Upanishad: A Communion beyond Words

Osho on Upanishad







WE ARE entering today into one of the most enchanting and mysterious worlds — that of the Upanishads. The days of the Upanishads were the highest as far as the spiritual quest is concerned. Never before and never afterwards has human consciousness achieved such Himalayan heights. The days of the Upanishads were really golden, for many reasons…The emphasis of the Upanishads is on WHOLENESS. Remember, it is not on perfection but on wholeness. The moment one becomes interested in being perfect, the ego enters in. The ego is a perfectionist — the desire of the ego is to be perfect — and perfection drives humanity towards insanity. Wholeness is totally different; its flavor is different. Perfection is in the future: it is a desire. Wholeness is herenow: it is a revelation. Perfection has to be achieved, and of course every achievement takes time; it has to be gradual. You have to sacrifice the present for the future, the today for the tomorrow. And the tomorrow never comes; what comes is always today.

Existence knows nothing of future and nothing of past; it knows only the present. Now is the only time and here the only space. The moment you go astray from now and here you are going to end into some kind of madness. You will fall into fragments; your life will become a hell. You will be torn apart: the past will pull a part of you towards itself and the future the other part. You will become schizophrenic, split, divided. Your life will be only a deep anguish, a trembling, an anxiety, a tension. You will not know anything of bliss, you will not know anything of ecstasy because the past exists not. And people go on living in the memories which are only footprints left on the sand; or they project a life into the future, which is also as non-existential as the past. One is no more, the other is not yet, and between the two one loses the real, the present, the now. Wholeness is of the now. If you can be simply here, then this very moment the revelation! Then it is not gradual, it is sudden, it is an explosion!

The word upanishad is tremendously important. It simply means sitting down close to a Master; it is a communion. The Master is living in wholeness; he is living herenow, he is pulsating herenow. His life has a music, his life has a joy, a silence of immense depth. His life is full of light. Just to sit silently by the side of a Master is enough, because the presence of a Master is infectious, the presence of the Master is overwhelming. His silence starts reaching to your very heart. His presence becomes a magnetic pull on you: it pulls you out of the mud of the past and the future. It brings you into the present. Upanishad is a communion, not a communication. A communication is head-to-head and a communion is heart-to-heart. This is one of the greatest secrets of spiritual life, and nowhere else, at no other time, it was understood so deeply as in the days of the Upanishads. The Upanishads were born near about five thousand years before. A secret communion, a transmission beyond the scriptures, a communion, a transmission beyond the scriptures, a communion beyond the words… this is what UPANISHAD is — you sitting silently, not just listening to my words but listening to my presence too. The words are only excuses to hang the silence upon. The silence is the real content, the word is only a container.

If you become too much interested in the word you miss the spirit.

So don’t be too much interested in the word. Listen to the heartbeat of the word. When a Master speaks, those words are coming from his innermost core. They are full of his color, of his light. They carry some of the perfume of his being. If you are open and vulnerable, receptive, welcoming, they will penetrate into your heart and a process is triggered. What Carl Gustav Jung calls synchronicity explains exactly what happens between a Master and a disciple. It is not the same as what happens between a teacher and a student. Between teacher and a student there is a communication; some information is transferred by the teacher to the student, but no transformation — only information. The teacher himself is not transformed, he himself has not arrived. He is repeating words from other teachers, he may be even repeating words from other Masters, but he has not known himself; his words are borrowed. He may be very scholarly, he may be very well-informed, but that is not the real thing. Information is not the real thing — transformation. And unless one is transformed he cannot trigger the process of transformation in others.

Carl Gustav Jung calls this synchronicity. The Master cannot cause your enlightenment. It is not a scientific process, it is far more poetic. It is not a law like the law of cause and effect; it is far more liquid, far more loose, far more flexible. The Master cannot cause the enlightenment to happen in you, but he can trigger the process, and that too only if you allow, not against your will. Nothing can be done to you unless you are totally receptive. This can happen only in a love affair. Between the teacher and the student there is a business: between the Master and the disciple there is a love affair. The disciple is surrendered; that is the meaning of “sitting down”. He is surrendered, he has put his ego aside. He is simply open, in tremendous trust. Of course, doubt will hinder the process. Doubt is perfectly good when you are collecting information: the more you doubt, the more information you will be able to collect, because each doubt will create questions in you and questions are needed to find answers. But each answer will be doubted again in its own turn, creating more questions and so on so forth.


with a Master doubt is a hindrance. It is not of asking a question, it is a quest of the soul; it is enquiry of the heart, it is not intellectual curiosity. It is NOT curiosity, it is far more important — it is a question of life and death. When one is tired of all questions and all answers, when one is fed up with all philosophy, only then one comes to a Master. When one has accumulated much information and still remains ignorant, and all that information does not create any light within his soul, then he comes to a Master, to sit by his side. There are no questions any more; he knows now one thing that all questions are futile. He has tried and he has seen the whole futility of it. Now he sits in silence, open, available, receptive, like a womb. The disciple becomes feminine, and only in those feminine moments the Master, without any effort on his part, starts overflooding the disciple. It happens naturally. The DISCIPLE IS not doing anything, the MASTER IS not doing anything — it is not a question of doing at all. The Master is being himself and the disciple is open.

