Individuation: The Luminous state of Being

Osho on German Theologian Richard Wilhelm

Richard Wilhelm was a German scholar, missionary, and sinologist in the late 19th century. He lived in China for 25 years and was captivated by Chinese culture and heritage. He trained as a linguist and famously translated Chinese philosophical works into German such as I Ching (the Book of Changes) and the Secret of the Golden Flower. Wilhelm originally arrived in China as a missionary to promote conversion to Christianity but never baptized anyone after being mesmerized by the depth of Chinese spirituality.

Though Wilhelm immersed into the methods and practices of Taoist traditions, he had an internal dilemma of not being able to integrate the European and Chinese aspects of himself. He never completely adopted East spirituality and could not let go of his European frame of reference. He forever remained in a struggle to eliminate the differences between the two and passed away with this psychological conflict. Nevertheless, he played a crucial role in introducing the spirituality and way of life of the East to Europe despite vehement opposition and repudiation.

Osho talks about Wilhelm, “Richard Wilhelm’s case is very symbolic. It shows that things should be done under proper guidance. He was learning language from the linguists — they were not masters of intuition. He was translating a book which has nothing to do with intellect, which needed a master to help him, so that the translation is not only literal but essential, that it carries the very fragrance of the original — not just the verbal change of language.

He was never a disciple of a Tao master; otherwise, this catastrophe would have been avoided, and things would have been totally different. Because since his death, nobody has tried that hard to understand the East’s basic contribution.

Intuition cannot be translated into intellect. A certain bridge can certainly be made, but the more intuition takes possession of you, the more intellect has to function as a servant. And that was the problem. Although for thirty years he worked with an intuitive book, his intellect remained the master. And intuition can never be a servant. It is your innermost core. It opens up only in deep meditation.

And Richard Wilhelm never bothered about meditation. His whole concern was the translation of the book, without thinking that books can be different. The books written by the mind — of which the West is full — and the books arisen out of intuition are a totally different category. The I CHING is perhaps five or seven thousand years old. Nobody knows who wrote it — because in the East it is not important that the name of the person should be on the book, particularly the intuitive ones whose egos have been lost, in fact they have become nameless. Some nameless master, a visionary, wrote the book not because he wanted to write it, but because existence wanted it to be written. He was simply a vehicle, a hollow bamboo.

Although Richard Wilhelm remained thirty years in China, he remained with wrong people. He had to. First he had to learn the language, and for that he had to be in contact with linguistic experts. And once he had learned the language, he started translating the book, thinking that every book belongs to the same category — and there is the fallacy.”

Osho Says….


Habib, Carl Gustav Jung was groping in the right direction but he had not yet arrived. It was not his own experience, it was a philosophy. He was thinking about individuation, he was going into the idea of individuation deeper and deeper, but it was not his own meditation, it was not his own existential experience. THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER IS an alchemical process. These are the words of those who have known. Jung was not an individual in the sense of individuation, he was still divided: he had the conscious mind and the unconscious mind and the collective unconscious mind. He was not one, he himself was a multiplicity. He was a crowd as everybody else is. He had all the fears, all the greeds, all the ambitions that any normal human being is expected to have. He was not a Buddha, he was not enlightened. He had not known his own inner being which is timeless.

In the moment of inner illumination, all differences and distinctions disappear. There is only pure consciousness — neither conscious nor unconscious nor collective unconscious.

The same was happening with Sri Aurobindo in India. He was also talking about conscious mind and the superconscious mind, and so on and so forth.

In the moment of illumination, mind disappears. Mind means division; whether you divide it into conscious and unconscious or you divide it into conscious and superconscious, does not make a difference. Mind means division. Individuality means undividedness. That is the meaning of the word ‘individual’: indivisible. Mind is bound to be a crowd; mind cannot be one — by its very nature it has to be many. And when the mind disappears, the one is found. Then you have come home. That is individuation.

