Gora: The Master, the Potter

Osho on Indian Saint Gora

Saint Gora Kumbhar was an Indian mystic and devotee of Lord Vithal (also known as Vithoba or Panduranga). Not much is known about him, but he is believed to have lived in the village of Satyapuri in Maharashtra between 1267 – 1317. He was a potter by profession and spent his days singing and dancing in devotion to his deity while practicing his trade. There are several tales of miracles written about Saint Gora, along with temples and shrines dedicated to him after his enlightenment.

Osho narrates several stories about Gora and how pottery and creativity became his center of meditation –  “Another mystic was a potter; his name was Gora. He worked on earthen pots, and he would dance and he would sing while he was making his pots. While he was making a pot on the wheel, as the pot would center on the wheel he would also center within himself. One would see only one thing: the wheel was moving, the earthen pot was emerging and he was centering the earthen pot. You were seeing only one centering. Another centering was happening simultaneously: he was also being centered. While centering the pot, while helping the pot to emerge, he was also emerging in the unseen world of inner consciousness. When the pot was created, that was not the real thing he was working on; he was also creating himself.

Any act can become meditative, and once you know how an act becomes meditative you can transform all your acts into meditation. Then the whole life becomes yoga. Walking on the street or working in the office or just sitting and not doing anything — just idling, or anything — can become meditation. So remember, meditation doesn’t belong to the act; it belongs to the quality you bring to the act.”

Osho Says….

BELOVED OSHO,

A MONK SAID TO KYOSEI, “I WANT TO PECK FROM THE INSIDE. WOULD YOU PLEASE TAP FROM THE OUTSIDE?”

KYOSEI SAID, “COULD YOU ATTAIN LIFE OR NOT?”

THE MONK SAID, “IF I COULD NOT ATTAIN LIFE I WOULD BECOME A LAUGHINGSTOCK.”

KYOSEI SAID, “YOU TOO ARE A FELLOW IN THE WEEDS.”

SETCHO PUT IT LIKE THIS:

OLD BUDDHA HAD HIS WAY OF TEACHING,

THE MONK’S ANSWER WON NO PRAISE.

STRANGERS TO EACH OTHER, HEN AND CHICK,

WHO CAN PECK WHEN THE TAPPING COMES?

OUTSIDE, THE TAP WAS GIVEN;

INSIDE, THE CHICK REMAINED.

ONCE AGAIN THE TAP WAS GIVEN;

MONKS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD ATTEMPT THE TRICK IN VAIN.

OSHO,

THIS ANECDOTE EVOKES SUCH A BEAUTIFUL IMAGE OF WHAT TRANSPIRES BETWEEN MASTER AND DISCIPLE.

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE PECK AND TAP THAT WE CALL OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU?

Maneesha, before I talk about Kyosei and his statement, I am reminded of a very significant awakened man. He was a potter; his name was Gora. He uses this image very significantly, because

when a potter makes a pot he has to do two things: inside he pecks and outside he taps. That is the whole art of pottery, but that’s also the whole art of the master and disciple relationship. Even though he became enlightened, Gora remained a potter. He inspired millions of people — very rich people, even the kings, were his disciples. And they again and again asked him, “This does not look good. You stop this business of pottery. We feel ashamed.” Gora said, “Even if I drop the visible business of making pots, what about my being your master? What am I doing with you? — pecking and tapping.”

Yes, Maneesha,

this is the whole art of the master. If he cannot peck from inside when he starts tapping from the outside, he will destroy the disciple. And most of the so-called teachers of the world exactly do that. They don’t even know their own inside — how can they help somebody else’s growth with this art of pecking from inside and tapping from outside? Tapping from outside is very easy, even Zen Master Niskriya can do it. But the real question is the support from inside.

Great things can be said to you which will not be of any help, which on the contrary may pollute you and poison you, because they will make you knowledgeable. A master is your enemy if he makes you knowledgeable. But from the outside only knowledge can be given. You become more and more filled with knowledge. The real master has nothing to do with knowledge. He hits deep inside you. His compassion sometimes seems to be very hard, but he goes on showering from the outside, with great love. Inside he has to be a surgeon; outside he has to shower flowers of blessings.

Unless a master can do both he is not a master, he is only a teacher.

A MONK SAID TO KYOSEI, “I WANT TO PECK FROM THE INSIDE. WOULD YOU PLEASE TAP FROM THE OUTSIDE?”

KYOSEI SAID, “COULD YOU ATTAIN LIFE OR NOT?”

THE MONK SAID, “IF I COULD NOT ATTAIN LIFE I WOULD BECOME A LAUGHINGSTOCK.”

KYOSEI SAID, “YOU TOO ARE A FELLOW IN THE WEEDS.”

Just as I have remembered Gora, the potter, Kyosei is taking up a different dimension to it, the dimension of an egg. You can tap from the outside, but the bird inside the egg has to peck, himself. This takes Gora’s explanation to a far deeper insight. A real master in fact need not peck you from within; your very life energy will do it. That’s why Kyosei certainly and suddenly seems to be asking without any reference or context, COULD YOU ATTAIN LIFE OR NOT? He is saying, “As far as tapping is concerned, I am ready, but do you have energy enough to attain life? — because the other part, the pecking, you will have to do. You will have to take the risk to come out of the shell, to come out of the egg.” Certainly, Kyosei far exceeds Gora’s understanding.

THE MONK SAID, “IF I COULD NOT ATTAIN LIFE I WOULD BECOME A LAUGHINGSTOCK.” He has understood why the master Kyosei is asking him, “Could you attain life…? Are you full of energy and abundance so that if I tap you, you will not be killed? Are you mature enough, centered, that my tapping from outside will not destroy you, but will give you the open sky, the freedom to fly? It all depends how much energy, how much life force you have. If you don’t have that life, then you are only a fellow in the weeds.” No roses will blossom in the weeds. The weeds don’t give any flowers, they don’t have that abundance of energy that blossoms in a flower. A flower is a mysterious phenomenon. From the earth, you cannot find anything that resembles the rose that is going to grow out of it. Neither in the rosebush can you find anything resembling — even a faraway echo of the beauty, of the color, of the delicateness of a rose. It is not in the earth, it is not in the roots, it is not in the bush… but it has to be there, otherwise the flower cannot blossom. The flower is an abundance of energy. Much energy is used by the leaves and the foliage. Unless a plant has more energy than is absorbed by the foliage, by the branches, by the leaves, a rose is not possible.

The monk is right when he says, IF I COULD NOT ATTAIN LIFE I WOULD BECOME A LAUGHINGSTOCK. You tap the egg and you kill the bird inside by your tapping. The monk is saying, “I would be a laughingstock.” And many disciples in the world… almost the whole world is in some way or other following a certain line of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity without knowing they are disciples. But no roses blossom — they are all laughingstocks.

One Christian missionary, Stanley Jones, used to stay with me. He was a world-famous man. Six months he used to travel in the West to teach about Christianity, its theology, in the universities and six months he used to come to India. Whenever he was in my town, he used to stay with me. I asked him one day, “You have been a Christian for almost sixty years, but I don’t see even a faint echo of a Jesus in you. You know much, but knowledge is not the thing. Your heart has not blossomed, your head is heavy. When are you going to grow roses?” He looked at me a little shocked, because this is not the way of talking in any reference other than Zen. In every other religious context things are theoretical, philosophical, they are doctrines.

Zen is not a doctrine. It is a very direct approach to the existential problem of why man has not blossomed, why millions of people have not grown roses in their gardens, why they are just weeds, laughingstocks.

Setcho comments on this small conversation. For the first time he is a little sensible. He is still a schoolmaster, but perhaps living in the company of the mystics, of the masters, he has learned something. I still suspect that it is only knowledge, but this time he comes very close to the truth. But

remember, to be very close to the truth is still to be very far. Unless you are the truth there is no point in knowing how far you are from it. One mile, or one million miles, even a single inch, just a single word, and you have lost the truth.

Anyway, he has come very close. For the first time he shows the possibility; perhaps in the end he may turn into a roseflower himself.

Setcho says:

OLD BUDDHA HAD HIS WAY OF TEACHING.

THE MONK’S ANSWER WON NO PRAISE.

STRANGERS TO EACH OTHER, HEN AND CHICK,

WHO CAN PECK WHEN THE TAPPING COMES?

OUTSIDE, THE TAP WAS GIVEN;

INSIDE, THE CHICK REMAINED.

ONCE AGAIN THE TAP WAS GIVEN;

MONKS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD ATTEMPT

THE TRICK IN VAIN.

Just tapping from the outside is not going to help, unless the inner energy has become a tremendous longing to come out. Then, even without any tapping from outside the bird is going to break the eggshell by itself. There have been many masters who had no masters. Their own longing for the truth was so tremendous they needed no help. Their own overflowing energy gave them the freedom to fly into the sky.

The eggshell is very thin; it is not a China wall. You are not imprisoned in something made of steel; you are imprisoned in something made of thoughts. Such a thin rice paper, a Japanese curtain, that you can come out any moment you want. You don’t have to wait for somebody to knock from the outside. And if you don’t have energy, even if someone knocks it is not going to help.

Source:

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

Discourse Series: Live Zen

Chapter #3

Chapter title: Pecking and tapping

24 April 1988 pm

References:

Osho has spoken on Mystics like Sai Baba, Dadu, Farid, Gurdjieff, J. Krishnamurti, Kabir, Nanak, Patanjali, Rumi, Sahajo, Saraha, Socrates, Tilopa, Valmiki, Zarathustra and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Sermons in Stones
  2. Come Come Yet Again Come
  3. The Hidden Splendour
  4. Beyond Enlightenment
  5. The New Dawn
  6. The Sword and The Lotus
  7. The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty
  8. Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
  9. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 1
  10. The Path of Love
  11. The Book of Wisdom
  12. The Divine Melody
  13. The Guest

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