Books I Have Loved — 03 August 2016

Okay, now this is the post-postscript. It is hard to understand my difficulty.

As far as I can remember I have always been reading and doing nothing, day in, day out, for almost half a century.

Naturally, to select is almost an impossible task. But I have undertaken it during these sessions, so the responsibility is yours.

Tales of the HasidimFirst, Martin Buber. I would not have been able to forgive myself if Martin Buber was not included. As a penance I include his two books: first, Tales of Hassidism. What D.T. Suzuki did for Zen, Buber has done for Hassidism. Both have done a tremendous service for seekers. But Suzuki became enlightened; sorry to say, Buber could not.

Buber was a great writer, philosopher, thinker, but all those things are toys to play with. Still, I pay my respects to him by including his name, because without him the world would not have even known the word Hassid.

Buber was born into a Hassidic family. From his very childhood he was raised among Hassids. It was in his very blood, bones, in his marrow, so when he relates it it sounds so true, although he is only describing what he has heard, nothing more. He has heard correctly; that must be on record. Even to hear correctly is very difficult, and then to report to the world at large is even more difficult, but he has done it beautifully.

Suzuki is enlightened, Buber is not – but Suzuki is not a great writer, Buber is. Suzuki is an ordinary writer. Buber towers very high as far as the art of writing is concerned. But Suzuki knows, and Buber knows not; he is only relating the tradition in which he was brought up… of course, relating authentically.

Tales of Hassidism should be read by all seekers of truth. These tales, small stories, have such a flavor. It is different from Zen, it is also different from Sufism. It has its own flavor, unborrowed from anyone, uncopied, unimitated. The Hassid loves, laughs, dances. His religion is not of celibacy, but of celebration. That’s why I find a bridge between my people and the Hassids. It is not accidental that so many Jews have come to me; otherwise, I am always shattering the heads of the Jews as much as I can… and still they know that I love them. I love the essential in Judaism, that is Hassidism. Moses had not heard of it of course, but he was a Hassid; whether he knew it or not does not matter. I declare him to be a Hassid – and so I declare Buddha, Krishna, Nanak and Mohammed. Hassidism came after Baal Shem. The word does not matter, the spirit matters.

I And ThouMartin Buber’s second book, I and Thou, is his most famous work, the book for which he was given the Nobel prize. Forgive me, but I disagree with it completely. I mention it because it is a beautiful work, written artistically, with great profundity and sincerity. But still there is no soul in it, because the soul was missing in Buber himself. How could the poor man manage to bring it into his book, his masterpiece?

I and Thou is very much respected by the Jews because they think it represents their religion. It does not represent any religion at all, neither Jew nor Hindu; it only represents the ignorance of the man called Martin Buber. But the man was certainly an artist, a great genius. When a genius starts writing about something of which he knows nothing, he can still produce a masterpiece.

I and Thou is basically wrong because Buber says it is a dialogue between man and God. I and Thou…! Nonsense! There cannot be any dialogue between man and God, there can only be silence. Dialogue? What will you talk to God about? The devaluation of the dollar? or Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini? What are you going to have a dialogue with God about? There is nothing you can talk about. You can simply be in a state of awe… utter silence.

There is no ‘I’ and there is no ‘Thou’ in that silence; hence I refute not only the book but even the title. I And Thou…? That means one remains still separate. No, it is like a dewdrop slipping from a lotus leaf into the ocean. The dewdrop disappears, or in other words becomes the ocean, but there is no I and Thou. Either there is only I or there is only Thou. But when there is no I, there cannot be any Thou, it won’t have any meaning. If there is no Thou, there can be no I either, so in fact there is only silence… this pause…. My being silent for a moment says much more than what Martin Buber tries to say in I And Thou, and fails. But even though it is a failure, it is a masterpiece.

Third… Martin Buber was a Jew, and other Jews are standing in the queue. My God, what a long line, and poor Devageet and Ashu… after all, they have to eat too, they can’t just live on my words. So I will be quick. I will try to disperse as many as I can. But a few are very stubborn, and I know they won’t go away unless I say something about them.

Das KapitalThe man second to Martin Buber is one of the most stubborn – not more stubborn than me. Perhaps I was a Jew in one of my past lives; must have been. This man is Karl Marx. The book he is holding in his hand is Das Kapital.

This is the worst-written book ever. But in a way it is a great book, because it dominates millions of people. Almost half the world is communist, and the other half you cannot be certain about. Even people who are not communist, deep down they feel that there is something good in communism. There is nothing good in it. It is the exploitation of a great dream. Karl Marx was only a dreamer – not an economist, not at all – just a dreamer; a poet, but a poet of third-rate quality. He is not a great writer either. Nobody reads Das Kapital. I have come across many famous communists, and I have asked them, looking deep into their eyes, “Have you read Das Kapital?” Not a single one has said yes.

