Birthday of Ivan Turgenev
Born on 9th November, 1818, in Oryol in Russia, Turgenev was a Russian novelist, short story writer, poet, playwright, translator and populariser of Russian literature in the West. His first major publication, a short story collection entitled A Sportsman’s Sketches (1852), was a milestone of Russian realism. His novel Fathers and Sons (1862) is regarded as one of the major works of 19th-century fiction. These works offer realistic, affectionate portrayals of the Russian peasantry and penetrating studies of the Russian intelligentsia who were attempting to move the country into a new age. Turgenev poured into his writings not only a deep concern for the future of his native land but also integrity of craft that has ensured his place in Russian literature. The many years that he spent in Western Europe were due in part to his personal and artistic stand as a liberal between the reactionary tsarist rule and the spirit of revolutionary radicalism that held sway in contemporary artistic and intellectual circles in Russia.
Turgenev’s work is distinguished from that of his most famous contemporaries by its sophisticated lack of hyperbole, its balance, and its concern for artistic values. His greatest work was always topical, committed literature, having universal appeal in the elegance of the love story and the psychological acuity of the portraiture. He was similarly a letter writer of great charm, wit, and probity. His reputation may have become overshadowed by those of Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, but his own qualities of lucidity and urbanity and, above all, his sense of the extreme preciousness of the beautiful in life endow his work with a magic that has lasting appeal.
Osho, when he mentions Turgenev, says, “You have to decorate your mind with poetry, with music, with art, with great literature. Your trouble is, your mind is filled only with trivia. Such third-rate things go on through your mind that you cannot love it. You think of nothing which is great. Make it more in tune with the greatest poets; make it in tune with people like Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Turgenev, Rabindranath, Kahlil Gibran, Mikhail Naimy; make it filled with the greatest heights that mind has reached. Then you will not be unfriendly to the mind. Then you will rejoice in the mind; even if mind is there in your silence, it will have a poetry and a music of its own, and to transcend such a refined mind is very easy. It is a friendly step towards higher peaks: poetry turning into mysticism, great literature turning into great insights into existence, music turning into silence.”
To me, neither God is important nor heaven nor hell nor angels — all those are just hypothetical. To me, meditation is the very soul of religion. But it can be attained only if you move rightly.
Just a single step in a wrong direction… And you are always moving on a razor’s edge! Begin with love of the body, which is your outermost part. Start loving your mind — and if you love your mind you will decorate it, just the way you decorate your body. You keep it clean, you keep it fresh; you don’t want your body to smell horrible to people, you want your body to be loved and respected by others. Your presence should not be simply tolerated but welcomed.
You have to decorate your mind with poetry, with music, with art, with great literature. Your trouble is, your mind is filled only with trivia. Such third-rate things go on through your mind that you cannot love it. You think of nothing which is great. Make it more in tune with the greatest poets; make it in tune with people like Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Turgenev, Rabindranath, Kahlil Gibran, Mikhail Naimy; make it filled with the greatest heights that mind has reached. Then you will not be unfriendly to the mind. Then you will rejoice in the mind; even if mind is there in your silence, it will have a poetry and a music of its own, and to transcend such a refined mind is very easy. It is a friendly step towards higher peaks: poetry turning into mysticism, great literature turning into great insights into existence, music turning into silence.
And as these things start turning into higher peaks, beyond mind, you will be discovering new worlds, new universes which we don’t even have a name for. We can say blissfulness, ecstasy, enlightenment, but no word really describes it. It is simply outside the power of language to reduce it into explanations, into theories, into philosophies. It is simply beyond… but mind rejoices in its transcendence.
That’s what my unique contribution is to you. With absolute humbleness I want to tell you that I am far ahead of even Gautam Buddha, for the simple reason that he is still fighting with the mind. I have loved my mind, and through love I have transcended it.
It is a totally new beginning. Naturally I have to be condemned; my people will be condemned. Many will come to me but will not be able to walk along with me even for a few steps, because soon they will find that their prejudices are preventing them from going with me. Their prejudices are ancient, and naturally — I can understand — they cannot think that anybody can go beyond Gautam Buddha, just as the contemporaries of Gautam Buddha could not believe that he has gone beyond the VEDAS and beyond the seers of the UPANISHADS, just as contemporaries of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu could not believe that they have gone far beyond Confucius. And if just out of humbleness I don’t say the truth, I will be committing a crime against truth. I don’t care about such humbleness; I want exactly what is the case to be explained to you.
My approach towards meditation is absolutely new, absolutely fresh, because it depends on love — not on fight, not on war. Mahavira I have left twenty-five centuries behind. His name was not Mahavira — mahavira means `the great warrior’. His name was Vardhamana, but people changed his name because he was a great warrior. A warrior against whom? — against his body, against his mind. And I don’t think that anybody who is against his body and against his mind is capable of reaching the beyond. Only love is the path.
First let your mind be decorated. Only beyond this perfumed garden of the mind will you be able to go silently, without any fight; mind will be a help, not a hindrance. I have not found it to be a hindrance; hence I can say with absolute authority: it is not a hindrance. You just don’t know how to use it.
It is beautiful, Sagarpriya, that when you come here you feel meditative. At least these few gaps, these few days, will slowly start becoming stronger, deeper. One day you will be gone and these moments will be with you even in the marketplace, and that will be a day of great rejoicing. But it takes time. I have to say to people that it can happen instantly. Not that it is untrue — it can happen instantly, but where to find the genius who can understand it instantly? When I say it can happen instantly, people simply think, “This is impossible for us.” If I say to them it can happen in a few lives’ time, they feel, “That seems to be perfect,” because that gives them the time to do all their stupid things meanwhile. It is a question of a few lives, so what is the hurry? First take care of your boyfriend, your girlfriend; first go to see all kinds of ruins in Rome, in Greece, in India; first do every foolish thing that is expected of you by the whole crowd. And as far as enlightenment is concerned it is not going to happen now, it will take many lives, so what is the hurry? You can go on postponing. That’s why people love all these religions which talk about many lives — not because they understand the significance of it, but because they want to use that as an excuse.
It can happen this very moment, but it will not happen. The reason is not in its nature; the reason is you. It will not happen because you don’t want it to happen right now. Just think for a moment: if I were going to make you enlightened this very moment, you would start thinking, “But I have not asked my husband. What about my children? I have to get my daughter married. And I have just met my girlfriend, my god! and this is going to happen just now? he cannot wait? — just let me finish my honeymoon.” Thousands of thoughts will arise in your mind: “My god, I have started a new business, invested everything in it. If he had told me before, I would not have got involved in all this mess.” Everybody, without exception….
It is possible in this very moment to drop all your prejudices, cleanse your mind. It simply needs absolute decisiveness, ultimate trust, and a love that knows no bounds. But if it cannot happen this moment, I don’t want anybody to become sad and fall into a state of despair. It can happen tomorrow. You can relax, there is no hurry. But please understand the process clearly: Love your body — against all the religions. Love your mind, refine your mind — against all the religions. And I say to you that fight is not the way; love is the way.
Love your body, love your mind, and that very love will create the energy, the atmosphere to transcend the mind, to create what I call meditation or the state of no-mind. It will come. It has to come. Nobody has to go from this temple empty-handed.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse name: The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here
Chapter title: Human mind is a miracle
12 September 1987 pm in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium
Osho has spoken on prominent writers and philosophers like Albert Camus, Aristotle, Byron, Descartes, Fyodor Dostoevsky, D.H. Lawrence, H.G. Wells, Hegel, Huxley, John Milton, Kahlil Gibran, Kalidas, Kant, Leo Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Rabindranath Tagore, Shakespeare and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Come Come Yet Again Come
- Beyond Psychology
- The Dhammapada: the way of the Buddha Vol.1,3,7,9,10,12
- The Transmission of The Lamp
- I am That
- The Perfect Master
- The Golden Future
- Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind