From Death to Deathlessness 30

Thirtieth Discourse from the series of 40 discourses - From Death to Deathlessness by Osho.
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I ask you a question because I want your attention. And the only question that occurs to me in the two years I have been here is about the dark night of the soul. You said sometimes that we have to dance and celebrate so that we can go through it easily. In the back of my mind there is a question: what is that dark night of the soul? Am I missing something?
You are not missing anything, not even the dark night of the soul: You are already in it!
To be unconscious of your actions, your thoughts, your feelings creates your dark night of the soul. The moment you are aware of all these three layers of your being…. Thought is the most superficial, feeling, a little deeper, and then being – the last thing that you have to lose into the ultimate.
The process is simple, the process is the same.
Watch, witness, observe your thoughts – without any judgment, without any condemnation or evaluation…. Because the moment you make any judgment for or against, you are no longer a witness; you have already become part of the thought process. Remain silent, and just see whatsoever is passing on the screen of your mind, the way you see a film. Just remember that you are only a seer.
And the same process when you have succeeded on the first layer will make you capable of seeing your feelings which are more subtle. But the person who can see thoughts and remains silently a witness automatically becomes capable of the second step. Soon you will be able to see your feelings, sentiments, moods, emotions.
Once you are beyond the second, then the third…it is the deepest in you, the feeling of “I,” the separation of you from the universe. Actually you are not separated for a single moment, you cannot exist in separation. You are in tune in every possible way. There are thousands of bridges between you and the existence around you.
Now watch this silence, this is-ness, this feeling of am-ness; simply watch. There is nothing else to watch, just a small boundary around you.
As you watch thoughts, thoughts disappear.
As you watch feelings, feelings disappear.
As you watch being, you are no longer separate.
Only the witness remains, which is your eternal reality. And it has nothing to do with you; it is universal.
Your witness and my witness are not separate.
Wherever witnessing happens, it is the same.
It knows no distance in space and no distance in time. For the witness there is no space and no time; it has no limits.
Before you arrive at this point, all else is the dark night of the soul.
Your arrival at this witnessing starts the beautiful day of the soul.
It is a sunrise which never sets.
But just listening to me will not help. You will have to practice this as much as possible. And it needs no separate time – that you have to sit for one hour, or twenty minutes, and witness. If you have time you can sit silently and witness, but there is no necessity. You can go on doing your work and still be witnessing.
The whole thing is how to make your witness stronger and stronger, so that it is capable of losing all identities. Only a strong person can lose all identities.
And to be in utter silence…there is light, a light that never began and never ends. And it is yours just to claim. And the effort is not so difficult as religions have been telling you.
Walking on the road, what is the problem? Why can’t you simply watch your walking? The question is not of the object that you witness, the question is that you witness. Anything helps to strengthen your witnessing energies.
Looking at a beautiful sunset, don’t just get lost, don’t forget yourself. Remember that you are only a seer. It can go on twenty-four hours a day without anybody knowing that you are doing something. Religion is not something that the world has to know about. It is something that you have to do within yourselves.
Start from this very moment.
This immense silence – thousands of people, but it is as if there is no one…just witness. The faraway sound of an airplane…You remain only a witness.
And then go on practicing the same thing whatever you are doing – eating, taking a shower, doing some work in the garden, in the field. It does not matter what you do, what matters is that your witness is always present.
In the beginning you will forget many times, because for many lives you have never been a witness, you have always been a doer. So it is just an old habit. Old habits die hard, but they certainly die.
And it all depends on you. The more you make it a process almost like breathing…. You go on doing everything, still you are breathing. You don’t stop your breathing because you are digging a hole in the earth.
Witnessing has to become just like breathing.
It in fact is the breathing of the universal soul in you.
And once you have tasted just a moment of being universal, the morning has come. The dark night of the soul is over.

You can master all impossible contradictions into harmony. Can you make a song out of these: what is the link between universal laws and freedom? Sometimes I feel imprisoned by the laws of nature.
You ask me, “Can I make a song out of all contradictions?”
I am surprised – what else am I doing here?
Your problem is very logical, relevant: there are laws of nature, and I teach you freedom. It appears, it is apparent that there is a contradiction.
