Osho : He who takes life to be the goal wanders. Life is only an opportunity and not the goal. It is not the destination but a path; we have to reach somewhere by way of it. Do not assume that the very fact that you are alive means you have arrived. Life is not an accomplishment but only a process. If you pass through it well you arrive; if not, you go astray.
He is an atheist who takes life to be everything. He is a theist whose goal lies beyond life; for him life is a transient camp. Nanak calls the world a dharmashala, a traveler’s bungalow. It is like an inn or rest place where you have to stop for a while before you proceed onward, but you shouldn’t make your home in it. He who makes it his home denies himself the authentic home. You had set out to attain something, but if you took a way station as your abode how would you reach the destination? Who will continue to travel once he has made a home?
Samsara is not a home. Those who make a home of it we call householders. A sannyasin is one for whom samsara is a waiting room, not a house. Both stay in the same world — where else can they go? They stay in the same house, but their attitude towards the house is different. The worldly man thinks his home to be his haven; the sannyasin takes it to be a resting place. He has somewhere else to go, and he never forgets his destination — this is surati, remembrance.
One who keeps this remembrance alive, who does not lose the thread of remembrance, will stay in dharmashalas, but will keep moving on. No inn will lure him to stay on. He will stay in the world and out of it. You are what your destination is; where you go, that itself is you. You are not where you physically are, you are where your mind is. This has to be understood.
The majority of people — barring very few — take what they have obtained as the ultimate. Actually, it is not even the beginning, it is not even the door or even the steps leading to the door of your destination. You are still on the path; the steps are yet to come. When the steps begin to appear, know that religion has arrived within you. Those on the path are the worldly people. Those in whose lives the steps have appeared are the seekers; and he who has already entered the mansion of the Lord is an enlightened being. You are still on the path; the steps are far away, for you have not even begun your spiritual practice.
The deep-rooted cause for this illusion is that you are contented with what has been given to you. Remember, a religious man is absolutely contented in one sense; but in another sense it is difficult to find a more discontented person than he. He is contented in that he has no complaints against God. He is discontented in that he is very dissatisfied with himself.
An irreligious person has a thousand complaints against God: You have not given me this, You have not given me that. He has no complaints about himself. He is satisfied with his own self. That is his grave because how can you then develop, how can you progress? How will you open your wings to touch the skies? Instead you will remain a prisoner in your own nest, and will die in your cage.
You should feel contented with God and discontented with yourself, but things are reversed. We are deeply satisfied with ourselves and thoroughly dissatisfied with the world. Only we appear to be right, all the rest of the world is in the wrong. This attitude is the very thing that is wrong with us. Except for man, there is no mistake or miscalculation anywhere in existence. All the world flows in peace and joy except for man. There is no obstruction anywhere; only within you is there something clogged somewhere.
A religious man has a deep sense of dissatisfaction with himself. He feels as if he is not worthy of God, that he is not fit to worship or adore Him. He is apprehensive whether God will accept him as he is. One thought keeps hammering in his brain: I must make myself worthy of Him, I must be a worthy recipient of His acceptance. I must raise a throne within my heart that befits His majesty. I must be so qualified that He accepts being my guest.
So a religious person is critical of his own self. Gradually a moment comes when he evolves to such a degree, he has cleansed himself sufficiently, that he becomes a throne for the Lord. God is bound to knock at his door — if not today, then tomorrow. Then there will not be a moment’s delay. No sooner are you ready than He knocks at your door. The delay lasts only as long as you are not prepared to receive Him. Screaming and shouting, weeping and wailing is of no avail. What is needed is your preparation.
And preparation means transformation. You will have to change yourself in many, many ways. If you search within yourself, you will find that not only God but you yourself would not be prepared to step inside you — as you are now. Had you to love a person just like yourself, you would refuse.
Therefore, deep down nobody loves his own self. You are not fit to love your own self, and that is why people are afraid to be alone. If you have to stay alone for an hour or two, you become restless. You look for a friend or go to a club or cinema or market, or play the radio, or watch the TV, or read a paper. How can one sit all by oneself doing nothing you ask. You are bored with yourself. You are not good company to your own self, and yet you desire the company of God? If you yourself are not prepared to stay with yourself, who else could be ready to stay with you?
