This chair is empty
IN THE FACE OF THE HUGE MYSTERY OF LIFE, SINCE THE EARLY AGES HUMANKIND HAS CONSULTED ORACLES. IT'S VERY FAMOUS THROUGHOUT HISTORY - LIKE THE ORACLE OF DELPHI. PEOPLE ASKED THE ADVICE OF THE STARS TO KNOW ABOUT HUMAN DESTINY; WITCHES OR WISE WOMEN USED TO READ DESTINY IN THE TEA LEAVES OR EVEN IN TORTOISE SHELLS. The Book of Changes AND THE ALEISTER CROWLEY TAROT DECK ARE OFTEN USED NOWADAYS.
WE USE YOUR TAROT DECK AS A MEDITATION TO HELP US TO MOVE FROM THE HEAD TO THE HEART IN OUR DAILY LIFE. BUT IT SEEMS THAT ALL ORACLES ARE POINTING NOW TO THE PRESENT.
JUST THE VERY FACT OF YOUR EXISTENCE IN THIS MOMENT OF THE UNIVERSE HELPS TO MAKE SIMPLER OUR DESTINY, SHOWING ONLY TWO ALTERNATIVES: DISAPPEARING OR NOT.
OSHO, WOULD YOU PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS SUBJECT?
There has been a great misunderstanding between life and time. Time is thought to consist of three tenses: past, present, future - which is wrong. Time consists only of past and future.
It is life which consists of the present.
So those who want to live, for them there is no other way than to live this moment. Only the present is existential. The past is simply a collection of memories, and the future is nothing but your imaginations, your dreams.
Reality is herenow.
Those who want just to think about life, about living, about love, for them past and future are perfectly beautiful, because they give them infinite scope. They can decorate their past, make it as beautiful as they like - although they never lived it, when it was present they were not there. These are just shadows, reflections. They were continuously running, and while running they have seen a few things. They think they have lived. In the past only death is the reality, not life. In the future also, only death is the reality, not life.
Those who have missed living in the past, automatically, to substitute for the gap, start dreaming about the future. Their future is only a projection out of the past. Whatever they have missed in the past, they are hoping for in the future; and between the two non-existences, is the small existent moment which is life.
For those who want to live, not to think about it; to love, not to think about it; to be, not to philosophize about it - there is no other alternative. Drink the present moment's juices, squeeze it totally, because it is not going to come back again; once gone, it is gone forever.
But because of the misunderstanding which has been almost as old as man - and all the cultures have joined in it - they have made the present part of time. And the present has nothing to do with time.
If you are just here in this moment, there is no time. There is immense silence, stillness, no movement; nothing is passing, everything has come to a sudden stop.
The present gives you the opportunity to dive deep into the water of life, or to fly high into the sky of life. But on both sides there are dangers - past and future are the most dangerous words in human language. Between past and future, living in the present is almost like walking on a tight rope - on both sides there is danger.
But once you have tasted the juice of the present, you don't care about dangers. Once you are in tune with life, then nothing matters.
And to me life is all there is.
You can call it "God", but that is not a good name because religions have contaminated it. You can call it "existence", which is beautiful. But what you call it is not of any consequence. The understanding should be clear that you have only one moment in your hands - the real moment.
And again and again you will get that real moment. Either you live it or you leave it unlived.
Most of the people simply drag themselves from the cradle to the grave without living at all.
I have heard about a Sufi statement that a man, when he died, suddenly realized, "My God, I was alive." But only death as a contrast made him aware, that for seventy years he had been alive, but life itself had not enriched him.
It is not the fault of life.
It is our misunderstanding.
My insistence for watchfulness will give you life without even thinking about it, because watchfulness can only be in the present. You can witness only the present.
Live totally and live intensely, so that each moment becomes golden, and your whole life becomes a series of golden moments. Such a person never dies, because he has the Midas touch - whatever he touches becomes golden.
