Desiderata brings you a message of freedom

'Desiderata' Discourses

Osho speaks on further lines from the Desiderata, starting with ‘Neither be cynical about love… Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.’

Painting by Siddhena

The first thing one has to remember is to be whole, not to be divided, not to become two persons. And the teaching “Be like somebody else” always creates two persons in you. One is just a facade, superficial, and you have to live a double life. In your drawing-room you are one person, in your bathroom you are another. You have to live a double life. At the front door you are totally different and at the back door simply somebody else. This split can become so deep that you completely forget: when you are one you forget the other, when you are the other you forget the first one.

This is what happens to schizophrenic patients. And now in the world schizophrenic patients are growing in number every day, as if humanity has come to a climax. Enough is enough! Thousands of years of stupid teachings have brought this sad state of affairs.

Neither be cynical about love…

Love is something natural. You can doubt God, there is no problem in it. In fact, one should doubt God because unless you doubt, the enquiry cannot begin. One should begin one’s enquiry into God as an atheist; to begin as a theist is to begin in a wrong way. You have already believed, now how can you enquire? I am not saying disbelieve in God, because that again is a belief, a negative belief. Begin with doubt – doubt is natural.

Every child is born with doubt; no child is born with belief, remember. No child comes as a Mohammedan or a Hindu or a Jaina or a Buddhist or a Christian or a Jew. Every child comes with thousands of questions; hence doubt is a God-given gift.

But Desiderata is right: don’t doubt love, because love is also a God-given gift; you bring it with you. Each child is loving, is very responsive towards love. Just smile at a child; the moment he feels your love he is ready to come to you – with great trust. Each child knows something of love.

Love and doubt are both God-given gifts, but you should not doubt love because to doubt love is dangerous. One natural gift will start destroying another natural gift. You will be in a conflict. And if you start doubting love you will start repressing it. If you start doubting love you will become incapable of loving, you will become closed.

The moment your loving becomes encapsulated you are lost, because you lose the very bridge between you and existence.

Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

A beautiful statement: a beatitude, a benediction, a blessing. Meditate over it. It is as perennial as the grass in the aridity and disenchantment. Your life is arid like a desert. If there is no love then your life will be dry, there will be no juice. There will be no flowering in your life, nothing of greenery. You will be just dry, hard.

And there is disenchantment, disillusionment at every step, because each desire is bound to come to disillusionment. You desire money and you hope that when the money is there you will be happy. The moment money is there, suddenly you realize you are not happy. Money is there, but the happiness has not followed it. Money cannot purchase happiness; it can purchase comfort.

I am not against money and I am not against comfort either, but comfort is comfort; happiness is a totally different phenomenon. Comfort is good, but it is not happiness, it is not blissfulness, it is not fulfillment. You can live comfortably and die comfortably, but that will not make you contented.

Money can purchase many things, but there are a few things it cannot purchase and those are the few things which are really valuable. The really valuable has no price, it is priceless, you have to deserve it.

Life is bound to be arid, desertlike, if you don’t have any love in you. It is going to be a continuous disillusionment, from one disillusionment to another. By the time you reach the very end you are nothing but a sad, sad story: “… a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”

People die utterly disillusioned. People die complaining against life. And you cannot expect gratitude from them towards existence; you cannot expect prayer, you cannot expect any thankfulness, because they have not known anything for which they can be thankful to existence. And the whole thing was missed because they missed love.

Love is …as perennial as the grass. Love is the only experience which transcends death. All that is God-given to you, which includes many things – intelligence is there, compassion is there, sympathy is there, creativity is there, sensitivity is there, and so on and so forth – but love is the only experience in which time disappears. Love is the only experience in which naturally you enter into meditation. Love is the only experience in which you are not afraid of death at all.

Lovers are the only people who can die joyfully, because they have known something, tasted something of the nectar. They have tasted something of immortality. In those few moments of love, windows have opened and they have experienced that which is beyond.

Desiderata trusts deeply in love, so never doubt love. Doubt God, nothing is wrong in it; doubt truth nothing is wrong in it; doubt everything else, but never doubt love, because if you doubt love you close all doors. If you don’t doubt love, then sooner or later everything else will come of its own accord.

