Drop the Ego
Birthday of Hermann Hesse
02nd July is the birthday of German-born Swiss poet, novelist and painter Hermann Karl Hesse. Born in 1877, Hesse exhibited traits of being strong-willed, prodigious and passionate from early childhood. Hesse won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946. His best-known works include Demian, Steppenwolf, Siddhartha and The Glass Bead Game, each of which explores an individual’s search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality.
As reflected in his works like Demian, Hesse believed that “for different people, there are different ways to God”. Osho has talked about Hesse on many occasions in His discourses.
Osho says that the word ‘philosia’ coined by Hesse, is the accurate translation of the Eastern term ‘darshan’. Philosophy means ‘the love of thinking, inquiry’ whereas ‘darshan’ means ‘to see’. Darshan is not philosophy. Darshan is ‘philosia’ – the love of seeing.
Osho also counts Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha amongst one of the very rare books in the world and places it on the list of ‘Books He has Loved’.
HERMAN HESSE’S SIDDHARTHA SPEAKS THUSLY TO BUDDHA:
“O ILLUSTRIOUS ONE, IN ONE THING ABOVE ALL HAVE I ADMIRED YOUR TEACHINGS. EVERYTHING IS COMPLETELY CLEAR AND PROVED. YOU SHOW THE WORLD AS A COMPLETE, UNBROKEN CHAIN — AN ETERNAL CHAIN. COMPLETELY COHERENT, EMBRACING THE BIG AND THE SMALL FROM THE SAME STREAM. NOT FOR ONE MOMENT DO I DOUBT THAT YOU ARE BUDDHA, THAT YOU HAVE REACHED THE HIGHEST WHICH SO MANY THOUSAND ARE STRIVING TO REACH. YOU HAVE DONE SO BY YOUR OWN SEEKING, IN YOUR OWN WAY. YOU HAVE LEARNED NOTHING THROUGH TEACHINGS, AND SO I THINK, O ILLUSTRIOUS ONE, THAT NO ONE FINDS SALVATION THROUGH TEACHINGS. TO NOBODY CAN YOU COMMUNICATE IN YOUR TEACHINGS WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU IN THE MOMENT OF YOUR ENLIGHTENMENT, THE SECRET OF WHAT THE BUDDHA HIMSELF EXPERIENCED — HE ALONE AMONG HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS.
“THIS IS WHY I AM GOING ON MY WAY — NOT TO SEEK ANOTHER AND BETTER TEACHER, FOR THERE ARE NONE BETTER, BUT TO REACH ALONE — OR DIE.”
WOULD YOU COMMENT?
Herman Hesse’s SIDDHARTHA is one of the very rare books, something from his innermost depth. Never again could Hesse bring another jewel more beautiful and more precious than SIDDHARTHA; as if he was spent in it. He could not reach higher. SIDDHARTHA is Hesse’s height.
Siddhartha is saying to Buddha “Whatsoever you say is true. How can it be otherwise? You have explained everything that was never explained before; you have made everything clear. You are the greatest teacher there is. But you attained to this enlightenment on your own. You were not a disciple. You were not following anybody; you searched alone. You came to this enlightenment alone, walking a path, not following anybody.” “I must leave you.” says Siddhartha to Gautam Buddha, “not to find a greater teacher than you, because there is none, but to seek the truth on my own. Only with this teaching I agree” — because this is Buddha’s teaching “Be a light unto yourself.” Follow nobody; seek and search, but follow nobody. “With this I agree,” says Siddhartha, “so I will have to go.” He is sad. It must have been very difficult for him to leave Buddha, but he has to go — to seek, to search, or to die. He has to find the path.
What is my comment on it? There are two types of people in the world. Ninety-nine percent who cannot go alone…. Alone, if they try, they will remain fast asleep forever and ever. Alone, left to themselves, the possibility is nil. They will need somebody to wake them; they will need somebody to shake them out of their sleep, to shock them. They will need somebody to help them. But there is another type also, that is only one percent, which can find its way on its own.
Buddha belongs to the first type, the rare type, the one percent. Siddhartha also belongs to the same type. He understands Buddha, he loves Buddha, he reveres him. He feels the sadness and the pain and the heartache when leaving him, but he knows he has to leave. He has to find his own way. He has to seek the truth on his own. He cannot become a shadow; that is not possible for him, that is not his type. But that does not mean that everybody has to seek on his own.
