“The real location of places for pilgrimage are often hidden or obscured,” says Osho. From ‘Hidden Mysteries’, Ch 2, Part 3 of 9.
Great treasures have been hidden underground for which a search is going on even today. For example, the richest treasure on earth, for which a search is going on – that of the last czar of Russia – have been buried somewhere in America. It is certain that such a treasure was hidden there because the czar was only dethroned in 1917, not long ago. On a map, the exact location is available, but the description cannot be decoded. Similarly the hidden treasures of the Gwalior king’s family is somewhere in Gwalior. There is a map, but the exact location cannot be decoded. Such maps are made in a secret code, otherwise they might fall into the wrong hands.
for a special
Similarly the places of pilgrimage places are well indicated, but the exact place where the spiritual event took place may not be known. Such places are hidden from ordinary people. This is very confusing. You may go to some place where it is said Mahavira reached nirvana, but there is a great possibility that the exact spot is a little away from the place shown to everyone. The real location is shown only to those people who are authentic and deserving seekers. There, those people can bow down in respect and return home. The real location will be kept hidden for those who come there out of an authentic spiritual search and who need that help for the jump.
There are many such places…. In one Arab country there is a small village called Alkufa where no civilized man has been able to enter. We have gone to the moon, but no traveler has yet entered that small village. Up till now it has not been possible to locate this village. There is no doubt about its existence, because history mentions it and there are also maps available. The location is hidden for a special purpose. When some Sufi reaches a deep state of consciousness during meditation, he finds the key to the path; he is able to visualize the whole of Alkufa. Otherwise, whatever maps are available are false, to misguide people.
Many pilgrims from Europe have tried to reach Alkufa for the last three centuries. Many of them died before they could return. Those who did come back, didn’t reach the village but had just been roaming around. One can reach only through a special meditation, during which Alkufa becomes manifest. Once he sees the place he caught a glimpse of in meditation the Sufi meditator walks to it. Alkufa is a secret holy place, more ancient than Islam. The places of pilgrimage which are well known and can be visited by any pilgrim are not the real ones; the real one is nearby, but hidden.
The real temple
is a third one,
which has to be
An interesting incident happened…. When Vinoba Bhave, Gandhi’s chief disciple, went to the Vishwanath temple in Benares with harijans – India’s lowest caste – Karpatriji, an orthodox Brahmin scholar, said, “You may enter, but now we shall have to make another temple, because this one has been desecrated.” He actually began constructing another, because to him the old temple had become useless. Superficially, Vinoba seems a more understanding person than Karpatri. Karpatri was very traditional and ignorant of the modern world’s trends and knowledge. But regarding the deep secret that he was trying to support, he seems to be more knowledgeable.
The truth is that the Vishwanath temple is not the real one, and the one Karpatri wanted to have built instead of it, wouldn’t be the real one either. The real temple is a third one, which has to be kept hidden, otherwise any socio-religious reformer would desecrate it. The Vishwanath temple which is now standing is already desecrated. There is no difficulty in desecrating a temple; you can if you want to. Any other temple being built there will also be false, but a false one will always have to be there so that the real one can remain hidden.
There are secret keys, mantras, through which to enter Vishwanath temple, just as there are for Alkufa. Occasionally, some fortunate seeker, who has the knowledge about the mantra, may be able to enter, but otherwise pilgrims go to the false temple, worship there and return to their home. But this temple has developed a sort of sanctity over thousands of years, even though it is false, because for so long people have believed it to be the true one.
All religions have tried not to allow a person of another religion to enter their temples or places of pilgrimage. Why? Those who made those rules knew the dangers for such entrants. In a way, it is like a notice hanging on the entrance of an atomic energy laboratory, warning, “No entry except for atomic scientists.” We agree that such restrictions are necessary – it is dangerous for non-scientists to enter – but when such restrictions are made in connection with a temple or place of pilgrimage, we don’t agree. We do not know that they also have their own science. These temples and places of pilgrimage are meant for specialists.
It is like a conference of doctors standing around a patient discussing his disease. The patient listens to them but can’t understand them because they are talking medical jargon, using Greek and Latin words. It is not in the interest of the patient to understand. Similarly, all religions have developed their own code languages. They have their secret holy places, their secret languages and secret scriptures. So what we understand to be places of pilgrimage are almost certainly not the right places. Such great traditions have to be preserved because if they fall into the wrong hands, they may be misused. Ordinary people will only get into difficulties and will not benefit from them.
It is said that if you are allowed to enter the Sufi village of Alkufa you will become mad. It is said that anyone entering accidentally will leave the village, mad, because Alkufa is full of vibrations which cannot be tolerated by the ordinary mind. So it is better not to enter the town without the necessary preparation and discipline.
It is said that it is not possible to sleep in Alkufa, so it is natural that those who haven’t experimented deeply in staying awake will go mad. The greatest accomplishment among Sufis is the night vigil; they keep awake the whole night. If a person does not eat for ninety days he will become very weak, but he will not die or go mad. An ordinary healthy man can easily fast for ninety days, but he cannot remain without sleep for even twenty-one days. He can go without food for three months, but he cannot go without sleep for three weeks. Three weeks is a very long time – it is difficult to remain without sleep for even one week – but it is impossible to sleep at all in Alkufa.
Osho, Hidden Mysteries, Ch 2 (translated from Hindi), Part 3 of 9
List of excerpts published in Osho News: Hidden Mysteries