The Osho Upanishad 08

Eighth Discourse from the series of 44 discourses - The Osho Upanishad by Osho.
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For the last week I have known that I have cancer. From that time, except for a few moments of panic and fear, I have felt a deep calmness and relaxation coming into my being. Have I already given up my life, or is this the quietness of acceptance?
We have given up our lives at the very moment when we were born, because the birth is nothing but a beginning of death. Each moment you will be dying more and more.
It is not that on a certain day, at seventy years old, death comes; it is not an event, it is a process that begins with the birth. It takes seventy years. It is mighty lazy, but it is a process, not an event. And I am emphasizing this fact so that I can make it clear to you that life and death are not two things. They become two if death is an event which ends life. Then they become two; then they become antagonistic, enemies.
When I say that death is a process beginning with birth, I am saying that life is also a process beginning with the same birth – and these are not two processes. It is one process: it begins with birth, it ends with death. But life and death are like two wings of a bird, or two hands, or two legs.
Even your brain has two hemispheres, separate, the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere. You cannot exist without this dialectics. Life is a dialectics – and if you understand this, a tremendous acceptance of death naturally comes to you.
It is not against you, it is part of you; without it you cannot be alive. It is just like the background of a blackboard on which you write with white chalk: the blackboard is not against the white chalk, it simply gives it emphasis, prominence. Without the blackboard your white writing will disappear. It is like day and night – you see it everywhere, but you go on behaving like blind people. Without the night there is no day.
The deeper you enter into the dialectics… It is a miraculous experience. Without inaction there is no action; if you cannot relax, you cannot act. The more you can relax, the more perfection will be in your action. They appear to be opposites; they are not. The better you dissolve into sleep in the night, the sharper, the younger you will wake up in the morning. And everywhere in life you will find the same dialectical process.

The mystics of Zen have a koan: they ask the disciples to meditate on the sound of one hand clapping. It is absurd – there cannot be any sound of one hand clapping. Clapping with what? For clapping, two hands are needed, apparently opposed to each other but deep down creating a single clap; united in their efforts, coherent, neither opposed to each other nor contradictory to each other, but complementary. The meditation is given for the simple reason so that you can become aware that in life you cannot find a single instance supporting the sound of one hand clapping. The whole existence is two hands clapping: man and woman, day and night, life and death, love and hate. The deeper the disciple meditates… Slowly, slowly he becomes aware that in existence it is impossible to find anything.
And the master asks everyone, “Have you found it? Have you heard the sound of one hand clapping?”
Many ideas come to their minds: the sound of running water – and they think perhaps this is it. And they run to the master to tell him, “I have got it: the sound of running water.”
And they will get a hit from the master’s staff: “You idiot! This is not the sound of one hand clapping. There is duality; just go and see. All those rocks in the water, they are creating a sound; it is not the sound of one, it is always the sound of two.” In fact there cannot be a sound of one.
Frustrated thousands of times, each answer that the disciple finds is rejected. He comes to the realization that sound is always of the two.
Silence is of the one; only silence can be the answer. It is not a clapping. But going through all this process to reach to the silence… And then he comes to the master and the master asks, “Have you heard it?”
And the disciple bows down to his feet, tears of joy flowing from his eyes. He cannot even say, “Yes, I have found it.” That will not be accurate. He has not found silence; on the contrary, he has disappeared in silence. It is not a finding, it is a disappearing. He is no more. Only silence is.
Now, who is there to say, “I have found the answer”? Hence the tears of joy and a grateful head touching the feet of the master…
And the master says, “I do understand, don’t be worried. Don’t be worried that you cannot say it. Nobody can say it.” That’s why sometimes, when you had come before, rushing with an answer, even before you told me the answer I hit you with my staff and told you, ‘You idiot! Go back!’ And you were puzzled, that you have not even said the answer and it has been rejected.
“Now you can understand: it is not a question of this answer or that answer. All answers are wrong. Only silence – which is an existential presence, not an intellectual answer – is right.”

You are fortunate to know that within seven days you are going to die, that you have cancer. Everybody has cancer, just a few people are lazy, you are speedy! – American! Most people are Indians; even in dying, they will take time. They are always late, always missing the train.
I say you are blessed to know – because everybody is going to die, but because it is unknown when, where, people go on living under the illusion that they are going to live forever. They always see others dying. That logically supports their standpoint that “It is always the other who dies. I never die.” You must have seen many people dying, giving you a strong support, a rational background that it is always the other who dies. And when you die you will not know, you will be unconscious – you will miss the opportunity of knowing death. Those who have known death are unanimous in their opinion that it is the greatest orgasmic experience of life.
But people die unconsciously. It is good that there are diseases which are predictable. Cancer means that you have known seven days before – or seven months, whatever the time may be – that death is coming closer each moment. These seven days are not allowed to everybody. Cancer seems to be something you must have earned in your past life – because J. Krishnamurti died of cancer, Ramana Maharshi died of cancer, Ramakrishna died of cancer. Strange… Three enlightened people who are not mythological, who have lived just now, died of cancer. It seems to be something spiritual!
It certainly has a spiritual dimension. I am not saying that all those who die of cancer are enlightened beings, but they can become enlightened beings more easily than anybody else because others go on living under the illusion that they are going to live; there is no hurry. Meditation can be postponed – tomorrow, the day after tomorrow. What is the hurry? And there are more urgent things which have to be done today. Meditation is never urgent because death is never urgent.
For the man who comes to know that cancer is going to strike him within seven days, everything in life becomes meaningless. All urgencies disappear. He was thinking of making a beautiful palace; the very idea disappears. He was thinking to fight the next election; the whole idea disappears. He was worried about the Third World War; he is no longer worried. It doesn’t matter to him. What happens after him does not matter – he has only seven days to live.
If he is a little alert in those seven days he can live seventy years or seven hundred years or the whole eternity – because now meditation becomes a priority, love becomes a priority: dance, rejoicing, experiencing beauty, which were never priorities before.
This week, the full-moon night will be a priority because he will never see the full-moon again. This is his last full-moon. He has lived for years. Moons have come and gone, and he has never bothered about it; but now he has to take it seriously. This is the last moon, this is the last chance to love, this is the last chance to be, this is the last chance to experience all that is beautiful in life.
And he has no energy anymore for anger, for fighting. He can postpone; he can say, “After a week I will see you in court, but this week let me be on a holiday.”
Yes, in the beginning you will feel sadness, despair, that life is slipping out of your hands. But it is always slipping out of your hands whether you know it or not. It is slipping out of everybody else’s hands whether he knows it or not. You are fortunate that you know it.

I am reminded of a great mystic, Eknath. A man used to go to Eknath for years. One day he went early in the morning when nobody was there and he asked Eknath, “Please forgive me. I have come early so that there is nobody else, because I am going to ask a question which I have always wanted to ask but I felt so embarrassed that I suppressed it.”
Eknath said, “There was no reason to be embarrassed. You could have asked any question, anytime. Sit down here.”
So they sat down in the temple, and the man said, “It is difficult for me; how to present it? My question is that for years I have been coming to you and I have never seen you sad, frustrated. I have never seen you in anxiety, in any kind of worry. You are always happy, always fulfilled, contented.
“I cannot believe this. My doubting mind says, ‘This man is pretending.’ I have been fighting with my mind, telling it that for years you cannot pretend: ‘If he’s pretending, you try.’ And I have tried – for five minutes, seven minutes at the most, and I forget all about it. Worries come, anger comes, sadness comes, and if nobody comes then the wife comes! – and all pretensions are gone.
“How do you manage day after day, month after month, year after year? I have always seen the same joy, the same grace. Please forgive me, but the doubt persists that somehow you are pretending. Perhaps you don’t have a wife; that seems to be the only difference between me and you.”
Eknath said, “Just show me your hand.” He took his hand in his own hands, washed it, looked very seriously…
The man said, “Is something wrong? What happened?” He forgot all about his doubt and his pretension and Eknath.
Eknath said, “Before I start answering your question, just by the way, I see that your lifeline is finished – just seven days more. So I wanted to tell it to you first because I may forget. Once I start explaining and answering your question, I may forget.”
The man said, “I am no longer interested in the question, and I am no longer interested in the answer. Just help me to stand up.” He was a young man.
Eknath said, “You cannot stand up?”
He said, “I feel all energy gone. Just seven days, and I had so many plans – everything shattered. Help me! My house is not far away, just take me to my house.”
Eknath said, “You can go. You can walk. You have come walking perfectly well just a few seconds ago.”
But the man tried somehow to stand up; he looked as if all his energy had been sucked out. And when he was going down the steps you could see that suddenly he had become old, he was taking the support of the railing. As he was walking on the road you could see – he could fall at any moment, he was walking like a drunkard. Somehow he reached home.
Everybody was getting up, it was early morning; and he went to sleep. They all asked, “What is the matter? Are you sick, not feeling well?”
He said, “Now even sickness does not matter. Feeling well or not well is irrelevant. My lifeline is finished – only seven days. Today is Sunday; the next Sunday, as the sun is setting I will be gone. I am already gone!”
The whole house was sad. Relatives started gathering, friends – because Eknath had never spoken a lie, he was a man of truth. If he has said it, death is certain.
On the seventh day, just before the sun was setting – and the wife was crying, and the children were crying, and the brothers were crying, and the old father and the old mother had become unconscious. Eknath arrived at the house, and they all said, “You have come right in time. Just bless him; he is going for an unknown journey.”
And in seven days that man had changed so much; even Eknath had to make an effort to recognize him. He was simply a skeleton. Eknath shook him; he somehow tried to open his eyes. Eknath said, “I have come to say to you that you are not going to die. Your lifeline is still long enough. I said that you are going to die in seven days as an answer to your question. That was my answer.”
The man jumped up. He said, “That was your answer? My God! You had already killed me. I was just looking outside the window for the sun to set and I would have died.”
And there was rejoicing… But the man asked, “What kind of answer is this? This kind of answer can kill people. You seem to be murderous! We believe in you, and you take advantage of our faith.”
Eknath said, “Except that answer, nothing would have helped. I have come to ask you: in seven days have you been fighting with anybody, have you been angry with anybody? Have you been going to the court? – which is your practice; every day you are found in the court.”
And he was a man of that type; that was his business. He was ready to be an eyewitness even for murders; just pay him enough. In one murder he was an eyewitness in the court, and the court knew that this man could not be an eyewitness to everything – he was a professional witness.
The judge asked, “How far away were you standing when this murder happened?”
He said, “Seventeen feet, six inches.”
The judge said, “Great! So it means you measured the distance between yourself and the man who was murdered?”
He said, “Yes, because I knew some idiot or somebody else was going to ask the question, so it is better to be prepared. I measured inch by inch; it was exactly seventeen feet, six inches.” That was his business.
Eknath asked, “What happened to your business? In seven days how many times have you eyewitnessed, how much have you earned?”
He said, “What are you talking about? I have not moved from my bed. I have not eaten; there is no appetite, no thirst. I am simply dead. I don’t feel any energy, any life in me.”
Eknath said, “Now get up, it is time. Take a good bath, eat well. Tomorrow you have a case in the court – continue the business. And I have answered your question – because since I have become aware that everybody has to die…
“And death can come tomorrow – you had seven days. I don’t have even seven days; tomorrow I may not see the sunrise again. I don’t have time for stupid things, for stupid ambitions, for greed, for anger, for hate; I simply don’t have time, because tomorrow I may not be here.
“In this small span of life, if I can rejoice in the beauties of existence, the beauties of human beings; if I can share my love, if I can share my songs, perhaps death will not be hard on me.”

I have heard from the ancients that those who know how to live automatically come to know how to die. Their death is a thing of beauty because they only die outwardly; inwardly the life journey continues. Your coming to know that you have cancer certainly will be shocking, will bring sadness and despair. But you are my sannyasin; you have to make this opportunity into a great transformation of being.
These few days that you will be here should be the days of meditation, love, compassion, friendliness, playfulness, laughter; and if you can do that, you will be rewarded by a conscious death. That is the reward of a conscious life.
An unconscious life comes to die unconsciously. A conscious life is rewarded by existence with a conscious death.
And to die consciously is to know the ultimate orgasmic experience of life and to know simultaneously that nothing dies, only forms change.
You are moving into a new house – and of course a better house, on a higher level of consciousness. You use the opportunity to grow. And life is absolutely just, fair. Whatever you earn you never lose it, you are rewarded for it.
Accept that death is just part of your life, and accept the fact that it is good that you have come to know beforehand. Otherwise death comes and you cannot hear the footsteps, the sounds of death approaching you. That’s why I said you are fortunate: death has knocked seven days before.
Use these days in deep acceptance. Make these seven days as joyful as possible; make these seven days days of laughter. Die with a joke on your face – the smile, the thankfulness, the gratitude for all that life has given to you.
And this I say to you: death is fiction. There is no death because nothing dies, only things change. And if you are aware, you can make them change for the better. That’s how evolution happens.
That’s how an unconscious man becomes a Gautam Buddha.

Yesterday, when I was coming from my office for your discourse, I was feeling very much depressed, tired and tense; but after the discourse I felt myself so relaxed, energetic and fresh. The next morning I am again depressed and tense. Is it because of my mind or the surrounding atmosphere?
Laheru, it is because of your mind. The surrounding atmosphere is always supportive. If your mind is silent, the same atmosphere will support silence; if your mind is tense, the same atmosphere will support your tensions. The surrounding atmosphere does not count; what counts is your mind.
If it was otherwise, then it would be impossible for anybody to become enlightened, because everybody is surrounded by the same kind of atmosphere.

I am reminded of a small story, an ancient story of a wise king who used to go on a round of the capital in the middle of the night in disguise, to see whether things were going as they should or not. He was always puzzled, because one naked young man used to stand under a tree, even in the middle of the night. He went at different times in the night but the man was always standing there, alert. The king was puzzled: What is he doing? One day he went to him and asked, “What is your trouble? Why do you go on standing here naked in the cold night?”
The man said, “I have a certain treasure that needs constant watchfulness. I cannot be unconscious even for a single moment, it is too risky.”
The king asked, “Where is your treasure?”
The man laughed. He said, “You will not understand. My treasure is within me. And the more I am aware – whether it is day or night – the deeper I am reaching into myself.”
It was for the first time the king saw the man so closely – a beautiful man with magnetic eyes, with an invisible aura. The king was touched. He said, “I have always been thinking of finding a master but I never found one. I cannot leave you. I invite you to come with me to the palace. You will have all that you need. But why stand…? That does not suit the master of the king. From this moment you are the master of the king.”
The man said, “Of course!” And he jumped on the king’s horse and asked the king to walk by his side: “Let us go to the palace.”
The king said, “This man seems to be something!” – naked, he was sitting on the horse, and for the first time in his life the king had to walk – “and what will the guards of the palace say when they see us?”
But the man said, “Don’t be worried about the guards or your wife or your children; nobody can interfere. I will declare myself: I am your master.”
The king started having doubts: “This man, whom I thought has renounced the world, is standing naked for many days… And he has said yes so willingly. Not only has he said yes, he immediately jumped on my horse!”
In the palace he was given the best room, all the best facilities – better than the king. He made it a point, that “I am the master of the king, and it will be insulting to the king that the master has something less than the king.” The king gave everything that was needed and he lived in immense luxury.
The king thought, “I have been deceived. This man is not a real saint, he is a con man. He was standing there naked just to befool me, and he befooled me. But how to get rid of this man?”
Six months passed. But the king was a cultured man; he could not say, “You have cheated me.” But one day, while walking on the lawn of the palace with the master, the king said, “It is strange, but a doubt sometimes arises in me. You were standing naked under the tree, you have renounced everything of the world, and now you are living in royal luxury. The question that arises in me is this: What is the difference now between me and you?”
The young man said, “The difference? You will have to come with me. At the right moment, at the right place, I will give you the answer.”
The king and the master both went on horses. When they reached the border of the kingdom the king said, “This is the border. Now we are entering into another’s kingdom, and that is not right for me. What is your answer?”
He said, “My answer is this: this is your horse, these are your clothes. Take them home. I am going – this is the difference. You have a kingdom, I don’t have a kingdom. Wherever I live, there is my kingdom.”
The king was shocked, but he thought that he had misjudged the man. He fell at his feet and he said, “Forgive me, I misjudged you.”
The man said, “Simply get up on your horse and return to the palace, because I am such a simple man. I can again put on the dress, and the horse is waiting and I can come back – and the doubt will again come into your mind. I don’t want to create any doubt. You simply take both horses and these clothes. Naked I was, naked I am – and there are so many trees, I can stand anywhere.”
The king tried hard to convince him but the man said, “I can come, there is no trouble; but I know your mind, and it is not… You are being a liar. It is not that the doubt has arisen just now; it had arisen at the very moment I jumped on your horse that night six months ago.
“To me it makes no difference: I was as silent and peaceful, as centered, as balanced in myself under the tree as in your palace. The atmosphere, the environment around me makes no difference at all. Wherever I am, there is my kingdom.”

Laheru, it is not the atmosphere. This is how we go on throwing our responsibility on others; and that is not right – not right for a seeker. A seeker should be clear about it, that “every responsibility is mine.”
You will be surprised to know; the moment you take all the responsibilities on your own shoulders you are the most free man in the whole world, because now wherever you are it makes no difference: your freedom is intact, your peace is intact, your integrity is intact.
One of my sannyasins from Germany has sent me a present. His name is Nivedano. I will give it to Laheru because the present is something really significant. Its name is “Mind and Meditation.” Just give me the present.
[Osho is handed a picture in a wooden frame, and he holds up the picture for everyone to see.]
This is a small present, but with significant meaning.
This is meditation – this vast silence, this peaceful blue, this beautiful beach… Sitting silently, doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself. But turn it…
[He turns it upside down. The sky becomes a thunderstorm of swirling clouds.]
This is the mind. Everything is disturbed. It is sheer disturbance. That’s how it goes on happening in you.
Meditation and mind are made of the same stuff. When the mind is silent, it is meditation.
[Osho is holding the picture still.]
It is getting silent. The beach is settling, the waves are settling. But turn it…
[He turns it.]
…and you have Laherubhai! Laherubhai this is for you.

I read the following story in the book, Diary of a Zen Nun. It goes like this: a master and his disciple were attending a funeral. The disciple pointed to the corpse, and asked, “Is that dead or alive?” The master answered, “I cannot say.” The disciple threatened to strike the master, who said, “You can hit me all you like, but I cannot say whether that is dead or alive.” So the disciple struck him. That evening the master told the others what had happened, and announced that the disciple would have to leave because he had struck the master. So the disciple went off to another master and told his tale, hoping to hear that the first master was a cruel monster and off his nut. Instead of which, the second master exclaimed, “What a compassionate master you had there!” – whereupon the disciple began to see what it was all about. Osho, would you please comment on this story?
The story is from Gayan. I know the story, but she has missed a few significant things in it and without them, the story becomes very ordinary.
I do not know Japanese; the story is Japanese. But I know Zen. And I know Germans; Gayan is a German. Germans have very special qualities: one of them is always missing the most important thing. She must have read it in a German translation; most probably the translator missed it. Whatever is left, she must have done.
It is said that if you tell a joke to an Englishman he laughs twice; once just to give company to everybody – everybody is laughing, and if he does not laugh they will think he seems to be nuts – and the second time he laughs in the middle of the night when he gets it.
Tell a joke to a German: he laughs only once, because everybody else is laughing, but he never comes to understand the joke.
Haridas was one of my oldest German sannyasins, and I must have told more jokes than anyone in the whole history of man. And he was sitting in front of me, and every day, for years, after the meeting he would ask people, “Why were you laughing? What is the matter with you guys? Everybody starts laughing, I don’t get the point at all.”
If you tell the same joke to a Jew, he will not laugh. On the contrary, he will say, “Listen. This is an old joke, rotten. Secondly, you are telling it all wrong; first learn how to tell a joke.”
This story:

The master had an enemy master living close to his monastery. They were contradicting each other, criticizing each other as harshly and as hard as possible. He had gone to the funeral with one of his disciples. The dead body was there, the funeral was being prepared. The disciple asks, “Is it dead or alive?”
The master says, “I cannot say.” Remember the emphasis on the word cannot: not that I do not know, not that I do not want, not that I will not; his emphasis is “I cannot say – your question is raising something which is unanswerable. It cannot be brought into words.”
The master had the habit that whenever a disciple would not answer his question, he would hit him. Following the same routine, the disciple said, “Then I will hit you.”
He said, “You can hit me as much as you want, but I cannot say.”
He hit the old master. And seeing that this man – who cannot answer a simple thing, which anybody else could have answered – is simply useless, he decided, “I should go to the opponent.”
He was not thrown out of the monastery; that’s where the story goes wrong. He himself went to the opposing master who resided just opposite the monastery. His monastery was there, he had his own following. And the disciple was thinking that the other master would be very happy to receive him, particularly when he described that his master was absolutely ignorant and cruel – because not to answer the question of the disciple is cruelty.
He told the second master, “My master is simply ignorant. He knows nothing. Everybody there was preparing the funeral; of course the body was a corpse, it was dead; and this… My master, this dodo, said, ‘I cannot say.’
“And he hits every disciple if we do not answer his questions. So following the same routine, I hit him. He said, ‘You can hit me as much as you want, that is your right, but still I cannot say.’ This man is ignorant, cruel, insensitive, stubborn; he does not deserve to be called a master.”
He was thinking that he would be praised highly, because the opponent master – who was always criticizing his master – would rejoice and would welcome him with folded hands: “Come into my monastery. Why were you wasting your time with that idiot?” But instead of this he said, “You are ignorant. You do not understand compassion. Your master was very compassionate. Just go back to your own monastery.”
Standing outside the monastery, between both monasteries, he was in a dilemma. He had thought that these people were against each other. For the first time he saw they are not against each other; perhaps this is their device to help people, the disciples. And the way the man said, “He is so compassionate and you are an idiot. You could not understand him. Just go back!” Then it dawned on him, the whole phenomenon: that when any ordinary layman could have said that the body was dead, his master refused to say whether it was dead or alive, because this is the basic foundation of Zen and of all great realized people in the world: that existence cannot be divided into either-or. You cannot say it is dead, you cannot say it is alive. You cannot divide existence.
Just because this man was no longer breathing did not mean he was dead. He is still part of existence, which is eternally alive. You cannot say he is dead, because in this existence nothing is dead. Nothing can be dead. Everything is alive; only life is.
And of course you cannot say that he is alive; otherwise, what was the point of the funeral?
So for all practical purposes the funeral was okay, but for philosophical purposes – for deeper and more fundamental purposes – he’s as alive as ever. It is just that before he used to breathe, now he has decided not to breathe. The difference is not much. And whether he is breathing or not breathing, in either case, he remains part of existence. You cannot fall out of it, because it is everywhere. You cannot go out of existence, so you cannot go out of life.
The other master was saying, “You don’t understand the compassion of your master. He was compassionate not to answer you, because any answer would have been wrong. And you would have been satisfied very easily; he could have said, ‘This is dead’ – but that would not have been fundamentally right.
“His compassion is great, so great that he even allowed you to hit him – because he hits the disciples who cannot answer his questions. Just see his justice: because he was not answering your question – he did not care whether you are a disciple or a master – he allowed you; you could hit him as much as you want. But he said, ‘I cannot answer; I cannot say.’
“Just go back to your old master. If he cannot improve you, I cannot do anything. In fact when I fail with people I send them to your monastery – this is our agreement. We quarrel, we contradict each other – this is our joy. All these contradictions and arguments and philosophical controversies, we enjoy; and those who understand it, they also enjoy.
“It is just like an old story: two sweet-makers started fighting, throwing sweets at each other, and the whole road was filled with the crowd and people were enjoying the sweets. And they were encouraging both: ‘You did well! Hit him well!’ – both sides. But people were enjoying sweets.
“We have been throwing sweets,” the old man said. “Those who understand, enjoy; those who don’t understand, they think we are enemies. We were disciples of one master. It is that master who was responsible for creating this strange device of opening monasteries against each other. He said, ‘Some fools will join you, some fools will join the other; but don’t leave anyone out – divide. Those who are against one will go to the other; those who are against the other will come to you.’ This is our great master’s device that we are following.
“But I will not take you in, you belong to him. And he has been so compassionate that it will be ugly of me to accept you.”

Mystics have their own way. The ordinary masses cannot understand. Mystics even speak against each other for the benefit of the poor and the mediocre who cannot understand it in any other way. They can only understand something controversial. And for centuries mystics have done that.
It is only in this century that humanity is so intellectually poor that you don’t have mystics who are in a deep, loving conspiracy against you – to bring you to life, to love, to laughter.

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