Sufis The People of Path Vol 1 03

Third Discourse from the series of 16 discourses - Sufis The People of Path Vol 1 by Osho.
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Shah Firoz, who is remembered as the teacher of many very distinguished Sufis, was often asked why he did not teach them faster.
He said, “Because even the most dedicated will, until a certain point of understanding, not be teachable at all. He is here in the flesh, but absent in every other way.”
He also recited this tale.
There was once a king who wanted to become a Sufi. The Sufi whom he approached about the matter said, “Majesty, you cannot study with the Elect until you can overcome heedlessness.”
“Heedlessness!” said the king. “Am I not heedful of my religious obligations? Do I not look after the people? Whom can you find in all my realm who has a complaint against me on the grounds of heedlessness?”
“That is precisely the difficulty,” said the Sufi, “because heedfulness is so marked in some things, people imagine that it must be a part of their texture.”
“I cannot understand that sort of remark,” said the king, “and perhaps you will regard me as unsuitable because I cannot fathom your riddles.”
“Not at all,” said the Sufi, “but a would-be disciple cannot really have a debate with his prospective teacher. Sufis deal in knowledge, not argument. But I will give you a demonstration of your heedlessness, if you will carry out a test and do what I ask in respect to it.”
The king agreed to take the test, and the Sufi told him to say “I believe you” to everything that should be said to him in the ensuing few minutes.
“If that is a test, it is easy enough to start becoming a Sufi,” said the king.
Now the Sufi started the test. He said: “I am a man from beyond the skies.”
“I believe you,” said the king.
The Sufi continued: “Ordinary people try to gain knowledge, Sufis have so much that they try not to use it.”
“I believe you,” said the king.
Then the Sufi said: “I am a liar.”
“I believe you,” said the king.
The Sufi went on: “I was present when you were born.”
“I believe you,” said the king.
“And your father was a peasant,” said the Sufi.
“That is a lie!” shouted the king.
The Sufi looked at him sorrowfully and said: “Since you are so heedless that you cannot for one minute remember to say “I believe you” without some prejudice coming into play, no Sufi would be able to teach you anything.”
Religion exists in three dimensions. That is the original source of the concept of the trinity, or the Hindu idea of trimurti – the three faces of God.
Or we can say that religion exists on three planes – because man exists on three planes. Man exists in the body, in the mind, in the soul. Religion also has a body, a mind and a soul. If you only exist in the body you cannot relate to any other religion except the outermost. If you exist as a psychology – as a mind, as a psyche – then you can relate to the second layer of religion, otherwise not. And until you start existing as a soul, there is no possibility of coming to encounter the innermost core of religion – tasawwuf, the ultimate, what the Sufis are searching for.
The Sufis have three names for these three planes. They have to be understood; they are very significant.
The first is called sharia. Sharia means the body of religion. It may be alive, it may be dead – both are possibilities. When a buddha is alive, sharia is alive. When a Mohammed is alive, sharia is alive – because Mohammed breathes life into it. But when Mohammed is gone there will be a corpse. The corpse resembles the real body but it is not; it only resembles it.
When life leaves you, your corpse will look just like you – but it is not you. The real has left, the subtle has left. Only the gross is lying there on the ground. That creates trouble because people become so acquainted with the face that they go on believing that the corpse is alive.
Islam is dead. When Mohammed was there to breathe life into it, it was a totally different kind of religion. That is called sharia. Sharia means exotericism – the ritual, the formal, the Sunday religion. It does not affect you at all. It gives you a certain respectability in the society. It is more social than spiritual, and it is more political than religious. Islam without Mohammed and Hinduism without Krishna and Buddhism without Buddha are nothing but garbed political standpoints. In the name of religion, politics continues.
When God is not there to breathe into the body, the Devil starts breathing into it. So a dead body is not only dead, it is very dangerous. It can be possessed by the Devil. The politician is the Devil. When the saint is gone the body is there – somebody can enter it, somebody can start having that body. It resembles the real. When the saint is gone the priest will use it, the politician will use it, and many will be deceived by it because they know only the face.
Think of it in this way. When you look at another human being, do you know anything more than the face? Even your beloved, even your child – do you know anything more than the face? Have you ever penetrated farther than the face? Your acquaintance remains very superficial; it is not even skin deep. It remains formal – of the form. But the face is not the person, the personality is not the person. The outer shape is not the inner reality. Will you be able to recognize your woman if she comes as a spirit? You will not be able to. Will you be able to recognize your own child if the child comes as a spirit, not as a body? You will not be able to recognize your child at all. You will get so frightened, you will think that a ghost has come.

Once a woman was brought to me. Her husband had died. Three months had passed, but she was still in agony, tremendous agony – crying and crying and weeping and not eating and not sleeping. It was okay for a few days, the relatives tolerated it, but then it became too much – she was driving the other people of the family mad too. So they brought her to me.
I asked her what she wanted. She said, “I want my husband back. I cannot live without him. Life is meaningless without him.”
I said, “Okay, I will arrange for you to have a meeting with your husband.”
She could not believe what I was saying because she had said the same thing to many people and they had all consoled her – as people do console. But when I said, “Yes, I will arrange a meeting. Go into that room, close the doors, sit silently there and within half an hour your husband will be standing before you – as a spirit, remember.”
She said, “As a spirit? What do you mean?”
I said, “There will be no body. You have burned the body already. He will come as a ghost.”
She said, “I cannot go into that room. If he comes as a ghost I will be very scared. As it is I am already suffering too much – no more suffering! Please, don’t do it to me.”
I said, “But you loved the man so much…”
“Yes,” she said, “I loved the man, but not as a ghost!”
Nobody loves you as a spirit. That is why love never satisfies.
After that day she calmed down. I had told her, “Calm down within three days, otherwise I will persuade your husband to visit you.”
I went to her house every day to inquire whether she had calmed down or not. The third day she said, “Now you need not come. I have calmed down enough for my whole life! You have scared me so much, I cannot even sleep at night. A little noise outside, somebody walking, the policeman passing, and I become afraid. Maybe he’s coming!”

And for the same husband she was crying and weeping and calling; she was ready to die. But she was not ready to encounter him without his body.
But don’t laugh at her, you will not be able to do that either. We know people only by their faces. Why? Because we know ourselves only by our faces as seen in the mirror. You would not even recognize your own head if you had not seen it in a mirror before – or would you? If you had never seen yourself in the mirror, and some day somebody brought your head in front of you, would you be able to recognize it? You would not recognize it at all. Your acquaintance also with yourself is very superficial. It’s okay with others, you look at them from the outside; but at least with yourself you are not outside, you are inside – can’t you look at yourself from the inside? No, even to look at yourself you need the help of an outside mirror. So the mirror reflects, and you become an outsider to yourself – then you can see. And then you know that face, that body, that form.
Our so-called knowledge of ourselves and others is very body-rooted. Hence we never enter deeper into any other dimension than the body. That dimension is called sharia. It is the outer dimension of religion. When a Mohammed walks on the earth, or a Buddha, or a Mahavira, simply watch the body. Watch his behavior, how he sits, what he eats, what he wears, how he talks, his gestures – watch these things. And out of these things you create a certain discipline and you start following that discipline. This is a dead religion; this is a corpse religion. At this point Mohammedanism exists, Hinduism exists, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism. All the “isms” exist at this point.
The crowd believes in sharia, that’s why the crowd always remains irreligious. The crowd as such is irreligious. You can find only individuals religious, never a crowd. A crowd, by its very nature, is insane; a crowd, by its very nature, is political, never religious. In fact, if you are alone you cannot be political.
Have you ever thought about it? If you are left alone on the earth you can’t be political. For politics the other is a must. If you are left alone on the earth you can be religious, there will be no hindrance, but you cannot be political. Politics needs the crowd, the collective mind. Religion needs only you – you are enough unto yourself. Your very aloneness becomes the passage toward religion. That’s why when a person wants to be religious he goes into aloneness, he seeks solitude. He goes to the mountains or to the desert. He wants to escape from the crowd because the crowd is basically mad. Søren Kierkegaard, one of the most perceptive thinkers of the West, has said, “The crowd is the untruth.”
Truth is always individual – a Buddha has it, a Mohammed has it, a Jesus has it. Truth is always a flowering of the individual consciousness. But the crowd never has it, the crowd always has the untruth. Even from a Buddha or a Christ or a Mohammed the crowd gathers the superficial: what he eats, when he goes to sleep. People even come and ask me. They say, “Osho, when do you go to sleep? What time exactly? – because we would also like to follow it.” For what? “What do you eat – which vegetables, which fruit? – because we would also like to eat in the same way.” For what?
But that’s how the mind of the crowd functions; it always goes for the nonessential. What I eat is meaningless, what I am is meaningful. What I do is irrelevant, what I am is relevant. Man is not equal to his behavior, he is more than that. And the greater the man, the bigger the difference.
Ordinarily a man is exactly like what his behavior is. What you do, you are. But when a buddha is there then the difference is tremendous, the distance is vast. What he is doing is very, very ordinary and what he is, is tremendously extraordinary. The distance is so vast that you cannot fathom his being through his behavior.
But the modern mind suffers so much from this disease. You can go and see B. F. Skinner and other psychologists – Pavlov and others – just watching the behavior of rats to decide what the human mind is. Watching the behavior of a rat to decide about man…!
A rat is just his behavior. He has not yet grown an individuality, he has not yet grown a self. But one thing has to be said in favor of Skinner and others of his kind: about the masses they are right, about the crowd they are right. The crowd has the same state as the rat. But they miss the exceptional, and the exceptional is the essence of humanity.
They can explain your behavior through the study of rats, but they cannot explain a Buddha or a Mohammed. But they try – and there they go berserk.
The sharia is created by watching the behavior of the enlightened person. It is okay when the enlightened person is in his body, but when he has disappeared from it then what will you do? You will start worshipping the body, the clothes… And sometimes it happens that when a great man dies – like a Mohammed or a Buddha – for a few days something hovers around him, as if he is still alive. That also creates trouble.
You must have heard the famous Greek story: the story is told that the runner of a marathon was dead an hour before he reached Athens. He was dead, yet he still ran. And as a dead man he announced the victory of the Greeks.
It is a beautiful myth. It shows that the dead masters act for a while as if they were still alive. But only a little while – one year, ten years, fifty years perhaps. In any case, a finite period. Yes, this happens.
When a Mohammed disappears from the body, the body has tasted so much joy, the body has known so much celebration that it goes on dancing – the runner goes on running. That myth is really beautiful and meaningful.
At least about the great masters it is true. For a few years things go on happening as if they are still alive. This happens because of the tremendous energy released by the dying master. His very place becomes a sacred place for pilgrimage. That’s how a Mecca is created; that’s how Kailash becomes of great significance; that’s how Jainas have Girnar and Shikharji. On the mountains of Shikharji, twenty-three Jaina tirthankaras have died – out of twenty-four. Out of twenty-four great masters, twenty-three masters have died on a small hill. The whole hill has become suffused with the vibe of the beyond.
But that continues only for a while. That also creates a problem; then the disciples think that the corpse is still alive because things go on happening. When I am gone things will go on happening for a few years, and for those who are deeply in love with me it will be as if I am still alive. Naturally, they will think that everything is as it was before.
But that is a fallacy. Once the man is gone, within a few years those vibes that were created, and the echoes of those vibes that were created, will by and by disappear into nothingness.
The sharia is the superficial core of religion – the body. Beware of sharia.
The second layer is called haqiqa. The sharia is the circumference of a circle – haqiqa. The word haqiqa comes from haq. Haq means truth – pure truth. Haqiqat! That’s why Mansoor declared, “Ana’l haq! – I am the truth.” Haqiqa means the truth; pure, uncontaminated by anything. Haqiqa means the center of the circumference, the very soul of religion.
At the point of sharia there is Mohammedanism, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism; at the point of haqiqa there is Sufism, Zen, Hasidism, Yoga. Remember, to become a Mohammedan is not of much use, but to become a Sufi is immensely valuable. To become a Buddhist is just changing your clothes, but to become a follower of Zen is really moving toward transformation. To remain a Jew is nothing, but to be a Hasid is great splendor. This is the second point: the innermost core.
At the first, sharia, there is politics, society, morality and a thousand and one things. Because of sharia the Koran is so full of social rules – so full of social rules. Because of sharia the Vedas are so full of rubbish. Because of sharia Manusmriti reads only as if it is a treatise on law. Only few and far between will you find real statements about religion. They are there – even in Manusmriti they are there. In the Vedas they are there, in the Koran they are there, but only few and far between. Only if you are really in search of them will you be able to find them, otherwise the diamond is lost in the mud – the mud is too much. The mud is sharia; the diamond is Sufism.
Always rush toward the center; never become too attached to the body. Create this continuous awareness of looking into depth, of looking into the center of the circumference. And the circumference is big, the center is very small.
Islam is a great crowd, so is Hinduism, so is Christianity. Sufis you can count on your fingers; yogis you can count on your fingers; Hasids or Zen masters you can count on your fingers. They don’t exist like the crowd, you will have to search for them. And if you have a real desire to find them, only then will you find them – otherwise you will miss.
For the sharia you need not go in search anywhere, the sharia comes in search of you. The mullah comes to convert you to Islam and the Buddhist monk comes to convert you to Buddhism. But if you want to search for a Sufi or a Hasid you will have to move, you will have to become a sincere seeker. And you will have to learn many things on the way – because for one real master there are ninety-nine false masters, and the false will appeal to you more because you are false. The false will appeal to you more because you understand the language of the false. The real may not appeal to you at all, the real may even sometimes create fear in you.
You will resist the real master and you will fall and become a victim of the unreal. Beware of that! You are unreal so naturally you are attracted by the unreal. The unreal promises you things that you want. He will say, “If you follow me, you will have more wealth, you will have more power, more prestige, this and that…” That’s what you are seeking.
The real can only promise one thing: “If you come close to me, you will die.” The real can promise only death. The real can promise only one thing: “I am going to destroy you utterly” – because only after death is the resurrection. The real master is a cross; the real master is a door into death. You disappear into him. Yes, you will come out, but you will come out a totally new being. The real master is a fire – one gets frightened, one feels very afraid, one remains aloof. One watches a real master from far away.
Just the other day there was a young man – he was very young – who said that five or seven years before he had promised Guru Maharaji that he would devote his whole life and his work to him. Now he is in trouble. He does not feel that he is growing in any way. He has not gained a small, even the smallest, insight through this contact or relationship. But now the promise that he has given… Now he thinks that he is being very religious because he goes on clinging to his promise. It is not religion, it is the ego. Now he cannot accept the idea of dropping his promise because that hurts the ego: “You are a man of your word. Once you have given your word you have to follow.”
But this seems to be stupid. If you are not getting well, getting integrated, if you are not growing, then one needs the courage to drop it. And in these five years you have become wiser than you were when you gave the promise. A stupid mind gives a promise, and for five or ten or fifty years you go on following the same promise knowing perfectly well that nothing has happened – is it not suicidal? How can the past be binding?
I am not saying don’t give promises and I am not saying don’t fulfill your promises. Give promises, fulfill them, but when you come to see that nothing is happening, then be courageous enough to drop the ego. This is just egoistic.
I was reading a story:

A man lived a very religious life – religious in the sense of sharia. He followed all the rituals of his religion, he followed the moral precepts that his religion prescribed, he followed a master – and yet both were in the same boat. He followed the master because the master was very, very perfect in following the same principles that he was following. He was ahead. The master was an extremist; he was absolutely devoted to the dead word, the dead letter. The scripture was his soul. He would not move an inch on his own. He was already a dead man. But he was perfect as far as ritual was concerned; you could not find a single fault in him. He was faultless. And the man followed this master.
Then one night he dreamed a dream. He dreamed that he died and went up to meet St Peter, asking, “Can I come into heaven?” He was very confident about it because he had followed perfectly whatever had been told to him. He had followed all the commandments mechanically, never committing a single error. So he was very certain.
He asked, “Can I come into heaven?” That was just to be polite.
“Good heavens!” said Peter. “This is not heaven.” Peter then explained that the Pearly Gates were much higher up and could only be reached by a long ladder. He showed him a ladder which went up and up and disappeared somewhere in the clouds – beyond the clouds.
The man looked at the ladder and became frightened. The ladder seemed to be endless. The man asked, “When will I reach? This ladder seems to be endless!”
St Peter said, “Don’t be afraid. It depends how long it is. For each person it functions differently. I will show you the way. Take this chalk and start climbing. For each sin of adultery, fornication, lechery, or whatever you have committed or you have thought of committing, go on marking with your chalk. Each sin has to be marked on one rung. By the time when you have finished and you have made a mark for every single act or thought, you will come to the end of the ladder and the gate of heaven will be in front of you. So it depends. If you have committed many, many sins then it will be very long. If you have done very few it will not be so long. This ladder is flexible; it changes with the person who is climbing on it.”
The man was very happy. He took the chalk and started climbing the ladder. He kept on going for ages. His legs ached, his arms ached, yet he met no one. And no sign of any gate, and the ladder was still the same, going beyond and beyond.
Then one day he became very fed up with the whole journey. But now he was stuck because to go back would take those same ages again. “It is better to go on. One day, perhaps, there is a possibility, a hope.” And he was surprised – because although he had not committed any sins he had thought of committing all kinds of them, endlessly.

A ritualistic religion makes a man repressive. This sharia – the body, the dead body of a religion – makes you crippled in the body, but your mind becomes very, very imaginative about all kinds of wrongs. You fantasize; you commit them in the mind.
Your consciousness becomes more contaminated when things move in your mind than when you actually do them. When you actually do something, there is a possibility of getting rid of it by seeing it – its meaninglessness.
If you are angry, sooner or later anger itself will make you aware that anger is useless – not only useless, it is poisonous; not only poisonous, it is very destructive and suicidal. But if you go on only thinking of being angry, murdering people, destroying people, you will never come to an understanding. You will never become able to get rid of anger.
If you go into sex, sooner or later it will lose all the fantasies that you have been creating about it. Sooner or later it becomes a very ordinary thing. Sooner or later you start getting bored by it. But if you simply imagine, then you will never be bored. Then you are never going to become disinterested in it. One day or other sinners can drop it, but the saints, the so-called saints, they cannot drop it. They are sitting on a volcano.

This man was surprised, because he went on marking those rungs on the ladder for ages and still they were coming and still he went on remembering. It was as if he had never done anything except commit sins in his mind.
Then one day, all at once, he saw his guru descending the ladder. He was very happy to see his master.
“Ah, my master!” he said. “Are you by any chance going back for more disciples to bring to heaven?”
“No, you fool!” said the guru. “I am going back for more chalk!”

Beware of the false gurus – they are many. The false guru will promise you things of this world; even if he is promising them in the other world he is promising the same things. He will promise you beautiful women in paradise – firdaus. He will promise you streams of wine in paradise. But he is promising the same thing. He may promise you golden castles, palaces studded with diamonds in paradise, but diamonds and gold and silver and women and wine all belong to this world. He is simply titillating you; he is simply befooling you.
The real master only promises one thing: your death. So wherever you find death waiting for you, then gather courage. You have to disappear for God to be.
This is the second dimension or plane of religion: haqiqa.
The third dimension or plane is called tariqa. Tariqa means the path, the method – from the outer to the inner.
The outer is a circumference, the inner is a center, and tariqa is the radius proceeding from the circumference to the center – the initiative path that leads from outward observance to inner conviction, from belief to vision, from potency to act, from dream to reality.
This tariqa – method, technique, path, way, Tao, dharma – is the whole science of religion. The circumference is there, the center is there, but one has to move from the circumference, because we are there and we have to use a certain radius. Only a radius can join the circumference to the center. What is the radius that Sufis propose? They are called the people of the path, because they have devised many techniques.
They have the most potential tariqa – it can transform you, it can transform you utterly. They are not concerned with theology at all, they are only concerned with methodology. They are not worried about whether God is or is not. They say, “Don’t talk nonsense! Here is a way. Go through it and see for yourself. This is the way to develop your eyes – and then see whether God is or is not.”
They don’t argue, they don’t try to convince; they demonstrate. They say, “Come with me. I know a window from where you can look into the open sky. Remaining closed in this dark room, how can I convince you that there is open sky – infinite?”
It will be as difficult as it was for the frog you have heard about, who lived in a small well. It is a Sufi story.

One day it happened that a frog from the ocean came to the well – he must have been a tourist. He came into the well, introduced himself to the frog of the well, and said, “I come from the ocean.”
Naturally, the frog asked, “Ocean? What do you mean by ocean? What is it?”
And the frog from the ocean said, “It is very difficult to describe, sir, because you have never left this well it seems. It is so small. But still I will try.”
The frog of the well laughed. He said, “Nobody has ever heard about anything bigger than this well. How big is your ocean?” And the frog of the well jumped one-third of the space of the well and said, “This much?”
And the frog from the ocean laughed. He said, “No, sir.”
So the frog from the well jumped two-thirds of the space and said, “This much?”
Then he jumped the whole space and said, “Now it must be exactly like this well.”
But the frog from the ocean said, “It is impossible to describe. The difference is not of quantity, it is of quality. It is vast! It is not circumscribed!”
The frog from the well said, “You seem to be either a madman or a philosopher or a liar. Get out from here! Don’t talk nonsense!”

That’s what the man of the world has always said to the mystic: “Don’t talk nonsense! Be practical and talk the language that we understand.”
Sufis don’t say anything about God, they only talk about tariqa – they say, “This is the way to know. You will have to know to know. We cannot explain it to you. It is so mysterious that it will be almost a profanity to bring it to your level. Truth cannot be brought to your level; the only way possible, the only way left, is that you can be brought to the level of truth.”
That is what tariqa is. Philosophy is an effort to bring the truth to your level so that you can understand it. Tariqa is to take you to truth so that you can see – so that you can see it on your own.
Remember these three words. Everybody exists at sharia, and at sharia you will remain miserable because you are existing with only a dead body. Everybody needs to move toward haqiqa; only at haqiqa can you be fulfilled. And to reach the haqiqa you will have to follow a tariqa, you will have to follow a method, a discipline, a master.
And beware of the false masters. They are there and they speak your language. They can be very convincing. Be a little more adventurous, courageous – seek somebody who can absorb you, who can transmute you, who can consume you, who is like a flame. The moth comes to the flame and is consumed – so is the disciple. He comes to a master and is consumed.
And remember, before you reach the real master, the authentic master, the satguru, you will come across many false masters. So don’t get hooked.
Even if you promise, you have to be alert that no promise can be binding unless it is fulfilling you. If it is fulfilling you then there is no need. That’s what I wanted to say to the young man who said, “I have promised to Guru Maharaji” Then why are you here? There is no need. If you are really growing there, there is no need to be here. The very fact that you are here shows that you are searching. And now, if you remain hooked with your so-called Guru Maharaji, then there is no possibility. Then I cannot be of any help because you will not be able to take any help – because your heart will not be open, because you will not become part of me, you will not come close.
And another person has written to me that he has been following George Gurdjieff for a few years. Now Guru Maharaji is a false master; it is utterly stupid to follow him. But Gurdjieff was a real master – a satguru, a Sufi. If you are following Gurdjieff, perfectly good. But Gurdjieff is no more. Even if Gurdjieff is no more, a real master dead is more potent than an unreal master alive.
But remember, if you can find a real master alive you will not be going against Gurdjieff. No two real masters are enemies; they cannot be. If you really followed Gurdjieff for eight years – as the seeker has written to me – if you have really followed him, then he has brought you here. Now, in the name of Gurdjieff, if you want to create a barrier between me and you, it is for you to choose. But it will be your responsibility, don’t blame Gurdjieff. He has brought you here. He has already done too much for you.
What I am saying is exactly what Gurdjieff was doing. Of course I speak a different kind of language, I am a different kind of person. But only our fingers differ, the moon that we are pointing to is the same.
If you have been following a real master and the master is no more, then it is the responsibility of the master to send you to another real master so that your growth can continue. Now don’t be obsessed by the past. Gurdjieff is no more – I am.
Soon I will not be here either. And remember, I would like to remind my disciples especially: if you really love me, when I am gone I will direct you to people who will still be alive. So don’t be afraid of that. If I send you to Tibet or if I send you to China or if I send you to Japan or to Iran – go. And don’t say that because you belong to me you cannot belong to another real master. Just look in the eyes and you will find my eyes again. The body will not be the same, but the eyes will be the same.
If your journey is not complete with me while I am here, if something is still to be done, completed, then don’t be afraid. By dropping me you will not be betraying me. In fact, by not dropping me and by not following the real, the alive master, you will be betraying me. Keep it in mind.
Jean-Paul Sartre has written something that I liked: “People have often said to me about dates and bananas – you cannot judge them. To know what they are really like, you have to eat them on the spot, just after they have been picked. And I have always considered bananas a dead fruit whose real taste escaped me. The books that pass from one period to another are dead fruit too. In another time they had a different taste – sharp and tangy. We should have read Emile or the Persian Letters just after they were picked.”
I like this passage from Jean-Paul Sartre. Exactly so is the case with masters. When they are alive they have a taste, sharp and tangy. When the fruit is right from the tree it has a totally different quality to it. A dead master is like tinned fruit. You can open the tin and you can eat the fruit, but something will be missing. Be courageous and always trust in life. My love toward you or your love toward me should never become a hindrance. Love liberates. Love makes you free.
So don’t be worried. If you have been following Gurdjieff for many years and you have come here, and now your heart starts throbbing with me, don’t be worried. Gurdjieff was not very monogamous! I know him perfectly well. And if he gets angry or anything, that is my problem. I will take care. But don’t find excuses. When a master is alive his tariqa is alive. It has a taste – sharp and tangy.
Taste a master while he is alive. Fools worship death; wise people worship life.
Now the story.
Shah Firoz, who is remembered as the teacher of many very distinguished Sufis, was often asked why he did not teach them faster.
The same question is asked of me also, again and again. Many people come to me and they say, “Osho, do something fast!”
I can understand your desire, I can understand your thirst, your longing for it. But nothing can be done fast, there is no shortcut: shortcuts are promised only by false teachers.
There is no shortcut. Growth is arduous and nothing can be done faster than you can absorb. There is a certain limit to your absorption, there is a certain limit to your intelligence. Once you have absorbed something your capacities become bigger, then something more is possible. When you have absorbed that, then your capacities become still bigger and something can be done again. And that’s how it goes. Growth is slow.
Growth is not like seasonal flowers. Growth is slow. It is like great trees that take hundreds of years to grow; but then they can have a dialogue with the stars. Seasonal flowers are only there for a few weeks. They come fast, they go fast. They are like dreams, they are not really real. They only pretend to be here.
Be a real cedar of Lebanon. It takes time, it is hard. When you start rising toward the sky and the clouds and the moon and the stars, it is hard. It is hard because you have to grow roots, deep roots into the earth. The tree grows in the same proportion – if it has to grow a hundred feet into the sky, it has to grow a hundred feet underneath the earth. Those roots take time.
You don’t see the roots; roots are not visible. When you come to a master, the master sees your roots. He sees how many roots you have. If you suddenly grow too fast and the roots are not ready to hold you that tall, you will fall down, you will topple down. You will not be able to grow at all. And once you have fallen down it is very difficult to get rooted again.
So no master can help you grow faster. This speed mania has to be dropped. There is no need. Each step has to be enjoyed and celebrated.
Just the other night a young sannyasin came. She took sannyas in her own country. I had sent her a name – Yatra. Yatra means pilgrimage. Last night she came and she was a little puzzled and troubled. She said, “I did not enjoy the name so much. Just pilgrimage? No goal?”
She represents the Western mind – the goal is important, not the pilgrimage. Here in the East our perspective is totally different. The pilgrimage is important; the goal is just an excuse for the pilgrimage. Who bothers about the goal? Each moment passing on the way is so beautiful, it is so glorious – each tree and each bird that you come across is so infinitely beautiful, who bothers about the goal? Each moment is the goal.
But I can understand her worry. She must have started thinking in her mind: “Pilgrimage, pilgrimage, pilgrimage… Then when and where does it end?” It ends nowhere. In fact, if it ends somewhere it will be very sad. Then what will you do? Then what next? Then you will be stuck with God sitting before you and you sitting before God; you will become like wife and husband – stuck. What will you do next? There is no other God and there is nowhere to go. No, God is not a goal; God is a pilgrimage. Let it be understood well.
The idea of a goal is an idea of the greedy mind. And when you think of a goal, naturally you think of being fast. What is the point? Why go by bullock cart? Why not go with jet speed? And there are false masters like Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who says that his method is a jet speed method.
No method, no tariqa, is a jet-speed method; no tariqa can be. But it will attract people because people want speed. They want something to happen immediately. So promise them that with ten or twenty minutes in the morning, ten or twenty minutes in the evening, they will be enlightened within two or three weeks. They will not become enlightened, but who bothers about their enlightenment; they have paid their fee. They can go wherever they want to go – they can go to hell! They have paid their fee… And there are other fools who will be coming. You can always depend on fools, they are very dependable people.
Speed is unspiritual. The very idea of speed is unspiritual. Why not enjoy each moment of life? Then each moment becomes a goal unto itself. Then each moment is intrinsically valuable; it cannot be sacrificed for anything else.
When you are going toward a goal you don’t look by the side – the trees are standing there and are waiting for a little caress from you, and the birds have been singing, singing for you – and you are hurrying. How can you look here and there? And a child was there smiling at you, and you missed. And a woman was crying, and you missed her tears. And a rose has flowered, and you were in such a hurry you could not see it.
Yes, you can go at jet speed. Where are you going? You will miss the whole pilgrimage. And if you miss the pilgrimage there is no goal, there is no other goal. Life is its own goal.
Shah Firoz, who is remembered as the teacher of many very distinguished Sufis, was often asked why he did not teach them faster.
He said, “Because even the most dedicated will, until a certain point of understanding, not be teachable at all.”
You can only teach so far – then you have to wait for the teaching to be absorbed. If somebody is ill you give him medicine in a certain quantity. You cannot pour in the whole medicine, the whole course, immediately. That will kill. Rather than bringing health it will bring more illness. You can give only in a certain quantity. The quantity, how much he can absorb, will be decided by the person’s capacity. When he has absorbed that, he will become a little healthier and then he can absorb a little more, and so on, so forth. That is exactly the case.
“Because even the most dedicated will, until a certain point of understanding, not be teachable at all.” So one has to wait until he grows again, opens a little more, becomes ready, has a little more space, then again he can be taught.
“He is here in the flesh, but absent in every other way.”
When the seeker comes to the master for the first time, he comes only as a body. “He is here in the flesh, but absent in every other way.”
So one has to start with sharia because you are in the body. People come to me: “Now what is the point of changing our clothes? Can’t we become sannyasins from within? What is the need for orange clothes, the mala and the new name? Can’t we become sannyasins from within?” Certainly, but you will have to wait. You are using the word within without even knowing the meaning of it. You have never been within. You have lived in the body, with the body. These are the same people who pay too much attention to their clothes. In fact, to protect their old clothes they are bringing in this argumentation: “What is the point of changing the clothes?” These are the same people.
One Indian woman wanted to take sannyas, but she said, “I am ready for everything, but I have three hundred sarees and I love them, they are my only love. I can leave my husband if you say so. I can leave my children – I am fed up and tired of them – but three hundred sarees? Just think.”
I know the woman. I have stayed in her house in the past and I know that she really has a great collection of beautiful sarees – the most costly possible. And it takes hours for her to choose which one to use that day.
It was really a problem for me too! – because I would be going to a lecture and the husband and I would be sitting there in the car, and he would be honking the horn, and she would not come. And he would say, “She must be choosing a saree.”
Now she says, “What is the point of changing the clothes? Can’t one become enlightened in any other color?”
Now this is argumentation. And I know this woman; she is a saree – nothing else. Within the saree you will not find anybody. She is just her body. For hours she stands before the mirror – they are very rich so she need not work. She has to do only one thing: to stand before the mirror. I told her once, “Even the mirror will be getting fed up with you.”

