Osho speaks on prana and life energy.
A hundred years before, one of the greatest thinkers of the world, Friedrich Nietzsche, declared that God is dead. He was declaring something which was becoming clearer to everybody. He simply declared the feeling of all the thinkers of the world, particularly the science oriented people. Science was winning every day against religion, superstition; and science was conquering so much that it was almost certain that in the future God cannot exist, religion cannot exist. It was felt all over the world that God has become part of history and God will exist in the museums, in the libraries, in the books, but not in human consciousness. It was felt as if matter has won the last, final war with God.
When Nietzsche declared God is dead, he meant that now life will not in any way be a destiny. It has become accidental, because God is nothing but the coordinating principle of life. God is the organic unity of life. God is that energy which has glued everything together. God is that law which has made a cosmos out of a chaos. Once God is not there, the coordinating principle is not there, the world again becomes a chaos, just an accident. With God disappears all order. With God disappears all principle. With God disappears all possibility to understand life. And with God man also disappears.
Nietzsche himself declared that God is dead and man is free now, but in fact once God is dead, man is not there. Then man is just matter, nothing more – explainable, is a mystery no more, has depth no more, has infinity no more, and has meaning no more, significance no more, is just an accident – has appeared accidentally, will disappear accidentally.
But Nietzsche proved wrong. It appears that it was something like the age of scientific youth; the nineteenth century was the age of science’s coming of age. And as every youth is too full of confidence, too optimistic, in fact foolishly optimistic, the same was the case with science also. In Tibet they have a saying that every young man thinks old people to be fools, but every old man knows that all young people are fools. Young people only think, but old people know. Science was the youngest growth in human consciousness, and science was much too confident. It even declared God is dead and religion is no longer relevant, it is “out of context.” Religion was part of humanity’s childhood, they declared. Freud wrote a book, The Future of an Illusion – about religion, that it is just an illusion and there is no future really.
But God survived, and a miracle has happened within these hundred years. If Nietzsche comes back he will not be able to believe what has happened. The more the scientific mind penetrated into matter, the more it came to know that matter does not exist. God survived, matter died. Matter has almost disappeared from scientific vocabulary. It exists in ordinary language, but it is just because of old habit; otherwise there is no matter now. The deeper the scientific penetration became, the deeper they came to understand that it is energy not matter. Matter was a misunderstanding. Energy is moving so fast, with such tremendous speed, that it gives an illusion of something solid. The solidity is just an illusion.
God is not illusory. The solidity of the world is illusory. The solidity of these walls is illusory; they appear solid because the energy particles, electrons, are moving at such a speed that you cannot see the movement.
Have you watched sometimes the electric fan going very fast? Then you cannot see the wings, the blades. And if the electric fan is really moving with such speed, as electrons, you can sit upon it and you will not fall down, and you will not feel the movement. You can hit it with a bullet and the bullet will not pass between the gaps, because the speed of the bullet will not be so much as the speed of the blades.
This is what is happening. Matter has disappeared, has no more validity.
But what science has discovered is not really a discovery; it is a rediscovery. Yoga has been talking about it for five thousand years – at least. Yoga calls that energy prana. This word prana is very significant, very meaningful, pregnant with meaning. It is made out of two Sanskrit roots. One is pra; pra means the basic unit of energy, the most fundamental unit of energy. And na means energy. Prana means: the most fundamental unit is energy. Matter is just the surface. Prana is the real thing there is – and it is not a thing at all. It is more like a no-thing, or you can call it almost nothing. Nothing means no-thing. Nothing does not mean nothing; nothing simply means that it is not a thing. It is not solid, it is not static, it is not visible, it is not tangible. It is there, but you cannot touch it. It is there, but you cannot see it. It is there, beyond and beneath every phenomenon. But it is the most fundamental unit; you cannot go beyond it.
Prana is the basic unit of the whole of life. Rocks, trees, birds, man, God, everything is a manifestation of prana, on different levels, on different understandings, on different integrations. The same prana moves and manifests as millions, as many, but the basic unit is one.
