Osho speaks on 11 books, among them The Song of Saraha, Let Go!, and Ramakrishna’s Parables.
Okay. Get ready for your notes.
The world would have lost much without people like Devageet. We would not have known anything of Socrates if Plato had not written notes, nor of Buddha, nor Bodhidharma. Jesus too is known through his disciples’ notes. Mahavira is said never to have uttered a single word. I know the meaning of why it is said. It is not that he did not utter a single word, but that he never communicated to the world directly; it was only through the notes of his disciples.
There is not a single case known where an enlightened person has written anything himself. As you know, to me an enlightened person is not the last thing. There is still a transcendental state which is neither enlightened nor not-enlightened. Now, in that state of consciousness it is only through intimate communion – I am not using the word communication knowingly, but communion – a kind of merger, that the disciple becomes just the hand of the master.
So get ready for your notes, because last time, although unwillingly, I was going to mention the name of the poet-singer of Geet Govind. Somehow though I managed not to mention it. I pretended as if I had forgotten it, but it is heavy on me. The whole day I felt a little concerned about Jaydeva – that is the name of the poet-singer of Geet Govind.
Why was I not willing to mention his name? For his own sake. He was not even close to enlightenment. I have mentioned Mikhail Naimy, the creator of The Book of Mirdad; I have mentioned Kahlil Gibran, and many others: Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Walt Whitman. They are not enlightened, but very close, just on the verge; one push and they will be in, in the temple. They are standing just at the door, not daring enough to knock… and the door is not locked. They can push and it will open. It is already open, it just needs a push, just as they need a push. Hence I mention their names.
But Jaydeva is not even close to the temple. It is a miracle how Geet Govind descended on him. But no one knows God’s mysteries – and remember there is no God, it is only an expression. Nobody knows the mysteries of existence, its abundance. Sometimes it pours on barren land, sometimes it does not rain on fertile soil. It is simply so, nothing can be done about it.
Jaydeva is a barren land. Geet Govind, this tremendously beautiful poetry, the song of God, descended upon him. He must have sung it, composed it, not knowing what he was doing. I don’t see him anywhere near the temple, that is why I was unwilling to mention his name. It may even make him more egoistic. That is why I said “for his own sake,” but I felt it is not the poor man’s fault – whatsoever he is, he is — but he has given birth to a beautiful child, and if I have mentioned the child then let me mention the father’s name; otherwise people will think the child is a bastard. The father may have been, but the child is not.
I feel a great relief because I am finished with Jaydeva forever. But there is a queue standing at the door. You don’t know what a fix I am in. I had not thought of it before, because I am not a thinker and I never think before I jump. I jump, and then I think. It was just by the way that I mentioned ten beautiful books. I was not thinking so many others would start bugging me. So, ten more.
First: The Fragments of Heraclitus. I love this man. Let me mention it, just by the way, as a note in the margin, that I love all, but I don’t like all. I like a few and I don’t like a few, but I love all. About that there is no question. I love Jaydeva as much as I love Heraclitus, but Heraclitus I like too.
There are very few whom I can put in the same category as Heraclitus. In fact, even to say that is not true; there is no one. Now I am saying what I really wanted to say always. There is no one, I repeat, who can be put in the same category as Heraclitus. He is just far out – dangerously awakened, unafraid of the consequences of what he was saying.
He says in these Fragments – again the notes of a Devageet, a disciple. Heraclitus did not write. There must be something, some reason why these people do not write, but of that a little later. Heraclitus says in the Fragments: “You cannot step in the same river twice.” And then he says: “No, you cannot step in the same river even once….” This is tremendously beautiful, and true too.
Everything is changing, and changing so fast that there is no way to step in the same river twice; you can’t even step in the same river once. The river is constantly flowing; going, going, going to the ocean, to the infinite, going to disappear into the unknown.
This is the first on my list this evening: Heraclitus.
Second: The Golden Verses of Pythagoras. He was one of the most misunderstood men, obviously. If you know you are bound to be misunderstood, that is certain. To understand is so dangerous, because then you will be misunderstood. Pythagoras was not understood even by his own disciples, not even by those who wrote down the Golden Verses. They wrote it mechanically… because not a single disciple of Pythagoras rose to his heights, not a single one became enlightened. And the Greeks have completely ignored him. They have ignored their best: Heraclitus, Socrates, Pythagoras, Plotinus. They had wanted to ignore Socrates too, but he was too much. So they had to poison him, they could not just ignore him.
