Life is Intelligence

Osho on Intelligence


The question is from Krishna Prem.

Intelligence is intrinsic to life. Intelligence is a natural quality of life. Just as fire is hot, and air is invisible, and water flows downwards, so is life intelligent. Intelligence is not an achievement; you are born intelligent. Trees are intelligent in their own way, they have enough intelligence for their own life. Birds are intelligent, so are animals. In fact, what religions mean by God is only this: that the universe is intelligent, that there is intelligence hidden everywhere. And if you have eyes to see, you can see it everywhere.

Life is intelligence. Only man has become unintelligent. Man has damaged the natural flow of life. Except in man, there is no unintelligence. Have you ever seen a bird you can call stupid? Have you ever seen an animal you can call idiotic? No, such things happen only to man. Something has gone wrong. Man’s intelligence has been damaged, corrupted, has been crippled.

And meditation is nothing but the undoing of that damage. Meditation will not be needed at all if man is left alone. If the priest and the politician do not interfere with man’s intelligence, there will be no need for any meditation. Meditation is medicinal.

First you have to create the disease, then meditation is needed. If the disease is not there, meditation is not needed. And it is not accidental that the words ‘medicine’ and ‘meditation’ come from the same root. It is medicinal.

Each child is born intelligent, and the moment the child is born, we pounce upon him and start destroying his intelligence, because intelligence is dangerous to the political structure, to the social structure, to the religious structure. It is dangerous to the Pope, it is dangerous to the Shankaracharya of Puri, it is dangerous to the priest, it is dangerous to the leader. It is dangerous to the status quo, the establishment. Intelligence is naturally rebellious. Intelligence cannot be forced into any servitude. Intelligence is very assertive, individual. Intelligence cannot be converted into a mechanical imitation.

People have to be converted to carbon copies; their originality has to be destroyed, otherwise all the nonsense that has existed on the earth would be impossible. You need a leader because first you have to be made unintelligent — otherwise there would be no need for any leader. Why should you follow anybody? You will follow your intelligence. If somebody wants to become a leader, then one thing has to be done: your intelligence has to be destroyed somehow. You have to be shaken from your very roots, you have to be made afraid. You have to be made unconfident in yourself — that is a must, only then can the leader come in. If you are intelligent, you will solve your problems yourself. Intelligence is enough to solve all the problems. In fact, whatsoever problems are created in life, you have more intelligence than those problems. It is a provision, it is a gift of God. But there are ambitious people who want to rule, dominate; there are ambitious madmen — they create fear in you. Fear is like rust: it destroys all intelligence. If you want to destroy somebody’s intelligence, the first necessary thing is to create fear: create hell and make people afraid. When people are afraid of hell, they will go to the priest and bow down to the priest. They will listen to the priest. If they don’t listen to the priest… then hellfire — naturally, they are afraid. They have to protect themselves from hellfire, and the priest is needed. The priest becomes a must.

I have heard about two men who were partners in a business. Their business was very unique and they used to travel around the country.

One partner would come to the town. In the night, he would go around and throw coal-tar on people’s windows, and then disappear by morning. After two or three days, the other would come. He used to clean off the coal-tar; he would clean the people’s windows. And people would pay, of course — they have to pay.

They were partners in the same business. One would damage, the other would come to undo it.

Fear has to be created, and greed has to be created. Intelligence is not greedy. You will be surprised to know that an intelligent man is never greedy. Greed is part of unintelligence. You hoard for tomorrow because you are not confident that tomorrow you will be able to tackle your life, otherwise why hoard? You become misers, you become greedy, because you don’t know whether tomorrow your intelligence will be capable of coping with life or not. Who knows? You are not confident about your intelligence so you hoard, you become greedy.

An intelligent person is not afraid, is not greedy. Greed and fear go together — that’s why heaven and hell go together: hell is fear, heaven is greed. Create fear in people and create greed in people — make them as greedy as possible. Make them so greedy that life cannot satisfy them, then they will go to the priest and to the leader. Then they will start fantasizing about some future life where their foolish desires and stupid fantasies will be fulfilled. Watch it. To demand the impossible is to be unintelligent.

