Question – So many people are looking for instant enlightenment these days and there are all these gurus running around saying ‘follow me’ and yet it is questionable whether the answer is there. What do you attribute this to?
Osho – Every age has its own special pathology. Too much time-consciousness is the special pathology of this age. The modern mind is very conscious of time and wants everything to be done instantly.
There are reasons for it. First, the modern mind is West-oriented. The East has disappeared from consciousness. Even in the East it is the West that has become the reality. The East exists no more. The East had the consciousness for eternity, timelessness. The West is too time-conscious.
The reason is Christianity. Christianity thinks that there is only one life. That creates anxiety. If there is only one life then everything has to be done in this life, there is no other. The East has a very, very long span — millions of lives. There Is no hurry. Patience is possible. One can wait Even if this life is lost, nothing is lost. You will be coming back again and again. There is no need to rush.
This was a totally different world view, the world view of timelessness. The East has never been worried about time, about lack of time. The East has never said that time is money. The whole idea that time is money is just stupid. Time as such exists not. Time exists in your desire, in your mind. That which really exists is eternity. It is always there, it has always been there. So the East has lived in a kind of absolute patience.
But the East has disappeared from the world. The Western outlook says there is only one life and even that is no longer certain. Because of the Third World War, because of the atomic energy, the H-bomb, it is not even certain that you will be able to live your whole life. Any moment…. These mad politicians cannot be depended upon. They are so mad that any moment the world can simply disappear. More fear has arisen.
That’s why in the younger generation, the people who have come upon the earth after the Second World War, there is much anxiety for instant enlightenment. It should be soon. If it is going to be at all, it should be soon. One never knows. The people who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki had not even dreamed about the atom bomb, not even in their nightmares, and within a few seconds they all disappeared. One hundred thousand people in Hiroshima disappeared within five minutes. They were people just like you. You can disappear within five minutes. The politicians have the power to destroy the earth.
For the first time in human history the politician is immensely powerful, tremendously powerful. The politician has always been dangerous. The politician is the insanest person possible. But he has never been so powerful. He has been always mad but this time the mad man has the H-bomb.
Hence the children who were born after the Second World War are very conscious that something has to be done soon and fast, immediately. Hence the word instant’ has become very, very important — instant coffee and instant sex and instant enlightenment. Everything has to be just now — now or never. Who knows about tomorrow? You cannot trust. Tomorrow has never been so uncertain as it is today.
That’s why. First, the Western idea of one life, then second, the Western invention of the H-bomb, the possibility of the whole world disappearing in flames, have created an intense desire to know, to love, to be.
Time-consciousness, too much time-Consciousness, is a tension in the being. It does not allow you to relax. And now comes the dilemma. If you really want to be enlightened, the most necessary requirement is not to be tense. And if you want enlightenment instantly then it is impossible because you are so tense. That’s why you ask for it to be right now.
If you want enlightenment to happen ever, you have to be ready to wait for it. Even if it comes in eternity you are ready to accept it, you are not in a hurry. Then it can come instantly too. A man who is ready to wait forever is very relaxed, knows no tension, no anxiety, no anguish. In that relaxed moment, satori, samadhi, enlightenment is possible.
I will tell you an ancient Hindu parable. A great saint, Narada, was going to paradise. He used to travel between paradise and earth. He used to function like a postman between that world and this world. He was a bridge.
He came across an ancient sage, very old, doing his transcendental meditation — TM — under a tree, repeating his mantra. He had been repeating that mantra for many years and many lives. Narada asked him, ‘Would you like to enquire about something? Would you like some message to be given to the Lord?’ The of man opened his eyes and said, ‘Just you enquire about one thing: how much longer do I have to wait? How long? Tell him it is too much. For many lives I have been doing this mantra, now how long am I expected to do it? Just ask this. I am tired of it. I am bored with it.’
Just by the side of the ancient sage underneath another tree was a young man with an EKTARA, a one stringed instrument, play-ing it and dancing. Must have been a kind of BAUL.
Narada asked him jokingly, ‘Would you also like to enquire about how long it will take for your enlightenment to happen?’ But the young man did not even bother to answer. He continued his dance. Narada asked again, ‘I am going to the Lord. Have you some message?’ But the young man laughed and continued to dance.
Narada went. when he came back after a few days he told the old man, ‘I enquired and God said that you will have to wait at least three lives more.’ The old man became so angry that he threw down his beads. He was almost ready to hit Narada. And he said, ‘This is nonsense! I have been waiting and waiting and I have been doing all kinds of austerities — chanting, fasting, all forms of rituals. I have fulfilled all the requirements. Now this is too much! Three lives — this is unjust.’
Then Narada became very much afraid to tell to the young man because although the young man had not asked him to enquire, he had enquired. The young man was still dancing under his tree, very joyously. Narada was afraid but still he went and told the young man, ‘Although you did not ask, out of my own curiosity I enquired. When God said that that old man would have to wait three lives, I enquired about the young man just by the side of the tree who is dancing there with his EKTARA. And he said, ‘That young man — he will have to wait as many lives as there are leaves on the tree under which he is dancing.”‘
And the young man started dancing even faster and he said, ‘Then it is not very far. Just as many leaves as are on this tree? then it is not very far, then I have already arrived — because just think how many trees there are on the whole earth. Compare! So it is very close. Thank you, sir, that you enquired.’ And he started dancing fast. And the story says that the young man became instantly enlightened that very moment.
The story has not said anything about the old sage. I think he must be somewhere here now. He cannot become enlightened. His very approach is wrong. His very approach is that of a tense mind. His very approach is that of a demanding ego. You attain to enlightenment only when there is no ego to demand — there is no demand, there is no demander.
Time creates the ego. The ego does not exist in animals because they are not conscious of time. The ego does not exist in children because they are also not conscious of time. When you become conscious of time you become conscious of many things. First, the consciousness of time creates the fear of death. You immediately become conscious of death.
That’s why in Sanskrit we have the same name for both — we call time KAL and we also call death KAL. We have the same name for both because they are tWo aspects of the same phenomenon. Time and death, they are not separate at all. The moment you become alert about time you become alert about death because time is running out fast, death is coming, death is there and you have to do something before death grabs you. Then fear, anxiety….
In that fear and anxiety, in that impatience, you can go on searching but you will not find. It is not that you have to find God, it is that you have to allow him to find you. So you have to be in a receptive mood, in a non-desiring, non-demanding mood, utterly at ease, as if it has already happened. There is no need for it to happen, it is as if it has already happened. With this silence, this peace, with this non-tense state, it happens.
You ask: SO MANY PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR INSTANT ENLIGHTENMENT THESE DAYS AND THERE ARE ALL THESE GURUS RUNNING AROUND SAYING ‘FOLLOW ME’ AND YET IT IS QUESTIONABLE WHETHER THE ANSWER IS THERE. The answer is in you, it is nowhere else. So if you want to follow a man, follow the man who throws you back to yourself — because the answer is in you. The outer guru’s function is to help you to find your inner guru.
If the outer guru wants you to cling to him and hang around him and if he wants you to remain always dependent on him, then he is dangerous. Avoid him. Then he is not a Master. Then he has need of followers but he is not a Master. Then through followers he is fulfilling his own ego. He feels good because he has so many followers. His feeling good has nothing to do with enlightenment, his feeling good is almost as political as any politician’s when he is in power. It gives a kind of power when you know that you have so many disciples, many followers — thousands of followers. It gives power. It is a power trip.
But if somebody is on a power trip he will not help you to go into your innermost core. He will be the last person to help you. He will hinder you. He will create all kinds of barriers so that you cannot reach into your own core, because if you reach into your own core you will be free of that so-called guru. There will be no need. Yes, you will thank him and you will move on your own way. You will be grateful that he helped you, that he guided you to your own innermost being, but that’s all. You are ready to move on your own, you are ready to be your own being.
So remember, this has to be the criterion: if you feel that a certain guru is enjoying the idea of having so many disciples and is creating barriers for you to enter into your own being and is desirous that you should go on clinging to him and makes you more and more helpless and makes you more and more dependent, makes you more and more afraid and creates guilt in you, and goes on saying, ‘It is only through me that your salvation is possible,’ takes away your freedom, destroys you — then escape from that man, he is the devil incarnate. Avoid him.
Search out somebody who is not in any need of having followers, who has no need of having a big crowd around him, who is utterly satisfied with himself even when he is alone, who is absolutely contented with his own self. Then he can be of tremendous help.
But remember again, the answer is not anywhere else, the answer is within you. The kingdom of God is within you. You are already carrying the answer within yourself. Maybe you have not looked and read it, maybe you don’t know how to decode it, maybe you have lost the key to your own innermost shrine. Somebody can be of help. One who has come to his innermost being can show you the path.
Buddha has said, ‘Buddhas only show the path. You have to travel.’ They cannot travel for you. Nobody can create your salvation. It is only your responsibility because it is you who have created the bondage and it is you who can drop it. Yes, somebody can be of immense help to make you aware, to make you alert about the situation.
One thing more about this age. The old supports have disappeared. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, don’t have the kind of hold on you that they used to have in the past. The church, the temple, the mosque are only decorative now, formal. Nobody’s heart is there.
Friedrich Nietzsche is the prophet of this age. He declared that God is dead and man is free. True, I support half his statement, the beginning part: God IS dead — at least, the God that people used to believe in is no more there, it is dead. The God of believers is dead, the God of Christians and Hindus and Mohammedans is dead. Of course, the real God can never be dead because the real God simply means life eternal, nothing else. The real God cannot be dead if existence is existing; the real God simply means the existence, life, this cosmos. But the God of the believers is dead. True, I absolutely support half Friedrich Nietzsche’s statement — but man is not free. god is dead, man is not free. In fact, man is in great chaos.
