The Invitation 05

Fifth Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - The Invitation by Osho.
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I am afraid – afraid of enlightenment. What is beyond enlightenment? What to do after the goal of living is reached? What do you aim for? It is like falling into a bottomless pit. You fall – no bottom, no goal. Then what do you aim for? What is beyond the goal?
Cliff – obviously it is not my pilot Cliff, because the question does not show the guts of a pilot – but whoever you are you have raised very significant questions. I am saying questions because there are many. You have condensed them into a very small question.
First you are saying, “I am afraid, afraid of enlightenment.” This can be taken as a general state of human mind; otherwise there is no reason why so few people have ever become enlightened. And those who have become enlightened have been shouting for centuries of its joy, its bliss; its ultimate truth, beauty; its eternity and its going beyond death. But the larger part of humanity has not paid any attention to it. Naturally, your question comes from the deepest core of humanity.
It is not only your question, everybody is afraid of enlightenment. And the reason is clear why one is afraid: the fear is of losing yourself. For the same reason people are afraid of love; for the same reason people are afraid of trust; for the same reason they remain enclosed in all kinds of fears, miseries, anxieties and anguish, because at least these feel familiar. And one thing is certain, they don’t ask you to be lost. The more painful your life is, the more you are.
Perhaps deep down you desire pain, you desire misery, you desire anguish, because that keeps you clearly defined. You are afraid of the same things for which you also have a longing. On the one hand, there is a longing to go beyond all fears, beyond all anxieties, beyond all suffering. But the problem becomes complex, because being beyond suffering you are also beyond yourself – you are the suffering. You are the prison, that’s why you are afraid to get out of it. On the contrary, you try to console yourself in every way, that “This is not a prison, this is my home.”
So you are living in a dilemma: you want to go into the open sky and open your wings and fly across the sun. But on the other hand, you are afraid you may never be able to find the way back to your cozy, familiar space. Although it is painful you have become accustomed to it; although there is suffering it is like an old friend. The beyond invites you, calls you to take courage. But it also creates a trembling within you, because going out of the cozy circle of your misery and your hell, you know for certain – you may not be very conscious of it – that your so-called personality will melt away into the vast…just like any ice block.
The fear is, is there something beyond your personality? You are not aware of it, you have never come across it – you have never met yourself. You know only the superficial that has been told to you. You don’t know on your own authority your essential, your inner. And of course nobody else can say anything about your inner. It is not available for observation; it is not available to be an object. Science cannot find it. Logic feels absolutely inadequate. Reason has not the wings to fly to the inner.
Karl Marx used to say, “I will believe in God only if he is caught in a test tube and scientists unanimously declare that this is God – after dissection and autopsy to find whether he is really divine.” Karl Marx was representative of you all, of the wider humanity; he is saying, “How can I believe in God? Science has no proof for it.” And science has no proof either for your self. It can dissect you, it can cut you into as many parts as possible, but it will not find you; it will find only a dead corpse.
Only very recently have geniuses become aware that what we have been doing in physiology, in biology, in medical sciences, is not right. The moment you take blood out of my body and then you test it, it is not the same blood that is flowing in my body. In my body it is alive, it has a life of its own; outside my body it is a dead thing. And you cannot conclude from the analysis of the dead about the living. You can take anything out of the human body, but the moment you take it out, you have taken it out as a dead thing. In the human body it was an organic, living, breathing, alive part.
A few very sensitive medical surgeons have become aware of the fact that something has to be done about it, because in the medical colleges they go on studying the corpses, skeletons, to decide about living human beings – there is such a great logical fallacy. But they are also feeling impotent – how to approach life? All that they know is – their whole technology, their whole methodology is to know – the object, and you are not the object. Hence, science is never going to accept your living being – it is beyond its limits. Logic cannot accept, reason cannot accept, philosophy cannot accept.
And your fear, on top of it all, is that nobody is there to give you a certainty that beyond your superficial personality there is something more. You will disappear as you are, and you will appear in your authentic reality. This is the fear. People are afraid of coming closer to each other, even in love; they keep each other at arm’s length. They want to come closer, but a fear…to be too close, you can be lost.
With love, the problem is not so great – but going beyond your ordinary self, your accepted face that you have seen in the mirror, that others have told you is very beautiful, or is ugly…. All your knowledge about yourself is dependent on others’ opinions.

I used to have a very beautiful professor, Professor S.S. Roy. Now he is retired from the Allahabad University as head of the philosophy department. In fact, he was the cause of my going to the university where he was teaching in those days. He insisted. And I could not say no to him; he loved me too much.
One day we discussed…and every day we were discussing a thousand and one things. Our relationship as student and professor had got lost long before; it had become a very deep friendship. And he loved sharp arguments; he himself was a great logician. And I said the same thing to him, “Your idea of yourself is only a collection of opinions of others; you don’t know yourself.”
He said, “You will have to prove it.”
The next day I went to his wife – and she was very loving towards me because I was always going to their home. She knew that her husband had never been interested in any student in this way. I had become almost part of the family; I had spent many days there, whenever he wanted. He invited me many times to his home to discuss his doctoral thesis, which had been accepted by Cambridge University – he was working on the philosophy of Bradley in comparison to Shankara. Late into the nights we would go on discussing.
I told his wife, “Tomorrow I am doing an experiment and you have to help me.” She was all willing. It was a small experiment. I told her, “When Professor Roy gets up in the morning, you have to say to him: What is the matter? Could you not sleep? Just hold his hand: Do you have a fever? You look so pale. And write down exactly what he says.”
He said, “Who is looking pale? I am perfectly healthy. I have slept well and I don’t have any fever. What kind of idea have you got?”
She said, “I was thinking to call the doctor.”
He said, “Have you gone mad? When I am saying that I am perfectly okay…if there were fever I would know first. And I have seen my face in the mirror; there is no paleness or anything. Are you kidding or something?” She noted every single word the way he said it.
I had talked with his gardener: “When he comes out to go to the university, just run and hold him, and tell him: You are wobbling, what is the matter? Are you feeling dizzy? And touching his hand, say: My God, you have fever!”
And to the gardener, he said, “I could not sleep as deeply as I always sleep, and perhaps you are right. I am feeling a little dizzy. But I will go to the doctor.” The medical department was very close to the philosophy department. So he said, “I will go.”
He used to walk; the distance was almost one mile. Next was the post office, and I had told the postmaster…and they were very close friends, because both were Bengalis. I had told the postmaster, “You be out when he comes by, and just say: Roy, I don’t think you should go to the university today; you need rest. You look almost a faded shadow of yourself. You don’t look to me…what has happened?”
And to the postmaster he said, “I myself was thinking – should I go? I have never been absent. I have never taken any holiday, but perhaps I should go and inform the department that it is difficult, and go to the doctor and come back.”
Just by his side used to live another professor, of economics, who had a beautiful car. And I had told him, “Tomorrow you should not come out of your house before Roy has passed the post office. Just watch, and then bring the car, and stop by his side and say to him, What is the matter, man? You come in. I will take you to the doctor, you are not in right condition to walk one mile.”
And Roy said, “You are perfectly right. I was wondering that if somebody comes I can ask for a lift. You are so kind. I am feeling dizzy; I could not sleep the whole night. And I have a strange fever that does not show on the body, but I know there is something feverish inside…perhaps a brain fever? I looked in the mirror and my face looks absolutely white.” And he had said just the opposite to his wife just five minutes before!
I told the professor of economics, Dr. Sahai, “The whole journey, go on talking about his sickness and tell him that it is old age, and not to be worried: It happens to everybody. Perhaps brain surgery…but don’t be worried, I am here just by your side. I will take care of your family. My feeling is that you need hospitalization.”
And Roy said, “Hospitalization? I was thinking just a visit to the doctor will do.”
