The Fish in the Sea is not Thirsty
This Review of a recently re-published Osho book first appeared in the Indian Tribune Newspaper.
Words of Wisdom
Fish in the Sea is not Thirsty
by Osho. Wisdom Tree, New Delhi. Pages 342. Rs 345.
FROM the Spiritual Master Osho comes Fish in the Sea is not Thirsty, which is an extraordinarily rich and touching book. It provides a commentary on the much-loved compositions of Kabir, the 15th century weaver poet—one of the most intriguing and celebrated personalities in the history of Indian mysticism. The result is an inspiring book, a delightful interplay between the down-to-earth straightforward words of Kabir and the wonderful stories and insights of Osho.
“I laugh, says Kabir, “when I hear that the fish in the water is thirsty; you do not see that the Real is in your home, and you wander listlessly! Here is the truth! Go where you will, if you can’t find where your soul is hidden, for you the world will never be real!”
Through the compositions of Kabir, Osho takes the reader to the very core of the human dilemma, to the simple causes of misery and unhappiness, the duality of man’s existence, the futility of Sunday religion and the illusions of the mind. The emphasis is on Being Yourself and Being Aware. Osho talks of the importance of meditation, understanding, love, celebration, creativity and humour—qualities that in his view are suppressed by adherence to static belief systems.
The fish in the sea is not thirsty, observes Osho, but man is. Man lives in existence, and is absolutely unaware of it. Man is born in existence, breathes in existence. Man is godliness, made of the stuff called God, and yet completely oblivious of the fact.
Osho’s message is a positive one. He states that we are all potential Buddhas, with the capacity for enlightenment. According to him, every human being is capable of responding rather than reacting to life. He suggests that it is possible to experience innate divinity and to be conscious of who we really are even though our ego’s usually prevent us from enjoying this experience. However, unless one is ready to dissolve one’s ego, the fish is going to remain thirsty. Dissolve the ego and all the thirst disappears, because then the wall between you and the ocean disappears; then you are a part of the ocean.
Enlightenment is a simple realisation that everything is as it should be, everything is utterly perfect as it is. You are part, an organic part of this tremendous, beautiful whole. Everything is in such accord that existence is an orchestra. Everything is rhythmic, in tune. And you are not separate from it like an observer. The observer and the observed are one, the seer and the seen are one—you are it.
Osho is of the opinion that we continually repress what we genuinely feel, closing ourselves off from experiencing the joy that arises naturally when we move into the present. The result is that we unconsciously poison ourselves with negative emotions like hatred, fear and jealousy rather than living in joyous authentic awareness.
By repressing sexual feelings we hope to pretend they do not exist. But repression only leads to the re-emergence of these feelings in another guise to haunt our lives. Kabir says, “I pulled back my sexual longings, and now I discover that I’m angry a lot. I gave up rage and now I notice that I am greedy all day” (p 292). Osho also talks about emotions and being detached from them, aloneness and love, imitation, children and religion, rebellion, living in a balanced way, sex, generation gap and more. Though Kabir lived several centuries ago, Osho creates a direct link with him.
Kabir picked up situations that surround our daily lives and spoke the language of the ordinary people, infusing it with the brightness of his Realisation. His poetry expresses his heartfelt longing for union with the divine. Through his own innately musical expression, Osho enhances Kabir’s message rendering it accessible and relevant for every contemporary seeker.
A well read man, conversant with the whole range of traditional Eastern religious thought, Osho has also drawn in on a great number of Western influences in his book. It offers a clear glimpse of Osho’s style and energy. The commentary is not presented in a dry, academic setting but is interspersed with queries, anecdotes and jokes. It reflects Osho’s sharp wit and a direct and uncluttered approach. Please allow the flavour of the words of the enlightened master to tickle your spiritual palate.