Osho on being with a Master

Question : Beloved Osho, I have heard you say that seeking the truth is as ecstatic as finding it. Does that not eliminate the search?

Osho : It does not eliminate the search. On the contrary, it enhances the search because it makes seeking as important as finding. It is a very fundamental question. Finding the truth is naturally thought to be ecstatic, even intellectually. But no one has paid attention to the search, the seeking. I am saying that seeking the truth is even far more ecstatic. All the failures, all the small successes, little glimpses, small open spaces, the few moments of ecstasy coming and coming….

Seeking is a very courageous phenomenon; it is growth. Finding is, really, fulfillment of seeking. The finding is the last point in your search, the fulfillment. Fulfillment has ecstasy, but it is now going to be permanent; it is going to be eternal. Soon you will become accustomed to it, it will be just natural. And then only you will be able to understand those few moments, far and wide, on the way, when you had seen just a little glimpse. It was very fleeting, but it was tremendous excitement. That excitement has brought you farther and farther… closer to the truth.

Attaining to the truth, the first moment of fulfillment is of enormous blissfulness; but soon it becomes a natural phenomenon. It is with you twenty-four hours a day — and it is with you forever. Only the person who has found the truth can say that seeking is far more important. It is not eliminating the search; it is making the search more beautiful, more challenging, more juicy than the truth itself — as if truth is just an excuse and the search is the real thing.

I am saying “as if”; it is not so. Truth is the real thing. The search is just a means, the truth is the end. But the means are not less important than the end. They should be given more importance than the end, because without the means you cannot find the end.

And on the way there are many spaces of great rejoicing. And because you are still moving between misery and joy, between despair and contentment… because of the contrast you can experience the contentment more clearly. It is as if something is written on a blackboard with white chalk. But when you have arrived it is something written on a white board with white chalk: there is no contrast.

I made that statement in order to make it clear… there may be persons who have the courage to go without the master. It is arduous — still they have to be encouraged. It is going to be difficult. It is going to be a long, long journey. Their journey has to be made as lovely as possible.

If it is simply a misery for many lives and nothing else — just hard work, and no glimpses and no joy — then it will be inhuman to ask anybody to go on that journey. Then it will be better to suggest he follow a guide who has the map, who knows the right routes; who knows on each crossroad where to move, where not to move, which road leads to the goal, and which roads there are that lead nowhere.

But I had not made the statement just to encourage them. That was just one part of it — it is true also. The journey is long, perhaps very long, but there are many places, many stops on the path where you will find great blissfulness. When the journey ends, you have come home: everything settles, the contrast disappears. Now there is no misery, no anger, no anguish; slowly, slowly you start forgetting even the taste of those things.

I have forgotten completely how anguish tastes, how anxiety tastes. I can describe it, but my description is not very authoritative. It is a memory which is fading every day. There is a beautiful story I must have told you. It is one of the poems of Rabindranath Tagore. The poet himself has been seeking God for centuries. Sometimes he finds him just as close as the horizon, and he rejoices that the home is coming closer… just a little more traveling and he will reach the ultimate, beyond which nothing exists.

But it goes on happening: he goes on moving, and the truth goes on moving. Sometimes, near a faraway star, he sees God. Although it is far away, because he can see him, he dances in ecstasy: “If I can see you, it is sure I am going to find you. How long can you go on playing this game of hide and seek? You try your best, hiding; I am trying my best, seeking — and I am determined to find you!”

And after many, many lives of search and these beautiful moments… and also moments of anguish, anxiety, because for years there are no signs of God, no footprints — he does not know where he has disappeared to. He even starts suspecting whether he had really seen him or imagined him. Was it an illusion, a projection, a dream? Was he awake or asleep? But again those moments come and he is on the path, moving with great courage and great trust, knowing that these moments are indubitably true.

And this goes on happening. Finally one day he reaches a house where, written on a name plate is: Here lives God. He is overjoyed — he dances, he sings — that he has reached God’s home. Now where can he hide?

