Master: The Inner Guide

Osho on Master Disciple Relationship

SCIENCE IS BASED ON DOUBT: doubt is its method, its climate, its very soul. Science cannot exist without doubt. It is only through questioning, and constant questioning, that science comes to know about the facts of existence. Its world of enquiry is objective. The object cannot be trusted. The object is dead. You have to penetrate the object with as many questions and doubts as possible; only then will the object reveal its mysteries. Religion, on the contrary, is trust. Religion’s method is trust. Trust is its climate, its philosophy, its very being, because religion is not concerned with objects but with your own subjectivity. The journey of science is outwards, the journey of religion is inwards. Science means going outward, religion means going inward; their directions are diametrically opposite.

Although they are diametrically opposite they are complementary too, as all opposites always are. There is a harmony between the opposites. The inner and the outer are not enemies, they are in utter coordination. The body and the soul are not enemies, they befriend each other; in fact they cannot exist separately, they can exist only in a togetherness. Man and woman, darkness and light, summer and winter, positive and negative — they are all together, although they are opposites. But they are not enemies, this has to be understood: opposites and yet complementaries… and there is utter harmony in existence. It is like inhalation and exhalation: you breathe in, you breathe out. When you breathe in it is one process, the breath goes inwards; when you breathe out it is just the opposite process, the breath goes outwards, but it is the same breath. Inhalation and exhalation are two aspects of the same phenomenon, opposites and yet complementary; so are religion and science, so are doubt and trust.

Because it has not been understood in the past a great calamity has happened to humanity, the greatest calamity, I call it — the calamity that has kept religion and science not only separate but inimical. In the past we have not been able to bring a synthesis between science and religion. Because of that incapability the world has become split and the man who is trained in science becomes anti-religious; and vice versa, the person who moves into the world of religion becomes anti-scientific. This need not happen, this should not happen. If you are really intelligent you will be able to coordinate between these opposites. You will be able to bring a harmony between these two, doubt and trust, and then arises the real total human being.

What do I mean when I say a great harmony has to be achieved? I mean that when you are moving outwards, use doubt as your methodology, trust doubt when you are moving outwards. When you are enquiring into the world of objects trust doubt. Doubt is beautiful, immensely beautiful. And when you are moving inwards put your doubt aside: trust trust. And the man who can manage this I call a really intelligent person. It is like you are seeing me, you are seeing me through your eyes, but you are also listening to me, you are listening to me through your ears. The ears cannot see and the eyes cannot hear, but still there is a tremendous coordination happening in you: you know you are hearing the same person that you are seeing. This is intelligence, this coordination is intelligence. Deep down a synthesis is happening constantly. The ears are pouring one information, the eyes are pouring another information; both are unrelated — as far as ears and eyes are concerned, both are unrelated — but your intelligence is creating a relationship between them: you are hearing the same person you are seeing.

Exactly in the same way, doubt cannot know the subject and trust cannot know the object.

Doubt can know the object, trust can know the subject; and intelligence is when both pour their information into one pool and truth is known in both its aspects, as inner, as outer. That is the real religion humanity needs now — or, the real science — which will not divide man and which will not cripple man. Up to now, hitherto, man has been crippled. If you trust you forget the language of doubt. The society becomes unscientific, becomes incapable of tackling so many problems that man has to encounter, becomes poor, impoverished, ill, ugly. If you start only using doubt the society becomes better, scientifically better, technologically better, affluent, but the inner world simply is forgotten. Then you don’t have a soul; inwards you remain fast asleep. In both ways man remains lopsided. In both ways man remains partial and cannot become total.

The religions of the past have failed in creating a total man. And so has been the case with modern science; modern science has also failed in creating the total man.

And the total man is the need because only the total man can be contented, only the total man can be richer inwards, outwards. Only the total man can be really in a celebration — his body satisfied, his soul satisfied, his senses contented, his spirit contented.

This small story is the story of trust, because Sufism is an approach towards the inner. This story is not meant to be understood as against doubt. It has to be understood as that only as far as the inner journey is concerned, doubt is inadequate, only trust is adequate. If you want to see, see through the eyes, don’t try to see through the ears; ears are not capable of that. If you want to hear, hear through the ears and forget all about the eyes; eyes cannot hear. Both are right in their own dimensions. Both are partial, and your intelligence has to transcend their partiality. Your intelligence has to create a synthesis. In the past your intelligence was not trusted, hence you were told either to doubt and become scientific, or to trust and become religious. Neither the so-called religious people have trusted your intelligence and its transcending quality, nor have the scientists trusted your intelligence and its transcending quality. Both were afraid because the other looked opposite. All complementaries look opposite.

