Ustad Alauddin Khan
Osho on Ravi Shankar Guru Alauddin Khan Enlightenment
Question - Beloved Osho, I loved hearing about your meetings with the old enlightened sand sculptor from bombay. Did you come across other enlightened individuals in your travels?
Osho - I have come across a few very remarkable individuals but they were not enlightened: they were just on the verge. You can say "almost enlightened." But even from that point one can fall back.
They were remarkable in many ways. A few of them were musicians. It is strange that a majority of the people whom I met and can describe as remarkable were musicians. It cannot be accidental. Music has some similarity with meditation.
While playing any instrument there are two possibilities. One can be lost completely -- only the music remains -- then the person will be a great musician, unique but not enlightened. The other possibility is -- which is a little difficult as far as music is concerned and perhaps was the reason they were lingering just on the borderline -- the other possibility is to be total in music and yet remain aware.
In any other activity you can be total and aware. In music, dance, it is different. When you are total in it the experience is so beautiful, so exhilarating, you forget completely to be aware. The experience is so valuable that you would like it to remain forever, enveloping you. But the need for enlightenment is that even in this tremendously beautiful experience you can stand aloof.
It is easy when you are suffering to stand aloof, to be aware. It is easy when you are miserable to be aware, because who wants to be miserable? Who wants to be in suffering? The experience of suffering, anguish, misery, itself helps you to get out of it. But the experience of music, the experience of dance, the experience of a great painter, sculptor -- any creative activity that absorbs you and needs you to be total in it, does not leave even a small part out of it, is the most difficult.
Those people were remarkable. They had tremendous beauty -- of individuality, freedom, creativity -- but something was missing. They also felt that something was missing, but they could not figure out what it was that was missing.
The experience is so fulfilling that it is impossible to conceive what is missing. One of the musicians asked me, "Can you help me to figure out what can be the missing thing? -- because I don't see that anything is missing: I am totally in it."
And he was surprised when I said to him, "That's what the problem is: you have to do a very contradictory act simultaneously -- be total in your music and yet a watcher too."
He said, "It is difficult."
"I know it is difficult," I said, "but there is no other way. It is not impossible. Just because your experience is so juicy, you don't want to get away from it. Your whole being is drowned in it and you don't want to get out of it. But you don't know that if you can get out of it, you are not going to be a loser. Far more blissfulness, far greater benediction, is waiting for you.
"You just give it a try. You have nothing to lose. If you feel that you are losing something, come back to your old involvement with the music and live your life joyfully. There is no hurry, either. You have come very close; some day in some life you may take the step."
He asked, "How in this life, or in another life, can I take the step? I cannot conceive the possibility."
I said, "You do not understand one thing: howsoever beautiful is the experience, howsoever wonderful, you will get bored with it one day. Maybe it takes a few lives for you to get bored, but because it is the same experience, sooner or later boredom is going to come in, and that will be the time that you will become aware. But that is for the unintelligent man -- to wait for boredom. The intelligent man can do it now."
And he managed... He was the teacher of Ravi Shankar and also Ravi Shankar's father-in-law. He was an old man; he lived beyond one hundred and ten. But the day he managed it, he died. He died with his sitar in his hands. But you could see on his face the marks, the footprints: the Buddha had just walked on the wet sand. At the age of one hundred and ten he was looking so silent, so peaceful, so young.
He was a remarkable man in many other ways too. I was afraid that this was going to happen: if he tries, he is so old, so fragile, that he may not be able to keep his body and his soul together. The sudden lightning experience will become the death of the body, the separation from the body. And that's what happened.
I have seen many musicians but none was of his quality. He could use anything as an instrument -- just iron rods and he would start playing with those rods. And you would be amazed that he could create such beauty out of those iron rods which can only create noise and nothing else.
