“An upanishad is a mystery school. And we are entering into an upanishad today,” declares Osho on August 16, 1986.
Could you please explain exactly what the work of the mystery school is?
My beloved ones…
You are blessed to be here today, because we are starting a new series of talks between the master and the disciple.
It is not only a birth of a new book, it is also a declaration of a new phase. Today, this moment: 7:00 pm, Saturday, the sixteenth of August of the year 1986 – one day this moment will be remembered as a historical moment, and you are blessed because you are participating in it. You are creating it; without you it cannot happen.
Books can be written, can be dictated to a machine, but what I am going to start is totally different. It is an Upanishad.
Long forgotten, one of the most beautiful words in any language, a very living word, ‘upanishad’ means sitting at the feet of the master. It says nothing more: just to be in the presence of the master, just to allow him to take you in, in his own light, in his own blissfulness, in his own world.
And that’s exactly the work of a mystery school.
The master has got it. The disciple also has got it, but the master knows and the disciple is fast asleep.
The whole work of a mystery school is in how to bring consciousness to the disciple, how to wake him up, how to allow him to be himself, because the whole world is trying to make him somebody else.
There, nobody is interested in you, in your potential, in your reality, in your being. Everybody has his own vested interest, even those who love you. Don’t be angry at them; they are as much victims as you are. They are as unconscious as you are. They think what they are doing is love; what they are really doing is destructive. And love can never be destructive.
Either love is or is not. But love brings with it all possibilities of creativity, all dimensions of creativity. It brings with it freedom, and the greatest freedom in the world is that a person should be allowed to be himself.
But neither the parents nor the neighbors nor the educational system nor the church nor the political leadership – nobody wants you to be yourself because that is the most dangerous thing for them. People who are themselves cannot be enslaved. They have tasted freedom, you cannot drag them back into slavery.
So it is better not to allow them to taste freedom, their own being, their potential, their possibility, their future, their genius. Their whole life they will grope in darkness, asking for guidance from other blind people, asking for answers from those who know nothing about existence, who know nothing about themselves. But they are pretenders – they are called leaders, preachers, saints, mahatmas. They themselves don’t know who they are.
But there are these cunning people all around, exploiting the simple, the innocent, poisoning their minds with beliefs of which they themselves are not certain.
The function of a mystery school is that the master – speaking or in silence, looking at you or making a gesture, or just sitting with closed eyes – manages to create a certain field of energy. And if you are receptive, if you are available, if you are ready to go on the journey of the unknown, something clicks and you are no more the old person.
You have seen something which before you had only heard about – and hearing about it does not create conviction but creates doubt. Because it is so mysterious… it is not logical, it is not rational, it is not intellectual.
But once you have seen it, once you have been showered by the energy of the master, a new being is born. Your old life is finished.
There is a beautiful story…. A great king, Prasenjita, had come to see Gautam Buddha. And while they were conversing, just in the middle an old Buddhist sannyasin – he must have been seventy-five years old – came to touch the feet of Gautam Buddha. He said, “Please forgive me. I should not interrupt the dialogue that is going on between you two, but my time… I have to reach the other village before sunset. If I don’t start now I will not be able to reach there.” The Buddhist monks don’t travel at night. “And I could not go without touching your feet because one knows nothing about tomorrow; whether I will be able again to touch your feet or not is uncertain. This may be the last time. So please, you both forgive me. I will not delay your conversation.”
Gautam Buddha said, “Just one question: How old are you?” Strange… out of context.
And the man said, “I am not very old – just four years.”
King Prasenjita could not believe it – a seventy-five year old man cannot be four years old! He might be seventy, he might be eighty, there is no problem. It is difficult to judge; different people grow old at a different pace. But four years is too much! In four years nobody can grow to be seventy-five years old.
Buddha said, “Go with my blessings.”
Prasenjita said, “You have created a problem for me by asking an unnecessary question. Do you think this man is four years old?”
Buddha said, “Now I will explain it to you. It was not unnecessary, it was not without a proper context. It was for you that I was asking him – really I was creating a question in you – because you were talking nonsense. You were asking stupid questions. I wanted some relevant question to come out of you.
“Now, this is relevant. Yes, he is four years old because our way of counting the age is from the day a person allows the master, allows his total being to be transformed, not holding back anything. His seventy-one years were simply a wastage; he has lived only four years. And I think you will understand that your sixty years have been sheer wastage unless you are reborn. And there is only one way to be reborn, and that is to come in contact, in deep communion with someone who has arrived. Then the real life begins.”
A mystery school teaches how to live. Its whole science is the art of living. Naturally it includes many things, because life is multi-dimensional. But you must understand the first step: being totally receptive, open.
People are like closed houses – you cannot find even a single window open, no fresh breeze passes through those houses. Roses are standing outside but cannot release their fragrance into the house. The sun comes every day, knocks on the doors, and goes back; the doors are absolutely deaf. They are not available for fresh air, they are not available for fresh rays, they are not available for fresh perfumes, they are not available for anything. They are not houses, they are graves.
An upanishad contains in itself the whole philosophy of a school of mystery.
The Upanishads don’t belong to Hindus; they don’t belong to any other religion either. The Upanishads are the outpourings of absolutely individual realized beings to the disciples.
There are four steps to be understood.
First, the student: he comes to a master but never reaches to a master; he reaches only to a teacher. It may be the same man, but the student is not there to be transformed, to be reborn. He is there to learn a little more knowledge. He wants to become a little more knowledgeable. He has questions but those questions are just intellectual, they are not existential. They are not his life concern, it is not a question of life and death. This type of person may go from one master to another master collecting words, theories, systems, philosophies. He may become very proficient, he may become a great pundit, but he knows nothing.