The law of nature has to be followed, and also you have to keep your freedom intact. And everywhere laws of nature feel like bondages, imprisonments. The reason is not that there is any contradiction between freedom and laws of nature; the reason is because of your ego.
When you say “nature,” are you separate from it? If you are separate from it, then certainly you will feel many chains. Wherever you go, you will find nature is going somewhere else. If you choose freedom you go against the laws of nature. And if you go with the laws then you are choosing against freedom.
Can you see the problem? The problem is you are thinking of yourself as separate from nature.
You are simply part of nature. When I say you are simply part of nature it means, be in a let-go. You do not exist separately as an identity; who can be in prison? Nature cannot imprison itself.
Natural laws are the laws of freedom.
You just have to drop that stupid ego that everybody is carrying within himself, which comes up against everything. It is going to be evening and you want it still to be the morning. Naturally, nature is going against you!
Nature is not going against you or against anyone. Nature is just being itself. You have simply fallen apart from nature in your imagination.
When it is morning, it is morning. When it is evening, it is evening. There is no question of choice. Drop the choice and you are free everywhere. Freedom can be only choicelessness. So when you are young, it is beautiful; when you are a child, it is beautiful; when you are old, it is beautiful; when you are dying, it is beautiful – because you are never separate from the total, you are just a wave in the ocean.
The wave in the ocean can start thinking of itself as an individual; then there will be trouble. The wave in the ocean never thinks of itself as separate, so wherever the ocean is taking her, she is willingly, joyously, dancingly moving in that direction.
A cloud in the sky goes on moving with the winds. If the winds suddenly change – they were going south and they start going north – the cloud does not say, “This is contradictory. We were going north, and without any notice, without any argument to prove that ‘now we have to change our course, our path, and we have to go north,’ the wind has started going to the north.” No, the cloud has no difficulty. It does not feel it is chained. It is part of the whole, one organic unity.
Can your left hand go against your right hand? Yes, you can make an effort, but still it cannot go against it. You know it is pretension. Can your eyes go against your mind? Can your legs go where you do not want to go? You are a small, organic unity. The universe is a bigger organic unity: clouds are part of it, oceans are part of it, everything is part of it.
But the ego creates a demarcation line: “I am separate, I am special. I am Hindu, I am Christian. I am American, I am Chinese.” You are none of these things. These are just your conditionings. Others have given you these ideas and you have accepted them. Now it becomes a problem. By and by, as you grow up, your ego grows up. It goes on accumulating more and more demarcation lines.
And the ego is very clever. Once it is there, it is very imperialistic. It wants its empire to be as big as possible. Your house becomes part of your ego, your garden becomes part of your ego, your children become part of your ego, your husband, your wife become part of your ego. You make a very imaginary empire, and this empire is bound to bring you in conflict with nature. But you are at fault, not nature.
I have heard about a professor of philosophy, head of the department of philosophy in the university of Paris. He was a little eccentric, as philosophers are bound to be.
His students had become accustomed to his eccentricities, but one day he surpassed himself. He came into the class and said, “I want to make a declaration; if anyone is against it he can stand up. My statement is, that I am the greatest man in the whole world! Has anybody any objection?”
The students said, “This is too much! We have been tolerating this fellow, anything he says, but now…!”
One student said, “We are all wanting to know…what is your evidence that you are the greatest man in the world?”
The professor laughed, he said, “That is very simple. Just answer a few questions. One: which country is the best in the world?”
The students could not suspect that they were getting caught in the professor’s net. Naturally – they were all French – they said, “Of course, France! There is no question about it.”
The professor said, “Much is settled. So only France is left. I have to prove myself the greatest man in France, and that will prove me to be the greatest man in the world.”
The student said, “That is true.”
Then he said, “In France, which is the biggest city?”
Now the students became suspicious that he was coming closer, but there was no way of going back. “Paris, of course, is the best city in France.” He said, “Much is settled. Now I want to know which institution in the city of Paris is the greatest, the highest?” Obviously, it was the university.
And he said, “Now, things are very simple. Which department in the university is the highest and the greatest?” The students looked at each other. They had to accept that it is the department of philosophy. How can any other department be higher than the department of philosophy?
