Gorakhnath: Fire of No-Thought
Gorakhnath Jayanti is observed on the 13th day of the Shukla Paksha of Magh month, Which is today. Gorakh was the hindu saint, a yogi and an enlightened master who invented enormous number of meditation techniques to achieve the ultimate state of consciousness. Gorakhnath, His vision, His meditation devices and His yogis are highly popular in rural India, with monasteries and temples dedicated to Him in many states of India, particularly in the eponymous city of Gorakhpur.
He was the influential founder of the Nath Hindu monastic movement in India. He is considered as one of the two notable disciples of Matsyendranath. His followers are found in India at the place known as Garbhagiri which is in Ahmednagar in the state of Maharashtra. These followers are called yogis, Gorakhnathi, Darshani or Kanphata.
Guru Gorakhnath is thought to have authored several books including the Goraksha Samhita, Goraksha Gita, Siddha Siddhanta Paddhati, Yoga Martanda, Yoga Siddhanta Paddhati, Yoga-Bija, Yoga Chintamani.
Osho has also dedicated a whole discourse series to Gorakh i.e Die O Yogi Die.
Osho says Gorakh, a tantrika, a man so versed, so efficient in all the methods of Tantra that anybody in India who knows many businesses is known as doing gorakh-dhandha. Gorakh-dhandha means ‘in the business of Gorakh’. People think one should stick to one’s own business. Gorakh moved in all directions, in all dimensions. Gorakh’s full name was Gorakh-nath. It must have been given by his disciples, because nath means lord. Gorakh has given all the keys possible to enter into the inner mysteries. He has said everything that can be said. He is, in a way, a full stop.
BUT IT IS SURPRISING THAT EVEN THE PLACE OF BIRTH AND PERIOD IN TIME OF SUCH A GREAT AND EXALTED MAN ARE UNKNOWN. WHY IS THIS?
Anand Maitreya, in these matters the visions of West and East are different. The West thinks in the language of history, the East thinks in the language of myth. History is of facts, myths and parables are of truths. A fact happens in a particular place and at a particular time. A fact has limits. A fact is temporal, an event in time. The truth is eternal. Its expression is also in time, nevertheless it is not bound by time. This is why in the East we have not been concerned at all — neither an accurate history of Rama is known, nor of Krishna. What we have in our hands are stories. If you look with the vision of the West they are mere stories, imaginary fantasies. Until there is solid proof the West is not ready to accept anything as history. The twenty-four teerthankaras of the Jainas appear to be imaginary fantasy. There is no proof.
It is difficult to ascertain even the exact date of the Buddha’s birth. We have not worried about this. What difference does it make? What is the difference if Buddha was born in village A or village B? And if Buddha was born in this year or that, what difference does it make?
We have tried to understand Buddhahood. What does it have to do with Buddha’s personal life? His body was momentary, here today and gone tomorrow. His message is eternal. And it is not the message of only one buddha, it the message of all buddhas. Hence note this too, when we made the statue of Buddha we weren’t concerned much whether it looked like Buddha or not. We didn’t create the image of the Buddha by looking at Gautama the Buddha. We created the image of the Buddha by extracting the essence of all buddhas. How buddhas live each and every moment — the accumulation of the essence of all buddhas is what we have cast in Buddha’s statue. The statue of Buddha is the symbol of all buddhas.
If you go to a Jaina temple you will be surprised seeing the twenty-four statues of the Jaina tirthankaras, they all appear exactly the same. These twenty-four individuals cannot be alike. In the whole world no two individuals can be exactly alike, so how can these twenty four individuals be exactly the same? Even identical twins are not exactly the same. So these twenty-four individuals spread out over a long time, very remote, with thousands of years between them, how can they be all alike? They were not all alike. But there was something inside of them that was the same: the same meditation, the same samadhi, the same flow of energy… It is because of this inner sameness that we did not pay attention to the outer. We preserved the memory of the inner experience. The outer image is simply an indication towards that inner experience. The statues of the Jaina teerthankaras are not based on fact, they are based on truth.
A fact is outer, for instance when you see a rose flower it is fact, if you see two rose flowers it is fact. But it you extract the perfume from thousands of rose flowers it is truth. It has no relationship to any one flower. It is the essence.
This is why the concern of this country is very different. It never bothered with where Gorakh was born. There are various claims. Someone says Punjab, someone says Bengal, and the biggest claim is Nepal’s, because the Nepalis say the name of the village that Gorakh was born in is Gorkhali, and this is why there is an ethnic group of Nepalis called Gurkhas. It is from Gorakh’s name. But the endings on Gorakh’s words indicate that he may have been born in Bengal: HANSIBA, KHELIBA, KARIBA DHYANAM — LAUGHING, PLAYING, DOING MEDITATION. His personality was multi-dimensional. As I see it he must have been a wandering monk moving all the way from Bengal to Kashmir, from Nepal to Kanya Kumari. He must have stayed many places, must have mixed with many people, his lovers must have emerged in many places. Many places people must have felt that he is ours. Who wouldn’t like to make such a lovable man their own? Those who took him as theirs must have made up stories themselves. Stories are affectionate. Stories don’t say anything about the facts, but they say something about the feeling that must have come up between Gorakh and other people. If Gorakh went to Bengal he would have become a Bengali. He must have merged so much into the Bengali flow of life that people felt that he is a Bengali.
People come to me here. If I speak on Jesus then Christians come and ask me, are you a Christian? If I speak on Buddha then Buddhists come and ask me, are you a follower of Buddha? When I spoke on Nanak then Sikhs came and said to me, you have revealed meanings that we had never thought of: you are the true Sikh! Whoever I speak upon I get deeply involved in. I let him speak through me. So Sikhs can feel that I am a Sikh and Buddhists that I am a Buddha and Christians that I am a Christian. They must have felt like that with Gorakh. Wherever he went, wherever he stayed, wherever his feet touched, people there must have felt he is ours. They must have felt it because of his love.
And the matter of when and where he was born becomes even more difficult to decide. Such a person neither talks about his birth, nor about his house and home. What house and what home does such a person have? The whole sky is his home! The whole earth is his.
Just yesterday I was looking at a letter published in CURRENT magazine that some Hindu sannyasin has written against me. He requested the government to initiate a court case against me because I am a traitor. He is right. The government should pay attention to his statement. I can be called a traitor because I don’t believe in countries at all. I have no country or religion. I know this whole earth as my own. The sannyasi who said this — a Hindu fanatic — must be troubled: why am I not declaring myself a Hindu? I am not. I am not bound by any limits. Mosques are mine and temples are mine and churches are mine and gurudvaras also… And I do not believe in nations. I believe that humanity is suffering because of nations. Nations should be destroyed. Too many national anthems have been sung, too many flags have been flown, too many idiocies have happened on this earth. Accept the unity of mankind now. Now, one world and one mankind… These national governments must go. And until they go man’s problems cannot be solved, because man’s problems are bigger than nations…
He is right it can be said that I am a traitor — in the sense that I am not a traitor to humanity. But all your lovers of nations are traitors to humanity. The very meaning of patriotism is treason towards humanity. Love of nation means dividing into parts. You have seen haven’t you that a person who is patriotic towards his region becomes an enemy of the nation. And one who is patriotic towards his district becomes an enemy of the region. I am not an enemy of the nation, my idea is international. This whole earth is one. I want to abandon the small for the vast. And these small-small enclosures, these dikes have troubled man too much. In three thousand years five thousand wars have been fought. And previously it was okay if wars fought with bows and arrows went on happening, there was no harm. If a few people died there was no problem. Now, war is total war. Now it is the suicide of all mankind. Now every place can become a Hiroshima — any day, at any moment… Consider the horror of this war and think of how much energy is going into it. This same energy can fill the entire earth with greenery, can fill it with prosperity. For the first time man can dance absorbed in bliss, can sing songs of ecstasy, can follow the quest of meditation. But this will not happen. Your so called patriots, these nationalists…
Nationalism is a great sin. It is due to this nationalism that all these problems exist in the world. I am not a nationalist. I want to break all boundaries. Whoever on this earth who has received a small glimpse of the truth has no boundaries. They do not belong to any country, any community, any class, any sect, any caste. They belong to all, all belong to them. And this kind of person, a person like Gorakh, doesn’t bother to talk about when he was born, or talk about which house he was born in, or talk about which town he was born in. These are useless things because Gorakh knows: I was never born and I will never die. These statements are of the body-minded. These statements are of those who are attracted and identified with the body. A person like Gorakh has known that which is never born, that which never dies.
That which cannot die, cannot be born. After knowing the unborn, the unbegun, the unending who will talk about birth? Who will he be talking about?
This is why people like this don’t talk about it. Naturally many stories will be left behind them but definite facts will not be left. And such people have such a vast heart that they cannot agree to any kind of distinction. Because distinctions are an indication of ignorance. One who says I am a Hindu, I am a Muslim, I am a Christian — these are the signs of the ignorant. Where the light is burning distinctions have gone. Distinctions live only in darkness. There is the emergence of the one free of distinctions, the indescribable. Because of this nothing can be known with certainty where he was born, when he was born. But some people are involved in this inquiry. Some people have put their lives into it. This type of person does research in universities, becomes a great researcher. He receives degrees — Ph.D. and D. Lit. and D. Phil…
Sometimes in the name of so called knowledge such stupidities go on that if you reflect on it you cannot even imagine. If you enter into the innermost of Buddha, into the innermost of Mahavira, you will find there are not two persons there. There is only one. A single cloudless sky, a single silent music, a single festival of bliss. Zen monks are right when they say, did Buddha ever exist? They are people who revere Buddha saying, did Buddha ever exist? Buddha never existed, it’s all useless nonsense. They worship Buddha everyday and say, Buddha never existed, it’s all lies. What is the motive of these Zen monks? They are saying if we said he is then some people will go enquiring about when he existed, on what date he existed. They will waste their time on it. This is why we say, he never existed, drop this mischief. But what happened to Buddha certainly happened. Who it happened to is not important. If his name was Gautama or something else, if his father was this one or that one — it is all of no use.
Something happened to Buddha. Sitting at the base of a tree one morning he didn’t get up the same way he had sat down in the evening: some new man got up. This is the real birth. Call only this birth. And it has no connection with date, day of the week, month or year. A moment came when thoughts became calm, became silent. Consciousness became a pure mirror. Let your consciousness become the same, put your time into this process. It is better if you become a Buddha yourself. It is better that the sound of Gorakh echoes inside of you. Instead of your going into the life history of Gorakh, it is better if you go inside Gorakh.
This is why this country did well not to consider useless things, they didn’t get pulled into these meaningless things. They said only what was real and essential. Man is so mischievous, so ignorant, that if a tiny scrap of the unessential is put into his hand he will tend to it and forget about the essential. This is why we have not talked about the inessential, we have only talked about the essential. If you want to catch hold of something then catch hold of the essential. You have already attained the inessential, so we have erased all the inessential, we have rubbed it out.
It is not that the beautiful stories we have fashioned necessarily happened. There is no reason for them to. They are symbols. And symbols are poetic. They are not connected with history, they are connected with the inner being. For instance we have said that when Buddha became enlightened flowers bloomed out of season. This is not history, flowers never bloom out of season. We have written that when Buddha went into a forest if he sat under a withered tree that green leaves would come. This has never happened. It is not history that seeing Buddha’s meditation, seeing Buddha’s samadhi, leaves came to the tree. But it is an indication that wherever Buddha’s feet stepped greenery spread. Life became green there. A new upsurge of inner life came, a new grace rained down. Buddha is a shower of nectar. This is a poetic way of saying it. It is not more than this.
Jesus was crucified and after crucifixion he came back to life. This coming back to life is not a historical event. This being resurrected is a profound symbol, it is poetry. It is just saying that death cannot happen to a person like Jesus. Death happens to the unenlightened. Those who believe that they are the body, they die. How can those who have known that they are bodiless inside the body die? For them the cross too is the inception of a new life. For them the cross too is a throne. They do not die. They live in eternal nectar, they die in eternal nectar. Their nectar continues, the stream of nectar goes on flowing… if in a body then in the body, or if not in a body then outside of the body. But people are engaged in trying to prove that it is a historical fact. And then there is trouble.
I told you recently that when a snake bit Mahavira milk came out. There are Jainas that try to prove this milk coming out is a historical fact. They are foolish themselves and they are inviting others to be foolish. This much is obvious: milk is a symbol of love. When a child comes into the mother’s womb, then in manifestation of her love, the mother’s breasts fill with milk for nourishing the child. The mother begins to flow for the child in a stream of milk. The child starts to receive life from the mother’s milk. Love gives life! It is merely a symbol in this story that if a snake bit Mahavira even then there was only compassion and love in Mahavira’s heart. How to say it in poetry? In poetry it is said: when Mahavira was bit, blood did not come out, milk came. Blood should have come, but milk came. This is poetry. It is lovely poetry, if you take it as poetry. But if you stubbornly insist that it is a scientific statement then you are being idiotic. We have fashioned stories around all unique persons. All these stories are very loving. Consider these stories as indications. They are not concerned with true and false. There are a few hints in them. And if you grasp the hints the stories will fall behind. You will be getting started on a pilgrimage.
Drop your concern with where Gorakh was born, when he was born. Leave this work to the scholars. In the end those poor people need some work too don’t they? Leave this to the researchers, otherwise who will give them Ph.D.s? Gorakh has been very compassionate that he didn’t write it down. If he had written it down who knows how many people’s doctorates have would been missed! It is also his kindness that he didn’t give any message as to where he was born. Who knows how many people are engaged, engaged in this very job. Idiots need something to be engaged in! Sensible people don’t get entangled in such things. Get acquainted with Gorakh’s message. Let Gorakh’s sutras descend into your heart. If you become a Gorakh it is good, if you don’t become it’s okay. The sutras are important. Whether Gorakh existed or not makes no difference in the significance of these sutras…
DIE, O YOGI, DIE! DIE, SWEET IS DYING.
DIE THAT DEATH GORAKH DIED AND SAW.
Leap into that fire that Gorakh leapt into. You also be burnt to ash in that fire of no-thought. And from your ashes a new form will arise, a new light, a new life that is eternal.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Death is Divine
Chapter title: Sadhana: the fruit of understanding
6 October 1978 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘Krishna, Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, Lao Tzu, Gorakh, Mahavira, Dadu, Nanak, Kabir and many other enlightened Masters’ in many of His discourses. More on them can be referred to in the following books/discourse titles:
- Vigyan Bhairav Tantra
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
- Tao: The Three Treasures
- Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet
- The Mustard Seed: My Most Loved Gospel on Jesus
- The Path of Love
- Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
- When the Shoe Fits
- Hyakujo: The Everest of Zen, with Basho’s Haikus
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega
- Sermons in Stones
- The Book of Wisdom
- The Divine Melody
- The True Name
- Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy