Osho on Meaning of Life

I missed attending the 10th year celebration of our Pgpmax batch and also our reunion. Today on our WhatsApp group, Bhat mentioned that some of my batchmates were talking about the meaning of Life during our reflections session.

Its an interesting thought which usually comes around when you are older and financially secure. Till that point in time, all the energy is focussed on earning and living it up. Also when the aches and pains start, you start wondering where the years went by. 😁

I looked up some of Osho’s discourses and found two excerpts that made perfect sense to me ..

Sharing them here. First excerpt is from the book From Bondage to Freedom. To read the entire chapter click – “Without Zorba There is No Buddha“.



Meaning can be understood in two ways. There is meaning that is somewhere far away, you have to reach to it. It is extrinsic.

Life is not meaningful in this first sense. And it is good that life is not meaningful in that sense, because then life becomes only a means to reach to the faraway goal, the faraway star. Then life loses its autonomous beauty. It is just a way; the real thing is tomorrow.

Meaning has another category too: intrinsic. Life is tremendously meaningful in the second sense.

Then meaning is not separate, somewhere else; then meaning is in the very living itself.

You don’t ask, has love any meaning? You know love is itself meaningful, it is not a means to some end. You do not ask if the beauty of a rose is meaningful. The beauty itself is enough; it does not lead anywhere, it contains its meaning within itself.

In existence everything that is really valuable is always intrinsically meaningful. And life is equivalent to existence. Life has meaning. If you just change the word “life” into “living,” you will be able to understand more easily. Living has meaning – each moment – because living is not something dead like “life.” The word “life” is dead – all nouns are dead. But the language is created by dead people.

Some day the new man is going to create a language which consists only of verbs, because that will be authentic to existence. In existence there is no noun. Have you seen “life”? Have you met “life” anywhere? All that you meet, experience, is living.

Sipping a cup of tea, going for a morning walk, doing your work – all these small activities make up your living. And each part, each moment of living, is meaningful. You just have to be there; otherwise, who is going to experience the meaning?

People go on drinking tea, but they never are there; their minds are wandering all over the world.”

The second excerpt is from the book “The Art of Dying”. To read the entire chapter click – The Art of Dying.

“….LIFE is in living. It is not a thing, it is a process. There is no way to attain to life except by living it, except by being alive, by flowing, streaming with it. If you are seeking the meaning of life in some dogma, in some philosophy, in some theology, that Is the sure way to miss life and meaning both.

Life is not somewhere waiting for you, it is happening in you. It is not in the future as a goal to be arrived at, it is herenow, this very moment – in your breathing, circulating in your blood, beating in your heart. Whatsoever you are is your life, and if you start seeking meaning somewhere else, you will miss it. Man has done that for centuries.

Concepts have become very important, explanations have become very important – and the real has been completely forgotten. We don’t look to that which is already here, we want rationalisations.

I have heard a very beautiful story.

Some years ago a successful American had a serious identity crisis. He sought help from psychiatrists but nothing came of it, for there were none who could tell him the meaning of life – which is what he wanted to know. By and by he learned of a venerable and incredibly wise guru who lived in a mysterious and most inaccessible region of the Himalayas. Only that guru, he came to believe, would tell him what life meant and what his role in it ought to be. So he sold all his worldly possessions and began his search for the all-knowing guru. He spent eight years wandering from village to village throughout the Himalayas in an effort to find him. And then one day he chanced upon a shepherd who told him where the guru lived and how to reach the place.

It took him almost a year to find him, but he eventually did. There he came upon his guru, who was indeed venerable, in fact well over one hundred years old. The guru consented to help him, especially when he learned of all the sacrifices the man had made towards this end. ‘What can I do for you, my son?’ asked the guru. ‘I need to know the meaning of life,’ said the man.

To this the guru replied, without hesitation, ‘Life,’ he said, ‘is a river without end.’ ‘A river without end?’ said the man in a startled surprise. ‘After coming all this way to find you, all you have to tell me is that life is a river without end?’

The guru was shaken, shocked. He became very angry and he said, ‘You mean it is not?’

Nobody can give you the meaning of your life. It is your life, the meaning has also to be yours. Himalayas won’t help. Nobody except you can come upon it. It is your life and it is only accessible to you. Only in living will the mystery be revealed to you.

The first thing I would like to tell you is: don’t seek it anywhere else. Don’t seek it in me, don’t seek it in scriptures, don’t seek it in clever explanations – they all explain away, they don’t explain. They simply stuff your empty mind, they don’t make you aware of what is. And the more the mind is stuffed with dead knowledge, the more dull and stupid you become. Knowledge makes people stupid; it dulls their sensitivity. It stuffs them, it becomes a weight on them, it strengthens their ego but it does not give light and it does not show them the way. It is not possible.

Life is already there bubbling within you. It can be contacted only there. The temple is not outside, you are the shrine of it. So the first thing to remember if you want to know what life is, is: never seek it without, never try to find out from somebody else. The meaning cannot be transferred that way. The greatest Masters have never said anything about life – they have always thrown you back upon yourself….”

Thank You Master 🙏🏿

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