Osho on Awe and Wonder

This excerpt is from the second discourse of the series of discourses on the Bauls. Osho speaks about the difference between Awe and Wonder … and no wonder one is awe struck 😊. The master of masters is simply beyond words.

To listen and read the entire transcript click here – The Beloved Discourse #2

Awe and Wonder

“….. But man has become afraid of awe. That’s why in language, in the ancient days, awful was a religious word, very sacred. Now, when you are feeling terrible you say you are feeling awful. Even the word has changed its meaning.

People used to be awful when they were deep in prayer, when they were in close contact with the divine. When the divine was revealed to them, then they used to be awful. Now when they are feeling terrible, horrible, very bad, they say, “I am feeling awful.”

The word has completely been destroyed. It used to be at the peak, now it is at the bottom. It used to be the most positive feeling, now it is the most negative feeling. How has it happened? There are some reasons for it.

Whenever people used to feel awe, they also used to feel fear. That is natural because through awe you come in contact with the unknown, unfamiliar, the strange, the mysterious. You cannot control it, you cannot manipulate it, you cannot possess it. Suddenly, something bigger than you, something vaster than you surrounds you and you are at a loss. Fear arises – you start feeling afraid.

All the old religions describe God as both “the mysterium” and “the tremendum” – mysterium because he is the mystery, a mystery that can never be solved, and tremendum because one feels terrible before him.

These two feelings arise together, but you should pay attention to the first feeling more; otherwise the doors of the temple will be closed for you. Emphasize the positivity of it and learn how to be in the presence of the unknown, how to be in the presence of something that you cannot manipulate, how to be in the presence of something where you have to surrender, where surrender is the only thing that you can do, that can be done…that is all that is possible. “

“…. They say philosophy arises out of wonder. It is right, absolutely right. Philosophy arises out of wonder. And religion? – religion arises out of awe. And what is the difference between wonder and awe?

When you are full of wonder, you try to find a clue – how to dissolve that wonder? You try to think about it, figure it out – what it is. Wonder creates a question mark in you and you start struggling with it – so philosophy is a fight with wonder. It arises out of wonder, then it tries to dissolve the wonder, to dissolve the inexpressible, the unexplainable, to find an explanation so the wonder can be dropped.

Wonder is felt like a “disease,” a tension. So the philosopher is continuously trying ways and means how to be again at ease. He is trying to find some answer so the questions can be dropped, so the mystery is no longer a mystery. Philosophy is against wonder.

Religion arises out of awe. Awe is also wonder with one different quality: that is, it does not create a question mark in you. Rather, it creates deep love, it creates deep gratitude, it creates humbleness.

It creates such a state in your consciousness that you would like to bow down before it. It is not a question to be solved, but a deep mystery to be respected. You would like to kneel down and pray. You would not like to think about it, because it is so vast it is impossible to think about it. You would like to pray, you would like to fall into it in deep love.

Wonder becomes awe when it does not create a question mark in you; awe becomes wonder if it creates a question mark in you.

That’s the difference between philosophy and religion, and then the paths go in a diametrically opposite direction.

A philosopher goes on thinking and thinking, and a religious person goes on dropping thinking.

Guess we all need to make the journey from wonder to awe .. from Philosophy to Religion, from Questions to Love. We probably are attempting and that’s why the Master speaks of it.

Thank you Master 🙏

1 thought on “Osho on Awe and Wonder”

  1. B & K,
    Language can be confusing, as can symbols.
    In astrology, the 9th house covers philosophy, religion, long distance travel, law, and publishing, among other things. It is a symbol for practices that expand the mind beyond known boundaries.

    Osho’s comparison between awe and wonder suggests the mind’s desire to go beyond known limits, to explore, and to face the unknown without fear.

    This post leads me to wonder. I have no answers but am comfortable with the questions.


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