Selected Osho Quotes on Biography from the Osho Online Library
Osho on Biography
To find Osho quotes on biography or any subject you might be interested in, you can visit the Osho Online Library. This free library contains over 225 Osho books which can be read or searched by keyword or phrases.
Below is a selection of Osho quotes on biography from the Osho Online Library:
I Don’t Have Any Biography
Would you please for our audience give a brief rundown of your biography and your first enlightenment? What happened, and how?
“I don’t have any biography. And whatsoever is thought to be biography is utterly meaningless. On what date I was born, in what country I was born, does not matter. What matters is what I am now, right here.“
No Biography Can Penetrate to the Depths
“The Bible at least says, 'In the beginning…' You will have to publish this within a beginning or an end. It will be very difficult to publish that way. But Devageet can understand, he is a Jew. A Jewish scroll can be almost without beginning and end. Of course there seems to be a beginning, but it is only seemingly so. That’s why all the ancient stories begin, 'Once upon a time' – and then you can start anything. And once upon a time everything stops, without even saying, 'The End.' My life cannot be an ordinary autobiography.
"Vasant Joshi is writing a biography of me. The biography is bound to be very superficial, so superficial that it is not worth reading at all. No biography can penetrate to the depths, particularly the psychological layers of a man. Especially if the man has come to the point where the mind is no longer relevant to the nothingness hidden in the center of an onion. You can peel it layer by layer, of course with tears in your eyes, but finally nothing is left, and that is the center of the onion; that is from where it had come in the first place. No biographycan penetrate to the depths, particularly of a man who has known the no-mind also. I say “also” consideredly, because unless you know the mind, you cannot know the no-mind. This is going to be my small contribution to the world."
Osho, Glimpses of a Golden Childhood, Talk #34
Why Do You Not Write Your Autobiography?
"It is interesting to note that neither Jesus, nor Krishna, nor Buddha have written their autobiographies. They neither told them nor wrote them. Writing or speaking about oneself has not been possible for those who have known themselves, because after knowing the person changes into something so formless that what we call the facts of his life – facts like the date he was born, the date a particular event happened – dissolve. What happens is that all these facts cease to have any meaning. The awakening of a soul is so cataclysmic that after it occurs, when one opens his eyes he finds that everything is lost. Nothing is left; no one remains to talk about what has happened.
"After one has known one’s soul, an autobiography seems to be a dreamlike version of oneself. It is as if one were writing an account of his dreams: One day he saw this dream, the next day that dream, and the day after that a third dream. Such an autobiography has no more value than a fantasy, a fairy tale.
"That is why it is difficult for an awakened person to write. On becoming awakened and aware, he finds that there is nothing worth writing. It was all a dream. The matter of the experience of becoming aware remains, but what is known through the experience cannot be written down. This is so because reducing such an experience to words makes it seem insipid and absurd. Even so, there is always the attempt to tell about the experience in different ways through different methods.
"My whole life I shall go on telling what has happened. There is nothing else to tell except this. But this also cannot be written down. As soon as it is written, it is felt that it was not worth talking about. What is there to write? One may write, 'I have had an experience of the soul. I am full of joy and peace.' It looks absurd – mere words.
"Buddha, Mahavira and Christ went on telling their whole lives in many different ways what they had known. They never became tired. They always felt that there was still something left out, so they would speak again in a different way. It is never finished. Buddha and Mahavira may finish, but what they have to tell remains incomplete.
"The problem is twofold: what can be told seems like a dream and only what cannot be told seems worth saying. There always remains lurking in the mind the feeling that if I tell you what has happened to me it is of no use. My purpose is to take you on that path that may lead you to the experience itself. Only then can you someday understand what has happened to me. Before that you cannot understand it, and my telling you what has happened to me directly serves no purpose. I don’t think you will believe what I say. And what is the use of my making you suspicious? It will be harmful. The best way is to take you on that path, to that bank from which you can be pushed to where someday you yourself may have the experience. On that day you will be able to trust. You will know the way it happens. Otherwise there is no way to trust.
