It is just the nature of the mind, just as it is the nature of everything. The rose flower never thinks about becoming a lotus; he does not bother that he is so small. The limitation is indispensable, intrinsically. You never ask for a few spare parts so that if one head gets lost, you can put on another head. You never question. Even the question of spare parts does not arise, that this is not a right system; every car comes with spare parts, every small child should come with a bag carrying for himself small spare parts: spare eyes, spare legs... Fractures happen, eyes lose their eyesight... if you had spare things with you, you could immediately change. We simply accept the situation as it is. This acceptance is natural.
That's why, Maneesha, the mind never thinks that it has any limitations. It thinks it is infinite - what limitations? It can think of as faraway things as possible. And naturally it thinks it is indispensable. Everybody thinks, "Without me, what will happen to the world?" You may not say it to anybody, but deep down you think that without you, the world cannot run. There will be chaos, everything will be topsy-turvy. It is because of your presence that the sun rises every day; otherwise at least on Sunday it would be on holiday.
The poor fellow, when the whole world is on holiday - and it is his day, Sunday - still he has to do his daily job: rise again, move the whole circle, set down again... For four billion years, since the earth has existed - we don't count the time before it... There was time before it, but for at least four billion years the sun has never been late, never been sick, never been on holiday, never gone on a honeymoon. The poor fellow simply goes on doing the routine work.
But at the deepest core of everybody, the feeling is that "Without me, there will be a vacancy which cannot be fulfilled. I am indispensable; nobody can take my place" - and we know already, we have taken somebody's place!
Before you, so many millions of people have come and gone, sometimes the horse and sometimes the ox. Nothing is indispensable, but it is very fulfilling to the ego to feel indispensable.
We make ourselves indispensable in small ways. We get married... now you can say to the world, "Without me, what will happen to my wife?" And everybody knows nothing will happen, she will be simply happy, but you are carrying a great burden. Without you, what will happen to the children? Nothing. They will become orphans and Mother Teresa will get them a good home. You are unnecessarily hindering Mother Teresa.
Because we cannot prove that we are indispensable to the stars and to the moon and to the sun, we create small relationships: father, mother, wife, and husband, and friends. And we make clubs: Lions Club - what will happen to the Lions Club without you? It will be simply a donkey club; you are the only lion! We create the illusion around ourselves that we are indispensable.
One of my professors never in his whole life went on a holiday. I became his student just three months before he was going to retire. He was known all over the university as a man who had a great love for students - he would not go on leave. Even if he was sick, he would come to teach.
I asked him, "What is the matter? Why have you never gone on any holiday?" I did not expect the answer that he gave to me - he was a very sincere man, Dr. Das - he said to me, "Nobody has ever asked this; everybody just appreciated. You are not appreciating; on the contrary, you are asking, questioning. I have to tell you the truth. The truth is that if I had gone on any holiday, nothing would change, everything would run smoothly and my feeling of being indispensable would be destroyed. I wanted to be indispensable: without me the university will be a chaos. And I knew, it would not be a chaos."
I can understand the poor professor's problem, because he was a bachelor - old, no wife, no children, nothing else on which he can proclaim his indispensability.
He managed it by not going on holiday. The whole university, all the professors felt it, that certainly he was a superior man. Even on Sundays his office would be open. Any scholar who wanted to come on Sunday too, Dr. Das was available. The whole university was closed, just his office was not closed; it was never closed.
When he retired I went to see him off at the railway station and I said, "You are going? Are you not worried what will happen to the university?"
He looked at me. He said, "Don't harass me - at least while I am going away. Nothing will happen, everything will be alright. It hurts me so much that I am going and nothing will happen, and you are making me aware of it. Talk about something else."
I could see that this man, who was a very learned man and very simple, sincere would shrink in Calcutta, somewhere alone. And I don't think he lived more than four or five months. After retirement he became so useless. I know perfectly well that if he had still been in the university he would have lived. There was no sign of death; he was perfectly healthy. But I could just imagine him in Calcutta somewhere in a small room - because a retired professor cannot manage a palace in Calcutta - in some bachelor's hostel: an old man, utterly useless, nobody even comes to say to him, "Good morning, Sir."
The very day he left, I told him, "Be careful not to die too quickly."
He said, "What do you mean?"
I said, "I am simply saying a psychological truth, which psychology now accepts, that retired people reduce their life span at least five to ten years. When they are not retired they have some utility, some meaning, they are needed by someone."
It is one of man's greatest needs to be needed. If nobody needs you immediately the question arises: Why go on living? What is the point? There is nobody who will cry tomorrow, there is nobody who will come to your grave to put a few roses there. You will be forgotten as if you have never been. How many people have been in the world? Who remembers them? The same is going to be the situation with you, with everybody.
We are just signatures on water. Even before we are complete, we start disappearing.
Nobody is indispensable, Maneesha, but the ego will not accept it; it is indigestible. Once you accept it, that you are not indispensable, you will feel a tremendous lightness coming on you, all burden....
I have been in offices where on every table of the clerks, head clerks, superintendents, there are piles of files - and I know why those files go on growing into mountains. The reason is whoever has more files on his table is more indispensable; without him nothing can happen. Files move so slowly that I have to make a maxim. Just as Albert Einstein has discovered that light moves with the greatest speed, I have to make a maxim that files, particularly in India, move with the slowest speed. Dust goes on gathering on them, nobody does anything, nobody wants to do, because if there is no file on your table, what are you doing here? Who are you? - you lose your definition.
It is good to understand that we are not indispensable, and that our minds are very limited. It will bring you closer to truth.
Your second question, Maneesha, I have already answered. You have asked:
"OSHO, THE WORDS `WITNESSING' AND `AWARENESS' DO NOT SEEM TO APPEAR IN ZEN VERY MUCH. IS IT THAT WITNESSING IS THE ABILITY TO WATCH THE MIND RUNNING ALONG ITS TRACK WITHOUT BEING IDENTIFIED WITH IT, WHILE ZEN JOLTS THE MIND OFF ITS TRACK INTO THE GAP OF NO-THOUGHT?"
Maneesha, Zen simply does not give any substantial support to mind.
For Zen, mind is not.
It is not that the mind has to be dropped.
It is not that the mind has to be stopped from functioning. Yes, these things have to be said because you don't know anything about no-mind. Once you have a glimpse of no-mind you will start smiling..."I was fighting with a shadow - the mind was not there."
Barbara Beanbag has been to market and is walking home carrying a duck.
A drunk comes staggering along in the other direction, stops and says, "Hey! What are you doing with that pig?"
Barbara looks at him coldly and replies, "This is not a pig, it's a duck!"
"I know," says the drunk, "I was talking to the duck!"
Abraham Grossman, the rich young bachelor, is entertaining a gorgeous woman, Gloria, with dinner in his penthouse.
As his Chinese servant pours the coffee, Gloria asks, "Wu, how do you make such delicious coffee?"
"Me take plenty boiled water," explains Wu, "and stir in coffee, velly, velly slow."
"Yes," says Gloria, "but it is so clear. How do you strain it so cleverly?"
"Me take master's silk socks..." begins Wu.
"What!" shouts Grossman. "You take my best silk socks to strain the coffee?"
"Oh, no, master," replies Wu. "Me never take master's clean socks."
Now two minutes for silence.
Be still. Close your eyes.
Collect yourself inwards, just as if you are a stone statue.
Now, come back.
From: Osho, Live Zen
- one volume from the Zen set- The World of Zen