Desire Versus Technique

There is a beautiful story in Hindu annals about a great saint, Valmiki. He was a robber, a murderer. He has written the story of Rama, one of the most beautiful epics in the world. He became converted. His conversion happened in such a way that it is almost unbelievable. He was a great sinner, but he went to a great teacher and asked him how he could purify himself of his sins. “Chant Rama a thousand times a day,” advised the great teacher. The sinner went to a solitary mountain and chanted and chanted, but in spite of his good will, he made a mistake and chanted Mara instead of Rama. It happens that if you chant Rama Rama Rama fast, you can get messed up; it can become Mara Mara Mara. That’s how it happened: he was chanting so fast, and he had never heard this name. It was almost an unknown language to him. He tried hard to remember, but somehow he forgot, and for years he chanted Mara, Mara, Mara.
After years of chanting he went back to the great teacher who immediately realized that the man was now pure — not only pure, he was enlightened. “Did you sing the sacred name?” the teacher asked. “Yes, great one,” the ex-sinner answered, “for ten years every single day, thousands of times I have chanted Mara, Mara, Mara.” The teacher burst into a laughter that shook the mountains. As his laughter, like a pebble in the lake, vibrated farther and wider into the cosmos, the great teacher took the ex-sinner into his arms. “Your will to good, to do good, has saved you,” he said, “even though you chanted Mara, Mara, Mara, millions of times: the name of the devil.” Rama is the name of God; Mara is the name of the devil — but if the desire is there, the thirst is there, then everything is okay. Even the name of the devil will do.
Just his intention, just his tremendous passion for God, to purify himself, for ten years, day in and day out, thousands of times he was continuously chanting Mara, Mara, Mara. Even a wrong technique will help if the desire is intense, and even a right technique will not be of much help if the desire is impotent.

Osho – “The Beloved”

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