Three Stages of Enlightenment (according to Osho)

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Q: This question has been hovering in me for years. A few times you have talked around it, but this has mystified me more, so please enlighten. 

When and where did enlightenment happen to Jesus? Was he born enlightened? – as it is said some three wise men from the east travelled to have darshan of the baby Jesus. Or did enlightenment happen to Jesus when he was secretly and anonymously travelling in Tibet and India, visiting Buddhist monasteries? Or did enlightenment happen to Jesus when he was initiated by John the Baptist in the river Jordan? Or did enlightenment happen to Jesus when he was on the cross saying ‘Lord, thy kingdom come, thy will be done’?

Osho:

There are three stages of enlightenment.

The first is when the first glimpse happens. I call it mini-satori. When, for the first time, for a single moment mind is not functioning, there is a gap – no thought between you and existence. You and existence, you and existence… for a moment… and the meeting, and the merging, and the communion, and the orgasm… but for a moment. And from that moment the seed will be in your heart and growing.

The second I call satori: that is when you have become capable of retaining this gap as long as you want. For hours together, for days together you can remain in this interval, in this utter aloneness, in God, with God, as God. But a little effort is still needed on your part. If you drop the effort the satori disappears. The first satori, the mini-satori, happened almost as an accident – you were not even expecting it. How can you expect? You had not known it before, you had never tasted it. How can you expect it? It came just out of the blue. Yes, you were doing many things – praying, meditating, dancing, singing – but they were all like groping in the dark. You were groping.

It will not happen if you are not groping at all. It happens only to ‘gropers’, real gropers – they go on groping, they never feel tired and exhausted, and they never feel hopeless. Millions of times they are defeated in their effort, and nothing happens, but they go on and on. Their passion for God is so tremendous. They can accept all kinds of defeats and frustrations, but their search continues. Unwavering, they go on groping. The darkness is great, it seems to be almost endless, but their hope is greater than the darkness. That is the meaning of faith; they grope through faith.

Faith means hoping for that which seems almost impossible. Faith means hoping against all hope. Faith means trying to see that which you have not seen, and you cannot even be certain whether it exists or not. A great passion is needed to have that much faith.

So to a groper who lives in faith and goes on and on, nothing ever prevents him. No failure ever settles in him; his journey continues. He is the pilgrim. Then one day it comes just out of the blue. You were not expecting. Unawares, it comes close to you and surrounds you. For a moment you cannot even believe… How can you believe? – for millions of lives a person has been groping, and it has not happened. The first time it looks almost like imagination, dream. But it is there, and it is so real that all that you have known before as real pales before it, becomes very faint. It is so real that it carries its certainty intrinsically. It is self-evident. You cannot suspect it. That is the criterion of whether the mini-satori has happened or not: you cannot doubt it. You can try, but you cannot doubt it. It is so certain that no doubt arises in that moment. It is simply there.

It is like the sun has risen… how can you doubt?

Then the second becomes a more conscious groping. Now you know it is, now you know it has happened. Now you know it has even happened to you! Now there is a great certainty. Now faith is not needed, now experience is enough. Now belief is not needed. Now its certainty permeates your whole being, you are full of it. Now you grope more consciously, you make efforts in the right direction. Now you know how it happened, when it happened, in what space it became possible. You were dancing? – then what was happening when it happened? In what way did the contact become possible? By and by, it happens again and again, and you can make out, figure out, reckon out how it happens, in what mood. In what mood do you fall in tune with it and it happens? Now things become more clear, now it is not just waiting in the darkness. You can start moving, you can have a direction.

Still you falter, still sometimes you fall, still sometimes it disappears for months. But never again can doubt arise in you. The doubt has been killed by the first satori. Then, more and more, it will come. And sooner or later you will become capable of bringing it on order. Whenever you want you can create that milieu in you which brings it. You can relax, if it comes in relaxation; you can dance, if it comes in dance. You can go under the sky if it comes there. You can watch a rose flower if it happens there. You can go and float in a river if it happens there.

