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Osho on Soren Kierkegaard

Sketch of Søren Kierkegaard
by Niels Christian Kierkegaard, c. 1840

Osho on Soren Kierkegaard - Mind is never decisive. It is not a question of your mind or somebody else's mind; mind is indecisiveness. The functioning of the mind is wavering between two polar opposites and trying to find which is the right way.
Mind is the wrong thing, and through the wrong thing you are trying to find the right way. It is as if by closing your eyes you are trying to find the door. Certainly you will feel yourself hanging between the two -- to go this way or that; you will be always in a condition of either/or. That's the nature of mind.

One great Danish philosopher was Soren Kierkegaard. He wrote a book, EITHER/OR. It was his own life's experience -- he could never decide about anything. Everything was always such that if he was deciding this way, then that way seemed to be right. If he was deciding that way, then this way seemed to be right. He remained indecisive.

He remained unmarried, although a woman was very much in love with him and had asked him. But he said, "I will have to think about it -- marriage is a big thing, and I cannot say yes or no immediately." And he died with the question, without getting married. He lived long -- perhaps seventy years -- and he was continually arguing, discussing. But he found no answer which could be said to be the ultimate answer, which had not its equal opposite.

He never could become a professor. He had filled out the form, he had all the qualifications -- the best qualifications possible -- he had many books to his credit, of such immense importance that even after a century they are still contemporary, not old, not out of date. He filled out the form but could not sign it -- because "either/or"... whether to join the service or not? The form was found when he died, in the small room where he used to live.

His father, seeing the situation -- and he was his only son -- seeing that even going somewhere he would stop at the crossroads to decide to go this way or to go that way, for hours...! The whole of Copenhagen became aware of this man's strangeness, and children nicknamed him "Either/Or," so urchins would be following him, shouting, "Either/Or!" wherever he would go.

Before he died his father liquidated all his businesses, collected all the money, deposited it into an account, and arranged that every month on the first day of the month, Kierkegaard should receive so much money, so for his whole life he at least could survive. And you will be surprised: the day he was coming home, on the first day of the month, after taking out the last installment of the money -- the money was finished -- he fell on the street and died. With the last installment! That was the right thing to do. What else to do? -- because after this month, what will he do?

And because of the urchins and other people harassing him and calling him Either/Or he used to come out only once a month, just on the first day, to go to the post office. But now there was nothing left -- next month he had nowhere to go. He was writing books but was not decisive about whether to publish them or not; he left all his books unpublished. They are of tremendous value. Each book has a great penetration into things. On each subject he has written, he has gone to the very roots, to every minute detail... a genius, but a genius of the mind.

With the mind, that is the problem -- it is not your problem -- and the better mind you have, the more will be the problem. Lesser minds don't come across that problem so much. It is the genius mind that is opposed, with two polarities, and cannot choose. And then he feels in a limbo.

What I have been telling you is that it is the nature of the mind to be in a limbo. It is the nature of the mind to be in the middle of polar opposites. Unless you move away from the mind and become a witness to all the games of the mind, you will never be decisive. Even if you sometimes decide -- in spite of the mind -- you will repent, because the other half that you have not decided for is going to haunt you: perhaps that was right and what you have chosen is wrong. And now there is no way to know. Perhaps the choice was better that you had left aside was better. But even if you had chosen it, the situation would not have been different; then this which would have been left aside would haunt you. Mind is basically the beginning of madness.
And if you are too much in it, it will drive you mad.

Source - Osho Book "Beyond Psychology"


Osho on Soren Kierkegaard - Soren Kierkegaard wrote books. During his life-time, no one heard of them. he was able to publish only one book of which only five copies were sold and these too, were bought by his friends. he lived all his life on the money his father left him for, for all the twenty four hours he was engrossed in his thoughts, in his search; where was the time to earn a living? Every first of the month, he would go to the bank and draw some money on which he lived the entire month. Then one day he was told that the money has finished. Soren fell down at the door of the bank and died, because there was no hope of money coming from any other source.

For a full hundred years, no one remembered Soren Kierkegaard. no one knew either his books or even his name. Now since the last 30-40 years, he has been rediscovered. Today it can be said that the West has been greatly influenced by Soren Kierkegaard. People say, it will take hundreds of years still, to understand Kierkegaard well. But in his life-time, people of his village laughed at him. People used to deride him for wasting his time. They advised him to do some useful work and earn a living.

