The Madness of the Mystic

Osho on German Philosopher Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer was a versatile learner and polymath born in then-Germany in 1875. By terms, he was a pastor, theologian, organist, writer, philosopher, physician, leader, and philanthropist. His well-known philosophy of ‘Reverence of Life’ stipulated that no person must ever destroy or harm any living thing, whether human or not. Schweitzer was determined to help people and among other things, opened a small hospital in 1958 in present-day Gabon while earning his medical degree.

Schweitzer wrote several books on philosophy and theology including The Philosophy of Civilization (1923) and also recorded performing editions of Bach’s original compositions that are widely used all over the world. His work in several fields holds a significant influence in the present day. Schweitzer won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 for “his tireless humanitarian work and enlivening the idea of brotherhood between men and nations”.

Osho mentions Schweitzer, “And everyone is a beloved of god. We are here because god loved us. Just our existence is enough proof that this cosmos needed us. We are not accidental, we are essential. It is not just a coincidence that you are. You are a must. Without you the universe will be very much less. And it is not a question of becoming egoistic, because this is true for all, not only true for you.

A small pebble on the shore or a grass leaf — they are needed in existence as much as the greatest emperor, the president of a country or the richest man. All are needed equally. Existence is immense equality. There is no higher and no lower; there is no hierarchy at all. The smallest grass flower and the biggest one-thousand-petalled lotus are the same. God showers on both equally. For god, the sinner and the saint are not separate; there is no distinction. When the sun shines, it shines on both, and when the moon is there in its utter beauty, it is for both.

Once this idea sinks deep into the heart — that one is not unessential — a great respect for oneself arises, and not only for oneself: a great respect for all too. That’s what Albert Schweitzer used to call ‘reverence for life’. And reverence for life is real religion — when you respect all and everything, with no idea about who is lower, who is higher, who is great, who is small, with no idea about who is needed, who is not needed. When you respect all with any conditions, that’s what love is, what religion is, what prayer is.”

Osho Says…..


The question is from Krishna Priya. The first thing: you don’t yet have a centre. That which you feel as a centre is just the ego. It is not your true centre. It is a pseudo feeling, very illusory. So when you fall in love, ego has to disappear. In love, the ego cannot exist. Love is something far more true, far more authentic than you are. That’s why you will always feel that things start getting a little bit crazy — because you cannot control them. The controller is no more. When the ego is not there, who is there to control or to discipline? Then you are in a chaos. But that chaos is far more beautiful than the ugly ego. Out of that chaos all the stars are born. Out of that chaos you are born anew. It is a rebirth. Each love affair is a new birth. So don’t take it negatively. Don’t think that you are losing something in love — you have nothing to lose. If you have something then there is no way to lose it. If you have the real centre then love supports that centre, integrates it, makes it more crystallised. Truth helps truth. For example, if there is darkness in the room and you bring a lamp, the darkness is destroyed. But if there is light — there is a lamp — then the room has more light than before. The light is doubled.

The ego is like darkness, a false entity. It only appears to be there, it has no positive reality. When the light of love comes, darkness goes out. If you have the real centre — what Gurdjieff calls crystallisation or what Hindus call ATMAN or what Sufis call ROOH, spirit — if you really have it then each love will make it more and more clear, more and more transparent, more and more available. Each love affair will be a step — and you will be moving higher in crystallisation. So this is the first thing to be understood:

don’t choose the ego, always choose love. When it is a question between the real and the unreal, choose the real, even if sometimes the real brings inconvenience. It does bring inconvenience. We have chosen the unreal because it is convenient — for no other reason have we chosen it. There is just one reason: it is convenient. You will have to go through inconvenience. That inconvenience is what I call TAPASHCHARYA, austerity, SADHANA. That’s what it means to be initiated into a path. Always choose the real, howsoever bad and howsoever painful and howsoever destructive it looks. Even if it feels like death, choose it — and you will be benefitted by it.

Never choose the comfortable the convenient, the bourgeois, other-wise you will live the life of a hostile — if you are fortunate — or the life of a phony if you are not so fortunate, or, if you are not fortunate at all, the life of a zombie. Love brings you out of your ego, out of your past, out of your patterned life. Hence it appears to be a confusion.

Priya’s observation is right. She says: EVERY TIME I FALL IN LOVE, THINGS START TO CRASH ALL AROUND ME. She really falls in love. I have been watching her love affairs. When she falls, she really falls! It is never so-so, it is never lukewarm. She really goes mad, berserk. And it is happening again, that’s why she has put this question. But that’s good. There is nothing to be worried about. Lose the ego. Sometimes to be mad is a basic necessity to remain sane. If you are always sane then your sanity is suspect. Then you must be carrying a great neurosis hidden behind you, and any day it can explode, it can erupt. You are sitting on a volcano. It is good to have a few holidays from sanity. Sunday is good.

