Turiya the fourth

Birthday of Italian psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli

Roberto Assagioli, born in Venice in 1888, was a pioneer in the fields of humanistic and transpersonal psychology. He’s best known for creating psychosynthesis, a holistic approach to personal growth that considers all aspects of the human being – from the subconscious to the spiritual. Assagioli’s early exposure to diverse influences, from Freudian psychoanalysis to Jungian archetypes and Eastern spiritual philosophies, shaped his unique perspective. He saw the human being as a multifaceted entity, encompassing not just the unconscious mind, but also the conscious will, creativity, and the potential for transpersonal growth.

In 1927, Assagioli unveiled Psychosynthesis, a dynamic and multi-dimensional approach to therapy and personal development. Unlike other methods that focused solely on pathology, Psychosynthesis aimed at integrating and harmonizing all aspects of the personality, from the instinctual to the spiritual. This involved techniques like guided visualization, active imagination, and body awareness exercises to help individuals explore their inner landscape, dissolve emotional blocks, and access their full potential.

Though he passed away in 1974, Assagioli’s legacy lives on. Psychosynthesis continues to inspire therapists and individuals seeking personal growth, and his pioneering work serves as a reminder that human beings are capable of much more than simply overcoming psychological challenges.

Osho says, “Assagioli has done something which is just intellectual. What WE are doing here is real synthesis. And not only of all religions, but of all psychologies, all yogas, too. We are trying to move existentially into all the possibilities that any human being has ever moved. We can create here the greatest synthesis that has ever been created anywhere else.

But this synthesis is not intellectual: it is existential. We are living it. When I talk about Sufis, I am a Sufi. And when you listen to me about Sufis, those who really listen to me become Sufis. Then all else disappears. When we move in the world of Zen, we are PART of it! We are not alien and outsiders. When I am speaking on Zen Masters, I am not speaking from the outside. I am not a scholar, and you are not here like students. These are not discourses, these are communions. When I talk about Zen Masters, I am one! And those who love me, and those who are intimate with me, those who are sannyasins, they become one with that approach. And in that oneness, understanding arises.



Neelima, psychoanalysis is a superficial thing — helpful but very superficial. It only analyzes the surface rumblings of your mind. It is far better than scientology certainly, because at least it analyzes ACTUAL reality. It is concerned with the mind that you have got. It tries to penetrate into your unconscious, into the repressed part of your mind. It can help you, but it cannot solve all your problems because its reach is very limited. Hence, Freud could not satisfy, he could only touch a part of your mind. Adler touched another part of your mind — he could not satisfy either. Jung touched still another part of your mind — he could not satisfy, because parts are parts and the problem belongs to the whole. Assagioli goes a little deeper than all these three. He drops psychoanalysis and starts calling his endeavor “psychosynthesis.” That is a little better — he synthesizes.

Freud is a fanatic; he claims that whatsoever he is saying is the truth and the only truth and the whole truth. And anybody who is against it is against truth. There can be no other possibility — this is the only way. The fanatic always claims, “This is the only way.” The fanatic does not allow life its richness, its variety. And so is Adler. They were all basically disciples of Freud, although they rejected his knowledge. But they never could reject his basic fanaticism. They rejected what he said, but they never could reject the impression that he had left on their beings. Jung was also a follower, a disciple, then rebelled against him. But even in his rebellion he remained, deep down, the same person — the same emphasis of claiming the whole, of knowing the whole.

Assagioli is far better, because he says all these three persons are talking sense but they are partial — they have to be synthesized. A synthetic approach is needed which combines all the endeavors. But Assagioli commits a mistake which is very fundamental. You can dissect a man’s body to know what is inside; once you have dissected it you will not find any soul — that is not the way to find a soul. You will find hands and legs and head and eyes and heart and kidneys, and thousands of things you will find, and you can make a long list…but you will not find the soul. And naturally you will conclude there is no soul. That’s what was done by Freud, Adler and Jung. Then came Assagioli. He said, “This is not right. Dissection is not the way, analysis is not the way — I will try synthesis.” So he puts all those parts together again, stitches them together; does a good job of stitching, but still the man is not alive, the soul is not there.

Once the soul has left, just by putting the body together you cannot bring it back. So now it is a corpse — better than Freud, Adler and Jung, because they were only like the proverbial blind men, the five blind men, who had gone to see the elephant. Each was claiming, “My experience of the elephant IS the elephant.” The one who had touched the leg of the elephant was saying that the elephant is nothing but a pillar…and so on and so forth. Freud, Jung and Adler are all blind, feeling parts of the elephant. And the elephant of life is really huge, enormous. Now what Assagioli has done is that he has collected the opinions of the five blind men and he has put all those opinions together, and he says, “This is the right thing. I have made the synthesis, this is the truth.” This is not the way to find the truth. By putting five blind men’s opinions together, you don’t arrive at the real elephant. The real elephant needs EYES to be seen.

