Right questioning

Fri, 12 March 1972 00:00:00 GMT
Book Title:
Osho - The Psychology of the Esoteric
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Question 1:


Do not ask theoretical questions. Theories solve less and confuse more. If there were no theories, there would be less problems. It is not that theories solve questions or problems. On the contrary, questions arise out of theories.

And do not ask philosophical questions. Philosophical questions only seem to be questions, but they are not. That is why no answer has been possible. If a question is really a question then it is answerable, but if it is false, just a linguistic confusion, then it cannot be answered. Philosophy has gone on answering for centuries and centuries, but the questions still remain the same. However you answer a philosophical question you never answer it, because the question itself is false. It is not meant to be answered at all. The question is such that, intrinsically, no answer is possible.

And do not ask metaphysical questions. For example, if you ask who created the world, it is unanswerable. It is absurd. It is not that metaphysical questions are not real questions, but they cannot be answered. They can be solved, but they cannot be answered.

Ask questions that are personal, intimate, existential. One must be aware of what one is really asking. Is it something that really means something to you? If it is answered, will a new dimension open for you? Will something be added to your existence, will your being in any way be transformed through it? Only such questions are religious.

Religion is concerned with problems, not with questions. A question may just come out of curiosity, but a problem is intimate and personal. You are involved in it; it is you. A question is separate from you; a problem is you. So before asking anything, dig deep inside and ask something that is intimate and personal, something in which you are confused, in which you are involved. Only then can you be helped.

Question 2:


This is not a personal problem, it is a philosophical question.

Our lives are both predestined and they are not. Both yes and no. And both answers are true for all questions about life.

In a way, everything is predetermined. Whatever is physical in you, material, whatever is mental, is predetermined. But something in you constantly remains undetermined, unpredictable. That something is your consciousness.

If you are identified with your body and your material existence, in the same proportion you are determined by cause and effect. Then you are a machine. But if you are not identified with your material existence, with either body or mind - if you can feel yourself as something separate, different, above and transcendent to body-mind - then that transcending consciousness is not predetermined. It is spontaneous, free. Consciousness means freedom; matter means slavery.

So it depends on how you define yourself. If you say, "I am only the body," then everything about you is completely determined.

A person who says that man is only the body cannot say that man is not predetermined. Ordinarily, persons who do not believe in such a thing as consciousness also do not believe in predetermination.

Persons who are religious and believe in consciousness ordinarily believe in predetermination. So what I am saying may look very contradictory. But still, it is the case.

A person who has known consciousness has known freedom. So only a spiritual person can say there is no determination at all. That realization comes only when you are completely unidentified with the body. If you feel that you are just a material existence, then no freedom is possible. With matter, no freedom is possible. Matter means that which cannot be free. It must flow in the chain of cause and effect.

Once someone has achieved consciousness, enlightenment, he is completely out of the realm of cause and effect. He becomes absolutely unpredictable. You cannot say anything about him. He begins to live each moment; his existence becomes atomic.

Your existence is a river-like chain in which every step is determined by the past. Your future is not really future; it is just a by-product of the past. It is only the past determining, shaping, formulating and conditioning your future. That is why your future is predictable.

Skinner says that man is as predictable as anything else. The only difficulty is that we have not yet devised the means to know his total past. The moment we can know his past, we can predict everything about him. Based upon the people he has worked with, Skinner is right, because they are all ultimately predictable. He has experimented with hundreds of people and he has found that they are all mechanical beings, that nothing exists within them that can be called freedom.

But his study is limited. No Buddha has come to his laboratory to be experimented upon. If even one person is free, if even one person is not mechanical, not predictable, Skinner's whole theory falls. If one person in the whole history of mankind is free and unpredictable, then man is potentially free and unpredictable.

The whole possibility of freedom depends on whether you emphasize your body or your consciousness. If you are just an outward flow of life, then everything is determined. Or are you something inner also? Do not give any preformulated answer. Do not say, "I am the soul." If you feel there is nothing inside you, then be honest about it. This honesty will be the first step toward the inner freedom of consciousness.

If you go deeply inside, you will feel that everything is just part of the outside. Your body has come from without, your thoughts have come from without, even your self has been given to you by others.

