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You Cannot Step into the Same River Twice
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OSHO: The Hidden Harmony, Chapter 11

Into the same riverswe step and do not step.
You cannot step twice in the same river.

Everything flows and nothing abides.
Everything gives way and no thing stays fixed.

Cool things become warm, the warm grows cool.
The moist dries, the parched becomes moist.

It is by disease that health is pleasant;
by evil that good is pleasant;
by hunger, satiety, by weariness, rest.
It is one and the same thing to be living or dead,
awake or asleep, young or old.
The former aspect in each case becomes the latter,
and the latter again the former,
by sudden unexpected reversal.
It throws apart
and then brings together again.

All things come in their due seasons.

Into the same rivers we step and do not step...

...because the appearance, and remember, only the appearance, remains the same. Otherwise, everything changes and flows.

Here is the basic difference between the ordinary religious conception and the really religious. Hindus say that that which changes is the appearance, the maya; and that which never changes, is permanent, is brahma. Heraclitus says just the opposite: that which appears permanent is the appearance, the maya, and that which changes is the brahma. And the same is the understanding of Buddha, that change is the only permanence, change is the only eternal phenomenon. Only change abides, nothing else. My feeling is also the same.

I n search of a permanent truth you are searching for nothing but your own ego. In search of a permanent God, what are you seeking? You are seeking permanence in some way or other. You would like to abide so that if this world changes there is nothing to worry about. Your mind says: "Seek the divine and there will be no change, and you will live for ever and ever."

The ordinary religious conception -- Hindu, Jewish or Christian -- is basically an ego-trip. Why do you say that change is appearance? Because with change you are afraid. Change looks like death. You would like something absolutely permanent to stand upon. You would like a house that will be always and always. In this world you cannot find that house that abides. In this world you cannot find any relationship that abides. Then you project a relationship with God, because God abides, and with God you will abide. But this search, this desire, this seeking to abide forever -- this is the problem! Why do you want to be? Why not not be? Why are you so afraid of not being? If you are afraid of non-being, nothingness, emptiness, death, you cannot know the truth. One knows the true when one is ready to drop oneself totally, utterly.

That's why Buddha says: "There is no soul. You are not a self, not an atma. You are an anatta, a no-self. There is nothing permanent in you, nothing substantial -- you are a flow, a river."

Why does Buddha insist on a no-self?

He insists because if you accept non-being, if you accept nothingness, then there is no fear of death, then you can drop yourself completely. And when you drop yourself completely, the vision arises. Then you are capable of knowing. With your ego you cannot know. Only in an egolessness, in a deep abyss, in the absence of the ego, does the perception happen -- then you become a mirror. With the ego you will always interpret, you cannot know the truth. With the ego you will always be there interpreting in subtle ways, and your interpretation is not the truth. You are the medium of all falsification. Through you everything becomes false. When you are not there, the true reflects.

Somehow you have to come to an understanding: the understanding of the no-self, of a changeless flux, no substance as such -- just a river flowing and flowing. Then you are a mirror, a clarity. Then there is nobody to disturb and nobody to interpret and nobody to distract. Then existence mirrors in you as it is. That mirroring of existence as it is, is the truth.

Second thing: if you want to abide always and always, you have not lived the moment. One who has lived his life truly, authentically, one who has enjoyed it, is always ready to die, is always ready to leave. One who has not enjoyed and celebrated, one who has not lived the moment, the life, is always afraid to leave because "the time has come to leave and I am yet unfulfilled." The fear of death is not the fear of death, it is a fear of remaining unfulfilled. You are going to die, and nothing, nothing at all could you experience through life -- no maturity, no growth, no flowering. Empty-handed you came, empty-handed you are going. This is the fear!

One who has lived is always ready to die. His readiness is not a forced attitude. His readiness is just like a flower. When the flower has flowered, has sent its perfume to the infinite corners of existence, enjoyed the moment, lived it, danced through the breeze, risen against the wind, looked at the sky, watched the sunrise, lived it, a fulfillment comes by the evening and the flower is ready to drop to the earth, to go back, to rest. And it is always beautiful -- when you have lived, rest is beautiful. It is the thing! The flower simply drops to the earth and goes to sleep. There is no tension, no anguish, no cry, no effort to cling.

You cling to life because your life is unfulfilled.

You have not risen against a strong wind. You have not known the morning, and the evening has come. You have never been young, and old age is knocking at the door. You never loved, and death is coming. This unfulfilled state and the coming of death creates the fear. Buddha says that if you have lived you will always be ready to die. And that readiness will not be something forced upon you. It will be the thing, it will be a natural thing! As you are born, you die. As you come, you go. This is the wheel of existence. You lived the being part, now you will live the non-being part. You existed, now you will not exist. You rose, you manifested, now you will move into the unmanifested. You were visible, embodied, now you will move without the body to the invisible. You had your day; now you will take rest in the night. What is wrong in it?

The search for the permanent shows that you remain unfulfilled. The search to have a permanent self is a clinging. You know that death is going to be there, so what to do? The body will disintegrate, disappear; now you have your hopes that some permanent self must be there which will go on and on and on. Remember: those who are afraid, they always believe in the eternal soul.

