Tantra: The Science of Transformation
Osho on Love n Sex
I HAVE FALLEN IN LOVE AND SUFFERED MUCH. AFTER LISTENING TO YOU I FELT UNWILLING TO LET GO OF THE DREAM THAT THE DEEP RICH EXPERIENCE MY LOVE AFFAIR BRINGS WILL NOT ULTIMATELY LEAD TO SATISFACTION. HOW CAN I GO BEYOND THIS ATTACHMENT THAT IS SO RICH, YET SO PAINFUL?
love is both. It is rich and it is painful, it is agony and it is ecstasy — because love is the meeting of the earth and the sky, of the known and the unknown, of the visible and the invisible. Love is the boundary that divides matter and consciousness, the boundary of the lower and the higher. Love has roots in the earth; that is its pain, its agony. And love has its branches in the sky; that is its ecstasy. Love is not a single phenomenon, it is dual. It is a rope stretched between two polarities. You will have to understand these two polarities: one is sex, another is prayer. Love is the rope stretched between sex and prayer; part of it is sex, part of it is prayer. The sexual part is bound to bring many miseries, the part that belongs to prayer will bring many joys.
Hence it is difficult to renounce love, because in renouncing one is afraid the joys that come will also be renounced. One is not able either to be totally in it, because all those pains again and again remind you to renounce it. This is the misery of the lover: the lover lives in a tension, pulled apart.
Donna, I can understand your problem. This is the basic problem of all lovers, because love brings both, many thorns and many flowers, and they both come together. Love is a rosebush. One does not want those thorns, one would like the rosebush to be all flowers and no thorns; but they come together, they are aspects of one energy. But I am not saying to you to renounce love, I am not saying to you to become detached. What I am saying to you is: make it more and more prayerful.
My whole approach is that of transformation, not of renunciation. You must have misunderstood me. I am not against sex, but I am all for making sex a prayer.
The lowest can be possessed by the highest, then the pain of it disappears. What pain is there in sexuality? Because it reminds you of your animality — that is the pain. It reminds you of the past, it reminds you of your biological bondage, it reminds you that you are not free, you are under the slavery of the instincts given by nature; that you are not independent from nature, that your strings are pulled by nature, that you are just a puppet in the hands of unknown unconscious forces.
Sex is felt like a humiliation. In sex you start feeling you are losing your dignity, hence the pain. And then the fulfillment is so momentary; sooner or later any intelligent person will become aware that the satisfaction is momentary and followed by long nights of pain. The ecstasy is just like a breeze, it comes and goes and leaves you in a desert like state, utterly frustrated, disappointed. You had hoped much; many things were promised by the instinctual part of you, and nothing has been delivered. In fact sex is a strategy of nature to perpetuate itself. It is a mechanism that keeps you reproducing, otherwise people will disappear. Just think of a humanity where sex is no longer an instinct and you are free, at your own will, to go into sex or not. Then the whole thing will look so absurd, the whole thing will look ridiculous. Just think — if there is no instinctive force pulling you, I don’t think anybody will be ready to go into sex. Nobody goes by consent; reluctantly, resisting, one goes into it…
If sex were left to your decision I don’t think people would go into it. There are reasons why people make love hiding from the public, from people — because it looks so ridiculous. Just making love in public, you know that others will see the ridiculousness of it; you yourself know it is ridiculous. One feels one is falling below humanity; the great pain is there, that you are dragged backwards. But it brings a few moments of utter purity and joy and innocence too. It brings a few moments of timelessness, when suddenly there is no time left. It brings a few moments of egolessness too, when in deep orgasmic spasm the ego is forgotten. It gives you a few glimpses of God, hence it cannot be renounced either.
