The second childhood


Beloved Osho,

Many times sitting in your presence I am overwhelmed by a very childlike feeling. It seems so familiar, yet from a long time ago.

In these moments there feels no gap of you and me. I am like a child playing in your beautiful garden.

Beloved Osho, is this significant or am I already moving into my second childhood at the ripe old age of thirty-five?

P.S. You can scare me any time.


Prem Yatra, this great experiment through which you all are passing is basically to achieve your lost childhood again.

When I say “your lost childhood,” I mean your innocence, your eyes full of wonder, knowing nothing, having nothing, but yet feeling yourself at the top of the world. Those golden moments of wonder, joy, no tension, no worry, no anxiety, have to be regained, rediscovered. The sage is nothing but the circle that started in your birth coming full way, complete, back to the same point.

Of course the second childhood is far more valuable and significant than the first. In the first the innocence was there because of ignorance, so it was not pure and clear and in your possession; it was just a natural thing that happens to every childhood. The second childhood is your greatest achievement – it does not happen to all. The second childhood makes you innocent without ignorance, the second childhood comes through all kinds of experiences. It is mature, centered, ripe.

You should be blessed that you are feeling like that. The second childhood is just exactly the existential meaning of meditation, and from there on is the great pilgrimage of coming back home – which you have never really left, which is impossible to leave, because it is you. Wherever you will go, you will find yourself there.

It is not even a shadow which follows you because that will disappear if you are sitting in the shade. It will appear only when you are standing in the sunlight. Your shadow is not an eternal companion, and in times of darkness even your shadow itself leaves you. But in the times of light your shadow is back.

The same is the situation with friends, lovers: in the days of darkness they leave you just like the shadow; in the days of success, richness, they all come back. They are not really companions.

There is only one essential being in you which will be everywhere with you, without any condition. Even if you are in hell it doesn’t matter, it will be with you; if you are in heaven it doesn’t matter, it will be with you.

To find that essential core of your being is on the one hand utter innocence, and on the other hand is the greatest wisdom that has ever existed on the earth.

So your body may be becoming old, but if you are learning ways of being silent and peaceful and meditative and loving, you will not grow old. You will remain as young and as fresh as early morning dewdrops shining in the beautiful sunrise, looking far more precious than any pearls.

You should be happy and rejoice in your childhood. This is what Jesus meant when he said again and again, “Unless you are born again…” Even Christians have not got the meaning of his statement. They think literally that “unless you are born again” means that first you will have to die, and then you will be born, and on the judgment day Jesus will take you into paradise. That is not the meaning of the man.

What he is saying is: Unless you die right now as a personality and emerge as an innocent individuality, unscratched, unpolluted by the society and the people… This is your new birth, this is resurrection.

Enjoy your divine childhood, and when it is the right time I will scare you! You are too new; the childhood is not yet absolutely settled, and you can misunderstand if I scare you. Just wait…! That moment will also come. Right now your whole concern should be getting deeper into childhood.

I don’t scare anybody except Avirbhava, because she has a quality of a child. I don’t know why. Perhaps her father is dead, her mother is dead… I feel a tremendous feeling for her – and she is utterly innocent. So once in a while – not once in a while, almost every day – whenever I have the chance and she is close by, I try to do my best.

“I don’t want your son, Ernie, swimming in our pool anymore,” says Mrs. Meyer to her neighbor, Mrs. Jones.

“But what has my poor little Ernie done?” asks Mrs. Jones.

“He is constantly peeing in the pool,” says Mrs. Meyer angrily.

“Don’t be so hard on him,” says Mrs. Jones, “all children of his age do that!”

“Maybe they do,” says Mrs. Meyer, “but not from the diving board.”

Childhood has its beauties, because it does not know the etiquette, the manners, and all kinds of crap. It is so simple and so innocent and so spontaneous.

A man walked into a bar and was amazed to see a dog sitting at a table with three men playing poker. The man went over and asked, “Can that dog really read his cards?”

“Sure he can,” said one of the men. “But he’s not much of a player. Whenever he draws a good hand he wags his tail!”

That is absolutely innocent… the poor dog cannot contain his joy.

Two cockroaches were munching delicacies on top of a garbage pile when one of them began telling of some new tenants in the nearby apartments.

“I hear,” he said, “that their refrigerator is spotless, their floors are gleaming, and there is not a speck of dust in the whole place.”

“Please, please,” said the other cockroach, “not while I’m eating!”

Such bad news…!

It will be a tremendous revolution the day we start learning the languages of birds, of bees, of cockroaches. They all have their ways of communicating. But then the heart feels a little sadness, because we have not been able to learn even to communicate with human beings, and we have been here for millions of years. What kind of stupidity is this, that we don’t know the whole humanity as belonging to us and we belonging to it? All that man has done is simply butchering, murdering, war. The same energy, the same effort would have made this world the greatest miracle in the whole universe.

But we don’t understand each other. We may even be speaking the same language, but understanding is not necessarily expected; what is expected is misunderstanding. So people are hiding themselves, hiding their childhood, hiding their innocence, protecting themselves from everybody with defense measures; otherwise you will see children young and old all playing in this garden of the earth, rejoicing, laughing, giggling. Why this seriousness? Man has not gained anything out of this seriousness; he has simply lost everything – but he continues to be serious.

I am absolutely against seriousness.

I call it a psychological sickness.

Only a playful, childlike, innocent behavior is the right behavior, is what I would like to call virtuous behavior, religious, spiritual… not only human but divine.

The moment you are as innocent as a child you have transcended humanity, you have entered into the world of godliness.

Osho, The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here, Ch 16

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