About Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet
On Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra
“Man doesn’t end with himself; he is a growth. Man is a becoming, a growing, a continuous transcendence. Friedrich Nietzsche has said, ‘That day will be the most unfortunate day when man will not aspire to become higher, when man will not aspire to transcend himself. That day will be the most unfortunate when the arrow of man’s desire will not be moving higher than man, when there will be no target to reach, when man will be confined, closed in himself. That day will be the most unfortunate day.’”
Osho, The Beloved, Vol.2
Nietzsche’s creative genius sought out a great master from the past and he wrote of Zarathustra in a way that enabled him to project all his longing, his vision, and all of his yearning to break out of a life that had become an intolerable prison for him.
In these talks on Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra, Osho is indicating where Nietzsche’s vision came close to the truth and where it fell short. Osho says that had Nietzsche been exposed to the mystical traditions of the East he could have become enlightened.
“Zarathustra brings a total revolution in the concept of God and religion. Now religion is no longer a worship or a belief; now religion becomes the greatest creative act of man. Now religion is not what enslaves man, imprisons his spirit. In Zarathustra’s hands religion becomes the art of shattering all the chains, destroying all the hindrances, so that human consciousness can become divine consciousness…”
- Chapter 1: Of the Famous Philosophers
- Chapter 2: Of Self-Overcoming
- Chapter 3: Of Scholars
- Chapter 4: Of Poets
- Chapter 5: Of Redemption
- Chapter 6: Of Manly Prudence
- Chapter 7: Of the Stillest Hour
- Chapter 8: The Wanderer
- Chapter 9: Of Blissful Islands
- Chapter 10: Before Sunrise
- Chapter 11: Of the Virtue That Makes Small
- Chapter 12: Of the Apostates
- Chapter 13: The Home-Coming
- Chapter 14: Of the Three Evil Things
- Chapter 15: Of the Spirit of Gravity Part 1
- Chapter 16: Of the Spirit of Gravity Part 2
- Chapter 17: Of Old and New Law-Tables Part 1
- Chapter 18: Of Old and New Law-Tables Part 2
- Chapter 19: Of Old and New Law-Tables Part 3
- Chapter 20: The Convalescent
- Chapter 21: Of the Meeting with a Higher Man
- Chapter 22: The Greeting
Chapter 23: Of Laughter and Dance
Excerpt from Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet
One of the most important things to be understood about man is that man is asleep. Even while he thinks he is awake, he is not. His wakefulness is very fragile; his wakefulness is so tiny it doesn’t matter at all. His wakefulness is only a beautiful name, but utterly empty.
You sleep in the night, you sleep in the day; from birth to death you go on changing your patterns of sleep, but you are never really awake. Just by opening the eyes, don’t befool yourself that you are awake. Unless the inner eyes open, unless your inside becomes full of light, unless you can see yourself, who you are, don’t think that you are awake.
That is the greatest illusion man lives in. And once you accept that you are already awake, then there is no question of making any effort to be awake. The first thing to sink deep in your heart is that you are asleep, utterly asleep. You are dreaming, day in, day out. You are dreaming sometimes with open eyes and sometimes with closed eyes, but you are dreaming, you are a dream. You are not yet a reality.
And, of course, in a dream whatsoever you do is meaningless, whatsoever you think is pointless, whatsoever you project remains part of your dreams and never allows you to see that which is. Hence Buddha’s insistence – and not only Gautama the Buddha but all the buddhas have insisted on only one thing: “Awake!” Continuously, for centuries, their whole teaching can be contained in a single word: be awake!
And they have been devising methods, strategies, they have been creating contexts and spaces, and energy fields in which you can be shocked into awareness. Yes, unless you are shocked, shaken to your very foundations, you will not awaken. The sleep has been so long, it has reached to the very core of your being; you are soaked in it. Each cell of your body and each fiber of your mind has become full of sleep. It is not a small phenomenon. Hence, great effort is needed to be alert, to be attentive, to be watchful, to become a witness.
If on any one single theme all the buddhas of the world agree, this is the theme: that man as he is, is asleep