The master-and-disciple game

Discourses Selected Discourses

Osho declares, “I am absolutely non-serious. This is a play. And I would like to call this play ‘the mad game’.”

Osho Towel

Osho, Who are you and what type of play are you playing with us? And how long will you play? Please explain.

To be frank with you – which usually I am not – I don’t know who I am. Knowledge is not possible here where I am. Only the knower is left, the known has disappeared; only the container is left, the content is no more.

For knowledge to exist, a great division is needed in reality – the knower and the known. Between the two, knowledge happens. The known is a must for knowledge to happen.

The space I am in is absolutely undivided and indivisible. Knowledge is not possible. So, to be exact, I don’t know.

And I would like you also to come to this innocent ignorance, to this state of not-knowing. Because the state of not-knowing is the highest state of knowing; not of knowledge, mind you, of knowing. And this knowing is content-less – it is not that you know something, there is nothing to know. You simply are. I am, but I don’t know who I am. All identities have disappeared – just a tremendous emptiness is left behind.

I call it emptiness because you are full of identities – otherwise it is an absolute presence, not an absence. It is the presence of something which by its very nature is a mystery and cannot be reduced to knowledge.

So I don’t know who I am, but I am tremendously content in this not-knowing. And whosoever has come to this door of not-knowing has laughed at all knowledge and the stupidity that goes on in the name of knowledge. Knowledge is mediocre. To be in the state of not-knowing is intelligence, it is awareness – and it is non-accumulative. Each moment that which happens disappears, it leaves no trace behind, no existential trace. One comes out of it again pure, again innocent, again like a child.

So I am a child on the seashore of time, collecting seashells, coloured stones. But I am tremendously fulfilled. I know not who I am because I am not. When I say ‘I am not’ I mean that that ‘I’ no longer has any relevance. I use the word – obviously I have to use it and there is nothing in the word to be against – but it is no longer relevant to my inner world. It is still of use with you but when I am alone I am not. When I am with you, then this word ‘I’ has to be used as a communicative device. But when I am alone I am not. Aloneness is there, amness is there, but the ‘I’ is not. So who should know, and whom?

First I told you that the content had disappeared, now I would like to tell you – because the more you get ready and receptive, the more I can tell you – that the container has also disappeared. The container is meaningful only with the content – without the content what is the meaning of the container? The content and the container are both not there. Something is, tremendously is, absolutely is, but there is no name to it. In love you call this space Bhagwan and in deep respect I also call it Bhagwan.

Just the other night I was reading a letter in ‘Current’. The letter-writer asked me who appointed me as Bhagwan. Now, Bhagwan cannot be appointed. If somebody appoints somebody as Bhagwan then the appointer will be the Bhagwan, not the appointed. It is a recognition, it is a realisation. Bhagwan simply means that all that we call wordily is no longer there – that’s all. The desire to possess, to be possessed, the desire to accumulate, the desire to cling, the desire to be, the libido, the lust for life, has disappeared. When the smoke of the desire disappears and only the flame remains in its purity, who is going to appoint? Who is there to appoint? It is not an appointment. Or, if you love the word very much, then I will say, ‘It is a self-appointment.’ But that too is not very meaningful. It is a declaration.

The letter-writer wants me to say who. Nobody can decide who I am. This is my declaration. Only I know what has happened within me; nobody else can know it. Unless you also come to that state of divine being – the state is hiding behind you; any moment you become courageous enough to enter it, you can – then only will you recognise me, not before it.

I also call this space, in tremendous respect, Bhagwan. The word ‘Bhagwan’ is very beautiful. The English word ‘God’ is not as beautiful. ‘Bhagwan’ simply means: the blessed one. That’s all. The blessed one. And I declare myself to be the blessed one. And I declare it only so that you can also gain heart and you can also strive for it; so that my presence can become a dream in you; so that my presence can invoke a journey in you; so that my presence can create a fire in you – a fire that will burn you and through which you are going to be reborn true. A fire that is going to destroy you, annihilate you utterly, and yet out of it you will come absolutely new, with no identity, with no name, with no form.

I have declared myself Bhagwan because I would like you also to come to this recognition. You have forgotten the language. Somebody must exist in front of you as a reality, not as a concept, not as someone in the scriptures. Krishna exists in the Gita, Christ exists in the Bible – they may have been, they may not have been, nobody can be certain.

I am just here, confronting you. If you are courageous enough to open towards me, suddenly a sprout will start coming into being in your seed; you will start growing in an unknown dimension. To make that dimension available to you I declare myself Bhagwan. This is nobody else’s business.

But I can declare myself Bhagwan only because I am not. Only one who is not can call himself the blessed one.

If you are, you remain miserable, your very being is your misery. Hell is not somewhere else – hell is the confined state, hell is the miserable state when you live with the ‘I’. To live with the ego is to live with hell.

You ask me, What type of play are you playing with us? Certainly, it is a play. I am not serious. And if you are serious, there is not going to be any meeting with you. Seriousness does not cross my path at all. I am absolutely non-serious. This is a play. And I would like to call this play ‘the mad game’.

The word ‘mad’ I have coined so: ‘m’ stands for the master and ‘d’ stands for the disciple. The master-and-disciple game! It is a mad game! I am an expert in being a Master. If you are also ready to become a disciple, here we go!

And it is none of anybody else’s business. It is a game between me and you. If you decide to be a disciple, as I have decided to be a Master, then we can play the game. And those who have decided to be disciples are enjoying it tremendously!

Once you decide to be a disciple, you enter into another world – a totally different world of the heart, of love, of trust. Then it is a play. You are not serious but still you are very sincere. Never misunderstand seriousness for sincerity. Sincerity is very playful, never serious. It is true, authentic, but never serious. Sincerity does not have a long face, it is bubbling with joy, radiating with an inner joyousness.

Rejoice that I am here! If you decide to be a disciple, then only can you understand what I am doing here, then only can you understand this mad game, this madly mad game. It is a play; in fact, it is the ultimate game in life. You have played many other games, this is the last. You have played being a lover, being a friend; being a father, being a husband, being a wife, mother, brother, being rich, being poor, being a leader, being a follower – you have played all the games. And only those who have played all the games can play this game, because they will be mature enough to play it.

This is the last game. After this game, games stop, game-playing stops. Once you have played the game rightly – the Master-disciple game – by and by you come to a point where all playing disappears. Only you are left – neither the Master nor the disciple exists there. This is just a device.

Between the Master and the disciple – if the rule of the game is followed rightly – devotion arises. That is the fragrance, the river that flows between the two banks of the Master and the disciple. That’s why it is so difficult for the outsider to understand. But I am not interested at all in the outsider understanding it, it is a very esoteric game. It is only for the insiders, it is only for mad people. That is why I am not interested even in answering people who are not insiders, because they will not understand. They do not have that attitude of being in which understanding becomes possible.

Just see. If two chess-players are playing and you don’t know what chess is, and you start asking questions, they will simply say, ‘Shut up! First you go and learn the game. It is a complicated game.’

And chess is nothing when you start playing this mad game! Your whole life – your emotions, your feelings, your intellect, body, mind, soul, everything – is involved, is at stake. It is the last gamble.

So only those who are insiders can understand; outsiders will always feel uncomfortable about it. They don’t know the language.

I am not here to play the game of a priest; I am not here to play the game of a prophet. In fact, the prophet is nothing but the politician in disguise. The language of the prophet is the language of the politician – of course, in the name of religion. The prophet is revolutionary; he wants to change the world, the whole world, to his heart’s desire. I have no plans for changing the world. It is perfectly good as it is and it is going to remain as it is. All the prophets have failed. That game is doomed to be a failure.

I am not a priest because I don’t belong to any religion; I simply belong to religion as such. I am not a Jew, I am not a Hindu, I am not a Mohammedan, I am not a Jaina – I don’t belong to any religion. So I am not a priest, I am not a preacher. I simply love pure religion.

Let me tell you an anecdote.

Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg had scrimped and saved to put their eldest son through college. At last they had the money and decided to send him to a fine, highbrow Eastern boarding school. They saw him off on the train and tearfully bade him farewell.

A few months later he returned home for the Christmas holidays. The parents were overjoyed to have their son, Sammy, back with them. The mother greeted him with, ‘Samelah! Oh, it’s so good to see you.’

‘Mother,’ replied the son, ‘stop calling me Samelah. After all, I’m a grown man now, and I do wish you would refer to me as Samuel.’

She apologised and asked, ‘I hope you only ate Kosher foods while you were away.’

‘Mother, we are living in a modern age, and it’s preposterous to hang onto the old world traditions. I indulged in all types of food, and believe me, you would be better off if you did too.’

‘Well, tell me, did you at least go to the synagogue to offer a prayer of thanks occasionally?’

The son replied, ‘Really, do you honestly feel that going to a synagogue when you’re associating with a large percentage of non-Jews is the proper thing to do? Honestly, Mother, it’s unfair to ask it of me, really.’

At this point Mrs. Goldberg, fighting back anger, looked at her eldest son and said, ‘Tell me, Samuel, are you still circumcised?’

I am not interested in whether you are circumcised or not. I am not interested in whether you are a Jew, a Hindu, a Christian or a Mohammedan. To me that sort of thing is sheer stupidity. I am not teaching you any religion. My whole effort, or my whole play here, is to make you aware of the reality as it is; to make you aware of the fact, not to give you any fantasy about it; to make you aware of the truth, not to give you any theory about it. I am not a theoretician, I am not a theologist. In fact, theology has killed God, and so many religions have created such confusion in the minds of people that, rather than helping, they have been harmful and poisonous. Rather than helping people to be religious, they have created great politics in the name of religion – great violence, conflict, hatred has been created in the name of religion.

To me, religion simply means a dimension of love. I am here to show you the beauty of life, the grandeur that surrounds you. From that very grandeur you will have your first glimpses of God.

I am here to seduce you into a love of life; to help you to become a little more poetic; to help you die to the mundane and to the ordinary so that the extraordinary explodes in your life. But this is possible only if you decide to become a disciple.

