Osho on Religion

Osho – Learning goes into the ego; learning strengthens the ego. That is why pundits, brahmins, scholars, have the subtlest egos. Learning gives them scope, learning gives them space. They become tumors, egos. Their whole being is then exploited by the ego.

The more learned a man, the more difficult he is to live with, the more difficult he is to relate to, the more difficult it is for him to reach the temple. It is almost impossible for him to know God because he himself now lives like a tumor, and the tumor has its own life – now it is the ego tumor. And it exploits. The more you know, the less possibility there is for prayer to happen.

So, says Chuang Tzu, it is not because of cunningness; he is not calculating, he is not cunning or daring, because daring, cunning, calculating, are all part of the ego. A man of Tao is neither a coward nor a brave man. He does not know what bravery is, what cowardice is. He lives. He is not self-conscious, not because he has learned but because he has unlearned. The whole of religion is a process of unlearning. Learning is the process of the ego, unlearning is the process of the non-ego. Learned, your boat is full, filled with yourself.

It happened that Mulla Nasruddin used to have a ferryboat, and when times were not good he would carry passengers from one bank to the other. One day a great scholar, a grammarian, a pundit, was crossing in his ferryboat to the other shore. The pundit asked Nasruddin, ”Do you know the Koran? Have you learned the scriptures?”
Nasruddin said, ”No, no time.”
The scholar said, ”Half your life has been wasted.”
Then suddenly there arose a storm and the small boat was far from the shore. At any moment it would sink. Asked Nasruddin, ”Schoolmaster, do you know how to swim?”
The man was very afraid, perspiring. He said, ”No.”
Said Nasruddin, ”Then your WHOLE life has been wasted. I am going!”

Now, this boat cannot go to the other shore. But people think learning can become a boat, or learning can become a substitute for swimming. No! Can scriptures become boats? No, they are too heavy. You can drown with them but you cannot cross the river. Unlearning will make you weightless; unlearning will make you innocent again.

When you don’t know, in that not knowing what happens? The most beautiful phenomenon…. The greatest ecstasy happens when you don’t know – there is a silence when you don’t know. Someone asks a question and you don’t know. Life is a riddle, and you don’t know. Everywhere is mystery and you are standing there not knowing, wondering. When you don’t know there is wonder, and wonder is the most religious quality. The deepest religious quality is wonder. Only a child can wonder. A man who knows cannot wonder, and without wonder no one has ever reached the divine. It is the wondering heart to which everything is a mystery…a butterfly is a mystery, a seed sprouting is a mystery.

And remember, nothing has been solved: all your science has done nothing. The seed sprouting is still a mystery and it is going to remain a mystery. Even if science can create the seed, the sprouting will remain a mystery. A child is born; it is a mystery that is born. Even if the child can be produced in a test-tube, it makes no difference. The mystery remains the same.

You are here. It is such a mystery. You have not earned it, you cannot say to the universe, ”I am here because I have earned it.” It is a sheer gift, you are here for no reason at all. If you were not here, what difference would it make? If you were not here, to what court could you appeal?

This sheer existence, this breathing that goes in and out, this moment that you are here, listening to me, to the breeze, to the birds, this moment that you are alive, is such a mystery. If you can face it without any knowledge you will enter into it. If you face it with knowledge and you say, ”I know, I know the answer,” the doors are closed – not because of the mystery, the doors are closed because of your knowledge, your theories, your philosophy, your theology, your Christianity, your Hin-duism – they close the door.

A man who thinks he knows does not know. The Upanishads go on saying that a man who thinks that he does not know, knows. Says Socrates: When a man really knows, he knows only one thing, that he does not know. Chuang Tzu says: It is because he has unlearned. Whatsoever the world taught him, whatsoever society taught him, whatsoever parents and the utilitarians taught him, he has dropped. He has again become a child, a small child. His eyes are again filled with wonder. He looks all around and everywhere is mystery.

Ego kills the mystery. Whether it is the ego of a scientist or whether it is the ego of a scholar or of a philosopher, makes no difference. The ego says, ”I know.” And the ego says, ”If I don’t know now, then sooner or later I will come to know.” The ego says that there is nothing un-knowable.

There are two categories for the ego: the known and the unknown. The known is that part which the ego has already traveled, and the unknown is that part which the ego will travel: the ego feels that it is possible to travel, but there is nothing unknowable. The ego leaves no mystery in the world. And when there is no mystery around you, there cannot be any mystery within. When mystery disappears, all songs disappear; when mystery disappears, poetry is dead; when mystery disappears, God is not in the temple, there is nothing but a dead statue; when mystery disappears there is no possibility of love, because only two mysteries fall in love with each other. If you know, then there is no possibility of love – knowledge is against love. And love is always for unlearning.

Source – Osho Book “The Empty Boat”

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