HOW CAN I FEEL BLISS IN MEDITATION LIKE MANY OTHERS
SITTING NEAR YOU I INCREASINGLY FEEL DEEP SILENCE AND WHAT SEEMS TO BE
EMPTINESS, BUT THERE IS NO BLISS IN IT. I TEND TO REGARD THIS AS AN INDICATION
THAT SOMETHING IS WRONG, ESPECIALLY AT DARSHAN WHERE SO MANY PEOPLE ARE
SO BLISSFUL. I DON’T SEEM TO HAVE ANY IDEA WHETHER I AM ON THE RIGHT TRACK OR
NOT. SOMETIMES I THINK I AM BECOMING MORE MEDITATIVE AND OTHER TIMES I THINK I
AM TOTALLY OFF BEAM AND LOST.
THE TEMPLE OF GOD has many doors. Each door has its uniqueness, and one should not
compare one door with another door. Silence is one of the doors to the divine, just as bliss is, truth
is, love is, freedom is, awareness is, meditation is prayer is. Man can enter into the divine through
as many ways as there are types in the world. And each type will have its own joys, experiences on
But finally, when one has entered the temple, all those experiences melt and merge into one
experience which is not possible to express. The ways can be expressed, but the goa, remains
unexpressed. Nothing can be said about it – it is nameless experience – but the ways have names.
Silence is totally different than bliss. If you start comparing with others you will be putting into
unnecessary difficulty. Comparison creates anxiety. No need to compare what is happening to
others, just see what is happening to you. Is it healthy? Is it nourishing? Without any comparison just
watch what is happening to you. Are you becoming more centered, more rooted, more grounded?
Are you feeling at home?
And this has to be without any comparison, otherwise everybody here will be in difficulty, because
somebody is moving through the door of bliss: he will start comparing, ”Why I am not so silent as
Ashoka? Something is wrong. I dance and I sing and I feel great joy, but where is that profound
silence which Buddha speaks of? Something is wrong. I am not on the right track.”
The same is happening to you, and each path has its own language. I have given you the name
Deva Ashoka. It would be helpful to be reminded that Ashoka was the man who transformed the
whole face of Asia. It was he and only he who made Buddha the light of Asia. Ashoka was one
of the greatest emperors in the world. In many ways he was far greater a man than Alexander the
Great, because even being a great emperor, the only emperor who ruled over the biggest map of
India possible... Since then India has never been so big; many chunks of it have fallen away. Still it
is a vast country, but Ashoka was the emperor of the greatest India possible, almost half of Asia.
And when HE became a meditator, when HE became surrendered to the Master, Gautam Buddha,
such a transformation happened to him that he remained an emperor and yet he possessed nothing.
He lived like a man who has nothing. He had everything, but he lived like a man who has nothing.
He never RENOUNCED the kingdom – on the surface, still an emperor apparently, but inwardly he
was no more part of this world. It has rarely happened in any other emperor’s life in the whole history
I have given you the name Deva Ashoka – divine Ashoka – feeling the possibility that silence will be
your path. Silence means the path of VIA NEGATIVA. Bliss is very affirmative; it is VIA POSITIVA.
It affirms that the whole existence is divine, hence rejoice. It says YES to all that is. It does not
renounce, it does not eliminate, it does not negate. It learns to enjoy, to experience, to sing, to
dance, to celebrate. It is the way of a beautiful garden path. Many flowers bloom, birds sing.
But the path of silence is just the opposite of it: it is like a beautiful desert. Remember, the desert
has its own beauty, only gardens re not beautiful. They have THEIR beauty, but the desert has
also its own beauty: the immensity of it, the unboundedness of it, the silence of it, the undisturbed,
virgin peace that prevails in a desert – that has its own beauty. Beauty is not found only in one color
and one size; it comes in all shapes, an sizes, all colors. There have been people who have loved
deserts more than gardens.
I live in Lao Tzu House and my garden is a forest. Mukta, my gardener, was very reluctant to make
it that way – obviously, she is a Greek and thinks logically, and this is very illogical. No symmetry, no
pruning is allowed. She prunes, though, when I am not looking! She tries to make something out of
Vivek HATES the whole forest around the house. She says it has destroyed all perspective; you
cannot see. You cannot see the vastness of the sky; you cannot see anything from the room – it is
so covered! In fact, I don’t need to see anything – I have seen everything! But for poor Vivek it is
difficult – she still needs to see a few things. I can understand her difficulty.
