Osho on Gurdjieff

George Gurdjieff

Question – Bhagwan, for years, there have been growth and consciousness movements. what is growth and consciousness really about? is consciousness something everyone has and can develop — or do some have it, and some don’t?

Osho – First: it was George Gurdjieff who for the first time in the whole history of man stated that everybody does not have the consciousness. Few have. The majority is without consciousness. It was simply a device. It is not a statement of truth. Because all ancient mystics have been saying, that everybody has consciousness. All that is to be done is to discover it, to become aware of it. They were stating the truth. But people are in such an unconscious state that they will misuse even a statement which contains truth — and they have misused.

Because two possibilities are there: if everybody has consciousness, and the only difference is that few people become aware of it, and that is what growth means. That is what consciousness is all about: becoming conscious of your consciousness. And then you start growing in a new dimension, which has never been available to you.

Ordinarily you grow only mentally, physically. The body gets old. The mind gets more and more knowledgeable. And these two are available to everybody. But the real growth begins when you start becoming aware of your potential of consciousness. Then you are moving from the individual to the universal, from the mortal to the immortal, from death to eternal life.

Because all the mystics have said it, people became very satisfied with the statement, that “The only difference is that we are not aware. A Gautam Buddha is aware. So we can become aware any moment. There is no hurry about it. There are much more important things that you have to do first. This can be done any time. There are things which you can do only today, but this is something that you can do tomorrow, day-after-tomorrow; in this life, in another life. There are thousands of lives available, so you can do it anytime.”

That gave them a dangerous safety. Gurdjieff has to hit hard, to make people aware, that “Forget all that nonsense. Only very few people have consciousness. And unless you strive for it, you can’t have it. So it is not to be postponed. Each moment is valuable, and it is the most important thing in life. There is nothing for which you can postpone it.”

In fact he wanted to create an urgency about it, and he had to lie. But his lie is out of compassion, seeing that people have made the truth a dangerous buffer. It protects them from growing spiritually, because they can always say, “There is not much problem. Consciousness I have got. Just I have to be conscious about it, so any day I can do it. And eternity is available.”

Gurdjieff was very perceptive, that whatever the mystics have been saying, was true but they have never looked what was the result. They wanted everybody to know, that “You have consciousness. There is no need to be worried about it, you can grow it.” They were simply stating a fact, without seeing what is going to be the effect on the sleepy people. In their sleep they will think, “There is no hurry, we can sleep a little more. It does not make much difference whether you wake up today or tomorrow. Right now sleep seem so beautiful, so why disturb it?”

Gurdjieff was the first man to become aware that to tell the truth to the sleepy people is a dangerous thing. They need to be shaken, shocked — and this is one of the greatest shocks, even to hear it: that you may not have any consciousness at all, that this death will be simply death, nothing will be remaining out of it. You will be simply dying totally. You are nothing but body and mind. You don’t have any eternal element in you. Because you have not produced it. It is not given by birth, that is Gurdjieff’s point. To insist, that “You are not given from the birth. You have to work for it and work hard, and you have to attain it before death. Otherwise your death will be complete death. So don’t wait for another life!”

And he really created panic in many intelligent people, because the man was of great power, of tremendous understanding. He knew what has to be done with a sleepy man better than anybody else. All these mystics were nice guys. He was not. They were simply saying what was true. It is not enough to say the truth.

Unless you bring people to the truth, your statements have no truth. If they prevent people from coming to truth, then you may be thinking you are saying the truth, but you are preventing millions of people from attaining it. Who is responsible for it? So Gurdjieff gave a totally new turn. People were shocked, because they have never heard, that “You don’t have any souls. All people don’t have. You have to create it. Then you can have it. It is your greatest creativity, greatest effort. So only very few people out of millions will be surviving death. Others will be dying like dogs, nothing will be surviving.”

He was emphatically trying to wake you up, that “Stop postponing. You don’t have it. And postponement is dangerous. Tomorrow you may not be here, so today is all that you have got. Create it — before death knocks on your doors. Do everything to create it.”

