Sannyas: The Real Suicide

Birthday of American poet Ezra Pound

Born on 30 October 1885, Ezra Pound was an American poet and critic, known for his extraordinary and unprecedented contributions to modern American and English literature. After attending Hamilton College and the University of Pennsylvania, Pound moved to Europe in 1908 where he spent most of his life. His form of poetry encouraged Imagism and language precision, directly influencing and fostering several poets such as Ernest Hemingway, TS Elliot, Robert Frost, and DH Lawrence.

Pound’s life and work have been a subject of controversy due to his take on fascism during World War II, prompting his imprisonment by the US forces for over a decade. Nevertheless, his contribution to the world of literature in form of poems and poets is impeccable. Some of his works include Homage to Sextus Propertius (1919), Hugh Selwyn Mauberley(1920), and The Cantos (1970) (a collection of over 170 pieces).

Osho sharing His vision about direction in life, mentions Pound, “If you are not a great mathematician no need to worry; you may be a great poet. If you are not a great poet no need to worry; you may be a great therapist, and so on, so forth  — but somewhere every being brings some greatness into the world. So the most fundamental question is to find where it is. If you don’t find it you can move in a thousand and one wrong directions, because there is only one right direction and millions of wrong directions. Hence so many people miss, because wrong doors are many and the right door is only one. It is very very difficult to find the right door. Once you have found it things start flowing… things simply start happening.

Just the other day I was reading…. A young man asked Ezra Pound how to write great poetry. Ezra Pound said, ‘It’s very easy! You need a copy and a fountain pen.’

The man became a little uneasy because what nonsense was he talking? — ‘To write poetry you need just a copy and a fountain pen and a chair to sit comfortably in, and then start!’ The young man said, ‘I have tried many times but it never starts.’

Ezra pound said, ‘Then it is impossible to help you because these things are needed! If poetry is there inside you, you take the fountain pen in the hand, start writing, and it occurs! If it doesn’t occur nothing can be done, but that occurence is not in any way in your hands.’

So wait, just enjoy a few groups, allow your energy to flow. Maybe you have some potentiality, we will see! But don’t impose any direction on your life. Just first grope in the dark and feel, have the feel, and once you have the feel things become so easy.”

Osho Says……




The minister, who got himself a little mixed up now and again, was standing over the open casket of the dearly departed, Joe Hall.

“Our friend Joe Hall is not dead,” he orated. “Only the shell is here to be buried; the nut has departed.”

Why should you think of suicide? Are you a nut or something? If you have become a Sannyasin you have already committed suicide.

Sannyas is a suicide — the real one. It is not destroying the body, because destroying the body is not going to help; you will be immediately born again somewhere in some other womb. It will only be renewing the body; it is not real suicide. Sannyas is real suicide, because it destroys the mind, it takes you beyond the mind. And if you are beyond the mind you will not be born again.

Why be born again and again? Why go on in this vicious circle?

I know you are bored with life. If you are really bored, then meditation is the way, not suicide — because suicide will bring you to the SAME life, maybe an uglier life than you have right now, because suicide will create its own ugliness in you. To commit suicide is such an ungrateful act towards God. He gives you life as an opportunity to grow, and you throw away the opportunity.

And unless you grow, unless you grow and become a Buddha, you will be thrown back into life again and again.

Millions of times it has happened before: it is time now you should become aware. Don’t miss this opportunity.

Being here with me, learn the real art of suicide. The real art consists not in destroying the body…the body is beautiful, the body has not done any wrong. It is the ugly mind. The body is beautiful, the soul is beautiful, but between the body and the soul there is something which is neither body nor soul. This in-between phenomenon is the mind.

