The first question:
What I mean by sannyas is a spiritual discipline, so that one becomes a religious person. But it is not happening to me. What to do?
My sannyas is not a discipline. My sannyas is freedom, freedom from all control - even from self-control. A controlled man is a dead man. Whether you are controlled by others or by yourself does not make much difference.
My sannyas is spontaneity, living moment to moment without any prefabricated discipline, living with the unknown, not exactly knowing where you are going - because if you know already where you are going you are dead. Then life runs in a mechanical way. A life should be a flow from the known toward the unknown. One should be dying each moment to the known so the unknown can penetrate you. And only the unknown liberates.
Discipline can never be of the unknown. Discipline has to be of the mind. The mind is your past. All that you have learned, all that you have been conditioned for, all that you have experienced, all that you have thought about - this is your mind. Out of this mind comes planning for the future. That planning for the future will be nothing but a repetition of the past. It comes out of the past; it cannot be anything else. Maybe a little modified here and there, decorated here and there, but there will be no radical revolution in it.
My sannyas is a radical revolution. By giving you sannyas, I give you freedom. I give you courage to live without any planning, to live without mind, to live without past. Of course it is dangerous, but life is dangerous. Only when you are dead, then there is no danger, then you are safe - safe in your grave. Safety never exists before that. If you want to be safe and secure and perfectly protected, insured against all dangers, then don’t enter into sannyas. Enter into your grave. Then don’t breathe, because breathing is dangerous. One day breathing is going to bring death to you. Breathing is dangerous.
Life exists in danger, pulsates in danger. Life exists in the ocean of death. It has to be dangerous; it cannot be safe and secure. You are not a rock. You are a flower; fragile, you are - in the morning laughing with the sun; by the evening, you are gone. How can life be secure? In its frailty, in its fragility, how can you even conceive of insurance? No, there is no insurance, there cannot be.
And one should not live by the philosophy the insurance companies go on propagating. One should live with the danger, with death hand in hand. Then tremendous dimensions open before you. Then God is revealed.
God is very dangerous. There exists no other dangerous word comparable to God. God means to live a life of spontaneity, of nature. Don’t try to corrupt your future. Let it be. Don’t try to corrupt it, don’t try to manage it. Don’t give it a mold and a form and a pattern.
Of course, if you live the way I teach, many things will disappear from your life. The first thing will be the security - and it is a false thing. Only the false disappears with sannyas, not the real. The real starts appearing. Security will disappear, marriage will disappear. Love will remain; love is real.
Let it be more clear: love can exist with sannyas, but not marriage, because marriage is an effort to give a pattern to love, to give a discipline to love, to give it a legal, social form. But what are you doing? How can you manage that which has not come yet? You can love a woman or a man, and you can feel in this moment that you will love her always and always, but this is just a feeling of this moment. How can you promise?
An authentic man will never promise. How can you promise for the future? How can you say really you will be able to love tomorrow too? If love disappears what will you do? And it appeared on its own accord - you have not brought it in - so when it disappears what will you do? It comes and goes, it happens and disappears. It is not within your power. It is bigger than you.
So when you say, “I will love you tomorrow too,” what are you going to do? If love disappears you will pretend, you will substitute. That’s what happens in a marriage. Then two dead persons living in a dead relationship go on quarreling, fighting, nagging each other, trying to dominate, manipulate, exploit, destroy. Marriage is an ugly thing. Love is tremendously beautiful.
My sannyas is like love; the older sannyas was more like marriage. My sannyas is simply a courage to face whatsoever is going to happen, without any rehearsal for it.
How can you prepare? The tomorrow is not known at all. Whatsoever you prepare is going to hinder. It will become a screen on your eyes and you will not be able to see what is. All preparation is dangerous. Remain unprepared. Then you will be excited, then each moment will be a joy and a wonder, and each moment will bring something new to you which has never happened, and you will never be bored.
The life of marriage, the life of all discipline, is the life of boredom - monotonous. Monogamy is monotony. You have to repeat the same. You are not free to explore new ways of being. You are not free to see new things. You are not free to experience new beauty, new truth. If you are disciplined, what does it mean? It simply means now you have a particular standpoint, your eyes are no longer open. You are a Christian; then you have a discipline. You are a Hindu; then you have a discipline and a dogma, and your eyes are completely full of that dogma. Then you cannot see that which is.
