Masters are fingers pointing to the moon


“By clinging to the fingers you will not see the moon, remember. There are even greater fools who start biting the fingers… Forget the finger and look at where it is pointing.” (Ah This! Ch 1, part 2)


Masters don’t teach the truth; there is no way to teach it. It is a transmission beyond scriptures, beyond words. It is a transmission. It is energy provoking energy in you. It is a kind of synchronicity.

The Master has disappeared as an ego; he is pure joy. And the disciple sits by the side of the Master slowly slowly partaking of his joy, of his being, eating and drinking out of that eternal, inexhaustible source: ais dhammo sanantano. And one day… and one cannot predict when that day will come; it is unpredictable. One day suddenly it has happened: a process has started in you which reveals the truth of your being to you. You come face to face with yourself. God is not somewhere else: he is now, here.

The Masters illuminate and confirm realization. They illuminate in a thousand and one ways. They go on pointing towards the truth: fingers pointing to the moon. But there are many fools who start clinging to the fingers. By clinging to the fingers you will not see the moon, remember. There are even greater fools who start biting the fingers. That is not going to give you any nourishment. Forget the finger and look at where it is pointing.

The Masters illuminate. They shower great light – they are light – they shower great light on your being. They are like a searchlight: they focus their being on your being. You have lived in darkness for centuries, for millions of lives. Suddenly a Master’s searchlight starts revealing a few forgotten territories in you. They are within you; the Master is not bringing them – he is simply bringing his light, he is focusing himself on you. And the Master can focus only when the disciple is open, when the disciple is surrendered, when the disciple is ready to learn, not to argue, when the disciple has come not to accumulate knowledge but to know truth, when the disciple is not only curious but is a seeker and is ready to risk all. Even if life has to be risked and sacrificed the disciple is ready. In fact, when you risk your sleepy life, you sacrifice your sleepy life, you attain to a totally different quality of life: the life of light, of love, the life which is beyond death, beyond time, beyond change.

They illuminate and confirm realization. First the Master illuminates the way, the truth that is within you. And secondly: when you realize it, when you recognize it… It is very difficult for you to believe that you have attained it. The most unbelievable thing is when realization of truth happens to you, because you have been told that it is very difficult, almost impossible, and that it takes millions of lives to arrive at it. And you have been told it is somewhere else – maybe in heaven – and when you recognize it within yourself, how can you believe it?

The Master confirms it. He says, “Yes, this is it!” His confirmation is as much needed as his illumination. He begins by illuminating and ends by confirming. The Masters are evidence of truth, not its proof.

Meditate over the subtle difference between evidence and proof. The Master is an evidence; he is a witness. He has seen, he has known, he has become. You can feel it; the evidence can be felt. You can come closer and closer; you can allow the fragrance of the Master to penetrate to the innermost core of your being. The Master is only evidence; he is not proof. If you want any proof… there is no proof.

God can neither be proved nor disproved; it is not an argument. God is not a hypothesis, it is not a theory: it is experience. The Master is living evidence. But to see it you will need a different approach than you are accustomed to.

You know how to approach a teacher, how to approach a professor, how to approach a priest. They don’t require much because they simply impart information which can be done even by a tape recorder or by a computer or by a gramophone record or by a book.

I was a student in a University, I never attended the classes of my professors. Naturally, they were offended. And one day the head of the department called me and he said, “Why have you joined the university? We never see you, you never attend any classes. And remember: when the examination time comes, don’t ask for an attendance record – because seventy-five percent attendance is a must to enter into the examination.”

I took hold of the hand of that old man and I said, “You come with me – I will show you where I am and why I have entered the university.”

He was a little afraid of where I was taking him and why. And it was a well-known fact that I was a little eccentric! He said, “But where are you taking me?”

I said, “I will show you that you have to give me one hundred percent attendance. You come with me.”

I took him to the library and I told the librarian, “You tell this old man – has there ever been a single day when I have not been in the library?”

The librarian said, “Even on holidays he has been here. If the library is not open then this student goes on sitting in the garden of the library, but he comes. And every day we have to tell him, ‘Now please, you leave, because it is closing time.'”

I told the professor, “I find the books far more clear than your so-called professors. And, moreover, they simply repeat what is already written in the books, so what is the point of going on listening to them second-hand? I can look in the books directly!”

I told him, “If you can prove that your teachers are teaching something which is not in the books, then I am ready to come to the classes. If you cannot prove it, then keep it in mind that you have to give me one hundred percent attendance – otherwise I will create trouble!”

And I never went to ask him; he gave me one hundred percent attendance. He followed the point; it was so simple. He said, “You are right. Why listen to second-hand knowledge? You can go directly to the books. I know those professors – I myself am just a gramophone record. The truth is,” he said to me, “that for thirty years I have not read anything. I just go on using my old notes.”

