6. Truth Is Unspeakable

Books I Have Loved Osho on Hermann Hesse

Osho speaks on 11 books and writings, among them The Dhammapada, Zorba the Greek, and Siddhartha.

Now the postscript. In the last session, when I said this is the end of this series of fifty books that I wanted to include in my list, it was only arbitrary. I don’t mean the end, but the number. I had chosen fifty because I thought it would be a good number. Anyway one has to decide, and all decisions are arbitrary. But man proposes and God disposes – God, who is not.

When I said this is the end of the series, the crowd that was bugging me – Jaydeva of Geet Govind, Madame Blah-Blah Blavatsky of The Secret Doctrine, and the whole company, many of whom I know but don’t even want to recognize, what to say of including them in my list. Hearing that this is the end, they all dispersed.

Then, to my utter joy, I saw the meaning of Jesus’ saying: Blessed are the meek, for theirs is the kingdom of God. He also says: Blessed are those who stand at the end, the last, who don’t try to push – in short, who are not pushy, who just stand and wait. When the crowd dispersed I saw those blessed few; hence the postscript.

The DhammapadaEven I myself could not believe that I had not included Gautama the Buddha’s Dhammapada. Gautam Buddha was sitting there silently in the last row. I love the man as I have loved nobody else. I have been speaking on him throughout my whole life. Even speaking on others I have been speaking on him. Take note of it, it is a confession. I cannot speak on Jesus without bringing Buddha in; I cannot speak on Mohammed without bringing Buddha in. Whether I mention him directly or not that’s another matter. It is really impossible for me to speak without bringing Buddha in. He is my very blood, my bones, my very marrow. He is my silence, also my song. When I saw him sitting there I remembered. I cannot even apologize, it is beyond apologizing.

Dhammapada literally means ‘the path of truth’, or even more accurately ‘the footprints of truth’. Do you see the contradiction?

Coming in
going out
the waterfowl
leaves no trace behind,
nor it needs a guide.

Truth is unspeakable. There are no footprints. Birds flying in the sky don’t leave any footprints… and buddhas are birds of the sky.

But buddhas always speak in contradictions, and it is beautiful that at least they speak. They cannot speak without contradicting themselves, they cannot help it. To speak of truth is to contradict yourself. Not to speak is again to contradict, because even when you are trying not to speak, you know that your silence is nothing but an expression, without words maybe, but an expression all the same.

Buddha gave the name Dhammapada to his greatest book, and there are contradictions upon contradictions. He is so full of contradictions that believe me, except me nobody can defeat him. Of course he would enjoy being defeated by me, just as a father once in a while enjoys being defeated by his own child. The child sitting on his father’s chest victorious, and the father has simply allowed him to win. All the buddhas allow themselves to be defeated by those who love them. I allow my disciples to defeat me, to go beyond me. There cannot be anything more joyous than seeing a disciple transcend me.

Buddha begins with the very name Dhammapada – that’s what he is going to do: he is going to say the unsayable, to utter the unutterable. But he uttered the unutterable so beautifully that Dhammapada is like an Everest. There are mountains and mountains, but not one rises to the height of Everest.

I saw Buddha sitting. I saw others also, the most beautiful ones, the meekest – not like Blavatsky hammering on the door shouting “Let me in!” I saw Mahavira naked… because truth is naked, standing in utter silence. His disciples were holding his book, not he himself.

MahaviraSecond: Jin Sutras – The Sutras of the Conqueror. Jin is a beautiful word, it means conqueror: one who has conquered himself.

I have spoken of these sutras in many volumes, but they are as yet untranslated into English. One thing I would like to say: that I include the Jin Sutras in the postscript.

Nobody has been so silent as Mahavira, nor as naked. Only silence can be so naked. Remember, I am not saying nude, I am saying naked. Both words are totally different. ‘Nude’ is pornographic; ‘naked’ is just utterly open, vulnerable, uncovered. A child is not nude, but only naked. Mahavira in his nakedness is so beautiful.