Sometimes forget all about your sanity, all about your rules, discipline, controlled behaviour, and all that nonsense. Sometimes be on a holiday, relax, and go berserk. If you go berserk deliberately, consciously, fully aware, it is going to be an incredible experience and you are never in danger. When you go berserk consciously you can come back. You know how you entered into it and you know how to get out of it.

When you don’t go consciously, when you are thrown by a volcano inside you, when it is not your choice, but just an accident, when it is not that you have chosen the holiday but you have been forced to go on a holiday, then it is not within your capacity to come back. That’s what happens to mad people. They become mad only when they have accumulated so much madness that now it is not possible for them to control it. It overwhelms them. And then they cannot come back.

Here, living with me,

I am teaching you one basic principle of remaining sane — that is, deliberately, consciously, with effort, to sometimes go mad. It is a good experience. You remain available to both polarities — sanity/insanity. You swing. You have freedom. The person who is always sane is not free and the person who is always insane is not free either. But the person who can swing from sanity to insanity, and can easily swing, smoothly, with no barrier, has great freedom. These are the people who have known what life is. All the mystics are mad and all the mad people could have become mystics, but they missed. And when you go on your own you can come back. That is my basic teaching here. I teach you to be mad consciously.

So Priya, go into it. Don’t be afraid. All that you lose is not worth keeping. The second thing. She says: I GUESS I LOSE MY CENTRE BUT IN THAT STATE I DON’T KNOW IF I HAVE A CENTRE OR NOT. That too is good observation. You don’t have one yet. The ego has to go utterly, only then will the real centre be seen. When the clouds have disappeared you will see the sun. Only after you have moved in deep love and the ego has really been dropped — there is something very valuable which can be got only if you drop the ego, and that price has to be paid — when you have really loved deeply, then a new kind of integration will arise in you.

Love does two things: first it takes the ego away, then it gives you the centre. Love is a great alchemy.

There are three kinds of love — I call them love one, love two, love three. The first love is object-oriented; there is an object of love. You see a beautiful woman, really graceful, with a proportionate body. You are thrilled. You think you are falling in love. Love has arisen in you because the woman is beautiful, because the woman is nice, because the woman is good. Something from the object has stirred love in you. You are not really the master of it; the love is coming from the outside. You may be a very unloving person, you may not have the quality, you may not have that benediction, but because the woman is beautiful you think love is arising in you. It is object-oriented. This is the ordinary love. This is what is known as eros. It is lust. How to possess this beautiful object? How to exploit this beautiful object? How to make her your own? But remember, if the woman is beautiful she is not only beautiful for you, she is beautiful for many. So there will be many people falling in love with her. And there is going to be great jealousy, competition, and all kinds of uglinesses that come in love, in so called love…

If you are falling in love with a beautiful woman or a beautiful man, you are getting into trouble. There is going to be jealousy, there is going to be murder, there is going to be something. You are in trouble. And from the very beginning you will start possessing so that there is no possibility of anything going wrong or beyond your control. You will start destroying the woman or the man. You will stop giving freedom. You will encroach on the woman from all sides and close all the doors. Now the woman was beautiful because she was free. Freedom is such an ingredient in beauty that when you see a bird on the wing in the sky, it is one kind of bird, but if you see the same bird in a cage, it is no longer the same. The bird on the wing in the sky has a beauty of its own. It is alive. It is free. The whole sky is his. The same bird in a cage is ugly. The freedom is gone, the sky is gone. Those wings are just meaningless now, a kind of burden. They remain from the past and they create misery. Now this is not the same bird.

When you fell in love with the woman, she was free; you fell in love with freedom. When you bring her home you destroy all possibilities of being free, but in that very destruction you are destroying the beauty. Then one day suddenly you find that you don’t love the woman at all — because she is beautiful no more. This happens every time. Then you start searching for another woman and you don’t see what has happened; you don’t look at the mechanism, at how you destroyed the beauty of the woman. This is the first kind of love — love one. Beware of it. It is not of much value, it is not very significant, it has no value. And if you are not aware you will remain trapped in love one.

Love two is: the object is not important, your subjectivity is. You are loving so you bestow your love on somebody. But love is your quality, it is not object-oriented. The subject is overflowing with the quality of love, the very being is loving. Even if you are alone you are loving. Love is a kind of flavour to your being. When you fall in love, the second kind of love, there is going to be greater joy than the first. And you will know — because this love will know — how to keep the other free. Love means to give all that is beautiful to the beloved.

Freedom is the most beautiful, the most cherished goal of human consciousness,

how can you take it away? If you love a woman really, or a man, the first present, the first gift, will be the gift of freedom. How can you take it away? You are not the enemy, you are the friend.

This the second kind of love will not be against freedom, it will not be possessive. And you will not be worried very much that somebody else also appreciates your woman or your man. In fact, you will be happy that you have a woman whom others also appreciate, that you have chosen a woman whom others also desire. Their desire simply proves that you have chosen a diamond, a valuable being, who has intrinsic value. You will not be jealous. Each time you see someone looking at your woman with loving eyes you will be thrilled again. You will fall in love with your woman again through those eyes. This second kind of love will be more a friendship than a lust and it will be more enriching to your soul. And this second kind of love will have one more difference. In the first kind of love, the object-oriented, there will be many lovers surrounding the object, and there will be fear. In the second kind of love there will be no fear and you will be free not to bestow your love only on your beloved, you will be free to bestow your love on others too.

In the first, the object will be one and many will be the lovers. In the second, the subject will be one and it will be flowing in many directions, bestowing its love in many ways on many people — because the more you love, the more love grows.

If you love one person then naturally your love is not very rich; if you love two, it is doubly rich; if you love many, or if you can Love the whole humanity, or you can love even the animal kingdom, or you can love even trees, the vegetable kingdom — then your love goes on growing. And as your love grows, you grow, you expand. This is real expansion of consciousness. Drugs only give you a false idea of expansion; love is the basic ultimate drug that gives you the real idea of expansion.

And there is a possibility…. Albert Schweitzer has said ‘reverence for life’ — all that lives has to be loved. Mahavira in India has said the same thing. His philosophy of AHIMSA, non-violence, says love all that lives. But one man, one contemporary in America, Bugbee, has gone even one step further than Mahavira and Schweitzer. He says, ‘Have reverence for things too.’ That is the ultimate in love. You don’t only love that which lives, you love even that which is. You love the chair, you love the pillars, you love things too — because they are also there. They also have a kind of being.

When one has come to this point — that you love the whole existence irrespective of what it is, that love becomes unconditional — it is turning into prayer, it is becoming a meditation. The first love is good in the sense that if you have lived a loveless life it is better than no love. But the second love is far better than the first and will have less anxiety, less anguish, less turmoil, conflict, aggression, violence. The second kind of love will be more of a love than the first kind, it will be more pure. In the first, the lust is too much and spoils the whole game — but even the second love is not the last. There is love three — when subject and object disappear. In the first the object is important, in the second the subject is important, in the third there is transcendence — one is neither a subject nor an object and one is not dividing reality in any way: subject, object, knower, known, lover, loved. All division has disappeared. One is simply love.

Up to the second you are a lover. When you are a lover something will hang around you like a boundary, like a definition. With the third, all definition disappears. There is only love; you are not. This is what Jesus means when he says. ‘God is love’ — love three. If you misunderstand the first, you will never be able to interpret rightly what Jesus’ meaning is. It is not even the second, it is the third. God is love. One is simply Love. It is not that one loves, it is not an act, it is one’s very quality. It is not that in the morning you are loving and in the afternoon you are not loving — you are love, it is your state. It is not a HAL, it is a MAGAMA. You have arrived home. You have become love. Now there is no division. All duality has disappeared.

The first kind of love is ‘I-it’; the other is taken as a thing. That’s what Martin Buber says ‘I-it’. The other is like a thing. You have to possess. My wife, my husband, my child… and in that very possession you kill the spirit of the other. The second kind of love Martin Buber calls ‘I-thou’. The other is a person. You have respect for the other. How can you possess somebody you respect? But Martin Buber stops at the second; he has no understanding about the third love. Martin Buber cannot understand Jesus. He remains a Jew. He goes up to ‘I-thou’. It is a great step from ‘I-it’ to ‘I-thou’ but it is nothing compared to the step that happens from ‘I-thou’ to no dualism, to ADVAITA, to oneness, where only love remains.

Even ‘I-thou’ is a bit of a tension-creating phenomenon — you are separate and the beloved is separate. And all separation brings misery. Unless one becomes totally one with the beloved, with the loved one, some kind of misery is bound to remain lurking by the side. In the first the misery is very clear, in the second the misery is not so clear; in the first it is very close, in the second it is not so close, it is far away — but it is there. In the third it is no more. So Priya, I would like you to learn more of love. Move from the first to the second and keep it in your consciousness that the third is the goal. And don’t be worried about losing yourself.

Lose yourself — because that is the only way to find yourself.


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

Discourse series: Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 2

Chapter #8

Chapter title: A Holiday from Sanity

3 September 1977 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on spoken on notable Psychologists and philosophers like Adler, Jung, Sigmund Freud, Assaguoli, Aristotle, Berkeley, Confucius, Descartes, Feuerbach, Hegel, Heidegger, Heraclitus, Huxley, Jaspers, Kant, Kierkegaard, Laing, Marx, Moore, Nietzsche, Plato, Pythagoras, Russell, Sartre, Socrates, Wittgenstein and many others in many of His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Hidden Splendour
  2. The New Dawn
  3. This, This, A Thousand Times This: The Very Essence of Zen
  4. Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
  5. Beyond Enlightenment
  6. Beyond Psychology
  7. Light on The Path
  8. The Dhammapada
  9. From Bondage to Freedom
  10. From Darkness to Light
  11. From Ignorance to Innocence
  12. The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
  13. From Personality to Individuality
  14. I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
  15. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1
  16. From Unconciousness to Consciousness
  17. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4
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