Osho says not to be concerned about nirvana: “Be concerned about this moment, because this is the only true moment there is, and enter into it.”
Osho, I am a judge. Have I any chance of ever entering nirvana? If your answer is no, then I can change my profession; I can become a doctor. I am also trained as a homeopath.
There is no record of any judge ever entering nirvana. Just because of you, the whole night I had to look in the Akashic records again! I could only find one thing in them:
Satan and St. Peter decided to hold a soccer game in paradise. It was to be hell versus heaven.
When everything had been arranged, St. Peter said to Satan, “Look, I can’t be dishonest with you. There is no way that your side can win. All soccer players are simple, pure people and when they die, they all go to heaven. Heaven is full of soccer players.”
“I thank you for your sincerity,” replied Satan “but don’t worry, we can defend ourselves.”
When St. Peter had left, Satan’s secretary said, “St. Peter is right – we will lose the game. All the good soccer players go to heaven.”
“Don’t worry,” said Satan. “Where do you think all the judges go?”
Jagdit Singh, changing your profession from judge to doctor is not going to help you either! About that also there is a reference in the Akashic records.
A doctor came to heaven’s door. St. Peter looked at the guy, asked his profession and said, “Wrong door, son. Please go to hell.”
The doctor was puzzled, looked very confused and said, “But I went there first and they said, ‘Go to the other door.'”
“I know,” said St. Peter, “they meant the back door.”
“But why?” asked the doctor.
St. Peter said, “That is the entrance for the suppliers.”
This is not going to help, Jagdit Singh. Why don’t you become a sannyasin? Then there will be no need to bother about nirvana because you will enter it immediately. Then it will not be a question of tomorrow. You can look at my sannyasins. Nobody is worried about nirvana – they are already in it. To be a sannyasin means to be in nirvana. A sannyasin does not need to enter into nirvana; nirvana enters into him. Hence wherever he is, nirvana is. You can throw him into hell, but he will be in nirvana; it will not make any difference at all. If your nirvana depends upon certain conditions it is not much of a nirvana.
Nirvana is a state of unconditional acceptance. Wherever you are, if you can accept your life with totality, with joy, with gratitude, if you can see your life as a gift, then nirvana is never a problem. The problem arises only because you don’t accept your life, you reject life. And the moment you reject life you start looking for some other life and you become worried about whether it is going to be better than this life or not. It may be worse. That’s what hell is: the fear of a worse life than this. And that is nirvana: the greed for a better life than this. But there is no other life; there is no hell, no heaven. Only fools are interested in such things.
But you being an Indian are brought up with the idea of a geographical concept of heaven somewhere above and hell somewhere below. In fact, there is no below and no above. Existence is unlimited, unbounded; there is no bottom to it and no roof either. Something can be above the roof of Buddha Hall – for example, this plane passing by; this is “above” the roof. You are below the roof and the ground, the floor, is below you and the earth is below the floor. But existence has no roof, no bottom; it is unbounded on all sides.
What Indian scriptures say about hell is nothing but talk about America! If right now you dig a hole wherever you are sitting here and go on digging you will reach to America, because the earth is round. But the Americans also think in the same geographical way, that hell is below. If they look into the hole, you will be in hell. You will think they are in hell and they will think you are in hell. And only my sannyasins will laugh at the whole affair. Who is above and who is below?
These heaven/hell concepts have nothing to do with geography or space, and they don’t have anything to do with time either. So it is not a question of tomorrows, not a question of something after death; it is a question of understanding, it is a question of meditation, it is a question of becoming utterly silent, herenow. There is no other space than the here, and no other time than the now. These two words contain the whole existence: “now”, “here”.
Swami Rama Teertha used to tell a beautiful parable:
There was a great philosopher; he was an absolute atheist, continuously arguing against God. Twenty-four hours a day he was concerned with destroying the idea of God. Whosoever came to him he would try to convince.
On the wall of his sitting room in big letters he had written “God is nowhere” just to start an argument with anybody. Whosoever the visitor was he was bound to ask him, “What do you mean by writing this?” It was impossible to overlook it – such big, bold letters. The whole wall was covered with big letters: “God is nowhere.” Everybody was bound to ask, “God is nowhere? What do you mean? Are you an atheist?” And that was enough to start the argument. And he was really very skillful at arguing.
Atheists are always more skillful as far as argumentation is concerned than the theists. Theists are believers; they are gullible people. Atheists believe in logic and nothing else, and logic knows only how to deny. Logic has no idea of how to say yes. The word “yes” does not exist in the logicians’s mind, only “no”.
Then a child was born to the great atheist, and the child was learning language. It was difficult for him to read the whole word “nowhere”; it was such a big word. One day he was trying to read “God is nowhere.” Seeing that the word was too big, he divided it in two; he read instead “God is now here.” “Nowhere” turned into “now here”! And he must have been in a certain beautiful space, in a certain silent space; he started thinking about now and here, he became interested in the phenomenon of now and here. “What is ‘now’? What does it mean?” He had never experienced now and he had never experienced here.
