Light on the Path 01

First Discourse from the series of 35 discourses - Light on the Path by Osho.
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Your sannyasins and lovers all around are concerned about your health. How are you now?
My health is good. They tried to harm me but they could not succeed for two reasons: one, the people they had appointed to harass me – to indirectly create situations in which I would be suffering – soon fell in love with me. They started saying to me, “This is something we cannot do.”
In one jail particularly, the sheriff of the jail, the doctor, the nurses and all the inmates – three hundred and sixty people…it almost became a commune. For six days I was there, and it changed the whole atmosphere of the jail.
The sheriff was an old man and he told me, “This is for the first time, and perhaps the last time, that a person like you will come into this jail. We have never felt so silent; even our criminals have never been so peaceful. And our whole staff has fallen in such love with you that they don’t want you to be released. They want you to be here.”
The head nurse said, “Tomorrow, we will be looking for you and we will miss you.” People are people. If you just have enough love, you can change their hearts very easily. So this was one of the reasons they could not harm me much.
The second reason was the freedom, the immense freedom of the press. The whole world press, except India, was focused on me. Every jail where I was, was puzzled about what has happened. Twenty-four hours a day there were telephone calls, thousands of telegrams, hundreds of flowers reaching from all parts of the world. “If so many people love this man, there must have been some mistake.”
And the press was continuously around every jail – in their helicopters with their cameras, cameras on the gate, cameras in the trees. They never left me for a single moment in twelve days. And just in my passing from one jail to another – at least I had to come out of the gate – even in those few moments they would ask me, “Are they harming you? Just one word from you and the whole world will see the real fascist face of America.” Afraid of the press, they could not do much.
So my health is perfectly good.

What is the best way to encourage people in meditation?
The first thing: for a patient to go to the doctor, you must make him realize that he is sick; otherwise there is no need to go to the doctor.
So the people you want to encourage into meditation: first you have to make them aware that they are frustrated, perhaps for so long that they have forgotten that they are sad. They cannot remember when they laughed from their very hearts. They have become robots – they do things because they have to be done but there is no joy in doing them.
They are living an accidental life. Their birth is accidental, their marriage is accidental, their children are accidental, their job is accidental. Their life has no sense of intrinsic growth and direction. That’s why they cannot feel like rejoicing.
So first you have to make them aware where they are – and almost everybody is in the same situation. Death is coming close – you cannot even rely on your being here tomorrow. And your life is an absolute desert – it has not found any oasis, it has not felt any meaning, any significance – and death may destroy all possibilities in the future.
So first you have to make them aware of their meaningless, accidental, frustrated life. They know it, but they try to suppress their knowing in many ways, because to know it continuously is a torture. So they go to the movies to forget it. They go to parties, they go to picnics, they drink alcoholic beverages; they do everything – just to somehow not remember the reality of their life, their hollowness, futility.
This is the most important part – to remind them. And once a person remembers all this, then to lead him towards meditation is a very simple thing, because meditation is the only answer to all the questions of man. It may be frustration, it may be depression, it may be sadness, it may be meaninglessness, it may be anguish: The problems may be many but the answer is one.
Meditation is the answer.
And the simplest method of meditation is just a way of witnessing. There are one hundred and twelve methods of meditation, but witnessing is an essential part of all one hundred and twelve methods. So as far as I am concerned, witnessing is the only method. Those one hundred and twelve are different applications of witnessing.
The essential core, the spirit of meditation is to learn how to witness.
You are seeing a tree: You are there, the tree is there, but can’t you find one thing more? – that you are seeing the tree, that there is a witness in you which is seeing you seeing the tree.
The world is not divided only into the object and the subject. There is also something beyond both, and that beyond is meditation.
So in every act…and I don’t want people to sit for one hour or half an hour in the morning or in the evening. That kind of meditation is not going to help, because if you meditate for one hour, then for twenty-three hours you will be doing just the opposite of it.
Meditation can be victorious: witnessing is such a method that it can spread over twenty-four hours of your day.
Eating, don’t get identified with the eater. The food is there, the eater is there, and you are here, watching. Walking, let the body walk but you simply watch. Slowly, the knack comes. It is a knack, and once you can watch small things….
This crow, crowing…you are listening. These are two – object and subject. But can’t you see a witness who is seeing both? – The crow, the listener, and still there is someone who is watching both. It is such a simple phenomenon. Then you can move into deeper layers: you can watch your thoughts; you can watch your emotions, your moods.
There is no need to say, “I am sad.” The fact is that you are a witness that a cloud of sadness is passing over you. There is anger – you can simply be a witness. There is no need to say, “I am angry.” You are never angry – there is no way for you to be angry – you are always a witness. The anger comes and goes; you are just a mirror. Things come, get reflected, move – and the mirror remains empty and clean, unscratched by the reflections.
Witnessing is finding your inside mirror.
And once you have found it, miracles start happening. When you are simply witnessing the thoughts, thoughts disappear. Then there is suddenly a tremendous silence you have never known. When you are watching the moods – anger, sadness, happiness – they suddenly disappear and an even greater silence is experienced.
And when there is nothing to watch – then the revolution. Then the witnessing energy turns upon itself because there is nothing to prevent it; there is no object left. The word object is beautiful. It simply means that which prevents you, objects you. When there is no object to your witnessing, it simply comes around back to yourself – to the source. And this is the point where one becomes enlightened.
Meditation is only a path: the end is always buddhahood, enlightenment. And to know this moment is to know all.
Then there is no misery, no frustration, no meaninglessness; then life is no longer an accident. It becomes part of this cosmic whole – an essential part. And a tremendous bliss arises that this whole existence needs you.
Man’s greatest need is to be needed. If somebody needs you, you feel gratified. But if the whole existence needs you, then there is no limit to your bliss. And this existence needs even a small blade of grass as much as the biggest star.
There is no question of inequality. Nobody can substitute for you. If you are not there, then existence will be something less and will remain always something less – it will never be full. That feeling – that this whole immense existence is in need of you – takes all miseries away from you.
For the first time, you have come home.