Unless you come to know prana within yourself, you will not be able to know what God is. And if you cannot know it within yourself, you cannot know it without, because within you it is so close. That’s why Patanjali could know it five thousand years before Albert Einstein and company. Five thousand years is a long time for science to come to understand it, but they were trying from the outside. Patanjali dived deep into his own being; it was a subjective experience. And science has been trying to know it objectively. If you want to know something objectively, you have taken a very long route. That’s why so much delay. If you go within, you have found the shortest route to know what it is.
Ordinarily you don’t know who you are, where you are. What are you doing here? People come to me and they say, “What are we doing here? Why are we? For what?” I can understand their confusion, but wherever you are and whatsoever you are doing the problem will remain the same – unless you understand the source from where you come, unless you understand the basic structure of your being, unless you come to know your prana, your energy.
I have heard, it happened:
Mulla Nasruddin visited a field and filled his bag full of melons. He was about to leave when the owner showed up.
“I was passing by,” Mulla began to explain, “when suddenly a strong wind blew me over to the fence and into the field.”
“What about the melons?” the owner asked.
“The wind was so strong, sir, that I clutched at anything I could get my hands on. And that’s how the melons came loose.”
“But who put them into your bag?”
“To tell the truth,” Mulla replied, “I was wondering about that myself.”
This is the situation. How are you here? Why are you here? Who has put you into the bag? Everybody is wondering.
Philosophy, they say, comes out of wonder; but don’t go on continuously simply wondering and wondering. Otherwise wondering becomes a sort of wandering. Then you never reach. Rather than simply wondering, try to do something. You are here, that much is certain. You are alert that you are here, that much is also certain. Now these two ingredients are enough for yoga experimentation. You are: the being is there. You are aware that you are: the consciousness is there. These two are enough to make a lab out of your being for yoga experimentation.
Yoga does not need sophisticated, complicated things for its work. It is the simplest. Two things: you and your awareness that you are. Enough. These two you have; everybody has them. Nobody is lacking in these two things. You have a certain feel that you are, and of course you are aware of that certain feel. These two things are enough. That’s why yogis had no laboratories, no sophisticated instrumentation – and they never needed any grant from Rockefeller or Ford. They needed only just a little bread, water, and they will come and beg in the town and will disappear for days. After a week or two they will come again and beg again and they will disappear again.
They did the greatest experiment: the experiment in human reality. And only with two small things, but those small things are not small. Once you know them they are the biggest phenomenon ever.
So the first thing about today’s sutras is the discovery of prana. That became the very foundation of the temple of yoga. You are breathing. Yoga says you are not only breathing air; you are also breathing prana. In fact air is just a vehicle for prana, just a medium. You are not alive by breath. Breath is just like a horse, and you have not looked at the rider yet. The rider is prana.
Now many psychoanalysts have come across this mysterious thing – the rider who is coming on the breath, going on the breath, continuously moving in and out. But yet in the West it is not a recognized scientific fact. It should be because now science says matter is no longer there and everything is energy. The stone, the rock, is energy; you are energy. So there must be happening many energy games within you, tides and ebbs of energy.
Freud stumbled upon this fact. I say “stumbled upon it” because his eyes were not open; he was very blindfolded. He was not a yogi. He was again caught in the scientific attitude of making everything objective. He called it “libido.” If you ask the yogis they will say libido is prana ill. When prana is not vital, when somehow the energy of prana has become dammed up, blocked; that’s what Freud has come to know. And that’s explainable because he was working only with ill people, neurotics, mad people, mentals. And working on ill, mentally disturbed people he came to know that their bodies are carrying some blocked energy and unless that energy is released, they will not be healthy again. Yogis say libido is prana gone wrong. It is just a diseased prana. But still Freud stumbled upon something which later on can become very, very significant.
And one of his disciples, Wilhelm Reich, went deeper into it, but he was caught by the American government because he could not prove very scientifically, that is very objectively, what he was saying. He died in jail as a madman, certified as mad. He was one of the greatest men ever born in the West. But again he was working blindfolded. He was not yet working as a yogi has to work. The scientific attitude was his undoing.