And that is the case with millions of people in the world: they think of the yesterdays and the tomorrows; they never experience the now. They think of every other place; they never think, they never experience, they never taste what it means to be here.
This child opened some doors of the greatest mystery of life. The philosopher forgot about God, he forgot about arguing against God; his whole interest started revolving around now and here.
And there is only one way to know what is now and what is here, and that is meditation. One has to become utterly silent, because mind is always going either backwards or forwards; either it moves into memories or into imagination. It never stays here, it never remains in the now, for the simple reason that to be in the now means the death of the mind. It is afraid of the now, it is afraid of the present.
Slowly slowly he learned the art of being now and here. And the day he succeeded in being now and here he experienced God.
Jagdit Singh, my suggestion to you is forget about nirvana. Nirvana means something that will happen after this life – don’t be concerned about it. Be concerned about this moment, because this is the only true moment there is, and enter into it. And that very entrance is the entrance into nirvana. And once you have found it, nobody can take it away from you.
Then you can remain a judge, you can become a doctor, you can be whatsoever you want to be; it does not matter. There are great stories…
One Chinese parable says:
Lao Tzu used to send his disciples to learn the art of meditation from a butcher. The disciples were very puzzled – why the butcher? And Lao Tzu would say, “You go and see. The man lives exactly the way one should live, always herenow. It does not matter what he is doing. He is not the doer at all; he is just a watcher, he is a witness. It is a role that he is playing – he is acting as a butcher.”
And he was no ordinary butcher; he had been especially appointed by the Emperor of China to his own kitchen.
The Emperor asked Lao Tzu, “How to learn to be herenow? – because you are always talking about herenow.”
Lao Tzu said, “You need not ask me; your butcher is the right person. Even I send many of my disciples to watch him.”
The Emperor was shocked. He said, “My butcher! What does he know about it?”
Lao Tzu said, “You watch him work.”
And the Emperor watched. And it was really a tremendously ecstatic experience even to watch him working. His instrument, his knife, was so sharp, so shining, as if it was absolutely new, as if he had brought it for the first time.
The King asked – he was very interested in weapons – he asked, “From where did you get this beautiful knife?”
He said, “This knife was given to me by my father who died forty years ago. For forty years I have been working with this knife, cutting animals with this knife.”
“Forty years!” the King said. “And the knife looks so new, so fresh!”
The butcher said, “There is an art to it. If you are doing everything watchfully, alert, conscious, then no rust gathers – not only in you, not only on the inside, but even on the outside no rust gathers. I am fresh, my knife is fresh. I am young, my knife is young. And I am working as a meditation. This is just a role that I am playing.”
[…] So I am not too concerned about what you are doing. That’s why I never ask anybody, “What profession do you belong to? What you are doing?” Whosoever comes to me to be initiated I initiate, irrespective of his profession. Sometimes people themselves say, “Osho, before you initiate me let me tell you that I am a drunkard,” that “I am a thief,” that “I am a murderer” – this and that – that “I have just come out of the jail.” I say to them, “Don’t bother me with all these details. Whatsoever you have done in your sleep is all the same. Whether you have been virtuous or a sinner, whether you have been a saint or a devil incarnate, it does not matter.”
Unconscious acts are unconscious acts; they are all the same. One man can dream that he is a sinner, a murderer; another can dream he is a great saint. In the morning both will find that they were dreaming – all dreams are the same. So don’t bother me at all.
Not only that, people have taken sannyas who are imprisoned. From their jails they write to me: “We are imprisoned for life. Can we become sannyasins?” I say, “Why not? – because everybody is imprisoned for life! A few are imprisoned outside, a few are imprisoned inside the prison; it is the same. You are in a smaller prison, others are in a bigger prison; it does not matter. But if you want to become a sannyasin, the only thing is you will have to learn the knack of being herenow. You can become a sannyasin.”
There are many prisoners who have taken sannyas, from almost all countries. I have given them sannyas. Of course, they cannot wear orange; they write to me. “It is impossible because of the prison rules; we have to wear a certain dress.” I say, “No need to worry about it.”
One prisoner wrote to me from Germany: “I will carry an orange handkerchief; that much is possible. I will keep your mala in my pocket. I cannot wear it – it wouldn’t be allowed.” But I can understand; that’s okay. He writes: “But I will meditate every day.” And he has been meditating; for these two years he has been meditating regularly, again and again writing to me that “I am immensely happy. In fact, I feel it a great blessing that I have been imprisoned; if I was not imprisoned I may not have become your sannyasin. It is in the prison library that I came across one of your books.”
Now the prison has become his door to nirvana.
Jagdit Singh, don’t be worried. Don’t be concerned about those Akashic records and the stories that I was telling you. There is no need to change your profession. If you want to change it there is no need to find any excuse, you can change it. You can become a doctor, you can become anything you want, but don’t make it something great, don’t make it an ego trip. But start meditating.
If you can take a jump into sannyas you will have proved yourself a man of courage. Then right now you will be in nirvana. And I believe in nirvana now or never!
Osho, Tao: The Golden Gate, Vol 1, Ch 8, Q 4 (excerpt)