Esoteric games: a hindrance to growth

Fri, 26 July 1970 00:00:00 GMT
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Osho - The Psychology of the Esoteric
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Question 1:


The first thing to be understood is that the division between body and mind is abso-lutely false. If you begin with that division you will reach nowhere; a false beginning leads nowhere. Nothing can come out of it because every step has its own logic of evolving. The second step will come out of the first, and the third out of the second and so on. There is a logical sequence. So the moment you take the first step, you have chosen everything in a way.

The first step is more important than the last, the beginning is more important than the end, because the end is just an outcome, a growth. But we are always concerned about the end, never with the beginning; always concerned with ends, never with means. The end has become so significant for us that we lose track of the seed, of the beginning. Then we can go on dreaming, but we will never reach the real.

To any seeker, this concept of a divided person, this concept of a dual existence - of body and mind, of the physical and the spiritual - is a false step. Existence is undivided; all divisions are just mental.

The very way the mind looks at things creates a duality. It is the prison of the mind that divides.

Mind cannot do otherwise. It is difficult for the mind to conceive of two contradictions as one, of opposite polarities as one. The mind has a compulsion, an obsession to be consistent. It cannot conceive how light and darkness are one. It is inconsistent, paradoxical.

The mind has to create opposites: God and the devil, life and death, love and hate. How can you conceive of love and hate as one energy? It is difficult for the mind. So the mind divides. Then the difficulty is over. Hate is opposite to love, and love is opposite to hate. Now you can be consistent and the mind can be at ease. So division is a convenience of the mind - not a truth, not a reality.

It is convenient to divide yourself into two: the body and you. But the moment you divide, you have taken the wrong step. Unless you come back and change the first step, you can wander for lives and lives, and nothing will come of it; because one false step leads to more false steps. So begin with the right beginning. Remember that you and the body are not two, that two is just a convenience.

One is enough as far as the existence is concerned.

It is artificial to divide yourself into two. Really, you always feel that you are one, but once you begin to think about it, the problem arises. If your body is hurt, in that very moment you never feel that you are two. You feel that you are one with the body. Only later, when you begin to think about it, do you divide.

In the present moment, there is no division. For example, if someone puts a dagger to your chest, at that moment there is no division. You do not think that he is going to kill your body; you think he is going to kill you. Only later, when it has become part of the memory, can you divide. Now you can look at things, think about them. You can say that the man was going to kill your body. But you cannot say it in the moment itself.

Whenever you feel, you feel oneness. Whenever you think, you begin to divide. Then, enmity is created. If you are not the body, a certain struggle develops. The question arises: "Who is the master? The body or me?" Then the ego begins to feel hurt. You begin to suppress the body. And when you suppress the body, you are suppressing yourself; when you fight with the body, you are fighting with yourself. So much confusion is created. It becomes suicidal.

Even if you try, you cannot really suppress your body. How can I suppress my left hand with my right hand? They look like two, but the same energy flows in both. If they were really two, then suppression would be possible - and not only suppression, absolute destruction would be possible - but if the same energy is flowing in both, how can I suppress my left hand? This is just make- believe. I can let my right hand put my left hand down, and I can pretend that my right hand has won, but the next second I can raise my left hand up and there will be nothing to stop it. This is the game we play. It goes on and on. Sometimes you push sex down, and sometimes sex pushes you down. It becomes a vicious circle. You can never suppress sex. You can transform it, but you can never suppress it.

Beginning with a division between you and the body leads to suppression. So if you are for transformation, you should not begin by dividing. Transformation can come only from an understanding of the whole as the whole. Suppression comes from misunderstanding the whole to be the divided parts. If I know that both hands are mine, then the effort to suppress one is absurd.

The struggle becomes absurd, because which is to suppress which? Who is to fight whom? If you can feel at ease with your body, you can take a first step that will be the right one. Then division, suppression, will not come.

If you divide yourself from your body, many things will follow automatically. The more you suppress the body, the more frustrated you will be, because suppression is impossible. A momentary truce can be reached, but then you will be defeated again. And the more frustrated you become, the greater the division, the wider the gap that develops between you and the body. You begin to feel more and more inimical to it. You begin to feel that the body is very strong and that is why you are not capable of suppressing it. Then you think, "Now I will have to fight more vigorously!"