An intelligent person is perfectly satisfied with the possible. He works for the probable, he never works for the impossible and the improbable, no. He looks at life and its limitations. He is not a perfectionist. A perfectionist is neurotic. If you are a perfectionist you will go neurotic.

For example, if you love a woman and you ask absolute fidelity, you will go mad and she will go mad. This is not possible: absolute fidelity means she will not even think, she will not even dream of another man. This is not possible. Who are you’? Why has she fallen in love with you? Because you are a man. If she can fall in love with you, why can’t she think of others? That possibility remains open. And how is she going to manage if she sees some beautiful person walking by and if a desire arises in her? Even to say ‘This man is beautiful’ is to desire — the desire has entered. You only say that something is beautiful when it feels worthy of being possessed, of being enjoyed. You are not indifferent.

Now if you ask absolute fidelity — as people have asked then there is bound to be conflict, and you will remain suspicious. And you will remain suspicious because you know your mind too — you also think of other women. So how can you trust that your woman is not thinking of other men? You know you are thinking, so you know she is also thinking. Now… distrust, conflict, agony. The love that was possible has become impossible because of an impossible desire.

People ask that which cannot be done. You want security for the future, which is not possible. You want absolute security for tomorrow — it cannot be guaranteed; it is not in the nature of life. An intelligent person knows that it is not in the nature of life — the future remains open. The bank can go bankrupt, the wife can escape with somebody else, the husband can die, the children may prove unworthy. Who knows about tomorrow? You may fall ill, you may become crippled. Who knows about tomorrow? To ask security for tomorrow means to remain in constant fear. It is not possible, so fear cannot be destroyed. Fear will be there, you will be trembling; and meanwhile the present moment is being missed. With the desire of security in the future you are destroying the present, which is the only life available. And more and more will you become shaken, afraid, greedy.

A child is born; a child is a very, very open phenomenon, utterly intelligent. But we jump upon him, we start destroying his intelligence. We start creating fear in him. You call it teaching, you call it making the child capable of coping with life. You create fear in him. He is unafraid. And your schools, colleges, universities — they all make him more and more unintelligent. They demand foolish things. They demand foolish things to be crammed in which the child and his natural intelligence cannot see any point. For what? That child cannot see the point. Why cram these things? But the university says, the college says, the home, the family, the well-wishers say ‘Cram! You don’t know now, but later on you will know why it is needed.’ Cram history all the nonsense that man has been doing to other men, all the madness — cram it! And the child cannot see the point. What does it matter when a certain king ruled England? From what date to what date? He has to cram those stupid things. Naturally, his intelligence becomes more and more burdened, crippled; more and more dust collects on his intelligence.

By the time a man comes back from the university, he is unintelligent: the university has done its job. It is very rare that a man can come from the university still intelligent, still remaining intelligent. Very few people have been able to escape the university, avoid the university, pass through the university and yet save their intelligence — very rarely. It is such a great mechanism to destroy you. The moment you become educated, you have become unintelligent.

Can t you see this? The educated person behaves very unintelligently. Go to the primitive people who have never been educated, and you will find a pure intelligence functioning.

I have heard…

A woman was trying to open a tin, and she could not find the way to open it. So she went to look in the cookery book. By the time she looked into the book, the cook had opened it. She came back, and she was surprised.

She asked the cook ‘How did you do it?’

He said ‘Lady, when you don’t know how to read, you have to use your intelligence!’

Yes, it is right. When you don’t know how to read you HAVE to use your intelligence. What else can you do? The moment you start reading — those three dangerous R’s, when you have become capable in them — you need not be intelligent, the books will take care. Have you watched it? When a person starts typing, his handwriting is lost, then his handwriting is no longer beautiful. There is no need: the typewriter takes care. If you carry a calculator in your pocket, you will forget all mathematics — there is no need. Sooner or later there will be small computers, and everybody will be carrying them. They will have all the information of an ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA, and then there will be no need for you to be intelligent at all; the computer will take care. Go to the primitive people, the uneducated people, the villagers, and you will find a subtle intelligence. Yes, they are not more informed, that is true, they are not knowledgeable, that is true but they are tremendously intelligent. Their intelligence is like a flame with no smoke around it.

