Mounting two horses, stretching two bows, serving two masters…

Today Sannyas News opens an extra feature, where readers are invited to send in stories and quotes for further discussion. Arpana starts the ball rolling with a quote from Osho’s ‘The Mustard Seed’.

(Apologies for cramped presentation).


“Everybody is already mounted on two horses, everybody is stretching two bows — not only two but many. That’s how anguish is created, that’s why you are constantly in anxiety. Anxiety shows that somehow you are mounted on two horses. How can you be at ease? Impossible, because the two horses are moving in two directions, and you cannot move anywhere.
With one horse movement is possible, you can reach somewhere. With two horses movement is impossible, they will negate each other and you will not reach anywhere. And this is the anxiety – that you are not reaching anywhere. Deep down this is the anguish: that life is slipping out of your hands, time is becoming less and less, death is coming near and you are not reaching anywhere. It is as if you have become a stagnant pool, just getting drier and drier and dying. There is no goal, no fulfilment. But why is it happening? Because you have been trying to do the impossible.
Try to understand the mind as it functions in you, then you will be able to understand what Jesus means. You want to be as free as a poor man because only a poor man can be free – he has no burden, he has nothing to protect, you cannot rob him. He is unafraid. You cannot snatch anything from him because he has nothing; with nothing, he is at ease; with nothing as his possession, nothing can be stolen from him. Nobody is his enemy because he is not a competitor at all, he is not competing with anybody.
You want to be as free as a poor man, as a beggar, but you also want to be as secure as a rich man, as safe as an emperor. The rich man is safe, the rich man is secure, he feels more rooted. Outwardly, he has made all the arrangements, he is not vulnerable: he has protections against death, you cannot murder him so easily, he has an armour.
And you would like to be free like the beggar and to be secure like an emperor -then you are mounted on two horses and it is impossible to reach anywhere.
You love a person, but you want the person to behave like a thing, completely in your hands. But you cannot love a thing, because a thing is dead and cannot respond to you. So if the other is really a person he cannot be possessed, he is like mercury: the more you try to keep him in your fist, the more he goes out – because to be a person means to be free. If he is a person, you cannot possess him; if you can possess him, he is no longer a person and you will not be able to love him. Then he is just a dead thing. Who can love a dead thing?
You are mounted on two horses. You want a person like a thing, which is impossible! A person has to be free and alive, and only then can you love him. But then you feel difficult, you start possessing, and then you start killing him; you are poisoning. If he allows you this poisoning, sooner or later he will be just a thing. So wives become decorative pieces in the houses, husbands become just watchmen — but love disappears. And this is happening in all directions.”
‘The Mustard Seed’ (Chapter 10)
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28 Responses to Mounting two horses, stretching two bows, serving two masters…

  1. Arpana says:

    Reading this chapter, the opening lines in this discourse, about 1981, triggered such a strong ‘aha moment’ for me, and is a story I come back to again and again when I recognise a cognitive dissonance going on in me, or a cognitive dissonance that had been going on in me.

    Most significantly, at the time, I recognised I was riding two horses at once, about living alone and sharing flats with people; so that if I lived alone I beat myself up because I was avoiding the difficulties of sharing accommodation with others, and if I shared accommodation with others I beat myself up for avoiding the difficulties of living alone.

    Even feels, seems funny now. Holy moly!

  2. bob says:

    Holy moly indeed!

    I’ve been thinking about this line…can’t ride two horses at once”…for someone else in this case…I always thought it was Buddha who said this, and maybe it was, as many scholars and historians slant to the opinion that many of Jesus’s aphorisms came from the “wise men of the East”. Don’t know, as I wasn’t there to document what went down, when and where…seems like very convincing counselling, although the metaphor is a bit dated for the contemporary person. How about “You can’t drive two cars at once”, or something along those lines? I like horses a lot, and used to ride them, paint them on canvas, fixing fences and such on a ranch, even worked a summer shoeing horses – man, that’s some hard work! Beautiful animals…

    It seems that Osho had that ability, as was his practised skill, to bend the story to his current situation in the Poona I environment to that of relationship problems of his sannyasins…seems almost a wee bit (or more!) funny looking back on it. The ‘Darshan Diaries’ are saturated with this stuff: “I love my girlfriend, Ma Bliss Amiss, but she wants her freedom too…what should I do?” Osho opines, “Sell your Morris Minor, and junk your Chevy Corvette, and buy a new Rolls Silver Spur and ride it, you won’t be sorry, I guarantee!”

    Though I haven’t been writing here for a while, I have been reading most of the posts, if I can, and I think that always makes a person taking the time to write them feel that their efforts are worth something…sure they are.


  3. One can mount two horses by putting the cart on them.

    One can also have two masters: one dead one, another alive.

    Most of the sannyasins have mastered this art. We are quite innovative people. Just like our late master!

  4. Contemporary example of mounting on two horses is: Indian-sounding names and original western mind!

    No wonder Neo-Sannyas as promising spiritual movement got ripped off by the winds of time.

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