East Meets West
YOU HAVE BEEN USING THE KEY WORD “DEPROGRAMMING” TO DESCRIBE YOUR WORK. THE TECHNIQUES THAT YOU HAVE SUGGESTED DURING THESE YEARS, GO FROM CHAOTIC AND DYNAMIC MEDITATION TO THE MODERN THERAPEUTIC SCHOOL. I WOULD LIKE YOU TO EXPLAIN IN BRIEF WHY YOU HAD TO CREATE NEW MEDITATION TECHNIQUES LIKE KUNDALINI MEDITATION OR DYNAMIC MEDITATION, EVEN THOUGH THERE IS A TRADITION ALREADY INCLUDING HUNDREDS OF TECHNIQUES FROM YOGA, SUFISM, BUDDHISM ETC.
WHAT IS ALSO SURPRISING TO THE WEST IS THAT YOU ARE USING THERAPIES SUCH AS GESTALT, PRIMAL, ENCOUNTER, IN YOUR COMMUNE. IS IT REALLY NECESSARY?
THE SUSPICION IS THAT YOUR SECRET INTENTIONS ARE NOTHING BUT TO BRAINWASH PEOPLE’S MINDS, AND THAT CANNOT BE TOLERATED BECAUSE YOU ARE TOUCHING THE MOST PRECIOUS THING THEY HAVE.
The ancient methods of meditation were all developed in the East. They never considered the Western man, the Western man was excluded. I am creating techniques which are not only for the Eastern man, which are simply for every man — Eastern or Western. There is a difference between the Eastern tradition and the Western tradition — and it is the tradition that creates the mind. For example, the Eastern mind is very patient — thousands of years of teaching to remain patient, whatever the conditions may be. The Western mind is very impatient. The same methods of technique cannot be applicable to both. The Eastern mind has been conditioned to keep a certain equilibrium in success or in failure, in richness or in poverty, in sickness or in health, in life or in death. The Western mind has no idea of such equilibrium; it gets too disturbed.
With success it gets disturbed; it starts feeling at the top of the world, starts feeling a certain superiority complex. In failure it goes to the other extreme; it falls into the seventh hell. It is miserable, in deep anguish, and it feels a tremendous inferiority complex. It is torn apart.
And life consists of both. There are moments which are beautiful, and there are moments which are ugly. There are moments when you are in love, there are moments when you are in anger, in hatred. The Western mind simply goes with the situation. It is always in a turmoil. The Eastern mind has learnt… it is a conditioning, it is not a revolution, it is only a training, a discipline, it is a practice. Underneath it is the same, but a thick conditioning makes it keep a certain balance. The Eastern mind is very slow because there is no point in being speedy; life takes its own course and everything is determined by fate, so what you get, you don’t get by your speed, your hurry. What you get, you get because it is already destined. So there is no question of being in a hurry. Whenever something is going to happen, it is going to happen — neither one second before nor one second after it.
This has created a very slow flow in the East. It seems almost as if the river is not flowing; it is so slow that you cannot detect the flow. Moreover, the Eastern conditioning is that you have already lived millions of lives, and there are millions ahead to be lived, so the life span is not only seventy years; the life span is vast and enormous. There is no hurry; there is so much time available: why should you be in a hurry? If it does not happen in this life, it may happen in some other life. The Western mind is very speedy, fast, because the conditioning is for only one life — seventy years — and so much to do. One third of your life goes into sleep, one third of your life goes into education, training — what is left? Much of it goes into earning your livelihood. If you count everything, you will be surprised: out of seventy years you cannot even have seven years left for something that you want to do. Naturally there is hurry, a mad rush, so mad that one forgets where one is going. All that you remember is whether you are going with speed or not. The means becomes the end.
In the same way, in different directions…
the Eastern mind has cultivated itself differently than the Western mind. Those one hundred and twelve methods of meditation developed in the East have never taken account of the Western man; they were not developed for the Western man. The Western man was not yet available. The time that VIGYAN BHAIRVA TANTRA was written — in which those one hundred and twelve techniques have come to perfection — is near about five to ten thousand years before us. At that time there was no Western man, no Western society, no Western culture. The West was still barbarous, primitive, not worth taking into account. The East was the whole world, at the pinnacle of its growth, richness, civilization.
