Sannyas: The Missing Link

Birthday of Philosopher and Novelist Jean-Paul Sartre

21st of june, the birth date of a very important personality in the history of philosophy, Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre. He was the man of immense intelligence, too much mind and reasoning reflects in his work. Apart from philosopher, he had also played the role of  playwrightnovelistscreenwriterpolitical activistbiographer, and literary critic.

His some of the famous works are The Transcendence of the Ego , Imagination: A Psychological Critique, Sketch for a Theory of the Emotions, Existentialism and Human Emotions, Truth and Existence, Anti-Semite and Jew, The Reprieve and many more.

Osho explains the joy of creation and with the example of Sartre says Jean-Paul Sartre, one of the great novelists, and a man of tremendous insight into human psychology, refused the Nobel prize. He said, “I have received enough reward while I was creating my work. A Nobel prize cannot add anything to it — on the contrary, it pulls me down. It is good for amateurs who are in search of recognition; I am old enough, and I have enjoyed enough. I have loved whatever I have done. It was its own reward, and I don’t want any other reward, because nothing can be better than that which I have already received.” And he was right. But the right people are so few in the world, and the world is full of wrong people living in traps.

Osho also says Jean-Paul Sartre or Jaspers or Martin Heidegger are not unintelligent people; they are as intelligent as any Gautam Buddha. One thing is missing: they have depended only on reason. They are very rational people, they have completely forgotten the heart. They live in the mind and mind is a desert. Nothing grows there — no flowers, not even an oasis.


Yes, a few things are missing in the West which were not missing for Buddha in India. Buddha also reached to a point where Sartre is: the existentialist despair, the anguish, the feeling that all is futile, that life is meaningless. But when Buddha reached this point, that everything is meaningless, there was an opening in India; it was not the end of the road. In fact, it was only the end of one road but another opened immediately; the closing of one door but the opening of another. That is the difference between a culture which is spiritual and a culture which is materialist. A materialist says, ‘This is all; there is nothing else to life.’ A materialist says that all that you see, that is all that reality is. If that becomes meaningless, then there is no door open. A spiritualist says, ‘This is not all, the visible is not all, the tangible is not all.’ When this is finished, suddenly a new door opens and this is not the end. When it is finished, it is only a beginning to another dimension.

This is the only difference between a materialist conception of life and a spiritualist conception of life — the difference of world views. Buddha was born into a spiritualist world view. He also realized the meaninglessness of all that we do, because death is there and death will finish everything, so what is the point of doing or not doing? Whether you do or don’t do, death comes and finishes everything. Whether you love or not, old age comes and you become a ruin, a skeleton. Whether you live a poor life or a rich life, death annihilates both; it does not bother about who you are. You may have been a saint, you may have been a sinner — for death it makes no difference. Death is absolutely communist; it treats everybody equally. The saint and the sinner both fall down into the dust — dust unto dust. Buddha came to realize this, but the spiritual world view was there, the milieu was different. I have told you the story of Buddha: He comes to see an old man; he realizes that youth is just a passing phase, a momentary phenomenon; a wave in the ocean rising and falling, nothing of permanence in it, nothing of the eternal in it; just like a dream, a bubble ready to burst any moment. Then he sees a dead man being carried. In the West the story would have stopped here: the old man, the dead man. But in the Indian story, after the dead man he sees a Sannyasin — that is the door. And then he asks his driver, ‘Who is this man, and why is he in ochre robes? What has happened to him? What type of man is he?’ The driver says, ‘This man has also realized that life leads to death and he is in search of a life which is deathless.’

This was the milieu: life doesn’t end with death. Buddha’s story shows that after seeing death, when life feels meaningless, suddenly a new dimension arises, a new vision — Sannyas: the effort to penetrate into the deeper mystery of life, to penetrate deeper into the visible to reach the invisible, to penetrate matter so deeply that matter disappears and you come to the basic reality, the reality of spiritual energy, the Brahma. With Sartre, Camus, Heidegger, the story ends with the dead man. The Sannyasin is missing, that is the missing link. If you can understand me, that is what I am doing: creating so many Sannyasins, sending them to the whole world, so that whenever there is a man who comes to understand, like Sartre, that life is meaningless, a Sannyasin must be there to follow, to give a new vision that life doesn’t end with death. A phase ends, but not life itself. In fact, life starts only when death has come because death ends only your body, not your innermost being. The life of the body is only a part, and a very peripheral part, a superficial part.

