What is Yes?



Prem Satyamo,

Saying yes to existence is to be religious. Saying no is resistance, saying no is conflict, saying no is egoistic. Saying no is keeping your separation, keeping yourself aloof. Saying yes is merging, melting into the whole. Saying yes is opening up, just like a bud opens and becomes a flower. The no is a closed state of mind; yes is an open flower. The difference between no and yes is the difference between a dead and an alive person.

The person who lives in the no remains encapsulated, remains in a windowless world where the sun and the rain and the wind cannot reach; where God can go on knocking but even the sound of the knock will not reach; where love cannot reach.

The closed person, the person who lives with no, lives in the ego. The greater the ego, the less are the bridges between the person and existence. When the ego is total, the person is completely enclosed by a wall; he lives in a prison of his own creation. He cannot say yes to the moon and he cannot say yes to the trees and he cannot say yes to anything! He has forgotten to say yes, and even if he sometimes says yes, his yes is nothing but a camouflaged no…There are people who can say yes only when it is nothing but a camouflaged no. And there are also people, very rare, who can say no only as a camouflaged yes. These are the buddhas. Yes, sometimes they also say no, but their no is not a negative no; the heart of their no is yes. They are incapable of saying no. If they have to use the word sometimes, in certain circumstances, it really means yes. A man like Buddha can sometimes be very hard, but he is hard because of his compassion and love. George Gurdjieff was very hard on his disciples just because of his infinite compassion, his total love.

Yes is the very essence of religion, no the very foundation of irreligion. The atheist is not one who does not believe in God; the atheist is one who believes in no. And the theist is not one who believes in God; the theist is one who believes in yes –

because there have been theists like Buddha and Mahavira who do not believe in God, yet where else can you find more religious people? And there are millions of people who believe in God, and their life gives no indication of any religion — no fragrance. They stink of irreligion, of violence, of hatred, of jealousy, of possessiveness. Flowers of love don’t bloom in their life. Yes is the foundation of a true religious life.

You ask me, “What is yes?”

Yes is dropping of the ego. Yes is coming out of the mind. Yes is trust. Just the other day Buddha was talking about trust: Trust, meditate, and see. Yes means trust, and trust is the beginning of meditation. Meditation means relaxing with existence.

Unless you trust, unless you can say yes to existence, how can you relax? People cannot relax because they are afraid. People cannot relax because they fear that if they relax they may be cheated. People can relax only with others whom they trust. With a stranger in your room you may not be able to sleep in the night. Who knows, he may cut your throat. Who knows, he may steal your money and escape. But with your wife or husband you go into deep sleep, you can trust. The child can go with his father or mother anywhere. Even if the father is going into fire, the child can go singing a song, dancing, inquiring, questioning, unafraid, because he knows his hand is in his father’s hand.

This trust is yes:

knowing that this existence is our mother, that nature is our source — it can’t be against us, it can’t be inimical to us. Seeing this, understanding this, trust arises. Then you can say yes. Then you can say “Amen”; that simply means yes. And the moment you can say yes and you can relax, meditation becomes natural. Without any effort, without any strain, without any tension, you start falling into spaces called meditation… empty of all rubbish and junk, but full of God — full of godliness rather; empty of the world, but full of something that you had never known before; full of a light which is immaterial, full of fragrance which comes from nowhere, out of the blue. Emptiness yet a plenitude, emptiness and yet a fullness — not negative.

And when there is meditation, seeing arises, DARSHAN is born — you become capable of seeing. Your eyes are so clear, so pure; no clouds, no confusion, no thoughts. Your eyes are so perceptive, so penetrating, that you can reach to the deepest core of the mystery of this existence, that you can have a glimpse of the magic that surrounds you, the eternal magic. AES DHAMMO SANANTANO: you can have a look into the inexhaustible law.

Satyamo, you ask, “What is yes? I find that I have no real understanding of it.”

Nobody has! Once you have a real understanding of yes, you have all that is needed for the journey to the other shore. Then you are ready to go to the other shore. The yes becomes the boat, and it is capable of crossing all the storms. Howsoever stormy the ocean may be, the boat of yes is capable of reaching the other shore. If you have the boat of yes, then nobody can prevent you from reaching to God.

You say, “I have seen that whenever I say yes, there is a hint of surprise, as if I am amazed that there is no reason to say no.”

Yes. Anybody starting saying yes, learning how to say yes, is bound to be surprised again and again. The places where you would have said no before, now you are saying yes. You are bound to be surprised because there is no reason to say no. Why did you say no your whole life? Just watch people, and yourself — almost ninety-nine percent of no’s are just out of the ego; there is no valid reason for them. The child wants to go and play outside. It is so sunny and the birds are singing and the wind is blowing and the butterflies and the bees are humming… and the child asks the mother, “Can I go out and play in the garden?” She says “No” — not even thinking, not even listening to what he is really asking for, not even giving him a single thought, a moment’s awareness. No simply comes automatically, as if it is built in. She has not thought, she has not looked at the child at all. She is not saying no to what the child has asked because she is going to say no anyway. It has no reference to the child; it has some reference to her power trip.

So many women don’t really want to be mothers. They are not even worthy of being mothers, but they want to be mothers, they desire to be mothers, for a totally different reason — not for motherhood.

Motherhood is a great meditation. Motherhood is one of the greatest arts: you are creating an alive being. The sculptor is nothing compared to the mother, because he will be creating only a marble statue. The painter is nothing, the poet is nothing, the singer is nothing, the musician is nothing, because they will be playing with things, objects. The mother is the greatest poet and the greatest painter and the greatest musician and the greatest sculptor, because she is creating a consciousness — life itself.

But women are not interested in motherhood, their interest is totally wrong. Although they say that they would like to be mothers, really what they want is power…

Each child has a birthright to dance in the rain, in the wind, in the sun. It gives health, it gives vitality. It brings him closer to nature and closer to God. The mother forces him and takes him to the church or to the temple where he can’t see anything, no God at all. And where God is so much alive, so much throbbing, in nature…. The child would like to climb a tree, it is such a challenge — God is calling him from the tree, from the top of the tree! All children should be allowed to climb trees, to climb mountains. They should be given all chances to accept all kinds of challenges. They should be helped to move into danger. They should be prepared, not protected; prepared to move into danger — helped, persuaded, rewarded, to move into danger because a man who knows how to move in danger is bound to stumble upon God sooner or later. But the mother will say no, the father will say no…No comes easy, no has become our way of life.

You ask me, Satyamo, “I feel surprised, as if amazed that there is no reason to say no.”

Yes, there is no reason to say no. And if you can avoid saying mechanical no’s, if sometimes there is really a reason to say no, your no will have a positive value; it will not be negative. The man who lives in the climate of yes sometimes may have to say no, but his no will not be negative, it can’t be. And vice versa. The person who lives in the climate of no, even if he says yes sometimes, it is not positive, it is not really yes; it is only a disguised no. Its value is negative.

You say, “My yes is always instead of no.”

In the beginning it is bound to be so. You have become so habituated to saying no that your first yes will be instead of no. But that is not the real yes yet, it is only a substitute; it will have something of the no in it, some dirtiness of the no will still cling to this yes. It is as if your cup is dirty and you pour tea into it and your tea also becomes dirty. If your yes is only a substitute for no, if it is instead of no, then it will have some qualities of no still clinging to it. But in the beginning it is bound to be so, so don’t be worried about it. Clean your cup a little more! Start saying yes for no reason at all, just as you have been saying no up to now for no reason at all. It can be one of the most beautiful chantings, far better than repeating “Rama, Rama, Krishna, Krishna, Jesus, Jesus.” Far more beautiful and far more significant, far more meaningful, will be to sit silently and repeat meaningfully, consciously, “Yes, yes, yes.”…

“Jesus” you will repeat mechanically,

but saying “Yes,” really meaning it… bowing down to the earth and saying yes… lying on the earth naked and saying yes to the earth as if the earth is your mother, which it is… swimming in the lake and saying yes to the water, not only saying it, but feeling it all over, each fiber of your being, each cell of your being pulsating with yes… taking a sunbath and saying yes, not verbally, I mean, but existentially… being in the mood of yes… receiving the sun, welcoming the sun and the sand and the texture of the sand, and the coolness of the wind… welcoming all these gifts of God that go on showering on you — and you don’t even feel grateful. Yes is gratitude. No is ugly, ungratefulness.

But in the beginning, Satyamo, it is going to be so: your yes will be only instead of no. But it is a good beginning. Slowly slowly, you will come to a yes which is not instead of no but has its own roots in your being. When that yes has happened to you which has no reference to no — not that it is not only instead of no but it has no reference to no, it is not the opposite of no, it has no resounding of no at all; you have forgotten the no, only yes exists, as if there is no opposite word to it — that is the ultimate peak of yes. In that moment yes becomes prayer, in that moment yes becomes a bridge. The ego disappears, the separation is gone. One feels one with the whole.

You ask me, “Where is the seat of this experience, this yes…?”

The heart is the seat. The seat of no is the head; the seat of yes is the heart. They don’t come from the same place, they don’t come from the same world. They are utterly different. In the dictionary they belong together, but in existence itself they are utterly different — different planes, different dimensions.


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 4
Chapter #10
Chapter title: Aes dhammo sanantano
31 August 1979 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on ‘yes’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Rebel
  2. The Book of Wisdom
  3. Ecstasy – The Forgotten Language
  4. From Ignorance to Innocence
  5. From Personality to Individuality
  6. The Invitation
  7. Satyam Shivam Sundram
  8. Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 1, 2
  9. Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol 1, 2, 3
  10. Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet
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