Look in this country: the whole country believes that the soul is eternal, but you cannot find a more cowardly country in the world. It is not accidental. Why are Indians so cowardly? In fact, if they know that the soul is never going to die they should be the bravest -- because death doesn't exist! They go on talking about the deathless, and if you watch their life they are more afraid of death than anybody else. Otherwise, how can you explain the one thousand years of slavery of this country? Very small races -- England is no bigger than a small province of India. Three crore people only were able to dominate a country of fifty crore. It seems simply impossible! How did it happen? -- Because the country is cowardly. They cannot fight, they are afraid of death. They talk about the deathless -- and this is not accidental, there is a reasoning behind it.

Whenever somebody talks too much about the deathless it means he is afraid of death, he is a coward.

And India has not lived because of the priests. India has not lived life because of the priests. They have been teaching people to renounce, so everybody is ready, before he has lived, to renounce. Then the fear comes in. If you have lived, lived to your total capacity, to the optimum, the fear of death disappears. Only then does the fear of death disappear, never before it. If you renounce life, if you don't love, if you don't eat, if you don't enjoy and dance; if you simply renounce and condemn and you say: "This is all materialistic. I am against it"...who is this "I" who says "I am against it"? This is the ego.

You cannot find greater egoists than so called spiritualists. They are always condemning the materialist. They are always saying: "What! You are wasting your life. Eat, drink, and be merry -- this is your religion. You are a burden on the earth. You have to be thrown into hell." Who is condemning? What is wrong in "Eat, drink, and be merry"? What is wrong in it? That is the first part of life. It should be so. You should eat, drink, and be merry. You should celebrate. Only then, when you have celebrated to the optimum, are you ready to go, are you ready to leave and with no grudge, with no complaint. You lived the day, now the night has come. And when the day was so beautiful -- you rose with the waves in the sky, and you did whatsoever the moment demanded -- then the rest, then going back to the earth is beautiful.

India has been renouncing, and a religion that renounces is false. A religion that makes you capable of celebrating to the optimum is the true religion. And this is the beauty of it: if you live life, a renunciation comes automatically. It happens -- that is the nature. If you eat well, satiety comes. If you drink well, the thirst disappears. If you lived well, the clinging to life disappears. It has to be so. This is the law, the logos. If you have not lived well, then you always remain clinging, then you always dream about how to live. And if you have renounced this life you have to project another life. You need a permanent self, otherwise what will you do? You missed this life, and there is no other life? You need a permanent self. You have to believe and console yourself: "Okay, the body dies but the self never dies."

If you listen to Buddha and Heraclitus and to me, the self dies even before the body dies -- because the self is of a more dreamy stuff than the body. The body is more substantial -- at least it takes seventy years to die, and the self dies every moment. Watch: in the morning you have one self, by the afternoon another. In the morning you were happy and it was a different self; by the afternoon it has gone, already gone. Yes, Heraclitus is right:

Into the same rivers we step and do not step.

It simply appears that in the afternoon you are the same self. It simply appears. Where is the self of the morning when you were so happy, and you could sing with the birds, and you could dance with the rising sun? Where is that self? By the afternoon you are already sad; the evening has already descended on you. In the middle of the afternoon it has already become night -- you are sad. Is this the same self? When you hate and when you love, do you think it is the same self? When you are depressed and when you reach a peak of joy, is this the same self? It is not, it simply appears to be. It appears the same, just like if you go the Ganges: in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, it appears the same Ganges -- but it is not. It is constantly flowing.

Heraclitus loves the symbol of the river, Buddha loves the symbol of the flame. That symbol of the flame is even more subtle. The flame appears to be the same but it is not. Every moment it is disappearing; the old is going and the new is coming. Buddha says that in the evening you light a candle, and in the morning you blow it out -- but never think that it is the same candle. It cannot be. The whole night it burnt and burnt and burnt. The whole night the flame disappeared and disappeared and disappeared, and a new flame was constantly being supplied. But the difference between the two flames -- the old going out and the new coming in, the gap -- is so subtle that you cannot see it.

Buddha says: "The self that is born will not die -- it has died already. The man you were born as and the man you will be when you die are not the same." Buddha says: "It is the same continuum, but not the same thing." The flame in the evening and the flame in the morning constitute the same continuum, the same series of flames, but not the same self. The Ganges looks the same; it is not the same. And everything is changing....

The nature of the reality is change.
Permanence is illusion.

And this is a deeper insight than the Hindus'. This is the deepest ever attained...because the mind would like to have a permanent home, to have a permanent standing ground, to have permanent roots. Permanence is false; it appears because of the sameness of things. Your face remains the same in the evening and the morning, so we think you are the same person. You were here yesterday, the day before yesterday; your face appears to be the same, but are you the same? When you came to see me this morning you were different, you have already changed. And when you leave you will not be the same person -- because you listened to me and something else has entered into you. Your self has already changed.

