Life Is An Opportunity

Fri, 16 October 1972 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Osho - Finger Pointing to the Moon
Chapter #:
am in Mt. Abu, Rajasthan, India
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[NOTE: This is a translation of the Hindi series ADHYATMA UPANISHAD. This version is the final edit pending publication.]






Whatsoever is worth achieving in life can be achieved only during the lifetime. But many people go on waiting until after death. Many people think that how can truth, the divine, liberation be achieved while still being in the body, in life, in the world. However, what cannot be attained during life cannot be attained ever.

Life is an opportunity to achieve, whether you spend it in collecting pebbles or in attaining to the divine. Life is a completely neutral opportunity. Life does not tell you what to achieve. If you collect pebbles, accumulate worthless things, or waste your life in increasing and inflating your ego, life will not prevent you from doing so. Or you may dedicate your life to attaining the truth, the self and the ultimate depths of life; then too life will not object in your doing so.

Life is merely a neutral opportunity - you may use it the way you like. But many people have made arrangements to deceive themselves. They think, "Life is for worldly pleasures." They have created such divisions: "Life is for bhoga, indulgence." But then only death remains for yoga, union with the divine. But death is not an opportunity. Let this be understood properly. Death is an end of all opportunity.

What is the meaning of death? Its meaning is that now there is no more opportunity left. Life is an opportunity, death is the end of the opportunity. So nothing can be achieved through death, because for achieving anything there should be a span of opportunity.

But we have divided: we say life is for indulgence. But when life will be exhausted, then?... then yoga. We have created all these stories that you utter into the ears of the dying person at the time of death - when he will not even be able to hear. When living persons do not listen, how would a dead or dying person hear a gayatri mantra, or recite the name of the divine, or the chant "Rama, Rama"?

The person could not hear the gayatri mantra his whole life, and even if he heard he did not listen, and even if he heard he did not grasp.... That person at the time of death - when all the senses will be failing; when the eyes won't see, the ears won't hear, the hands won't touch; when life is disappearing back into its source - will he be able to hear gayatri? No, he will not be able to hear.

But then why do people go on uttering such things into his ears? There is a secret in it. That dying person is unable to hear anything, but the living ones who are uttering it for him remain under the assurance that at the time of their death somebody will utter it for them - and the goal will be achieved. So they have invented stories of this sort.

These dishonest people have invented stories. They say, one person was dying and he had a son named Narayana, one of the names for god, and he shouted aloud "Narayana" to call him. Hearing this, the god Narayana, who is in heaven, was tricked. He thought that he was being remembered.

The dying man was calling his son, perhaps to advise the son in his last moments as to how to do black-marketing or how to keep double accounts! But due to god Narayana's misunderstanding the dying man went to heaven. He himself was surprised as to how he arrived there. But his utterance of the name of Narayana at the time of his death had managed the miracle. No, things cannot be managed so cheaply. And a Narayana, who can be so easily deceived, will also be only a bogus Narayana.

Deceptions don't work in real life; it is another matter that you may console your mind with such ideas.

Death is the end of opportunity. Understand this meaning properly. Death is not yet another opportunity for doing something. Death is the end of all opportunities; you won't be able to do anything. There simply is no way of doing anything in death. Doing means life, so whatsoever is to be done, it has to be done during life.

In this sutra some beautiful words have been used.


Only the one who has known his self during his lifetime will remain as Brahma, the ultimate one, when his body drops. Someone who has known his whole life that he is the body, he will become unconscious while dying - he will go totally unconscious. Very few people die consciously. Death happens in a kind of sleep, in an unconscious state. You are not conscious while dying, otherwise you would be able to remember your previous death. Whatever happens in unconsciousness does not remain in the memory. That is why people do not know that they have been born many times and they have died many times, because whenever they died they were unconscious. And whosoever dies unconscious is born unconscious, because birth and death are two polarities of the same thing.

A person dies here, this is one end of the phenomenon; then the same person enters a womb somewhere, that is the other end. Death and birth are two sides of the same coin.

One who dies unconscious is born unconscious. Therefore you do not even know that you had died earlier. You also do not know of your birth. This news of your birth is also given to you by others. If there is no one to tell you that you were born, you will have no remembrance of your own that you have been born. It is very interesting. That you were born is definite. You may have died before or not, but the fact that now you are born is definite - but you do not even have any memory of this.

This too you have heard from your parents, from others.

The news of your own birth is a rumor to you, you do not have any proof of it. There is no memory of it in your consciousness. What may be the reason for it? You were born; birth is a big event, and you have no knowledge of this big event.

Remember, one who does not know about his birth will have great difficulty in knowing about his death while dying. They are interconnected. Death has happened many times, but you have died unconscious. Leave death aside; you are sleeping every day, the phenomenon of sleep is happening every day, but do you know that just before sleep comes you are losing your consciousness? Do you have any awareness of encountering sleep? When sleep descends, are you able to see it descending? Up to the point of sleep you are able to notice anything; you are still awake, sleep has not descended yet. And the moment sleep descends you are lost. At the very descending of sleep you lose consciousness.

When you are unable to remain aware even in sleep, how are you going to remain aware in death?

Death is a very deep sleep, the deepest sleep: it is very difficult to remain aware in it. You will die unconscious. And in that unconsciousness, whoever is reciting the gayatri mantra, whoever is chanting "Rama, Rama," you will know nothing of it. And this unconsciousness is actually necessary.