He was a Mohammedan. Because of him I was acquainted with his daughter, who is married to Ravi Shankar. Ravi Shankar has betrayed her. He has not proved a real man of heart and grace. Just to be the topmost disciple he married the daughter of the master, because that made him the most famous disciple. But once he came to the West he has not bothered about his wife. She is living in poverty.
She herself is a great musician, but Mohammedan women are prohibited by their religion from any public performance -- unless they declare themselves as prostitutes. And because she cannot do that, she cannot perform publicly. But I have heard her playing and I have heard Ravi Shankar's records: Ravi Shankar is far behind her. He has become world famous because he is playing sitar in the West where nobody understands it and nobody understands its nuances. He rarely comes to India because in India there are many who are far superior to him. His own wife is far superior.
This old man could not live as an enlightened man, but he could die as an enlightened man. The other musicians I have known have not dared to be aware while they are completely absorbed in music. I can understand their problem: it is really so absorbing that they forget that they have to keep watchfulness.
Secondly, when they became aware that one man has tried my method and has died, a great fear arose in their minds because they cannot understand that death coming through enlightenment is not a death: it is a door to the divine. But to everybody looking from the outside it is a death.
I have known a few dancers who have the same problem. Ravi Shankar's brother, Udai Shankar, was perhaps the greatest dancer of this century, but the same problem... he would get completely lost. There was nobody to be aware. He died an ordinary death.
I had told him, "Your choice is either an ordinary death or an enlightened death. Now your days are over. You are getting older: it is time, you can risk. Death is going to come anyway; now there is no need to be afraid." But he remained afraid and died, very close to enlightenment.
To me, the so-called religious people are not very close to enlightenment; on the contrary they are far away. The artists are far closer than anybody else. But even though they are closer, most of them are going to miss. It is a strange fate that being miserable, in suffering, in anguish, is far better as far as enlightenment is concerned. Perhaps this is an existential device -- that so many people are in suffering.
You may have remembered a nightmare in which the suffering goes on becoming more and more and more. But there comes a climax -- just the suffering is so much that you wake up. Nobody goes through the whole nightmare. If you go through the whole nightmare, it was a very soft kind; it was not really a nightmare, it was just a dream.
A real nightmare... that you are falling from the mountain and you see the abysmal depth and you know there is no way now: soon you will be scattered in pieces... Just before you hit the ground you will wake up. It is too much: the sleep cannot continue. The same is true about suffering in life.
You suffer, but your suffering is also bourgeois, middle class. That too is not very sharp, just so-so, lukewarm. A lukewarm suffering is not of much help because you can tolerate it your whole life. In fact you may become so accustomed that you cannot live without it; you need it. It defines you. Without it you start feeling you are losing your identity.
When suffering is acute, not just a tantrum, not just an act that you are putting on, not just a habit but a real suffering, a despair; when you see that life has no meaning, that each breath seems to be simply unnecessary... Why do you go on living, for what? -- nothing is going to happen, and there is no exit either. When the pain of it becomes so intense that it goes beyond the limit of human toleration, suddenly you may come out of a nightmare. Then this so-called waking state will prove to be only a different kind of sleep, with open eyes.
You can be awakened. In existence there is nothing which is not ready to help you; just you have to be available to take the help. People talk about misery -- I have listened to many people about their misery -- but the way they talk about their misery it seems they are feeling very happy. Their misery is something like a piece of art. They exaggerate it; they go on making it bigger and bigger -- and they enjoy it.
I have heard about a woman who was confessing to the Catholic priest, "I have been raped and I am dying with shame. You cannot understand how miserable I am."
"But," the priest said, "this is strange! For three weeks you have been coming every Sunday -- how do you manage to be raped every week?"
She said, "Who told you that I am raped every week? It is just the first rape."
The priest said, "Then for that you have already confessed. Why do you bother me -- every Sunday the same rape, the same misery, the same suffering?"
The woman said, "To tell you the truth, I enjoy it. And I cannot tell it to anybody else, so I have to wait for Sunday to confess. But it was really a great experience!"
People are talking about misery, and you must think that they want to get rid of that misery -- you are wrong. Never try to belittle their misery: they will be very angry and they will never forgive you. They are rejoicing that they have the greatest misery in the world -- and you are trying to belittle it or ignore it!
The human mind is a very strange creature. Rather than trying to understand your misery, you start glorifying it. You start feeling a kind of martyrdom -- and martyrdom is a disease, a sickness of the soul. But the whole tradition of humanity has praised the martyrs as great human beings. They were simply masochists who wanted an opportunity to be tortured! Nobody says so because that means your whole history has to be written again: it is not about the sincere and the real people, it is about the sick psychopaths.
So if you start enjoying your misery, then there is trouble. It is again the same thing: somebody is enjoying his music, you are enjoying your misery. It has become your music. The moment you enjoy something it becomes difficult for you to watch it. Anything that you have no relationship with can be used as an object of watchfulness -- that will be easier.
Once your watchfulness becomes grounded... For example, watch a tree, watch the ocean, watch things with which you don't have any emotional attachment. Watch the people walking on the street, cars moving. Just watch. Just a training in watchfulness: watch things with which you don't have any emotional attachment, investment.
So first get grounded in your watchfulness and then try it on small things. Eating, be watchful. Taking a shower, be watchful. Small things which don't mean anything... putting your dress on, be watchful. It is simply to consolidate more and more your watchfulness, so that when you watch something with which you are emotionally concerned your watchfulness is strong enough to cut through all emotional investment.
And if your watchfulness becomes really strong, then it may be music, it may be dance, it may be love -- it makes no difference: it simply cuts like a sharp sword between you and the object, whatever it is. Religious people are, perhaps, the farthest from watchfulness because they are trying prayer, they are trying devotion to God, they are trying to believe in God. They will be afraid of watching because watching will mean that God will simply disappear -- because it was only a belief, not a fact. The prayer will disappear because it was devoted to, addressed to a God who does not exist. The devotion will disappear because there is no one high above in the sky to be devoted to.
Religious people are the most afraid of watchfulness. That's my experience. They do not want to meditate, they do not want to be alert, they do not want to be aware, because their whole religion will be at stake. And if they call me dangerous, they are right, because I am telling them something that will destroy their whole edifice, the whole system according to which they were living, believing, hoping. They will be left in a desert. It is very difficult to convince those people that right now you are in a desert of false beliefs, that watchfulness will bring you out of the desert into the garden of existence with all its greenery, with all its flowers.
I have found it most difficult to teach a saint -- whether Hindu, Mohammedan, Jaina, Christian -- meditation. That simply makes his whole being tremble, because he has lived according to a certain belief system for fifty or sixty years, and it has paid well: people respect him, worship him.
It happened in Hyderabad that one Jaina monk who was very much respected in South India became interested in me. Listening to me, reading my books, he finally gathered courage and dropped the monkhood.
I told him, "You are taking a very risky step. Don't blame me for it later on because there is no need to drop it; you can keep this show. What I am saying is, remain alert. I don't even say to an actor to stop acting, so what is the problem? You act the saint; let this whole life be a drama. Remain alert. So my teaching is to be alert -- I am not telling you to drop all this nonsense."
"But," he said, "it seems insincere. I did believe in it; then it was one thing. Now it will be sheer hypocrisy. And I cannot speak with the same authority. You have taken away my authority. I know it is all bogus; I cannot play-act."
I said, "Then remember there will be risk."
He said, "I understand." He dropped the monkhood.
I was staying with a friend and he came there. My friend was a Jaina -- he could not believe his eyes! He asked, "What happened to your special dress of the monk?"
He said, "I have dropped it."
My friend said, "Then you cannot enter my house." My friend was one of the monk's very devoted disciples -- that's why he had come there. I was staying there, that was one reason, and second, my friend had been very devoted to the monk. But he simply would not allow him to enter the house: "Just get lost! I don't want to get involved."