New rivers falling into the Ganges, new rivulets, new streams. I have fallen into you. How can you be the same again? You will never be the same. There is no way. Every moment millions of streams are falling into your consciousness. You pass by the road and a flower smiles -- the flower is changing you. And a cold breeze comes and gives you a cool bath -- the breeze is changing you. And then the sun rises, and you feel a warmth -- the sun is changing you.

Every moment, everything is changing. And there is no permanent thing.

What will happen if you can understand this? If you can understand this, this becomes the greatest situation to drop the ego. When everything is changing, why cling? And even by your clinging you cannot make change stop. You cannot stop the river. It flows! Stopping is not possible. And because we like to stop things, to make them permanent, we create a hell around us. Nothing can be stopped. I love you this morning -- who knows what will happen tomorrow morning? But you would like to stop the love: as it is this morning, tomorrow also. If you cling and stop, you are dead. Tomorrow morning nobody knows -- the unknown, the unexpected.

You can only expect if things are permanent. If nothing is permanent expectation drops. When there is no expectation because things are moving and moving and moving, how can you be frustrated? If you expect, there is frustration. If you don't expect, there is no frustration. You expect because you think that things are permanent. Nothing is permanent.

Into the same rivers we step and do not step.
Just the appearance is the same -- of the river, and of you also.

You cannot step twice in the same river...

...because the river will never be the same again. And you also will never be the same again. That's why each moment is unique, incomparable. It has been never before and will never be again. This is beautiful! It is not a repetition, it is absolutely fresh. You will miss this freshness if you have a clinging and possessive mind and are seeking something permanent. And just try to think: if you have a permanent self, that self will be like a rock. Even rocks change. But the self cannot be like a flower. If you have a permanent self, and if things have a permanent self, a substratum, then the whole existence will be a boredom, it cannot be a celebration.

Celebration is possible if each moment brings you something new.

If each moment brings you something from the unknown, if each moment is a penetration of the unknown into the known, then life is an excitement -- without expectation. Then life is a constant movement into the unknown. Nothing can frustrate you because in the first place you never expected that anything was going to be the same for ever.

Why is there so much frustration in the world? -- Because everybody is expecting permanence. And permanence is not the nature of things. Nothing can be done about it. You have to grow and drop the idea of permanence. You have to grow and become a flow. Don't be like solid rocks; be like fragile flowers. Your brahma is just a solid rock. The absolute of Hegel and Shankara is a solid rock. But the nirvana of Buddha, the understanding of Heraclitus, is like a fragile flower, changing. Enjoy it while it lasts, and don't ask for more.

You are in love -- celebrate while it is there! Don't start making arrangements so that it is always there; otherwise you will miss the moment in making arrangements. And by the time arrangements are ready, the flower is dead. By the time you are ready to enjoy, the moment has already gone. And nobody can bring it back, there is no going back. The river is onward and onward flowing, and you are being thrown to new shores every moment.

This is the problem, the anxiety of man, the anguish, that the mind thinks of the shores that are no more. The mind wants to project the shores that are no more into the future, and every moment the river is reaching to new shores -- unknown, unexpected. But this is beautiful. If your wish is fulfilled you will make the whole life ugly.

Just think: Hindus, Jainas, have a conception of a moksha, of a state of consciousness where nothing changes. Just think for a moment -- nothing changes, and people who have become enlightened, according to Jainas and Hindus, they will remain in that absolutely permanent moksha, nothing changing, not at all -- that will be absolute boredom. You cannot improve on it. That will be absolute. You cannot think of a more boring situation: God sitting there and you sitting there and nothing changing, nothing to say even. Even one moment will look like eternity -- so boring. No, for Heraclitus and Buddha and Lao Tzu, the soul of existence is change.

And change beautifies everything.

A young woman -- you would like her to remain always young and the same. But if it really happens you will be bored. If it really happens that a young woman, by some biological device, some trick of science...and it is possible! Sooner or later, man is so foolish, it is possible that you may find some biological trick, inject some hormones in the body, and a person remains at the same age. A girl of twenty remains twenty and twenty and twenty -- can you love this girl? It will be a plastic girl. It will remain the same but there will be no changing seasons, no summer, no winter, no spring, no fall. The woman will be dead! You cannot love such a woman; it will be a nightmare. You will want to escape to the other corner of the world to escape from this woman.

Seasons are beautiful, and through seasons every moment you become new -- every moment a new mood, every moment a new nuance of being; every moment new eyes and a new face.

And who has told you that an old woman is ugly? The old woman will be ugly if she is still trying to look young; then she will be ugly. Then her face will be painted...and lipstick and this and that, and then she will be ugly. But if an old woman accepts old age as natural, as it should be, then you cannot find a more beautiful face than an old face -- wrinkled; wrinkled through many seasons, seasoned; many experiences, mature, grown-up.

An old person becomes beautiful if he has lived life. If he has not lived, then he wants to cling to some past moment which is there no more. And this is the ugly man: when youth has passed and you are trying to show that you are young; when sex has passed -- should have passed if you have lived -- and you are still seeking things which are good in their season, which are beautiful in certain moments of life. But an old man is ridiculous falling in love...ridiculous! He is as ridiculous as a young man not falling in love -- out of season, out of step with life.

