by Kuldip Dhiman
Tantra: The Supreme Understanding by Osho. Full Circle, New Delhi. Pages 272. Price not mentioned.
Having become sick and tired of the intrigues of business life, a billionaire decides to give everything up and retire to the Himalayas. He goes from peak to peak in order to free himself of his misery. Time flies, and 10-years on in spite of chanting God's name endlessly and in spite of renouncing everything, he is still searching, he is still insecure, still restless, still suffering from insomnia; salvation is nowhere in sight.
Has sanyasa made any difference? Yes! Earlier he was a miserable businessman; now he is a miserable hermit. What has gone wrong here? The very process of liberating himself from the miseries of this world has got this wretched man more and more entangled in the net. Is there a better way out for him? Perhaps there is.
In the book "Tantra — The Supreme Understanding: Discourses on the tantric way of Tilopa's song of Mahamudra", Rajneesh tackles such issues in his inimitable down-to-earth style. This book, which should rank as one of his best, is supposedly based on the teachings of Tilopa, a Buddhist monk who left India and settled down in Tibet.
Mahamudra or moksha is like the illusive and mythical Shangri-La: everyone talks about it, but no one seems to know where it is and how to find it. Sometimes we wonder if it exists all. But what are we seeking and why? Because by becoming a seeker, aren't we merely widening the gulf between ourselves and the sought?
The solution is to give up the search. Mahamudra cannot be found; it has to be realised through self-awareness. "This is the deepest message," says Rajneesh, "of this whole song of Mahamudra: do not seek, just remain as you are, don't go anywhere else. Nobody ever reaches God, nobody can because you don't know the address. Where will you go? Where will you find the divine? There is no map, and there is no way, and there is nobody to say where he is. "No, nobody ever reaches God. It is always the reverse: God comes to you whenever you are ready, he knocks at you door; he seeks you whenever you are ready. And readiness is nothing but a receptivity. When you are completely receptive there is no ego; you become a hollow temple with nobody in it."
But what is awareness, and how many of us really want it? Over the millennia we have actually developed wonderful devices to avoid awareness, and that is because we are so afraid of ourselves. In order to escape from ourselves we have created concepts like morality, ethics, character and discipline. We are humble, polite, compassionate not because we are naturally so, but because we have programmed ourselves like a soldier. "Make a habit," Rajneesh observes, "of always saying the truth; make it a habit, then you need not be worried about it. Somebody asks, you will say the truth, out of habit — but out of habit a truth is dead".
The answer is not to try to be "moral" but to be "natural", because these are two diametrically opposite concepts. "A moral person is never natural, cannot be. If he feels angry he cannot be angry, because morality doesn't allow it. If he feels like loving he cannot be loving because morality is there. It is always according to morality that he acts; it is never according to his nature . . . . Remain loose, natural, aware, watching what is happening. By and by, you will see many things (anger, greed, lust, etc.) have simply disappeared, they don't happen anymore — and without making any effort on your part. You never tried to kill them and they have simply disappeared."
Because you soon realise that anger, greed, jealousy are not bad; they are just absurd. "Remember this valuation," Rajneesh continues, "In morality there is something good and something bad. In being natural there is something wise and something stupid. A man who is natural is wise, not good. A man who is not natural is stupid, not bad. There is nothing bad and nothing good, only wise things and foolish things. . . . There is nothing like sin and there is nothing like virtue — wisdom is all. If you want to call it virtue, call it virtue. And ignorance is there if you want to call it sin — that is the only sin."
Rajneesh later distinguishes between action and action-free work. One thing has to be understood here: there is a great difference between giving up action and becoming free of action. If you don't make this distinction, the giving up of action also becomes an activity, an obsession. "This is what has happened to your monks in the monasteries: dropping activity has become their obsession. They are continuously doing something to drop: prayer, meditation, yoga, this and that — now this is also activity. You cannot drop it in that way; it will come from the back door."
Once you are free from action, you realise that there was nothing actually lacking in you. Every moment of your life is complete, because when you feel complete you live spontaneously, the seeker in you becomes the sought. All sorrows, miseries disappear.
"This is the most fundamental thing in tantra," Rajneesh elaborates, "That it says that you are already perfect. No other vision says that. They say you have to achieve it; they say you have to go, you have to struggle, and you have to do many things and the path is arduous; and it is very very rarely that somebody reaches because the goal is very very distant; and for millions of lives one has to try, and then one reaches; perfection has to be achieved. Tantra says this is the reason why you are not achieving; Perfection has not to be achieved. It has to be simply realised that it is there."
This is a great book, an interesting book, like all other books by Rajneesh.