"At the time of the death of Buddha people asked, 'Where will you go after death?' What does Buddha reply? He says, 'I have been nowhere, so where can I go after death? I have never gone anywhere and have never been anywhere.' Even after this people still asked him where he would go, but he had told the truth because the meaning of buddhahood is nowhereness. In that state one is nowhere, so the question of being somewhere does not arise.
"If you can be quiet and silent, what remains except breathing? Only breathing remains; nothing else. Like the air inside a bubble, breathing remains. If you can be silent at least once for a few moments, then you will realize that when there are not thoughts there is nothing but breathing. The inhaling and exhaling of air is nothing more than the going out and coming in of air in a bubble or a balloon. So Buddha says, “I was only a bubble. Where was I? A bubble has burst and you are asking where it has gone.” If someone like Buddha knows that he is like a bubble, how can he write his autobiography or tell about his experience? Whatever he might say will be misunderstood.
"In Japan there was one saint called Lin Chi. One day Lin Chi ordered the removal of all the idols of Buddha. There had never been a man like him. Only just before he had been worshipping those very idols of Buddha, and now he was ordering them to be removed. Someone stood up and asked, “Are you in your right mind? Do you know what you are saying?”
"Lin Chi answered, “As long as I was thinking that I am, I believed that Buddha was. But when I myself am not there, when I am only an air bubble, then I know that someone like Buddha also could not have been there.”
"In the evening Lin Chi was again worshipping Buddha. People again asked him what he was doing. He said, “I was helped in my own non-being by Buddha’s non-being. That is why I have been giving thanks. It was a thanksgiving from one bubble to another, nothing more.” But these statements could not be properly understood. People thought that there was something wrong with this man and that he had gone against Buddha.
"Autobiography does not survive. Deeply speaking, the soul itself does not survive. So far, we understand only that the ego does not survive. For thousands of years, we have been told that the ego does not survive when one attains self-knowledge. But to put it correctly, the soul itself does not survive.
"In understanding this one is filled with fear. That is why we could not understand Buddha. He said, “The soul also does not survive; we become non-soul.” It becomes very difficult to understand Buddha in this world.
"Mahavira talked only of the death of the ego; that much could be understood. It is not that Mahavira did not know that even the soul does not survive, but he had in mind our limited understanding. Therefore, he spoke only of giving up the ego, knowing that the soul would automatically dissolve.
"Buddha, for the first time, made a statement which had been a secret. The Upanishads also knew, Mahavira also knew, that the soul does not survive in the end, because the idea of the soul is a projection of the ego. But Buddha revealed the secret which had been closely guarded for so long. That created difficulties. Those who themselves believed that the ego does not survive started the quarrel. If the soul does not survive either, they said, then everything is useless. Where are we?
"Buddha was right. How could there be an autobiography then? Everything is like a dream sequence, like the rainbow colors formed on a bubble. The colors die when the bubble bursts. That is a very obvious result."
It May Harm You
If I write anything like an autobiography, it may be either truth or untruth. If it is truth, it may harm you. If it is untruth, I would not want to write it. If it is completely truthful, it will cause you harm because I will have to say that whatever you are doing now is useless. You will readily agree with me that it is so.
Osho, Dimensions Beyond the Known, Talk #1
Whatever I Am Now Has No Story
"Here, so many people request me to write my autobiography. It is very difficult because the one about whom I would write is not me. Whatever I am now has no story. There is no story after that explosion; there are no events after it. All events are before the explosion. After the explosion there is only void. Whatever was before is not me or mine.
"When a person writes about himself, it is an autobiography; when a person writes about someone else, it is a biography. If I write a biography, it will not be mine. It cannot be an autobiography because the “I” is no more there. It can be a biography of a person whom I once knew, but who now is no more. It can be about a person whom I once used to be, but who has now ceased to be. Also, it would be like writing about someone whom I have known or heard about, whom I used to see, but who is now dead."
Osho, Dimensions Beyond the Known, Talk #5
After Enlightenment There Is No Biography
“Once a Buddhist monk came to see me. He had come from a very far off place, Kalimpong. He travel led for many days to see me. He said, “I have only one inquiry to make, and only for that have I come.”
