Osho Speaks on Hermann Hesse

Osho on Hermann Hesse Osho on Notable People

Osho declares him as one of the Western minds who has come very close to the Eastern way of looking at things.

German-born Hermann Hesse (July 2, 1877 – August 9, 1962) cultivated a career as a poet before releasing his debut novel, Peter Camenzind, in 1904. He eventually penned acclaimed books such as Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, Narcissus and Goldmund, and The Glass Bead Game, among other long-form works and novellas. Hesse protested German fighting in WWI and later earned the 1946 Nobel Prize in Literature for his body of work.


Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha is one of the very rare books, something from his innermost depth. Never again could Hesse bring another jewel more beautiful and more precious than Siddhartha; as if he was spent in it. He could not reach higher. Siddhartha is Hesse’s height.

Siddhartha is saying to Buddha, “Whatsoever you say is true. How can it be otherwise? You have explained everything that was never explained before; you have made everything clear. You are the greatest teacher there is. But you attained to this enlightenment on your own. You were not a disciple. You were not following anybody; you searched alone. You came to this enlightenment alone, walking a path, not following anybody.”

“I must leave you,” says Siddhartha to Gautam Buddha, “not to find a greater teacher than you, because there is none, but to seek the truth on my own. Only with this teaching I agree,” – because this is Buddha’s teaching – “be a light unto yourself.” Follow nobody; seek and search, but follow nobody. “With this I agree,” says Siddhartha, “so I will have to go.”

He is sad. It must have been very difficult for him to leave Buddha, but he has to go – to seek, to search, or to die. He has to find the path.

What is my comment on it? There are two types of people in the world. Ninety-nine percent who cannot go alone… Alone, if they try, they will remain fast asleep for ever and ever. Alone, left to themselves, the possibility is nil. They will need somebody to wake them; they will need somebody to shake them out of their sleep, to shock them. They will need somebody to help them. But there is another type also, that is only one percent, which can find its way on its own.

Buddha belongs to the first type, the rare type, the one percent. Siddhartha also belongs to the same type. He understands Buddha, he loves Buddha, he reveres him. He feels the sadness and the pain and the heartache when leaving him, but he knows he has to leave. He has to find his own way. He has to seek the truth on his own. He cannot become a shadow; that is not possible for him, that is not his type. But that does not mean that everybody has to seek on his own.

Osho, Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 7, Q2 (excerpt)


A new term has been coined by Herman Hesse. The term is appealing. The new term is philosia: the love of seeing. Sia means ‘to see’. Philo means ‘love’.

And sophy means ‘thinking’. So philosophy means ‘love of thinking’. We have no term in India for it. We cannot translate the word ‘philosophy’ into any Indian language. Our term is darshan. It means seeing. Not thinking, but seeing.

Seeing comes not through the mind but at the moment the mind is annihilated, the moment the mind is not, the moment the mind ceases. Every type of seeing – either of science or of philosophy or of religion – is an outcome of the state of no-mind.

We have known the example of Archimedes. He was thinking and thinking, and came to no conclusion. Then he was lying in his bathtub. Suddenly something was seen. He ran out of his house naked. He had seen something and he ran into the street crying, “Eureka, eureka! I’ve found it, I’ve found it! I’ve achieved!”

If you ask an Einstein or a Picasso or a Hesse, they too will say that something has been seen. Whether in poetry or in painting or in scientific discovery, something is seen. And the moment of seeing is not the moment of brooding, the moment of seeing is not the moment of logical thinking. Logical thinking is held in abeyance. The logical mind is not working and suddenly something overpowers you. Something comes to you, or you go somewhere – somewhere beyond the human limits. Then you know; knowing is there.

Osho, The Eternal Quest, Ch 8 (excerpt, translated from Hindi)

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