But Pythagoras is completely ignored, and he has the same key as Gautam Buddha, Jesus, or any other enlightened one. One thing more: neither Jesus nor Buddha nor Lao Tzu made so much effort to find the key as Pythagoras. He worked the most. Pythagoras was the most authentic seeker. He risked all and everything. He traveled all around the world that was known in those days; studied under all kinds of masters; entered into all kinds of mystery schools and fulfilled their conditions. He is a category in himself.
Third: A man who is not known much, not even by his own countrymen. His name is Saraha, and the book is called The Song of Saraha; that is its Tibetan title. Nobody knows who wrote it down. One thing is certain, Saraha never did, he just sang it. But it has the fragrance that the man knew, that he had attained. The song is not the composition of a poet but a realization of a mystic. It is just a few lines, but of such grandeur and beauty that the stars can feel ashamed.
The Song of Saraha is untranslated. I heard it from a Tibetan lama. I would have liked to have heard it again and again but the lama stank so much that I had to say “Thank you….” Lamas stink because they never take a bath. The lama’s stink – and I am allergic to smells – was even too much for me to hear the whole song! I was worried that I was going to have an asthma attack.
I have spoken much about Saraha; he is the original source of the school of Tantra.
Fourth: Tilopa, and the few notes from his song left behind by his disciples. I wonder, without these disciples, how much we would have missed. These people who were just writing down whatsoever was said by the master, not thinking whether it was right or wrong, just trying to put it into words as correctly as possible. And it is a difficult task. A master is a madman, he can say anything, he can sing anything, or he may remain silent. He may just make a few gestures with his hand, and those gestures have to be understood. That was what Meher Baba did continuously for thirty years. He remained silent, only making gestures with his hands.
Is my numbering incorrect, Devageet?
So good… it feels so good to be correct sometimes. With numbers I am really good. It is a strange coincidence that I asked at the right moment. I always get mixed up with numbers. I cannot count, for the simple reason that I am facing the immeasurable, the unaccountable. The truth that I am facing is neither in words, nor in numbers. The truth transcends all, and it is so wondrous that one gets mixed up. Everything goes upside down, bizarre. So this is a great compliment that you said I was right. But now please tell me, what was the number?
“Number five, Osho.”
Fifth: The man I am going to mention is not recognized as enlightened because there was nobody to recognize him. Only an enlightened person can recognize another. This man’s name is D.T. Suzuki. This man has done more than anybody else in the modern world to make meditation and Zen available. Suzuki worked for his whole life to introduce to the West the innermost core of Zen.
‘Zen’ is only the Japanese pronunciation of the Sanskrit word dhyana – meditation. Buddha never used Sanskrit; he hated it, for the simple reason that it had become the language of the priests, and the priest is always in the service of the devil. Buddha used a very simple language, that used by his people in the valley of Nepal. The name of his language is Pali. In Pali dhyana is pronounced ch’ana. Simple, illiterate, ordinary people cannot appreciate the subtleties of any language. They make it according to themselves. It is like a stone rolling down the river, it becomes round. That’s how every word used by the people starts having a beautiful roundness, a particular simplicity. Dhyana is difficult for the ordinary people to pronounce; they pronounced it ch’ana. When it reached China, from ch’ana it became ch’an, and when it traveled to Japan it became Zen. You can see – it happens everywhere – people always make words simple.
D.T. Suzuki’s book Zen and Japanese Culture is my fifth. This man has done so much service for humanity that no one can transcend him. His work is immense. The whole world is indebted to him and it will always remain so. Suzuki should be a household word. It is not… I am saying that it should be. Very few people are aware, and those who are aware it is their responsibility to spread their awareness far and wide.
Sixth: I am going to introduce a Frenchman to you. You will be surprised. Inside you are asking yourself, “A Frenchman? And being listed by Osho along with Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Suzuki? Has he really gone mad?”
Yes, I have never been sane, not for these last twenty-five years, or a little more. Before that I too was sane, but thank God – again remember it is just an expression, because there is no God, only godliness. I don’t forget to mention it because there is every possibility that even my followers, my disciples, will start worshipping God – or me as a God. There is no God, there never was.
Nietzsche is wrong when he says, “God is dead!” – not because God is not dead, but because he was never alive so how can he be dead? To be dead one has to first fulfill the condition of being alive. That is where Sartre is wrong: he agrees with Nietzsche. I say “Thank God!” – I used the word because there is no other word to use in its place. But it is only a word, contentless. “Thank God” simply means it is good, that it is beautiful.
I am feeling so tremendously joyous that, Devageet, you will have to remind me again what was the sixth book I was talking about.
“A Frenchman, Osho.”
Right. I have not mentioned the name yet. The book is Hubert Benoit’s Let Go! – it should be on the bookshelf of every meditator. Nobody has written so scientifically and yet so poetically. It is a contradiction, but he has managed it. Hubert Benoit’s Let Go! is the best that has come out of the modern Western world. It is the best book of the century as far as the West is concerned. I am not counting the East.
The seventh: Ramakrishna, his Parables. You know I don’t like saints very much. That does not mean that I like them a little bit – I don’t like them at all. In fact, to be true I hate them. Saints are phony, hocus-pocus, the stuff bullshit is made of. But Ramakrishna does not belong to them – again, thank God! At least there are a few people who are saintly and yet are not saints.
Ramakrishna’s Parables are very simple. Parables are bound to be simple. Remember the parables of Jesus? – just like that. If a parable is difficult then it is no longer useful. A parable is only needed so that it can be understood by all ages of children. Yes, I mean all ages of children. There are children who are ten years of age, and there are children of eighty years of age, and so on… but they are all children playing on the seashore, collecting seashells. Ramakrishna’s Parables is my seventh book.
Eighth: The Fables of Aesop. Now Aesop is not really a historical person; he never existed. Buddha has used all those parables in his sermons. With Alexander coming to India, those parables were brought to the West. Of course many things changed, even the name of Buddha. Buddha was called The Bodhisattva.
Buddha has said there are two kinds of buddhas: one is the arhat, one who attains his buddhahood and then does not care about anybody else; and the bodhisattva, who attains buddhahood and then tries his hardest to help others on the path. ‘Bodhisattva’ was the word carried by Alexander as bodhisat, which then became Josephus; then from Josephus it became Aesop. Aesop is not a historical person, but the parables are tremendously significant. That’s my eighth book today.
Ninth: Nagarjuna’s Mula Madhyamika Karika. I don’t like Nagarjuna very much; he is too much of a philosopher, and I am anti-philosophic. But his Mula Madhyamika Karika, his Karikas for short…. Mula Madhyamika Karika means the essence of the path of the middle – the essential middle path. In his Karikas he has reached the profoundest depths of which words are capable. I have never spoken on it. If you want to speak on the essential, the best way is not to speak at all, just to be silent. But the book is tremendously beautiful.
Tenth: my last for this evening is a strange book; ordinarily nobody would think I would include it at all. It is the great work of Marpa, the Tibetan mystic. Even his followers don’t read it; it is not meant to be read, it is a puzzle. You have to meditate over it. You have just to look at it and then suddenly the book disappears – its contents disappear, and only the consciousness remains.
Marpa was a very strange man. His master Milarepa used to say, “Even I bow down to Marpa.” No master has ever said that, but Marpa was such….
Somebody once said to Marpa, “Do you believe in Milarepa? If so then jump into this fire!” Immediately he jumped! People ran from all sides to extinguish the fire knowing that Marpa had jumped into it. When the fire was put out they found him sitting there in a buddha posture laughing hilariously!
They asked Marpa, “Why are you laughing?”
He said, “I am laughing because trust is the only thing that fire cannot destroy.”
This is the man whose simple songs I count as the tenth – The Book of Marpa.
Is my hour over? I can hear you saying yes,
though I know my hour has not even come yet.
How can it be over? I have come before my time,
that’s why I am misunderstood.
But as far as you are concerned, you are right;
my hour is over. And this is really beautiful.
There is no expression for it.
It is so beautiful, it is better to end it now.
Osho, Books I Have Loved, Session 4
While undergoing dental treatments, Osho spoke during 16 sessions about the books he considered most important. What he said was recorded by hand.