Osho - Desire has to be purifiedOsho – The energy called desire has been condemned for centuries. Almost all the socalled saints have been against it, because desire is life and they were all life-negative. Desire is the very source of all that you see, and they were against all that which is visible. They wanted to sacrifice the visible at the feet of the invisible; they wanted to cut the roots of desire so there would no longer be any possibility of life. A tremendously great urge to commit total suicide has dominated humanity down the ages.

I have a totally different concept of desire. First, desire itself is God. Desire without any object, desire without being goal-oriented, unmotivated desire, pure desire, is God. The energy called desire is the same energy as God. Desire has not to be destroyed, it has to be purified. Desire has not to be dropped, it has to be transformed. Your very being is desire; to be against it is to be against yourself and against all. To be against it is to be against the flowers and the birds and the sun and the moon. To be against it is against all creativity. Desire is creativity.

The Eastern scriptures are perfectly right when they say that God created the world because a great desire arose in him — a desire to create, a desire to manifest, a desire to make many from one, a desire to expand. But these are only metaphors; God is not separate from desire. Desire means a longing, a great longing, to expand, to become huge, to be enormous — as huge as the sky.

Just watch people, watch desires, and you will understand what I mean. Even in your ordinary desires, the basic thing is present. In fact what the man who wants to have more and more money really wants is not money but expansion, because money can help you expand. You can have a bigger house, you can have a bigger garden, you can have this, you can have that — your territory will be bigger, your freedom will be bigger. With more money you will have more alternatives to choose from.

The man who is after money may not know why he is after the money. He may himself think and believe that he loves money, but that is only on the surface of his consciousness. Go deeper into his unconscious, help him to meditate, and you will be surprised and he will be surprised to find that the desire for money is not really the desire for money, it is the desire to expand.

And the same is the case with all other desires. Men want more power, more fame, longer life, better health, but what are they desiring in these different things? The same, exactly the same: they want to be more. They don’t want to remain confined, they don’t want to be limited. It hurts to feel that you are definable, because if you are definable then you are just an object, a thing, a commodity. It hurts that you have limitations, because to have limitations means to be imprisoned.

But all these objects of desire, sooner or later, disappoint. Money becomes possible one day, and yet expansion has not happened; you may have a little more freedom of choice, but that does not satisfy. The desire was for the infinite, and money cannot purchase the infinite. Yes, you have more power, you are more well-known, but that doesn’t really
matter in the long run. Millions of people have lived on this earth and were very famous, and now nobody even knows their names. Everything has disappeared into dust — dust into dust, not even traces are left. Where is Alexander the Great? What is he? Would you like to be a dead Alexander the Great or an alive beggar? Ask yourself, and your being will say it is better to be alive and be a beggar than to be dead and be an Alexander.

If you watch carefully, money, power, prestige — nothing satisfies. On the contrary, they make you more discontented. Why? — because when you were poor there was a hope that one day the money was going to happen and all would be settled and settled forever, and then you would relax and enjoy. Now that has happened, and there seems to be no sign of
any relaxation. In fact, you are more tense than before, you are more anxiety-ridden than before.

Money has brought a few blessings, but in the same measure it has brought many curses too. You can have a bigger house, but now you will have less peace. You can have a bigger bank balance, but you will also have a bigger madness, anxiety, neurosis, psychosis. Money has brought a few things which are good; in the wake of it many other things have arrived which are not good at all. And if you look at the whole thing, the whole effort has been a sheer wastage. And now you cannot have even the hope that the poor man can have.

The rich man becomes hopeless. He knows now the money will go on increasing and nothing is going to happen — just death, only death. He has tasted all kinds of things; now he only feels a tastelessness. A kind of death has already happened, because he cannot conceive of how to fulfill that desire for expansion.

But desire in itself is not wrong. The desire for money, the desire for power, the desire for prestige, are wrong objects for desire — let it be very clear. By having wrong objects of desire, desire itself does not become wrong. You can have a sword and you can kill somebody — that does not make the sword something wrong. You can also save somebody with the same sword. Poison can kill and poison can become medicine too. In the right hands, poison is nectar; in the wrong hands, nectar is poison.

This is the essential wisdom of all the buddhas of all the ages. What the priests say is one thing; what the buddhas have brought to the world is totally different, it is diametrically opposite. Desire has to be purified and transformed, because it is your energy — you don’t have any other energy. How to transform desire? One way, the ordinary way, the mediocre way, is to change the object. Don’t go after money, start going after God. You are frustrated with money — become religious, go to the church, to the temple, to the mosque. Let your desire have a new object called God, which is as illusory as the object called money, even more illusory, because what do you know about God? Money at least is something visible, objective; you have known it, you have seen it. What do you know of God? You have only heard the word. God remains a word unless experienced. God remains an empty word unless you pour some content into it through your own existential experience.

People, when they are frustrated with worldly desires, start changing the object: they start making otherworldly objects of desire — heaven, paradise, and all the joys of heaven. But it is the same trick, the mind is again befooling you. This is not the way of the intelligent person, this is the way of the stupid.

What is intelligence? Intelligence means the insight that no object can fulfill your desire. No object, I say, and I say it categorically, no object can ever fulfill your desire. Your desire is divine. Your desire is as big as the sky — even the sky is not a limit to it. No object can fill it. Then what is to be done? The intelligent person stops desiring objects. He makes his desire pure of all objects — worldly, otherworldly. He starts living his desire in its purity, moment to moment. He is full of desire, full of overflowing energy.

His ordinary life becomes so intense, so passionate, that whatsoever he touches will be transformed. The baser metal will become gold, and the dead tree will come to bloom again. It is said of Buddha that wherever he moved, dead trees would start growing leaves; out of season, trees would bloom. These are beautiful poetic expressions of a certain
metaphysical truth. Buddha is pure desire, just desire. Not a desire for anything; he has abandoned all objects.

Let me remind you, first he abandoned the world. He was a prince, he was born to be a king. Seeing the futility of money, seeing the futility of all kinds of relationships, seeing the futility of all that the world can give — he was only twenty-nine years old — he escaped. He did well, because after thirty it becomes more difficult, more and more

Hippies are right. They say, “Don’t believe a man who is over thirty.” Buddha escaped at the right time — he was exactly twenty-nine — because the more you become experienced in worldly ways, the more cowardly you become. Religion is for the courageous, religion is for the brave, religion is for the young, those who are still able to take the risk, those who are still able to gamble.

Buddha escaped. Seeing the futility, he escaped in search of God, in search of truth. He replaced his desire for the world with the desire for God, truth, nirvana. For six years he worked hard. By the time he was thirty-five he was utterly spent. He had done all that was possible, humanly possible, to do. He fasted for months, meditated, practiced yoga. And in those days there were different kinds of schools. He went from one teacher to another, from one school to another, he practiced all possible methods. And one day it suddenly flashed.

He was crossing the river Niranjana. It is a small river — when I went to see the river I could not believe the story. The story says that he could not cross the river Niranjana, he could not swim it, because he was so weak. The river is so narrow, the river is so small, but he must have been very weak from years of fasting. It is said that he had fasted so long that you could count his bones, his ribs. He had become simply bones, he was a skeleton; his stomach had completely disappeared, his stomach and his back had become one. He must have been really weak; he could not cross the river, and was hanging onto the root of a tree, having no energy to get out of the river.

In that moment, a great insight happened. Insights happen only in such moments. When the frustration is total, when the disappointment is complete, when the disillusionment is utter, when there is nothing left to hope for… in that moment he saw the pointlessness of it all. The worldly objects were meaningless; he had had all of them and they did not satisfy. And those otherworldly desires were just as foolish as the worldly desires. In that moment, in that insight, he became objectless.

Let me tell you, the scriptures report it very wrongly. They say that in that moment he became desireless. But try to understand what I am trying to convey to you. He became objectless, not desireless. You cannot become desireless. Desire is your very life, your breath, your heartbeat; desire is your being. But certainly a transformation happened; he became objectless. This-worldly, otherworldly, all desires in toto disappeared as objects, not desire as energy. There was no object; pure energy was felt, a desiring for nothing, a pure desire moving nowhere, a pure desire herenow.

That very night he attained enlightenment. Having nothing to desire, he rested under a tree and fell asleep. For the first time he really slept. When there is nothing to desire, there is nothing to dream about either, because dreams are reflections of your desires. Dreams are reflections of your frustrations, dreams are reflections of your repressions, dreams reflect your day-life. That night there was no dream, it was a dreamless deep sleep.

Patanjali says dreamless deep sleep is closest to samadhi — just one step more, and you have come home. And that one step happened early in the morning. Rested, Buddha opened his eyes. For the first time in his life there was nowhere to go, nothing to do. For the first time in life he must have been at a loss. Now what? There was nothing to cling to, nothing to hold on to. There must have been an utter emptiness. Time must have stopped. There was no program any more. Every day he used to get up with so many ideas to be cultivated, so many methods to be practiced, so many religious rituals to be done, and all that. Today there was nothing left! Utter emptiness.

But do you think he died? No, he was born. Objects were not there. Now the desire was pure — just a throb, a pulsation, just a passion for nothing in particular. Resting under the tree with open eyes, he must have been seeing the sky in the east becoming red, and then the sunrise. And with the rising sun and with the sky turning red, and with the last star of the night disappearing, he became enlightened.

What does this word enlightenment mean? It simply means desire was freed from all objects. He became pure love, compassion, pure life. And this pure life has tremendous beauty and ecstasy; with this pure life you have attained the infinite.

Source – Osho Book “The Book of Wisdom”

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