God is a faraway prospect! To attain God means that the most profound peak of existence enters within you; but then you have to create a space for Him within yourself. You are so shallow that a small thing causes a storm within you. A slight movement and you tremble, a slight insult and you burn within, a little suffering and you feel all hell is let loose on you. You are affected by little, little things; there is no depth in you. Someone throws a pebble and a storm rages in you. You are not a deep ocean. The ocean is so deep that even if the Himalayas fall into it, the waves will be blissfully oblivious of the happening. So many rivers pour into the sea, but the waters of the sea do not rise by even an inch. The ocean stays the same, whatever may happen.
You desire God. Have you ever thought what your state would be if He were suddenly to descend on you? You will be in a dilemma. Where will you seat Him? How will you welcome Him? You will be so shaken the only thing to do is run away from home.
You have no throne befitting Him. Were it to be made of gold and precious stones perhaps you could have had one made, but you have to make a peacock throne of your own heart. You have to fashion a throne of love. You can buy gold in the market, but where can you buy love?
Were a palace required to be made, that would be easy. Then God would already have descended to some king’s palace. But you have to build a palace within, a palace of emptiness, a palace of meditation. That is a very difficult task; the journey is long.
If you take as your home the place where you find yourself, you are a worldly mortal. If you take this world as only a dharmashala where you rest for a while and then start again, then you are a sannyasin.
There is a very old Sufi story: A man went to a Sufi fakir asking the secret of attaining God. The fakir proceeded to recount the following tale: A woodcutter went every day to the forest to cut wood. Each day he would gather wood, carry it to town and sell it. Whatever he got would be barely enough to give him a meal. Sometimes he managed to buy a little food; at other times he went to sleep hungry.
A fakir who used to stay in the same jungle watched him every day. He was filled with pity for this miserable man who barely managed to keep alive. One day he told him, “Every day for the last so many years I have been watching you. You are such a foolish fellow. Why don’t you go still further into the jungle?” The wood-cutter asked, “How will that help?” The fakir replied, “Whoever went deeper within became wealthy. Go in, and you will find mines of copper.”
The man went a little further and he found the copper mine. He began to sell copper. Once again he met the fakir who said, “Foolish fellow, go still further. There are mines of silver there.” The man went and found the silver mines. He now began to sell silver and became very rich.
One day he met the fakir again who said to him, “Had you any sense you would have taken the hint by now. You have failed to understand. Go still further, you fool, for there are gold mines there!” The man penetrated deeper into the forest and found the gold, but he got totally involved in the gold.
He must have been a man like us, this woodcutter. Wherever we go we get involved. We don’t think of getting up from where we sit. The fakir felt sorry for this man. One day he went to him again and said, “You really lack intelligence. So many times I goaded you to go onward to go still further, and you have not understood me. Now you are outwardly very rich, but within you are as miserable a wretch as before. Go still further, there are mines of diamonds.” The man went further in.
Then, after some years, the fakir happened to meet him again. He rebuked him as before. Even though he was the owner of huge palaces and all that wealth could buy, the fakir was sorry for him. “You are as poor as ever within,” said the fakir. “All this gold and silver and diamonds are on the outside. Go still further.
“Now where?” asked the man. “Why don’t you leave me in peace? Why are you goading me on and on? Now what is left to be attained after getting these diamonds?”
The fakir replied, “Beyond that is my ashram and only I can give you the genuine diamonds. They are diamonds of meditation. Until now you sought the mines outside, now your search for the mines within must begin.” And though the man had heard about the jewels within, he was not ready to seek them. Besides, he claimed that this talk was beyond him, so he begged to be allowed to stay where he was.
The fakir said, “As you wish. But remember, these mines within will not remain forever — today I am, tomorrow I may not be. The mines you dig now will remain. They always were, they always will be.”
The mines of meditation manifest rarely — sometimes once in a thousand years. Sometimes some person discovers it and becomes an entrance to it. Such a person is the guru, and Nanak refers to his temple as gurudwara, guru’s door — a beautiful name for a temple. He who comes upon the mine of meditation during his lifetime becomes an opening for others, but he does not live forever. And you? You are so blind that you go past the door and do not see it! Your eyes are fixed on the visible wealth and not the true wealth that is invisible.
Remember this maxim: Still further. Until you reach God you should hold it always to your heart. If you halt before that, you will wander. Therefore the thirst, the dissatisfaction of the sannyasin knows no bounds. His thirst is satisfied only when he drinks God. Lesser waters will not do for him. This is exactly why Nanak refers to this world as a dharmashala.
Source: Osho Book “The True Name, Vol 2”