Question – Beloved Osho, occasionally, a strong feeling comes over me that exactly the situation i am in at that moment has happened before. others tell me of experiencing the same feeling and that it has been termed, ‘deja vu’. I have always wondered what this experience was and its connection with meditation. can you help me to understand it?
Osho – Anand Somen, the experience termed deja vu has a reality of its own, because this is not your first time alive; you have seen many lives, many deaths. And naturally in thousands of lives it is simply impossible not to come to the same places, to meet the same faces … to see a certain tree and feel that you have seen exactly this tree before. The feeling is absolutely certain, without any doubt, you are not imagining it: you have seen a certain person before, or you have been in a situation before, in every smallest detail.
It is a very strange feeling; one gets dizzy. But it proves that all the religions that have been born outside of India are very incomplete; they cannot explain the experience of deja vu. Unless you have the idea of reincarnation, deja vu is not explainable. You come into a town and suddenly you feel you have been here before. You know that if you go to the right you will reach the river and if you go to the left you will reach the railway station – and you try it and you find that you reach the river or you reach the railway station! You recognize the trees on the way, you recognize the river; it is as if you have seen it in a film, or perhaps in a dream.
But you have not seen it in a film; neither have you seen it in a dream. You have seen it in another life. You are full of all the memories of all your past lives. It is just the mercy of existence that it goes on closing each chapter: the moment you die, the memories of that life become a closed chapter. One life is enough to drive you crazy. If you could remember many lives you would not find a single man who is not crazy – because the woman who is your wife was your mother in the past life, or your daughter or the woman that you are in love with was a man who murdered you in the past life, and now you are again getting into the same trap, in a different fashion. And if you remembered all your lives, things would become very complicated.
It happened: I was reaching a place, Katni, and people brought a small girl – she must have been nine years old. And she had been insisting for a few months that she remembered her past life perfectly; she remembered that in her past life she was in a certain family in Jabalpur, where I was a teacher in the university. It was not far away, it was only a hundred miles at the most from Katni to Jabalpur, and by chance I knew the Pathak family. They had a workshop and a petrol pump just four blocks away from my house, and I had to go there almost every day for petrol for my car or for something – air for the tires. So I knew those people perfectly well. I asked the parents of the girl, ”Has she been to Jabalpur?”
They said, ”No, and we want somehow that she should forget all this. It is disturbing her studies, it is disturbing our life; she insists that she wants to go to see her old family. We don’t know who these people are and how can we just impose ourselves on them, telling them that ‘This is a member of your family!’”
I said, ”I know these people, and at least one thing is certain: she is describing the house perfectly right; she is describing their profession perfectly right. She is saying that she had three brothers – there are three brothers. And she says she was the eldest sister and she died as a widow, and I know this much: they had a sister, who was a widow and who died nearabout eight or nine years ago. And your daughter’s age is nine years.” I asked her, ”Can you tell me the names of your brothers?” And she immediately told me the names.
So I told the family, ”You come with me; you can stay with me. I will talk to the Pathak brothers and I will bring them, with ten or twelve other people, to the house. And let us see whether she recognizes them or not.”
When I told the Pathak brothers, they were immensely interested and excited. A little bit afraid also, but they were perfectly willing to go through the experiment, so they collected all their servants, a few friends, and a group of at least twenty-five people came to my house. The girl immediately ran, clutched the hand of one of the Pathak brothers, and she said, ”Have you forgotten me?” And then she looked around and she caught hold of all the three brothers – ”It is strange, you don’t recognize me? I am your sister, and because I became a widow when I was just thirteen years old and because our mother had died, I was almost a mother to you all. I brought you up, and you have forgotten!”
I enquired of them, ”What she is saying – is it true? Has your mother died?”
They said, ”We don’t remember our mother … and it is true that we were brought up by our sister. She was almost like a mother to us, and she did not marry again just for our sake, so that she could take care of us; otherwise who would take care of these children? She sacrificed her whole life.”
They all touched the feet of the small girl and they said, ”We would like to take her home.” That became the problem: she became so split. One part of her wanted to remain with the old family – the attachment was deep, of many, many lives – and another part wanted to be with the new family. But there, the attachment was only for nine years; it was not that strong.
I suggested that for six months she could live with one family, and for six months she could be in the other family … but I said, ”Her whole education will be disturbed, and soon she will have to be married; then she will have three families and this will drive her mad.” I suggested to the parents and the Pathak brothers that the best way would be to give her a few hypnotic sessions and to make her forget her past life.
It is just accidental; it rarely happens. By some freak of nature, some small crack has remained open and the memories of the past life go on flooding the present mind. I had to give her nine sessions, just insisting on one thing: to forget everything of the past.
She forgot everything of the past and started asking her father and mother, ”What are we doing here? We should go back home.” But they asked, ”What about the Pathak brothers?” She said, ”Who are they?” I took her around to the Pathak brothers’ house and their workshop, but she did not give any indication that she recognized anybody.
Deja vu is a small fragment from the past, somehow entering your present. It is a reality. And these are the facts: deja vu, memories of past lives which have been confirmed many, many times, make the theory of reincarnation not just a religious theory but a scientific fact. Any day, when science is of a more open mind ….
The trouble is that the whole of scientific progress is happening in the West, where one life is the accepted concept, so they are all prejudiced with the idea of one life. But the world is becoming smaller every day. Sooner or later, science will have to take note of the phenomenon, because it is so essential for human growth, for meditation, for transforming consciousness – because if you can remember your past lives, it becomes a proof that there is a future after death, too. The remembrance of past lives also proves that after death you will be here in a different form, with a different name.
Also, if it becomes a scientifically proven fact – which I have no doubt it will once science starts moving in that direction and drops the Christian or the Jewish or the Mohammedan idea of only one life … That is simply stupid, because in existence nothing dies; everything continues, only forms change. Why should it be otherwise as far as life is concerned?
If people become aware that they have lived the same kind of life thousands of times … and this was the use that the theory of reincarnation was put to – to create a great boredom and a fed-upness, because all these things you have done before. And you have not learned anything, you are again … for thousands of lives you have been running for power, for money, and you are still doing that. It seems every life’s experience is being erased and you start from ABC again!
If it becomes scientifically supported, you will have great difficulty in repeating the same stupid games. You have played enough – it is time to change, it is time to raise your consciousness; it is time to go beyond this vicious circle of moving from one life into another, again and again like a wheel.
The Hindi word for the world is samsar and the word samsar means ‘the wheel which goes on moving.’ This is what I was saying about how difficult it is to communicate. The people who gave the world the name samsar had a certain idea behind it: to remind you so that you don’t go on moving like a mechanical wheel. And when they said, ”Renounce samsar,” they were not saying to renounce the world, they were saying to renounce this wheel-like movement.
But it has been misunderstood, misinterpreted, and people started renouncing the world and going to the mountains and the caves and the monasteries. And perhaps they had gone to the monasteries in their past lives also! It is part of the samsar – those monasteries, those mountains, the marketplace. Whether you live with your wife or you renounce her – these are all part of the wheel.
Renouncing the wheel is a totally different phenomenon. It means, all that you have done up to now has been done out of unconsciousness. Now it is time to be mature and start doing things out of consciousness. Act with awareness; you have acted enough under the influence of unconsciousness.
This wheel of reincarnation is due to unconsciousness. Once you become conscious, you see there is no point: you have achieved success many times, but what is the point? Death comes and erases everything. It is almost like making castles in the sand – a wind comes and the castle is gone. And you start making another castle … again and again the same thing will happen.
It is of paramount importance for science not to ignore the fact of millions of people’s experience in the East. It is not a superstition. It is one of those mysteries of life of which we remain unaware. Once science starts discovering ways …. you will find a great change in your attitude towards things and your focus will change; your focus will be how to get out of this wheel. This wheel is your slavery. And to get out of this slavery has been the only longing of seekers of truth and freedom.
