Innocence of a Wise Man

Osho on Innocence




Anand Pankaj, the innocence of a child has a similarity to the innocence of a sage. But it is not exactly the same. Because of the similarity, many mystics have used childhood as an example. You don’t know anything about what happens in the innermost world of a sage. You need some examples of something that you know about. So one thing has to be remembered: all those examples are not exactly what will happen in your ultimate state of realization, but they are certainly some indication.

The child is innocent, but his innocence is more ignorance than wisdom. You cannot call a child wise. His innocence is natural. But his ignorance is also side by side with his innocence. They are almost together. The child’s innocence is overshadowed by his ignorance. The sage also has the same innocence, but there is no longer any overshadowing ignorance. His innocence is absolutely pure, unpolluted. And because his innocence is no longer associated with ignorance, it brings a transformation to the very quality of his innocence. It becomes wisdom. The child is ignorant, the sage is wise.

But the innocence has the same quality: the association has changed.

The child has the same innocence, but associated with ignorance; hence it has no value. The sage has the same innocence, but no longer associated with ignorance it has immense value; wisdom has blossomed. The child does not know, but he does not know that he does not know: the sage also does not know, but he knows it — and that makes a great difference.

Because the child does not know he is ignorant, he is bound to accumulate Knowledgeability to cover up his ignorance. He also wants to be knowledgeable like anybody else — as quickly as possible. The wise man is no longer ignorant, hence he does not need any knowledge. With ignorance, knowledge has also gone. It is just like when you are sick, you need medicine. And when you are healthy again, the medicine is thrown away. Knowledge is a medicine for ignorance. But when there is no ignorance, what are you going to do with all your medicines? Give them to the Lions Club. These people go on accumulating all kinds of medicines.

The wise man is not knowledgeable. His wisdom has a totally different quality. He sees. He is a seer. He is not informed, but he is transformed. He has come to a new stage of consciousness from where he can see far away.

P.D. Ouspensky uses this for an example — his master Gurdjieff also used to use the same example. You are sitting under a tree. You can see the road on both sides to a certain extent and then it goes beyond your vision. You cannot see more than that. Somebody is sitting on the tree. His vision of the road will be far bigger than yours. He will see miles on one side, miles on the other side. If from the left side a bullock cart is coming on the road, he will see it, but for you it is still in the future. For him it is in the present. For you it is in the future, because you don’t see it. A time will come, soon you will see it. Then it will become present for you. And a time will come when it will move away on the road towards the right and soon you will not see it again. It will become past. But to the man sitting in the tree, when it was future for you, it was present. When it was present for you, it was present for him. When it has become past to you, it is still present to him. He is seeing from a higher viewpoint.

The man of wisdom is innocent, but on a far higher level; he is not childish. His innocence is out of maturity; his innocence is out of tremendous experiences. The child is without any experience; the sage has passed through all kinds of experiences, good and bad, and he has transcended them. He has again become a child, but his childhood, the second childhood, is based on a very solid ground which cannot be taken away.

So what you have been feeling, Pankaj, is beautiful, but remember, it is not the place to stop. It is the place to begin. It is beautiful to have a childlike innocence, but it is still far away from the authentic innocence of maturity.

Paddy climbs the flag pole and begins shouting as loudly as he can. The cops arrest him and he is charged with disturbing the peace. Later he is sent to a psychiatric hospital for examination.

“How do you explain your behavior?” asks the head shrink.

“It is like this, doctor,” replies Paddy. “If I didn’t do something crazy once in a while I would go nuts.”

An innocent man is saying something immensely wise. He is saying, “If I didn’t go crazy once in a while I would go nuts.” It is a well-known, well-established fact that women go crazy once in a while — any excuse. And if there is no excuse at least nature has provided them with the period. Then whatever they do is acceptable. Their craziness cannot be condemned; they have a rationalization. But even without the period they can go crazy at any moment. That saves them from going nuts. It is only men who go nuts, because they don’t go crazy once in a while, they go on accumulating. Rather than going crazy in installments, they go wholesale. Just look in the madhouses of the world: there are four times more men than women. It is not a small difference. Four times more men go mad. And what is the strategy of the woman so she avoids that much madness? She often goes crazy. So in installments — just a little bit of craziness today, and a little bit tomorrow — she divides it, and all the time she remains sane. There is no need for her to be in a madhouse.

Man has been told from his very childhood: “You are not supposed to go crazy like women. You are not even supposed to weep and cry. Tears are not allowed to men. Even if somebody dies, you have to keep yourself together; you are not to behave like a woman.” Because of this nonsense teaching, four times more men than women are in madhouses.

I have made it absolutely compulsory that every day in the morning you do the Dynamic Meditation. That is nothing but giving you a chance every day of installment craziness, so the whole day you remain sane. It is enough for twenty-four hours. Then again comes another morning and you go crazy. None of my people is ever going to be mad.

(A LOUD LAUGH CAUSES GENERAL LAUGHTER.) You look! Sardarji is going crazy. But he goes crazy once in a while, so he is going to remain the sanest man…

Two old cows are standing together in the pasture chewing the cud, when one of them looks up and says, “Look, here comes that cross-eyed bull. We had better separate or he will miss us both.”

Different women have different reactions when their husbands kiss them in bed. The French woman says, “Ooh-la-la, Pierre, ooh-la-la, your kisses are ooh-la-la.” The English woman says, “Jolly well done! I say, Winston, your kisses are jolly well done.” The Jewish woman says, “You know, Sam, the ceiling needs painting.”

This is a crazy world. From your innocence, if it is childlike innocence, the ways depart in two directions. Either you will end up in this big madhouse that you call the world. Or if you move in a different direction and the path is available, you can end up with great wisdom: you can be a sage. You just have to remember what is the difference between these two paths. The path that goes to the madhouse, the big madhouse you call the world, is very crowded. Avoid crowds. Be certain that where everybody is going is the wrong path. The ordinary logic says, “That is the right path, because everybody is on it; how can it be wrong?” But

I say unto you: find the path where nobody is going. There is every chance you will end up being wise. Your very first step alone is the right step towards ultimate realization. It is the cowards who go with the crowd. And I have never heard of cowards becoming enlightened. They can become Christian sheep, but they cannot become lions. And I would like my people to be lions. Choose a path which leads you more and more deeply into aloneness. Choose a path which is not traditional, which is not orthodox. Choose a path which is basically revolutionary. Each step is a revolt against all that is past and old. That rotten crap is driving the whole world mad.

And on this path you are no longer a Christian. You cannot be, because to be a Christian means to be part of a crowd. You are no longer a Hindu, because you are no longer part of a crowd, you are an individual.

And only individuals have ever become awakened. Crowds never become enlightened. Only individuals, only people who have guts and courage to be alone are capable of stopping the movement of the mind and can settle into their inner innocence.

The deeper you go within yourself, the purer the sources of consciousness that you will find. When you reach to the very center of your being, you have reached the center of the universe. Then blossoms wisdom; you become a sage. This is a rebirth, a resurrection. You die as the world wanted you to be and you find exactly what existence has been longing for you to be. Existence gives you all that you are asking, longing for.

The so-called mad world will only promise you, but the goods are never delivered. People die in this world after a whole life of simple despair and anguish.

If you want to live ecstatically and die ecstatically, you will have to choose the path of aloneness. And that is the path of meditation too, because your absolute aloneness is always inwards. Outside you will always meet with a crowd — on any path. You may have chosen a path which seems to be silent with no traffic, but ahead you don’t know. On every path you will find some crowd. Sometimes a bigger crowd — Catholics — sometimes smaller crowds, but you will find them. There is only one path, which goes inwards, where you will not find a single human being, where you will find only silence, peace. Then you will find yourself, and after that even you will not be there. The aloneness becomes so thick and dense that you cannot be there, you cannot have an `I’, an ego, a sense of separation from existence. Your `I’ is nothing but a sense of separation. And when you find yourself one with existence, no knowledge is needed. In your innocence, you will know all that is great, all that is beautiful, all that is true.

But it will not be a repetition from any scripture and it will not be anything borrowed. It will be truly yours, it will have your signature on it.

And this is one of the greatest blessings in life, to have some experience which is absolutely yours and not a carbon copy. Only that which is absolutely new, original, arising from the very sources of your being can give you satisfaction, fulfillment, contentment and a deep understanding of all the mysteries of life and existence. It is good to start with innocence, but remember there are two kinds of innocence: one is of the child and another is of the meditator. The meditator also becomes a child, but that is on such a different level, at such a great height — as if the child is in the valley and the enlightened man who has again become a child is on the sunlit peak. The distance is tremendous. But there is a certain similarity, a thread running from the child to the heart of the sage. The child cannot understand the sage, but the sage can understand the child. Always remember it as a fundamental rule: the lower cannot understand the higher, but the higher can always understand the lower.

And in your life, if anything can be compared with that high peak, it is your childhood. Try to rediscover it. Don’t cover it with knowledge so that you can forget it. Remove all knowledge, so that you can rediscover your innocence. As you remove your knowledge, you will be removing your mind itself, because your mind is a collective name for your knowledge. It is not any entity — just as we call these trees around here `the garden’, but the garden is only a collective name. If you go looking for the garden, you are not going to find it; you will always find individual trees, rosebushes, seasonal flowers, but you will not find the garden as such anywhere. Remember, we get lost with collective names many times. We start thinking that those collective names are realities; they are not. Society does not exist. Organized religion does not exist; it only pretends. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism don’t exist — all pretensions. What exists is the individual. The mind does not exist, it is only a collective name for all your knowledge. Take out by and by all that you know and when all that you know has been taken away, you will not find any mind there, not even a container in which all that knowledge was contained. There is no container. Being purely innocent, centered in yourself, knowing that life is a mystery and there is nothing to know, that knowledge is by its very nature impossible, we are surrounded by the miraculous. And it is beautiful that we are surrounded by the miraculous, because that makes life a continuous excitement, an ecstasy.

You never tire of discovering new spaces within you. You are never bored, because there is always something new the deeper you move within yourself. And the deeper you move within yourself, you are moving towards existence itself, because deep down you are rooted in existence. If a tree moves deep into its roots, it will find the earth, it will find the ocean. It is rooted in the earth, deriving water from the ocean. If we move into our center … You will be surprised to know that our center also has its roots in existence, though they are not visible roots. Our consciousness is just like air. It is not visible, but you can feel it. You can feel when the air is cool and you can feel when the air is hot. You can feel your consciousness in many ways: when it is pure, it is cool; when it is impure, it is hot. Impure with anger, impure with greed, impure with desires, impure with goals — then it is hot, then it is not at ease, then there is no peace inside. But when all these desires have left you, there is a tremendous coolness which goes on growing.

And as you come closer to yourself, you are coming closer to the universe. And the greatest moment in your life is when you accept the mystery of existence as it is without asking any question. You have understood one thing, that existence is mysterious and is going to remain mysterious. There is no need of any knowledge. That means you have settled with the universe as mysterious and you have settled with yourself as innocent. This is the second birth. In India we have called this state dwij, the second birth. And this is our search here.

Now, here is something to make your silence deeper.

Herman is an eternal optimist, and whatever happens to him, he always says, “Well, it could have been worse.”

One day his neighbor, Amos, comes home and finds his wife in bed with a strange man. In a fit of rage, Amos shoots them dead, and is later arrested for murder.

While everyone is discussing the tragedy, Herman says, “Well, it could have been worse.”

“How could it be worse?” says an angry neighbor. “Two people are dead and a nice guy like Amos is going to prison for the rest of his life.”

“Well,” insists Herman, “if Amos had come home on Thursday afternoon, I’d be dead!”


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

Discourse Series: Sat Chit Anand

Chapter #22

Chapter title: Mind is a con man

2 December 1987 pm in Chuang Tzu Auditorium


Osho has spoken on Innocence, wisdom, maturity, meditation, aloneness, courage, enlightenment, consciousness, transformationin many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Beyond Enlightenment
  2. The Book of Wisdom
  3. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  4. I Say Unto You
  5. No Water, No Moon
  6. The Messiah
  7. The Rebel
  8. Sufis: The People of the Path
  9. Tao: The Golden Gate
  10. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra
  11. Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet
  12. The New Dawn
  13. The Path of the Mystic
  14. Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen
  15. Beyond Psychology
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