One day Mulla Nasruddin was catching flies, and he caught three. He told his wife, “I have caught three. One is male, two are female.”
The wife was surprised. She said, “How did you know that one is a male and two are female?”
He said, “Two were sitting on the mirror and one was sitting on the newspaper!”

That’s how things are. You ask me, “What is the point of changing the clothes?” You are clothes and nothing else – hence I have to change them.
Things start with sharia. Then, by and by, through tariqa, you will have to grow a psychology. People have a wrong notion that they have a psychology already. They don’t have. You don’t have a psyche, you have only heard the word. You have only a behavior, you don’t have a psychology yet.
That’s why Gurdjieff used to say that the psychology has to be born – the science has not yet been born, the psychology is waiting to be born. Man does not have an alert mind, how can there be a psychology? At the most there can be an engineering, a mechanics, a science of behavior, but there cannot be any psychology.
Only a buddha can have a psychology. Yes, Shah Firoz can have a psychology. You cannot have a psychology; right now you have only a behavior pattern, that’s all.
He says that the disciple: “…is here in the flesh, but absent in every other way.” So he has to be made present in other ways. Only then, slowly, slowly, can teaching go deep into him. First the way has to be created, the psyche has to be created, the mind has to be created.
Now, this is one of the most paradoxical efforts of a master. First he has to create a mind and then he has to destroy it. First he has to create a bridge from the circumference to the center, and then he has to destroy the bridge – otherwise you will start moving to the circumference again. Create the bridge, and then destroy the bridge behind you. Then one day one settles at the center. One becomes a Sufi. One has come to tasawwuf.
He also recited this tale.
There was once a king who wanted to become a Sufi. The Sufi whom he approached about the matter said, “Majesty, you cannot study with the Elect until you can overcome heedlessness.”
Heedlessness means absent-mindedness, lack of awareness or lack of alertness, consciousness.
“Heedlessness!” said the king. “Am I not heedful of my religious obligations? Do I not look after the people? Whom can you find in all my realm who has a complaint against me on the grounds of heedlessness?”
Now, this is the man of sharia. He says, “I fulfill all my obligations, my responsibilities, my duties. I am dutiful to my wife, to my children, to my people, to my country. Nobody has any complaint. Have you ever heard of anybody complaining against my alertness, awareness, responsibility? Who has told you that I am not heedful?”
This is what a Sunday churchgoer says: “I am religious.” This is what a Hindu says because he performs his puja every morning. This is what all the people who follow rituals say that they are doing. A Mohammedan thinks that he is a Mohammedan because he does his namaz five times every day. You can do it fifty times per day – it will not make you a Mohammedan. It will remain a ritual. You can perform it, you can perform it perfectly, you can repeat the exact words of the Koran, and still you will not be there. It will be just like a gramophone record unless your heart is in it, unless you do it with remembrance.
Just the other day I told you that Sufis talk about the state of ghafla – unconsciousness. Gurdjieff obtained the idea of man being asleep from Sufis. Gurdjieff used to say that man is a machine. Man is asleep; man is not – because awareness is not. This is a Sufi idea of tremendous value.
The state of ghafla, unconsciousness, has to be transformed into a state of zikr – remembrance. That’s what the Sufi meant when he said: “Majesty, you cannot study with the Elect until you can overcome heedlessness.”
“Heedlessness!” said the king. He must have become angry. He must have felt it as an offense against him, as a complaint.
The Sufi said:
“That is precisely the difficulty.”
Because you think you perform your obligations, you do your duties, do you think that you are a man of awareness?
“That is precisely the difficulty…because heedfulness is so marked in some things, people imagine that it must be a part of their texture.”
Unless awareness becomes a part of your very texture, unless awareness goes so deep that even while you are asleep you are aware, it is not of much use. Ordinarily people look alert and are asleep. They walk on the streets, go to their jobs, do their work, come back home, have children, have a wife, grow a family, and die. And they remain in the state of ghafla, they remain asleep.
A man is called aware when he can fall asleep and still remain transparently alert deep down. Only then do Sufis say that this man has attained zikr – remembrance. And in this remembrance of one’s being one starts feeling God, experiencing godliness – the window opens, the door is no longer closed.
But people who are dutiful, fulfilling their obligations, going to the mosque and the temple and the church regularly, start thinking that they are religious people. That is precisely the difficulty.
I have heard…