The old man sat in his chair, and he said, “Now, I am the head of the department of philosophy in the greatest city, Paris, in the greatest country, France. Do you have any objection to my statement that I am the greatest man in the whole world?”
They had objections, but no logic. The professor had brought them to a point where they had to accept, unwillingly, that he is the greatest man in the world.
This is the work of the ego that is going on in everybody. Everybody somehow is trying to feel, to convince himself, that he is the greatest man in the world: somebody because he has more muscular strength; somebody because he has more intellectual, argumentative rationality; somebody because she is more beautiful than anybody else.
And you can always find something that will be supportive to you – but it is not really nourishing to you. It is cutting you off from existence. And then on every step there is going to be trouble; you will find that you are chained.
But why did you create yourself?
You want freedom? Then the only thing that has to be one is, be free of yourself. Be free of the ego and you will never find any bondage in nature. Then everything is beneficial. Nature gives you infinite freedom – but it is not against nature, it is according to its laws.
The freedom was there before too, but you were stubborn. You were trying to go upstream, and then you say, “The stream is pushing me back – it does not allow me to go upstream. What about my freedom?”
The stream has no awareness of one stupid fellow trying to go upstream. The river is going according to the cosmic laws of nature; if you want to be really free, relax and go with the stream. Don’t keep any distance between you and the stream. Then wherever the river leads is the goal, wherever it takes you is what you always wanted, because there is no separate entity.
With your separate entity every problem has arisen. You are miserable, you are in suffering, you are in tremendous anguish – and you are the cause of it all.
For example, I have never felt in thirty-three years, for a single moment, that anything goes against me – even those things which look to others as apparently going against me, I have not felt that at all.
If somebody comes and assassinates me, I will not for a single moment think that anything is going against me. I will relax and let the man assassinate me. I am not going to swim upstream. If this is what nature wants, I am absolutely willing to go with it.
Your absolute willingness to go with nature will give you the ultimate freedom. Of course, you will not be there, but freedom will be there. You cannot exist together – you and freedom.
Choice is yours. You can choose your ego and remain in bondage. You can choose freedom, freedom from the ego – and then all kinds of freedom are available to you.

Last night after dancing with you, my feeling was that I have missed my whole life up to now in hesitation, and that I should do something. But what to do?
Please, don’t do anything.
You are saying that last night dancing with me you experienced something which made you aware that you have missed your whole life in hesitation.
Just have a look over the whole situation. Dancing with me, you did not hesitate. Dancing with me, you dropped your ego for a moment – just for a moment. Between me and you there was no barrier. Suddenly you realized you have wasted your whole life, you have not lived. You have been always hesitating, and while you are hesitating, life is flowing out of your hands.
Remember, then death will be the only thing about which you cannot hesitate, because it does not give any notice: “I am coming this evening, at such and such a time – be ready!” Otherwise, you will start hesitating – to be ready or not to be ready?
It happened in an Arabic story that a king dreamed in the night that somebody – a very dark shadow – was standing behind him. Naturally, he became afraid. He turned back and asked the shadow, “Who are you? And what are you doing here?”
The shadow said, “I am your death. But you are no ordinary human being, you are a great emperor; I thought it proper to inform you beforehand. If you have to finish any work, finish it. And get ready and meet me at the right place: Tomorrow evening, at the time when the sunsets!”
The answer was so shocking that the king found himself trembling with fear, and awoke. The dream disappeared. He tried many times to close his eyes and to see the shadow again, because he had forgotten to ask what he means – rightly dressed, at the right place.
“If I had asked about these two things, I would not do these two things particularly. The right place I would avoid, the right preparation I would avoid, and that way death could not destroy me.” But it was too late. Howsoever hard he tried by closing his eyes, the shadow never appeared. He became more and more afraid.
As the sun was rising, he told his old servant, who was almost like a father to him, about the dream. The king said, “I don’t understand what to do; and the time is not much, only twelve hours. The sun has already come upon the horizon; soon it will be evening.”
One of his ministers suggested to him, “Call all the astrologers and all the wise men, saints, holy men, and inquire – perhaps somebody may give you the right advice.”
