Life is a Joyful Dance
Holi is an ancient annual festival of joy, dance, color and expression, originated from India but now also celebrated in many other parts of Asia. According to Indian calendar holi is celebrated on full moon of phalguna month, which is today, the 29th March. It lasts for a night and a day, starting on the evening of the Purnima, the first evening is known as Holika Dahan (burning of demon holika) or Chhoti Holi and the following day as Holi, Rangwali Holi, Dhuleti, Dhulandi or Phagwah.
Holi celebrates the arrival of spring, the end of winter, the blossoming of love, and for many it’s a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. It is a very playful festival. For one day people really get very open, they dance, play with colors, water, flowers, enjoy sweets. For one day everyone rich or poor, young or old, male or female, everyone simply express themselves in a very colorful way. For one day everyone forget about their regular life.
But during the discourses Osho explains that whole existence, every single moment, is enjoying like a festival so why to constrict ourselves to one day. He also saysWhen Holi comes, and we sing and dance, breaking all bounds and throwing off our normal codes of conduct. On that day we throw all our morality, rules and etiquette to the winds; for one day our river flows, breaking all disciplines. But do you think that a river that flows for one day of the year is going to reach the ocean? And even this one day is only an apology for the real flowing; it is just a mockery of our real selves! Look at nature: there is Existence enjoying Holi every day.
Osho has also said that This Holi festival is just a catharsis for the whole country to throw out all nonsense. It is good, it cleanses. More days are needed because more nonsense is there. One Holi is not enough. In fact, every month a Holi-day is needed so people can throw stones, rubbish at each other, throw colours, dirt, and can use four-letter words. It cleanses.
YOU HAVE RECENTLY SAID THAT MOST OF HUMANITY IS VEGETATING, NOT LIVING. PLEASE EXPLAIN TO US THE ART OF LIVING SO THAT DEATH MAY BECOME ALSO A CELEBRATION.
Suraj Prakash, man is born to achieve life, but it all depends on him. He can miss it. He can go on breathing, he can go on eating, he can go on growing old, he can go on moving towards the grave — but this is not life. This is gradual death from the cradle to the grave, a seventy-year-long gradual death.And because millions of people around you are dying in this gradual, slow death, you also start imitating them. Children learn everything from those who are around them, and we are surrounded by the dead. So first we have to understand what I mean by `life’. It must not be simply growing old. It must be growing up. And these are two different things. Growing old, any animal is capable of. Growing up is the prerogative of human beings. Only a few claim the right.
Growing up means moving every moment deeper into the principle of life; it means going farther away from death — not towards death. The deeper you go into life, the more you understand the immortality within you. You are going away from death; a moment comes when you can see that death is nothing but changing clothes, or changing houses, changing forms — nothing dies, nothing can die. Death is the greatest illusion there is.
For growing up, just watch a tree. As the tree grows up, its roots are growing down, deeper. There is a balance: the higher the tree goes, the deeper the roots will go. You cannot have a tree one hundred and fifty feet high with small roots; they could not support such a huge tree.
In life, growing up means growing deep within yourself — that’s where your roots are.
To me, the first principle of life is meditation. Everything else comes second. And childhood is the best time. As you grow older, it means you are coming closer to death, and it becomes more and more difficult to go into meditation. Meditation means going into your immortality, going into your eternity, going into your godliness.
And the child is the most qualified person because he is still unburdened by knowledge, unburdened by religion, unburdened by education, unburdened by all kinds of rubbish. He is innocent. But unfortunately his innocence is being condemned as ignorance. Ignorance and innocence have a similarity, but they are not the same. Ignorance is also a state of not knowing, just as innocence is. But there is a great difference too, which has been overlooked by the whole of humanity up to now. Innocence is not knowledgeable — but it is not desirous of being knowledgeable either. It is utterly content, fulfilled.
