Silence: A Way, a Bridge, a Path, A Connection to the Ultimate

Birthday of an Indian Poet Mirza Ghalib

Born on 27 December, over 200 years ago, Mirza Ghalib is a name that defines eloquence and cadence. He belongs to that timeless league of poets who have defied the ravages of time and have managed to rule the history with their multitudinous talent. He wrote in both Urdu and Persian. Ghalib wrote his first poem at the age of 11. He was well versed in languages including Urdu, Persian and Turkish. Although his Persian Divan is at least five times longer than his Urdu Divan, his fame rests on his poetry in Urdu. Today, Ghalib remains popular not only in the Indian subcontinent but also among the Hindustani diaspora around the world. He lived at a time of flux, with the Mughal Empire on the cusp of decline and the British Empire on the rise. This zeitgeist echoes throughout his prose and poetry. He spoke his mind, without fear or favour. He was free-spirited, a non-conformist, who looked upon formal structures of religion and traditions with derision and disdain. His poetry is replete with words like “why, what, when, where and how”, a reflection of this questioning spirit. 

Osho recalls an anecdote and says, “It happened once: A great Urdu poet, Ghalib, was invited to a dinner by the emperor. Many other people were invited, almost five hundred. Ghalib was a poor man, it is very difficult for a poet to be rich — rich in the eyes of others. Friends suggested, “Ghalib, you can borrow clothes, shoes, a good umbrella… because your umbrella is so rotten, your coat is faded, almost gone, and with these clothes and these shoes which have so many holes, it won’t look good!”

But Ghalib said, “If I borrow something I will feel very uncomfortable inside, because I have never borrowed from anybody — I have lived on my feet, I have lived in my own way. To break the habit of my whole life just for a dinner is not good.” So he went to the emperor’s court in his own clothes. When he presented his invitation card to the watchman, the man looked at him, laughed, and said, “From where have you stolen this? Escape from here immediately, otherwise you will be caught!” Ghalib could not believe it. He said, “I have been invited — go and ask the emperor!” The watchman said, “Every beggar thinks that he’s been invited. And you are not the first, many others have knocked at the door before. Escape from here! Don’t stand here because the guests will be arriving soon.”

So Ghalib went back. His friends knew that this was going to happen, so they had arranged a coat, some shoes, an umbrella for him — some borrowed things. Then he put on those borrowed things and went back. The watchman bowed down and said, “Come in.” Ghalib was a very well-known poet and the emperor loved his poetry, so he was allowed to sit just by the side of the emperor. When the feast started Ghalib did a very strange thing, and the emperor thought that he looked a little mad — he started feeding his coat and saying, “My coat, eat it! Because really you have entered, not I.” The emperor said, “What are you doing, Ghalib? Have you gone mad?” Ghalib said, “No — I had come before but I was refused entry. Now this coat has come — I’m just with it because the coat couldn’t come alone — otherwise I could not have come!”

But this is happening to everybody: not you but your coat is recognized by others; so you go on embroidering your coat, dressing yourself. Meditation is needed to give you a break from the others, the eyes of others, the mirror of others. Forget them! For a few minutes just look inside — then you will feel the inner pain and suffering, that you are empty there. Then a transformation starts: then you start looking for the inner riches, the treasury that exists within you — not for the treasures that are spread all around. Many are the riches outside, only one is the treasure within. Many are the dimensions and directions outside; one, one-pointed is the goal within.”


The truth is certainly one, but it has multidimensional reality, and every master has to choose a certain dimension. You cannot speak all the dimensions together. Every master has his own style, his own way of speaking, his own way of conveying. The higher you rise in consciousness and awareness, the more you become unique, the more you become individual. But let me explain to you: Individuality is not personality. Personality is given by the society to you. Individuality is your intrinsic nature. Personality is fake, a fraud. Individuality is your innermost Buddha, your innermost enlightenment, your innermost door to the divine.

But every master is bound to be unique in his expressions. They are all saying the same thing, they are all indicating towards the same moon, but their fingers are different. They are bound to be different. The finger of Buddha, the finger of Lao Tzu, the finger of Chuang Tzu, are bound to be different. If you pay too much attention to the finger, there is every possibility you will forget the purpose. The purpose was not the finger, the purpose was the moon. All the differences are in the fingers, in their expressions. The experience of truth is one, but to bring it to expression, every master has to find his own device. That’s why even enlightened people appear to you to be speaking differently, even contradictorily — because existence does not have one-dimensional sources, it is multidimensional. It is comprehensive of all contradictions. All contradictions melt into one cosmos. Now, you cannot express the whole cosmos in any statement. All philosophies fall short, and all languages appear impotent. All theologies only manage a very partial truth. And remember, a partial truth is not truth. You cannot cut truth into parts. It is one, and organically one, not mechanically one.

You can take a car apart, and you can put those parts together again, but you cannot do the same with a living organism. You cannot take a man’s parts apart, and then put them together. You can do it, but the man will not be there. There will be only a corpse in your hands. But it is one of the most difficult problems faced by all awakened ones: How to convey it? They find devices, methods, meditations. They open doors so that you can look at the truth yourself. Of course, every master will have his own door. Existence has millions of approaches, and when a master reaches to the truth, he reaches by one path. Obviously, he will talk about the path by which he has reached to the truth. Truth is one, but paths are many. And unless we understand it, there is going to be a constant conflict and misunderstanding in the minds of the seekers.

I am reminded of one of the greatest Urdu poets, Ghalib. Three hundred years have passed, but in three hundred years no poet so great has been born in the Urdu language. It is a very poetic language, I don’t think there is any other language in the world which is so poetic. Contemporary languages are bound to be non-poetic; they have to be scientific, exact. Poetry is flexible; poetry does not say directly, it only hints. This great poet, Mirza Ghalib, has a very beautiful statement. I would like to repeat it first in his own language, then I will translate it.




…. In the world there are many great poets, but it is said that Ghalib’s way of saying, his style, his nuance, is absolutely unique.

Every master is unique, just like an Everest, standing far higher, touching the stars — alone. Never compare two masters. Comparison is not the right thing in the world of masters. Comparison is mind-oriented, it is intellectual, and the master’s realization is beyond the mind, it is spiritual. In the world of spirit, in the world of godliness, there is no question of comparison. Everyone is unique, but surrendered, dedicated to the same truth from different angles. It needs a tremendous capacity of understanding, and that understanding has not to be of the mind, it has to be of meditation.

Mind can understand everything that is outside you. All that is objective is available to the mind: science and technology, philosophy and theology — all are mind-oriented. But that which is within you, is behind the mind, beyond the mind. It opens itself in your meditations, when you start dropping your thoughts and relaxing deeper and deeper, when only a witness is left. The body is far away and no more you, the mind is just an echo in the valleys, and is no more you. In the innermost core of your being there is no thought, no cloud, a great silence. In that silence arises authentic understanding. In that silence you are closest to the divine. That silence is a way, a bridge, a path, a connection to the ultimate. Once you know the ultimate, the difficulty arises: How to convey it? And there is a tremendous urge to convey it, because millions of people are living in darkness, in blindness, stumbling, finding no way out. Millions of people are born in the night and die in the night; there is no dawn in their lives. When one comes to the dawn, when one realizes the sunrise and his whole being becomes full of light and beauty and blessings, he wants to share it. This desire to share comes autonomously.

But how to share that which is beyond words? All masters have been struggling to find some way to communicate, to commune. That’s why you find differences in their statements. Rather than thinking about their statements, it will be better to go within yourself and find the truth. Nobody can help you. The masters can only show the way; you have to walk. Nobody can come inside you. That is the dignity of man, a great privilege: nobody can interfere in your inner life. You are alone there, the supreme most sovereign.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse name: Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen: The Antidote to All Poisons Chapter title: The opium of the people Chapter #1

22 January 1989 pm in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium


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 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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