A desert you can go on and on seeing; it ends nowhere. All the horizons are available. Its vastness
and its profound silence have their own song, unheard, unspoken. The same is true about the path
Buddha cannot dance, cannot sing. Of course he has his own song, but that song is not of sound.
It is not the sound of running water; it is the song of a desert. You can feel it, you can live it, you can
be it, but it is not tangible. You cannot touch it, you cannot hold it in your hands. How can you hold
nothingness in your hands?
Buddha attained to the ultimate by negating ” I am not the body, I am not the mind, I am not the heart
even.” He went on negating: ”I am not a self. I am just nothing.” He went on negating tin nothing was
left to negate. His method is like peeling an onion: you go on peeling layer by layer, layer by layer.
The onion starts becoming smaller and smaller and smaller, and finally the last layer has been taken
off and the onion has disappeared. Now there is nothingness. This is Buddha’s path. When you
have become absolute nothing, you have entered. But don’t compare.
Buddha cannot compare himself with Meera, with Chaitanya, with Kabir. He cannot compare. If he
looks at Meera dancing with her veena, singing ecstatically, of course he will feel something is being
missed. If Meera looks at Buddha, the silence...
The first statues of Buddha in the whole world were made of marble, and it is not accidental that they
were made of marble. Buddha had some quality, the same coolness as the marble and the same
stillness as a statue.
You cannot make a statue of Meera – impossible, because how is the statue going to represent a
dance? Meera is fluid, flowing. If you want to make a statue of Meera you will have to make a statue
out of a fountain. You will have to give a shape to the fountain of Meera because she is volatile,
dynamic. The dance HAS to be there. If the dance is not there... yes, you can catch a posture of
Meera dancing, but the moment dance stops it disappears. Dance is a process, not a thing.
Buddha can be caught beautifully in a statue; hence it is no wonder that he has the most beautiful
statues in the whole world. His silence can be caught in a marble statue very easily.
Ashoka, never compare. Comparison simply creates unnecessary problems. Go on moving into this
silence and don’t call it empty – because when aWesterner calls anything empty it means something
else and when the Easterner calls something empty it means something almost diametrically the
opposite. In no Western language has emptiness the connotation of something that really exists.
Emptiness simply says that nothing exists, but nothing is simply nothing. But in Eastern languages,
SHUNYATA, the word that Buddha used for emptiness, does not mean nothing exists; it means
nothing REALLY exists. Nothing is NOT simply nothing: it is all, it is overflowing.
In English you have the word ”room”; room simply means space. I lived in Raipur for six, eight
months once, and I had a totally empty room, not even a chair, just a bamboo mat; that was the all
that the room contained. Anybody entering the room would say, ”Nothing in the room?” And I would
say to the person that ”Room simply means space; nothing else is needed. This is a room! It is
spacious. You are looking for 6things and because there are no things you say”nothing.” That’s where
the word ”nothing” comes from – ”no-thing.” But you are not seeing the roominess, the spaciousness
which is VERY positive. The room is full of space, it is not empty – empty of things but full of space.”
The desert is empty of trees and people and animals, but is full of space.
The Eastern languages have also a positive sense about nothingness, emptiness. So remember
when you feel nothing, when you feel empty, drop the Western idea. It is a change of gestalt.
You must have seen pictures in children’s books... a very famous picture, almost everybody must
have seen it it exists in almost every psychology book: just a line drawing of an old woman, but if you
go on looking at it a moment comes when the gestalt changes. Suddenly the old woman disappears
and there is a beautiful young woman. Those lines contain both figures. If you go on looking at the
young woman, soon again the gestalt will change and the old woman will appear, because the eyes
cannot remain static; they become tired of one thing so they change the gestalt. If you try to find the
young woman while your eyes are focused on the old woman you will not be able to find the young
woman, or vice versa: when you are seeing the young woman in the picture and you try to find the
old woman you cannot find her. And you have seen her, YOU KNOW she is there, but you cannot
find her. You cannot see both together, remember. You can try, but your failure is absolutely certain.
You cannot see both together because the same lines have to be used and those lines can either
show you the old woman... If you have exhausted the lines in the old woman, then the young woman
is nowhere; she has no more lines left for her. If you have exhausted the lines in the young woman
then the old woman disappears. But if you go on looking you will have shifts: sometimes the young
woman appears and then the old woman disappears as if she has never existed. You search or her
and you will not find her.
The same is true when you look at an empty room: it is a question of gestalt. If you are focused too
much on things – looking for the furniture and for the paintings and for things that are almost part
of a room – then you will say, ”There is nothing in it,” and your ”nothing” will be Western. If you are
focused on the space of the room, on the roominess of the room, you will see it is full, overflowingly
full – full of itself. Then your nothingness will have an Eastern meaning.
The Eastern and theWestern mind really differ in many ways; they have become focused on different
gestalts. The West thinks of things; the East thinks not of things, it thinks of ”nothings.” Its whole
gestalt is different.
Ashoka, your gestalt is changing from the Western to the Eastern, and it will be a little difficult for
you to drop the old habit. Hence it looks as if it is empty and there is no bliss in it. This is your old
habit; otherwise it will not look empty.
Nothing is as full as the empty hand: it has the whole sky in it. And nothing is as empty as a fist: it
has nothing in it. The fist has nothing in the Western sense, and the open hand has nothing in the
Once Ananda asked Buddha, ”Bhagwan, what is your teaching, in short?”
And Buddha opened his hands and he said, ”My teaching is like open hands, not like fists.”
A very significant statement. When your hands are open, in one sense you are empty, in another
sense you are holding the whole world, all the stars, the whole sky. How much can you hold in a
fist? – almost nothing. But to change from the Western gestalt to the Eastern is a little bit difficult.
In the West via negativa has never been the predominant gestalt. Nothing like Buddhism has ever
happened in the West, nothing like Zen. It could not have happened, it was not possible. The whole
Judaic tradition out of which Christianity and Islam are born is basically affirmative: ”God is.” And
Buddha says: ”God is not.”
Remember the Eastern meaning. When Buddha says ”God is not” he is not an atheist. He is simply
saying that the nature of God is nothingness. He is not denying God at an; he is not agreeing with
Epicurus or with the Charvakas. When he says ”God is not” you have to remember, you have to be
constantly aware that his ”not” is not your ”not”; his ”not” does not say that God does not exist. His
”not” simply says that God exists as nothingness. Hence we cannot say God is, because that will
make your gestalt change to the positive. Either you can say God is nothingness or you can say
God is not. And of course saying God is nothingness will not come closer to the truth. ”God is not”
comes very close, so close that one step more and you will disappear into nothingness. But that
nothingness is overfull, it is pregnant. It is the nothingness that is found inside the seed.
If you cut a seed, what you will find? Nothing. But you know perfectly well that nothing contains
millions of flowers, invisible, but they are there: all the colors, all the fragrance. Nothing can be felt
right now, but the potential is there.
Enjoy this silence and don’t compare, and don’t call it empty. You are absolutely on the right track;
this is the way for you.
I cannot conceive of Ashoka dancing; that will look very ridiculous. When you next see Ashoka...
just think... Ashoka dancing. It will look absurd, it is not possible. Ashoka singing... impossible. He
tries because he sees so many people dancing and singing.
He writes jokes to me many times, but I have never chosen a single joke, because he has no sense
of humor at all! But he tries, poor man, tries his best!
Once he wrote to me, ”Osho, what do you think about it? I have an idea that I would like to start a
magazine from the ashram just full of humor.” I said, ”My God! And Ashoka will be the editor of the
magazine!” If he wanted to start a magazine on boredom or something like that it would have been
perfectly logical, but he wants to start a magazine full of humor! And he has no sense of humor at
all, no possibility even! But there is no need.
Go on falling deeper and deeper into your silence. And never never compare yourself, your
experiences, with others, because everybody has to go in his own way. Of course in the end,
the one who has come dancing to God and the one who has come in silence meet and merge into
Bliss is not right now the thing for you. It may happen as a by-product at the final stage.
-Osho -"Guida Spirituale"