To Seek is to Lose
Osho on God
RELIGION IS AS SIMPLE AS THE FISH swimming in the ocean, but man has become very complicated. It is because of man’s complexity that religion looks arduous. Religion cannot be arduous because it is our very nature. It is in our breathing, it is in our heartbeats, it circulates in our blood, it is our very marrow, our very soul. How can it be difficult? The very idea of difficulty arises because of a wrong notion. We have been taught down the ages that religion is a faraway goal and the journey is uphill.
In fact, religion is not a goal at all, and there is no journey uphill or downhill. There is no journey possible. Religion is where you are, religion is what you are, religion is your being — there is nowhere to go. And those who go in search, they are moving farther and farther away from religion. To seek is to lose, to search is not to find.
Seeking becomes more and more difficult; the farther away you reach, the more difficult it becomes, the more frustrating — because the more efforts you make to attain to God, the less is the possibility of attaining him. God is already the case. God is the ocean, we are the fish. And there is no need for a fish to learn swimming.
I have beard…
Mulla Nasrudin was fishing on a lake. It was a private lake and fishing was absolutely prohibited. And just behind him there was a big board declaring in capital letters: “No fishing allowed. Trespassers will be prosecuted.” But he was sitting on the bank, fishing.
The landlord came, caught him red-handed. He asked, “What are you doing?”Mulla laughed. He said, “I was teaching this fish to swim.”
No fish needs any teaching to swim. No man needs any religion whatsoever. All that is needed is to become simple. Drop your complexities, drop your unnecessary mind games. Be silent and still and you will find it at the very core of your being; it is waiting there, but it is a very still small voice. Your mind is creating so much noise; that’s why you cannot hear it…The mind has become a marketplace. You have lost all contact with yourself; that’s why you have lost contact with God. It is not that you have to search for God. Where are you going to search for him? In what direction? You don’t have any address. You don’t know his form, his name. Even if you come across him you will not be able to recognize him, so please don’t start any journey towards God. That is utterly doomed from the very beginning. On the contrary, move inwards, become more silent, become more relaxed, and suddenly one day you will start hearing those beautiful chimes ringing in you. You will start hearing that still, small voice. It is there, you have never lost it for a single moment. It cannot be lost.
That’s why all the great seers of the world have insisted that God is your nature.
God is within you, his kingdom is within you. There is no need to seek and search. Then what is needed? — to fall into silence, to fall into a harmonious, a melodious state of being; to be a no-mind. That’s what Sufis go on doing: dancing, singing, hugging each other, kissing each other. They are pouring themselves into each other, creating an energy-field in which silence easily surfaces. And in silence, God is found. Silence is his face. In the inner music God is found; music is his name. In an utterly lost state, when you are drunk, when you are not left at all, he is found. When you are not, he is. The seeker is too much; that’s why he goes on missing.
It is said about the great Sufi mystic, Bayazid, that when Bayazid reached the station of nearness he heard a voice which ordered him, “Ask for something!”
The state of nearness is the state when you are falling silent, when voices in your head are disappearing, evaporating, when thoughts are leaving you, deserting you; when you are feeling utterly alone, not even shadows of the others are present; when you are just on the verge of disappearing. That is called the “station of nearness”.
When Bayazid reached the station of nearness he heard a voice which ordered him, “Ask for something!”
“I have no desire,” he replied.
But the voice insisted. It said, “You ask for something!”
Again he said, “But there is nothing to ask because I have no desire. “
But again the voice repeated, “Ask for something!”
Bayazid answered, “Then I want only Thee!”
The voice then said, “So long as even an atom of the existence of Bayazid remains, this is impossible.”
Bayazid missed. He was just on the verge. He started asking. He came back — because with the desire you are back, with the desire the mind is back. Even if the desire is for God, that doesn’t matter. You would have thought that this was beautiful, that Bayazid desired God. But desire is desire; what you desire is irrelevant. Desire brings the desiring mind back. Bayazid had again entered into the marketplace, that station of nearness was lost. The moment he said, “I want only Thee,” he was there. Again the I had gathered, and
when there is I, it creates thou. When there is I it creates duality, and all is lost in duality. When there is no I, then there is non-duality.
