Osho speaks on 11 books, among them The Songs of Kabir, The Secret Doctrine, and the Qur’an.
Now the work begins.
“Athato brahman jigyasa – now the inquiry into the ultimate…” that’s how Badrayana begins his great book, perhaps the greatest. Badrayana’s book is the first I am going to talk about today. He begins his great book Brahma Sutras with this sentence: “Now the enquiry into the ultimate.” That’s how all the sutras in the East begin, always with “Now… Athato,” never otherwise.
Badrayana is one of those who are bound to be misunderstood, for the simple reason that he is too serious. A mystic should not be so serious, that’s not a good quality. But he was a brahmin living thousands of years ago, living among brahmins, talking to brahmins, and brahmins are the most serious people in the world. Do you know India has no jokes? Is it not strange for such a big country to be without jokes? Such a long history without jokes! The brahmins cannot joke because the joke seems too profane, and they are sacred people.
I can understand and forgive Badrayana, but I could not forget to mention that he is a little bit too serious. I was hesitating whether to include him in my list of books. The hesitation was only because of his seriousness. I did not hesitate about Mirdad; I did not hesitate at all about even Rubaiyat, by Omar Khayyam. But I hesitated about Badrayana and his Brahma Sutras, which in the East is considered to be one of the greatest books – and it certainly is.
I have read many serious books, even that rascal saint George Gurdjieff’s All and Everything, but there is nothing to compete with Badrayana’s Brahma Sutras as far as seriousness is concerned. He is ultimate in his seriousness too. Alas, could he only have laughed a little!
Christians believe that Jesus never laughed. I refute it. I refute it absolutely! It is possible about Badrayana; he may never have laughed. He is so serious, utterly serious. You could not create a more serious book. Thousands of commentaries have been written on it to explain what he means.
Truth needs no commentary, but when you put it in a serious garb, naturally commentators follow, and commentators always serve the devil. It is still a great book; in spite of Badrayana’s seriousness it is great. Badrayana reaches to the highest, to the ultimate, with great acumen, with great efficiency, the efficiency of a scientist.
In India a person is called an Acharya, a Master, only if he has written a commentary on three things: first, the one hundred and eight Upanishads; second, Shrimad Bhagavadgita, Krishna’s celestial songs; third, the most important of all, Badrayana’s Brahma Sutras. I have never spoken about him. I was called Acharya for many years, and people used to ask me if I had written all the commentaries – the Gita, the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutras. I laughed and said, “I only tell jokes, I don’t write any commentaries whatsoever. My being called an Acharya is a joke, don’t take it seriously.”
Brahma Sutra. Brahma is known and understood as God, but it is not so. Brahma has nothing to do with the Christian idea of God creating the world four thousand and four years before Jesus Christ. When I say it I think that if Badrayana had heard, perhaps even he might have laughed, he may have lost his seriousness. Brahma does not mean God; Brahma means godliness, the divineness that pervades the whole existence… the whole, the holiness of the whole.
Sutra simply means a track. You cannot speak much about Brahma; whatsoever you may say about it is only a track, a hint. But a hint can become a bridge, a track can become a bridge, and Badrayana has made a bridge within his sutras.
I love the book in spite of Badrayana’s seriousness. I hate seriousness so much that I have to say “in spite of Badrayana’s seriousness.” I still love him for creating one of the most significant books in the world. The ‘bibles’ are very far away from Badrayana’s Sutras, they don’t even come close to it.
Second: Narada’s Bhakti Sutras. Narada is just the opposite of Badrayana, and I love to put opposites together. I would like to put Narada and Badrayana into the same room and enjoy whatsoever happens between them. Narada always carried an ektara, a musical instrument with only one string – ek means one, and tara means string. Narada always carried his ektara, playing on it, singing and dancing. Badrayana would not have tolerated it at all. I can tolerate all kinds of people. Badrayana would have shouted and screamed at Narada. Narada was not the kind of person who would have listened to Badrayana; he would have continued to play, singing even more loudly to irritate Badrayana. I would have enjoyed seeing them both together in the same room. That’s why the second book I choose is Narada’s Bhakti Sutras.
His sutras begin with “Athato bhakti jigyasa – now the inquiry into love…” To inquire into love is the greatest exploration, the greatest inquiry. Everything else falls short, even atomic energy. You can be a scientist even of the caliber of Albert Einstein, but you don’t know what real inquiry is unless you love. And not only love, but love plus awareness… then it becomes inquiry into love, the most difficult task in the world.
Let me repeat, it is the most difficult task in the world – love with awareness. People fall in love; people become unconscious in love. Their love is only biological, it is gravitation. They are pulled down towards the earth. But Narada is talking about a totally different love: love as meditation, as awareness. Or in scientific terms, love as levitation, against gravity. Leave gravitation for the graves; levitate, arise! And when one starts rising to love, flying towards the stars, that is Athato bhakti jigyasa.
Why do you all look so worried? I love the devils – let them work, let them create as much noise as they can. As far as I am concerned they cannot disturb me, and as far as you are concerned you are already disturbed, what more can they do? So everything is perfectly okay, it is as it should be.
I have loved Narada’s book tremendously. I have talked about it, but not in English, because English is not my language, and moreover it is too scientific, mathematical, modern. I have spoken of Narada in Hindi, my mother tongue, in which I can sing more easily. It is closer to my heart.
One of my professors used to say, “You cannot love in a foreign language, and you cannot fight either.”
When it comes to fighting one wants to speak the language of the heart. When it comes to love it is the same, only more so because it needs more depth.
When I speak in English I am bound to speak it wrongly, because it is a double work. I am still speaking in Hindi and then translating it into English. A hard task. Speaking directly into English has not happened to me, thank God! Remember, God does not exist; he is only created so that we can thank someone. I hope somebody will translate what I have said about Narada.
I have spoken on many things in Hindi which I have not spoken on in English out of necessity, because it was not possible. And vice versa too: I have spoken in English about many things which were not possible to speak on in Hindi. My work has been a little strange. When all my books are translated from Hindi to English, and from English to Hindi, you will be even more bewildered than you are, more puzzled than you are – and I will have a good laugh. Whether I am in the body or not, it does not matter; I will have a good laugh, I promise it, wherever I am! I am bound to be somewhere in the cosmos. Seeing you puzzled, bewildered, shaking your heads, not being able to believe, because I have spoken in both these languages in different dimensions…. I only chose to speak in English because there is a dimension which cannot be expressed in Hindi.
The third book is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Badrayana is too serious, Narada is too non-serious. Patanjali is just in the middle, exactly in the middle: neither serious nor non-serious, the very spirit of a scientist. I have spoken ten volumes on Patanjali so there is no need to say more about him. After ten volumes it will be difficult to say anything more, to add anything more to it. Only one thing, that I love the man.
Fourth: Kabir, The Songs of Kabir. Nothing like it exists in the world. Kabir is incredibly beautiful. An uneducated man, born a weaver – to whom nobody knows – his mother left him on the bank of the Ganges. He must have been an illegal child. But it is not enough to just be legal; he was certainly illegal, but he was born out of love, and love is the real law. I have also spoken much on Kabir too, so there is no need to add anything except again and again to say, “Kabir, I love you as I have never loved any man.”
Is my numbering still right?
That’s great. Devils cannot disturb me at all!
Fifth: I now bring in a woman. I have been thinking again and again to bring in a woman but the men were crowding at the door – very ungentlemanly! – and they won’t allow a woman in. And the woman who has somehow managed to enter… my God, what a woman! Madame Blah-Blah Blavatsky. That’s how I always call Blavatsky: Blah-Blah. She was great at writing blah-blah – writing everything about nothing, making mountains out of molehills. And I knew she would be the first woman to enter. She was a strong woman. She somehow managed to push aside all the Patanjalis, Kabirs, Badrayanas, and enter with her seven volumes of The Secret Doctrine. That is my fifth book. It is almost an encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Esoterica. Nobody, I think, can compete with Blavatsky as far as esotericism is concerned – except me of course; I can write seven hundred volumes. That’s why I have avoided speaking on The Secret Doctrine: because if I speak on the seven volumes of The Secret Doctrine then, Inshallah, God willing, I will produce seven hundred volumes, not less than that.