That's why they say "dirty old man." The saying is good. Whenever an old man thinks about sex, it is dirty; it shows that he has not grown. Sex was good at its own stage, but an old man now should be getting ready to leave, now should be ready to die, now should make arrangements -- because soon his ship will be ready and he will be leaving for the unknown shore. He should make arrangements for it now, and he is behaving like a young man or a child. Nothing is more ugly than that: pretending something which has passed, living in the past. He is mad!

Everything is beautiful at its moment, and everything has a moment for it. Never be out of step. That's what I call being religious -- never to be out of step. Be true to the moment: when young, be young; when old, be old. And don't get mixed, otherwise you will be a mess, and a mess is ugly. There is no need to do anything on your part really; you simply have to follow nature. Whatsoever you do goes wrong. Doing itself is wrong...simply flowing.

Into the same rivers we step and do not step.
You cannot step twice in the same river.

You cannot be young again if you are old. You cannot be a child again if you are young. If you are young and trying to be a child, you are retarded. And that shows only one thing: that when you were a child you missed it; hence the hanging feeling. Even old people desire their childhood. They miss their whole life because they missed the first step. When they were children they must have been thinking of becoming young, becoming big, being powerful; being like daddy, being like the big people around. When they were children they must have thought about it; they missed childhood, then in the end they are asking for childhood again. And they talk and they write poetry saying that childhood was beautiful, it was a paradise.

These are the people who have missed. When you miss a paradise you talk about it. When you have lived it there is no talk about it. And if you lived your childhood paradise then your youth will be a beautiful phenomenon. It will be based on the paradise that you lived in childhood. It will have a grace, a beauty. And when you lived your youth, your old age becomes the peak, the Gourishankar, the Everest. And white hair on an old head is just like snow on a great peak. And with everything gone and everything changed, all rivers tasted, all shores known, you can rest. For the first time there is no restlessness. You can be yourself. There is nowhere to go, nothing to do -- you can relax!

If an old man cannot relax, that means he has not lived life. And if you cannot relax, how can you die? And those who cannot die, they create desire for a permanent self, for a permanent God. Know well: The only change is the God. Change is the only permanence in the world, only change is eternal. Everything else is changing except change, only change is the exception; otherwise, everything is changing.

Everything flows and nothing abides.
Everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.

You should be ready! This is what I call meditation: you should be ready. When something goes, you should be ready. You should let it go. You should not complain, you should not create a scene -- when something goes, it goes.

You loved a woman, you loved a man, and then the moment comes to part. Then, this moment shows the real man. If you complain, are reluctant, not willing, angry, violent, destructive, you have not loved that person at all. If you have loved that person, parting will be a beautiful phenomenon. You will be grateful. Now the time has come to part you can say good-bye with your total heart -- if you loved the person. You will be grateful!

But you never loved -- you were thinking about love, you were doing everything but never loving. Now the parting moment has come you cannot give a beautiful good-bye, because now you realize you missed the point, you missed the time; you never loved, and this man, this woman, is leaving. You become angry, you become violent, you become aggressive. The parting moment shows everything because it is the culmination. And then for your whole life you will complain against this woman: she destroyed your life. And you will go on complaining. Then you will always be carrying a wound. A love should make you flower. But as it happens, as I see it happening all around, all over the world, it always gives you a wound.

While someone is with you, love, because nobody knows the next step, and the parting comes. If you love a person really, you will part beautifully. If you loved life, you will part with life also beautifully. You will be thankful. Your last words, leaving this shore to the other, will be of gratitude -- that life gave you so much, and life gave you so many experiences. Life made you whatsoever you are. There were miseries, but there were blessings also. There was suffering, but there was happiness also.

And if you have lived both you will know that the suffering exists to make you blissful.

The night exists to give you a new day. It is a gestalt -- because bliss cannot exist without suffering, hence suffering exists. You will be grateful, not only to the blissful moments but to the suffering moments also, because without them the blissful moments cannot exist. You will be grateful to life in its totality. There will be no choice, because a man who has passed through life and grown and has known what life is, in its suffering, in its bliss, will come to know what Heraclitus says: God is winter and summer, God is life and death, God is day and night. God is suffering and bliss...both!

Then you don't say that suffering was wrong. If somebody says suffering was wrong, he has not grown. Then you don't say: "I would like only the blissful moments. I would not like the suffering, that was wrong." If you do, then you are childish, you are juvenile. You are asking for the impossible. You are asking for the hills, the peaks, without the valleys. You are simply stupid. It is not possible, it is not in the nature of things. The valley has to exist with the peak. The greater the peak, the deeper will be the valley. And one who understands this is happy with both. There are moments when you would like to come down to the valley from the peak, because the valley gives rest. The peak is good -- it is excitement, it is a climax. But after excitement and climax one feels tired -- and then the valley is there. To move into the darkness of the valley and to rest and be forgotten, completely, as if you don't exist.... Both are beautiful: suffering and bliss both. If somebody says: "I choose only bliss, and I don't choose suffering," he is juvenile, he has still not known what reality is.