That is why I say that everything has its own logic. If you begin with an erroneous premise, you can go on and on to the very end, never reaching anywhere. Every struggle leads you to another struggle. The mind feels, "The body is strong and I am weak. I have to suppress it more." Or it feels, "I have to make my body weak now." All austerities are just efforts to make the body weak. But the more weak you make the body, the more weak you yourself become. The same relative strength is always maintained between you and your body.

The moment you become weak you begin to feel more frustrated, because now you are more easily defeated. And you cannot do anything about it: the weaker you get, the less possibility there is of overcoming the pull of the body and the more you have to fight it.

So the first thing is not to think in terms of division. This division - physical and spiritual, material and mental, consciousness and matter - is just a linguistic fallacy. The whole nonsense is created out of language.

For example, if you say something, I have to say yes or no. We have no neutral attitude. Yes is always absolute; no, is also absolute. There is no neutral word in any language. So De Bono has coined a new word, po. He says po should come to be used as a neutral word. It means: "I have heard your point of view. I say neither yes nor no to it."

Use 'po', and the whole possibility changes. 'Po' is an artificial word that De Bono took from hypothesis or possibility or poetry. It is a neutral word with no evaluation in it, with no condemnation, no appreciation, no commitment, neither for nor against. If someone is insulting you, just say "po."

Then feel the difference inside you. A single word can make so much difference. When you say "po," you are saying, "I have heard you. Now I know that this is your attitude toward me. You may be right; you may be wrong. I am not making an evaluation."

Language creates division. Even great thinkers go on creating things linguistically that are not there.

If you ask them, "What is mind?" they say, "It is not matter." If you ask them, "What is matter?" they say, "It is not mind." Neither matter nor mind is known. They define matter by mind and define mind by matter. The roots remain unknown. This is absurd, but it is more comforting to us than to say, "I don't know. Nothing is known about it."

When we say, "Mind is not matter," we feel at ease - as if something has been defined. Nothing has been defined. Mind and matter are both unknown, but to say, "I do not know," would be ego deflating. The moment we divide, we feel we have become masters of things about which we are absolutely ignorant.

Ninety-nine percent of philosophy is created by language. Different languages create different sorts of philosophies, so if you change the language, the philosophy will change. That is why philosophy is not translatable. Science is always translatable, but philosophy is not. And poetry is even more untranslatable because it depends on a particular freshness of language. The moment you change the language, the flavor is lost; the taste is lost. That taste belongs to a particular arrangement of words, a particular use of words. They cannot be translated.

So the first thing to remember is not to begin with division. Only then do you begin rightly. I do not mean to begin with the concept that "I am one." I do not mean that. Then again you begin with a concept. Just begin in ignorance, in humble ignorance; with a basis of "I do not know."

You can say that body and mind are separate, or you can take the opposite position and can say, "I am one. Body and mind are one." But this statement still presupposes a division. You say one, but you are feeling two. Against the feeling of two you assert oneness. This assertion is again a subtle suppression.

So do not begin with advait, with a nondual philosophy. Begin with existence, not with concepts.

Begin with a deep, nonconceptualized consciousness. That is what I mean by a right beginning.

Begin to feel the existential. Do not say one or two; do not say this or that. Begin to feel what is. And you can only feel what is when the mind is not there, when concepts are not there, when philosophies and doctrines are not there - really, when language is not there. When language is absent, you are in the existence. When language is present, you are in the mind.

With a different language, you will have a different mind. There are so many languages. Not only linguistically but religiously, politically. A communist who is sitting by my side is not with me at all.

He lives in a different language.

Just on the other side of me, someone may be sitting who believes in karma. The communist and this other man cannot meet. No dialogue is possible because they do not know each other's language at all. They may be using the same words, but still they do not know what the other is saying. They live in different universes.

With language, everyone lives in a private universe. Without language, you belong to the common tongue, the existence. This is what I mean by meditation: to drop out of the private linguistic world and enter the nonverbal existence.

Those who divide body and mind are always against sex. The reason is that, ordinarily, sex is the only nonverbal, natural experience that we know. Language is not needed at all. If you use language in sex, you cannot go deep in it. So all those who say you are not the body will be against sex, because in sex you are absolutely undivided.

Do not live in a verbal world. Move deeply into existence itself. Use anything, but come back again and again to the level of the nonverbal, the level of consciousness. With trees, with birds, with the sky, the sun, the clouds, the rain - live with the nonverbal existence everywhere. And the more you do it, the more deeply you go into it, the more you will feel a oneness that does not exist in opposition to twoness; a oneness that is not just a joining of two, but is the oneness of the mainland with an island that joins the mainland below the surface of the ocean water. The two have always been one.

You see them as two because you look only at the surface.

Language is the surface. All types of language - religious, political - are on the surface. When you live with the nonverbal existence, you come to a subtle oneness that is not a mathematical oneness but an existential oneness.

So do not try to play these verbal games: "Body and mind are divided; body and mind are one..."

Drop them! They are interesting, but useless. They lead nowhere. Even if you find some truth in them, they are only verbal truths. What are you going to learn from them? For thousands of years your mind has played this game, but it is childish; any verbal game is childish. However seriously you play it makes no difference. You can find many things to support your position, many meanings, but it is just a game. As far as day-to-day work is concerned, language is useful; but you cannot move into the deeper realms with it, because these realms are nonverbal.

Language is just a game. If you find some associations between the verbal and the nonverbal, the reason is not that you have found some important secret, no. You can find many associations that look important, but they are not really significant. They are there because your mind has unconsciously created them.

The human mind everywhere is basically similar, so everything that develops out of the human mind tends to be similar. For example, the word for mother happens to be similar in every language. Not because there is anything significant about it, but because the sound ma is the sound that is most easily uttered by every child. Once the sound is there you can create different words out of it, but a sound is just a sound. The child is just making the sound ma, but you hear it as a word.

Sometimes a similarity can be found that is just coincidental. 'God' is the reverse of 'dog'. It's just a coincidence. But we find it meaningful because to us a dog is something low. Then we say that God is the reverse of this. This is our interpretation. It may be that for the opposite of God we created a word 'dog' and then gave this name to dogs. The two are not related at all, but if you can create a relationship between them, it appears significant to you.

You can go on creating similarities out of anything. You can create a vast ocean of words, with infinite similarities. For instance, the word 'monkey'. You can play with this word and find certain associations, but before Darwin this would have been impossible. Because we now know that man comes from the monkey, we can play word games. We can say monkey as man-key: the key to man. Other people have joined these two words in a different way. They have said that monkey and man are related because of the mind: man has a monkeyish mind.

So you can create associations and enjoy it, you can feel it is a good game, but it is just a game.

One must remember that. Otherwise you will lose track of what is real and what is just a game, and you will go mad.

The more deeply you go into words, the more associations you will find. And then, just by tricks and turns, you can create a whole philosophy out of it. Many do that. Even Ram Dass has done this very much. He has played with the word 'monkey' in this way; he has compared 'dog' and 'God' in this way. It is alright; there is nothing wrong in it. What I am saying is this: if you are playing a game and enjoying it, then enjoy it - but never be fooled by it. And you can be fooled. The game can be so engrossing that you will go on with it, and much energy will be wasted.

People think that because there are so many similarities among languages there must have been an original language out of which all other languages have come. But these similarities are not there because of a common language; they are there because of similarities in the human mind. All over the world, people who are frustrated make the same sounds; people who are in love make the same sounds. A basic similarity among human beings creates a certain similarity in our words also. But don't take it seriously, because then you can lose yourself in it. Even if you find some significant sources it is meaningless, irrelevant. For a spiritual seeker, it is beside the point.

And our minds are such that when we go to seek something we begin with a preconception. If I feel that Muslims are bad, then I go on finding things that support my argument and ultimately I prove myself right. Then whenever I meet a Muslim I begin to find faults, and no one can say I am wrong because I have proof.

Someone can come to the same individual with a contradictory concept. If Muslim means being a good man to him, proof of this goodness can be found with this same Muslim. Good and bad are not opposites; they exist together. Man has the possibility to be either, so whatever you are looking for in him you will be able to find. In some situations he will be good and in some situations he will be bad. When you judge him, it depends more on your definition than on the situation itself. It depends on how you look at this or that.

If you think smoking is bad, for example, then it becomes bad. If you think that to behave in a particular way is bad, then it becomes bad. If we are sitting here and someone falls asleep while we are talking, if you think it is bad it is bad. But really, nothing is good; nothing is bad. Someone with a different attitude will think that this same thing is good. He will think that if someone lies down and goes to sleep among friends, it is good that he feels the freedom to do it. So it depends on your attitude.

I was reading about some of the experiments that A. S. Neill tried at his school, Summerhill. He experimented with a new type of school where there was total freedom. He was the headmaster, but there was no discipline. One day a teacher was sick so he told the boys not to create any nuisance to disturb the teacher that night.

