The fallacy of knowledge

Fri, 1 December 1971 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Osho - The Psychology of the Esoteric
Chapter #:
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Question 1:


I am not teaching a doctrine. Teaching a doctrine is rather meaningless. I am not a philosopher; my mind is antiphilosophical. Philosophy has led nowhere and cannot lead anywhere. The mind that thinks, that questions, cannot know.

There are so many doctrines. But a doctrine is a fiction, a human fiction. It is not a discovery but an invention. The human mind is capable of creating infinite systems and doctrines, but to know the truth through theories is impossible. A mind that is stuffed with knowledge is a mind that is bound to remain ignorant.

Revelation comes the moment knowledge ceases. There are two possibilities: either we can think about something, or we can go into it existentially. The more a person thinks, the more he moves away from what is here and now. To think about something is to lose contact with it.

So what I teach is an antidoctrinaire, antiphilosophical, antispeculative experience. How to be, just to be. How to be in the moment that is here and now. Open, vulnerable, one with it. That is what I call meditation.

Knowledge can only lead to fiction, to projecting things. It cannot be a vehicle for the attainment of truth. But once you have known the truth, knowledge can be a vehicle to communicate, to share with someone who doesn't know. Then language, doctrines, theories can become a means. But it is still not adequate. It is bound to falsify.

Anything that has been known existentially cannot be expressed totally. You can only indicate it. The moment I express what I have known, the word goes to you but the meaning is left behind. A dead word comes to you. In a way it is meaningless, because the meaning was the experience itself.

So knowledge can become a vehicle of expression, but not a means toward the achievement of realization. The knowing mind is a hindrance, because when you know you are not humble. When you are stuffed with knowledge there is no space within you to receive the unknown. The mind must become vacant, void: a womb, a total receptivity.

Knowledge is your past. It is what you have known. It is your memory, your accumulation, your possession. The accumulation becomes a barrier. It comes between you and the new, between you and the unknown.

You can be open to the unknown only when you are humble. One must constantly be aware of one's ignorance: that there is still something unknown. A mind that is based on memories, information, scriptures, theories, doctrines, dogmas - is egocentric, not humble. Knowledge cannot give you humbleness. Only the vast unknown can make you humble.

So memory must cease. It is not that you should be without memory, but that in the moment of knowing, in the moment of experiencing, memory must not be there. In that moment, an open, vulnerable mind is required. This moment of emptiness, of void, is meditation, dhyana.

Question 2:


The experience can only be communicated to others negatively. I cannot say what it is, but I can say what it is not. Language can be a vehicle to express what it is not. When I say language cannot express it, I am still expressing it. When I say no doctrine about it is possible, that is my doctrine.

But this is negative. I am not asserting something; I am denying something. The no can be said; the yes cannot be said. The yes must be realized.

If there is a lingering belief in knowledge, it will become a hindrance in achieving the void, in achieving meditation. First one must understand the futility of the past, of the known, of the knowledge of the mind. As far as the unknown is concerned, as far as truth is concerned, such knowledge is futile.

Either you can become identified with what you have known, or you can become a witness to it. If you become identified with it, then you and your memory become one. But if there is no identification - if you have remained aloof from your memories, separate, not identified with them - then you are aware of yourself as something different from your memories. This awareness becomes a path towards the unknown.

The more you are able to be a witness to your knowledge, the less you identify yourself as the knower, the less possibility there is of your ego becoming the possessor of this knowledge. If you are different from your memories, then the memories become just a sort of accumulated dust. They have come through experience and have become part and parcel of your mind, but your consciousness is different. The one who remembers is different from that which is remembered; the one who has known is different from that which has been known. If you are clear about this distinction, you come nearer and nearer to the void. Non-identified, you can be open; you can be without memories coming between you and the unknown.

The void can be attained, but it cannot be created. If you create it, it is bound to be created by your old mind, by your knowledge. That is why there can be no method to attain it. A method can come only from your accumulated information, so if you try to use any method it is bound to be a continuity of your old mind. But the unknown cannot come to you as a continuity. It can come only as a discontinuous gap. Only then is it beyond the known, beyond your knowledge.