A farmer had a very sick mule so he called the veterinarian. The vet brought his little black bag and upon arrival took the mule’s pulse, temperature, and all the things that you do when you examine a sick mule.
The vet said, “This is a very sick mule and I want you to give it these little white pills immediately. These white pills are very potent and will cure practically anything a sick mule has. But just to be sure, wait four hours and give the mule one of those red pills. They are so strong, they will cure anything.”
The farmer and the doctor met in about two weeks, and the doctor asked the farmer what had happened to the mule.
“Well, I gave him the white pills like you told me, Doc. And I never saw so much reaction from one mule in all my life. He kicked down the barn door and the back fence and took off across the country. I thought I had lost my mule.”
“Did you lose him?” the doctor asked.
“You know, Doc, if I had not the presence of mind to take that red pill myself, the mule would have been long gone.”

But this man will start thinking that he has presence of mind, this man will start thinking that he has awareness.
In moments when a crisis arises everybody functions as if he is alert, then he falls asleep again. That’s what happens. If somebody comes suddenly with a sword and jumps on you, for a moment you will become alert – the shock will bring you out of your foggy night. For a moment you will open your eyes; for a moment you will forget your forgetfulness; for a moment you will forget that you are an asleep person. For a moment you will be dragged out by the sword, by death, by the possibility of danger, into awareness – but only for a moment. Then it is gone again.
Sometimes it happens to mountaineers climbing on a mountain. When they come to face real danger, when death and life are both facing them simultaneously – a single wrong step and they are gone forever – then they feel a new kind of awareness arising in them. That’s why so many people become attracted to mountain climbing. Mountaineering sometimes brings joy.
That’s why many people are attracted to gambling. When you risk all, for a moment you become aware. That’s why people are attracted to risky games – the car race. When you are really in danger you have to become alert because of the danger.
But the reason why people are attracted to these dangerous games – mountaineering, car racing, gambling, etcetera – is because of the joy that comes from those small moments of awareness. A man who has been practicing a tariqa to become aware need not go climbing mountains or competing in a car race or gambling. He can make himself alert without any outer situation forcing him to be alert. He can make himself alert without any cause from the outside. And then his joy is infinite. That’s what Hindus have called sat-chit-anand – utter bliss is his.
But awareness should become the very texture of your being.
“I cannot understand that sort of remark,” said the king, “and perhaps you will regard me as unsuitable because I cannot fathom your riddles.”
“Not at all,” said the Sufi, “but a would-be disciple cannot really have a debate with his prospective teacher.”
Remember, you can have a dialogue with your master, but you cannot have a debate. A debate from the very beginning, a discussion from the very beginning, prohibits disciplehood. You can have a dialogue; a dialogue has a different quality.
What is the difference between a debate and a dialogue? The difference is that in a dialogue you are not carrying any prejudice, you do not have some obsessions of your own. You put aside your concepts. In a dialogue you want to understand, not to argue. You don’t have an egoistic defense. In a dialogue you are open, you are ready to listen, to learn; you are ready to be transformed.
In a discussion, in a debate, you are resistant. You have armor, you are in a fighting mood. One cannot fight with one’s master – if you do you are not a disciple and that master is not your master.
“…a would-be disciple cannot really have a debate with his prospective teacher. Sufis deal in knowledge, not argument.”
A tremendously potent statement: “Sufis deal in knowledge…” Yes, they can show you the way to know, but they don’t argue because they don’t propose any philosophy. They have none. They are very nonphilosophical people, almost anti-philosophical. They don’t give you a dogma; not a single principle is proposed. They are physicians. They give you a medicine, and that medicine will open your eyes. They will give you a tariqa, and that tariqa will change you, will change your chemistry. Then you will be able to see something that you have never seen before.
By arguing, your chemistry cannot be changed, and without changing your chemistry you cannot be convinced of anything that you have not known already. God is unknown. You will need a different chemistry to know him. The Sufi provides you with knowledge of how to do it – knowledge about tariqa, about method. But he provides no knowledge about principles.
“But I will give you a demonstration of your heedlessness…”
Sufis are always giving demonstrations; they are very practical people, very scientific people. They say, “It will be difficult now. I can argue, but it won’t help, I will give you a demonstration. You can see yourself whether you are a man of heedfulness or a man of heedlessness.”
“…if you will carry out a test and do what I ask in respect to it.”
The king agreed to take the test, and the Sufi told him to say “I believe you” to everything which should be said to him in the ensuing few minutes.
Now, this is a small experiment in zikr, in remembrance. The king has to remember to say – irrespective of the statement made by the Sufi, he has to say, “I believe you.”
The king thought, “This is so simple. This man seems to be a little stupid. If a man can become a Sufi so easily, can start on the path so easily…” The king was suspicious.
“If that is a test, it is easy enough to start becoming a Sufi,” said the king.
He must have said it in a way to ridicule the Sufi master. But the master didn’t answer it.
Now the Sufi started the test. He said: “I am a man from beyond the skies.”
“I believe you,” said the king.
Listen. Each statement is significant. First the Sufi says: “I am a man from beyond the skies.” Now this is an utterly nonsensical statement, a very philosophical statement. There is no way to prove it or disprove it. He is talking absurd nonsense, but the king can remember to say “I believe you” because nothing is at stake. That is why people like metaphysics, philosophical argumentation. They are happy because nothing is at stake. How does it matter? If he says “I am coming from beyond the sky” – okay, it is perfectly okay. The king is not going to be changed by it, the king has nothing to risk in it.
That’s why people go to listen to great discourses on God, the soul, esoteric principles, astral bodies, subtle bodies, and enjoy them so much. For these kinds of people, theosophy has provided great literature. They are always talking about things that don’t matter.

