Osho speaks to a sannyasin about the meaning of his new name and the human soul’s suffering and longing to go back to god.
Deva means divine, hanso means a swan – it is a metaphor for the soul: the divine swan. In India the swans live deep in the Himalayas. They come only to the plains when it is too cold there; and when the season is over, the winter is over, they go back. When they are on the plains they suffer very much… nostalgia for the Himalayas, the virgin beauty of the Himalayas, the silence. And the lake Mansarovar where they live in the Himalayas has the purest water in the world. Man has not yet reached there to pollute it. I think it will be the last place in the world to be polluted. Rarely, once in a while, a traveller, a pilgrim, reaches there… very rarely.
Naturally the swans suffer very much because here they have to live in dirty ponds – muddy, polluted, poisoned, and the noise, the people, the ugliness – so they continuously dream of Mansarovar, of the lake in the Himalayas. They continuously think about how to go back. Even to wait for the few months of winter is too difficult; they feel homesick.
Because of this the metaphor arose that the human soul is a swan, a white swan. Its home is in god, hence on the earth, in the world, it suffers and it longs to go back to god. Religion is nothing but a return journey. It is a search for the home, a search for the source, a search for the original face.
Remember: man is an outsider in the world; hence the feeling of alienation. One cannot feel at home here. We do everything to make ourselves at home but still something deep down goes on saying “This is not the place. Sooner or later we will have to leave; it is not more than a caravanserai, just an overnight’s stay and in the morning we will have to go.” Deep down someone goes on saying “Remain detached. Don’t get too entangled because soon you will have to leave and all those entanglements will become a very deep misery. Remain unattached, aloof. Just be a passer-by, a pilgrim who passes through many places but never makes any place his home.”
This world is a pilgrimage – don’t get lost in it. Even while you are in it, go on remembering god.
Osho, Hallelujah! Ch 27