Then he goes up the steps and is just going to knock on the door, and something within him prevents him. Something within him says, “Wait a minute! Think twice before you knock. If you find God then what are you going to do next? — because there is nothing left. This search has been your life for many, many lives — that was all your adventure, that was all your misery and your ecstasy. But if you find him — then give a little thought: What are you going to do?”

A great fear grips him. He takes his shoes off so that no noise is made on the steps. Who knows? — hearing the noise on the steps, God himself may open the door! And he runs away with his shoes, as fast as he can, as far away as he can.

And then he starts searching for God again — with the same joy, with the same agony, with the same ecstasy. And now he knows the house of God; so he avoids the house of God and searches for him everywhere else, where he is not! Because the search is so beautiful, he sacrifices finding for the search.

It is a very strange poem — nothing like this has ever been written in the whole history of literature — but greatly significant. He knows perfectly where God is. He can go directly and knock on the door, but he is not going to do that — he avoids him.

First it was God who was hiding, and he was seeking. He still pretends to seek, but the reality is that he is hiding and God is seeking. Because in strange places… he comes around his home, and then he has to escape from there. It has great insight. The seeking is not eliminated by my statement. It is enhanced; so much so that the sought becomes secondary, and the seeking becomes primary, more significant.

And I made that statement so that if somebody wants to choose to move alone, I should be of some help to him — even though he is going to move alone, even though he does not want to have a master. But the master’s compassion cannot see him moving on a path which is going to be dangerous and long. The master cannot do anything else on the path, but he can at least give him an insight, that finding is not such a great thing as seeking is.

And unless this enters into the heart of the seeker who is going to be alone, he cannot remain alone. I am not saying he should remain alone — he can choose a master. I am simply making it clear that both are possible.

There have been both types of people. There are old, traditional people, who all insist that without the master you cannot find — categorically, without any exception. And there is J. Krishnamurti, against the whole tradition, saying that you cannot find if you have a master — again, categorically, without any exception — you can find only alone.

I am saying something against both, that they are making absolute statements which are not true. There are always exceptions; and particularly in the world of spirituality where freedom is the law, you cannot enforce such categorical statements — both are taking away that freedom. The tradition is preventing you from moving alone; J. Krishnamurti is preventing you from moving with a master.

My own experience is that ninety-nine percent of the people will move with a master. Perhaps one percent will be able to move alone. But both are valid ways, and I don’t see any contradiction. Even people like Jesus had a master. He was initiated by John the Baptist. He was a disciple, and he became a master only because John the Baptist was imprisoned and finally beheaded. And Christianity has made so much fuss about Christ’s crucifixion that nobody thinks of his master, who was tortured more. For years in jail he was tortured, and then he was beheaded.

Jesus’ crucifixion has been magnified so much that everybody has forgotten John the Baptist. And he was a man of immense insight. Even from jail, when he heard about statements and actions of Jesus, he doubted Jesus’ enlightenment. And he sent a messenger — a guard who had fallen in love with the old master — to Jesus saying, “Are you really the messiah for whom the Jews have been waiting?”

Now this question from the master creates great suspicions. It is equivalent to asking him, “Are you enlightened?” This is a Jewish way of asking the same thing. And when a man like John the Baptist asks such a question, it is not of small significance.

He was not a traditionalist, he was not orthodox; he was more revolutionary than Jesus. His words were just pure fire. It was his words and his revolutionary statements that had drawn Jesus and thousands of other people to be initiated by him. Jesus had a master — and still missed.

Gautam Buddha had not only one master but many masters. One master he exhausted of all that he knew. He practiced, and practiced so perfectly that the master said, “Now I have nothing else to teach to you. You should move to some more developed spiritual being. I can help you only so far.”
“But,” Buddha said, “the goal has not arrived.”

The master said, “It has not arrived for me either — I am on the path. So whatsoever I knew, whatsoever path I had traveled, I showed to you. And you have been so quick and so perfect that you have caught up with me. Others are not quick, others are lazy. They still think that I am the perfect master because I am still ahead of them. But to you I cannot be untrue. You move on — there are people who have gone far ahead of me.”