A small child has no ambitions, he has no desires. He is so absorbed in the moment — a bird on the wing catches his eye so totally; just a butterfly, its beautiful colors, and he is enchanted; the rainbow in the sky… and he cannot conceive that there can be anything more significant, richer than this rainbow. And the night full of stars, stars beyond stars….Innocence is rich, it is full, it is pure. Ignorance is poor, it is a beggar — it wants this, it wants that, it wants to be knowledgeable, it wants to be respectable, it wants to be wealthy, it wants to be powerful. Ignorance moves on the path of desire. Innocence is a state of desirelessness. But because they both are without knowledge, we have remained confused about their natures. We have taken it for granted that they are both the same. The first step in the art of living will be to create a demarcation line between ignorance and innocence. Innocence has to be supported, protected — because the child has brought with him the greatest treasure, the treasure that sages find after arduous effort. Sages have said that they become children again, that they are reborn…
Whenever you understand that you have missed life, the first principle to be brought back is innocence. Drop your knowledge, forget your scriptures, forget your religions, your theologies, your philosophies. Be born again, become innocent — and it is in your hands. Clean your mind of all that is not known by you, of all that is borrowed, all that has come from tradition, convention, all that has been given to you by others — parents, teachers, universities. Just get rid of it. Once again be simple, once again be a child. And this miracle is possible by meditation.
Meditation is simply a strange surgical method which cuts you away from all that is not yours and saves only that which is your authentic being. It burns everything else and leaves you standing naked, alone under the sun, in the wind. It is as if you are the first man who has descended onto earth — who knows nothing, who has to discover everything, who has to be a seeker, who has to go on a pilgrimage.
The second principle is the pilgrimage. Life must be a seeking — not a desire, but a search; not an ambition to become this, to become that, a president of a country or a prime minister of a country, but a search to find out “Who am I?” It is very strange that people who don’t know who they are, are trying to become somebody. They don’t even know who they are right now! They are unacquainted with their being — but they have a goal of becoming.
Becoming is the disease of the soul. Being is you. And to discover your being is the beginning of life. Then each moment is a new discovery, each moment brings a new joy; a new mystery opens its doors, a new love starts growing in you, a new compassion that you have never felt before, a new sensitivity about beauty, about goodness.
You become so sensitive that even the smallest blade of grass takes on an immense importance for you. Your sensitivity makes it clear to you that this small blade of grass is as important to existence as the biggest star; without this blade of grass, existence would be less than it is. And this small blade of grass is unique, it is irreplaceable, it has its own individuality. And this sensitivity will create new friendships for you — friendships with trees, with birds, with animals, with mountains, with rivers, with oceans, with stars. Life becomes richer as love grows, as friendliness grows.
In the life of St. Francis, there is a beautiful incident. He is dying, and he has always traveled on a donkey from place to place sharing his experiences. All his disciples are gathered to listen to his last words. The last words of a man are always the most significant that he has ever uttered because they contain the whole experience of his life. But what the disciples heard, they could not believe….St. Francis did not address the disciples; he addressed the donkey. He said, “Brother, I am immensely indebted to you. You have been carrying me from one place to another place with never a complaint, never grumbling. Before I leave this world, all that I want is forgiveness from you; I have not been humane to you.”
These were the last words of St. Francis. A tremendous sensitivity to say to the donkey, “Brother donkey” and ask to be forgiven.
As you become more sensitive, life becomes bigger. It is not a small pond, it becomes oceanic. It is not confined to you and your wife and your children — it is not confined at all. This whole existence becomes your family, and unless the whole existence is your family you have not known what life is — because no man is an island, we are all connected. We are a vast continent, joined in millions of ways. And if our hearts are not full of love for the whole, in the same proportion our life is cut short. Meditation will bring you sensitivity, a great sense of belonging to the world. It is our world — the stars are ours, and we are not foreigners here. We belong intrinsically to existence. We are part of it, we are heart of it. Secondly,
meditation will bring you a great silence — because all rubbish knowledge is gone. Thoughts that are part of the knowledge are gone too… an immense silence, and you are surprised: This silence is the only music there is. All music is an effort to bring this silence somehow into manifestation…As your silence grows; your friendliness, your love grows; your life becomes a moment-to-moment dance, a joy, a celebration…
True celebration should come from your life, in your life.
