Yoga: The Way to Pure Consciousness

Osho on Yoga

The purpose of life is to become conscious. It is not only the purpose of yoga; the very evolution of life itself is to become more and more conscious. But yoga means something still more. The evolution of life is to become more and more conscious, but the consciousness is always other oriented: you are conscious of some thing, some object. Yoga means to be evolving in the dimension where there is no object and only consciousness remains. Yoga is the method of evolving toward pure consciousness; not being conscious of something, but being consciousness itself. When you are conscious of something, you are not conscious of being conscious. Your consciousness has become focused on something; your attention is not at the source of consciousness itself. In yoga the effort is to become conscious of both the object and the source. The consciousness becomes double arrowed. You must be aware of the object, and you must be simultaneously aware of the subject. Consciousness must become a double arrowed bridge. The subject must not be lost, it must not become forgotten when you are focused on the object. This is the first step in yoga. The second step is to drop both the subject and the object and just be conscious. This pure consciousness is the aim of yoga.

Even without yoga man grows toward becoming more and more conscious, but yoga adds something, contributes something, to this evolution of consciousness. It changes many things  and transforms many things. The first transformation is a double-arrowed awareness, remembering yourself at the very moment that there is something else to be conscious of. The dilemma is this: either you are conscious of some object or you are unconscious. If there are no outside objects, you fall into a sleep; objects are needed in order for you to be conscious. When you are totally unoccupied you feel sleepy — you need some object to be conscious of — but when you have too many objects to be conscious of, you may feel a certain sleeplessness. That is why a person who is too obsessed with thoughts cannot go into sleep. Objects continue to be there, thoughts continue to be there. He cannot become unconscious; thoughts go on demanding his attention. And this is how we exist.

With new objects you become more conscious. That is why there is a lust for the new, a longing for the new. The old becomes boring. The moment you have lived with some object for a while, you become unconscious of it. You have accepted it, now your attention is not needed; you become bored. For example, you may not have been conscious of your wife for years because you have taken her for granted. You no longer see her face, you can’t remember the color of her eyes; for years you have not really been attentive. Only when she dies will you again become aware that she was there. That is why wives and husbands become bored. Any object that is not calling your attention continuously creates boredom. In the same way, a mantra, a repeated sound vibration, causes deep sleep. When a particular mantra is being repeated continuously, you are bored. There is nothing mysterious about it. Constantly repeating a particular word bores you, you cannot live with it anymore. Now you will begin to feel sleepy, you will go into a sort of sleep; you will become unconscious. The whole method of hypnosis, in fact, depends upon boredom. If your mind can be bored with something then you go into a sleep, sleep can be induced.

Our whole consciousness depends on new objects. That is why there is so much longing for the new — for new sensations, a new dress, a new house — for anything that is new, even if it is not  better. With something different, you feel a sudden upsurge of consciousness. Because life is an evolution of consciousness — this is good. As far as life is concerned, it is good. If a society is longing for new sensations, life progresses, but if it settles down with the old, not asking for the new, it becomes dead; consciousness cannot evolve. For example, in the East we try to be content with things as they are. This creates boredom because nothing is ever new. Then for centuries everything goes on continuously as it is. You are just bored. Of course, you can sleep better — the West cannot sleep; insomnia is bound to exist when you are constantly asking for the new — but there is no evolution. And these are the two things that seem to happen: either the whole society becomes sleepy and dead, as has happened in the East, or else the society becomes sleepless, as has happened in the West.

Neither is good. You need a mind that can be aware even when there are no new objects. Really, you need a consciousness that is not bound with the new, not bound with the object. If it is bound with the object, it is going to be bound with the new. You need a consciousness that is not bound with the object at all, which is beyond object. Then you have freedom: you can go to sleep when you like, and you can be awake when you like; no object is needed to help you. You become free, really free, from the objective world. The moment you are beyond object you go beyond subject also, because they both exist co-jointly. Really, subjectivity and objectivity are two poles of one thing. When there is an object you are a subject, but if you can be aware without the object, there is no subject, no self. This is to be understood very deeply: when the object is lost and you can be conscious without objects — just conscious — then the subject is also lost. It cannot remain there. It cannot! Both are lost, and there is simply consciousness, unbounded consciousness. Now there are no boundaries. Neither the object is the boundary nor the subject.

