True wisdom

First Question



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Question 1


A lot of difference. And not only of quantity, but of quality, of direction, of plane, of dimension. It has to be understood very minutely because the difference is subtle.

The passive mind can appear as if it is flowing, with the river, but the passive mind also is not flowing with the river because it has a certain attitude of passivity.

The passive mind is also a mind. To flow with the river you need a no-mind. But because of the similarity, through the centuries many have been deceived. And to cultivate passivity is easier than to flow with the river. To condition your mind into passivity is very easy. That's why, in the past and even now, monasteries, monks, sannyasins have existed -- people who have renounced the world.

What are they really trying to do? They are trying to become absolutely passive. But their passivity is negativity. They have already chosen an attitude. First, these persons were too active in the world: running, desiring, ambitious. The mind was active -- excited with desire, future, hope. Then they got frustrated, because whatsoever you hope, it is not going to be fulfilled. All hopes are hopeless, all desiring comes to frustration, all expectations carry frustration as a seed within.

So, sooner or later, everybody is bound to come to a point in life when the active mind looks simply a hell. Too much activity and no result out of it. Running and running, and never arriving. If you are intelligent, it happens soon. If you are stupid, it takes a little longer time -- but it happens all the same. If you are very intelligent, then when you are young you will come to see it. If you are not that intelligent -- then in old age. But sooner or later, everybody comes to feel that a life with the active mind is frustrating; it leads nowhere. It promises much, but it never fulfills anything. It leaves a distaste in the mouth, a discontent in the being. One simply feels tired and wearied, defeated. One simply feels that the whole thing has been futile.

Whenever the mind feels this, the mind immediately suggests: 'Try the opposite.' Because the mind lives in polarity, in opposition. It says: 'You have tried activity. Now try passivity.

You longed too much in the world. Now renounce. You were clinging to money. Renounce money. You had become too attached to the house. Renounce the house. You got too involved with a woman, children. Now leave them and escape from all this.'

The mind suggests to try the opposite -- and it seems natural and logical. You have done one thing and failed; now do the opposite. Maybe the opposite will succeed.

This is the pattern of the old type of sannyasin, monk -- the monastery, the Himalayas. They are born, then they escape from activity. They just try the opposite. Then they try not to desire -- but to try not to desire is still a desire. Then they try to leave the world -- but the very effort to leave the world shows their attachment.

If you have really become unattached, what is the point of renouncing anything? You can renounce a certain thing only because you are too involved in it. Then you escape from a woman -- but that simply shows that your mind is still fantasizing about women. Wherever you go, you may go to the opposite, but still, you will remain the same. This has to be understood: through the opposite you never change. You appear to have changed; your remain the same.

And this is one of the most important things to be understood -- otherwise you will be in the trap again. Now the trap will be of passivity, of NOT desiring, renunciation, non-attachment, non-violence. First, the world was your activity; now, the world has become a passive thing for you. But YOU are the same. Now God, moksha, will become your activity -- a faraway world somewhere in the sky, where everything is beautiful. This world will be ugly -- now the beauty will be transferred to the other world. Your object of desire changes, but you don't change. First you were asking for money, now you ask for meditation -- but the greed is there. First you were asking for things of this world, now you ask for things of the other world. But the asking is persistent, the same.

People who will be looking at you from the outside may be deceived because you will look totally transformed: you don't touch money, you don't have much to possess, you live in a cottage or under a tree, you are a naked fakir. People who are in the world -- they will worship you because now they think that you have transformed your being -- and they are still in the world. When they come to you, they compare. And they imagine that you must be very peaceful because you look passive.

Passivity can give an appearance of peace. It is not peace; it is just a deadness. Peace is alive! Passivity is dead.

Just for example: think yourself swimming in the river, trying to go up current, fighting; you are active. Then, a dead body floating down the river: not fighting at all, just floating down the river. But dead I -- a corpse that is passive. Life is fighting. Death is passive.

And the man who I say really floats with the river is neither alive in the sense of fight, nor is dead like a corpse. He floats with the river, but he floats consciously. He floats with the river not because he is dead, but because he co-operates. He floats with the river not because he cannot fight, but because he has come to know that fighting is futile -- and has not moved to the opposite.

He floats. He communes with the river, he has become one with the river. Sometimes you will see him active and sometimes you will see him passive. Passivity and activity are not two polarities to be chosen -- he has accepted both. That's what I mean when I say: 'floating with the river.'