Only those people are freed from this unconsciousness who become free from their identification with the body. Why? If a surgeon is operating on your stomach he will have to make you unconscious because there will be so much pain that you will not be able to tolerate it. You will shout, cry, shriek and shake and it will be almost impossible to carry out the operation. The pain will be so much that you may even go insane, your mind will never again be normal. This is why the surgeon administers anaesthesia first and makes you unconscious, and then does the surgery. Your body is cut, but then you do not know. And because you do not know, you do not feel the pain.

Understand this properly. Pain is not experienced because of pain, it is experienced because of knowing. When the surgeon is operating the pain is there, but the only difference is that you do not know it. The surgeon will cut you open and take out unwanted things, but you will not know it. You will know the pain only when you regain your consciousness. And when you know, you will experience the pain happening. In your unconsciousness, even if limb after limb is cut - you are cut to pieces - you will not know.

However, the surgeon is doing a small operation, whereas death is a very big operation. There is no bigger operation than death. The surgeon is merely cutting away a limb or two, but death has to cut away and separate your body from you. You cannot be kept conscious in such a big operation, therefore death has forever used the natural anaesthesia. As soon as death approaches you fall unconscious. In that unconsciousness, the world's biggest surgery happens, the separation of your body from your soul.

But a person can die without becoming unconscious. Nature allows a person to die consciously who has come to know that he is not the body. Why? Because then, when the body is being cut off, he does not identify with the body. He goes on watching from a distance - he can watch from a distance because he knows that something else is being cut: "I am not being cut, I am watching it, I am only a witness." Whenever such a realization becomes crystalized, nature gives such a person the opportunity to die consciously. But this happens at a much later stage. First one has to learn to sleep consciously, and that too comes later; first one has to learn to be conscious while awake.

One who is conscious while awake slowly learns how to sleep consciously. One who lives consciously one day dies consciously. One who dies consciously is able to know that he has become one with Brahma, the ultimate reality. But first one has to know this in the consciousness hidden within one's own body. Then one day this outer pot also breaks and the inner sky merges with the vast sky.

One who dies consciously passes through wonderful experiences. Death does not feel like an enemy to him. Death feels like a friend to him. Death feels like a great union with the divine, with the vast. One who dies consciously can also take a new birth consciously. One who is born consciously, his life is altogether different because he does not repeat the same things over and over again which he has repeated many times before. All that becomes foolish and meaningless to him.

His life becomes something new, his life enters new dimensions. And his witnessing is continuous; one who was a witness at the time of birth, one who was a witness at the time of a previous death, he remains a witness throughout his life.

Thus in only one death you can die fully conscious, and in only one birth you can be fully conscious; thereafter the cycle of birth and death ceases. Thereafter you disappear from the world of bodies.

For this phenomenon of disappearance, in India we have devised a very beautiful word: kaivalya.

This is a wonderful word. Kaivalya means, "I am alone. Only I am and there is nothing else; only I, only consciousness, only the soul, nothing else; only the watcher, only the witness, nothing else; all else is a game, all else is a dream. The truth is only the witnessing consciousness. Only the seer is the truth, the seen is not the truth." Kaivalya is the name given to this experience.

Let us understand this a little. You were a child, then you became a youth, and then you became old. Childhood went away and youth came, youth went away and old age came. This means you are nothing but a constant change. Neither childhood remains, nor youth, nor old age - everything changes. But is there anything within you that does not change? You were miserable, then you became happy; you were happy, then you became miserable; you were peaceful, then you became unpeaceful; you were unpeaceful, then you became peaceful - everything changes. You were rich, you became poor; you were poor, you became rich - everything changes. But is there any one thing within you that does not change?

If there is not such a thing within you, then you simply are not there at all. Then what is the meaning of your being there? Who will then thread together your childhood, your youth and your old age - like a string of a necklace. A necklace is a necklace only when its beads are threaded together on a string. If there is no string inside to thread them all together and only the beads are there, then not only the necklace will not be there but also all the beads will be scattered.

Your childhood is there like a bead, your youth is there like a bead, your old age is there like a bead - but where is the string on which these are all threaded together? Where is that continuity factor?

And that continuity factor is the truth. All else changes. India's definition is that whatever changes, we call it a dream. Let this be understood properly.

We have our own definition of the word dream. Whatsoever changes, we call it a dream, and what never changes, we call it the truth. So the childhood passes off, like a dream; youth passes off, like a dream; happiness comes and goes, unhappiness comes and goes; just as dreams disappear, everything goes on disappearing. Therefore, the seers of India say, it is a vast dream spread all around you.

There are two types of dreams. One type is your personal dreams, the ones you see in your sleep during the night. The other type is the common dream which you see while awake during the day.

But there is no difference between the two, because they both are changing. The dreams of the night are falsified by the morning, and the dreams of life are falsified by death. A moment comes when all that was seen becomes useless. Is there any truth then? But even for the existence of dreams there has to be the base of truth. Even for the change there has to be some base which does not change - otherwise change is not possible. Where is that base? It is within us. The sutra of the sage says: witnessing is the base.

You saw your childhood; the childhood has changed but the seer within you is unchanged. Then came youth and you saw it; then the youth also went away but the one who saw it is unchanged.

It is the same seer who saw the childhood, who saw the youth, who saw the old age; who saw the birth, who saw the death; who saw the happiness, who saw the unhappiness; who saw the success and failure. Everything changes, only the one who goes on seeing, who goes on experiencing everything, does not change.

It is this seer whom we know as the soul; it is the truth. To know this one, the unchanging, is kaivalya.

