Osho answers a question by Narendra Bodhisattva.
Since my childhood, I have seen you as a buddha, even before your enlightenment I saw you as a buddha – the same serenity, the same natural glow, the same spontaneity, the same love, the same compassion, the same carefreeness, the same blissfulness as it is today.
I have seen many of your phases, and I say again and again that you were a buddha before your enlightenment.
The story of your enlightenment is a device for us, is a beautiful assurance for us.
I am immensely grateful. I feel fortunate that you showered your love and compassion on me from the beginning. You have helped me at each step, at each turning point of my life. You changed my life, you filled my life with love and joy, you gave me immense clarity, you made me free.
I bow down to you. Buddham Sharanam Gachchhami, Buddham Sharanam Gachchhami, Buddham Sharanam Gachchhami.
Narendra, you are almost right. But remember my emphasis on the word almost.
And this is true not only about me, this is true about everybody else too: Everybody is by nature a divine being, an awakened soul, a Gautam Buddha, who has just fallen asleep for a while, has just forgotten himself for a moment and is lost in dreams, beautiful dreams of ambition, desire, success… to be someone special in the world, to leave footprints behind.
The moment your dream is broken, your sleep is gone, suddenly you are in for a great surprise, perhaps the greatest surprise: that the treasure you have been looking for is within you, that the paradise you have been searching for is within you, that there is no God who can drive you out of the Garden of Eden because the Garden of Eden is your very being. At the most you can forget it but you cannot lose it. And once you recognize it, then life becomes really hilarious; you can laugh at your own efforts and endeavors, at your whole past that you have spent in searching for it.
And the goal of your search was not away from you, not even close to you. You were the goal, the seeker was the sought.
What you had seen in me
was only a dewdrop.
Now that dewdrop
looks like an ocean
you are seeing the ocean.
And everything that you have done before you became enlightened, everything that you have been before you became aware of your tremendous beauty, of your eternal life, will take a different meaning after your enlightenment. To you and to those who are close to you, the enlightenment will make such a great difference. Narendra has known me since he was a child. But if I had not become enlightened he would not have asked me this question or raised this question to himself. Even the very idea of buddhahood might not have happened to him; he would have known me as a friend, he would have known me as a loving companion.
It is the enlightenment that changes the meaning of all his experiences, gives them a new color, a new light, a new luminosity. The same incidents start having a totally new meaning.
I can understand your question, Narendra. Now you look backwards, but because now you know my enlightenment you can easily conclude that I was always enlightened, that I was born enlightened; otherwise those incidents of love, care, understanding would not have taken such a colorful and meaningful significance. That’s why I say you are almost right.
If I had not become
what I have become,
you would have
remembered me as loving,
as friendly, but you
would have never thought
I was born as a buddha –
that idea arises now.
I myself can look retrospectively… then everything starts taking on a new meaning. It would not have had the same meaning. It is the alchemy of enlightenment that everything has become pure gold, that small and meaningless things have taken wings and have become great.
I will give you a few examples which could not have been understood in the same way they have been understood; there was no possibility, no hope.
One of my teachers was very perfectionistic, a great disciplinarian, a very beautiful man. Every year he started his class with the same introduction, because the students were new; he introduced himself by saying that, “It is better that I should make clear to you what kind of man I am, so you are not in the dark and you don’t do anything without understanding the nature of the teacher. First: I don’t believe in headaches, stomachaches, no. Anything that you cannot prove and anything that I cannot check by myself will not be an excuse to take a holiday or to go home. You can have a fever, I can feel your fever. So remember it – I simply don’t believe in headaches and stomachaches because there is no proof. Even a physician has to rely upon the patient, that he has a headache – he may be lying, or he may be in illusion. What is the guarantee? How do you know that you are right?”
I said, “This is strange; this is going to be difficult” – because those were simple excuses to escape from any class, to say that “I have a strong headache and I want to go home.”
He used to go every evening for a walk. Just by the side of the school there was a beautiful road, covered from both sides with big trees, mango trees.
I said, “Things have to be settled from the very beginning.”
