Light on the Path 11

Eleventh Discourse from the series of 38 discourses - Light on the Path by Osho.
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How is it possible that you just walk past a person and you set them on fire? I have seen even people who don't know that they love you burst into flames.
The question is great. Life is not synonymous with logic, particularly the logic that Aristotle has given to the world. It has an appeal to the mind – it is very simple, very obvious, very mathematical, scientific. But the appeal to the mind of Aristotle’s logic is not that it fits with existence, that it represents life. On the contrary, mind is overwhelmed by it because it fits with the split mind, and it fits perfectly. Naturally the mind is convinced.
But life is not logic. So first we have to understand the split of the mind which makes it so much impressed by a wrong logic, a logic which is not representative of existence itself.
Mind has a double split. The front of the mind and the back of the mind – that is the first split.
The front of the mind is active, and the back of the mind is inactive. The front of the mind thinks;, the back of the mind simply lives. The front of the mind is the base of all our activities, of all our achievements, of all our scientific, technological progress. The back of the mind is absolutely silent, and only meditators have known it; others have it but they are unaware of it. Unless you become inactive, so much so that there is not even the subtle activity of thoughts or emotions, you cannot enter the back side of your own mind.
The front side of your mind is very limited; action has to be limited. Inaction is enormous; it has no limits, it is vast. Action can be defined, reduced to explanations, to theories. But the beauty, the experience of the inactive, stays with you, is beyond words. But it is there whether you know it or not, it does not depend on your knowing, it is always there. I will come to it later on when I am answering your question exactly. Just now I am creating the space in which the question can be answered.
The second split is between the right side and the left side. Our hands are representative of the right and the left sides, but in a strange way: the left hand represents the right side of the mind, and the right hand represents the left side of the mind. And because we have used only the right hand and the left hand is very secondary, somewhere deep in our minds the right is right and the left is wrong.
So anything that is wrong we condemn as leftist, and anything that we want to appreciate – the tradition supports it, the orthodoxy is behind it, the masses are absolutely for it – is rightist.
In India the wife cannot sit at the right side of the man, she has to sit at the left side. She is a condemned being. At the most she can be the left hand, but never the right hand – that is preserved for the man.
But strangely we were not aware for centuries that the right hand represents the left side of mind; it is joined crisscross. So the left side of the mind has developed because the right hand is active. Its action is an extension of the side of the mind it is connected to. And because the left hand is ignored, the right side of the mind has also been ignored.
So there is a cross in the mind of man, dividing it in two ways. Front and back, that is one division; then right and left – another division. If the cross can have any significance, this should be the significance.
Every man is on the cross, not only Jesus Christ.
And the cross is not outside you, the cross is within you. It is far heavier than the outside cross, and it is far more murderous. It has destroyed so enormously, so devastatingly, that it is almost incalculable. And all the traditions of the world have been supporting it.
The left side of the mind has its qualities…. For example, it can be used by the front of the mind without any difficulty. It has a certain affinity with the front of the mind. The right side of the mind has a certain affinity with the back side of the mind. So as the meditator moves into the unused parts of his own mind…if he moves to the back part he becomes absolutely silent.
Many mystics have never spoken, for the simple reason that they had no idea…that if they wanted to speak, they had to move to the right side of the mind, they had to use the right side of the mind.
Before they ever entered into meditation they had used the left side of the mind – they knew only it. When they moved into meditation suddenly they found that there is no connection between the left side of the mind and the back of the mind. They became disconnected. Their silence was not willed; simply, they could not find a way out of it. They tried the left side of the mind, to which they were accustomed, and they could not reach it. From the back of the mind there is no way to the left side of the mind. They never said a single word.
Very few mystics have done the tremendous job of searching and seeing the fact that the left side of the mind is used by the front mind for thinking and for all kinds of activities. It is a natural deduction that perhaps the right side of the mind may be the way to express silence, to let it become a song. These are the few mystics who became known as great masters.
