Śāriputra was one of the closest disciples of the Buddha. He is considered the first of the Buddha’s two chief male disciples, together with Maudgalyāyana. Śāriputra had a key leadership role in the sangha of the Buddha and is considered in many Buddhist schools to have been important in the development of the Buddhist Abhidharma.
Śāriputra was known for his strict adherence to the Buddhist monastic rules, as well as for his wisdom and teaching ability, giving him the title “General of the Dharma”. Śāriputra is considered the disciple of the Buddha who was foremost in wisdom.
Sariputta was the great scholar, a person with much intelligence. Osho says before coming to BUDDHA he had more than five hundred disciples of his own but he left everything and bowed down to Buddha. This shows a totally different intelligence, an intelligence which we hardly see around.
Buddhist texts all state that Śāriputra died shortly before the Buddha, with texts generally indicating he died in his hometown. According to Pāli commentaries, Śāriputra arose from meditation one day and realized through his meditative insight that the chief disciples were supposed to achieve parinirvana before the Buddha, and that he had seven more days to live. Śāriputra then traveled to his hometown to teach his mother, who was yet to be converted to Buddhism. After he converted his mother, Śāriputra died peacefully on the full moon day.
Osho says I will tell you about Sariputta, a famous philosopher at the time of Gautam Buddha. He became a disciple of Gautam Buddha just by seeing him. He himself had thousands of followers, but the moment he saw Buddha, he told his disciples that now they were free: “If you want to remain with me, you can, but now I am in a strange love with this man.” And he became enlightened within two years. The day he became enlightened, his eyes were full of tears, and he was holding Buddha’s feet. Buddha said, “Why are you crying?”
He said, “I cannot accept that I am equal to you. It is just impossible for me to think that now there is no difference between my consciousness and yours.” Buddha said, “Sariputta, come to your senses! It is my whole effort to bring you to the same consciousness, to the same height, as I am. Don’t be worried about the fact that you have become an equal. You have always been an equal; it’s just that you never realized it. Your gratitude is enough, but don’t feel reluctant to accept your buddhahood.”
Sariputta, one of Gautam Buddha’s disciples, became enlightened while Buddha was alive, and still continued to follow the old principles that were given to him before his enlightenment. Buddha had to call him and say, “Sariputta, are you mad or something? Now that you are enlightened you don’t need to follow those principles which were given to you when you were unconscious; you can drop them.”
But Sariputta was really a genius, of the same quality as Gautam Buddha. He said, “Master, you are right, I can drop them; but I am not dropping them, for the simple reason that there are millions of unconscious people around me. Seeing me drop them, they will all start dropping them. What about them? To me it is not a problem at all — I am accustomed to all those principles, they are no trouble to me. I know now dropping them makes no difference; carrying them also makes no difference. It is kind of you to bring it to my notice but I was aware of it.”
Buddha conceded the next morning in his discourse to his ten thousand sannyasins: “Sariputta is right. Not that I was wrong — I was worried that after enlightenment, why was he carrying those principles that were given as a substitute for enlightenment? Now he need not carry them, he can simply drop them. He can live now in total freedom on his own. He can live spontaneously. “So I was concerned and called him, but he has brought something significant to my notice, and I would like you all to remember that what he has said is right. He can drop them, but he is not dropping them out of compassion for all those who are unconscious. Seeing Sariputta dropping them they will think, `There is no problem: if Sariputta can drop them, we can drop them.’ “They don’t know that Sariputta is now one of the awakened ones and they are not. So I support Sariputta and I want you to remember this: when you become enlightened, remember all those souls around you who are groping in the dark. Drop anything that is not going to harm the people around you, and with other things there is no problem for you: out of your freedom you can choose to follow them if it is going to help anybody anywhere.”
Sariputta used to go to spread the word of Buddha but wherever he was, five times a day he would bow down in the direction where Buddha was dwelling and he would do his gachchhamis: Buddham sharanam gachchhami `I go to the feet of the awakened one.’ Many times he was asked, “Now you are yourself awakened, there is no need for you to go to the feet of another awakened one.” Sariputta said, “I know there is no need for me, but for you there is need. I am doing this gachchhami not for myself but for you. If I stop it, that will be enough excuse for you to stop. And secondly, I am awakened because of that man; without him I don’t think that in this life it would have happened. “If you ask him he will say, `I have nothing to do with it, because nobody can make anybody else awakened — it is all Sariputta’s own doing.’ And he is right; he has not forced me to be awakened. But just his presence was enough to bring me out of my dreams, nightmares, my sleep. He was not doing anything.”
The Master is only a catalytic agent, just like the sunrise in the morning — the birds all around start singing. Not that the sun comes to each bird’s nest and knocks on the door or presses the buzzer and says, “It is time now — get up and sing!” The flowers start opening, releasing their fragrance — not that they are being told, “It is morning and you have to do it”; the very presence of the sun is a catalytic agent. The sun is not doing anything, but millions of things are happening just by its presence. The Master is exactly that — a catalytic agent. He does nothing, but millions of things happen around him. They happen because of him but are not caused by him — and the difference is great.
Those things … the people to whom they happen may feel gratitude, are going to feel gratitude, but the Master cannot expect gratitude from anybody. It is impossible even to think of it, because he has not done anything. He has not done it, but it has happened to you; and it has happened to you because of him. From your side gratitude is perfectly right, but from his side to request it, to expect it, is absolutely wrong. Then he is not a Master in fact. Then what has happened to you must have happened for some other reason, you were mistaken. Yes, many times it has happened that the master was not a real Master but still the disciple became awakened.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse name: From Darkness to Light
Chapter title: Where nothing is right and nothing is wrong
19 March 1985 pm in Lao Tzu Grove
Osho has spoken on Mystics like Dadu, Farid, Gurdjieff, J. Krishnamurti, Kabir, Nanak, Meher Baba, Patanjali, Swami Ram Teerth, Rumi, Sahajo, Sai Baba, Saraha, Socrates, Tilopa, Zarathustra and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Sermons in Stones
- Come Come Yet Again Come
- The Hidden Splendor
- Beyond Enlightenment
- The New Dawn
- The Sword and The Lotus
- The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty
- Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 1
- The Path of Love
- The Book of Wisdom