My methods of meditation have been developed out of an absolute necessity. I want the distinction between the West and the East to be dissolved. After Shiva’s VIGYAN BHAIRVA TANTRA, in these five or ten thousand years, nobody has developed a single method. But I have been watching the differences between East and West: the same method cannot be applied immediately to both. First, the Eastern and the Western mind have to be brought into a similar state. Those techniques of dynamic meditation, kundalini meditation, and others, are all cathartic; their basis is catharsis. You have to throw out all the junk that your mind is full of. Unless you are unloaded you cannot sit silently.
It is just as if you tell a child to sit silently in the corner of the room. It is very difficult, he is so full of energy. You are repressing a volcano! The best way is, first tell him, “Go run outside around the house ten times; then come and sit down in the corner.” Then it is possible, you have made it possible. He himself wants to sit down now, to relax. He is tired, he is exhausted; now, sitting there, he is not repressing his energy, he has expressed his energy by running around the house ten times. Now he is more at ease.
The cathartic methods are simply to throw all your impatience, your speediness, your hurry, your repressions. One more factor has to be remembered, that these are absolutely necessary for the Western man before he can do something like vipassana — just sitting silently doing nothing and the grass grows by itself. But you have to be sitting silently, doing nothing — that is a basic condition for the grass to grow by itself.
If you cannot sit silently doing nothing, you are going to disturb the grass. I have always loved gardens, and wherever I have lived I have created beautiful gardens, lawns. I used to talk to people sitting on my lawn, and I became aware that they were all pulling the grass out… just hectic energy. If they had nothing to do they would simply pull the grass. I had to tell them, “If you go on doing this, then you will have to sit inside the room. I cannot allow you to destroy my lawn.” They would stop themselves for a while, and as they started listening to me, again unconsciously, their hands would start pulling at the grass. So sitting silently doing nothing is not really just sitting silently and doing nothing. It is doing a big favor to the grass. Unless you are not doing anything, the grass cannot grow; you will stop it, you will pull it out, you will disturb it.
So these methods are absolutely necessary for the Western mind. But a new factor has also entered: they have become necessary for the Eastern mind too. The mind for which Shiva wrote those one hundred and twelve methods of meditation no longer exists — even in the East now. The Western influence has been tremendous. Things have changed. In Shiva’s time there was no Western civilization. The East was at its peak of glory; it was called “a golden bird.” It had all the luxuries and comforts: it was really affluent. Now the situation is reversed: the East has been in slavery for two thousand years, exploited by almost everyone in the world, invaded by a dozen countries, continuously looted, raped, burned. It is now a beggar. And three hundred years of British rule in India have destroyed India’s own educational system — which was a totally different thing. They forced the Eastern mind to be educated according to Western standards. They have almost turned the Eastern intelligentsia into a second-grade Western intelligentsia. They have given their disease of speediness, of hurry, of impatience, of continuous anguish, anxiety, to the East.
If you see the temples of Khajuraho or the temples of Konarak, you can see the East in its true colors. Just in Khajuraho there were one hundred temples; only thirty have survived, seventy have been destroyed by Mohammedans. Thousands of temples of tremendous beauty and sculpture have been destroyed by Mohammedans. These thirty survived; it was just coincidence, because they were part of a forest. Perhaps the invaders forgot about them.
But the British influence on the Indian mind was so great, that even a man like Mahatma Gandhi wanted these thirty temples to be covered with mud so nobody could see them. Just to think of the people who had created those hundred temples… each temple must have taken centuries to build. They are so delicate in structure, so proportionate and so beautiful, that there exists nothing parallel to them on the earth. And you can imagine that temples don’t exist alone; if there were a hundred temples, there must have been a city of thousands of people; otherwise a hundred temples are meaningless. Where are those people? With the temples those people have been massacred. And those temples I take as an example, because their sculpture will look pornographic to the Western mind; to Mahatma Gandhi it also looked pornographic.
