From Disciple to Master
Osho on Thomas the Apostle
Thomas the Apostle also called Didymus (“twin”) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament. Thomas is commonly known as “Doubting Thomas” because he initially doubted the resurrection of Jesus Christ when he was told of it but he later confessed his faith (“My Lord and my God”) on seeing the wounds leftover from the crucifixion.
According to traditional accounts of the Saint Thomas Christians of modern-day Kerala in India, Thomas is believed to have travelled outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel, travelling as far as the Tamillakam which is in South India, and reached Muziris of Tamillakm (modern-day North Paravur and Kodungalloor in Kerala State, India) in AD 52. He is often regarded as the patron saint of India among its Christian adherents, and the Feast of Saint Thomas on July 3 is celebrated as Indian Christian Day by believers belonging to many Christian denominations. The name Thomas remains quite popular among the Saint Thomas Christians of the Indian subcontinent.
Osho says, “Thomas was one of the most intimate and closest disciples. When Jesus came to India, Thomas followed him. Indian Christianity is older than any other Christianity in the world. The Indian Church is the oldest Church in the world, because Thomas was the first apostle to come to India. Indian Christianity was started by Thomas. Thomas asks ‘We know not where you are going and which way you are going. And how can we know? — we are ignorant.’ The real disciple never pretends to be knowledgeable. If he does not know, he is ready to say he does not know, because that is the only way to learn from the Master. The knowledgeable disciples never learn a thing.”
I GO TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU.
Jesus says ‘I am going so that I can prepare a place for you.’ He is consoling, he is giving them courage and hope. They will need it. Dark days are going to come. They are going to pass through great difficulties — they will be haunted, they will be tortured, they will be persecuted, they will be amongst wolves. And their Master is going, and their Master will no more be with them. And he has been their protection, their solace; he has been their security. He was like an armour around them; they were not insecure with him, they were sheltered. Now the shelter is going to disappear. Rains will come and hot days will come, and there will be summer and winter. And they don’t know what they are going to do. They will be too alone and too strange in the world.
Before any Master leaves his disciples he has to put down foundations so that in the days that will be coming… And they are going-to be difficult for them, because the people who are going to kill Jesus are not going to leave his disciples in peace. If they are going to kill Christ himself, many more difficulties will be there for the disciples to face.
He says I GO TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU.
‘You trust in God, trust in me too. I am going just for you — to make things ready there — in that other reality, on the other shore.’
AND I GO AND PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU, I WILL COME AGAIN, AND RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF…
‘And don’t be worried. If you trust in me, I will be coming to welcome you unto myself.’ Yes, if you trust a Master, if you love a Master, he will remain available to you forever. HE IS FOREVER THEN. The real question is: Do you trust? Do you love? Have you really fallen into that relationship where your ego has disappeared, where you are surrendered? Where you are not, only the fragrance of the Master fills your being? Then he is forever! Then the relationship between a Master and a disciple is not a temporal relationship, it is not tentative; it is eternal. It has the quality of deathlessness, the quality of timelessness.
AND IF I GO AND PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU, I WILL COME AGAIN, AND RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF; THAT WHERE I AM, THERE YE MAY BE ALSO.
They are still wandering in the world. They are no more Adams, they are not yet Christs. They are in great turmoil, in great confusion. Christ has to pull them out of that confusion. Christ has to become the presence through which they can come out of the darkness. He has to become the catalytic agent, he has to become a symbol, a light, a star so they can look up to it and they can start moving out of their dark night.
… AND RECEIVE YOU UNTO MYSELF; THAT WHERE I AM, WHERE ye MAY HE ALSO.
That is the whole effort of a Master.
The Master wants to destroy the disciple so that the disciple also becomes a Master. The Master’s work is complex. First he persuades you to become a disciple, he ‘coos’ to you, seduces you to become a disciple. Once you are a disciple, he starts killing and destroying you, because unless you are destroyed as a disciple you will never become a Master. And the real Master is one who wants you all to become Masters. That is the goal. Everybody should become an emperor, a king, a queen. The slavery — visible, invisible — has to be completely destroyed. All kinds of imprisonments around you have to be burnt down. Your freedom has to be made utter, ultimate.
AND WHITHER I GO YE KNOW, AND THE WAY YE KNOW.
THOMAS SAITH UNTO HIM. LORD, WE KNOW NOT WHITHER THOU GOEST; AND HOW CAN WE KNOW THE WAY?
Thomas is one of the most-loved disciples of Christ, one of the most innocent. The others are a little bit knowledgeable. When Jesus says AND WHITHER I GO YE KNOW, AND THE WAY YE KNOW, nobody else said anything. They must have kept quiet. Nobody knows where he is going, nobody knows the way which he is going to follow, but only the most innocent of them is ready to ask.
LORD, WE KNOW NOT WHITHER THOU GOEST; AND HOW CAN WE KNOW THE WAY?
We have never been there.
