Light on the Path 14

Fourteenth Discourse from the series of 38 discourses - Light on the Path by Osho.
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I have been trying to say what an enlightened master is. I try from each angle, and every morning, when I sit at my piano, I try to sing the song from another perspective, with another tune, another melody.
But my people in the West have never heard such stories, and I can see that my words never reach the target. I can't keep my mouth closed, and I go on trying to find the words to say it.
If I have to give a title to this book, it will be, “The Words to Say It” – because I can't give up, I can't show my silence – neither my tears, neither my laughter. Please, help me to find the words to say it, to explain to my people in the valley what enlightenment is, what an enlightened master is.
It is not only your difficulty, it is as old as man himself. The efforts that you are making have been made down the centuries by thousands of poets, painters, musicians, sculptors – all kinds of creative beings – trying to say that which cannot be said. They all have known it – that it cannot be said – but still, there is a tremendous longing in the heart of man to say it, to express it, to convey it to those he loves, to those he wants to understand.
There is a great challenge, perhaps the greatest…one experiences it, one feels it, one is almost very close to expressing it – but still, the target is missed. Because the target is continuously missed, the challenge becomes greater, bigger.
So I can understand your problem, but you will have to understand that there are things you can try to say but you will not succeed. One should not long for success either; just the effort is enough success. You tried your best, you put yourself totally into it. You were not half-hearted. But if, in the very nature of things it is impossible, what more can you do?
The experience of enlightenment happens when there are no words, no thoughts. The mind itself is left far behind. You cannot even hear the heartbeats; it is an absolute emptiness.
It is not light, it is not darkness. It is something beyond both.
What it is does not exist in the world we know. So there is no parallel, not even a far away symmetry which can give some indication about it. And whenever we want to say something about it, we will have to bring the mind in – which was not present in the experience. We will have to bring words in – which were absent.
This is the whole absurdity, that you are making eye-witnesses of those who were absolutely absent. They can try, but they are groping in the dark. All their efforts are so small, and the experience is so vast – no word can contain it.
Whenever I close my eyes, and I see, it is utter emptiness…not even a flicker – unlimited, something belonging to eternity. Mind belongs to time; it has no idea of eternity. It can make one up, but its idea of eternity will be nothing but time stretched as far as the mind can go. But it will still be time; and it has two ends to it, the beginning and the end. It is not eternity.
What can mind do? – it can only stretch time; that is its experience. It can make it longer and longer, but however long it is, it has a beginning, it has an end; it is not eternity.
The mind thinks about truth. It thinks about truth only because it knows not. Thinking is the blind man’s game. It is only the blind man who thinks about light. When you have eyes, you simply see it, you don’t think about it. And what can you think about it? When you are facing the light, seeing it, knowing it, there is nothing to think about it.
And when the light is not there and you are blind, what can you think about it? Whatever you think is going to be wrong. It cannot even be a far-fetched similarity to the experience of light.
In the West you will find it even more difficult to explain to people what it is. It is of tremendous importance to note that in India there has never existed anything like philosophy – never, because philosophy is a thinking process, it is of the mind; it does not go beyond mind. It is logic, but it is not an experience.
What has existed in the East is a totally different thing: we have called it seeing, not thinking, not philosophy.
Gautam Buddha said of himself that, “I am not a philosopher, I am a physician. Don’t ask me what light is. If you don’t have eyes, come to me and I will cure your eyes – that I can do, but don’t ask me what light is. I cannot answer. I can cure your eyes and then it is up to you to know what light is.”
In the West there has never been anything like darshan, seeing, which is beyond thinking. So it is more difficult, and you will find it almost impossible, in every step a failure. The best of music still falls short because even the best of music is nothing but sound – and the experience is silence, not sound. And you are trying to express silence through sound.
The best of poetry may give people who do not know great flights into the unknown, glimpses. But to those who know, the question is not flights into the unknown, but entry into the unknowable.
The unknown can become known any moment. Science tries to make the unknown, known: what was unknown yesterday is known today; what is unknown today will be known tomorrow. And the scientific mind thinks there will come a time – it is very logical – that we will have claimed all that is unknown within the boundaries of the known. That will be the victory, the ultimate victory of science – that no unknown is left anymore.
But they are not aware that there is something more than the unknown, and that is the world of the unknowable – which cannot be reduced to the known.
So poetry, painting, may sometimes bring you very close to the unknown. But enlightenment is not of the unknown, it is of the unknowable. You can experience it but you cannot explain it. And it is not your failure, it is just the nature of how things are. It is something existential.
Still, I will not say, don’t try to say it. I will say, continue trying to say it. My purpose is different: not that you will be able to say it, but in the very effort of saying it, something in you will be changed, something in you will be transformed. Every failure in expressing it will bring you closer to the silence that can only be experienced. So every failure can become a stepping stone.
And don’t be worried that people cannot understand what you are trying so hard to explain to them. Go on trying. It is not that your explanation is going to succeed, to reach the target – that is out of the question. But your very effort, your desperate effort, your tears, may be able to move those people’s hearts.
Your words cannot do anything, but your sincere effort is going to create a quest in those people…that there is something, certainly, that the man is trying to explain – and is not able to explain. But his tears are proof, his constant effort in spite of all the failures is proof. His finding new ways, new angles every day, is proof that the man has something; perhaps it is the nature of the thing that it cannot be explained.
And they know things which cannot be explained in their ordinary experience too. They cannot explain love. Even the greatest scientist falls in love, knowing perfectly that he cannot explain what it is. And what he can explain he knows it is not that. He can explain the hormones, the attraction between female and male hormones, and the whole biology of it. But he knows it is not that. He cannot explain it; he cannot bring it to the level where things can be explained.
Even in ordinary life – you taste something, but you cannot explain the taste. You smell a fragrance but is there any way to explain it? – and particularly to those people who have lost their sensitivity to smell. They may not be convinced by your words, but they will be convinced by your effort – and that may trigger an inquiry in them…perhaps you are right.
And that’s what, down the ages, people have tried. If they have come in contact with a master, they have come in contact with a living experience of enlightenment. They know it is there; it has become almost tangible to them. They have felt it in their very heartbeat, in their very breathing. They have seen it; and naturally, they would like to communicate it.
They are burdened with a tremendous experience, and they want to wake people up: “What are you doing? There is something more to life – don’t waste your life this way! I have seen it. I have lived moments in the presence of some mysterious experience.”
Perhaps they will think you crazy, they will think you mad. Don’t be worried about it – it has always been so. But if your madness is total, it is going to leave a deep impression on them. If your madness has a joy in it, a blissfulness around it, it is impossible for them to ignore it.
They would like to ignore it, for the simple reason that you are driving them onto a dangerous path: perhaps they will become just as mad as you are. They would prefer that nothing like the experience you are talking about exists. It is an effort to defend themselves. In fact their very attempt to ignore you, to condemn you, to call you a madman, shows you have already made some way into their heart.
These are defense measures. They are creating a wall between you and themselves – but that is the beginning of their defeat. Defense is the beginning of defeat: they have already become afraid, frightened.
So I will say, go on saying it. You will never be able to say it, but many things will happen in the effort of saying it. People are searching, knowingly or unknowingly, for something which is not part of their mundane life. They are tired and bored, but they want to be clear before they enter into any inquiry. That’s why they want exact descriptions, explanations; they ask all kinds of questions.
It is simply for safety. They have lost their life; now a very small part is left, and they are afraid to gamble it. So you should be compassionate towards them. Don’t get angry that they do not understand you. Don’t stop trying to say it because they are not hearing you, because you are not succeeding in reaching them.
Life’s ways are very mysterious.
You want to say something about the unknowable. You will not be able to say it, but in the very effort, you can change the life pattern of the person. You can give him new dreams and new hopes.
That’s what I have been doing my whole life – selling dreams…hopes.
Neither you can say it, nor I can say it. My whole life I have been trying to say it, knowing perfectly well it is an impossible task. It has never happened and it is not going to happen. And it is good that it is not going to happen…so something remains above mind, always in absolute purity, unpolluted.
I have been setting people on fire.
I don’t succeed in saying it, but as a by-product – of my arduous effort to say it – putting my whole being put at stake in saying it – there are other things happening on the side. The person is set on fire. He starts looking for something which cannot be said.
I have failed in a way. I have succeeded in another.
In fact, failing in saying it is not important. Succeeding in setting a man aflame is the real success. You have not missed the target. What helps is not your words but the way they are said, the authority with which they are said, the living quality of your words – that they are coming from the very center of your being. You are not playing a mindgame; what you are saying is not just part of your thinking…the quality of your words will give the sense that they are part of your living. And that quality goes on making an impression.
So it is a very strange phenomenon: you cannot say it, and still you have to continue to say it. Words may fail but there is something which will transpire.
Just be total. Don’t hold anything back. If tears want to come, let them come. Everything is significant.
Every gesture is significant. Even gaps are tremendously meaningful. No one knows what is going to leave an impression on the other. So you have to make a total effort.
Something is going to happen; it has always happened.
The story is about Gautam Buddha: the night he became enlightened, he remained silent for seven days, for the simple reason that what is the use of saying it when it cannot be said? And it was absolutely clear to him that it is not possible to say it. Then why unnecessarily waste your time and other people’s time?
The story is very beautiful. In Buddhist mythology there is no God, but there are gods. Gods are the people who are living in heaven. Heaven is just a holiday place. Those who earn virtue, those who live religiously, are rewarded – a weekend; these people are called gods. But they are not higher than an enlightened being; they are far lower, because once their virtue is finished and their account is closed, they fall back to the mundane, ordinary world again.
The same happens to those who are committing all kinds of sins: they will be thrown into hell. When their punishment is complete, they come back to the ordinary world. So even heaven and hell are just reward-and-punishment systems.
The enlightened person does not go to heaven because he is freed from all sin, from all virtue: he is free from the mind itself. He simply dissolves into existence; he becomes one with the ocean.
So the gods in heaven became very much worried that Buddha is not going to speak – and in centuries…it is rarely that somebody becomes a buddha. So seven gods representing the whole of heaven came down to Buddha, touched his feet, and asked him to speak. “Because for centuries the earth waits, and if you remain silent, we will not be benefited by your enlightenment. You have to share it.”
Buddha said, “That which cannot be said, how can I say it? You know perfectly well it cannot be said, so what is the point in saying it? In fact, by saying it, you are distorting it. The moment truth is said, it becomes a lie. So please forgive me – I cannot do it.”
The gods were very much puzzled. They talked amongst themselves…what to do, how to convince him – what he is saying is right, but he has to be convinced to speak. Truth cannot be said, no, we have heard for centuries it cannot be said; but while a man of truth speaks…it is not only the words, there are many more things – his eyes, his hands, his whole being. The words may not be able to say it, but they create a ground in which people can be pulled. And they can see his eyes, they can see his being, they can see his silence. They can see his blissfulness, they can see his contentment. That’s what convinces them – not his words.
So they said to Buddha, “We understand: ninety-nine percent of the people perhaps may not understand you, but why are you forgetting the one percent? And even if one percent of the people understand you, it will bring a transformation in the whole consciousness of man.”
Buddha said, “Those one percent I have not forgotten, but those are the people who will attain to enlightenment whether I speak or not – maybe a few years later or a few lives later. But that one percent you are talking about who can understand me, they can not be prevented from enlightenment any longer.
“So what is the point? They will get it. And in this eternity of time, what does it matter if you get it today or tomorrow or the day after tomorrow?”
Again the gods insisted; they said, “We understand you, but there may be a few who are just on the verge, and they need only a little push, a little conviction that they are not going to risk everything for nothing. Your presence will convince them that it is worth risking everything. And they are just on the verge: only one step, and they are holding back the step because they don’t know what is in the unknown, what is in the unknowable. They can’t see anything; so why lose whatever you have got for that which is uncertain? It may be, it may not be.
“Your presence will give them courage to take the last step. And you know perfectly well they can remain hanging on the verge for millions of lives – the same fear. Your presence will take away the fear. They will know that going into the unknown and the unknowable is not a risk; it is the only thing that is not a risk.
“In life, everything is risky. That is the only thing which is absolutely certain. Your presence will give them that certainty, and the courage to take the last step. You will have to speak.”
Buddha pondered over it, and he said, “Perhaps you are right, because I remember my own situation: that last step was the most difficult, because I had nobody who could convince me by his presence that ‘You are not going to simply disappear into nothingness; you will come out of it radiant, with eternal life.’
“I know how many lives I have been hanging at the last step. I will speak. I will speak for those who are just on the verge.” And he spoke for forty-two years – still he has not been able to say the truth. But he helped hundreds of people to attain truth.
So don’t be worried that you are not succeeding in saying it. Nobody succeeds in saying it – but success comes through other ways. Saying it creates a situation.
Even if a few people can start moving, that’s enough. And in their movement, you will find yourself moving. When you see a conviction arising in somebody’s eyes, you will be convinced a thousandfold. So it is not only for others – it is for you too. Say it in as many ways as possible.
So one thing has to be remembered: say it with your totality, because that is what is going to change the other person, his perspective. And when you say it with your totality, your words start having a life of their own.
I don’t know even the abc of oratory…. Once I was taken to a Christian theological college. The principal was my friend, and he was insisting that some time I should come and see how they prepare their missionaries.
And I was simply amazed: they were teaching people everything – when you have to speak loudly; when you have to speak very softly, almost in a whisper; when you have to raise your hands – at what point of your sermon which gesture has to be made….
I said to the principal, “This is simply stupid! This is not education – you are destroying these people. This is all false, phony. You should not call it a religious institute; you are teaching acting.”
I have never learned anything about oratory – there is no need. What you need is some authentic experience, and then it starts finding its own ways. And I have been speaking to millions of people, just talking to them heart to heart. I myself don’t know what is going to be my next statement. I don’t know what my hands are doing, what gestures are coming; I don’t know what my eyes are doing.
I simply know one thing, that when I am saying something, I am saying it with my body, with my mind, with my soul – with my everything put at stake. And when you have something to say, it finds its own way.
Of course you will never be able to say the truth, but by saying it you may be able to approach peoples’ hearts. You may trigger some pilgrimage in them – and that is more than one can expect.
So go on saying it; go on making the effort, knowing perfectly well there is no way to say it.
For centuries people have understood this, and yet they went on saying it, because they became aware that between the words, between the lines, something goes on transpiring – and that is the real thing.

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