What is Love? (3/3)

Rajiv Vaishnav
13 min readMar 11, 2023


On this 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, where he talked about sex and its transformation — the genesis of love. I have shared it in three parts. Here is the third and the last one. You may find it lengthy but bear with me as I couldn’t curtail it beyond this.

…The second fundamental thing I want to tell you is about something that has, by now, become hardened within us by civilization, culture and religion. And that is the ego, the consciousness that “I am”.

The nature of the sex energy goads it to flow towards love, but the hurdle of “I” has fenced it in like a wall and so love cannot flow. The “I” is very powerful, in bad as well as in good people, in the unholy as well as in the holy. Bad people may assert the “I” in many ways, but good people also drum the “I” loudly: they want to go to heaven; they want to be delivered; they have renounced the world; they have built temples; they do not sin; they want to do this; they want to do that. But that “I”, that guiding signal, is ever present.

The stronger a person’s ego is, the harder it is for him to unite with anybody. The ego comes in between; the “I” asserts itself. It is a wall. It proclaims, “You are you and I am I.” And so even the most intimate experience does not bring people close to each other. The bodies may be near but the people are far apart. So long as there is this “I” inside, this feeling of otherness cannot be avoided.

One day, Sartre said a wonderful thing: “The other is hell.” But he didn’t explain any further why the other was hell, or even why the other was the other. The other is the other because I am I, and while I am I, the world around is the other — different and apart, segregated — and there is no rapport.

As long as there is this feeling of separation, love cannot be known. Love is the experience of unity. The demolition of walls, the fusion of two energies is what the experience of love is. Love is the ecstasy when the walls between two people crumble down, when two lives meet, when two lives unite.

When such a harmony exists between two people I call it love. And when it exists between one man and the masses, I call it communion with God. If you can become immersed with me in such an experience — so that all barriers melt, so that an osmosis takes place at the spiritual level — then that is love. And if such a unity happens between me and everyone else and I lose my identity in the All, then that attainment, that merging, is with God, with the Almighty, with the Omniscient, with the Universal Consciousness, with the Supreme or whatsoever you want to call it. And so, I say that love is the first step and that God is the last step — the finest and the final destination. How is it possible to erase myself?

Unless I dissolve myself, how can the other unite with me? The other is created as a reaction to my “I”. The louder I shout “I”, the more forceful becomes the existence of the other. The other is the echo of “I”.

And what is “I”? Have you ever thought calmly about it? Is it in your leg or your hand, in your head or your heart? Or is it just the ego?

What and where is your “I”, your ego? The feeling of it is there, yet it is to be found in no particular place. Sit quietly for a moment and search for that “I”. You may be surprised, but in spite of an intense search you will not find your “I” anywhere. When you search deeply inside you will realize there is no “I”. As such, there is no ego. When there is the truth of the self the “I” is not there.

The well-revered monk Nagsen was sent for by the Emperor Malind, to grace his court.

The messenger went to Nagsen and said, “Monk Nagsen, the emperor wishes to see you. I have come to invite you.”

Nagsen replied, “If you want me to, I will come. But, pardon me, there is no person like Nagsen here. It’s only a name, only a temporary label.”

The courtier reported to the emperor that Nagsen was a very strange man: he had replied he would come but had said that there was no such man as Nagsen there. The emperor was struck with wonder.

Nagsen arrived on time, in the royal chariot, and the emperor received him at the gate. “Monk Nagsen, I welcome you!” he exclaimed.

Hearing this, the monk started to laugh. “I accept your hospitality as Nagsen, but please remember there is nobody named Nagsen.”

The emperor said, “You are talking in riddles. If you are not you, then who is accepting my invitation? Who is replying to this welcome?”

Nagsen looked behind him and asked, “Isn’t this the chariot I came in?”

“Yes, it is one and the same.”

“Please remove the horses.” It was done. Pointing to the horses, the monk asked, “Is this the chariot?” The emperor said, “How can the horses be called a chariot?”

At a sign from the monk, the horses were led away, and the poles used to tie the horses were removed. “Are these poles your chariot?” “Of course not, these are the poles and not the chariot.”

The monk went on, ordering the removal of the parts one by one, and to each inquiry the emperor had to reply, “This is not the chariot.” At last nothing remained.

The monk asked, “Where is your chariot now? To each and every item taken away you have said, `This is not the chariot.’ Then tell me, where is your chariot now?” The revelation startled the emperor.

The monk continued. “Do you follow me? The chariot was an assembly; it was a collection of certain things. The chariot had no being of its own.