So I climbed up into a tree, high up, and waited for this teacher – he was a Mohammedan, his name was Rahimuddin. He came exactly on time… He was very precise in everything; at exactly the same time each day he used to pass by that tree.
I dropped a big mango on his head. He said, “Ahhhh!” and looked up. And he saw me there.
I said, “What is the matter? What has happened?”
For a moment there was silence. He said, “Come down.”
I came down.
He said, “You have proved that there is something like a headache, but don’t tell anybody. If you have a headache, you just raise one finger and I will give you a holiday. If you have a stomachache, you need not prove it to me – you just raise two fingers, because you seem to be dangerous!”
He was a bachelor, an old man; he had never married. He lived a very beautiful life, had a small cottage, a garden.
And he was very famous for one strange thing – because he had enough money, unmarried, no children, no wife…. He had three hundred and sixty-five suits of clothes, one for each day; then for the whole year that suit of clothes would not be used again. Naturally every husband was jealous.
He said, “I live alone. I sleep outside in the garden, and I don’t want any proof for stomachache! – so one is enough. You have given me the proof that you are capable, so when you have a stomachache raise two fingers and I will understand. But this is an agreement between us: that you will not tell anybody else that headaches or stomachaches exist.”
I said, “I am not worried about anybody else. My problem is solved because I want things from the very beginning to be clear, just like you do.”
He said, “You have made it very clear – it is still hurting! I have been a teacher thirty years and nobody ever thought of this idea. I will remember you for my whole life.”
It was a small incident, and would have been forgotten – but when people started coming to me many years after this incident he started telling people, “I knew beforehand that this boy was going to be someone extraordinary.”
People asked, “How did you come to know? – and you never mentioned it before.”
He said, “I had almost forgotten it; just now, as his name is becoming known around the world and people are coming to him from all over the world, I remembered. And now that incident has a totally different meaning. Because for my whole life I was introducing every class in the same way and nobody ever tried anything. And this was the only one – a singular instance – who proved to me that a headache had to be accepted. I knew it that very day.”
In 1970 I went to that village for the last time. He had become very old. Hearing that I was there, he came to see me. I said, “I was going to come to you. You are too old, you should not have bothered to walk almost two miles.”
He said, “I am feeling so happy. Seeing you it still hurts, but now I feel a certain pride that you were my student.”
Now the whole thing takes a different color, it becomes a pride. Otherwise, if I had turned out to be a thief or a criminal, then the same incident would have been a proof: “I knew from the very beginning that this boy was going to be a criminal, that sooner or later he would murder somebody.”
Retrospectively you always look at things in a way you would not have looked at them if life had moved in a different direction – the same things. The same things would not have given you the same indications.
And if you can see a buddha in me,
there is no difficulty
in seeing the buddha in you too –
maybe a little lazy, a little sleepy,
a little gone off the track.
By the way, I would like to remind you that all autobiographies are false because they are all written retrospectively. A man becomes a Mahatma Gandhi and then he writes his autobiography in the light what he has become. He starts looking at things in the past when he was not Mahatma Gandhi, and everything now has to fit with Mahatma Gandhi. There has to be a logical connection, a coherence. So it is as if you are reading a novel backwards – things will be totally different.
All autobiographies are fictions. They should not be categorized separately in any library. The science of librarianship should understand a simple fact: that every autobiography is a fiction.
For example the day Mahatma Gandhi’s father died he was with his father massaging his feet, and the doctors had said that this was going to be the last night; there was no hope that this man would ever see the sunrise, before sunrise he would be gone. In the middle of the night, Mahatma Gandhi was massaging his father’s feet, but he was thinking of his wife.
The father was dying. It was an absolute certainty that this was his last night, and he had fallen asleep. Seeing that he was asleep, Mahatma Gandhi slipped silently into his wife’s room, and while he was making love to his wife, his father died. And suddenly the whole house was awake. He heard the noise – “What is the matter?” And he could not forgive himself, that even for one night he could not remain away from his wife when the death of his father was absolutely certain.
If he had not become a famous man, a world-famous man, this incident would not have carried any importance; perhaps he himself would have forgiven it, forgotten it – just an ordinary incident.