It is said that he never spoke his sutras to anyone; only the intimate ones sitting by his side heard these sutras within themselves. They simply heard. It is one of the most miraculous things…. There was an inner circle of eleven intimate disciples around Mahavira, and when they all simultaneously heard the same word, then they thought that the word was worthy to be recorded, although Mahavira had not said anything openly, but in some subtle way, through a vibe.

The Jin Sutras were written in a totally different way from any other book in the whole world. The master remained silent, and eleven disciples simultaneously hear – emphasize the word simultaneously – the same word, then they record it. That’s how the Jin Sutras were born. What a birth for a book! One cannot conceive of a more beautiful beginning, and they certainly contain the highest light man is capable of, and the whole science of conquering oneself.

Zorba the GreekThird… I saw a man whom I could not recognize. “Strange,” I thought. “Through thousands of lives I have been a traveler on many paths, with many people, in many schools. Who is this man? He is so unrecognizable.” He was not a master, that’s why I could not recognize him, but he was meek enough to be included. I have always loved his book. I cannot in any way find any reason why I forgot to include it in the list of fifty-one. The man was a Greek, Kazantzakis, the author of Zorba The Greek. I don’t even know how his name is pronounced but Zorba The Greek is a masterpiece. The man who produced it is not a Buddha, nor a Mahavira, but is capable of being either at any moment. He is almost ready, ripe, just waiting as if for his season.

Zorba is one of my love affairs. I love strange people. Zorba is a very strange man – not even a real man, only fictitious, but to me he has become almost a reality because he represents Epicurus, Charvaka, and all the materialists of the world. He not only represents them, but represents them in their best form.

In one place Zorba says to his boss, “Boss, you have everything but still you are missing life, because you don’t have a little madness in you. If you can manage a little madness you will know what life is.”

I can understand him; not only him, but I can understand all the Zorbas down the ages, with their ‘little madness’. But I don’t believe in a little of anything. I am as mad as one can be, totally mad. If you are only a little mad, of course you will understand only a little of life, but it is better than not knowing at all.

Zorba, poor Zorba, illiterate Zorba, a laborer… he must have been huge, strongly built, and a little mad. But he gave great advice to his master: “Be a little mad,” he said. I say being a little mad won’t do; be totally mad! But you can allow total madness only in meditation, otherwise you will freak out. You won’t be able to consume it; on the contrary, it will consume you. If you don’t know what meditation is you will be burned. Hence I have coined a new name: Zorba the Buddha.

Zorba the Buddha is my synthesis. I love Kazantzakis for creating a great work of art, but I feel sorry for him too because he is still in darkness. Kazantzakis, you need a boss, a little of meditation; otherwise you will never know what life is.

Al-Hillaj MansoorFourth, I saw one of the most beautiful fellows. I have talked about him, but not mentioned him in the list of fifty, the arbitrary list. The name of the man is al-Hillaj Mansoor. Al-Hillaj has not written a book but only a few statements, or rather declarations. People like al-Hillaj only declare, not out of any egoism – they don’t have any ego, that’s why they declare, “ana’l haq!”

Ana’l haq! is his declaration and it means “I am God, and there is no other God.” Mohammedans could not forgive him; they killed him. But can you kill an al-Hillaj? It is impossible! Even while they were killing him he was laughing.

Somebody asked, “Why are you laughing?”

He replied, “Because you are not killing me, you are killing only the body, and I have said again and again that I am not my body. Ana’l haq! I am God himself.” Now these men are the very salt of the earth.

Al-Hillaj Mansoor has not written any book; just a few of his declarations have been collected by his lovers and friends. I will not even say followers, because men like al-Hillaj don’t even accept followers, imitators – they only accept lovers, friends.

I am sorry, I forgot about him completely. That is not good of me. But, al-Hillaj, you should understand my difficulty. I have read more books than you may have heard of. I have read more than one hundred thousand books. Now, to find only fifty out of them all is really a difficult job. I have chosen only a few, and naturally I have had to leave out many, with tears in my eyes. I would have liked to choose them too… but I put you on record in the postscript.

MahakashyapFifth: This man is known only to very few people, for the simple reason he never wrote and he never spoke. Mahakashyapa. All that is known of him is this anecdote.

One day, Buddha came to his morning discourse with a lotus flower in his hand. He sat silently looking at the flower, not saying a single word. The assembly of ten thousand sannyasins was bewildered. This was unheard of. In the first place Buddha, who had never before come with anything, comes with a lotus flower; secondly, he used to speak immediately, but today minutes and hours have passed, and he is just looking at the flower. Many must have thought he must have gone mad. Only one man did not agree. He laughed. That man was Mahakashyapa.

Buddha gives Lotus to Mahakashyapa

Buddha raised his eyes, laughed, and called Mahakashyapa to him, gave him the flower, and told the assembly that the sermon was over, saying, “I have given to you what you are entitled to, and I have given to Mahakashyapa what he deserves, and rightly so. I have talked to you for years in words, and you never understood. Today I have spoken in silence, and the laughter of Mahakashyapa has shown that he has understood.” In this mysterious way the successor was found. Mahakashyapa became Buddha’s successor. A strange way….

The disciples of Mahakashyapa have written a few things about him which can be called his book. But really he has not written them, nor have his disciples signed them. They are anonymous. But whatsoever was written is of immense beauty. A few fragments, just like pieces of the full moon: if you can put them together there will be the full moon again. The secret to put them together is meditation.

The tradition that followed Mahakashyapa is Zen. He is the first patriarch of Zen, of dhyana.

Strange… not even Buddha, but Mahakashyapa is the first. … Because Buddha spoke for forty years, Mahakashyapa never spoke; the only noise that he ever made was that of laughter. If you can call it speaking, that’s another matter. In a way it is speaking – it is saying that the whole existence is a joke. It is saying to Buddha, “What a joke!”

The moment you understand that the whole existence is a joke, you have understood. There is no other understanding, no other enlightenment. Everything else is pseudo.

Can you, Devageet, remind me of the number? – because even in the posthumous record, the postscript, I have to make it ten. What is the number you said?

“Number six, Osho.”

Good. It is so beautiful that I said posthumous. I am really dead, that’s why I allow you to call me Blessed One. If I am not dead then to call me the blessed one is not right.

The word posthumous came to me accidentally. I was going to say postscript, but sometimes truth comes out accidentally. It is not arranged, ordered, it just erupts like a volcano. I was not going to say it, but it came out on its own. Truth has its own ways. I am really a posthumous man; I died long ago.

SiddharthaSixth, I saw Hermann Hesse. He was not an enlightened one, what to say about those who have gone beyond enlightenment. He was just an ordinary human being, but in a poetic flight he has written one of the greatest books in the world, Siddhartha.

Siddhartha is really the name of Gautama the Buddha, given to him by his parents. He became known as Gautam Buddha. Gautama was his family name; Buddha simply means ‘the awakened’. Siddhartha was the real name given by his parents in consultation with the astrologers. It is a beautiful name. Siddhartha also means ‘one who has attained to the meaning’. Siddha means ‘one who has attained’; artha means ‘the meaning’. Combined together Siddhartha means ‘one who has come to the meaning of life’. The astrologers, the parents, the people who gave him this name must have been wise people – if not enlightened, at least wise… worldly-wise at least.

Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha repeats the story of Buddha in a different way, but in the same dimension, with the same meaning. It is unbelievable that Hermann Hesse could write it but could not become a siddha himself. He remained a poor writer – yes, a Nobel prize winner, but that does not matter that much. You cannot give a Nobel prize to a buddha; he will laugh and throw it away. But the book is immensely beautiful, and I include it.

Life and FireSeventh: It is not known that even in the very traditional, orthodox Judaism there have been a few utterly enlightened masters – even some who have gone beyond enlightenment. One of them is Baal Shem Tov. I cannot forgive myself for not including him, and there is nobody to whom I can ask forgiveness.

Baal Shem Tov. Tov was the name of his town. His name simply means ‘Baal Shem from the town of Tov’; so let us call him simply Baal Shem. I have spoken about him because when I was speaking about Hassidism, I have not left anything essential unspoken. I have spoken of Tao, of Zen, of Sufism, of Hassidism. I am not a man of any tradition so I am free to move in any direction I decide to. I don’t even need a map. Let me remind you again:

Coming in,
going out,
the waterfowl
leaves no trace behind,
nor it needs a guide.

Baal Shem Tov has not written any treatise – treatise is a dirty word in the world of mysticism – but he told many beautiful stories, so beautiful that I would like to relate one of them to you just as an example so you can taste the quality of the man.

A woman comes to Baal Shem. The woman is childless; she wants a child. She bugs Baal Shem continuously saying, “If you bless me everything is possible. Bless me please. I want a child.”

Finally, tired – yes, even Baal Shem can get tired of a nagging woman – he says, “Do you want a boy child or a girl?”

The woman was tremendously happy; she said, “A boy, of course.”

Baal Shem said, “Then listen to this story. My mother was also childless, and she bugged and nagged the rabbi of the town continuously to bless her. Finally the rabbi said, ‘First bring me a beautiful cap.’ My mother,” Baal Shem said, “made a beautiful cap and went to the rabbi.”

The cap was so beautiful that Baal Shem’s mother said, “I don’t want anything in return, just to see you in this cap is so beautiful. I am tremendously gratified. You are not obliged to me, I am obliged to you. Thank you, rabbi.”

“And my mother went away. That’s how she became pregnant,” Baal Shem said, “and I was born.”

The woman said, “Great. So tomorrow I will come with a beautiful cap.” The next day she returned with a very beautiful cap. Baal Shem accepted and did not even say “Thank you.” The woman waited and waited, then she said, “What about the child?”

Baal Shem said, “Forget all about the child! The cap is so beautiful, I am obliged to you. I must say thank you to you. Do you remember the story I told you? The woman did not ask anything in return, that’s why she conceived a child, and a child like me” – like Baal Shem.

“But you have come with the desire to get something. Just because of this cap do you want a child like Baal Shem? Forget all about it,” he said, “and don’t come again – ever.”

There are many things that can be said only through stories. Baal Shem has said the fundamental: Do not ask and it shall be given. Do not ask – that is the basic condition.

The Hassidism that arose out of Baal Shem’s stories is the most beautiful flowering that has ever happened. Jews have done nothing comparable to Hassidism. Hassidism is a small current, but is still alive, still flowing.

FaridEight: Farid. This is the man I have spoken of before – but not in English, in Hindi. Farid, the Sufi mystic, a contemporary of Kabir, Nanak and others. I love him. In his songs he calls himself Farida. He always addresses himself, never anybody else. He always starts, “Farida, are you listening? Farida, be awake! Farida, do this, do that!” In Hindi, when you use the name Farid it is respectable. When you use the name Farida it is not respectable; one only calls the servants in that way. Farid calls himself Farida of course because he is the master; the body is the servant.

The great king Akbar used to come to Farid to listen to his songs. Akbar once received a gift, a very precious gift, a pair of golden scissors studded with diamonds. Gudia would have loved them – any woman would. Akbar also loved them, so much so that he thought they would be a good present for Farid. He came and gave the precious scissors to Farid. Farid looked at them, turning them this way and that, then returned the gift to Akbar saying, “This is of no use to me. If you want to give something to me as a gift, bring a needle.”

Akbar was puzzled. He said, “Why a needle?”

Farid said, “Because the function of scissors is to cut things into pieces, and the function of a needle is to join pieces together. My function is not that of the scissors, it is that of the needle. I join things together, I synthesize.”

Farid would not have agreed with Sigmund Freud, nor with psychoanalysis, because psychoanalysis is the golden scissors, going on cutting everything to pieces. He would have agreed with Assagioli and psychosynthesis. Join, put things together, to oneness. Do you see my tears? They are for Farid… Farida… yes, for Farida. There can be no homage for him. He will understand the tears, not the golden scissors. Alas, could Akbar have fallen to the feet of Farid and wept, that would have been the real gift to the master.

Farid has not written a book, but his songs have been written down by his people. His songs are tremendously beautiful, but you have to listen to them sung by a Punjabi. He lived in the Punjab, and his songs are in Punjabi, not even in Hindi. Punjabi is very different from Hindi. Hindi is mild, the language of a businessman. Punjabi is like a sword, the language of a soldier. It is so penetrating. When you hear Farid’s songs sung in Punjabi your heart starts breaking.

