The Virtues of Shedding Labels and Leaving Home

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Article by Ravi Nagahawatte, published in The Nation, Colombo, Sri Lanka on 20 October 2013.

The great rebel, sage and master Osho encouraged people to invite chaos into their lives. Osho wanted people to drop all labels that were pinned on to people by parents or society. Osho was clear about this dropping of labels. He didn’t want people to set about finding the truth in life by following someone’s teachings. When labels are dropped, naturally there will be chaos within. This is because for the first time in life, according to Osho, there is nothing to lean on. You have to construct a new pillar, which will offer strength when pursuing life.

Osho recalled with great regularity the story of Sathyakam Jabal. Sathykam was the son of Jabala, a house aid. One day Sathyakam asked his mother who his father was. Jabala replied, “I have been a housemaid and associated with so many men, so really I don’t know who your father is. If anyone asks you who you are, you say Sathyakam Jabal.”

The Nation Osho Files

When Sathyakam’s teacher Gautama asked him, “Son, to which family do you belong?”, Sathyakam had said, “I don’t know” and related the story his mother had told him. The teacher had been impressed and said, “One, but a true Brahmin, a true seeker of truth would have spoken thus,” and enrolled him in the class. As Osho stressed, the first quality of the seeker is to be authentic.

Osho borrowed ‘gems’ from all religions whenever he lectured. He stressed on the existence of a soul, the most important aspect in understanding the workings of the world according to Hindu teachings, extensively discussed in the Bhagavad Gita. He often reminded his students, “Everybody reacts as a body. Nobody responds as a soul”.

According to the Bhagavad Gita the universe represents one soul and everybody is part of it. And when it comes to the small picture or the breakdown, Hinduism teachers explain that there is an individual soul, within the body, and when that is understood from a spiritual perspective, it helps immensely to understand the existence of a universal soul, which is the ultimate truth.

Osho said that one has to go away from home; that it was only when one goes astray that one will value returning home. The truth, he says, always existed before man chose to move away from it and went about getting distracted or engrossed in acquiring materialistic possessions. According to Osho, learning of the truth is not a discovery, but a rediscovery. The truth or the universal soul has always existed.

To realize the truth one has to find equality between purusha (awareness) and satva (highest point in nature or matter which is the soul). There is a subtle difference between intelligence and awareness. According to the quotes by Osho in the book Yoga: The Path to Liberation, one must understand that an intelligent man will not necessarily be someone possessing awareness. Osho recalls in the book that a very intelligent professor had once forgotten to return home because his engagements with some very important experiments made him forget he had to return home to his wife who was waiting for days for him to return home from office. A desperate wife had called him after a long wait and said, “When are you coming home? I’ve been waiting for you for days,” for which the professor had replied, “Send me the address. I have forgotten where I live.”

This story is a classic example of how the human race has slowly moved away from the truth and channeled most of one’s energies and time to pursue money and material gains. These people have to be really shaken up and what other best way to do this other than teach them to discard all labels which have been pinned on to them, things which make their thinking stereotype. Osho goes on to state in the book, “Religion is the search of awareness. Philosophy is the search of intelligence.”

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