And Buddha continued to move for six years, from one master to another master. And whatever they said, he did it — did it with his totality and intensity. But the goal was as far away as ever. And finally each master had to make an apology to him: “I should have told you before that I have not reached yet — I am on the way. I can teach you only up to the point where I have reached.”

After moving from one master to another…. The last master was Allah Khallum, who was perhaps the best of all that he had been with. He remained for two years with him, but then the same thing happened.

Allah Khallum said, “This is where you have to depart from me. And I would suggest that now you start the search alone, because I don’t see anybody who can take you further than I have taken you. So drop this whole idea of a master and being a disciple — and you can destroy any master because you are such a perfect disciple.

“The masters are living and enjoying great dignity and power because of the idiots. They don’t do anything; they just hang around. But you are so intent to reach that even we start feeling that here is a man who should not be deceived.

“And anyway we cannot deceive you. All that we know, we have given to you. We don’t know whether it leads to truth or not, because how can we know? — we are also in the middle of the way. Whether it leads to somewhere or not can be known only when we have reached to the end. And I know almost all the masters around. It is better you start moving alone — on your own.”

Perhaps Buddha is the first person who reached to the goal without a master. But one cannot say that those masters did not help him. They did not help him to the end — they may have helped him only in small ways — but they certainly helped him to eliminate many things. They certainly made it clear to him that it is better to go alone, to take the risk.

Perhaps that is the greatest revolution — which has not been taken note of — that Buddha reached alone, without a master, that his enlightenment was not recognized by any master. It was his self-revelation — there was nobody to recognize him.

Krishnamurti has a similarity to Buddha, but also many dissimilarities. He had many masters but they were not chosen by him, they were forced upon him. He was just a puppet in the hands of the Theosophists, so whatsoever they wanted to do with him, they did. And when they were going to declare him a world teacher — he is certainly an honest man — he refused… just because of his honesty. Otherwise he was going to be the richest religious leader in the world, having the greatest following. And he was going to found a new religion. But the man is absolutely honest; he simply refused — he could not be anybody’s master.

Since then he has been teaching against the masters, because those masters were forced upon him. Gautam Buddha has not said a single word against his masters. In fact he has praised Allah Khallum, that he was a man of great insight, understanding, and that he helped him to go alone, and he was grateful for that.

But Krishnamurti simply condemned all his masters because they were forced on him, and he must have been accumulating resentment. And in this whole affair of Krishnamurti rejecting the world teacher’s role — condemning all the masters, condemning the whole idea that a master is a necessity — he went to the other extreme, saying that a master is a hindrance.

In this whole affair one completely forgets whether Krishnamurti is enlightened or not. Masters are wrong — certainly he can say that, but only about the masters he had. None of them was enlightened; none of them ever claimed to be enlightened.

His declaration that he is not going to be the world teacher shows only half the truth. It is sincere that he refused, but the question is: why is he refusing? Is he not capable of being a world teacher — is he not yet enlightened? — or is the very existence of teachers and masters wrong? He has taken the second idea.

My feeling is different. I can see his honesty in refusing to be the world teacher, but I also see that he is not stating the whole truth. He should also have said, “I am not yet enlightened — how can I be a world teacher?” That half-truth nobody has asked him about — and he has never answered it. He turned the whole thing against the very idea of masters, that it is wrong, and that’s why he is refusing to be a master.

So without making a clear-cut statement that “I am enlightened,” it gives you just an indirect idea that the man must be enlightened — he is so honest that he rejects the world teachership, and all the glory, all the money, all the land and the castles that were coming with it. But just to be honest does not mean you are enlightened. Honesty is a good quality; it can be in an enlightened person. It will help him to become enlightened, but it is not equivalent to it.

Since then Krishnamurti has been hammering against masters. And he knows only his own masters; he has not known any enlightened master. That gives me the clear-cut idea that he has been traveling alone but is still traveling. And because he is so full of complaints against other people, his traveling has become not a pilgrimage of joy, it has become a migraine. For forty years he has suffered from migraine. That migraine seems to me to be certainly connected with his strange situation.