Please look inside. Where is your ego? Where is your `I’?” You will NOT find that “I” anywhere. It is a manifestation of many energies; that is all. Think about each and every limb, about each and every aspect of yourself, and then eliminate everything, one by one. Ultimately, nothingness will remain.

Love is born of that nothingness. That nothingness is God.

Love can only be born out of emptiness. Only a void is capable of merging with another void; only zero can unite totally with another zero. Not two individuals, but two vacuums can meet, because now there is no barrier. All else has walls; a vacuum has none.

So the second thing to remember is that love is born when individuality vanishes, when “I” and “the other” are no more. Whatsoever remains then is everything, the limitless — but no “I”. With that attainment, all barriers crumble and the onrush of the ever-ready Ganges takes place.

We dig a well. Water is already there, inside; it doesn’t have to be brought from anywhere. We just dig up the earth and stones and remove them. What is it we do exactly? We create an emptiness so that the water that is hidden inside can find a space to move into, a space in which to show itself. That which is inside wants room; it wants space. It craves an emptiness — which it is not getting — so it can come out, so it can burst forth. If a well is full of sand and stones, the moment we remove the sand and stones water will surge upwards. Similarly, man is full of love, but love needs space to surface. As long as your heart and soul are saying “I” you are a well of sand and stones, and the stream of love will not bubble up in you.

I have heard that there was once an ancient and majestic tree, with branches spreading out towards the sky. When it was in a flowering mood, butterflies of all shapes, colors and sizes danced around it. When it grew blossoms and bore fruit, birds from far lands came and sang in it. The branches, like outstretched hands, blessed all who came and sat in their shade. A small boy used to come and play under it, and the big tree developed an affection for the small boy.

Love between big and small is possible, if the big is not aware that it is big. The tree did not know it was big; only man has that kind of knowledge. The big always has the ego as its prime concern, but for love, nobody is big or small. Love embraces whomsoever comes near.

So the tree developed a love for this small boy who used to come to play near it. Its branches were high, but it bent and bowed them down so that he might pluck its flowers and pick its fruit. Love is ever ready to bow; the ego is never ready to bend. If you approach the ego, its branches will stretch upwards even more; it will stiffen so you cannot reach it.

The playful child came, and the tree bowed its branches. The tree was very pleased when the child plucked some flowers; its entire being was filled with the joy of love. Love is always happy when it can give something; the ego is always happy when it can take.

The boy grew. Sometimes he slept on the tree’s lap, sometimes he ate its fruit, and sometimes he wore a crown of the tree’s flowers and acted like a jungle king. One becomes like a king when the flowers of love are there, but one becomes poor and miserable when the thorns of the ego are present. To see the boy wearing a crown of flowers and dancing about filled the tree with joy. It nodded in love; it sang in the breeze. The boy grew even more. He began to climb the tree to swing on its branches. The tree felt very happy when the boy rested on its branches. Love is happy when it gives comfort to someone; the ego is only happy when it gives discomfort.

With the passage of time the burden of other duties came to the boy. Ambition grew; he had exams to pass; he had friends to chat with and to wander about with, so he did not come often. But the tree waited anxiously for him to come. It called from its soul, “Come. Come. I am waiting for you.” Love waits day and night. And the tree waited. The tree felt sad when the boy did not come. Love is sad when it cannot share; love is sad when it cannot give. Love is grateful when it can share. When it can surrender, totally, love is the happiest.

As he grew, the boy came less and less to the tree. The man who becomes big, whose ambitions grow, finds less and less time for love. The boy was now engrossed in worldly affairs.

One day, while he was passing by, the tree said to him, “I wait for you but you do not come. I expect you daily.”

The boy said, “What do you have? Why should I come to you? Have you any money? I am looking for money.” The ego is always motivated. Only if there is some purpose to be served will the ego come. But love is motiveless. Love is its own reward.

The startled tree said, “You will come only if I give something?” That which withholds is not love. The ego amasses, but love gives unconditionally. “We don’t have that sickness, and we are joyful,” the tree said. “Flowers bloom on us. Many fruits grow on us. We give soothing shade. We dance in the breeze, and sing songs. Innocent birds hop on our branches and chirp even though we don’t have any money. The day we get involved with money, we will have to go to the temples like you weak men do, to learn how to obtain peace, to learn how to find love. No, we do not have any need for money.”

The boy said, “Then why should I come to you? I will go where there is money. I need money.” The ego asks for money because it needs power.

The tree thought for a while and said, “Don’t go anywhere else, my dear. Pick my fruit and sell it. You will get money that way.”