Sometimes you will find him in the marketplace: very active.

Sometimes you will find him in the temple: very passive. But now he has no fixed mode of his being. He can move from passivity to activity, he can move from activity to passivity. There is no barrier, he has not created a fence around him. He is fluid, liquid, flowing. Otherwise, passivity itself can become an imprisonment.

I have heard of one Hassidic story. A man was going to see his friend. The friend was a farmer in a deep-hidden valley in the hills. When the man came near the house of the friend, he saw something which puzzled him very much.

He saw a small meadow, not more than one mile long. But one thing was very special and disturbing: in that meadow thousands of birds and animals were staying together. Thousands! It was difficult to count. There was no space left; the place was very much crowded. And the whole beautiful forest around this meadow was empty of birds and animals. He could not believe: 'Why are they huddled together? Why are they not moving into the sky, to other trees? The whole vastness is available.' They looked very nervous, tense, worried -- not at ease at all.

Of course, everybody needs space, everybody needs a certain space to live. Whenever that space is encroached upon, nervousness arises. But nobody was preventing the animals and birds from leaving, there was not even a fence there. When he reached his friend's house the first question he asked was about these birds: 'What misfortune has befallen them?'

The friend said: 'I don't know exactly -- because I have not seen, but I have heard: in the past, many many years ago, there was a landlord -- a very violent and sadistic man. He enjoyed this whole experiment. He created a high fence around the meadow. He placed guards all around the place, and he ordered the guards: "If any bird or any animal tries to escape, kill him immediately." He forced thousands of birds and animals into the meadow, into that prison. And for years this was the routine: whenever any bird or animal tried to escape, he was killed.

By and by, the birds and animals settled, they accepted their prison. They forgot about their freedom, because freedom became associated with fear and death.

Then the landlord died. The guards disappeared, the fence fell. Now there is nobody to prevent them from leaving. Neither the guards nor the fence is there -- but the birds and animals have developed a fence mentality. They believe that the fence is there. They actually see the fence! It has become deeply ingrained, it has become a conditioning.'

The man said: 'Why doesn't somebody try to make them understand?'

The friend said: 'Many good people have tried, but the birds don't listen. It is not only now ingrained in them -- their children are born with the idea. It is in their blood and bones, it has become a part of their blueprint. The children are born with the idea of the fence. Good people have tried, they go on trying. And you will be surprised: the birds have been very angry and the animals have attacked good people. They don't want to be disturbed. In fact, they have created a philosophy that they are in freedom and the world beyond is the imprisonment. Still, good people go on trying, but it seems to be almost impossible to persuade them that they are free and that there exists no fence, and that they can fly into the sky.'

I loved the story.

That's what Jesus, Baal Shem, Moses, Mahavir, Buddha, Christ, have been doing with you -- the birds and the animals. But you have developed a fence mentality; you don't believe them. Either you are active or you become passive -- but both belong to the same fence: the mind.

Think of a fence made of wood. One board is white, another is black. Then again one is white, another is black. A fence made of wooden boards, coloured in two colours -- one board white, one black: that is the mind.

One idea passive, one active; yin, yang; right, wrong; good, bad; the world, the nirvana -- all belong to the same fence.

And you go on choosing. Sometimes you choose the white -- then you get fed up with the white. Then you start loving and worshipping the black, but the black is as much a part of your imprisonment as the white.

Mind is active. Mind is passive. Both are part of the mind. And what I mean when I say: 'flowing with the river' is to go beyond passivity and activity, white and black, day and night, love and hate, the world and the god. Go beyond it. Just see the whole point: that the active becomes the passive, then the passive will again become the active. This I have seen.

People who are in the world are very active. They are always thinking deep down to renounce all nonsense. And I know monks who have lived their whole lives in the monasteries, and whenever they have confessed to me, they have always said that they always think that they have missed life. They are always fantasizing to come back to the world. The active wants to become the passive, the passive wants to become the active.

Choice is of the mind! To be choiceless is to flow with the river. That's why Hassidism and I insist not to leave the world. Renounce it and be in it! That looks difficult, almost impossible for the mind to conceive. The mind can conceive the world, the renunciation -- because both belong to the same pattern. When I say: 'Be IN the world and not be OF the world,' then the mind becomes uneasy. It cannot understand: 'What are you saying?'