He is not enlightened; thousands of people think he is enlightened. He has never said it, but they have accepted it because he rejected the world teachership. That is not any proof of enlightenment, but it can be the proof of honesty and unenlightenment. He could see that he was not capable of being a world teacher: he himself is in darkness, and he is not going to deceive the world. He has to be praised for it.

But then a mystery has been surrounding him. And for these so many years — now he is ninety — he has not said, on even a single occasion, anything about his enlightenment or unenlightenment. And he has been speaking all this time. It is very strange! And all the speeches are about enlightenment! But he never brings himself into it. He talks about enlightenment as an objective — but never as a subjective — experience.

So there are only these two instances: Buddha, who had masters of his own choice, never said a single word against them. He was simply all praise that they were all honest — whatever they could do, they did. And then finally he went alone and found the truth.

The second instance is J. Krishnamurti, who condemned his own teachers. They were really worth condemning; they deserved it. He refused the world teachership, showed some integrity of personality, some sincerity and honesty — but he has never said anything about his own enlightenment, this way or that. And his whole life he has never looked ecstatic, joyous; even smiling is difficult for him. You can see him being angry against traditions, against teachers; you can see him being angry against the audience, pulling his hair because they do not understand what he is saying.

Now, there is no need to be angry: it is their choice to understand or not to understand; it is your choice to speak or not to speak. If people don’t understand you, don’t speak! And if you speak and they don’t understand, it has nothing to do with you. You enjoyed speaking; they enjoyed listening. Whether they understand it or not is their problem. Why should you get into such a rage? — as if something very valuable is at stake and they should understand you!

But this is the attitude of the masters, the very stern and hard masters. Krishnamurti had denied being a world teacher, but he has been doing the same job of teaching the whole world — and being harsh and hard with innocent people who want to understand something about life. And what can they do if they cannot understand you? Perhaps the fault is yours. Perhaps the way you present your ideology is not the right way. Perhaps you make it too complicated and too intellectual. And people are not so complicated and so intellectual.

Most people have attained through the masters. Buddha attained alone, and that is a milestone. Krishnamurti has tried… but is still traveling, and traveling in anguish, not in joy. That means the search for the truth has become a hardship for him. Perhaps it has become just intellectual gymnastics.

I have never been to any master in any of my lives as a disciple. I have met a few masters, but I have always made it clear to them that I am not the disciple type: “If you can allow me to be with you, to have a friendship with you, I will be happy. But if you reject me, that too is perfectly acceptable, because that is your choice. But I have to make it clear from the very beginning that I am not anybody’s disciple.”

The journey has been very long but has been tremendously rewarding. I would have loved it to be still longer, because the moment you find the truth, everything stops. Time stops, movement stops; you start living in an eternal moment.

It is peaceful, silent, very still; but you cannot call it ecstasy — the way it was possible to call it on the way — because ecstasy can exist only by the side of agony. It is not any of those things that can exist only with their opposite. It is utterly quiet. It has tremendous beauty, it is fulfillment — nothing can be added to it — but knowing this state and remembering the moments of ecstasy while seeking, I would have preferred the journey to have been a little longer.

Once you have attained to the truth, then only can you see what was the beauty of the seeking, the search. But now there is no way to go back. It is easy in Rabindranath Tagore’s poem to take your shoes off and run away. But it is not possible — that part is possible only in poems and stories. In reality it is not possible: you cannot get away from the truth. Once you have got it, you have got it; now there is no way to lose it, no way to again create a game of hide and seek.

So I have made the statement simply to make it clear that you can choose to be alone on the path — it has its own beauty. You can choose to be with a master — it has its own efficiency. But ninety-nine percent of the people have attained through masters.

Perhaps once in a while somebody has stumbled alone into the temple of truth. That too seems to be very accidental, because without a guide and without a map…. And this vast existence… searching for something when you do not know exactly what it is, where it is, whether it is or not, and running in all directions madly. It has its hardships; it has its beautiful oases in the desert.