In this century there have been two very important persons Gurdjieff and Krishnamurti. They are the types. Krishnamurti goes on insisting everybody has to be on his own. Alone one has to seek and alone one has to reach. And Gurdjieff insisted that schoolwork is needed — alone you will never be able to escape out of the prison. All the prisoners have to come together to fight with the forces which are guarding, which have made the prison. And all the prisoners have to get together to find ways and means and methods — and they need somebody’s support who is outside the prison. Otherwise they will not find the way; they will not find how to get out. Somebody who was in the prison and has somehow reached out, his help is needed that is the Master.
Who is right? Krishnamurti’s followers won’t listen to Gurdjieff, Gurdjieff’s followers won’t listen to Krishnamurti, and the followers go on thinking that the other is wrong. But I tell you, both are right because humanity has two types. And none is better. Don’t try to evaluate. Somebody is a woman and somebody is a man — nobody is higher and nobody is lower; different types of biology. Somebody is who can find alone and somebody is who needs help. Nobody is higher and nobody is lower; different types of spirituality. The person who cannot find alone is the person for whom surrender will be the path, love will be the path, devotion will be the path, trust will be the path. Don’t think that trust is easy. It is as difficult as to follow on your own, sometimes even more difficult. And there are people who will follow alone.
Just a few days before, a young man came and he asked me, “Can I not search on my own? Need I be a Sannyasin? Need I be a disciple to you? Can I not follow on my own, can I not search on my own?” I said, “Why have you come to ask me? You are not the type who follows on his own. Even this you cannot decide. What more will you be able to decide on your own? This too you have come to ask me. This I have to decide — already you are a disciple!” But he argued; he said, “But you never were a disciple to any Master.” I said. “That’s right, but I never went to ask any. Even for this, I never went to ask any.”
And this is my understanding that people who have followed on their own rarely achieve, very rarely — because many times your ego will say that you are the rare type, that you can go on your own, alone, no need to follow anybody: and your ego will deceive you. You may not follow anybody; you are following your own ego, your own image, and it is going to lead you into a thousand and one ditches. You are following yourself, in fact. You are not moving on your own; you are following yourself. And you are a confused chaos. Where will you go? How will you go? Be very clear about it. Listen to your innermost depths. Is it the ego which says don’t be a follower? If it is the ego then you are not going to be going anywhere. You are trapped, already trapped. Then it is good to follow somebody. Find a school, find a Master. Drop this ego because this ego will lead you into more and more nonsense and rubbish.
Look at Siddhartha’s words. He says, “This is why I am going on my way — not to seek another and better teacher, for there are none better….” He loves Buddha tremendously; he respects him tremendously. He says, “Whatsoever you say is absolutely clear. Nobody has taught in such a clear way ever before. Whatsoever you say about the small and the big, it is absolutely comprehensible, appeals, converts, creates a sympathy for it. I KNOW,” he says, “you have attained. I am not going away from you because I Suspect you, no. I respect you. I have seen the glimpse through you; I have looked through you into reality. I am grateful, but I have to go.” His type is not of that who can become a follower. He goes into the world, he moves into the world. He lives with a prostitute. He tries to know what indulgence is. He learns the ways of the world and the ways of sin, and by and by, out of many sufferings, many disappointments, frustrations, the consciousness arises in him. Long is his path, but he goes on unflinching, unwavering. Whatsoever the cost, he is ready either to die or to attain. He has understood his type.
To understand one’s type is the most basic thing in spiritual search. If you are confused about what type you are — because people come to me; they say, “You say to understand the type is the most important thing, but we don’t know what type we are”, then remain certain, you are not that type who can go on his own. Because you cannot be certain even about your type, that too has to be decided by somebody else, then you will not be able to go alone.
Then drop that ego. That is simply ego. It has happened…. Pitfalls are many. If you go and watch Krishnamurti’s disciples you will see almost all the wrong type gather together. Not people like Siddhartha — because why should they go to Krishnamurti? Wrong people — who need a teacher — and still are not ready to drop their egos; you will find them around Krishnamurti. It is a beautiful arrangement. Krishnamurti says. “I am not a teacher”; so their egos are intact. He does not say, “Surrender”; so there is no trouble. In fact he enhances their egos: that “you are to find your path alone.” They feel beautiful, and they go on listening to Krishnamurti for years and years and years.