When I used to travel in the Punjab, I used to ask people, “Can you sing Farid for me?” – and once in a while I found a singer who was ready, who knew how to sing Farida. And all those beautiful singers… all those beautiful moments…. Punjabi has a quality of its own. Every language has a quality of its own. But Punjabi is certainly a sword, you cannot sharpen anything more.

Ninth. I am in a hurry because my hour may be nearly over, or already over, because I have seen Gudia entering. What a sad thing that the hour follows the same law whether it is yours or mine. It should not be chronological, it should be relative. My hour should not follow the same law, it should not belong to the Einsteinian world of relativity. It should be endless. But I know it cannot be, so I am in a hurry, and you know when I am in a hurry then too I am relaxed.

Vigyan Bhairav TantraNinth, another poet, another singer, another dancer, of a totally different quality: Shiva, and his book Vigyan Bhairav Tantra. I have spoken about it. It is very small, only one hundred and twelve sutras. You can easily write it on one page of a book, or at the most two pages. I have spoken on it in five volumes, thousands of pages – The Book Of The Secrets. I cannot say any other book exists as condensed as Vigyan Bhairav Tantra – the book of Shiva. Each sutra is a method unto itself.

Devageet, please don’t interrupt. Let me finish my work. They call the man in the chair the patient; they should teach the doctors to be patient. Ashu, you are not a doctor so you need not worry. No woman ever worries, she makes others worry; that’s another matter. Look, even Gudia is laughing, which is rare for a proper Englishwoman!

Good. Laughter is always good. I love it, but I have to continue my work whether you laugh or cry; it does not matter to this man in this chair. I am as hard as rock and as soft as a lotus, but I am both together. For the sake of clarity let me tell you: first I am a rock; with this I will break your skull. I cannot be a lotus for you, but what you are doing is so beautiful.

Tatva SutraTenth, I always had the idea of speaking on Uma Swati and his book. Uma Swati is a mystic, but a very dry mystic – just like my lips at this moment, without any moisture. He has written a very dry but true description of the ultimate. His book is called Tatva Sutra. Tatva means ‘the ultimate reality’. Tat means ‘that’ – the ultimate. ‘This’ is the immediate, and ‘that’ is the ultimate.

Devageet, stop interrupting. I know you know more about your machinery. I also know more about your consciousness – and that’s what matters.

Tatva Sutra is beautiful and I would have spoken about it but again and again I have postponed. It is too mathematical, like Kundkunda’s Samayasar. That’s how all Jaina mystics are – dry, utterly dry.

Laxmi has really chosen a place – Kutch! Mahavira, Kundkunda, Uma Swati, all of these fellows would have loved it in the Kutch. But for me, what a misfortune! I have always wanted to live in the Himalayas, but for the sake of my people I have to leave the very idea of being in the Himalayas.

It did not happen to Buddha, Bodhidharma, to Basho; it did not happen to Omar Khayyam, to Kahlil Gibran, to Mikhail Naimy, but it has happened to me. I know there must be a secret in it. It can only be that I have to make Kutch as beautiful as the Himalayas. One thing is certain: that wherever I am, I am going to create the most beautiful spot in the world, whatsoever the challenge.

Songs of NaropaEleventh, and the last for the postscript… I mean for today. One never knows about tomorrow. The last is something so beautiful that I must have been really sane to have forgotten it. Mind you, I am not saying insane, I am saying sane. I must have been sane to have forgotten it. If I was insane enough then it would have been impossible to forget it. Then it would have been the first to be remembered, not the last. It is the Song Of Naropa.

I have never spoken about it because I never thought that anything could be said about it, but it has been in my heart. I only mention it so that those who love me should start searching for it… the poetry, the song, the dance of Naropa. And it is mine too.

Om Mani Padme Hum
The jewel in the lotus.

Thank you both, with all my joy.

Osho, Books I Have Loved, Series 3, Session 5

Previous sessions
1. Silence Speaks in Its Own Way
2. My Time Was Over Long ago
3. It Must Have Been a Conspiracy of the Gods
4. I am Facing the Immeasurable, the Unaccountable
5. Truth Needs No Commentary

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