Books I Have Loved Featured — 28 October 2016

I have come to know, Devageet, that you freaked out this morning. Once in a while freaking is a good exercise, but freaking out I don’t support.

It is a common variety – what they call the garden variety. Freak in! If you are going to freak at all, why out? Why not in? If you freak in then you become an Osho freak, and that is something of worth. You are on the path of being an Osho freak, but you move very cautiously; I should say scientifically, rationally.

I don’t even allow you to write your notes, I interrupt. Instead of saying “Sorry,” I shout at you, even when you are not interrupting, saying “Don’t interrupt, Devageet!” I know that can freak out anyone. But you know I am a madman, and when you are dealing with a madman you have to be really generous… not only polite, but really loving.

When you are not interrupting and I say, “Don’t interrupt!” I must mean something. There must be some idea in your mind. Perhaps you are not even aware of your own idea of interrupting. It gives such pleasure to interrupt… and of course, you are the boss here…

In this cabin at least, you are Noah. I am just a passenger without a ticket. But I can see things even in your unconscious, and when I say “Don’t interrupt,” of course it looks outrageous. Nobody has heard you interrupting me, not even you… but I have heard it. I have heard the whispering in the unconscious.

Great ideas are coming to me today; otherwise I am a poor man, I don’t have great ideas. Please don’t freak out. In short, always freak in.

The P.P.S. continues; this was just a note in brackets.

the-importance-of-livingThe first book today is The Art of Living by Lin Yutang.*) It is a Chinese name. I am reminded of one of my own books, The Art of Dying. Lin Yutang knows nothing of life because he knows nothing of death. Although he is a Chinese, he is a corrupted Chinese, a Christian. That’s what corruption is. Corruption makes you a Christian. Corruption corrupts, and you are a Christian.

Lin Yutang, in his book The Art of Living writes beautifully about many things – except death. That means that life is not included. Life can come in only if you allow death in, not without. They are two sides of the one coin. You cannot have one side and reject the other. But he writes beautifully, artistically – he is certainly one of the greatest writers of the modern age – but whatsoever he writes is only imagination, pure, pure imagination… just dreaming about beautiful things. Sometimes dreams can be beautiful. All dreams are not nightmares.

The Art of Living has nothing to do with life and nothing to do with art either, but still it is a great book. It is great in the sense that you can be absorbed by it. You can be lost in it, just like one is lost in a thick forest: stars in the sky, trees all around, and no path, no way, nowhere to go.

It leads you nowhere. Still I found it to be one of the great books. Why? Because just reading it you forget the past and the future and become part of the present. I don’t know whether Lin Yutang ever knew anything of meditation… unfortunately he was a Christian, hence he never went to a Taoist monastery, nor a Buddhist temple. Alas, he cannot know what he is missing. Instead he was just reading The Bible, one of the most third-rate books in the world – except for two small pieces in it: The Song of Solomon in the Old Testament; and in the The New Testament, The Sermon on the Mountain. If these are taken out The Bible is just garbage. Alas, could he not have known something of Buddha, Chuang Tzu, something of Nagarjuna, Kabir, al-Hillaj Mansoor… something of these madmen – only then would his book have been authentic. It is artistic, but not authentic. It is not sincere.

the-wisdom-of-chinaSecond – another book by Lin Yutang, The Wisdom of China. He has the art of writing so he can write anything, even The Wisdom of China, although he knows nothing of Lao Tzu, who contains the whole wisdom not only of China but of the whole world. Of course Lin Yutang includes a few sentences of Lao Tzu, but those sentences are those which coincide with his Christian upbringing. In other words they are not Lao Tzuian at all. He quotes Chuang Tzu, but naturally his selections are very rational, and Chuang Tzu is not a rational man; he is the most absurd man who has ever lived.

