Osho on Lao Tzu Sutra

Osho – We keep changing objects: from the first to the second and the third and so on, but our chase does not abate. And this chase is insatiable. It can never be satiated because the nature of desires is insatiable. Therefore, the sage seeks to satisfy the hunger that exists in the innermost centre of his being. He is anxious to satisfy this hunger.

Lao Tzu says: “Bring down your consciousness from the head to the heart.” As soon as it approaches the heart, a transformation of desires takes place. He says: “Take it still further down, towards the navel.” Then, desires become extinct and a new hunger is experienced. This hunger is called the hunger for spiritual-knowledge. As soon as the consciousness nears the navel, this hunger begins.

Then the question does not arise that I should be something or achieve something. Then the question is :I should know myself as I am. This is a completely new hunger, in which I want my true self to manifest before me. I do not wish to be anything or to achieve anything. I am eager to know myself as I truly am and as I have always been. The curtain should rise and I should see and know my true being.

This is the craving of the navel centre. As soon as a person brings down his consciousness to the level of his navel, an entirely new question confronts him: “Who am I?” All spiritual knowledge is an answer to this question. All yoga, all sadhanas are answers to this hunger, this craving. They are methods and processes to find an answer to it.

We are aware of all the other cravings within us: the craving for wealth, for honour, for position, but we are completely ignorant of the craving to know who I am, to know what I am! This is a hunger that is deeply embedded within the navel. When this hunger is awakened within a person, a new search begins in his life. There can be no search without the craving, without the hunger. We set out to find only that which we desire.

Lao Tzu says: “Therefore, the saint does not gratify his hunger for colour or taste or sound or touch. He does not fulfil the hunger of the senses. Rather, he removes his consciousness from the hunger of the senses and directs it to the navel, where lies embedded the actual thirst: the thirst to know oneself, to be oneself, to attain oneself.

“The saint negates the former and upholds the latter.” The saint does not exhort us to leave hunger altogether. He says that there is a hunger which is never satiated, however much you try. These are our external hungers. Try to understand this. All the hungers of our senses are instantaneous. You give the stomach food and in twenty-four hours you shall have to refill it because the food will have been used up by then. It is just like you fill gas in your car. It gives you a certain mileage and is burnt up in the process. The car will not work if you do not refill the gas. If you want to use the car, there is no other way except to fill the car with gas. Just so, you must give food to the body if you want it to work. The body has its requirements which need to be fulfilled in the course of the day. The body keeps on demanding fuel because the body is a machine that has to be filled everyday. But by filling the body, you cannot experience that fullness which never gets finished.

There is no cause for alarm however. This is as it should be, and there is no cause for anxiety. Some foolish people, however become the enemies of the body. “What is the use of gratifying the needs of the body?” they argue, because the body’s demands never end.” So they give the body as little as they can give if they wish to sustain it. They give the body the minimum of food, the minimum of water and rest. They are merely indulging in foolishness. Actually, they too desire to fill the desires of the senses for once and all and be done with it. This could not be, and hence the distress.

Your folly is that you are under the impression that by gratifying your desires everyday, some day you will reach a point of satiety. You and the one who denies the body are committing the same folly, but from different directions. You believe in gratifying the body with the hope of reaching the supreme gratification, whereas he denies the body in order to reach the same goal. Both he and you are completely unaware of the spiritual hunger that can only be gratified in a spiritual way.

Remember, petty thirsts are quenched temporarily. The hunger in your stomach is not the ultimate hunger. What is your thirst? Drink half a glass of water and it is satiated. But how long can the thirst be appeased by this much water? In no time, you are thirsty again. If the thirst is small, the result is small. We have no knowledge of the ultimate hunger.

There is only one supreme hunger: to know existence, to be one with it, to see it unfold before us. Call it truth or God, give it whatever name you please. “Remove your consciousness from the senses,” says Lao Tzu. Bring it down into the navel, bring it down from the head. The day it reaches the navel, will be the day of revelation. There will be a new thirst. This very thirst is your prayer, this very thirst is meditation. The search that arises from this hunger, is religion. When a sadhaka reaches the lake that gratifies this thirst, that lake is Paramatman.

Source – Osho Book “The Way of Tao, Vol 2”

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