Many of the most influential people our world has seen have exposed truths, wisdoms, and controversial viewpoints that have earned them both respect and fear from the masses. Osho Rajneesh was one of those people.
An Indian mystic, guru, and spiritual teacher, he had millions of followers worldwide, along with thousands of detractors. Confident and outspoken, he shed light on topics often considered taboo by mainstream society.
Born in 1931, Osho grew up questioning the existing religious, cultural, and social norms of society, eventually having a mystical experience that led him to what he calls his enlightenment at the age of 21. He came to prominence as a spiritual guru not just in India, but also internationally. His teachings focus on the necessity for meditation, awareness, love, celebration, courage, creativity, and humor, all of which he believed to be suppressed by traditional belief systems, religious tradition, and socialization. His teachings have greatly impacted the Western New Age movement.
Osho died in 1990, but his work continues to be published by over 200 publishers worldwide and in over 60 languages. With that said, here are 15 incredible quotes by the influential guru:
1. “Love knows no boundaries. Love cannot be jealous, because love cannot possess. It is ugly, the very idea that you possess somebody because you love. You possess somebody – it means you have killed somebody and turned him into a commodity. Only things can be possessed. Love gives freedom. Love is freedom.”
2. “Remain continuously on a honeymoon. Go on searching and seeking each other, finding new ways of loving each other, finding new ways of being with each other. And each person is such an infinite mystery, inexhaustible, unfathomable, that it is not possible that you can ever say, ‘I have known her,’ or, ‘I have known him.’ At the most you can say, ‘I have tried my best, but the mystery remains a mystery.’ In fact the more you know, the more mysterious the other becomes. Then love is a constant adventure.”
3. When you don’t need a person at all, when you are totally sufficient unto yourself, when you can be alone and tremendously happy and ecstatic, then love is possible. But then, too, you cannot be certain whether the other’s love is real or not – you can be certain about only one thing: whether your love is real. How can you be certain about the other? But then there is no need. This continuous anxiety about whether the other’s love is real or not simply shows one thing: that your love is not real. Otherwise, who bothers? Why be worried about it? Enjoy it while it lasts, be together while you can be together! It is a fiction, but you need fiction.”
4. “Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece. You cannot be improved. You have only to come to it, to know it, to realize it.”
5. “I love this world because it is imperfect. It is imperfect, and that’s why it is growing; if it was perfect it would have been dead. Growth is possible only if there is imperfection. I would like you to remember again and again, I am imperfect, the whole universe is imperfect, and to love this imperfection, to rejoice in this imperfection is my whole message.”
6. “If you can bring your consciousness, your awareness, your intelligence to the act, if you can be spontaneous, then there is no need for any other religion, life itself will be the religion.”
7. “Truth is not something outside to be discovered, it is something inside to be realized.”
8. “Just being alive is such a gift, but nobody ever told you to be thankful to existence. On the contrary, everyone was grumpy, complaining. Naturally, if everything surrounding your life from the very beginning goes on pointing out to you that you are not what you should be, goes on giving you great ideals that you have to follow and you have to become, your isness is never praised. What is praised is your future – if you can become someone respectable, powerful, rich, intellectual, in some way famous, not just a nobody.”
9. “If you want to learn anything, learn trust – nothing else is needed. If you are miserable, nothing else will help – learn trust. If you don’t feel any meaning in life and you feel meaningless, nothing will help – learn trust. Trust gives meaning because trust makes you capable of allowing the whole descend upon you.”
10. “Listen to your being. It is continuously giving you hints; it is a still, small voice. It does not shout at you, that is true. And if you are a little silent you will start feeling your way. Be the person you are. Never try to be another, and you will become mature. Maturity is accepting the responsibility of being oneself, whatsoever the cost. Risking all to be oneself, that’s what maturity is all about.”
11. “When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised.”
12. “Life is a balance between rest and movement.”
13. “Fools laugh at others. Wisdom laughs at itself.”
14. “All that this world needs is a good cleansing of the heart of all the inhibitions of the past. And laughter and tears can do both. Tears will take out all the agony that is hidden inside you and laughter will take all that is preventing your ecstasy. Once you have learned the art you will be immensely surprised.”
15. “That is the simple secret of happiness. Whatever you are doing, don’t let past move your mind; don’t let future disturb you. Because the past is no more, and the future is not yet. To live in the memories, to live in the imagination, is to live in the non-existential. And when you are living in the non-existential, you are missing that which is existential. Naturally you will be miserable, because you will miss your whole life.”