But at night, the boys began fighting right next to the sick man's room. Neill went upstairs. When the children heard someone was coming they became silent and began studying. Neill looked into the room through the window. One boy, who had been pretending to get ready for bed, looked up and saw him at the window. He said to the others, "It's no one but Neill. Come on, there's no need to stop. It's only Neill." So they began to fight again. And Neill was the headmaster!

Neill wrote, "I was so happy that they were so unafraid of me that they were able to say, 'There is no need to worry. It's only Neill.'" He felt good about it, but no other headmaster would have felt good.

No other headmaster! Never in history!

So it depends on you, on how you define things. Neill felt it as love but, again, that is his definition.

We always find what we are looking for. You can find anything in the world if you are seriously in search of it.

So do not begin with a mind fixed on finding something. Just begin! An inquiring mind does not mean to be in search of anything but simply to be searching. Simply searching, with no preconceived notions, with nothing definite to find. We find things because we are looking for them.

The meaning of the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel is that the moment you speak, you are divided. The story is not that people began to speak different languages but that they began to speak at all. The moment you speak, confusion is there. The moment you utter something, you are divided. Only silence is one.

Many people have wasted their lives seeking things. When something is taken seriously, you can waste your life very easily. Playing with words is so ego-fulfilling that you can waste your life doing it. Even if it is interesting - a good game, amusing - it is useless for a spiritual seeker. The spiritual search is not a game.

The same game can be played with numbers. You can make connections. You can figure out why there are seven days in the week, seven musical notes, seven spheres, seven bodies. Why is there always seven? Then you can create a philosophy around it, but this philosophy will just be a product of your imagination.

Sometimes things begin in very innocent ways. For example, the way counting began. The only reason there are nine digits is because man has ten fingers. All over the world, the first counting that happened was on the fingers. So ten was the chosen limit. It was enough, because then you can go on repeating. So all over the world, there are nine digits.

Once nine has been fixed upon, it becomes difficult to conceive of how to proceed with more than nine digits or less. But less can be used. Nine is only a habit. Leibnitz used only three digits: 1, 2 and 3. Any problem can be solved with three digits as well as nine. Einstein used only two digits:

gap doesn't exist; it is just in our minds.

We have a fixed attitude that 3 must come after 2. There is no must. But it becomes confusing to us. We think that 2 plus 2 is always 4, but there is no inherent necessity in it. If you use a two-digit system, then 2 plus 2 will be 11. But then "11" and "4" mean the same thing. You can say that two chairs and two chairs are four chairs, or you can say they are eleven chairs, but whatever system you decide to follow, existentially the number of chairs remains the same.

You can find reasons for everything - why there are seven days in a week, why there are twenty- eight days in a woman's menstrual cycle, why there are seven notes in the scale, why there are seven spheres. And some of these things may actually have a reason behind them.

For example, the word 'menses' means a month. It is possible that man first began counting months according to the menstrual cycle of women, because the natural feminine cycle is a fixed time period: twenty-eight days. This would have been an easy method to know that one month had passed. When your wife begins her menses, one month has gone by.

Or, you can count the months according to the moon. But then the time period that we call one month changes to thirty days. The moon gets bigger for fifteen days and wanes for fifteen days, so in thirty days it has gone through its complete cycle.

We fix the months according to the moon, so we say that a month has thirty days. But if you determine it by Venus or by the menstrual period, it will have twenty-eight days. You can dissolve the disparity by dividing the twenty-eight day cycle and thinking in terms of a seven-day week. Then, once this division becomes fixed in the mind, other things follow automatically. That is what I mean:

everything has its own logic. Once you have a seven-day week you can find many other patterns of seven, and seven becomes a significant number, a magical number. It is not. Either the whole life is magical or nothing is. It becomes just a game for the imagination.

You can play with these things, and there will be many coincidences. The world is so big, so infinite, so many things are happening every second, that there are bound to be coincidences. The coincidences begin to add up, and finally you have created so long a list that you are convinced by it. Then you wonder, "Why is there always seven? There must be some mystery to it." The mystery is only that your mind sees the coincidences and tries to interpret them in a logical way.

Gurdjieff said that man is food for the moon. This is perfectly logical. It shows the foolishness of logic. Everything in life is good for something else, so Gurdjieff came upon a very inventive idea: that man must also be food for something. Then, "What is man food for?" becomes a logical question to ask.

The sun cannot be the eater of man because the sun's rays are food for other things, for plants. Man would then be on a lower rung than other species. But this cannot be so because man is the highest animal - according to himself. So, man cannot be food for the sun.

The moon is related to us in a subtle way, but not in the way Gurdjieff said. It is subtly related to women's menstrual periods. It is related to the tide, to the ebb and flow of the sea. More people seem to go mad on the full moon. That is where the word 'lunatic' comes from: lunar, the moon.

The moon has always hypnotized man's mind. Gurdjieff said, "Man must be food for the moon, because food can be easily hypnotized by the eater." Animals, snakes in particular, first hypnotize their victims. They become so paralyzed that they can be eaten. This is another coincidence that Gurdjieff played with. Poets, lunatics, aesthetes, thinkers, are all hypnotized by the moon.

Something must be there. Man must be a food.

You can play with this idea. With a fertile mind like Gurdjieff's, things go on falling into a logical pattern. Gurdjieff was a genius who could put things in such a way that they appeared to be logical, rational, meaningful, no matter how absurd they were. He postulated this theory and then his imagination was able to find many connections, many proofs.

Every system maker uses logic to distort, to prove his point. Every system maker! Those who want to remain with the truth cannot create systems. For example, I could never create a system because, to me, the very effort is wrong. I can only be fragmentary in what I say, incomplete. There will be gaps, unbridgeable ones. With me, you will have to jump from one point to the next.

A system can be created very easily because the gaps can be filled in by the imagination. Then the whole thing becomes very clean and neat, logical. But as it becomes logical, it moves further and further away from the existential source.

The more you know, the more you feel that there are gaps that cannot be filled. Existence can never be consistent, never. A system needs to be consistent, but existence itself is never consistent. So no system can ever explain it.

Wherever man has created systems to explain existence - in India, in Greece, in China - he has created games. If you accept the first step as true, then the whole system works perfectly, but if you don't accept the first step, the whole edifice falls down. The whole edifice is an exercise in imagination. It is good, poetic, beautiful. But once a system insists that its version of existence is the absolute truth, it becomes violent and destructive. These systems of truth are poetries. They are beautiful, but they are just poetry. Many gaps have been filled in by the imagination.

Gurdjieff was indicating certain fragments of the truth, but because it is not so easy to rest a theory on one or two fragments, he assembled many fragments. Then he tried to make these fragments into a coherent system. He began to fill in the gaps. But the more the gaps are filled in, the more the reality is lost. And ultimately, the whole system falls because of those filled in gaps.

One who is enchanted with the personality of a teacher may not become aware of the gaps in his theory, while those who are not enchanted will see only the gaps and not the fragments of truth.

For his followers, Buddha is a buddha, an enlightened one - but for others he creates confusion because they see only the gaps. If you join all the gaps together it becomes destructive, but if you join all the fragments of truth together, it can become a foundation for your transformation.

Truth is bound to be fragmentary. It is so infinite that with a finite mind you can never get to the whole. And if you insist on trying to get to the whole, you will lose your mind, you will transcend your mind. But if you create a system, you will never lose your mind, because then your mind fills in the gaps. The system becomes neat and clean; it becomes impressive, rational, understandable, but never anything more. And something more is needed: the force, the energy to transform you. But that force can come only through fragmentary glimpses.

Mind creates so many systems, so many methods. It thinks, "If I drop out of the life I am leading, something deeper will be found." This is absurd. But the mind goes on thinking that somewhere in Tibet, somewhere in Meru Pravat, somewhere, the "real thing" must be happening. The heart is in conflict: how to go there? How to come in contact with the masters who are working there? The mind is always looking for something somewhere else, never for something here and now. The mind is never here. And each theory attracts people: "On Meru Mountain, the real thing is happening right now! Go there, be in contact with the masters there, and you will be transformed."

Don't be a victim to such things. Even if they have some basis, don't fall for them. Someone may be telling you something that is real, but the reason for your attraction is wrong. The real is here and now; it is with you now. Just work on yourself. Even when one has gone to every Meru Mountain, one has to come back to oneself. Ultimately, one finds that Meru Mountain is here, Tibet is here:

"Here, inside me. And I have been wandering and wandering everywhere..."

The more rational the system, the more it falls apart, and something irrational must be introduced.

But the moment you introduce the irrational element, the mind begins to shatter. So do not worry about systems. Just take a jump into the here and now.

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