Ashoka created a group which is still existing – a group of nine persons. Whenever a person dies, another replaces him, so the group still continues.
Whenever one dies, the eight remaining ones will choose one to replace him. He will be trained by the eight, so the training continues. Persons change, but the group remains, and still today the group is there, because a reincarnation of Buddha is awaited. He can come at any time. And when Buddha is there, you cannot suddenly create the group, because this group of esoteric adepts is created through a long training and discipline. This is not a sudden happening.
So many times groups have been started. Sometimes they continue and then wither away. Sometimes they go on and then are no more, because so many difficulties are there. Many difficulties are there! This group of Ashoka’s nine esoteric ones still continues because there are many conditions which help it to. One is it never comes directly in contact with the masses itself. It has still other groups in between. It always remains unknown, hidden. You can never know its whereabouts. And any person who is initiated in the group, the very moment he is initiated he disappears from your world – completely disappears. Then you can never know anything about him, the group can continue anonymously.
This group has many keys and many methods. Through those keys and methods, it goes on working in many ways. This is a group whose members are in the physical body, they are as alive as we are. Once someone has become a member of the group, he cannot be chosen again in another life. Then he will work as a link between the group and the masses. This creates another circle around the nine, a greater circle, because so many persons have been members of it. They know Buddha directly, they know the esoteric adepts directly. They are so experienced that they can remain in the masses and can continue the work with the group. But they will not be its members. When someone of this group is not born on this earth, when he is without a physical body, if he remains in a non-body existence, he still continues to work. […]
This whole movement was created by the nine adepts of Ashoka. They are still working. In so many ways, they go on working. And there is a history behind our so-called history of which you will not even be able to conceive. History has a deeper base. The periphery which we know as history is not of real events. Behind our so-called history continues another, a deeper one, about which we know nothing. […]
Scriptures cannot be relied upon because they are absurd. Some persons will have to interpret them, but they cannot interpret beyond their understanding, so this is meaningless. There must be a group which preserves keys that can be handed to persons in a particular state of mind; otherwise they will be lost or they will have to struggle unnecessarily, meaninglessly, or they will have to change teachers.
Whenever someone changes a teacher, he has to begin anew, because nothing of the old system can be used in the new. Nothing of this path can be used on that path – every path has its own organic unity. So that which is meaningful in Mohammed’s path is not meaningful in Mahavira’s path, that which is meaningful in Buddha’s path is not meaningful in Jesus’ path. So if someone comes from the Buddhist path to Jesus’ path, he will have to begin anew. All the efforts in past lives will be thrown. That is not good; that is a sheer waste.
So when the teacher is not, these esoteric groups preserve knowledge, and that knowledge begins to work as a teacher. But that knowledge can only be preserved by living persons. Of these nine persons of Ashoka’s circle, each one is adept in a particular key. Individually, they do not have all the keys. Each one is a specialist in a particular key. And the group was formerly of nine persons because Buddha had talked about nine doors, nine keys, nine kinds of knowledge.
So each person is an adept only in one key. He knows only about one door. Those who want to enter from that door, they can be helped by him. Buddha can know about nine. But these nine cannot each know about all nine, to know one key of one door is enough. You need not enter from nine doors. One door will do; you will be in.
These nine adepts have one key each. Each one knows everything about one door, one meditative path. And whenever a need is there, that one will help. The help may be direct, the help may be indirect, but he will help you. Whenever a new buddha is coming or a new enlightened one is coming, this group will prepare the ground. They will prepare people to listen to him, understand him. If there is no such ground, then every teacher will be crucified – crucified because there will be no group to help make the people understand him.
There are other works also with esoteric groups. Sometimes it happens that humanity forgets that which it had previously known. Somewhere, The Book of the Dead, the Egyptian book, says, “Ignorance is nothing but forgetfulness.” Something which was known has been forgotten. Nothing is new, just something has been forgotten. When you come to know it again, it appears new. Many keys are lost, many times – sometimes because there are no esoteric groups to preserve them.
Sometimes the group is there, but nobody is ready to be initiated in the knowledge. Then the esoteric group cannot do anything other than preserve. Sometimes preservation also becomes impossible, because this is not so easy. If one person dies out of a group of nine, it is not easy to replace him, because the replacement is not by any election. It is not democratic. Knowledge cannot depend on democracy, only ignorance can.
Knowledge is always autocratic – always. You cannot decide by election who will be the head of the atomic commission. And when you decide that way, then you decide for your suicide.
Knowledge is always autocratic. It is never from below, it is always from above. See this distinction clearly. And anything that comes from below is bound to be ignorance. So politics is ignorance par excellence. It comes from below. The one who is the lowest chooses the one who is the highest. And what is meant by the highest? The lowest decides the highest, so the highest must be lower than the lowest. So in a democracy, leaders are nothing but followers of their followers, and knowledge cannot depend on this. Knowledge is always given from above and is, therefore, autocratic.
Esoteric groups maintain keys, preserve knowledge. But the moment someone becomes capable of being given a particular system of knowledge, a particular secret, then that key is delivered. Until someone is ready, the group has to wait; it has to wait for centuries even. And it is very difficult to replace one person from them. It cannot be decided by the others. The eight have to find a person who is capable, and even a capable person has to be trained before he enters the group. Sometimes the group works on a person for many lives, and then the person becomes capable of replacing a member. And if no one is found, that key is lost, and that key cannot be found again by this esoteric group. It can be found again only when a person like Buddha happens. The esoteric group can only preserve, communicate. It cannot discover, discovery is not within their capacity. […]
These esoteric groups are not concerned with this earth alone. Now even scientists agree that at least fifty thousand planets other that this earth must have life. More is possible, but less is not possible. In such a great universe, by the ordinary laws of probability, at least fifty thousand planets must have life. The esoteric group has another task to do, to link the knowledge of one planet to that of another. That is a little more difficult, because we have not known everything. We may be missing something which was known. We may be knowing something partially. On another planet, there may be a greater knowledge; on another planet, there may now be another Buddha. The esoteric group works as an inner link between different systems of knowledge that exist anywhere in the universe. So missing links can be supplied from other planets also. Really, it always happens so.
Whenever something is missing and we cannot call upon a person on this earth to appear and discover it, then the knowledge can be supplied from another planet, if it exists somewhere, and it always exists somewhere. The esoteric group can be in contact with everything that exists in the whole universe. This work is as valuable as someone from a university going to a primitive village. The primitive village does not know anything, the university man knows. This man can train the primitive to receive the knowledge. Then he can deliver it, and he can always be in contact with his source of knowledge. This is just an analogy.
Many times this planet has been visited by other planetary beings. They have left so many landmarks. Sometimes they have left many keys of knowledge on this planet with some group. Those groups have been at work. Esoteric groups are interplanetary, but there is something missing, so it cannot be understood by description.
Each age has to devise its own methods, no old method can be helpful to you. You have changed, your mind has changed. The key fit the old lock but the lock has changed. Esoteric groups can only be the preservers of keys, not of locks, because locks are with you. You understand it? Locks are with you – not with Buddha, not with Jesus. They have keys. They devise keys, keys that open many locks. These keys can be preserved by esoteric groups, but in the meantime the locks are changing. […]
You ask me how am I connected with any esoteric group. If you can be in contact with one, you can be in contact with all. It is just a matter of tuning. If your radio can work with one station, there is no difficulty in its working with another. If the mechanism is working rightly, you can catch any station around the world. If you can be in contact with one esoteric group, you can be in contact with all. You may not like to be in contact, you may like it, but once you know the tuning you can be in contact. And many times you come across a secret school, but you lose the opportunity, you lose the track.