Man has always depended on beliefs, churches, organisations, scriptures — they have all disappeared. And man has not yet become grown-up. He still needs somebody to depend upon — hence he goes on searching for gurus.
In the old days the Christian had his priest and the Hindu had his guru and the Mohammedan had his MOULANA, now they are no more relevant. But deep down in man there is a kind of helplessness. Man is not yet capable of being on his own, he cannot stand on his own. He is afraid. He wants somebody to lean on. So he is ready to fall into the trap of whoever can claim that ‘I am going to support you.’
You ask me: WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THIS TO? Why are there so many people seeking for instant enlightenment and why are there so many people claiming that they can deliver the goods? It is a simple law of economics: when there is a demand, there is a supply. If you ask for instant enlightenment, there must be somebody cunning and clever enough to start claiming that he can supply it. You simply demand and you will find the supplier. Anything demanded will be produced. The producers are always there.
Just the other night I was reading a book. I was surprised. Such books can be written only in this age and only in America, nowhere else. The author says in the introduction: ‘Are you unemployed? Are you ill? Are you without a woman or without a man? Are you poor? Would you like to have better health, more money?
Would you like to win over a woman or a man? Would you like to defeat your enemy? Or anything? Then here is the key.’ And this man is pretending to be a spiritual Master. ‘Here is the key.’ And as a proof he says, ‘Look at me. Just three years ago I was poor, my life with my wife was a constant conflict. I was unhappy and was thinking of committing suicide. I was one of the most miserable men in the world. But I found this secret from a guru in Tibet.
Now this ‘Tibet’ is beautiful. You can always find something from Tibet! ‘And that secret worked. Now I have a Cadillac car, a beautiful house to live in, a bank balance of five figures; my life has become absolutely beautiful, love has flowered between me and my wife. I have become famous.’ And he gives his address. He says, ‘You can come any time.’ He lives in Montreal. ‘You can come any time and you can see yourself what miracles have happened through my guru and his blessing. And I can give you the secret too.’
People would have laughed at this kind of spirituality in the ancient days. But these kind of people are available, these kind of people have become very prominent. Whatsoever you demand they are ready to give — at least, they promise to give. There is no need really to give. The promise is enough. You go to one guru and if you fail, if you don’t attain, you start moving to another. And somebody else comes to the first guru, and this way people go on moving from one guru to another guru with the desire that somewhere it is going to happen.
First be alert that this world is a market, a supermarket. All kinds of claimers are there. They listen to your desires and they claim. They speak the language of your desires.
A real Master does not speak the language of your desire and your demand. A real Master only promises one thing — death. A real Master says, ‘I am going to be your cross. I can help you to die and disappear.’ A real Master can only promise you crucifixion because only through crucifixion is resurrection. Only when you disappear as man is God born in you. Only when you are not, God is.
So whenever you find a dangerous Master who is ready to throw you into flames, who is ready to destroy you utterly and who is not in any need of your being a follower, who does not care a bit whether you follow him or not — only that Master can be of some help.
But always remember, the answer is within you. He will only direct you within yourself. Because you are not capable of going into your own self, a kind of help is needed — somebody who knows the way; somebody who has gone into his own being and is fully aware of the path and the possibilities of going astray; who is aware of how many pitfalls there are; who is aware of how many wrong turns there are; who is aware of how many false doors there are and who is aware of the arduous work that one has to do.
And a real Master will not promise you instant enlightenment — that is just stupid. There are no short cuts. One has to grow slowly, patiently. Money may be possible instantly — you can become a thief — but you cannot steal God, you cannot become that kind of thief. Money is possible — you can deceive the income tax officer, or the income tax department — but how are you going to deceive God?
Money is possible instantly if you use wrong means, but if you use wrong means in your spiritual growth you will be self-destructive. Wrong means are not possible there. In the spiritual world the means and the end are-the same. You cannot use wrong means for right ends in the spiritual world. In the ordinary world you can. The ordinary world is perfectly available to those who want to exploit it, oppress it, but God is not available to the exploiters. God is available only to the true, the innocent. God is available only to the authentic. There means and ends are not separate, they are the same. Only the right means will lead you to the right end.
If somebody promises you instant enlightenment, that is a certainty that he is going to deceive you. And if you fall into his trap you are responsible — because in the first place you wanted enlightenment instantly. That was stupid. That has led you to this stupidity and to this imprisonment. God cannot be demanded on order. You have to prepare yourself. you have to become worthy. And it is a long journey. You will be fortunate if you can ever attain it. You will be blessed if it ever happens.
And I am not saying it cannot happen now, remember. If you are ready, if you are ready to wait forever, it can happen now, because this moment is as potential as any other moment. At this time God’s door is as open as ever. But you will need eyes to see, you will need wings to fly, you will need a womb-like receptivity to receive, you will need an innocent mind, thoughtless, aware, loving, compassionate. These things are not seasonal flowers; they take time to grow roots into the earth.
Source – Osho Book “Sufi’s: The People of the Path, Vol 1”