When your nose is not closed by cold and you pass by the side of a flower, suddenly the fragrance is felt. The flower is not doing anything in particular; it is natural for the flower to release its fragrance. If you are open to receive it you will receive it. The word upanishad means coming to a Master, and one comes to a Master only when one is tired of teachers, tired of teachings, tired of dogmas, creeds, philosophies, theologies, religions. Then one comes to a Master. And the way to come to a Master is surrender. Not that your being is surrendered — only the ego, the false idea that you are somebody, somebody special. The moment you put the idea of the ego aside, the doors are open — for the wind, for the rain, for the sun — and the Master’s presence will start entering in you, creating a new dance in your life, giving you a new sense of poetry, mystery, music. It is synchronicity. The Master is beating in a certain rhythm, he is dancing on a certain plane. If you are ready, the same dance starts happening in you — in the beginning only a little bit, but that’s enough, that little bit is enough. In the beginning only dewdrops, but soon they become oceanic.

Once you have tasted the joy of being open you cannot be closed again. First you may open only a window or a door, and then you open all your windows and all the doors. And a moment comes in the life of a disciple when not only windows and doors are opened, even the walls disappear! He is utterly open, available multidimensionally. This is the meaning of the word upanishad.

The Upanishads are written in Sanskrit; Sanskrit is the oldest language on the earth. The very word Sanskrit means transformed, adorned, crowned, decorated, refined — but remember the word “transformed”. The language itself was transformed because so many people attained to the ultimate, and because they were using the language, something of their joy penetrated into it, something of their poetry entered into the very cells, the very fiber of the language. Even the language became transformed, illuminated. It was bound to happen. Just as it is happening today in the West, languages are becoming more and more scientific, accurate, mathematical, precise. They have to be because science is giving them its color, its shape, its form. If science is growing, then of course the language in which the science will be expressed will have to be scientific.

The same happened five thousand years before in India with Sanskrit. So many people became enlightened and they were all speaking Sanskrit; their enlightenment entered into it with all its music, with all its poetry, with all its celebration. Sanskrit became luminous. Sanskrit is the most poetic and musical language in existence. A poetic language is just the opposite of a scientific language. In scientific language every word has to be very precise in meaning; it has to have only one meaning. In a poetic language the word has to be liquid, flowing, dynamic, not static, allowing many meanings, many possibilities. The word has to be not precise at all; the more imprecise it is the better, because then it will be able to express all kinds of nuances. Hence the Sanskrit sutras can be defined in many ways, can be commented upon in many ways — they allow much playfulness.

For example, there are eight hundred roots in Sanskrit and out of those eight hundred roots thousands of words have been derived, just as out of one root a tree grows and many branches and thousands of leaves and hundreds of flowers. Each single root becomes a vast tree with great foliage.

For example, the root RAM can mean first “to be calm”, second “to rest”, third “to delight in”, fourth “cause delight to”, fifth “to make love”, sixth “to join”, seventh “to make happy”, eighth “to be blissful”, ninth “to play”, tenth “to be peaceful”, eleventh “to stand still”, twelfth “to stop, to come to a full stop”, and thirteenth “God, divine, the absolute”. And these are only few of the meanings of the root. Sometimes the meanings are related to each other, sometimes not; sometimes even they are contradictory to each other. Hence the language has a multidimensional quality to it. You can play with those words and through that play you can express the inexpressible; the inexpressible can be hinted. The Sanskrit language is called DEVAVANI — the divine language. And it certainly is divine in the sense because it is the most poetic and the most musical language. Each word has a music around it, a certain aroma.

How it happened? It happened because so many people used it who were full of inner harmony. Of course those words became luminous: they were used by people who were enlightened. Something of their light filtered to the words, reached to the words; something of their silence entered the very grammar, the very language they were using. The script in which Sanskrit is written is called DEVANAGARI; DEVANAGARI means “dwelling-place of the gods”, and so certainly it is. Each word has become divine, just because it has been used by people who had known God or godliness.

This Upanishad in which we are entering today is the smallest — it can be written on a postcard — and yet it is the greatest document in existence. There is no document of such luminosity, of such profoundness anywhere in the whole history of humanity. The name of the Upanishad is ISA UPANISHAD.

The world of the Upanishads is very close to my approach. In fact, what I am doing here is giving a rebirth to the spirit of the Upanishads. It has disappeared even from India, and it has not been on the scene at least for three thousand years. There is a gap of three thousand years, and in these three thousand years India has destroyed its own achievement. The first thing is that Upanishads are not anti-life, they are not for renouncing life. Their approach is whole: life has to be lived in its totality. They don’t teach escapism. They want you to LIVE in the world, but in such a way that you remain ABOVE the world, in a certain sense transcendental to the world, living in the world and yet not being of it. But they don’t teach you that life has to be renounced, that you have to escape from life, that life is ugly or life is sin. They rejoice in life! It is a gift of God; it is the manifest form of God. This fundamental has to be remembered. Upanishads say that the world is the manifest form of God and the God is the unmanifest form of the world, and every manifest phenomenon has an unmanifest phenomenon inside it.