And true celebration cannot be according to the calendar, that on the first of November you will celebrate. Strange, the whole year you are miserable and on the first of November suddenly you come out of misery, dancing. Either the misery was false or the first of November is false; both cannot be true. And once the first of November is gone, you are back in your dark hole, everybody in his misery, everybody in his anxiety. Life should be a continuous celebration, a festival of lights the whole year round. Only then you can grow up, you can blossom. Transform small things into celebration…
Make everything creative, make the best out of the worst — that’s what I call `the art’. And if a man has lived his whole life making every moment and every phase of it a beauty, a love, a joy, naturally his death is going to be the ultimate peak of his whole life’s endeavor.
The last touches… his death is not going to be ugly as it ordinarily happens every day to everyone. If death is ugly, that means your whole life has been a wastage. Death should be a peaceful acceptance, a loving entry into the unknown, a joyful goodbye to old friends, to the old world. There should not be any tragedy in it.
One Zen master, Lin Chi, was dying. Thousands of his disciples had gathered to listen to the last sermon, but Lin Chi was simply lying down — joyous, smiling, but not saying a single word.
Seeing that he was going to die and he was not saying a single word, somebody reminded Lin Chi — an old friend, a master in his own right…. He was not a disciple of Lin Chi. That’s why he could say to him, “Lin Chi, have you forgotten that you have to say your last words? I have always said your memory isn’t right. You are dying… have you forgotten?”
Lin Chi said, “Just listen.” And on the roof two squirrels were running, screeching. And he said, “How beautiful” and he died.
For a moment, when he said “Just listen,” there was absolute silence. Everybody thought he is going to say something great, but only two squirrels fighting, screeching, running on the roof…. And he smiled and he died. But he has given his last message: don’t make things small and big, trivial and important. Everything is important. At this moment, Lin Chi’s death is as important as the two squirrels running on the roof, there is no difference. In existence it is all the same. That was his whole philosophy, his whole life’s teaching — that there is nothing which is great and there is nothing which is small; it all depends on you, what you make out of it.
Start with meditation, and things will go on growing in you — silence, serenity, blissfulness, sensitivity. And whatever comes out of meditation, try to bring it out in life. Share it, because everything shared grows fast. And when you have reached the point of death, you will know there is no death. You can say goodbye, there is no need for any tears of sadness — maybe tears of joy, but not of sadness. But you have to begin from being innocent. So first, throw out all crap that you are carrying. And everybody is carrying so much crap — and one wonders, for what? Just because people have been telling you that these are great ideas, principles…
You have not been intelligent with yourself.
Be intelligent with yourself. Life is very simple; it is a joyful dance. And the whole earth can be full of joy and dance, but there are people who are seriously vested in their interest that nobody should enjoy life, that nobody should smile, that nobody should laugh, that life is a sin, that it is a punishment. How can you enjoy when the climate is such that you have been told continuously that it is a punishment? — that you are suffering because you have done wrong things and it is a kind of jail where you have been thrown to suffer? I say to you life is not a jail, it is not a punishment. It is a reward, and it is given only to those who have earned it, who deserve it. Now it is your right to enjoy; it will be a sin if you DON’T enjoy. It will be against existence if you don’t beautify it, if you leave it just as you have found it. No, leave it a little happier, a little more beautiful, a little more fragrant.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Chapter title: Unless the whole existence…
31 October 1986 pm in
Osho has spoken on ‘meditation, silence, celebration, dance, religion, innocence’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- A Bird on the Wing
- The Book of Wisdom
- I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
- Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 1
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4
- Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance
- Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
- Philosophia Perennis, Vol 2
- Om Mani Padme Hum
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 6, 7, 10, 11, 12
- Ecstasy – The Forgotten Language
- Sat Chit Anand
- The Invitation