Osho : One very great mystic of India – I have spoken on him for almost half a year continuously. His name was Ashtavakra. And what he has written is tremendously important; each sentence has so many dimensions to be explored, but the man himself was in a very difficult situation.
Ashtavakra – the name was given to him, because he was almost like a camel. In eight places he was distorted in the body – one leg was longer, one arm was shorter, his back was bent – in eight places he was distorted. That’s how he was born, with a crippled, distorted body. But even in a crippled and distorted body the soul is as beautiful as in the most beautiful body.
He became enlightened, but his body was too rigid to change with his inner change. His eyes started showing something of the beauty, but the whole body was in such a mess.
The story is that the emperor of India in those days was Janak and he was very much interested in philosophical discussions. Each year he used to call a big conference of all the scholars, philosophers, theologians or whoever wanted to participate. It was a championship competition.
One very famous philosopher, Yagnavalkya came a little late. The conference had started and he saw standing outside one thousand beautiful cows. Their horns were covered with gold and diamonds. This was going to be the prize for the champion. It was a hot day and the cows were perspiring.
He told his disciples, ”You take these cows. As far as winning the competition is concerned, I am certain. Why should the cows suffer here? You take them to our place.” They had their own place in the forest.
Even Janak could not prevent him, because he knew that he had been the champion continuously for five years, and he would be the champion this time, because there was nobody else who could defeat him. It is not right to take the reward before you have won, but his victory was so certain to everybody that nobody objected. And his disciples took away all the cows.
While Yagnavalkya was discussing, a very unknown scholar was also present in the conference. Ashtavakra was this unknown philosopher’s son. His mother was waiting for her husband to come home. It was getting late and the meal was getting cold. So she sent Ashtavakra to bring his father home, because he could not win the competition. Why should he unnecessarily waste his time? He was a poor scholar and there were great scholars there. Ashtavakra went. There were at least one thousand people in the conference, the highly cultured and sophisticated scholars of the country.
As Ashtavakra entered, looking at his distorted body they all started laughing. But Ashtavakra was a man of tremendous integrity. As they started laughing, he laughed even louder. Because of his loud laugh they stopped. They could not believe that he was laughing.
Janak asked him, ”I can understand why they are laughing – because of your body; but I cannot understand why you are laughing. And you stopped all their laughing with your laughter.” A single man stopped one thousand people’s laughter.
Ashtavakra said to Janak, ”I thought this conference was for scholars and philosophers, but these are all shoemakers. They can understand only the skin. They cannot see the inner, they can only see the outer.”
There was a great silence. What he was saying had a great truth in it. Janak dissolved the conference and said, ”Now I would like to inquire of Ashtavakra only. He has defeated you all just by his laughter and his statement that, ‘You can’t see the inner, you can only see the outer; you are all shoemakers.’ Shoemakers work with the skin of different animals. I dissolve the conference and, Yagnavalka, return those one thousand cows, because you also laughed. And when Ashtavakra laughed, you also stopped!”
It was a very strange situation; it had never happened before. And then began the long inquiry of Janak, the emperor. He asked questions and Ashtavakra answered them. Each answer in itself carried so much meaning and significance.
Because his body was in such a bad shape he could not get identified with it. Sometimes blessings come in such disguise. He could not go out, because wherever he went people would laugh, ”Look at that man! Have you seen anything uglier than this?”
So most of the time he was in the house, meditating, figuring out, ”Who am I? Certainly I am not this body, because I can be aware of this body, I can observe this body from within. Certainly that awareness has to be different from the body.”
Because of his crippled body he experienced enlightenment. The only barrier is identification with the body. But he could not identify, the body was so ugly. He never looked in a mirror; it would have been such a shock.
But Yagnavalkya had to return those one thousand cows to Ashtavakra’s house. He was young and he defeated one thousand old philosophers, well-versed in the ancient scriptures.
It is one of the strangest things in this country that on every book written by any prominent mystic there have been hundreds of commentaries, but nobody has commented before me on Ashtavakra.
And he must be at least five thousand years old. For five thousand years nobody has bothered to look into his statements, which are so significant.
But his inner enlightenment, his inner understanding could not change his outer appearance. And yet for those who are going deeper into themselves, the outer does not matter. They would have seen even in Ashtavakra tremendous beauty, but it would not have been of the outer circumference, but of the center.
Most often the inner change changes the outer, if the outer is not too rigid. But the outer never changes the inner.
You need to have eyes, going deep into people’s beings, which is possible only if you are going inwards yourself. The deeper you go into yourself the deeper you can look into other people’s beings. And then a totally new world opens its doors.
from Life after joining Isha Yoga http://ift.tt/1eHrHsf