While talking to his disciples in chapter 16, Vol 1 of above book, one of his disciples raised this question. George Gurdjieff says that answers to the question asked by the disciples are for the people of the future, because existence has asked this question through disciples. I have not planned it, so more importance be given to answers of the mystics to the questions raised by the disciples.
Question No. 2 : WHY DO YOU USE PARABLES?
Osho: A parable is a way of saying things which cannot be said. A parable is a finger pointing to the moon. Forget the finger and look at the moon. Don’t catch hold of the finger, don’t start biting the finger: the parable has to be understood and forgotten.
And that is the beauty of a parable, a story. When it is told, you listen attentively because a story always creates curiosity: ’What is going to happen?’
You become attentive, you become all ears, you become feminine, you become very intrigued You start expecting: ’What is going to happen?’
The parable creates suspense, it brings a climax, and then, suddenly, the conclusion. And when after the climax the conclusion happens, you are so hot that the conclusion sinks deep into your heart.
To say something about truth is not an easy matter. One has to devise parables, poetry, different methods and means so that the listener can be aroused into a kind of passion, can become vibrant, available, can wait for what is going to happen.
And it is not only I who am using parables; that has been always so. Buddha used them, Chuang Tzu used them, Jesus used them – all the great teachers of the world have been using the parable as a method, and it has served its purpose down the ages. It is still tremendously meaningful, and it is going to remain meaningful.
A parable is not just a story. It is not to entertain you but to enlighten you. That is the difference between an ordinary story and a parable. A parable has a message in it, a coded message in it; you will have to decode it. Sometimes it will take you your whole life to decode the message, but in its very decoding you will be transformed.
A parable is not an ordinary story just to entertain you for the moment, its significance is eternal, its significance is not momentary. In fact, it is more significant than your so-called facts, because
facts have a limited impact. A fact is an event: it happens and then it disappears. And after it has disappeared there is no way to be certain about it – no way at all.
You cannot be certain whether Jesus existed or not; you cannot be absolutely certain whether Jesus is a historical person or not. At most you can feel the probability that he may have been. But the doubt persists – he may not have been. Who knows? – because except for his four disciples, nobody mentions him, nobody at all.
Now these four disciples may just have been the inventions of a novelist.
The whole story is so dramatic, it has all that a dramatic story needs, all that a modern film is based on: a prostitute falling in love with Jesus, a carpenter’s son declaring himself the son of God, a young man doing miracles, opening the eyes of blind people, giving limbs to those who had none, helping people who had suffered their whole life to be healthy and whole – not only that, but calling forth Lazarus out of his grave. What more suspense, what more do you need to make a story dramatic? And then being caught, then all the political intrigue, then the efforts to kill him. And then, one day, he is crucified. And the story does not end there. Then after three days he is resurrected.
Now, no detective novel has so much in it. Resurrection…
Then he is seen again by the disciples, he again meets his disciples, and they cannot even recognize him. And then this son of a carpenter, uneducated, unsophisticated, becomes the founder of the greatest religion in the world, he also becomes the founder of the greatest religious empire in the world – he defeats all other prophets and all other messengers of God.
Now, what credentials did he have? Buddha was the son of a king, but this carpenter’s son has defeated Buddha as far as the number of followers is concerned.
Socrates has not a single follower in the world today – and he was such a sophisticated man, so intelligent, so utterly intelligent. And he has the same story, he was poisoned and killed, yet he could not gather any followers. What happened? How did it happen?
And was this man Jesus really there, a historical figure? – because no history books carry his name, there are no monuments. He may have been just a fiction, a fictitious story.
Historical events cannot be proved once they have happened – cannot be proved totally, absolutely. At most they remain more or less probable.
But a parable has an eternal reality about it. It does not claim any historicity, it simply claims a message. It has nothing to do with events that happen in time.
A parable is something that happens in timelessness. It remains relevant. Whether Jesus existed or not is not the point, but the stories that he has told ARE. Whether he told them or they are some fictitious invention of some novel-writer doesn’t matter, but those parables have eternal messages in them, something so eternal that time cannot make them irrelevant, no passage of time can make them irrelevant.
The truth of a parable is timeless. The truth of history is the truth about particular events in the present or the past. Once past, there is no way to prove beyond all doubt that they actually happened; all that can be established is only a probability. The only truth which we can trust is the truth which is in the present tense. Only the truth of a parable, because it is beyond all time, can speak to us forever in the present tense.