What kind of meditation do you suggest for the people for whom dynamic meditation is not suitable due to medical reasons?
I have answered that.

Can you give your reasons for the need of coordinators?
Whenever there is more than one person, there is always a possibility of conflict, a possibility of disagreement, a possibility of a rift.
And sannyas is a movement.
Christianity does not need coordinators because it is not a movement. It is not alive, it is dead like all other religions. It has fixed roots. Either you follow or you don’t follow; there is no question of agreement or disagreement. You cannot disagree with Jesus Christ. Either you have faith or you don’t.
But sannyas is not a dead, fixed dogma. It is an on-going process, a movement where I do not support faith, I do not support belief. I support reasoning, intelligence; I support doubt.
Naturally, coordinators are needed, because if twelve persons are there in an ashram or five thousand people in a commune, on each and every point there can be disagreement. The function of the coordinator is not to enforce a certain dogma but to bring every possible argument into the open.
Everybody has to be invited to bring his own opinion and then sort it out and unanimously decide what comes closer to truth. The coordinator is simply to make this arrangement so that people can come together with reasoning, not with belief, with their intelligence not crushed but enhanced. I would not like my sannyasins to be just believers.
One of the chaplains came to me in a jail in America. He must have been coming every Sunday to visit the jail, and he must have heard my name. He particularly came to me to give me a Bible. I said, “What is this?”
He said, “This is the word of God.”
I said, “How did you come to know that this is the word of God? Has God told you?”
“No,” he said, “it is written in The Bible itself.”
I said, “But it is also written in the Koran, it is also written in the Vedas, it is also written in the Gita. Then how are you going to choose which is the true word of God? They all claim that these are the words of God.”
I said, “I will keep it – you have brought it with such love – but remember, this is not the word of God. And have you looked into the book? You are a chaplain; you must have studied it your whole life, passed examinations in theological colleges. Have you ever thought that at least five hundred pages in The Bible are pornographic? Your God seems to be a pornographer.”
He said, “Pornography?”
I said, “You can open the book anywhere and you will find pornography and nothing else. And it is not only the case with you; it is the case with Hindus, with Mohammedans, with Jews, with everybody. Their so-called holy books are so unholy, but nobody looks into it. With faith, one goes on believing.”
The chaplain was a little puzzled. He said, “I will have to look into it again.”
I said, “You will have to look, but you will have to look not with faith, because faith is blindness. You will have to look with a reasoning intelligence. Jesus proclaiming himself the only begotten son of God…. Now, if you come across somebody in the street proclaiming that he is the only begotten son of God, what are you going to think about the man?”
He said, “I will think he is mad.”
I said, “Then why are you thinking differently about Jesus? In Jesus’ life not a single rabbi, not a single scholar, not a single man of intelligence, of the intelligentsia, ever became his disciple. The twelve people that became his apostles were fishermen, woodcutters, farmers, shoemakers – or the lowest class, uneducated.
“Just visualize a man sitting on a donkey. Jesus used to sit on a donkey – riding donkeys was prevalent in Judea – followed by twelve uneducated people, proclaiming himself the only begotten son of God.” The chaplain said, “Just stop! You can destroy my faith. Now this idea of Jesus sitting on a donkey, followed by twelve uneducated people – it will take years for me to get rid of it.”
The function of the coordinator is to help people to be more intelligent about any problem, to be more rational; and secondly, to make them aware that it is not a question of their being right or your being right. The question is: what is truth? Truth belongs to nobody, and we are all seekers.
The function of the coordinator is very important. He should be very humble; only then can he do this work. He should not be authoritative in any way, because if he himself is authoritative, then how is he going to help people to grow in intelligence?

