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  Question: Beloved Osho, Is it true that to be in Communion with the master is the Initiation?

Osho: The word `initiation' is very significant and profound. There are three initiations: first, when a student becomes a disciple; second, when a disciple becomes a devotee; and third, when the devotee disappears in the master. To understand the whole process, all three steps have to be understood.

Everyone begins as a student, as an inquirer into what this life is all about, with a curiosity to know the mysteries that surround us. But the desire is for knowledge; hence, superficial. Because the desire is for knowledge, it is of the mind. And mind is the periphery of our being, the most superficial part of our individuality. The student has questions, but he has no quest. His questions are easily answerable, he is easily satisfied -- just borrowed knowledge is enough for him. He does not yet need a master; he only needs a teacher.

He accumulates answers, becomes an intellectual, but does not become intelligent. The accumulation of answers happens in the memory part of the mind, and the part that functions in accumulation is mechanical, it has nothing to do with intelligence. It is possible to find very educated, cultured, sophisticated intellectuals behaving in life in a very unintelligent way. They are very efficient whenever some question is asked for which they are already prepared.

But if life raises a new question for which they are not prepared, they are completely at a loss, they are as ignorant as one can be. And the problem is, life goes on posing new questions, new challenges. Memory is good in the marketplace; memory is not good as a lifestyle. And all your universities only teach you how to memorize. It has been found that the people of very great memory are generally unintelligent people. In the life of one of the British viceroys, Curzon, there is mention of a very significant incident -- and it is a historical fact.

Curzon had heard that there was a man in Rajputana whose memory was just unbelievable. The man knew only his local dialect, Rajasthani, a dialect of Hindi; he did not know any other language. But that did not prevent him from memorizing any statement in any language, and in such a way that it seemed almost superhuman. He was called to the court of the Viceroy Curzon; a special meeting was arranged. Thirty scholars, knowing thirty languages, were to examine the man and his memory.

Among those thirty scholars, there was not a single one who understood the man's mother tongue, and all those thirty languages were foreign languages for him. And the arrangement was so strange -- it had never been made before and I don't think it will be ever made again. The arrangement was such that each of those thirty scholars was to deliver one sentence in his own language to the poor villager from Rajasthan. But the sentence was not to be delivered to him in one piece.

The villager would go to one person who would give him the first word of his sentence. Then a bell would be rung. Then the villager would move to the next person, who would give him his first word. In this way he would go round and round. After thirty persons, he would come again to the first person to get the second word of his sentence... and after each word a big bell would ring to confuse him. The scholars were not certain that they would be able to remember their whole sentence for the whole time, because it was going to take so much time.

They all had their sentences written in front of them, and they were marking off each word they had given. And this man went on and on, round and round, taking their words, and accumulating in his memory system the sentences which were given to him in pieces. After all the scholars had given their sentences, he repeated thirty statements in thirty languages, of which he knew nothing. He knew nothing about what they meant. He was so correct that all the intellectuals were puzzled. They could not remember their own sentences, they had had to write them down.

They could not remember whether they had given the fifth word or the sixth -- they had had to mark it. And this man was uneducated -- he could not even write. Curzon was amazed. He praised the man, and rewarded him. But it was found by talking with his fellow villagers that he was an idiot. Just as far as his memory was concerned, he was simply great -- but any simple question in life, any simple situation in life, and he was not able to solve it, he was not able to answer it. They said, "He is known in our village as `the great intellectual idiot'."

It is a well-known fact that a student is interested in collecting knowledge. His questions are easily satisfied. His mind functions like a computer. But once in a while, a student falls into the trap of a master. He is not in search of a master, he does not know any difference in the words `master' and `teacher'. In the dictionaries both words mean the same. But in actual life, a teacher simply transfers knowledge from one generation to another generation -- it is not his own experience.

The master does not transfer knowledge from one generation to another generation; what he gives out is his own realization. But if the student is caught in the trap of a master, then it is very difficult to get out of it because soon it becomes clear that knowledge and knowing are two different things. Questions and quest are two different things. Questions are simply curiosities. Quest is a risk, is a pilgrimage, is a search. A question is easily satisfied by any logical, rational answer. The quest is not satisfied by logical or rational answers; the quest is like thirst.

You can go on repeating that scientifically, H2O means water, but that is not going to quench the thirst. It is an answer, and a perfectly right answer. If somebody is asking what water is, as a question, it is very simple to answer it. But if somebody is asking about water because he is thirsty, then H2O is not going to help. Then, only real water will do. Quest means thirst, hunger. No borrowed knowledge can satisfy it. And the master slowly makes the student aware that if you are really a man, then just to be curious is childish.

Maturity demands that you should go on a quest, that you should not ask only for knowledge, you should ask for ways and means and methods so that you can know -- not knowledge that has come from generation to generation. No one knows whether somebody invented it, whether it is fiction, whether somebody realized it or not, how much is lost in transferring it, how much is added, how much is edited out. Knowing means "I want a personal  experience."

A genuine seeker has no questions, but a tremendous thirst. This is the first initiation -- when the master changes the student's focus from knowledge towards knowing, from memory towards intelligence. And it is not an ordinary phenomenon, it happens to only a very few fortunate ones. Millions of people simply remain curious, childish, immature for their whole life. Once the emphasis has moved from knowledge to knowing, your concern is no more with the past, your concern is with the present.

Your concern is no more with the great philosophers, wise people; your concern is about your own consciousness. For the first time you become interested not in objects but in your subjectivity, not about other things but about the one who wants to know: Who is this who wants to know? This is the first initiation: the student dies, and the disciple is born.

The second initiation is when the disciple also disappears, into a devotee.A disciple is still interested in gaining methods, disciplines, ways to know himself. The master has to be used; hence, he is grateful. But he is the end, and the master is the means; he is using the master for his own ends. As he comes closer to the master, the master takes him into the second initiation. And the second initiation is that unless you drop this obsession with yourself you will never know yourself. It appears contradictory; it is not.

Your very obsession is preventing you; it is egoistic. You drop the ego, surrender the ego; you forget yourself, and in the very moment you forget yourself you will find yourself. From knowledge to knowing, the student was never interested in himself. He was interested in things, objects, the whole world. The first initiation brought him into a new world of interest about himself. The second initiation takes away the ego. The second initiation teaches him love. Because knowing oneself is a byproduct -- if you can love, you will know yourself without any difficulty.

Only in loving light does the darkness within you disappear. Love is light, and the flame of love has to be taught. The master loves, his presence is love. His very presence is magnetic. Without saying a word... just to be close to him, you will feel a certain pull, a certain love, a trust. And you don't know the man, you don't know whether he is trustworthy or not. But you are ready to risk. The presence of the master is so convincing that there is no need of any argument to prove it.

I have been a teacher in the university, and each year on Teacher's Day the university professors used to have an intimate meeting to discuss problems that they were facing. And every year the basic and the most troublesome problem was that the students don't respect them. When I joined their meeting for the first time, it was my first year in the university. They were all condemning the students, they were condemning modern society, the Western world, because they have taken away all respect.

One of the professors -- an old man, a very respected professor, he was the dean of the faculty of arts -- said, "It is so shameful, particularly in a country where there have been students like Ekalavya." I will have to tell you the story so you can understand. It is an ancient Indian story. There was a great master archer, Dronacharya. Princes, rich people, high caste Hindus, warriors used to come to him from faraway places to learn archery. The Hindu society is divided into four classes.

It is the ugliest division that exists in the whole world, and it has existed for five thousand years. One fourth of the Hindu society are not treated like human beings; they are called sudras, untouchables. They are not even worthy to be touched. If by accident you touch a sudra, you have to immediately take a shower to clean yourself. Not only the sudra, even the shadow of the sudra is untouchable. If a sudra passes by and his shadow touches you, you have to take a bath. This young man, Ekalavya, was born a sudra.

But he wanted to become an archer, and he started learning archery on his own. He knew perfectly well -- his elders told him, "No teacher is going to accept you." He said, "Before I go to any teacher, I will learn so much that it will be almost impossible for him to reject me." And he disciplined himself, and when he thought that now he knew enough, he went to the greatest archer of those days, Dronacharya. Dronacharya was amazed, seeing that the young man had learned on his own tremendously well.

But still, Dronacharya was a brahmin, the highest Hindu caste, and it was impossible to accept Ekalavya as a disciple. He rejected him. But Ekalavya was made of a different kind of mettle than ordinary human beings are made of. He went into the forest and made a statue of Dronacharya. And just in front of the statue, he continued learning on his own. Soon the word started spreading all over the country that Ekalavya had become a master archer, just by the side of the statue of Dronacharya.

Dronacharya had an ambition, and that ambition was that one prince who was his disciple, Arjuna -- and he was a great archer -- should become the greatest archer in the history of man. But this Ekalavya was disturbing everything, he was becoming more famous. Dronacharya went into the forest.... And this is the point to be noted -- that's why the dean of the faculty of arts had quoted the name of Ekalavya. He had been rejected by Dronacharya. Any ordinary human being would have felt insulted, humiliated.

But on the contrary, he made a statue of Dronacharya -- because he has chosen him as his master. It does not matter whether Dronacharya accepts him as his disciple or not -- he will have to accept him. What matters is how deep his acceptance is of Dronacharya as his master. And when Dronacharya came, he fell at his feet. And Dronacharya saw what he had learned. Certainly he was far ahead of Arjuna, and Arjuna was not going to be the greatest archer, which was the deep ambition of Dronacharya.