The professor of economics said, “You are not taking the thing seriously. Perhaps you have a brain tumor or something; otherwise, why are you feeling dizzy, wobbly, and a fever which is not showing on your body? On the contrary, your body seems to be cold. It must be something to do with your brain. You have been working too hard on your doctoral thesis. And I have told you there is no need. You have a doctorate; there is no need for another doctorate from Cambridge. You are unnecessarily…and you are now old. You should recognize that there is a time when one can work, and there is a time one should understand how far one is capable of going.”
And Roy said, “Perhaps you are right; I should drop that project. It is three-fourths complete – what a pity that I have to drop it; it is a great thesis.”
Nobody had compared Shankara with Bradley, and both are very similar in their vision. But they were not acquainted with each other. Shankara was fourteen hundred years before Bradley, so there was no possibility for him to know about Bradley. Bradley was just in the beginning of this century, and even he was not aware of Shankara, because he was an original thinker. He was not interested in studying other philosophers; he was more interested to bring out his own ideas.
But they have both come to the same conclusions.
But Roy said, “Perhaps you are right – I should not put too much strain on myself.”
And then I had told the peon in front of the department, who used to sit outside the department to give appointments and other things…he was a strong man. I told him, “You simply take Professor Roy in your hands. Even if he resists don’t worry. I promise you there will be no trouble for you.”
He said, “If you promise, then there is no problem. So what do you want?”
I said, “You should force him onto the sofa: Lie down! You are not in a state to walk or to sit, and I am going to call the doctor. And just note down what he says.”
And when he forced him there was no resistance. He was very happy, and said to the peon, “I never thought that you were so kind. I needed to rest. Now you bring the doctor.”
It was a very small, but very beautiful university – perhaps the most uniquely situated in the whole of India, on a hill above a vast lake, and so many lotus flowers, and thick, lush greenery all around the university. The doctor came, because he was just next door, and I had told him, “Be ready. Inject him with just pure water. Do all kinds of testing, and tell him, ‘You are not in a position to do any mental work for at least three months. I hope that the brain tumor will subside by itself if you don’t exert yourself. There will be no need for surgery, but one cannot be certain about such things, and I will have to talk to the head surgeon.’”
And Professor Roy said, “You just bring your car and take me back home.” And the head of the department had not yet come, so he told the doctor, “I am not in a position to write; you write that I am not feeling well and I am going back home, and perhaps it will take some time for me to get myself together.” He signed the note, and you could see – his handwriting was very beautiful, but that day his signature was shaky.
Back home, he slept the whole day. He could not eat anything; he said, “I have no appetite.” The wife became afraid about what kind of experiment I was doing. He was talking about a brain tumor, and surgery, and three months rest!
And then I went and collected all the notes from everybody in serial number: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven…and I went to Professor Roy. He was under a blanket – in hot summer! I said, “Just please read these notes.”
He said, “I am not in a position…”
I said, “Don’t be worried; I am in a position, I can read to you. From the very morning, these are your seven statements.”
And when he heard his statements, he said, “You rascal!” He threw away the blanket and he said, “Hell to that brain tumor; I have nothing. I knew from the very beginning that it was a strange conspiracy! But I never thought about you, that you would do such a thing to me. You could have killed me! I have to phone to the head surgeon because he is to come to check me and decide whether I should rest or an immediate operation is needed!”
I said, “No operation is needed; the operation is complete! This is what I wanted to prove to you, that you live by the opinions of others, you are not independent. You can’t trust even your own feeling that you are healthy. If so many people repeat something, you go on falling. Just look at your statements.”
This is your personality – this is not your individuality. You cannot do such a thing with an individual who has a groundedness. The fear is because you don’t have any experience of your innermost being; all that you know about yourself is what people have said. And these are the people who don’t know anything about themselves – what can they know about you?
Everybody is afraid of enlightenment, because who knows? Once your personality disappears maybe everything disappears. Then what is the point of such an enlightenment? It is better to remain unenlightened – at least you are. And death may come whenever it may come, but right now you are alive – why unnecessarily commit a suicide?
Enlightenment appears to your personality as a suicide, and in fact it is a suicide. But the suicide of personality is the beginning of individuality. The death of your personality and ego is the birth of your real authentic being, of your immortality. You will have to gather courage, and remember Michel’s Rule for Prospective Mountain Climbers: The mountain gets steeper as you get closer to the top.
So as you come closer to enlightenment – and that is the greatest mountain – it gets steeper, and more and more dangerous as you come close to the disappearance of your old personality with which you were so identified.
But I tell you, I have survived. I have lost my personality; that’s why I am not at all concerned what people think about me. The whole world is against me, but they don’t even create a small stir in me. It does not matter whether they are against or for; it is their business, their problem. I know myself, and I know that what I am doing and what I am trying is intrinsically right. Nobody, just because they are in the majority, can destroy my truth.
Truth has never been the opinion of the majority; it has always been an individual achievement. The majority is interested in crucifying the truth, but it is not ready to accept it.
You can understand the psychology of it all. For two thousand years Christians have been thinking about Jesus and his crucifixion. And I am utterly disappointed with the whole two thousand years’ theology, because they have not looked at the psychology of the crucifixion. Why did people crucify Jesus? He had not done any wrong; he has not committed any crime. But the majority was turning against him because he was telling them, “Drop your ego; be humble. Drop your so-called false identity; just be nobody. Blessed are those who stand last in the line.”
He was talking against the ambitious majority. They did not crucify Jesus, they crucified the truth that was hurting them and was making them afraid: if they become impressed by this man, there is a danger. They may lose half the bread in the hope of the whole bread, and there may not be any bread at all. It is better to keep the half and not to lose it in the hope of getting the whole. That is the majority’s mind.
You say, “I am afraid – afraid of enlightenment.” It is natural, so don’t be serious about it. In a way, it is a good symptom – at least you have become interested in enlightenment; otherwise, you would not be afraid. Just go into the town and you will not find anybody…ask people, “Are you afraid of enlightenment?” And they will say, “Why should we be afraid?” They have never bothered about it. It is not a problem to them, they have never thought about enlightenment. They will think you are crazy. “Why should we be afraid of enlightenment?”
Just the other day I was looking at a newspaper clipping. It was a statement against me, that the world is coming to an end but I seem to be the only person who is not going to change, who is still talking about enlightenment. As far as I am concerned, I take it as a compliment. When the world is coming to an end, this is the right moment.
Take the risk; anyway it is going to end.
Why not take a chance and become enlightened?
The world is coming to an end – you will end with it. So now there is no fear: before the world ends, end your personality, and at least you will be saved. The world may end, but you will not end. And the person who has criticized me is right. I will go on insisting. My insistence will become more and more powerful as the end of the world comes near, to make more and more people interested in enlightenment because there is no problem about losing; you can put the fear aside.
The fear is a good symptom – it means you have become interested in enlightenment and your mind is trembling. You have become interested in the great adventure, the great affair, and your small personality is worried that this is the end. As for the small personality, which consists only of public opinions, it is going to dissolve – naturally.
It is said that every river before entering the ocean stops for a while and looks back – a moment of hesitation about what she is going to do. Ahead is the vast ocean, in which she is going to be lost. Back, she had a personality of her own – her own mountains, valleys, forests. The whole journey, long journey, maybe thousands of years, thousands of miles… Naturally, it is understandable to hesitate for a moment. But I have never seen any river go backwards. You can hesitate, but you cannot go backwards.
Cliff, you have come to the cliff! You have to take the jump. Only by taking the jump will you prove your mettle.
“What is beyond enlightenment?” First things first! Out of fear you are thinking that it seems enlightenment is bound to happen; now be clear what is going to happen after it – “What is beyond enlightenment?”
Beyond enlightenment is all – the whole universe. Beyond enlightenment you are no more a small dewdrop, you are the ocean.
“What to do after the goal of living is reached?” You are not supposed to do anything. I can see all your concerns are very human. You know one thing, that now you cannot avoid enlightenment; you may be afraid, but you have to take the jump. Naturally, you are asking, “What is beyond enlightenment?” And even if something is there – “What to do after the goal of living is reached?”