Everything flows and nothing abides.
Everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.
Cool things become warm, the warm grows cool.
The moist dries, the parched becomes moist.
It is by disease that health is pleasant;
by evil that good is pleasant;
by hunger, satiety, by weariness, rest.

Don't choose! You choose, and you fall in the trap. Remain choiceless and let life flow in its totality. Half is not possible. That is the absurdity -- that mind clings. It wants the half. You would like to be loved, you would not like to be hated -- but lovers hate also. With love enters hate. And if the lover cannot hate, the lover cannot love. Love means coming together, hate means going away. It is a rhythm. You come together -- a peak; then you go apart, then you move to your own individualities. This is what the hate moment means. This creates you again, it makes you ready again to come together.

Life is a rhythm.

It is just a centrifugal and centripetal rhythm. Everything falls apart and comes together, falls apart and comes together.

It happened in a Mohammedan country: The king was in love with a woman. The woman was in love with somebody else; a slave she was in love with, a slave of the king himself. And this was very difficult for the king to understand, that the woman doesn't pay any attention to him and he is the king -- and she is after a slave who is nothing! The king can kill that man immediately, he is just like dirt! But this is how it happened. Life is mysterious. You cannot be mathematical about it. Nobody knows. You may be a king, but you cannot force love. He may be a slave, but love will make a king out of him. Nobody knows! Life is mysterious. It is not arithmetical, it is not economics.

The king tried and tried, but the more he tried the more he was a failure. Then he was very, very angry. But he was really in love with the woman so he was afraid to kill that slave. He could have killed him; just a word was enough. But then he was afraid the woman might be hurt. And he really loved the woman, so this became more problematic -- what to do? She may be hurt, she may commit suicide, she was so mad. So he asked a wise man. The wise man must have been like a Heraclitus. All wise men are like Heraclitus; Heraclitus is the superb wise man. The wise man said: "What you have been doing is wrong" -- because the king had been trying in every way to keep them separate. He said: "This is wrong. The more you keep them separate, the more they would like to be together. Keep them together, and soon it will be finished. And keep them together in such a way that they cannot go apart."

The king said: "How to do that?"

He said: "Bring them both, force them to make love, and chain them, bind them together. And don't allow them to separate." So this was done. They were chained to a pillar, making love to each other naked. But if you are chained to a woman or with a man, how long can you love that woman or that man? That's why in marriage love disappears. You are chained, in a bondage; you cannot escape. But that was the experiment.

After a few minutes they started hating each other. After a few hours they dirtied each other's bodies -- because you cannot wait, the bowels have to move, the urine has to be thrown out of the bladder. What to do? For a few hours they contained themselves, they felt that that would not be good. But then there is a point beyond which you cannot do anything. The bowels moved, the bladder emptied itself; they dirtied each other and they hated even more. They closed their eyes, they did not want to see each other. And this for twenty-four hours -- a marathon! And after twenty-four hours they were released. It is said they never saw each other's faces again. They escaped the moment they were released from the palace. They escaped in different directions; they never saw each other's faces again. The whole thing became so ugly. Marriages become ugly because they follow this principle of that wise man.

There should be a rhythm of coming together and going apart, being together and being alone. If you can come together freely and move away again, that's how hunger and satiety are created. If you go on eating twenty-four hours a day there will be no hunger and no satiety. Eat and then you fast! The English word for the morning food, breakfast, is good. It means breaking the fast; the whole night you fasted. You have to fast if you want to enjoy food. This is the hidden harmony of opposites.

Cool things become warm, the warm grows cool.
The moist dries, the parched becomes moist.
It is by disease that health is pleasant;

So sometimes it is very, very good to be ill. Nothing wrong about it. A healthy person is bound to fall ill sometimes. But you have different conceptions; you think a healthy person should never be ill -- that is absolutely foolish. It is not possible. Only a dead person is never ill. A healthy person has to be ill sometimes. Through illness he attains to health again, and then the health is fresh. Passing through illness, passing through the opposite, it again becomes new. Have you ever watched? After a long fever, when you are getting well you have a freshness, a virginity; the whole body seems to be rejuvenated.

If you remain healthy for seventy years continuously, your health will be like an illness, a death, because it was never rejuvenated, never made fresh. The opposite always gives freshness. It will be stale if you are never ill; your health will become like a burden. Sometimes falling ill is beautiful. I am not saying to remain in bed forever; that too would be bad. Always ill is bad. Anything that becomes a permanent thing is bad. Anything that moves and flows into the other is good, it is alive.

Because of such statements, Aristotle called Heraclitus a little defective -- defective in character, defective in his physiology, somehow biologically defective. Because who will say that illness is good? Aristotle is logical. He says health is good, illness is bad; one has to avoid illness, and if you can avoid it completely, that will be the best thing. That's what science is doing all over the world -- trying to remove illness completely. It follows Aristotle. But I say to you, the more science tries to avoid illness, the more new diseases arise.

