From Philosophy to Religion
Osho on Greek Mystic Plotinus
Born in Roman Egypt in 205 CE, Plotinus was a Greek philosopher and an inadvertent spiritual guide in the Hellenistic period. He studied philosophy for eleven years under the tutelage of the Platonic philosopher Ammonius Saccas in Alexandria, starting at the age of 27. Plotinus is seen as the founder of Neoplatonism in the modern study of history and philosophy. In his work, Plotinus describes three fundamental principles – the One, the Intellect, and the Soul. He viewed philosophy as a way of life and a form of religion rather than an abstract branch of study.
Not a lot is known about Plotinus’ distinctive life as the only reliable source is the preface written by his disciple Porphyry in The Enneads – a collection of Plotinus’s work through the years. Nevertheless, Plotinus had a vast influence during the Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance period, and his work inspired the early format of Christian theology, along with guiding centuries of Pagan, Gnostic, Jewish, and Islamic mystics.
Osho talks about Plotinus’s words, “Plotinus says: The search for god is a flight of the alone to the alone. It is a flight, and it is the greatest flight there is, because you are not simply changing one place for another, you are changing one space for another. You are not covering a physical distance, you are changing the very dimension of your existence. To feel yourself as the body is one space, one dimension; and to start feeling as the spirit is another dimension, another space. And the gap between the two is infinite — logically it is unbridgeable. But it is good that logic is not all: there are ways to bridge it.
Sannyas is the way to bridge the unbridgeable. From matter to consciousness, from earth to heaven, from the outer to the inner, the gap is really big. And if one wants to bridge it gradually, it is impossible; one can only have a quantum leap. That is the message, the symbolic message, in your name: become a blissful eagle so that you can go to the farthest corners of the sky.”
OSHO, WHY ARE YOU SO MUCH AGAINST PHILOSOPHY?
PHILOSOPHY means mind, philosophy means thinking, philosophy means going away from yourself. Philosophy is the art of losing yourself in thoughts, becoming identified with dreams. Hence I am against philosophy, because I am all for religion. You cannot be philosophical if you want to be religious; that is not possible. Religion is existential, philosophy is intellectual. Philosophy is about and about, religion is direct. Philosophy is thinking about things you don’t know. Religion is a knowing, not thinking. Philosophy depends on doubt, because the more you can doubt the more you can think. Doubt is the mother of thinking. Religion is trust, because the more you trust the more there is no need to think. Trust kills thinking; in trust, thinking commits suicide. And when there is no thinking and trust pulsates in your being, in each pore of your being trust permeates you, overwhelms you, you know what is.
Philosophy TRIES to know, but never knows. Religion never tries to know, but knows.
Philosophy is an exercise in futility, of futility. Yes, it talks about great things — freedom, love, God, meditation — but it only TALKS about. The philosopher never meditates. He talks about meditation, he spins and weaves theories, hypotheses, inferences ABOUT meditation, but he never tastes anything about meditation. He never meditates. Hegel, Kant — these are philosophers; Buddha, Kabir — these are NOT philosophers — Plato, Aristotle — these are philosophers; Heraclitus, Plotinus — these are not philosophers, although in the books of philosophy they are also called philosophers. They are not! To use the word ‘philosopher’ for them is not right, unless you change the whole meaning of the word. Aristotle and Heraclitus cannot be called philosophers in the same sense. If Aristotle is a philosopher, then Heraclitus is not; if Heraclitus is a philosopher, then Aristotle is not.
I use a totally different word, ‘philosia’, instead of philosophy. Philosophy means, literally, linguistically, love for knowledge. Philosia means love for seeing, not only for knowledge. Knowledge is not enough for the real enquirer; he wants to see. He does not want to contemplate on God, he wants to encounter God. He wants to hold His hand in his own hands, he wants to hug and kiss God! He is not satisfied with the concept of God. How can the concept be of any help? When you are thirsty you cannot be satisfied by the formula H2O. Howsoever right it is — that is not my concern, that is irrelevant — right or wrong, the formula H2O cannot quench your thirst. You would like water, and whether you know about H2O or not, does not matter. For millions of years man has been drinking water without knowing anything about H2O, and it has been perfectly satisfying.
