Krishna: A Sannyasin of Bliss
Osho on Krishna
Q: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO SPEAK ON KRISHNA? AND WHAT IS THE CENTRAL THEME OF THIS DISCUSSION?
If a man has to think, understand, and say something, for him there can be no more meaningful a topic than Krishna. He is the most significant person in all of history. It is not that other significant people did not happen in the past — and it would be wrong to say that significant people will not happen in the future; in fact, any number of remarkable people have walked this earth — but Krishna’s significance is quite different. He is more significant for the future than for the past.
The truth is, Krishna was born much ahead of his time. All great persons are born ahead of their time, and all insignificant people are born after their time. It is only mediocre people who are born in their time. All significant people come ahead of their time, but Krishna came too far ahead. Perhaps only in some future period will we be able to understand him; the past could not do so.
And remember, we begin to worship those we fail to understand in their lifetimes. We worship those who perplex and defeat our ability to understand them. We either praise or slander them, but both praise and slander are kinds of worship. We worship friends with praise and we worship enemies with slander. It is all the same. One who defies our judgment, we call him a god or God-incarnate. It is really difficult to accept one’s ignorance; it is easier to call him a god or God-incarnate. But these are the two sides of the same coin. Such a person is God-like in the sense that we don’t understand him, just as we don’t understand God. This person is as unknowable and as mysterious as God himself. Despite our best efforts he, like God, ever remains to be known. And all such people become objects of worship.
It is precisely for this reason that I chose Krishna for discussion. He is, in my view, the most relevant, the most significant person in the context of the future. And in this regard, I would like to go into a few things.
With the exception of Krishna, all the remarkable people of the world, the salt of the earth like Mahavira, Buddha, and Christ, stood for some other world, for a life in some other world. They set distant things like the attainment of heaven and liberation as goals for man’s life on this earth.
In their day, life on this earth was so miserable and painful it was nearly impossible to live. Man’s whole past was so full of want and hardship, of struggle and suffering, that it was hard to accept life happily. Therefore all the religions in the past denied and denounced life on this earth.
In the whole galaxy of religious luminaries Krishna is the sole exception who fully accepts the whole of life on this earth. He does not believe in living here for the sake of another world and another life. He believes in living this very life, here on this very earth. Whereas moksha, the freedom of Buddha and Mahavira, lies somewhere beyond this world and this time — there and then — Krishna’s freedom is here and now. Life as we know it never received such deep and unconditional acceptance at the hands of any other enlightened soul…
Up to now it was difficult to think that a man of religion carried a flute and played it. We could not imagine that a religious man wore a crown of peacock feathers and danced with young women. It was unthinkable that a religious man loved somebody and sang a song. A religious man, of our old concept, was one who had renounced life and fled the world. How could he sing and dance in a miserable world? He could only cry and weep. He could not play a flute; it was impossible to imagine that he danced. It was for this reason that Krishna could not be understood in the past; it was simply impossible to understand him. He looked so irrelevant, so inconsistent and absurd in the context of our whole past.
But in the context of times to come, Krishna will be increasingly relevant and meaningful. And soon such a religion will come into being that will sing and dance and be happy.
The religions of the past were all life-negative, defeatist, masochistic and escapist. The religion of the future will be life-affirming. It will accept and live the joys that life brings and will laugh and dance and celebrate in sheer gratitude. In view of this immense possibility for a good life in the future I have chosen to talk about Krishna.
Of course it will be difficult for you to understand Krishna, because you are also conditioned, heavily conditioned by the misery of life in the past. You have, up to now, associated religion with tears and not with flutes.
Rarely have you come across a person who took to sannyas out of life’s joys. Normally, when a man’s wife died and his life became miserable, he turned to sannyas as an escape from his misery. If someone lost his wealth, went bankrupt and could not bear it, he took to sannyas in sheer despair. An unhappy person, a person ridden with sorrow and pain, escaped into sannyas. Sannyas stemmed from unhappiness and not from happiness. No one comes to sannyas with a song in his heart. Krishna is an exception to the rule. To me he is that rare sannyasin whose sannyas is born out of joy and bliss. And one who chooses sannyas for the joy of it must be basically different from the general breed of sannyasins who come to it in misery and frustration.
As I say that the religion of the future will stem from bliss, so I also say that the sannyas of the future will flow from the joy and ecstasy of life. And one who chooses sannyas for the joy of it must be basically different from the old kind of sannyasin who left the world simply out of despair. He will take sannyas not because his family tortures him, but because his family is now too small for his expanding bliss — and so he adopts the whole world as his new family. He will accept sannyas not because his love turns sour, but because one person is now too small to contain his overflowing love — and he has to choose the whole earth as the object of his love.
And they alone can understand Krishna who understands this kind of sannyas that flows from the acceptance of life, from the juice and bliss of life…
To me, Krishna is a sannyasin of bliss. And because of the great possibility and potential of the sannyas of bliss opening up before us, I have deliberately chosen to discuss Krishna.
It is not that Krishna has not been discussed before. But those who discussed him were sannyasins of sorrow, and therefore they could not do justice to him. On the contrary, they have been very unjust to him. And it had to be so. If Shankara interprets Krishna, he is bound to misinterpret him; he is the antithesis of Krishna. His interpretation can never be right and just. Krishna could not be rightly interpreted in the past, because all the interpreters who wrote about him came from the world of sorrow. They said that the world is unreal and false, that it is an illusion, but
Krishna says this world is not only real, it is divine. He accepts this world. He accepts everything; he denies nothing. He is for total acceptance — acceptance of the whole. Such a man had never trod this earth before.
As we discuss him here from day to day, many things, many facets of him, will unfold themselves. For me, the very word “Krishna” is significant. It is a finger pointing to the moon of the future.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy
Chapter title: Krishna is Complete and whole
26 September 1970 am in
Osho has spoken on ‘Krishna, Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, Lao Tsu and many other enlightened Masters’ in many of His discourses. More on them can be referred to in the following books/discourse titles:
- Vigyan Bhairav Tantra
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
- Tao: The Three Treasures
- Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet
- The Mustard Seed: My Most Loved Gospel on Jesus
- The Path of Love
- Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
- When the Shoe Fits
- Hyakujo: The Everest of Zen, with Basho’s Haikus
- The Tantra Vision
- Rinzai Master of the Irrational
- Philosophia Perennis
- Tantra: The Supreme Understanding