Thomas was one of the most intimate and closest disciples. When Jesus came to India, Thomas followed him. Indian Christianity is older than any other Christianity in the world. The Indian Church is the oldest Church in the world, because Thomas was the first apostle to come to India. Indian Christianity was started by Thomas. Thomas asks ‘We know not where you are going and which way you are going. And how can we know? — we are ignorant.’ The real disciple never pretends to be knowledgeable. If he does not know, he is ready to say he does not know, because that is the only way to learn from the Master. The knowledgeable disciples never learn a thing.
I have a few here too. When they ask questions, their questions have a different quality — as if they are asking for the others’ sake. They have no problems of their own. Sometimes they write in their questions too ‘This is not my question — just for the others’ sake… People will be enlightened. Many people have this question in their minds and it will be good if you discuss it. But it is not any personal question!’ This is THEIR question, but they cannot even confess that this is their question. ‘It will help others.’ Tricky people.
Once a man came to me and he said ‘One of my friends has become impotent. Can you suggest some meditation that can be helpful to him?’ I looked at the man, and I went on looking at him. He started trembling and perspiring. He said ‘Why are you looking at me so hard?’ I said ‘Can’t you send your friend? He can say that one of his friends has become impotent. Can’t you say even that? Have you become so impotent that you cannot even say that a problem has arisen in your being?’ Now he wants to know what can be done, but he does not want to show that the problem is his. Some friend… Now he is being diplomatic. Many questions come which are diplomatic: the questioner himself knows already; there is no problem for him. All the other disciples kept quiet, only Thomas asked. And because of these small gestures, Thomas became more and more close, intimate to Jesus.
LORD, WE KNOW NOT WHITHER THOU GOEST; AND HOW CAN WE KNOW THE WAY? JESUS SAITH UNTO HIM, I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE: NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER, BUT BY ME.
This statement is of immense importance, and has been tremendously misunderstood by Christians, misinterpreted. This statement has become a protection for the priest, for the dogmatist, for the demagogue. Christians have taken it to mean that nobody ever comes to God unless he comes through Christ — that means Jesus, son of Mariam. Nobody comes to God unless he comes through Jesus. They have meant, or they have interpreted it in such a way, that Christianity becomes the only right religion. All other religions become wrong. All other religions are against God — only Christianity.
JESUS SAITH UNTO HIM, I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE: NO MAN COMETH UNTO THE FATHER, BUT BY ME.
What does he mean? These priests and the missionaries and the Christians who go on converting the whole world to Christianity, are they right? Is their interpretation right? Or has Jesus something else? He has something UTTERLY else. In the Bhagavad Gita also there is a statement which Hindus go on misinterpreting. Krishna has said to Arjuna… And almost the same quality of closeness existed between Arjuna and Krishna as between Jesus and Thomas — the same relationship. And the same flowering had happened, and the same statement had bubbled up out of that relationship. Krishna said to Arjuna: SARVA DHARMAN PARITYAJYA MAMEKAM SHARANAM VRAJA: Drop all religions, forget about all religions and come to my feet, because it is only through me that one reaches to God. Now Hindus are happy with this statement. Krishna has said so clearly: Forget all religions. Drop all kinds of other religions and hold unto me. Hold to my feet — MAMEKAM SHARANAM VRAJA. Come to my feet; they are the bridges to God — the only bridges. Both statements happened in the same kind of situation. Arjuna must have been very very close when Krishna said this. And so is the case with Thomas — he must have been very close. Christ must have been showering like flowers on Thomas when he said this. You will need that loving understanding of a Thomas, only then will you be able to understand the meaning of this. You will need that loving intimacy of an Arjuna, only then will you be able to understand the statement of Krishna. Both are the same, both mean the same — and both have been misinterpreted. The misinterpretation comes from the priest and the politician — those who try to convert religion into organisational, political strategies…
IF YE LOVED ME, YE WOULD REJOICE, BECAUSE I SAID, I GO UNTO THE FATHER…
‘So there is no question of being miserable, sad. I am not going to die, I am going to the divine.’
To the ignorant, death is the death of life. To the knower, death is the beginning of real life. To the knower, death is a door into the divine.
This his parting message is of immense value. Let it sink deep in you. Let it become your heartbeat. That is the only way to meditate upon it. That is the only way to come to its meaning. Forget all that Christians have been saying. Those dogmatic assertions are all chauvinistic. Forget what the theologians have put on top of Jesus’ pure statements. Put aside all that has been taught and go directly into these sayings, and meditate. And immense will be the benefit. You will be blessed.
This is one of the greatest stories of human transformation in human history — how Adam becomes Christ, how the unconscious becomes luminous, how the ordinary is transformed into the extraordinary, how the worldly becomes suffused with the other-worldly, how matter is transmuted into consciousness.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse name: I Say Unto You, Vol 2
Chapter title: Ye Shall Live Also
8 November 1977 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on Mystics like Dadu, Farid, Gurdjieff, J. Krishnamurti, Kabir, Nanak, Meher Baba, Patanjali, Swami Ram Teerth, Rumi, Sahajo, Sai Baba, Saraha, Socrates, Tilopa, Zarathustra and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Sermons in Stones
- Come Come Yet Again Come
- The Hidden Splendour
- Beyond Enlightenment
- The New Dawn
- The Sword and The Lotus
- The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty
- Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 1
- The Path of Love
- The Book of Wisdom