India owes so much to Rabindranath Tagore. He was the man who prevented Mahatma Gandhi and other politicians who were ready to cover the temples, to hide them from people’s eyes. Rabindranath Tagore said, “This is absolutely stupid. They are not pornographic, they are utterly beautiful.” There is a very delicate line between pornography and beauty. A naked woman is not necessarily pornographic; a naked man is not necessarily pornographic. A beautiful man, a beautiful woman, naked, can be examples of beauty, of health, of proportion. They are the most glorious products of nature. If a deer can be naked and beautiful — and nobody thinks the deer is pornographic — then why should it be that a naked man or woman cannot be just seen as beautiful? There were ladies in the times of Victoria in England, who covered the legs of the chairs with cloth because legs should not be left naked — chairs’ legs! But because they are called legs, it was thought uncivilized, uncultured, to leave them naked. There was a movement in Victoria’s time that the people who take their dogs for a walk should cover them with cloth. They should not be naked… as if nakedness itself is pornographic. It is the pornographic mind.
I have been to Khajuraho hundreds of times, and I have not seen a single sculpture as pornographic. A naked picture or a naked statue becomes pornography if it provokes your sexuality. That’s the only criterion: if it provokes your sexuality, if it is an incentive to your sexual instinct. But that is not the case with Khajuraho. In fact the temples were made for just the opposite purpose. They were made to meditate on man and woman making love. And the stones have come alive. The people who have made them must have been the greatest artists the world has known. They were made to meditate upon, they were objects for meditation. It is a temple, and meditators were sitting around just looking at the sculptures, and watching within themselves whether there was any sexual desire arising. This was the criterion: when they found there was no sexual desire arising, it was a certificate for them to enter the temples. All these sculptures are outside the temple, on the walls outside; inside there are no nudist statues. But this was necessary for people to meditate, and then they were clear that there was no desire; on the contrary those statues had made their ordinary desire for sex subside. Then they were capable of entering into the temple; otherwise they should not enter the temple. That would be a profanity — having such a desire inside and entering the temple. It would be making the temple dirty — you would be insulting the temple.
The people who created these temples created a tremendous, voluminous literature also. The East never used to be repressive of sexuality. Before Buddha and Mahavira the East was never repressive of sexuality. It was with Buddha and Mahavira that for the first time celibacy became spiritual. Otherwise, before Buddha and Mahavira, all the seers of the UPANISHADS, of the VEDAS, were married people; they were not celibate, they had children. And they were not people who had renounced the world; they had all the luxuries and all the comforts. They lived in the forests, but they had everything presented to them by their students, by the kings, by their lovers. And their ashramas, their schools, their academies in the forest were very affluent.
With Buddha and Mahavira the East began a sick tradition of celibacy, of repression. And when Christianity came into India, there came a very strong trend of repressiveness. These three hundred years of Christianity have made the Eastern mind almost as repressive as the Western mind.
So now my methods are applicable to both. I call them preliminary methods. They are to destroy everything that can prevent you from going into a silent meditation.
Once dynamic meditation or kundalini meditation succeeds, you are clean. You have erased repressiveness. You have erased the speediness, the hurry, the impatience. Now it is possible for you to enter the temple.
It is for this reason that I spoke about the acceptance of sex, because without the acceptance of sex, you cannot get rid of repression. And I want you to be completely clean, natural. I want you to be in a state where those one hundred and twelve methods can be applicable to you. This is my reason for devising these methods — these are simply cleansing methods.
I have also included the Western therapeutic methods because the Western mind — and under its influence, the Eastern mind: both have become sick. It is a rare phenomenon today to find a healthy mind. Everybody is feeling a certain kind of nausea, a mental nausea, a certain emptiness, which is like a wound hurting. Everybody is having his life turned into a nightmare. Everybody is worried, too much afraid of death; not only afraid of death but also afraid of life.
