Osho on Indian Mystic Shirdi Sai Baba
October 5, 2022 is the Punyatithi of the Indian mystic Sai Baba of Shirdi. Revered by both Hindu and Mohammedan devotees, Sai Baba preached compassion, contentment, forgiveness, love, tolerance and charity. Little is known about Sai Baba’s early life and he was notorious for giving vague and contradictory replies to questions concerning his parentage and origins. He was truly secular in his teachings, encouraging his followers to read the Quran or Bhagvad Gita as per their inclination. While he was opposed to religious orthodoxy and rituals, he encouraged prayer, chanting and reading scriptures. He emphasized tolerance, non-discrimination and detachment from worldly pleasures.
Osho has spoken on Sai Baba of Shirdi in His discourses. Osho says when a person is involved with millions of people then even after he leaves his body, his energy remains available to his people. It takes a long time for that energy to disperse. Sometimes it goes on and on… This happened with Sai Baba. That’s why if you go to Shirdi, to Sai Baba’s town, you will still feel something happening, still the energy goes on coming; he is so much involved that for many people he is still alive. Sai Baba’s tomb is not dead. It is still alive. But the same thing you will not feel near many tombs — they are dead. By ‘dead’ I mean they have accumulated all their involvement, they have disappeared.
AN IMAGE CONJURED UP BY WORDS WITHOUT ANY SUBSTANCE BEHIND IT IS VIKALPA — IMAGINATION.
Imagination is just through words, verbal structures. You create a thing — it is not there, it is not a reality. But you create it through your mental images. And you can create it to such an extent that you yourself become deceived by it and you think it is real. This happens in hypnosis. Hypnotize a person and say anything; he conjures up the image, and that image becomes real. You can do it. You are doing it in many ways.
One of the most famous American actresses, Greta Garbo, has written a memoir. She was an ordinary girl, just a homely, ordinary girl, very poor, and working in a barber shop just for few annas, and she would put soap on the customers’ faces. For three years she was doing that.
One day one American film director was there in that barber shop, and she was putting soap on his face, and just the way Americans are — he may not have even meant it — he simply looked in the mirror, the reflection of the girl, and said, “How beautiful!” And Greta Garbo was born that very moment! She writes: suddenly she became different; she had never thought herself beautiful; she couldn’t conceive of it. And she has never heard anybody saying that she was beautiful. For the first time she also looked in the mirror and the face was different — this man has made her beautiful. And the whole life changed. She followed the man and became one of the most famous film actress.
What happened? Just a hypnosis, a hypnosis through a word “beautiful” — worked. It works; it becomes chemical. Everybody believes something about himself. That belief becomes reality because that belief starts working on you.
Imagination is a force, but it is a conjured-up force, imagined force. You can use it and you can be used by it. If you can use it, it will be helpful, but if you are used by it, it is fatal, it is dangerous. Imagination can become madness any moment; imagination can be helpful if through it, you create a situation for your inner growth and crystallization.
But it is through words, a conjured-up thing. For human beings, words, language, verbal constructions have become so significant that nothing is more significant now. If suddenly someone says, “Fire!” the word “fire will change you immediately. There may be no fire, you will stop listening to me. There will be no effort to stop; suddenly you will stop listening to me, you will start running here and there. The word “fire” has taken imagination.
And you are influenced by words that way. The people in the advertisement business know what words to use to conjure up images. Through those words they catch you, they capture the whole market. There are many such words. They go on changing with the fashions. For these few years, “new” is the word. So everything, if you look in the advertisements, is “new” — “new” Lux Soap. “Lux Soap” won’t do. The “new” appeals immediately. Everybody is for the new; everybody is searching for the new, something new, because everybody is bored with the old. So anything new has appeal. That may not be better than the old, may be worse, but just the word “new” opens vistas in the mind. These words and their influence have to be understood deeply. For a person who is in search of the truth he must be aware of the influence of words…
Jean-Paul Sartre has written his autobiography and he has given it the title “Words”. It is beautiful because as far as mind is concerned the whole autobiography of any mind consists of words and nothing else. And Patanjali says that one has to be aware of this, because
on the path of meditation, words have to be left behind. Nations, religions, scriptures, languages, they have to be left behind and man has to become innocent, freed of words. When you are free of words there will be no imagination, and when there is no imagination you can face truth. Otherwise, you will go on creating. If you come to meet God, you must meet him without any words. If you have some words, he may not fit and suit your idea. Because if a Hindu thinks he has one thousand hands, and if God comes only with two hands, a Hindu, he will reject:
“You are not a God at all. Only with two hands? God has a thousand hands. Show me your other hands. Only then I can believe you.”
It happened: One of the most beautiful persons of this past century was Sai Baba of Shirdi. He had a friend and a follower. Sai Baba was a Mohammedan. Or no one knows whether he was a Mohammedan or a Hindu, but he lived in a mosque, so it was believed he was a Mohammedan. And a Hindu follower was there, who loved, respected, has much faith in Sai Baba. Every day he will come for his darshan, and without seeing him he will not go. Sometimes it will happen that for the whole day he will have to wait, but without seeing he will not go, and he will not take food unless he has seen Sai Baba. Once it happened the whole day passed, there was much gathering and much crowd — he couldn’t enter. When everybody has gone, just in the night he touched the feet. Sai Baba said to him, “Why you unnecessarily wait? There is no need to see me here, I can come there. And drop this from tomorrow. Now I will do. Before you take your food you will see me every day.”
The disciple was very happy. So next day he was waiting and waiting; nothing happened. Many things happened really, but nothing happened according to his conception. By the evening he was very angry. He has not taken the food, and Sai Baba has not appeared so he went again. He said, “You promise and you don’t fulfill?”
Sai Baba said, “But I appeared thrice, not even once. First time I came, I was a beggar and you said to me, ‘Move away! Don’t come here!’ Second time I came I was an old woman, and you just won’t look at me; you closed your eyes-because the disciple had the habit of not seeing women; he was practicing not seeing women, so he closed the eyes. Sai Baba said, “I had come, but what do you expect? Should I enter your eyes, closed eyes? I was standing there, but you closed the eyes. The moment you saw me, you closed the eyes. Then third time I reached as a dog, and you won’t allow me in. With a stick you were standing in the door.”
And these three things had happened. And these things have been happening to whole humanity.
The divine comes in many forms, but you have a prejudice; you have a pre-formulated conception; you cannot see. He must appear according to you, and he never appears according to you. And he will never appear according to you. You cannot be the rule for him and you cannot put any conditions. When all imagination falls, only then truth appears. Otherwise, imagination goes on making conditions and truth cannot appear. Only in a naked mind, in a nude, empty mind, truth appears, because you cannot distort it.
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 title: Right and wrong knowledge
29 December 1973 pm in
Osho has spoken on Mystics like Dadu, Farid, Gurdjieff, J. Krishnamurti, Kabir, Nanak, Patanjali, Rumi, Sahajo, 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