Chuang Tzu is one of my love affairs, and when you talk about someone you love you are bound to use extremes, exaggerations, but to me they don’t sound like that. I could give the whole kingdom of the world to Chuang Tzu for any single parable that he wrote… and he wrote hundreds. Each is a Sermon on the Mountain, a Song of Solomon, a Bhagavadgita. Each parable represents so much, and so richly, that it is immeasurable.

Lin Yutang quotes Chuang Tzu but quotes him like a Christian, not like a man who understands. But he is certainly a good writer, and The Wisdom of China should be put alongside those very few books that represent a whole country, like Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, or Moorehead and Radhakrishnan’s Mind of India. It is history, not mystery, but beautifully written, correctly written, grammar and all.

He is not only a Christian but was brought up in a convent school… Now, can you think of any greater misfortune that can befall a child than a convent school? So Lin Yutang is right in every way according to the Christians, and wrong in every way according to this madman who is speaking about him. But even so I love him. He is talented. I cannot say he is a genius, forgive me, but he is talented, immensely talented. Don’t ask more than that. Genius he is not, and I cannot be polite, I can only be true. I can absolutely be true.

the-talmudThird, a book I wanted to avoid but it seems I cannot. It goes on poking its nose in… of course it is a Jewish book, otherwise how can you get such a long nose? The Talmud.

Why did I want to avoid it? If I say anything against the Jews as I have always done… and will go on doing… but for the moment I don’t want to say anything against the Jews, only for the moment, just as if one is on holiday. That is why I wanted to avoid this book. There is only one beautiful sentence in it, that’s all, so I can quote it: it says, “God is terrible. He is not your uncle, he is not nice.” Only this sentence: “God is not nice, and is not your uncle…” this I love. This is really great. Otherwise the whole book is gibberish. It is altogether very primitive, to be thrown away. Just save this one sentence when you are throwing it away. Write it in your bedroom: “God is not your uncle, he is not nice” – remember! That will bring you back to your senses when you start doing stupid things to your wife, or to your husband, your children, to your servants… or even to yourself.

Fourth… I was born in a family which belongs to a very small section of Jainism. It follows a madman who must have been just a little bit less mad than me. I cannot say more mad than me!

shunya-svabhavaI am going to talk about his two books, which are not translated in English, not even into Hindi, because they are untranslatable. I don’t think that he is ever going to have any international audience. Impossible. He believes in no language, no grammar, nothing whatsoever. He speaks exactly like a madman. The fourth is his book, Shunya Svabhava – The Nature of Emptiness’.

It is just a few pages, but of tremendous significance. Each sentence contains scriptures, but very difficult to understand. You will naturally ask how I could understand him. In the first place, just as Martin Buber was born into a Hassid family, I was born into this madman’s tradition. His name is Taran Taran. It is not his real name, but nobody knows his real name. ‘Taran Taran’ simply means ‘The Savior’. That has become his name.

I have breathed him from my very childhood, listened to his songs, wondered what he meant. But a child never cares about the meaning. The song was beautiful, the rhythm was beautiful, the dance was beautiful, and it is enough.

One needs to understand such people only if one is grown up; otherwise, if from their very childhood they are surrounded by the milieu, they will not need to understand and yet deep down in their guts they will understand.

I understand Taran Taran – not intellectually, but existentially. Moreover I also know what he is talking about. Even if I had not been born into a family of his followers I would have understood him. I have understood so many different traditions and it is not that I have been born into all of them… I have understood so many madmen that anybody could go mad just by making an effort to understand them! But just look at me: they have not affected me at all… They have remained somewhere below me. I have remained transcendental to them all.

Still I would have understood Taran Taran. I may not have come into contact with him, that is possible, because his followers are very few, just a few thousand, and found only in the middle parts of India. And they are so afraid because of their being in such a minority that they don’t call themselves the followers of Taran Taran, they call themselves Jainas. Secretly they believe, not in Mahavira as the rest of the Jainas believe, but in Taran Taran, the founder of their sect.

