The unhappiest man in the world

1001 Tales told by the Master

“Whatsoever it is, just be herenow – and a tremendous revelation is waiting for you. The revelation is that nobody can be unhappy in the herenow.”

Happy old man

Yes, all that is beautiful, all that is true and good happens though grace; it never happens through effort. All efforts are tiny. What can you do? We are so tiny, so atomic – what can we do? So limited – what can we do? If we try by our own effort to be happy, we will be getting more and more unhappy. That’s what is happening all over the world – everybody trying to be happy. The more you try, the more unhappy you become. Your whole effort seems to be wasted. Not only wasted – your whole effort seems to be bringing results that are just the contrary: you want to be happy and you become unhappy.

I have heard about an old man. He was one of the unhappiest men in the world. The whole village was tired, because he was always grumpy and complaining and always in a bad mood, always sour. And the more he advanced in age, the more acidic he became, the more poisonous his words. People avoided him because he was so unhappy that he became infectious. To not be unhappy with him would have been offensive to him. He created unhappiness in others also.

But one day, his eightieth birthday, suddenly the whole village could not believe it – a rumour spread like fire: ‘The old man is happy today, not complaining, even smiling, and his whole face has changed.’

The whole village gathered and they asked: ‘What is the secret? What has happened to you?’

The old man said: ‘Nothing. I tried to be happy for eighty years and I could not be – so I thought it is better to go without happiness. I tried hard to be happy and I could not be happy so I said that now it is enough – eighty years wasted — now I will do without happiness. That’s why I’m happy.’ […]

Yes, everything that is really worthwhile always happens through grace. […]

Ask the awakened, all those who have known say: ‘Ask for happiness and you will be unhappy.’ Accept unhappiness, and suddenly you are happy – because the effort is no longer there – and grace is always available. Through your effort you push it away. Don’t push it.

Osho, The True Sage: Talks on Hassidism, Ch 2


Man wants happiness, that’s why he is miserable. […]

The moment you desire for happiness, you have moved away from the present, you have moved away from the existential, you have already moved into the future – which is nowhere, which has not come yet. You have moved in a dream. Now, dreams can never be fulfilling. Your desire for happiness is a dream. The dream is unreal. Through the unreal, nobody has ever been able to reach to the real. You have taken a wrong train. […]

So, the first thing is not to dream, not to project. The first thing is to be herenow. Whatsoever it is, just be herenow – and a tremendous revelation is waiting for you. The revelation is that nobody can be unhappy in the herenow.

Osho, The Discipline of Transcendence: Discourses on the Forty-two Sutras of Buddha, Vol 3, Ch 9

Photo by Mathias Konrath on Unsplash

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