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God is a technical help


By meditating upon the lord Parameshwara, the highest lord, the all-powerful, the three-eyed, and the ever-silent, the meditator reaches him who is the source of all manifestation, the witness of all, and who is beyond all ignorance.

From the world to the ultimate, take any image of God as a single step. This will look strange because we think of God as the ultimate. But the Upanishads never think of God as the ultimate. They say, “God is a step toward the ultimate.” And the ultimate—they always use for the ultimate the term brahman, the absolute. God, Ishwara, Parameshvar is just a step toward the ultimate. God is not the ultimate aim, God is just to be used as a technical help for the jump into the ultimate abyss. Use God as a jumping board from the worldly mind to the ultimate abyss.

This image of God used as a technical help is very typical and strange because ordinarily the religious mind feels that God is to be achieved. But yoga says God is also just a technical help. That’s why there are systems of yoga which are Godless, for example even Buddha’s system. Buddha never talks about God; he discarded. He created other steps; he discarded God. Mahavira never, never uses the word God. He discarded it; he used other techniques as jumping boards. But the ultimate remains the same. Hindus call it brahman, Buddhists call it nirvana, Jains call it kaivalya. The ultimate remains the same; God is used as a technical help. Any imagery, any symbolism can be used. But it must be such a symbol that when you have used it, you are capable of discarding it.

Buddha has told a parable. He says, “Some villagers crossed a stream by a boat. But then they thought, “This boat has helped us so much; otherwise to cross the stream was impossible. So we must not discard this boat.” Then they carried the boat on their heads into the town. The whole village gathered and everyone began to ask, “What is the matter? Have you come to sell this boat in the town? Or why are you carrying it? The boat seems so old—just a ruin. Who will purchase it? And we have never seen anyone carrying a boat on the head. Why you are carrying it?” So they said, “This boat is not ordinary; this has helped us to cross the stream. Without this it was impossible to come to this village, so we cannot be ungrateful to it. Now we will have to carry it.”

If you can remember it then you can use any method, any technique, any image, any help. It is artificial but for our minds, which cannot take a sudden jump, it helps.

Buddha always used this parable and he said, “Every technique, every symbol, every ritual is just a vehicle. The moment you have crossed the stream, discard it. Don’t go on carrying it, otherwise you will be just stupid.”

We can understand that those villagers were stupid, foolish. But as far as religious vehicles—techniques, boats—are concerned, everyone carries them continuously. If I give you the name “Rama” as a japa, as a repetitive method for your meditation, then one day it is bound to happen that you will come to me and will say, “Now I feel very blissful with this mantra. Now I am more at peace, more relaxed. Now I am more fresh, now I am less disturbed, now I am less tense. So now what more to do?”

And if I say to you that now drop this name—you have crossed the stream, you have come to the other shore, now drop this name also—then you will feel disturbed. I have advised many and when I say to them, “Drop this,” they say, “What are you telling us? How can we drop this? It is inconceivable. We cannot do this. And this seems profane—how can we? This is a very holy name, and this has helped us so much that we cannot discard it.”

This mid-step can become a barrier; it can become a jumping board—it depends on you. Use any image but remember continuously that this is just a technical help. Remember continuously that this has to be dropped. If you can remember it then you can use any method, any technique, any image, any help. It is artificial but for our minds, which cannot take a sudden jump, it helps.

Abridged from That Art Thou by Osho.

Osho is known for his revolutionary contribution to the science of inner transformation, with an approach to meditation that acknowledges the accelerated pace of contemporary life.

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