Osho on Christian Mystic Eckhart
Born in c.1260 Eckehart, was a German Catholic theologian, philosopher and mystic, born near Gotha in the Landgraviate of Thuringia (now central Germany) in the Holy Roman Empire.He was well known for his work with pious lay groups such as the Friends of God and was succeeded by his more circumspect disciples John Tauler and Henry Suso. Since the 19th century, he has received renewed attention. He has acquired a status as a great mystic within contemporary popular spirituality, as well as considerable interest from scholars situating him within the medieval scholastic and philosophical tradition.
Although he was an accomplished academic theologian, Eckhart’s best-remembered works are his highly unusual sermons in the vernacular. The central theme of Eckhart’s German sermons is the presence of God in the individual soul, and the dignity of the soul of the just man. Although he elaborated on this theme, he rarely departed from it.
Osho on Eckhart says “My second name today is Eckhart. I would have loved for him to have been born in the East. To be born among Germans and then to write or speak about the ultimate is a difficult job. But the poor man did it, and did it perfectly. Germans are Germans; whatsoever they do, they do it perfectly. Even today it seems one German sannyasin is still knocking. Perfection! Listen to his knocks, how beautiful they sound amidst all this silence. It is a wonder that Eckhart, among the Germans, the most male chauvinist race in the world, remained yet in his heart, and spoke from there. Uneducated, poor, of no political status, of no economic status, of no status at all — just a beggar, but so rich. Very few people have been so rich. Rich in his being — his BEING. Write BEING in capital letters. These two words, being and becoming, have to be understood. Becoming is a process with no beginning and no end, a continuum. But being is not a process at all, it simply is. Call it is-ness, and you will be very close to it. Being is neither of time nor of space, it is a transcendence. Transcendence — again, write TRANSCENDENCE in capital letters. Alas that you cannot write it in golden letters. It is a word that should be written in gold, pure gold — not eighteen carat but twenty-four carat, one hundred percent gold.”
THE PERCEPTION GAINED IN NIRVICHARA SAMADHI TRANSCENDS ALL NORMAL PERCEPTIONS, BOTH IN EXTENT AND INTENSITY.
These two words are very meaningful: “extent” and “intensity”. When you see the world through the senses, brain and the mind, the world is very dull. It has no luminosity in it, dusty, and soon it becomes boring, and one feels fed up: the same trees, the same people, the same actions — everything just a rut. It is not so.
Sometimes in LSD, or marijuana or hashish, suddenly the tree becomes more green. You have never known it, that the tree was so green or the rose was so rosy. When Aldous Huxley first took LSD, he was sitting before a chair. Suddenly, the chair became one of the most beautiful things in the world, and that chair has remained in his room for years and he had never looked at it. It was like a prism, many shades, many colors coming out of it; it was like a diamond. The chair was no more the same chair. Huxley was fascinated with the chair. He couldn’t believe what happens when somebody takes a drug.
Drug is a violent effort to awake the idiots. So you shock them, and just they open their eyes a little, and just they look… “Yes!” And yet, the world become so beautiful, unbelievably beautiful, and then you are hooked, because then you think that it is because of the drug that the world is so beautiful. Now, when you are back and the trip is over, the world will look even more dirtier and more dull than ever, because now you have a comparison in the mind. For certain moments it had become a beautiful phenomenon; it was paradise itself. Even a person like Aldous Huxley got mixed up, and he started thinking that this was the samadhi Patanjali is talking about, and Kabir attained, and Buddha, and all the mystics of the world this is the samadhi.
Drugs can give you a false sense of samadhi, but you are still in the prison. Only because of the drug shock your mechanism functions with alertness, but this alertness will not be for long. More and more if you use it, then the quantity of the drug has to be raised higher and higher, because with the same amount you cannot shock the idiots again. They become attuned to it, then more and more quantities are needed. Drugs work only just like this.
Once Mulla Nasruddin purchased a mule, and he will not move, and he did everything… And the man from whom he has purchased has told him not to beat the mule because he is very sensitive. So he prayed, pursued and did everything, whatsoever he could do: it would not move, it would not listen. So he called the man: he said, “What type of mule you have given to me?” The man came with a stick and hit the mule hard on the head. Nasruddin said, “This is too much! — and you had told me not to hit him.” The man said, “I am not hitting. Just to get his attention…” and immediately the mule started.
The idiots are there: LSD hits like a stick. For a few moments you get their attention, you have shocked them. The whole world becomes beautiful. But this is nothing, absolutely nothing. If you can attain to a single moment of nirvichara, then you will be able to know. The world becomes millions times more beautiful than any LSD can give you a glimpse. And it is not because you are hitting the mules on the head, it is simply you are no more inside the mules, you have come out, you have dropped the idiots. You face reality with your total nudity.
With no thoughts, you are nude. With no thoughts who are you? — a Hindu, a Mohammedan, a Christian, a communist? Who are you without thoughts? — a man, a woman? Who are you without thoughts? — religious, irreligious? You are nobody without thoughts. All clothes have dropped. You are simply a nudity, a purity, an emptiness. Then the perception is clear, and with that clarity comes extent and intensity. Now you can look at the vast expanse of existence. Now there is no barrier to your perception; your eyes have become infinite. And intensity: you can look into any event, any person, because things are no more there. Even flowers are persons now, and trees are friends, and rocks sleeping souls. Now intensity happens; you can look through and through. When you can look through and through to a flower, then you will be able to understand what mystics have been saying, and poets.
Tennyson says that “If I can understand a flower, a small flower in its totality, I would have understood all.” Right, absolutely right! If you can understand the part you will understand the whole, because the part is the whole. And when you try to understand the part, by and by, unknowingly, you will have moved to the whole, because the part is organic to the whole.
Once a great mystic, Eckhart, was asked that, “Why don’t you write your biography? Your autobiography will be very, very helpful to people.” He said, “Difficult, impossible — because if I write my autobiography it will be the autobiography of the whole, because everything is related. And that will be too much, and how one can write the autobiography of the whole?”
That’s why those who have known have always resisted; they have never written autobiographies — except this man Paramahansa Yogananda, who has written AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI. He is not a yogi at all. Otherwise a yogi cannot write the autobiography — it is impossible, simply impossible, because when somebody has attained to nirvichara samadhi, then he is a yogi, and then, the sheer vastness… Now he has become all. If you really want to write the autobiography, it will be the autobiography of the whole from the beginning — and there is no beginning — to the end — and there is no end.
In me, if I have become aware, the whole culminates. I don’t start with my birth, I start from the very beginning, and there is no beginning, and I will go on to the very end, and there is no end. I am deeply involved with the whole. These few years that I am here are not the whole. I was before I was born, and I will be there after I am dead,
so how to write? It will be a fragment, a page, not an autobiography, and a page absolutely absurd and out of context because other pages will be missing.
Few friends come to me and they also say, “Why not? You should write something about you,” and I know the difficulty of Meister Eckhart. It is not possible, because from where to begin? — every beginning will be arbitrary and false; and where to end?-every ending will be arbitrary and false. And between two false things — the false beginning and the false end — how can real be managed? — not possible. Yogananda has done something which is not possible. He has done something which a politician can do, but not a yogi.
Intensity becomes so much that you look at a pebble, and through the pebble roads are moving into the whole, and through the pebble you can enter into the highest of mysteries. Everywhere is a door; and you knock, and everywhere you are accepted, welcome. From wherever you enter, you enter into the infinity because all the doors are of the whole. Individuals may be there like doors. Love a person and you enter infinity. Look at a flower and the temple has opened. Lie down on the sand, and every particle of sand is as vast as the whole. This is the higher mathematics of religion.
Ordinary mathematics says the part can never be the whole. This is one of the maxims of ordinary mathematics that start in the universities: the part can never be the whole, and the part is always smaller than the whole, and the part can never be bigger than the whole. These are simple maxims of mathematics, and everybody will agree this is so. But then there is a higher mathematics. When you have come out of the senses — the world of higher mathematics, and these are the maxims: the part is always the whole; the part is never, never smaller than the whole, and-the absurdity of absurdities — sometimes the part is bigger than the whole.
Now I cannot explain it to you. Nobody can explain, but these are the maxims. Once you are out of your prison you will see that this is how things are. A pebble is part, a very small part, but if you look at it with a thoughtless mind, with simple consciousness, direct, suddenly the pebble becomes the whole — because only one exists. Because no part is in fact a part, or separate: the part depends on the whole, the whole depends on the part. It is not only that when the sun rises, flowers open; the other way is also true — when the flowers open, the sun rises. If there were no flowers, for whom the sun will rise? It is not only that the sun rises, the birds sing; the other way is as true as this-because the birds sing, the sun rises. Otherwise, for whom… ?
Everything is interdependent; everything is related to everything else; everything is intertwined with everything else. Even if a leaf disappears, the whole will miss it; the whole will not be the whole then.
In one of his prayers, Meister Eckhart has said… and this is one of the rarest men that Christianity has produced. In fact, he looks a stranger in the world of Christians. He should have been born in Japan as a Zen Master, his insight is so clear, so deep, so beyond dogma.
He says in one of his prayers, “Yes, I depend on you, God, but you also depend on me. If I were not here, who will worship and who will pray? and you would have missed me.” And he is true: it is not out of any ego, it is a simple fact. I know God must have nodded at that moment, “You are true, Eckhart, because if you were not there, I would not have been here.”
The worshipper and the worshipped exist together; the lover and the beloved exist together. One cannot exist without the other, and this is the mystery of existence: everything exists together. This togetherness is God. God is not a person; this very togetherness of all, is God.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 3
Chapter title: The fall of the idiots
9 March 1975 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on many Western Mystics like Jesus, Gurdjieff, Magdalen, Rumi, Socrates, Theresa, Zarathustra, St. Francis, Dionysius, Boehme, Eckhart, Baal Shem and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Sermons in Stones
- Come Come Yet Again Come
- Come Follow To You
- Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
- The New Dawn
- The Sword and The Lotus
- Beyond Psychology
- The Empty Boat
- I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
- Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance
- The Perfect Master
- Sufis: The People of the Path
- The Diamond Sutra