“What is the inquiry?”
He said, “My inquiry is this: since you became enlightened, what has been happening? What experiences have you been going through since you became enlightened? What has been occurring? What more? What new experiences after enlightenment?”
I said, “You don’t understand the word enlightenment. After enlightenment, nothing happens. All happening stops, disappears. One simply is.”
He could not believe it. He said, “I cannot believe it. Something must be happening. Twenty years have passed…something must have happened! How can it be that nothing has happened?”
I said to him, “You will be puzzled, but let me say it as it is: Before enlightenment nothing had ever happened, because all that had happened was just writing on water. After enlightenment also nothing has happened, because time has disappeared. So the first happening and the last happening was enlightenment. Before that, all that happened was valueless; now it makes no sense, it was like a dream. And once you are awakened, nothing ever happens again. Not that the sun does not rise, not that the night is not full of stars, not that the flowers don’t bloom any more – all this goes on! But nothing happens in you. All remains calm and quiet.”
After enlightenment there is no biography. After enlightenment all is silence – because all is eternity. Things happen in time. Mind creates time because mind hankers for things to happen; mind hankers for excitements, something has to happen. If nothing is happening, mind becomes very uneasy. If good is not happening, let it be bad. If happiness is not happening, then let it be misery. But something must be there so one remains occupied. If nothing is happening, then you are at a loss – then why exist at all?
So mind goes on creating new ways, goes on projecting new events. “Tomorrow I have to do this, the day after tomorrow I have to do this.” Mind cannot remain without events, so it projects events. And when events are projected time is created – psychological time. When nothing is projected, time disappears."
All Autobiographies Are Fictions Created
"Hence I don’t believe that there is a single autobiography which is true. I have read thousands of autobiographies, but this is my observation: that not a single autobiography is true. Only a buddha can write a true autobiography – but buddhas have never written – because a buddha can see actually the facts, but then it is not worth writing at all. What is there to write?
"Ordinarily people invent their pasts. First they try to create a future – which is not possible, they fail; everybody fails inevitably. When you fail in creating the future, the only substitute is create a past. Now nobody can prevent you; you can enjoy inventing a past. All autobiographies are fictions created, invented, polished, exaggerated. Many things have been dropped, many things have been added.
"And I am not saying that people are doing it knowingly – people are not so much conscious – people are simply doing it. They must be believing that it is how it happened; they believe it. They are writing it with very great sincerity.
"So people cling to the past. The last clinging in meditation is that “Now I have arrived, all is finished, mind is gone” – and this is mind coming from the back door. This is the mind’s last effort to befool you."
A Man Who Lives in No-Mind Lives Withouth Death
“A man who lives in no-mind lives without death because he dies every moment. He never collects, he never looks back, he never looks ahead – he is just here, he is just here with this cry of the cuckoo. He is just here. His being is in this moment. He flows with the moment. He is not frigid, not confined with the past. In fact, he has no biography and he has no dreams for the future. He lives as it comes.“
In Zen, There Is Not Much to a Biography
“In Zen, there is not much to a biography. What is important is that the man has become an eternal flame, that the man has achieved his ultimate potential, that his blue lotus has blossomed. Who cares about dates of birth, about your parents? Those become negligible. That’s why in the East there is nothing like Western history.
“Western history is factual; it takes note of all the facts from birth to death. Eastern history does not bother about physical appearance; it takes care of your spiritual growth. Those are the real progress points.“
Whenever a Man Becomes Enlightened He Has No Biography
"His biography is not relevant at all, because whenever a man becomes enlightened he has no biography. He is no longer the form, so when he was born and when he died are irrelevant facts. That’s why in the East we have never bothered about biographies, historical facts. That obsession has never been here. That obsession has now come from the West; then people become more interested in irrelevant things. When a Sosan is born, what difference does it make – this year or that? When he dies, how is it important?“
No Beginning - No End
"He said, 'Difficult, impossible – because if I write my autobiography it will be the autobiography of the whole, because everything is related. And that will be too much…and how can one write the autobiography of the whole?'