How can we avoid being authoritative?
It is very simple.
The people who are authoritarian are the people who are suffering from an inferiority complex.
To hide their inferiority they impose their superiority. They want to prove that they are somebody, that their word is truth, that their word is law. But deep down they are very inferior beings.
This is one of the reasons that all of the politicians suffer from an inferiority complex. Anybody who does not suffer from an inferiority complex will not go into politics at all. There are so many beautiful things in the world to do – to paint, to sing, to dance, to create literature, to make beautiful statues, to create a Khajuraho. There is so much creativity available, but that is available only to a person who does not suffer from inferiority.
So we have to make clear to all our sannyasins that nobody in the world is inferior and nobody in the world is superior. The whole idea is artificial and created by people who have a vested interest in it. They have created the same idea in many ways…man is superior, woman is inferior – on what criterion?
The woman lives longer than man, five years longer. The woman falls sick less than man. For one hundred boys born, only ninety girls are born, because by the time the boys will be marriageable, ten will have gone down the drain.
At the time of marriage they will be equal, ninety of both. The girl has more stamina, more resistance to disease. She talks about committing suicide but she never does. Men commit suicide almost twice as much as women.
In what way is man superior? But the idea had to be created because it helped man to keep woman a slave.
She is inferior, so inferior that in countries like China, woman has no soul. A husband can kill his wife – it is not a crime. It is just like you destroy your chair. It is your chair, you have paid for it: what crime is there? And men have convinced women that they don’t have any soul because they never allowed them to be educated, they never allowed them to move in society. Naturally, they could not argue.
Why is it so difficult to argue with a woman? Nobody thinks about it. If you argue with a woman she will start screaming, crying, throwing things; but she will not argue. And you, seeing this whole scene, will feel it is better to accept whatever she is saying; otherwise she will put the whole house on fire. And neighbors are watching, people in the street are gathering around your house. So it is better – whether you are right or wrong does not matter – to say she is right.
But who has put her in this condition? It is because you never gave her education, you never taught her logic. You never allowed her to be as intelligent as you are because you were always afraid. And you can see the fear in the universities. Women are always ahead of men, they top the list more than men. They always achieve more first class honors than the man.
We have created this idea of superiority and inferiority for some vested interests.
The sudras are inferior. Nobody has proved why. There seems to be no reason that the brahmin should be superior and the sudra should be inferior, but you have managed for thousands of years to keep them uneducated. You have kept them doing things which need no intelligence, and you have not allowed them to do anything else.
A man who has been making your shoes – his family has been making shoes for thousands of years, generation after generation. Now there is no need of intelligence. There is no challenge – he has only to make shoes. These are all strategies of exploitation.
We have to explain to our sannyasins that nobody is superior, nobody is inferior, and nobody is equal either. Everybody is unique. That point has to be remembered, because if you say nobody is superior and nobody is inferior, people are certain to conclude that everybody is equal – which is not true.
Equality is psychologically wrong. Everybody cannot be an Albert Einstein and everybody cannot be a Rabindranath Tagore. But that does not mean that Rabindranath Tagore is superior because you cannot be him. Rabindranath cannot be you either.
My whole point is that everybody is a unique manifestation. So we destroy the whole idea of superiority and inferiority, equality and inequality, and we replace it with a new concept of uniqueness.
And every individual is unique.
Just look lovingly and you will see that every individual has something which nobody else has. Once the idea of uniqueness spreads in the commune, there will be nobody who will try to enforce authority.

