Moon in a bowl

LIFE is in living. It is not a thing; it is a process. There is no way to attain to life except by living it, except by being alive, by flowing, streaming with it. If you are seeking the meaning of life in some dogma, in some philosophy, in some theology, that Is the sure way to miss life and meaning both.

Life is not somewhere waiting for you, it is happening in you. It is not in the future as a goal to be arrived at, it is herenow, this very moment — in your breathing, circulating in your blood, beating in your heart. Whatsoever you are is your life, and if you start seeking meaning somewhere else, you will miss it. Man has done that for centuries. Concepts have become very important, explanations have become very important — and the real has been completely forgotten. We don’t look to that which is already here, we want rationalisations.

So the first thing is: don’t ask anybody how you should live your life. Life is so precious. Live it. I am not saying that you will not make mistakes, you will. Remember only one thing — don’t make the same mistake again and again. That’s enough. If you can find a new mistake every day, make it. But don’t repeat mistakes, that is foolish. A man who can find new mistakes to make will be growing continuously — that is the only way to learn, that is the only way to come to your own inner light.

I have heard:

One night the poet, Awhadi of Kerman (a very great Muslim poet) was sitting on his porch, bent over a vessel.

Shams-i-Tabrizi, a great Sufi mystic, happened to pass by.

Shams-i-Tabrizi looked at the poet, at what he was doing. He asked the poet, “What are you doing?”

The poet said, “Contemplating the moon in a bowl of water.”

Shams-e-Tabrizi started laughing, with an uproarious laughter, a mad laughter.

The poet started feeling uncomfortable; a crowd gathered.

And the poet said, “What is the matter? Why are you laughing so much? Why are you ridiculing me?”

Shams-e-Tabrizi said, “Unless you have broken your neck, why don’t you look directly at the moon in the sky?”

The moon is there, the full moon is there, and this poet was sitting with a bowl of water and looking into the bowl of water at the reflection of the moon.

Seeking truth in scriptures, seeking truth in philosophies, is looking at the reflection. If you ask somebody else how you should live your life, you are asking for misguidance, because that man can only talk about his own life. And never, never, are two lives the same. Whatsoever he can say or impart to you will be about his own life – and that too only if he has lived. He may have asked somebody else, he may have followed somebody else, he may have been an imitator himself. Then it is a reflection of a reflection.

And centuries pass and people go on reflecting the reflection of the reflection of the reflection – and the real moon is always there in the sky waiting for you. It is your moon, it is your sky, look directly. Be immediate about it. Why borrow my eyes or anybody else’s eyes? You have been given eyes, beautiful eyes, to see, and to see directly. Why borrow understanding from anybody? Remember, it may be understanding to me. but the moment you borrow it, it becomes knowledge to you — it is no more understanding.

Understanding is only that which has been experienced by the person himself. It may be understanding for me, if I have looked at the moon, but the moment I say it to you it becomes knowledge, it is no longer understanding. Then it is just verbal, then it is just linguistic. And language is a lie.

Life can be understood only if you are ready to go into the unknown. If you cling to the known, you cling to the mind, and the mind is not life. Life is non-mental, nonintellectual, because life is total. Your totality has to be involved in it, you cannot just think about it. Thinking about life is not life. beware of this ‘about-ism’. One goes on thinking about and about: there are people who think about God, there are people who think about life, there are people who think about love. There are people who think about this and that.

The pure ‘is-ness’ is what I call God. If you can understand your inner divinity you have understood what life is. Otherwise you have not been able yet to decode life. This is the message. The whole life is pointing at one thing, continuously — that you are gods. Once you have understood it, then there is no death. Then you have learned the lesson. Then in death gods will be returning back to their homes.

Quote by Osho from The Art of Dying – Talks on Hassidism, Ch 1

Shams-i-Tabrīzī (Persian: شمس تبریزی‎‎) or Shams al-Din Mohammad (1185–1248) was a Persian Muslim who is credited as the spiritual instructor of Mewlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhi, also known as Rumi and is referenced with great reverence in Rumi’s poetic collection, in particular Diwan-i Shams-i Tabrīzī (The Works of Shams of Tabriz). 

I am reminded of a romantic couplet that I used to say on stage for the Show “Jaane Kahan Gaye Wo Din”

रूप जब सरोवर में नहाता है
चाँद पानी में उतर आता है
ख़ुद तो चला जाता है शीतल हो कर
आग पानी में लगा जाता है ।

Roop jab saravar me nahata hai
chand paani me utar aata hai
khud to chala jaata hai sheetal ho kar
aag paani me laga jata hai.

When Beauty bathes in the lake, it is as if the moon has entered in the water.
It goes back feeling refreshed, but its beauty sets fire in the water.

I just love listening to his magical and silky voice. Enjoy this romantic ghazal by Pankaj Udhas:

21 thoughts on “Moon in a bowl”

  1. Dr Kavita Shirish Rege

    So beautiful. The real beauty of things lies within you. Understand and appreciate it. 🙏🙏

  2. ….Very true, no two people can lead the same life. No two situations are identical. Add the time dimension and the impossibility of sameness gets even more pronounced.

  3. Again, a gem by Osho!
    Thanks for sharing….
    Every Sunday morning I await this share, and it makes it beautiful….

  4. Rajiv always give us a perspective towards life,I love OSHO and his discourses but could never co relate like Rajiv dose

  5. Loved it. (as usual). Esp the point about seeking advice from others. It’s so true. They think from the inside of their head and that’s full of their life (even if well lived). Sometimes there’s merit in it cause it shows you ONE way of looking at things. But to search endlessly in that is truly looking at the moon in a vessel.

  6. The phrase, “Understanding is only that which has been experienced by the person himself”.. How expressing and thoughtful in just one line..!

  7. So true – live your own life and every moment !
    Also enjoyed the beautiful ghazal after a long long time !!

  8. Good morning Rajiv Bhai,

    I was thinking about you around 2 am in the morning, after greeting Happy Anniversary on FB.

    I got morning feast from you about life. Life is beautiful, live it article comes after anniversary, is it a coincidence?

    “We are looking at the same moon”

    Yesterday, Me and my business partner went to take MIDC plot in Chakan, Pune. And after that we thought to upgrade Mercedes-Benz, Visited Baner Showroom and got immediate approval from CA.
    Why I mentioned this example, yesterday whole day we were living this principal, Life is beautiful “Majha cha Majha” (Marathi). Live it evey day.

    Very nicely wrote about beauty of life & live it… I wish I could write like you..

    Milan Bhujbal-BMW
    Navi Mumbai

  9. Very well summed up. But i also feel that when a person is sailing or swimming in the river or ocean of life there is extreme fear of the unknown and fear of drowning. The swimmer would freeze or give up. Here the philosophies of God, karma.. Various quotations provide hope, faith and the needed strength for that last lap or lap after lap to go on. So… Live life to fullest and stay connected to good people like rajiv vaishnav…. And his fai! !!!

  10. Life in Sanskrit is ‘ anubhava Dhara’ streams of experiences. What I like about ur writing Rajiv is that every fortnight you take up a different stream and that is life. Congratulations! You are blessed and fortunate that u are reading and collating so much of spiritual knowledge.

  11. Very well written as always.

    Have a different thought about seeking advise on how to live life from someone.
    None is ideal in the real sense except for a “Bramhdnyani” he / she is rare to find. But if you are lucky to see one.. leave everything and ask him / her as to what life is and how should one lead it!
    If you are lucky you will be blessed by the wisdom!

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