Jainism itself is a very small religion; only three million people believe in it. There are two main sects: the Digambaras, and the Svetambaras. The Digambaras believe that Mahavira lived naked, and was naked. The word ‘digambara’ means ‘sky clad’; metaphorically it means ‘the naked’. This is the oldest sect.

The word ‘svetambara’ means ‘white clad’, and the followers of this sect believe that although Mahavira was naked he was covered by the gods in an invisible white cloth. This is a compromise just to satisfy the Hindus.

The followers of Taran Taran belong to the Digambara sect, and they are the most revolutionary of the Jainas. They don’t even worship the statues of Mahavira; their temples are empty, signifying the inner emptiness.

It would have been almost impossible to have come to know Taran if not for the chance that I was born into a family who believed in him. But I thank God, it was worth the trouble to be born into that family. All the troubles can be forgiven just for this one thing, that they acquainted me with a tremendous mystic.

His book Shunya Svabhava says only one thing again and again, just like a madman. You know me, you can understand. I have been saying the same thing again and again for twenty-five years… I’ve said again and again “Awake!” That’s what he does in Shunya Svabhava.

siddhi-svabhavaFive: The second book of Taran Taran, Siddhi Svabhava – ‘The Nature of Ultimate Realization’, a beautiful title. He says the same thing again and again: “Be empty!” But what can the poor fellow do? Nobody can say anything else… “Be awake, be aware…” The English word ‘beware’ is made up of two words: be aware – so don’t be afraid of the word beware, just be aware, and the moment you are aware you have come home.

There are many books by Taran Taran, but these two contain his whole message. One shows you who you are – pure emptiness; the second, how you can reach to it: by becoming aware. But they are very small books, only a few pages.

notes-from-the-undergroundSixth… I always wanted to talk about this book but was afraid that I was going to miss because there was no time. I did not plan, just as always I go unplanned. I had thought to talk about only fifty books, but then came the P.S. and it continued and continued… again fifty titles were completed, but there were still so many beautiful books that I had to continue and start the P.P.S. That is why I can now talk about this book. It is Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground.

It is a very strange book, as strange as the man was. Just notes – like Devageet’s notes, fragmentary, on the surface unrelated to each other, but really related with an undercurrent of aliveness. It has to be meditated upon. I cannot say anything more than this.

It is one of the most ignored great works of art. Nobody seems to take note of it, for the simple reason that it is not a novel, just notes, and they too seem to be unrelated to the unmeditative. But to my disciples it can be of great significance; they can find treasures hidden in it.

Go on whispering… I’m not saying anything. Really I should not even have said that. That too is a kind of interruption. I should be more alert. But it is very difficult to be more alert than I am. More alertness does not exist at all, so what can I do? At the most I can ignore it. I have heard even your giggle… but please don’t freak out, freak in.

philosophical-investigationsSeventh, one book that comes to me out of nowhere. I was not going to talk about it at all, but it is there. Don’t be afraid, and don’t freak out later on. This is a book written by Ludwig Wittgenstein – not really written as a book, but again as notes. It was posthumously published as Philosophical Investigations. It is really a penetrating study of all the profound problems of man. Of course, the woman is included; otherwise from where will the man find his profound problems? His real problem is the woman. Socrates is reported to have said, “If you get married to a beautiful and good woman, which is rare, you will be fortunate….”

This book, Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein – I have loved it, its clarity, transparency, its impeccable rationality. I loved it all and all. And I would like everyone on the path to go through it… not in the way people in the therapy groups grow and “go through it” – not in pain. That is what many sannyasins think, that going through suffering is necessary; it is not. That is your choice. You can go through blessings, blissfulness… it’s up to you.

So I don’t mean “Go through it” in the same sense as the so-called humanist therapists mean. When I say “Go through it” I mean dance through it, love through it. I may be right literally, but grammatically I may be wrong. And of course I am wrong, because I can hear your giggle. Sorry, Devageet, because I can still hear… but this is an interruption on my part… And I don’t want anybody to freak out, particularly people who are so close to me, and people who don’t know that today I am here, tomorrow I may not be.

