Yoga is nothing if it is not a discipline. Yoga is not a shastra; it is not a scripture. It is a discipline. It is something you have to do. It is not curiosity; it is not philosophic speculation. It is deeper than that. It is a question of life and death.
What is discipline? Discipline means creating an order within you. As you are, you are a chaos. As you are, you are totally disorderly. Gurdjieff used to say...and Gurdjieff is in many ways like Patanjali: he was again trying to make the core of religion a science – Gurdjieff says that you are not one, you are a crowd, not even when you say “I”, there is any “I.” There are many “I’s” in you, many egos. In the morning, one “I”; in the afternoon, another “I”; in the evening, a third “I”, but you never become aware of this mess because who will become aware of it. There is not a center who can become aware.
Yoga is discipline means yoga wants to create a crystallized center in you. As you are, you are a crowd and a crowd has many phenomena. One is, you cannot believe a crowd. Gurdjieff used to say that man cannot promise. Who will promise? You are not there. If you promise, who will fulfill the promise? Next morning the one who promised is no longer.
People come to me and they say, “Now I will take the vow. I promise to do this.” I tell them, “Think twice before you promise something. Are you confident that next moment the one who promised will be there?” You decide to get up early in the morning from tomorrow, at four o’clock. And at four o’clock somebody in you says, “Don’t bother. It is so cold outside. And why are you in such a hurry? We can do it tomorrow.” And you fall asleep again.
When you get up you repent. And you think, “This is not good. I should have done it.” You decide again that “Tomorrow I will do;” and the same is going to happen tomorrow because at four in the morning the one who promised is no more there, somebody else is in the chair. And you are a Rotary Club: the chairman goes on changing. Every member becomes a rotary chairman. Rotation is there. Every moment someone else is the master.
Gurdjieff used to say, “This is the chief characteristic of man, that he cannot promise.” You cannot fulfill a promise. You go on giving promises, and you know well you cannot fulfill, because you are not one: you are a disorder, a chaos. If your life has become an absolute misery, if you have realized that whatsoever you do creates hell, then the moment has come. This moment can change your dimension, your direction of being.
Up until now you have lived as a chaos, a crowd. Yoga means now you will have to be a harmony, you will have to become one. A crystallization is needed; a centering is needed. And unless you attain a center, all that you do is useless. It is wasting life and time. A center is the first necessity, and only a person can be blissful who has got a center. Everybody asks for it, but you cannot ask. You have to earn it! Everybody hankers for a blissful state of being, but only a center can be blissful. A crowd cannot be blissful, a crowd has got no self. There is no atman. Who is going to be blissful.
Bliss means absolute silence, and silence is possible only when there is harmony-when all the discordant fragments have become one, when there is no crowd, but one. When you are alone in the house and nobody else is there, you will be blissful. Right now everybody else is in your house, you are not there. Only guests are there, the host is always absent. And only the host can be blissful.
This centering Patanjali calls discipline – anushasanam. The word discipline is beautiful. It comes from the same root from where the word disciple comes. “Discipline” means the capacity to learn, the capacity to know. But you cannot know, you cannot learn, unless you have attained the capacity to be.
One man once came to Buddha and he said.... He must have been a social reformer, a revolutionary. He said to Buddha, “The world is in misery. I agree with you.” Buddha has never said that the world is in misery. Buddha says, “You are the misery,” not the world. “Life is misery,” not the world. “Man is misery,” not the world. “Mind is misery,” not the world. But that revolutionary said, “The world is in misery. I agree with you. Now tell me, what I can do? I have a deep compassion, and I want to serve humanity.”
Service must have been his motto. Buddha looked at him and remained silent. Buddha’s disciple, Ananda, said, “This man seems to be sincere. Guide him. Why you are silent?” Then Buddha said to that revolutionary, “You want to serve the world, but where are you? I don’t see anyone inside. I look in you, there is no one.
You don’t have any center, and unless you are centered whatsoever you do will create more mischief. All of your social reformers, your revolutionaries, your leaders, they are the great mischief creators, mischief-mongers. The world will be better if there were no leaders. But they cannot help. They must do something because the world is in misery. And they are not centered, so whatsoever they do they create more misery. Only compassion will not help, only service will not help. Compassion through a centered being is something totally different. Compassion through a crowd is mischief. That compassion is poison.
Discipline means the capacity to be, the capacity to know, the capacity to learn.
Osho, The Path of Yoga, Talk #1