Audio for Art of Living part 13 (click to play or right click to download)

However, the approach up until now has been exactly the opposite. That approach asks you to renounce life, to renounce the world. It does not ask you to search in life. It does not ask you to learn the art of living. It also does not say to you that how life feels, depends on how you look at it. If life seems to be dark and miserable it is because of your wrong way of living it. This very life can also become a shower of bliss if only you know the right way to live it.

I call religion the art of living. Religion is not a renunciation of life, it is a stairway for descending deep into life. Religion is not turning one’s back on life, it is opening one’s eyes fully toward life. Religion is not an escape from life; religion is the name of embracing life fully. Religion is a total encounter with life.

It is perhaps because of these basic misconceptions that only elderly people show any interest in religion. You go to the temples, to the churches, to the gurudwaras and you will find only old people there. You will not see any young people. Why? There is only one explanation: so far our religions have been religions of old people; of those nearing their death, those who are now haunted by the fear of death and are interested in thinking about “after death” stuff, and want to know what there is after death.

How can a religion based on the philosophy of death influence the whole of life? How can a religion contemplating death make this world religious? It cannot. Even after five thousand years of religious teachings, the world is sinking steadily from irreligiousness to more irreligiousness. Although there is no shortage of temples, mosques, churches, priests, teachers, ascetics on this planet, its people have not yet been able to become religious. And they will not be able to, because the very base of religion is wrong. Instead of life, death has been made the base of religion. Instead of blossoming flowers, graves have been the focus of religion. It is not surprising if death-oriented religion is unable to thrill the heart of life.

Who is responsible for all this?

During these three days, I wish to discuss the religion of life, and hence, the need to understand the basic key point first. Up to now, everything has been done to hide, to suppress, to forget about this basic truth of life rather than to understand it, explore it. And the ill-effects of this effort to forget it, to deny it, have spread all over the world.

What is the central element in the normal life of human beings? God? Soul? Truth? No. What is at the core of human beings? What is in the depths of the human heart – of someone who has never undertaken any spiritual search, who has never traveled at all on any path of spiritual search, who has never begun any kind of spiritual seeking? Prayer? Devotion? No, not at all. If we search in the life-energy of a normal human being, if we search in one’s life force, we will see neither god nor devotion nor prayer, worship nor meditation there. We will see something very different.

This is something that has been kept suppressed and unmentioned, rather than be known and understood. And what is this something that will be found if we uncover and analyze the core of human beings?

Leave human beings aside for the moment, even if we look at the animal or vegetable kingdom, what will we find at the core of everything? If we investigate the activity of a plant, what will we find? What is a plant doing in essence? Its whole energy is directed toward producing new seeds. Its entire being, its entire life juice is occupied with forming new seeds, giving birth to new seeds. What is a bird doing? What is an animal doing? If we look closely into nature, we will find that there is only one process, only one wholehearted process going on. And that process is one of continuous creation, of procreation, of continuous resurrection of life in newer and newer forms. Flowers are nurturing seeds; fruits are nurturing seeds. And what will the seed do? The seed will grow into a new plant, into a new flower, into a new fruit…. If we look, life is an infinitely non-ending process of procreation. Life is an energy engaged in constant endeavor of procreation.

The same is the case in human beings. We have named this endeavor of constant procreation in humans “sex.” This labeling has given this energy a bad name, a condemnation; it has given a kind of condemnatory feeling in humans about it. Nevertheless, in humans also, a constant effort to procreate life goes on. This we have termed sex, sex energy. But what is this sex energy?

Since time immemorial, waves of the ocean have been pounding against the shores. The waves come in, they crash and they fall back. They come again, they crash and they fall back. Life too, over the hundreds of thousands of years, has been pounding in the form of endless waves. Life certainly seems to be wanting to rise to some point. These oceanic waves, these life waves, seem to be wanting to rise somewhere higher, but they only crash with the shore and are destroyed. New waves arise, crash and end. This ocean of life has been pounding for so many billions of years – battling, rising, and falling every day – that what must be the purpose behind it? There certainly seems to be an effort going on toward life touching ever greater heights. There certainly seems to be a striving toward realizing more profound depths. In this ceaseless process of life, there certainly seems to be an effort going on for giving birth to greater life.

It’s not very long ago – only a matter of a few hundred thousands years – that humans first appeared on the earth. Before that, there were only animals. And it’s not so very long ago that animals came into being either. Prior to that was a time when there weren’t any animals, when there were just plants. Then there was a time when plants too did not exist on this planet. There were only rocks, mountains, rivers and oceans.

And what was this world of rocks, mountains, rivers and oceans longing for? It was striving to produce plants. And gradually, ever so gradually, plants came into existence. The life-energy had manifested itself in a new form. Then the earth was covered with greenery. Flowers blossomed

But the plants were also not content with themselves; their inner urge and striving was also for something higher; they were eager to produce animals and birds. Then animals and birds came into being. The planet remained full of them for ages, but human beings were still nowhere in sight. And yet human beings were always there, inherent in the animals and birds, striving to break through the barrier, striving to be born. Then, in due course, human beings came into existence.

Now, what is the human being for? The human being is ceaselessly eager to create new life. We have named this tendency “sex”; we have called it “sexual passion,” “lust.” But what really is the meaning of this lust in its basics?

The meaning in its basics is only this much, that human beings don’t want to just end on themselves, they want to go on furthering life. But why? Can it be that the very soul of human beings is trying to give birth to a better human being, a greater human being, a super human being? It certainly is so. Certainly the soul of human beings is striving for a better human being, a superior being. From Nietzsche to Aurobindo, from Patanjali to Bertrand Russell, a fancy has remained enthroned in humankind’s heart of hearts as a dream: how to give birth to a superior human being?

But how will a better human being take birth? – we have condemned the urge of procreation itself for thousands of years. Instead of respecting sex, we have called it names. We are afraid to even talk about it. We have concealed it in a way as if it does not exist, as if it has no place in life. The truth is that there is nothing else more important in human life than this urge. But it has been covered up and suppressed. And humans have not become free of sex by covering it up and suppressing it; on the contrary they have become even more badly obsessed with sex. This repression yields the opposite result.

From Osho, From Sex to Superconsciousness, Chapter 2

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