People have tried to renounce it. Down the ages monks have been renouncing it, for the simple reason that it is so humiliating, so against the dignity of human beings. To be under the impact of some unconscious instinct is dehumanizing, demoralizing. The monks have renounced it, they have left the world, but with it all the joy in their life has also disappeared. They become very serious and sad, they turn suicidal. Now they don’t see any meaning in life, all life becomes meaningless. Then they simply wait for death to come and deliver them. It is a delicate problem; how to solve it? Monks have not been able to solve it. On the contrary, they created many perversions in the world. All the perversions that are condemned by your so-called saints are created by those same people. The first idea of homosexuality arose in the monasteries, because men were kept together, away and aloof from women, and women were kept together, aloof and away from men. There are Catholic monasteries where no woman has entered for one thousand years. Not even a small baby of six months old is allowed. Just the very idea seems to be very horrible; these monks seem to be really dangerous — even a six-month-old girl is not allowed in the monastery. What does it show? What fear! What paranoia!
Naturally the monks huddle together, then their instincts start creating new ways, start inventing perversions; they turn homosexual. Homosexuality is really very religious, it is a by-product of religion. Religion has given many things to the world; homosexuality is one of them.
All kinds of perversions…. Now you don’t hear of any woman making love to the devil; the devil seems to have lost all interest in women suddenly! There is no devil. But if you keep women away from all possibilities of falling in love, of being in love, then the mind will start creating its own projections, and of course those projections will be very, very colorful. And those projections are bound to happen, you cannot avoid them. So monks and nuns have not been able to solve the problem, they have even messed up the whole thing more. And the worldly person, the sensuous, the indulgent person, has not been able to solve it either. He suffers miserably; his whole life is a suffering. He goes on hoping, from one hope to another hope, and goes on failing in every hope, and slowly slowly a great hopelessness settles in his being.
My approach is neither worldly nor otherworldly. My approach is not of rejecting something but using it. My understanding is that whatsoever is given to you is precious. You may know its value, you may not know its value, but it is precious; if it was not so, existence would not have given it to you. So you have to find ways to transform it. You have to make your love more prayerful, you have to make your sex more loving. Slowly slowly, sex has to be transformed into a sacred activity, it has to be raised. Rather than sex pulling you down into the mire of animality, you can pull sex upwards. The same energy that pulls you down can pull you upwards, and the same energy can give you wings.
It has tremendous power; certainly it is the most powerful thing in the world, because all life arises out of it. If it can give birth to a child, to a new life, if it can bring a new life into existence, you can imagine its potential: it can bring a new life to you too. Just as it can bring a new child into the world, it can give a new birth to you.
And that’s what Jesus means when he says to Nicodemus, “Unless you are born again, you will not be able to enter into my kingdom of God” — unless you are born again, unless you are capable of giving birth to yourself — a new vision, a new quality to your energies, a new tuning to your instrument. Your instrument contains great music, but you have to learn how to play on it.
Sex has to become a great meditative art. That’s the contribution of Tantra to the world. Tantra’s contribution is the greatest, because it give you keys to transform the lowest into the highest. It gives you keys to transform mud into lotuses. It is one of the greatest sciences that have happened –
but because of the moralists and the puritans and the so-called religious people, Tantra has not been allowed to help people. Its scriptures have been burned, thousands of Tantra masters have been killed, burned alive. The whole tradition has been almost destroyed, people have been forced to go underground. Just the other day I received a letter from my sannyasins from America saying that Gurdjieff’s people are so persecuted by the government that they have decided to go underground. They have written, “We are afraid that sooner or later this is going to happen to us. Should we start preparing, so that if this happens to us we can also start working in a hidden way?”
It is possible, because it has been always so. Gurdjieff’s work also consists in transforming the sexual energy into an inner integration — the organized church is always against any effort of this kind. My work is hindered in every way, my people are harassed in every way. Just a few days ago, the Indian parliament discussed for one hour what should be done with me — as if this country has no other problem to discuss. So much fear! And I am not doing any harm to anybody; I don’t even go outside the gate. And at least this much freedom is everybody’s birthright — if someone wants to come to me and wants to be transformed, it is nobody’s business to interfere. I don’t go to anybody. If people come to me and they want to be transformed… then what kind of democracy is this?
But the stupid politicians and the priests have always been in a conspiracy. They don’t want people to be transformed, because transformed people are no longer under their domination. Transformed people become independent, free; transformed people become so aware and so intelligent that they can see through all the games of the politicians and the priests. Then they are nobody’s followers; then they start living a totally new kind of life — not the life of the crowd, but the life of the individual. They become lions, they are no more sheep. And the politicians and the priests are interested that every human being should remain a sheep. Only then can they be the shepherds, leaders, great leaders. Mediocre and stupid people pretending to be great leaders — but that is possible only if the whole humanity remains very low in intelligence, is kept repressed.
Up to now, only two experiments have been done. One was of indulgence, which has failed — which is being tried again by the West and is going to fail, utterly fail. And the other was that of renunciation — which has been tried by the East, and also in the West by Christianity. That too has failed, utterly failed. A new experiment is needed, urgently needed. Man is in a great turmoil, in a great confusion. Where to go? What to do with oneself? Donna, I am not saying renounce sex, I am saying transform it. It need not remain just biological: bring some spirituality to it. While making love, meditate too. While making love, be prayerful. Love should not be just a physical act; pour your soul into it. Then slowly slowly the pain starts disappearing and the energy contained in the pain is released and becomes more and more a benediction. Then agony is transformed into ecstasy.
You say, “I have fallen in love and suffered much.”
You are blessed. The really poor people are those who have never fallen in love and never suffered. They have not lived at all. To fall in love and to suffer in love is good. It is passing through fire; it purifies, it gives you insight, it makes you more alert. This is the challenge to be accepted. Those who don’t accept this challenge remain spineless.
You say, “I have fallen in love and suffered much. After listening to you I felt unwilling to let go of the dream that the deep rich experience my love affair brings will not ultimately lead to satisfaction.”
I am not telling you to drop your love, I am simply telling you a fact — that it will not bring you to ultimate contentment. It is not in my hands to change the nature of things. I am simply stating a fact. If it was in my hands I would have liked you to have ultimate contentment in love. But it doesn’t happen. What can we do? Two plus two are four.
It is a fundamental law of life that love brings you to deeper and deeper dissatisfactions. Ultimately love brings you to such a discontent that you start longing for the ultimate beloved, God, you start searching for the ultimate love affair. Sannyas is an ultimate love affair: the search for God, the search for truth.
It is possible only when you have failed many times, loved and suffered, and each suffering has brought you more and more consciousness, more and more understanding. One day the recognition arrives that love can give you a few glimpses — and those glimpses are good, and those glimpses are glimpses of God — but it can only give you glimpses; more than that is not possible. But that too is too much; but without those glimpses you will never seek and search God.
Those who have not loved and suffered never become seekers of God — they cannot; they have not earned that worth, they have not become worthy. It is the sole right of the lover one day to start searching for the ultimate beloved. Love, and love more deeply. Suffer, and suffer more deeply. Love totally and suffer totally, because this is how the impure gold passes through fire and becomes pure gold. I am not saying to you, escape from your love affairs: go deeper into them. I help my sannyasins to go into love, because I know love ultimately fails. And unless they know by their own experience that love ultimately fails, their search for God will remain phony.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Book of Wisdom
Chapter title: The Soul is a Question
9 March 1979 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘Love, prayer, ecstasy, sex, transformation, tantra’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Beloved, Vol 1, 2
- The Rebellious Spirit
- The Divine Melody
- I Say Unto You, Vol 1
- My Way: The Way of the White Clouds
- Ecstasy – The Forgotten Language
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 2, 3, 10
- The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol 1, 2, 3
- Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
- The Tantra Vision, Vol 1, 2
- Tantra: The Supreme Understanding
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 1, 2, 4, 7
- The Mustard Seed: My Most Loved Gospel on Jesus