The Original Face

First, an anecdote…
A person was frighteningly ugly. Once he was asked how he could go on living with such a terrible face?
“Why should I be unhappy?” answered the man. “I never see my own face. Let others worry.”

So you simply throw your mirrors — that’s all. And this is others’ problem, not yours. But, one thing: all faces are funny, because deep down you have no face at all. That’s why all faces are funny. Nobody is ever satisfied with their face; even the most beautiful people are not satisfied. You may think otherwise, but you don’t know. Even Cleopatra was worried that her nose was a little longer than it should be. Marilyn Monroe committed suicide — a beautiful woman, but not satisfied, not contented. There is something in it. All faces are funny because all faces are false. Deep down, your being is faceless. That’s what Zen people call THE ORIGINAL FACE. When a disciple comes to a Zen master, the master says, “Go and meditate upon your original face.” And what is the original face? The face that you had before you were born and the face that you will have again when you are dead: find out that original face. It is not a face at all.

Have you ever thought about it? The shape of your face is given by the body. It can be changed by plastic surgery. And you will not be changed by the change of the face: your nose can be longer, shorter, your eyes can be different, eyebrows can be different — much can be done now. And you will remain the same. So the face is not your being, it is just the shape of your body. It is not YOUR face. Have you got any face? Sometimes with closed eyes go deep into it… and you will be surprised to see you don’t have any face.

God has no face at all — and you are gods and goddesses.

That’s why one is never contented. One can never be contented with this face, howsoever beautiful. This face is not going to satisfy you unless you come to the original face, the facelessness of your being: purity with no shape, the formless, the attributeless. The form is of matter. The form is not of consciousness; consciousness is formless. Your body is a meeting-place of the form and the formless, of matter and consciousness. Your body is a container. The contained is you, and that contained has no face. So always, any face is funny. The very idea of having a face is funny because all faces are false. Face as such is false.

And, every child makes funny faces. Have you watched? Leave him in the bathroom and watch from the keyhole, and he will make funny faces. In fact he is enjoying having a face, trying to manipulate it in many ways, playing with it. And he can play because he is separate. When he is making a funny face, he knows “I am not this funny man. This face is only the face; I am behind it. This is just a mask.” And even grown-up people do it in the bathroom. If nobody is watching, everybody is tempted to do a little…. In the mirror, one wants to make funny faces. Nothing wrong in it — it simply shows that you cannot adjust yourself with the body, that the body is not all, that you are far beyond it, that you can play with the body like a mask. It is a mask.

In fact there are many old meditations which make use of making funny faces. You can make it a meditation — in Tibet, it is one of the oldest traditions. Keep a big mirror: stand naked, make faces, do funny things — and watch. Just doing it and watching for fifteen, twenty minutes, you will be surprised. You will start feeling you are separate from this. If you are not separate, then how can you do all these things? Then the body is just something in your hand — you can play with it, this way and that. That’s why I always say mimicry, mime, is a spiritual art.

If you can learn how to make faces, if you can act with your body in many ways, you will be suddenly freed from the body; your identity will be broken. This is my experience. Many people come to me and ask, “Why do so many actors come to you?” My experience is this, that acting is one of the most spiritual professions in the world. Because an actor moves into so many acting — sometimes he is this, sometimes that — so many identities that he becomes loose. Then one day he suddenly starts thinking, “Who am I? One day I am Abraham Lincoln, another day I am George Washington, another day I become this and that,” and every day he goes on changing. In one film he is one, in another film he is another. Sometimes he is a saint, and sometimes he is a sinner. Only then can he be a perfect actor.

By and by he comes to know, a good actor comes to know, that all are acts. “Then who am I?” In ordinary life you are identified with one thing: you are a doctor, so you are a doctor — morning, evening, night, you are a doctor; for thirty, forty years, you are a doctor — you become fixed with the identity, with the role. It is a role too — but you never change, so you become fixed. You forget; the role becomes your being. When a person has to change many roles, he becomes loose. by and by the question arises: Who am I? All these are roles — then who am I? who is this man who some day becomes a sinner and some day becomes a saint? And some day plays the role of a murderer, and some day becomes a great lover? Who is this man? Who is this being behind all these acting?

To me, acting is one of the most spiritual professions. And if you take life as an acting, you will start moving towards spirituality. Take life as acting, a great drama. The world is a vast stage. You are a mother — that is only one role. You are a father — that is only one role. You are a businessman — another role. You are a brother to somebody — another role. You are a son, husband — another role… a thousand and one roles if you watch. And you go on changing your faces. When your servant comes to see you, you have a different face. When your boss comes to see you, you have a different face. Watch it, become a little more alert, and you will see you have a thousand and one faces, continuously changing. It is automatic. You need not do anything — they change automatically. You have become very skillful. Once you understand this, you start moving inwards where there is no face at all.

You make it a meditation. You start doing this meditation every day for twenty minutes. Find out new ways to make funny faces, funny postures — do whatsoever you can do. And it will give you a great release; and you will start looking at yourself not as the body, not as the face, but as the consciousness. It will be helpful.

The way is simple and you are at the right place where your mind can become calm and quiet, so much so, as if it is absent. You should be certain of your sanity only if you can attain a state of no-mind. Only then can you be certain that nothing can drive you mad, because the mind that was possible to become insane is no more — you have transcended it.

I am reminded of an old story…

Once there was an old couple who lived deep in the forest, and they never saw anybody else. One day the old husband was walking on a lonely path when he saw something shining on the ground. He bent down to pick it up and it was a mirror. But he had never seen a mirror before and when he saw his own face reflected in it, he thought it was his father’s face. Obviously he had never seen his own face, but he had seen his father’s face.

So he took it home and placed it up in the attic for safekeeping, and every evening he would go up and say good night to his father. But his wife became suspicious about what he was doing in the attic every evening. So one night she followed him. She saw him looking at the mirror and saying good night to it… but she had never seen a mirror before either! So she pushed over to him, grabbed the mirror out of his hand, looked into it and said, “You old idiot! You mean every night you come sneaking up here just to say good night to this ugly old woman?”

But this is how our mind functions. You don’t know your original face — and there is no mirror which can show you your original face. What you know as your face is only the face that you have seen reflected in the mirror; it is a reflection.

You must have seen in big cities or in exhibitions or in circuses, there are mirror halls where different kinds of mirrors are arranged: in some mirrors you become so tall, and in some mirrors you become such a pygmy; in some mirrors you become so fat, and in some mirrors you become so thin….

I don’t think the mirror that you are using can be perfect. It is very difficult to have a perfect mirror. If by chance you have a mirror which makes your face look beautiful or ugly, then you will carry that idea with yourself.

It is by going beyond the mind and entering into the no-mind that you will attain sanity; otherwise, you will remain either a normal nutcase — or if you are a little courageous, a little adventurous, you may go beyond the border, and you will be stamped a madman. And once you are stamped by the society as a madman you may come back to being normal, but nobody will ever think that you are normal.

Osho: The Divine Melody Chapter #2 Chapter title: Become a flame Q 5. (Excerpts)
Osho: The Invitation Chapter #29 Chapter title: The crescendo of the insanity of centuries Q 2. (Excerpts)

  • अंदाज़ अपना आइने में देखते हैं वो
    और ये भी देखते हैं कोई देखता न हो
  • Andaaz apana aayine me dekhte hain wo
    aur yeh bhi dekhte hain koi dekhta na ho.

    She keep seeing her grace in the mirror
    and she also checks that no one else is seeing.

    A classic song embedded with pain, satire and exposing an ugly side of human behavior in a loving relationship – one of my favorites. This song is from the Hindi movie “Daag” (1973)

7 thoughts on “The Original Face”

  1. Good Rajivbhai, you one more time brought a reality before our eyes and mind “Who am I?” Such a subtle way to bring our self closer to our self ; that is philosophy. It is very inspirational. Thank you for waking me up.

  2. Rajendra Dhandhukia

    We have different face with every individual / situation and thus we have no face. Going inward from a state of mind to no mind appears very well inviting journey. Thanks for bringing this up. 👍

  3. Such a wonderful blog. Your writing is beautiful, full of wisdom, practical, spiritual thoughts, and what not. This blog Will surely make many of us Introspect. Who am I? Is a question and also Why am i here is a follow up question one must ask!!

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