Osho on Gradual and Sudden Enlightenment

Question – Am i right to feel that you have travelled the path of gradual enlightenment? Did you dance when the enlightenment happened?

Osho – I am still dancing. If you have eyes you can see. If you don’t have eyes what can I do? And there is no gradual enlightenment; enlightenment is always sudden. You can prepare gradually, you can prepare suddenly, but enlightenment is always sudden. It happens in a single moment. It is not that somebody is fifty percent enlightened, sixty percent enlightened, seventy percent enlightened, no. Just a moment before he was a hundred percent unenlightened, and just a moment afterwards he is a hundred percent enlightened. It happens suddenly: otherwise there would be degrees. There are no degrees.

It is just like death: it happens in a single moment. You cannot say that a man is half dead. Even if he looks half dead he is perfectly alive; that is only appearance. A man may be in a coma, lying unconscious, but then too he is perfectly alive, not half dead. Either you are dead or you are alive — there is no other way — either this or that. Enlightenment is always sudden.

And preparation? This is the very subtle point to understand: preparation is not for enlightenment; preparation is for your courage. A courageous man can take it right now; a coward will take years to prepare himself. The whole problem is of fear. If the fear is dropped, you are in freedom. If you continue to nurse your fear and tend your fear, you will never be free. So make it a clear point in your minds: that enlightenment needs no preparation; all preparation is only because you are afraid. So it depends on you. Whenever you decide to drop the fear, it can happen.

It is not something outside you which has to be attained; you are already carrying it with you. It is just like childbirth: a woman is carrying the pregnancy — the child is already there, throbbing, alive, kicking — but if the woman is very much afraid, the birth will take a long time. If she is very much afraid and tense, when the child wants to come out of the womb, she will clench her whole mechanism in fear and will not allow the child to come out.

The child needs a relaxed passage to come out, and the woman is so tense that she won’t allow the child to come out. And the child wants to come out because now that is his only life — a few days more and, if he is in the womb, he will be dead. So the child will make all the efforts to come out, and the woman is tense: there is a conflict. That conflict creates pain; otherwise no childbirth shou]d be with pain. There is no need; it is not a necessity.

Go to the old, ancient tribes in India. Childbirth happens so easily, so naturally, that those people have never heard that there is any pain in it. A woman will be working in the field, and the child is born — not a single person to look after her; she will look after herself. She will put the child under the tree, do her whole day’s work — there is no hurry to go back home — then take the child back by the evening. Simple. Just simple, as it is happening in animals, no problem.

The mother creates the problem. The mother is tense, afraid. That tension, and the child’s effort to come out, creates a struggle; and, then, it takes time. The child is ready to come out any moment. You have all passed the gestation period. As I see, everybody is in the ninth month — everybody has always been in the ninth month. Now, the whole problem is how to relax and let the child come out and be born. You can relax only if you are not afraid. Accept, don’t be afraid. Accept life. It is the friend, not the enemy. This whole existence is a home; you are not strangers here. Forget all about what Darwin says — survival, struggle, conquest. All nonsense. Listen to people who say it is a home, because they are true. Otherwise is not possible.

You are born in life — how can it be against you? How can the mother be against the child? And you will return back to it: just like a wave reaching high, dancing in the sun, and then going back. How can the ocean be against the wave? In fact the whole strength of the wave is a gift from the ocean: it rises high, not that it rises, but because the ocean rises in it.

You are just waves in a cosmic ocean of consciousness. Accept it. Feel at home. You are not strangers here; you are beloved to the existence. And then, suddenly, you gather courage because there is no fear. Enlightenment is always sudden. If you have to move gradually it is because of your nonaccepting mind, afraid, cautious.

Source – Osho Book “The Yoga, Vol 5”

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