There is no need to be afraid of the opposite. The opposite has to be absorbed, not denied, because whatsoever is denied will take revenge in its own time. Never deny anything: let that be a fundamental law. Absorb, go on absorbing, howsoever opposite something looks to you. Remember always, existence functions through opposites, it can only function through opposites. It is through the opposites that existence creates momentum, dynamism. It is by polar opposites that the existence creates a dialectical process; otherwise there would be no dialectical process. Just think: a world only of men and no women — it would not be rich, it would be very very flat; or a world where only women exist — that too would be ugly, that too would be very very stagnant. From where will the movement come? The opposite is the challenge, and because of the challenge the movement arises. Because of the challenge you cannot become asleep, you become awakened. It is through the opposites that existence moves, grows, evolves. It is a subtle strategy, but only now is it possible to understand it in its totality, because we have lived the way of religion for centuries and we have lived the way of science also for a few centuries; now we know that both are complementary, not opposites. But this story is the story of the religious investigation: it depends on trust.

A few things before we enter into the story…Says Hafez, “Do not travel through these stations without the company of a Perfect Master. There is darkness. Beware of the danger of getting lost!” When you are moving outwards you can move alone, because in the outer world you are never alone. Millions of people are existing there. When you are moving outwards the reality is so individual, it is not personal. The reality is objective, it is impersonal. If you are seeing a rock it is not only you who is seeing the rock; everybody who is standing there can see the rock. The rock has an objective existence. There is not any danger of getting into hallucinations. The others’ presence, their witness, will keep you away from hallucinations. But when you start moving inwards you are alone. Who is going to decide whether what you are seeing is true or just a fantasy?

When you move outwards there is light, light of the sun and the moon and the stars; there is enough light outside. But when you move inwards first you will encounter great darkness because your eyes have become accustomed to the outer light and they don’t know how to look in. You will be falling into an abysmal darkness. You will need somebody who has traveled the inner path — you will need a Master.

In the outer world you will need only a teacher who can inform you.

That information can be got from the library too, or from a computer. The teacher is just there to give you information like the book or the computer.

There is no need for any personal involvement with the teacher;

the teacher is not there as a person, you need not be intimate with him.

The Master means you have to be very intimate with him — it is a love relationship — because in the inner world you will need him so deeply that unless you are very close to his heart and he is very close to your heart, it will not be possible to keep his company in the inner darkness. Great intimacy is needed, and intimacy arises out of love, out of trust. If you doubt the Master, you will not be able to go on that dangerous journey of inner adventure. Only his love and your love for him will keep you alive, will keep you enthusiastic, will keep you nourished.

Hafez is right: “Do not travel through these stations without the company of a Perfect Master. There is darkness. Beware of the danger of getting lost!” In the outside world there is no danger of getting lost. There are milestones on every road, maps are available, guides are available, and there are millions of people always there who can help you. But in the inner world there are no maps, because each individual’s subjectivity is so different that maps cannot be made, and each individual’s growth is so unique that milestones cannot be made, and each individual follows such different labyrinths that you will need somebody who is tremendously alert, aware, enlightened to help you on each step. Otherwise from each step there is a possibility of getting lost. And the greatest problem is: when you lose the outer world you are left utterly alone. And you will not be able to make any distinction between what is fact and what is fiction. The boundaries between fact and fiction start dissolving.

For example, in the morning when you wake up you relate a dream to your wife. You know it is a dream. How do you know it is a dream? — because only you dream it. Your wife was sleeping on the same bed and she had no awareness that you had been to the Himalayas, and you had been traveling in the mountains, and you had been visiting places. She had no awareness, and she was sleeping just by your side. In the morning if your wife says that she has also dreamt the same dream; that yes, the journey was beautiful and the mountains were beautiful, and “Think of that dark bungalow where we stayed”… then you will become suspicious about whether it was a dream or a reality. And if your son comes in and says, “Daddy, where have you been the whole night? I came twice. You were both not present in the room,” then you will become more suspicious: “Maybe it was real?” How do you judge reality? If others agree then you know it is a fact, if nobody agrees then you know it is a fiction. The others’ agreement makes it a fact.

But in the inner world you will be alone, totally alone. There will be nobody to agree or disagree. How will you know what is fact and what is fiction? If you see Buddha in your meditations, how will you know whether he has really appeared or you have simply been dreaming?

That is the problem. And one can easily get lost in one’s own fictions, and to be lost in one’s own fictions is madness: that is the danger on the inner journey. You will need somebody who can be present in your innerness. That is the meaning of trust: creating such a strong bridge with someone that even when you are alone in your meditations he is there. The Master is always with the disciple if the disciple allows him to be. The Master is absolutely available until the very last moment; yes, to the very last moment, until God happens to you. The Master disappears only when God has happened; or, both things happen simultaneously — the disappearance of the Master and the appearance of God. But up to that moment the Master follows you like a shadow. He keeps you alert, he does not allow you to go astray.

Rumi says, “Deadly poison looks like honey and milk. Wait! Do not journey without a Master who knows.”

The relationship between a Master and a disciple is what is meant by the word trust.

To others who have never known of it, it will look blind — just as love looks blind to people who have never loved. But ask those who have loved and they will tell a totally different story. They will say, “We were blind before we had loved. We became insightful only through love. We attained to eyes through love, we had no eyes without love.” Ask the people who have known love and they will say, “People without love are all blind.” And that’s the case with the disciple who has known the love and trust for a Master. He will laugh when you say, “You are blind.” He will laugh at your ridiculous remark, because now he knows what it is to have eyes, eyes into his own inner reality, eyes which can see inwards. You have eyes which can see only outwards, but the disciple starts having eyes which can see inwards. He starts having ears which can hear inwards. His senses are doubled. You live with only five senses, the disciple lives with ten senses: five for the outer journey and five for the inner.

The disciple becomes utterly rich: just think… five more senses becoming available. You have the ears which can know and hear the music that comes from the outside, but you are deaf to the inner music — and there is an inner music which is continuously flowing in you. That inner music Sufis call sama. Once it is heard, all outer music just becomes noise and nothing else. You have an inner fragrance; once it is smelled all outer fragrances are no more fragrances. They start stinking. When the inner eye opens you know a totally different vision of beauty, a new splendor, and before that splendor all outer beauties simply look pale — faint old photographs, reflections in muddy water. When you have known the inner crystal-clarity, everything outside looks a chaos, a confusion. The disciple becomes utterly rich. He starts growing inner senses: he has ten senses instead of five. And when all these ten senses fall into a harmony something immensely beautiful and blissful is created. That’s what God is.

Hafez says, “Stop this cleverness and planning, for love closes the gates of the Divine to the heart of anyone who does not completely lose himself on the Path of Devotion.”

The disciple has to lose himself into the Master; that’s what trust is. Then there is no question of doubt. The surrender is absolute. Then the Master becomes your inner voice, then there is no separation. You don’t think in terms of separation. The Master is the Kaaba of his lovers –

 Kaaba is the name of the temple of God in Mecca. The Master is the Kaaba to his disciples; the disciples don’t go to the Kaaba. That’s why Mohammedans, orthodox Mohammedans, have not been very happy about the Sufis. It is related that when the great Sufi, Junnaid, asked his disciple, Mansur, to go for a pilgrimage to Kaaba because Mansur was creating troubles… Whenever he would go into his ecstasy he would start shouting in utter joy, “I am God!” and that is sacrilege to the orthodox Mohammedan, that is arrogance.

Junnaid told Mansur, his disciple, many times, “You stop shouting that. I know you are, I know I am, I know everybody is — but you stop! Don’t say it so loudly, keep it inside, because the people are foolish — they will start creating trouble for you.” Mansur would always say, “Yes, sir.” But whenever he would be in his ecstasy again he would shout, “Ana el Haq!” I am God. Junnaid said, “You promised me, and you again and again do the same.” He said, “What can I do? I promise you, but God does not promise you. And when I am lost, he declares, It is not me.” And Junnaid knew it, so he said, “It is good” — just to avoid… because rumors were spreading, reports against Mansur and Junnaid and their work were reaching the king. And the prime minister was very much against… so Junnaid said, “Just to avoid the trouble you go for a pilgrimage; you go to Kaaba.” And in those days going to Kaaba meant for years; you have to go walking thousands of miles. So Mansur said, “Okay.” He stood up and he said, “Okay, so I am going.” Junnaid was very happy. He said, “I was not thinking you would leave so easily.”

And what did Mansur do, do you know? He just went around Junnaid seven times and then said, “I am back! You are my Kaaba!”

To the disciple the Master is Kaaba. To the disciple the Master is his God, his temple. And he is also the qibla to the disciple. Qibla is the direction facing the Mecca, towards which all Muslims pray. Whenever a Muslim prays he keeps his face towards Kaaba; that direction is called qibla. Now Sufis are again very unorthodox: they don’t keep their faces towards the Kaaba, they keep their faces towards the Master, wherever the Master is. For the disciple the Master is Kaaba and the Master is qibla. He is the temple and he is the direction to the temple. This is trust.

In HADID it is reported that God says to Mohammed, “Whoever seeks me will find me. Whoever finds me will know me. Whoever knows me will have love for me. Whoever loves me I will love. Whomever I love I will kill. And whomever I will kill, his blood-money I will pay. I am myself his blood-money”… a tremendously important saying. God says to Mohammed, “Whomever I love I will kill.” The Master has to kill the disciple. The disciple has to allow the Master to kill him.

The disciple has to be in a rejoicing when the Master kills him.

Just the other day somebody who was not yet a sannyasin had asked, “It is said that if you meet the Buddha on the Way, kill him. Then why is it not said if you meet Rajneesh on the Way, kill him?” Exactly that has to be done: if you meet Rajneesh on the Way, kill him! But that statement was made to the disciples; you are not yet a disciple. You will never meet me on the Way in the first place. The question of killing me will never arise. I can meet you on the Way only if you have first allowed me to kill you.

 That is the meaning of being a disciple: the Master first kills the disciple — that is the beginning of the journey — then finally the disciple kills the Master — that is the end. Then the Master and the disciple have both disappeared. Then only God is. That tremendously pregnant statement by the Zen Masters, “If you meet the Buddha on the Way, kill him,” is the last step of the journey, so whomsoever has asked it has not understood it at all. Yes, you have to kill me, but you will meet me only if you allow me first to kill you. That is a pre-requirement. I will not come on just anybody’s Way, Tom, Harry, or Dick, no. I will only come on the Way when you have allowed me to destroy you. And then, certainly, the Master has to be killed.

The beginning is with the death of the disciple and the end with the death of the Master. Then the separation is gone; then there is no disciple, no Master. Then only pure energy is left. That pure energy is God.

The disciple has to be in the state Sufis call ‘tavern of ruins’, kharabat. It is said that Bayazid of Bistami was in this state when someone knocked at his door. Bayazid asked, “Who do you want?” The man answered that he was looking for Bayazid of Bistami. Bayazid replied, “Ah! It has been years since I have had any news of him.”

The moment a person becomes a disciple he has chosen suicide. He has chosen to destroy himself, because he has known that to be is to be in misery, that to be is to be in hell. Now he wants to learn the ways not to be. Sufism leads to this state, the state of non-being, loss of self and passing away into the beloved. As Khwajeh’ Abdollah Ansari has said, “Oh God! Non-being is an affliction for all, but a blessing for me.” Thus whoever enters the path of Sufism in order to achieve a spiritual station or high state of consciousness has taken the first step wrongly. The real Sufi is one who goes on the path in order to not be. The gnostic, Aref, gyan-yogi, travels within himself, whereas the Sufi travels from himself. The gnostic says, “Know thyself in order to know God.” The Sufi, prem-yogi,  the bhakta, says, “Let go of thyself in order to be free. ” The goal of the Sufi is not self-knowledge but dissolution of the self. The goal of the Sufi is not self-realization but annihilation of the self, fana. And the first lesson has to be learned with the Master.

To be in a state of not-being in the presence of the Master is called adab. Adab is a Sufi word: it means the art of being in the presence of the Master. Literally it means etiquette, but it is not just etiquette. It means the art of how to be in the presence of a Master; in fact, how to be there and yet absent, how to be as if you are not.

The story is told of a disciple who was once in the presence of his Master, the great Junnaid. He was standing with total reverence and respect, like one who is praying to God. The Master said, “You are standing superbly, but it would be better if you were not to be at all.” That is adab — to be in the presence of the Master as an absence, so his presence can fill you to all nooks and corners of your being. Not to give him any resistance — that is adab; not to have any armor around you — that is adab; not to defend yourself — that is adab. And that’s what we constantly go on doing: we are constantly defending ourselves. And it is perfectly okay in the outside world; you have to defend. It is a constant struggle to survive and you have to keep an armor, otherwise you will be exploited; people will take advantage of your vulnerability, of your openness. So

when relating in the world you have to keep a certain quality of resistance, you have to be on guard, and that’s okay. But if you have that same attitude and manner when you are with the Master then your being with the Master is just pointless. There you have to surrender all your defence structures, strategies. You have to open your doors and windows so the Master can flow in you like light and breeze and rain, so the Master can simply penetrate you with no resistance from your side. You have to be just a receptivity, you have to be feminine. That is adab. And trust is the fundamental of adab.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: The Secret

Chapter #15

Chapter title: Trust In The Master

25 October 1978 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken extensively about the ‘master-disciple relationship’. More on this subject can be found in the following books/discourse titles:

  1. The Book of Wisdom
  2. Come follow to you Vol.4
  3. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega Vol. 2, 3, 6
  4. The Wisdom of the Sands Vol.2
  5. From Personality to Individuality
  6. From the False to the Truth
  7. Beyond Enlightenment
  8. Light on the Path
  9. The Osho Upanishad
  10. The Grass Grows by Itself
  11. Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol 1, 2
  12. Zen: The Diamond Thunderbolt
  13. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 3

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