Buddha used to say that when you are in meditation there is no self, no atman, because the very awareness of one’s self isolates you from everything else. If you are still there, objects are still there. “I am,” but “I” cannot exist in total loneliness; “I” exists in relationship with the outside world. “I” is a relata. Then the self, the “I am,” is just something inside you that exists in relationship to something outside. But if the outside is not there this inside dissolves; then there is simple, spontaneous consciousness. This is what yoga is for, this is what yoga means. Yoga is the science of freeing yourself from subject and object boundaries, and unless you are free from these boundaries, you will fall into either the unbalance of the East or the unbalance of the West. If you want contentment, peace of mind, silence, sleep, then  it is good to remain with the same objects continuously. For centuries and centuries there should be no visible change. Then you are at ease, you can sleep better, but this is nothing spiritual; you lose much. The very urge to grow is lost, the very urge for adventure is lost, the very urge to inquire and to find is lost. Really, you begin to vegetate, you become stagnant. If you change this, then you become dynamic but also diseased: you become dynamic but tense, dynamic but mad. You begin to find the new, to inquire for the new, but you are in a whirlwind. The new begins to happen, but you are lost.

If you lose your objectivity, you become too subjective and dreamy, but if you become too obsessed with objects, you lose the subjective. Both situations are unbalanced. The East has tried one; the West has tried the other. And now the East is turning Western and the West is turning Eastern. In the East the attraction is for Western technology, Western science, Western rationalism. Einstein, Aristotle, and Russell have taken hold of the Eastern mind, while in the West quite the opposite is happening: Buddha, Zen and yoga have become more significant. This is a miracle. The East is turning communist, Marxist, materialist, and the West is beginning to think in terms of expanding consciousness — meditation, spirituality, ecstasy. The wheel can turn and we can change our burdens. It will be illuminating for a moment, but then the whole nonsense will begin again. The East has failed in one way and the West has failed in another way, because they both tried denying one part of the mind. You have to transcend both parts and not be concerned with one while denying the other. Mind is a totality; you can either transcend it totally or you cannot transcend it. If you go on denying one part, the denied part will take its revenge.

And, really, the denied part in the East is taking its revenge in the East, and the denied part in the West is taking its revenge in the West. You can never go beyond the denied; it is there, and it goes on gathering more and more strength. The very moment when the part you have accepted succeeds is the moment of failure. Nothing fails like success. With any partial success — with the success of one part of you — you are bound to go into deeper failure. That which you have gained becomes unconscious and that which you have lost comes into awareness. Absence is felt more. If you lose a tooth, your tongue becomes aware of the absence and goes to the absent tooth. It has never gone there before — never — but now you can’t stop it; it continually moves to the vacant place to feel the tooth that is not there. In the same way, when one part of the mind succeeds, you become aware of the failure of the other part — the part that could have been and is not. Now the East has become conscious of the foolishness of not being scientific: it is the reason why we are poor, it is the reason why we are “no one.” This absence is being felt now and the East has begun to turn Western, while the West is feeling its own foolishness, its lack of integration.

Yoga means a total science of man. It is not simply religion. It is the total science of man, the total transcendence of all the parts. And when you transcend parts, you become whole. The whole is not just an accumulation of the parts; it is not a mechanical thing in which all the parts are put in alignment and then there is a whole. No, it is more than a mechanical thing; it is like something artistic. You can divide a poem into words but then the words mean nothing, and when the whole is there, it is more than words;  it has its own identity. It has gaps as well as words, and sometimes gaps are more meaningful than words. A poem becomes poetry only when it says something that has not really been said, when something about it transcends all the parts. If you divide and analyze it, then you have only the parts, and the transcendental flower that was really the thing is lost. So consciousness is wholeness. By denying a part you lose something — something that was really significant. And you gain nothing; you gain only extremes. Every extreme becomes a disease, every extreme becomes an illness inside, then you go on and on in turmoil; there is an inner anarchy. Yoga is the science of transcending anarchy, the science of making your consciousness whole — and you become whole only when you transcend parts. So yoga is neither religion nor science. It is both. Or, it transcends both. You can say it is a scientific religion or a religious science. That is why yoga can be used by anyone belonging to any religion; it can be used by anyone with any type of mind.


Listen to complete discourse at mentioned below link.

Discourse Series: Meditation: The Art of Ecstasy Chapter #1

Chapter title: Yoga: the Growth of Consciousness


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

  1. The Book of Wisdom
  2. The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol 1, 2
  3. Ecstasy – The Forgotten Language
  4. From Misery to Enlightenment
  5. I Am That
  6. The Psychology of the Esoteric
  7. The Path of the Mystic
  8. The Secret of Secrets
  9. Sufis: The People of the Path, Vol 2
  10. Tantra: The Supreme Understanding
  11. Take It Easy, Vol 1
  12. Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol 1, 2
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