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Agnostic Is One Who Knows?

Humanity is divided in three types of persons: Believers, atheists and agnostics. For Osho, this last type, the agnostic is far above the first two and it is something intrinsic to the true seeker. Nevertheless, there is a fourth type of person, one that does not fit in any of these categories: The Gnostic, the one who knows. Listening to his direct and simple style, we rediscover the courage to doubt while we move into the unknown.
 
 
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"Look at me and don't be bothered with what I say; be with me and don't be bothered about theories and words. Act with me, listen to me, and don't try to think about it; and this listening should be an act, not a mental effort. I am not trying to convince you, I am not trying to give you a belief; I am not trying to create any religion or sect no doctrine is implied. When talking to you, I am there; talking is just an excuse."

Osho, A Bird on the Wing, #5

 
 
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Agnostic Is One Who Knows?
Excerpted from: From Unconciousness to Consciousness, #14

"If an atheist and theist discuss and debate, the atheist is always bound to win. The theist cannot win; his arguments are poor. He is not argumentative. His belief is very simple, but the atheist is more complex. He also has a belief: his belief is that there is no God. You can call it an unbelief, a nonbelief, but it is a belief. He fights for it with the same fanatic attitude as the theist. You discuss with any communist all communists are atheists and they have that same fanatic attitude as any theist. The agnostic is the most superior of the three. The agnostic says, 'I have no grounds to say yes, I have no grounds to say no; hence, I will keep my mouth shut about God.'

"Ludwig Wittgenstein, a disciple of Bertrand Russell... Bertrand Russell is one of the significant agnostics of this age, and Ludwig Wittgenstein was his best disciple. Russell has praised Wittgenstein so generously; it rarely happens from a teacher's mouth to so praise a disciple, a student. Wittgenstein was just a student in Russell's philosophy class. Russell was teaching philosophy in the university of Cambridge, and Wittgenstein was just a student. But Russell had the penetrating eyes to find if there was something, and Wittgenstein was something of a genius.

"Wittgenstein showed him his notes. And Russell said, 'Publish them!' Just his notes that he was taking in the class, any idea that was occurring to him just his notes and Russell said, 'Publish it. It is far superior to any of my books. I will never get such a student as you again. I am proud, and I am fulfilled, in a certain sense, that you came to my class.'

"Wittgenstein has not written much, just two or three books, and those are all maxims, small sentences. One sentence says, 'You should not speak about something that you know not either for, or against. One should be silent if one has not a solid yes or no in his experience.' In another passage he says, 'There are things which cannot be spoken of, hence you should resist the temptation to speak about them.'

"The agnostic is the most superior. He does not commit himself, he remains uncommitted. It is better to remain uncommitted, because that keeps you alert that you have not started the search yet. The theist has arrived at a conclusion, the atheist has arrived at a conclusion; you have not even begun the search. The agnostic is the best of the three, comes closer to me. The theist is the farthest from me, the atheist a little closer, the agnostic much closer but you can remain there. There is no necessity that you will move into the enquiry. You can say it is an ultimate question. That is what agnostics say. Whenever the question is ultimate, you cannot say yes or no about it. But his silence is not the silence of a gnostic.

"I had not included gnostic in the three categories I discussed, knowingly. The word agnostic comes from the word gnostic. Agnostic means one who declares that, 'I am not certain this way or that.' Who is a gnostic? A gnostic is one who knows. That is the meaning of gnostic: the knower. The agnostic is silent because he does not know what is right and what is wrong; what is yes, what is no.

"The gnostic is also silent because he has come to experience a reality which is inexpressible." Osho

 

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