So there can be no method as such, no methodology; only the understanding that "I am separate from that which I have accumulated." If this is understood, then there is no need of cultivating the void. The thing has happened! You are the emptiness! Now there is no need to create it.

One cannot create the void. A created void will not be the void; it will only be your creation. Your creation can never be nothingness, the void, because it will have boundaries. You have created it, so it cannot be more than you; it cannot be more than the mind that has created it. You cannot create the void; it must enter you. You can only be a receiver of it. And you can be prepared to receive it only in a negative way. Prepared in the sense that you must not be identified with your knowledge; prepared in the sense that you have understood the futility, the meaninglessness of everything you have known.

Only this awareness of the thinking process can throw you into a gap where "that which is" overwhelms you, where "that which is", is always present. Now there is no barrier between you and it. You have become one with the moment, one with eternity, with the infinite.

The moment one translates this moment into knowledge, it again becomes part and parcel of the memory. Then it is lost. So one can never say, "I have known." The unknown remains unknown.

However much one may have experienced it, the unknown still remains to be known. The charm of it, the beauty of it, the attraction of it remains the same.

The process of knowing is eternal, so one can never come to a point when he can say, "I have reached." If someone says this, he again falls into the pattern of memory, the pattern of knowledge.

Then he becomes dead. The moment knowledge is asserted is the moment of death. Life ceases.

Life is always from the unknown, towards the unknown. It comes from the beyond and goes toward the beyond. So to me, a religious person is not a person who claims knowledge. A person who claims knowledge may be a theologian, a philosopher, but never a religious person. A religious mind accepts the ultimate mystery, the ultimate unknowableness, the ultimate ecstasy of ignorance, the ultimate bliss of ignorance.

The moment of meditation, of emptiness, cannot be created; it cannot be projected. You cannot make your mind still. If you do, then either you have intoxicated it or you have hypnotized it, but this is not the void. The void comes. It can never be created; it can never be brought.

So I am not teaching any method. In the sense that there are methods, techniques, doctrines, I am not a teacher.

Question 3:


There is no how, because how implies a method. There is only an awakening. If you are listening to me and something awakens within you, then the experience will happen to you; you will feel something. I am not trying to convince you. An intellectual conviction is no conviction at all. I am just conveying a fact to you.

Why are you convinced by what I have said? There are two possibilities: either you have been convinced by my argument, or you see the truth in what I've said as a fact in yourself. If my argument becomes a conviction then you will ask how, but if what I am saying is experienced by you, if you realize it to be true within yourself, that knowledge is separate from me. I am not providing you with any knowledge. Rather, the experience itself is happening while I'm talking.

When the intellect is convinced, it asks: how? What is the way? It wants to know. But I am not giving you any doctrine. I am just telling you my experience. When I say that memory is an accumulation - that it is dead, it is just a hangover from the past - what I mean is that it is a part of the past that is clinging to you, but you are separate from it. If the feeling of what I mean comes to you, and you have a glimpse of the distance between you and your memory - your consciousness and your memory - then there is no how. Something has happened, and this something can go on penetrating you from moment to moment - not through any method, but through your awareness, your constant remembrance.

Now you know that consciousness is different from the contents of consciousness. If this becomes a moment-to-moment awareness - while you are walking, talking, eating, sleeping - then something happens. If you are constantly aware that the mind is just a computerized, built-in process to accumulate memories and not a part of your being, then this awareness alone, this no-method alone, will help this something to happen within you.

No one can say when it will happen, how it will happen, where it will happen, but if awareness continues, by itself it becomes deeper and deeper. It is an automatic process. From the intellect it goes to the heart; from the intelligence it goes to your intuitive mind; from the conscious it moves slowly to the unconscious. And one day, you become totally awakened. Something has happened.

Not as a cultivation, but as a by-product of remembering. Not by the cultivation of any doctrine, but because you have awakened to an inner fact, an inner vision. Something has gone deep in you.

When the moment comes, it comes completely unprecedented, unknown - as an explosion. In that moment of explosion, you are completely empty. You are not; you cease to be. There is no intellect, no reason, no memory. There is simply consciousness: consciousness of nothingness, of the void.