You have never thought about what you have done as far as your birth is concerned – have you done anything? What are you doing as far as your life is concerned? Do you think you are breathing? If it was up to you to breathe, you would have been dead long before; just in anger, or in some love affair, you would forget to breathe. Or in the night, will you sleep or not? Or keep yourself awake just to continue breathing, because if you fall asleep and breathing stops, in the morning who is going to get up? No, breathing you are not doing.
Existence is breathing.
What are you doing as far as your inner structure of life is concerned? Do you digest? Are you responsible for changing food into blood, into bones, into marrow? These are not your concerns. Your concern ends with the taste buds, and the moment the food is swallowed it goes into the hands of existence; it is no more your concern.
One day try to be continuously aware what is happening in your stomach, and then you will have a good disturbed stomach for at least one week! Your consciousness is not needed, the stomach is doing its work on its own. Your brain consists of seven million cells, and each cell is doing its own function, and you are not needed – they don’t even ask your advice. Has any part of your body stopped you sometime and asked you, “What to do? – I am at a loss?” They are never at a loss; they are part of the cosmic organism. They have an inbuilt process; they go on doing their things.
The moment you become enlightened and disappear into the ocean, you will not be asked to do something – to type, or to dig, or to prepare piesta…or is it pizza! You are not supposed to do anything; you are gone. Now the universal force has taken possession of you. Things will be happening, but they will not be your doing.
“What do you aim for?” You have reached beyond aim. Aim is a concern of the ego. The ego cannot exist without an aim – some ambition, some desire, some infatuation, something to be achieved tomorrow.
The ego is a tension between today and the future. The moment there is no ego, there is no tension. You simply live in a state of let-go.
Then, wherever the river takes you, wherever the life force takes you, you simply go. It is not your goal; you have become part of the whole. Now whatever is the goal of the whole…and I don’t think there is any goal. The whole is perfectly happy in singing and dancing and enjoying; in flowers, in the wind, in the rain, in the sun, in the stars. There is no goal. The whole is perfectly happy just to be, herenow.
If there is no aim, you start thinking it is like falling into a bottomless pit. Then what to do and what to aim for? “What is beyond the goal?” You are really in trouble! You will not be satisfied unless you are enlightened. All these problems: first, “What is the goal?” Then, “What is beyond the goal?” You want to determine the whole eternity!
Your question should be just about enlightenment. Beyond that, existence takes care.
Who has given you the name, Cliff? – that’s what I have been wondering. Such a dangerous name! Use your intelligence to see that the fear is arising out of the false in you, the fear is not arising out of the real. The real is really deeply challenged by the idea of enlightenment. But be intelligent; otherwise you may listen to the personality and forget to listen to the individuality.
Meditate more, so that your intelligence can become more clear, unclouded, and all fears will disappear. And all other questions are just nonsense; they will also disappear. All that you need is a little more meditation, a little more sharpness of intelligence.

Paddy and Maureen planned to get married, so they went to the doctor for a physical checkup. The doctor then tried to explain sex to them, but Paddy just listened with a dumb expression on his face. So the doctor took Maureen over to the examination table, made her lie down, and then made love to her. “Now do you understand?” said the physician.
“Yes,” said Paddy, “but how often do I have to bring her in?”

A great question! Just become enlightened, Cliff! Don’t get worried about so many problems. You will be lost in a jungle of a thousand and one problems. And enlightenment is a simple process; it is just becoming your authentic self. And it is so luminous that in its light all darkness disappears, and with the darkness all the doubts, all the questions. And a tremendous insight arises that you are not separate from existence; hence there is no question of goal, no question of direction; no question where you are going, why you are going.
Then just to be part of the whole is so immense and so overwhelming, one feels fulfilled and contented. There is nowhere to go; you have arrived.

The theatrical agent, trying to sell a new strip act to a nightclub manager, was carrying on very excitedly about a girl’s unbelievable seventy-two, twenty-six, forty, figure.
“What kind of dance does she do?” the manager inquired, impressed by the description of the girl’s figure.
“Well, she doesn’t actually dance at all,” the agent replied. “She just crawls out onto the stage and tries to stand up!”

With that kind of figure…how can you dance? Even if you can stand up, that’s enough! Let me repeat the figure – seventy-two, twenty-six, forty!
You have come to the right place. Here we are not giving you any goals, any heaven, any paradise. We are not selling any future to you. We are not in any business – the churches are, the temples are, the synagogues are. I am teaching you that there is no goal and that there is no meaning, but there is great joy, and great love, and great blissfulness. And all that you have to pay for it is to drop your false ego, your false personality.
Become silent. In your silence, all questions will disappear. And the dance will begin, whatever the figure! Because as far as your inner being is concerned, it has no figure; it is just a luminous flame which can dance. It has been eternally there, repressed by you. You are the greatest enemy of yourself. My effort is to turn you into the greatest friend of yourself.

I feel really confused about this whole enlightenment business. On the one hand, you say, “Be thoroughgoing in your search for enlightenment.” but on the other hand, the very desire to become enlightened prevents it.
How to solve this dilemma?
You are saying something significant, but you have to understand that life is not a rational thing; it is very irrational, because it is mysterious.
The contradiction that you see in my statements is not a contradiction. It appears like contradiction, something inconsistent, but I will try to explain to you that there is no contradiction at all. But you will come across in my statements many times the same things, and the reason is that you have never gone beyond the ordinary mind and its consistency. I remember Oscar Wilde as saying, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” A little imagination is needed to understand that the contradictory is complementary.
For example, before I take your question…Some examples are needed from your ordinary life experience; otherwise you will never be able to understand it.
Can you deliberately make any effort to sleep? When sleep is not coming, what are you supposed to do? Thousands of tricks have been suggested; nothing works. People say to drink a glass of hot milk. You can drink, but the hot milk will make you even more awake. People have been told to take a bath, but a good bath will make you more fresh, and less sleepy. People have been told to jog, to jump…all kinds of things; nothing helps. Sleep comes only when you completely forget about it. You just lie down, and you don’t try in any way to bring sleep in; it is not in your power. You have to completely forget everything, and it comes. It comes only when you are not desiring it.
Now there are two problems: first you have to desire; otherwise, why should you go to sleep? You have to have a certain need, a desire, a longing for sleep; otherwise why…? So in the beginning a desire is needed, but in the final stage the very desire becomes the disturbance. So first you have to desire, and then you have to forget all about it. This is how sleep comes.
Your question is, “I feel really confused about this whole enlightenment business.” It is a confusing business, but those who can manage to pass through it become the most un-confused people in the world.
“On the one hand,” you say, “Be thoroughgoing in your search for enlightenment.” Yes, it is true. First I have to create a longing for enlightenment; otherwise, enlightenment is non-existent on your laundry list. Nobody wants enlightenment; people are wanting all kinds of things, but enlightenment is a very rare variety. Only very unique people even become interested in it. So first I have to insist: “Be thoroughgoing in your search for enlightenment.”
First I have to create the desire, the longing, the passion, so strong that you drop all other small things and put your total energy into the search for enlightenment. Once you have done this, half of the process is complete.
Then begins the other half: “But on the other hand, the very desire to become enlightened prevents it.” When you have been very thoroughgoing in your desiring, in your search, you will not find enlightenment. The more you search, the more you will be frustrated, because it is not something outside you that you can find. It is not something that you have to travel to, it is something within you.
So when you have become thoroughly a seeker, a searcher – frustrated, so utterly in a state of defeatism that you have lost everything else; you staked everything else for enlightenment, and there seems to be no sign anywhere – then you have been thoroughgoing. Unless you are thoroughgoing, you will come to this frustration because you will know that you are not thoroughgoing – perhaps that’s why you are missing.
So first be thoroughgoing. Your total energy should be involved in the search; then comes frustration. At that moment the master says, “Now you have done enough search. Now drop all searching; just sit silently.” And you can sit silently only if you have been running so long and you are tired, your mind is tired. And when the master says, “Now, sit down silently. Doing nothing the spring comes, and the grass grows by itself – no desire, no demand,” there is no contradiction – this is the whole process.
Half the process is to bring your whole energy into the search, and the second part is to make you sit down and drop the whole search. And suddenly it is there because it is your innermost core – no search is needed. But without this thoroughgoing search, you would not have been able to sit down silently. To make you sit down silently, you have to be made to run for miles.
Only when you are utterly tired and frustrated, then you can drop even the idea of finding enlightenment. Then you are utterly silent. You have forgotten about property, money, possessions, power, prestige, long before, because you staked everything for enlightenment. Now, the only thing to be dropped that you still have is the desire for enlightenment – that is the last desire to be dropped. But first it has to be created.
This is the trouble that is creating confusion in you: if you don’t desire, how are you going to drop it? You have to desire so totally that you can drop it totally too.
And this is the mystery of enlightenment….
Ask, do everything that is possible, and then finally – tired, exhausted – you need to relax; you even let go of the idea of enlightenment, it is all futile. In this silence, when there is no desire stirring your mind, you suddenly find you are the enlightened one.
That enlightenment was not somewhere else, it was within you. But it needed utter silence, no desire. How to create this state of no desire?
I used to stay in a house with a friend; he had a child – very charming, but very active, constantly asking questions, constantly doing this and that, too full of energy. He was the first child. The mother was tired, the father was tired; the child was able to tire anybody. He started doing his exercise on me too, but I said, “Listen, I have a certain condition.”
He said, “What is the condition?”
“That I only answer any question if you fulfill the condition.”
He said, “I am ready.”
I said, “You just go around the block seven times as fast as you can. And don’t try to deceive me, because I know exactly whether you have been deceiving or not. When you come back I will see if you are perspiring…perhaps tears have come to your eyes. Then I will answer.”
He said, “Okay.”
He went round the block. It was a big house, and for this little boy, seven rounds were too many. When he came back he simply fell down. I said, “Rest a little, and then you can ask.”
He said, “I have forgotten all questions. Just don’t harass me; just let me rest.”
I said, “That’s perfectly okay.”
He fell asleep. His mother came; she said, “This is strange. He tires us all. What did you do? He is fast asleep.”
I said, “I have my own ways of making people enlightened!” I have learned a secret: first exhaust the energy which has become their infatuation, their greed, their ego, their lust for power, and all kinds of things. First exhaust it.”
So first I teach a thoroughgoing search. And once you have been around the block seven times, and tears are coming to your eyes, and you have not found enlightenment, I will say to you, “Just rest a little; then we can discuss enlightenment.”
And you will say, “I don’t want even to discuss this business of enlightenment; I am utterly tired.” Just rest, and in that very rest, you become aware of your inner flame. So there is no contradiction, it is simply the strategy.
Unless you are exhausted you will remain interested in something or other. When you are exhausted all your interest disappears; all that you want is to be silent, at ease, relaxed – and that is the moment when enlightenment happens. It is not an object to be found; it is a realization of a silent being.
That’s how it happened to Gautam Buddha. For six years he was thoroughgoing in his search; perhaps nobody has been so thoroughgoing. He did everything that anybody suggested. He fasted for months; he became almost a skeleton. There exists a statue of the days when he was fasting – he was fasting under a master. The fast was a special way where you have to reduce to smaller quantities every day.
Unless you come to one grain of rice as your whole food for twenty-four hours – and he had come to one grain of rice, just one single grain…if you see that statue you will be surprised how thoroughgoing he was. All flesh has disappeared; you can see all his bones. His whole skeleton is simply covered by the skin. You can see that he has exhausted every possibility; if he goes a little further he will be dead.
That very day, when he had come to the point of one grain of rice a day, he had gone to take a bath in the River Niranjana. It is a small river; I have been to the place. But even in that small river, he was so weak that the current of the river was more powerful. I have been there; the current is almost nonexistent. But in his situation it must have been so much that he could not gather energy enough. Energy comes from your food, and for months he had been cutting down on food. Now he had come to the last point – his whole reservoir…. That’s what your flesh is. So when you fast, in the beginning your weight goes down by two pounds per day.
Addressing a conference of vegetarians, I told them that fasting is a kind of cannibalism. They were very shocked – fasting, and I am calling it cannibalism? I said, “It is cannibalism because where do those two pounds disappear to? You have eaten them; you have used your own meat. Because you are not eating meat you think you are not using meat, but it is your own, and inside.” Just in the sheer activity of living, one pound, two pounds, is gone. After seven days your activities become less; then you lose one pound per week.
Gautam Buddha must have come to the point where there was nothing to lose; he was just bones. And the statue is tremendously significant. It is a bronze statue showing every bone. You can count all the ribs; they are just covered with dried skin, because the skin also needs nourishment. He could not get out of the river; he was so weak that he was hanging on to a root, just to protect himself from the current of the river.
At that moment, hanging on to the root of a tree, he came to think, I have become so weak that I cannot even cross a small river…And in India, the world is thought to be a great ocean – Bhavasagar, the ocean of being – and you have to cross it. Only then will you become enlightened. He thought, It is beyond me, this enlightenment business. I cannot cross this poor River Niranjana; how can I cross the ocean of being? – I am finished. I dropped all desires; today I drop the desire for enlightenment too. I don’t have any energy for any desire.
That night he slept without any desire. He had no idea what he was going to do tomorrow morning. For six years he was so much involved in searching for enlightenment, but now he had no energy even to think what he was going to do tomorrow morning. He slept one of the deepest sleeps of his life – no desires, no dreams, no thought. And when in the morning he opened his eyes, the last star was disappearing. It was still a little dark, a little before the sun would be rising. As the last star was disappearing, he simply watched it disappearing – utter silence all around. And suddenly he became aware of his own light. He heard for the first time the still small voice that there is no need to search anywhere: You are it.
But without those six years of thoroughgoing search this moment would not have arrived. Do you see that there is any contradiction? Contradiction only appears; deep down there is a great coherence. You can say both things. That’s why there are two divisions of Buddhists: one says enlightenment happened because of six years of thoroughgoing search, and the other one says enlightenment happened because he dropped even the desire for enlightenment.
But as far as I am concerned, I don’t belong to any sect, to any religion, to any party; hence, I can see clearly without any prejudice that both the schools are only half right. Those six years of thoroughgoing search created the space to be silent – so silent that even interest in enlightenment is no longer there. That’s why enlightenment happened.
He became aware of his own inner being. All outside search has disappeared; hence, the one hundred and eighty degree turn. His consciousness turns inwards, because there is no goal outside, there is no way, and there is nothing to be done.
Your question is significant, but remember: there is no contradiction; both are essential parts of a single process. But first start with thoroughgoing search. Don’t from the very beginning think that if it has to be dropped, why not drop it from the very beginning? – you cannot. First you have to have it.
Then why at all desire from the very beginning? – because you will be desiring other things. The problem is first to give you a great desire for enlightenment, so all other desires become combined into a single, one-pointed goal. And then when you get frustrated…because you are bound to get frustrated, nobody can find enlightenment with thoroughgoing search. But by thoroughgoing search one finds frustration – such utter frustration that one becomes silent. One wants just to rest, not to do anything. Even if enlightenment knocks on the door, one is not interested. One has no energy even to open the door.
In that moment, your inner flame is seen for the first time. And this seeing of the light inside you is the ultimate experience.
It is the most beautiful, and the most glorious, the greatest splendor there is.
Enlightenment as such is already there.
You are a buddha, but you are not aware of it. How to make you aware of it? Down the ages, this has been the way, and I don’t see there is any other possibility. You will become aware of it only in utter silence. But the utter silence, a state of no-mind, a pure space, needs all your desires to be exhausted – so it is a device.
Gather all your desires, make your life one-pointed towards enlightenment – and I assure you, you will not find it! But without this, nobody has found it either.
One day when you get frustrated, you say, “To hell with enlightenment!” That is the day the miracle is going to happen. It happens always only in that moment.

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