People are living half-heartedly, people are living in a lukewarm way: not intensely like Zorba the Greek, not with a healthy flavor but with a sick mind. One has to live, so they are living. One has to love, so they are loving. One has to do this, to be like this, so they are following; otherwise there is no incentive coming from their own being. They are not overflowing with energy. They are not risking anything to live totally. They are not adventurous — and without being adventurous, one is not healthy. Adventure is the criterion, inquiry into the unknown is the criterion. People are not young, from childhood they simply become old. Youth never happens.
The Western therapeutic methods cannot help you to grow spiritually, but they can prepare the ground. They cannot sow the seeds of flowers but they can prepare the ground — which is a necessity. This was one reason why I included therapies. There is also another reason: I want a meeting of East and West. The East has developed meditative methods; the West has not developed meditative methods, the West has developed psychotherapies. If we want the Western mind to be interested in meditation methods, if you want the Eastern mind to come closer to the Western, then there has to be something of give and take. It should not be just Eastern — something from the Western evolution should be included. And I find those therapies are immensely helpful. They can’t go far, but as far as they go, it is good. Where they stop, meditations can take over. But the Western mind should feel that something of its own development has been included in the meeting, in the merger; it should not be one-sided. And they are significant; they cannot harm, they can only help.
And I have used them for the last fifteen years with tremendous success. They have helped people to cleanse their beings, prepared them to be ready to enter into the temple of meditation. My effort is to dissolve the separation between East and West. The earth should be one, not only politically but spiritually too.
And you say that people think that this is a clever way of brainwashing. It is something more: it is mindwashing, not brainwashing. Brainwashing is very superficial. The brain is the mechanism that the mind uses. You can wash the brain very easily — just any mechanism can be washed and cleaned and lubricated. But if the mind which is behind the brain is polluted, is dirty, is full of repressed desires, is full of ugliness, soon the brain will be full of all those ugly things. And I don’t see that there is anything wrong in it — washing is always good. I believe in dry-cleaning. I don’t use old methods of washing.
And yes, people will feel cheated that their mind has been taken away, and that was the only precious thing they had. This will be only in the beginning. Once the mind is taken away, they will be surprised that behind the mind is their real treasure. And the mind was only a mirror, it was reflecting the treasure, but it had no treasure in itself. The treasure is behind the mind — that is your being. But a mirror can deceive you. It can give you the idea that what is reflected in it is a reality. So unless the mind is taken away — and that’s what meditation is, it is a state of no-mind. It is taking away the mind and giving you a chance to see not the reflection of the treasure of your being, but the treasure itself.
It is at this point that the master becomes a tremendous help, because to lose the mind is the most difficult thing. I can understand, because that is the only thing you have, and to lose it means to lose all. And we know when somebody loses his mind he goes mad.
So everybody clings to the mind — nobody wants to go mad. It is here the master is a practical necessity, because you have a person who has lost his mind and yet is not mad. In fact by losing his mind he has become the sanest person possible. This is the moment when you need encouragement to take a jump, to risk it all. This is the moment when you need somebody you love and somebody who loves you, and somebody whose love is more precious than your mind, so that for his love’s sake you can lose your mind. And love is something that people can give their whole life for, what to say about their mind.
If you love someone you can give your whole life — you can die for your love. So the mind is nothing. And the master grows the seeds of love slowly, slowly — seeds of trust. He will not do anything unless he feels the time is ripe; unless he sees that the time is ripe and your love is capable, has come of age, and it can be asked to throw the mind away.
It can happen very easily in love and trust. And when you have a living example before you and you have lived with the master for years and seen him in different situations, seen him from different perspectives — and always found him the same unflickering light, the same joy, without any change — then deep down in your heart love and trust go on growing. And finally,
when the heart is so strong with love and trust, you can risk the mind. It is not more valuable than your heart. And the moment you drop the mind, suddenly you open the doors of the real treasure. That’s what you have been seeking all your life, but the mind was a barrier.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Light on the Path
Chapter title: I want a meeting of east and west
17 January 1986 am in Kathmandu, Nepal
Osho has spoken on ‘’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses: