Osho on Student, Disciple and Devotee
I LOOK INTO YOUR EYES AND THERE IS NO ONE THERE. WHERE ARE YOU?
Anand Bhavo, the dewdrop has disappeared into the ocean… now forget the dewdrop and look at the ocean. If you go on searching for the dewdrop, you will miss the ocean; you will remain preoccupied with the dewdrop, you will not be able to see the vastness that has happened. The dewdrop disappearing into the ocean in a sense is no more, but in another sense it is for the first time — now it has become the ocean.
Looking into my eyes, don’t try to search for a person; you will not find any person there. The person has disappeared; now there is a presence. Presence is infinite; a person has a definition — a boundary, a certain name, form, a label. Presence is simply presence. The flower is no more, it has become the fragrance. You can hold the flower in your hand, but you cannot hold fragrance in your hand. To experience fragrance hands are not needed at all. That’s how you should come close to me: you should be more sensitive towards the presence, synchronize with my presence. And the only way to synchronize with my presence is for you also to dissolve your person and become a presence. Only two presences can meet and mingle and merge. If you are a person then there is no possibility of melting and merging with me. You remain a rock and I am a river — how are you going to melt and merge with me? You also become a presence — that’s my whole teaching, my whole message. Let the person die, let the flower disappear, because the person is nothing but a mask. The presence is your essence.
The presence is what is meant by godliness. There is no God, only godliness; but because we are persons we imagine God also as a person.
Our attitude towards ourselves is bound to reflect in our other attitudes too; our attitude towards existence is bound to be part of our attitude towards ourselves. You are still searching in my eyes for a person — certainly there is none. Hence you can become afraid, scared, because you will see emptiness, nothingness. There are three stages of being with me. One stage is that of a student who thinks about me as a person. He never looks into my eyes, he never tries to penetrate my being, he remains concerned with the superficial, the formal, my body, my words. He remains an outsider, curious, desirous to know more about me, longing for more and more knowledge, information. But there is an infinite distance between me and him. He will gather a little information about the mysteries of life and will leave. He will become more knowledgeable, more egoistic; in fact he will leave more sick than he had come, more burdened than he had come — burdened by knowledge. He will not have any taste of my wisdom. He can’t understand wisdom; he understands only knowledge, he understands only that which can be expressed through words, theories, logic. He will be unable to see the beyond. He has to be pitied. He comes and goes empty-handed. He comes to the river and goes back home thirsty. He thinks he has gained much, but all that he has gathered are crumbs fallen from the table while he could have been my guest — he remained a beggar.
The second stage is that of a disciple — who comes a little bit closer, becomes aware of something mysterious, starts feeling, moves from the world of thinking to the world of feeling, slips from the head to the heart. He will be able to hear not only the words but the poetry hidden behind them. He will be able to hear not only the words, but the silence contained in those words. Of course he will see the superficial too, but he will be able to understand that that’s not all — something more is there. He will not be exactly conscious of it, but an unconscious intuitive feeling is bound to be there. If he lingers here a little longer then that feeling will become more solid, more substantial. First it will be only a shadow, a glimpse, a vision that happens once in a while and then is lost, as when clouds disappear and for a moment you see the sun, and again there are clouds and the sun is no more.
The student never sees the sun, he only sees the clouds. The disciple, once in a while, is touched by the beyond, moved by the beyond. The student lives in the head, the disciple lives in the heart. But just to remain a disciple is not enough either — better than being a student, far better, far superior, but not enough. One step more — and that is the step of being a devotee. A devotee is one who neither thinks about the master, nor feels about the master, but starts synchronizing with his being; neither from the head nor from the heart, but from the very core of his existence. He starts pulsating, he starts living in the same rhythm, he breathes the way the master breathes. His heart dances with the beat of the master’s heart. He loses himself, he is no longer an outsider.
The student is absolutely an outsider, the devotee absolutely an insider, and the disciple is in between. The disciple is in the middle, on the way. If he is courageous he will become a devotee, if he is a coward he will fall back and become a student. The student is at ease, because he is not aware at all of the real; the devotee is at ease because he is in tune with the real.
The greatest difficulty is that of the disciple; he is in between, pulled apart in two directions. He will have to decide sooner or later either to be a student or to be a devotee; one cannot prolong the state of being a disciple for long, because it is a state of anguish, it is a state of tension. The student is relaxed because he is unconscious, the devotee is relaxed because he is conscious, but the disciple is vague — vaguely conscious, vaguely unconscious, the disciple lives in the world of twilight, neither day nor night, neither here nor there, in a kind of limbo.
Anand Bhavo, you are in the state of being a disciple. Yes, glimpses have started showering on you — now be courageous, move a little closer. Don’t only look into my eyes, but be my eyes. Don’t be a spectator, become a participant, get involved, committed. Don’t look at me as somebody separate from you. The time has come: become inseparable, so attuned that you don’t have any identity of your own.