It is love experienced that one day becomes prayer, and it is prayer that one day becomes the experience of godliness.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

People don’t seem to learn anything. They go on from one stupidity to another; from one disillusionment they immediately start moving towards another. They never seem to learn.

An intelligent person learns. An unintelligent person simply goes on dragging himself from one failure into another failure. He never sees the whole truth of all these experiences. How many times have you been disillusioned? How many times have you loved a woman? And each time something went wrong, and you started hoping again with another woman or another man… again the same thing happens. What do you learn out of it? Do you learn something or not? It is not a question of the woman; by changing the woman again and again you are not going to be fulfilled.

I have heard about a Hollywood actor who married forty times, and when he married the fortieth time he married one woman he had married already once before. But he could not recognize her, so much time had passed. He recognized her only because he recognized the mother-in-law – then he recognized that this was the same woman.

But this is not an exceptional experience. Whomsoever you marry you will be marrying the same woman. Mothers-in-law will be different, but the woman will be the same, the man will be the same, because you are the chooser – and you are as unconscious as before, you have not learned anything.

If your love fails, that simply means you don’t know what love is. It is not the fault of the woman, it is not the fault of the man. If you are a real enquirer you will see that “Something is wrong with my love. Either it is just pseudo – I am feigning it, I am just pretending – or my love has so many conditions that it destroys the other’s freedom, that it destroys and reduces the other person to a thing. Something is wrong with me, my love.”

But people always decide something is wrong with the woman, something is wrong with the man.

They hope that if they can have this palace they will be happy, but you will be in the same situation, you will be the same. Hence whether you live in a hut or in a palace does not matter; it all depends on you. The miserable person living in the hut will be miserable in the palace too. Maybe there he will have more space to be miserable! And vice versa is also true: there are many other fools who think if they renounce the palace and move to a beggar’s hut they will be happy; that is the same logic. If you are not happy even in a palace, you will not be happy in a hut either. Yes, more uncomfortable, but not more happy – unless you are a masochist, unless you enjoy torturing yourself; then it is a different matter.

Take kindly the counsel of the years… Life teaches you everything that you need. Life is the only university. Take the counsel of the years very kindly, very understandingly: … gracefully surrendering the things of youth. In fact, each day one has to surrender many things of yesterday; each day one has to die to the past. When you were a child you were so much interested in toys, all kinds of toys. When you became young you renounced those toys. In fact, you did not deliberately renounce; you simply became a grown-up and they withered away from your mind, they disappeared.

One day it was so difficult to go to bed without your teddy bear. But learning is difficult: the teddy bear has disappeared – now it is very difficult to go to sleep without your wife or without your husband. Now the wife is the teddy bear of the husband! The child has his own ways. For example, he will cling to the blanket and then only can he go to sleep. Now you have to make love before you can go to sleep – just a replacement, but nothing has been learned. A new habit, a new substitute, but you are the same childish person.

The child used to go to sleep only when the mother gave her breast to him; now you will play with the breasts of your wife. It is the same old foolishness! At least the child has some reason; you don’t have any reason at all. Have you seen the silliness of it? Playing with the breasts of your woman, can’t you see your silliness? What are you doing? The child has some reason – the breast is his nourishment – but you have not gone beyond it yet. You are still clinging to something – of course unconsciously.

Mrs. Glowicki was walking down the street with her right breast exposed. A man stopped her and with some embarrassment pointed it out.

“Oh, my God,” cried the Polish woman, “I left my baby on the bus!”

The child has some reason – it is his nourishment – but a grown-up person looking always at the breasts of women… or avoiding them, it is the same. If you are a monk you will avoid, but what are you avoiding? Whatsoever you are avoiding you want to see. And women know it perfectly well, so they go on pretending to have big breasts, getting artificial breasts, many artificial devices to make the breasts look young. The real breasts may be just hanging down touching their belly buttons, but fools are deceived.

Madhuri, one of my sannyasins, was telling me that she was traveling with her mother in Mexico by car; the mother was driving the car. Her mother is also a sannyasin. The mother’s breasts have been operated upon, both the breasts have been removed, so she has plastic substitutes for the breasts. And of course, plastic substitutes look far better, hidden behind the clothes.

