From Intellect to Intuition

23rd of April is the birthday of a man whose contribution to the modern physics is nearly incomparable. He was a German theoretical physicist whose discovery of energy quanta won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918. Yes, he is Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck.

Max plank contributed to theoretical physics in abundance but his main fame is due to his quantum theory, which has revolutionized the human understanding of atomic world.

Plank had initially rejected the Einstein’s hypothesis of light quanta, but later on he accepted it. Being the dean of Berlin University, he used to call Einstein to establish a good professorship. Then they become good friends and many times enjoyed the music together.

Planck’s constant, radiation laws, subatomic particles, Planck’s light quanta: these are some of the important planks discoveries.

 Osho says “Just at the beginning of this century, in the year 1900, a great scientist, Max Planck, came to make one of the greatest discoveries ever. He came to feel and he came to discover that existence seems to be discontinuous, that it is not a continuity. It is not as if you pour oil from one pot into another. Then the oil has a continuity; it falls in a continuous stream. Max Planck said, “Existence is such: as if you are pouring peas from one carton into another — discontinuous — each pea falling separately.” He said, “The whole life is discontinuous. These discontinuous elements he calls ‘quanta’. That is his Theory of Quantum. ‘Quanta’ means: each thing is separate from each other thing, and discontinuous, and between two things there is a space. Now, that space is holding everything because two things are not connected, two atoms are not connected between themselves. The space, the emptiness is holding both.”


Mysticism is the experience that life is not logic, that life is poetry; that life is not syllogism, that life is a song. Mysticism is the declaration that life can never really be known; it is essentially unknowable.

Science divides existence into two categories: the known and the unknown. The known was unknown one day; it has become known. The unknown is unknown today; tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, it will also become known. Science believes that sooner or later a point of understanding will arrive when there will be only one category: the known, all will have been known. The unknown is slowly being reduced to the known.

Mysticism is the declaration that life consists of three categories: one, the known; another, the unknown; and the third, and the most important, is the unknowable — which has not been known and which will never be known. And that is the essential core of it all. That unknowable can be experienced but not known. It cannot be reduced to knowledge, although your heart can sing its song. You can dance it, you can live it, you can be full and overflowing with it — you can be possessed by it — but you will not be able to know it. It is like, a river disappears into the ocean. Do you think the river comes to know the ocean? It becomes the ocean, but there is no knowing. In fact, when you become one with something, how can you know it? Knowledge requires division; knowledge is basically schizophrenic. The object has to be separate from the subject; the knower has to keep a distance from the known. If the distance disappears, there will be no knowledge possible.

And that’s what happens in mysticism: the seeker becomes one with the sought, the lover dissolves into the beloved, the dewdrop slips, falls into the ocean and becomes the ocean. There is no knowledge. In such unity knowledge is not possible. In such unity there is only experience, and experience not of something outside you, but something inside you. It is experiencing rather than experience.

The word “mysticism” comes from a Greek word, mysterion, which means “secret ceremony”. The people who have touched the unknowable gather together to share. The sharing is not verbal; it cannot be verbal. The sharing is of their being; they pour their being into each other. They dance together, they sing together, they look into each other’s eyes, or they simply sit silently together. That’s what was being done with Buddha, with Krishna, with Jesus, in different ways. The lovers of Krishna were dancing with him. That was a mysterion, a secret ceremony. If you look from the outside at what is happening you will not be able to know what is really the case. Unless you become a participant, unless you dance with Krishna, you will not know what is being shared, because that which is being shared is invisible. It is not a commodity, it cannot be transferred from one hand to another; you will not see anything happening like that. It is not objective.

It is the flowing of one being into another, flowing of the presence of the Master into the disciple. These kinds of secret ceremonies in India have been called Raas; in the tradition of Krishna they are called Raas. Raas means dancing with the Master, so that your energy is flowing and the Master’s energy is flowing. And only flowing energies can have a meeting.

Stagnant pools cannot meet, only rivers can meet. It is only through movement that meeting is possible.

But the same was happening with Buddha too, with no visible dance.

Buddha was sitting silently, his disciples were sitting silently; it was called Satsang, “being with truth”. Buddha has become enlightened, he is a light unto himself. Others who are not yet lit, whose candles are yet unlit, sit in close proximity, in intimacy, in deep love and gratitude, come closer and closer to Buddha in their silence, in their love. Slowly, slowly a moment comes, the space between the Master and the disciple disappears — and the jump of the flame from the Master to the disciple. The disciple is ready to receive it; the disciple is nothing but a welcome. The disciple is “feminine”, a receptivity, a womb. This too is a mysterion, a secret ceremony.

It was happening again and again, with Zarathustra, with Lao Tzu, with Jesus, in different ways. This is what is happening here. While I am talking to you, if you are just a curious person who has come here to listen and to see what is happening, you will only listen to my words. You will miss the real treasure. The words are spoken only to those who cannot listen to silence.

But those who have become intimate with me, those who have become sannyasins, they are listening to the words, but they are not in any way intellectually dissecting, analyzing, arguing with the words.

The words are heard as one hears music; the words are heard as one hears wind blowing through the pine trees; the words are heard as one hears raindrops falling on the roof, or the roar of the waves in the ocean. And while the mind is hearing the music, the heart starts absorbing the being, the presence. This is a mysterion, this is a secret ceremony. But why is it called “secret”? It is not secret in the sense that we are hiding somewhere in a cave. It is secret because it is available only when you are related to the Master in deep love. Others are allowed to come in, but for them it will remain invisible; hence it is called secret.

When Buddha is sitting with his disciples, he is not hiding somewhere in the mountains — he is in the world, people can come and go and see — but still the ceremony is secret. This secretness is something to be understood. Those people who will come and see, they will only see a few bodies sitting silently, that’s all. They will not see the transfer of light, the transfer beyond the scriptures that is happening.

That’s the case here too. Every day watchers, spectators come; they see you sitting here listening to me, or dancing, or meditating, and they think they have known. They go and they start giving “authoritative” reports about the place. They may have been here just one day or two days, and they become experts. They are being simply stupid. They don’t know a word, they don’t know anything about mysticism. All their reports are false, bound to be false. To know something of what is going on here, you will have to become a participant, you will have to fall in deep harmony with me and the space that is being created here. You cannot be a spectator; you cannot observe from the outside. These things are not observed from the outside: they are secret. You have to dissolve yourself. You have to risk. Only then, some taste on your tongue; only then some experience in your heart; only then, some vibe that penetrates you and becomes part of your life. That is the meaning of “secret ceremony”. It is available for everybody to see, but only those who are initiated into it will really be able to see it…

Those who have experienced, they become dumb. Not that they stop speaking, but they speak about the methods, they speak about the way. They don’t speak about the truth. They say how to attain it, they say how to avoid the pitfalls on the path, they say how not to go astray, they say, “This is the way, this is the direction,” they give you a few maps, road maps, they make you aware of a few signs that you will come across on the road so that you can be certain that you are moving in the right direction — that’s all they can do — but about the truth, or God, they can’t say a single word. So that meaning is also beautiful; myein means “to keep one’s mouth shut”. It is from these two words: from myein comes mysterion, from mysterion comes “mysticism”.

Mysticism is the very soul of religion.

Hence my insistence: drop the mind that thinks in prose; revive another kind of mind that thinks in poetry. Put aside all your expertise in syllogism; let songs be your way of life. Move from intellect to intuition, from the head to the heart, because the heart is closer to the mysteries. The head is anti-mystery; the whole effort of the head is how to demystify existence.

That’s why, wherever science has grown, religion has disappeared. Wherever the mind becomes trained in scientific ways of thinking and doing, religion simply dies; then the flower of religion blooms no more. In the soil of the scientific mind there is some poison that does not allow the seed of religion to grow — it kills it. What is that poison? Science believes in demystifying existence. Religion says it cannot be demystified. The deeper your understanding goes, the more mystical it becomes, the more mysterious it becomes.

And now there is a possibility that science and religion can be bridged, because the greatest scientists have also felt it, in a very indirect way. For example, Eddington, Albert Einstein, and others have come to a feeling that the more they know about existence, the more they become puzzled, because the more they know, the more there is to know. The more they know, the more their knowledge seems to be superficial. Einstein died almost a mystic; that old pride that “One day we will come to know all” had disappeared. He died in a very meditative mood; he died not as a scientist, but more as a poet…This is good news; science is coming to a great understanding. That understanding is arising out of its failure to demystify existence. But I don’t see a similar understanding arising in the so-called religious people. They are lagging far behind; they are all talking in old, stupid ways. They are still obsessed with the Vedas and the Koran and the Bible. And not that the Vedas are wrong, or the Koran or the Bible are wrong — they are perfectly right — but they are expressed in a very, very ancient, primitive way. They are not capable of meeting modern science.

We need contemporary religious mystics of the same caliber as Albert Einstein and Eddington and Planck. That’s my effort here, to create contemporary mystics, not only scholars who can talk like a parrot about the Upanishads and the Vedas. No, scholars won’t do. We need contemporary mystics; we need people in whose hearts new Upanishads can arise. We need people who can talk the way Jesus talked, on their own authority. We need courageous mystics who can say they have experienced God, not because the scriptures say God is, but because they have known God; not just learned people, knowledgeable people, but people of wisdom. Enough of scholarship. Scholarship is just very mediocre; scholarship cannot bridge modern science with mysticism.

We need Buddhas, not people who know about Buddha. We need meditators, lovers, experiencers. And then the day is ripe, the time has come, when science and religion can meet and mingle, can be welded together. And that day will be one of the greatest days of the whole of human history; it will be a great day of rejoicing, incomparable, unique, because from that day, the schizophrenia, the split humanity will disappear from the world. Then we need not have two things, science and religion; one thing will do. For the outer it will use scientific methodology, for the inner it will we religious methodology. And “mysticism” is a beautiful word; it can be used for that one science or one religion, whatsoever you call it. Mysticism” will be a beautiful name. Then science will search for the outer mystery, and religion will search for the inner mystery; they will be the two wings of mysticism. “Mysticism” can become the word that denotes both. Mysticism can be the synthesis of both.

And with this synthesis, many more syntheses will happen on their own accord. For example, if science and religion can meet in mysticism, then East and West can meet, then man and woman can meet, then poetry and prose can meet, then logic and love can meet, then layer upon layer, meetings can go on happening. And once this has happened, we will have a more perfect man, more whole, more balanced.


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

Discourse Series:

Yoga: Yoga: The Secret

Chapter #12
Chapter title: The More Mysterious It Becomes
22 October 1978 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on scientists like Aristotle, Chamberlain, Copernicus, Darwin, Descartes, Eddington, Edison, Einstein, Euclid, Galileo, Leibnitz, Kepler, Newton, Ptolemy, Planck, Ramanujan, Rutherford and many others in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. What Is, Is, What Ain’t, Ain’t
  2. One Seed Makes the Whole Earth Green
  3. Sufis: People on the Path Vol.1-2
  4. The Sun Rises in the Evening
  5. The Empty Boat
  6. Dang Dang Doko Dang
  7. Beyond Psychology
  8. Zarathustra, the laughing prophet
  9. From Personality to Individuality
  10. From Ignorance to Innocence
  11. That Art Thou
  12. The Path of the Mystic
  13. The Secret

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