People come to me and they say they would like to become sannyasins but they are in the world: 'And how is it possible to be a sannyasin in the world?' Particularly in India, it looks absolutely absurd. The sannyasin is one who leaves the world. But I tell you, a sannyasin is one who lives in the world, and yet is not of the world. When I say these things to people, they look confused. They say: either this or that. I say: both together.

When you take both, negative and passive together, they cancel each other; you become neutral. Then you are neither man nor woman, neither yin nor yang, neither body nor soul. You have gone beyond the duality, you have become transcendental. That transcendence is flowing with the river.

Flowing with the river is the greatest art. That is: to be active and passive both, in deep co-operation with existence. You have to do something. You will have to live, you will have to earn. At least you will have to breathe, at least you will have to move. Activity has to be used. And you have to relax also. Otherwise, activity will become impossible.

So sometimes be active, sometimes be passive -- but don't get identified with either. Remain aloof. Use activity, use passivity -- but remain the third. Just like when you put on clothes: sometimes white and sometimes black. Just as in the day you work and in the night you rest. Just the same. Use both the dualities. They are means; don't get identified with them. Then you will be flowing with the river. And this is the message of Hassidism.

Hassids are the greatest people who have lived in the world, yet have not allowed the world to corrupt them. It is very easy to go to the Himalayas and become uncorrupted. Very easy! Because who is there to corrupt you? To live with the mountains, you will become innocent, but that innocence may be just an appearance.

Come back to the world. The test is in the marketplace. There you will come to know whether you have really become innocent, because when the opportunity to become corrupted arises, then only will you be able to know: are you still corruptible or not? The Himalayas, their silence, can deceive you. It has deceived millions of people. Hassids say: 'Live in the marketplace. Move with people, because people are your environment.'

Somebody asked Socrates: 'Why don't you go to the mountains to study? -- near the rivers, trees, birds, animals.' The man said: 'We have heard of ancient wise men who used to go deep in the mountains to live and study nature.'

Socrates said: 'My nature is people. What can trees teach me? They are good to look at, but what can they teach me? What can mountains teach me? Good to relax. What can rivers teach me? My rivers, my mountains, my trees, are people. People are my environment.'

He lived his whole life in Athens -- lived and died there, IN people. And he's right.

The true sage will not be an escapist. He will live IN people and learn how to remain uncorrupted where everything is a temptation to corrupt you. Then you attain to the highest peak.

And that highest peak uses both the dualities of life. And that highest peak is going to be very rich.

I have come across a few people who have lived their whole life in the forest. They are very saintly, but a little silly also, because with the trees you will become silly -- that is natural. You cannot have that intelligence which a Socrates has.

You will become a tree. You will vegetate. You will look very pure, but that purity is not of a higher revelation; that purity is of a regression, you have fallen back. You have been trees in your past lives, you have transcended that. Now you are falling back.

Just think you are thirty years, thirty-five years of age -- you can attain to innocence in two ways. One is to somehow become a child again -- but then you will be foolish also. Innocent you will be, but foolish also -- because a child is a fool. Then there is another possibility: to grow and become wise through experience. You mature, you learn. And at the very end, when you have become almost an ancient, you attain to your childhood. But you do not attain through regression.

Go ahead. Let the circle be complete. Don't fall back! Go on and on! And one day you will see: the circle is complete. You are old and yet you are a child. Then you will not be foolish.

A wise man is like a child, but also is not like a child. A wise man is both. He is a grown-up -- REALLY grown up, mature, lived the life, experienced it, enriched by it -- and yet has come to understand that innocence is the only way to be, is the only way to be divine.

An old man is again in a second childhood, but the childhood is a second childhood. He is reborn.

When I say to flow with the river, I don't mean to become a driftwood. I don't mean to become a corpse and flow with the river. All corpses flow; there is nothing much to say about it. If you are dead you will float with the river -- because you cannot fight! First, you were encaged in activity. Now you are encaged in passivity.

Never move to the opposite. Always remain in both, and yet beyond. Always remember never to go to the extreme, because the way is just in the middle. Buddha has called his way 'the middle path' -- MAJJHIM NIKAYA. And he is right.

One day in the afternoon it happened: a parrot, a beautiful parrot was allowed to air himself every day. It was hot, and the whole house was fast asleep. The servant came and allowed the parrot to move around the room.

The dog of the house was also fast asleep. The parrot came near the dog, near his ear, and said: 'Rex!' Of course, the dog became alert -- 'Rex!' He went round and round, looked around every corner. Finding nothing, he again went to sleep.

The parrot waited. The trick had succeeded: he befooled the dog. So again he came near and said: 'Rex!' Again the dog opened his eyes, looked around, went around the house, and was very much frustrated.

Then he felt the trick: that there is nobody, everybody is fast asleep -- no rat, nothing -- only this parrot. Maybe he is doing something,. He again pretended that he was asleep, with one eye cocked.

The parrot came again, he tried the trick a third time. The dog jumped on him. Later on, the parrot was heard saying: 'The difficulty with me is that I don't know when to stop.'

And that is the difficulty with you, with all parrots. Where to stop?

From active you will go to passive. From passive you will go to active. And you don't know where to stop. If you know where to stop, if you know the middle.... Because the middle transcends both. There is a point that you cross every day again and again -- but you don't know where to stop. There is a point when you move from love to hate. You must be moving past the point where a Buddha remains. Just in the middle -- where love is no more and hate has not yet appeared, when you move from compassion to anger -- you pass the point where a Buddha remains.

If you watch for twenty-four hours, you must be passing that point at least twenty-four thousand times -- where a Buddha is sitting, where Buddhahood is. You go fast, you swing fast -- from one extreme to another you go. You are not even aware when you pass the point of Buddhahood: the middle way, the middle path, the absolute middle. There, suddenly you are neither a man nor a woman, neither alive nor dead, neither active nor passive. And to know that point is to know all.

To know that point is to know all that religion can give you. It is not in the scriptures. It is crossed by you every day. You come on that crossroad every moment. Whenever you are moving from one polarity to another, you have to pass it; there is no other way to go to the other polarity. But you move so fast that you are not alert when you cross that point.

When I say: 'flowing with the river,' I mean: drop out of polarities and just choose the river in between. Co-operate with it, commune with it. Be the river.

This is what sannyas is all about -- at least MY sannyas.


Next: Chapter 10, True wisdom, The second question


Energy Enhancement          Enlightened Texts          Hassidism          The True Sage



Chapter 10


  • Hassidism, The True Sage Chapter 10: True wisdom, Question 1
    Hassidism, a sect of Orthodox Jews, Judaism, The True Sage Chapter 10: True wisdom, Question 1, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING PASSIVE AND FLOWING WITH THE RIVER? -- Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism at

  • Hassidism, The True Sage Chapter 10: True wisdom, Question 2
    Hassidism, a sect of Orthodox Jews, Judaism, The True Sage Chapter 10: True wisdom, Question 2, IS IT LONELY UP THERE? -- Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism at

  • Hassidism, The True Sage Chapter 10: True wisdom, Question 3
    Hassidism, a sect of Orthodox Jews, Judaism, The True Sage Chapter 10: True wisdom, Question 3, DO YOU EVER DESPAIR OF US AND YOUR WORK? -- Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism at

  • Hassidism, The True Sage Chapter 10: True wisdom, Question 4
    Hassidism, a sect of Orthodox Jews, Judaism, The True Sage Chapter 10: True wisdom, Question 4, BEFORE I KNOW IT MY WATCHER TURNS INTO MY JUDGER. WHAT TO DO? -- Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism at

  • Hassidism, The True Sage Chapter 10: True wisdom, Question 5
    Hassidism, a sect of Orthodox Jews, Judaism, The True Sage Chapter 10: True wisdom, Question 5, HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT YOU ALWAYS AND ALWAYS, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, TALK ABOUT THOSE THINGS I HAVE JUST THOUGHT ABOUT OR THAT CAME INTO MY MIND A DAY OR A MINUTE BEFORE? -- Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism at

  • Hassidism, The True Sage Chapter 10: True wisdom, Question 6
    Hassidism, a sect of Orthodox Jews, Judaism, The True Sage Chapter 10: True wisdom, Question 6, BY THE TIME I SEE MY MOODS, I AM KNEE-DEEP IN THEM. THEN IT IS NOT SO MUCH A QUESTION OF WATCHING, BUT OF RIDING ON THE WAVE UNTIL IT SUBSIDES. -- Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism at

  • Hassidism, The True Sage Chapter 10: True wisdom, Question 7
    Hassidism, a sect of Orthodox Jews, Judaism, The True Sage Chapter 10: True wisdom, Question 7, OSHO, I WONDER... WHAT IS HASSID ISM? -- Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism at





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