They said, “Only a few pages…. We have so many other things to do, we cannot read such a big book.” Thousands of pages, and all rubbish, written neither logically nor rationally, but as if someone had gone insane. Karl Marx goes on writing anything that happens in his mind. Sitting in the British Museum, surrounded by thousands of books, he went on writing and writing. You know, it was almost an everyday ritual that he had to be dragged out of the museum at closing time. He had to be forced to leave; otherwise he would not go. Once in a while he was even taken out unconscious.

Now this man has become a god! There is something like an unholy trinity: Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and of course Lenin – these three people have become almost like gods to millions of people on the earth. It is a calamity, but I still mention the book – not that you should read it, but so that you do not. Underline what I have said: Do not read it. You are already in a mess. Enough of it. No need for Das Kapital.

Lectures on PsychoanalysisFourth: Remember that Marx is also a Jew. This is a whole line of Jews. Fourth, Sigmund Freud, another Jew. His great work is Lectures on Psychoanalysis. I don’t like the word analysis, nor do I like the man, but he managed to create a great movement just like Karl Marx. He is also one of the dominant figures of the world.

Jews have always dreamed of dominating the world. They are really dominating. The three most important men who can be said to be dominating this age are Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein. All three are Jews. The Jews have achieved their dream, they are dominating. But Marx is wrong as far as economics is concerned; Freud is wrong because mind is not to be analyzed, but to be put aside so that you can enter into the world of no-mind.

Letter Einstein to RooseveltAlbert Einstein is of course right in his theories about relativity, but he proved himself to be utterly foolish when he wrote a letter to President Roosevelt proposing to make the atom bomb. Hiroshima and Nagasaki – the thousands of people who died there, burned alive, are all pointing towards Albert Einstein. It was his letter that started the process of making atom bombs in America. He could never forgive himself; that is the good part of the man. At least he realized that he had committed one of the greatest sins possible. He died in utter frustration. Before he died he said, “I would never, never, never again like to be born a physicist, but only to be a plumber.”

And he was one of the greatest minds in the whole history of man. Why was he so frustrated with being a physicist? Why? For the simple reason that he was not conscious of what he was doing. He became aware only when it was too late…. That is the way of unconscious man: he becomes aware only when it is too late. The conscious man is aware beforehand.

Fifth… I have so many Jews waiting it is so difficult: whom to choose and whom not to choose? And you know Jews are not easy people to deal with. I should rather drop the whole line than bother. So I will start with something else. Be finished with the Jews, at least for the moment. Disperse all of you! I am talking to the Jews, not to you.

Meetings with Remarkable MenFifth: I was worried that I may not be able to mention Gurdjieff’s book Meetings with Remarkable Men. Thank God for this P.P.S. This is a great work.

Gurdjieff traveled all over the world, particularly in the Middle East and India. He went up to Tibet; not only that, he was the teacher of the late Dalai Lama… not the present one – he is a fool – but the previous one. Gurdjieff’s name in Tibetan is written as Dorjeb, and many people thought that Dorjeb was someone else. He is none other than George Gurdjieff. Because this fact was known to the British government – that Gurdjieff had been in Tibet for many years; not only there, but had been living in the palace at Lhasa for many years – they prevented him from staying in England. He originally wanted to stay in England but was not allowed.

Gurdjieff wrote this book Meetings with Remarkable Men as a memoir. It is a tremendously respectful memory to all those strange people he had met in his life – Sufis, Indian mystics, Tibetan lamas, Japanese Zen monks. I must mention to you that he did not write of them all; he left many out of the account for the simple reason that the book was going to be in the marketplace and it had to fulfill the demands of the market.

I don’t have to fulfill anybody’s demands. I am not a man who worries at all about the market, hence I can say that he left out the really most remarkably significant people from his account. But whatsoever he wrote is still beautiful. It still brings tears to my eyes. Whenever something is beautiful my eyes fill with tears; there is no other way to pay homage.

This is a book that should be studied, not just read. In English you don’t have a word for path; it is a Hindi word which means reading and reading the same thing every day for your whole life. It cannot be translated as reading, particularly in the West where you read a paperback and once you have read it you throw it away or leave it on the train. It cannot be translated as study either, because study is a concentrated effort to understand the meaning of the word, or words. Path is neither reading nor study, but something more. It is repeating joyously, so joyously that it penetrates to your very heart, so it becomes your breathing. It takes a lifetime, and that’s what is needed if you want to understand real books, books like Gurdjieff’s Meetings with Remarkable Men.

