Wakefulness is Life
Birthday of Shri Aurobindo
Today is the day when a great Indian philosopher, freedom fighter, poet and yogi Shri Aurobindo, was born. He was the man of great intelligence and intellectual. His contribution to the world is extraordinary and unique. His theory of superhuman and different levels of consciousness, the expansion of supreme consciousness, transformation of matter to higher consciousness and the light body activation are incomparable. No one had done such a work before or after him.
Many years of his early life he dedicatedly served the country for freedom struggle and he had a great role in Indian freedom movement. After this, in his midlife he totally got shifted towards his inner journey of meditation. His literary contribution is truly beautiful e.g. ‘Integral Yoga’, ‘‘Synthesis of Yoga’, ‘Savitri’, ‘The Life Divine’, ‘The mind of light’ and ‘The Mother’ are some of his great works.
Osho has said that Aurobindo was a great man of knowledge but not the awakened one. Osho also opposes the theory that god descends and he says I think that is a very wrong idea. It is true God descends, but he descends only on those who ascend to him. A great deal depends on the individual and his efforts. Divine energy descends on those who prepare themselves for it, who deserve it. And there is no reason for God to be collectively available to one and all. In fact, God is always available, but only to those who aspire and strive for him. And it is always the individual, not a collective or a society, who walks the path to God. And he has to go all alone.
But Osho supports Aurobindo poetic form and says But there is another side of Arvind which is poetic. He is not only an intellectual but also a great poet. As a poet he is not less than Rabindranath Tagore. If he failed to receive the Nobel Prize, it was not because he did not deserve it, but because his poetry is much too complex and difficult to understand. His Savitri ranks among the great epics of the world; there are hardly ten great epics of the stature of Savitri. And unlike the scholar, the poet in Arvind is quite capable of seeing Krishna’s visions. Ironically, Arvind has expressed this experience strictly in terms of logic and reason, which is of course natural. And his account of the experience does not have the flavor of the transconscious.
WAKEFULNESS IS THE WAY TO LIFE.
You are alive only in the proportion that you are aware. Awareness is the difference between death and life.
You are not alive just because you are breathing, you are not alive just because your heart is beating. Physiologically you can be kept alive in a hospital, without any consciousness. Your heart will go on beating and you will be able to breathe. You can be kept in such a mechanical arrangement that you will remain alive for years — in the sense of breathing and the heart beating and the blood circulating. There are now many people around the world in advanced countries who are just vegetating in the hospitals, because advanced technology has made it possible for your death to be postponed indefinitely — for years, for centuries, you can be kept alive. If this is life, then you can be kept alive. But this is not life at all.
Just to vegetate is not life. Buddhas have a different definition. Their definition consists of awareness. They don’t say you are alive because you can breathe, they don’t say you are alive because your blood circulates; they say you are alive if you are awake. So except for the awakened ones nobody is really alive. You are corpses — walking, talking, doing things — you are robots. WAKEFULNESS IS THE WAY TO LIFE, says Buddha. Become more wakeful and you will become more alive. And life is God — there is no other God. Hence Buddha talks about life and awareness. Life is the goal and awareness is the methodology, the technique to attain it.
THE FOOL SLEEPS….
And all are asleep, so all are foolish. Don’t feel offended. The facts have to be stated as they are. You function in sleep; that’s why you go on stumbling, you go on doing things you don’t want to do. You go on doing things you have decided not to do. You go on doing things you know are not right to do, and you don’t do things which you know are right. How is this possible? Why can’t you walk straight? Why do you go on getting trapped into bypaths? Why do you go on going astray?…Watch your life: everything that you go on doing is so confused and so confusing. You don’t have any clarity, you don’t have any perceptiveness. You are not alert. You can’t see! You can’t hear! Certainly, you have ears so you can hear, but there is nobody inside to understand it. Certainly you have eyes so you can see, but there is nobody present inside. So your eyes go on seeing and your ears go on listening, but nothing is understood. If you really had eyes you would see God everywhere. And if you could hear you would hear the celestial music, you would hear the harmony of existence.
And on each step you stumble, on each step you commit something wrong. And still you go on believing that you are aware. Drop that idea completely. Dropping it is a great leap, a great step, because once you drop the idea that “I am aware” you will start seeking and searching for ways and means to be aware. So the first thing to sink into you is that you are asleep, utterly asleep. Modern psychology has discovered a few things which are significant; although they have been discovered only intellectually, still it is a good beginning. If intellectually they have been discovered, then sooner or later existentially also they will be experienced. Freud is a great pioneer; of course, not a buddha, but still a man of great significance, because he was the first to make the idea accepted by the larger part of humanity that man has a great unconscious hidden in him. The conscious mind is only one tenth, and the unconscious mind is nine times bigger than the conscious.