Kaivalya is experienced the day a person, separating himself from all the dreams, separating himself from all the beads, comes to know himself as the string running through them all; the day he comes to know that "This uninterrupted consciousness, this witnessing spirit, this is what I am; I am only this consciousness." When such a realization becomes a crystalized experience - not a thought but an experience; not a word but a realization - we call such a person the one who has attained to kaivalya. He has known the one that is worth knowing, he has achieved the one that is worth achieving. And in having achieved that one alone, he achieves everything; and in having lost that one alone, he loses everything.

We try to catch dreams, but even before we have any grip on them they are lost and our fist remains empty. In the night we saw that we were emperors; in the morning our hands are empty. In life we see we have become this, we have become that; at the time of death our hands are empty.

Whosoever we had held as our own - on whosoever we had closed our fist - they disappeared like the air from one's fist would. The fist closes and the air disappears from it. Everything proves to be a dream.

Remember, our very meaning of 'dream' is only this, that wherever there is change, there is no truth.

What is that which is non-changing and uniform? You go on searching in this world and nowhere will you find that uniform, non-changing truth. Only when you search within yourself will you find in the watcher that continuity, that integrity which is uniform. That is known as kaivalya. If you know that one while living, then at death, on the dropping of the body, the oneness with Brahma, the absolute reality, is experienced.


How shall we be able to know the one? The process is: be void of all vikalpa, all choice in duality.

This word vikalpa is also worth understanding. Vikalpa means all the things that have their opposites - those opposites are the vikalpa. For example, happiness, its opposite is unhappiness. If you want happiness, you will also get unhappiness. You will have to bear it. That is the price one has to pay for the happiness. If you want love you will have to encounter hate also, that is the price. If you want success, failure will also come your way; it is the shadow of success, it comes along with it. Vikalpa means the world of duality, where everything is in two parts; you desire the one and you are bound to be entangled in the other too. There is no way to be saved from this situation.

The only way to be saved from it is to give up both, to become choiceless. That means wherever there is duality do not choose, drop all choosing.

Understand this a little more, because it is a matter that takes one very deep. Wherever there is a possibility of two - whenever...! If you want peace, you will continue getting caught up in peacelessness. This is a little difficult to understand. We can understand dualities of happiness and unhappiness, success and failure, respect and disrespect; but I say peace and peacelessness too.

It is the same thing, a matter of duality. Not only this: if you want liberation, you will go on falling in bondage because duality is the same here too, the opposites are facing each other here too, the possibility of choice is the same. So a person who says he wants liberation, he will be entrapped.

Liberation comes to one who does not choose between dualities; peace belongs to one who does not choose between the dualities - who does not ask for peace. Who says,"Peace or turmoil, I am not going to choose between the two" - such a man becomes peaceful. The flower of love blossoms in the life of one who does not choose love against hatred; who says, "Neither I want love nor hatred, I am indifferent to both; I beg to be forgiven for both, I do not want to meddle in either of the two."

The flower of love blooms in the life of such a person.

Wherever there is duality, wherever there is vikalpa - the option - wherever there is the possibility of choice, do not choose. But we always choose! And we are unable to understand that our choice is the very entanglement. When you choose happiness you have also chosen unhappiness, the unhappiness has already arrived, the unhappiness also has already entered your door. Why?

Understand the process. I desire happiness - this desire implies several things. One, it implies that I am unhappy now. Only the one who is unhappy wants happiness. Why would a happy person desire happiness? We ask only for that which we do not have, we do not ask for that which we already have. This is why nobody asks for unhappiness, because everybody already has it. People ask for happiness because they do not have it. So the day you say you want happiness you have made at least one thing clear - that you are unhappy.

Secondly, whatever happiness you are asking for, if you don't achieve it you will slip into deeper unhappiness - and there is no guarantee of achieving this happiness. And if you do achieve it, still you will later slip into unhappiness because now you have come to know how many dreams you had arranged around it and none of them were fulfilled.

All happiness appears to be in the distance, in the future, but as you come closer it disappears.

As long as happiness is not yours it is happiness, as it becomes yours it turns into unhappiness.

Happiness is in the distance. Happiness is not in things, it is in the distance, it is in your hope, it is in your waiting. When it comes, or as it comes closer, it begins to disappear, and by the time it is in your hands it becomes unhappiness.

Neither happiness nor unhappiness is inherent in anything. The greater the distance, the greater appears the happiness; as it comes closer, the greater the unhappiness. This is a very complex trap. Whatsoever we bring close, unhappiness begins to breed out of it. The more we ask for happiness.... One, you will not get it, because nothing is received by asking; and when you will not get it, you will be frustrated. Second, even if you did get it you will also be encountering failure, and an emptiness will surround you, that all your efforts have turned futile, nothing really has been achieved; one rushed around, labored hard, and all that is received is this? What appeared to be so glittering from a distance.... Any music at a distance sounds celestial.

If you make a choice you will become entangled in the world. The world is in choosing, liberation is in non-choosing. Just do not choose. When happiness comes, accept it; when unhappiness comes, accept it, but do not have any choice within that, "I want this." One who does not put forward any demand in this world becomes free of this world. Let this sink a little deeper in you. One who does not ask for anything from the world cannot be entrapped by the world. If you ask for anything from this world you are entrapped. If you get what you ask of the world you are entrapped. If you do not get it, then too you are entrapped. You are entrapped because of the very asking, it has nothing to do with gaining it or not gaining it.

Fishermen attach bait to their fishing hooks. Only that fish will be safe from the hook which will not open her mouth at all. The fish that opened her mouth is hooked. A fish will open her mouth only for the bait; no fish is so foolish as to open its mouth for the hook. All fish will open their mouth for the bait, and that is why a fisherman will just sit waiting after putting his line in the water. A fish is entrapped because of the bait.

Everybody wants happiness, and the hook of unhappiness comes out of the happiness. Everybody desires respect, and the hook of disrespect appears out of the very respect. Everyone wants peace, and the very peace becomes turmoil. Think of the fish which does not choose either of the two - the bait or the hook - which simply swims past this bait indifferently. It is impossible to catch this fish.

Be in the world like this fish which does not choose, which does not ask. Then there can be no bondage for you, you cannot be trapped.

To become a sannyasin means giving up all choosing of options. So remember, sannyas is not a choice against the world. And those people who have given sannyas a meaning of being against the world will remain entangled in the world.

There are people who say, "Sannyas is against the world; and we are in the world - how can we take sannyas? We shall take sannyas when we renounce the world." Their sannyas is also a duality.

Sannyas and the world for them are two sides, opposites. They say if they choose the world, how can they choose sannyas also? Or if they choose sannyas, how can they choose the world also?

If sannyas too is a duality, then all meaning of sannyas is lost. The very meaning of sannyas is to become non-dualistic. Now we do not choose! Whatsoever happens is accepted, what does not happen is not demanded. Such a state of being is sannyas. Then you can be a sannyasin anywhere.

Then sannyas is a state of being, not an alternative choice.

This sutra says:


Awakening happens only when one becomes void of all choice in duality.


There are two types of awakening. One is savikalpa samadhi, the choiceful awakening. It is awakening just in the name. Savikalpa samadhi - choiceful awakening - means that someone chose to become peaceful. Understand this properly.

Often this is what people choose first. When they are too hurt by the world they become disturbed, restless, and then they think to attain peace through meditation. They choose peace against the turmoil. They do begin finding peace through meditation, but deep within this peace remains hidden the face of peacelessness. That alternative will always be present there, because in the first place you have chosen peace against turmoil. You cannot be free of the opposite of that which you have chosen, it will remain present. At the most what can happen is that the side you have chosen may come out on top and the side you have not chosen may remain at the bottom - but it cannot be destroyed.

Choice can never take one out of a duality, the duality will remain there. You may choose, but because of the very fact of choosing its opposite remains present. So you may even become peaceful, but your peace will be only on the surface. Your being peaceful will be on the surface and the turmoil will remain hidden within. And you will always be in fear of the turmoil exploding any moment. The seed of turmoil will remain and the fear of its sprouting will also remain.

This is why people run away from the world, because in the world they are afraid of the turmoil that remains hidden within themselves, which is likely to explode at any moment if somebody incites it a little.

A person escaping toward the jungle is not running away from you, he is running away from the turmoil hidden within himself. If he appears to be running away from you, it is just because of the fear that you may expose the inner layer of his turmoil. A husband escaping toward the jungle is not running away from his wife but from the celibacy that he has imposed upon himself. The sexuality is still hidden inside him, because anybody who understood celibacy to be against sexuality cannot be free from the seeds of sexuality. One who chooses will remain tied to the opposite.

The very meaning of choosing is that we are choosing against something. And whatsoever we have chosen against will continue to follow us. Whatever we have arranged on the surface, below it is present that against which we have chosen - because that too is part of it.

In fact, we have divided life into two parts - one we have chosen, the other we have not - whereas they are both integral parts. Where will the part we have not chosen go? It will remain with us. And then you will be afraid that if you are with people, if you have a family, a business, and are in the marketplace, the part which is hidden within you will pop out just at the slightest investigation by somebody. Hence, run away! Run away to a place where nobody can make us see what is hidden within. But that will not destroy it. One may live in the Himalayas for a thousand years, but the day he returns to the marketplace he will find that those thousand years have been wasted. The marketplace will again incite what is hidden inside and it will come out in the open.

Choiceful awakening means you have become silent by choice.

Choiceless awakening means you have dropped all choosing. Only the choiceless awakening - which means one does not divide things in two parts - is an awakening. The choiceful awakening is nothing but a deception of awakening. But one first comes toward the choiceful awakening; one chooses sannyas frustrated by the world. It is only natural, tormented by the world one chooses sannyas.

The second thing will happen only when one will get tired of sannyas also, when one will experience that like any two opposites, sannyas and the world are also two parts of the same symphony. That day the real sannyas will flower. That day one will not choose. That day one will drop choosing as such. That day one will understand, "In choosing is the world, and hence I do not choose anymore.

Now whatsoever happens, I accept it; what does not happen, I am not concerned by it. Now I am willing, in whatsoever way existence cares for me I am willing.... Now there is no voice of mine whatsoever against existence. Now if unhappiness comes, the right thing is happening. If happiness comes, the right thing is happening. Now I do not separate myself and say that it should happen only in a certain way. Now I have no expectations, demands and claims of my own. I have given up claims."

The day one gives up claims the choiceless awakening happens. That day there remains no bondage for you in this world. Even if the whole world becomes a shackle and tightens itself around your body like an octopus, there will be no bondage, because you accept that too, it is okay.

If someone puts chains on my hands, remember the chains are not a bond because the one who puts them on my hands believes it so, it is a bond only if I believe it to be a bond. It can be a bondage only if I believe it to be so. It will all depend on my belief. I can stretch my hands forward and ask to have the chains put on my hands.

There is a very interesting and lovely event in the life of Ramakrishna. From his very childhood Ramakrishna was a person with a mind drawn towards the divine. It was difficult for him to reach home if he had to pass by a temple. He would dance there, lie down there, flat on the steps of the temple; and if someone uttered the name of Rama, he would be in a sort of trance. So the members of his family thought that this boy would not live a worldly life, there was no such hope.

However, it was the duty of his parents, when he came of age, to ask him whether he would marry.

They asked him, "Rama" - his real, given name was Gadadhar - "will you marry?" They had thought that Ramakrishna would refuse. But Ramakrishna was delighted at the question and said, "What is marriage and what is it like? I will certainly do it!" The parents were taken aback. They had thought that the boy was of a sannyasin nature and that he would not marry, but what is this? They began to search for a bride.

A bride was selected, she was quite young in age still, she was about eight to ten years younger than Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna went to see the girl. The members of his family also accompanied him.

Ramakrishna's mother had put three rupees in his pocket in case he may need them for anything.

The bride's village was not very far though. Ramakrishna was given new clothes and was groomed for the occasion. On reaching the village he saw the girl; she was very lovely. Ramakrishna put those three rupees at her feet and touched her feet. All who saw that happening were embarrassed and said, "Are you mad? She is going to be your wife, and you are touching her feet! And why have you presented her with those three rupees?"

Ramakrishna said, "She looks as lovely as my mother." Ramakrishna knew of only one love, the love of the mother. He said, "She is so lovely, just like my mother! I shall only call her 'mother'. What difference does it make if she is also a wife?"

Later they were married, but Ramakrishna always addressed Sharda as "Mother" and he continued to touch her feet. And when the day for the worship of the mother goddess Kali arrived, Ramakrishna would seat Sharda on a throne and worship her. He would say, "When there is the living mother, what is the need of an idol?" Having a wife was not a bondage. He never looked on her as a bondage. He just stretched forward his hands and took the shackles.

Everything depends upon your attitude. Unhappiness is unhappiness because you reject it and you desire happiness. Unhappiness is because you desire its opposite, otherwise what is the unhappiness? Unhappiness is hidden in your demand for the opposite. What is the peacelessness?

Peacelessness is because you desire peace.

Our world lies in our choice.

This sutra says: Whosoever becomes choiceless sees the non-dual soul, because the one who does not choose in the outside world - neither happiness nor unhappiness, neither love nor hate, neither the world nor liberation, neither matter nor God - who simply does not choose, with whom all choosing has ceased, he immediately reaches within himself.

It is in the choosing that the consciousness becomes stuck. We get stuck in what we choose. When one simply does not choose, all blockage is destroyed; his contact with the shore is broken and his contact with the midstream begins, he merges with the stream within.

He who attains to choicelessness sees the soul, and then the knot of ignorance in the heart is completely destroyed.


Understand this word udasin, indifferent, also. Udasin, indifferent, does not mean remaining udas, sad. Udasin means to live unconcerned, to live purposelessly. The word udasin has done a lot of harm. There is a sect of udasin sannyasins. They remain in self-imposed sadness because they think udasinata, indifference, means udasi, sadness.

Indifference has nothing to do with sadness; the relationship is only in the sound of the words.

Indifferent means, "I keep no choices. Whatsoever is happening, let it happen. Not udasi, sadness, but udasinata, indifference. It is all fine, whatsoever takes place is fine." It is just as one lives in a house - the examples taken in this sutra are pots, clothes, belongings, etc. in the house - and one goes on moving in and out of the house with ease. If a pot is lying around it is lying around, one does not need to take note of it. If clothes are hanging in the house they are hanging; one passes by these things, one does not need to pay special attention to them.

Similarly, within us our egos are hanging, along with unhappiness, happiness, agonies and anxieties, memories of happiness and unhappiness - they are all lying there within us. These are like inner household goods - pots, vessels, clothes, etc. Pass through them in a way that all is fine, whatever is is fine. No need to pay attention to them, no need to choose from them, no need to be attracted to one thing and repulsed by some other - this is what is meant by indifference.

An indifferent person is very cheerful, not sad. But keep in mind the meaning of being cheerful.

Being cheerful means that nothing now disturbs him, and hence the inner flower begins to bloom; nothing now bothers him, hence he remains in bliss within himself.

If you forcibly impose sadness upon yourself you will never be able to be cheerful. One has to become indifferent. Try it out by experimenting....

You are walking down a road: decide to remain indifferent to everything you come across for five minutes. Then which house is beautiful, which is not, it is all the same. Then whoever passes by, he was a rich man or poor, he was a respectable person or a disreputable person, he was a political leader or a thief - whoever he was, you have nothing to do with it. A beautiful woman passed by, a handsome man passed by, somebody's dress was elegant - you are not concerned with any of these matters. Walk down the road for five minutes as if it is totally empty, or you are passing through a jungle and there is nothing to attract you. Try this out - just remaining indifferent - and you will immediately notice that the road has lost all meaning. Its meaningfulness was in your inner attachments.

In a memoir that Vidyasagar has written he has said that one evening he had gone for a walk and he saw a Mohammedan gentleman walking ahead of him. He too was going for a walk every day. Suddenly a servant came running - Vidyasagar was walking just behind - and said to that Mohammedan friend, "Mir Sahib! Your house is on fire, please come fast." Mir Sahib replied, "I am coming." But he kept on walking at the same pace; the same movement of the legs, the same unhurried steps - nothing changed in him. Hearing the news of the fire, even Vidyasagar's walking speed changed, his breathing became faster. But Mir Sahib continued to walk in the same indifferent way.

The servant was puzzled, he said again a little louder, "Didn't you hear? Your house is on fire!" Mir Sahib said, "I have heard," and he continued walking in the same nonchalant manner. Vidyasagar then came forward and said, "What are you doing? Do you understand what the servant is saying, that your house is on fire?" Mir Sahib told Vidyasagar, "That is alright, but what can I do now after the house is on fire? Why should I spoil my walk also? And I have this one opportunity - if I can carry on my walk unhindered by the fact of my house being on fire, I shall have a taste of indifference.

The house is on fire, okay, but I shall walk in the same way as I was walking before the house was on fire. If I change my gait even slightly, that will be a change in my consciousness... so it is alright."

And Mir Sahib continued walking in the same way.

Vidyasagar has written further that he and Mir Sahib's servant ran to the burning house, leaving Mir Sahib with his walk. "We had become very upset and on reaching the house we helped to extinguish the fire." And Vidyasagar says he could not sleep well that night. But by the unperturbed attitude of Mir Sahib that he had seen that day, it is very clear that Mir Sahib must have slept peacefully that night too. What difference would there have been? A person whose walking speed was no different - how could there be any difference in his sleep?

Indifference means a neutral attitude. Whatsoever is happening is alright, it is accepted; there is a state of suchness, there is no choosing of any kind. Restlessness is not caused by the fact that the house is on fire. Try to understand it, restlessness is caused by the expectation that, "My house should not be on fire." There is this hidden expectation that your house should not have been on fire. You may not even be aware of it, it is hidden in the unconscious mind, that your house should not have been on fire. So when the house is on fire, that inner expectation is shattered and that unsettles your gait, that unsettles your consciousness. But those who have no expectations of any kind, and whatsoever happens they have no attitude and insistence against it, their consciousness does not become unsettled. This unwavering of the consciousness is udasinata, the indifference.


All positions, all titles and all reputations are false and artificial. Whether it is a stone lying on the roadside or the god installed by us up in the sky, all are useless.

Remain attentive only to one that is not false, remain absorbed in that witnessing alone. So even if you are a stone, remain absorbed in the same witnessing, and even if you are Brahma, the creator god, remain absorbed in the same witnessing. Then no choosing will be necessary between becoming a stone or Brahma, because the witnessing is one and the same. If you are poor, remain absorbed in the witnessing; if you become rich, remain absorbed in the witnessing. Then poverty and richness will make no difference to you, because within you the same stream of witnessing will be flowing.

All titles are futile. All that is received from the outside is futile. Only what is attained from within is meaningful. But nothing other than the witnessing consciousness is attained from within. In all conditions, in every situation, go on seeing the soul residing within.


The same kaivalya attitude - the one who experiences this consciousness, the one who knows this witnessing, 'the other' disappears from him. The other is no longer there, only I am, everything is my own extension. Because the day I come to know my own consciousness, I also come to know that your consciousness is not separate from mine. As long as I know only my body you are separate from me, because my body is separate and your body is separate.

Understand it this way. There is an earthen lamp burning, there is another silver lamp burning, and a third gold lamp is burning. Now if all these three lamps look to their bodies of clay, silver and gold, then the three of them are different. The silver lamp will look down upon the earthen lamp and the gold lamp will look down upon both the silver and the earthen lamps. But if anyone of these three lamps experiences the flame - "I am the flame" - would that lamp be able to say to the other lamps, "You are different from me?" No, because now it will see the other lamps as flames too. Now for this lamp the bodies have become meaningless, whether they are of clay, silver or gold. Now only the flame has remained meaningful, which is neither clay, nor silver, nor gold, but simply a flame. For the lamp that has experienced that it is the flame, all the lamps of the world have become one with it: "Now wherever there is flame, it is me."

As long as we see the bodies, we are separate. But when we have seen the witness within, which is our eternal flame, we all become one and inseparable. Then the witness hiding within that bird flying near the tree, that too is me. And the witness hidden within Brahma, the creator of the world and the controller of the world, that too is me. Then the one who is begging on the street is also me and the emperor sitting on the throne is also me.

Once the experience of the inner flame has begun forms become meaningless; then body, matter, become meaningless, only the flame becomes meaningful.

One more interesting thing is that whether the lamp is made of clay or gold, there is no difference in the flame. Does an earthen lamp have an earthen flame? or a gold lamp a gold flame? No, there is no difference - the flame is a flame, the same everywhere. The body makes no difference to the flame. It is the same flame shining in the most ignorant as in Buddha. But Buddha knows it and the ignorant do not. And what really is the difference in knowing? Buddha has stopped bothering about the outer form of the lamp and has discovered the inner flame; the ignorant person is still influenced by the outer form - in the clay, silver or gold body - and has not yet been able to know the flame within. But the flame is there.

It is 'I' spread out in all - such a realization is adhyatma, spirituality.

There are two or three important things to be mentioned. The very first day I asked you to remain cheerful, joyful, happy and laughing; to laugh as much as you could - even without any reason.

But one thing I had left out knowingly. I had not asked you not to laugh without any reason while I am speaking. This part I had left out knowingly. I wanted to discover those three or four intelligent persons that must have certainly come here - they would laugh even while I am speaking. And due to their laughter, they would be deprived of understanding what I am saying and would hinder others also. And my inference is not incorrect.