Reich tried to make contact with this energy the yogis call prana, and he called it “orgone”. “Orgone” is better than “libido” because “libido” gives a feeling as if all is sexual energy. “Orgone” is a better word, more inclusive, more comprehensive, bigger than “libido,” and gives a possibility for the energy to move beyond sex or to touch higher realms of being which are not sexual. But he got into trouble because he felt it so much and he observed so much that he started to accumulate the prana energy, the orgone, in boxes. He made orgone boxes. Nothing is wrong in them; yogis have been working on that for centuries. That’s why yogis try to live in almost boxlike caves, with only one small door.
Now those caves look very unhygienic, and how did they live there for years? No air goes in because there is no cross ventilation. So dark, dingy, and yogis have lived so perfectly and so healthily that it is almost a miracle. What were they doing there and how were they living there? According to the modern scientific ideology they should have died, or at the most they should have lived as very ill people, depressed; but yogis have never been depressed. They are one of the most vital people to come across, very alive. What were they doing? What was happening? They were creating orgone, and for orgone to stay in a particular place, cross ventilation is not needed; in fact cross ventilation will not allow the orgone to accumulate because once the air comes there the orgone energy is a rider – it jumps on the air and moves out. No air passage is needed; then layers upon layers of orgone go on accumulating, and one can thrive on it and live on it.
Wilhelm Reich created small orgone boxes, and he he]ped many ill people. He will tell them just to lie down in the orgone box, and he will close the box and tell them to rest; and within an hour the person is out, feeling very vital, alive, tingling all over with energy. And many people have reported that their diseases disappeared after a few experimentations with the orgone.
The orgone box was so effective that without knowing the laws of the country and without bothering about them, Wilhelm Reich started to produce them on a mass basis and he started selling them. Then he was caught by the Food and Drug Administration and he was asked to prove it. Now it is difficult to prove because the energy is not tangible. You cannot show it to anybody. It is an experience; and a very inner experience.
You don’t ask Albert Einstein to show electrons, but you can believe in him because you can go and see Nagasaki and Hiroshima. You can see the effect; you cannot see the cause, Nobody has yet seen the atom, but the atom is, because it can produce effects.
Buddha has defined truth as that which can produce effects. Buddha’s very definition of truth is very beautiful. Never again and never before has there been such a beautiful definition of truth: that which can produce effects. If it can produce effects it is true.
Nobody has seen the atom, but we have to believe it because of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. But nobody listened to Wilhelm Reich and his patients. There were many who were ready to certify, “We have been cured,” but this is how – once some attitude becomes generally accepted – people become blind. They said, “All these people are hypnotized. In the first place they must not have been ill – or they have imagined themselves cured – or it is nothing but suggestibility.” Now you cannot go and tell people who have died in Hiroshima, “You have imagined that you are dead”; they have simply disappeared.
Just see the thing: death is more believable than life.
And the whole modern world is more death-oriented than life-oriented. If you kill a person you will be reported by all the newspapers; you will become a headline. But if you revive a person, nobody will ever come to know about it. If you murder, your name becomes a famous name, but if you give life to people, nobody is going to believe in you. They will say you are a charlatan or a deceiver.
That has always been so. Nobody believed Jesus; they killed him. Nobody believed Socrates; they killed him. They have killed even a very innocent man like Aesop, the famous story teller. He never did anything, he never created a religion or a philosophy, and he was not saying anything against anybody. He was just creating a few beautiful parables. But those parables offended people because he was saying such great truths in those parables and in such a simple way that he was murdered.
You go on killing people who have been affirmative, life enhancing. You ask for proofs.
If somebody comes to me and asks what I am doing here, it will be difficult. If you certify, they will say you have gone mad. This is something. If somebody is against me, they will believe him; if somebody is for me, they will not believe him. If somebody is against – howsoever foolish – they will not argue with him; they will say, “Right.” And if somebody is with me and for me – howsoever intelligent – they will laugh; knowingly they will say, “I know, you are hypnotized.” Ask Dr. Phadnis; people say that he is hypnotized.
This is a vicious circle of argumentation. If I convince you, you are hypnotized; if I cannot convince you, I am wrong. So either way I am wrong. If somebody is convinced….
