Three P’s of Pythagoras – Preparation, Purification, Perfection

Pythagoras is very unique. He got out of Greece — it was not the right place. People were simply arguing and arguing, but nobody was concerned in evolving consciousness. He was coming to India. On the way he remained a few years in the library of Alexandria, where he picked up knowledge about the lost continent of Atlantis. We have only that proof; no other proof exists — although recently scientists have started looking into the matter. What they have been finding in the Atlantic ocean suggests that there must have been a great civilization; whole cities are drowned there. The whole continent simply went down into the ocean. Such changes happen on the earth: new islands come up, new mountains come up. The Himalayas are a new mountain range — the newest. It was not there when RIG VEDA was written, because it is impossible that RIG VEDA should not mention such beautiful mountains — the highest and the most glorious. But there is no mention about them. And the people who wrote RIG VEDA had come from Mongolia. Certainly there was no mountain on the way; otherwise to cross the Himalayas and to come to India would have been impossible. Even today, there are only two places from where you can cross the Himalayas; otherwise it is uncrossable. Changes go on happening on the earth.

Pythagoras reached India, but he got caught again — in the Buddhist atmosphere. It was so real; although Buddha was dead, the whole country was throbbing. His impression, his impact, had been very deep. When Pythagoras reached India, whatever he learned was learned in Buddhist universities. You will be surprised to know that Buddhist universities are the oldest universities in the world. Oxford is only one thousand years old. Nalanda, a Buddhist university, and Takshila, a Buddhist university, existed twenty-three hundred years ago. They were destroyed by Hindus and Mohammedans both. But they were rare universities — they fulfilled the real meaning of the word. Not everybody was allowed to be in the university. Outside the university campus there were places where people could live for preparation. At the gate the gatekeepers were no ordinary people but very qualified Buddhist bhikkhus, and they had to give people an examination at the gate. When you had passed those examinations, you could enter into the university campus; otherwise it was not even possible to enter it. Even just to see it was not possible; it was so sacred. Wisdom was thought so sacred — it was not everybody’s thing, only those who could put their whole life into the search.

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These three P’s — Purification, Preparation, Perfection — come from the Buddhist sources of wisdom. Of course, Pythagoras made them more logical — he had a Greek mind — made them more systematic. But those words are really significant. Preparation does not mean preparing for a verbal examination or a written examination. Preparation means preparing for an existential examination; it means going deeper into meditation. Unless you were meditative you could not enter those universities. And they had big campuses: Takshila had ten thousand scholars in it, Nalanda had twelve thousand scholars in it. Even today the greatest universities don’t have more than that number, but their quality is very ordinary; students have simply passed the school examinations and they are ready to enter. No existential preparation is needed.

Preparation means that you drop all your conditionings, you drop your prejudices, you drop what you think you know and you do not know: you get as innocent as possible. Your innocence will be the preparation

 that will allow you to enter into the university campus.

Then purification… In preparation you drop the conditionings which were given by the society, prejudices which were given to you or caught by you from the surroundings; it was borrowed knowledge in some way or other. You go like a child — but even the child is not pure. That is something very significant to understand, because people take it for granted that the child is pure. He is certainly innocent, but his innocence is equivalent to ignorance, and behind his innocence are all his feelings: anger, hatred, greed, jealousy. You can see, children are very jealous. If one child has a doll, the other becomes so jealous that they will start fighting. If some child has something, then the other child also wants to have it. They are very competitive. Even in the family children have a hierarchy, and they are constantly fighting to be higher than others. Whatever is needed to be done… if obedience makes them the most loved in the family, they will follow obedience. But they are not following obedience; they are really trying a power strategy.

So preparation simply takes away the layers that society has put on your mind. But you have brought with nature, with your birth, so many ugly instincts, that a purification is needed.

You have to understand that competition is meaningless. You have to meditate deeply and recognize that you are not like anybody else. And competition can be only among similar people — and everybody is dissimilar, unique. Once the competitive mind disappears, many things change in you; then you are not jealous.

If somebody has a beautiful face and somebody has more money, and somebody has a more powerful body, you simply accept the fact that a few trees are tall and a few trees are small. But existence accepts them all. The disappearance of competitiveness will also help you to get rid of greed. People go on accumulating — they want to be in a better position than you, with more money than you, with everything better than you. And their whole life is wasted in that.

Purification is almost going through a fire of understanding in which all that is instinctive and ugly burns down. And it is a great experience that only the ugly burns. That which is beautiful blossoms. In purification you lose all trace of hate, and instead, suddenly a spring of love bursts forth — as if the rock of hate was preventing the spring. Once the cruelty… and children are very cruel. The idea that they are angels is just stupid. They are very cruel; they will beat dogs, they will beat cats. A small insect passing by — and a child will simply kill it for no reason, he just enjoys destruction. There is destructiveness in him. Once that is gone, creativity arises.

So purification is a deeper meditation than preparation. Preparation was very simple, but purification is going deeper into meditation — the deepest possible — so everything that is not worthy of human beings is transformed. Everything has energy in it — hate, jealousy, greed — and when these things change, their energy becomes available to you in its purified form. And they can turn: greed can turn into compassion, sharing; hate can turn into love. Everything will turn into something which makes your heart a garden.

And when the purification is complete, utterly complete, not a corner of your being remains in the dark, everything is light and fragrant, fresh… What we have called the awakened man, the enlightened man, Pythagoras calls perfection. It is simply a different name: the perfect man. The first two you have to do; the third is the ultimate outcome of it. In these three simple words he has condensed the whole alchemy of human transformation.

Pythagoras is one of the most important people that Greece has given to the world. But strangely enough, nothing much is talked about all the best geniuses that Greece has given to the world. Pythagoras, Socrates, Heraclitus, Epicurus — these are the ones who should be talked about. But instead of them, in the universities Plato is studied, Aristotle is studied…

Pythagoras is not at all bothered about any university in the world, for the simple reason that he is not a routine scholar; he is an original seeker, and he is ready to go anywhere. He traveled all his life to find people who may have had a little glimpse and may be able to impart something to him. He was collecting pieces, and he managed beautifully. But Greeks don’t talk about him because he is not talking about Greek philosophy; he is bringing foreign ideas, strange ideas from Alexandria, from Nalanda, from Takshila — he is almost not a Greek. They are not interested in what he is bringing, although what he is bringing has nothing to do with Greeks or Indians or Egyptians. But he is ignored — one of the most significant men, utterly ignored.

The same has happened to Diogenes. He is ignored because he looks embarrassing to the Greeks. And he is very original — not only in thoughts but in life. In everything that he does he is original and very sincere — a man of tremendous courage, who could say to Alexander the Great, “You are behaving like a fool. The very idea of conquering the world is nonsense. For what do you want to conquer the world? What will you do after it?” He said, “After it? I am going to relax and enjoy.” And Diogenes looked at his dog — they were friends, they used to live together — and he told the dog, “Did you hear? He is planning to relax and enjoy after conquering the world, and we are enjoying right now, without conquering anything! Why take so much trouble?” A naked man who can say to Alexander, “You are behaving like a fool,” must have guts — and Alexander had to recognize it. And he was a man of tremendous power himself, of great intelligence. He had to recognize it — that he has never met a man of the quality of Diogenes. But Greeks go on avoiding, the same way they have done with Epicurus. It is very strange, but perhaps this is the way of humanity to behave with its own greatest sons — to ignore them, not to take any note of them.

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But amongst all these, Pythagoras has created a complete system to create a Buddha. He himself became an enlightened man — it was not only theoretical. When he came back to Greece, he was not the same Pythagoras who had left; he was a new man. And that was one of the greatest difficulties — his own country could not recognize him. In fact they had no category of enlightenment, awakening, buddhahood, so where to put Pythagoras? The category just does not exist in their mind, so he remains uncategorized, and for two thousand years nobody has commented upon him. I am the first man to have commented on the great genius and realization of this unique individual. He has a more perfect way of presentation than you will find in Indian scriptures, because Indian scriptures are more poetic, and he is, after all, a Greek! He is very logical and very scientific.


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

Discourse Series:

Beyond Psychology

Chapter #30
Chapter title: New bottles for the old wine
27 April 1986 am in


Osho has spoken on ‘meditation, understanding, transformation, awakening, enlightenment’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 2
  2. The Secret of Secrets, Vol 2
  3. The Fish in the Sea is Not Thirsty
  4. The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 3, 5, 9
  5. From Unconciousness to Consciousness
  6. The Path of the Mystic
  7. The Transmission of the Lamp
  8. Sat Chit Anand
  9. Zen: The Diamond Thunderbolt
  10. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4, 9, 10
  11. The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol 2
  12. The Tantra Vision, Vol 1, 2
  13. Satyam Shivam Sundram

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