In the West, materialism has become the world-view. Even so-called religious people in the West are all materialists. They may go to church, they may believe in Christianity, but that belief is not even skin deep. It is a social formality. One has to go to church on Sunday; it is the thing to do, the right thing to do to remain ‘the right people’ in the opinion of others. You are the right people doing the right things — a social formality. But inside, everybody has become a materialist. The materialist world-view says that with death everything ends. If this is true, then there is no possibility of any transformation. And if everything ends with death then there is no point in continuing to live. Then suicide is the right answer. It is simply wonderful to see Sartre going on living. He should have committed suicide a long time ago because if he had really realized that life is meaningless, then what is the point? Either he has realized it or he is still hoping against it and has not realized it. What is the point of carrying the whole thing again and again every day, of getting up out of bed? If you have really felt that life is meaningless, how can you get out of bed the next morning, for what? To repeat the same old nonsense again? — meaningless. Why should you breathe at all?

This is my understanding: if you have really realized that life is meaningless, breathing will stop immediately. What is the point? You will lose interest in breathing, you will not make any effort. But Sartre goes on living and living and doing millions of things. The meaninglessness has not really penetrated very deeply. It is a philosophy; not yet a life, not yet an intimate happening inside, just a philosophy. Otherwise, the East is open; why shouldn’t Sartre come? The East says, ‘Yes, life is meaningless, but a door then opens.’ Then let him come to the East and try to find the door. And it is not only that somebody has said it; for almost ten thousand years many have come to realize this point, and you cannot delude yourself about it. Buddha lived for forty years in ecstasy with not a single moment of misery. How can you pretend? How can you live a forty year life acting as if you are ecstatic? And what is the point of acting? And not only one Buddha — thousands of Buddhas are born in the East, and they have lived the most blissful of lives with not a single ripple of misery arising.

What Patanjali is saying is not a philosophy, it is a realized fact, it is an experience. Sartre is not courageous enough otherwise there would be two alternatives: either commit suicide, be true to your philosophy, or seek a way to life, a new life. In both ways, you leave the old. That’s why I insist that whenever a person comes to the point of suicide, only then does the door open. Then there are two alternatives: suicide or self transformation. Sartre is not courageous. He talks about courage, sincerity, authenticity, but is none of these. If you are authentic, then either commit suicide or seek a way out of the misery. If the misery is final and total, then why do you go on living? Then be true to your philosophy. It seems that this despair, anguish, meaninglessness, is also verbal, logical, but not existential. It is my feeling that the existentialism of the West is not really existentialist; it is again a philosophy. To be existentialist means it must be a feeling, not a thinking. Sartre may be a great thinker — he is, but he has not felt the thing, he has not lived it. If you live despair, you are bound to come to a point where something has to be done, radically done, immediately done. A transformation becomes urgent, becomes your only concern.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse Series: Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4 Chapter #6

Chapter title: The existentialist cul-de-sac

26 April 1975 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on spoken on notable Psychologists and philosophers like Adler, Jung, Sigmund Freud, Assaguoli, Aristotle, Berkeley, Confucius, Descartes, Feuerbach, Hegel, Heidegger, Heraclitus, Huxley, Jaspers, Kant, Kierkegaard, Laing, Marx, Moore, Nietzsche, Plato, Pythagoras, Russell, Sartre, Socrates, Wittgenstein and many others in many of His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Hidden Splendour
  2. The New Dawn
  3. This, This, A Thousand Times This: The Very Essence of Zen
  4. Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
  5. Beyond Enlightenment
  6. Beyond Psychology
  7. Light on The Path
  8. The Discipline of Transcendence
  9. The Dhammapada
  10. From Bondage to Freedom
  11. From Darkness to Light
  12. From Ignorance to Innocence
  13. The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
  14. From Personality to Individuality
  15. I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
  16. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1
  17. From Unconciousness to Consciousness
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