Three or four intelligent people are here. One or two of them are from the Punjab. I used to hear that people in the Punjab have a little extra intelligence, but I had never believed in it. Even now I do not believe, though those two Punjabi friends are trying hard to make me believe in it! That is alright, but I had never thought that in their company two or three Gujaratis would also do the same! There was no hope for much intelligence from the Gujaratis, but they are competing with the Punjabis.

Even in idiocy there is competition! And remember, it is always easy to move to one extreme, but the question is of staying in the middle. Either people will sit keeping their faces and features corpse-like, or they will start expressing cheerfulness idiotically. That too is not cheerfulness.

If you make loud sounds without any reason while I am speaking, you have no idea what you are doing. You are only attracting people's attention, telling them that you are also here. That is not showing wisdom and it is not going to benefit your meditation in any way. When I am speaking, that is the time to become silent and quiet, putting aside all the activities of your mind, so that what I am saying may penetrate you. If I am saying something and you laugh loudly without any reason, then whatsoever was entering in will be pushed out by the force of your laughter. You threw it out. So move a little thoughtfully. If you don't move thoughtfully you will never be able to go deeper.

The second thing: yesterday I had sent instructions that only during morning meditation you can undress completely if you feel like it - it is useful. But it is not useful at all during the afternoon kirtan, devotional singing and dancing, and the meditation at night. For me, neither clothes nor nudity are of any significance - take note of it. Many times it is misunderstood. Many times it is felt that perhaps I am saying that if you become naked you attain liberation. It is not so easy, otherwise all the birds and animals would have been liberated by now. And if liberation is just withheld because of wearing clothes, then there is not much difficulty in making the whole world liberated by making it naked. No, it is not so easy and so cheap.

When I say that in some moment during meditation, if you feel that your clothes are obstructing you - in the movements of your body, in the expression - remove your clothes; then nakedness will be helpful. But there might be some fools, in fact there are... some fools cling to clothing, and some fools start clinging to nudity. They think that now that they are standing naked nothing else remains to be done. So I see some one or two persons, who do not do any steps of the meditation either, just standing naked - and they think this is enough.

Nothing is going to happen by just becoming naked. And I have no emphasis on nakedness. Both the emphases are the same. Some people think that if you remove all the clothes from your body, your life is finished; and some think that if you remove all your clothes, you attain everything - their minds also attach great value to clothing. The types are similar. People covered by clothes and the naked monks - they are similar, their minds are the same. There is no great difference between the two. They both believe that clothes are important.

I do not tell you to remove your clothes because in being naked you will attain liberation. Naked you already are - under your clothes you are naked. What difference is it going to make whether you are naked without your clothes or you are naked within your clothes? When I permit you to take off your clothes, it means if and when, during meditation, you feel the usefulness of removing clothes, when your body energy awakens, when your bio-energy awakens due to the deep hammering from your breathing and you feel that clothes are hindering you in any way, only then take off your clothes, otherwise there is no sense in doing so. And there is no need at all to take off your clothes in the afternoon kirtan, nor is there any need to do so in the meditation at night. And if anybody persists during afternoon kirtan or the night-time meditation we will have him removed from the campus.

In the morning meditation it has a scientific basis. When there is deep breathing and the body energy starts arising vigorously, the clothing may create a hindrance. Then it is fine to remove your clothes. And then during the second step of this meditation, where I am telling you to drop all kinds of suppression and not to refrain from anything your body-mind feels like doing, then if it feels like taking off the clothing, do so. But there is no need in the kirtan or in the night meditation.

Do not make nudity a doctrine; nudity is a device.

The third thing: some Western men and women sannyasins might be taking a bath naked at the well, then some Indian friends crowd there to watch them. Don't be so foolish. If you want to bathe naked, do so. But when someone else is taking a bath naked and you go to watch them, you are only demonstrating your numerous suppressed and sick attitudes.

There are two types of mad people. One mad type is made up of those who want to watch others naked; and there is also the other type who want to show themselves naked. Psychology has different names for the sicknesses of all these mad people. In the West, they have many cases in the courts against such people who suddenly expose themselves to somebody. They are called exhibitionists. Two or three such friends have arrived here; their whole joy seems to be that others should see their bodies. And usually these are people whose bodies are not worth seeing. If they were worth seeing people would come to them to see their bodies. Those whose bodies are not worth seeing are the people who stand naked in a crowd; nobody goes to see them, but they think at least this way someone may see them. Such people with these sicknesses have no reason to be here.

And then there are some people who engage themselves in watching others when they are naked.

They are also sick! If you have a liking for someone, if you are in love with someone and there is such a close intimacy, then the clothes drop on their own and they are naked. But in that love they do not feel naked, they feel closer, the obstruction of the clothes has gone. But to just go and watch someone who is naked and with whom you have no loving intimacy is very dirty and mean and speaks only of your hidden sickness.

While I was coming here, with me in the car was one English sannyasin, Vivek. When the car stopped at a corner, four or five donkeys came and stood by the car. I asked Vivek whether in England there were bigger donkeys than these standing here or were they the same as these?

She replied, "Slightly bigger." I did not say anything else to her, because I was just joking. But then yesterday I was informed that people are gathering in a crowd near the well when people are bathing. So I am going to tell her today that she was mistaken, it is difficult to compete with India, the donkeys are bigger in India.