It is mind that goes on dragging you back into the womb. When you die, if you commit suicide you will be thinking of life. Committing suicide means you are thinking of life. You are bored, fed up with life; you would like a totally different kind of life, that’s why you are committing suicide — not that you are really against life. THIS life you are against. Maybe you don’t want to be the way you are: you would like to be an Alexander, a Napoleon, an Adolph Hitler; maybe you want to be the richest man in the world, and you are not. This life has failed, and you would like to be famous, successful — destroy it! People commit suicide not because they are really finished with life but because life is not fulfilling their demands. But no life ever fulfills anybody’s demands. You will always go on missing something or other: if you have money, you may not be beautiful; if you are beautiful, you may not be intelligent; if you are intelligent, you may not have money.

Once a man stopped Andrew Carnegie, who had gone for a morning walk in the garden. Andrew Carnegie was the richest man in America; the man who stopped him was looking like the very incarnation of a beggar. And the man said, “Please don’t be deceived by my appearance. I am an author, I have also written a book.”

Andrew Carnegie asked, “What kind of book have you written?” The man said, “I have written a book entitled ONE HUNDRED WAYS TO BECOME RICH.”

Andrew Carnegie could not stop himself laughing. He said, “ONE HUNDRED WAYS TO BECOME RICH? And you are a beggar! What kind of book is this?”

The beggar started laughing, and he said, “This is the hundredth way of becoming rich — it is included in my book.” The beggar also thinks of becoming rich, writes books about how to become rich — even thinks that by begging he will become rich. But Andrew Carnegie is not happy either; he was one of the most unhappy men ever born on the earth. He lived in unhappiness, he died in unhappiness. The day he died somebody asked, “You must be dying fully contented — because you are leaving such a lot of money behind you. You are the richest man in the world.”

Andrew Carnegie opened his eyes and said, very sadly said, “I am not fulfilled in my desires. My target was far higher — I have not been able to reach it. I could accumulate only ten percent of my target.” But even if you achieve one hundred percent of your target, how is it going to help? One is going to remain unfulfilled. Each life you will find the same thing repeated; forms change, but the discontent remains.

People think that those who commit suicide are against life — they are not. They are too lusty for life, they have great lust for life; and because life is not fulfilling their lust, in anger, in despair, they destroy themselves. Prashant, I will teach you the right way to commit suicide. Not the destruction of the body; the body is a beautiful gift from God. The mind is not a gift from God; the mind is a conditioning by the society. The soul is a gift, the body is a gift, and sandwiched between the two, the society has played tricks with you: it has created your mind. It gives you ambition, it gives you jealousy, competition, violence, it gives you all kinds of ugly diseases. But this mind can be transcended, this mind can be put aside. This mind is not a must.

I am sitting before you and I say it through my own experience, I say it on my own authority: that mind can be put aside. It is so simple, you just have to know the knack of it. And remember, whenever I say that I say it on my own authority I am not saying that I am saying it AUTHORITATIVELY. Those two expressions are totally different. When something is said AUTHORITATIVELY it is a commandment; you have to believe in it. If you don’t believe in it you will suffer, here or hereafter. The priest speaks with authoritativeness, the politician speaks with authoritativeness. A realized man speaks not with authoritativeness but on his own authority — because he KNOWS it. I am not saying follow me, I am not saying believe in me. I am simply stating a fact: that I have KNOWN it this way, it has happened to me…it can happen to you.

Life is very precious and the greatest treasure is hidden in it — and that treasure is of becoming a witness.

A real story for you, Prashant: One day in 1928 Bucky Fuller stood on the shore of Lake Michigan and planned to throw himself in. He was ready to give up because he was a failure financially, by the standards of the upper middle class which he had been born into. As a construction engineer he had not succeeded. And because his daughter had just died of polio, the whole universe did not make any sense to him and he was ready to throw himself in. He stopped himself and said, “Wait, I can’t be sure. Maybe there is something I can do in this universe that is important.” He said, “Well, what can I do? Let us see what a man of average intelligence can do if he starts questioning everything that is taken for granted and starts looking for alternatives.”

