I read something tremendously beautiful this morning in Osho’s The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol. 1. The book is published in four volumes and is a commentary given by Osho in Pune in 1976 on forty-two sutras by the Buddha. The original book is called The Sutra of Forty-two Chapters and, unlike most other books on the teachings of the Buddha, this has never existed in India – neither in Sanskrit, nor in Pali or any other language. Tradition tells us that in response to a request from Emperor Ming of the Han dynasty in AD 67, a small group of Buddhist monks went to China and there made a short anthology of Buddha’s sayings as a first introduction of the great master’s teachings to the Chinese people.
Buddhism is commonly understood as a religion of the head as against the religion of the heart or faith. However, the sutra that is commented upon below tells us how wrong the notion is. As the Upanishads say, spirituality is not for the head at all. Naayam aatmaa pravachanena labhyah, na medhaya, na bahuna shrutena: “This Self cannot be attained through discourses, not through the intellect, nor by lots of learning.”
Spirituality is something to be cultivated through the silence of the heart, through stillness, through joy and celebration, through the awe one feels for existence, through trust, through love and through waiting.
The Katha Upanishad mantra which says naayam aatmaa pravachanena labhyah, also says later in the same mantra: yam eva esha vrnute tena labhyah, tasya esha aatmaa vivrnute tanum svaam: It is to be attained only by the one whom it chooses. To him this Self reveals its body.
That choice – swayamvara – is made by the Self. And the Self chooses only the one who has silence in his heart, stillness, joy and celebration; only the one whose heart is filled with awe, with trust, with love and with waiting. Into such hearts, the Self descends. In such hearts, the Self reveals itself.
Here is the sutra along with very short excerpts from Osho’s detailed commentary on it.
“IF YOU ENDEAVOUR TO EMBRACE THE WAY THROUGH MUCH LEARNING, THE WAY WILL NOT BE UNDERSTOOD. IF YOU OBSERVE THE WAY WITH SIMPLICITY OF HEART, GREAT INDEED IS THIS WAY.”
Life is very simple. Just sometimes put your head away, sometimes behead yourself, sometimes look with no clouds in the eyes—just look. Sometimes sit by the side of a tree—just feel. By the side of a waterfall—listen. Lie down on the beach and listen to the roar of the ocean, feel the sand, the coolness of it, or look at the stars, and let that silence penetrate you. Or look at the dark night and let that velvety darkness surround you, envelop you, dissolve you. This is the way of the simple heart.
If you approach life through this simplicity you will become wise. You may not know the Veda, you may not know the Bible, you may not know the Gita, but you will come to know the real song of life—and that is where the real Gita is, the real song is. You may not know the Veda, but you will come to know the real Veda—that which is written by God himself.
This life is his book, this life is his Bible, this life is his Koran. Recite it! Recite this life. Sing it, dance it, be in love with it—and by and by you will know what the Way is, because by and by you will become more and more happy. The more happy you become, the more you are acquainted with the Way, the right Way. And whenever a step goes out of line, immediately you feel pain.
Pain is an indication that you have missed the Law, and happiness is an indication that you have been in harmony. Happiness is a by-product. If you go in accordance with the Law you are happy. Unhappiness is an accident. It simply shows you have gone far away from the Law.
Make happiness and unhappiness your criterion. The path is: become simple, trust more, doubt a little less. If you really want to doubt, doubt doubt, that’s all. Doubt doubt; trust trust—and you will never miss.