Yoga: The Way to Pure Consciousness

International Yoga Day

Yoga simply means the fusion, the merging or the act of becoming one. And when we talk about this in the sense of inner world, it is the merging into self or existence. Yoga is a broad term, not just physical postures. Physical postures are the part of methods used to achieve ultimate state of yoga. Starting from the physical body, creating a harmony, a balance and slowly slowly moving inwards.

Yoga could be the best way to live a balance, healthy and blissful life. Today, on international yoga day let us bring the peace, balance and joy in our life with yoga. Yoga is the true scientific way of life.

Osho says “Yoga is an effort to reach the oneness of being through the left hemisphere, using logic, mathematics, science and trying to go beyond. Zen is just the opposite: the aim is the same but Zen uses the right hemisphere to go beyond.”

Osho also explains the meaning of yoga and says “meaning of the word ‘yoga’ — that which unites. That is the meaning of the word ‘religion’ also — that which makes you one, that which puts you again together — ‘religere’. You are no longer split.”

Osho Says….

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.

In India, all the religions that have developed have very different — in fact, antagonistic — philosophies, concepts, perceptions. They have nothing in common. Between Hinduism and Jainism there is nothing in common; between Hinduism and Buddhism there is nothing in common. There is only one common thing that none of these religions can deny: yoga.

Buddha says, “There is no body, there is no soul,” but he cannot say, “There is no yoga.” Mahavira says, “There is no body, but there is a soul,” but he cannot say, “There is no yoga.” Hinduism says, “There is body, there is soul — and there is yoga.” Yoga remains constant. Even Christianity cannot deny it; even Mohammedanism cannot deny it. In fact, even someone who is totally atheistically oriented cannot deny yoga because yoga doesn’t make it a precondition to believe in God. Yoga has no preconditions; yoga is absolutely experiential. When the concept of God is mentioned — and in the most ancient yoga books it was never mentioned at all — it is mentioned only as a method. It can be used as a hypothesis — if it is helpful to someone it can be used — but it is not an absolute condition. That is why Buddha can be a yogi without God, without the Vedas, without any belief. Without any faith, any so-called faith, he can be a yogi.

So for theists, or even for an atheist, yoga can become a common ground. It can become a bridge between science and religion. It is rational and irrational simultaneously. The methodology is totally rational, but through the methodology you move deep into the mystery of the irrational. The whole process is so rational — every step is so rational, so scientific, it is so logical — that you just have to do it and everything else follows…

With yoga, you have to proceed rationally, but only in order to jump into the irrational. The end is bound to be irrational. That which you can understand — the rational — cannot be the source because it is finite. The source must be greater than you. The source from which you have come, from which everything has come, the whole universe has come — and where it goes down and disappears again — must be more than this. The manifestation must be less than the source. A rational mind can feel and understand the manifested, but the unmanifested remains behind.

Yoga does not insist that one must be rational. It says, “It is rational to conceive of something irrational. It is rational, really, to conceive of the boundaries of the rational.” A true, authentic mind always knows the limitations of reason, always knows that reason ends somewhere. Anyone who is authentically rational has to come to a point where the irrational is felt. If you proceed with reason toward the ultimate, the boundary will be felt. Einstein felt it; Wittgenstein felt it. Wittgenstein’s TRACTATUS is one of the most rational books ever written; he is one of the most rationalistic minds. He goes on talking about existence in a very logical way, a very rational way. His expressions — words, language, everything — is rational, but then he says, “There are some things about which, there is a point beyond which, nothing can be said, and I must remain silent about it.” Then he writes, “That which cannot be said must not be said.”

The whole edifice falls: the whole edifice! Wittgenstein was trying to be rational about the entire phenomenon of life and existence, and then suddenly a point comes and he says, “Now, beyond this point, nothing can be said.” This says something — something very significant. Something is there now and nothing can be said about it. Now there is a point that cannot be defined, where all definitions simply fall down. Whenever there has been an authentic, logical mind, it comes to this point. Einstein died a mystic — and more of a mystic than your so-called mystics, because if you are a mystic without ever having tried to follow the path of reason you can never be deep in mysticism. You have not really known the boundaries. I have seen mystics who go on talking about God as a logical concept, as an argument. There have been Christian mystics who have been trying to “prove” God. What nonsense! If even God can be proved, you leave nothing unproved, and the unproved is the source…