Whatsoever I am saying is in many ways esoteric. That is why many times I become very confusing to you. Any exoteric teaching is never confusing, it is clearcut. It is just like two plus two equals four, it is always a simple thing. But the esoteric, the inner, the secret, is difficult to understand, because your understanding becomes disturbed with any new knowledge which has to be absorbed.
Any knowledge that you know, you can absorb easily. It can become a part of you; you can easily digest it. Anything which is new to you is hard to digest. And no esoteric knowledge can be delivered in mathematical terms. It has to be delivered mystically, it has to be delivered poetically. Then it becomes living. It means many things simultaneously.
I have been in contact with many esoteric groups. I have known many persons who are still alive who belong to some group. I have known many keys which were delivered by authentic teachers. But no key of the old tradition is enough, so I am devising new keys. Because I am devising new keys, I am not directly concerned with any esoteric group, as each esoteric group is interested in and is entrusted with a particular key to preserve. I am not interested in a particular key. I am interested in devising new methods, new techniques, new keys, because all the old keys have become in many ways irrelevant.
One thing has to be understood, that all these keys were developed in a world which was local, always local. For the first time, we are in a world which is absolutely non-local, universal. Really, for the first time we are in a world. Before, we were always confined to a particular part of the world. All those keys were developed for particular local conditions and cultures. Now, for the first time, the world is, in a way, a mixed-up mess. There is no particular culture, there is no particular conditioning. Everything is mixed up. And soon this is going to be more and more the case. Soon there will be a world citizen with no local background at all – with a universal background.
Before this century ends, we will need – we are already in need of – keys which are universal. For example, Jesus’ key was for a particular Jewish group. This is really an irony of history, that Jesus invented a key, devised a key, for the Jewish mind, and now Jews are against him. And those who follow him are against the Jews. But the key was particularly devised for a Jewish-conditioned mind. As far as I am concerned, Christ can be used more easily with a Jew than with a Christian, because the Christian is just a later outgrowth; Jesus never knew any Christian. He himself was not a Christian, he was a Jew. But this is the irony of our history. […]
We have come again to a universal world in which Arjuna can marry a Mexican girl. Soon again there will be no localized cultures. For this unfocused culture we have to devise new, more liquid keys – less solid and more liquid, which can be used with so many locks.
I have known so many esoteric groups – in this life and before. I have been in contact with many esoteric groups, but I cannot tell you their whereabouts. I cannot tell you their names, because that is not permitted, and it is of no use really. But I can tell you that they still exist, they still try to help. […]
You can also be in contact with some esoteric group. There are techniques and methods. But then you will have to do much work upon yourself. As you are, you can never be in contact. You will just pass by an esoteric circle, but you will not even be able to detect it. You will have to change yourself, tune yourself, for new dimensions, for new vibrations to be felt; you will have to be sensitive.
Then you will not ask me, “Have you been in contact with an esoteric group?” You will know just by sitting near me, you will know just by looking into my eyes. You will feel just by hearing my words, or even by hearing my silence. You will understand. But that will come only if you change yourself, attune yourself, for the new reality – if you open yourself for new dimensions.
Esoteric groups are and always have been there. Only you are closed – closed in thought, closed in thinking, closed within yourself – no opening, no window, no door. The sky is there – just open the window, and you will know the sky and the stars. Howsoever far off they may be, just by opening your window, which is so near, you come in contact with far-off stars. In a way, it is illogical. By opening such a near window, how can you come in contact with far-off stars? If I tell you, “Open this window behind you and then you will come in contact with the whole universe,” you will say, “It is absurd. Just by opening this window which is so near, how can I be in contact with what is so far?” But it is so. Open a window in your mind, make a meditative window, and you will be in contact with so many far-off lights, with so many happenings which are always around.
Just around the corner, just around you, everything is happening. But you are blind or asleep or just unaware. I am here; you cannot conceive of what is happening here. You cannot conceive of it!
Osho, I Am the Gate, Ch 8, Q 1