Experience, not Experiment

30th January is observed as Shaheed Diwas (Martyr’s Day) in India to commemorate the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on 30.01.1948. The ritualistic laying of wreaths on the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat, reversing of arms as a mark of respect and a 2-minute silence throughout the country at 11 am are some of the observances on Martyr’s Day.

Osho has spoken extensively on Mahatma Gandhi in His discourses. Osho says Mahatma Gandhi succeeded as – and will remain forever – a pinnacle of sincerity. I don’t know of any other man in this century who was so sincere. When he wrote to people ‘sincerely yours’ he was really sincere. That’s what makes a person religious – sincerity. I pay him respect for his sincerity, and that he lived it, whatsoever the consequences. He lost his life just because of that sincerity.

The first book I am going to talk about… is one nobody would think I would ever talk about. It is Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography, MY EXPERIMENTS WITH TRUTH. Talking about his experiments with truth is really wonderful. This is the right time…

But I can certainly say a few beautiful things. One:

 nobody has written their autobiography with such sincerity, with so much authenticity. It is one of the most authentic autobiographies ever written.

Autobiography is a very strange thing: you are writing about yourself. Either you start bragging or you start being too humble — just another way of bragging. I will talk about that in my second book. But Mahatma Gandhi is neither of these two things; he is simple, just stating factually, just like a scientist… utterly unconcerned that it is his autobiography. He says everything one would like to hide from others. But the very title is wrong. One cannot experiment with truth. One can KNOW IT or one can NOT KNOW IT;, but one cannot experiment with it.

The very word experiment belongs to the world of objective science.

One cannot experiment with subjectivity, and that’s the truth. Note that subjectivity is irreducible to any object of experimentation, observation. Subjectivity is the most mysterious phenomenon in existence, and its mystery is that it always goes back and back. Whatsoever you observe, it is not ‘it’… it is not subjectivity. Subjectivity is always the observer and never the observed. You cannot experiment with truth, because experiment is possible only with things, objects, not with consciousness. Mahatma Gandhi was a sincerely good man, but he was not a meditator. And if one is not a meditator, howsoever good one is it is all useless. He experimented his whole life and achieved nothing. He died as ignorant as ever. It is unfortunate, because it is very difficult to find a man of so much integrity, sincerity, honesty, and a tremendous desire to know the truth. But that very desire becomes a barrier.

Truth is known by people like me, who don’t even bother about it, who are unconcerned even about truth itself. Even if God knocks on my door, I am not going to open it. He will have to find his own way to open it. Truth comes to such lazy people. Hence I have called myself The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment. Now I can add one thing more so it can become complete:

I am the lazy man’s guide to enlightenment, and to non-enlightenment too! That is going beyond enlightenment.

I feel for the man, although I have always criticized him for his politics, his sociology, and his whole stupid idea of turning the wheel of time backwards — you can call it the spinning wheel. He wanted man to become primitive again. He was against all technology, even against the poor railways, the telegraph, the postal system. Without science man will be a baboon. The baboon may be very strong… but a baboon is a baboon. Man has to go ahead. I object even to the title of the book because it is not only a title, it summarizes his whole life. He thought because he had been educated in England, he was a perfect Indian Englishman — utterly Victorian. These are the people who go to hell, the Victorians! He was full of etiquette, full of manners, full of all kinds of English stupidities. Now Chetana must be hurting. Chetana forgive me. It is just by chance that you are here, and you know me — I always find something to hit people with.


But Chetana is fortunate: she is not an English lady, she is an Osho freak! And she comes from a poor English family, that’s very good. Her father was a fisherman, simple. She is not snobbish; otherwise English ladies, more than gentlemen, always keep their noses up, as if they are always watching the stars. They really stink — stink of snobbishness! Mahatma Gandhi was educated in England; perhaps that messed him up. Perhaps he would have been better if he had remained uneducated, and then he would not have experimented with truth, he would have experienced truth. Experimenting with truth? Absurd! Ridiculous! If one wants to know the truth one has to experience it.


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

Discourse Series:

Books I Have Loved

Chapter #15
Chapter title: None
1984 in Lao Tzu House, Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, USA


Osho has spoken on ‘Gandhi, Truth, Non-violence, Freedom, Independence’ in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind
  2. From Darkness to Light
  3. From Death to Deathlessness
  4. From Misery to Enlightenment
  5. Hari Om Tat Sat
  6. The Hidden Splendor
  7. Ah, This!
  8. The Messiah Vol.1-2
  9. Guida Spirituale
  10. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1
  11. From Ignorance to Innocence
  12. Zen: The Diamond Thunderbolt
  13. From the False to the Truth
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