That’s how all the methods have been discovered. They have been discovered by people when they found out that in a certain situation – make certain arrangements – it happens. Those became methods. By and by you become very very certain that if you desire it, any moment you will be able, because you can move your focus towards it. You can move your whole consciousness, you can direct your being.

Now you become able to see that it is always there; just your contact is needed. It is almost like your radio or like your TV: it is always there, sounds are always passing; you just have to tune the radio to a certain station – and the song, and the news. This is the second stage. But still, effort is needed to tune. You are not continuously tuned on your own, you have to work it out. Some days it is easy, some days it is hard. If you are in a negative mood it is hard, if you are angry, it is hard. If you are loving it is easier. In the early morning it is easier, in the evening it is more difficult. Alone on a mountain it is easier, in the market-place it is more difficult. So you start coming closer and closer, but still effort is needed.

Then the third thing happens. When you become so capable of finding it that any moment, whenever you want it – not a single moment is lost – you immediately can pinpoint it, then the third thing happens. It becomes a natural quality. That I call samadhi.

Satori one, satori two, satori three… The first satori must have happened somewhere in the East – in Tibet or in India. Jesus was with Buddhist Masters. The first satori must have happened somewhere here, because to the Jews samadhi had never been a concern.

Jesus brings something very foreign to the Jewish world: he introduces Buddha into the Jewish world. It must have happened somewhere in Nalanda, where he stayed for many years. But he was travelling – he was in Egypt, he was in India, in Tibet. So nobody can be certain of where it happened. But more possibility is India: it remains, for centuries, the country where satori has been more available than anywhere else – for a certain reason – because so many people have been meditating here. Their meditation has created very potential spots, very available spots. It must have happened somewhere here, but no record is there, so I’m not saying anything historical.

But about the second: it is certain it happened in the River Jordan with John the Baptist when he initiated Jesus into his path – the path of the Essenes. He was a great Master, John the Baptist, a very revolutionary prophet. The second satori must have happened there. It is depicted as a white dove descending on Jesus. The white dove has always been the symbol of peace, silence. That is the symbol for satori – the unknown descending. The second satori must have happened there. And John the Baptist said “My work is finished. The man has come who will take it over from me. Now I can renounce and go into the mountains. I was waiting for this man.”

And the third happened just on the cross – the last effort of the ego – very tiny, but still… Jesus must have desired how things should be in some way. Deep down, in some unconscious nook or comer of his being, he must have been hoping that God would save him. And God never moves according to you. Man proposes and God disposes – that’s how he teaches you to disappear, that’s how he teaches you not to will on your own, not to have a private will. And the last lesson happened on the cross, at the last moment. Jesus shouted, almost in agony “Why have you forsaken me? Why have you deserted me? What wrong have I done?” But he was a man of great insight – the man of second satori.

Immediately he must have become aware that this was wrong: “That means I still have a desire of my own, a will of my own. That means I still am not totally in God. My surrender is still only ninety-nine per cent.” And a surrender that is ninety-nine per cent is a no-surrender, because surrender is one hundred per cent. A circle is a circle only when it is complete. You can’t call a half-circle a half-circle, because ‘circle’ means complete. There are no half-circles. There is no approximate truth. The approximate truth is still a lie; either it is true or it is not true. There is nothing like approximate truth, and there is nothing like approximate surrender.

In that moment he realised. He relaxed, he surrendered. He said “Let Thy kingdom come. Who am I to interfere? Let thy will be done”… and the third satorisamadhi. That moment, Jesus disappeared. And I call that moment his resurrection. That is the moment Buddha says: gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha: Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond. What ecstasy! Alleluia! That is the moment of absolute benediction. Jesus became God. The Son became Father in that moment; all distinction disappeared. The last barrier dissolved, Jesus had come home.

Osho, I Say Unto You, Vol 1, Ch 4, Q 4