What is Love? (1/3)

Rajiv Vaishnav
11 min readFeb 12, 2023

Love is in the air. In next two days, it’s Valentine’s Day. I felt like sharing Osho’s thoughts on LOVE from his most controversial discourse — “सम्भोग से समाधी की ओरFrom Sex to Super consciousness” that he delivered in the evening of 28th August 1968 at the Gowalia Tank ground in Mumbai. Osho talked about sex and its transformation — the genesis of love. Let me share this in three parts. Here is the first one. You may find it lengthy but bear with me as I couldn’t curtail it beyond this.

WHAT IS LOVE?

To feel, it is easy, to define love, is difficult indeed. If you ask a fish what the sea is like, the fish will say, “This is the sea. The sea is all around. And that’s that.” But if you insist — “Please define the sea” — then the problem becomes very difficult indeed.

The finest and the most beautiful things in life can be lived, can be known, but they are difficult to define, difficult to describe.

Man’s misery is this: for the last four to five thousand years he has simply talked and talked about something he should have been living earnestly, about something that must be realized from within — about love. There have been great talks on love, countless love songs have been sung, and devotional hymns are continuously being chanted in the temples and in the churches — what all isn’t done in the name of love? — still there is no place for love in man’s life. If we delve deeply into mankind’s languages, we will not find a more untrue word than “love”.

The stream of love has not yet surfaced in man. And we attribute this to man himself. We say it is because man is spoiled that love has not evolved, that there is no current of love in our lives. We blame it on the mind; we say the mind is poisonous. The mind is not poison. Those who degrade the mind have poisoned love; they have not allowed the growth of love.

Nothing in this world is poison. Nothing is bad in God’s whole creation; everything is nectar. It is man alone who has transformed this full cup of nectar into poison. And the major culprits are the so-called teachers, the so-called holy men and saints, the politicians.

Reflect upon this in detail. If this sickness is not understood immediately, if it is not straightened out right away, there is no possibility — now or in the future — of love in man’s life.

In ancient times, I have heard, a hawker of hand-fans used to pass by the palace of the king every day. He used to brag about the unique and wonderful fans he sold. No one, he claimed, had ever seen such fans before.

The king had a collection of all sorts of fans from every corner of the world and so he was curious. He leaned over his balcony one day to have a look at this seller of unique and wonderful fans. To him the fans looked ordinary, hardly worth a penny, but he called the man upstairs anyway. The king asked, “What is the uniqueness of those fans? And what is their price?”

The hawker replied, “Your Majesty, they don’t cost much. Considering the quality of these fans, the price is very low: one hundred rupees a fan.”

The king was amazed. “O..n..e h..u..n..d..r..e..d rupees??! This paisa-fan, this penny-fan, is available anywhere in the market. And you ask a hundred rupees?! What is so special about these fans?”

The man said, “The quality Sire! Each fan is guaranteed to last one hundred years. Even in one hundred years, it won’t spoil.”

“From the look of it, it seems impossible it can even last a week. Are you trying to cheat me? Is this outright fraud? And with the king, too?”

The vendor answered, “My Lord, would I dare? You know very well, sir, that I walk under your balcony daily, selling my fans. The price is one hundred rupees a fan, and I am responsible if it doesn’t last one hundred years. Every day I am available in the street. And, above all, you are the ruler of this land. How can I be safe if I cheat you?”

The fan was purchased at the asking price. Although the king did not trust the hawker, he was dying of curiosity to know what grounds the man had for making such a statement. The vendor was ordered to present himself again on the seventh day.

The central stick came out in three days, and the fan disintegrated before the week was out.

The king was sure the seller of fans would never turn up again, but to his complete surprise the man presented himself as he had been asked to — on time, on the seventh day. “At your service, Your Majesty.”

The king was furious. “You rascal! You fool! Look. There lies your fan, all broken into pieces. This is its condition in a week, and you guaranteed it would last a hundred years! Are you mad, or just a super cheat?”

The man replied humbly, “With due respect, it seems My Lord does not know how to use fans. The fan must last for one hundred years; it is guaranteed. How did you fan?” The king said, “My goodness. Now I will have to learn how to fan too!”

“Please don’t be angry. How did the fan come to this fate in just seven days? How did you fan?” The king lifted the fan, showing the manner in which one fans. The man said, “Now I understand. You shouldn’t fan like that.” “What other way is there???” the king yelled.

The man explained, “Hold the fan steady. Keep it steady in front of you and then move your head to and fro. The fan will last one hundred years. You will pass away but the fan will remain intact. Nothing is wrong with the fan; the way you fan is wrong. You keep the fan steady and move your head. Where is my fan at fault? The fault is yours, not that of my fan.”

