Since Tantra Yoga is so much in vogue these days, I thought I’d share the perspective of Osho on this science. Here is an excerpt from one of his books, Tao: The Pathless Path. Osho’s books are in the public domain and can be downloaded here.
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Q: YOU HAVE TALKED MUCH ON LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS, UNION, ETC. IS THERE A MERGING BETWEEN THE TAO AND TANTRA?
Osho: Tantra means technique and Tao can have no relationship with any technique whatsoever. Tao is non-methodological, non-technical. Tao means spontaneity. How can spontaneity have a technique? You cannot practise it; if you practise it you miss it. There is no way to cultivate it; a cultivated spontaneity could be anything else but it could not be spontaneity.
Tao means let go. Wherever your energy moves, allow it to move. Don’t swim — float with the river. Swimming is a technique — if you are just flowing with the river what technique is needed? Technique means that you have a direction, you want to reach somewhere. Technique means that you want to impose your will on reality, you want to be someone. somewhere, in some state; you have a desire, you have a projection.
Tao says you are already there, you are already that. There is nowhere to go and nothing else to be, so just relax and let things happen. And whatsoever happens is good — because there is no denial in Tao, no rejection, no repression. It is the greatest rebellious attitude possible. Never has man’s intelligence risen higher than in Tao. But there is no way to it. You cannot be guided to it.
Buddha has talked about five ways to reach truth. The first he calls the way of SHEELA, the way of morality, character, virtue. The second he calls the way of knowledge. The third he calls the way of DHYANA, meditation; the fourth he calls the way of devotion; and the fifth he calls ASHEKSHA — that which cannot be taught.
That fifth is Tao. It cannot be taught. It can be learned but it cannot be taught. And when I say that it can be learned, I mean that if you relax, if you allow life to happen to you, if you don’t create a barrier, if you are ready to go wherever it leads, you will learn it. It is the most dangerous path because you will not be in control. Your mind cannot manipulate; your mind cannot prepare in any way. You will have to live moment to moment — as the trees live, as the stars live, as the mountains live. You will have to live in the same way, the same natural way. Tao is nature.
So the Indian Tantra Yoga cannot have any merger with Tao. The Indian Tantra is very scientific. It is the science of how to transform sexual energy into spiritual energy; how to create the dynamo that changes, transforms, transmutes energy; how to move from the lower to the higher; how to go from the earth to heaven. It is a way from sex to super-consciousness. It is very technological.
There is no meeting possible between the Indian Tantra and the Chinese Tao, no meeting is possible. They are far away, poles apart, and it is impossible to mix them. If somebody tries to mix them Tao will be destroyed, Tantra Yoga will not be destroyed. Always remember whenever you mix a higher standpoint with a lower, the higher is destroyed not the lower. It is always the higher that loses because the higher is delicate, the higher is very, very vulnerable, fragile, like a flower. If you crush a flower with a rock, the rock is not going to be destroyed. The rock may not even come to know that there has been a clash. But the flower will be gone — crushed, destroyed. Tao is the highest possibility and Tantra can destroy it. So remember not to mix them.
But Tao has its own tantra because Tao is a total world view. It has everything that is possible. It is the whole. So there must be something in it for love, for sex there is.
What is Taoist tantra? I have to use the word ‘tantra remember, but I am not using it in the Indian sense. What is Taoist tantra? It is spontaneity in sexuality; it is spontaneity in love.
For example, if you read a Tantra Yoga manual, an Indian Tantra manual, there is great ritual in it. Every step is very clearly indicated. It is not easy to practise Indian Tantra — you will have to become adept at it. Don’t fool around. Don’t think that while you are making love to a woman you are practising Tantra. Tantra is difficult. It is a long process. And it takes years to get trained in it.
The greatest training that is involved and the most difficult problem that arises is that Tantra allows a man to make love to a woman only when the man has lost all sexual attraction towards the woman. There is no sexual attraction at all. That is the whole process. The woman becomes almost a mother to you or a sister to you a goddess. She has to be worshipped. In Tantra ritual the woman has to be worshipped like a goddess. And tor months together one has to practise that worship.
The woman sits naked in front of you on a throne and you worship and you bow down and you pray to her and you create the idea in the deepest core of consciousness that she is just a representative of all womanhood, motherhood. She is a goddess.
Day by day, slowly, slowly, you lose all sexual interest in her. You become auto-hypnotised with your own idea. The day you lose all sexual interest in her body and you can look through and though her and her body is no longer a thrill, her body is not even seen at all, she becomes luminous, she is just a presence only then does the Master allow you to make love to her. Now love will have a totally different quality. There is no sex involved in it, no attraction involved in it, no physicality involved in it. It is absolutely spiritual — a meeting of two souls.