The fourth thing: after the thirty minutes of the meditation, when I ask you to be quiet, to be silent, then if you are unable to become quiet and silent it only means that you are not doing any meditation, you are just hysterical. Understand this difference clearly. When I say, "Breathe fast and intensely for ten minutes," you should be your own master and be able to do so. When I say, "Go mad for ten minutes," you should have the mastery to go mad also - you are being mad decisively, madness is not taking you over. You are throwing out the suppressions from within yourself, at your will. And when I say, "Make the hammering sound of 'Hoo-Hoo' for ten minutes," You are doing it - it should not catch hold of you, otherwise you have become a slave. And then when I say, "Stop completely!" one who cannot stop is hysterical. It means that the matter is not under his control, now he is unable to stop it; he is going on shouting, he is going on crying. It means crying has overpowered him.

This will not do. Such a person is sick, he is not meditating.

Meditation means, you are to establish your mastery. And if this mastery cannot be established then there would be no difference between hysteria and meditation. So when I say "Stop!" you are to stop at once. Even a moment's delay in it shows that you have lost your mastery and whatever you were doing in that moment has become the master. If you were shouting, it has caught you and you are unable to stop it. If shouting catches you and you are unable to drop it, then you won't be able to enter into peace.

Mastery leads you into peace.

There are three or four persons who simply do not stop even after I have asked everyone to stop.

They think that they have gone so deep in meditation, now how can they stop. You have not gone into meditation! And if this is done again today I shall ask them to be removed, because they need medical treatment, not meditation. And after thirty minutes, when you think that now a cough is coming or something else like that, please don't be confused. Coughing is an infectious phenomenon. One person coughs, and then five to ten idiots follow him. The first person's coughing may have been genuine, but the other five to ten persons are simply following him. Did you notice last night - the coughing also stopped? Now how did this happen? When I asked you not to even cough, how did it stop? Because it was false.

Coughing is also not permitted. Just try experimenting with it; you won't die by not coughing for ten minutes. You have no idea how many tricks your mind plays. The mind says, "A really bad cough is forcing its way, I will cough just slightly." You succeeded in hindering it slightly, but you coughed. You thought, "But what can I do? - coughing is compulsive." No, it is not compulsive.

Do you notice that when I speak here for one and a half hours that you do not cough even once, and when I ask you to be quiet for ten minutes, you are suddenly overpowered by coughing? If the coughing was genuine, it should have been present in the same proportion throughout the period.

But it is not so. You are sitting in a movie house, and there will be no coughing for three hours.

What really happens? Then you go to a temple and the coughing takes over! Are there some cough germs sitting in the temple or what? Coughing in a movie house can be understood, there certainly are germs there in abundance. But it happens in the temple, where everything is spotless, clean.

The reason is psychological. This coughing that comes to you is not physical, it is mental; stop it!

Stop it absolutely! What can really go wrong in ten minutes? At the most you may die... although it has never been heard of that someone did not cough for ten minutes and died because of it. One may have died because of coughing for ten minutes, but never because of not coughing for ten minutes. Please be kind, stop it completely. Just be a corpse for those ten minutes.

When I say, "Stop!" stop completely; just freeze. Otherwise all is useless. The energy arises but it does not get an opportunity to work on you; and you, having happily dissipated it in coughing and the like, return home. Then you come to tell me that nothing happened! You coughed - is that not enough to happen? They come to tell me that meditation did not happen to them and I know that they were coughing the whole time. Now even the poor meditation is being blamed!

Establish a little mastery. When I say, "Quiet," then there should be such a pin-drop silence here as if not a single person is here, as if all have disappeared. Only then the results....

Also, when I begin to speak in English you cannot get up. Just sit down where you are. Behave at least with some understanding.

When I am speaking in Hindi, those who do not understand Hindi are sitting peacefully. And when I begin to speak in English, those who do not understand English simply get up and leave. This indicates great impatience and idiocy. There are about fifty Western friends here. They are also here sitting and listening. Just look at their faces. When I am speaking in Hindi, just look at their faces. They seem to be understanding even more deeply than you are. Why?

They do not understand the language at all, but they have this much patience - "We may not be able to understand, but something significant is being said; so let us just sit quietly and hear it." They are not able to understand, but this silence of one hour will definitely be beneficial. They will not be able to understand, yet being patient for one hour is nothing but meditation. But no sooner do I begin to speak in English than you are up and moving. It means that neither you have any patience, nor is silent awaiting happening, nor have you any concern about the disturbance you cause to others.

Please think!

A poet friend of mine, an Urdu poet, had been to Sweden. He was telling me that when he would recite his poems in Urdu nobody would understand but thousands of people would be sitting silently.

He told me, "I was very surprised. I had thought that nobody would come to listen to me, or if they did, they would soon go away." So he asked them, "You don't understand the language, so how can you sit so silently while I am reciting?" They replied, "This is true that we don't understand what you are saying, but when you are reciting with such feeling we do understand your eyes, your gestures, the movements of your hands, and we know that something very significant and deep is being said.

So, at least we can show that much courtesy so as not to disturb you in that feeling, that state of yours."

So this won't do! At night, I see some outsiders come here, and the moment I begin to speak in English they start leaving. Tonight no one will be allowed to leave like that. If someone gets up to leave near you, immediately ask him to sit down. And if they still leave, from tomorrow night onwards I am not going to allow them in here. I shall announce before I begin to speak in Hindi that those who want to leave during the English part should leave now.

Life needs to be given a discipline, an orderliness, otherwise nothing will happen.

Enough for today.

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