So people were brought from the whole capital. They came with their big scriptures, and there was much argumentation among them. One astrologer was saying one thing, another was saying another. One wise man was for one thing, another wise man was for something else. The king became even more puzzled. And it was getting to be almost midday; half the day they have been just consulting their scriptures and arguing.
He told the old man, his servant, “Their argumentation will not end ever, it seems. They are quarreling and I don’t think they can come to a conclusion.”
The old man said, “I knew it before, but because your minister had suggested it and I am a poor servant, I remained silent. These people have been arguing for centuries.
“These philosophers, wise men, astrologers – they have been arguing for centuries and they have not come to a single conclusion. I do not hope, I cannot hope that within the remaining small period of time they will come to any conclusion.
“My suggestion is, take your fastest horse and escape from this place at least, because death appeared in this palace, in this capital of yours. Go any direction. There is a possibility you may miss the right place.”
The old man’s arguments appeared relevant. The king took his fastest horse and just started running away from the palace, from the capital, as fast as he could. He did not even stop to drink water on the way or to eat food.
When death is so close, who feels hungry? Who feels thirsty? The question was to get as far away as he could reach by sunset – the further the better. And by sunset he had ridden hundreds of miles away. As the sun was setting, he tied his horse to a tree in a garden outside some unknown city, and he patted his horse and said, “You are really great! You ran so fast – I have never seen you running so fast. I am immensely grateful to you.”
Just at that moment the black shadow appeared behind him. The king looked back; the shadow laughed and said, “Your horse is really fast. I was worried whether he was going to reach the right place or not, but he managed! This is the tree, and this is the time. The sun is setting and I am immensely grateful, just as you are grateful-more than you are. I am grateful to your horse; he has brought you to the right place.
“In fact I never give notices to people I had to give you the notice because this is Damishk – it is hundreds of miles away from your capital, and I was worried how you would manage to reach Damishk, under a certain tree where at sunset your death has to happen. That’s why I gave you the notice.”
Wherever you run, whatever you do, whatever your speed of running, one thing is certain about which you will not have to hesitate, and that is death. But at that moment when death occurs, you will go crying, weeping because you missed your whole life in hesitating.
And there are always a thousand and one things! – which one to do? And anything that you do will make you remember all the other things that you have sacrificed.
In that moment, dancing with me, your thoughts stopped; you fell in tune with me. For the first time you have done something without hesitation, without choosing. You have allowed something to happen. That moment can prove of tremendous value to you. It can transform your whole life.
These were the things that happened: You did not hesitate – there was no time. You did not keep the distance, the separation; the ego, for a moment, you put aside. For a moment you allowed the dance to happen. Because of this experience you became aware that you have wasted your whole life in hesitating.
Now you know the secret. Forget the past, what is gone is gone. But even now it is not too late, it is never too late. Even if a person can live for a single moment before death, totally, that single moment becomes eternity.
So from this moment try the same that has happened in the dance without your knowing. Whatever you want to do, do it totally; there is no need to hesitate.
Life is short and fleeting.
Be quick and do it, and enjoy it to its fullest.
Be overwhelmed by it.
If you are total in it, completely overtaken by it, overwhelmed by the experience, who is going to think about other things that you have not done? This experience has been so beautiful that you will never think about other things.
You think of other things only because you are never total, always partial. A part of you remains out of the experience; that is the part that starts thinking of other things.
For example, you fall in love with one woman, one man. If it is a total act then you don’t think that there were a few other men also, possible candidates. You don’t have time, you don’t have energy. This man, this love has filled you totally: there is no part in you to remain separate and out of the experience, everything is colored by the experience. You will never think of the past. You will never think again that perhaps you have chosen the wrong man.
It is not a question of choosing the wrong man or the right man. The question is of being total or not total. Even with a wrong man if you are total, you will be satisfied, utterly satisfied. And even with a right man, if you are not total you will be unsatisfied – because the satisfaction does not come from the wrongness of the man or the rightness of the man.
Xanthippe, Socrates’ wife, was so frustrated with Socrates. Now, can you find a more right man? Can you find a more wise man? Socrates stands like an Everest of intelligence, wiseness. There is no comparison in the whole history of man. But Xanthippe was utterly frustrated with this man. So it is not a question of being with the right man, right woman. The question is of being total or partial. Xanthippe could not be total with Socrates.
And you will be surprised that Socrates had no complaint against Xanthippe – who was beating him, who threw a whole kettle of hot water, which was for the morning tea, over his head. She burned half his face. But he did not complain, he did not even say, “What are you doing?”
One of his students said, “This is too much!”
He said, “Nothing to be worried about. At least half of my face is still perfectly okay. And what is the point, whether half the face is burned or not? At the most, for a few days I may not look in the mirror. But if she feels satisfied by doing it, if some of her anger, frustration, is released, it is good.”
He said, “I think at least for a few days there is going to be silence – the silence after the storm. And I am not going to miss that silence just because she has burned half my face.”
She did everything ugly. She insulted him before his own students, and he would sit silently and listen. His students would ask later on, “At least she should not insult you before your own students!”
He said, “She is such a great master as far as I am concerned; she goes on teaching me a thousand and one things. This was the right time for her to insult me. I was not bothering about her insulting me in front of students; I was looking within, to see whether my ego hurts – that before my own students she is insulting me. It did not hurt, and I was immensely joyful. Now she can insult me anywhere: I am beyond her insult.”
Now this man is completely satisfied with Xanthippe. You cannot find a more dangerous woman, more inhuman! But Socrates never uttered a single word as a complaint. He always praised her, he said, “She is my master. She teaches me – her methods are a little crude, but perhaps I deserve it; perhaps I may not learn unless she is so crude.”
Many times his friends suggested, “Get divorced!”
He said, “That I can never do. And from Xanthippe, to whom I owe so much?”
So remember, it is not a question of whether you get the right man or the right woman, the right work or the wrong work.
Vincent van Gogh was painting on the sea beach. One man was watching him painting, but could not figure out what it was. Finally he approached him and asked. Van Gogh said, “I have not yet thought about it. I was so absorbed in painting I have not thought about it. You think about it and meditate over it. Perhaps you can find what it is, and you can save me the trouble of finding what it is. But whatever it is, I am rejoicing tremendously and totally. And when I paint, I disappear in my painting.”
That’s why I say your saints are mostly phony. Your real religion should come from the painters, from the musicians, from the poets, from the dancers – people who know how to be absorbed in a certain activity so totally….
One great dancer, Nijinsky, used to take such high jumps while dancing that it was against gravitation; it was not possible! The physicists could not believe what was happening. First, he jumps so high – that is not allowed by gravitation. Secondly, when he comes down he does not come fast with a thump on the ground, breaking a few of his bones, having a few fractures. That would be the natural thing, because gravitation pulls anything forcibly.
When he came down, he came like a feather – slowly, no hurry. That was even more miraculous. What was the secret of this man? He was asked again and again.
He said, “If you want to know the truth, I have tried many times in my home to jump that high – I could not. I have tried to fall like a feather – I could not. I have tried to fall like a feather – I came down with a thump on the ground. I have bruised my body, broken one of my legs! Please don’t ask that question.
“And it does not happen every day. It happens only when I forget myself completely. When the dancer disappears in the dance then I don’t know what happens because I am not there. When the dancer is no longer there, then something miraculous happens. It is a mystery to me too. I cannot explain why and how – why I don’t fall with speed, why I come slowly, leisurely, what happens to gravitation.”
Perhaps a man without ego has a certain attunement with nature. Now he is not jumping, but the earth is helping him to jump. Now he is not falling, but the earth is taking care of him so that he does not fall fast and have a few fractures.
Nijinsky said, “It happens only when I am not. So please, don’t ask me. Whenever I am, and trying to make an effort, it does not happen.”
These are the people who should give you the secrets of religion. But a great calamity has happened on the earth. Idiots who don’t have any other quality except that they can fast, except that they can torture themselves – they became great saints. These are qualities? What has religion to do with fasting? What has religion to do with torturing yourself? – lying down on a bed of nails, making thousands of wounds in the body?
In a hot country like India, where the sun is almost showering fire on you, you will find saints sitting surrounded with fire. Much wood which is on fire is surrounding them, and they are sitting in the middle; the sun is not enough. They are worshipped! But what is the quality that you are thinking is religious in it?
Perhaps that man was good for a circus, but here he has become a saint. He is worshipped, and he will be worshipped after his death.
I have been to so many of this type of people, and strangely enough only one thing have I found common in them: they are all idiots. Their eyes don’t show any sharpness of intelligence. If you ask them anything, they don’t have any answer. But they have thousands of followers.
Somebody is standing on his head for days together; he becomes a saint. Strange – because a man standing on his head for many days will destroy all his intelligence. The brain cells are so small – in your small head there are millions of brain cells, so tiny, that when blood rushes toward the head they are all finished. They immediately die, that much flood they cannot survive. They need only a very small quantity of blood.
That’s why man has been able to become intelligent as no other animal has, because the heads of all other animals are horizontal to the earth. They are getting too much blood, they cannot grow intelligence.
But these people are going even farther. They are not even horizontal, they are standing on their heads, so all the blood of the body moves toward the head. And soon their heads are as intelligent as your feet.
I don’t see what transformation they have managed, what they have contributed to the world, what beauty, what joy. Their contribution is nil. No religious saints have been able to make this earth more beautiful, more enjoyable, more lovable, more livable.
On the contrary, they have been teaching you things that make life split, that make your life a misery. They have been teaching you not to allow yourself to become completely absorbed in anything.
Your experience was significant. Now let that experience guide you. And it need not be that you have to dance with me. You can just clean the floor or cook the food. The question is not the activity, the question is your state of consciousness.
Be absorbed. Be totally in it, and you will be immensely surprised: your whole life becomes a journey of a growing paradise. And the paradise grows within you. It is not somewhere in geography, it is somewhere in your innermost core.

For two and a half years I have been a sannyasin. Sometimes I think I have learned so much; then I find myself as stupid as before. Please comment.
It simply shows you have certainly learned much. Only a man of learning can find himself stupid.
Stupid people never find themselves stupid.
So please, go on doing the same. A moment will come when you have learned everything, and you will find, “I am just an idiot.” So you have come to the full stop.
In other words…. Socrates when he was young used to say, “I am the wisest man in the world,” and used to challenge other philosophers, sophists, theologians, and defeat them. He had, certainly, a great intellectual acumen, a logical penetration. So what he said was not wrong. But when he became a little older, a little wiser, he dropped that statement that “I am the most wise man in the world.” He said, “There are a few things that I know, but there is so much to know that my wisdom is small and my ignorance big.” He has learned more. He has become humble.
In his old age, he declared, “I do not know anything.” And at that time, a story is told….
There was a temple in Greece in Delphi, which was the most famous temple in Greece. It was thought that the goddess of the temple would predict, and her predictions always came true. Of course a statue cannot speak; the priest spoke on her behalf: “She has told me this.”
A group of people from Athens was visiting Delphi, and the priest said, “The goddess has told me…because you all come from Athens, go back and tell Socrates that the goddess of Delphi declares him to be the wisest man in the world.”
They were happy. At least one man from their city has been declared to be the wisest man in the world. They rushed back to Athens, went to Socrates. He was sitting on the steps of his school where he used to teach. They were so excited, he said, “What is the problem? Why are you so excited?”
They said, “Once you listen, you will also be excited. The goddess of Delphi has declared you the wisest man in the world.”
Wisdom brings innocence. Wisdom does not bring knowledgeability; on the contrary, wisdom brings a certain luminous kind of ignorance.
Socrates himself has said that there are two types of people in the world. There are knowledgeable people – but their knowledge is nothing but ignorance. They know, but their knowledge is borrowed, it is not their inner growth.
And there is a second type which is very rare: the ignorant people. The ignorant people know; they are not knowledgeable, but their knowing has grown within themselves, it is their inner growth. And as their knowing grows inside, they become aware of this immense, mysterious universe. How can they say, “We are wise”?
So Socrates says that there is a knowledge which does not know, and there is an ignorance which knows.
You say you have been here for a few years and you have learned much, but once in a while you find yourself stupid again. Not once in a while – you will have to find that you are a permanent idiot! That day I will declare you to be the wisest man in the commune.

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