days are over. We can take insights from them, we can pick a few points, beautiful insights out of them, but their systems are no more meaningful. Anything that was evolved before Galileo cannot become significant again.
A new kind of religion and a new kind of consciousness and a new man needs to be given birth to. That’s what sannyas is all about: it is an effort to introduce meaning. Not through outer props – that the earth is the center, that man is just below the angels, that God created man in his own image… these are just childish props. But through the recognition that man has the seed to become, to grow. Man has the seed of infinity in him, and that seed needs no outer props. It simply needs a meditative energy to surround the seed.
Just as a child needs a mother’s womb, the new man needs the womb of meditation. A great meditative energy is needed, and out of that meaning will start entering life again.
And this meaning will not be of toys; it will not be based on any ideology; it will be based on your existential experience. So, here, entering into sannyas means you are helping a tremendous movement to bring a new man on the earth. With that enthusiasm, the work has to be done upon yourself. It is not only a question of you; it is a question of a new humanity, the very survival of humanity.
So I will give you this name: Deva Artha – divine meaning… and that has to be searched for, explored. It is a beautiful adventure to explore meaning in your life. There is meaning but it is not available on the surface. One has to dive deep; one has to go to the very center. It is not in the sun, it is not in heaven, it is not in the stars; it is in you!
We should forget looking for meaning in the outside world. We have to move into the inner. The journey that is extrovert is the journey of science; the journey of introversion is the journey of religion. And man has both: an outer side and an inner side. The outer side cannot exist alone — it needs to have an inner to it. Inevitably the inner is there, but science has completely denied it. It has to be introduced into life again. Not only has it to be introduced; it has to become the very central core. The outer should be in the service of the inner, then meaning arises. When the inner is in the service of the outer, meaning disappears.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Chuang Tzu Auditorium, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune, India.
God’s Got a Thing About you
Chapter title: None
21 September 1978 pm in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Osho has spoken on scientists like Aristarchus, Aristotle, Chamberlain, Copernicus, Darwin, Descartes, Eddington, Edison, Einstein, Euclid, Galileo, Leibnitz, Kepler, Newton, Ptolemy, Pythagoras, Ramanujan, Rutherford and many others in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses: