Osho on Spirituality and Virtue

Osho – SPIRITUALITY is not a question of morality, it is a question of vision. Spirituality is not the practising of virtues — because if you practise a virtue it is no longer a virtue. A practised virtue is a dead thing, a dead weight. Virtue is virtue only when it is spontaneous; virtue is virtue only when it is natural, unpractised — when it comes out of your vision, out of your awareness, out of your understanding.

Ordinarily religion is thought of as a practice. It is not. That is one of the most fundamental misunderstandings about religion. You can practise non-violence but you will still remain violent, because your vision has not changed. You still carry the old eyes. A greedy person can practise sharing, but the greed will remain the same. Even the sharing will be corrupted by the greed, because you cannot practise anything against your understanding, beyond your understanding. You cannot force your life into principles unless those principles are of your own experience.

But so-called religious people try to practise virtue — that’s why they are the most unvirtuous people on the earth. They try to practise love and they are the most unloving people on the earth. They have created all sorts of mischief: wars, hatred, anger, enmity, murder. They practise friendship but the friendship has not flowered on the earth. They go on talking about God but they create more and more conflict in the name of God. The Christian is against the Mohammedan, the Mohammedan is against the Hindu, the Hindu is against the Jaina, the Jaina is against the Buddhist — that’s all they have been doing.

There are three hundred religions and they have all created fragments in the human mind; they have not been an integrating force, they have not healed the wounds of the human soul. Because of them humanity is ill, because of them humanity is insane — and the insanity comes out of one thing. That has to be understood as deeply as possible because you can also go in the wrong direction. The wrong direction has a tremendous appeal, otherwise so many people would not have gone in it. The appeal must be great. The magnetic force of the wrong direction has to be understood, only then can you avoid it.

You can try practising anything you like and you can remain opposite to it.
You can try practising anything you like and you can remain opposite to it. You can enforce a sort of stillness upon yourself: you can sit silently, you can learn a yoga posture, you can make the body still, as if it is without movement, you can make the body like a statue. And by repeating a mantra or by repressing the mind continuously for a long time, you can enforce a certain stillness upon your being — but it will be the silence of the cemetery, it will not be throbbing, alive, kicking. It will be a frozen thing. You can deceive others but you cannot deceive yourself and you cannot deceive God. You have got it without any understanding; you forced it upon yourself; it is a practised silence.

The real silence arises out of the understanding: ‘Why am I not silent? Why do I go on creating tensions for myself? Why do I go on getting into miserable patterns? Why do I support my hell?’ One starts understanding the ‘why’ of one’s hell — and by that very understanding, by and by, without any practising on your part, you start dropping those wrong attitudes that create misery. Not that you drop them, they simply start disappearing.

When understanding is there, things start changing around you. You will love but you will no longer be possessive. It is not love that creates trouble. If you ask your so-called saints, they say it is love that creates trouble. That is an absolutely false statement. It is based on a deep misunderstanding of the human love-life. It is not love that creates misery — love is one of the greatest blessings, a benediction. It is possession that creates misery. Possess your beloved, your friend, your child, and you will be in misery. And when you are in misery those religious people are there waiting by the corner. They jump upon you. They say, ‘We told you before. Never love, otherwise you will be in trouble.

Drop out of all love situations, escape from the world.’ And of course it appeals because you are already seeing it happening to you. It is now your own experience that they are right — and yet they are not right and it is not your experience. You never analysed the phenomenon that has happened, you never analysed that it is not love that has tricked you into misery, it is possessiveness. Drop possessiveness, not love.

If you drop love, of course the misery will disappear, because by dropping love you will be dropping possessiveness also — that will be automatically dropped. The misery will disappear but you will never be happy. Go and see your saints. They will be a proof of what I am saying. They will never be happy.

They are not unhappy, that is true, but they are not happy either. So what is the point? If happiness does not arise by dropping unhappiness then some mistake has been committed. Otherwise it should be natural. You say, ‘I have lighted the candle and the darkness is still there.’ Either you are befooling yourself or you are dreaming, hallucinating, about the candle. Otherwise it is not possible — the candle is burning bright and the darkness is still there? No, the darkness is certain, absolute proof that the light has not entered yet.

When unhappiness drops, suddenly there is happiness. What is happiness? Absence of unhappiness is happiness. What is health? Absence of disease is health. When you are not unhappy then how can you avoid happiness? When you are not unhappy how can you manage not to be happy? It is impossible. It is not in the nature of things. It is against the arithmetic of life. When a person is not unhappy suddenly all his sources are alive; a dance arises in his being; a joy rises in his being. A laughter bursts forth. He explodes. He becomes a Hasid, a Sufi. He becomes a presence of divine ecstasy. By seeing him you will see God — a glimpse, a ray of light. By visiting him you will be visiting a shrine, a sacred place, a TEERTHA. Just by being in his presence you will be suffused with a new light, a new being; a new wave will arise around you and you can ride on that tidal wave and go to that other shore.

Whenever there is really a dropping of unhappiness, happiness is left — nothing else is possible. One is simply happy without any reason, without any why. But your saints are not happy, your saints are very sad; your saints are not living, your saints are dead. What has happened? What calamity? What curse? A mis-step. They thought that love had to be dropped and then there would be no misery. They dropped love — but the misery was not happening because of love, the misery was happening because of possessiveness. Drop possessiveness! In fact, convert the energy which is involved in possessiveness into love-energy. But that cannot be done by enforcing anything — a clear vision is needed, a clarity.

So the first thing I would like to say to you is: spirituality is not the practising of any virtue, spirituality is the gaining of a new vision. Virtue follows that vision; it comes on its own accord. It is a natural by-product. When you start seeing, things start changing. In life there are three things — one. the objective world, the world of things. Everybody is able to see that. We are naturally capable of seeing the objective world. But this is only the beginning of the journey. Many have stopped there and think that they have arrived. Of course they have not arrived so they are miserable.

Beyond the objective is the opening of another world — the world of the subjective. The objective is the world of things, objects; the objective is the world of science, mathematics, physics, chemistry. The objective is very clear because naturally we are born perfectly able to see the objective. The subjective has to be explored; nobody is born with a vision of the subjective. The subjective has to be explored; one has to learn what it is; one has to taste it by and by and move into it by and by. The world of music, poetry, art — the world of any creativity — is the world of the subjective. The man who starts moving inwards becomes more poetic, more aesthetic. He has a different aroma around him, a different aura.

The scientist lives with things; the poet lives with persons. The scientist is not at all aware of who he is, he is simply aware of what surrounds him. He may be able to know about the moon and about Mars and about the stars far, far away, but he is completely oblivious of his own inwardness. In fact, the more he becomes concerned with faraway things, the more and more he becomes oblivious of himself: He remains almost in a sort of sleep about himself.

The poet, the painter the dancer, the musician, they are closer to home. They live in the subjective — they know they are persons. And when you know you are a person, suddenly you become capable of looking into other persons. For a poet even a tree is a person, even animals are people; for a scientist even a man or a woman is nothing but an object. A scientist looks at a man as if he is also just an object. And if he is not aware of his own inwardness how can he be aware of the inwardness of the other?

When I use the word ‘person’ I mean that there is an inside which is not available to outside observation, analysis, dissection. There is a rock, it has no inside; you can break it and you can see everything. If you break a rock, nothing is disturbed, nothing is destroyed. Even if it is in pieces, it is the same rock. But if you break a person, something of tremendous value immediately disappears. Now you are left with a dead body, and the dead body is not the person. The rock broken is still the same rock, but the person is no longer the same person. In fact, the person broken is not a person at all. On the dissection table of a surgeon you are not a person, only when a poet touches you and holds your hand do you become a person.

That’s why people hanker for love. The reason for the hankering for love is nothing but this: you would like somebody to see that you are a person, not a thing. You go to the dentist, he is not worried about you — he is simply interested in your teeth. Even if I go to the dentist — I see him…what a miracle! He is not interested in me, he just looks at my teeth. I am there, sitting in his chair, he is completely oblivious of me. A great space is available just in his room but he will not even look at me — that’s not his concern. He is only interested in the teeth, in his own technique. His knowledge of the objective world is his only world.

People hanker for love because only love can make you a person, only love can reveal your inwardness to you, only love can make you feel that you are not just that which is apparent from the outside. You are something more; you are something totally different to what you appear to be. The reflection in the mirror is not your totality; the reflection in the mirror is just the reflection of your surface, not of your depth. It says nothing about your depth.

When you come to a scientist, or a person who is absolutely absorbed with the objective dimension, he looks at you as if you are just the reflection in the mirror. He does not look at you, he looks around you. His approach is not direct, his approach is not intimate — and you feel something is missing. He is mistreating you because he is not accepting your personality. He is treating you as if you are a thing. He is doing things but he is not touching you at all; you remain almost non-existential to him.

And unless somebody touches you with love, looks at you with love, your own inwardness remains unfulfilled, unrecognised — that is what the need to be needed is. The subjective is the dimension, the inward dimension, of poetry, song, dance, music, of art. It is better than the scientific dimension because it is deeper. It is better than the objective dimension because it is closer to home. But it is not yet the dimension of religion, remember. There are many people whose mind is obsessed with the objective — when they think about God, God also becomes an object. Then God is also outside.

Ask a Christian where God is and he will look upwards, somewhere in the sky — outside. When you ask a person where God is and he looks somewhere else than within himself, then he belongs to the non-religious dimension. People ask, ‘What is the proof of God?’ Proofs are needed only for a thing. God does not need proof. If I love you, what is the proof? For poetry there is no proof, for chemistry there is. But poetry exists. And a world without chemistry would not be very much worse, but a world without poetry would not be a human world at all.

Poetry brings meaning to life, the unproved brings meaning to life — the proved at the most makes you comfortable. God is not an object and cannot be proved. God is more like music. It exists, certainly it exists, but there is no way to grab it. You cannot have it in your fist, you cannot lock it into your treasury, there is no way.

Love exists but you cannot possess it. If you try to possess it, you belong to the objective dimension and you are killing love — that’s why possession is destructive. If you possess a woman, if you say, ‘She is my wife and I possess her’ then she is no longer a person. You have reduced her to be a thing and she will never be able to forgive you. No wife has ever been able to forgive her husband; no husband. has ever been able to forgive his wife — because both have reduced each other to things. A husband is a thing, a wife is a thing, and when you become a thing you become ugly — you lose freedom, you lose inwardness, you lose poetry, you lose romance, you lose meaning. You become simply a thing in the world of things. Utility is there — but who lives for utility? Utility can never be satisfying. You are being used, how can it be satisfying? Whenever you feel you are being used, you feel offended. And you SHOULD feel offended, because it is a crime to use somebody and it is a crime to allow somebody to use you. It is a crime against God.

But there are people who try to use God also. When you go and you pray for something you are trying to use God. You don’t know what prayer is, you don’t know what love is, you don’t know what poetry is, you don’t know the subjective realm at all. Your prayer, if it has a motivation in it, a desire in it, is ugly. But we find — we are very cunning people — we find ways and means.

Let me tell you an anecdote. A minister, a priest and a rabbi were discussing how they decided what part of the collection money each retained for personal needs and what part was turned into their respective institutions. ‘I draw a line,’ said the minister, ‘on the floor. All the money I toss in the air. What lands to the right of the line I keep, to the left of the line is the Lord’s.’

The priest nodded, saying,’ My system is essentially the same, only I use a circle. What lands inside is mine, outside is his.’
The rabbi smiled and said, ‘I do the same thing. I toss all the money into the air and whatever God grabs is his.’

We even go on playing tricks with God. In fact, God is also our invention, a very cunning invention. It is also somewhere there — and you can pray to him, you can ask things from him, you can find security in him, consolation, comfort. It is a security measure, a sort of other-worldly bank balance. But it remains an object.

God is not an object — that’s why Mohammedans, Christians, Jews have all tried not to make any image of God. That is very symbolic and meaningful because when you make an image of God it becomes objective. Let God remain without any image. But it has remained without an image only in theology. Whether you have made an image of God or not, it makes no difference; your mind, if it is capable of moving in the objective dimension, will treat God as an object. Even a Mohammedan turns towards Mecca for his prayers; that becomes an image. Even a Mohammedan goes to Mecca to kiss the stone; That becomes the image. The Black Stone of Mecca is the most kissed stone ever. In fact, it is very dangerous to kiss it now — it is unhygenic.

But whether you make any image of God or not, if the mind is objective, your idea of God will be objective. When you think of God you start thinking of high heaven, the uppermost boundary of the sky. God is THERE. If you ask a truly religious person where God is, he will close his eyes and go inwards. God is there, inwards. Your own being is divine.

Unless God is immanent in you, unless God is immersed in your being, you are carrying an image. Whether you have made an image of wood or of stone does not matter — you can make an image with thinking, thoughts, ideas. That too is an image — made of a subtler material, but still an image.

Man remains the same unless he changes his dimension. Somebody is an atheist; he says, ‘There is no God because I cannot see him. Show me and I will believe.’ And then someday he comes to have an experience, a vision, a dream in which he sees God standing there. Then he starts believing.

In the Gita, Arjuna, Krishna’s disciple, goes on asking again and again, ‘You go on talking about him but I cannot believe unless I see.’Now, what is he saying? He is saying, ‘Let God be objective then I will believe.’ And Krishna concedes to his desire. I am not happy with that — because to concede to this desire means to concede that the objective dimension is capable of seeing God. The story says that Krishna then revealed his reality, his vastness; he revealed God.

Arjuna started trembling and shaking. He said, ‘Stop! Enough! I have seen!’ He saw Krishna expanding and becoming the whole universe; and in Krishna stars were moving, the sun was rising and the moon and planets and the beginning of the world and the end of the world and all life and all death was there. It was too much; he could not bear it. He said, ‘Stop!’ And then he came to believe.

But this belief does not change the object, this belief does not change the objective dimension. He did not believe because he could not see; now he has seen so he believes — but the God remains in the objective world, the God remains a thing. I am not happy with Krishna for doing this. It should not be done. It is conceding to a foolish disciple’s desire. The disciple needs to be changed from his dimension; he should be made more subjective. But we remain the same — we go on changing forms but we remain the same.

Source – Osho Book “The Art of Dying”

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