They start feeling holier than others, superior to others. This creates an ego, an image, a false identity and often people go astray from true religiousness and their authentic being.
Their mind becomes more dominant than heart. Mind is full of thoughts, while heart is full of love, compassion and sensitivity. Sometimes heart can act so irrationally that the mind may not understand it.
There’ a story of St. Francis of Assisi, who sang while lying on his deathbed. He sang so loudly that the entire neighbourhood came to know.
Brother Elias, a pompous but prominent member of the Franciscan order, came close to St. Francis and said, “Father, there are people standing in the street outside your window. I am afraid nothing we might do could prevent them from hearing you singing. The lack of restraint at so grave an hour might embarrass the order, Father. It might lower the esteem in which you yourself are so justly held. Perhaps you have lost sight of your obligation to the many who have come to regard you as a saint. Would it not be more edifying for them if you would, er, die with more Christian dignity?”
“Please excuse me, Brother,” St. Francis said, “But I feel so much joy in my heart that I really can’t help. I must sing!” And he died singing.
In his discourse on Diamond Sutra, Osho explains this: Brother Elias wanted to prove to people that St. Francis is a saint. He was afraid about what would people think of St. Francis; they may think he was mad.
A saint has to be sad by the very definition… Brother Elias was worried that St. Francis would leave a bad name. People will either think that he was not a saint or he was mad. But in reality, Brother Elias was not worried about St. Francis; he was worried about himself and the order.
Brother Elias wanted to prove that his master was the greatest master. And he knew only one way to prove it — that he should become serious, he should take life seriously, he should not laugh and should not sing and dance.
These things are too human, they are too ordinary. Ordinary mortals can be forgiven, but not a man of the stature of St. Francis.
But St. Francis had a different vision — he was “ordinary”. At the time of dying, the self, the ego did not exist. St. Francis did not exist as an individual.
There was absolute silence and peace within him. Out of that silence the song was born. What could have St. Francis done?
Osho concludes: “There can be no other better death than that of St. Francis. If you can die singing, that proves that you lived singing; your life was a joy and death became its crescendo, the culmination. St. Francis is a Buddha. The characteristic of a Buddha is that he is ordinary, that he has no ideas about himself of how he should be, that he simply is spontaneous, that whatsoever happens, happens. He lives on the spur of the moment.”
Swami Chaitanya Keerti
editor of Osho World, is the author of Osho Fragrance