Patanjali: Einstein in the world of Buddhas

Osho on Patanjali

Patanjali was an enlightened master, who devised a scientific path to attain the state of Samadhi, the highest state of consciousness and named it as ASHTANG YOGA. He was also known as “Father of Yoga”. Stream of Yoga is still alive and now being followed in different forms and for different benefits all over the world. Starting from the very physical body and going through the mind and ultimately to the being, the very presence, known as Samadhi.

Osho has spoken a discourse series of 100 discourses on Patanjali, “Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega” which has also been translated in Hindi as “Patanjali: Yoga Sutra”.

Osho says “PATANJALI IS THE GREATEST scientist of the inner. His approach is that of a scientific mind: he is not a poet. And in that way he is very rare, because those who enter into the inner world are almost always poets, those who enter into the outer world are always almost scientists. Patanjali is a rare flower. He has a scientific mind, but his journey is inner. That’s why he became the first and the last word: he is the alpha and the omega. For five thousand years nobody could improve upon him. It seems he cannot be improved upon. He will remain the last word  —  because the very combination is impossible. To have a scientific attitude and to enter into the inner is almost an impossible possibility. He talks like a mathematician, a logician. He talks like Aristotle and he is a Heraclitus.”

Osho further says “Yoga Sutras of Patanjali or the Brahma Sutras of Badraina or the Bhakti Sutras of Narad — small sentences, the smallest you can conceive, almost telegraphic — but so much is pressed into them that each sentence has atomic energy.



We live in a deep illusion — the illusion of hope, of future, of tomorrow. As man is, man cannot exist without self-deceptions. Nietzsche says somewhere that man cannot live with the true: he needs dreams, he needs illusions, he needs lies to exist. And Nietzsche is true. As man is he cannot exist with the truth. This has to be understood very deeply because without understanding it, there can be no entry into the inquiry which is called yoga. The mind has to be understood deeply — the mind which needs lies, the mind which needs illusions, the mind which cannot exist with the real, the mind which needs dreams. You are not dreaming only in the night. Even while awake, you are dreaming continuously. You may be looking at me, you may be listening to me, but a dream current goes on within you. Continuously, the mind is creating dreams, images, fantasies…

This mind cannot enter on the path of yoga because yoga means a methodology to reveal the truth. Yoga is a method to come to a non-dreaming mind. Yoga is the science to be in the here and now. Yoga means now you are ready not to move into the future. Yoga means you are ready now not to hope, not to jump ahead of your being. Yoga means to encounter the reality as it is. So one can enter yoga, or the path of yoga, only when he is totally frustrated with his own mind as it is. If you are still hoping that you can gain something through your mind, yoga is not for you. A total frustration is needed — the revelation that this mind which projects, is futile, the mind that hopes is nonsense, it leads nowhere. It simply closes your eyes; it intoxicates you; it never allows reality to be revealed to you. It protects you against reality. Your mind is a drug. It is against that which is. So unless you are totally frustrated with your mind, with your way of being, the way you have existed up to now, if you can drop it unconditionally, then you can enter on the path.

So many become interested, but very few enter because your interest may be just because of your mind. You may be hoping now, through yoga, that you may gain something, but the achieving motive is there-you may become perfect through yoga, you may reach to the blissful state of perfect being, you may become one with the brahman, you may achieve the satchitananda. This may be the cause why you are interested in yoga. If this is the cause then there can be no meeting between you and the path which is yoga. Then you are totally against it, moving in a totally opposite dimension.

Yoga means that now there is no hope, now there is no future, now there are no desires. One is ready to know what is. One is not interested in what can be, what should be, what ought to be. One is not interested! One is interested only in that which is, because only the real can free you, only the reality can become liberation.

Total despair is needed. That despair is called dukkha by Buddha. And if you are really in misery, don’t hope, because your hope will only prolong the misery. Your hope is a drug. It can help you to reach death only and nowhere else. All your hopes can lead you only to death. They are leading.

Become totally hopeless — no future, no hope. Difficult, Needs courage to face the real. But such a moment comes to everyone, some time or other. A moment comes to every human being when he feels total hopelessness. Absolute meaninglessness happens to him. When he becomes aware that whatsoever he is doing is useless, wheresoever he is going, he is going to nowhere, all life is meaningless — suddenly hopes drop, future drops, and for the first time you are in tune with the present, for the first time you are face to face with reality. Unless this moment comes to you…

You can go on doing asanas, postures; that is not yoga. Yoga is an inward turning. It is a total about-turn. When you are not moving into the future, not moving toward the past, then you start moving within yourself — because your being is here and now, it is not in the future. You are present here and now, you can enter this reality. But then mind has to be here.

This moment is indicated by the first sutra of Patanjali. Before we talk about the first sutra, a few other things have to be understood. First, yoga is not a religion-remember that. Yoga is not Hindu, it is not Mohammedan. Yoga is a pure science just like mathematics, physics or chemistry. Physics is not Christian physics is not Buddhist. If Christians have discovered the laws of physics, then too physics is not Christian. It is just accidental that Christians have come to discover the laws of physics. But physics remains just a science. Yoga is a science — it is just an accident that Hindus discovered it. It is not Hindu. It is a pure mathematics of the inner being. So a Mohammedan can be a yogi, a Christian can be a yogi, a Jain, a bauddha can be a yogi.

Yoga is pure science, and Patanjali is the greatest name as far as the world of yoga is concerned. This man is rare. There is no other name comparable to Patanjali. For the first time in the history of humanity, this man brought religion to the state of a science: he made religion a science, bare laws; no belief is needed.

Because so-called religions need beliefs, there is no other difference between one religion and another; the difference is only of beliefs.

A Mohammedan has certain beliefs, a Hindu certain others, a Christian certain others. The difference is of beliefs.

Yoga has nothing as far as belief is concerned; yoga doesn’t say to believe in anything. Yoga says experience. Just like science says experiment, yoga says experience. Experiment and experience are both the same, their directions are different. Experiment means something you can do outside; experience means something you can do inside. Experience is an inside experiment.

Science says: Don’t believe, doubt as much as you can. But also, don’t disbelieve, because disbelief is again a sort of belief. You can believe in God, you can believe in the concept of no-God. You can say God is, with a fanatic attitude; you can say the quite reverse that God is not with the same fanaticism. Atheists, theists, are all believers, and belief is not the realm for science.

 Science means experience something, that which is; no belief is needed. So the second thing to remember: Yoga is existential, experiential, experimental. No belief is required, no faith is needed — only courage to experience. And that’s what’s lacking. You can believe easily because in belief you are not going to be transformed. Belief is something added to you, something superficial. Your being is not changed; you are not passing through some mutation.

You may be a Hindu, you can become Christian the next day. Simply, you change: you change Gita for a Bible. You can change it for a Koran, but the man who was holding Gita and is now holding the Bible, remains the same. He has changed his beliefs.

Beliefs are like clothes. Nothing substantial is transformed; you remain the same. Dissect a Hindu, dissect a Mohammedan, inside they are the same. He goes to a temple; the Mohammedan hates the temple. The Mohammedan goes to the mosque and the Hindu hates the mosque, but inside they are the same human beings. Belief is easy because you are not required really to do anything — just a superficial dressing, a decoration, something which you can put aside any moment you like. Yoga is not belief. That’s why it is difficult, arduous, and sometimes it seems impossible. It is an existential approach. You will come to the truth, but not through belief, but through your own experience, through your own realization. That means you will have to be totally changed. Your viewpoints, your way of life, your mind, your psyche has to be shattered completely as it is. Something new has to be created. Only with that new will you come in contact with the reality.

So yoga is both a death and a new life. As you are you will have to die, and unless you die the new cannot be born. The new is hidden in you. You are just a seed for it, and the seed must fall down, absorbed by the earth. The seed must die; only then the new will arise out of you. Your death will become your new life. Yoga is both a death and a new birth. Unless you are ready to die, you cannot be reborn.

So it is not a question of changing beliefs.

Yoga is not a philosophy. I say it is not a religion, I say it is not a philosophy. It is not something you can think about. It is something you will have to be; thinking won’t do. Thinking goes on in your head. It is not really deep into the roots of your being; it is not your totality. It is just a part, a functional part; it can be trained. And you can argue logically, you can think rationally, but your heart will remain the same. Your heart is your deepest center, your head is just a branch. You can be without the head, but you cannot be without the heart. Your head is not basic.

Yoga is concerned with your total being, with your roots. It is not philosophical. So with Patanjali we will not be thinking, speculating. With Patanjali we will be trying to know the ultimate laws of being: the laws of its transformation, the laws of how to die and how to be reborn again, the laws of a new order of being. That is why I call it a science.

