Knowing, not Knowledge
Osho on Esoteric
WHAT IS THE USE OF ESOTERIC TEACHINGS AND SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE? HOW CAN I FIND OUT IF THEY ARE TRUE OR NOT?
the esoteric teachings are only for the fools. The fools are very much interested in anything they cannot understand. The idea of the foolish mind is that anything it cannot understand must be very mysterious, must be very superior, must belong to higher planes.
A really religious person has nothing to do with esoteric nonsense — with theosophy, with anthroposophy, and with so many Lobsang Rampas… and all kinds of nonsense that goes on being written.
It must be fulfilling some people’s needs. Just as a few people like detective novels, a few others are interested in esoteric knowledge. There is nothing esoteric in existence. Existence is nude, naked; nothing is hidden.
Once Buddha was asked, “Have you said everything, or is there something esoteric which you have not said?”
Buddha showed his hand — an open hand — and he said, “I am like an open hand, not like a fist.”
And so is existence — like an open hand, not like a fist. It hides nothing; all is there, all around you. God is overflowing… and you are pondering over esoteric things — seven planes or seventeen, seven hells and seven heavens. And the more complicated is the system, the more appeal it has.
Theosophy is more or less sheer nonsense, but it attracted thousands of people around the world. It has become a great world movement. People were talking of hidden masters, guides, astral, ethereal…. And in Madam Blavatsky’s room letters used to drop from the ceiling — letters from hidden masters who live in the Himalayas. Later on it was found that a man used to hide there on the roof and he used to drop those letters. The man himself confessed in the court that “My whole work was that whenever the session of the theosophists would be there and they would wait with closed eyes and pray for masters, hidden masters, to guide them, I had instructions from Madam Blavatsky what letter to drop. Those letters were written by Madam Blavatsky.” They were examined later on by experts and it was proved that they were written by Blavatsky herself. But she fooled people for years.
You ask me, “What is the use of esoteric teachings and spiritual knowledge?” To fulfill the demands of the fools, that is the use. And there is no spiritual knowledge at all. Spirituality is an experience, not knowledge. You cannot reduce it to knowledge; it is always knowing, never knowledge. It is an insight, irreducible into words. You cannot put it into theories, into systems of thought; that is impossible. And those who try to do it don’t know anything… only then can they do it. This is a strange phenomenon: those who know, they never try to reduce their knowing to knowledge; and those who don’t know, they are absolutely free. They can create any knowledge, that is their invention. All spiritual knowledge is the invention of the mind. Real spiritual knowing happens only when the mind is dropped, when you are in a state of no-mind.
And you ask me, “How can I find out if they are true or not?”
Why should you be worried?
Rather try to find out who you are. That’s the only real religious question, the only quest: “Who am I?” That’s enough; no other questions are significant. Avoid all other jargon — spiritual, religious, theological, esoteric. Avoid all jargon. Just stick to a simple quest: “Who am I?” That’s enough. If you know yourself you have known all; if you don’t know yourself you may know everything in the world, but that is of no use. It is unnecessary burden and bondage.
Clarence and Lulu were sitting on the front porch in Kentucky on a warm summer evening, holding hands.
Lulu turned to Clarence and said, “Clarence, say something soft and mushy.”
And Clarence embarrassedly turned to Lulu and said, “Ah, shit!”
That’s what esoteric knowledge is — soft and mushy!
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 8
Chapter title: Towards a new humanity
30 December 1979 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘knowing, experience, insight, no-mind’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Beyond Enlightenment
- From Death to Deathlessness
- The Invitation
- The New Dawn
- The Path of the Mystic
- Light on the Path
- Sermons in Stones
- The Transmission of the Lamp
- The Zen Manifesto: Freedom From Oneself
- Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1, 2, 3
- Zen: The Special Transmission
- Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol 1, 2
- The Tantra Vision, Vol 1, 2