Once you have realized that your being can remain in the universe without any body, any form – it can be formless and still there, spread all over existence – all your efforts will be how to attain that great freedom. In the East we have called the ultimate experience of such people moksha, which means absolute freedom. Freedom from the body, freedom from the mind, freedom from any kind of chains around you, freedom from form – just a pure consciousness. Still it has an individuality, an invisible center which knows, ”I am.” In fact, ”for the first time I am in my true essence.”
Anand Somen, deja vu is an authentic experience, but it is only a fragment of a far greater phenomenon – reincarnation.
Little Hymie was taken to a seance by his mother. The medium asked him whom he would like to speak to. ”My granddad,” said little Hymie. The medium went straight into a trance and soon a spooky voice could be heard in the darkened room: ”Hello, Hymie,” the voice said, ”this is your granddad speaking. What is it you wish to ask me?”
”What are you doing in heaven?” asked little Hymie. ”You are not even dead yet!”
The poor boy is asking a truth – ”Here everybody is thinking you are dead, and you are not dead yet. What are you doing?” But nobody ever dies. Death is the greatest fallacy that man has created. It does not exist, it only appears so.
After Paddy had jumped a red light and smashed into another car, he dashed over to the other vehicle to discover that the driver was a priest. ”Good God, man,” said the badly shaken priest, ”you almost killed me!”
”I am really sorry for that,” said Paddy, taking a bottle from his pocket. ”Drink some of this whiskey for your nerves,” offered Paddy.
The grateful priest gulped down some of the whiskey, and then started shouting again, ”What do you think you were doing?” he asked. ”I am lucky to be alive!”
”Oh, Father,” said, Paddy, ”I am sorry. You will feel a lot better after you have drunk some more of this.”
The priest had a few more stiff shots and then asked, ”Why don’t you have a drink?”
”I don’t drink, thank you Father,” said Paddy. ”I will just sit here and wait for the police.”
That is the difference between a man of awareness and unconsciousness. Now he is in a good position: the police are going to catch the priest for being drunk and driving! Either you can exist as an unconscious being – you have existed that way from the very beginning – or you can exist as a conscious being. As a conscious being, all your actions are bound to change. Your life will have a different aroma. Your actions will have different goals. And everything put together, you will have only one dimension: how to get free from unconscious actions, unconscious imprisonment; how to be absolutely conscious and move out of all chains.
Meditation will be nothing then but a methodology to prepare the ground for you to jump from unconsciousness into consciousness. And that is the greatest quantum leap. Buddha is not dead; neither is Jesus nor Zarathustra nor Lao Tzu nor Nanak. Anybody who has lived with full consciousness goes on living without any form. Because there is no form, there is no disease; because there is no form, there is no death; because there is no form, there is no old age. A consciousness without form is simply always fresh, young, free, and the whole universe is available to it. Its empire is great.
Once Gautam Buddha was asked, ”You say again and again that if you become absolutely conscious you will not be born again into the body and your empire will be the whole existence. But what about the many people who become enlightened, have already become enlightened? How can I alone be the master of the whole empire?”
The question seems to be logical, but it is not existential. And Gautam Buddha laughed – he has laughed very rarely; not more than three or four times in his whole life. He said, ”I can understand your logic but I will tell you one thing … I will give you an example, not a counter-argument. In a dark house you can burn one candle, and the whole house will be full of light. You can burn another candle – do you think the light of two candles is going to be in conflict? The second candle will also fill the whole house with its light. You can burn a third candle; you can go on burning candles after candles.
”They will remain individual in their flames, but as far as their radiated light is concerned, they will all possess the whole room. There will be no division. It is not that this is my territory and that is your territory. And the light is not a thing, so a thousand candles can have their light filling the whole house without any conflict.”
He was right. There is no way to counter-argue, but his example is perfect. That’s exactly the situation: Once you are free of form, you will be spread all over the universe. Millions of other enlightened people are filling the whole universe with their light, with their consciousness; at their center they will have a flame of their own. But their radiation will have no boundaries.
The lights don’t conflict, they are not things. The same space can be occupied by many lights, without any struggle, without any quarrel. And consciousness is a light.
Source – Osho Book “The New Dawn”