The society has done something wrong with man — for certain reasons. It wants you to be slaves, it wants you to be always afraid, it wants you to be always greedy, it wants you to be always ambitious, it wants you to be always competitive. It wants you to be unloving, it wants you to be full of anger and hatred, it wants you to remain weak, imitative — carbon copies. It does not want you to become original Buddhas, original Krishnas or Christs, no. That’s why your intelligence has been destroyed.

Meditation is needed only to undo what the society has done. Meditation is negative: it simply negates the damage, it destroys the illness; and once the illness has gone, your well-being asserts itself of its own accord…

When Saraha says that intelligence is the very quality of meditativeness, he means this: An intelligent person will try just to be himself, whatsoever the cost. An intelligent person will never copy, will never imitate. He will never parrot. An intelligent person will listen to his own intrinsic call. He will feel his own being and move accordingly, whatsoever the risk. There is risk! When you copy others there is less risk. When you don’t copy anybody you are alone. There is risk!

But life happens only to those who live dangerously. Life happens only to those who are adventurous, who are courageous, almost daredevils — only to them does life happen. Life does not happen to lukewarm people.

An intelligent person trusts himself. His trust is absolute about himself. How can you trust anybody else if you cannot even trust yourself?

People come to me and they say ‘Osho, we want to trust you.’ I ask them ‘Do you trust yourself? If you trust yourself then there is a possibility to trust me too, otherwise there is no possibility.’ How can you trust me if you don’t trust yourself? You are the closest to yourself. You can trust me too if you trust yourself. If you trust yourself, then you will trust your trust in me, otherwise there is no possibility.

Intelligence is trust in your own being. Intelligence is adventure, thrill, joy. Intelligence is to live in this moment, not to hanker for the future. Intelligence is not to think of the past and not to bother about the future: past is no more future is not yet. Intelligence is to make the uttermost use of the present moment that is available — the future will come out of it. If this moment has been lived in delight and joy, the next moment is going to be born out of it. It will bring more joy naturally, but there is no need to bother about it. If my today has been golden, my tomorrow will be even more golden.

From where will it come? It will grow out of today. If this life has been a benediction, my next life will be a higher benediction. From where can it come? It will grow out of me, out of my LIVED experience. So an intelligent person is not concerned about heaven and hell, is not concerned about after-life, is not concerned even about God, is not concerned even about the soul. An intelligent person simply lives intelligently, and God and soul and heaven and NIRVANA — they all follow naturally. You live in belief; belief is unintelligent. Live through knowing; knowing is intelligence. And Saraha is absolutely right: Intelligence is meditation. Unintelligent people also meditate, but certainly they meditate in an unintelligent way. They think that you have to go to the church every Sunday for one hour — that is to be given to religion. This is an unintelligent way to be related to religion. What has the church to do with it? Your real life is in the six days, Sunday is not your real day. You will live non-religiously for six days, and then you go to the church just for one or two hours. Whom are you trying to deceive? Trying to deceive God that you are a church-goer.

Or, if you try a little harder, then every day twenty minutes in the morning, twenty in the evening — you do Transcendental Meditation. You sit with closed eyes and you repeat a mantra in a very stupid way ‘Om, Om, Om’, which dulls the mind even more. To repeat a mantra mechanically takes your intelligence away; it does not give you intelligence, it is like a lullaby. Down the centuries, mothers have known this. Whenever a child is restless and does not want to go to sleep, the mother comes and sings a lullaby. The child feels bored; and the child cannot escape. Where to go? The mother is holding him on the bed. So the only way to escape is in sleep. So he goes to sleep; he simply surrenders. He says ‘It is foolish to be awake now, because she is doing such a boring thing just a single line she goes on repeating.’ There are stories that mothers and grandmothers tell to children when they don’t go to sleep. If you look into these stories, you will find a certain pattern of constant repetition…

A mantra does the same. You repeat ‘Ram, Ram’, ‘Om, Om, ‘Allah, Allah’ — or anything. You go on repeating, you go on repeating. Now you are doing two jobs: both the grandmother’s and the child’s. Your intelligence is like the child, and your learning of the mantra is like the grandmother. The child tries to stop you, gets interested in other things, thinks of beautiful things — beautiful women, beautiful scenes but you catch hold of him red-handed and bring him again to ‘Om, Om, Om’. By and by your inner child feels that it is futile to struggle; the inner child goes to sleep. Yes, the mantra can give you a certain sleep: it is an autohypnotic sleep. There is nothing wrong in it if sleep is difficult for you — if you suffer from insomnia, it is good. But it has nothing to do with spirituality; it is a very unintelligent way to meditate. Then what is the intelligent way to meditate?

The intelligent way is to bring intelligence into everything that you do. Walking, walk intelligently with awareness; eating, eat intelligently with awareness. Do you remember ever eating intelligently? Ever thinking about what you are eating? Is it nutritious? Has it any nourishment value’? Or are you just stuffing without any nourishment? Have you ever watched what you do? You go on smoking… then intelligence is needed. What are you doing? Just taking in smoke and throwing it out, and meanwhile destroying your lungs? And what are you really doing? Wasting money, wasting health. Bring intelligence in while you are smoking, while you are eating. Bring intelligence in when you go and make love to your woman or to your man. What are you doing? Have you really any love? Sometimes you make love out of habit. Then it is ugly, then it is immoral. Love has to be very conscious, only then it becomes prayer.

While making love to your woman, what exactly are you doing? Using the woman’s body to throw some energy that has become too much for you? Or are you paying respect, are you loving to the woman, do you have some reverence for the woman? I don’t see it. Husbands don’t respect their wives, they use them. Wives use their husbands, they don’t respect them. If reverence does not arise out of love, then intelligence is missing somewhere. Otherwise you will feel tremendously grateful to the other, and your love-making will become a great meditation.

Whatsoever you are doing, bring the quality of intelligence into it. Do it intelligently: that’s what meditation is. And Saraha’s statement is of tremendous significance: Intelligence is meditation. Intelligence has to spread all over your life. It is not a Sunday thing. And you cannot do it for twenty minutes and then forget about it. Intelligence has to be just like breathing. Whatsoever you are doing — small, big, whatsoever, cleaning the floor — can be done intelligently or unintelligently.

And you know that when you do it unintelligently there is no joy — you are doing a duty; carrying it somehow…

An intelligent person will make his life in such a way that it will have a poetry of spontaneity, of love, of joy. It is YOUR life, and if you are not kind enough to YOURSELF, who is going to be kind enough to you? If you are wasting it, it is nobody else’s responsibility. I teach you to be responsible towards yourself — that is your first responsibility. Everything else comes next. Everything else. Even God comes next! Because he can come only when you are. You are the very centre of your world, of your existence. So, be intelligent. Bring in the quality of intelligence. And the more intelligent you become, the more capable you will be of bringing more intelligence into your life. Each single moment can become so luminous with intelligence… Then there is no need for any religion, no need to meditate, no need to go to the church, no need to go to any temple, no need for anything extra. Life in its intrinsicness is intelligent. Just live totally, harmoniously, in awareness, and everything follows beautifully. A life of celebration follows the luminousness of intelligence.


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

Discourse Series: The Tantra Vision, Vol 2

Chapter #8

Chapter title: Love makes no shadow

8 May 1977 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on Intelligence, awareness, spontaneity, responsibility, trust, life, rebellious, love, celebrationin many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Unio Mystica, Vol 2
  2. Tao: The Golden Gate
  3. Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
  4. Beyond Enlightenment
  5. The Book of Wisdom
  6. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  7. God is Dead, Now Zen is the Only Living Truth
  8. The Hidden Splendor
  9. Beyond Psychology
  10. From the False to the Truth
  11. Sat Chit Anand
  12. The Secret of Secrets
  13. Sufis: The People of the Path
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  • Someshwar H
    Someshwar H
    Posted May 30, 2022 12:59 pm 0Likes


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