All mystics have not been masters. They had realized, they had come to the ultimate peak of experience, but they remained isolated and cut off from the larger humanity. They could not contribute anything. They knew it – but suddenly they found they were dumb. They have tasted it, but by tasting it they have lost their tongue, they cannot speak about it.

One of the greatest philosophers of the contemporary West, Ludwig Wittgenstein, has made one of the most pregnant statements. He is the only man in the contemporary world who writes only maxims, who does not even make a paragraph – just lines, each line separate and individual.
One of his lines is: “That which cannot be said should not be said.” Now, this man is aware that there is something which cannot be said. He is not denying it, he is not saying that there is nothing mysterious; it is there. But he is making a statement that that which cannot be said, should not be said. Why? Because whatever you say is going to be wrong. That is the situation of a person who has somehow come in contact with the back of the mind.
Now, this man was a trained philosopher, and trained under the greatest minds of this age. He had fortunately, Bertrand Russell as one of his teachers, G.E. Moore as one of his teachers – and both these great philosophers, G.E. Moore and Bertrand Russell, have said about him, “Although he was a student, we felt like pygmies before him.” And these were the great philosophers, Nobel Prize winners.
What was it about Ludwig Wittgenstein that made them feel like pygmies? – he was just a student and it was at the suggestion of Bertrand Russell that Wittgenstein published his notes that he was taking in Russell’s class. They were not notes of what Russell was saying, they were notes of what Wittgenstein’s reactions were to Bertrand Russell’s statements.
When Russell looked at Wittgenstein’s copy book he said, “My God, I thought you were writing about my speeches, my lectures. But you have written original things, you have done a great job.” He was reacting…. Bertrand Russell had a developed front part of his mind, and that man Ludwig Wittgenstein was in contact with the back of his mind.
Scientists say we don’t know what the purpose of the back of the mind is. They have not been able to figure it out, why it is there, because it is half of the mind but it seems to have no purpose. It helps in no way, it has no function. Scientists perhaps will never be able to understand this abysmal depth, darkness, and the mysterious part of their own minds.
Whatever Wittgenstein had noted down as reactions in his notebooks, Bertrand Russell persuaded him to publish. Wittgenstein said, “but these are simply notes! You were talking, and when I heard something and I felt it was not the right thing, I simply wrote down notes, just for my own purposes.”
Bertrand Russell insisted, “the notes should be published as they are; and don’t edit them, because they bring something which is not known to the thinker, the philosopher; they bring something which is known only to the mystic. It is just a coincidence that a mystic has come to study philosophy.”
But Wittgenstein could not find the connection between the mysterious side of his mind and the left side of his mind. There was no bridge. He tried hard – he was a trained philosopher, logician, so naturally he worked very hard. He wrote his books again and again, revised them, tried hard, and finally decided that that which cannot be said, should not be said, because whatever you say is going to be wrong. It will not represent the actual experience.
He could not find the real passage from the back of the mind. It is not the left side of the mind. The left side of the mind is in the service of the front of the mind, it is part of the world of activities. The right side of the mind is in the service of the inactive, of the silent, of the unmoving. We are carrying this cross continuously. Aristotle’s logic fits with the left side of the mind and the front of the mind, but it leaves great spaces outside. The front of the mind and the left side of the mind are very small. The back of the mind is just endless; it is an opening into the mysteries of life.

Once in a while it has happened that somebody has found the link and has been able to say something significant. That’s why there are so many mystics in the world but very few masters. A master is a mystic who has found that the right side of the mind is the way to convey the illogical, the mysterious, the unexplained and the unexplainable.
Your question is: What happens to people sometimes? – People who are not even acquainted with me, who may have come just out of curiosity to see me, who may just have happened to be there accidentally when I was passing by…. But something transpires, they are aflame. You can see from their eyes, from their faces: within a second they have moved miles. And they were not expecting it, they were not desiring it. They were not even aware of it, that this was going to happen. They become aware of it only when it has happened, and there is no way to undo it.
It happens because of a few things. First, because they were not expecting it, so there was no barrier. They were not there desiring something, so there was no barrier. They were not in any kind of relationship with me, so they were simply present, with no hindrance, with no expectations.
Just being there is one of the most significant things, and a person who loves me will find it difficult to just be there. Some unconscious desire, expectation…just a very small expectation that I should recognize him – that is enough.
But the stranger, the tourist, the curious, the accidental has no expectation, even this much. He just happens to be standing there, and I pass by. And because there is no barrier, the mysterious part of his being is available…not that I have to do something, it is just that he is available. And as the flame can jump from one candle to another candle – you just have to bring them close enough….
He is there, silently waiting, without expectation: that brings him closer. The bigger the expectation, the bigger the distance. And from my mysterious world just a small flame has to take a jump. All that is needed is a certain closeness so that you catch it.
Once it has happened, perhaps he may come tomorrow again, but it is not going to happen, because the next day he will come with the expectation – the same man. In fact ordinary logic will say that now it has happened to him, there is more possibility of it happening. But life does not follow the ordinary logic. It has its own way, which is very illogical. At least it is certain it does not follow Aristotle’s divided logic, it does not follow our mind’s divided approach to reality.
Mind sees things in black and white, nothing in between: day and night – nothing in between; life and death – nothing in between; love and hate – nothing in between. Mind simply divides, splits, cuts a thing into two separate polar realities, makes them so contradictory that it seems impossible that there could be a way for them not to be separate, for them to be one reality.
The mind has only taken the two ends of one reality. That’s how it is. Logically, love and hate are opposites, contradictory. But existentially, that’s not true. Love can move easily into hate without any barrier. Hate can move into love just like waves moving into other waves with no barriers anywhere.
It is our idea that light and dark are two contradictory realities. That’s not true. There are animals who see in the night, and in the day they cannot see. The light is too much for their delicate eyes; it blinds them. In daylight they see only darkness because their eyes are closed and they cannot open them. They can open their eyes only when the calmness and the quiet and the peaceful night descends. Then they can open their delicate eyes, and the night is all full of light. They have more sensitive eyes than us. Our night is their day; our day is their night.
There is no opposition. At the most we can say that light is less dark, and darkness is less light. But we have to use something which makes only a difference of degrees and does not create any contradiction.
And every day we see life moving into death so calmly, so quietly, without making any fuss. You cannot hear even the footsteps of death. There cannot be any contradiction. And those who know, know the other side also – that death goes on moving into new forms of life. All distinctions are man-made – existence is distinctionless.
Once we start thinking of one reality, distinctionless – not dividing into dualities or dichotomies – the cross can disappear from the mind. Nobody else has crucified you – you yourself are responsible, because you can put the cross away from you, and your whole mind can become one.
In the oneness of your mind you have tremendous powers. Not that you become powerful over other people, but suddenly you find things are happening through you, not by you. You have become a vehicle of a vast existence; and this is what creates such kinds of happenings.
You can see it: a stranger is standing close by, and suddenly becomes afire. He will never be the same man again because he cannot forget what for a moment had become reality. It will haunt him, it will follow him like a shadow. He will have to do something; otherwise he will be haunted by the memory of it. What has happened is that the back of his mind, which may have remained dormant for millennia, has suddenly become alive.
This is what I call synchronicity. And this is the only symbol of whether you are with a master or not.
People have wondered down the ages, “What are the qualities of a master? How to define the master? How to decide who is the right master? Who is just pretending to be a master and who is really and authentically a master?” They have come to many definitions and many qualities and many attributes – and they are all of the logical mind. None of them is of any significance.
I would like to tell you that only one thing decides a true master, and that is that his presence can make your dormant mind suddenly alive; it can put you on fire.
It can make you blossom into thousands of flowers in just a single moment. The moment becomes so intense that it is almost equal to eternity. This is the only way to decide-everything else is meaningless.
Each religion has its own definitions of a true master. They all differ in their definitions – obviously – because they have found those definitions by following a certain teacher, who may have been a master or may not have been a master. They have simply collected all his attributes – what he eats, what he wears, how he walks, how he sits, how much he sleeps….
But each master is unique, so you cannot define him by these things. Mahavira is naked, Buddha is his contemporary, and he is not naked. Now, Jainas cannot accept Buddha as an authentic master for the simple reason that he is not naked: a true master has to be naked. Buddhists cannot accept Mahavira as a master for the simple reason that Buddha’s whole teaching is to remain always in the middle; all extremism is egoistic, the extremist is always an egoist.
Now, there are people who go on collecting all kinds of things – this is one extreme. And there is another extreme: there are people who, as far as possible, go on renouncing everything. If it were possible for them to take off their skin, they would take off their skin too. They have to stop at the clothes because more than that is impossible to do, they have come to the end.
So according to the Buddhist, Mahavira is an extremist. There is no need to be naked. Perhaps when it is too hot you can be naked; but when it is too cold you need a blanket – and there is no harm in it, you have to take care of the body. You just remain in the middle, you don’t go to the extremes. You don’t start collecting blankets; nor should you remain naked in the cold, unnecessarily torturing yourself.
The Buddhists cannot accept Mahavira as a master because their definitions are from the outside. They are just watching a man from the outside, they don’t know the inner reality of the master. There is only one thing that defines – everything else is casual, an individual choice.
Mahavira, as far as I understand, was such a beautiful man – perhaps in the whole history of men there has never been such a proportionate body with such an exquisite beauty. I don’t accept the Jainas’ idea that he is an ascetic, that’s why he is naked. No. My own understanding is that he loves beauty, and he is so beautiful that any clothing on him will simply destroy his beauty. Naked, he is just pure beauty.
In fact, clothes have been discovered by people to cover their bodies so they don’t show their unproportionate bodies. Clothes have other purposes too, but the basic purpose is not only the climate; the basic purpose seems to be to keep your body looking as beautiful as possible. Naked, it is not so beautiful; naked only very few people will be beautiful – most of them will look ugly. With clothes most of them look beautiful because only the face shows.
I don’t think Mahavira is an extremist. I simply conceive that the man is so beautiful he does not need clothes; and he is so healthy that the changing seasons make no difference to him. It is because of his health and his beauty. But that does not decide anything as to his being a master or not.
For that, there is one, and only one, criterion: whether he puts people on fire – particularly those who are strangers, particularly those who have come only as curiosity-seekers, just to see what kind of man this is who attracts so many people.
They have not come with a spiritual desire because desire as such is always unspiritual.
So there cannot be any spiritual desire. They have not come to gain anything, they are just onlookers. And this is the criterion: if the master passes by such people and something transpires in those people – who are not ready in any way, who have not prepared for it, who have not even dreamed about it, who are as much surprised as anyone else seeing them….
In fact they feel a little embarrassed because this was not their idea: they had come just out of curiosity to see the man. And now something has happened in them, something which is so unique, and so valuable…. A gift that they had not asked for suddenly has been thrown into their hands.
And this is a difficult phenomenon, because then they would like to come again and again, but now there is desire, now there is expectation; now they are not coming in the same innocent way as they had come for the first time. And now it will not be happening.
Let me remind you of the divisions of the mind. The first time they were there, they were simply interested to see the man. Seeing the man, for a moment their thinking stops. For a moment they are engulfed by the energy the man carries around him; unknowingly they are pulled into something for which they are not ready. Something in them has changed, and changed forever, and will not leave them at rest.
But they should understand the simple process; otherwise they will get into the very troubled journey millions of people are in. And then they will be angry at the master: “Why is he not doing the same thing to me again?”
He had never done anything, he had simply passed by your side. He is passing every day by your side – only the first time you were clean, you were open; you had no hindrance, you had simply allowed him to come in. But now you are tight, tense, you are demanding; you want it to be happening again and again, more and more. Now you have got into a vicious circle: the more you demand, the more you expect, the less is the possibility.
All demands come from the front of the mind, all desires come from the front of the mind, all expectations are in the front of the mind. The back of the mind is absolutely innocent, that of a child.
So you have to understand your first experience; how it has happened, where you were, what your space was. That is more significant. So if you can keep your space intact and don’t fill it with expectations and desires and demands; remembering that the master never does anything…it is beyond doing, because all doing is of the front of the mind. All action is of the front of the mind, and the master lives at the back of the mind, the dark side of the mind, the mysterious side of the mind, the illogical side of the mind.
If you come to him with the front part of your mind, then there is an unbridgeable gap between you and the master. You have to come to the master without the front part of your mind, allowing him the availability, the receptivity of the back part of your mind.
Neither the master does anything nor are you expected to do anything. It is simply a happening.
That’s why I call it synchronicity.
It is just that the master is full of it, and you are silent and available: That fullness is going to fill you. But you have to be empty. All that is needed of you is that you have to be empty.
And remember, I repeat again: the master cannot do anything. Yes, much happens in his presence – he is a catalytic agent. It can happen while he is speaking, it can happen while he is silent, it can happen in any moment.
All that is needed is your availability.
In my own life’s experience this has been a continuous problem. The people who have felt something changing in them have remained with me – but with a desire. Then they are angry because it seems as if I have forgotten them, as if I am no longer working on them, as if I am no longer interested in them. No, I am the same. Neither my interest can do it nor can any action on my part do it.
How it happens is something that you have to understand. It is not a question of being virtuous, it is not a question of being very scholarly. It demands nothing.
It simply happens to those who can be in the presence of the master simply, innocently, who can just enjoy the presence itself – whether anything happens or not is irrelevant, then it will come with more and more force. It will become a tidal wave, and it will be coming more and more often. And soon it will start coming even at a distance from the master.
You may be thousands of miles away, but you just have to be in the right posture – I mean the inner posture – and it starts happening…because the presence was only a triggering of something which is already yours. Just the presence made it clear to you that it is there within you. And once you become certain that it is within you, then wherever you are, just getting into the right inner posture….
See how things go wrong with man. It is the inner posture that is required – and people are practicing yoga postures around the world, which have nothing to do with it. It is not how you are sitting, whether in a lotus posture…. It does not matter, it is something within you.
So just always remember your first experience because that is the most significant experience, and it gives you the whole secret. And the secret is that you were completely innocent. And once you know that, you can be anywhere, just in the same posture, and it will come and you will be afire, aflame.
The distance makes no difference.
Even if the master is dead, that makes no difference because the reality is within you; the master was only a triggering point.
Now it is up to you not to misunderstand, and to be clear how it happened, and to just go on being in the same position.
Looking at the sunrise or sitting by the side of a tree, watching the stars, just get into the same posture, and you will find your master is everywhere.
The people who started worshipping the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees, were not idiots. Because they found that the whole existence provides you with your master in different forms. And the whole thing depends on you.
It happens even with those who are not masters but mystics only. But the difficulty with mystics is, it may happen to you but they cannot explain to you the how and why of it. And because they cannot explain it to you, you are going to remain in the wrong posture you whole life.
The master’s function is to give you the experience, and then to explain to you that you are responsible for it, that you are the source of it, that the master was only a certain situation, a certain device that triggered your dormant mind, moved it, made it alive.
Now it is for you to get deeper and deeper into the same posture of synchronicity with the master and then with this whole beautiful existence, with anything.
And unless the whole existence becomes your master, your master has failed.
So don’t let me down!

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