What is meditation? It is not your character, it is not what you do. It is what you are. It is not the character, it is the consciousness that you bring to whatsoever you do. The doing is irrelevant. Whether you are doing it consciously or not is the question, whether moral or immoral. Are you alert? If you are alert, meditation happens. If you are not alert, you live in sleep.

You can be moral without being meditative, but the immorality will always be just behind you. Just like a shadow it will follow, and your morality will be just skin deep because your morality can only be imposed from without when you are asleep. It can only be pseudo, false, a facade, it cannot become your being. You will become moral outwardly, but inwardly you will remain immoral. And the more moral you become outwardly, the more immoral you will be within – in the same proportion, because your morality is bound to be nothing but a deep suppression. You cannot do anything else while asleep; you can only suppress.

And through this morality you will also become false. You will not be a person, but simply a ”persona” – just a pseudo entity. Misery will follow, and you will consequently be on the verge of explosion - explosion of all that you have suppressed. It is there waiting for you. And if you are really honest in being moral while asleep, you will go mad. Only a dishonest person can remain moral without being mad. That is what hypocrisy means.

This so-called morality leaves only two alternatives. If honest, you will become insane; if dishonest, you will become a hypocrite. So those who are clever, cunning, they are hypocrites. Those who are simple, innocent, who become victims of such teachings, go mad.

While asleep, real morality cannot happen to you. And what do you mean by ”real morality”? Something which is a spontaneous flowering out of your being, not imposed from without. And real morality is not in opposition to immorality; a real morality is just an absence of immorality, it is not in opposition. For example, you can be taught to love your neighbors, to love everyone, to be loving. It can become a moral attitude, but the hate remains within. You force yourself to be loving, and a forced love cannot be real, cannot be authentic. It is not going to fulfill either you or the other person whom you love. No one is to be fulfilled by this false love.

It is just like false water. No one’s thirst can be quenched by it. The hatred is there, and the hatred is trying to assert. And a false love cannot be a real hindrance to it. Rather, the hatred will penetrate the false love and will even poison it, and your loving will become just a sort of hatred. It is very tricky and cunning.

A real morality happens to a person who has gone deep within himself and the deeper you move, the more loving you become. It is not something forced against hatred; it is not something antagonistic to hatred. The deeper you move, the more love flows out of you. It has nothing to do with hatred at all; it is not concerned with hatred at all. The moment you reach to your center, you are loving without any moral imposition. You may not even be aware that you are loving. How you can be aware? This love will just be so natural that it will be just like breathing, just like your shadow following you. You will simply be loving.

Tantra teaches the inner journey. Morality will happen, but that will be a consequence, not a prerequisite. Be clear about this distinction. Tantra says don’t be entangled with moral and immoral concepts. They are outer. Rather, move within. So the techniques are there for how to move within. And don’t be concerned with moral and immoral, pure and impure; don’t be concerned with distinctions. Just move within. Forget the outer – the outer world, the society and whatsoever the society has taught you. All that society teaches is bound to be dualistic, it is bound to be suppressive; it is bound to be a conflict within you. And if the conflict is there, you cannot move within.

So forget the conflict and forget all that creates conflict. Simply move within. The deeper you go, the more moral you will become, but that morality will not be the morality of the society. You will be moral without ”being moral” – without being conscious that you are moral, because there is nothing opposed to it within you. You are simply loving because you feel blissful when you are loving. It is a bliss in itself. There is no end to it; no result is needed. It is not that you will get into the kingdom of God if you love. It is not a bargain. The morality that society preaches and so-called religions preach is a bargain: ”Do this and you will get that. If you don’t do this you will not get that. You will even be punished.”It is a bargain.

Tantric morality is not a bargain, it is a happening. The deeper you move, the more you start living in the moment. You feel that to love is bliss. It is not a step, a condition, a bargain towards something else; it is enough unto itself. You love because you feel blissful in loving. You are not doing anything for your neighbor; you are not obliging anyone else. It is a pleasure to be loving. It is good for you right here and now. There is no future heaven or hell. Just now it creates the heaven, and the kingdom of God enters you. And this happens with all the virtues; they flower spontaneously.

Now look at the question: "IS IS NOT TRUE THAT AN IMMORAL LIFE CREATES HINDRANCES IN MEDITATION?" Really, the contrary is the truth. A meditative life creates hindrances in immoral life. Immoral life cannot create any hindrances. Immoral life means that you are non-meditative – nothing else; you are fast asleep. That is why you are doing harm to yourself.

For tantra, the basic thing is meditation, alertness, awareness. Nothing else is more basic than that. When someone is immoral, it shows that he is not alert. It is just a symptom. The immoral life is just a symptom that he is not alert. What is ordinary teaching doing? Ordinary teachers will tell to this sleeping man who is immoral to be moral. He may change from immorality to morality, but the sleep continues.

So the whole effort is wasted because the real disease was not immorality; immorality was just a symptom. The disease was non-alertness, non-meditativeness. That is why he was immoral. You can convert him to morality. You can create fear, and you can make afraid only that person who is asleep; otherwise you cannot create fear. You can create a fear about hell and you can create a profit motive for heaven. Both of these things are possible only while you are asleep. If you are not asleep, you cannot be threatened and you cannot be motivated because of profit. Those two things are meaningful only to the mind that is asleep.

So create the fear of punishment, and a person will move from immorality to morality – but he will move because of fear. Create a profit motive, and then he can move from immorality to morality – but he will move because of lust, greed, profit motivation. Greed and fear are part of the sleeping mind. He remains asleep, nothing basic is changed.

He is good for the society; that is okay. For the society the immoral person is a problem, but the moral person is not a problem. So society has solved its problems, but the man remains asleep. For himself, nothing is solved; he is now more convenient for the society. Previously, he was inconvenient. Try to observe the fact: an immoral person is inconvenient to the society, but he is convenient for himself. A moral person becomes convenient to the society, but he becomes inconvenient to himself.

So it is only that the coin is put upside down. That is why immoral persons look more happy and gay, and a moral person is serious, sad, burdened. The immoral person is fighting with the society and the moral person is fighting with himself. The immoral person feels worried only because there is always a fear of being caught. He is afraid of being caught, but he is enjoying. If no one catches him, if there is no fear of being caught, he is okay. The moral person is caught in a struggle with himself. Nothing is okay with him; he is only okay with the society. Morality is a lubricant, it helps you to move easily with others. But then you become uneasy with yourself. Uneasiness remains either with the society or with yourself. Only when you become awakened does uneasiness leave you.

Tantra is concerned with the basic disease, not with the symptoms. Morality is removing symptoms. So tantra says don’t be concerned with moral or immoral concepts. It does not mean that tantra says become immoral. How can tantra tell you to become immoral when tantra cannot even tell you to become moral? Tantra says the whole thing is irrelevant: don’t talk about morality and immorality; come to the root. You can be moral or immoral, but that is only the symptom. Come to the root! The root is that you are asleep – fast asleep.

How to break this sleeping pattern? How to be aware and how not to fall again and again into sleep? That is what tantra is concerned with – and once you become alert your character will change. But that is a consequence. Tantra says you need not worry about it.; that is a consequence. Inevitably, it happens, so you need not worry about it. You are not to bring it, it will happen. You simply become more and more alert, and you will be less and less immoral. But this morality that will happen to you is not forced; it is not something done by you on your part. You are just trying to be alert, and it happens.

How can an alert man be violent? How can an alert man feel hatred and anger? It may look paradoxical, but it is so. One who is asleep cannot be without hatred. It is impossible. He can only pretend that there is no anger, no hatred. He can only pretend that there is love, compassion, kindness, sympathy. Those are all pretensions. Quite the contrary happens to the one who has awakened. If anger is needed, he can only pretend. He cannot be angry.; he can only pretend! If anger is needed – and sometimes it is needed – he can only pretend. He cannot be sad, but if it is needed he can pretend that he is sad. Now these are impossible.

Love is natural now, as hatred was before. Love was a pretension before. Now hatred can only be a pretension – if it is needed.

You use love for certain purposes. Your love is just to get something else; it is never simply love. You may be trying to get money, you may be trying to get sex, you may be trying to get something – ego fulfillment, a victory, a feeling that you are very powerful. You may be trying to get anything else, but it is never love.

A buddha can be angry if he thinks that it is going to help. Because of his love sometimes he may be angry, but that is only a pretension and only fools are befooled by it. Those who know, they will simply laugh. As meditation deepens, says tantra, you start changing. And it is beautiful when change happens to you. If you ”do” it, it can never be something very deep because doing is just on the surface. So tantra says, allow it to happen from the being, from the very center. Let it flow from the center towards the periphery; don’t force it from the periphery to the center. That is impossible.

Tantra will not say moral or immoral. The only thing is if you are asleep try to change it. Allow yourself to become more and more alert, wherever you are. If you are immoral, tantra says, ”It is okay. We are not concerned with your immorality, we are concerned with your sleep and with how to transform it into alertness.” Don’t fight with the immorality. Just try to transform your sleep.

If you are moral it is okay. Tantra is not going to tell you first to become immoral and then to try. Neither does the immoral one have any need to transform himself into a moral person, nor does the moral person have to transform himself into an immoral one in order to get into meditation. All that they need is to change their quality of consciousness. So wherever you are, a sinner or a saint, for tantra there is no distinction. If you are asleep, then try the techniques for alertness. And don’t try to change symptoms. The sinner is ill and the so-called saint is also ill because both are asleep.

The illness is the sleep, not your character. Your character is just a by-product. And whatsoever you do while remaining asleep will not make any basic change. Only one thing can change you and create a mutation and that is alertness. The question is one of how to become more and more alert. So whatsoever you do, make it an object of alertness. If you do some immoral act, do it meditatively. It will not be long before the act will dissolve by itself and disappear. Then you will not be able to do it – not because you have created an armor against it, but because now you are more alert. And how can you do a thing which needs sleep as a requisite? You cannot do it.

Understand well this basic distinction between tantra and what others teach. Tantra is more scientific. It goes to the very root of the problem, transforms you from the very being – not from your outer sheath of character, of morality and immorality, of acts and doings. Whatsoever you do is just on the periphery; whatsoever you are is never on the periphery. The quality of the act, not the act itself, is meaningful for tantra. For example, one butcher came to Nan-in. He was a butcher and Nan-in was a Buddhist monk who believed in non-violence. His whole profession was of violence. The whole day he was killing animals. But when the butcher came to Nan-in, he asked him, ”What am I to do? My profession is one of violence. So am I to leave my profession first and is it that only then I can be a new man, or is there some other way?” Nan-in said, ”We are not concerned with what you do. We are concerned with what you are. So you go on doing whatsoever you are doing, but be more alert. While killing, remain alert, meditative, and go on doing whatsoever you are doing. We are not concerned.” Nan-in’s followers became disturbed – because here was a person who was a follower of Buddha, a believer in non-violence, allowing a butcher to continue. One disciple said, ”This is not good. And we never expected that a person like you would allow a butcher to remain a butcher. And when he was asking, you should have told him to drop this. He himself was ready.”

Nan-in is reported to have said, ”You can change the butcher’s profession easily; he was himself ready. But in that way you cannot change his quality of consciousness. He will remain a butcher.” He may become a saint, but the quality of the mind will remain that of a butcher. That will be a deception for others and for himself also. