Remain Choiceless

Osho on Liberation


Many things have to be understood. The problem is very delicate. First, if you no longer have the desire to do anything, how will you desire suicide? It is a desire. How can you commit suicide without desiring it? In fact it is the utmost in desire.

NOTHING SEEMS TO MATTER TO ME ANY MORE. If nothing seems to matter anymore suicide also cannot mean anything. How will you choose? How will you choose between life and death? It will be an escape, an escape from life; and somebody who is escaping from life is also escaping from death. That’s why I say it is very delicate.

If you are fed up with life, if you are really tired of life, if you don’t desire anything, you are bored, then your suicide will have a negative quality to it. It will be just boredom, a ‘fedupness,’ it will not be a real suicide. It will be negative, it will be futile and you will be thrown back into life again because life is a discipline, you are here to learn something. If you are ecstatic, if you are celebrating life and you are so fulfilled that dancing you move into death, then it is no longer suicide, it is SAMADHI, it is NIRVANA. Buddha also moved into death, but he was not tired of life, he was fulfilled. Try to understand the difference.

There is only one religion in the world which has given permission to commit suicide — that is Jainism. Mahavir, who is the greatest propounder of non-violence, has given permission to his disciples to commit suicide — but only to those who are not fed up with life, who are not bored, not tired, but who have lived life completely, perfectly, totally, who have known everything that life can give and who have experienced it. Now they are fulfilled. They are not destroying themselves against life, they are fulfilled, the work is done. They are returning to the source.

Mahavir is really very courageous. No other religious teacher has been courageous enough to allow suicide. But he has made conditions for it: it should not be committed in any negative mood, because then you miss the point and you will be thrown back. It should be absolutely positive. Another condition is that one should not take poison or jump from a hill or into the river or into the ocean. No, that can be done in a single moment. One should fast, fast unto death — it takes seventy, eighty, ninety, sometimes a hundred days. Millions of times there will be a possibility for you to think again and again and again.

If you have remained a little unfulfilled you will come back. To remain with a decision for a hundred days is difficult for the mind; only one who has no mind can remain with a decision for a hundred days continuously. Otherwise any moment, after three or four or five days of fasting, the whole body and mind will say: You fool! Start eating! What are you doing? Life is so valuable and you have not done this and that, you have not lived this and that. Live it! Who knows? You may not come back to life again. If you are not really fulfilled you will come back.

To remain with the conclusion for a hundred days and to move towards death happily, you need absolutely no mind. To commit suicide in a single moment won’t do because in a single moment you can be deluded, you can be in an illusion. If you take poison, it can be done in a single moment. It is my feeling that if people who commit suicide are delayed for even a single moment, they will never do it; if delayed for even a single moment, they will change their mind. They commit suicide in a sort of madness. They are so fed up, they do it in a single moment, and they don’t have any chance to go back on their own decision. There is no time left. They jump. They may suffer in the ocean and they may start crying and weeping and shouting, ‘Save me!’ but now it is too late. Their whole being would like to come back to life.

And soon they will be back in a womb. This is no suicide, a temporary suicide is no suicide. You will be back again in another womb, and, worse than that, the committing of suicide will hang around you, it will become a karma. It will be like a dark shadow, a gloominess around your face, around your being. You will move in life shrouded in death. That will not be good. I can allow you and I can admit you to total suicide: that’s what I am all about, that’s what I am doing here — preaching total suicide. Total means no coming back, and that is possible only through deep meditation. A point comes when all desires really disappear.


That’s not true. If somebody offers you the post of the president of the USA — without any effort on your part, with no election campaign, with no struggle, just an offer — you will accept it. You are not fed up with life, you are fed up with struggle. It is not that you are in a state of desirelessness, you are in a state of frustration. You desired and you couldn’t reach, so now you feel frustrated. If somehow it were possible that an angel could appear from God and say to you: ‘Now I am here ready, whatsoever desire you have will be fulfilled, simply tell me,’ a thousand and one desires will struggle to come into your mind. And if he says that you can choose only three desires you will be at a loss as to what to choose and what to leave. You will go mad. Frustration is not desirelessness — always remember that anything negative is dangerous. Everybody feels frustration. You cannot come across a man who has not sometime or other contemplated committing suicide — life is such a struggle. Love is a struggle, life is a struggle, everything is a struggle: one thinks many times about suicide, it gives a temporary relief.

Psychologists say that every man — every man of intelligence, I am not talking about idiots — every man of average intelligence thinks about committing suicide at least ten times in his life… thinks sincerely and seriously, contemplates it at least ten times, that is the minimum. Why? Because life is such a struggle that many times you would like to drop out of it, return the ticket, go back home. But that is a temporary phase. It helps. Just thinking that you can commit suicide, that if all other ways are closed at least one way is open, it helps. It relaxes the mind, you go to sleep, and in the morning when you are again going to the shop, you have forgotten all about it. Just the feeling that if everything fails there is one thing always left for you, you can at least commit suicide, was a temporary relief. If everything has become a bondage, there is the hope that you can commit suicide, that is your freedom. Man is free to commit suicide. No other animal can commit suicide, no other animal is so free. You are not free to be born but you are free to die.

In India there is a higher stage — the stage of DEVAS. DEVAS are not parallel to angels in Christianity, no, angels belong to fairy tales. DEVAS are in a higher stage of consciousness. Animals are absolutely in bondage, they cannot commit suicide; man is a little freer — he is not free to be born, he is not free to come into life, but he is free to go out of it; DEVAS are free both ways — free to be born, free to die. Animals exist with both ways closed, man exists with only one way open, and DEVAS are in a higher state of consciousness where both the ways are open. They can enter into life, they can go out of it — entrance and exit are both open. They have more freedom, a little more freedom. If you want to commit suicide, think whether it is because of desirelessness or not. If it is because of desirelessness, then from where is the desire to commit suicide arising? And if it is because of desirelessness you will not ask me, you will simply do it. If you have really lived, then you are fulfilled; then will you take the trouble to come here and ask me? For what? Maybe you are frustrated and you would like something to console you or somebody to console you. Maybe you are afraid of the very idea of committing suicide so you want me to say, ‘No, don’t do it,’ so the responsibility is with me, not with you. But I am not that type of man. I say: If you really want to commit suicide then do it — but then why are you here to ask me?

A young man came to ask me whether he should get married or remain unmarried. That is just like suicide, the same problem. Should one commit suicide or should one remain in life? To remain a bachelor is a sort of suicide because half of life is cut, you have decided to remain half. Marriage is a whole life. So I asked the young man: Why are you asking me? If there arises no desire for the woman, from where does this question arise? Drop out of it! It’s okay, there is no need to go into marriage. But if the desire arises, then go and get married.

Then he asked: Then why didn’t you get married? I told him: Because I decided. But I never asked anybody about it. I have never asked anybody about anything. One should be responsible. I have never asked anybody a single question about life. What is the point? If I have the clarity I move through it, and even if I err that’s how my life has to go — through mistakes, through trial and error. But I never throw the responsibility onto anybody else.

If you want to commit suicide, do it. No, you don’t want to commit suicide — you want me to say: This is very bad, this is a great sin. Don’t commit suicide. Then you can hang on me, on my shoulders.

You are frustrated, everybody is frustrated, but if you escape from life through frustration you will be thrown back. If you really want to escape then understand life, live it, live it to the very end, so that the whole illusion is known and you discover that the whole of life and its hopes are just like dreams. Then you can come out of the dream; then suicide will not be suicide, it will be SAMADHI. Then you don’t commit only the body to death, you commit your mind to death as well. You become mindless. Then there is nothing to come back.

I NO LONGER HAVE THE DESIRE TO DO ANYTHING. NOTHING SEEMS TO MATTER TO ME ANYMORE. LIFE IS SO MUCH EFFORT. It is, but it is good because through effort you grow, you become mature. If life is not any effort how will you mature, how will you grow? You will be just a lump of earth, dead. Life gives you shape, tone; life gives you sharpness. In fact everything is as it should be: the struggle is needed to make you more alive. If the struggle is not there you will be dead before death; that’s why it happens that you will always see that the faces of people who have everything in their life are pale, dead, sad, unintelligent — because they have nothing to struggle for. Rich men’s sons are almost always idiotic, rich people don’t give genius to the world, no. Because genius needs struggle; struggle gives sharpness. If you are rich and your father has everything, you have nothing to worry about — so you simply live and vegetate. How will you grow, how will you become mature? LIFE IS SO MUCH EFFORT. Don’t say that. Life has to be effort.

THE BODY REQUIRES FOOD AND SUFFERS CONSTANT PHYSICAL DISCOMFORT. What is wrong in that? Would you like to have a body which doesn’t need any food? Yes, sooner or later science is going to have that — plastic bodies. But can you imagine the nightmare of it — a plastic body with all parts replaceable? If you have something wrong, you go to the petrol pump and they simply change it. Out comes the cleaner and cleans you; somebody pumps you, puts some petrol inside, replaces something, or says that the whole thing has gone rotten and you have to replace the whole body, so you will have to go to the garage. In a plastic body of course there will be no need for food, and no discomfort, no discomfort at all. If your hand is cut off you will not feel any pain. But when you embrace your lover you will not feel any pleasure also, remember. It is a plastic body meeting another plastic body — it’ll be more like a collision than like an embrace. An accident.

Discomfort can disappear but with it all comforts will disappear. Pain can disappear — now that is almost within reach, and I think scientists are going to do it because the mind has a tendency, an obsession, to complete a certain thing. Now it is almost within reach. Man can be freed completely from pain, discomfort, illness, disease, even death — because a plastic body will never die. When you can go on replacing it, the very point of death is lost. Just contemplate about it a little — just think that you have a plastic body. How will you become a Buddha in a plastic body? You will remain an idiot, because the opposites will disappear — and the opposites give you the opportunity to grow. Pain and pleasure, comfort and discomfort, frustration and fulfillment — they give you the opportunity to grow. Don’t try to escape.

THE EGO WANTS ATTENTION, THE MIND CONTINUES ITS CONSTANT MOVEMENT. Then let the ego die. Why are you going to die? You cling to the ego — you are ready to destroy the body, but you are not ready to destroy the ego. If the ego is the problem then drop the ego. The body has not done anything to you, the body is a beautiful thing. The body is just like a temple, it is one of the greatest miracles that exist in existence. Enjoy it, celebrate it, because through it all celebration is possible. Without it you will be ghosts in machines. I OFTEN THINK ABOUT HOW NICE IT WILL BE TO DIE. Nice! Then your desire is there. In fact, you want a nice life — ‘nice’ means a life of vegetation, doing nothing and getting everything, receiving everything without making any effort.

How ungrateful you are. You have received so much without doing anything for it, but gratitude never arises; rather on the contrary the idea of suicide arises. Suicide is the greatest complaint against God. Have you ever thought about it in that way? Suicide means: Your life is not worth living. Take it back. Suicide means: What a rotten life you have given to me! I am ready to leave it. Suicide is the greatest complaint that you can lodge against existence and God.

No, that is not the way, that will not help. And if you are in search of a NICE phenomenon, suicide won’t help, it is one of the most painful, ugliest phenomena possible. It is not nice. You think that it will end within a minute. So you think: Even if it is hell, it will end within a second. But you don’t know anything about time. Within a second you can suffer eternity because within a second you can enjoy eternity also. Time is relative. I am not talking about clock time, because on the clock maybe only one second is recorded between the man being alive and being dead. But within that second you don’t know what he suffered. You can understand a little this way. Sometimes you are sitting at the table and sleep comes. When you awake, only one minute has passed, according to your watch or to the clock, but you had a long dream. You could not even tell that dream within a minute; you would take an hour to tell the whole dream in detail. You may have lived a whole life, from the very birth to the very death, got married, had children, saw them married and everything — and only one minute has passed by clock time. Dream time moves on a separate level.

It is true that people who die by drowning themselves — accidentally or knowingly — come to see their whole life in a single second span. Their whole life, millions of details, from the very beginning to the very end, to this very moment when they are drowning, they see in a single flash. How is it possible in a single flash, in a single moment? It is possible. Watch nature. There are flies which are born and within an hour they are dead. In your mind you may think: Poor flies. You don’t know anything about time. They move in a different time level. In one hour they live the same as you live in seventy years; they are born, they fall in love, get married, have children, and all the misery and frustration and everything happens — fights, courts, elections, everything — and they are dead within an hour… and your dinner is not finished. You started your dinner and it is not finished but their whole life is finished, and they lived the same as you live in seventy years. A very compact, compressed life. In fact, if you can live the whole of seventy years of life in one hour it seems a waste of time to live it in seventy years. It is man that should be called the poor man, not the fly. The fly seems to be more intelligent: it lives its whole life within one hour. But for that life YOU need seventy years. You are not so intelligent, so clever.

In a single moment of suicide you suffer the whole of hell; in a single moment of SAMADHI you celebrate the whole of heaven. Time is not a question because time has many layers.

Suicide can never be nice if it is out of frustration. If it is a flowering, if you have simply grown out of life, you have reached a point where life has nothing else to offer you, you have learned the whole thing, then your schooling is complete, your training is over. Then there is a possibility, as in Mahavir’s discipline. He allows — but even then I will not allow, because my feeling is that if you have really learned everything what is the point in committing suicide, why can’t you wait? What is the hurry? If you are so fulfilled what is the hurry to finish yourself? Why can’t you wait? If you can’t wait, you have not learned at least one thing — that is patience. So I’m not for Mahavir. Those people who are trying to commit suicide lack at least patience. They will have to be thrown back to life because that is one of the very greatest points to be learned — patience, awaiting. They lack that quality, otherwise what is the hurry? If you become enlightened at the age of forty and you will die at the age of seventy, can’t you wait for thirty years? What type of enlightenment is it if you can’t wait for it?

This is a tense state of affairs, you seem to be very anxiety-ridden. You don’t seem to be really happy and flowering.

A man of enlightened consciousness accepts life, accepts death. When it comes he does not ask death to wait one minute more; when it does not come he does not invite her to come a single minute before. What is the point? Whether death comes today or tomorrow, it is the same to him. This patience is the final flowering.

And I think that Mahavir’s attitude may be courageous but it is wrong. Courage is not always right. Just courage, in itself, is not right. No, more things are implied and have to be understood.

IS COMMITTING SUICIDE JUST AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE? Yes. IS THERE ANY REASON WHY ONE SHOULD NOT COMMIT SUICIDE? There is no reason, but there is also no reason why one SHOULD commit suicide.

Life is irrational. There is no reason to live, there is no reason to die. Life is not a cause-effect phenomenon, it is a mystery. There is no reason to live and to continue to live but that is not reason enough to die. There is no reason to commit suicide. So what to do? Float. You have no reason either way, so don’t choose, remain choiceless. If you choose you will be thrown back again and again into the whole wheel of life and death. If you remain choiceless you will simply disappear from the wheel into the cosmos. That is the real suicide. That is the real phenomenon. Then you cannot be forced back into the material life, into the body. Then you live a bodiless existence. That’s what MOKSHA means — total liberation.


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

Discourse Series: Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 2

Chapter #2

Chapter title: Choicelessness

22 June 1975 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on liberation, moksha, nirvana, Samadhi, maturity, patience, celebration, gratitude, enlightenment, consciousnessin many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
  2. Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen: The Antidote to All Poisons
  3. Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind
  4. The Diamond Sutra
  5. The First Principle
  6. The Heart Sutra
  7. I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
  8. The Path of the Mystic
  9. The Tantra Vision, Vol 1
  10. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra
  11. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega
  12. Zen: The Path of Paradox
  13. Beyond Psychology
  14. Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
  15. The Invitation
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