The Mirage of Desires

Osho on Desires


Not at all. To attain to enlightenment that is a must — that you should lose all hope and desire for it. Otherwise the desire for enlightenment becomes a nightmare in itself. And the more you desire it, the further away you are from it — greater the desire, greater will be the distance. Drop all desiring for it, all hoping for it. If you have really become desireless about enlightenment, any moment it is possible to happen. Give space; don’t be filled with the desire for it.

The greatest barrier to enlightenment is the longing for it, because a mind that longs and desires is always tense. It has a subtle anxiety around it; it is never at ease. How can you be at ease if you have to go somewhere, reach somewhere? You may be sitting, but you are on the move. Visibly you may be resting, but invisibly you are restless. Drop all nonsense. Nobody has ever been able to attain enlightenment through desire. That’s why all Buddhas insist: become desireless.

I am not saying that when you become desireless you will attain to nirvana or enlightenment; I am saying when you are desireless, you are nirvana, you are enlightenment. The desire is the disturbance in you, just like ripples in a lake… ripples disappear, the lake is silent.

It is easy to drop the desires of the worldly things, very easy. In fact it is absolutely foolish to cling to them. Only stupid people cling to worldly things, because anybody can see that they are going to be taken away from you.

All clinging is futile, fruitless, and anybody who has even a small quantity of intelligence can become alert that accumulating things is not going to give you enrichment; rather, it will make you more and more poor. The more things you will have, the more you will feel that you are empty. A rich man becomes, deep down, very poor. You cannot find greater beggars than emperors. Knowing well that they have everything that they could desire, for the first time they become alert that nothing has changed inside: no contentment has happened, no satiety. Everything is as much in turmoil as ever; the whole effort has been useless, and the whole life wasted in it.

No, it is not difficult to drop worldly desires, but when you drop worldly desires, immediately, the mind creates the other-worldly desires: moksha, nirvana, enlightenment, God. Now you hanker for these. The situation remains the same — you remain in desire. The object is irrelevant: the real thing: whether you desire or not. The real thing is not what do you desire. All your spiritual — so-called spiritual — teachers misguide you because they go on saying, “Change the object of desire. Don’t desire worldly things; desire God.” But I say to you that if you desire God, God himself has become a worldly thing. To me this is the definition of the world: whatsoever can be desired is the world.

God cannot be desired. You cannot make God an object of your desire; that is sacrilege. Enlightenment cannot be desired because enlightenment happens only when there is no desire. And enlightenment is not something that comes from the outside. When the mind is freed from desire, suddenly, you become aware of the king of kings sitting inside. He has always been there but you were so much worried about desiring and reaching and gaining and achieving.

The achieving mind is the barrier, so it is good that you have given up all hope for enlightenment.

But I don’t think that you have given up all hope — otherwise it would have happened. You may be right, however: practically, you have given up all hope for enlightenment. But deep down you are still dreaming about it, desiring it. Practically, you may have given up, but deep down the desire must be there. Otherwise there is no question — why the enlightenment has not happened. It should happen immediately — there is not a moment’s gap. It is absolutely certain: when desire has left you completely, utterly, it is there. In fact it is nothing — you without desire. So search deep, dig a little deeper inside yourself; you will again find desires, layers of desires: and go on throwing them. Peel down your onion to the very core.

One day it is going to happen. Any day it is possible.

Any moment when there is no desire, not even a flicker of it — no trembling, no wavering — and consciousness is unclouded — no smoke of desire, only the flame of consciousness, the fire of consciousness…. And suddenly you start laughing, suddenly you understand that that which you were seeking was always within you. That is the meaning of Jesus when he goes on insisting, “The kingdom of God is within you.” If it were “without” it could be desired; if it were “without” it could be reached from some path. It is you! That’s why I say I have got no path to offer you. I can only share my understanding with you.


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 5

Chapter #6

Chapter title: Does the universe love me?

6 July 1975 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken about ‘desire or desires’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Book of Wisdom
  2. A Bird on the Wing
  3. The Discipline of Transcendence
  4. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha
  5. The Empty Boat
  6. The Perfect Master, Vol 1
  7. Tao: The Golden Gate
  8. The Secret
  9. Zen: The Path of Paradox
  10. The Ultimate Alchemy
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