A parable remains always in the present tense; it is never past. A parable is always present; if you are ready to understand it, it is ready to deliver all its treasure to you. And it does not depend on the arbitrary conditions of history.
Parable and history may coincide: a story which is historically true may also present us with the truth of parable. The Jesus or the Buddha story may be historically accurate, but even if it is, it is by the truth of the parable not by the truth of history that we are healed. It does not matter whether Jesus existed or not, whether Buddha was ever born on the earth or not; that doesn’t matter.Just the parable, the possibility that a Buddha is possible is enough to stir our hearts in a new longing, is enough to make us feel thirsty for the divine. It is enough – the very possibility of the parable is enough – to make us look upwards towards heaven, to send us into an exploration, to make us discontented with the limitations that we have created around ourselves. It provokes us into adventure.
A Parable: A man is drowning. A rope comes spinning down; he clutches it and he is saved.
Who wove the rope? This parable… some say Buddha, some say Jesus, some say Mohammed, but to the drowning man the important question is: ’Will it bear my weight or not?’
Who wove the rope is a question about history.
You may get it all wrong and still be saved. That is the beauty of a parable.
Buddha may not have ever existed, but if you understand the parable you will be saved.
What is a parable?
For example, Buddha is going to participate in a youth festival in his beautiful golden chariot. Suddenly he sees an old man for the first time in his life, because this is the parable:
that when Buddha was born great astrologers came to his father to depict the future, to predict the potential of the child. All the astrologers said, ’Either he will become a world ruler, a CHAKRAVARTIN who will rule all the six continents, or he will become a sannyasin who will renounce the whole world. These are the two possibilities.’
All the astrologers except one raised two fingers to the king and said, ’One possibility: he will become the greatest ruler in the world, never known before, never heard of before, such will be his power. And the second possibility: that he may renounce the whole thing completely and move into a forest, become a sannyasin and meditate, and attain to Buddhahood.’ Out of all the astrologers there was one astrologer, the youngest, who raised only one finger. The king said, ’All have raised two fingers, and you are raising one?’
He said, ’Because he is going to become a Buddha, there is no other possibility.’
But he was the youngest astrologer and the king was not puzzled by him and not worried. How much can he know?
And the old people were all saying, ’Two are the possibilities,’
so he asked the old people, ’What should I do so he never renounces the kingdom?’
And they suggested, “Make beautiful palaces for him, separate palaces for separate seasons. India there are four seasons, so – four palaces with beautiful gardens, acres and acres of flowers. Make it almost like a paradise.
And make it a point that no old man ever enters into his gardens,
that no ill person ever comes across him,
that he never sees a sannyasin, the ochre-robed,
that he never comes across the phenomenon of death.
These four things are prohibited.
Even if leaves are falling they should be removed before he sees the old dying leaf. Flowers should be removed from his garden before he becomes aware that flowers fade and die.
And he should be surrounded by beautiful women, the most beautiful women of the kingdom.
And he should be kept continuously entertained.
Remember, then only can he be saved from the desire of enlightenment.
Keep him continuously entertained, exhausted, tired. In the morning when he gets up he should see beautiful women dancing around him to the very last moment when he falls asleep. He should fall asleep to music and dance”.
And this is how it was managed.
Now whether it is history or not is not the point.
This is how we are all managing in some way or other.
This is a parable.
This is how all parents are afraid – maybe not so much as Buddha’s father because that is the extreme point. To make the parable absolutely clear it has to be stretched to its logical end, that’s all.
But all fathers, all mothers are afraid: you should not become a drop-out, you should not renounce.
Now one woman from America has written to Morarji Desai that her daughter is caught by an Indian Master, hypnotized. ’Save my daughter, send her back to me.’ The papers have not said who this man is? who has hypnotized her? the possibility is that it must be me. And the daughter must be here. Where else?
Now parents are forming associations, societies, groups, to protect their children from getting into any Eastern trip.
They are more afraid of meditation than drugs.
In America there now exists an organization of parents to kidnap their children if they become meditators.
And then those children have to be given to deprogrammers, to psychoanalysts, to deprogramme them – a kind of mindwash.
This is illegal.
And one psychoanalyst has been sent to jail in California for deprogramming, because he was too enthusiastic.
At first parents were giving him the authority to kidnap their children, then he started on his own.
Not even a parent has the authority to kidnap the child – once the child is of age no parent has the authority.
But maybe they can manage it. They have lobbies in the parliament.
They can manage it, because the judge is also a parent, a father, and the police and the lawyers – all are parents; they can manage, they can enforce it.
But the psychoanalyst became a missionary on his own; he started kidnapping. He had an organization of kidnappers and he started mindwashing programmes – he called them ’de- programming’ – so that a person becomes anti-meditation, anti-East, and falls back into the old fold.
If he is a Catholic, then he becomes a Catholic and goes to the church;
if he is a Protestant, then he becomes a Protestant and reads the Bible.
These people are afraid – not only now, they have always been afraid. Buddha’s story is just a logical extreme.
Parents are afraid their children may renounce the world, that is the eternal truth in it.
But the parable goes on.
Whenever Buddha moved to the capital the roads were cleaned, all old people were removed, sannyasins were barred. When his chariot would pass he never came across anything ugly, ill, old, dead.
But that day something happened.
The parable says that the gods in heaven became very worried, ’Is Buddha going to remain in this stupid kind of continuous entertainment?
Will he never become enlightened?’
Roads were cleaned, traffic was managed and controlled, but those gods managed, too.
One god appeared as an old man, another god appeared as a sannyasin, another as a very ill, coughing, almost-dying person, another as a dead man being carried by other people to the cemetery .
The parable is beautiful – the gods became worried.
It has a significant message.
“This existence wants you to become enlightened”, that is the meaning of it.
Existence becomes worried, existence cares, existence wants you to become free of all bondage, free of all darkness.
Existence wants to help you, and when it sees that you are going and going and going and wasting your life, it creates situations in which you can be provoked; that is the meaning of the parable.
There are no gods in heaven and no gods will come and walk like old men, but the parable is a way of saying certain hidden truths.
The hidden truth is that the existence cares for you, that you have been sent into this existence to learn something.
Don’t get lost.
Now this is an eternal message.
It doesn’t matter whether Buddha was born or not, whether he is a historical person or not, all that matters is that existence cares for you.
If it cared for Buddha, it cares for you too. It will create occasions for you and if you are a little bit alert you will be able to catch hold of those occasions and those occasions will prove a transforming situation, an awakening.
Buddha saw the old man and asked his charioteer, ’What has happened to this man?’ – naturally, because he had never seen an old man.
You would not have asked because you see it every day.
It was so strange. He was married, he had a son, and he had never seen an old man. Suddenly he was shocked at seeing the old man.
And the charioteer was going to lie, because he knew Buddha’s father.
But, the story says, one god entered into the charioteer’s body and told the truth. He said, ’Everybody has to become old.’
And Buddha asked, ’Am I also going to become old? And my beloved, my wife, Yashodhara too? And my little child, Rahul, who was just born a few days ago, he too?’
And the god, through the charioteer, said – forced the charioteer to say, ’Yes, everybody is going to become old.’
And then the dead man was seen. ’And what has happened to him?’ Buddha asked.
And the god, through the charioteer, said, ’Everybody has to come to this state. Illness, old age, then death.’
’Am I also going to die? And what about my beautiful woman, Yashodhara, and my child, Rahul, who was born just a few days ago?’ Asked Buddha.
And the god said, ’All are going to die without any exception.’
And then Buddha saw the ochre-robed sannyasin.
And he said, ’Why is he wearing ochre, orange?’
And the god said, ’This man has also seen illness, old age and death happening. Now he is trying to find the source of immortality. He has become aware that this life is contaminated with death. He has seen the fact that this body is going to disappear sooner or later, dust unto dust. So he is trying to seek and search for something which is undying. He has become a meditator. He has renounced entertainment. He is in search of enlightenment.’
And Buddha said, ’Then wait. There is no need to go to the youth festival anymore, because if youth is just a momentary phenomenon, I am already old. And if life is going to disappear into dust, I have already died.”
See the insight of the parable:
Buddha says, ’If it is going to happen, what does it matter whether it is going to happen tomorrow or after seven years or seventy years? If it is going to happen, it has already happened. Turn back! I am no longer interested in any festival. All festivals are finished for me. I have to seek what you call enlightenment before this body disappears. I have to use this body as a stepping-stone towards something that is undying. I have to search for nectar.’
And he turned back. The same night he left his palace and escaped into the deep forest to meditate.
Now this is a parable.
Whether it happened or not I am not concerned about at all. How does it matter whether it coincides with history or not?