But it is a long process. Many rituals, many prayers, many YANTRAS, many meditations are needed. After years of training you come to the point where the woman is no longer a woman to you, she has almost become a mother — ‘motherhoodness’ has arisen. You have projected that motherhoodness on her. You see her breasts but they no longer provoke any sexuality in you, only the idea of a mother. You see her body and you start feeling that you are part of her body just as you were part of your mother. It is recreating the mother. And it is a long process. Tantra is very procedural, ritualistic, and a great experiment in hypnosis, auto-hypnosis.
And it is a great experiment in getting rid of the idea of sex. It is not sexual at all, as is commonly misunderstood. It is a totally different attitude not sexual at all. It is very prayerful. And when you make love to a woman after you have become an adept in Tantra Yoga and the Master has allowed you…. It has to depend on the Master’s agreement, it does not depend on you. When the Master sees in your eyes that all sex has disappeared, that your body has become almost asexual, he sees that now you are standing before the woman as a small child, unaware of sexuality — you are naked, she is naked but you are not at all interested in sexuality — when the Master confirms it, when he gives you a signal, then you are allowed. It depends on the Master. He has to watch, watch carefully. It takes months, sometimes years, to prepare for it.
Tao has its own tantra. The first thing: Tao never divides into the lower and the higher, that is the beauty of it. The moment you divide reality into the lower and the higher you are getting schizophrenic. The moment you say something is sacred and something is profane you have divided. The moment you say something is material and something is spiritual you have divided, you have split reality. Reality is one. There is neither matter nor spirit. Reality is one. It expresses itself in many forms: on one level as matter, on another level as spiritual. The spiritual is not higher and the material is not lower — they stand on the same level. That is the Taoist attitude. Life is one. Existence is one. It is a tremendous oneness and there is no evaluation.
The first thing in Tao is to drop duality. Sex is not lower and samadhi is not higher. Samadhi and sex are both expressions of the same energy. There is nothing laudable about samadhi and there is nothing condemnable about sex. The Tao acceptance is total, absolute. There is nothing wrong about the body and there is nothing beautiful about the spirit — they are both beautiful. Devil and God are one in Tao, heaven and hell are one in Tao, good and bad are one in Tao — it is the greatest non-dual understanding. There is no condemnation and no preparation. To prepare for what? One has simply to relax and be.
If you can love a woman spontaneously…. In fact, Tao will say that Tantra has a wrong attitude, because you have to prepare. Preparation means that you are preparing for the future. Tao knows only one time — which is now; and only one place — which is here. Now is the only time and here is the only place. Here is heaven and now is nirvana. So don’t prepare.
If in some moment love flows, love takes possession of you, go with it. Don’t push the river. Don’t try to give it any shape. Don’t try to fix it into any ritual. Just go with it. In deep trust, in deep gratitude, go with it. While making love to a woman don’t try to prove anything — as they are trying to do in the West. Don’t try to prove anything — because when you start trying to prove, your mind has come in. While you are making love to a woman forget all about the fact that you are a man and she is a woman. Let boundaries merge and mix. Don’t remain a man otherwise you will miss — because again a dualism comes in: you are the man and she is the woman. Nobody knows why two persons really make love. Many times it happens that the man becomes the woman and the woman becomes the man. Who bothers who is who?
And if you are thinking about it then the mind is there and the mind is the barrier; it does not allow the unison to happen totally. So Tao simply says: go spontaneously, with no ritual, with no idea to prove. And remember, never use sexuality for anything. Tantra Yoga uses it as a step towards samadhi. Tao says: never use anything as a means. Everything is an end unto itself. The moment you start thinking of somewhere to go, something to reach, some result to attain out of it, you are not total, your mind is divided, you are already in the future. There are no means and no ends. Everything simply is an intrinsically beautiful end unto itself.
In Tao this is very basic. Love, eat, go for a morning walk, swim in the river, sit in the sun, watch the stars — but let everything be simple, not for anything else. Sing a song, but not for any result. Look at this tree, but not for any result. Go for a morning walk, but not for health! Don’t be a naturopath! Just go for a walk, it is beautiful. Health is a by-product; you need not worry about it, it happens. Lie down in the sun, enjoy it, but not for anything else. Lie there for its own sake. That is what Tao is.
And in that relaxed attitude life starts pouring into you from everywhere. All doors open, all windows open. Existence flows into you, you flow into existence.
Tao is very simple; therefore, because we are very complex, it is very difficult. Simple things don’t appeal to us. Tantra appeals to many people but Tao has not that much appeal. Tao appeals very rarely. If Tao appeals to you, consider yourself to be fortunate. The very possibility of your getting interested in Tao is a great blessing.
When you translate everything in terms of Tao it becomes spontaneity.
Q: YOU ARE KNOWN THROUGHOUT THE WORLD AS THE TANTRA MASTER OR THE SEX GURU, YET IN THE THREE YEARS I HAVE BEEN IN YOUR ASHRAM, NOT ONLY HAVE I HAD LESS SEX THAN EVER BEFORE IN MY LIFE, BUT THOUGHT AND HEARD LESS ABOUT IT AS WELL. WILL YOU EXPLAIN THIS DISCREPANCY?
Osho: Just the other day in a magazine, CINE BLITZ, I came across a headline, and they say I am the Hugh Heffner of the spiritual world. And what are they talking about?
Yes, I teach you how to go deep in love. I teach you how to go deep in sex too, because that is the only way to go beyond. To go through it is the only way to go beyond it — but my goal is to take you beyond. Now this is a problem, and I am going to be misunderstood again and again, all over the world.
People have become accustomed: they think religious people have to be against sex; and those who are not against sex, how can they be religious? These have become DEADLY settled categories. I am unsettling all those categories, and I don’t expect the world to immediately change so much from its settled patterns of mind. So I don’t expect them to understand me either. When they misunderstand, I perfectly understand their misunderstanding. I have no false hopes. It will take years or centuries for them to understand me, but this always happens.
I am creating a new vision of life. The vision is so new that they don’t have any category for categorizing it. So all are angry; Mahatma Morarji Desai is angry. He is angry because he is sexually repressed, utterly repressed, with no understanding. He has just repressed his sexuality.
The story is that when Morarji Desai was young, in his young days fifty or so years ago, a man in his village raped his own sister. That shocked him very much, and he thought that it was sex that was the cause of such a great crime. In fact, repression may have been the cause; otherwise who wants to rape his own sister? In fact, sisters don’t look very appealing at all. One has lived with them, one has grown up with them. Unless a person is very repressed it is very difficult to fall in love with his own sister, almost impossible.
Love always happens with the unknown, with the unacquainted. Familiarity breeds contempt. How can one love one’s own sister? But the man must have been living in a deep repression — maybe he had never known any woman! He must have been desperate. But what Morarji concluded out of it was this: that sex is the root cause of all crime. If it can drive people mad and they can rape their own sisters, this is the root cause of all crime. He decided never to go into sex again — not for any religious reason, not for any spiritual reason — and since that time he has been repressing.
And the same was true about his guru, Mahatma Gandhi. It was also a trauma that created his lifelong celibacy. His father was dying and he was massaging his father’s feet, and the doctors had said that this might be the last night, he might not see the morning again. But at twelve o’clock in the night when the father fell asleep, he went back and started making love to his wife. He went back to his room, and when he was just in the middle of the act, somebody knocked on the door and said, “What are you doing? Where are you? Your father is dead.”
It shocked him. It was a trauma, a great trauma that transformed his whole life — not for the better, but for the worse. He felt guilty. He concluded that it was the lust, the sex, that had driven him at the last moment when his father was dying. He had committed a crime, a sin. He could never forgive himself so he renounced sex, and for his whole life he suppressed sex. Only in the end, in the last years of his life, did he become aware of the suppression because the sexual fantasy continued to the very end. Then he started trying some Tantra experiments, so that before he died he could get rid of sex — but it was too late.
These people cannot understand. They will think that I am a sex guru, that I am teaching you sex, that I am teaching you indulgence. These people cannot understand.
Hugh Heffner cannot understand either, because he will ask why am I talking about meditation, why am I talking about spirituality? Spirituality, meditation, SAMADHI — these things will look like nonsense to him.
So both Morarji Desai and Hugh Heffner will misunderstand me. I am going to be misunderstood by the so-called spiritualists and by the so-called materialists, but I understand that it is going to be my fate.
I can only be understood by a NEW kind of being who has seen this totality: that man is both body and soul, and that life matures only through experiences.
Sex can become a stepping-stone towards SAMADHI. If you understand it deeply, if you experience it deeply, you will be free of it — but that freedom will have a totally different quality I It will not be a repressed sex. A repressed sex continues underground, goes on in your unconscious, on and on, and goes on affecting your life.
I have heard…
Once a wealthy old religious woman caught a burglar ransacking her things. She had lived her whole life as a celibate, almost like a nun.
“Listen lady, keep quiet if you don’t want to be hurt. Just tell me where your jewels are.”