When you see a flower, the flower is only the manifest form of something inside it, its essence, which is unmanifest, which is its soul, its very being. You cannot catch hold of it, you cannot find it by dissecting the flower. For that you need a poetic approach, not the scientific approach. The scientific approach analyzes; the poetic perspective is totally different. The science will never find any beauty in the flower because beauty belongs to the unmanifest form. Science will dissect the manifest form and will find all kinds of substances the flower is made of but will miss its soul. Each and everything has both, the body and the soul. The body is the world and the soul is God, but the body is not AGAINST the soul, the world is not against the God.

The world manifests God, expresses God. God is silence and the world is the song of that silence.

And the same is true about you. Every person has both: the manifest, the bodymind structure, and the unmanifest, your consciousness.

Religion consists in discovering the unmanifest in the manifest. It is not a question of escaping anywhere; it is exploring your innermost depths. It is exploring the silent center, the center of the cyclone. And it is always there; any moment you can find it. It is not something that has to be found somewhere else, in the Himalayas or in a monastery. It is within YOU! YOU can discover it in the Himalayas, you can discover it in the marketplace. The Upanishads say that to choose between the absolute and the relative is wrong. Any choice will make you partial; you will not be whole. And without whole there is no bliss, without whole there is no holiness; without whole you are always going to be a little bit lopsided, insane. When you are whole you are healthy because you are total. The relative means the world, the changing, phenomenal world, and the absolute means the unchanging center of the changing world. Find the unchanging in the changing. And it is there so there is no question; just you have to know the technique of discovering it. That technique is meditation.

Meditation simply means becoming attuned to the unmanifest. The body is there, you can see it; the mind is there, you can see it too. If you close your eyes you will see the mind with all its activity, with all its working. Thoughts are passing, desires are arising, memories surfacing, and the whole activity of the mind will be there; you can watch it. One thing is certain: the watcher is not the mind. The one who is conscious of the activities of the mind is not part of the mind. The watcher is separate, the witness is separate. To become aware of this witness is to have found the essential, the central, the absolute, the unchanging.

The body changes: once you were a child, then a young man or a young woman, then old age… One day you were in the mother’s womb, then you were born, then one day again you die and disappear into the womb of existence. The body goes on changing, continuously changing. The mind goes on changing. In the morning you are happy, in the afternoon you are angry, in the evening you are sad. Moods, emotions, feelings, go on changing; thoughts go on changing. The wheel goes on moving around you. This is the cyclone; the phenomenal world is the cyclone. It is never the same, not even for two consecutive moments. But something is always the same, always, never changes — it is the witness.

To find that witness is to find God.

Hence Upanishads don’t teach you worship, they teach you meditation. And meditation can be done anywhere because the question is to know the witness. If you go into a monastery the same method will have to be applied there; if you go into the mountains the same method has to be applied there. You can be in the home, in the family, in the marketplace — the same method.

In fact, in the world it is easier to see the changing. When you go to the desert it will be more difficult to see the changing because in the desert almost nothing seems to change, or the change is so subtle that it is not visible. But in the marketplace, sitting by the side of a road, you can see the change continuously, the traffic on the road changing; it is never the same. Living in the monastery is living in a static world, in a dormant world. It is living like a frog in a pond, in a well, enclosed. To live in the ocean will make you more aware of the changes.

It is good to be in the world: that is the message of the Upanishads. The Upanishadic seers were not ascetic. Of course they renounced many things, but the renunciation came not through effort, it came through understanding, it came through meditation. They renounced the ego because they saw that it is just a manufactured entity by the mind. It has no reality, no substance in it; it is pure shadow, and to waste your life with it is stupid. To say that they renounced is not right; it will be better to say that because they became so aware it withered away on its own accord. They became non-possessive. It is not that they did not possess things, but they became non-possessive. They USED things. They were not beggars. They lived joyously, enjoying everything that was available to them, but they were not possessive, they were not clingers. That is true renunciation: living in the world and yet remaining absolutely non-possessive. They loved, but they were not jealous. They loved totally but without any ego trip, without any idea to dominate the other.

This is what I am trying to do here, and there are fools in India who think I am against Indian culture. Of course I am against what has happened in these three thousand years — that is not true culture, that is a deviation, that is ugly. That has made India poor, that has kept India a slave for twenty-two centuries; that has made India so starved, unhealthy, unhygienic, for the simple reason if you teach people that life is not good to live — it is only worth renouncing, it has no value, the only value it has is to renounce it, the only virtue is to be anti-life — naturally life is going to suffer. But this is not the message of the Upanishads, and the

Upanishads are the very soul of this country, and not only of this country but of all the people who have been religious anywhere. They will find in Upanishads their very heart, they will rejoice in Upanishads because Upanishads teach wholeness.


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

Discourse Series: I Am That

Chapter #1

Chapter title: Beyond the Changing

11 October 1980 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘Upanishad, communion, heart, master, disciple, surrender, meditation, silence’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

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