Innocence is a Light unto Itself

Osho on Innocence

One day a small child was walking with D.H. Lawrence in a garden, and was continuously asking questions of all kinds. And D.H. Lawrence was one of the most sincere men of this century, condemned by governments, by priests because of his sincerity, because he would say only the truth, because he was not ready to be diplomatic, a hypocrite, because he would not compromise. Even before this small child he showed such authentic sincerity, which even your great saints have not shown.

The child asked, “Why are the trees green?” A very simple question, but very profound. All the trees are green — why? What is the matter with the trees? When there are so many colours, when the whole rainbow of colours is available — some tree can be yellow, some tree can be red, some tree can be blue — why have all the trees chosen to be green?

In D. H. Lawrence’s place, any parent, any teacher, any priest, anybody — x, y, z — would have told some lie, that “God made them green because green is very soothing to the eyes.” But this would have been deceptive, a lie, because D.H. Lawrence does not know anything about God, does not know why the trees are green.

In fact, no scientist who has been working with the trees knows, although he can show that it is because of a certain element, chlorophyll, that trees are green. But that is not the answer for the child. He will simply ask, “Why have they chosen chlorophyll — all the trees?” It is not a satisfactory answer.

D.H. Lawrence closed his eyes, waited for a moment in silence… what to say to this child? He did not want to be a deceiving person to an innocent child – although the question is ordinary, any answer would do. But the question has come from innocence; hence it is very profound.

And D. H. Lawrence opened his eyes, looked at the trees and said to the child, “The trees are green because they are green.” The child said, “Right. I was also thinking that.”

But D.H. Lawrence remembered it in his memoirs: “To me it was a great experience. The love and the trust the child showed towards me because of sheer sincerity. My answer was not an answer; according to logicians, it was a tautology. `The trees are green because they are green’ – is this an answer?”

In fact, D.H. Lawrence is accepting that: My child, I am as much ignorant as you are. Just because there is a difference of age does not mean that I know and you do not know. The difference of age is not the difference between ignorance and knowledge.

Trees being green is part of the mystery of the whole existence. Things are what they are.

A woman is a woman, a man is a man. A rose is a rose; call it by any name, it still remains the rose. That morning, in that small incident, something tremendously beautiful is hidden.

Ask questions — not out of knowledge because all that knowledge is borrowed, unfounded, pure rubbish. Ask out of your ignorance. Remember, the ignorance is yours — be proud of it.
The knowledge is not yours. How can you be proud of it? And the question is not to cover the ignorance. The question is to bring some light, so that the ignorance, the darkness, disappears.

I cannot give you any better answer than D.H. Lawrence, but I can give you something else which Lawrence has no insight about. I can give you a space, a silence in which you can realize the mystery on your own. You ask the question, whatever the question is. Just remember: don’t ask out of knowledge, ask out of your own authentic ignorance. And my answers are not answers infact. My answers are killers — they simply kill the question, they take away the question, they don’t give you any answer to hold on to.

And that is the difference between a teacher and a master: the teacher gives you answers so that you can hold those answers and remain ignorant — beautifully decorated on the surface, libraries full of answers, but underneath, below the surface, an abysmal ignorance.

The master simply kills your questions. He does not give you an answer, he takes away the question. If all your questions can be taken away… listen carefully to what I am saying:
If all your questions can be taken away, your ignorance is bound to disappear, and what remains is innocence. And innocence is a light unto itself. In that innocence you don’t know any question, any answer, because the whole realm of questions and answers is left behind. It has become irrelevant; you have transcended it. You are pure of questions and pure of answers. This state is enlightenment.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse series: Beyond Enlightenment Chapter #2

Chapter title: Innocence is a light unto itself

4 October 1986 pm in


Osho has spoken on ‘innocence, enlightenment, awareness’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Book of Wisdom
  2. Beyond Enlightenment
  3. The Dhammapada: the way of the Buddha
  4. I Say Unto You
  5. Sat Chit Anand
  6. Tao: The Golden Gate
  7. The Transmission of the Lamp
  8. The White Lotus


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