Bhagawati reflects on enlightenment and remembers a particular discourse.
Osho has spoken about enlightenment thousands of times. We have listened to him but can it be understood? How can we talk about something that we have no direct personal experience of? Or better, something that we already are (as Osho says), but have lost the key for, have forgotten? At best I can talk about all the things we do to avoid becoming enlightened!
The very phenomenon of the flowering of consciousness cannot be explained but may be sensed by losing oneself in the depth of the Master’s eyes, by sitting silently at his feet, experiencing the delicate vibrations of his being. It can be experienced in momentary glimpses, during a Samadhi, moments of utter bliss, and then the veil that seemingly had disappeared nimbly adjusts itself again between the two worlds until a next precious moment or the final blast happens!
The word enlightenment was the carrot that hung right before our eyes, which made us forsake home and family to satisfy this incredible longing the very mention of the word brought up. Yes, we were all bent to become enlightened in this life and did we ever stop in this dream to consider what exactly happens when one enlightens? What then?
A disciple asked Osho, “What is enlightenment? Please explain.”
“I will not, because I cannot. And I cannot because nobody can. You have come a little late. Had you asked me the same question before I became enlightened, I had many answers. Now I have none. Now I am absolutely dumb about it.
I can show you the path, how to become enlightened, but I cannot say what it is. I can hold your hand to the very door and push you in, but I don’t know what is in.
If you are courageous, come, follow me. If you are not courageous, escape as soon as possible, because if you hang around a little longer, it is dangerous. And I am telling you beforehand, so you can never make me responsible for it. Either escape as fast as possible and as far away as possible – to be here is dangerous – or take courage and hold my hand: I can take you in that state of enlightenment.
But nothing can be said about it. It is indefinable, it is ineffable. It IS – in fact only it is, nothing else exists – but it is so vast, it cannot be confined to any explanation.”
Osho, Ecstasy: The Forgotten Language, Ch 4, Q 7
I remember how after listening for the first time to the Zen koan in the discourse series, ‘The Goose is Out’, my mind freaked out. My brain felt on fire. I just couldn’t ‘get it’. Actually, it was rather my mind that could not ‘get it’ and went into a feeding frenzy along the known and stored experiences and tried to figure it out. Circuits blew. I couldn’t breathe, anxiety overcame me that for sure I wouldn’t ‘get it’ because time was running out. Time! The only way to ease this turmoil was to write a question to Osho and hope for an answer, otherwise I would surely go around the bend and find myself marooned in an asylum.
The question: “Osho, I feel that we need to hurry, that there is not much time left. The cocoon of slumber I am existing in seems to suffocate me, and I am afraid I will never make it. You say the goose is out already, why does it feel so impossible to grasp?”
I spent the remainder of that day in a rather wretched state, watching time pass feverishly.
The next day, in Buddha Hall, in his inexhaustible infinite compassion and patience Osho answered my question for a long time, swinging from Master Nansen to Joseph Grimaldi and Adolph Hitler and on to Lao Tzu, gently pointing out how irrelevant time is and all that goose parable was about, was to relax:
“What is the hurry? The whole of eternity is yours! You have always been here, you are here, you will always be here. Nothing is ever lost. Now it is a confirmed scientific truth that nothing is ever destroyed. If matter is not destroyed, why should consciousness be destroyed? Matter belongs to a very gross plane of existence. If the gross is so valued by existence, do you think the higher manifestation is not valued by existence? The higher is more valued! If matter persists and is impossible to destroy, consciousness cannot be destroyed either. It is the highest expression of life; there is nothing higher than it. It is the very Everest of life, the peak beyond which there is nothing. The whole of existence is moving towards that peak. There is no hurry.
The whole idea of hurry is a creation of the mind. Let me say it in this way: mind and time are synonymous; the moment your mind stops, time also stops. The more you are in your mind the more you are in time; the less you are in your mind the more you are out of time.”
Osho, The Goose Is Out, Ch 2, Q 1
Over the years I have listened to or read this discourse again and again and entered deeper and deeper into Osho’s answer. This helped tremendously with the imaginary concept of time; an inner slowing down happened, the ‘urge’ ‘to get it’ became a mere occasional hiccup.
The amusing part about that particular morning is that I was on guard duty in the back of Buddha Hall and had to keep an eye on people coughing or doing anything untoward during discourse. So a few minutes after Osho had read my question and started talking, one visitor started to cough. I crawled over, tapped him on the shoulder and nudged him to get up and out. He didn’t want to leave! Between trying to hear what Osho had to say to me and getting this visitor out, I got myself into a quite stressful situation. Finally after almost hefting the man over my shoulders he left with me and as soon as I handed him to a guard outside I leaped back inside to my spot in the rear. I had just calmed down again when after about ten minutes I heard a cough to my left. I glared at this visitor and willed him to stop coughing. He didn’t. He got into a coughing fit and I did what was needed, left Buddha Hall with him, came back again. I just gave up and surrendered to the task I had been given and suddenly understanding the absurdity of the situation made me giggle.
Years later I heard Osho say,
“Don’t take things seriously; life is so hilarious. There is no urgency to be enlightened. It is unfortunate that I became enlightened too early! But now nothing can be done about it – once enlightened, enlightened forever…
I know the trouble of being enlightened. That’s why I make you alert. Don’t be in a hurry; otherwise you will blame me. I don’t want to take the blame. Nobody can say to me, ‘I am grateful to you that you helped me to become enlightened.’ I help you to learn and love and live as totally as possible. Out of this, enlightenment is bound to happen some day – but there is no hurry for it. It is your birthright, so you cannot avoid it long enough. Sooner or later – and most probably sooner than later – it is going to happen.
But I am telling you, I don’t want to take any credit for it because then you will see that this whole life is utterly futile, meaningless, no action is of any worth – and then you will search.
That’s why I keep myself locked in my room. I don’t want people rushing to me saying, ‘Now it is your fault. You talked about enlightenment and I have become enlightened. Now what do you suppose I should do?’
There is nothing to be done, you have become enlightened, close the door and lock yourself inside! Or if you are really angry, try to make others enlightened: Look what life has done to you…. Do it to others!”
Osho, Om Shantih Shantih Shantih, Ch 4, Q 3
Sound advice. So when enlightenment happens to me in this or any other life, I shall just shut up and enjoy the ride!
Related discourse excerpt A Natural Happening