The Christian mystic Tertullian says, “I believe in God because I cannot prove him; I believe in God because it is impossible to believe.” This is how a real mystic will feel: “It is impossible; that is why I believe.” If it is possible, then there is no need to believe. It becomes just a concept, an ordinary concept. This is what mystics have always meant by faith, by belief. It is not something intellectual, it is not a concept; it is a jump into the impossible. But you can only jump into the mysterious from the edge of reason, never before. How can you do it before? You can jump only when you have stretched reason to its logical extremes. You have come to a point that reason cannot go beyond, and the beyond remains. Now you know that reason cannot take a single step further and yet the “further” remains. Even if you decide to remain with reason, a boundary is created. You know that existence is beyond the boundary of reason, so even if you do not go beyond this boundary, you become a mystic. Even if you do not take the jump you become a mystic because you have known something, you have encountered something that was not rational at all.

All that reason can know you have known. Now something is encountered that reason cannot know. If you take the jump, you have to leave reason behind; you cannot take the jump with reason itself. This is what faith is. Faith is not against reason; it is beyond it. It is not antirational; it is irrational. Yoga is the method of bringing you to the extreme limit of reason — and not only a method to bring you to the extreme, but also a method to take the jump.

How to take the jump? Einstein, for example, would have flowered like a Buddha if he had known something about meditative methods. He was just on the verge, many times in his life he came to the point from which a jump was possible. But again and again he missed: he was entangled, again, in reason. And in the end, he was frustrated by his whole life of reason. The same thing could have happened with Buddha. He also had a very rational mind, but there was something possible for him, a method that could be used. Not only does reason have its methods, irrationality also has methods. Reason has its own methods; irrationality has its own methods.

Yoga is ultimately concerned with irrational methods; only in the beginning can rational methods be used. They are just to persuade you, to push you, to persuade your reason to move toward the limit. And if you have come to the limit, you will take the ultimate jump.

Gurdjieff worked with a certain group on some deep, irrational methods. He was working with a group of seekers and using a particular irrational method. He used to call it a Stop Exercise. For example, you would be with him and suddenly he would say, “Stop!” Then everyone had to stop as he is — totally stop. If the hand was in a certain place, the hand must stop there. If the eyes were open, they would have to remain open; if the mouth was open — you were just about to say something — the mouth would have to remain as it was. No movement! This method begins with the body. If there is no movement in the body, suddenly there is no movement in the mind. The two are associated: you cannot move your body without some inner movement of the mind, and you cannot stop your body totally without stopping the inner movement of the mind. Body and mind are not two things; they are one energy. The energy is more dense in the body than it is in the mind; the density differs, the frequency of the wavelength differs, but it is the same wave, the same flow of energy.

Seekers were practicing this Stop Exercise continually for one month. One day Gurdjieff was in his tent and three seekers were walking through a dry canal that was on the grounds. It was a dry canal; no water was flowing in it. Suddenly, from his tent, Gurdjieff cried, “Stop!” Everyone on the bank of the canal stopped. The three who were in the canal also stopped. It was dry, so there was no problem. Then suddenly there was an onrush of water. Someone had opened the water supply and water rushed into the canal. When it had come up to the necks of the three, one of them jumped out of the canal thinking, “Gurdjieff does not know what is happening. He is in his tent and he is unaware of the fact that water has come into the canal.” The man thought, “I must jump out. Now it is irrational to be here,” and he jumped out.

The other two remained in the canal as the water became higher and higher. Finally it reached their noses and the second man thought, “This is the limit! I have not come here to die. I have come here to know eternal life, not to lose this one,” and he jumped out of the canal.

The third man remained. The same problem faced him, too, but he decided to remain because Gurdjieff had said that this was an irrational exercise and if it was done with reason, the whole thing would be destroyed. He thought, “Okay, I accept death, but I cannot stop this exercise,” and he remained there. Now water was flowing above his head. Gurdjieff jumped out of his tent and into the canal and brought him out. He was just on the verge of death. But when he revived, he was a transformed man. He was not the same one who was standing and doing the exercise; he was transformed totally. He had known something; he had taken the jump.

Where is the limit? If you continue with reason, you may miss. You go on falling back.

Sometimes one has to suddenly take a step that leads you beyond. That step becomes a transformation; the division is transcended. Whether you say that this division is between the conscious and the unconscious, between reason and nonreason, science and religion, or East and West — division must be transcended. That is what yoga is: a transcendence.

Then you can come back to reason, but you will be transformed. You can even reason things out, but you will be beyond reason.


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

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
  13. Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2

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