It has been reported to me that I have already spoken three hundred and thirty-six books. My God! God is merciful – merciful because I don’t have to read them. I have not read any of them. But Blavatsky would have immediately made something out of it. That’s what I call esotericism. Three hundred and thirty-six: three-three-six, that means three plus three is six… sixty-six; six plus six is twelve… one plus two… again three! The moment you come to three then you cannot stop the esoteric; he has got the key. The esoteric will open doors you have never imagined. ‘Three’ is enough to open all doors, locked or unlocked.
Blavatsky, poor woman – I pity her and love her too, in spite of her face, which is not lovable, not even likable, what to say of love! Her face could only be used to frighten children when they are doing something nasty. Blavatsky had a very ugly face – but I pity the woman: in the world of men, made by men, dominated by men, she is the only woman who asserted, dominated, and started the first religion ever by any woman… Theosophy. She competed with Buddha, Zarathustra, Mohammed, and I thank her for that. Somebody needed to do it. The man has to be put in his place. I thank her for that.
The Secret Doctrine, although so full of esoteric bullshit, has many beautiful diamonds too and many lotuses. There is much rubbish in it because she was a collector. She went on collecting all kinds of rubbish from everywhere possible, without bothering whether it was useful or not. She was great at putting all that useless nonsense in a systematic way. A very systematic woman. But there are a few – sad to say only a few – diamonds here and there.
On the whole the book is not worth much. I am including it just so that a few women are included in my list and I am not thought to be a male chauvinist. I am not. I may be a female chauvinist, but not a male chauvinist at all.
Sixth, The Songs of Meera. After Blavatsky I have to include Meera just to make things beautiful again, just to balance. Blavatsky is very heavy and it will take a few more women to balance her. I will do that. Sixth is Meera’s Songs; they are the most beautiful ever sung by any man or any woman. It is impossible to translate them.
Meera says: “Main to prem divani – I am madly in love, so madly loved that I am mad, mad, mad!” Perhaps this may give you a little hint what kind of songs she sang. She was a princess, a queen, but she renounced the palace to be a beggar on the streets. Playing her veena she danced in the marketplace, from village to village, town to town, city to city, singing her heart out, pouring herself totally. I have spoken of Meera in Hindi; someday some madman may translate what I have said.
Seventh: Another woman. I am just trying to balance that heavy Blah-Blah Blavatsky. She was actually heavy, literally heavy, must have weighed three hundred pounds! Three hundred pounds, and a woman! She would have thrown your so-called Muhammad Ali in a single moment. She would have crushed the so-called greatest under her feet, leaving not a trace behind. Three hundred pounds – a real woman! No wonder she could not find a lover, only followers. Naturally, obviously, you cannot love such a woman. If she forces you, you can only follow. To balance Blavatsky, the seventh, The Songs of Sahajo.
Another woman, Sahajo. Even the name is poetic, it means ‘the very essence of spontaneity’. I have spoken on Sahajo, again in Hindi because English does not allow me to be so poetic. I don’t see much poetry in the English language, and what I see in the name of poetry looks so unpoetic that I wonder why nobody rebels against it. Why are there no people to start English afresh, but poetically? It is becoming more and more the language of the scientist, the technician, or to put it better, of the technologist. It is a misfortune. Someday it can only be hoped that what I have said on Sahajo will be known to the world at large.
Eighth: Another woman, because I have not yet balanced that heavyweight champion, Blah-Blah Blavatsky. This woman will do it. She is a Sufi; her name is Rabiya al-Adabiya. Al-Adabiya means ‘from the village of Adabiya’. Rabiya is her name, al-Adabiya is her address. That’s how the Sufis named her: Rabiya al-Adabiya. The village became a very Mecca when Rabiya was still alive. Travelers from all over the world, seekers from everywhere, came searching for Rabiya’s hut. She was really a ferocious mystic; with a hammer in her hand she could have broken anybody’s skull. She actually broke many many skulls and brought out the hidden essence.