Then his disciple, Jung, went a little further, a little deeper, and discovered the collective unconscious. Behind the individual unconscious there is a collective unconscious. Now somebody is needed to discover one thing more which is there, and I hope…. Sooner or later the psychological investigations that are going on, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, are bound to discover it — the cosmic unconscious. Buddhas have talked about it. So we can say: the conscious mind, a very fragile thing, a very small part of your being. Behind the conscious is the subconscious mind — vague. You can hear its whispering but you cannot figure it out. It is always there, behind the conscious, pulling its strings. Third: the unconscious mind which you come across only in dreams or when you take drugs.
Then, the collective unconscious mind. You come across it only when you go into a very deep inquiry into your unconscious mind; then you come across the collective unconscious. And if you go still further, deeper, you will come to the cosmic unconscious. The cosmic unconscious is nature. The collective unconscious is the whole of humanity that has lived up to now, it is part of you. The unconscious is your individual unconscious that the society has repressed in you, that has not been allowed expression. Hence it comes by the back door in the night, in your dreams. And the conscious mind…I will call it the so-called conscious mind because it is only so-called. It is so tiny, just a flicker, but even if it is just a flicker it is important because it has the seed; the seeds are always small. It has great potential.
Now a totally new dimension is opening up. Just as Freud opened the dimension below the conscious, Sri Aurobindo opened the dimension above the conscious. Freud and Sri Aurobindo are the two most important people of this age. Both are intellectuals, neither of them is an awakened person, but both have done a great service to humanity. Intellectually they have made us aware that we are not so small as we appear from the surface, that the surface is hiding great depths and heights. Freud went into the depths, Sri Aurobindo tried to penetrate into the heights. Above our so-called conscious mind is the real conscious mind; that is attained only through meditation. When your ordinary conscious mind is added to meditation, when the ordinary conscious mind is plus meditation, it becomes the real conscious mind. Beyond the real conscious mind is the superconscious mind.
When you are meditating you have only glimpses. Meditation is a groping in the dark. Yes, a few windows open up, but you fall back again and again. Superconscious mind means samadhi — you have attained a crystal-clear perceptiveness, you have attained an integrated awareness. Now you cannot fall below it; it is yours. Even in sleep it will remain with you. Beyond the superconscious is the collective superconscious; the collective superconscious is what is known as “gods” in religions. And beyond the collective superconscious is the cosmic superconscious which even goes beyond gods. Buddha calls it nirvana, Mahavira calls it kaivalya, Hindu mystics have called it moksha; you can call it the truth. These are the nine states of your being, and you are just living in a small corner of your being — the tiny conscious mind; as if somebody has a palace and has completely forgotten about the palace and has started living on the porch — and thinks this is all.
Freud and Sri Aurobindo are both great intellectual giants, pioneers, philosophers, but both are doing great guesswork. Instead of teaching students the philosophy of Bertrand Russell, Alfred North Whitehead, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, it would be far better if people were taught more about Sri Aurobindo, because he is the greatest philosopher of this age. But he is completely neglected, ignored by the academic world — for a certain reason. The reason is, even to read Sri Aurobindo will make you feel that you are unaware; and he himself is not a buddha yet, but still he will create a very embarrassing situation for you. If he is right, then what are you doing? Then why are you not exploring the heights of your being? Freud was accepted with great resistance, but finally he was accepted. Sri Aurobindo is not even accepted yet. In fact there is not even any opposition to him; he is simply ignored.
And the reason is clear. Freud talks about something below you — that is not so embarrassing; you can feel good knowing that you are conscious, and below your consciousness there is subconsciousness and unconsciousness and collective unconsciousness. But those states are all below you; you are at the top, you can feel very good. But if you study Sri Aurobindo, you will feel embarrassed, offended, because there are higher states than you — and man’s ego never wants to accept that there is anything higher than him. Man wants to believe that he is the highest pinnacle, the climax, the Gourishankar, the Everest — that there is nothing higher than him….That’s why the modern man wants to deny God, because to accept God means you have to accept something higher than you. And the modern ego is so puffed up that the modern mind says there is no God and there is no beyond and there is no afterlife. And it feels very good — denying your own kingdom, denying your own heights, you feel very good. Look at the foolishness of it. Buddha is right. He says:
THE FOOL SLEEPS
AS IF HE WERE ALREADY DEAD,
BUT THE MASTER IS AWAKE
AND HE LIVES FOREVER.
Awareness is eternal, it knows no death. Only unawareness dies.