I don’t have any identity of my own. And when you also lose your identity we are two zeros coming closer and closer and closer, and in a sudden flash of thunder the two zeros are no more two, they have become one. That orgasmic experience of oneness is the first experience of godliness. The first experience of godliness happens in being utterly one with the master. The master is only a device, remember, he is only a window to the divine. Come closer and closer to the window and the window disappears and the frame of the window disappears and the whole sky opens up with all its stars.
And then you will be able to see me in the eyes of my sannyasins and in the song of the birds and in the green and red and gold of the trees and in the stars and in the rivers — you will be able to see me everywhere.
Ramakrishna was dying, one of the greatest modern masters. He was suffering from cancer of the throat. It had become impossible for him to eat anything, even to drink water was impossible. For the last three days of his life he could not eat or drink anything.
Vivekananda fell at his feet and said, “If you ask God, just for the asking — the miracle is bound to happen. Why don’t you ask him to take this cancer away? At least you can say, ‘Allow me to eat and drink.'”
Ramakrishna said, “If you say so, I will do it. I never thought of it. Your idea is good. I will try.”
He closed his eyes. Tears started flowing from his closed eyes, his face became full of light. All the anguish of the cancer, all the pain — intolerable was the pain — suddenly disappeared. He opened his eyes. Vivekananda was very happy, the other disciples were very happy, that something had happened, something miraculous. But they were not aware of what it was, they thought God had taken the cancer away, or at least had allowed Ramakrishna to eat and drink. But that was not the real miracle.
Ramakrishna opened his eyes, he was ecstatic; for a few moments he could not utter a single word. Then he said, “Vivekananda, you are a fool! You suggest such stupid things to me, and you know that I am a simple man, a villager, so I accept. I said to God, ‘I can’t eat, can’t drink — why can’t you allow me at least to eat and drink?’
“And he said, ‘Ramakrishna, have you gone crazy? Now you can eat from the mouths of your disciples, now you can drink from others’ throats — why do you cling to your own throat?’ And that released me from my body. That’s why I cried in joy. Yes, that’s true! — all throats are mine. I can eat, I can drink from others’ throats.”
When he was dying, his wife Sharda asked him, “What am I to do when you die?” because death was so imminent and so certain. In India when the husband dies, the wife has to drop all her ornaments. In Bengal particularly, the wife has never to use any colored clothes, she can only use white, no ornaments. Sharda asked, “What am I to do? Should I wear white and no ornaments when you are gone?”
Ramakrishna said, “But I am not going anywhere! I will be here! You will be able to see me in the eyes of those who love me. You will be able to feel me in the wind, in the rain, in the sun. A bird on the wing and suddenly you will remember me, and I am there! A beautiful sunset and you will remember me and I am there! You are not going to become a widow; you are married to me forever and forever. This marriage is not of time, it is of eternity.”
He is talking about the marriage between a devotee and a master. Sharda was a devotee, not only his wife — that was secondary. And that’s how it happened. Ramakrishna died, Sharda never even wept; she continued her way of life as if Ramakrishna was still alive. Every night she would prepare the bed for Ramakrishna, as she used to prepare it before. She would put up the mosquito net and she would tell Ramakrishna, “Now you go to sleep, it is already too late.” She would prepare the food that he used to like, she would bring the THALI, would sit by his side and tell Ramakrishna, “Look what I have prepared for you.”
People used to think that she had gone mad. No, she was not mad. People were mad. She had understood the point. When she was dying, her last words were… she told all the disciples that had started loving her as their master, in the absence of Ramakrishna — they started crying and weeping — she said, “Wait, what are you doing? Have you forgotten what Ramakrishna told me? That he was not going anywhere? I am not going anywhere either. Feel blissful, feel happy that I am also getting free of the body. Rejoice because now I can melt into Ramakrishna, into his universality.” This is the state of the devotee. But to be a disciple is no mean achievement. It is a necessary step towards being a devotee.
Anand Bhavo, one step more — then you will not say, “I am looking into your eyes,” you will say, “I am looking through your eyes.” Then you become my eyes, then you are not standing outside, you stand inside me and you start looking at existence as I look at it. And then a great transformation, a great transcendence, a great revelation…
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 5
Chapter title: Christ: the last Christian
16 October 1979 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘Master, disciple, devotee, presence, essence, transformation’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Book of Wisdom
- Come follow to you Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega Vol. 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10
- From Personality to Individuality
- From the False to the Truth
- Beyond Enlightenment
- The Osho Upanishad
- The True Sage
- Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol 1, 2
- The Razor’s Edge
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 3
- Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
- The Wisdom of the Sands Vol.2
- The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
- The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1