But still I say Jung was groping in the dark. He had not yet arrived at the door; he had only dreamed about the door. There are parallels in human history. For example, Democritus, the Greek thinker, stumbled upon the idea of the atom without any experimentation. There was no possibility to experiment in his days; no modern sophisticated techniques were available. He could not have divided the atom, he could not have come to the atomic structure of matter, but he speculated. He must have been a great thinker — but only a thinker. He stumbled upon the idea of atomism. Then there is Albert Einstein and modern physics. Both talk about the atomic structure but the difference is tremendous: Democritus only talks, modern physics knows…The same is the case with Carl Gustav Jung and the process we are talking about: the process given by THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER.

THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER IS an alchemical treatise. It knows; and if you follow the method, you will come to know. It is absolutely certain. And when I say this, I am saying it because I know — because I have gone through the process. Yes, the Golden Flower blooms in you. You come to a point where the many disappear, the multitude disappears, the fragments of the mind disappear, and you are left all alone. That is the meaning of the word ‘alone’: all alone, all one.

If you think about it, the thinking is bound to take you to a certain line. If you think about it, then you will ask how to come to the One, how to make these fragments of the mind join together, how to glue them together. But that will not be real unity. Glued or unglued, they will remain separate. A crowd can be transformed into an army — that means that now it is glued together, it is no more a mob — but the many are still many, although maybe with a certain discipline. It is as if there is a pile of flowers and you make a garland out of those flowers: a thread runs through all the flowers and gives them a certain kind of unity. That’s what Jung was trying to do: to bring these fragments together, to glue them together. That is his whole process of individuation.

The real experience of individuation is totally different. You don’t glue these fragments together, you simply let them disappear. You drop them, and then, when all the fragments of the mind have disappeared, receded farther and farther away from you, suddenly you find the One. In the absence of the mind it is found — not by joining the mind together in a certain discipline, not by putting mind together into a certain kind of union. Union is not unity, union is only an order imposed on chaos. This can be done, and then you will have a false kind of individuation. You will feel better than before, because now you will not be a crowd, a mob. Many noises will not be there, they will have fallen into a certain kind of harmony; a certain adjustment will have arisen in you. Your conscious mind will be friendly with the unconscious, not antagonistic. Your unconscious will be friendly with the collective unconscious, not antagonistic. There will be a thread running through the flowers, you will be more like a garland than a pile.

But still, individuation in the sense I am talking about here has not happened.

Individuation is not the unity of mind but the disappearance of the mind. When you are utterly empty of the mind, you are one. To be a no-mind is the process of real individuation.

Jung was groping in the dark, coming very very close — just as Democritus was coming closer to the atomic structure of matter — but he was as far away from real individuation as Democritus was far away from real, modern physics. Modern physics is not a speculation, it is a proven phenomenon.

For THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER individuation is not speculation, it is experience. Before one can know the One, the many have to be said goodbye to. One has to be capable of becoming utterly empty. Individuation is the flowering of inner emptiness — yes, exactly that. The Golden Flower blooms in you when you are utterly empty. It is a flower in the void. In the lake of the void the golden lotus blooms.

So the process is totally different. What Jung is doing is trying to put all the pieces together — as if a mirror had fallen and now you are trying to put it together, to glue it together. You can glue it together, but you will never find the same mirror again. A broken mirror is a broken mirror.

In the East the work has moved into a totally different dimension. We have to let this mind go. Each part of the mind has to be dropped slowly slowly. In deep awareness, meditativeness, thoughts disappear. Sooner or later mind becomes contentless, and when the mind is contentless, it is no-mind — because mind as such is nothing but the whole process of thought. When you are without thought, not even a single thought stirring in your being, then there is no-mind. You can call it individuation, you can call it SAMADHI, YOU can call it NIRVANA or what you will.

But beware! People like Jung can be very alluring, because they talk in terms which are really beautiful: they talk about individuation, and you may start thinking that the individuation of Jung is the same. It is not the same, it can’t be the same — he never meditated himself. He was really afraid of meditation. He was basically afraid of the East. And when his friend, Richard Wilhelm, who had translated the I CHING into German and who was also the translator of THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER, went mad, he became even more afraid. Then he started saying that the methods of the East are not useful for the West, they are dangerous. Then he started saying that the Eastern methods should not be used in the West because the West has followed a totally different line of evolution. Yoga, Tantra, Tao, Zen, Sufism — no Eastern methods should be tried by the Western mind. Then he started saying that. He was really afraid.