So if you remain unconscious, asleep, you will have to die again. If you want to get rid of this whole misery of being born and dying again and again, if you want to get rid of the wheel of birth and death, you will have to become absolutely alert. You will have to reach higher and higher into consciousness. And these things are not to be accepted on intellectual grounds; these things have to become experiential, these things have to become existential. I am not telling you to be convinced philosophically, because philosophical conviction brings nothing, no harvest. The real harvest comes only when you make great effort to wake yourself up. But these intellectual maps can create a desire, a longing in you; can make you aware of the potential, of the possible; can make you aware that you are not what you appear to be — you are far more.
THE FOOL SLEEPS AS IF HE WERE ALREADY DEAD, BUT THE MASTER IS AWAKE AND HE LIVES FOREVER. HE WATCHES. HE IS CLEAR.
Simple and beautiful statements. Truth is always simple and always beautiful. Just to see the simplicity of these two statements…but how much they contain — worlds within worlds, infinite worlds. HE WATCHES. HE IS CLEAR.
The only thing that has to be learned is watchfulness. Watch! Watch every act that you do. Watch every thought that passes in your mind. Watch every desire that takes possession of you. Watch even small gestures — walking, talking, eating, taking a bath. Go on watching everything. Let everything become an opportunity to watch.
Don’t eat mechanically, don’t just go on stuffing yourself — be very watchful. Chew well and watchfully…and you will be surprised how much you have been missing up to now, because each bite will give you tremendous satisfaction; if you eat watchfully, it will become more tasteful. Even ordinary food tastes if you are watchful; and if you are not watchful, you can eat the most tasteful food but there will be no taste in it, because there is nobody to watch.
You simply go on stuffing yourself.
Eat slowly, watchfully; each bite has to be chewed, tasted. Smell, touch, feel the breeze and the sunrays. Look at the moon and become just a silent pool of watchfulness, and the moon will be reflected in you with tremendous beauty. Move in life remaining continuously watchful. Again and again you will forget. Don’t become miserable because of that; it is natural. For millions of lives you have never tried watchfulness, so it is simple, natural, that you go on forgetting again and again. But the moment you remember, again watch. Remember one thing: when you remember that you have forgotten watching, don’t become repentful, don’t repent; otherwise, again you are wasting time. Don’t feel miserable: “I missed again.” Don’t start feeling, “I am a sinner.” Don’t start condemning yourself, because this is a sheer waste of time. Never repent for the past! Live in the moment. If you had forgotten, so what? It was natural — it has become a habit, and habits die hard. And these are not habits imbibed in one life; these are habits imbibed in millions of lives. So if you can remain watchful even for a few moments, feel thankful to God — feel thankful. Even those few moments are more than expected.
HE WATCHES. HE IS CLEAR.
And when you watch, a clarity arises. Why does clarity arise out of watchfulness? Because the more watchful you become, the more all your hastiness slows down. You become more graceful. As you watch, your chattering mind chatters less, because the energy that was becoming chattering is turning and becoming watchfulness — it is the same energy! Now more and more energy will be transformed into watchfulness and the mind will not get its nourishment. Thoughts will start becoming thinner, they will start losing weight. Slowly slowly, they will start dying. And as thoughts start dying, clarity arises. Now your mind becomes a mirror. HOW HAPPY HE IS! And when one is clear, one is blissful. It is confusion that is the root cause of misery; it is clarity that is the foundation of blissfulness.
HOW HAPPY HE IS!
FOR HE SEES THAT WAKEFULNESS IS LIFE.
And now he knows there is no death, because wakefulness can never be destroyed. When death comes, you will watch it too. You will die watching; watching will not die. Your body will disappear, dust unto dust, but your watchfulness will remain; it will become part of the cosmic whole. It will become cosmic consciousness. In these moments the seers of the Upanishads declare, “Aham brahmasmi! — I am the cosmic consciousness!” It is in such spaces that al-Hillaj Mansoor announced, “Ana’l haq! — I am the truth!” These are the heights which are your birthright. If you are not getting them, only you are responsible and nobody else.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 1
Chapter title: Wakefulness is life
25 June 1979 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on notable Psychologists and philosophers like Adler, Jung, Sigmund Freud, Assaguoli, Aristotle, Sri Aurobindo, 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:
- The Hidden Splendor
- The New Dawn
- This, This, A Thousand Times This: The Very Essence of Zen
- Nirvana: The Last Nightmare
- Beyond Enlightenment
- Beyond Psychology
- Light on The Path
- The Discipline of Transcendence
- From Bondage to Freedom
- From Darkness to Light
- From Ignorance to Innocence
- The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1
- From Personality to Individuality
- I Celebrate Myself: God Is No Where, Life Is Now Here
- Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 4
- Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1