It is not a fiction like Don Juan – a fictitious man created by an American fellow, Carlos Castaneda. This man has done a great disservice to humanity. One should not write spiritual fictions for the simple reason that people start thinking that spirituality is nothing but a fiction.

Meetings with Remarkable Men is a real book. A few of the people Gurdjieff mentions are still alive; I have met a few of them myself. I am a witness to the fact those people are not fictitious, although I cannot forgive even Gurdjieff for leaving out the most remarkable people he met.

There is no need to compromise with the marketplace; there is no need to compromise at all. He was such a strong man, I wonder why he compromised, why he omitted the really important people. I have met a few people that he omitted from the book, who themselves told me that Gurdjieff had been there. They are very old now. But still the book is good – half, incomplete, but valuable.

Palm Leaf BookSixth: I have always loved a book whose author is unknown; he is anonymous, although it is known to have been written by a disciple of Kabir. It does not matter who wrote it, but whoever did so must have been enlightened; that much can be said without any hesitation.

It is a small book of poems, very poorly written. Maybe the man was not very educated, but that too does not matter. What matters is the matter in it. Yes, the matter matters – the content. The book is not even published. The people who have it in their possession are against publishing it, and I can understand their feelings and completely agree with them. They say that when a book is published it becomes part of the marketplace, and they do not want it to be published. If anyone wants the book he can come and write it down in his own handwriting. So there are many handwritten copies around in India, but they have all promised not to publish it. Publication certainly does something to a book; it becomes mechanical, it loses something while going through the press. It loses its spirit; it comes out as a corpse.

There was no name to this book; because it was never published no title was needed. I asked the people who have the original copy, “What do you call it?”

They replied, “The Grantha.”

Now, The Grantha will have to be explained to you. It is an ancient word from when books were written on leaves, not on paper. Certain leaves can be used for writing and when you tie those leaves together that is called a grantha. ‘Tying down’ is the exact meaning of The Grantha – ‘tying down the leaves’.

The book has a few immensely valuable statements. I will just acquaint you with a few. One, it says: That which can be said, don’t bother about it, it can’t be true. Truth cannot be said. Second: God is only a word – significant, but not existent. God is only a symbol representing an experience, not an object. Third: Meditation is not mentation, it is not of the mind. On the contrary, to drop the mind is to meditate. And so on and so forth.

I wanted to mention The Grantha because it is nowhere mentioned and it has never been translated.

Seventh… am I still correct in my numbers?

“Yes, Osho.”

The Communist ManifestoI am against Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels but I must appreciate the book by these two men, The Communist Manifesto – and remember, I am not a communist! You cannot find a more anti-communist man than me, but still I love this small book, The Communist Manifesto. I love the way it is written – not the content but the style.

You know I have multidimensional likes and I will appreciate even style. Buddha would have closed his eyes and ears, Mahavira would have run away: style…? But I am in my own category. Yes, I love the style The Communist Manifesto is written in, and I hate the content. Do you understand me? One can love the dress and yet hate the person. That’s actually the case with me. The last sentence in The Communist Manifesto is: Proletariat of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains, and you have a world to win.

Do you see the style? The strength of saying the thing: Unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains, and a world to win. That’s what I say to my sannyasins, though I do not say unite, I say: Just be – and you have nothing to lose but your chains.

And I don’t say that you have to win the world – who cares, who bothers! Can you persuade me to become Alexander the Great or Napoleon Bonaparte or Adolph Hitler or Joseph Stalin or Mao Tse-tung? There is a long line of all these idiots and I don’t want to have anything to do with them. I don’t say to my sannyasins: Win – there is nothing to win. Just be – that is my manifesto. Be, because in being you have already achieved all.

Eighth… am I still right?

“Yes, Osho.”

Good. Are you still managing? Have you preplanned? – because I don’t hear you whispering today. Whisper a little, it feels good.

The Myth of SisyphusEighth, the book by Marcel*), The Myth of Sisyphus. I am not a religious man in the ordinary sense; I am religious in my own way. So people will wonder why I am including books which are not religious. They are, but you have to dig deep, and then you will find their religiosity. The myth of Sisyphus is an ancient myth, and Marcel used it for his book. Let me relate it to you.

Sisyphus, a god, was thrown out of heaven because he disobeyed the supreme God and was punished. The punishment was that he had to carry a big rock from the valley to the top of a mountain which was so small at the summit that each time he reached it with the huge rock and tried to put it down, the rock started rolling down to the valley again. Sisyphus has to go down to the valley again to carry the rock, huffing and puffing, perspiring…. A meaningless job… knowing perfectly well it will slip again, but what to do?

This is the whole story of man. That’s why I say if you dig you will find pure religion in it. This is the situation of man, and has always been so. What are you doing? What is everybody else doing? Carrying a rock to a point where it always and always slips back to the same valley, perhaps even a little deeper every time. And next morning, after breakfast of course, you carry it again. And you know while carrying it what is going to happen. It slips again.