But writing his autobiography, he connects it with the great mahatma that he became. And this is all fiction – he says that he became concerned about celibacy because of this incident. He started thinking of brahmacharya, celibacy, because of this incident. This is not true, but he has to fit the incident into the life of a mahatma. And it fits perfectly well; anybody reading it will feel that there seems to be a certain connection. But it is not true, because all his four sons were born after this incident. So he cannot deceive me. He is deceiving himself, he is deceiving his followers, he is deceiving the historians. But if this was the cause of his becoming a celibate, then he would have remained without any children. All four sons were born after this incident, so this incident has nothing to do with celibacy.
But in his mind – and in anybody’s mind who is reading Mahatma Gandhi – it seems relevant, that perhaps the shock was too much, as if “I am guilty of the death of my father. I could have stayed a few more minutes, but my lust, my sexuality proved to be more powerful than my love and respect for my father. And my wife was going to remain with me for my whole life, but my father was going to disappear that very night into darkness and into the unknown and there would not be another meeting again.”
I have read many autobiographies, and I have seen how people when they look backwards look with the eyes that they have now, and with all the experience they have accumulated meanwhile. With all this experience, with these new eyes, the meaning of the incidents starts changing.
Narendra, you have been with me from your very childhood.
If I had not become what I have become, you would have remembered me as loving, as friendly, but you would have never thought I was born as a buddha – that idea arises now. It is my enlightenment that gives you the feeling that, “My God, he was always loving.” But it was not the same love.
In a sense, the dewdrop and the ocean are both water. But a dewdrop is a dewdrop, and an ocean is an ocean.
What you had seen in me was only a dewdrop. Now that dewdrop looks like an ocean because now you are seeing the ocean. It is exactly as if you see the Ganges in the Himalayas at Gangotri – it is just a small stream. You could not even hope that it would ever reach the ocean, it is so small. Hindus have placed a marble face of a cow there, and the Ganges falls from the mouth of the cow, it is such a small stream. You will find millions of streams in the Himalayas which are far bigger.
But if you see the same Ganges near Calcutta, in Gangasagar – Gangasagar means the `ocean of Ganges’ – it has become so big, so vast, so immense that it is difficult to think of it as a river; it looks oceanic. To connect the two is very difficult. The Ganges in Gangotri could have been one of those millions of streams which disappear in the forest, in the desert, and nobody would have remembered it. But because this stream became Gangasagar… retrospectively, looking backwards, even standing at the source where the stream is so small, you have the feeling of vastness, of potentiality, of all the possibilities that it is going to become. You cannot see it just like a small stream; it is the stream that is going to become Gangasagar.
Each autobiography is fictitious; small incidents with no meaning in themselves suddenly start having meaning in the context of the person that has come to be.
Essentially it is true: everybody is a buddha, and naturally I am not an exception. Please don’t exclude me out. But this buddhahood is only a seed, and out of millions of seeds perhaps one seed comes to blossom. It indicates that every seed can come to blossom. It is a tremendous encouragement to every human being.
In this sense your seeing me as a born buddha is right, but don’t forget your responsibility. It means you have to prove it too – that you are also a born buddha.
Maybe you started growing a little late.
And in the eternity of time, what is “late”?
There are only seven days. Choose any day, but start.
I am not interested at all to convert anybody to my ideology – I don’t have any. Secondly, I believe that the very effort to convert anybody is violence, it is interfering in his individuality, in his uniqueness, into his freedom.
So my function is not that of a teacher, not that of a prophet, not that of a savior, not that of a messenger. My function simply is that of a reminder. I want just to be a mirror to you so that you can see your original face.
And if you can see a buddha in me, there is no difficulty in seeing the buddha in you too – maybe a little lazy, a little sleepy, a little gone off the track.
But a buddha is a buddha. It does not matter whether his nuts and bolts are a little loose, we will fix them.
One’s buddhahood is one’s essential nature.
I don’t want you to worship buddhas, I want you to become buddhas.
That is the only right worship.
If you love, become it.
Osho, Beyond Enlightenment, Ch 26, Q 1