The boy brightened immediately. He climbed up and picked all the tree’s fruit; even the unripe ones were shaken down. The tree felt happy, even though some twigs and branches were broken, even though some of its leaves had fallen to the ground. Getting broken also makes love happy, but even after getting, the ego is not happy. The ego always desires more. The tree didn’t notice that the boy hadn’t even once looked back to thank him. It had had its thanks when the boy accepted the offer to pick and sell its fruit.

The boy did not come back for a long time. Now he had money and he was busy making more money from that money. He had forgotten all about the tree. Years passed. The tree was sad. It yearned for the boy’s return — like a mother whose breasts are filled with milk but whose son is lost. Her whole being craves for her son; she searches madly for her son so he can come to lighten her. Such was the inner cry of that tree. Its entire being was in agony. After many years, now an adult, the boy came to the tree. The tree said, “Come, my boy. Come embrace me.”

The man said, “Stop that sentimentality. That was a childhood thing. I am not a child any more.” The ego sees love as madness, as a childish fantasy.

But the tree invited him: “Come, swing on my branches. Come dance. Come play with me.”

The man said, “Stop all this useless talk! I need to build a house. Can you give me a house?”

The tree exclaimed: “A house! I am without a house.” Only men live in houses. Nobody else lives in a house but man. And do you notice his condition after his confinement among four walls? The bigger his buildings, the smaller man becomes. “We do not stay in houses, but you can cut and take away my branches — and then you may be able to build a house.”

Without wasting any time, the man brought an axe and severed all the branches of the tree. Now the tree was just a bare trunk. But love cares not for such things — even if its limbs are severed for the loved one. Love is giving; love is ever ready to give.

The man didn’t even bother to thank the tree. He built his house. And the days flew into years.

The trunk waited and waited. It wanted to call for him, but it had neither branches nor leaves to give it strength. The wind blew by, but it couldn’t even manage to give the wind a message. And still its soul resounded with one prayer only: “Come. Come, my dear. Come.” But nothing happened.

Time passed and the man had now become old. Once he was passing by and he came and stood by the tree.

The tree asked, “What else can I do for you? You have come after a very, very long time.”

The old man said, “What else can you do for me? I want to go to distant lands to earn more money. I need a boat, to travel.”

Cheerfully, the tree said, “But that’s no problem, my love. Cut my trunk, and make a boat from it. I would be so very happy if I could help you go to faraway lands to earn money. But, please remember, I will always be awaiting your return.” The man brought a saw, cut down the trunk, made a boat and sailed away.

Now the tree is a small stump. And it waits for its loved one to return. It waits and it waits and it waits. The man will never return; the ego only goes where there is something to gain and now the tree has nothing, absolutely nothing to offer. The ego does not go where there is nothing to gain. The ego is an eternal beggar, in a continuous state of demand, and love is charity. Love is a king, an emperor! Is there any greater king than love?

I was resting near that stump one night. It whispered to me, “That friend of mine has not come back yet. I am very worried in case he might have drowned, or in case he might be lost. He may be lost in one of those faraway countries. He might not even be alive any more. How I wish for news of him! As I near the end of my life, I would be satisfied with some news of him at least. Then I could die happily. But he would not come even if I could call him. I have nothing left to give and he only understands the language of taking.”

The ego only understands the language of taking; the language of giving is love.

I cannot say anything more than that. Moreover, there is nothing more to be said than this: if life can become like that tree, spreading its branches far and wide so that one and all can take shelter in its shade, then we will understand what love is. There are no scriptures, no charts, no dictionaries for love. There is no set of principles for love.

I wondered what I could say about love! Love is so difficult to describe. Love is just there. You could probably see it in my eyes if you came up and looked into them. I wonder if you can feel it as my arms spread in an embrace.

Love. What is love?

If love is not felt in my eyes, in my arms, in my silence, then it can never be realized from my words.

I am grateful for your patient hearing (Reading). And finally, I bow to the Supreme seated in all of us. Please accept my respects.” — Osho.

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

न कोई वा’दा न कोई यक़ीं न कोई उमीद
मगर हमें तो तिरा इंतिज़ार करना था………………..फ़िराक़ गोरखपुरी

na koī va.ada na koī yaqīñ na koī umiid
magar hameñ to tirā intizār karnā thā ………………..FIRAQ GORAKHPURI

No promise, no assurance not even any hope
but I had to eternally wait for you.

When I first read this story of the tree and the growing little boy, I was in tears. While re-reading it, inadvertently, I started humming this amazing song “Pyar manga hai tumhi se, na inkaar karo…” written by Indeevar, composed by Bappi Lahiri and sung by the great Kishore Kumar from the film “College Girl” (1978).

(1522) Pyar Manga Hai Tumhin Se Na Inkaar Karo { The Great Kishore Kumar } *Bappi Lahiri * — YouTube