There are people who have been listening to him for forty years. Sometimes they come to me and I ask them. “If really you have understood him, then why don’t you stop going to him? — Because he says there is no teacher and he is not your teacher and there is nothing to be taught and nothing to be learned; one has to search through life through the hard way; one has to reach oneself. Why have you wasted forty years?” And I can see on their faces the problem is they need a Master but they don’t want to surrender. So this is a good compromise: Krishnamurti says no need to surrender, and he goes on teaching, and they go on listening and learning.
With Gurdjieff you will find a better group than with Krishnamurti — people who can surrender, who are ready to surrender. There are loopholes also because there are people who don’t want to do anything, and when they don’t want to do anything they think this is surrender. There are people who are suckers, who don’t want to do anything. They say. “We surrender. Now this is your responsibility. Now if something goes wrong you are responsible.” But Gurdjieff won’t allow such people. He was very hard. He will create so many difficulties for them that they will escape within hours. Only very rare people will be there who have really surrendered. For example, one man came, a musician, a very accomplished musician who was already known, famous for his art and Gurdjieff says, “Stop music and start digging holes in the garden.” And twelve hours per day. That man has never done such hard work. He has always played on the organ. His hands are delicate; they are not those of a laborer: they are not of a manual worker. Delicate, feminine hands, they know only one work — they can touch the keys of the organ. That’s all he has done his whole life, and now this man says…. But he started digging the next morning.
By the evening comes Gurdjieff and he says, “Good, very good. Now throw the earth back into the holes. Fill the holes. And unless you have filled them don’t go to sleep.” So again four, five hours he has to fill all the holes — as they were — because in the morning he will come to see. In the morning he is there and he says, “Good. Now dig other holes.” And this goes on for three months. Absurd activity, but if you have surrendered, you have surrendered. You don’t need to bother about what he is doing. You have to surrender reasoning. After three months that man has grown into a totally different being. Then Gurdjieff said, “Now you can play music.” A new music has arisen; it was never there before. He has touched something of the unknown. He followed, he trusted, he went with Gurdjieff the whole way.
People who are trying to deceive will not stay there: they will immediately escape. With Krishnamurti they can stay, because nothing to work, nothing to meditate…. And Krishnamurti is right! But he is right only for one percent, and this is the problem that one percent will never go to listen to him. That one percent moves on his own. If he somehow comes across Krishnamurti, he will thank him. This is what Siddhartha did. Siddhartha had come across Buddha. He listened to him, he felt the beauty, he felt the tremendous significance of whatsoever he was saying, he felt this man, he felt his attainment, he felt his enlightenment, his meditative energy touched his heart also, near him he felt the call of the unknown: but he understands his type. With deep respect, with deep love, in sadness he departs. He says, “I would have liked being with you, but I know I have to go.” He goes not because of the ego. He goes not to seek another greater teacher. He goes because he knows that he cannot be a follower. There is no resistance in him; he listened without resistance; he understood Buddha. He understood so totally, that’s why he had to go.
If Krishnamurti is understood really then you have to go. Then he is not the man to be around; then you have to go. You can be with Gurdjieff. You cannot be with Krishnamurti, because his whole teaching is to go alone, follow no path –
truth is pathless, the gate is gateless — the method is only one and that is to be aware. Nothing else is to be done.
Once you have understood, you will feel thankful, you will pay your respects, and you will move on your way. But this is only for one percent of the people. And remember, if you are not of that type, don’t pretend to be, because you cannot change your type. That is impossible. You have to use your type, and through using your type you have to go beyond.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 7
Chapter title: The rock bottom of no and yes
8 January 1976 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has also spoken of eminent writers like Fyodor Dostoevsky, John Milton, Leo Tolstoy, Byron, Shakespeare, Kalidasa, John Ruskin, Kahlil Gibran, Oscar Wilde, Rabindranath Tagore and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Come, Come, Yet Again Come
- The Transmission of the Lamp
- The Book of Wisdom
- The Dhammapada: the way of the Buddha Vol. 1, 3, 7, 9, 10, 12
- The Discipline of Transcendence Vol. 1, 2, 3
- The Last Testament Vol. 1, 3, 5
- The Messiah Vol. 1, 2
- The Art of Dying
- The Fish in The Sea Is Not Thirsty
- Light on the Path
- The Secret
- The Hidden Splendor
- The New Dawn
- Beyond Enlightenment
- The Golden Future