When she stopped at a crossroad to enquire of the policeman which way led to a certain place, the policeman’s eyes became fixed on her breasts. She said, “Do you like them?”

The policeman was a little embarrassed, but he said, “Yes, they are beautiful!”

So she took them out and gave them to him!

But for centuries man has been obsessed with breasts: in paintings, in poetry, in sculpture. Go to Khajuraho and see the fantastic ideas about breasts. In fact, the breasts are so big one feels sorry for the woman. How will she be carrying such big breasts? Impossible it seems. Those women are just stone statues; that is good. If they were alive they would not be able even to walk – they would have to crawl! But who made these sculptures? The people who have not become grown-up yet; childhood is still there.

Only on the surface do you become a young man or a young woman, deep down the child is still trying to live. One becomes old, but youth persists psychologically. It is very rare to find an old man and wise. Dirty old men you can find many, but old men and wise very difficult, because the first necessity for wisdom is renouncing the past. Every day it has to be renounced, that is the counsel of the years: …gracefully surrendering the things of the past.

When you are young, surrender the things of your childhood. When you are old, surrender the things of your youth. Go on surrendering gracefully – and remember the word gracefully. Don’t escape, don’t run, don’t avoid, don’t close your eyes. That is not grace. That simply shows you are as ignorant as ever, just pretending to be holy. Gracefully means through understanding through real growing. Growing in age is not growing up, that is only aging. Growing up happens only when you go on renouncing the past every day, every moment really. Each moment die to the past that is no more. Come out of it so you can remain fresh, so you can remain clean, so you can remain clear. Only that clarity can encounter the ultimate truth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

That is the only moment when you can see whether you have real intelligence or not, when there is something sudden. Otherwise you are always prepared. Even a stupid person can be prepared if he knows beforehand what is going to happen. That’s why people want to live always in the familiar and in the known, because there they can have the joy of being intelligent.

Sudden situations for which you don’t have any ready-made answer in your memory store show whether you are intelligent, wise, or not.

A sergeant took his troop of new recruits to a nearby pine forest to practice tactics. “I want you to spread out among the trees,” he said, “and when I give the signal, you freeze. Imagine enemy planes overhead looking for you – one movement and they’ll blast you all to bacon! Okay, men – get to it!”

During the maneuvers the sergeant spotted, to his annoyance, a few fidgeting figures and noticed, very pleased, one promising young recruit so still he really seemed frozen. Hardly had the sergeant’s beady eye moved on than the same young soldier was suddenly tearing through the forest as if being chased by a whole army.

After rounding up the troop, the sergeant bellowed at the young recruit and demanded to know why he had suddenly bolted like a frightened rabbit after starting the exercise so well.

“Sorry, sarge,” said the young offender. “You see, a pair of squirrels got up my trouser legs.”

“That’s no excuse, boy!” bellowed the sergeant.

“Even while sitting on an ants’ nest, in the sight of the enemy, you have to be still!”

“But, sir,” protested the soldier, “It was fine until I overheard one squirrel say to the other, ‘Wow, look at these nuts! Let’s eat one now and store the other for the winter!’”

In sudden situations, how do you respond? Only that shows whether you have any intelligence or not. Nurture strength of spirit… And what is strength of spirit? Intelligence.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

The mind always enjoys imagining about misfortunes. The mind lives, feeds on misfortune, real or unreal.

Desiderata says:

…do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

So don’t fight with yourself, otherwise you will be fatigued; you will be always tired, in a state of low energy. And then dark clouds will surround you, nightmares will happen to you and loneliness.

Loneliness is felt only by those who have lost the capacity to love, who have forgotten the language of love. Then they are lonely – lonely, fighting with themselves fatigued, tired, they can be enslaved by the establishment.

Desiderata brings you a message of freedom, a simple but tremendously significant message. If you can follow it you will be a free man, you will know the joys of freedom. And they are the ultimate joys; there is nothing higher than that.

Be yourself.

Enough for today.

Osho, Guida Spirituale, Ch 9 – Part 3 of 3

Featured image: Painting by Sidd Murray-Clark –

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