Mankind is accused of a similar fault. Look at humanity. Man is so sick, sick from the accumulated illness of five, six, ten thousand years. It is repeatedly said that it is man who is wrong, not the culture. Man is rotting, yet the culture is praised. Our great culture! Our great religion! Everything is great! And see the fruits of it!

They say, “Man is wrong; man should change himself,” yet no one stands up to question whether things aren’t like they are because our culture and religion, unable to fill man with love after ten thousand years, are based on false values. And if love hasn’t evolved in the last ten thousand years, take it from me there is no future possibility, based on this culture and religion, of ever seeing a loving man. Something which could not be achieved in the last ten thousand years cannot be attained in the next ten thousand years. Today’s man will be the same tomorrow. Although the outer wrappings of etiquette, civilization and technology change from time to time, man is the same and will be the same forever.

We are not prepared to review our culture and religion, yet we sing their praises at the top of our lungs and kiss the feet of their saints and custodians. We won’t even agree to look back, to reflect upon our ways and upon the direction of our thinking, to check if they are not misleading, to see if they are not all wrong.

I wish to say that the base is defective, that the values are false. The proof is today’s man. What other proof can there be?

If we plant a seed and the fruit is poisonous and bitter, what does it prove? It proves that the seed must have been poisonous and bitter. But it is difficult, of course, to foretell whether a particular seed will give bitter fruit or not. You may look it over carefully, press it or break it open, but you cannot predict for sure whether the fruit will be sweet or not. You have to await the test of time.

Sow a seed. A plant will sprout. Years will pass. A tree will emerge, will spread its branches to the sky, will bear fruit — and only then will you come to know whether the seed that was sown was bitter or not. Modern man is the fruit of those seeds of culture and religion that were sown ten thousand years ago and have been nurtured ever since. And the fruit is bitter; it is full of conflict and misery.

But we are the very people who eulogize those seeds and expect love to flower from them. It is not to be, I repeat, because any possibility for the birth of love has been killed by religion. The possibility has been poisoned. More so than in man, love can be seen in the birds, animals and plants, in those who have no religion or culture. Love is more evident in uncivilized men, in backward woodsmen, than in the so-called progressive, cultured and civilized men of today. And remember, the aboriginal people have no developed civilization, culture or religion.

Why is man progressively becoming so much more barren of love as he professes to be more and more civilized, cultured and religious, going regularly to temples and to churches to pray? There are some reasons and I wish to discuss them. If these can be understood, the eternal stream of love can spring forth. But it is embedded in stones; it cannot surface. It is walled in on all sides, and the Ganges cannot gush forth, cannot flow freely.

Love is within man. It is NOT imported from the outside. It is not a commodity to be purchased when we go to the markets. It is there as the fragrance of life. It is inside everyone. The search for love, the wooing of love, is not a positive action; it is not an overt act whereby you have to go somewhere and draw it out.

A sculptor was working on a rock. Someone who had come to see how a statue is made saw no sign of a statue, he only saw a stone being cut here and there by a chisel and hammer.

“What are you doing?” the man inquired. “Are you not going to make a statue? I have come to see a statue being made, but I only see you chipping stone.”

The artist said, “The statue is already hidden inside. There is no need to make it. Somehow, the useless mass of stone that is fused to it has to be separated from it, and then the statue will show itself. A statue is not made, it is discovered. It is uncovered; it is brought to light.”

Love is shut up inside man; it need only be released. The question is not how to produce it, but how to uncover it. What have we covered ourselves with? What is it that will not allow love to surface?…(to be continued.)

Osho: From Sex to Super consciousness Chapter 1: Sex, the genesis of love: Q 1 (Excerpts 1/3)

उस की याद आई है साँसो ज़रा आहिस्ता चलो
धड़कनों से भी इबादत में ख़लल पड़ता है ………….राहत इंदौरी

us kī yaad aa.ī hai sāñso zarā āhista chalo
dhaḌkanoñ se bhī ibādat meñ ḳhalal paḌtā hai ………..RAHAT INDORI

I am remembering my beloved, slow down O my breathing,
even heartbeats will disturb my prayers.

I wish to share with you one of my all-time favorite qawwalis from the film “Barsaat ki Raat” — “Na To Karwaan Ki Talash Hai…” soulfully written by Sahir Ludhianvi, composed by Roshan and mesmerizingly sung by Asha Bhosle, Manna Dey, Sudha Malhotra and Mohammad Rafi, capturing the essence of love. You may wish to read the lyrics (in Hindi) given below the link to appreciate the poetry more.

(1519) Na To Karwaan Ki Talash Hai | Asha Bhosle, Manna Dey, Sudha Malhotra | Barsaat Ki Raat Movie Song — YouTube

Song Lyrics:
ना तो कारवाँ की तलाश है, ना तो हमसफ़र की तलाश है
मेरे शौक़-ए-खाना खराब को, तेरी रहगुज़र की तलाश है

मेरे नामुराद जुनून का है इलाज कोई तो मौत है
जो दवा के नाम पे ज़हर दे उसी चारागर की तलाश है

तेरा इश्क़ है मेरी आरज़ू, तेरा इश्क़ है मेरी आबरू
दिल इश्क़ जिस्म इश्क़ है और जान इश्क़ है
ईमान की जो पूछो तो ईमान इश्क़ है
तेरा इश्क़ है मेरी आरज़ू, तेरा इश्क़ है मेरी आबरू,
तेरा इश्क़ मैं कैसे छोड़ दूँ, मेरी उम्र भर की तलाश है
इश्क़ इश्क़ तेरा इश्क़ इश्क़ …

ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़, ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़

जाँसोज़ की हालत को जाँसोज़ ही समझेगा
मैं शमा से कहता हूँ महफ़िल से नहीं कहता क्योंकि
ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़, ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़

सहर तक सबका है अंजाम जल कर खाक हो जाना,
भरी महफ़िल में कोई शम्मा या परवाना हो जाए क्योंकि
ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़, ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़

वहशत-ए-दिल रस्म-ओ-दीदार से रोकी ना गई
किसी खंजर, किसी तलवार से रोकी ना गई
इश्क़ मजनू की वो आवाज़ है जिसके आगे
कोई लैला किसी दीवार से रोकी ना गई, क्योंकि
ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़, ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़

वो हँसके अगर माँगें तो हम जान भी देदें,
हाँ ये जान तो क्या चीज़ है ईमान भी देदें क्योंकि
ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़, ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़

नाज़-ओ-अंदाज़ से कहते हैं कि जीना होगा,
ज़हर भी देते हैं तो कहते हैं कि पीना होगा
जब मैं पीता हूँ तो कहतें है कि मरता भी नहीं,
जब मैं मरता हूँ तो कहते हैं कि जीना होगा
ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़, ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़

मज़हब-ए-इश्क़ की हर रस्म कड़ी होती है,
हर कदम पर कोई दीवार खड़ी होती है
इश्क़ आज़ाद है, हिंदू ना मुसलमान है इश्क़,
आप ही धमर् है और आप ही ईमान है इश्क़
जिससे आगाह नही शेख-ओ-बरहामन दोनो,
उस हक़ीक़त का गरजता हुआ ऐलान है इश्क़

इश्क़ ना पुच्छे दीन धरम नू, इश्क़ ना पुच्छे जाताँ
इश्क़ दे हाथों गरम लहू विच, डुबियां लख बराताँ
के … दे इश्क़
ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़, ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़

राह उल्फ़त की कठिन है इसे आसाँ ना समझ
ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़, ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़

बहुत कठिन है डगर पनघट की
अब क्या भर लाऊँ मै जमुना से मटकी
मै जो चली जल जमुना भरन को
देखो सखी जी मै जो चली जल जमुना भरन को
नंदकिशोर मोहे रोके झाड़ों तो
क्या भर लाऊँ मै जमुना से मटकी
अब लाज राखो मोरे घूँघट पट की

जब जब कृष्ण की बंसी बाजी, निकली राधा सज के
जान अजान का मान भुला के, लोक लाज को तज के
जनक दुलारी बन बन डोली, पहन के प्रेम की माला
दशर्न जल की प्यासी मीरा पी गई विष का प्याला
और फिर अरज करी के
लाज राखो राखो राखो, लाज राखो देखो देखो,
लाज राखो राखो, हे हे हे,
लाज राखो राखो, हे हे हे,
लाज राखो राखो
ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़, ये इश्क़ इश्क़ है इश्क़ इश्क़

अल्लाह रसूल का फ़रमान इश्क़ है
याने हफ़ीज़ इश्क़ है, क़ुरान इश्क़ है
गौतम का और मसीह का अरमान इश्क़ है
ये कायनात जिस्म है और जान इश्क़ है
इश्क़ सरमद, इश्क़ ही मंसूर है
इश्क़ मूसा, इश्क़ कोह-ए-नूर है
ख़ाक़ को बुत, और बुत को देवता करता है इश्क़
इन्तहा ये है के बंदे को ख़ुदा करता है इश्क़

हाँ इश्क़ इश्क़ तेरा इश्क़ इश्क़
तेरा इश्क़ इश्क़, इश्क़ इश्क़ …

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