Individuality is Your Essence

Osho on Individuality

Individuality is your essence. You come with it, you are born with it. Personality is borrowed. It is given by the society to you. It is just like clothes, subtle clothes. A child is born naked; then we hide his nakedness — we give him clothes. A child is born with essence, individuality. We hide that too, because naked individuality is rebellious, non-conformist.

Individuality is exactly what it means. It is individual. Personality is not individual; it is social. Society wants you to have personalities, not individualities, because your individualities will create conflict. The society hides your individuality and gives a personality. Personality is a learned thing. The word ‘personality’ comes from a Greek root which means mask — PERSONA. In Greek drama, the actors used to wear masks to hide their real faces and to show some other face. From PERSONA comes the word personality. It is a face that you wear; it is not your original face.

When the personality disappears, don’t be afraid. Then for the first time you become authentic. For the first time you become real. For the first time you attain to essence. That essence in India has been called ATMA, the soul. The ego is the center of personality, and God is the center of essence. That’s why so much insistence, from every corner, that ego has to be dropped. Because you must know what you are, not what you are expected to be.

Personality is false; it is the greatest lie. The whole society depends on personality. The state, the church, the organizations, the establishments — they are all lies. The Western psychology goes on thinking too much about the personality. That’s why the whole Western psychology is a psychology based on a basic lie. In the East, we think of the essence, not of the personality. That which you have brought, that which is your intrinsic nature, SWABHAVA, that which is your intrinsic essence — THAT has to be known. And that has to be lived.

Personality is that which you are not, but try to show that you are. Personality is that which, when you move in society, you have to use as a convenience. You are walking, you have gone for a morning walk. And then somebody passes by. You smile. The smile can be either from the essence or from the personality. The smile can really be a delight in seeing the person, in seeing the God in that person, in seeing the heart, the love, the formless, that has become incarnate in that person.

That’s why in India we never use phrases like ‘Good Morning’. They don’t mean much. We say: ‘Ram, Ram…’ We welcome each other by the name of God. It is a symbolic act: ‘I see God within you.’ ‘Ram, Ram’ means ‘I see Ram within you. Welcome. I am happy, blessed, that you passed If it comes from the essence, then the smile spreads all over your being. You feel a deep content. You feel blessed that this man passed by. The man may be gone, but the blessing remains and lingers around you like a subtle perfume. But you can simply say: ‘Good Morning’ — because the man is a banker, or a political leader, or can be sometimes mischievous, or can be dangerous. It is risky not to say ‘Good Morning.’ Then you say it and you smile; you bring a smile to your face. That is PERSONA, that is personality.

In each act you have to watch. It is arduous, but it has to be done. There is no other way. In each act you have to watch from where it comes. From personality or from essence? If it comes from essence, the essence will grow, because you will give an opportunity for the essence to be manifested, expressed. If it comes from the personality, then personality will become harder and harder and harder, and it will suffocate the essence completely.

Watch. Remind yourself again and again: ‘From where does it come?’

To me, religion doesn’t mean a ritual. It doesn’t mean going to the church or the temple. It doesn’t mean reading the Bible or the Gita every day, no Religion means to live from the essence, to be authentic, to be true.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse Series: The True Sage Chapter #4

Question 4

Chapter title: The watchman — Questions and Answers

14 October 1975 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘individuality, authenticity, essence, religion’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Be Still and Know
  2. The Book of Wisdom
  3. The Discipline of Transcendence
  4. From Ignorance to Innocence
  5. The Invitation
  6. The Path of the Mystic
  7. Zen: The Solitary Bird, Cuckoo of the Forest
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