Philosophy talks about water, religion drinks.
Talking about food is utterly stupid; you will have to prepare food. You will have to eat, you will have to chew, you will have to digest. Unless food becomes blood and bones and marrow, just talking about it is not going to help. Hence I am against philosophy.
A woman was going to a doctor for a physical examination before her fourth marriage. During the course of her examination the doctor was startled to discover that she was still a virgin.
He demanded an explanation, “How can this be? You are preparing for your fourth marriage and yet you are a virgin?”
“My first husband,” she replied, “I married for love, but as we were leaving the church to go on our honeymoon a tragic automobile accident occurred and he was killed.”
“My second husband,” she continued, “I married for money. He was very old, and so nothing ever happened between us.”
“My third husband,” she said, “was a great philosopher, and all he could ever do was sit on the edge of the bed and tell me how good it was going to be.”
Philosophy is pseudo-religion. Religion is true philosophy, because religion leads you into the world of seeing, knowing, experiencing. Exactly in that sense, Pythagoras has coined the word ‘philosophy’. ‘Sophy’ means SOPHIA; ‘philo’ means love: love for the ultimate wisdom. That was the meaning given by the man who coined the word ‘philosophy’; he was Pythagoras. He had travelled all over the world. He had been to India, he had conferred with great mystics of the East, he had met seers, enlightened people. It was he who first coined the word. The original meaning is beautiful, but it got lost. When it fell into the hands of the Greeks it started having a totally different meaning, because the Greek mind is analytical, logical, rational.
There are only two types of minds in the world: the Greek and the Hindu. The Greek mind is logical, the Hindu mind is illogical. The Greek mind is intellectual, the Hindu mind is intuitive. The Greek mind has given birth to philosophy and science, the Hindu mind has given birth to religion and poetry.
The Greek and the Hindu exist in each person, because each person has two minds in him. The brain is divided into two hemispheres, one is Greek, another is Hindu. The left side of your brain is Greek, the right side of your brain is Hindu. I am using the words ‘Hindu’ and ‘Greek’ metaphorically; don’t take it literally.
Your left-side brain, which is joined with your right hand, calculates, thinks, analyzes. Your right-side brain, which is joined with your left hand, intuits, sings, loves.
The religious person goes through an inner conversion from the Greek to the Hindu. He moves from the left hemisphere to the right hemisphere. All yoga and all other techniques of meditation are nothing but bridges to take you from the left hemisphere to the right hemisphere. Once you have reached the right hemisphere, the world of poetry, the world of beauty, the world of love, opens its doors. Then God is. No proof is needed, one simply feels. It is a feeling. It is a feeling in the guts. One simply knows, for no other reason. And once you are centered in the right hemisphere of your brain you can use the left hemisphere also, but now it will function as a servant. And the left hemisphere is a good servant but a bad master.
I am all for religion, because as I have seen, life is far, far more than logic can comprehend. Life is so vast and your capacity to think is so tiny. Life can be envisaged only through love, not through logic. You will have to melt into existence. You will have to dance with it, sing with it. Dancing with the trees in the wind, singing with the river in the flood, having a communion with the clouds and the stars, you will know what God is — not by thinking about Him.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Guest
Chapter title: I am not a person
9 May 1979 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
Osho has spoken on many Western Mystics like Jesus, Gurdjieff, Magdalen, Rumi, Socrates, Theresa, Zarathustra, St. Francis, Dionysius, Boehme, Eckhart, Baal Shem 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
- Come Follow To You
- Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
- The New Dawn
- The Sword and The Lotus
- Beyond Psychology
- The Empty Boat
- I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
- Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance
- The Perfect Master
- Sufis: The People of the Path
- The Diamond Sutra