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  Question: Beloved Osho, "there is so much magnificence in the ocean... Waves are coming in, waves are coming in...." and once again i seem to be desperately running for dry land! My sweet Osho, how about yet another intensive lesson on drowning?

Osho: Radha, when the invitation of the ocean comes don't run away from it. The ocean is the very beginning of life, not only metaphorically, but factually. We are from the ocean, physically. And we are from a vaster ocean, invisible to the bare eyes, spiritual. And when the invitation comes, running towards dry land is running towards your own grave. Only the graveyard is outside the ocean. Life is in being oceanic.

William James has given this word, `oceanic' to the world. The ocean has always been there, but once in a while a man of insight gives it a totally new dimension. He is the first man to use the word `oceanic' in the sense of vastness, infinity, eternity, immortality. It is always there; waves upon waves go on coming. Just as in the ordinary ocean, so in the ocean of consciousness: waves upon waves, unending joy, unending dawns, unending celebration.

Why should you think of running? But it is not rare; almost everybody thinks of running away from the ocean, from anything that is bigger than you, because the fear is you will be overwhelmed, you will disappear. You don't need any lesson in drowning; the ocean will do the whole work. You simply don't run. You simply go on sitting silently and let the ocean take you over. Don't be worried that this is going to be your death. That is the fear that comes to every mind the moment it is close to the infinite. It is a very small, very tiny thing. It has made its own cozy life, although it is dark and miserable, poor, spiritually poor.

But it seems to be safe in a way, that you are not being overwhelmed by something bigger than you. And unless a man learns how to be overwhelmed, he will miss everything that is of value. He will miss love; he will run away from love, because love is bigger than you and very overwhelming. Such a person will run away from truth. Lies are good; they are smaller than you. They are your own creation; how can they be bigger than you? But truth is not your creation; in fact, you come from the sources of truth. Naturally, the fear arises when you come across truth.

Silence is overwhelming; all noise is yours. Silence belongs to existence.

With a noisy mind, chattering day in, day out, you are comfortable. And you have become identified with this small mind, this small personality, which you are not in reality. But you can know only if you allow yourself to be drowned in love, in truth, in silence, in an ecstasy that knows no beginning, no end. There is no other way to know yourself, other than drowning yourself in the very source of your life and the very goal of your life. People would like to have a little sample before they drown. It is not a marketplace; truth cannot be given to you in small pieces as samples, nor can love.

Mulla Nasruddin wanted to learn how to swim. He approached the teacher who used to teach children to swim; the teacher was very willing. He said, "It is not difficult. In a day you will know it." In fact, everybody is born with an intrinsic capacity to swim. It is only a remembrance that is needed. So, it is not really something new added to you, but something that you were not aware of, but was always part of your being. The child in the mother's womb swims, floats in water.

And the water has the same constituents, chemicals, salt as the ocean. This fact has given scientists the idea that life must have been born first in the ocean. It is still born in the ocean: a pregnant woman starts eating more salty things, because she has to keep the balance of exactly the same amount of chemicals that make up the oceanic water. There is no way to give you a sample of life; either you live or you don't live. So Mulla's teacher said, "Don't be worried, to swim is a very minor thing -- you can see that small children are learning..."

Mulla was a little afraid. He said, "I can see small children learning, but I am not a small child." And out of nervousness and fear he slipped on the stone steps before he could enter the river. He fell down and he got up and started running without saying a single word to the teacher. The teacher said, "Mulla Nasruddin, what happened?"
He said, "It is enough. I will first learn to swim and then I will come close to the water; otherwise, I am not going to take the risk."

But how are you going to learn swimming on your bed? You can throw your hands and your legs around. It may give you some fracture or something, but it will not give you the art of swimming. Only water has that capacity to revive in you a hidden secret which you already know. One Japanese professor has been trying to teach children. First he started to teach twelve-month-old children how to swim. It was great news; nobody had ever thought that a twelve-month-old baby could swim.

Then he went on reducing: ten-month-old, nine-month-old, six-month-old... now he is working on three-month-old babies. And his next step is that the first-day-born baby should be put immediately into a small lukewarm tub and allowed to swim, because he already knows intrinsically and just needs the opportunity. Millions of people don't know how to swim because they have never been given the opportunity; otherwise, it is too beautiful an experience to miss. To be in the water, is to be back in your very life-giving original source. It can revive you; it can give you a freshness and rejuvenation.

Radha, you are doing just like Mulla Nasruddin -- running for the dry land. That is running for your grave because only graves are dry. The whole life is oceanic. You don't need to learn how to drown. You have just to learn not to escape, not to run away, and everything will be done by the oceanic feelings of silence, love, truth, meditation. They will drown you. It is not that when floods come, houses start learning how to drown; they simply drown. And your dry land is not very dry...!

If Radha runs toward dry land, that would be Italy. It is one of the juiciest places on the earth, and very slippery -- so much pasta! It has made every Italian greasy. They don't need any other kind of lubrication; their whole being is full of lubrication. Where will you find dry land in Italy? In Italy it is absolutely difficult. One woman has just gathered a ten-thousand membership for the Radical Party of Italy. She is a beautiful woman, an actress, well known. She allowed herself to sit in a square in Rome, and anybody who wanted to touch her breasts or kiss her had to enroll as a member of the Radical Party.

