Monday, March 31, 2008

Life, a never-ending celebration

March 30, 2008

Kuldip Dhiman

Just Like That: Talks on Sufi Stories
By Osho, Penguin Books, India Price: Rs 295, Pages: 273

Just Like That: Talks on Sufi StoriesIN the early 1970s, the inimitable Rajneesh or Osho was approached by an organisation to speak on Sufism. Being conservative, they begged him to not say anything controversial. Rajneesh agreed, and he gave a series of discourses that left the listeners spellbound. He had shown unseen dimensions of Sufism.

Sufism is a mystic school of God lovers who do not concern themselves with knowledge. They know only love, an undying love of God in which they immerse themselves all the time.

Why love? Why not knowledge? Sufis would say that God can be known best through the heart and not the intellect. That is why the path to God realisation cannot be taught. If it were the question of intellect, the method of uniting with the ultimate truth could be taught, but since it is not in the domain of the intellect, it cannot be taught. Rajneesh says this does not mean it cannot be learnt. What does he mean? Why can't truth be taught? And without being taught, how can it be learnt?

Rajneesh says, 'Truth cannot be taught because words cannot convey it. Words are impotent. Truth is vast, tremendously vast, infinite. Words are very narrow. You cannot force truth into words, it is impossible. And how is one going to teach without words?'

If the truth cannot be taught, why do we see so many gurus and disciples? And what about the saying that without a guru we cannot know the ultimate truth? Rajneesh says that the secret is not in someone finding the right guru, rather if one becomes an able disciple, the right guru will find him. And in the company of the guru, nothing needs to be done, and no words need to be exchanged. The dialogue between the two takes place in silence. The teacher parts the teaching without saying or showing anything because this process is not like that of teaching physics, chemistry, or history. All that a disciple has to do is to show a readiness to learn, show a deep trust in the master, and wait patiently. This is because spiritual learning is not an experience. All experiences belong to the mind and body complex. In worldly experience, there is the person who experiences, and there is an object that is experienced. In the spiritual domain everything is utterly subjective, there remains neither the one who experiences nor the one that is experienced — only the experience remains.

In this lively book, Rajneesh, interlaces his discourses with interesting and highly meaningful Sufi stories, parables, jokes, and anecdotes. All of them show us that life is a cerebration, it is an 'ever-going' feast, but we have made it a problem. Rajneesh argues that life is a wonderful mystery, it is not a problem. Had it actually been a problem, philosophers could have solved it. But philosophers cannot solve it because life is not a mental puzzle that can be solved by logic, mathematics, or analysis. Scientists also cannot solve the mystery because they try to use the method of analysis and observation. The ultimate truth is not an object that can be studied in a laboratory. Artists are closer to life, as creativity is not guided by reason but emotion. Artists enjoy the beauty of nature, they try to capture the myriad colours of reality, but they too are not fully in tune with reality as they live on the mental plane.

The secret of religion is not in taming nature but flowing with it. Life is a never-ending mystery, says Rajneesh, don't waste time solving it, just live it. Religion means to live life, celebrate life, and enjoy every moment of it. This can only be done by going beyond the frontiers of the mind. Then all problems, all dualities, all conflicts disappear — just like that!

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