Patanjali is rare. He is an enlightened person like Buddha, like Krishna, like Christ, like Mahavira, Mohammed, Zarathustra, but he is different in one way. Buddha, Krishna, Mahavira, Zarathustra, Mohammed no one has a scientific attitude. They are great founders of religions. They have changed the whole pattern of human mind and its structure, but their approach is not scientific. Patanjali is like an Einstein in the word of Buddhas. He is a phenomenon. He could have easily been a Nobel Prize winner like an Einstein or Bohr or Max Planck, Heisenberg. He has the same attitude, the same approach of a rigorous scientific mind. He is not a poet; Krishna is a poet. He is not a moralist; Mahavira is a moralist. He is basically a scientist, thinking in terms of laws. And he has come to deduce absolute laws of human being, the ultimate working structure of human mind and reality. And if you follow Patanjali, you will come to know that he is as exact as any mathematical formula. Simply do what he says and the result will happen. The result is bound to happen; it is just like two plus two, they become four. It is just like you heat water up to one hundred degrees and it evaporates. No belief is needed: you simply do it and know. It is something to be done and known. That’s why I say there is no comparison. On this earth, never a man has existed like Patanjali…

The first sutra: NOW THE DISCIPLINE OF YOGA — Athayoganushasanam.

NOW THE DISCIPLINE OF YOGA. Each and single word has to be understood because Patanjali will not use a single superfluous word.


First try to understand the word “now”. This “now” indicates to the state of mind I was just talking to you about. If you are disillusioned, if you are hopeless, if you have completely become aware of the futility of all desires, if you see your life as meaningless — whatsoever you have been doing up to now has simply fallen dead nothing remains in the future, you are in absolute despair — what Kierkegaard calls anguish. If you are in anguish, suffering, not knowing what to do, not knowing where to go, not knowing to whom to look, just on the verge of madness or suicide or death, your whole pattern of life suddenly has become futile. If this moment has come, Patanjali says, NOW THE DISCIPLINE OF YOGA. Only now you can understand the science of yoga, the discipline of yoga…

What is discipline? Discipline means creating an order within you. As you are, you are a chaos. As you are, you are totally disorderly. Gurdjieff used to say — and Gurdjieff is in many ways like Patanjali: he was again trying to make the core of religion a science — Gurdjieff says that you are not one, you are a crowd, not even when you say “I”, there is any “I”. There are many “I’s” in you, many egos. In the morning, one “I”; in the afternoon, another “I”; in the evening, a third “I”, but you never become aware of this mess because who will become aware of it. There is not a center who can become aware. “Yoga is discipline” means yoga wants to create a crystallized center in you. As you are, you are a crowd and a crowd has many phenomena. One is, you cannot believe a crowd. Gurdjieff used to say that man cannot promise. Who will promise? You are not there…You cannot fulfill a promise. You go on giving promises, and you know well you cannot fulfill, because you are not one: you are a disorder, a chaos. Hence, Patanjali says, NOW THE DISCIPLINE OF YOGA.

If your life has become an absolute misery, if you have realized that whatsoever you do creates hell, then the moment has come. This moment can change your dimension, your direction of being. Up until now you have lived as a chaos, a crowd.

Yoga means now you will have to be a harmony, you will have to become one. A crystallization is needed; a centering is needed. And unless you attain a center, all that you do is useless. It is wasting life and time. A center is the first necessity, and only a person can be blissful who has got a center.

Everybody asks for it, but you cannot ask. You have to earn it! Everybody hankers for a blissful state of being, but only a center can be blissful. A crowd cannot be blissful, a crowd has got no self. There is no atman. Who is going to be blissful.

Bliss means absolute silence, and silence is possible only when there is harmony-when all the discordant fragments have become one, when there is no crowd, but one.

When you are alone in the house and nobody else is there, you will be blissful. Right now everybody else is in your house, you are not there. Only guests are there, the host is always absent.

And only the host can be blissful. This centering Patanjali calls discipline — ANUSHASANAM. The word “discipline” is beautiful. It comes from the same root from where the word “disciple” comes. “Discipline” means the capacity to learn, the capacity to know. But you cannot know, you cannot learn, unless you have attained the capacity to be.


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

Discourse Series: Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 1

Chapter #1

Chapter title:Introduction to the path of Yoga

25 December 1973 pm in


Osho has spoken on Krishna, Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, Patanjali, Gorakh, Lao Tzu, Saraha, Tilopa, Zarathustra and many other enlightened Mastersin many of His discourses. More on them can be referred to in the following books/discourse titles:

  1. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra
  2. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  3. Tao: The Three Treasures
  4. Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet
  5. The Mustard Seed: My Most Loved Gospel on Jesus
  6. The Path of Love
  7. Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
  8. When the Shoe Fits
  9. Hyakujo: The Everest of Zen, with Basho’s Haikus
  10. Sermons in Stones
  11. The Book of Wisdom
  12. The Tantra Vision
  13. Tantra: The Supreme Understanding

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