I am not a Soft Master

Osho on Saint Eknath

Born in 1544, Eknath was a poet-saint and mystic of Vaishnavism, the branch of Hinduism that reveres the deity Vishnu and his avatars (incarnations). Eknath is best known for his translations of various Sanskrit texts into Marathi (the local language of the Maharashtra region of central India), his authorship of others in that language (e.g., a vernacular version of the Ramayana), and his restored edition of the then-corrupted classic of Marathi literature, the Jnaneshvari of the poet-saint Jnaneshvar. The object of his scholarship was to bring the means of salvation through devotion (bhakti) within the reach and understanding of ordinary people, including outcastes and women.

Eknath’s writings include a variation of the Hindu religious text Bhagwata Purana, known as Eknathi Bhagwata.  He also wrote a variation of the Hindu epic Ramayana, known as Bhavarth Ramayana. He also composed Rukmini Swayamwar Hastamalak, a literary piece consisting of 764 owee (poetic metre) and based on a Sanskrit hymn of the same name.

Osho recalls an anecdote about Eknath where he explains how Eknath did not abide by specific rules or lived in fixed patterns. He acted not according to a set discipline but instead lived by his own consciousness and awareness irrespective of the widely accepted norms. Osho, further, in this continuation says, “strange statements, but very true — true in depth, true in intensity. Whenever a saint wakes up, that is sunrise; his waking is far more important than your ordinary sun rising up every day — a mechanical phenomenon. My waking is not a mechanical phenomenon, and I am a free man — I will wake up when I want to, and I will go to sleep when I want to. I act according to my consciousness, my awareness. I don’t follow any discipline. I don’t have any rules for my life. My life is my only discipline. Therefore I say unto you that whenever you become a sannyasin that is the right moment. So don’t be bothered about the statement that a few people come to sannyas earlier, a few people come later, very few people come at the right time. Remember, whenever you become a sannyasin you make that time the right time. So don’t feel that you have missed anything. A sannyasin never misses anything in life. Once a sannyasin, he forgets missing, he simply goes on gaining more dimensions, more riches — riches of all kinds, more awareness, more love, more compassion, more beauty, more grace. Who cares for chronological time? Who bothers to look at the calendar and then take sannyas? And it is not possible in the first place. So let me repeat: whenever you take sannyas, that is sunrise.”

Osho say…..



It is good that you recognize that you are a hypocrite. That is the beginning of finding all the roots of resentment, hatred, cruelty. Once a person recognizes that he is a hypocrite, things become very easy. He has found the disease. But the second thing that you say is not right. You say you are a hypocrite, and a rough man, and you are happy you have found a soft master. That’s wrong. Nobody can be rougher than I can. Who told you that I am a soft master? You cannot find any rascal in the whole world to compete with me. So, drop that completely.

You are a hypocrite, that I accept. But

I am not a soft master. My ways may look very soft but what I am doing is simply destroying your ego, your hypocrisy, your personality, so that you can discover your authentic individuality. It is hard work, because you are identified with your personality. The moment I hit your personality, you immediately feel as if you have been hit. You have not been hit. Your personality is your enemy. And only those who are ready to see their personality being killed, murdered, butchered, can live with me, because then they will see what is meant by spiritual rebirth. Whatever your parents, your society, your family have done to you, I have to undo it. And you are preventing me from undoing it. Perhaps that is why you call me a soft master — you want me to be a soft master. You cannot deceive me. You can deceive yourself and the whole world, but include me out!

This is your desire, that I should be soft. And how can I be soft with you when you are doing every nasty thing to me? You have replaced your father with me. This is criminal. I have never fathered anyone, because I don’t take unnecessary accidental things on my own shoulders. You have replaced your family with the commune? Then naturally as a shadow the resentment against your father will become resentment against me, and the resentment against your family will become resentment against the commune. And don’t say to me that unconsciously you have done it. You are perfectly conscious, you are asking the question! You know perfectly well what you have done. Nobody can ask a question about what his unconscious has done. How are you going to know your unconscious? The very word `unconscious’ means that you are not aware of it. You are perfectly aware, so it is not an unconscious thing that you have replaced your father with me, your family with the commune. No, you are perfectly conscious. But certainly, being a hypocrite, you can go on deceiving others. And finally, the person who goes on deceiving others is bound to deceive himself. He becomes so accustomed to deceiving.

I used to have a friend who was a kleptomaniac. He was not interested in stealing — he belonged to a rich family, there was no need for him to steal. And things like a button, a safety pin — absolutely absurd. And he had a box in his house which he always kept locked; nobody knew what was in it. But feeling a deep friendship with me, he said, “I will show you one of my secrets. You come with me to my home.” I went. He locked the room, opened the box, and showed me all kinds of things. I found one of my fountain pens there, one of my notebooks which I had been missing, because it had all the telephone numbers around the country. I said, “This is your secret?” He said, “Yes, I enjoy stealing so much. It does not matter what I steal, what matters is that I have stolen and have not been caught. I have deceived somebody and proved that I am more clever than they are.” I said, “That is good. Is that the whole secret?” He said, “One thing more I have to confess to you. Since I have brought you here, and you are the first man to know that I enjoy stealing, the second thing I also want to say to you in order to get rid of it, because it is very embarrassing to me….” I said, “What is that?” He said, “Sometimes I cannot find anything to steal from anybody; then I steal from my right pocket and put it in the left. I feel embarrassed to accept it, but this is the truth.” You see my point? He has become so accustomed to stealing from others, now without stealing he cannot feel at ease.

You say you are a hypocrite; you certainly are. And what is conscious to you, you are trying to put into the unconscious to get out of the responsibility for it. Now you are being a hypocrite to yourself. I would like to tell you another story, very famous in the East. There was a great saint, Eknath. He was going on a pilgrimage to holy places. And in India it is difficult to find an unholy place; there are holy places all around. It takes years for somebody to travel to all the holy places. Thirty of his disciples were going with him. They were all rich people, they could afford a ten, twelve years’ journey, the expenses and the dangers. A new man who had never been to him, came to him and said, “Master, I am a poor man. I would also like to go on this pilgrimage you are going on. And when thirty people are going with you, when food is prepared for thirty, it can easily be managed for one poor man, a little food, a little clothing.”

Eknath said, “There is not much of a problem in it, you can come.” The man said, “The problem is that I am a thief, and I am afraid that I may let you down.” Eknath said, “That is difficult. Poverty is okay, we will take care of you, but who is going to take care of your stealing? You have to promise that you will not steal while we are on the pilgrimage. Only then can I accept you in the group.” He promised; he was accepted. But a strange phenomenon started happening in the group, when they were moving from one place to another, staying overnight in a caravanserai, or in a temple. A strange thing started happening; people started missing their things. More strange than that was that everybody found his things in somebody else’s bag. It became a mystery, how things moved from one’s bags into somebody else’s bag. They were not lost, you just had to search again. Everybody asked….

Eknath said, “I know what is the matter. Call that thirty-first man we have accepted.” He said, “You have to be true. Have you been doing this?” The man said, “I have promised not to steal, I have not promised that I will not put something from one place into another place. You have to forgive me, I am completely addicted to stealing. This much you will have to tolerate. I have not taken anything from anybody. But when everybody is sleeping, you know, it becomes such a great itch — so many people sleeping with so many beautiful things, and I think `What the hell are you doing here?’ “Night is my day. For years I have slept in the day and remained awake in the night because that was my business time. And I am feeling in trouble. The whole day I am feeling sleepy, and as the night comes, I become fully awake. Hence, seeing all these rich people with precious diamonds, necklaces, pearls, the temptation is too much. But I have kept my promise. I take somebody’s necklace and put it onto somebody else’s neck. Do you think it is going against my promise?” Eknath laughed. He said, “No, this you can do; these thirty people will just have to work out where their things are! But I can understand you, your trouble.”

I can also understand you and your trouble. You are a hypocrite. You have been pretending to be what you are not. And without knowing, in your question you have done the same thing. You say unconsciously you have replaced your father with me, your family with the commune. How do you know it?

To know the unconscious is to become enlightened, because the unconscious is nine times bigger than your conscious mind. Your conscious mind is a thin layer. The unconscious mind is deep, dark, and you know nothing about it.

So please be clear. At least don’t cheat yourself. It is a conscious thing that you have done and you are dumping it on the unconscious. Understanding this much will destroy the whole thing.


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

Discourse name: From Death to Deathlessness
Chapter title: I am not your father
Chapter #11
12 August 1985 am in Rajneeshmandir


Osho has spoken on Mystics like Dadu, Daya, Farid, Gurdjieff, J. Krishnamurti, Kabir, Lalla, Magdalen, Mallibai, Meera, Nanak, Patanjali, Rabiya, Raman Maharishi, Rumi, Sahajo, Sai Baba, Saraha, Socrates, Teresa, 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 Splendor
  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
  10. The Path of Love
  11. The Book of Wisdom
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