And he was not aware of what he was talking about — he had never tried these methods. Wilhelm went mad, not because he tried these methods, he became mad because he was trying to make a synthesis of Western psychology with Eastern psychology. That thing can drive you mad. He was not practising, he was not a practising meditator, he was philosophizing.

In philosophy East and West cannot meet — it is impossible. In philosophy you cannot make positive and negative meet. But in actuality they do meet. In actuality the positive never exists without the negative. In actuality death is nothing but the culmination of life. In actuality silence and sound are two aspects of the same phenomenon. In reality man and woman are together, one, but in philosophy you cannot make them meet, because philosophy is a process of the mind. Mind divides, mind cannot unite. Only in a state of no-mind, in existential experience, do they meet…

Mind is a pair of scissors: it goes on cutting. It is like a rat, a mouse, which goes on chewing.

You will be surprised to know that one of the mythological figures in India, Ganesh, the god with the head of an elephant, is the god of logic. He rides on the back of a rat; the rat is his vehicle. Logic is rat-like: it chews. It is a pair of scissors: it cuts. Mind always makes things divided. Mind is a kind of prism. Pass a ray of white light through it and immediately it is divided into seven colours.

Pass anything through the mind and it becomes dual. Life and death are not life-and-death, the reality is lifedeath. It should be one word, not two; not even a hyphen in between. Lifedeath is one phenomenon. Lovehate is one phenomenon. Darknesslight is one phenomenon. Negativepositive is one phenomenon. But pass this one phenomenon through the mind and the one is divided immediately in two. Lifedeath becomes life and death — not only divided but death becomes antagonistic to life. They are enemies. Now you can go on trying to make these two meet, and they will never meet.

Kipling is right — that ‘East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.’ Logically, it is true. How can the East meet the West? How can the West meet the East? But existentially it is utter nonsense. They are meeting everywhere. For example, you are sitting here in Poona. Is it East or is it West? If you are comparing it with London, it is East; but if you are comparing it with Tokyo, it is West. What exactly is it, East or West? At each point East and West are meeting, and Kipling says, ‘Never the twain shall meet.’ The twain are meeting everywhere. No single point is such that East and West are not meeting and no single man is such that East and West are not meeting. It cannot be otherwise; they have to meet — it is one reality. East, West — one sky.

But mind divides. And if you are trying to put things together through the same mind, you will go crazy. That’s what happened to Richard Wilhelm. A beautiful man, a genius in his own right, but just intellectual. And when he went mad, Jung was naturally afraid. It was Wilhelm who had introduced Jung to these secret books of the East: the I Ching and THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER; he had persuaded Jung to write a commentary on this book. He became really afraid of the East. He talked about these things but he never tried in any way to practise them. And he has prescribed to the Western man that the West should evolve its own yoga, its own methods of meditation. It should not follow the Eastern methods…

Do you think that the East has to evolve its own chemistry? What difference will there be? Will water evaporate in a different way in the East than it evaporates in the West? Nothing will be different. And if it is so with matter, it is so with the inner consciousness too. All the differences are superficial. All the differences are in your conditioning, not in your being. Your essential being is the same; whether you have the skin of a white man or a black man does not matter, the difference is only of a little bit of colour. In the old days they used to say that the difference is only that of a little pigment — four annas’ worth. The white man has a little less pigment than the black man. Remember, the black man is richer, four annas richer. But there is just four annas’ worth of difference in the colour of the body. Sooner or later we will be able to invent injections so that the white man can become black and the black can become white. Just an injection, and in the morning you are a perfect nigger! The difference is not much; it is only superficial — just on the surface.