When he touches death, death also becomes golden. He enjoys it as much as life - or perhaps more - because death is more condensed than life. Life is spread over seventy, eighty years. Death happens in a single moment. It is so condensed, that if you have lived your life rightly, you will be able to enter into the mystery of death. And the mystery of death is that it is only a cover.
Inside is your immortality, your eternal life.
IN ONE OF THE FESTIVAL DARSHANS I WAS SITTING AT YOUR FEET, BOWING DOWN TO YOU, AND SUDDENLY FOUND THERE WAS NO YOU - THERE WAS ONLY AN EMPTY CHAIR. AND ALL THE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WERE BOWING DOWN TO AN EMPTY CHAIR, SITTING IN SILENCE WITH AN EMPTY CHAIR, SINGING AND CELEBRATING WITH AN EMPTY CHAIR. I NEARLY BURST OUT LAUGHING, SEEING THE RIDICULOUSNESS OF US NEEDING YOU AS AN EXCUSE TO BE ABLE TO DO ALL THIS. BUT THEN COMES THE GRATEFULNESS OF SEEING THE CARING OF EXISTENCE TO LET US HAVE BEAUTIFUL, LOVING EYES TO LOOK AT, A VOICE TALKING TO US, A BODY WE CAN GIVE A DRESS TO, A CAR TO DRIVE...
TO LET US CARE ABOUT SOMEONE SO TOTALLY, THAT THIS VERY LOVE OPENS US UP TO BE TRANSFORMED.
BUDDHAM SHARANAM GACHCHHAMI - YOU ARE THE FEET OF THE WHOLE WORLD FOR ME, WHERE I CAN BOW DOWN IN GRATEFULNESS.
Gayan, that was the real experience of me as non-existent. Once in a while a disciple will come so close that he will be able to see that there is no "I" within me. It has died long ago. This body is empty, this chair is empty. But it will be only at rare, intimate moments, that you will be able to penetrate to my reality. I am simply a nothingness - of course covered with a body.
Ordinarily you will see the body. To see the nothingness within you need a deep insight. And one never knows in what condition it may happen.
You were dancing around me joyously, so deeply in the moment. With great love you were sitting in front of me, bowing down, repeating the greatest mantra there has ever been: buddham sharanam gachchhami, "I go to the feet of the awakened one". And thousands of people were creating a milieu around you. It was not an ordinary situation: an extraordinary device, so when you opened your eyes suddenly for a moment I was not there.
And your understanding is right, that it is just for your love that I am carrying the body. Howsoever difficult it may be, it is worth it if it can help you to realize your potential. Otherwise my body's work is long ago finished. It should not be there.
I am trying every effort to hang on to it, because most of you are not yet ready to see me. You see only the body. The day you all will be able to see me, there will be no need for the body to be carried continuously - which is for me just a burden, just a trouble. But I will wait until enough of you are aware of my nothingness.
Remember, the moment you are aware of my nothingness, you are also experiencing nothingness in you. Only two nothingnesses can recognize each other.
Gayan, you saw the chair empty, and the experience was so strange that you forgot to look within yourself. If you had done that, you would have found that the same nothingness is there.
We are not egos. We consist of universal nothingness. And nothingness is not a negative word; it simply means absence of everything, just pure existence. Of course the pure existence cannot have a form. So if you happen to see pure existence, you will see the body disappear, the chair empty.
If it happens again, then in the same moment look within yourself, and you will find your body is also absent - you are not. And to know that one is not is the door to know that one is eternal. This is the ultimate paradox of spiritual experience.
Shakespeare is puzzled by the problem "to be or not to be," because he is absolutely unaware that the way to be is not to be. There is no question of choice. It is not that you have to choose one.
If you choose to be, you will have to choose not to be. If you are ready to disappear, evaporate, you will find your authenticity for the first time. It is certainly a paradox. No logic can explain it, but experience can make it absolutely clear.
You had felt ridiculous. You had laughed, because thousands of people are bowing down to an empty chair chanting buddham sharanam gachchhami, and there is nobody.
