Spiritual guidance should not be direct

'My Story' by Gayan Discourses Osho on Dancing

Osho replies to a question by Gayan: “To guide a person without his being at all aware that he is being guided… it is just like when you smell perfume in the garden and you start moving towards it.”

Gayan dancing around Osho in Mandir

Beloved Osho,

Whenever you talk about music and dance, it touches something really deep in me, and my whole being is absorbed in every word and gesture, like a sponge. When you talked about awareness and being totally lost in the music, I suddenly understood what an incredible gift you have given me by letting me dance around you – where nothing was said, but awareness had to be there, and it came naturally, together with being lost in the dance. In moments like that I am filled with awe and gratefulness, just seeing how you guide us so perfectly and so caringly and how you create situations through which, with just a little bit of effort, we can gain so much.

I am so immensely grateful to be here with you.

Gayan, the most important thing in spiritual guidance is that it should not be direct. The guided should not feel he is being guided. Whenever guidance is direct it brings a kind of slavery; the guided becomes dependent on the guide.

But to guide indirectly is very difficult. It is a kind of persuasion where the guided cannot feel at all that he is being told to do this, to do that. He is simply being given indications, with such love, that he likes to go in those directions in those moments. And he becomes aware that he has been guided on each step – carefully guided – but only when he has reached.

Now there is no problem and no fear. One who has arrived cannot be made dependent, he can only feel gratitude. The responses will be totally different.

If you guide a person directly he will resist it, because you are trying to mold his personality; you are taking away his freedom, making him move in a certain direction.

In the first place he will never reach, because with this reluctance, this resistance, there is, deep down, anger and rage. He is doing it – becoming dependent, accepting a certain spiritual slavery – for his own desires.

And these are the factors which will create resentment in him. They will not bridge him to the master; they will create a wall between the two. Reaching the goal is almost impossible.

This is a vicious circle: when you do everything that you are being told to do, outwardly you are obedient, ready to serve the master – outwardly grateful – but inwardly reluctant, resistant, angry. And when doing everything that the master has said, and you don’t reach… that is the point where these kinds of people turn into enemies. Rather than bringing gratitude into them, the whole process has only gathered more and more enmity.

But to guide a person without his being at all aware that he is being guided… it is just like when you smell perfume in the garden and you start moving towards it. You will not feel reluctant, resistant, inimical to the perfume – although it has guided you. In fact, spreading the perfume is nothing but spreading a net in which those who are capable will be caught and brought closer and closer.

They will recognize only after they have reached that they have been guided, that they have been guarded, cared for – and not a single word has been told to them to do this or not to do this. Their freedom has not been touched in any way. They have not been turned into slaves.

This has been my experience: it is very rare to find a master who can guide you in such a way, because it is with each step difficult, arduous. And the master has to be very conscious, very cautious that the disciple does not feel in any way lower than him. He has to take his hand in his own hand in such a way as if the disciple himself is taking the master’s hand in his own hand. It is a tremendous art. He allures, he does not dictate.

So amongst masters you will find very rare masters who are perfect guides. And this is the definition of the perfect guide: he does not allow you to know that you are being guided. You come to realize it only at the very end of the journey – and suddenly there is great gratitude, gratitude for all the arduous roundabout ways the master has had to use just not to hurt you in any way, not to create any dependence. On the contrary, making you more and more free, he has functioned only as a friend.

But not all the disciples are capable of being guided in this way. I have been asked hundreds of times why women are attracted so much to my philosophy, my way of life. I have given some answers, but the real answer is: the woman is a more efficient disciple than the man, and she knows the delicacy of being guided without direct instructions. She does not function through the mind, which needs a direct, clear-cut catechism.

“Just tell me the Ten Commandments” – that is the language of man. But there are men also who have the same feeling heart as the women. They can become perfect disciples, but the percentage will be less than that of women.

And amongst the men, those who don’t have a heart, who function through the mind, many may come close to the master – intellectually interested according to their prejudices – and may seem to have understood him well, better than anybody else… their intellectual understanding will be more clear.

The land of the heart is not the land of arithmetic or logic; it is poetry, it is music. You can enjoy it, but you cannot understand it.

I am reminded of one great English poet, Coleridge. Although he never completed more than seven poems in his whole life, he still became one of the greatest poets of the English language – because it is not the quantity that counts, it is the quality. When he died he left almost forty thousand incomplete poems.

His whole life, his friends were harassing him continuously: “You seem to be mad! You have such a treasure. Just a few poems have made you a great poet; if you could produce forty thousand poems of that quality, perhaps in the whole world there would be no competition against you – in the whole history of man, past, present and future. Why do you go on piling up incomplete poems?”

He said, “You don’t understand; I cannot do it. Unless existence guides me so politely that I don’t feel the guidance, that I don’t feel the push and pull to do it, I am not going to do it. These poems are the poems of my freedom – existence becoming free through me. These poems will have to wait.”

Sometimes a poem was just missing one line, and his poet friends said, “You can compose that line yourself.”

He said, “It does not work that way. I have tried, but the quality is as distant as the sky is from the earth. I can deceive others, but I cannot deceive myself. I will wait; when existence comes – without forcing me, because I cannot do it under force – and it simply persuades me, encourages me, and I know only afterwards that I have been guided, then only will I complete a poem.”

Once it happened in the London University… the professor who was teaching literature came across a line of Coleridge which he could not make any sense of. And he was a sincere man; he said to his students, “I cannot give any reasonable explanation for it. And I don’t want to deceive you. Coleridge lives just in my neighborhood; he is old, but being his neighbor, I am still allowed to see him and meet him. I will go to him and ask him myself what the meaning of this line is.”

He went to Coleridge the next day and asked him. Coleridge looked at the whole poem and he said, “There is meaning in it. When I wrote it two persons knew the meaning. Now only one knows.”

Hearing him say that only two persons knew the meaning, the professor became afraid: where was he going to find those two persons? And when Coleridge said, “Now, only one knows,” then the professor became even more afraid. There was only one hope; he said, “But that one must be you?”

Coleridge said, “No. When I wrote this I knew it, God knew it. Now, only God knows; I don’t know. It is a beautiful line; alas, I have no way of remembering. In fact, I have not written it.”

His name for existence is God, that’s all – there is no difference. He is saying, “I have not written it. The writing was done by me, but a bigger, vaster energy was persuading me, encouraging me to write it down. I was used as an instrument, a medium.”

This word ‘medium’ reminds me of what Gayan is saying, that dancing, singing around me, she had become completely lost in the dancing, in the singing, and she had no idea at all that she was being guided. I have never mentioned any guidance; I had left it to her. The way she wants to dance, she can dance. But I was there.

She was dancing around me, so she could not remain out of my presence. And my presence was persuading her to go further and further, deeper and deeper. Unsaid, unheard… but the guidance was there. Now she remembers, retrospectively, the tremendous experience she has gone through, which has changed her forever. She cannot fall back; she can go ahead, but not backwards.

In the beginning she must have thought that it was just simply decorative: “In a darshan, dancing must be just decorative.” But slowly, slowly she got into it. If I had said that there are guidelines to be followed, she would not have been able to be totally in it; those guidelines would have been a disturbance.

Whether man or woman, the way of truth is the way of the heart. And the way of the heart cannot be taught, it can only be inspired, thrilled, excited, to go on a new exploration… invited, but not ordered.

She has brought a beautiful question which will help many. The words ‘order’ and ‘guidance’ and ‘commandments’ – they are all mind words. The heart has no parallel words; it knows only inspiration, becoming aflame, not knowing why… but it is so juicy, of such a grand beauty that the heart goes on following it.

But many of the religions have destroyed the way of the heart because there were not many masters who could manage it. It is a fine art, superfine. It was easy to manage teachers, teachings, guidance, discipline for the mind – but the mind has nothing at all to do with religion.

Once, I was coming home from the river, and there was a boy who must have been an idiot; he was trying to pull a cow back towards home. The cow must have gone to the river and was not willing to go back home – and she was much more powerful than the boy. And he was trying hard.

I stood there and watched. Instead of the boy pulling the cow, the cow was pulling the boy towards the river. And he was shouting and asking people to help: “This cow is going mad!”

I said, “Nobody is going mad; it is simply that you don’t know how to bring a cow home.”

He said, “How do you bring a cow home?”

I said, “Drop this rope, and instead of the rope, take some green grass in your hands, move ahead of the cow, and the cow will follow. That is persuasion; you are not forcing. The cow is free; she can go to the river or anywhere she wants… but with this green grass in front of her, she cannot go anywhere.”

Guidance is exactly like that. You have to inspire, not instigate. You have to be very polite and humble, not even giving a hint that the other person is being ordered to do something. You have to be inviting, requesting, and let the person come into the field of energy where things start taking place on their own.

With men the problem is that many cannot manage the language of the heart. Sooner or later they fall out. And when they fall out, then a trouble is there. People start asking them, “Why have you left?” And the mind never wants to say, “I don’t know.” The mind may have to create lies, allegations to justify itself: “I had to leave because that was not the right place.”

The reality is you were not in the right shape. You tried to manage the work that can be done only by the heart by something else – by the mind. You failed. In the beginning you will succeed, but soon there will come a point where you will have to turn towards the heart, because the mind can go on, round and round, but it never reaches to the center.

And those who are very deeply grounded in the intellect cannot leave it; it is their investment, their whole lifelong investment. So rather than coming to growth, to gratitude, they fall out – empty, angry, ungrateful, saying things which if they had even thought twice, they would not have said. And all that they are saying really goes against them, because what were you doing for ten years with this man? It took you ten years to find out that this is the wrong place? Then, even in ten lives you are not going to find the right place. You are simply retarded.

To have a soft heart, in a man or a woman, is of immense value in the growth of, the evolution of, your consciousness.

Osho, The Transmission of the Lamp, Ch 4, Q 1

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