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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   Philosophia Perennis, Vol. 1
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Chapter 7: Awareness: The Master Key

The first question:

Today you spoke of awareness and consciousness, and it seemed as though this was all that was needed to guide one’s actions. Does this mean then that murder, rape and theft are only wrong in so far as they are done without awareness, without consciousness?

Yes, the only sin is unawareness, and the only virtue is awareness. That which cannot be done without unawareness is sin. That which can only be done through awareness is virtue. It is impossible to murder if you are aware; it is impossible to be violent at all if you are aware. It is impossible to rape, to steal, to torture; these are impossibilities if awareness is there. It is only when unawareness prevails that, in the darkness of unawareness, all kinds of enemies enter you.

Buddha has said: “If the light is on in a house, thieves avoid it; and if the watchman is awake, thieves will not even try. And if the people are walking and talking inside, and the house has not yet fallen into sleep, there is no possibility for thieves to enter or even to think about it.”

Exactly the same is the case with you; you are a house without any light. The ordinary state of man is that of mechanical functioning: “Homo mechanicus.” Only in name are you a man, otherwise just a trained, skillful machine and whatsoever you do is going to be wrong. And remember, I am saying whatsoever you do - even your virtues will not be virtues if you are unaware. How can you be virtuous when you are unaware?

Behind your virtue will come an enormous, great ego, it is bound to be so. Even your saintliness, practiced, cultivated with great labor and effort, is futile because it will not bring simplicity and it will not bring humbleness, and it will not bring that great experience of the divine which happens only when the ego has disappeared. You will live a respectable life as a saint, but as poor as everybody else: inwardly rotten, inwardly a meaningless existence. It is not life; it is only vegetating. Your sins will be sins; your virtues will also be sins. Your immorality will be immorality; your morality will also be immorality. I don’t teach you morality, and I don’t teach you virtue, because I know, without awareness they are just pretensions, hypocrisies. They make you phony. They don’t liberate you; they can’t liberate you. On the contrary, they imprison you.

Only one thing is enough; awareness is a master key. It unlocks all the locks of existence. Awareness means you live moment-to-moment, alert, conscious of yourself and conscious of all that is happening around you, in a moment-to-moment response. You are like a mirror.

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