Mulla Nasruddin was saying to me one day, “My wife and I never argue.”
I could not believe it! It seemed almost impossible that a wife and a husband did not argue. I said, “Mulla, how do you manage it?”
He said, “The day we married we decided one thing: I will only talk about great and lofty subject matters only, and she will take care of small trivia.”
I asked, “For instance?”
He said, “For instance, what house to purchase, what car to purchase, to what school to send the children, what kind of clothes I should wear, what kind of business I should do – these are small trivia. My wife settles them.”
And I said, “What are those lofty, great subjects?”
He said, “For example: whether God exists or not, whether war should be continued in Korea or not – things like that, great things. I decide great things, she decides small things.”

The king has no problem. This is such a great thing, let this Sufi say it. The Sufi says:
“I am a man from beyond the skies.”
“I believe you,” said the king.
The Sufi continued: “Ordinary people try to gain knowledge, Sufis have so much that they try not to use it.”
Now he is coming slowly down. It is a great statement still, but not as great as the first. But still the king is not touched. It remains outside the arena of the king.
“I believe you,” said the king.
Then the Sufi said: “I am a liar.”
“I believe you,” said the king.
He must have said it very happily because that’s what he wanted to say. When the master was saying, “I come …from beyond the skies” and when he said, “Sufis have so much knowledge that while ordinary people seek knowledge, Sufis try to find ways of not using it because they have so much,” he must have been thinking deep down inside that this man is a liar. And the Sufi has seen the point. He says: “I am a liar.”
It is a great experiment in mind reading. That’s what the king was saying inside – that the master was a liar. But the king still missed; he could not see the point.
“I believe you,” said the king.
The Sufi went on: “I was present when you were born.”
Now he is coming closer, but he starts from the very beginning, from the primal scream. He says: “I was present when you were born.” Now he is coming to the king, but he starts from the very beginning, from ABC: “…when you were born.” Still not much is at stake, maybe. Even if he was present, what does it matter?
“I was present when you were born.”
“I believe you,” said the king.
“And your father was a peasant,” said the Sufi.
“That is a lie!” shouted the king.
Now he forgot completely. This was the first statement really made about him – not actually about him, about his father, but it was coming too close. Now he forgot. Within a single minute he forgot that he had to remember to say “I believe you.” And nothing much was at stake, just a simple prejudice. What is wrong if your father was a peasant? Just a small prejudice: “I belong to a great family of kings. My father was a king, my father’s father was a king – we have always been kings!”
“I was present when you were born.” The Sufi is coming closer. Then he touches the boundary. “And your father was a peasant…”
He has not yet said anything directly about the king – otherwise the king would have taken his sword out of its sheath if the Sufi had said, “You are a thief!” He may have jumped on the Sufi.
“That is a lie!” shouted the king.
The Sufi looked at him sorrowfully and said: “Since you are so heedless that you cannot for one minute remember to say “I believe you” without some prejudice coming into play, no Sufi would be able to teach you anything.”
A beautiful parable. Meditate over it.
Yes, this is exactly the case with the greater part of humanity. You cannot remember for a single minute. One day, try a small experiment that Gurdjieff used to give to his disciples – a modern version of the same experiment. Put your watch in front of you and watch the hand that shows the seconds, just for a single minute. Remember only one thing: I am seeing this second hand… I am seeing this second hand… I am seeing this second hand. Go on remembering only this one thing. You will be surprised. Not even seven, eight, ten seconds have passed and you have forgotten. Again you come out of your sleep, you remember for a few seconds – again you have forgotten. In a single minute, at least three to four times you will forget. You will not be able to remember a simple thing.
And no prejudice is involved. Nobody is saying that your father is a beggar or your father is a thief. Nobody is saying that your mother was a prostitute, nobody is saying that you are a bastard – nothing like that. Nothing is involved. Just a simple, factual statement: “I am seeing the second hand” – and again and again you will fall asleep. Again and again you will start thinking of something else and you will not be heedful.
Now, the Sufis say that if a man has no awareness nothing can be taught. So the first thing to be taught will be awareness. And awareness takes a long time because you have lived many lives in unawareness. It has gone very deep in your blood, it has entered your very texture, into every cell of your body; every fiber of your psyche is full of sleep.
This sleep has to be broken. Once this sleep is broken, then… Then the disciple is ready to learn. It will depend on how aware you are. The master can pour in only that much.
A small parable…

There was a tradesman in a small village in the East who sat on his knees in his little shop, and with his left hand he pulled a strand of wool from the bale that was above his head. He twirled the wool into a thicker strand and passed it to his right hand as it came before his body. The right hand wound the wool around a large spindle.
This was a continuous motion on the part of the old man who, each time his right hand spindled the wool, inaudibly said, “La illaha illa’llah.” There could be no uneven movement or the wool would break and he would have to tie a knot and begin again. The old man had to be present every moment or he would break the wool.

This is awareness, this is zikr, this is life. “Sufi” means awareness in life, awareness on a higher plane than that on which we normally live. This old man was a simple man, but he taught his sons his trade, and his sons taught the trade to their sons and a silsila was created – a tradition of masters and disciples.
Out of such a small phenomenon he created awareness. You can create awareness in whatever you are doing. The only thing is: use it as a device. You are walking, walk – but be fully alert, remembering that you are walking. You are eating, eat – but be fully alert that you are eating. Taking a shower, let each drop of water fall on you fully alert, watchful.
Hindus call it sakshin, the witness. Buddhists call it samyak smriti, right-mindfulness. Kabir and Nanak call it surati, remembrance; and Sufis call it zikr. But it is the same tariqa.
Enough for today.

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