The Greatest Mystery

Osho on Master-Disciple Relationship

The greatest art in the world is to be a disciple. It cannot be compared to anything. It is unique and incomparable. Nothing like it exists in any other relationship, nothing like it can exist. To be a disciple, to be with a master, is to move into the unknown.

You cannot be very aggressive there. If you are aggressive, the unknown will never be revealed to you. It cannot be revealed to an aggressive mind. The very nature of it is such that you have to be receptive, not aggressive. The search for truth is not an active search, it is a deep passivity — in your deep passivity you will receive. But if you become too active and concerned, you will miss. It is like being a womb, it is feminine, you receive the truth as a woman receives a pregnancy. Remember this… then many things will become easier to understand.

To be near a master is to be just a passivity, absorbing whatsoever the master gives or whatsoever the master is — not asking. The moment you start asking you have become aggressive, the receptivity is lost, you have become active. The passive, the feminine, is no longer there. Nobody has ever reached the truth as a male — aggressive, violent. That’s not possible. You reach very silently. In fact, you wait and truth reaches you. The truth seeks you, like water seeks some hollow ground, moves downwards, finds a place, and becomes a lake.

An active mind is too filled with itself; an active mind thinks that it knows what truth is. One has only to ask, at least the question is known; only for the answer does one have to seek and search. But when you become passive, even the question is not known. How to ask? What to ask? For what to ask? There is no question, one cannot do anything else but wait. This is patience — and this is infinite patience — because it is not a question of time, it is not a question of you waiting for a few months, or a few years. If you have patience for a few years, that won’t help, because a mind that thinks that it has to wait for three years is not, in fact, waiting. He is looking actively, to when the three years are over, then he can jump, be aggressive, and ask; then he can demand that the period of waiting be over, that now he is entitled to know. There is nothing like that. Nobody is ever entitled to know the truth.

Suddenly the moment comes when you are ready, and your patience has become not of time, but of eternity; you are not waiting for something, but simply waiting, because the waiting is so beautiful;

the waiting itself is such a deep meditation, the waiting itself is such a tremendous achievement — who bothers about anything else? When the waiting has become so total, so intense, so whole, that time disappears and the waiting takes the quality of eternity, then immediately you are ready.

You are not entitled, remember — you cannot ask. You are simply ready and you are not even aware that you are ready. Because the very awareness will be a hindrance to your readiness; the very awareness will show that the ego is there, watching in the corner, hiding somewhere. And the ego is always aggressive, whether hiding or not hiding, apparent or not apparent. Even hiding in the deepest corner of the unconscious, the ego is aggressive. And when I say that to become totally passive is the art of being a disciple, I mean — dissolve the ego. Then there is nobody who is asking, demanding, then there is simply nobody — you are a vacant house, a deep emptiness, simply waiting. And suddenly, all that you could have asked for is given to you, without you asking for it.

Jesus says: Ask, and it shall be given to you. But that is not the highest teaching. Jesus could not give the highest teaching to the people who were around him because they did not know how to be disciples. In the Jewish tradition teachers have existed, and students, but a disciple and a master, is basically an Eastern phenomenon. Teachers have existed — who have taught many things; and students have existed, sincere students — who have learnt much. But Jesus couldn’t find disciples there, he couldn’t give the highest teaching. He says: Ask and it shall be given to you. Knock, and doors shall be opened unto you. But I tell you, if you ask, you will miss; if you knock, you will be rejected. Because the very knocking is aggressive, the very asking is of the ego. In the very asking you are too much, and the doors cannot be opened for you.

In the knocking, what are you doing? You are being violent. No.

At the doors of the temples knocking is not allowed. You have to come to the doors so silently that even the sound of your feet is not heard. You come as a nothing, as if nobody has come. You wait at the door and whenever the door opens you will enter. You are not in a hurry. You can sit and relax at the door, because the door knows better than you when to open, and the master inside knows better than you when it should be given.

Knocking at the door of the temple is vulgar; asking the master is unmannerly — because he is not going to teach you anything, he is not a teacher. He is going to toss something to you from his innermost being — a treasure — and unless you are ready, it cannot be done. The pearls cannot be thrown before the swine. The master has to wait until your swine has disappeared, until you have awakened and you have become really human and the animal is no longer there — the aggressive, the vulgar, the violent. The relationship between a master and a disciple is not of a rape: it is of deepest love.

That is the difference between science and religion. Science is like rape; there is aggression towards nature to know its secrets. Science is a violent effort to force nature to reveal its secrets. Religion is love, it is a persuasion, it is a silent waiting. It is making oneself ready, prepared, so that whenever the moment of your inner readiness comes, suddenly there is a tuning, everything falls into line and nature is revealed to you. And this revelation is totally different. Science may force nature to give a few facts — but the truth? No. Science will never be able to know the truth. At the most, robbers, aggressive, violent people, can snatch away a few facts. That’s all. And those facts will be of the surface. The innermost center will remain veiled for them because to reach the innermost, violence is not to be used — cannot be used. The innermost center must invite you, only then can you enter there. Uninvited, there is no way. As a guest, invited, you enter into the inner shrine.

The relationship between a master and a disciple is the highest possibility of love — because it is not a relationship of two bodies, it is not a relationship of any pleasure, or any gratification, it is not a relationship of two minds, two friends, in subtle, psychic harmony. No. It is neither bodily, nor sexual; it is neither mental nor emotional. It is two totals, coming together and merging into each other.

And how can you be a total if you ask a question? If you are aggressive, you cannot be total. A totality is always silent; there is no conflict within. That’s why you cannot be in conflict without. Totality is serene and tranquil and collected. It is a deep togetherness. Waiting near a master, one learns how to be together, with no movement. A simple unmoving center simply waits; thirsty of course, hungry of course, feeling the thirst in every fiber of the body, in every cell of the being — but waiting, because the master knows better when the right moment comes. Not knocking… the temptation will be there, and, when the master is available, the temptation becomes very, very deep and intense. Why not ask him? He can give, then why wait, why waste time? No, it is not a question of wasting time. Really, waiting patiently is the best use of time. All else may be wasted but waiting is not, because waiting is prayer, waiting is meditation, waiting is all. Everything happens through it.

And I call it the greatest art. Why? Because

between a master and disciple the greatest mystery is lived, the deepest is lived, the highest flows. It is a relationship between the known and the unknown, between the finite and infinite, between time and eternity, between the seed and the flower, between the actual and the potential, between past and future. A disciple is only the past; the master is only the future. And here, this moment, in their deep love and waiting, they meet. The disciple is time, the master is eternity. The disciple is mind and the master is no-mind. The disciple is all that he knows, and a master is all that cannot be known. When the bridge happens between a master and a disciple, it is a miracle. To bridge the known with the unknown, and time with eternity, is a miracle.

Doing is on the part of the master, because he knows what to do. The doing is not on your part, should not be on your part, because, by your very doing, you will disturb the whole thing. You don’t know what you are — how can you do anything? A disciple waits, knowing well that he cannot do. He does not know the direction, he does not know what is good and what is bad, he does not know himself. How can he do anything? The doing is of the master; but when I say that the doing is of the master, don’t misunderstand me. A master never does anything — if the disciple can wait, the very being of the master becomes a doing. Just his presence becomes a catalytic agent, and many things start happening on their own accord.

When somebody asked the great master Zenerin: What do you do with your disciples? He said: What do I do? I don’t do anything. The questioner asked: But so many things happen around you, you must be doing something. Zenerin said:

Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself. This is what a master is doing: sitting quietly, doing nothing, waiting for the right moment, the spring. Suddenly, when the disciple and the master meet, there will be spring — the spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.

And this is how it happens. A master simply sits, not doing anything and a disciple waits for the master to so something. Then comes the spring. And the moment they meet, the grass grows by itself…

Truth is a happening, the final happening, the ultimate happening, in which you dissolve into the whole and the whole dissolves into you. In the words of Tilopa, it is MAHAMUDRA, the ultimate orgasm that happens between one unit of consciousness and total consciousness, the total ocean of consciousness — between the drop and the ocean. It is the total orgasm, in which both are lost into each other and the identities dissolve. The same happens between a master and a disciple. The master is of the quality of the ocean and the disciple is still a drop — the finite meeting the infinite. Much patience is needed, infinite patience is needed. Hurry won’t help.


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

Discourse series: The Grass Grows by Itself
Chapter #2
Chapter title: Master and Disciple
22 February 1975 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken extensively about the ‘master-disciple relationship’. More on this subject can be found in the following books/discourse titles:

  1. The Book of Wisdom
  2. Come follow to you Vol.4
  3. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega Vol. 2, 3, 6
  4. The Wisdom of the Sands Vol.2
  5. From Personality to Individuality
  6. From the False to the Truth
  7. Beyond Enlightenment
  8. Light on the Path
  9. The Osho Upanishad
  10. The Secret
  11. Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol 1, 2
  12. Zen: The Diamond Thunderbolt
  13. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 3

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