Osho - Life is purposeless.
And it is beautiful that it is purposeless
Question: Beloved Osho, If
everything is simply happening, then can there be any ultimate
purpose to It all, or is life just an accident? Can it be said
that life is evolving towards Some ultimate goal?
Osho: It is very difficult,
particularly for the Western mind, to understand that life is
purposeless. And it is
beautiful that it is purposeless. If it is purposeful then the
whole thing becomes absurd – then who will decide the purpose?
Then some God has to be conceived who decides the purpose, and
then human beings become just puppets; then no freedom is
possible. And if there is some purpose then life becomes
businesslike, it cannot be ecstatic.
The West has been thinking in terms of purpose, but the East has
been thinking in terms of purposelessness. The East says life is
not a business, it is a play. And a play has no purpose really,
it is nonpurposeful. Or you can say play is its own purpose, to
play is enough. Life is not reaching towards some goal, life
itself is the goal. It is not evolving towards some ultimate;
this very moment, here and now, life is ultimate.
Life as it is, is accepted in the East. It is not moving towards
some end, because if there is some end who will decide the end
and why? If God decides it, then you can ask the same question
about God: ”What is the purpose of creating a world with
purpose?” or, ”Why should he create a purposive world?” or even
more deeply, ”What is the purpose of God’s existence?” Maybe
life has a purpose and God decides the purpose, but then God’s
existence has to be questioned – why he exists – and that way
the question is simply pushed one step ahead.
Then God becomes purposeless, or you have to create another God
to decide the purpose of this God. Then you will be in a regress
ad infinitum, then there is no end to it. Somewhere deep down
you will have to come to the conclusion that this phenomenon is
purposeless; otherwise there is no end. So why go from the world
to the God? Why not say that life itself is purposeless? The
whole game of logicians, theologicians, is stupid in a way. They
say, ”God created the world, because how could the world come
into existence if there was no one who created it?” But the
question can be asked, ”Who created the God?” – and then they
fall on their own. They say, ”God is uncreated.”
If God can exist without being created, why can’t this life
itself exist without being created? If you accept that
something is possible without being created, then what is the
trouble? Then why think about a God
who created the world? The East says God is not the creator, God
is the creation. Nobody has created it, it is there. It has been
so always, it will be so always – sometimes manifest, sometimes
unmanifest; sometimes visible, sometimes invisible. It goes on
moving in a periodical rhythm, in a circle. But existence itself
is uncreated and it has no goal.
Then think about it in other ways also. Firstly, if there is a
goal why hasn’t it been achieved yet? The existence has been
existing timelessly, millions and millions of light-years it has
existed, and the goal has not been reached yet. When will it be
reached? If so many millions and millions of light-years have
passed and the goal is nowhere to be seen, when will it be
reached? Secondly, if some day the goal is reached, what will
happen to existence? Will it disappear? When the purpose is
fulfilled, then what? Conceive of a moment somewhere in the
future when the purpose is fulfilled: for what will existence
exist then? Then it will be purposeless for it to exist.
The reality is this: that it is already always purposeless.
There is no goal towards which the existence is moving. It is
moving, but not towards any goal. It has a value, but the value
is not in the end, the value is intrinsic. You love someone.
Have you asked the question, ”For what purpose does love exist?”
The mind, a calculating mind, is bound to ask, ”Why love? What
is the purpose?” If you can answer then one thing is certain –
that you are not in love. If you can show the purpose then love
is not there, it is a business, it is a bargain. But lovers will
always say there is no purpose to it.
To be in love is the goal. The goal is not somewhere else; it is
intrinsic, it is in the very phenomenon of love. The goal is
already achieved. When you are happy have you asked, ”What is
the purpose of being happy?” Can
there be any purpose to being happy? When you are happy you
never ask because the question is absurd. Happiness is itself
the goal, there is no purpose to it. Life is like love, life is
like happiness. Life is existence – no goal. And once you can
understand this your ways of living will change totally, because
if there is no purpose in life itself there is no need to create
a purpose for your individual life also – no need. Because of
individual purposes you become tense, something has to be
Then an achieving mind is created which is always trying to
achieve something or other. And whenever something is achieved
again the mind asks, ”Now what? What is to be achieved now?” It
cannot remain with itself, it has to go on achieving. This
achieving mind will never be blissful, it will always be tense.
And whenever something is achieved the achieving mind will feel
frustrated, because now new goals have to be invented. This
is happening in America. Many of the goals of the past century
have been achieved, so America is in a deep frustration.
