Goose Is Out
Nansen is a rare man.
THE OFFICIAL, RIKO, ONCE ASKED NANSEN TO EXPLAIN TO HIM THE OLD PROBLEM OF THE GOOSE IN THE BOTTLE.
The problem is very ancient. It is a koan; it is given to a disciple, that he has to meditate on it. It is absurd; you cannot “solve” it. A koan is something which cannot be solved. Remember, it is not a puzzle. A puzzle has a clue; a koan has no clue. A koan is a puzzle without any clue. Not that more intelligence will solve it. No, no intelligence will ever solve it. Even if it is given to God, it will not be solved. It is made in such a way that it cannot be solved. This is a koan.
“IF A MAN PUTS A GOSLING INTO A BOTTLE,” SAID RIKO, “AND FEEDS HIM UNTIL HE IS FULL GROWN, HOW CAN THE MAN GET THE GOOSE OUT WITHOUT KILLING IT OR BREAKING THE BOTTLE?”
Don’t break the bottle — and the goose has to be taken out — and don’t kill the goose. Now, these are the two conditions to be fulfilled. The koan becomes impossible. The bottle has a small neck; the goose cannot come out from it. Either you have to break the bottle or you have to kill the goose. You can kill the goose, and piece by piece you can take the goose out, or you can break the bottle, and the goose can come out alive, whole. But the condition is the bottle has not to be broken and the goose has not to be killed. The goose has to come out whole and the bottle has to remain whole. Nothing has to be destroyed; no destruction allowed.
Now, how are you going to solve it? But meditating on it, meditating on it… one day it happens that you see the point. Not that you solve the problem, suddenly the problem is no more there.
NANSEN GAVE A GREAT CLAP WITH HIS HANDS AND SHOUTED,
“YES, MASTER, “SAID THE OFFICIAL WITH A START.
“SEE, “SAID NANSEN, “THE GOOSE IS OUT!”
Now, it is tremendously beautiful. What he is saying is that the goose has never been in, the goose has always been out. What is he saying, the moment he said, “Riko!”? What happened? Those seven layers of ego disappeared and Riko became aware. The shout was so sudden, the sound was so unexpected. He was expecting a philosophical answer.
That’s why sometimes the Zen Master will hit you on your head or throw you out of the window or jump upon you or threaten you that he will kill you: he will do something so that those seven layers of ego are immediately transcended and your awareness, which is the center of all, is alert. You are made alert.
Now, shouting “Riko!” so suddenly, for no reason at all — and he has brought a small puzzle to be solved and this Master suddenly shouts “Riko!” — he cannot see the connection. And that is the whole clue to it. He cannot see the connection, the shout startles him, and he says, “Yes, Master.”
“See,” said Nansen, “the goose is out!”
Those seven layers of the bottle are crossed.
“Yes, Master” — in that moment Riko was pure consciousness, without any layer. In that moment, Riko was not the body. In that moment, Riko was not the mind. In that moment, Riko was just awareness. In that moment, Riko was not the memory of the past. In that moment, Riko was not the future, the desire. In that moment, he was not in any comparison with anybody. In that moment, he was not a Buddhist or a Mohammedan or a Hindu. In that moment, he was not a Japanese or an Indian.
In that moment, when the Master shouted “Riko!” he was simply awareness, without any content, without any conditioning. In that moment, he was not young, old. In that moment, he was not beautiful, ugly. In that moment, he was not stupid, intelligent. All layers disappeared. In that moment, he was just a flame of awareness.
That is the meaning when the Master says, “See, the goose is out — and I have not broken the bottle, I have not even touched the bottle.” The bottle means the ego, those seven layers. “I have not broken the bottle, it is there, and I have not killed the goose. And the goose is out.”
Osho – “The First Principle”