Osho on P.D. Ouspensky’s Tertium Organum

Osho – Second is P.D. Ouspensky’s TERTIUM ORGANUM. It is a miracle that he wrote it before he had even heard of Gurdjieff. He wrote it before he knew what he was writing. He understood it himself only afterwards, on meeting Gurdjieff. His first words to George Gurdjieff were: ”Looking into your eyes I have understood TERTIUM ORGANUM. Although I have written it, now I can say that it has been written through me by some unknown agency I was not aware of.”

Perhaps it was that rascal Gurdjieff who wrote it through him, or maybe somebody else whom the Sufis call the Ultimate Rascal, who has been doing miracles – miracles like TERTIUM ORGANUM. The title means ’the third canon of thought’. The Sufis give that ultimate agency a name; it is not a person but only a presence. I can feel that presence right now, here… this very moment.

They call it a certain name, because everything has to be given a name, but I will not say it, not in the presence of this beauty, this splendor… of this exuberance… of this exaltation… of this ecstasy. I said it is a miracle that Ouspensky could write TERTIUM ORGANUM, one of the greatest books in any language of the world.

In fact it is said, and rightly so – remember, I emphasize and repeat, rightly so – that there are only three great books: the first is ORGANUM written by Aristotle; the second is THE SECOND ORGANUM written by Bacon; and the third, by P.D. Ouspensky, TERTIUM ORGANUM. ’Tertium’ means third.

And Ouspensky has, very mischievously – and only a saint can be so mischievous introduced the book by saying, without any ego, simply and humbly, that ”the first exists but not before the third. The third existed even before the first came into existence.”

Ouspensky seems to have been spent, totally and utterly spent, into TERTIUM ORGANUM, because he never could reach to the same height again. Even reporting Gurdjieff in IN SEARCH OF THE MIRACULOUS he has not attained to the same height. When he betrayed Gurdjieff he tried finally to create something better than TERTIUM.

As his last effort he wrote THE FOURTH WAY but failed utterly. The book is good, good for any university curriculum. You can see I have my own ways of condemning a thing….

THE FOURTH WAY can be part of a regular curriculum in a university course, but more than that it is nothing. Although he was trying to do his best it is the worst book that Ouspensky has written. It was his last book.

That is the difficulty with all that is great: if you try, you miss. It comes effortlessly or not at all. It has visited him in TERTIUM ORGANUM and he was not even aware of it. The words in TERTIUM are so powerful one cannot believe that the author is unenlightened, that he is still looking for a master, that he is still searching for the truth.

I was a poor student, working the whole day as a journalist – that is the worst job you can do, but that’s what was available to me at the time – and I was in such need that I had to join a night college. So the whole day I worked as a journalist, and at night I went to college. In a way my name belongs to the night. Rajneesh means the moon: rajni means the night, eesh means God – God of the night.

So people used to laugh and say, ”This is strange: you work the whole day, and go to study at night. Are you trying to fulfill your name?”

Now I can answer them, yes – write it in capital letters – YES, I have been trying to fulfill it my whole life. What else can be more beautiful than to be the full moon? So as a poor student in those days, I used to work the whole day. But I am a crazy man, rich or poor does not matter…. I have never liked to read books borrowed from others. In fact I hate even borrowing from a library, because a library book is like a prostitute.

I hate to see the marks, the underlining of other people. I always love the fresh, the snow-white freshness.TERTIUM ORGANUM was a costly book. In India, in those days, I was getting a salary of only seventy rupees each month, and by coincidence the book cost exactly seventy rupees – but I purchased it. The bookseller was amazed. He said, ”Even the richest man in our community cannot afford it.

For five years I have been keeping it to sell, and nobody has purchased it. People come and look at it, then drop the idea of buying. How can you, a poor student, working the whole day and studying at night, working almost twenty-four hours each day, how can you afford it?”
I said, ”This book I can purchase even if I have to pay for it with my life. Just reading the first line is enough. I have to have it whatsoever the cost.”

That first sentence I had read in the introduction was, ”This is the third canon of thought, and there are only three. The first is that of Aristotle; the second of Bacon, and the third, my own.” I was thrilled by Ouspensky’s daring, that he said, ”The third existed even before the first.” That was the sentence that caught fire in my heart.

I gave the bookseller my whole month’s salary. You cannot understand, because for that whole month I had to almost starve. But it was worth it. I can remember that beautiful month: no food, no clothes – not even shelter; because I could not pay the rent I was thrown out of my small room. But I was happy with TERTIUM ORGANUM under the sky. I read that book under a street lamp – it is a confession – and I have lived that book.

That book is so beautiful, and more so now that I know that the man did not know at all. How could he have managed it then? It must have been a conspiracy of the gods, something from the beyond. I cannot resist anymore from using the name the Sufis use; they call it khidr. Khidr is the agency that guides those who need guidance. TERTIUM ORGANUM is the second book.

2 thoughts on “Osho on P.D. Ouspensky’s Tertium Organum.”
  1. True what Osho said about MrOuspensky as I too found MrOuspensky immensely talented to use knowledge in almost perfect way to see that it does not disort the facts.Such was his committment which is found rare even among the most gifted writers.MrOuspensky terrains of knowledge so throroughly that he was well versed with every nook and corner of knowledge.His articulation is wonderful regarding any subject which goes under his scrutiny.He was mixture of science,religion and mysticism and his spirituality was scientific spirituality.

  2. siento una alegria de haber empesado ha leer los libros de osho sus videos y esto me ha llevado ha leer otros autores actualmente estoy leyendo el libro de los secretos, el libro de la nada y el cuarto camino al mismo tiempo GRACIAS OSHO

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