And so is the difference in the mind. A Hindu has a different mind, certainly, than a Mohammedan or a Jew, but the mind is nothing but that which has been taught to you. When the child is born he is neither Hindu nor Jew nor Christian, he is simply pure essence. If the child is born of Jewish parents and is brought up by Hindu parents, he will have a Hindu mind, not a Jewish mind. He will never become aware that he was a Jew; his blood will not show it. Blood will not show at all who is who. You cannot go and have your blood tested by the doctor to show whether you are a Hindu or a Mohammedan. Your bones will not show it. So the difference is only in that which is taught to you, imposed upon you. The difference is only of clothing, dresses, and nothing else. Behind the dresses, the same naked humanness.

So what nonsense is Jung talking about: that the West has to develop its own alchemy, its own Tantra, its own Tao? But he was afraid. This was his way to avoid facing his own fear. The West has not to evolve anything just because it is the West. Yes, every age has to evolve its own methods, but that is a different matter; it has nothing to do with East and West. I am evolving new methods because many things have changed. In these twenty-five centuries since Buddha much has changed. Buddha was working on a differently conditioned consciousness. Much has changed. Man has become more mature, doubts more, is more sceptical. ‘Yes’ has become more difficult to say. He would like to explore, but without any beliefs. He cannot trust easily; distrust has become very deep-rooted. He is no more innocent; knowledge has corrupted him. These changes have happened. A few changes have to be made in the devices according to these changes. But it has nothing to do with East and West…

The world simply needs to decide one day to drop all this nonsense and to become one. No passports should be needed, no visas should be needed. We need a world citizenship. We need freedom to move. Why so much distrust? Why so much antagonism towards each other? This earth is our planet. We should be able to move freely. This world is not yet a free world because of the hangovers of the past. They can be dropped. And with the dropping of them, the world can become as rich as you would like, as healthy as you would like. Poverty can disappear…

Poverty is ugly, as ugly as illness. But it is going to remain there if nations remain. It is going to remain there if politicians remain. It is going to remain there if the world remains divided. Wars will continue. We can go on talking about peace but we will go on preparing for war, because peace is just talk.

The hangover of the past is big. What is the hangover? Three thousand years of continuous quarrelling and fighting and murdering and killing — that is our past. We have to disconnect ourselves from the past…And the methodology of disconnecting oneself from one’s past is going to be the same — it cannot be Eastern, it cannot be Western. The methodology to disconnect oneself from all past hangovers is going to be the same…There are no Eastern methods, no Western methods. Methods are methods. And when you are trying to go beyond mind, it is the same method: awareness. What else will you do in the West? What can you do except be aware?

To be aware, alert, to be in the moment, spontaneous and total, wherever you are, will help you to get rid of the whole past — political, social, religious. And once you are disconnected from the past, your mind disappears, because your mind is nothing but the past hanging around you. Mind is memory, memory is past, and when there is no mind you are utterly here, brilliantly here and now. In that luminous state of being here and now, is individuation in the sense of the book, THE SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER.


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

Discourse series: The Secret of Secrets, Vol. 1

Chapter #16

Chapter title: In the Lake of the Void

26 August 1978 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on notable Psychologists and philosophers like Adler, Jung, Sigmund Freud, Assagioli, Wilhelm Reich, Aristotle, Berkeley, Confucius, Descartes, Feuerbach, Hegel, Heidegger, Heraclitus, Huxley, Jaspers, Kant, Kierkegaard, Laing, Marx, Moore, Nietzsche, Plato, Pythagoras, Russell, Sartre, Socrates, Wittgenstein and many others in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Hidden Splendour
  2. The Wild Geese and the Water
  3. This, This, A Thousand Times This: The Very Essence of Zen
  4. Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
  5. Beyond Enlightenment
  6. Beyond Psychology
  7. Dang Dang Doko Dang
  8. The Discipline of Transcendence
  9. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  10. From Bondage to Freedom
  11. From Darkness to Light
  12. From Ignorance to Innocence
  13. The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
  14. From Personality to Individuality
  15. I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
  16. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4
  17. Zen: The Path of Parad
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