Man is a Quest

Osho on Man

MAN is a quest — not a question but a quest. A question can be solved intellectually, but a quest has to be solved existentially. It is not that we are seeking some answers to some questions, it is that we are seeking some answer to our being.

It is a quest because questions are about others. A quest is about oneself. Man is seeking himself. He knows he is, but he also knows that he does not know who he is. Hence from the very birth a great enquiry starts rising in the innermost core of man. We can repress that enquiry, we can divert that enquiry, we can change that enquiry for substitute enquiries, but he cannot kill it. There is no way to kill it because it is intrinsic to human nature. It is intrinsic to consciousness to know what it is.

That enquiry is man’s very nature, and unless it is resolved, man remains searching. Of course, there are nine hundred and ninety-nine ways to go wrong, and there is only one way to go right — so the search is full of hazards. It is not simple; it is very complex — and it is very rare that a man reaches. But unless you reach, you will continue in agony, in turmoil. You will remain a cry in the wilderness. You will not know what joy is. Not knowing yourself, how can you be joyous? And you will not know what benediction is. Not knowing yourself, there is no benediction. You will hear words like ‘contentment’, ‘blissfulness’, but they will remain words. They won’t have any content for you. The content has to be supplied by your experience. They will remain empty words. They will create much noise around you but they will not mean anything.

Search is intrinsic to human nature. But then arises the problem that there are many ways to go wrong, How to find the right path? This small parable is of immense significance. Each word of it has to be understood.

Carlyle has said, ‘The misfortune of man has its source in his greatness. For there is something infinite in him and he cannot succeed in burying himself completely in the finite.’

There is something in man which is higher than man, bigger than man, and there is no way to bury it somewhere in the finite. You can see. You can seek money and power, but each time you succeed, you will find that you have failed. Each time you succeed, the success will bring nothing but the awareness of the failure. Money is there but you are as dissatisfied as ever, or even more so. Power is there and you are as impotent as ever. Nothing makes man more aware of powerlessness than power. Nothing makes man more aware of inner poverty than riches — because of the contrast. You can see that there are riches outside but inside you are a beggar, still desiring and asking and hankering and searching.

From one side this seems to be a misfortune — the misery of man. From another side it is his greatness. Carlyle is right when he says, ‘The misfortune of man has its source in his greatness.’ What is this greatness? This greatness is his capacity to surpass himself, to go beyond himself, to make a ladder of his life, to jump out of himself. Unless that jump has happened, you live in a wasteland; nothing will ever bloom there. You can make all the efforts possible but the desert will remain a desert; you will not come across any flowers.

Those flowers start happening only when you have started reaching somewhere close to truth. That is the quest. The quest is that man longs to become God. The quest is that man wants to become truth. ‘AN-EL-HAQ!’ Man wants to feel it — that ‘I am truth.’ Nothing less than that will ever satisfy him.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse Series: Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 2 Chapter #15

Chapter title: A Silent Shrine

10 September 1977 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘man and his quest’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses.

  1.  The Beloved
  2. Beyond Psychology
  3. Ecstasy – The Forgotten Language
  4. The Search
  5. The Secret of Secrets
  6. The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here

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