That is why you are so fearful of the opinion of others - because they are completely in control of your self. They can change their opinion of you at any moment. Your self, your body, your thoughts are given to you by others, so what is inside? You are layers and layers of outside accumulation. If you are identified with this personality of yours that comes from others, then everything is determined.

Become aware of everything that comes from the outside and become non-identified with it. Then a moment will come when the outside falls completely. You will be in a vacuum. This vacuum is the passage between the outside and the inside, the door. We are so afraid of the vacuum, so afraid of being empty that we cling to the outside accumulation. One has to be courageous enough to disidentify with the accumulation and to remain in the vacuum. If you are not courageous enough, you will go out and cling to something, and be filled with it. But this moment of being in the vacuum is meditation. If you are courageous enough, if you can remain in this moment, soon your whole being will automatically turn inward.

When there is nothing to be attached to from the outside, your being turns inward. Then you know for the first time that you are something that transcends everything you have been thinking yourself to be. Now you are something different from becoming; you are being. This being is free; nothing can determine it. It is absolute freedom. No chain of cause and effect is possible.

Your actions are related to past actions. A created a situation for B to become possible; B creates a situation in which C flowers. Your acts are connected to past acts and this goes back to the beginningless beginning and on to the endless end. Not only do your own acts determine you, but your father's and mother's acts also have a continuity with yours. Your society, your history, all that has happened before, is somehow related to your present act. The whole history has come to flower in you.

Everything that has ever happened is connected with your act, so your act is obviously determined.

It is such a minute part of the whole picture. History is such a vital living force and your individual act is such a small part of it.

Marx said, "It is not consciousness that determines the conditions of society. It is society and its conditions that determines consciousness. It is not that great men create great societies. It is great societies that create great men." And he is right in a way, because you are not the originator of your actions. The whole history has determined them. You are just carrying them out.

The whole evolutionary process has gone into the making of your biological cells. These cells in you can then become part of another person. You may think that you are the father, but you have just been a stage on which the whole biological evolution has acted and has forced you to act. The act of procreation is so forceful because it is beyond you; it is the whole evolutionary process working through you.

This is one way in which acts happen in relation to other past acts. But when a person becomes enlightened, a new phenomenon begins to happen. Acts are no longer connected with past acts.

Any act, now, is connected only with his consciousness. It comes from his consciousness not from the past. That is why an enlightened person cannot be predicted.

Skinner says that we can determine what you will do if your past acts are known. He says that the old proverb, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink," is wrong. You can force him to. You can create an atmosphere so that the horse will have to drink. The horse can be forced, and you also can be forced, because your actions are created by situations, by circumstances. But even though you can bring a buddha to the river, you cannot force him to drink. The more you force him, the more impossible it will be. No heat will make him do it. Even if a thousand suns shine on him it will not help. A Buddha has a different origin of action. It is not concerned with other acts; it is connected with consciousness.

That is why I emphasize that you act consciously. Then, every moment you act, it is not a question of a continuation of other acts. You are free. Now you begin to act, and no one can say how you will act.

Habits are mechanical; they repeat themselves. The more you repeat something, the more efficient you become. Efficiency means that now consciousness is no longer needed. If a person is an efficient typist it means that no effort is needed; typing can be done unconsciously. Even if he is thinking about something else the typing continues. The body is typing; the man is not needed.

Efficiency means that the thing is so certain that no effort is possible. With freedom, effort is always possible. A machine cannot make errors. To err, one has to be conscious.

So your acts have a chain relationship with your previous acts. They are determined. Your childhood determines your youth; your youth determines your old age. Your birth determines your death; everything is determined. Buddha used to say, "Provide the cause, and the effect will be there." This is the world of cause and effect in which everything is determined.

If you act with total consciousness, an altogether different situation exists. Then everything is moment to moment. Consciousness is a flow; it is not static. It is life itself, so it changes. It is alive.

It goes on expanding; it goes on becoming new, fresh, young. Then, your acts will be spontaneous.

I am reminded of a Zen story....

A Zen master asked his disciple a particular question. The question was answered exactly as it should be answered. The next day the master asked exactly the same question. The disciple said, "But I answered this question yesterday."

The master said, "Now I am asking you again." The disciple repeated the same answer. The master said, "You do not know!"

The disciple said, "But yesterday I answered in the same way and you nodded your head. So I interpreted that the answer was right. Why have you changed your mind now?"

The master said, "Anything that can be repeated is not coming from you. The answer has come from your memory, not from your consciousness. If you had really known, the answer would be different because so much has changed. I am not the same man who asked you this question yesterday.

The whole situation is different. You also are different, but the answer is the same. I had to ask the question again just to see if you would repeat the answer. Nothing can be repeated."

The more alive you are, the less repetitive. Only a dead man can be consistent. Living is inconsistency; life is freedom. Freedom cannot be consistent. Consistent with what? You can be consistent only with the past.

An enlightened person is consistent only in his consciousness; he is never consistent with his past.

He is totally in the act. Nothing is left behind; nothing is left out. The next moment the act is finished and his consciousness is fresh again. Consciousness will be there whenever any situation arises, but each act will be made in complete freedom, as if it is the first time that this man has been in this particular situation.

That is why I answered both yes and no to your question. It depends on you, whether you are consciousness, or whether you are an accumulation, a bodily existence.

Religion gives freedom because religion gives consciousness. The more science knows about matter, the more the world will be enslaved. The whole phenomenon of matter is of cause and effect: if you know that given this, that happens - then everything can be determined.

Before this century ends, we will see the whole course of humanity being determined in many ways.

The greatest calamity that is possible is not nuclear warfare. It can only destroy. The real calamity will come from the psychological sciences. They will learn how a human being can be completely controlled. Because we are not conscious, we can be made to behave in predetermined ways.

As we are, everything about us is determined. Someone is Hindu; someone else is Mohammedan.

This is predetermination, not freedom. Parents have decided; society is deciding. Someone is a doctor and someone else is an engineer. Now his behavior is determined.

We are already being controlled constantly, and our methods are still very primitive. Newer techniques will be able to determine our behavior to such an extent that no one will be able to say that there is a soul. If your every response is determined, then what is the meaning of the soul?

Your responses can be determined through body chemistry. If alcohol is given to you, you behave differently. Your body chemistry is different so you behave differently. At one time, the ultimate tantra technique was to take intoxicants and remain conscious. If a person remained conscious when everything indicated that he should be unconscious, only then would tantra say the man was enlightened, otherwise not.

If body chemistry can change your consciousness, then what is the meaning of consciousness?

If an injection can make you unconscious, then what is the meaning? Then the chemical drug in the injection is more powerful than your own consciousness. Tantra says it is possible to transcend every intoxicant and remain conscious. The stimulus has been given, but the response is not there.

Sex is a chemical phenomenon. A particular quantity of a particular hormone creates sexual desire.

You become the desire. You may repent when your body chemistry has returned to its normal level, but the repentance is meaningless. When the hormones are there again, you will act in the same way. So tantra has also experimented with sex. If you feel no sexual desire in a situation that is totally sexual, then you are free. Your body chemistry has been left far behind. The body is there, but you are not in the body.

Anger is also just chemistry. Biochemists will soon be able to make you anger-proof, or sex-proof.

But you will not be a buddha. Buddha was not incapable of anger. He was capable of it, but the effect of feeling anger was not there.

If your body chemistry is controlled, you will be incapable of being angry. The chemical condition that makes you feel angry is not there, so the effect of anger is not there. Or if your sex hormones are eliminated from your body, you will not be sexual. But the real thing is not whether you are sexual or not, or angry or not. The real thing is how to be aware in a situation that requires your unawareness, how to be conscious in a situation that happens only in unconsciousness.

Whenever such a situation is there, meditate on it. You have been given a great opportunity. If you feel jealous, meditate on it. This is the right moment. Your body chemistry is working within you. It will make you unconscious; it will make you behave as if you are mad. Now, be conscious. Let there be jealousy, do not suppress it, but be conscious; be a witness to it.

If there is anger, be a witness to it; if there is sex, be a witness to it. Let whatever is happening inside you happen, and begin to meditate on the whole situation. By and by, the more your awareness deepens, the less possibility there is of your behavior being determined for you. You become free.

Moksha, freedom, doesn't mean anything else. It only means a consciousness that is so free that now nothing can determine it.

Question 3:


First let us look at the question itself. You must have been waiting to ask it. It couldn't have come to you just now; you must have decided on it in advance. It was waiting to be asked; it was forcing you to ask it. Your memory has determined the asking, not your consciousness. If you were conscious right now, if you were in the moment, this question would not have come. If you had been listening to what I have been saying, this question would be impossible.

If the question has been present in you, it is impossible for you to have heard anything I have been saying. A question that is constantly present in the mind creates a tension and because of the tension you cannot be here. That is why your consciousness cannot act with freedom. If you understand this, then we can take up your question.

The question itself is good, but the mind that has been thinking about it is ill. Awareness must be there moment to moment, not only in acts but in questions, in every gesture. If I raise my finger, it may be just a habit. Then I am not the master of my body. But if it is a spontaneous expression of something that is present in my consciousness right now, it is altogether different.

A Christian preacher's every gesture is predetermined. He has been taught it. Once I was at a Christian theological college. After five years at this school, one becomes a doctor of divinity.

Absurd! A doctor of divinity is sheer idiocy! They were being trained in everything: how to stand on the pulpit, how to begin the service, how to sing the hymn, how to look at the audience, where to stop and where to leave a gap or interval. Everything! This foolish preparation must not happen. It is a great misfortune.

So be in the moment. Do not decide anything beforehand. Be aware that the question is present in you, that it is knocking at the door of the mind continuously. You were not hearing me at all - just because of this question! And when I begin talking about your question, your mind will create another question. Again you will miss. What I am saying is not personal to you. It is true for everyone.

Now the question.

Whenever love exists it is divine, so to say "divine love" is meaningless. Love is always divine. But the mind is cunning. It says: "We know what love is. It is only that we do not know what divine love is." But we do not even know love. It is one of the most unknown things. There is too much talk about it; it is never lived. This is a trick of the mind. We talk about that which we cannot live.

Literature, music, poetry, dance - everything revolves around love. If love were really there, we would not talk about it so much. Our excessive talk about love shows that love is nonexistent. Speaking about things which are not is a substitute. By talking, by language, by symbols, by art, we create an illusion that the thing is there. One who has never known love may write a better poem about it than one who has known love, because the vacuum is much deeper. It has to be filled. Something has to be substituted in place of love.

It is better to understand what love is first, because when you ask about divine love it is understood that love is known. But love is not known. What is known as love is something else. The false must be known before steps can be taken toward the real, the true.

What is known as love is just infatuation. You begin to love someone. If that someone becomes yours totally, love will die soon; but if there are barriers, if you cannot have the person you love, the love will become intense. The more barriers, the more intensely love will be felt. If the beloved or the lover is impossible to get, the love becomes eternal; but if you can win your lover easily, then the love dies easily.

When you try to get something and you cannot get it, you become intense about getting it. The more hindrances there are, the more your ego feels it is necessary to do something. It becomes an ego problem. The more you are denied, the more tense you become - and the more infatuated. This tension you call love. That is why, once the honeymoon is over, the love is old. Even before that.

What you knew as love was not love. It was just ego infatuation, ego tension: a struggle, a conflict.

Ancient human societies were very cunning. They devised methods to make love last. If a man cannot see his wife for a long time, infatuation will be created; tension will be created. Then a man can remain with one wife his whole life.

But in the West now, marriage cannot exist anymore. It is not that the Western mind is more sexual.

It is that infatuation is not allowed to accumulate. Sex is so easily available that marriage cannot exist. Love too cannot exist with this kind of freedom. If a society is completely free sexually, then only sex can exist.

Boredom is the other side of infatuation. If you love someone and do not win the loved one, the infatuation goes deep, but if you win him or her, you begin to feel bored, fed up. There are many dualities: infatuation/boredom, love/hate, attraction/repulsion. With infatuation you feel attraction, love, and with boredom you feel repulsion, hate.

No attraction can really be love because repulsion is bound to come. It is in the very nature of things that the other side will come. If you do not want the opposite to come, you must create barriers so that infatuation never ends; you must create daily tensions. Then infatuation continues. This is the reason for the whole ancient system of creating barriers to love.

But soon it will no longer be possible. Then marriage will die, and love will also die. It will go deep in the background. Only sex will remain. But sex cannot stand by itself; it becomes too mechanical.

Nietzsche declared that God is dead. The real thing that is going to be dead in this century is sex. I don't mean that people will be non-sexual. They will be sexual, but the excessive emphasis on sex will go. Sex will become an ordinary act like anything else - like urinating or eating or anything. It will not be meaningful. It has become meaningful only because of the barriers that have been created around it.

What you have been calling love is not love. It is just delayed sex. Then what is love? Love is not related to sex at all. Sex may come into it or it may not, but it is not really related to sex at all. It is a different thing altogether.

To me, love is a by-product of a meditative mind. It is not related to sex; it is related to dhyana, meditation. The more silent you become, the more at ease with yourself you will be, the more fulfilled you will feel, and the more a new expression of your being will be there. You will begin to love. Not anyone in particular. It may happen with someone in particular, but that is another thing.

You begin to love. This loving becomes your way of existing. It can never turn into repulsion because it is not an attraction.

You must understand the distinction clearly. Ordinarily when you fall in love with someone, the real feeling is how to get love from him. It is not that love is going from you to him. Rather it is an expectation that love will come to you from him. That is why love becomes possessive. You possess someone so that you can get something out of him. But the love I am talking about is neither possessive nor does it have any expectations. It is just how you behave. You have become so silent, so loving, that your silence goes to others now.

When you are angry, your anger goes to others. When you hate, your hate goes to others. When you are in love, you feel that your love is going out to others, but you are not dependable. One moment there is love, and the next moment there will be hate. Hate is not opposite to love; it is part and parcel of it, a continuity.

If you have loved someone, then you will hate him. You may not be courageous enough to admit it, but you will hate him. Lovers are always in conflict when they are together. When they are not together they may sing songs of love to each other, but when they are together they are always fighting. They cannot live alone, and they cannot live together. When the other is not there, infatuation is created; the two again feel love for one another. But when the other is present, infatuation goes and hatred is felt again.

The love I am talking about means that you have become so silent that now there is neither anger nor attraction nor repulsion. Really, now there is no love and no hate. You are not other-oriented at all. The other has disappeared; you are alone with yourself. In this feeling of aloneness, love comes to you like a fragrance.

To ask for love from the other is always ugly. To depend on the other, to ask for something from the other, always creates bondage, suffering, conflict. A person should be sufficient unto himself. What I mean by meditation is a state of being where a person is sufficient unto himself. You have become a circle, alone. The mandala is complete.

You are trying to make the mandala complete with others: man with woman, woman with man. At certain moments the lines meet, but almost before they have met the separation begins. Only if you become a perfect circle - whole, sufficient unto yourself - does love begin to flower in you. Then whatever comes near you, you love. It is not an act at all; it is not something that you do. Your very being, your very presence, is love. Love flows through you.

If you ask a person who has reached this state, "Do you love me?" it will be difficult for him to answer.

He cannot say, "I love you," because it is not an act on his part; it is not a doing. And he cannot say, "I do not love you," because he loves. Really, he is love.

This love comes only with the freedom I have been talking about. Freedom is the feeling you have, and love is the feeling others have about you. When meditation happens inside, you feel completely free. This freedom is an inner feeling; it cannot be felt by others.

Sometimes your behavior may create difficulties for others, because they cannot conceive of what has happened in you. In a way you will be a trouble to them, an inconvenience, because you cannot be predicted. Now nothing will be known about you. What will you do next? What will you say? No one can know. Everyone around you feels a certain inconvenience. They can never be at ease with you because now you are likely to do anything; you are not dead.

They cannot feel your freedom because they have not known anything like it. They have not even looked for it; they have not sought it. They are so much in bondage that they cannot even conceive of what freedom is. They have been in cages, they have not known the open sky, so even if you talk to them about the open sky it cannot be communicated to them. But they can feel your love, because they have been asking for love. Even in their cages, in their bondage, they have been searching for love. They have created the whole bondage - bondage with persons, with things - only because of their search for love.

So whenever a person happens to be free, his love is felt. But you will feel that love as compassion not as love, because there will be no excitement in it. It will be very diffused - with no heat, with no warmth even. There is no excitement in it. It is there, that's all. Excitement comes and goes, it cannot be constant, so if there is excitement in Buddha's love then Buddha will have to move into hate again. So excitement will not be there. Peaks will not be there, and valleys will not be there.

The love is just there. You will feel it as karuna, compassion.

Freedom cannot be felt from the outside; only love can be felt. And that too only as compassion. This has been one of the most difficult phenomena of human history. The freedom of an enlightened one creates inconvenience, and their love is compassion. That is why society is always divided about these people.

There are people who have felt only the inconvenience that a Christ creates. These are the people who are well-established. They do not need compassion. They think that they have love, health, wealth, respect, everything. Christ happens and the "haves" will be against him because he will be creating an inconvenience for them, while the "have-nots" will be for him because they will feel his compassion. They are in need of love. No one has loved them, but this man loves them. They will not feel the inconvenience of a Christ because they have nothing to fear, nothing to lose.

When a Christ dies everyone will feel his compassion, because now there is no inconvenience. Even the well-established will feel at ease; they will worship him. But when he is living, he is a rebel. And he is a rebel because he is free.

He is not a rebel because something is wrong with society. Such rebelliousness is only political. If the society changes, the very one who was rebellious will become orthodox. This happened in 1917.

The very revolutionaries became one of the most anti-revolutionary cliques in the world. The moment men like Stalin or Mao Tse-tung are in power they become the most anti-revolutionary leaders possible because they are not really rebellious. They are only rebelling against a particular situation.

Once that situation is overthrown, they become the same as those they fought to overthrow.

But a Christ is always rebellious. No situation will extinguish his rebellion, because his rebellion is not against anyone. It is because his consciousness is free. Anywhere he feels a barrier, he will feel rebellious. The rebellion is his spirit. So if Jesus comes today, Christians will not be at ease with him. They are part of the establishment now; they have become settled. If Jesus comes into the marketplace again he will destroy everything they have. The Vatican, the Church, is not possible with Jesus. Only without Jesus is it possible.

Every teacher who has achieved enlightenment is rebellious, but the tradition that is concerned with him is never rebellious. It is never concerned with his rebellion, with his freedom, but only with his compassion, his love. But then it becomes impotent. Love cannot exist without freedom, without rebellion.

You cannot be as loving as Buddha unless you are as free as he. A Buddhist monk is just trying to be compassionate. The compassion is impotent because the freedom is not there. Freedom is the source. Mahavira is compassionate, but a Jaina monk is not compassionate at all. He is just acting nonviolently and compassionately; he is not really compassionate. He is cunning. Even in his compassion, and his exhibition of it, he is cunning. There is no compassion, because the freedom is not there.

Whenever freedom happens in human consciousness, freedom is felt from inside and love is felt from outside. This love, this compassion, is an absence of both love and hate. The complete dualism is absent; there is neither attraction nor repulsion.

So with a person who is free and loving, it depends on you whether you can take his love or not. It is not up to me how much love I can give you; it depends on how much love you can take. Ordinarily love depends on the person who is giving. He may give love; he may not. But the love I am talking about is not dependent on the giver. He is completely open and giving every moment. Even when no one is present, the love is flowing.

It is just like a flower in the desert. No one may know that it has flowered and is giving out its perfume, but it will give it. It is not being given to anyone; it is just being given. The flower has bloomed, so the fragrance is there. Whether someone passes or not is irrelevant. If someone passes and is sensitive he may receive it. But if he is completely dead, insensitive, he may not even be aware that there is a flower there.

When love is there, it is up to you whether you can receive it or not. Only when love is not there can the other give it to you or withhold it from you. With love, with compassion, there is no division between divine and non-divine. Love is divine. God is love.

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