The myth is beautiful. Marcel has introduced it again. He was a very religious person. In fact, he was the real existentialist, not Jean-Paul Sartre, but he was not a slogan-monger so he never came to the front. He remained silent, wrote silently, died silently. Many people in the world do not know that he is no more. He was such a silent man – but what he has written, The Myth of Sisyphus, is very eloquent. The Myth of Sisyphus is one of the greatest works of art ever produced.

History of Western PhilosophyNinth: I am reminded again and again, I don’t know why, that I have to include Bertrand Russell. I have loved him always, also knowing perfectly well that we are poles apart – in fact diametrically opposite to each other. Perhaps that’s the reason. Opposite poles attract each other. Do you see again tears in my eyes? They are for Bertrand Russell – Bertie as he was known to his friends. His is the ninth book, The History of Western Philosophy.

Nobody had previously done such a work as far as Western philosophy is concerned. Only a philosopher could do it. Historians have tried, and there are many histories of philosophy, but none of the historians was a philosopher. This is the first time a philosopher of the category of Bertrand Russell has also written a history – History of Western Philosophy. And he is so sincere that he does not call it History of Western Philosophy, because he knows perfectly well that he knows nothing of Eastern philosophy. He simply, humbly states what he knows, also stating that it is not the whole history of philosophy but only the Western part, from Aristotle to Bertrand Russell.

I don’t love philosophy, but Russell’s book is not only a history but a work of art. It is so systematic, so aesthetic, such a beautiful creation, perhaps because basically Russell was a mathematician.

India still needs a Bertrand Russell to write of Indian philosophy and its history. There are many histories, but they are written by historians, not philosophers, and obviously a historian is only a historian; he cannot understand the profundity and the inner rhythm of the moving thought. Radhakrishna has written a History of Western Philosophy, perhaps hoping it will become something like Bertrand Russell’s book, but it is a theft. The book was not written by Radhakrishna, it was the thesis of a poor student of whom, he, Radhakrishna, was the examiner, and he stole the whole thesis. There was a case against him in the court, but the student was so poor that he could not fight the case. He was given enough money by Radhakrishna to be hushed up.

Now, such people cannot do justice to Indian philosophy. A Bertrand Russell is needed by India, by China… particularly these two countries. The West is fortunate to have a revolutionary thinker like Bertrand Russell, who could and did write the most beautiful narrative describing the whole progression of Western thought from Aristotle to himself.

The Songs of Daya BaiTenth. The tenth book that I am going to talk about now is again not a so-called religious book. It is religious only if you meditate over it… if you don’t read it, but meditate over it. It is as yet untranslated being still in the original Hindi, The Songs of Dayabai.

I was feeling a little guilty because I had mentioned Rabiya, Meera, Lalla, Sahajo, and I have left only one more woman worth mentioning: Daya. Now I feel relieved… The Songs of Daya.

She was a contemporary of Meera and Sahajo, but she is far more profound than either of them. She is really beyond numbers. Daya is a little cuckoo – but don’t be worried…. In fact in India the cuckoo is called koyal, and it does not have the meaning of being nuts. Daya is really a cuckoo – not nuts, but a sweet singer like the Indian koyal. On an Indian summer night, the distant call of the cuckoo; that’s what Daya is… a distant call in the hot summer of this world.

I have spoken on her; perhaps someday it will be possible to translate it.**) But I am afraid it may not be possible, because how can one translate these poets and singers? The East is pure poetry, and the West and all its languages are all prose, pure prose. I have never come across real poetry in English. Sometimes I listen to the great classical Western musicians… the other day I was listening to Beethoven, but I had to stop in the middle. Once you have known Eastern music then there is nothing comparable to it. Once you have heard the Indian bamboo flute then everything else is just ordinary.

So I don’t know whether these singers, poets and madmen of whom I have spoken in Hindi will ever be translated, but I cannot resist mentioning their names. Perhaps the very mentioning will create the situation for their being translated.

Osho, Books I Have Loved, Session 12

*)The book was written by Albert Camus
**)The book has been translated by Anand Haridas (Harry Aveling) and Peter Friedlander

Previous sessions
1. Silence Speaks in Its Own Way
2. My Time Was Over Long ago
3. It Must Have Been a Conspiracy of the Gods
4. I am Facing the Immeasurable, the Unaccountable
5. Truth Needs No Commentary
6. Truth Is Unspeakable
7. It is Unsayable
8. The Miracle of All Miracles
9. You Have to be Rich to be Enlightened
10. That which cannot be spoken must not be spoken of
11. I Love All Absurdities