Psychoanalysis is blind and so is psychosynthesis — a little wiser but blind all the same. They cannot solve man’s problems because man’s basic problem is not psychological but spiritual, not psychological but existential. Man is not only the body; otherwise the physiologist would have solved all his problems. And man is not only a psyche; otherwise the psychologist would have solved his problems. Man is far more: man is an organic unity — body, mind, soul…these three plus something mysterious: the fourth. The mystics in India have called it just the fourth — TURIYA. They don’t give it any name because no name can be given to it. Body, mind, soul, these three are nameable. The body is available for objective observation. The mind is available for both objective and subjective observation — you can observe it from the outside as behavior and from the inside as ideas, thoughts, imagination, memory, instinct, feeling, and so on and so forth. The soul is available only as a subjective experience. And beyond all these three is the fourth that keeps them all together: turiya — the fourth, unnameable. That fourth has been called God, the fourth has been called nirvana, the fourth has been called enlightenment.

Man’s problem is complex. If he were only the body, things would have been simple; science would have solved everything. If he were only the mind, psychology would have been enough. But he is a very complex phenomenon, four-dimensional. And unless you know the fourth, unless you enter the fourth, you don’t know the man in his totality. And without knowing him in his totality, the problem cannot be solved. Psychoanalysis can give you a philosophic approach, but not an existential transformation…Psychoanalysis, psychiatry, psychology, can give you a philosophical approach towards life. They can give you the quality of being distant from life’s problems, but the problems are not solved. And the psychiatrist has not even solved his own problems — how can he help others to solve theirs?

Even Sigmund Freud is not a buddha, is full of problems — in fact more than the so-called human beings. He was very much afraid of death, too much afraid of death — so much so that even the word ‘death’ was not uttered in front of him by his disciples, because once or twice, just hearing the word ‘death’ he had fainted. Just the word ‘death’ was enough! He would faint, he would become unconscious, he would fall down from his chair. Freud brought sex into the light. He did a great work: he destroyed one taboo, the taboo that had remained for centuries. Sex was a taboo subject, not to be talked about. He brought it into the light. He did a great pioneer work — he should be respected for it. But death was taboo to him; he could not even hear the word. There seems to be a connection.

This is MY observation: that there have been two kinds of societies in the world — one society which makes sex taboo, then it is not afraid of death; and the other society which drops the taboo against sex, then it immediately becomes afraid of death. We have not yet been able to create a society in which neither sex nor death are taboos. My sannyasin has to do that…

Freud did a great service to humanity; he brought sex from the dark corners of the soul into the open world. But immediately death became taboo; he himself became afraid of death. They are polar opposites, and the total man will be able to understand both. And the total man, the whole man, is my definition of a holy man. He will be able to talk about sex, observe, analyze, dissect, go into it, meditate — and he will be able to do the same with death. …Because you are neither sex nor death: you are the witness of both. You are neither life nor death: you are a witness to both. This witnessing will bring you to the fourth — turiya. And only when you enter the fourth do all problems disappear, dissolve. Before that, problems remain. You can become very very expert in analyzing problems — that is not going to help…Only a buddha can help you to solve your problems — one who has no problems of his own.

Religion cannot be dropped, can never be dropped. Religion is not something superficial and accidental: it is an intrinsic need, it is absolutely needed. Neelima, you ask me, “Cannot psychoanalysis solve man’s problems?” No. It can help you to understand your problems a little bit more, and by understanding your problems you can control your life in a certain way, to a certain extent. Psychoanalysis can help you to become a little more normal than you are; it can reduce your heated, excited abnormality to a little calmer and cooler space — that’s all. It can bring your temperature down a little, but it cannot solve. It can only help, it can console…Psychoanalysis can give you many consolations. It can help you rationalize, it can help you normalize, it can help you not to feel ashamed — but it doesn’t solve. It cannot. Problems are never solved if you remain at the same plane of existence. This is something very fundamental to be understood.

If you want to solve a problem you have to rise above the plane. It can’t be solved on the same plane. The moment you reach a higher plane, the lower-plane problems simply disappear. That is the way of religion: to help you go higher and higher and higher. The moment you have reached the fourth state, turiya, all problems disappear, dissolve, lose meaning. Not that you have found solutions, no, not at all — religion is not interested in solutions. No solution can ever solve a problem; it may help you to solve one problem, but it will create another. The solution itself may become the problem. You may become so much attached and dependent on the solution…No solution can really become a solution.

Religion has a totally different approach. It does not give you a solution, it simply helps you to raise the level of your consciousness. Religion is consciousness-raising. It raises you higher than the problem, it gives you a bird’s-eye view. Now you are standing on a hilltop looking at the valley…and the problems of the valley are simply meaningless. They don’t have any significance for the man who is standing on the sunlit hilltop. They have simply lost all relevance.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse Series: The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 2 Chapter #6

Chapter title: This is it

6 July 1979 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has 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 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 Discipline of Transcendence
  9. The Dhammapada
  10. From Bondage to Freedom
  11. From Darkness to Light
  12. From Ignorance to Innocence
  13. The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
  14. From Personality to Individuality
  15. I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
  16. Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4
  17. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1
Spread the love

Leave a comment