In that void is knowledge. But it is knowledge in quite another sense. Now there is no knower and no known. There is simply knowing. It is existential.

What exists in the void, what the void is, cannot be communicated. Only the passage, the process, can be communicated. But the process cannot be conceived of as a method; it is not something to be practiced. There is nothing to practice. Either you remember, or you do not.

Question 4:


The moment you become aware, your whole life, your whole way of living will change. But these changes will come to you; they should not be practiced. The moment you practice something, it loses whatever is significant in it. So whatever changes come about should happen spontaneously.

There is no question of anything being practiced. The question is simply to understand that you cannot desire the void. It is not just a contradiction in terms, but an existential contradiction. You cannot desire it because the very desire comes from your old mind, from your knowledge. All that you can do is to be aware of what you are. The moment you become aware of yourself as you are, a separation occurs, a division, a partition. A part of you becomes unidentified with the rest of you.

Then there are two: I and me. The "me" is the memory, the mind; and the "I" is the consciousness, the atman.

You must listen to me, and simultaneously listen to your inner mind. This process should go on all the time. What I am saying is becoming a part of your "me," a part of your accumulation, a part of your knowledge. This knowledge will ask for further knowledge - about the how, the method. And if some method is shown, that too will become part of your knowledge. Your "me" will be strengthened; it will become more knowledgeable.

My emphasis is not on your "me"; I am not talking to your "me." If your "me" comes in, then the communication does not become a communion. Then it is simply a discussion, not a dialogue. It becomes a dialogue only if there is no "me." If you are here but your "me" is not here, then there is no question of how. What I am saying will either be seen as a truth or as an untruth, either as a fact or as a hocus-pocus doctrine.

My concern is just to create a situation - either by talking, or by silence, or by confusing you. My aim is to create a situation where your "I" comes outside of you, your "I" comes beyond your "me." I try to create so many situations.

This too is a kind of situation. I am saying absurd things to you. I am talking about attaining something, and still denying any method. This is absurd! How can I be saying something and still say that it cannot be said? But it is absurdity itself that can create the situation. If I convince you, it will not create the situation. It will become part of your "me," part of your knowledge. Your "me" goes on asking: How? What is the way? I will deny the way and still talk of the transformation. Then the situation becomes so irrational that your mind is not satisfied. Only then can something from beyond take over.

All the time I am creating situations. For intellectual people, absurdity must be the situation.

Awareness comes only when a situation is created where the continuity is disrupted. The very absurdity and unreasonableness of the situation must create a gap, shattering and disturbing the individual to the point of awareness.

I am reminded of an incident in the life of Buddha....

One morning he came to a village. As he entered the village, someone said to him, "I am a believer in the Supreme. Please tell me whether God is."

Buddha denied it absolutely. He said, "There is no God. There never has been and there never will be. What nonsense you are saying!" The man was shattered, but the situation was created.

In the afternoon, another man came to Buddha and said, "I am an atheist. I do not believe in God.

Is there a God? What do you say about it?"

Buddha said, "Only God is. Nothing exists except him." The man was shattered.

Then in the evening, a third man came to Buddha and said, "I am an agnostic. I neither believe nor disbelieve. What do you say? Is there a God or not?"

Buddha remained silent. The man was shattered.

But a certain monk, Ananda, who always accompanied Buddha, was shattered even more. In the morning Buddha had said, "There is no God," in the afternoon he had said, "Only God is," and in the evening he had remained silent. That night Ananda said to Buddha, "Before you go to sleep, please answer my question. You have shattered my peace! I am at a loss! What do you mean by these absurd, contradictory answers?"

Buddha said, "None of them was given to you. Why have you listened to them? Those answers were each given to the person who asked. If the answers have disturbed you, good. That is your answer."

So situations can be created. A Zen monk creates situations in his own way. He may push you out of his room, or slap you on your face. It looks absurd. You ask one thing, and he answers about something else. Someone asks, "What is the Way?" but the Zen monk's answer is not concerned with the Way at all. He may say, "See the river!" or "See that tree! How tall it is!" This is absurd.

The mind seeks continuity. It is afraid of absurdities. It is afraid of the non-rational, of the unknown.

But truth is not a by-product of intellectualization. It is neither a deduction nor an induction. It is not logical; it is not a conclusion.

I am not conveying anything to you. I am just creating a situation. If the situation is created, then something that cannot be conveyed is conveyed. So do not ask how. Just be. Be aware if you can, and if you cannot, then be aware of your unawareness. Be attentive to what is. If you cannot, then be attentive to your inattention. And the thing will happen. The thing happens.

Question 5:


People are disturbed enough already. But because they are disturbed already, they have identified themselves with their disturbances. They have become at ease with them. The disturbances have become habitual. We are disturbed already! It is impossible to be undisturbed and not know the truth.

Disturbance is our normal situation, so when I disturb you, your disturbance is disturbed. Then the disturbance is negated. You become calm for the first time. When I talk about creating an absurd situation, it is not to achieve any result but only as a means to convey a message that is essentially nonconveyable.

You ask, "What will be the result?" Something can be said about it provided that what is said is not taken to be the truth. It should be taken only in a symbolic, poetic, mythical sense. To me, every religious scripture is a myth and every assertion that comes from a person who has gone through the happening is, in a sense, untrue. It is not the truth but only an indicator. The indicator has to be forgotten before the truth can be known.

There are three words that indicate the boundary beyond which there is only silence. These words are sat-chit-anand: existence, consciousness, bliss. The experience is one, but when we make a concept of it we divide it into these three phases. It is always experienced as one but conceptualized as these three.

In this total existence, sat, this total is-ness, you alone are. You are neither this nor that; you are not identified with anything. There is simply is-ness.

The second is consciousness, chit. This does not mean the conscious mind. The conscious mind is only a fragment of a greater unconscious one. Ordinarily when we are conscious we are conscious of something. The consciousness is objective; it is about something. Chit is pure consciousness, consciousness of nothing. There is no object. The consciousness is not directed toward anything; it is undirected. It is infinite, pure.

The last is anand, bliss. Not happiness, not joy, but bliss. Happiness includes a state of unhappiness - a remembrance of it, a contrast to it. Joy too has a certain tension about it, something that has to be released, that has to subside. Bliss is happiness without any trace of unhappiness; it is joy without any abyss around it. It is happiness without any tension.

Bliss is the midpoint between joy, at one extreme, and sorrow at the other. It is the midpoint, the point of transcendence. It has the depth of sorrow and the height of joy, both. Joy has height but no depth, while sorrow has depth, an abysmal depth, but no peak. Bliss has both the height of joy and the depth of sorrow, so it transcends both. Only the midpoint can be a total transcendence of the two extremes.

These three terms, sat-chit-anand, are the boundary: the most that can be said and the least of what can be experienced. This is the last thing that can be expressed and the boundary from which one can jump into the inexpressible. This is not the end. It is only the beginning.

Satchitanand is only an expression, not the reality. If this is remembered, then no harm will be done. But the mind forgets, and then the expression satchitanand becomes a reality. We form theories around it, doctrines, and the mind becomes closed. Then there is no jump. This has happened in India. The whole tradition has been woven around these three words. But reality is not satchitanand; it is beyond it. This is only as much of it as can be put into words. It should be taken as a metaphor. All religious literature is a parable; it is symbolic. It is a verbalization of what is intrinsically inexpressible.

I don't even like to use the term satchitanand because the moment the mind knows what is to happen it begins to ask and demand. Then it demands satchitanand, and teachers come along who supply the demand with mantras, with techniques, with methods. Every demand can be supplied, so a nonsensical demand will be supplied with absurdities. All theologies and all gurudoms are created in this way.

One has to be aware all the time not to make the ultimate into a goal to be desired. Do not make it a wish, or an object to be achieved, or a destination to travel to. It is right here now! If we can become aware, the explosion can happen. It's already nearby, it's our closest neighbor, but we go on desiring the far off. It's beside us, and we go on a long pilgrimage. It follows us like a shadow, but we never see it because our eyes are far away in the distance.

Life must be in the being. There is a saying of Lao Tzu: "Seek, and you will lose. Do not seek, and find."

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