So I support him perfectly — knowing that he is lying. But his lying is far more compassionate, more understanding of man, than all the mystics of the past who have been telling the truth. But they were just nice people, good people, who never lie, but without taking in consideration what their statements are going to do to people. Gurdjieff was very much concerned, not much concerned what he says, much concerned what effect it creates in you. If that effect brings you closer to truth, then he was ready to say anything.

Very few people have understood Gurdjieff. The followers think he is telling the truth. The people who are against him see that he is telling certainly a lie because all the mystics cannot be wrong, and he is the only man who is saying such a thing. A single man against the whole history of mystics, of different races, different countries — who have all emphasized, that “You are born as consciousness.” — and he is simply denying them all.

But both have misunderstood him. Neither the critics can see his compassion, nor the followers can see that he is lying, but his lie is to produce a certain effect. He was a very scientific man. So I agree with him and I disagree with him. I know everybody has the soul. It has not to be created, and there is no way to create it. If you don’t have it, you don’t have it.

You can discover it only, you cannot create it. And that discovery can be helped by Gurdjieff’s statement. If you are shaken, and you cannot sleep anymore, knowing that you may not have the soul at all — because you have not encountered. One thing is certain. You are not aware, so you cannot deny him. You know your mind. You know your body, but you don’t know the knower, who knows the mind, who knows the body — but he is there. Knowing the mind, knowing the body is enough proof that there is a third entity in you, which knows these both. And it is from the very birth.

In fact, if you listen to children, in the beginning all the children of all the races use third person for themselves. They don’t say, “I am thirsty.” They say, “The baby is thirsty.” Or whatever is their name, that “Pinky is thirsty.” They use the third person. It is strange. It is universal. Not a single baby starts by using, that “I am thirsty.”

What will be the reason of it? The reason is that the innocent child is yet not programmed. He knows it perfectly well, that he is not thirsty, because he is aware in a certain way of his consciousness, and he is identified with his consciousness. The ego has not been created yet. And he knows, that “I’m not thirsty.” Because when he thinks of thirst, he thinks, “The body is thirsty. The mind is feeling the thirst.” Not so analytically, so logically, but in some innocent way every baby is aware, that there is something within him: his reality — which is never thirsty, never hungry. It is always the body, which he calls the baby, or whatever name the people have given to him. He also uses the name as if he is outside that personality.

Soon he will be losing that innocence. We won’t allow him to remain that innocent. We will, by the time he is three of four years old, force him to say, that “I am thirsty.” And the day he starts saying, “I am thirsty,” he is getting into a tremendously long journey of falsehoods. Soon he will get identified with the body and the mind, and will forget his real identity.

So when Gurdjieff said to people, that “You don’t have any soul”, nobody stood up to say to him, that “What are you talking about?” Nobody was capable. They have heard only that everybody has a soul. But what to do with Gurdjieff? He is challenging, that “You don’t have a soul. Unless you create, you can’t have it. You have deserve it, why you should have it by the birth? What you have done to get it?”

So I agree with him as a device, but I disagree with him because that is not a statement of truth. And you are asking, “What is growth and what is consciousness movement?” It is basically to understand that within you there is a line running into eternity. If you get disidentified with the mind and the body, you will suddenly become aware of a luminous eternity. That is the discovery of consciousness. And then growth happens.

Then you don’t simply grow old. You grow up. You mature. Then you don’t go on collecting thoughts, and thinking that you are becoming a great intellectual. No, then you grow in intelligence, not in intellectuality. You become more perceptive, more alert, more aware. You start seeing things which you have never seen before, within yourself and without you too.

There is a radical transformation of your whole personality. The personality disappears and individuality appears. All that is false in you goes on dropping, like dry leaves, dead leaves falling from the trees. And fresh, young, new leaves start coming out of the tree. You are always young, once you have discovered your consciousness. You are always fresh. You are always joyful. You have become part of the eternal dance of existence. I call it growth.

Source – Osho Book “Last Testament, Vol 6″

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