Formless within, formless without

Birthday of French Physicist Marie Curie


How does this happen? As soon as the words are spoken the speaker realizes that what he meant to convey remained unsaid, and what he said is not what he intended. Just looking at the listener he knows he has failed to convey the message. Ninety percent falls off as soon as the first words are formed, and the remaining ten percent never reaches the listener’s ears. You said one thing; they heard something else. Buddha would say one thing; the ignorant people would hear something quite different. Then these ignorant people form sects and establish religious traditions. Thus there is no connection whatsoever between the buddhas and these religious organizations. Therefore all of those who have spoken have regretted it. Those who have tried to speak on this mystery have always insisted that the listener should not cling to his words but use them only as guidelines.

Now Nanak must be sorry for having spoken. When he sees the Sikhs today he must be filled with regrets. Likewise Buddha, Mahavira, Mohammed must all be regretting what they started. They must be together in heaven telling one another their sad stories. They are bound to be weeping together.

What the Buddha has to convey cannot be understood by words, for the listener holds on to the words; then he drags them along and forms religions and organizations around these words. Then these organizations go on for thousands of years. Thousands of errors are committed because of these creeds and doctrines, and thousands of deformities arise.

It spreads like a wound on the earth, like an illness on man’s consciousness. Nanak says, he who tries to speak, repents later. His words then become the code of law, opinions, beliefs, and hence the mind and understanding of man. Where consciousness awakens in the Realm of Knowledge, in the Realm of Shame all forms of consciousness take shape.



In that consciousness all these forms are seen.

Just as a potter makes so many forms with clay, so also the clay of consciousness takes many forms: intellect, mind, wisdom, remembrance, recollection, genius, brilliance. When you are sufficiently awakened to rise above these, you realize that they are but various forms of the mind.

Whatever you know through them is bound to be limited, for you cannot know the formless through form.

That which is behind understanding, memory, mind, intellect is awakening — that is realization! that is awareness! that is consciousness! You must take hold of this formless and let go of the forms within. As soon as you catch hold of the delicate thread of the formless within you, you begin to recognize the formless in the world outside. Whatever you know through the intellect will be limited by having form. Like seeing the sky through your window, you will see only as much as the window frame permits.

Consciousness takes many forms, just as matter has many forms — somewhere it is a rock, somewhere a cloud, somewhere it is ice, somewhere it is the skies — so consciousness also has infinite forms: intellect, remembrance. Wise men are intelligent, like pundits; holy men have recollection and remembrance, and some have powerful memories. Even if they have no intelligence their remembrance is very strong. It often happens that very intelligent people have hopeless memories; and many whose memories are strong are not intelligent. There are many examples where people with strong memories were found to have dull intelligence. This because the function of memory is different: to store whatever it comes across and recall it. The function of intelligence is different: to make way through the unknown, with which it is unacquainted. Both are oriented differently: remembrance focuses on the past, and intelligence looks toward the future.

Scientists now believe that if memory is very strong, intelligence gets locked up in it thereby preventing intelligence from working freely. At present most educational institutions lay stress on memory, so it is no wonder that the world is so full of dull people. By the time a child finishes his education his brain is so clogged with data and theories that he is lucky if he manages to save anything of his intelligence. Memory is different; intelligence is different; a genius is altogether different. Genius means the natural ability to know life and recognize it. It is the capacity to know and understand in a flash the answer to any question of life. Ask the greatest scientists like Einstein, who would say, “Whatever I have known was not through my intelligence but through my intuition.” He has no answer to the how of his achievement. Genius, intuition happens in many, many ways.

Madam Curie was awarded a Nobel Prize for her discovery. For a long time she had sought the answer to the problem but to no avail. One night she got up in her sleep, went to the table and wrote down the key to her work. In the morning she was shocked to see what she had written. Where had it come from? She recalled the previous day’s events — how tired she was by the evening, how she had fallen asleep disappointed — another day lost. Things came back to her as in a dream. She saw herself get out of bed and walk towards the table. She saw herself pick up the pen and write the answer. She recognized her own handwriting. What she had vainly sought for days and months had come to her in a flash in the middle of night. This is the experience of all artists and creative people. A poet will tell you that only when he gives up trying does the verse descend on him. This is a part of intuition. But Nanak says that all this intelligence, understanding, intuition, etc. is a play of the mind. These are different molds, and whatever you know through them will be limited. You have to rise above them. Only one has to be known within; only One has to be known without. And when the One within is known, then only will you know the One without; for when you become an integrated One within, then only shall you recognize the Oneness without.

When you know the One within and the One without, it does not mean you know two, rather you find that the One that is within, is the one that is without. You suddenly discover that all these distances and directions of within and without are self-created. The space outside your house is the same space as inside your house; it is you who have created the walls, and made doors and windows. Do you think you have succeeded in splitting space by raising a wall? No! Space is indivisible. Your walls may or may not be but the skies remain forever. No sooner do you recognize the One within and the One without than both fall and nonduality is born. The ultimate peak is the experience of the indivisible, the experience of the One.


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

Discourse name: The True Name, Vol 2
Chapter title: There Is No End To It
Chapter #8
8 December 1974 am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium


Osho has spoken on ā€˜poverty, wealth, communism, politiciansā€˜ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Book of Wisdom
  2. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 9
  3. The Last Testament, Vol 2
  4. From Death to Deathlessness
  5. From Unconciousness to Consciousness
  6. Hari Om Tat Sat
  7. Just Like That
  8. Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 1
  9. Unio Mystica, Vol 1
  10. Guida Spirituale
  11. Om Mani Padme Hum
  12. Come Follow To You, Vol 3
  13. The Golden Future

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