6th march is the day when a great Italian sculptor Michelangelo was born. His full name was Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. He is also known for his great work in the field of painting, poetry and architecture. A number of Michelangelo’s works of painting, sculpture and architecture rank among the most famous in existence. His output in these fields was prodigious; given the sheer volume of surviving correspondence, sketches and reminiscences, he is the best documented artist of the 16th century. He sculpted two of his best-known works, the Pietà and David, before the age of thirty.
Michelangelo was the first Western artist whose biography was published while he was alive. In fact, two biographies were published during his lifetime. One of them, by Giorgio Vasari, proposed that Michelangelo’s work transcended that of any artist living or dead, and was “supreme in not one art alone but in all three”.
Michelangelo was a devout Catholic whose faith deepened at the end of his life. One of his poetry includes following closing lines: “Neither painting nor sculpture will be able any longer to calm my soul, now turned toward that divine love that opened his arms on the cross to take us in.”
Osho says Michelangelo was very much imaginative, and his contribution to the western art is extraordinary.
He has praised Michelangelo’s sculpture work “pieta” many times (the statue of Jesus Christ after he was taken down from the cross, and is lying dead in his mother Mary’s lap). According to Him it is the master piece of Michelangelo and in the excerpt below Osho takes us through the story of its creation.
“The greatest calamity will fall on humanity the day all the dreamers disappear.”The whole evolution of man is because man has dreamt about it. What was a dream yesterday, today is a reality, and what is a dream today can become a reality tomorrow. All the poets are dreamers, all the musicians are dreamers, all the mystics are dreamers. In fact, creativity is a by-product of dreaming.
But these dreams are not the dreams that Sigmund Freud analyzes. So you have to make a distinction between the dream of a poet, the dream of a sculptor, the dream of an architect, the dream of a mystic, the dream of a dancer — and the dreams of a sick mind. It is very unfortunate that Sigmund Freud never bothered about the great dreamers who are the foundation of the whole of human evolution. He came across only the psychologically sick people, and because his whole life’s experience was to analyze the dreams of psychopaths, the very word “dreaming” became condemned. The madman dreams, but his dream is going to be destructive of himself. The creative man also dreams, but his dream is going to enrich the world.
I am reminded of Michelangelo. He was passing through the market where all kinds of marble was available, and he saw a beautiful rock, so he enquired about it.
The owner said, “If you want that rock you can take it for free because it has just been lying around taking up space. And for twelve years, nobody has even enquired about it; I also don’t see that there is any potential in that rock.”
Michelangelo took the rock, worked on it for almost the whole year, and made perhaps the most beautiful statue that has ever existed. Just a few years ago, a madman destroyed it. It was in the Vatican; it was a statue of Jesus Christ after he was taken down from the cross, and is lying dead in his mother Mary’s lap. I have seen only the photographs of it, but it is so alive, as if Jesus is going to wake up any moment. And he has used the marble with such artfulness that you can feel both things — the strength of Jesus and the fragileness. And the tears are in the eyes of Jesus’ mother, Mary.
A madman, just few years ago, hammered the rock that Michelangelo had made, and when he was asked why he had done it he said, “I also want to become famous. Michelangelo had to work one year; then he became famous. I had only to work for five minutes, and I destroyed the whole statue. And my name has gone around the world as a headline on all the papers.”Both men worked on the same marble rock. One was a creator, another was a madman.
After one year, when Michelangelo had finished the work, he asked the shopkeeper to come to his home, because he wanted to show him something.
He could not believe his eyes. He said, “From where did you get this beautiful marble?”
And Michelangelo said, “Don’t you recognize? It is the same ugly rock that waited in front of your shop for twelve years.” And I remember this incident, because the shopkeeper asked, “How did you manage to think that that ugly rock could be turned into such a beautiful statue?”
