Drop the Head

Osho on Meditation


I can do that but there will be much trouble. Let me tell you an anecdote.

St. Peter returned to the new arrival waiting impatiently outside the gates. ‘I can’t find your name,’ he reported. ‘Would you please spell it for me?’ The man did so, and St. Peter left to check his reservation lists again. In a few moments he returned, ‘Say, you are not due for ten ears. Who is your doctor?’ If I cut your head off, then St. Peter will ask you, ‘You are not due for many lives. Who is your guru?’

It cannot be done by another. It is not something that can be done from the outside. In fact you also cannot do it. You have to grow into it. It is not something that you can do or force, it comes through deeper understanding.

The dropping of the head is one of the most difficult things because you are identified with the head. You are the head! Your thoughts, your ideologies, your religion, your politics, your scriptures, your knowledge, your identity — everything is in your head. How can you drop it? Just think of dropping the head. Then who are you? Without the head you are nobody. You have to grow into understanding. When you can grow a new head above this head, only then can you drop this head.

That’s the whole effort of meditation — to help you grow a new head, a new head which does not need thoughts, does not need ideologies; which is pure awareness and enough unto itself; which needs no external influence to live; which lives from its own innermost core.

When you have grown a new head, the old will be dropped very easily. It will drop on its own accord. If I force anything upon you, you will resist it, you will become afraid, you will be scared. And nobody wants to die. It is a great art to be learned.

I have heard. It was the day of the hanging and as Mulla Nasrudin was led to the foot of the steps of the scaffold, he suddenly stopped and refused to walk another step.     ‘Let us go,’ the guard said impatiently. ‘What is the matter?’     ‘Somehow,’ said Nasrudin, ‘those steps look mighty rickety. They just don’t look safe enough to walk up.’ He is going to be hanged, but those steps look ‘mighty rickety’ — not safe enough to walk on! Even at the moment of death a person goes on clinging — to the very end.

Nobody wants to die, and unless you learn to die you will never be able to live, you will never be able to know what life is.

A person who is able to die is a person who is able to live, because life and death are two aspects of the same coin. You can choose both or you can drop both, but they both come together in one parcel, they are not different things.

Once you are afraid of death you are bound to be afraid of life. That’s why I am talking about this Hasidic approach. The whole approach consists of methods, ways and means of how to die — the art of dying is the art of living also. Dying as an ego is being born as a non ‘ego; dying as a part is being born as a whole; dying as man is a basic step towards being born as a God. But death is difficult, very difficult. Have you watched it? Except man, no animal can commit suicide. It is not possible for any animal even to think about committing suicide. Have you thought about it? Have you heard of any tree committing suicide, any animal committing suicide? No. Only man, man’s intelligence, can make it possible that a man can commit suicide. And I am not talking about ordinary suicide — because that is not really suicide, you simply change the body — I am talking of the ultimate suicide. Once you die the way I am teaching you to die, you will never be born again in life. You will disappear into the cosmos, you will not have any form any more, you will become the formless.

Only man is capable of committing suicide. That is the glory of man. Only man can be capable enough to think that life is not worth living, only man is capable enough to reflect that this life is simply futile. Ordinarily when people commit suicide, they don’t do it because they have understood life’s futility, they do it only because they have understood THIS life’s futility — and they are hoping that in another life somewhere else things will be better.

The spiritual suicide means that a man has come to understand that not only THIS life is futile, but life as such is futile. Then he starts thinking of how to get rid of being born again and again, how to get rid of getting into the tunnel of the body and of being confined and encased; then he starts thinking of how to remain absolutely free without any form. This is what moksha is, this is what liberation is — or you can call it salvation.

A man can never be happy in the body because it is such a confinement. All around are walls; you are forced into a prison. It does not look like a prison because the prison walks with you — wherever you go it goes with you, so you don’t feel that it is like a prison. Once you have known a life without the body, once you have become capable of getting out of the body — even for a single split moment — then you will see how you are confined, how you are imprisoned. The body is a bondage, the mind is a bondage, but, you have to understand — I cannot force you free.

Remember one thing: you can be forced into bondage from the outside, but you cannot be forced into freedom from the outside. Somebody can force you into a prison cell, but nobody can take you out of a prison cell.

If you want to remain in a prison cell, you will find some other prison cell somewhere else. You may escape from one prison, but you will get into another — from the frying pan into the fire. You can easily change your prisons, but that doesn’t make any difference. That’s what everybody has been doing for millennia. Each life you have been in a prison — sometimes a man, sometimes a woman, sometimes black, sometimes white, sometimes Indian, sometimes Chinese, sometimes American. You have moved in all the forms possible. When people come to me and I look into them, it is surprising how many forms they have moved in, how many bodies, how many shapes they have lived in, how many names and religions and countries…and still they are not fed up. And they go on repeating the old circle again and again.

Remember one thing more. Just as I said to you that suicide is absolutely human, no animal commits it, the same is true about boredom.

Boredom is absolutely human. A buffalo is never bored, a donkey is never bored — only man, only a highly evolved consciousness. If you are not bored with your life, it simply shows that you live in a very low state of consciousness. A Buddha is bored, a Jesus is bored, a Mahavira is bored — bored to death! Just repetition all around and nothing else. Out of boredom comes renunciation. A man who is bored with the world becomes a Sannyasin. The search is not for another world, it is for an end of the search. It is suicide, total, ultimate.


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

Discourse name: The Art of Dying
Chapter title: Why No Women?
Chapter #6
16 October 1976 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘Sannyas, ego, life, psychology’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. A Bird on the Wing
  2. The Book of Wisdom
  3. The New Alchemy: To Turn You On
  4. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1
  5. Walk Without Feet, Fly Without Wings and Think Without Mind
  6. My Way: The Way of the White Clouds
  7. The Art of Dying
  8. Ancient Music in the Pines
  9. The Hidden Splendor
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