Now, in Italy, instead of ten thousand she has enrolled fifteen thousand. And she fought the election for membership of parliament by sitting absolutely naked in a convertible car. She went around her constituency... you can play with her body the way you want, but remember, you have to vote for her. And naturally, people enjoyed it immensely; she got more votes than anybody else. All great politicians and leaders are left far behind. The speaker of the parliament had to declare, "I will allow this lady in parliament if she promises that she will not do tricks like this here in parliament house, because that will be an insult to the great house of the representatives of the country." She has not promised.

And I think there is no provision in any constitution of any country, that you cannot be naked in parliament. You can do all kinds of things. Nobody has ever thought that these things have to be written into the constitution. Now, perhaps in Italy they will have to make some amendments, because in the first reception given to her by the Radical Party, she did another great thing that perhaps only in Italy is possible. She came naked and started pissing on the front line of the gathering. Those were the most important people, and the whole crowd clapped and laughed. This is a dry land? Nobody thought that she would do such a thing.

Nakedness was okay; they had become accustomed to this. Now they are all wondering what she is going to do next. Radha, just learn to be silently available for whenever a tidal wave of existence comes to drown you. It is not your death; it is your real life. You were dead before it. These tidal waves of love and truth and beauty and celebration will give you authentic life, life as it should be. And I know you so well that you cannot find any home anywhere else.

Wherever you are, you will feel thirsty for me. And remember... I am not going to be here forever, so don't escape from the ocean. Look... The ocean has started raining and is sending messages through the winds, through the dance of the trees. Accept the invitation of something greater than you, that makes you great.

The old proverb says: "A man is known by the company he keeps." Never keep company with smaller things, because they make you small. Keep company with vast experiences -- they make you great. They bring you to your ultimate splendor and glory.

One thing I can promise to you -- if you want to try it you can try -- run for the dry land and I am coming with you! In Italy sannyasins are collecting thousands of signatures against the Italian government's order that I cannot enter Italy. They even wanted me to become the president of the Radical Party. I refused. I said, "This is not radicalism what you are doing; this is sheer stupidity. It may create a little nuisance, but it is not going to transform man."

They wanted me to become the president, because then they have more weight to put over the government. Their constitution allows that they can choose the president from anywhere in the world. The secretary will be an Italian and he is the real head. The president will be a formal head. But I refused. I said, "Your Radical Party is not radical enough for me. It is more on the ridiculous side."

But, Radha, if you go there, I am coming. I have always felt a soft spot for Italians. I don't know why. I have not even tasted spaghetti, and I will never taste it; just the name makes me afraid. If people start finding a dry land in Italy, then the ocean has to fall. It is not the ocean that is coming to you, it is me -- and you are afraid of me. You have long been associated with me and now the spring is close and the hesitancy and the fear... What will the unknown bring to you?

I informed you to come into Lao Tzu and work in the library. You became frightened, because to be too close to me is dangerous. You have chosen to continue to work in the kitchen making spaghetti. You know that spaghetti is a protection; I will not come to that side. There is no need to go to Italy. Just here if you can go on making spaghetti -- even if I smell it that is enough -- I will not come close to that place. That is the only security from the ocean. There is no need to learn how to drown or how to swim, just remain drowned in spaghetti. That will keep me away.

But you cannot escape. You have crossed that line a long time ago. I know my people who have crossed the line from where they cannot return. And I know my people who have still not reached that line. Just yesterday I heard about one sannyasin who has said that he agrees with me sixty percent. Agreeing sixty percent actually means the difference between his agreement of sixty percent and disagreement of forty-nine percent is only eleven percent. Now this person can escape any moment.

But Radha, I don't think you agree with me sixty percent. And I have never asked anybody how much you agree with me. Either you are with me or you are not with me. There is no question of agreement, because I am not teaching you any doctrine that you have to believe. Whether you believe sixty percent, seventy percent or fifty percent, you believe. I am simply making my own meditation available to you in different ways, through groups, through therapies, through meditation, through talking to you.

You have not to agree or disagree; those are childish things. Either you have to experience me, and that is going to be a hundred percent, or you have not to open to me, and that is going to be a hundred percent. Either you open or you don't.

Radha, that time has passed; you cannot close yourself to me. Wherever you are you will remain open. And now I am not going anywhere, for the simple reason that without going physically I can reach to my people if they are open to me. Even if physically I reach those who are not open to me it is pointless. Even if you go you will be coming back, because the moment you leave me you will start thinking again to come. So don't do unnecessary exercises.

You have come, you have been one of my oldest sannyasins who has never for a moment thought that they can be against me. But the fear is natural: the closer you come, the more you will feel afraid. So when you are coming closer, come fast, faster than your fear.

An Eskimo proverb is: On thin ice one should run fast. Everybody who is around me is on thin ice. Don't stand there! Run fast! Your speed has to be faster than the breaking of the thin layer of ice. And according to your weight, Radha, you have to run really fast. Anyway you want to run, why run for a dry land? Run towards me. I have been calling you all, inviting you, persuading you, slapping you to wake up because you go on falling asleep. Just two or three days ago I had to slap Veena because she was falling asleep. Now she looks awake.

A little six-year-old girl came to the kitchen and asked, "Mommy, can I have babies?"
"No, of course not, dear," her mother replied. The little girl turned around and ran back outside shouting, "Okay boys, same game, same game."

For many lives you have been playing the same game of running from the ocean for dry land. This time try a new game of running towards the ocean, towards the overwhelming. Running away is cowardly. Running towards the ocean, the overwhelming is living dangerously. And only one who lives dangerously, lives; others simply vegetate.

Source: from book “The Invitation” by Osho

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