Once, Hassan came to her searching, seeking. One morning while staying with her he asked for the Koran for his morning prayer. Rabiya gave him her own book. Hassan was aghast; he said, “This is condemnable. Who has done this?” Rabiya had corrected the Koran! She had crossed out many words in many places. She had even cut out whole passages. Hassan said, “This is not allowed. The Koran cannot be edited. Who can edit the prophet – the last messenger of God?” That’s why the Mohammedans call him the last messenger – because there will be no more prophets after Mohammed, so who can correct his words? He is correct, and not correctable.
Rabiya laughed and said, “I don’t care about tradition. I have seen God face to face, and I have changed the book according to my experience. This is my book.” She said, “You cannot raise any objection. It is my possession. You should be thankful that I allowed you to go through it. I have to be true to my experience, not to anybody else’s.”
This is Rabiya, the incredible woman. I include her in my list. She is enough to put Madame Blavatsky in her place. Again, Rabiya’s words are not written by her, but are just disciples’ notes, like Devageet’s. Rabiya would say something out of context – nobody could figure out any context; suddenly she would say something and it was noted down. So were the anecdotes she related and the anecdotes that her life itself became. I love that.
Meera is beautiful, but without salt, just sweet. Rabiya is very salty. As you know I am a diabetic, and I cannot eat or drink too much of Meera – Devaraj won’t allow it. But Rabiya is okay, I can have as much salt as I want. In fact I hate sugar, and I hate saccharin even more, the artificial sugar created especially for diabetics – but I love the salt.
Jesus said to his disciples: Ye are the salt of the earth. I can say of Rabiya: Rabiya, you are the salt of all the women that have existed and will ever exist on the earth.
Ninth: Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, his songs. He roamed around the known world of his day with a single follower, Mardana. Mardana means manly – ‘the really brave’. To be a follower one has to be brave. Nanak used to sing while Mardana played on his sitar, and that’s how they roamed around the world spreading the fragrance of the ultimate. His songs are so beautiful, they bring tears to my eyes. Just because of his songs a new language was created. Because he wouldn’t listen to any grammar, any rules of language, regulations, he created Punjabi just by his songs. It is a tremendously strong language, just like the sharp edge of a sword.
Tenth. I have always wanted to speak of Shankaracharya – the first, not the present one – the original Shankaracharya, the Shankaracharya. I had decided to speak on his famous book, Vivek Chudamani – The Crest Jewel of Awareness. At the last moment… you know I am a madman, at the last moment I decided not to speak on it. The reason was simple: the book is more logic than love, and I would have had to suffer that logic. It is not a small book. It is a big book and I was going to speak on it for eight months continuously. It would have been a long journey and it was better to call it off, so I decided not to speak on it. But it has to be included among the great books that I am counting.
Vivek Chudamani, by Shankaracharya, has of course here and there diamonds, flowers, stars. But the brahmin rubbish in between is too much and too thick, I could not tolerate it. But the book is great – you cannot renounce a mine of diamonds just because there are too many stones and so much mud around.
Eleventh, and the last in the series: Hazrat Mohammed’s Koran. The Koran is not a book to be read but a book to be sung. If you read it you will miss it. If you sing it you may God willing perhaps find it.
The Koran was not written by a scholar or a philosopher. Mohammed was absolutely illiterate, he could not even sign his own name, but he was possessed by the spirit of God. Because of his innocence he was chosen and started the song, and that song is the Koran.
I don’t understand Arabic, but I understand the Koran because I can understand the rhythm and the beauty of the rhythm, of the Arabic sounds. Who cares about the meaning! When you see a flower do you ask, “What does it mean?” The flower is enough. When you see a flame, do you ask, “What does it mean?” A flame is enough. Its beauty is its meaning. Its very meaninglessness, if rhythmic, is meaningful.
So is the Koran, and I am thankful that I am allowed by God – and remember, there is no God, this is only an expression. Nobody is allowing me. Inshallah, thank God I am allowed to end this series with the Koran, the most beautiful, the most meaningless, the most significant but yet the most illogical book in the whole history of humanity.
Osho, Books I Have Loved, Series 3, Session 5
While undergoing dental treatments, Osho spoke during 16 sessions about the books he considered most important. What he said was recorded by hand.