This is something to be understood. There is a knowledge: you can have as much as you want, yet you will remain ignorant. And there is an ignorance which is really innocence: you do not know anything, but still you have come to the place where everything is known. So there is a knowledge which is ignorant, and an ignorance which is wisdom.
The student is interested in knowledge.
But sometimes it happens: you may come to a master as a student, just out of curiosity, and you may be caught in his charisma, you may be caught by his eyes, you may be caught by his heartbeat. You had come as a student but you are turning to the second stage – you are becoming a disciple.
The student unnecessarily goes from one place to another place, from one scripture to another scripture. He collects much, but it is all garbage.
Once he comes out of the cocoon of studentship and becomes a disciple, then the wandering stops; then he is getting in tune with the master. He is being transformed without his knowing. He will know it only later on, that things are changing. The same situations that he had faced in the past he faces now with a totally different response.
Doubts are disappearing, rationality seems to be a child’s game. Life is much more, so much more that it cannot be contained in words. As he becomes a disciple he starts hearing something which is not said – between the words… between the sentences… in the pauses when the master suddenly stops… but the communication continues.
A disciple is a great improvement upon the student.
In the past, in the days of the Upanishads, those mystery schools that existed in India were called gurukula. A significant word – it means ‘the family of the master’. It is not an ordinary school, a college or a university. It is not a question of just learning; it is a question of being in love. You are not supposed to be in love with your university teacher.
But in a gurukula where the Upanishads flowered, it was a family of love. The question of learning was secondary, the question of being was important. How much you know is not the point; how much you are is the point. And the master is not interested in feeding your bio-computer, the mind. He is not going to increase your memory because that is of no use. That can be done by a machine, and the machine can do it better than you.
I have heard about a computer. The computer was fed with all kinds of astrological knowledge. And the scientist who worked for years on the computer, filling it with all possible knowledge of astrology, naturally wanted to ask the first question himself. And he wanted to ask a question which was really difficult. Apparently it was a simple question: he asked the computer, “Now you are ready. Can you tell me where my father is?”
The computer said, “It is better if you don’t know.”
He said, “What? Why should it be better if I don’t know?”
The computer said, “Don’t insist… but if you want to know, it is not my problem. Your father has gone fishing.”
The man said, “Nonsense. My father has been dead for three years. So my whole work is wasted!”
And the computer laughed. It said, “Don’t be sad, your work is not lost. The man who died three years ago was not your father. Go and ask your mother! Your father has gone fishing, he must be coming back. He is your neighbor.”
But even a computer can do things which the human memory cannot do. A single computer can contain a whole library. There is no need for you to read; you can just ask the computer and it will give the answer. And it is only very rarely that things will go wrong, if the electricity goes off or the battery runs down.
The master is not interested in making you into a computer. His interest is in making you a light unto yourself, an authentic being, an immortal being – not just knowledge, not what others have said, but your experience.
As the disciple comes closer and closer to the master, there comes another point of transformation – the disciple becomes, at a point, a devotee. There is a beauty in all these steps.
To become a disciple was a great revolution, but nothing compared with becoming a devotee. At what point does the disciple turn and become a devotee? He is so much nourished by the energy of the master, by his light, by his love, by his laughter, just by his sheer presence – and he cannot give anything in return. There is nothing that he can give in return. A moment comes when he starts feeling so immensely grateful that he simply bows down his head to the feet of the master. He has nothing else to give except himself. From that moment, he is almost a part of the master. He is in a deep synchronicity with the heart of the master. This is gratitude, gratefulness.
And the fourth stage is that he becomes one with the master.
There is a story about Rinzai. He was living with his master for almost twenty years, and one day he came and sat in the seat of the master. The master came; he looked at Rinzai sitting in his seat. He simply went and sat where Rinzai used to sit. Nothing was said, but everything was understood. Everybody was puzzled – “What is happening?” Finally Rinzai said to the master, “Are you not offended? Have I insulted you? Have I shown ungratefulness in any way?”
Rinzai laughed. He said, “Now you have become a master. You have come home; from the student to disciplehood, from disciplehood to devotion, and from devotion to mastery. I am immensely pleased that now you can share my work. I need not come every day now; I know somebody else is there with the same aura, with the same perfume.
“In fact, you have been very lazy. This should have happened three months before; you cannot deceive me. For three months I have been feeling that this man is unnecessarily holding my feet. He can sit on the seat, and for a change I can hold his feet. It took three months for you to gather courage.”
Rinzai said, “My God, I was thinking nobody knew about it, that it was just inside me. And you are giving me the exact date of when it started. Yes, it has been three months. I have been lazy and I have not been courageous enough. I was always thinking that this is not right, it doesn’t look right.”
The master said, “If you had waited one day more I was going to hit you on your head. Three months is enough time to decide, and you were not deciding… and existence has decided.”
An upanishad is a mystery school.
And we are entering into an upanishad today.
I was a teacher in the university. I left the university for the simple reason that it stops at the first step. No university requires you to become a disciple; the question of being a devotee or a master simply does not arise. And there are temples which, without making you a student or a disciple, simply enforce devotion on you – which is going to be false, without roots. And there are devotees in churches all over the world, in synagogues, in temples: not knowing anything about disciplehood, they have become disciples, they have become devotees.
A mystery school is a very systematic encounter with the miraculous.
And the miraculous is all around you, within and without both. Just a system is needed. The master simply provides a system to enter slowly into deeper waters, and ultimately to enter a stage where you disappear into the ocean; you become the ocean itself.
Osho, The Osho Upanishad, Ch 1, Q 1