Michelangelo said, “I did not think about it. I have been dreaming of making this statue, and when I was passing by the rock I suddenly saw Jesus, calling me, I am encaged in the rock. Free me; help me to get out of this rock.’ I saw exactly the same statue in the rock. So I have only done a small job: I have removed the unnecessary parts of the rock, and Jesus and Mary are free from their bondage.”…
So don’t be worried about being a dreamer. All the people who have gathered around me are dreamers. They are dreaming of a higher state of consciousness, they are dreaming of a possibility to find the eternal source of life. They are dreaming of God. And their dreams are not sick, their dreams are authentically healthy. The whole evolution of man and his consciousness depends on these dreamers…
The whole existence is one organic unity. You are not only holding hands with each other, you are holding hands with the trees. You are not only breathing together, the whole universe is breathing together. The universe is in a deep harmony. Only man has forgotten the language of harmony, and our work here is to remind you. We are not creating harmony; harmony is your reality. It is just that you have forgotten about it.
Perhaps it is so obvious that one tends to forget about it. Perhaps you are born in it; how can you think about it?
An ancient parable is that a fish who was of a philosophical bent of mind was asking other fish, “I have heard so much about the ocean; where is it?” And she is in the ocean! But she was born in the ocean, she has lived in the ocean; there has never been any separation. She has not seen ocean as a separate object from herself. An old fish caught hold of the young philosopher and told her, “This is the ocean we are in.”
But the young philosopher said, “You must be kidding. This is water and you are calling it the ocean. I will have to enquire more of wiser people around.”
A fish comes to know about the ocean only when it is caught by a fisherman and drawn out of the ocean, thrown into the sand. Then, for the first time she understands that she has always lived in the ocean, that ocean is her life and without it she cannot survive.
But with man there is a difficulty. You cannot be taken out of existence. Existence is infinite, there are no shores where you can stand aloof and see existence. Wherever you are, you will be part of existence. We are all breathing together. We are part of one orchestra. To understand it is a great experience — don’t call it dreaming, because dreaming has got a very wrong connotation because of Sigmund Freud. Otherwise it is one of the most beautiful words, very poetic. You are experiencing a reality, because all the people who are here, are here for the same purpose: just to be silent, just to be joyful, just to be. In their silence, they will feel they are joined with others.
When you are thinking, you are separate from others because you are thinking some thoughts and the other person is thinking different thoughts. But if you are both silent, then all the walls between you disappear. Two silences cannot remain two. They become one.
All great values of life — love, silence, blissfulness, ecstasy, godliness — make you aware of an immense oneness. There is nobody else other than you; we are all different expressions of one reality, different songs of one singer, different dances of one dancer, different paintings — but the painter is one.
But this has to be reminded to you, Amrito, again: don’t call it a dream, because in calling it a dream you are not understanding that it is a reality. And reality is far more beautiful than any dream can be. Reality is more psychedelic, more colorful, more joyful, more dancing than you can ever imagine. But we are living so unconsciously.
Our first unconsciousness is that we think that we are separate. But I emphasize that no man is an island, we are all part of a vast continent. There is variety, but that does not make us separate. Variety makes life richer — part of us is in the Himalayas, a part of us is in the stars, a part of us is in the roses. A part of us is in the bird on the wing, a part of us is in the green of the trees. We are spread all over. To experience it as reality will transform your whole approach towards life, will transform your every act, will transform your very being. You will become full of love; you will become full of reverence for life. You will become for the first time, according to me, truly religious
— not a Christian, not a Hindu, not a Mohammedan, but truly, purely religious.
The word religion is beautiful. It comes from a root which means bringing together those who have fallen apart in their ignorance; bringing them together, waking them up so that they can see they are not separate. Then you cannot hurt even a tree. Then your compassion and your love will be just spontaneous — not cultivated, not something of a discipline. If love is a discipline, it is false. If nonviolence is cultivated, it is false. If compassion is nurtured, it is false. But if they come spontaneously without any effort of your own, then they have a reality so deep, so exquisite….
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
The Hidden Splendor
Chapter title: Harmony is your reality
26 March 1987 am in Chuang Tzu Auditorium
Osho has spoken extensively on ‘art, poetry, music, dance, painting’ and painters & poets like Picasso, Michael Angelo, Salvador Dali, Van Gogh, Byron, Bhavabhuti, Coleridge, Dinkar, D.H. Lawrence, Kalidas, Kahlil Gibran, Keats, Omar Khayyam, Milton, Yeats, Shelley, Tagore and many more in the course of His talks. More on this subject can be referred to in the following books/discourse titles: