The Flame of Awareness

Osho on Great Indian Poet Kalidas

Kalidasa is a well-known legend in the field of Sanskrit literature. He was a classical Sanskrit author and is considered one of India’s greatest poets and playwrights. Much about Kalidasa is unknown, but it is speculated through his work that he lived in the Himalayas some time in the 4-5th century CE. Kalidasa is famous for using his dramatic ways to express the Vedas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Puranas in his writing.

Kalidasa’s most notable work is  Abhijnanashakuntala, or simply Shakuntala. This play portrayed the love interlude and reunion between a delicate girl and a resolute king, depicting both aspects with metaphors of nature. Other than this, his known opus consists of two more plays, two epic poems, and two shorter poems. Kalidasa’s work also sought to bring about a fusion of the Brahmanic religious tradition, complimented by Sanskrit, with the modern secular tradition of Hinduism of that time. This fusion of perfection was lost in the Gupta empire and was never known again.

Osho mentions Kalidasa, “Certainly, if you see the sun rising and you enjoy and dance with it, and one day you come across a few immensely beautiful lines of Kalidas about the sunrise, you will be surprised: he has said the thing that you would like to say! but you cannot. You don’t have THAT quality to express. Not everybody is a Kalidas.

Remember: everybody can become a Buddha, but not everybody can become a Kalidas. Everybody can become a Buddha, but not everybody can become a Mozart or Beethoven. Everybody ‘s potential is to become a Buddha, because Buddha is your nature. But these are specific qualities, talents. A Kalidas is a Kalidas! He can sing a song that nobody else may be able to sing again. A Shakespeare is a Shakespeare — the way he can put words together… nobody may be able to put those words together again the same way. He is a magician with words, you may not be.

Mind is a mechanism. It is not you. It records things from outside, and then reacts to outside situations according to the recordings. That’s the only difference between a Hindu and a Mohammedan and a Christian and a Jew — they have just got different gramophone records. Inside it is one humanity. And do you think when you play a gramophone record… it may be in Hebrew, it may be in Sanskrit, it may be in Persian, it may be in Arabic, but it is the same machine that plays the record. To the machine it does not matter whether it plays Hebrew or Sanskrit. All your religions, all your political ideas, all your cultural attitudes are nothing but recordings. And in certain situations certain recordings are provoked.

There is a beautiful incident in the life of one of the very wisest kings of India, Raja Bhoj. He was very much interested in wise people. His whole treasury was open only for one purpose — to collect all the wise people of the country, whatsoever the cost. His capital was Ujjain, and he had thirty of the country’s most famous people in his court. It was the most precious court in the whole country. One of the greatest poets of the world, Kalidas, was one of the members of the court of Raja Bhoj. One day a man appeared at the court saying that he spoke thirty languages with the same fluency, the same accuracy and accent as any native person could, and he had come to make a challenge: “Hearing that you have in your court the wisest people of the country, here are one thousand gold pieces…” The rupee used to be golden. We should stop calling it the rupee now, because the word `rupee’ comes from the word rupya. `Rupya’ means gold. It went on falling from gold to silver, from silver to something else. Now it is just paper and you go on calling it `rupee’. The very word means gold.

And he said, “Anybody who can recognize my mother tongue, these one thousand gold pieces are his. And if he cannot recognize it, then he will have to give me one thousand gold pieces.”

There were great scholars there, and everybody knows that whatever you do, you can never speak any language the way you can speak your own mother tongue because every other language has to be learned by effort. Only the mother tongue is spontaneous — you don’t even learn it, just… the very situation and you start speaking it. It has a spontaneity. That’s why even Germans who call their country `fatherland’…. That is the only country which calls itself `fatherland’. All other countries call their land `motherland’. But even the Germans don’t call their language `father tongue’. Every language is called a mother tongue because the child starts learning from the mother, and anyway the father never has the chance to speak in the house. It is always the mother who is speaking — father is listening.

Many took the challenge. He spoke in thirty languages — a few pieces in one language, a few pieces in another language — and it was really hard; he was certainly a master artist. He was speaking each language the way only a native can speak his own mother language. All of the thirty great scholars lost. The competition continued for thirty days, and every day one person took the challenge and lost it. The man would say, “This is not my mother tongue.”

On the thirty-first day…. King Bhoj had been continually saying to Kalidas, “Why don’t you accept the challenge? — because a poet knows language in a more delicate way, with all its nuances, more than anybody else.”

But Kalidas remained silent. He had been watching for thirty days, trying to find out which language the man spoke with more ease, with more spontaneity, with more joy. But he could not manage to find any difference, he spoke all the languages in exactly the same way. On the thirty-first day, Kalidas asked King Bhoj and all the wise people to stand outside in front of the court. There was a long row of steps and the man was coming up; as he came up to the last step, Kalidas pushed him down. And as he fell rolling down the steps, anger came up — he shouted.

And Kalidas said, “This is your mother tongue!” Because in anger you cannot remember, and the man had not been expecting this to be a challenge. And that actually was his mother tongue. Deepest in his mind, the recording was of the mother tongue.

One of my professors used to say — he lived all over the world, teaching in different universities — that “Only in two situations in life have I been in difficulty in different countries — fighting or falling in love. In those times one remembers one’s mother tongue. However beautifully you express your love, it is not the same, it seems superficial. And when you are angry and fighting in somebody else’s language, you cannot have that joy….”

He said, “Those are two very significant situations — fighting and loving — and mostly they are together with the same person. With the same person you are in love, with that same person you have to fight.” And he was right, that everything remains superficial — you can neither sing a beautiful song nor can you use real four-letter words of your language. In both cases, it remains lukewarm.

Mind certainly is a mechanism for recording experiences from the outside, and reacting and responding accordingly. It is not you. But unfortunately the psychologists think mind is all, beyond mind there is nothing. That means you are nothing but impressions from the outside. You don’t have any soul of your own. The very idea of the soul is also given by the outside.

This is where the mystics are different: they will agree absolutely that about the mind, the contemporary scientific research is right. But it is not right about man’s total personality.

Beyond mind, there is an awareness which is not given by the outside and which is not an idea — and there is no experiment up to now which has found any center in the brain which corresponds to awareness. The whole work of religion, of meditation is to make you aware of all that is mind and disidentify yourself with it.

When the mind is angry, you should think, “It is simply a gramophone record.” When the mind is sad, you should simply remember: it is only a gramophone record. A certain situation is pressing the remote controller, and you feel sad, you feel angry, you feel frustrated, you feel worried, you feel tense — all these things are coming from the outside, and the mind is responding to them. But you are the watcher. You are not the actor. It is not your reaction. Hence the whole art of meditation is to learn awareness, alertness, consciousness. While you are feeling angry, don’t repress it; let it be there. Just become aware. See it as if it is some object outside you. Slowly slowly, go on cutting your identifications with the mind. Then you have found your real individuality, your being, your soul. Finding this awareness is enlightenment — you have become luminous. You are no more in darkness, and you are no more just a puppet in the hands of the mind. You are a master, not a servant. Now the mind cannot react automatically, autonomously — the way it used to do before. It needs your permission.

Somebody insults you, and you don’t want to be angry….Gautam Buddha used to say to his disciples that, “To be angry is so stupid that it is inconceivable that intelligent human beings go on doing it. Somebody else is doing something and you are getting angry. He may be doing something wrong, he may be saying something wrong, he may be making some effort to humiliate you, to insult you — but that is his freedom. If you react, you are a slave.”

And if you say to the person, “It is your joy to insult me, it is my joy not to be angry,” you are behaving like a master. And unless this master becomes crystal clear in you, crystallized, you don’t have any soul. You are just a phonograph record. As you grow older, your recording goes on becoming more and more. You become more knowledgeable. People think you are becoming wiser — you are simply becoming a donkey loaded with scriptures. Wisdom consists only of one thing, not of knowing many things but of knowing only one thing: that is your awareness and its separation from the mind.

Just try watching in small things, and you will be surprised. People go on doing the same things every day. They go on deciding to do something, and they go on repenting because they have not done it; it becomes a routine. Everything you do is not new. The things which have been giving you misery, sadness, worries, wounds, and you don’t want — somehow mechanically you go on doing these things again and again as if you are helpless. And you will remain helpless unless you create a separation between mind and awareness. That very separation is the greatest revolution that can happen to man. And from that very moment your life is a life of continuous celebration — because you need not do anything that harms you, you need not do anything that makes you miserable. Now you can do and act on only that which makes you more joyous, fulfills you, gives you contentment, makes your life a piece of art, a beauty.

But this is possible only if the master in you is awake. Right now the master is fast asleep, and the servant is playing the role of master.

And the servant is not your servant; the servant is created by the outside world, it belongs to the outside world, it follows the outside world and its laws. This is the whole tragedy of human life: you are asleep, and the outside world is dominating you, creating your mind according to its own needs — and the mind is a puppet. Once your awareness becomes a flame, it burns up the whole slavery that the mind has created. And there is no blissfulness more precious than freedom, than being a master of your own destiny. Mind is not your friend. Either the mind is pretending to be the master or it has to be put into its right place as a servant — but mind is not your friend. And the struggle for freedom, for bliss, for truth is not with the world; it is a fight with this puppet mind. It is very simple.

Kahlil Gibran has a beautiful story. The farmers in the villages, to protect their cultivated farms, create a false man: just a stick, another stick… it looks almost like a cross. And then they put a kurta on it, and a mud pot in place of the head. That’s enough to make poor animals afraid that somebody may be standing there. The white kurta and two hands, in the night… somebody is watching. For the animals it is enough, they keep away from the farm.

Gibran says, “Once I asked such a false man, `I can understand the farmer who made you, he needs you. I can understand the poor animals, they don’t have great intelligence to see that you are bogus. But in rain, in sun, in hot summer, in cold winter you remain standing here — for what?’

“And the false, bogus man said, `You don’t know my joy. Just to make those animals afraid is such a joy that it is worth suffering rain, suffering sun, suffering heat, winter — everything. I am making thousands of animals afraid! I know I am bogus, there is nothing inside me — but I don’t care about that. My joy is in making others afraid.'”

I want to ask you: would you like to be just like this bogus man — nothing inside, making somebody afraid, making somebody happy, making somebody humiliated, making somebody respectful? Is your life only for others? Will you ever look inside? Is there anybody in the house or not?

The people who are with me, their search is to find the master of the house. I say to you the master is there — perhaps asleep, but he can be awakened. And once the master is awakened within you, your whole life takes new colors, new rainbows, new flowers, new music, new dances. For the first time you become alive. Before, you were only vegetating.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse Series: Beyond Enlightenment Chapter #30

Chapter title: You are the watcher not the actor

2 November 1986 pm in


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. From Bondage to Freedom
  9. The Golden Future
  10. Take It Easy, Vol 1
  11. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 4, 5
  12. Theologia Mystica
  13. Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen: The Antidote to All Poisons
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