11. I Love All Absurdities

Books I Have Loved

Okay. How many books have I referred to in the P.S. up to now?

“There have been forty books in the P.S., Osho.”

Good. I am a stubborn man.

The OutsiderFirst, Colin Wilson’s The Outsider. It is one of the most influential books of this century – but the man is ordinary. He is a scholar of tremendous capacity, and yes, there are a few insights here and there – but the book is beautiful.

As far as Colin Wilson is concerned, he himself is not an outsider; he is a worldly man. I am an outsider, that’s why I love the book. I love it because although he is not part of the dimension that he talks about, he writes very very close to the truth. But remember, even if you are close to truth you are still untrue. You are either true or untrue, there is nothing in between.

The book, The Outsider, represents a great effort on the part of Wilson to understand from the outside the world of the outsider; from the outside to look into the outsider, just as if someone is peeping through your keyhole. He can see a little bit – and Colin Wilson has seen. The book is worth reading – just reading, not studying. Read it and throw it into the dustbin, because unless a book comes from a real outsider it is going to be just a far, far away echo… echo of the echo, reflection of the reflection.

The AnalectsThe second, The Analects of Confucius. I don’t like Confucius at all, and I don’t feel any guilt about not liking him. I feel really relieved that it is now on record. Confucius and Lao Tzu were contemporaries. Lao Tzu was a little older; Confucius had even gone to see Lao Tzu and came back trembling, shaken to the very roots, perspiring. His disciples asked, “What happened in the cave? … Because you were both there and nobody else.”

Confucius said, “It is good that nobody witnessed it. That man, my God, he is a dragon! He would have killed me, but I escaped. He is truly dangerous.”

Confucius is reporting truly. A man like Lao Tzu can kill you just to resurrect you; and unless one is ready to die one cannot be reborn. Confucius escaped from his own rebirth.

I have already chosen Lao Tzu, and forever. Confucius belonged to the very ordinary, mundane world. But let it be noted that I don’t like him; he is a snob. It is strange he was not born in England. But anyway, China in those days was England. In those days England was just barbarious, there was nothing of value there.

Confucius was a politician, cunning, clever, but not really intelligent; otherwise he would have fallen at the feet of Lao Tzu, he would not have escaped. He was not only afraid of Lao Tzu, he was afraid of silence… because Lao Tzu and silence are the same.

But I wanted to include one of Confucius’ most famous books, just to be fair. Analects is his most important book. To me it is just like the roots of a tree, ugly but very essential – what you call a necessary evil. Analects is a necessary evil. In it he talks about the world and worldly matters, politics and all.

One disciple asked him, “Master, what about silence?”

Confucius was irritated, annoyed. He shouted at the disciple and said, “Shut up! Silence? – silence you will have in your grave. In life there is no need for it, there are many much more important things to do.”

This was his attitude. You can understand why I don’t like him. I pity him. He was a good man. Alas, he came so close to one of the greatest, Lao Tzu, and yet missed! I can only shed a tear for him.

The Garden of the ProphetThird: Kahlil Gibran wrote many books in his mother tongue. Those that he wrote in English are well known: the most famous, The Prophet and The Madman… and there are many others. But he wrote many in his own language, few of which are translated. Of course translations cannot be the same, but Kahlil Gibran is so great that even in translation you can find something valuable. I am going to refer to a few translations today. The third is Kahlil Gibran’s The Garden of the Prophet. It is a translation, but it reminds me of the great Epicurus.

I don’t know that anybody except me has ever called Epicurus great. He has been condemned down the ages. But I know that when the masses condemn a man there is bound to be something great in him. Kahlil Gibran’s book, The Garden of the Prophet reminds me of Epicurus because he used to call his commune ‘The Garden’. Everything a person does represents him. Plato called his commune ‘The Academy’ – naturally; he was an academician, a great intellectual philosopher.

Epicurus called his commune ‘The Garden’. They lived under the trees, under the stars. Once the king came to see Epicurus because he had heard how these people are immensely happy. He wanted to know, he was curious as to why these people were so happy: What could be the cause? – because they didn’t have anything. He was puzzled, because they were really happy, they were singing and dancing.

The king said, “I feel very pleased with you and your people, Epicurus. Would you like a gift from me?”

Epicurus said to the king, “If you come again, you could bring a little butter, because for many years my people have not known butter. They are eating just bread without butter. And one thing more: if you come again please don’t stand like an outsider; at least for the time you are here become part of us. Participate, be one of us. Dance, sing. We don’t have anything else to offer you.”

EpicurusKahlil Gibran’s book reminds me of Epicurus. I am sorry that I have not mentioned Epicurus, but I am not responsible for it. His book was burned, destroyed by the Christians. All the copies that were available were destroyed hundreds of years ago. So I cannot mention his book, but I have brought him in through Kahlil Gibran and his The Garden of the Prophet.

The Voice of the MasterFourth… good… another translation of Kahlil Gibran, The Voice of the Master. It must have been a very beautiful book in the original, because even in translation here and there are traces of beauty, footprints. But that is bound to be so. The language that Kahlil Gibran spoke is very close to the language of Jesus. They are neighbors. Kahlil Gibran’s home was Lebanon. He was born in the hills of Lebanon, under the cedars. They are the greatest trees in the world. Looking at a cedar of Lebanon you can believe van Gogh, that trees are the desire of the earth to reach the stars. They are hundreds of feet high and thousands of years old.

Kahlil Gibran represents Jesus in some way; he belongs to the same dimension, although he was not a Christ. He could have been. Just like Confucius, he also missed. There were people alive in Gibran’s lifetime to whom he could have gone, but the poor fellow was roaming in the dirty streets of New York. He should have gone to Maharshi Ramana, who was still alive, who was a Christ, a Buddha.

Who am IFifth is Maharshi Ramana’s book. It is not much of a book, just a small pamphlet titled Who am I? Ramana was neither a scholar nor was he educated very much. He left home when he was only seventeen and never returned. Who returns to the ordinary home when one has found the real home? His method is a simple inquiry into your innermost core by asking, “Who am I?” He is really the founder of the enlightenment intensive, not some American fellow – or fella – who pretends to be the inventor of it.

I have said it is not a great book, but the man is great. Sometimes I mention books which are great, written by a little man, very mediocre. Now I am mentioning a really great man who wrote a very small book, just a few pages, a pamphlet. Otherwise he was always silent; he spoke very little, just once in a while. Kahlil Gibran would have been immensely benefited if he had gone to Maharshi Ramana. Then he would have heard The Voice of the Master. Maharshi Ramana would also have been benefited by Kahlil Gibran, because he could write like nobody else. Ramana was a poor writer; Kahlil Gibran was a poor man but a great writer. Both together would have been a blessing to the world.

ImageSixth, The Mind of India, by Moorehead and Radhakrishnan. Moorehead knew nothing of India, neither did Radhakrishnan, but strangely they wrote a beautiful book, very representative of the whole Indian heritage. Just the peaks are missing, as if a bulldozer had been going on and on destroying all the peaks of the Himalayas and making a plain. Yes, both of these fellows have done the work of a bulldozer. If somebody knows the spirit of India – I cannot call it the mind – then the title of the book should be The No-Mind of India.

But although the book does not represent the highest, it still represents the lowest, and the lowest is the majority, ninety-nine point nine percent. So it really represents almost all of India. It is beautifully written but it is only guesswork. One was an Englishman, the other an Indian politician – a great combination! And both together they wrote this book The Mind of India.

Alice in WonderlandSeventh. Now at the very end of our long list I introduce you to two books of which I think you must have already tasted: Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and the eighth is Alice Through the Looking Glass. Both are non-serious, that’s why I love them. Both are written for children, that’s why I immensely respect them. Both are full of beauty, grandeur, mystery and small parables which can be understood on many many levels. I have always loved one parable, for example…

Alice comes to the King – or perhaps it was the Queen, it does not matter – and the King asks Alice, “Did you meet my messenger coming towards me on the way?”

Alice says, “I met nobody, sir.”

The King then says, “Then he must have reached here by now.”

Alice could not believe her ears, but just out of respect, amazed, Alice still remained silent, quite an English lady.

