Nirvana can never be a goal. When you don’t have any goal, nirvana comes to you. You never go towards nirvana. When you are not going anywhere, it comes to you.
Or, if you want to use the language of bhaktas and devotees, you can use the word godliness. You are not to go towards godliness. One can never go towards it.
Where will you go? Either it is nowhere or it is everywhere. Where will you go? You cannot make an object of godliness.
You cannot make an arrow of your desire moving towards the target of the divine. Either it is everywhere – so you cannot make a target; or it is nowhere – then too you cannot make a target.
Q: What is truth?
When we ask the question, “What is truth?” we are entering into the world of man for the first time. If you have not asked the question yet then you live below human beings. Ask the question, and you become part of humanity. And when the question is dissolved you go beyond humanity, you become a God.
Below the questioning you remain part of the animal kingdom; with the question you enter on the path; and again being without the question you have come to realize that you have come home. The question is very difficult because just by asking, it cannot be solved. One has to put one’s whole life at the stake.
This is the question that Pontius Pilate asked Jesus. At the last moment, when Jesus was going to be crucified, Pontius Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” And Jesus did not answer him. Christian mystics have pondered over it. Why did Jesus not answer it? Why did he remain silent?
There are three possibilities. One, that the question was not sincere. A man like Jesus answers only when the question is sincere. When is a question sincere? A question is sincere when a questioner is ready to do something about it. If it is just curiosity then it is not worth answering. If it has an intense passion, a deep desire, so deep that the questioner is ready to put his whole life at the stake – nothing less will do – then only is the question sincere. A man like Jesus will answer only when the question has been asked from the very core of one’s being. So the first possibility is that Pilate’s question was not sincere. Seeing the insincerity, Jesus remained silent.
Pilate was a well-educated man, a man who had succeeded at least in the eyes of the world. He was the viceroy, a Roman Governor-general. He was at the peak of his career – power, prestige, wealth, everything was his. Whatsoever he had been doing in his life had paid him well. Facing him was Jesus, almost a hobo, a failure, one who had not achieved anything at least in the eyes of the world. He had no power, no prestige, not even respectability. He was just at the other end of life, a tremendous failure, mocked, jeered, insulted. Whatsoever he had been doing had all failed. It had not paid him in any way. His life was futile, at least for others.
The successful man asked the failure, “What is truth?”
There are two types of successes in the world. One, the worldly, which is not really a success but just trying to deceive yourself, just trying to keep up faces, appearances. The eyes are full of tears but you go on smiling; the heart is miserable, but you go on showing something else, just the opposite, to the world. They say “nothing succeeds like success” but I would like to tell you “nothing fails like success.” As far as the inner journey is concerned, as far as the transcendental is concerned, nothing fails like success and nothing succeeds like failure.
The first possibility is that the question was not sincere, it was asked just by the way. The man was well-educated, well-trained in philosophical concepts. He could have asked the question as a philosophical question. Then Jesus remained silent because the question was not really asked and there was no need to answer it.
The second possibility is that the question was sincere, that the question was not just a childish curiosity, that there was passion behind it, that it was authentic. Then why did Jesus remain silent? He remained silent because if this ultimate question is authentically asked then silence is the answer, because there is no way to answer it except silence. The question is so profound that words will not be capable of answering it. The question is so deep that words will not be able to reach it, to touch it – only silence will.
If the second is the case then Jesus did answer it, but he answered it by silence.
A third possibility is also there: that the question was sincere and yet not so sincere – that it was ambiguous, split, which was probably the case because where can you find a man who is total? A part of him was authentically asking, another part was pretending, “Even if you don’t answer I am not in a hurry. And even if you don’t answer, I don’t mind because in fact I don’t need it. In fact, I know the answer already, I am asking just to test you.”
The question was ambiguous, Janus-faced. That seems to be more probable because that is how man is and has always been – split. A part of Pilate feels the truth of this man who is standing before him – a complete, utter failure but yet his eyes are luminous, yet he has a glow. Pilate can feel it, can almost touch it. Yet another part, the egoist part, is not ready to surrender so he pretends he is asking only casually, “Even if you don’t answer, don’t be worried. It is not my need. In fact, I already know the answer.”
If this ambiguity was the case, then Jesus would also remain silent because when a question is ambiguous and the person is divided, no answer is possible. Because the answer can be understood only in your undivided consciousness, the question can be answered only when you are no longer split, when you are one, when you are in a unison, unity. Only then can you understand it.
Jesus’ silence before Pontius Pilate is very significant, pregnant with many meanings. But Jesus has answered the question somewhere else, it is recorded in the New Testament. Somewhere else he says, “I am the Truth.”
I would like you to go a little bit into history then it will be very easy to understand today’s parable. […]
And then came Jesus who says, “I am the truth.” This one statement is one of the greatest statements ever made in the world. Either it is the greatest truth ever uttered or it is the most egoistic and arrogant statement ever made. “I am the truth.” It depends how you decode it. Ordinarily, when you hear that Jesus says, “I am the truth,” you think this man is a megalomaniac, has gone mad. He is uttering nonsense. This man is truth? Jesus is truth? Then what about us all?
Jesus is not saying that, you have misunderstood him. When he says, “I am truth,” he is not saying, “Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph, is the truth.” What he is saying is totally different. He is saying “I am-ness, I am, is the truth,” so wherever there is this “I am-ness” there is truth. When you say “I am” you are uttering truth. Your “I am” and my “I am” are not two things, we both participate there. Your name is different, your form is different, my name is different, my form is different, but when I say “I, I am” and you say “I am” we refer to some common experience, we refer to some common root. Your “I am-ness” and my “I am-ness” are not different, are not separate, they belong to one “I am-ness” of God. When Jesus says “I am the truth” he means wherever this integration is felt of being totally “I am”, there is truth.
Ordinarily you are many I’s – you don’t have any capital I; you have many I’s, lower case. Gurdjieff used to say that we should not use the word I, only God can use it because you don’t have any single I, you have many i’s like a crowd. For one moment one I comes on the top, and becomes the ruler; in another moment it is gone and another I comes over and rules.
You can watch it. It is so simple. One moment you say, “I am happy. I am tremendously happy, at the top of the world” and the next moment you are unhappy, at the lowest bottom of the world, in the seventh hell. Are both these I’s the same? One moment you were flowing and you were compassionate and loving and another moment you were closed and frozen and dead. Are these two I’s the same? One moment you could have forgiven anything and another moment just any small tiny thing and you cannot forgive. Are these two I’s the same? One moment you are sitting in silence, in zazen, meditating, and you look so Buddha-like, and another moment, for a small thing, you are nagging, fighting. You will yourself feel ridiculous later on. For what were you getting so hot? For what were you creating so much fuss? It was not worth it. But another i was ruling over you.
You are like a wheel of many I’s; those I’s are like spokes. The wheel goes on moving, one spoke comes on top; hardly before it has come it starts declining. It goes on changing. Again it will come up and again you will feel a different being existing there within you. Watch. Have you got an I? Any substantial I? Any essential I? Can you say that you have some permanent I in you? A crystalized I in you?
You promise, and next moment you have forgotten your promise. Gurdjieff used to say that unless you have a permanent I, who will promise? You will not be able to fulfil it. Who will fulfil it? You say to a woman, “I love you and I will love you forever and forever.” Wait! What are you uttering? What nonsense! Forever and ever? How can you promise? You don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow, you don’t know who is going to rule you tomorrow. Your promises will create trouble for you.
You cannot promise because you are not there.
Only a man like Gurdjieff or Jesus can promise. Yes, he can promise because he knows that he will remain the same; whatsoever changes in the world will not affect him.
He will remain the same, he has come to a crystalized soul. Now he knows that his wheel has stopped. He is in total possession of his being. He can promise.
But ordinarily people go on promising, and you never see the fact that no promise has ever been fulfilled by you. You completely forget about it. You don’t even remember it because that remembrance will be like a wound. You find out ways and means to rationalize: you cannot fulfil it because the other person has changed, you cannot fulfil it because the circumstances have changed, you cannot fulfil it because you were foolish at the time you made it. And again you will make promises.
Man is an animal who goes on promising, never fulfilling any promise because he cannot fulfil it; man as he exists has too many I’s. When Jesus says “I am the truth” he is saying that whosoever attains to “I am-ness” is truth.
And this truth is not something philosophical, this truth is something existential. You cannot come to it by logic, argumentation; you cannot come to it by finding a right premise and then moving to a right syllogism and then reaching to a right conclusion. No, that is not the way. You will have to come to it through an inner discipline. That’s what Zen is all about.
From Dang Dang Doko Dang, Discourse #9
Copyright© OSHO International Foundation
Jesus says ‘…Truth liberates’. Yes, just a glimpse of truth liberates but it is our own experience through our search within. When we search for the answer of prominent question ‘Who am I?’, then the answer we ‘see’ is truth or we experience the truth as it is.
When we search for the question ‘What is truth’ then in reply from within what we experience is I am-ness. This moment when we get the answer of our search from within is called as ‘Philosia’ moment. It transforms us immediately and Godliness starts flowing through us.
Nanak says that the first question that God will ask from our soul after death of the body is ‘have you experienced the Philosia moment?’ If the answer is positive then only all its material success is also looked at by God otherwise the soul will be sent back in lower forms because the soul missed to take full benefit of biggest opportunity given as life of living as human being.