Sannyas is a great agreement, a covenant. When I initiate you into sannyas, I am initiating you into the world of my play. And if you are ready to go with me, great doors are waiting to be opened for you. But those doors are not of the mosque, of the church, of the gurudwara, of the temple – those doors are of life itself. Life is the only shrine of God and to be playful about it is the only prayer.

Who are you and what type of play are you playing with us? And how long will you play? It is not a question of time. If you decide to be a disciple, it can go on and on – in the body and out of the body, with the mind, without the mind, in life and in death, within life and beyond life. This game is an eternal game, that’s why I call it the ultimate game. Those who decided to play with Christ, they are still playing; on new planes, in new plenitudes it continues. Those who decided to play with Buddha are still playing. The game is so beautiful. so eternal, who wants to stop it?

I may not be here in the body but that will be a loss only to those who are not close to me, that will be a loss only to those who were not courageous enough to be with me. When I have gone out of the body it is not going to be a loss to you if you have really been a disciple. The game will continue. I will remain available, you will remain available. It is a question of the heart, it is a question of consciousness. And consciousness knows no time; consciousness is beyond time, consciousness is timelessness.

So the question is meaningful from some outsider – but then I will not answer it. The question is meaningless from an insider – and only then can I answer it. If you are an insider you know that there is a beginning to this play but no end to it. You have entered into something which is going to last forever.

Osho please explain. A game has to be played, not to be explained. If you explain it, it loses all charm. Come, be a partner. Get involved in it.

There are a few things which cannot be explained – in the very explanation they die. For example, a joke cannot be explained. That’s the beauty of a joke: either you understand it or you don’t understand it. If you ask, ‘Please explain,’ it cannot be explained. If somebody explains it and it becomes completely clear to you, no laughter will come out of it. Because it is when the joke suddenly dawns on your being that there is laughter; when there is a jump, a quantum leap, then there is laughter. You were going along on one plane, the story was moving along on one plane, then suddenly an unexpected turn which you could not have imagined, happened. That very turn – which you could not have imagined happening – gives it beauty. That very turn shocks you. That very turn releases the tension that was building up. You were going along in suspense – ‘What is going to happen? What is going to happen?’ – and everything was just ordinary and then, suddenly, there is an extraordinary turn to the story. The punch-line has to be a sudden turn. Then the built-up tension relaxes and you start laughing. The tension is released, explodes. But if somebody explains to you, dissects the joke logically, explains everything to you and then you understand it – then the joke disappears. The joke has to be enjoyed, not understood.

This whole world is a cosmic joke. If you try to understand it you will miss…that is how philosophers have always been missing. They have been trying to solve it, they have been trying to look for clues. It has no clues. It is a sheer mystery. It has no keys and no locks. It is available if you are available. But a mind which wants to understand it becomes tense and becomes unavailable.

Don’t try to understand life. Live it! Don’t try to understand love. Move into love. Then you will know – and that knowing will come out of your experiencing. That knowing will never destroy the mystery: the more you know, the more you know that much remains to be known. Life is not a problem. To look at it as a problem is to take a wrong step. It is a mystery to be lived, loved, experienced.

In fact, the mind which is always after explanations is an afraid mind. Because of great fear he wants everything to be explained. He cannot go into anything before it is explained to him. With explanation he feels that now the territory is familiar, now he knows the geography, now he can move with the map and the guidebook and the timetable. He is never ready to move in an unknown territory, uncharted, without a map, without a guide. But life is like that. And no map is possible, because life goes on changing. Every moment it is now. There is nothing old under the sun, I say to you. Everything is new. It is a tremendous dynamism, an absolute movement. Only change is permanent, only change never changes – everything else goes on changing.

So you cannot have a map; by the time the map is ready it is already out of date. By the time the map is available it is useless. Life has changed its tracks. Life has started playing a new game. You cannot cope with life with maps because it is not measurable. And you cannot cope with life with guidebooks because guidebooks are possible only if things are stagnant. Life is not stagnant, it is a dynamism, it is a process. You cannot have a map of it. It is not measurable, it is an unmeasurable mystery. Don’t ask for explanations.

That’s why although I answer when you ask questions – because this is part of the agreement of this mad game: you will ask and I will answer – you should never take my answers as explanations. They are not. They are simply introductions to the mystery, prefaces to the mystery, seductions to the mystery. They are not really answers.

My answers are not answers; my answers are simply to help you to come out of your questions and to start living. An answer is an answer when it simply explains your question and you are satisfied that you have now got some information which you were needing and your question is no longer there. Now the place that the question was occupying is occupied by the answer. My answers are not answers in that way. They will help you to drop the question but they are not going to answer the question. And once the question is dropped you will find no answer occupying its place. There will be no answer. My whole way of answering is such that I answer and yet I never answer. I answer so that you don’t feel offended – your question has to be respected so I respect it – but I cannot answer it because life has no answers.

And this I call maturity of mind: when somebody comes to the point of looking at life without any questions, and simply dives into it with courage and fearlessness.

Osho, The Art of Dying, Ch 8, Q 1

Comments are closed.