For thirty years he has been teaching the same thing again and again and again; and in thirty years’ time, millions of books have been published.

You know how to approach a teacher, you know how to approach a book, you know how to approach dead information, but you don’t know how to approach a Master. It is a totally different way of communing. It is not communication, it is communion – because the Master is not a proof but an evidence. He is not an argument for God, he is a witness for God. He does not possess great knowledge about God, he knows. He is not knowledgeable, he simply knows.

Remember, to know about is worthless. The word ‘about’ means around. To know about something means to go on moving in circles, around and around. The word “about” is beautiful. Whenever you read ‘about’, read ‘around’. When somebody says, “I know about God,” read: he knows around God. He goes in a circle. And real knowing is never about, never around; it is direct, it is a straight line.

Jesus says: “Straight is the path…” It does not go in circles; it is a jump from the periphery to the center. The Master is an evidence of that jump, that quantum leap, that transformation.

You have to approach the Master with great love, with great trust, with an open heart. You are not aware who you are. He is aware who he is, he is aware who you are. The caterpillar might be said to be unaware that it may become a butterfly. You are caterpillars – bodhisattvas. All caterpillars are bodhisattvas and all bodhisattvas are caterpillars. A bodhisattva means one who can become a butterfly, who can become a Buddha, who is a Buddha in the seed, in essence. But how can the caterpillar be aware that he can become a butterfly? The only way is to commune with butterflies, to see butterflies moving in the wind, in the sun. Seeing them soaring high, seeing them moving from one flower to another flower, seeing their beauty, their color, maybe a deep desire, a longing arises in the caterpillar: “Can I also be the same?” In that very moment the caterpillar has started awakening, a process has been triggered.

The Master / disciple relationship is the relationship between a caterpillar and a butterfly, a friendship between a caterpillar and a butterfly. the butterfly cannot prove that the caterpillar can become a butterfly; there is no logical way. But the butterfly can provoke a longing in the caterpillar – that is possible.

The Master helps you to reach your own experience. He does not give you the Vedas, the Koran, the Bible; he throws you to yourself. He makes you aware of your inner sources. He makes you aware of your own juice, of your own godliness. He liberates you from the scriptures. He liberates you from the interpretations of others. He liberates you from all belief. He liberates you from all speculation, from all guesswork. He liberates you from philosophy and from religion and from theology. He liberates you, in short, from the world of words – because the word is the problem.

You become so much obsessed with the word “love” that you forget that love is an experience, not a word. You become so obsessed with the word “God” that you forget that God is an experience, not a word. The word “God” is not God, and the word “fire” is not fire, and the word “love” is not love either.

The Master liberates you from words, he liberates you from all kinds of imaginative philosophies. He brings you to a state of wordless silence. The failure of religion and philosophy is that they all become substitutes for real experience. Beware of it!

Marlene and Florence, two Denver secretaries, were chatting over lunch.

“I was raped last night by a scholar,” whispered Marlene.

“Really?” said Florence. “How did you know he was a scholar?”

“I had to help him.”

Scholars are crippled people, paralyzed, hung up in their heads. They have forgotten everything except words. They are great system-makers. They accumulate beautiful theories; they arrange them in beautiful patterns, but that’s all they do. They know nothing – although they deceive others and deceive themselves, too, that they know.

A man went into a restaurant to have some lunch and when the waiter came he said, “I will have a plate of kiddlies, please.”

“What?” said the waiter.

“Kiddlies,” said the man.

“What?” said the waiter again.

So the man picked up the menu and pointed at what he wanted. “Kiddlies,” he repeated firmly.

“Ah,” said the waiter. “I see. Kidneys. Why didn’t you say so?”

“But,” said the man, “I said kiddlies, diddle I?”

It is very difficult to pull them out. They live in their own words. They have forgotten that reality has anything else in it but words. They are utterly deaf, utterly blind. They can’t see, they can’t hear, they can’t feel. Words are words. You can’t see them, you can’t feel them, but they can give you great ego.

A cannibal rushed into his village to spread the word that a hunting party had captured a Christian theologian.

“Good,” said one of the cannibals enthusiastically, “I have always wanted to try a baloney sandwich.”

Beware of getting lost in philosophy and religion if you really want to know what truth is. Beware of being Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan, because they are all ways of being deaf, blind, insensitive.

Three deaf British gentlemen were traveling on a train bound for London.

The first said, “Pardon me, conductor, what station is this?”

“Wembley, sir,” answered the conductor.

“Good Lord!” exclaimed the second Englishman. “I am sure it is Thursday.”

“So am I,” agreed the third. “Let us all go into the bar car and have a drink.”

That’s how it goes on between professors, philosophers, theologians. They can’t hear what is being said. They have their own ideas and they are so full of them, so many thick layers of words, that reality cannot reach them.

Osho, Ah This! Ch 1 (part 2)
Read previous part: Zen is just Zen

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