Your laughter, Gayan, was still half. If you had looked into yourself, your laughter would have been complete. Then you would not have only seen me not there, you would have seen yourself not there, you would have seen those thousands of people disappearing - an empty mandir resounding with the chanting of buddham sharanam gachchhami.
Next time it happens, don't let it be incomplete. Because if it is complete, then you have come to a clear understanding which will follow you like a shadow in every act throughout your life. It will change your whole being. It will give you a new aroma, a new aura - and not only to you, you will see it in others too; although those others are not aware of it. But you will be aware of it.
That's why the Japanese awakened soul Hotei has been called the laughing Buddha. For what is he laughing? - his whole teaching was laughing. Seeing this ridiculousness that people are not what they are thinking they are, and people are what they never dream about.... It is a cosmic joke, but one has to understand it to come to a point when one can become a laughing buddha.
And I want the world filled with laughing buddhas, not the serious ones. We are sick of them.
We need the whole earth filled with laughter, and not ordinary laughter but cosmic laughter - a laughter that arises out of the understanding that it is a beautiful joke existence has played with us.
THE OTHER NIGHT YOU SPOKE OF THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL - THAT STATE ONE PASSES THROUGH AS ONE MOVES FROM SUSHUPTI INTO TURIYA.
LOOKING AT IT LOGICALLY, IT SEEMS CURIOUS THAT AS ONE MOVES TOWARDS THE ULTIMATE STATE OF AWARENESS, ONE IS - JUST BEFORE REALIZATION - OVERCOME MOMENTARILY BY DARKNESS. I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT ONE WOULD HAVE BEEN GATHERING MORE AND MORE AWARENESS, THEREBY DISPELLING DARKNESS AS ONE MOVED THROUGH THE STATE OF DEEP MEDITATION - SO DEEP THAT THERE ARE NO LONGER DREAMS - TO THE POINT WHERE THE WATCHER IS EVEN ABLE TO WITNESS SUSHUPTI.
IS IT PERHAPS, ANALOGOUS TO WHAT HAPPENS AS DEATH APPROACHES? YOU HAVE SPOKEN OF HOW LIFE SUDDENLY ASSERTS ITSELF AT THE POINT OF DEATH - THE RESURGENCE OF THE BODY'S LIFE-FORCE IN THE FACE OF ITS EXTINCTION. IS THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL THE FINAL EFFORT OF ANY REMAINING VESTIGES OF THE UNCONSCIOUS TO EXIST BEFORE IT IS TOTALLY ANNIHILATED BY THE LIGHT OF TOTAL ILLUMINATION - ENLIGHTENMENT?
Yes, it is the last effort of your millions of lives lived in darkness. The darkness has become so much attached to you, just as you have become so much attached to it. It is the last effort. So in sushupti it brings all its forces possible at a single stroke.
So you go deep into sushupti where even dreams cannot enter - but this happens only when the dark forces in your life, the unconscious forces of your life, clearly see that their death is approaching.
And naturally they would not like to die. They have dominated you for so long, and suddenly you are slipping out of their hands. They will make the last effort.
And don't think about it logically. Logic and life have nothing in parallel. Thinking logically you go away from life. Don't think at all, because every thinking in some way is logical; just see the fact that this is how it happens.
And it is strange that in ordinary life, in science, we accept things without bringing logic in. If the water evaporates at a hundred degrees nobody asks why - why exactly at a hundred degrees, why not at ninety-nine? It would be logical that it starts evaporating slowly, slowly: ninety, just a little bit... ninety-one, a little more... ninety-two, a little more, and at one hundred it just evaporates. That seems to be logical. But the water knows no logic. And you cannot ask anybody why it evaporates at a hundred degrees. We simply accept facts of existence as they are.
D.H. Lawrence, one of the men of this century I have loved most, was walking in the garden with a small child who was asking questions, as every child is bound to ask - just curious. And finally he said, "Uncle, why are trees green?" Perhaps nobody had ever asked why trees are green.
For a moment Lawrence stood there thinking why trees are green. And then suddenly it dawned on him that there is no question of why; trees don't follow any logic, existence is not logical. So he said to the child, "Trees are green because they are green."
The child said, "That's right. I have asked the question to many people. Nobody can answer - and you have answered. That seems to be perfectly right. Trees are green because they are green."
Neither the child understands logic nor do the trees understand logic.
So don't think logically about inner reality, the inner science of discovering yourself. Be factual, realistic. This is how it happens: before the explosion of light all the unconscious forces make their last effort - and they should be given a chance; you have been using them since the beginning.
These forces have every right, every legal right, not to let you go into a totally different realm. And you have been a slave. And once you move out of the darkness of the night, you will be a master.
There is a great vested interest of the unconscious forces, so naturally they gather up and create sushupti, dreamless sleep.
And the mystics are right to call it the dark night of the soul. It is no ordinary dark night. It is the dark night of the soul, because what is going to happen is the golden dawn of the soul.
But remember always to be factual.
Logic is not a substitute for it.
IS IT NECESSARY THAT THE INNOCENCE OF CHILDHOOD AND THE IDEALISM OF ADOLESCENCE MUST ALWAYS BE SHATTERED BEFORE EACH INDIVIDUAL FINDS WITHIN HIMSELF THE CAPACITY TO SEARCH FOR WHAT HE CONSIDERS THE REAL VALUES OF LIFE?
It is absolutely necessary, because childhood has been conditioned - not knowingly, not intentionally, but just by unconscious forces - through your parents, through your neighbors, through your teachers, through everybody.
Your innocence has been covered with so many layers of conditioning that you cannot find it easily.
And your youth has ideals, utopian ideas, great plans for revolutions for changing the whole of humanity. You think they are yours; you are wrong. They are only biological.
The biology of man gives him a very romantic youth, because that is the time when he is going to produce children, which in itself is such a mundane affair, if not dirty, that unless it is covered with romanticism it will be very difficult.
Have you seen animals making love? Everybody must have seen some animals making love. But have you watched one thing, that while making love both the partners look sad - not happy, as if they are being forced to do something which they don't want to do.
And the force is coming from within their own biology, so they cannot do anything about it. But they are in a good position in a way, because they have only seasons when they make love - two months, three months in the year, and for nine months they are really free.
For man the difficulty is very great. One, he is capable of making love all the year round; and each time he makes love, he feels something is wrong. If he sees photographs of himself making love he will not believe that he can do such stupid things. If he is interested in gymnastics, he can go to a gym. But what is he doing here? Women are more clever in keeping their eyes closed, just not to see the gymnastics the man is doing. And also the man is in a hurry. He wants to do it as quickly as possible and be finished. There seems to be a certain biological slavery. He cannot avoid it, and there seems to be nothing in it that looks beautiful.
Specially for man, biology has given romantic idealism. That covers his eyes - the woman becomes almost a goddess. And in the eyes of the woman the man becomes almost a god. And their love affair becomes such a poetic thing, such a great romance, as if nobody has ever loved the way they are loving. For the first time in history, something great is happening.
This hallucination is necessary; otherwise, man may stop producing children. Animals will go on reproducing, because they don't have intelligence. But man has intelligence; he may stop producing children, or he may find some other way - test-tube babies made in the lab of some scientist - which looks more clinical, more sophisticated, less animalistic, less barbarous.
But because of this romantic fever, he manages to continue. Every day his fever goes down. After making love, ashamed, he pulls his blanket over himself and lies down there, thinking, "What an idiot I am. I did it again, and I have thought thousands of times that this is just stupid."
And the woman is crying on the other side, tears in her eyes, because all the poetry ends here on the bed in an ugly exercise. But after twenty-four hours he will be again ready, he will forget those thousands of idiotic acts he has done. After twenty-four hours he is again feeling romantic.