It happened. Swabhav is here. A few years before, he came with his two brothers; all the three had come to argue with me. And Swabhav was the most argumentative of all the three; but he is a sincere man, and simple. He became by and by convinced. He had come as a leader with the other two brothers; then he became convinced. Then the other two became against him. Now they say he is hypnotized. They have stopped coming; they won’t listen to me. Now they are afraid: if Swabhav can be hypnotized, they can also be hypnotized. They avoid, and they have created a protective defense mechanism around them. If I can convince another brother – because I know one can be convinced still – then the remaining one will become more defensive; and then he will say, “Two brothers gone.” And the remaining one is also very good-hearted; there is a possibility for him also. Then the whole family will think all the three have gone mad.
This is how things go. If you cannot convince, you are wrong; if you can convince, then too you are wrong.
Many people, very intelligent people, PhD’s, professors, psychoanalysts – certified – but the court wouldn’t listen. They said they are all conspirators in the same game. “Show us where orgone energy is! Open the box and let us see where it is. It is an ordinary box, there is nothing. And you are selling it, deceiving people, cheating.”
Wilhelm Reich died in a prison. It seems humanity is not going to learn anything from history; it goes on repeating the same, again and again.
Why are you so much against love, because orgone energy is love energy? Why are you so much against life and why are you so much in favor of death? Something has not evolved in you. You are so unalive that you cannot believe that life has more and higher possibilities. And if somebody reaches to a higher peak, you cannot believe that that is possible. You have to deny. It becomes almost an offense to you.
If I say I am God, it becomes an offense. I am simply saying that you can also become gods, never settle for less. But you feel offended. And you are living only two percent of your possibilities; ninety eight percent of your possibilities are being wasted. As if you were given a hundred days to live and you lived only two days and died. Even your great thinkers, painters, musicians, geniuses, they live only fifteen percent of their potentiality.
If you can blaze to your utmost, you become a god.
The situation is such that I would like to tell you one anecdote to explain it.
Cohen bumped into Levy Isaacs who was looking terribly dejected.
“What is the matter?” he asked.
“I am bankrupt,” said a quiet Isaacs. “My business failed.”
“Oh, well,” said Cohen, “what about the property in your wife’s name?”
“There is no property in my wife’s name.”
“Well, then, what about the property in your children’s names?”
“There is no property in my children’s names?”
Cohen put his hand on Levy’s shoulder, “Levy, you are very mistaken. You are not bankrupt – you are ruined.”
This is the situation where you are: not only bankrupt, ruined. If you don’t become alive, if you don’t revitalize your prana and energy, you are ruined – and you will live with the false idea that you lived. And you are supported by the whole mass of people around you because they are almost as dead as you are, so you think this is the rule. This is not the rule.
The effort towards religion starts only when you catch hold of this – -this sutra, this thread – that whatsoever you are doing is almost nothing. You are wasting a great opportunity. Unless you start feeling God within you, never settle for anything. It is okay if you stop for a night’s rest, okay, but by the morning start going. Remember it as a criterion that your fulfilment is your godhood.
When your prana flowers you are God. Right now your prana is just crawling on the earth – not even standing and walking.
I have heard about one beggar who knocked at a big house. The lady of the house opened the door. The man immediately did a shashtang, he bowed down with his whole body on the earth. He crawled at her feet. A very strong man, healthy, perfectly healthy and young. The lady said, “What are you doing? Why are you wasting your energy and crawling at people’s feet? Why don’t you work! Why do you go on asking, begging, crawling!”
The man looked up and said, “Lady, I am a very scientific man. I am moving alphabetically.”
The lady said, “What do you mean, alphabetically?”
He said, “Asking – A. Begging – B. Crawling – C. Work is very, very far away….”
Alphabetically! Don’t be so alphabetical.
If you are using your prana only for sex purposes, you are crawling. Unless the energy moves to the sahasrar, unless the prana comes to your crown of the head, to your very peak, you will not be able to fly in the sky. You will remain imprisoned and you will remain miserable. Happiness is when you are flying. Happiness is when the sky is vast, unlimited. Happiness is when you have learned the pinnacle, the crescendo of your being, when you have touched the highest peak.
Osho, Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 8, Ch 9 (excerpt)
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