"That’s why those who have known have always resisted; they have never written autobiographies – except this man Paramahansa Yogananda, who has written An Autobiography of a Yogi. He is not a yogi at all. Otherwise a yogi cannot write the autobiography – it is impossible, simply impossible, because when somebody has attained to nirvichara samadhi then he is a yogi, and then, the sheer vastness…. Now he has become all. If you really want to write the autobiography, it will be the autobiography of the whole from the beginning – and there is no beginning; to the end – and there is no end.
"In me, if I have become aware, the whole culminates. I don’t start with my birth, I start from the very beginning, and there is no beginning; and I will go on to the very end, and there is no end. I am deeply involved with the whole. These few years that I am here are not the whole. I was before I was born, and I will be there after I am dead. So how to write it? It will be a fragment, a page, not an autobiography – and a page absolutely absurd and out of context because the other pages will be missing.
"A few friends come to me and they also say, 'Why not? You should write something about you.' I know the difficulty of Meister Eckehart. It is not possible because from where to begin? – every beginning will be arbitrary and false; and where to end? – every ending will be arbitrary and false. And between two false things – the false beginning and the false end – how can the real be managed? Not possible. Yogananda has done something which is not possible. He has done something which a politician can do, but not a yogi."
Those Who Have Known that Life Recurs Again and Again, See No Point in Writing its History
“No record has been kept about the time of Krishna’s birth and death. and there is a good reason for it.
“We did not think it wise to keep a chronological record of those who, in our view, are not subject to birth and death, who are beyond both. A record is kept in the case of people who are born and who die, who are subject to the law of birth and death. There is no sense in writing the biography of those who transcend the limits of birth and death, of arrival and departure. Not that we were not capable of writing their biography – there was no difficulty to it – but such an attempt would go against the very spirit of Krishna’s life. That is why we did not do it.
“Countries in the East did not write the stories of their great men and women as is done in the West. The West has been very particular about writing them, and there is a reason for this too. However, in this matter, the East has now been imitating the West, ever since it came under the latter’s influence. And that, too, is not without reason.
“Religions of the Judaic tradition, both Christianity and Mohammedanism, believe there is only one life, one incarnation given to us on this earth. All of life is confined to one birth and one death; it begins with birth and totally ends with death. There is no other life either before or after this one. It is therefore not accidental that people who think that life completes its entire tenure in the brief interval between one birth and death should insist on keeping a record of it all. It is simply natural.
“But those who have known that life recurs again and again, that one is born and then dies count less numbers of times, that the chain of arrivals and departures is almost endless, see no point in writing its history.”
Osho, Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy, Talk #4
Those Who Knew Did Not Keep a Record
"What we know as our gross life is nothing more than a dream in the eyes of Krishna, Christ and Mahavira. And if people living with them also understand it in the same way, then there is no need whatsoever to keep a record of such dreams. And it is for this reason we don’t have a biography of Krishna. This absence of a biography speaks for itself: it says his time rightly understood Krishna.
"I was saying that for five hundred years no statue, no picture of Buddha was made. If someone wanted to paint his picture, he painted a picture of the bodhi tree with Buddha’s place under it left empty. Buddha was truly an empty space. His statues and pictures came into being after five hundred years, because by then all those people who had understood rightly that Buddha’s gross life was nothing more than a dream had disappeared from the earth. And the people who came after them thought it necessary to create a biography of Buddha, detailing when he was born, when he died, what he did, what he looked like and how he spoke. These records of Buddha were created much later.
"Those who knew did not keep a record, ignorant admirers of Buddha did it. Such data are the products of ignorant minds."
Osho, Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy, Talk #4
Just a Nobody
When you are no more, what would you like to be remembered as – mystic, spiritual leader, philosopher, or What?
Just a nobody. I would like it to be as if I had never been.
(This volume will be published soon)
How would you like to be remembered?
Osho has explained that his name is derived from William James' word “oceanic” which means dissolving into the ocean. Oceanic describes the experience, he says, but what about the experiencer? For that we use the word “osho.”
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