The pictures that Vincent Van Gogh created. are now valued in millions but Vincent in his lifetime, could not sell a single one. If he took a cup of tea from a tea-shop, he gave a painting in return for he had no money. He would barter his paintings for a packet of cigarettes. Sixty years after his death when his genius was discovered people delved in to their junk-yards to take out his paintings. Some paintings were recovered from a tea-shop, some from a hotel where he must have had a meal. All these owners of his paintings became millionaires.

Each painting drew a sum of five lacs of rupees. Today only 200 of his paintings are available. Vincent Van Gogh was a painter of the highest calibre in the history of man. But it is now that he is acclaimed. In his life-time he went hungry three days in a week. His brother sent him money from which he ate four days in a week and spent the three days allowance to buy painting requisites. He was on the verge of death by the time he was 32 for how long could he continue like this? So he shot himself.

He wrote before he died that now it was no use living any more. He had created what he wanted to create. His work was done, so why should he be a burden on his brother? He had to provide funds for his meals after all, and now that he had achieved what he was striving for since a year, his work was done.

Now such people live on a different plane altogether. When the human race reaches that level, then only are these people appreciated and rediscovered. And yet people like Vincent Van Gogh and Soren Kierkegaard are not people who have reached the heights of the Everest. They have attained smaller mountains, whereas Lao Tzu can be said to belong to the heights of Gourishankar. It is always a numbered few who ever reach that height. Now if we hope that even a small part of the human race would some day dwell on these heights, we shall have to wait for thousands of years. Therefore it is, that Lao Tzu's influence is so little. But time and again such people have to found. Their vibrations are never lost. They forever keep echoing. Sometimes it happens that such people are completely forgotten. Then if someone begins to talk like them, we feel he is saying something new.

Source - Osho Book "The Way of Tao, Vol1 "


Osho on Soren Kierkegaard - Soren Kierkegaard says that every man is trembling inside, there is a constant trembling -- and he is right. The fear of death keeps you constantly trembling. You may keep yourself occupied in a thousand and one things and you may forget about your inner trembling, but it is there.

Soren Kierkegaard is one of the most important thinkers of the Western hemisphere. What he is saying he must be saying from his own personal experience; he was very much afraid of death. He was afraid only of two things: death and money. He never earned anything. His father had left a certain bank balance for him; he lived on it. Each month, on the first day, he would go to the bank and withdraw a certain amount and live on it. He lived in a very very economical way, but he was very much afraid: sooner or later the money was going to be finished -- that was his constant worry. People had seen him in Copenhagen going to the bank and coming home always in a state of trembling.

And then death... and death is certainly related to money. People who are very much afraid of death start accumulating money as a protection -- as if money can protect! People who are not afraid of death don't care much about money; they use money, but they don't care.

And one strange thing happened: Soren Kierkegaard died on the road the day he withdrew the last amount of money from the bank. He was coming home from the bank; this was the last amount, the bank balance was finished. The manager had said, "Next month you need not come -- all the money is finished." He fell in the middle of the road -- he didn't reach home -- and died then and there. If money is finished, life is finished! He must have been a man of tremendous fear.

When he was young he loved a woman, a very beautiful woman, Regina. For three years the love affair continued and finally, when they were going to get married, he refused. It was very strange because Regina was a beautiful woman and he was an ugly man. If Regina had refused it would have been logical, but why did Kierkegaard refuse? He refused out of the simple fear that "If we get married and some trouble arises, then? If some fighting arises or if she falls in love with somebody else? -- she is such a beautiful woman...." Afraid of the possibilities of the future, he simply refused. He refused to live! He never left the city, he was so afraid of accidents. So when he says man is a trembling he is saying it from personal experience.

Buddha says: The master does not tremble. All his trembling disappears because he knows there is no death. Knowing himself he has transcended death. He has no fear of the future because he lives in the present. He is not possessive; hence nothing can be taken away from him.

Source - Osho Book "The Dhammapada, Vol 2"

Related Link: Osho on Existentialism Philosophy - Life is Meaningless

Osho on famous people: Annie Besant, Alan Watts, Albert Einstein, Adolf Hitler, Confucius, Friedrich Nietzsche, George Santayana, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Machiavelli, Madame Blavatsky, Mahatma Gandhi, Marilyn Monroe, Martin Buber, Mother Teresa, Nijinsky, Shakuntala Devi, Somerset Maugham, Subhash Chandra Bose, Vincent van Gogh, Vinoba Bhave

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