An extraordinary book written under extraordinary circumstances: Osho, who has over six hundred books to his name, talks about the one hundred and sixty-eight books that have had the most profound effect on him and his life. From the mystics of the East to Nietzsche, Western philosophers and the great Russian novelists, here is a commentary on the whole rainbow of the world’s literary genius. Woven together with wonderfully humorous personal comments and swings of the Zen stick directed to his note-taker – his dentist – this entire book is spoken from his dental chair between treatments.
“I had thought to talk about only fifty books, but then came the P.S. and it continued and continued. Again fifty titles were completed, but there were still so many beautiful books that I had to continue and start the P.P.S.”
Sessions 1 to 16
“Athato Brahma Jigyasa – now the inquiry into the ultimate”…that’s how Badrayana begins his great book, perhaps the greatest. Badrayana’s book is the first I am going to talk about today. He begins his great book Brahman Sutra with this sentence: “Now the inquiry into the ultimate.” That’s how all the sutra in the East begin, always with “Now…athato,” never otherwise.
Badrayana is one of those who are bound to be misunderstood, for the simple reason that he is too serious. A mystic should not be so serious, that’s not a good quality. But he was a brahmin living thousands of years ago, living among brahmins, talking to brahmins, and brahmins are the most serious people in the world. Do you know India has no jokes? Is it not strange for such a big country to be without jokes? Such a long history without jokes! The brahmins cannot joke because the joke seems too profane, and they are sacred people.
I can understand and forgive Badrayana, but I could not forget to mention that he is a little bit too serious. I was hesitating whether to include him in my list of books. The hesitation was only because of his seriousness. I did not hesitate about Mirdad; I did not hesitate at all about even Rubaiyat, by Omar Khayyam. But I hesitated about Badrayana and his Brahman Sutra, which in the East is considered to be one of the greatest books – and it certainly is.
I have read many serious books, even that rascal saint George Gurdjieff’s All and Everything, but there is nothing to compete with Badrayana’s Brahman Sutra as far as seriousness is concerned. He is ultimate in his seriousness too. Alas, could he only have laughed a little!
Christians believe that Jesus never laughed. I refute it. I refute it absolutely! It is possible about Badrayana; he may never have laughed. He is so serious, utterly serious. You could not create a more serious book. Thousands of commentaries have been written on it to explain what he means.
Truth needs no commentary, but when you put it in a serious garb, naturally commentators follow, and commentators always serve the devil. It is still a great book; in spite of Badrayana’s seriousness it is great. Badrayana reaches to the highest, to the ultimate, with great acumen, with great efficiency, the efficiency of a scientist.