The Heart Is A Mirror

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Article by Chaitanya Keerti published in The Asian Age on August 19, 2014


The seekers of truth often go to ashrams and monasteries where they can learn meditation and self-realisation. They spend years with the enlightened masters to become rooted in the process. They go through all kinds of tests before the true master declares that they have realised themselves and can be on their own.

Sometimes, the disciples have to go through certain examination which may not make any sense to them, as these tests are not superficial.

There is one such story: A Zen master sent his chief disciple to a caravanserai for his last examination. The disciple said, “What kind of examination is this? What am I to do in that caravanserai?”

Ancient Caravanserai

He said, “You just go and watch whatever is happening there, and bring the news to me. That is going to decide whether you are going to be my successor or not.”

The disciple went to the caravanserai, he watched everything. It was a question of tremendous importance, and what he brought made him the successor.

His reply was: “I saw that the owner of the caravanserai cleans the mirror in the evening — each evening — and again in the morning he cleans the mirror. So I asked him, ‘You cleaned it just a few hours ago, why are you cleaning it again?’ The owner said, ‘The dust goes on gathering every moment, so clean the mirror whenever you have time. You will always find some dust which has gathered.’”

“And Master, I have come to the conclusion that you were right in sending me to the caravanserai. This is actually the case with the mind — clean it every moment, because every moment, just by its nature, dust goes on gathering.”

If you can avoid defilement, there is no need of any cultivation; you will realise the ultimate truth.

To see things as they really are, you have to be absolutely empty — only a mirror. Your mirror should be clean, without any dust, without any thought, without any prejudice, without any religion. Just a pure reflective mirror, and you can see things as they are.

Osho concludes: “We will be able to see God on the day on which our heart becomes like a mirror. Then all the world enters into us, and the whole world becomes a mirror for us also. Then we are able to see ourself every moment, everywhere. But the whole world cannot be turned into a mirror; only our own self can be turned into a mirror. That is why the seeker after truth begins by making a mirror of himself. To know the alchemy and art of making ourselves a mirror, three points are to be understood.”

“First, perhaps it is not correct to talk of making a mirror of the self, because we are all mirrors already, but covered with dust. Our work is to clean and polish our mirror and make it bright and clear.

“A mirror is not a mirror if dust is allowed to settle on it; then it does not reflect anything. Its capacity to reflect is destroyed when it is covered with dust. We are such mirrors — the dust has accumulated on us. Just as dust collects on a mirror carried along a busy road, so it collects as we pass through countless lives. It is gathered in many ways from our desires, our innumerable actions, and from our becoming constantly the doer. No one knows what a heap of dust is collected — the dust of actions, of becoming doers of actions, of ego, of thoughts, of desires and feelings. So there is a very deep layer of dust on us.”

Meditation is a process of deep cleaning to come to self-realisation in its absolute purity.


KeertiSwami Chaitanya Keerti, editor of Osho World, is the author of ‘Osho Fragrance’.


The Zen story as told by Osho from Ma Tzu: The Empty Mirror, Ch 9
Excerpt by Osho from The Heartbeat of the Absolute, Ch 7 (translated from Hindi)

Illustration by Osho News

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