Ramleela: A Play of Life

Meditation is a state exactly opposite to concentration. Meditation means that you are sitting under a tree, with your consciousness open to all directions. It is not running in any direction — it is open to all. It is not running; it is steady and available to all. The bird’s song will be heard, with no thought as to whether it is a cuckoo or some other bird. The moment thought enters, meditation disappears; with thoughts, concentration begins. The bird will sing, its song will echo in your inner emptiness because you are open and available, but there will be no ripple of thought; the sound will echo and disappear. A plane flies by overhead, and its roar too will echo and vanish. A train whistle blows; its sound echoes within you and fades away. The leaves will be falling from the trees, their sound echoing in your inner emptiness, but you won’t be thinking, you will just be. Meditation is the name of this being, of being without thought.

And meditation is no narrow state of mind, it is no narrow-flowing river, it is an ocean. Concentration is like a river, actively flowing fast into a certain direction. Meditation is like the ocean, a vast expanse open to all directions, but not flowing anywhere. The river can be flooded; to the ocean, flooding is unknown. Rivers are running and narrow, a small amount of water fills them up — just a little less water and they run dry. Concentration can be flooded and stormed with great power, and concentration can also run dry and become lifeless. Meditation is never flooded and never runs dry. It is steady within itself. Wakefulness is attained through meditation and meditation is surrender. Concentration is attained through willpower, meditation through surrender. Surrender means abandoning oneself to the whole, becoming one with it.

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Nahin Ram Bin Thaon — become one with Rama who is everywhere present, become one with existence. Let your drop disappear into this!  Let your separate identity go, because as long as you remain separate you cannot be open, the doors and the windows will have to be closed, a wall will have to be put up. Leave them all open. Let the breeze pass through you, without meeting any obstacle. Let the sounds pass through you, let there be no walls to hold them back. Let yourself become an openness, an open sky. This will happen through surrender. Surrender is one inner state; will is another. Will means conflict; surrender means no conflict. A man swimming in a river is a symbol of will; a man floating on the river is a symbol of surrender…

A meditative person is one who has died to his ego. Surrender means dissolving one’s ego and saying to existence, now it is Your will, not mine. This is the very meaning of this sutra: that it is You, not I; that I surrender my ego to You. This ego, which I have so carefully preserved, which has brought me so much unhappiness, which I have carried through birth after birth until all my strength has gone; this ego, which has weighed me down and brought me nothing of any value, I am returning to You! Surrender is this returning of the ego. Surrender is to live life without an I. Sitting, it is no longer I who sits; getting up, it is no longer I who gets up. One becomes only an instrument through which existence sits and existence gets up. It is existence who gets hungry, whose hunger gets satisfied; it is existence who gets thirsty and whose thirst gets quenched; let the “me” be moved aside.

Surrender does not just mean bowing down to someone’s feet. Surrender means to live a life in which “I” is no longer formed, in which “I” is not created; in which existence works through you without hindrance…

Everything is lost, and when everything of yours has disappeared, all that remains is God. This is moksha, liberation. Rama is everything. I am nothing! But by Rama, do not understand the warrior, the archer, that Rama whose statues are standing in the temples. He is useless. You may drop everything at the feet of these temple statues but nothing will be dropped. Nobody ever really goes to the temple to offer; on the contrary, everyone goes there to beg. If a man bows down at Rama’s feet, it is only to ask for something in return. He has come with a demand. He is only trying to persuade Rama.”You are great and marvelous,” he says, “you are the savior of the fallen!” He is just flattering; what he means is, “I want something; fulfill my demands!” He is just playing the game of greed on Rama.: if you do not fulfill those demands, all praises will cease, and condemnation will take its place.

But the Rama you can influence by your praise is not Rama, the Rama you can sway by your criticism is not Rama, the Rama who listens to your demands and caters for them is not Rama. He is just the web work of your own desires; he is a statue of your own making. He is your toy. It is you who have installed him in the temple. The temple is just a part of your dream. No, I am not talking about that Rama.

 I am talking about the Rama who is singing in the birds, who is swaying in the trees, murmuring in the fountains; I am talking about the Rama who is in the open sky, who is everywhere. I am not referring to a person, I am referring to the ultimate energy. If you have eyes to see, you will experience the expanse of energy everywhere. You will see the expanse of a supreme energy which manifests in various forms and then dissolves. All this vast play is Rama. Hindus have chosen a beautiful word, Ramleela, to signify the drama of Rama’s life.

This is a sweet word, a tempting word. Leela means play — children’s play, which implies an abundance of energy. With so much energy, why just sit or lie around? Let us play! Only Hindus have the concept of play in their religion. Christians say, “God created the world.” Creation seems to have a seriousness about it, creation seems to be loaded with some purpose behind it, some end in view, somewhere to reach. Hindus say, “The world is God’s play, leela.”

Leela means there is so much overflowing energy, just to sit idle is impossible! So, God thought, “Let me play!” This is the reason why children cannot sit quietly. Ask the older ones, whose energy has faded, who find it difficult to walk; they will happily agree to sit quietly. But children bounce, overflowing with energy! They cannot sit!  Even if you try to make them sit, they will start fidgeting. The energy is overflowing. God is infinite energy, and we are his overflowing. The whole existence is his overflowing. It is all his abundance that is flowing. And he can never be exhausted. This energy that can never be emptied, is called Rama. And the day this Rama becomes your final refuge, the day you come to experience that there is nowhere else to go but within, you find that an overwhelming gratitude has arisen in your life. No gratitude can arise in life until this happens.


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

Discourse Series:

Nowhere To Go But In

Chapter #2
Chapter title: None
26 May 1974 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘meditation, surrender, energy, gratitude, existence, god’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Book of Wisdom
  2. The Heart Sutra
  3. Guida Spirituale
  4. Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 1, 2
  5. The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol 1
  6. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 2, 6, 9
  7. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
  8. The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1, 2
  9. Light on the Path
  10. From Bondage to Freedom
  11. Om Mani Padme Hum
  12. The Razor’s Edge
  13. Sat Chit Anand
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