There are many new diseases which were never there in the world before. Because you close one door to illness, another has to be opened immediately by nature -- because without illness no health is possible; you are doing a foolish thing. You close one door; now no more malaria, no more plague -- two doors have to be opened somewhere else. And if you are mad about closing doors -- and science is closing all the doors -- then more dangerous diseases will arise, because if you close a million doors of illnesses, then nature has to open a very, very great door so that it balances the millions of doors. Then cancer comes in.

You cure diseases and you create incurable diseases.

Cancer is a new phenomenon; it was never before in the world -- and it is incurable. Why is it incurable? -- Because nature is defending its law. You go on curing every disease so something incurable has to be created, otherwise man will be dead. Without illness nobody will be healthy. And this is going to happen. It seems some day cancer will be cured, then nature will immediately create something more incurable.

And remember: in this fight science cannot win and should not win. Nature should always be the winner. Nature is more wise than all your scientists put together.

Look: go to a primitive community where no medicine exists, where no doctors are, no science to cure them. They are less ill and more healthy. Illness is common but not incurable. And there are a few primitive communities still alive which don't believe in medicine at all. They don't really do anything, or whatsoever they do is just to console the patient, in fact. Mantras, magical tricks -- they are not medicines: they are just to help the patient to pass time -- because nature cures itself. It is said that if you take a medicine for a common cold, it will be cured in seven days; if you don't take, then in a week.

Nature cures itself. In fact, nature cures. One has to give time; patience is needed. The English word for an ill person, patient, is beautiful. It means patience is needed; one has to wait. In fact, the function of the doctor is to help the patient to be patient. By giving medicine he is consoled. He thinks: "Now something is being done and soon I will be cured." He is helped in waiting. The doctor cannot do anything else. That's why so many "pathies" work -- homeopathy, allopathy, ayurveda -- thousands of "pathies" work; even naturopathy works. Naturopathy means not doing anything, or doing something which is actually nothing. That's why even Satya Sai Baba succeeds. Consolation is needed -- the work is done by nature itself.

Heraclitus is not defective, Aristotle is defective. Something is lacking in Aristotle's physiology and biology. But the whole Western mind has followed Aristotle. And if you go to the very logical end, which is to make the human body completely healthy, without any disease, the logical end will be to have plastic parts.

This heart, natural heart, is bound to be ill sometimes, tired, wearied, needs rest.

A plastic heart needs no rest; it is never tired. And if something goes wrong you can simply change the part. You can go to the garage and simply change the part, you can carry spare parts with you. Sooner or later, the whole body -- if Aristotle succeeds to the very end, and Heraclitus is not listened to and not taken back into the human consciousness -- if. Aristotle goes on and on, the logical end will be a plastic body with spare parts; not blood flowing in the veins, but some chemical which can be immediately pumped out and refilled.

But what type of man will be there? Of course no illness, but no health either. Imagine that type of man yourself: that you have all things plastic -- plastic kidneys and plastic hearts and plastic everything, plastic skin, and inside you plastic -- will you be healthy? Will you ever be able to feel a well-being? No, you will not be ill, that's right. The mosquitoes will not affect you -- you can meditate without being disturbed, they cannot bite. But you will be enclosed in a shell and cut off from nature completely. No need to breathe, because the whole thing can be run by a battery.

Just imagine yourself completely encapsulated in a mechanical phenomenon -- will you ever be healthy? You will never be ill, that's right, but you will never be healthy. And whenever you fall in love you will not be able to put your hand on your heart, because there is nothing but plastic. This is going to happen if Heraclitus is not listened to. Aristotle is defective, not Heraclitus. Aristotle is wrong, not Heraclitus.

...It is by disease that health is pleasant;
by evil that good is pleasant....

He becomes more and more difficult. We can even agree, reluctantly, that okay, without illness there will be no health -- but then he says it is by evil that good is pleasant, by the Devil that God is pleasant, by the sinners that saints are so beautiful. If sinners disappear, the saints disappear. And if there is really a saint, he is bound to be a sinner also. There are only two possibilities to do this. One is that I become a saint and you become a sinner. This is what religions have done. Just a division of labor -- you do the work of the sinner and I do the work of a saint. But in a better world, in a more logos-oriented world -- not logical -- is it good to force somebody else to be a sinner and force myself to be a saint? Is it good to be a saint at somebody else's cost? No, it is not. Then in a better world the saint will be the sinner also. Of course, he will sin in a very saintly way, that's right -- but this becomes more and more difficult. Then he will be like Gurdjieff: a sinner and saint both.

Gurdjieff is a turning-point in the history of human consciousness. After Gurdjieff, the concept of saint should be completely different; it can never be the same, the old. Gurdjieff stands at a crisis point from where a new saint is to arise. That's why Gurdjieff was very much misunderstood -- because the concepts were that a saint should be a saint, and he was both....

It was difficult to understand: "How can a man be both? Either you are a saint or you are a sinner." So, many types of rumors go around about Gurdjieff. Some think that he was the most devilish person possible, a devil's agent. And some think he was the greatest sage ever born. He was both, and both types of rumor are true, but both are wrong also. Followers think that he was a sage and they try to hide the sinner part because they also cannot comprehend how he could be both. So they simply say that that is a rumor, that these are people who don't understand who are talking. And then there are people who are against him. They cannot believe in his sage part because, they say: "How can such a sinner be a sage? Impossible! Both cannot exist in one man." And this is the whole point, that they both exist in one man.

You can do only one thing: you can suppress one and pretend the other. You can suppress one in the unconscious and the other you can bring to the surface, but then your saint will be skindeep and your sinner will be very, very deep in the roots. Or you can do just the opposite: you can bring the sinner to the skin and suppress the saint -- the criminals are doing that. The one possibility is that I suppress my sinner, but that sinner will affect somebody somewhere, because we are one.

Says Heraclitus: "Private intelligence is false."

We are one. Consciousness is a community, we exist in one net. And if I suppress my sinner, somewhere at some weaker link the sinner will pop up. Ram is a saint; then the sinner pops up in Ravana. They are both together, one phenomenon. Jesus is a saint; then Judas, the disciple who loved him most, becomes the sinner.

Saints are responsible for sinners, and sinners help saints to be saints.

But this is not good. If I suppress something in my consciousness so deep that it moves into the collective unconscious...because this is how the mind is: the conscious mind is just the first layer which looks private, appears private. Then there is a deeper layer of unconsciousness; that, too, has a certain flavor of privacy because it is so near the conscious mind. Then there is a third layer of collective unconsciousness which is not private at all, which is public, which is in fact universal.

So if I suppress something, then first it goes into my unconscious and creates trouble for me. If I suppress it really deep, and go on suppressing it, and use methods and tricks to suppress it so much that it simply drops from my unconscious also and moves into the collective unconscious, then somewhere, somebody, a weakling, will get it. Because I force it too much, somewhere it has to pop up to the surface. Then I am Ram and somebody becomes a Ravana. Then I am a Christ and somebody becomes a Judas. Just the other day one Sannyasin who is here wrote me a letter saying: "You are Christ and I am a Judas." But I can tell him that that is not possible -- I am both. With Christ it was possible, not with me. I don't allow that possibility.

Then what type of saint do I have in my mind? A saint who does not suppress the opposite but uses it, who is not against anything but makes a new arrangement of things. In his greater harmony even evil becomes good. In that harmony he uses even discarded parts. And it is a great art to be both together. It is the greatest art, because then you have to seek the hidden harmony between the opposites -- then you are neither this nor that, but both. Even poison can be used as elixir, but then you have to be very, very careful. Much awareness is needed to use poison as elixir, to use evil as good, to use the Devil as God. This is also what Heraclitus means by the hidden harmony. He says:

...by evil that good is pleasant;
by hunger, satiety, by weariness, rest.
It is one and the same thing...

...the good and the bad, the illness and health, the sinner and the saint.

It is one and the same thing to be living or dead,
awake or asleep, young or old.
The former aspect in each case becomes the latter,
and the latter again the former,
by sudden unexpected reversal.

It is a wheel -- yin and yang, good and bad, male and female, day and night, summer and winter. It is a wheel; everything moves into the other and comes back to itself again. It is an eternal recurrence.

It throws apart
and then brings together again.

We have met before, now we are meeting again. We have met before! Then nature throws apart; then the nature brings together again. That is the meaning of the first fragment: Into the same rivers we step and do not step. We are meeting again but we are not the same. We have met before....

This idea caught hold of one of the greatest geniuses of this century, the past century, in fact -- Friedrich Nietzsche. It possessed him so totally that he became completely mad -- the idea of recurrence, eternal recurrence. He says that everything has happened before, is happening again, will happen again...not exactly the same, but still the same. Looks very weird if you think about it, that you have listened to me before also many times -- and you are listening again. Looks very weird, strange; you feel uncomfortable with the very idea. But it is so, because nature brings people together and takes them apart just to bring them together again.

No departure is ultimate. No coming together is final. Coming together is just a preparation for going apart. Going apart is again just a preparation for coming together. And it is beautiful! -- It is beautiful.

Into the same rivers we step and do not step.
It throws apart
and then brings together again.
All things come in their due seasons.

This is the peak of Heraclitus' consciousness. Let it go deep in you. Let it circulate in your blood and in your heart. Let it become a beat.

All things come in their due seasons.

Many things are implied. One: you need not make much effort. Even making much effort may be a barrier because nothing can come before its season -- all things come in their due seasons. Too much effort can be dangerous. Too much effort may be an effort to bring things when the season is not ripe. That doesn't mean don't make any effort...because if you don't make any effort, then they may not come even in their due season. Just the right amount of effort is needed. What does a farmer do? He watches the seasons in the sky: now it is time to sow, he sows -- never before it, never after it. A farmer simply watches for the right moment, then he sows; then he waits, then he sings. Then in the night he sleeps and watches -- and waits. Whatsoever is to be done, he does it, but there is no hurry.

That's why countries which have lived long with agriculture are never in a hurry. Countries which have become technological are always in a hurry -- because with technology you can bring things without their season. Countries which are agriculturist and have remained agriculturist for thousands of years, are never in a hurry, they are not time conscious. That's why in India it happens every day that somebody says: "I will be coming at five," and never comes. Or he says: "I will be coming at five sharp," and comes in the night at ten. And you cannot believe what type of...no time consciousness really.

A farmer doesn't divide in hours. He says: "I will be coming in the evening." The evening can mean anything -- four o'clock, six o'clock, eight o'clock. He says: "I will come in the morning." The morning can mean anything -- he may come at four o'clock in the morning or ten o'clock in the morning. He doesn't divide it by hours. He cannot. He cannot because he has to live by the seasons. The year is divided not in months but in seasons -- summer, winter -- and he has to wait. He cannot be in a hurry. With the seeds what can you do? They don't listen. You cannot send them to schools, you cannot teach them. And they don't bother, they are not in any hurry; they simply wait in the earth. And when the time comes, they sprout and they grow on their own. They don't bother about you, that you are in a hurry, or whether something can be done. You cannot persuade them, you cannot talk to them -- they take their own time. A farmer becomes a deep awaiting.

Become like a farmer. If you are sowing seeds of enlightenment, of understanding, of meditation, be like a farmer, not like a technician. Don't be in a hurry. Nothing can be done about it. Whatsoever can be done, you do, and wait. Don't do too much. Doing too much may become a subtle undoing. Your very effort may become a barrier.

All things come in their due seasons.

And then don't ask for the result. They come in their due season. If it happens today it is okay. If it doesn't happen, a man of understanding, intelligence, clarity, knows that the time is not ripe. When the time is ripe, it will happen. He waits; he is not childish.

Childishness consists of asking for things immediately. If a child wants a toy in the middle of the night, he wants it immediately. He cannot follow and understand that one has to wait for the morning to come; shops are closed. He thinks these are just excuses. He wants it immediately, right now. He thinks that these are tricks to divert his mind, that it is midnight and shops are not open -- what is the relevance? Why are shops not open at midnight? What is wrong with midnight? And he knows that by the morning he will have forgotten the whole thing. And these people are tricky: if he goes to sleep, by the morning he will have forgotten. He wants it immediately. And a country which is juvenile, a civilization which is juvenile and childish, also wants everything immediately -- instant coffee, instant love, instant meditation also. That's what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is doing: instant, right now -- you do ten minutes, and within fifteen days you are enlightened.... Looks foolish.

No, nature doesn't follow you or your demands. Nature follows its own course. This is the meaning: All things come in their due seasons. Wait. Make the effort and wait. And don't ask for the result to come immediately. If you ask, your very asking will delay the phenomenon more and more. If you can wait, wait patiently, passively, still alert, watching, just like a farmer, you will attain to it. If you are in a hurry you will miss. If you are very time conscious you cannot move into meditation -- because meditation is timelessness. And always remember: whenever you are ready, it will happen. And the readiness comes in its due season.

A young man comes to me and he says: "I am very, very tense." A young man has to be tense. He says: "I would like to be detached" -- but this is asking for something out of season. A young man has to be attached. Unless you suffer attachment you can never grow towards detachment. And if you force detachment you will make a mess of your life because when the right time was there for attachment you missed it. Then you tried to pretend and force detachment. Then when the time of detachment comes, when you become old, the suppressed part is still hanging around you like a haze and then you see that death is reaching -- you become afraid. The suppressed part says: "Then when will there be a time for me? I wanted to love, I wanted to be attached, I wanted to be involved and committed to some relationship -- now there is no time!" Then the suppressed part forces itself up and an old man becomes foolish and he starts asking for relationships. He has missed everything. He has missed all seasons.

Remember: Be in step with the season.

When it is time to be tense, be tense! What is wrong in it?...Because if you are not tense how will you be able to rest? If you are not angry how will you be in compassion? If you don't fall in love, how will you rise out of it? Everything in its due season. It comes by itself. It has always been so and it will always be so. Existence is vast and you cannot force your own ways on it. You have to watch where it is going and you have to follow.

This is the difference between an ignorant man and a wise man. An ignorant man is always pushing the river according to his idea. A wise man has no ideas of his own. He is simply watching where nature flows; he flows with it. He has no ego to push; he has no conflict with nature. He is not trying to conquer nature; he understands the foolishness of it, that it cannot be conquered. How can the part conquer the whole? No -- he surrenders, he becomes a shadow. He moves wherever nature moves. He is like a white cloud moving in the sky, not knowing where he is going but unworried...unworried because wherever the winds take him, that will be the goal. The goal is not a fixed phenomenon. Wherever nature leads you, if you allow nature, if you remain in a let-go, wherever it leads it will be blissful.

Everywhere is the goal, you only have to allow it. Every moment is the peak, you have to allow it. Just allowing -- let go, surrender, and then you can rest assured: All things come in their due seasons.

OSHO: The Hidden Harmony, Chapter 11

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