It is simply biology, because biology takes time to create sexual energy again. And as one starts growing older, then it takes a longer time. Then he cannot make love every day: then twice a week, then once a week, then once a month, and he knows now death is coming close. And by the time his whole illusion has disappeared, death is ready to take him away.
In those illusory times, there are other dimensions also. Every young man feels romantic, very idealistic - not knowing that this earth has been filled with youth for thousands of years, and every young man has been thinking of idealism, of great revolutions, of great utopias. But they are simply a by-product of his biological romance. It is a chemical thing, a hormonal thing.
And it is proved perfectly that if hormones are removed from a man or from a woman, she goes into a complete change of personality. Or if hormones are added, injected, then he becomes even more romantic, almost mad, ready to change the world, ready to save the whole world, ready to become a savior, a messiah.
My own feeling is that all saviors, messiahs, prophets, were freaks; just by accident they got more hormones than other people, so their romantic ideology was so much that they were even ready to sacrifice their life; but they will not sacrifice their ideology. Ideology became greater, more important than life itself.
But the reality is that generation after generation of young people come and go, and the world remains the same. Their whole idealism and their whole romantic philosophies, utopias, simply go on creating more population. That's all. Creating more difficulties for humanity - that is the only revolution they bring.
A real revolutionary is not romantic, but is very realistic. It is not a dream that he wants to impose on the whole humanity. Who are you to impose your dream on the whole of humanity? Everybody is free to have his own dream, and if everybody starts imposing his dream on everybody else, there is going to be chaos.
And there has been chaos, because of Christians wanting their dream to be imposed on everybody, Mohammedans trying to do the same, Jews trying to do the same, Hindus trying to do the same, Buddhists trying to do the same, communists trying to do the same.
There are so many dreamers and this poor humanity... and they all want to mold it according to their dream. The ultimate result is they fight, they kill, they create wars and violence. No utopia comes, only war comes. There is no evolution of consciousness but only ugly incidents which the whole past is filled with, all the way along.
I would like my people first to meditate, first to become aware - because that is the only loophole through which you can get out of the slavery of biology. And once you are aware, you don't have dreams. Then a totally new reality comes to you, and that is a vision - you start seeing.
And that's what has been called in the past, the oracles. Women have been found to be more capable of being visionaries - men are more prone to dream. So there were oracles all around the world; and the woman will go into a trance - that is a state of meditation. And in that state she will start saying things, describing the vision.
Christianity has committed many crimes. One of their greatest crimes is that they destroyed all those women visionaries - calling them witches, burning them alive, because they were wiser than their popes and cardinals and bishops, and they could not be tolerated. They were a great competition.
And all these cardinals and bishops and popes were simply knowledgeable people, not people who are wise.
The word 'witch' means a wise woman. There is something tremendously significant in this. Again there will be oracles. Once these rotten religions have lost their hold on humanity, all that they have destroyed - which was worth preserving - will come back.
When you are meditating, you can give it any name - you can call it trance, you can call it latihan....
It is simply a state of silence where no thoughts, no dreams are moving on the screen of the brain.
In that clarity you start seeing things which are going to happen.
It is almost like you are standing under a tree, and somebody is sitting on top of the tree, and a road is just there. You cannot see anybody on the road, it is empty; but the man at the top of the tree can see a bullock cart coming from the left. He can see a bullock cart that is leaving from the right side.
To the person who is standing under the tree, those bullock carts don't exist; as far as he can see, the road is empty.
One bullock cart is past, one is in the future, but none of the bullock carts is present to his eyes.
But to the man who is sitting at the top of the tree, both of the bullock carts are in the present - the bullock cart that has passed, the bullock cart that is coming; they are not in different tenses. The whole road is present to him, it is just that his vision is from a height.
The oracle is really nothing but your consciousness looking at things and the world from a height which is not available to ordinary people. So they can see things which are going to happen, as far as the ordinary people are concerned. For them, they are already happening. They can also say things about that which has happened; but for the ordinary person, there is no trace of it at all.