All I want is that everyone should be a seeker; whether he is with a master or alone is a secondary thing. If one chooses to be alone one should not choose it out of any egoistic reasons; otherwise one’s journey will be simply a journey of agony, self-torture. And one will not have any moments of ecstasy, any glimpses — and there is no way that one will ever reach, even by accident.

He should be clear, if he is going alone he is not going because of his ego: he is going alone because he wants to be alone, and he loves to be alone; he enjoys to be alone, to him that aloneness is simply a joy. For the ego, aloneness is never a joy. That’s why I am making those conditions. Ego enjoys only when it subordinates somebody, when it can say, “I am higher than you, bigger than you.”

Ego can never enjoy aloneness; in aloneness what is the point of having an ego? And it is the ego which can prevent somebody being a disciple, because that means you are putting somebody above you; you are surrendering yourself.

So ego can choose to be alone, but then it is choosing a self-torture, a hell. And that is what I have seen in people who have become interested in J. Krishnamurti’s philosophy. They are all egoistic intellectuals. The reason they have chosen J. Krishnamurti’s philosophy is that he allows them not to submit to any master — but they are not happy.

I have known many of his disciples, old disciples. One woman used to come to me, she must have been eighty. She has been listening to him from the very beginning, and I asked her, “Listening to Krishnamurti for so many years, what is the need to come to me? I am a master.”

And what she said is applicable to many others, because with many others the same thing happened. She said, “Yes, I have been listening to him, and I have been thinking to find the truth alone. But how to find it alone? Where to go? What to do? It becomes just an intellectual game.”

So I said, “Then it will be difficult for you, because if I say to you to become a sannyasin, to be a disciple, then you will bring all that gibberish that you have learned: that no master is needed, that one can find the truth alone. So first you be clear; I don’t take any nonsense. If you come to me, then leave Krishnamurti behind; otherwise I have no problem — you follow Krishnamurti, you listen to him. And you have listened long — you are eighty years old — it is only a question of a few years more.”

And the same has been the case with many intellectuals in India. They became interested in Krishnamurti for the simple reason that he gives a shelter to their ego. But that is the problem: with the ego you cannot go in search of truth; then you will be sad.

So nobody in these sixty, sixty-five years of Krishnamurti’s teaching has been able to become enlightened. And the strangest thing is that if it is true that no master is needed — if it is absolutely true that a master is a hindrance — then Krishnamurti should not have spoken at all. Because that is playing with people’s lives. You go on saying to them that no master is needed; and in their unconscious you become their master.

So it is a strange game. You go on saying, “No master is needed,” and they repeat like a parrot, “No master is needed,” but their repetition that “no master is needed” is not their own understanding, is not their own finding. It has been given by somebody else: they have followed a master. All Krishnamurti people are repeating simply verbatim what Krishnamurti says. They have not been able to add even a single word to it. It is very surprising.

I have seen disciples of masters, but I have not seen in those disciples such puppet-like repetition — just gramophone records. Even though they are with a master they have a certain independence. If the master is true, they have full independence. But with Krishnamurti there is no master, and all the people who have been listening to him are simply repeating, word for word, giving every argument that Krishnamurti has given.

I have asked these people, “Have you found any argument on your own? Have you looked into what you are saying, that it is not yours? Then you have a master and a very dangerous one, because he gives you the idea that you are independent — so you enjoy your ego — and still you go on repeating his words.”
And all borrowed knowledge fits with the ego very easily. One’s own experience does not fit with the ego; they cannot coexist.

My position is very realistic: Most of the people have attained with masters, and there is nothing wrong in it. A few people have attained without a master — there is nothing wrong in it. The whole question is to attain; which route you choose — shorter or longer — depends on you. But I am not eliminating the search, I am making it available to all kinds of people. I am not making it a monopoly — either this or that.

I don’t believe in either/or.
I say both are valid.

Source – Osho Book “Light on the Path”

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