All the goals of the founding fathers who created America and
the American constitution are almost achieved. In America the
society has become affluent for the first time in the whole
history of mankind. Almost everybody is rich. The poor man in
America is a rich man here in India. The goals have almost been
achieved – now what to do? Society has become affluent: food is
there, shelter is there, everybody has got a car, radio,
refrigerator, tv – now what to do? A deep frustration is felt,
some other goals are needed. And there seem to be no goals.
Instead of one car you can have two cars – a two-car garage has
become the goal – or you can have two houses, but that will be
achieved within ten years. Whatsoever the goal it can be
achieved. Then the achieving mind feels frustrated. What to do
now? It again needs a goal, and you have to invent a goal. So
the whole of American business now depends on inventing goals.
Give people goals – that’s what advertisements and the whole
business of advertising is doing.
Create goals, seduce people: ”Now this is the goal! You must
have this, otherwise life is purposeless!” They start running,
because they have an achieving mind. But where does it lead? It
leads into more and more neurosis. Only a nonachieving mind can
be at peace. But a nonachieving mind is possible only with the
background of a cosmic purposelessness. If the whole existence
is purposeless then there is no need for you to be purposeful.
Then you can play, you can sing and dance, you can enjoy, you
can love and live, and there is no need to create any goal. Here
and now, this very moment, the ultimate is present.
If you are available the ultimate can enter you. But you are not
available here; your mind is somewhere in the future, in some
goal. Life has got no purpose and this is the beauty of it. If
there was some purpose life would have been mean – just futile.
It is not a business, it is a play. In India we have been
calling it leela. Leela means a cosmic play... as if God is
playing. Energy overflowing, not for some purpose, just enjoying
itself; just a small child playing – for what purpose? Running
after butterflies, collecting colored stones on the beach,
dancing under the sun, running under the trees, collecting
flowers – for what purpose?
Ask a child. He will look at you as if you are a fool. There is
no need for purpose. Your mind has been corrupted. Universities,
colleges, education, society, have corrupted you. They have made
it a conditioning deep down within you that unless something has
a purpose it is useless – so everything must have a purpose. A
child playing has no purpose. At the most, if the child could
explain he would say, ”Because I feel good. Running, I feel more
alive. Collecting flowers, I enjoy, it is ecstatic.” But there
is no purpose. The very act in itself is beautiful, ecstatic. To
be alive is enough, there is no need for any purpose.
Why ask for anything else? Can’t you be satisfied just by being
alive? It is such a phenomenon. Just think of yourself being a
stone. You could have been, because many are still stones. You
must have been somewhere in the past, sometime, a stone. Think
of yourself being a tree. You must have been somewhere a tree, a
bird, an animal, an insect. And then think of yourself being a
man – conscious, alert, the peak, the climax of all
possibilities. And you are not content with it. You need a
purpose, otherwise life is useless.
Your mind has been corrupted by economists, mathematicians,
theologians. They have corrupted your mind, because they all
talk about purpose. They say, ”Do something if something is
achieved through it. Don’t do anything which leads nowhere.” But
I tell you that the more you can enjoy things which are useless,
the happier you will be. The more you can enjoy things which are
purposeless, the more innocent and blissful you will be. When
you don’t need any purpose you simply celebrate your being.
You feel gratitude just that you are, just that you breathe. It
is such a blessing that you can breathe, that you are alert,
conscious, alive, aflame. Is it not enough? Do you need
something to achieve so that you can feel good, so that you can
feel valued, so that you can feel life is justified? What more
can you achieve than what you are? What more can be added to
your life? What more can you add to it? Nothing can be added,
and the effort will destroy you – the effort to add something.
But for many centuries all over the world they have been
teaching every child to be purposive. ”Don’t waste your time!
Don’t waste your life!” And what do they mean? They mean,
”Transform your life into a bank balance. When you die you must
die rich. That is the purpose.” Here in the East – particularly
the mystics we are talking about, the Upanishads – they say,
”Live richly.” In the West they say, ”Die a rich man.” And these
are totally different things. If you want to live richly you
have to live here and now, not a single moment is to be lost. If
you want to achieve something, you will die a rich man – but you
will live a poor man, your life will be poor.
Look at rich people: their life is absolutely poor, because they
are wasting it transforming it into bank balances, changing
their life into money, into big houses, big cars. Their whole
effort is that life has to be changed for some things. When they
die you can count their things. Buddha became a beggar. He was
born a king, he became a beggar. Why? Just to live richly...
because he came to understand that there are two ways to live:
one is to die richly, the other is to live richly.
And any man who has any understanding will choose to live
richly, because dying a rich man doesn’t mean anything; you
simply wasted yourself for nothing. But this is possible only if
you can conceive that the whole existence is purposeless; it is
a cosmic play, a continuous beautiful game, a beautiful
hide-and-seek – not leading anywhere. Nowhere is the goal. If
this is the background, then you need not be worried about
individual purposes, evolution, progress. This word progress is
the basic disease of the modern age. What is the need?
All that can be enjoyed is available, all that you need to be
happy is here and now. But you create conditions and you say
that unless these conditions are fulfilled you cannot be happy.
You say, ”These conditions must be fulfilled first: this type of
house, this type of clothes, this type of car, this type of
wife, this type of husband. All these conditions have to be
fulfilled first, then I can be happy.” As if by being happy you
are going to oblige the whole universe. And who is going to
fulfill your conditions? Who is worried?
But you will try for those conditions, and the effort is going
to be so long that they can never be fulfilled really, because
whenever something is fulfilled, by the time it is fulfilled the
goal has shifted. One of my friends was contesting an election,
a political election, so he came to me for blessing. I said, ”I
will not give the blessing because I am not your enemy, I am a
friend. I can only bless that you may not get elected, because
that will be the first step towards madness.” But he wouldn’t
listen to me. He was elected, he became a member. Next year he
came again for my blessing and he said, ”Now I am trying to be a
I asked him, ”You were saying that if you could become a member
of parliament you would be very happy, but I don’t see that you
are happy. You are more depressed and more sad than you ever
were before.” He said, ”Now this is the only problem: I am
worried. There is much competition. Only if I can become a
deputy minister will everything be okay.” He became a deputy
minister. When I was passing through the capital he came to see
me again and he said, ”I think you were right, because now the
problem is how to become the minister. And I think this is the
goal. I am not going to change it. Once I become the minister it
He has become the minister now, and he came to me a few days ago
and he said, ”Just one blessing more. I must become chief
minister.” And he is getting more and more worried, more and
more puzzled, because more problems have to be faced, more
competition, more ugly politics. And he is a good man, not a bad
man. I told him, ”Unless you become the suprememost God you are
not going to be satisfied.” But he cannot look back and cannot
understand the logic of the mind, the logic of the achieving
It can never be satisfied, the way it behaves creates more and
more discontent. The more you have the more discontent you will
feel, because more arenas become open for you in which to
compete, to achieve. A poor man is more satisfied because he
cannot think that he can achieve much. Once he starts achieving
something he thinks more is possible. The more you achieve the
more becomes possible, and it goes on and on forever. A
meditator needs a nonachieving mind, but a nonachieving mind is
possible only if you can be content with purposelessness. Just
try to understand the whole cosmic play and be a part in it.
Don’t be serious, because a play can never be serious. And even
if the play needs you to be serious, be playfully serious, don’t
be really serious. Then this very moment becomes rich. Then this
very moment you can move into the ultimate. The ultimate is not
in the future, it is the present, hidden here and now. So don’t
ask about purpose – there is none, and I say it is beautiful
that there is none. If there was purpose then your God would
be just a managing director or a big business man, an
industrialist, or something like that.
Jesus says.... Somebody asked him, ”Who will be able to enter
into the kingdom of your God?” Jesus said, ”Those who are like
small children.” This is the secret. What is the meaning of
being a small child? The meaning is that the child is never
businesslike, he is always playful. If you can become playful
you have become a child again, and only children can enter into
the kingdom of God, nobody else, because children can play
without asking where it is leading. They can make houses of sand
without asking whether they are going to be permanent.
Can somebody live in them? Will they be able to resist the wind
that is blowing? They know that within minutes they will
disappear. But they are very serious when they are playing. They
can even fight for their sandhouses or houses of cards. They are
very serious when they are creating. They are enjoying. And they
are not fools, they know that these houses are just cardhouses
and everything is makebelieve. Why waste time in thinking in
terms of business? Why not live more and more playfully,
Ecstasy is not something which you can achieve by some efforts,
ecstasy is a way of living. Moment to moment you have to be
ecstatic, simple things have to be enjoyed. And life gives
millions of opportunities to enjoy. You will miss them if you
are purposive. If you are not purposive, every moment you will
have so many opportunities to be ecstatic. A flower, a lonely
flower in the garden... you can dance if you are nonpurposive.
The first star in the evening... you can sing if you are
nonpurposive. A beautiful face... you can see the divine in it
if you are nonpurposive. All around the divine is happening, the
ultimate is showering. But you will be able to
see it only if you are nonpurposive and playful.
Source: from book “Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi” by Osho
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