Osho on Need of Master
Question: Buddha did not
have a master, Jesus did not have a master, you did not
have A master. Why do we need a master?
Osho: Devamo, because you
are not yet capable of allowing life to be your master.
Because you don’t know how to listen, how to learn.
Because you are incapable of learning, that’s why you
need a master. The need arises out of your
insensitivity, out of your unintelligence. If you are
intelligent then life is enough. Then there are sermons
in the stones, and every leaf of a tree is a message,
and the river going to the ocean carries all the
scriptures with it. You need not go to the Vedas and to
the Koran and to the Bible, there is no need.
The whole existence is every moment singing the song of
the divine. But you are not able to listen to it, you
are not yet capable of opening yourself to it. Hence the
need of a master. The master is only a beginning. He
will teach you how to listen, he will teach you how to
be open. He will give you love so that you can warm up –
you have become too cold. Once you are warmed up a
little, there is no need for a master, then the whole of
life is the master. The master simply becomes a
You say: buddha did not have a master. That is wrong –
Buddha had many masters. His last master was Alar Kalam,
a very rare man. You say: jesus did not have a master.
You don’t know. He was a disciple of a great master,
John the Baptist; he was initiated by him. Buddha had
many, Jesus had one, and I had millions. I have been
learning from all possible sources – from men, from
women, from trees, from mountains. I cannot show you a
particular master, because there have been so many. I
have been constantly learning and listening.
And you ask: ”Why do we need a master?” Your very
question shows the need. If you cannot answer this
simple question you will need a master. Why do you ask
me? Why can’t you answer it yourself? Even this question
has to be answered by somebody else: the need is there.
But why has this question arisen? the need is certainly
there, otherwise why should you be here? The need is
there, but the reluctance to surrender is also there.
Although you have become a sannyasin, still, deep down
you are not yet surrendered.
Hence the question. You would like not to be a disciple.
It hurts the ego, it is humiliating. You would like to
be the master yourself; that is ego-satisfying. The
question has not arisen because you don’t need a master;
the need is there, the very question says the need is
there, but somewhere deep down there is resistance. You
don’t like it; you don’t like surrendering yourself, you
don’t like to be bowing in trust to somebody. That
hurts, that is painful.
To be a disciple needs guts. To be a disciple means one
is courageous enough to dissolve oneself. It is no
ordinary matter. And unless you are capable of becoming
a disciple, you will never become a master. The very
word ’disciple’ is beautiful; it comes from a root which
means ’learning’. The disciple is one who is courageous
enough to accept the fact that ”I don’t know, so I am
ready to learn.
Then from wherever the light comes, I am open to it. I
will not close my windows and my doors, I will allow the
wind and the sun and the rain to come in. I am ready to
go on this voyage into the unknown; it is uncharted
territory.” A disciple simply means one who has decided
to learn. It is a great commitment to learning. And it
is natural that one should start from somewhere; from
some point the journey has to start – from A, from B,
from C. Let me be the point from where the journey
The master is not the point where the journey ends, the
master is the point from where you start the journey
into the unknown. He will go with you only to the point
where he feels now you can go alone. Then he will leave
you of his own accord. And that is the criterion of a
true master. You will not need him to leave, he will
leave you of his own accord. If you leave, it will be a
wrong step. If the desire to leave arises in you, that
simply means you have not yet learned, you have not yet
known the master.
When you know the master there is no question of leaving
him, because there is nobody found whom you can leave.
There has never been anybody, from the very beginning.
When you enter into the being of the master you will
find utter emptiness – a presence, certainly, but not a
person whom you can leave. The disciple can never leave
First he cannot leave because he is not yet capable of
walking on his own, of being on his own.
Secondly, he cannot leave;
even when he becomes capable of going on his own he
cannot leave, because there is nobody to leave. Now he
knows. But the master leaves of his own accord. He
starts dropping out of your existence, he starts
disappearing more and more and more, because now you are
ready to go on your own. The mother is happy when the
child can walk without her support.
If the mother tries to go on supporting the child
forever, then that mother does not love the child. Then
that mother is pathological and neurotic. She is
crippling the child, she will be a paralysis to the
child. So is the case with a master. If a master wants
you to always remain dependent on him then he is not a
true master, he is pseudo and phoney. The master does
not need you. If he needs you in some way, if he depends
on you depending on him, that means he needs you.
That means somewhere your dependence on him is
fulfilling his ego. He feels good: ”Look how many
disciples I have got.” He goes on counting his
disciples: ”I have so many disciples, I am a great
master.” Certainly he will not allow you to leave. He
will prevent you from leaving, because your going means
one prop to his ego disappearing. He will be dependent
on you. And the master who is dependent on you, how can
he help you? He himself needs the help. he himself is in
confusion, in darkness.
He himself is not yet capable of being alone. He has not
arrived home. But the true master will always watch when
to leave you. He will be always ready, whenever you are
ready to be on your own, to leave you. He will not leave
you before you are ready, that is true. And only HE can
know when you are ready; you cannot know it. Just the
other day, one sannyasin wrote me a letter saying that
now he feels he is capable of being on his own, that now
he can go on all alone. And he wants to drop out of
I said, ”That’s perfectly okay.” Now he wants to see me.
I said, ”Why?” He wrote a letter to get last
instructions from me. Now, what kind of readiness is
this? If you still need instructions from me, then what
kind of readiness is this to be on your own? When you
are ready I will tell you that you are ready. And the
paradox is, I will tell you, ”Drop the
sannyas!” and you
will not drop it. How can you drop it? It is the sannyas
that has brought you so far.
When Sariputta became an enlightened person in his own
Buddha told him, ”Now there is no need to bow
down to me. You are in the same exalted state as I am.”
but Sariputta continued to bow down just the same, with
no difference. Just as on the first day he had come,
years before, and touched Buddha’s feet, he continued to
touch them. And Buddha would say to him again and again,
”Sariputta, now there is no need!” And he wouldn’t
One day Buddha asked him, ”Why don’t you listen to me?”
Sariputta said, ”Now I am a Buddha in my own right. why
should I listen to you? This is something tremendously
beautiful. And how can I stop bowing to you and touching
your feet? It is a sweet nostalgia, it is sweet memory.
It is through these feet I have come to this point; it
is sheer gratitude.”
Buddha sent Sariputta away. He told him, ”Now go. There
are millions of people stumbling in darkness: help
them.” and Sariputta was crying and he said, ”No, don’t
tell me to go anywhere.”
And Buddha said, ”Now you are a buddha in your own
right, and it doesn’t suit a buddha to cry. You are
capable of going on your own.”
And Sariputta said, ”There are no conditions on a buddha;
he can cry, he can laugh. There are no conditions on a
buddha, his existence is unconditional.”
But he had to go, the master was insistent. He went. But
every day, wherever he was, he would bow down in the
direction where Buddha was. Every morning, every
evening, his disciples would ask, ”To whom are you
He said, ”Buddha must be there in the east. I have
information that he must be in a certain town today, so
I am bowing down in that direction where he is.”
This is becoming a buddha in your own right. Now here
you are, and you write to me saying, ”I have arrived;
now I can move on my own.”
So I said, ”Okay, move!” Now why should you need last
instructions from me? If you still need instructions
then dropping the sannyas is not because you are ready
but just because you are going back. For four months you
were here; it is easy to be in orange here. Now the
sannyasin is going back to Germany; it will be difficult
there. And there must have been a cunning strategy
behind it. You must have planned it already, before you
took sannyas, that for four months while you are here
you will be a sannyasin.
And when you are leaving you can always say, ”Now I am
ready to be on my own, so I can leave.”
Then why the need for last instructions? When a disciple
is ready I will tell you, ”Now you can move on your
own.” You need not tell me; your telling me is
You ask me, why do we need a
There must be some pain inside. Just the idea that you
are a disciple, that you have to be in somebody else’s
hands, totally surrendered, is against the ego. And
that’s why you need a master. The master is a device so
that you can drop your ego. The master is just a
strategy, a situation. It will be very difficult to drop
the ego on your own. Who will drop whom? How will you
drop your ego on your own? It will be almost impossible.
The master is just a device: you can trust the master in
deep love, and you can put the ego aside.
Otherwise you don’t have anything else but the ego – if
you put that aside, you will fall into utter emptiness.
And you will not be able to fall into that abysmal,
bottomless emptiness. You will become very much afraid,
you will again cling to anything that you can find
around you. And the ego is the closest. It will be
impossible for you to go into nothingness unless
somebody is there calling you forth – from your very
nothingness, somebody calling you forth, ”Come on! Don’t
Once you have learned that dropping the ego is not
death, once you have learned and tasted that dropping
the ego is real life, that real life begins only when
the ego is dropped – when you have tasted that, there
will be no need of the master. but it will not be so
easy to leave the master. How can you leave somebody who
has been such a transformation to you? The very idea is
stupid. And there is nobody to leave; nobody is clinging
to you. In fact between the master and the disciple, the
relationship is one-way.
The master has no relationship with you. Listen well:
don’t be shocked. The master has no relationship with
you. It is only You who need a relationship; it is just
in your mind that the master exists. Otherwise there is
nobody there. One day when you know the truth, the
master will have disappeared. The disciple disappears
when he surrenders to the master. And when he knows
nothingness, the master disappears. There’s nobody
leaving and nobody to be left. In that utter purity is
nirvana, is enlightenment. But it is painful. Growth is
painful, and the greatest pain comes when you have to
drop your idea of the self.
Said one oyster to a neighboring oyster, ”I have a very
great pain within me. It is heavy and round and I am in
And the other oyster replied with haughty complacence,
”Praise be to the heavens and to the sea, I have no pain
within me. I am well and whole both within and without.”
At that moment a crab was passing by and heard the two
oysters, and he said to the one who was well and whole
both within and without, ”Yes, you are well and whole;
but the pain that your neighbor bears is a pearl of
The disciple is in a deep pain, because the ego is to be
dropped and it is not easy. The ego is not like a
garment that you can put off easily. The ego is like
your skin, it has to be peeled and it is painful. You
have lived with the ego for so many many lives. You have
changed bodies many times, but the ego is the same. It
has persisted as a continuous thing in you, it is very
ancient. To drop it is not easy; it is arduous, it is
But only out of this agony is ecstasy born – a pearl of
exceeding beauty, a state of consciousness of utter
benediction. But in the beginning you will feel, ”I have
a very great pain within me. It is heavy and round and I
am in distress.” And those who don’t know the pain of
disciplehood will tell you, ”Praise be to the heavens
and to the sea, I have no pain within me. I am well and
whole both within and without.”
You can go and look around: there are millions of people
who have no idea what it means to be a disciple, who
have never tasted anything of disciplehood, who have
never surrendered to anybody, who have never loved
somebody so deeply that they are ready to die form him,
who have never loved anybody so intimately that they
disappear into that intimacy, that they melt into that
intimacy. They will tell you that you are a little bit
abnormal: ”There is no need to be a disciple, and there
is no need to be a master.
Look at us! We are whole, within and without. We don’t
need a master, so why should you need a master?”
And yes, they are whole within and without, and healthy.
But their health is valueless and their wholeness is of
a very low order, their wholeness is very mundane. And
one who wants to attain to the sacred realm will have to
pass through pain – the pain of losing the mundane, the
pain of being nowhere, the pain of being in limbo, the
pain of losing that which you know and yet not
gainingthat which you desire to know.
When you are just in the middle, that’s where the
disciple is. He is dropping that which is known,
perfectly known, and trying to enter into something of
which he is absolutely unaware what exactly it is. He is
going into the unknown: dropping the secure for the
insecure, dropping the safe for the unsafe, dropping the
so-called sanity and becoming insane. That’s what the
Sufis say: Unless you become mad for God, you will not
attain to him. Madness is a must.The disciple is mad.
He has fallen in love with a master, and love makes one
mad. Now nobody is going to understand you; you will be
utterly incapable of logically p roving to somebody what
you are doing. And it is not that you don’t know logic.
My sannyasins are from the most educated classes of the
world. We have all kinds of people – artists, painters,
professors, scientists, psychologists, therapists,
doctors, engineers – all well educated. It is not that
they don’t know how to argue; they are very clever in
But now something has happened which is beyond argument.
And talking about your master and about the love that
has arisen in you, you will look almost foolish before
anybody. It is painful. But only through this pain does
growth happen. This is a growth pain, and a growth pain
is far more valuable than the health which does not
allow growth. To be abnormal and mad is far better if
growth comes through it than to be normal and sane if no
growth comes through it.
The whole point is growth: you should not remain what
you are. You should not remain the seed, you should
burst forth into thousands of flowers. But before that
the seed has to die in the soil. The master is just a
climate, a soil, in which the disciple dies. Trusting,
he falls into the soil and dies. There is no way of
guaranteeing your future, what will happen. How can you
guarantee a seed that ”It is absolutely certain that a
sprout will come when you are gone.
There will be great foliage and greenery and red
flowers, and there will be grat joy when you have died.”
But the seed will say, ”How can I be convinced about it?
Because I will not be there to witness it. What
guarantee is there? Who knows? I may simply die and
nothing may happen.” What can be said to the seed? It is
impossible to convince the seed. But the seed falls in
love with a tree which has already grown – that which
was hidden has become manifest.
The seed falls in love with the flowers and the
fragrance of the tree, and the seed asks, ”What is the
way? How can I become like you?” That’s what the meaning
of being a disciple is. You come close to a Buddha and
you see the flowers and the fragrance and you ask the
Buddha, ”How can I become like you?”
And Buddha says, ”I died, that’s how I became like this.
You must also die.”
And seeing the Buddha and the fragrance and the silence
and the calmness, a trust arises, a love arises. And the
seed risks: the seed dies by the side of the great tree.
And one day there is a sprout. But there is no logical
way to convince anybody, unless you are already
convinced through your love. So it is not a question of
my convincing you to become disciples; there is no way
to do it. It is by your being convinced through your own
love that you become a disciple. And yes, it is painful,
But all growth is painful. Go through this pain. Let
this ego be gone completely, howsoever painful it is. It
is better to be miserable in insecurity than to be
miserable in security, because one who is miserable in
will not grow. And growth is the highest value there is.
Man is potential God: the God has to be realized. And
much will have to be dropped. You will have to be
unburdened of much, only then can you reach to that
The higher you go, the more will have to be dropped,
because everything will become a weight on you and a
hindrance on the journey. You can reach to the peak only
when all that you were has been dropped on the way. You
will reach to the peak only as a nothingness, a nobody.
And it is painful, I know it. And I’m trying
to create a climate here, an energyfield, so that you
can go through the pain as joyously as possible.
Source: from book “Unio Mystica, Volume 1“ by Osho
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