Devageet, one day this chair will be empty and you will be crying and weeping that you freaked out… and I can stop at any moment; then you will regret. You know it already… but you have forgotten. For seven years I have been speaking continuously… but one day… you are a witness to it, I can suddenly stop. I can stop at any moment, perhaps tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. So don’t be disturbed at all, and whatsoever I do, even if I irritate you and annoy you, it is for your sake, because I have nothing to gain out of it. I have nothing to gain in the whole world. I already have that which man longs for and lives thousands of lives for…

psychosynthesisEighth: The eighth is the book… I can hear you crying Devageet, and it is good once in a while… and crying with your master… my eyes are full of tears, and you are crying… there is some kind of communion happening. Hence for the eighth book I have chosen Assagioli’s Psychosynthesis.

Sigmund Freud has done great work in creating psychoanalysis, but it is only half. The other half is Psychosynthesis done by Assagioli… but it too is only half – the other half. My work is the whole – Psychothesis.

Psychoanalysis and psychosynthesis, both of these sciences are worth studying. Psychosynthesis is very rarely read because Assagioli is not a towering figure like Freud. He has not been able to reach the same heights, but he should be read by all sannyasins. It is not that he is right and Freud is wrong; both are wrong taken separately. They are right only when they are put together, and that’s my whole work, to put all the pieces together like a jigsaw.

prose-poemsNinth…. I have always appreciated Kahlil Gibran; I would like to appreciate him once more before I condemn him. Don’t worry, I am not just saying the word condemn lightly, I am really saying it. Ninth is Kahlil Gibran’s book Prose Poems – beautiful. Nobody in the modern world, except Rabindranath Tagore, can write such prose poetry.

It is strange that both are foreigners to the English language. Perhaps that is why they can write such poetic language. They come from different languages: Kahlil Gibran from Arabic, which is immensely poetic, pure poetry; and Rabindranath from Bengali, which is even more poetic than Arabic. In fact if you see two Bengalis fighting you will be surprised because you will think that they are exchanging loving words among themselves. You will not be able to conceive that they are fighting. Even in fighting the Bengali is poetic.

I know it from my own experience. I was in Bengal and saw people fighting… sheer poetry! I was amazed. When I came to Maharashtra I saw people just talking, gossiping, and I was worried: were they fighting? – should the police be informed? Marathi is such a language that you cannot say sweet nothings in it. It is harsh, hard. It is a fighting language.

It is strange that the English have appreciated both Kahlil Gibran and Rabindranath, but they have not learned anything from them. They have not learned the secret of their success. What is the secret of their success? Their ‘poeticness’.

thoughts-and-meditationsTenth: This is a book by Kahlil Gibran which I never wanted to condemn publicly, because I love the man. But I have to do it so that it is on record that I can condemn a man even though I love him, if his words do not represent the truth.

The book is Thoughts and Meditations. Now, I cannot agree with it, and because of it I know that Kahlil Gibran never knew what meditation is. In this book “meditations” are nothing but ‘contemplations’, only then can they go with thoughts. Ashu, you don’t have to go with thoughts, you have to go with meditation… with me, not with Kahlil Gibran. So go higher. Unless you achieve it I am going to stop talking like this very soon. I want to affirm my transcendence in every way. No buddha has done it before. I want to be a pioneer.

I am against this tenth book because I am against thought. I am also against it because Kahlil Gibran uses the word meditation in the western sense. In the West meditation simply means to think about something concentratedly. That is not meditation. In the East meditation means to not think at all. It has nothing to do with ‘about this or that’, it is non-objective. There is no object in it, only pure subjectivity. Soren Kierkegaard said, “The innermost core of man is pure subjectivity…” That’s what meditation is.

Osho, Books I Have Loved, Session 14

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
12. Just Be – That Is My Manifesto
13. Never Be an Imitator