Osho, William Blake said, ‘The way of excess leads to the palace of wisdom,’ and, ‘Man never knows what is enough before he knows what is too much.’
I believe that the golden mean is the way for those who are already in the truth, but for a seeker it seems to be the way of cunningness and cowardice. Please comment.
William Blake is right. He is one of the greatest mystic poets of the world – he cannot be wrong. He is right when he says, “The way of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” But the name of the palace of wisdom is ‘the golden mean’. The way of excess leads to the golden mean.
And I am not saying, neither is Pythagoras saying, to be cunning and cowards. All that it meant is: remember that the goal is the golden mean. In excess you are already living, and this is not your first life either. You have lived long, many many lives, in the ways of excess. You have lived long enough – when are you going to awaken?
Have you not lived in the ways of excess? Sometimes eating too much, sometimes fasting; sometimes indulging, sometimes renouncing – everybody has been doing that. If you had stopped doing that, you would have become enlightened already. Why are you still unenlightened? Because of the excess.
You go on moving like a pendulum of an old clock – from right to left, from left to right – and you go on moving. Remember, when you go to one extreme, you are getting momentum, gathering momentum, to go to the other extreme. And this goes on and on… this is a vicious circle.
Pythagoras is talking to the seekers; Pythagoras is talking to the disciples, as I am talking to the disciples. A disciple is one who has become tired of the ways of the world and wants to have a new perspective, wants to have a new insight.
Yes, Blake is right – but Pythagoras is not wrong! You have been living according to Blake up to now. Now don’t go on moving in the same vicious circle forever and forever. “The way of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” Where is the palace of wisdom? And you have lived on the way of excess long enough! You must have arrived by now. Maybe your life is of extremes, but it is unaware.
Become aware of your extremes. Bring awareness to your life and your acts, and slowly slowly you will see the extremes are disappearing. The pendulum is not moving so fast, is slowing down. Its swings are not as big as before – smaller swings. And, slowly slowly, one day the pendulum has stopped exactly in the middle. And when the pendulum stops in the middle, you enter into eternity. When the pendulum stops, the clock stops, time stops: you enter into eternity.
William Blake is right, but Pythagoras is far more right. William Blake talks only about the path: Pythagoras is telling you something about the goal.
And Blake says, “Man never knows what is enough before he knows what is too much.” But have you not known yet what is too much? Contemplate over it. Don’t make Blake an excuse – otherwise you are being cunning. Have you not lived in the extremes, continuously moving from one polarity to the other? How long do you want to live in it to know? And just by living it, do you think you will know? You will have to introduce something: you will have to introduce contemplation, meditation. And then only will you be able to know what is too much and what is too little.
Meditation brings balance. And balance is beauty, and balance is music, and balance is God.
In the East, all the great words that we have used for the ultimate are made from a root meaning ‘balance’. Samadhi: it comes from sam – sam means balance. Sangeet, music – again it comes from sam, balance. Sambodhi, enlightenment – it comes from sam. Sam means balance. Balance is samadhi, balance is enlightenment.
You have lived enough to know what is enough and what is too much. But, Vivarto, you want to find some excuse to continue the way you have been living up to now.
You say: I believe that the golden mean is the way for those who are already in the truth.
Those who are already in the truth, they don’t need any way. They have arrived. Don’t be clever, don’t be diplomatic with me. Don’t try to find ways to escape from the truth. The way is not for those who have arrived – obviously. They don’t need any way. The way is for those who have not yet arrived.
And you say: But for a seeker it seems to be the way of cunningness and cowardice.
It is not. It is the way of consciousness, not of cunningness and cowardice – because to be cowardly is again one extreme. The so-called brave and the so-called coward are extremes. And so is cunningness an extreme – the other extreme of simplicity.
The golden mean is neither bravery nor cowardice – it is awareness. It is neither cunningness nor simplicity – it is awareness. It is always awareness: the taste of the golden mean is that of awareness.
Pythagoras is not saying to you, “Impose some character upon yourself.” He is simply saying, “Be watchful. See how you go on moving from one extreme to another.” Watch… and watching, you will find the golden mean of your own accord. It has not to be learnt from somebody else. It will arise in your own being, it will be a discovery.
Osho, Philosophia Perennis Vol 2, Ch 2, Q 4