I don’t know if he ever was a man of only average intelligence — IN FACT NO ONE EVER IS — but by questioning everything he came to realize, as he said, that when you don’t accept anything except that which can be experimentally verified, you are overwhelmed by the inherent integrity and rationality of the universe. The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible, as Einstein said. And that gives you faith in the sane, sound center of the universe we mentioned earlier. As Ezra Pound wrote in the death-cells at Pisa, looking at the stars, out of all this beauty something must come.” Now Bucky Fuller is one of the most wise men in the West — not yet a Buddha, but on the way, very close. And the art that has brought him so close to becoming a Buddha is the art of questioning everything that is accepted by the society: it is the art of becoming an inquirer.

Transform your life, Prashant, into a quest. Question the values that you have accepted. Question all that you have been brought up to believe in. Question the way you have lived up to now. Question your mechanicalness, question your robotlike existence.

Yes, something drastic has to be done, but it is not suicide. It won’t help, it won’t change you; you will be back again in another womb somewhere. Millions of stupid couples are making love every moment. Beware! You will be caught in some net somewhere. And you will get only what you deserve, remember; you can’t get more than you deserve. You get the womb that is right for you. And dying in suicide is dying in such anguish, because it is one of the most unnatural things to do, most abnormal things to do. No animal commits suicide, no tree ever commits suicide — only man. Only man can go that insane. Nature knows nothing of suicide; it is man’s invention. It is the most ugly act. And when you do something ugly to yourself you cannot hope that you will get a better life. You will die in an ugly state of mind and you will enter an uglier womb.

But what is the need to commit suicide? Just question: you must have lived in a wrong way, that’s why life has not become a song. You must have lived foolishly, stupidly, unintelligently; that’s why life has not attained to celebration. You cannot dance with joy with the stars and with the flowers and with the wind and with the rain, because you have lived with wrong kinds of ideas imposed on you by the same kind of people as you are.

It is a perpetual phenomenon; stupidity goes on perpetuating itself. Parents go on giving stupidity to their children and the children in their turn will hand over their stupidity to THEIR children. This is the heritage. This is called tradition, heritage, culture… great names! Question all that you have lived without questioning up to now, and your life will have a new intelligence arising in it. Your life will become more sharp…question your values. If you have been a Catholic, question it; if you have been a Protestant, question it; if you have been a Hindu, question it. Question all that you have lived up to now; something is basically wrong somewhere.

Ezra Pound is right. And do you know from where he is writing this? From his death-cell! “Out of all this beauty something must come.” Ezra Pound in a dark cell, just waiting for death to come, can write such a tremendously important sutra: “Out of all this beauty something must come.”

The birds singing, and the trees, and the flowers…this infinite universe — is it the place to commit suicide? It is the place to dance, to sing, to celebrate, to love and to be loved. And if you can love this existence, if you can feel blessed with this existence, I promise you that when you die you will not be coming back again…because you will have learnt the lesson. God never sends anybody back to the school if once they have learnt their lesson. If you can learn to rejoice, you will be accepted. Doors of higher mysteries will be opened to you. You will be welcomed into the innermost mysteries of life. That’s what I call the true art of committing suicide: my name for it is Sannyas.


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

Discourse series: Be Still and Know

Chapter #10

Chapter title: Me, Enlightened?

10 September 1979 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on distinguished poets like Byron, Coleridge, D.H. Lawrence, Ghalib, Heinrich Heine, John Ruskin, Kahlil Gibran, Kalidas, Keats, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Milton, Oscar Wilde, Rabindranath Tagore, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Rumi, Rudyard Kipling, Shakespeare, Shelley, William Blake, Wordsworth, Gertrude Stein and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Book of Wisdom
  2. The Sword and The Lotus
  3. Returning to the Source
  4. Light on the Path
  5. The Secret
  6. The Hidden Splendour
  7. The New Dawn
  8. Beyond Enlightenment
  9. From Bondage to Freedom
  10. The Golden Future
  11. Take It Easy, Vol 1
  12. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 4, 5
  13. Theologia Mystica
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