She said, “I don’t keep them here. They are in the bank in the safe-deposit vault.”
“Where is all your silver then?” “I am sorry, but it is all out, being cleaned and polished.” “Give me your money then.”
“I tell you,” she said, “I don’t keep any cash on hand.”
“Listen lady, I am warning you — give me your money or I will rip it off you.” And he started feeling her up and down.
“I keep telling you,” she said, “I don’t have any money. But if you do that again I will write you a cheque.”
I have also heard another story; maybe it is about the same burglar…
In the middle of the night a phone call came through at the police station. Somebody was in need of immediate help. The voice on the phone said desperately, “Come soon! Come immediately! A burglar is trapped in an old woman’s room!” The police inspector on duty said, “We will be reaching within five minutes. But who is calling?”
And the voice said, “It is the burglar.”
If you repress, you will carry the wound for your whole life, unhealed. Repression is not the way.
The radical change comes through understanding, and understanding comes through experience. So I give you total freedom to experience all that your mind, your body want to experience, with just one condition: be alert, be watchful, be conscious.
If you can make love consciously, you will be surprised: love has all the keys to SAMADHI. If you go deeply into love with full consciousness, alert and aware, you will see that it is not love that attracts you; but in the highest peak of love, in the orgasmic explosion, your mind disappears, your thoughts stop, and that is from where the nectar flows into you. It is not really sex that gives you that beautiful experience. Sex simply helps you, in a natural way, to come to a point where mind is dissolved — of course, for a moment. The clouds disperse and you can see the sun. Again those clouds will be there and the sun will be lost, and again you will start fantasizing about sex. If you go unconscious, then you will miss this whole secret again and again.
It is not sex that is keeping you tethered to the world, it is unconsciousness! So the question is not how to drop sex; the question is how to drop unconsciousness. Be conscious and let your natural being have its whole flow.
And sex is a natural part. You are born of it; every cell of your body is a sexual cell. Repressing it is against nature.
But there is a transcendence which is a totally different matter. If you are alert and aware in your orgasmic moment, you will see time disappears — for a moment there is no time, no past, no future. You are utterly herenow, and that is the beauty. It is because of that that you feel such joy, so much blessing showers on you.
Now these two secrets have to be understood: one, the disappearance of the mind for a moment, and the disappearance of time for a moment. And these are two aspects of one phenomenon: one aspect is time, the other aspect is mind. When these two disappear you are in utter bliss, you are in God. And meditation is a way to let these disappear without going into sex.
When you go into meditation you will recognize one day the truth that in meditation it happens also: mind disappears, time disappears. And that day will be the day of great realization. That day you will see why you were so interested in sex, and that very day all interest in sex will disappear. Not that you will have to drop it by effort; it will simply disappear, just like dewdrops in the morning sun disappear, with no trace, with no wounds.
If you can create it through meditation, it is far easier to create it — because you do it alone. The other is not needed, you need not depend on the other.
Secondly, if you can do it meditatively, no energy is lost. On the contrary you become more vital because energy is saved.
Thirdly, if you can do it meditatively, then you can remain in it as long as you want. It is not momentary. You can by and by learn how to remain in it for twenty-four hours. A Buddha lives in the orgasmic state for twenty-four hours, day in, day out. Between the day Gautama Buddha became enlightened and the day he died there is a distance of forty-two years. For these forty-two years he was utterly in an orgasmic state. Just think! Those few moments you have are nothing compared to a Buddha’s.
I am teaching you a new kind of synthesis. I am all for that transcendence that brings you to Buddhahood, but it is transcendence, not repression. Through repression nobody ever transcends. Through repression one goes on moving and moving in the same rut. Repressing, you have to repress every day. To the very last moment of your death, sex will haunt you. If you really want to get rid of it… and I want you to get rid of it! But I am not against sex, because those who are against sex can never get rid of it. Hence the paradox of my teachings.
Only those who are really ready to understand will be able to understand; otherwise I am going to be misunderstood. The crowd, the mass, is going to misunderstand me. But I don’t expect, either, that they should understand. I feel sorry for them, but there is no expectation either, sol never feel offended. I know that the teaching is so new that it will take centuries to create criteria on which it can be judged. Criteria are not there. It is said when a poet is really great his poetry cannot be understood, because all the old poetry is different from it. The great poet has to create his own criteria on which his poetry can be judged. So is it the case with a great painter: you cannot judge a great painter by the old painters and the old masters. He has such a new message that no old valuations will be of any help, so he has to create new values also. It takes time. And if it is so with poetry and painting and sculpture, what to say about enlightenment? That is the greatest art, the art of all the arts. It takes centuries.
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