I would like you to be totally uncontrolled. I would like you to be absolutely a chaos, with no order whatsoever.
And please don’t misunderstand me. There is every possibility because when I say something I have to use words, and words have been very corrupted - corrupted by you, corrupted by usage - for centuries. When I say chaos, you become afraid. But you don’t know the beauty of chaos, and you don’t know the spontaneous order of a chaos. You don’t know the order that comes out of freedom. Not enforced by your mind, not by your past, but just by your being aware, alert, free, responsive, an order arises. I don’t call it order, because it goes on changing every moment. I don’t call it a discipline, because it has nothing to do with you. In the chaos you are no more, the ego has disappeared.
Who is going to discipline? The ego. The ego says, “Become a better man, improve yourself! You are a sinner, become a saint; you are violent, become nonviolent; you are angry, become more loving.” But who is going to do it, and who is this who is hankering for improvement? The ego wants a few more decorations, wants to become more respectable, wants to become more certain, wants to have a better grounding in the world, wants to feel more solid, wants to become somebody in particular, wants to become special.
No, my sannyas is not going to give you anything of this sort. I don’t deal in dead things. That is not my business. My whole effort here is to give you a taste of freedom. Once you have known the taste, you will never settle for anything else. If it is a question of settling somewhere, you are wrong. My sannyas is a wandering; it is not a settlement. In my sannyas you can rest, but in the morning you have to go. It is a constant flow, river-like unless the ocean is achieved. But the ocean comes naturally out of the flowing of the river: there is no plan to reach the ocean, the river does not know. Maps of where the ocean is don’t exist for a river.
And the river has no discipline. Sometimes it goes to the south and sometimes it starts moving to the north, and sometimes in one direction and sometimes in another direction. Have you ever seen the zigzag path of a river? It is not straight. It is not economical. It is not mathematical. It is not the shortest cut at all, but very zigzag. It just goes on, not knowing where it is going. It just goes on because the energy is there to go. And one day the river reaches. If the river were planning, then it would find the shortest route, then it would move in a straight line, then it would never deviate, then it would be very consistent. But then it would not be a river - maybe a canal, a manmade canal, but it would not be a river. It wouldn’t have any freedom.
I don’t want you to be canals. Canals are ugly. I want you to be rivers.
And life is a hilly track. Move in freedom, move in total freedom, and each moment remember to drop the past. It accumulates like dust. Each moment you have experienced something, and then it goes on accumulating. Don’t accumulate it. Just go on ceasing as far as the past is concerned, dying as far as the past is concerned, so you are totally alive, throbbing, pulsating, streaming, and, whatsoever comes, you face it with awareness.
You must have a wrong notion about my sannyas. You say, “What I mean by sannyas is a spiritual discipline.” Then your meaning is different from my meaning. No, it has nothing to do with discipline, and it has nothing to do with spirituality.
When Bodhidharma reached China and the emperor received him, the emperor asked one thing: “I have done many meritorious acts. I have made many Buddhist monasteries, thousands of Buddhist monks are fed from my treasure, millions of Chinese have been converted to Buddhism, thousands of temples have been raised for Buddha. What is going to be my merit for all this doing?”
Bodhidharma was very ferocious and he looked into the emperor’s eyes and said, “Your Majesty, there is no merit in it.”
The emperor was very shocked, because many Buddhists had come before - monks and missionaries - and they had all said to him, “This will be your merit: you will reach to the seventh paradise. Do more virtuous acts, donate more, make more monasteries, temples, Buddha statues; convert the whole country to Buddhism. Your merit is going to be great, Your Majesty.” And now here comes this Bodhidharma and he says no merit at all!
But the emperor was a very cultured man. He changed the subject, he dropped the subject before so many people. And this man looked dangerous. The emperor said, “Then tell me something about the holy truth of Buddha.”
And Bodhidharma said, “Nothing can be said about it because it is vast and, remember, there is nothing holy in it. Holy, unholy, is part of a dual mind. There is nothing holy, nothing unholy. It simply is.”
Now this was too much. The emperor was very offended. Bodhidarma is denying even Buddha’s truth and saying nothing is holy in it. The emperor became angry. For a moment he forgot all his courteous manner, courtly manner and politeness, and he said, “Then who is this fellow who is standing before me?”
And Bodhidharma bowed down and said, “Your Majesty, I don’t know.”
My sannyas is not spiritual, because I don’t divide the world into the material and the spiritual. It is nothing holy, because I don’t divide the world into the unholy and the holy. By becoming a sannyasin you have not become a saint, because I don’t divide people into sinners and saints. People are people. All are beautiful - sinners and saints and all.
In fact, if there are only saints in the world and no sinners, the world would not be worth living in. Just think of a world which consists only of holy saints. Can you conceive of any worse world than that? No, it cannot be of much value. The sinner and the saint, they are the warp and woof, they are together, they are one - the dark and the light. Death and life are meeting every moment.
So I don’t call it spiritual, because I have no condemnation for matter. In the very word spiritual you have denied something, you have condemned something, you have judged. You have already declared that “The material is wrong and I want to be spiritual.”
Can’t you see a simple fact that you exist in the body as the body? Have you ever seen any soul without a body, unembodied? Or have you seen any body alive without a soul? The bifurcation is stupid. The soul is nothing but the dynamism of your body and the body is nothing but the materialization of your soul. The body is your visible soul and the soul is your invisible body.
And I would like you to be as much a materialist as a spiritualist. I don’t make the division. I don’t want to create any split in you. You are already split. Your so-called religions have already done much damage to you. They have created a schizophrenic world in which everybody is split. And of course then there is tension, anxiety, anguish, because you become two. By just calling yourself a spiritual being, you are condemning your body and you are creating a rift between the body and the soul, between God and the world.
You say God created the world? You state it in a very wrong way. I say God is the world. God has not created it, because he has never been able to become separate from it. It is not like a painter, that he paints something and then he is free of the painting and the painting becomes separate - the painter can die but the painting will live. No, God is not like that. God is more like a dancer. Hence I have so much love for dance. God is more like a dancer. You cannot separate the dancer from the dance. He is Nataraj: the dancer of all the dancers, the master of all the dancers. He is dancing in the leaf, in the flower, in the raindrops, in the river, in the peacock. All over is his dance.
He has not created the world; he is the world. The world is his dance, and the separation does not exist. If the world were not there, he would not be a dancer at all. If the dancer were not there, the world could not exist. They are not separate, they are inseparably together. In fact to say “together” is not right, because they are not two; how can they be together? They are one.
And I would like you to remember this unity always and always because you are prone to forget it. Your minds have been conditioned by dualists: matter and mind, body and soul, God and the world, samsara and nirvana.
My sannyasin is the unity, is the bridge between all duality. That’s why I have not told you to renounce the world, because it is God’s dance. Where are you going to renounce it? Have you gone mad? It is his market, it is his world. The noise is his. Once you recognize it, the noise turns into beautiful music. In all these relationships only he is there. In your wife he is, in you he is, in your children too. In your friends he is, in your enemies too. Only he is.
So don’t go anywhere, don’t renounce. Live it as totally as possible - and live it as an integrated being. My emphasis is for an integrated being. You are not in the body: you are the body. Drop that nonsense of “I am in the body.” From the very beginning that nonsense makes a distinction, and then you are very far away from the body and a conflict arises. You start manipulating your body, you start controlling your body, you start doing things to your body. You become destructive, you become violent.
Your so-called saints are all violent. Howsoever they talk about nonviolence, howsoever much, it makes no difference. They are violent people.
There are two types of violent people. The first type is violent with others; the other type is violent with himself. There are sadists and masochists. The sadists torture others; they become Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao. Then there are masochists, they torture themselves; they become Mahatma Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave, Lanza del Vasto, and so on, so forth. But both are violent people. One tortures himself, another tortures others.
My sannyasin has to drop torturing. So it is not a discipline and it has nothing to do with spirituality: “Yes, Your Majesty, there is nothing holy in it!” And don’t get angry with me, and don’t ask who is this fellow sitting here and talking with you. I don’t know.
You say, “What I mean by sannyas is a spiritual discipline, and through this discipline one becomes a religious man.” If you become a religious man by discipline, you will be a bogus religious man. What does discipline have to do with religion? If you practice religion you will be false. Ordinarily it has been told to you, whatsoever you preach, practice it. And I say to you, if you practice it, you will become false, because practice means you are creating character armor around you. Now you will be living according to a certain ideology, and that ideology will function as a barrier. It will become your prejudice.
A religious man is absolutely unprejudiced. He has no outlook, he has no philosophy, he has no ideology. He is very, very natural. He is more like animals, more like small babies, more like trees and rocks - and yet, very, very different from them. But the difference comes from his awareness.
You say if we practice a certain discipline we will become religious, as if religiousness is something like a goal in the future: you have to practice today so tomorrow you become religious. No, religiousness is your nature. You are already that. No practice is needed for it.
The Indian term for religion is very, very beautiful. The Indian term is dharma. Dharma means your intrinsic nature. Whatsoever you want to become, in fact, you are already. It is already the case. It is not a question that you have to practice something and then as a result, as a reward, you become religious. No, you become religious if you just become aware. This very moment you become religious.
Sometimes, even without knowing it, you become religious. Whenever you are alert, silent, peaceful, you are religious. Whenever you are unalert, tense, worried, you are irreligious. Religion and irreligion continuously change. Sometimes sitting with your friends, listening to music, you are so quiet and so happy, for no reason at all, just feeling joyful. You are religious; you are in tune with your nature. You may not even be conscious of the fact that in this moment you are religious.
You have gone for a morning walk, the sun is rising and it is beautiful all around. The air is cool and fragrant and the birds have started singing, and there are a few white clouds floating in the sky. Suddenly you are no longer the ordinary, miserable person. You feel good. Suddenly you feel turned on. The vast sky and the clouds and the birds and the morning breeze and the sun rising slowly - something rises in you too, something becomes alert. You have a dance to your feet and a song arises. You would like to sit under a tree and sing a song. You are religious.
When you are in love you are religious. Holding the hand of your friend or your woman or your man, not doing anything, just sitting silently, looking at the stars, you are religious.
Religion is not a result of something that you practice. Religion enters in you any moment you relax. Religion is a flowering of relaxation, not a result of practicing. Remember the difference because when you practice you become more tense.
You can see the people who practice. They are very tense because every moment they are fighting. How can they relax? Have you seen a saint relaxing? Impossible! A saint cannot relax, because if he relaxes he is afraid of becoming a sinner. He has to be constantly on guard. He sits upright because deep inside he is uptight. You can go and you can see these saints in India. They are on exhibition everywhere. Upright they sit, with their backbone straight, in a dead yoga posture like statues. They can’t relax.
Saints cannot laugh, because if they laugh there is danger. If you laugh you become ordinary, just an ordinary human being. They have to remain serious, and they have to be continuously on guard. You don’t understand their misery. They are imprisoned, and their imprisonment is such that they are the prisoner and they are the jailer too. So a prisoner can escape from the prison, there is a possibility, because the jailer is a different person; you can deceive him. But a saint cannot, because he himself is the jailer. He goes on whipping himself, torturing, starving himself. He is very nasty with his body. But you say, “He is a great ascetic” - these nasty people, horrible and hideous! But then they are also waiting: in some future there is going to be a result.
No, I don’t teach you result-oriented life at all. I teach you the relaxed way of life. Here and now you can be religious. You are, this moment, if you are relaxing with me.
Those who have come to feel me, understand me. Those who have come to have a taste of my presence, relax. They are not here for any gain, they are not here for any greed, they are not here to attain something in future life. They are just here to be with me - to laugh a little with me, to have a little fun, to joke a little. Then you are religious. In that moment, if you allow a little relaxation, you are religious, because religion is your innermost nature. Whenever you are not tense, it is there. When you become tense, you lose contact with it.
And now you ask, “But it is not happening to me. What to do?” If it had happened it would have surprised me. That’s what I am saying: it cannot happen that way. If you want to become a pseudo-religious person, then it is okay, that’s your choice. But never blame me. That is your responsibility. If you want to be a pseudo-religious person, you can become one - you can practice.
Truth cannot be practiced. You have to dissolve yourself into it. Truth can never become something that you can hold in your hand. It is vast. How can you hold it in your hand? It can never become your property. You have to relax into it, dissolve into it.
When you dissolve into it, it is there, and it takes and possesses your whole being. And then it lives through you. That is what I call a religious life: when truth starts living through you, when God starts dancing through you and you don’t create any barrier for him and you don’t say no. You become a yea-sayer and you say yes, and your yes is total and your yes is unconditional; then God is very happy in you. And when God is happy in you, suddenly you will find he is happy all around you. Then you are blessed. And then you can bless the whole of existence.
Osho: Ecstasy: The Forgotten Language