Gudia, are you there? Just the other day you were asking me, “Is there still an English lady in me, Osho?” Just a little bit, nothing much – nothing to worry about. And a little bit is good.

Alice must have been a perfect English lady. Out of formality she did not even giggle. She had said that she had met nobody, and the King thinks that she had met somebody called Nobody. My God, he thinks that Nobody is a man, that Nobody is somebody…! Again Alice says, “Sir, did I not tell you that I met nobody? Nobody is nobody!”

The King laughed and said, “Yes, of course nobody is nobody, but why has he not arrived yet?”

Such beautiful small parables in both the books, Alice in Wonderland, and Alice Through the Looking Glass. And the most strange fact to remember is that Lewis Carroll was not the real name… because he was a mathematician and a schoolmaster; hence he used a pseudo-name. But what a calamity, the pseudonym has become a reality to the whole world and the real man is completely forgotten. It is strange that a mathematician and schoolmaster could write such beautiful books.

You will wonder why I am including them. I am including them because I want to say to the world that to me, Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland are all the same. It does not matter. In fact, if I have to choose between the two I will choose Alice in Wonderland and throw Being and Nothingness in the ocean, so far away in the Pacific that nobody will find it again. To me these two small books have great spiritual value. Yes, I’m not joking… I mean it.

The WandererNinth… again and again I come back to Kahlil Gibran. I have loved him and would have liked to help him. I have even waited for him, but he is not born yet. He will have to seek for some other master in the future. The Wanderer is my choice for this number.

The Wanderer, by Kahlil Gibran, is a collection of parables. The parable is the oldest method of saying that which is profound; that which cannot be said can always be said in a parable. It is a beautiful collection of small stories.

What a con-man I am! Even with closed eyes I am watching Devageet not only trying to say things – he is even using his leg, which is not very gentlemanly, and behind the back of a master…! What to do, this is how the world is.

This is beautiful, Ashu. Just remind me of the number.

“We were talking about number nine, Osho.”

Spiritual SayingsTenth: Another book by Kahlil Gibran, The Spiritual Sayings. Now I must object, even though the objection is against Kahlil Gibran whom I love. He cannot be allowed to write ‘spiritual sayings’. Spiritual? – although the book is beautiful it would have been better if he had called it Beautiful Sayings. Beautiful, not spiritual. To call it spiritual is just absurd. But still I love the book, just as I love all absurdities.

TertullianI am reminded of Tertullian, whose book – forgive me – I have not included. It was impossible for me to include them all, but at least I can mention his name. Tertullian’s famous saying is: credo quia absurdum – I believe because it is absurd. I don’t think there is another saying in all the languages of the world which is more pregnant than this one. And Tertullian is a Christian saint! Yes, when I see beauty I appreciate it – even in a Christian saint.

Credo quia absurdum – this should be written in diamonds, not even in golden letters. Gold is too cheap. This saying: I believe because it is absurd, is so valuable. Tertullian could have written a book entitled Spiritual Sayings but not Kahlil Gibran.

Kahlil Gibran should meditate. It is time for him to meditate, as it is time for me to stop speaking… but I cannot for the simple reason that I have to complete the number fifty.

Tenth… am I right, Devageet?

“Actually we’ve done fifty. That was number ten, Osho.”

Then I will do fifty-one, because I cannot leave this one out. It is impossible, number or no number. You can do the same as I did: do a misnumbering somewhere, and come to the same number as I am coming to.

Waiting for GodotEleven, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Now nobody knows what ‘Godot’ means, just as nobody knows what ‘God’ means. In fact Beckett did a great job inventing the word Godot for God. Everybody is waiting for nothing because God does not exist. Everybody is waiting, waiting, waiting… and waiting for nothing. That’s why even though the number was complete I wanted to include this book Waiting for Godot.

Now wait just for two minutes…. Thank you.

Osho, Books I Have Loved, Session 11

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
6. Truth Is Unspeakable
7. It is Unsayable
8. The Miracle of All Miracles
9. You Have to be Rich to be Enlightened
10. That which cannot be spoken must not be spoken of

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