On that very same day I was going to speak in a Jaina conference and that ex-Jaina monk went with me to the conference. Jaina monks always sit on a high platform, so just out of old habit he followed me on to the platform from where I was to speak. He sat just behind me, afraid, because there were at least five thousand Jainas, utterly angry -- you could see it. These are "nonviolent" people, and that man had done nothing much -- simply changed his dress.
There was great turmoil. Somebody stood up and said, "That fellow should be dragged down from the stage. He cannot sit on the stage."
I said, "What is the problem? I am not a Jaina monk, and I can sit on the stage. Then what is the problem? He is no more a Jaina monk."
They said, "Your situation is different. You have never been a Jaina monk. But he has insulted our whole tradition." And they were already coming on the stage to pull the man down.
Seeing the situation I told the fellow, "You'd better get down yourself; otherwise they will pull you down and that will look more ugly."
But you see the human mind! He would not move. He could not sit with the ordinary people; he had never sat with them.
I said, "You used to be their saint, but now you are no more their saint."
I had to stand in between the crowd and the man, and I said, "Just out of old habit he has come up on the platform. If you want to listen to me you will have to tolerate him on the platform; if you don't want to listen to me I will leave -- only then will he leave behind me. You can decide."
They wanted to listen to me so they had to tolerate it, but they were making gestures to the man that "we will show you, once the speech is finished." And that's what happened: as I concluded and stepped down, the whole crowd got hold of the poor man and they started beating him.
I tried hard. I said, "You are nonviolent and you are beating someone! Yesterday you were touching his feet. He is the same man; nothing has changed."
It was so difficult -- they would have killed him -- to drag him out of it and force him into the car. And people were still trying to get him out of the car from the other side.
When I reached home I told him, "It was absolutely stupid of you. You don't understand: the religious mind is the most hypocritical mind. It says one thing, it does just the opposite. And now you have seen your worshippers. You would never have understood them. They were touching your feet; now they are ready to kill you. You should leave this place, you should move to some other place. Here they won't let you live peacefully. You move to the mountains, find a silent place and meditate."
What he said was very surprising. He said, "I can do everything -- fasting, yoga asanas... I can chant mantras for hours on end. I can recite the scriptures because I have memorized them -- but meditation? That I have never done. And what you are describing -- that I have to be aware -- is so new to me that I don't think, without you, I will ever be able to get into the experience."
I said, "So you have become my responsibility!" I had to take him with me... for three months he was with me. And it was the most difficult thing for that person to learn meditation -- for the simple reason that he had dropped the clothes but he could not drop the beliefs, he could not drop his mythology, he could not drop his religion. That is not so easy. To change the clothes is very easy.
The artists are the closest to enlightenment -- the aesthetic experience is just on the border -- and the so-called religious people are the farthest away from enlightenment. I have never heard of any religious person becoming enlightened. It looks strange because it should not be so: religious people should be more close to enlightenment. But they are full of so much rubbish -- and they think it is a treasure. They cannot watch it disappear.
And watchfulness is the magic: it makes everything from your mind disappear and leaves you in utter silence, stillness. From that stillness arises the feel of your being and the being of the whole universe.
Source – Osho Book “Tha Path of The Mystic”
Osho on famous people: Alan Watts, Albert Einstein, Adolf Hitler, Confucius, Edmund Burke, Friedrich Nietzsche, George Santayana, Karl Marx, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Machiavelli, Madame Blavatsky, Mahatma Gandhi, Marilyn Monroe, Martin Buber, Mother Teresa, Nijinsky, Sanjay Gandhi, Shakuntala Devi, Somerset Maugham, Soren Kierkegaard, Subhash Chandra Bose, Trotsky, Vincent van Gogh, Vinoba Bhave, Werner Erhard