This man had rejected Ekalavya, and now he said to him, "You have been learning here in front of my statue. You have accepted me as your master."
Ekalavya said, "I have always thought of you as my master, even when you rejected me. I have not taken any note of your rejection."
Dronacharya said, "I accept you as my disciple, but then you will have to pay the fee. Every disciple has to pay the fee to the master -- and you have not given even the entrance fee, and you have already become such a great archer."

Poor Ekalavya said, "Whatever you ask, if I have it I will give it to you. I can give my life. You are my master, you just say it. But I am a poor man, so just ask for that which I have."
Dronacharya said, "Yes, I will ask only that which you have. I want your right-hand thumb. You cut it, and give it to me."

This is an ugly story. The strategy is that once his right-hand thumb is cut, his archery would be finished, he would no longer be a competitor to Arjuna. Dronacharya accepted him as his disciple just to get his thumb. And Ekalavya, without saying a word, simply took his sword and cut his thumb. He gave it to the master and said, "If you want anything more, you just tell me."

This story, you have to remember in the background. The dean was saying: "This country, which has produced students like Ekalavya -- who respected a master like Dronacharya who rejected him, insulted him -- has fallen so low that students are not respecting teachers at all. Something has to be done."  I was very new. It was my first meeting with all the professors from all the departments.

I had to stand up, and I said to the old man, "You have raised a few questions. One: this is certainly the country of students like Ekalavya, but this is also the country of teachers like Dronacharya -- ugly, cunning, inhuman. This man has behaved in the most inhuman way possible. Why do you go on forgetting about him?

"First, you are rejecting a poor young man because he is condemned by you as an untouchable. Secondly, when he achieves on his own, you are willing to accept him as your disciple -- in the forest, where nobody knows what is happening. And that too for a certain reason, so that you can cripple his right hand to destroy his archery, so that your ambition of making Arjuna the greatest archer in the world can be fulfilled."

I said, "You should not forget that it is because of teachers like Dronacharya that teachers in India have lost their respect. You represent Dronacharya -- on what grounds do you want students to respect you? And you are not even conscious of the fact you are mentioning Ekalavya. As far as I am concerned, I don't see... I also have students, and I am a new professor. I have not seen a single student being disrespectful towards me. I love them, I respect them. Love resonates love in the other, respect creates respect in the other -- these are resonances. If I had been in the place of Ekalavya, I would have cut off the head of Dronacharya! That's exactly what he deserved."

The old man was in such a shock and so shattered, he was almost trembling. I said, "You sit down because you are trembling, and if some heart attack or something happens I will be responsible for it. Please sit down. I am not going to cut your head -- although you also need to be treated in the same way. You want students to be Ekalavya's -- what about the teachers?"

The master is not a teacher. He loves; it will be better to say he is love. He respects; it will be better to say he is respectfulness. Naturally he creates a gravitational field of love, respect, gratitude.  In this gravitational field, the second initiation happens. The disciple is no longer interested in knowing about himself. His only interest is in how to be dissolved into the master, how to be in harmony with the master. And the day the harmony comes to its peak, the disciple disappears; the devotee is born.

The devotee is miles away from the student. The whole journey has taken such revolutionary changes. The devotee is on the verge... the life of the devotee is not long. The longest life is that of the student. In the middle is the disciple. And the life span of the devotee is very small. It is something like a dewdrop on a lotus petal in the early morning sun, slipping slowly, slowly towards the sun into the ocean. The dewdrop is just that small fragment of time that it takes to slip from the lotus leaf into the ocean.

The devotee's life is not long, it is very short -- because once you have tasted the harmony, you cannot wait to taste oneness. It is impossible to wait. The dewdrop runs fast, drops into the ocean, becomes one with the ocean. There are two ways to say it. Kabir, one of the great mystics of India, is the only one who has used both ways. When for the first time he slipped into the ocean, he wrote a small statement in which he said, "I had been searching for myself, but, my friend, instead of finding myself, I have disappeared into the ocean. The dewdrop has disappeared into the ocean."

After almost twenty years, when he was on his deathbed, he asked his son, Kamal, "Bring the notes you have been taking of my statements. Before I die, I have to correct one thing." He said, "I have said at one place that the dewdrop has disappeared into the ocean. Change it. Write down, `The ocean has disappeared into the dewdrop.'"

His own words are tremendously beautiful. The first words are, HERAT HERAT HEY SAKHI RAHYA KABIR HERAYI; BUNDA SAMANI SAMUNDA MEN SO KAT HERI JAYI. And the second: HERAT HERAT HEY SAKHI RAHYA KABIR HERAYI; SAMUNDA SAMANA BUNDA MEN SO KAT HERI JAYI. In the first, the dewdrop has disappeared in the ocean. In the second, the ocean has disappeared into the dewdrop. Perhaps two sides of the same coin....

This is the third initiation, and only after the third initiation is there communion -- because there is union, there is no more separation, there is at-oneness. The path of a mystic begins as a student, ends as a master... begins as a dewdrop, ends as an ocean.

Source: from book "Beyond enlightenment" by Osho

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