What is the future of the communes?
I don’t think much about the future because the future is born of the present. If we can take care of the present, we have taken care of the future. It is not going to come from nowhere, it is going to grow from this moment. The next moment will be growing out of this moment. If this moment is beautiful, silent, blissful, the next moment is bound to be more silent, more blissful.
Now there are communes all over the world, and they are rejoicing in the present. Naturally, whatever comes in the future will be better. I don’t believe in the idea that has been enforced in India for centuries – that the golden age has passed: that it was in Satyuga, the age of truth, and then the fall began and we are now at the last stage of the fall, Kaliyuga.
This is one of the reasons that Indian psychology is depressive and does not have the inspiration to grow, to expand, to be rich, to be creative. For what? – in Kaliyuga it is not possible. If you are sad, if you are frustrated, if you are miserable, that’s how you should be. It fits with the Hindu idea of a continuous fall – and that is absolutely absurd.
I trust in evolution.
The golden age is always in the future.

You are an ever-changing, unpredictable master – how can we be your contemporary fellow travelers?
In the same way! Be unpredictable and be ever-changing. Never stop changing and never stop being unpredictable, and only then can life be a joy.
The moment you become predictable, you become a machine. A machine is predictable. It was the same yesterday, it is the same today, it will be the same tomorrow. You can predict about it: it is unchanging. It is only man’s prerogative to be changing every moment.
The day you stop changing, in a subtle way you have died. And many people in the world die nearabout the age of thirty. Then they go on living – perhaps forty years, forty-five years more – but that is posthumous living, it is not really living. They have stopped living at thirty. But there is no need to stop living until the breathing itself stops.
In the first world war it happened that for the first time they checked the mental age of the soldiers, and they were surprised: the average mental age was only thirteen years. The person may have been forty, fifty – his mental age was thirteen. He had stopped growing mentally at thirteen, although his body went on growing.
I would like that your…. If this is possible, that the body can be fifty, and the mental age can be thirteen, why is it not possible that your body is fifty and your mental age is two hundred? It is exactly the same thing. One just has to risk losing stability, guarantees, because wherever you are, things are guaranteed, stable, and you think, “Why take any risk in changing?”
No. Risks should be one of the basic foundations of a real man. The moment you see that things are settling, unsettle them.
I have been doing that my whole life. I have never settled myself, neither have I allowed anybody else to settle. And I feel that this is the way to grow. Each moment, something new blossoms in you. At the very last moment….

I am reminded of a Zen master who said to his disciples, “My time of death has come, but I am a little puzzled: I am trying to think of some way to die in which nobody else has died before, because I don’t want to be an imitator. You suggest something.”
Somebody said, “It will be good if you die standing.”
But one man said, “I have heard one Zen master once died standing.” – so that was ruled out.
Dying, lying in the bed, was of course absolutely ruled out. Ninety-nine percent of people die in their bed, lying down. That is the most dangerous place – your bed. That is where ninety-nine percent of people down through thousands of years have been dying. It is better to pull your mattress onto the floor.
The Zen master said, “I have got an idea! If a man has died standing, then I will die standing on my head. Have you ever heard of anybody dying standing on his head?”
His disciples said, “We have not even thought about it. This is hilarious!”
The master stood on his head and died. The disciples were in trouble – what to do with this man, because they knew what to do if a man dies on his bed, but he was standing on his head. Somebody suggested that the master’s sister, who was older than him and living in another Jaina monastery just nearby – it would be better to ask her. It was a very new situation.
The sister came and she said, “Bozo!” – that was his childhood name – “Are you going to stop your mischief or not? Just lie down on the bed!”
Bozo laughed. He was still alive; otherwise, how can you go on standing on your head when you are dead. His sister said, “Die in a normal way.” And just to follow his older sister, he died in a normal way!

But it is good to have something new always happening, something new to be accepted; and one should remain open. My sannyasins particularly should remain open, so open that they can take even the whole universe within themselves. There should be no limit to it.

The device of mala and saffron clothes gives us an integrity, freedom from social norms and courage to stand alone. Now, with a free sannyas, are you going to create more subtle devices to achieve this?
I am certainly – because it is time that your meditation should make you different from anybody who is not meditating. Your silence, your love, your compassion, your friendliness, should make you aloof from anybody else.
Mala and clothes are very material things. I would like now some spiritual distinctions to be created – and they are already there. It has happened many times – people have reported it to me. They had gone to do some work, and perhaps the mala and the clothes might have been a hindrance in the work, so they went in plain, ordinary clothes, but they were recognized. The shopkeeper said, “But something is different about you. You are not the usual kind of person who comes.”
And that will be far more beautiful – that you are recognized by your spirituality, by your integrity, by your individuality, by your compassion, by your love.
But I have not said that people who want to remain in orange and mala have to drop it. Even new sannyasins who want to choose the mala and red, they can. And my feeling is that none of the old sannyasins are going to leave the mala and red clothes. They have become almost part of them – without them they will feel almost naked.
And the new people who come, even if they come with plain clothes, soon they will start wearing red and the mala, because they will look so much like foreigners, outsiders – and nobody wants to look like an outsider. Everybody wants to be an insider, in the innermost circle.
So I have opened the doors so people can come in who are just sitting on the fence, who are sympathizers, who always wanted to be sannyasins, but just because of the clothes and the mala, they are afraid. So I want them to get down from the fence and enter into the temple; and the temple is full of red people. Once they are down off the fence, it will not be a long time before they will be in red.
Red is not going to disappear. It is going to grow more and more. And opening the doors for people who cannot suddenly change their clothes – let them take their time, why keep them out? Let them meditate – that will give them courage.
Sannyas will remain red and sannyas will remain with malas. I have opened the door only for those who are half-heartedly standing outside. It does not look good – let them come in. Painting their clothes will not be very difficult.

You have great respect for individuality, meritocracy, equal opportunities for everyone to be unique. How can we practically apply these things in our commune life?
It is not difficult, it is only a question of outlook.

I am reminded…. In a house there was a painting, and everybody laughed about it to the owner: “Why are you hanging it? It makes no sense!” Finally the owner got fed up, took down the painting and put it in the basement.
One day a man came, and he said, “What happened to the painting that was here? It was an authentic Picasso.”
The owner said, “An authentic Picasso? My God, I have put it in the basement. It is worth one million dollars!” He ran, brought the painting, cleaned it and put it back. Now what had happened? Just a change of outlook. Whether the painting is an authentic Picasso or not is not the question, but his outlook immediately changed.

Every sannyasin has to see in every other sannyasin a unique individual, an authentic creation of existence. And it is true, because nobody else is like you. There are no individuals, even two, who are similar. Even twins are not absolutely similar.
So it is simply a fact that everybody is unique, and everybody has a certain individuality. We just have to drop ideas of how people should be, and we have to replace it with a philosophy that however people are, they are beautiful. There is no question of “should be” because who are we to impose any “should” on anybody? If existence is ready to accept you as you are, then who am I not to?
So just a change of attitude – and it is a very simple thing, once it gets into your vision. Everybody is unique, everybody is as he is and he should be as he is. There is no need for him to be somebody else to be accepted; he’s accepted already. This is what I call respect for individuality, respect for people – as they are.
The whole humanity can be such a loving and rejoicing place if we can accept people as they are. But we cannot.
The wife is trying to tell the husband, in every possible way, how he should be. The husband is trying to tell the wife how she should be. Both are trying to tell the children how they should be.
I was staying in a family, and I asked a child who was sitting just by my side, “What are you going to be when you become big?”
He said, “It is very difficult. I will fall apart.”
I said, “Why?”
He said, “My mother wants me to be a doctor, my father wants me to be an engineer, my uncle wants me to be an actor, and nobody bothers to ask me what I want to be. I simply want to be a carpenter, because I love wood and I want to play with wood and make things out of wood.
“But I cannot say this because they will all laugh and say, ‘You are an idiot. We are talking about being a doctor, an actor, an engineer – and you want to be a carpenter!’” But that boy, if he becomes a doctor, will remain miserable. If he becomes an engineer he will remain miserable.

I have heard the story of a very great surgeon, a world-famous surgeon, who was retiring. He was seventy-five; still no young man was capable of competing with him – at the age of seventy-five his hands were like steel.
He was retiring, and all his friends were there: there was great dancing and joy and eating and drinking. But he was sitting in a corner, sad. Somebody said to him, “This is not a time to be sad. Everybody is enjoying – why don’t you come and enjoy?”
He said, “This is a time for me to be sad. I never wanted to be a surgeon. My whole life I wasted being a surgeon. Although I became the topmost surgeon in the world, it has not given me any contentment. I wanted to be a dancer, and even if I had been a street dancer, it would have been closer to my heart’s content.”

So let the people be what they are. Help them to be what they want. Never impose. And this is respect for humanity.

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