And there are different heights of consciousness, as I have told you: superconscious, collective superconscious, cosmic superconscious. It depends, the trance of the oracle may be only of the superconscious. Still it will be far bigger, far more real than the ordinary man who lives in the conscious - just a small slit.
But the trance can be of the collective superconscious, then the area will be vast. And if the trance is leading the person to the cosmic superconscious then everything is present to him - then there is no past and no future.
That is going to be one of the basic practices in the mystery school, how to create oracles. The capacity is there - more in women, less in men. But it can be brought back to reality. The burning of thousands of women in the middle ages by the Christian church on the orders of the pope has not destroyed the capacity. We will bring it back. We will introduce techniques for how to reach to those trances.
I wanted to go to Delphi when I was in Greece, because that was the place of the greatest oracle.
The very genius of oracles was selected from Delphi. It was one of the most significant mystery schools. But the Greek government would not allow me even to stay overnight.
For no reason at all, they arrested me, and they wanted to force me to go onto a boat for India.
I refused. And later on I saw that their behavior was changing; they were becoming more polite, more friendly, bringing water or anything needed. Only later on I came to know that our friends in Athens had given a twenty-five-thousand-dollar bribe to the chief of police. Otherwise, they could have forced me onto the boat which was going to India.
And I was telling them, "My jet is standing in Athens. If you allow, it can come here - to Crete. Or I can go by plane to Athens." Only here I came to know why their behavior had suddenly changed - money is a miracle.
It was in the middle of the night that I reached Athens; and my friends wanted that I should stay the night in a hotel. The police would not allow it. I could not leave the airport. I had to go to my jet immediately. I could not go to Delphi, but one day I will go to Delphi.
Our people are fighting the case in the court, because it was absolutely illegal to arrest me. My visa as a tourist was still valid for fifteen days more - it was for four weeks, and I had been there only for two weeks.
And they should not deport me without giving any reason - because there was no reason. I had not even left the house. Just as I am living here in the house and never leave the house, I had not left that house.
But the archbishop of Greece was continuously giving press conferences, and sending telegrams, and telephoning the president and the prime minister saying, "If this man is not removed immediately, we are going to burn him alive with his house." These are religious people. These are democratic governments.
I was asleep when the police came. Anando tried, saying, "You just sit, and we will wake him up,"
but they wouldn't listen.
John came to wake me up. As I was getting ready in my bathroom, suddenly I heard sounds as if bombs were being exploded. I could not believe what was happening. Those police people started throwing rocks at the windows, at the glass, at the doors - they were destroying.... and they had dynamite, and they were threatening, "We will dynamite the house."
They could not wait for five minutes for me to put my clothes on, wash my face and come down. They were in such a hurry... five minutes more and Christianity will be destroyed, morality will disappear, no woman will remain a virgin - just in five minutes; and I am in my bathroom!
And then I was sitting unnecessarily in their jail for almost seven hours. They could not wait for five minutes, and I had to sit there unnecessarily for seven hours. These are the people who are running democratic governments.
I told the man, "I came here to see who are the people who poisoned Socrates, and I am not disappointed - I have seen them."
Just one thing I have not been able to see, and that is Delphi. It is now in ruins, but once it was one of the greatest temples in the world, ruled completely by wise women. And only the genius ones were going into trances and saying things about the past and future. And whatever they were saying was going to come true.
It is not prediction, it is simply their vision. It is not prophecy, it is not astrology. It is simply the height of their consciousness, that they can see a far bigger horizon.
The science has to be revived, but it can be revived only on the grave of the Christian church.
HOTEI IS REMEMBERED BY THE FIREWORKS IN HIS POCKETS AT HIS FUNERAL. WAS YOUR GREATEST JOKE THE ENLIGHTENMENT LIST, OR DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING MORE DEVILISH UP YOUR SLEEVE?
I will not tell you right now.
Milarepa, you will have to wait for it!