That’s why many times people who are too obsessed with history become angry with me – because I have no commitment to history at all. I take all poetic freedom. My commitment is to parables, not to history. If I see that the parable can become more beautiful, then I play with the parable. I don’t bother whether it is written so or not. Who cares? My whole commitment is to the poetry and the parable and the hidden message in it. And whether it happened or not, it can save you still.
’Who made the rope? – Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed?’
What is the point when you are drowning in a well?
The whole point is whether this rope is going to bear your weight or not. Try it. And you may get it all wrong and still be saved. The rope may have been made by Buddha and you may think it has been made by Jesus – it doesn’t matter, you can still be saved.
The Bible may have been written by a ghost writer – it doesn’t matter; it has the message. And whosoever the writer was must have been enlightened, otherwise he could not have written such a beautiful parable. He WAS Jesus.
Whosoever has created the story of Buddha WAS Buddha. Whether the story existed or not doesn’t matter.
Hence I use so many parables.
The parable embodies the hope, the danger, and the possibility held out by Lao Tzu or Zarathustra.
If all the Bibles were destroyed, if the name of Jesus were forgotten, it would not matter anymore, so long as the fire kindled the hope, the beauty, and the possibility still went on burning.
If it is proved, absolutely proved, that Buddha never happened, Jesus was never born, Mohammed never walked on the earth, Mahavira was a myth and Lao Tzu an invention of some fictitious writers, if the hope continues and if man continues to hope to surpass himself, if the fire continues to burn, if the longing remains to seek and search for the truth, that’s enough. You can forget all about the Bibles and the Korans.
If the longing continues, the Koran is going to be born in you. If the longing is intense enough, one day you will see Buddha arising out of you, you will see Jesus being born in you.
–Osho, The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1, Chapter #16, In the lake of void.
Copyright © OSHO International Foundation, An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library or on YouTube channel of Osho International where you can get videos of Osho with subtitles translated into your language. His expression on face, movement of hands etc make ‘much needed’ or greater impact.
My reason for making this parable into a post :- One of my Afrikan Friend is having good understanding of inner journey. He is on path to his centre of being. His father was a famous pastor in local church, may be due to that. I found that his growth is shadowed by discovery of the fact that Jesus never existed, and it is easy to deny any historical fact.
I also call Ramayana and Mahabharata as stories only, through which deeper meanings of vedas were communicated to illiterates peoples.
Another reason is to inform you that for a Mystic like Osho, we all are Buddha. So he has played his game of twisting the parable here also. We all are engaged in Social Media, Internet and TV (that time) that we remain involved in them till we start feeling sleepy. Our tiny tots or kids are involved in video, by mother, on mobile so that they can eat food.
So parable till ‘Don’t get lost’ is for everyone of us, and this post in your hand is God’s plan so that you can take one step more towards your inner journey. Everyone is born with only one potential and that is ‘Becoming a Buddha’ but only a young astrologer like Osho can say it to the parent. Old astrologer have more interest in money of the parent so to make them happy the other option of becoming a chakravarti king is told by them.
It’s our story, please read it again with this perspective in mind and a reevaluation may happen to you.
I am not saying that you leave your kingdom today, but what I did and suggest is to start practising awareness meditation and / or Dynamic meditation as your personal time with you. We work for society, kids, family and parents but let us start a few more moments with our inner self. I am writing it in the end so that this message of Osho reaches the one who is worthy.
Awareness meditation is the way worked for me and I tried it first during brushing my teeth in the morning after trying 8-10 meditations over period of 15 years! So there is no need to reinvent the circle for you. May be you too find it suitable otherwise with Dynamic meditation and/or Kundalini in the evening it is suitable for most of the people. There are 110 other meditation techniques discovered by Indian Mystic Gorakhnath about 500years before and further modified by Osho for contemporary people that one can experiment and the suitable one could be practiced in routine life.
Osho International Online (OIO) provides facility to learn these from your home, through Osho Meditation Day @€20.00 per person. You can learn Dynamic meditations from disciples of Osho. OIO rotate times through three timezones NY,Berlin and Mumbai.
Hi ….. I write my comments from my personal experiences of my inner journey. This post may include teachings of Mystics around the world that I found worth following even today. For more about me and to connect with me on social media platforms, have a look at my linktree website for connecting with my social media links, or subscribe my YouTube channel and/or listen to the podcasts etc.