Then you are one with existence, utterly one. Then you are nothing but a pulsation of existence itself, just a ripple in the lake of this infinite consciousness.
The moment he said, “I want only Thee,” the voice then said, “So long as even an atom of the existence of Bayazid remains, this is impossible.” Man has to disappear for God to be. All that is needed is this simple phenomenon of disappearance. But because we don’t want to disappear, then the whole approach becomes very arduous. Then we start playing games: on the one hand we want God, and on the other hand we want to protect ourselves.
Again it is said of Bayazid that once he was walking along a road with his disciples when they came upon a severed head lying on the way. Upon its forehead was written this tremendously important sutra from the Koran: He loseth both the world and the hereafter. Bayazid picked up the head and kissed it. When his disciples asked who he was, who this man was, he answered, “This is the head of a Sufi dervish who gave up both worlds for God. I have not yet been able to do it. I had reached to the point where it could have happened, but I missed.” On the severed head these words from the Koran were written: He loseth both the world and the hereafter. One has to lose all, only then is God gained. The people who are searching for God, the people who are searching for enlightenment, nirvana, moksha, or any other name, will go on missing; and their lives will become more and more complicated, and the journey will become harder and harder.
But Bayazid had taken a lesson from his first experience. Soon he was again at the station of nearness. Again it was asked, “Bayazid, ask something!” This time he did not even bother to say that “I have nothing to ask” — because even if you say that you have nothing to ask, you are. He simply sat there in utter silence. Again and again the voice provoked him, tempted him, “Ask something, Bayazid!” but there was no answer from Bayazid. Thrice it was repeated, “Bayazid, ask something!” And this voice was God’s voice, this was disrespectful! When God himself is telling you to ask, ask! But Bayazid was not there, there was nobody; so how to be respectful or disrespectful? This is what Sufis call adab: the way of being in the presence of a Master, and ultimately, the way of being in the presence of God.
There was no Bayazid, so even this provocation, “Ask, Bayazid! This is disrespectful towards God. I am God myself, asking you to ask something. I am happy with you. I am here to give you all that you want, all that you ask. Even if you ask me, I am ready to give myself to you.”
It is said:
But this time there was nobody, the silence remained undisturbed. There was no response from Bayazid. And he took the ultimate jump, it happened — he became God. This is the way one becomes a God, this is the way one attains.
“Who are you?” somebody asked Bayazid.
He said, “I lost him years ago. The more I seek him, the less I find.”
“Who are you?” the person asked again.
Bayazid said, “There is nothing under my cloak but Allah. Except God, there is nobody within me, so the question ‘who are you?’ is meaningless. I am not, God is. And God is always blissful. God is blissfulness, so the question is irrelevant. There is nobody, nothing under my cloak, except Allah.”
God is not there to be found somewhere else — in Kaaba, in Kailash, in Girnar, in Jerusalem. God has to be found under your cloak. And the reality is this: that there is nobody except God within you. But you have not turned upon yourself, your eyes are fixed at distant goals. Your eyes are roaming there somewhere in the future; and God is here, and you are not here. Hence the meeting is difficult. Otherwise there is no difficulty at all.
Sufism is the path of intense love, passionate love. As Bayazid has said, “The duration of Bayazid’s life of asceticism was only three days. On the first day he renounced the world, on the second day he renounced the other world, and on the last day he renounced himself. ” There are only three steps. The first step: becoming aware that this world is nothing but games, becoming aware that this world is nothing but our projections; and the second step, becoming aware that the other world, heaven, paradise, is also nothing but our unfulfilled dreams, our unfulfilled desires projected in time, in the future; and the third step, when this world is dropped and that world is dropped, then all that is left is you. Then all that is left is the faculty of projection, the mind, the ego. And the third step consists of dropping the ego. And suddenly you are back home. Suddenly nothing is needed any more, all is available. And then one starts laughing, because this had always been so — all had always been available.
Just because we were searching and searching, and we were in such a frantic search that We never looked within; We never looked at the treasure that we are already carrying, we became too much obsessed with the outside world;
we forgot the language of the inner, we forgot that there is an interior in us and that interiority is God.
Meditate over these beautiful lines of D.H. Lawrence:
Are you willing to be sponged out,
Erased, cancelled, made nothing?
Are you willing to be made nothing,
Dipped into oblivion?
If not, you will never really change.
The phoenix renews her youth
Only when she is burnt, burnt alive,
Burnt down to hot and flocculent ash.
The myth, the beautiful myth of the phoenix, the bird who becomes alive only through death, who renews itself by burning itself, utterly burning itself, whose death becomes resurrection… The myth of the phoenix bird is the myth of all the awakened people. Jesus is another representation of the same myth: crucifixion and resurrection.
Bayazid says, “I am gone, I am no more.” This is death. But out of this death something deathless arrives, is found. But people are cunning: they would like to have God also. Just as they have a good bank balance, they would like God also to be in their fist. They would like God to be their possession so that they can brag about and claim that “I know God.” But that ego will not allow them. God cannot be possessed. God is not a property. You cannot own God. God is a love affair; you can only dissolve into him. And remember again: the dissolution is not into some thou, the dissolution is simply a let-go into your own being. When you disappear into your own being and there is no Center left which can say “I”, you have known what God is.
Man is like an ice cube, frozen. God is nothing but the melting of the ice cube. Then you lose your solidity, you become fluid. Then you lose your stagnancy and you become flowing. That flow, yes, that flow is another name for God. Life is another name for God.
By creating the temples and the mosques and the churches we have deceived people. We have given them a wrong notion of God, as if God is something separate from life. It is not so. And it is because of this mis-education that has been perpetuated for centuries, because of this wrong conditioning, that whenever people think of God they think of a statue, a temple, a holy place; they never think of themselves. Standing before a mirror, looking into your own eyes reflected in the mirror, has the idea ever arisen in you that this is God? No, your priests have destroyed that possibility. And this is the real phenomenon: to recognize God as your own being, pulsating in you, in the very beat of your heart. So the first thing I would like to say to you: God is not difficult to find. The difficulty consists in losing yourself. And this is the statement not of one enlightened person, this is the statement of all the enlightened people of the world. They may have been born in India, in China, in Japan, in Israel, or anywhere else — about this they all agree.
Rumi says: “In a court of justice requiring several witnesses to prove guilt, a prosecutor brought a few Sufis to bear witness with regard to a certain crime. The judge, however, refused to accept the testimony on the grounds that the prosecutor had only one witness, a thousand Sufis being the same as one.” That’s a beautiful story Rumi relates: that the judge refused to accept because many witnesses were needed. Many witnesses were produced but they were all Sufis, so the judge said, “One Sufi or many Sufis does not make much difference, because whatsoever one Sufi says will be said by all the Sufis. So you can bring ten thousand Sufis; it counts only as one. “
That’s a beautiful story. Buddha, Christ, Krishna, Lao Tzu, Mohammed, Bahaudin, Bayazid… they are not saying different things… maybe in different ways, but not different things. They are witness to a single truth, and
the truth is that the kingdom of God is within you.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Secret
Chapter title: Are You Willing To Be Made Nothing?
27 October 1978 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘god, religion, sufism, silence’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- The Perfect Master, Vol 1, 2
- Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 1, 2
- Unio Mystica, Vol 1, 2
- Until You Die
- The Wisdom of the Sands, Vol 1, 2
- Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen: The Antidote to All Poisons
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 1, 4, 9
- From Darkness to Light
- From Ignorance to Innocence
- The Messiah, Vol 1, 2
- God is Dead, Now Zen is the Only Living Truth
- I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
- The Revolution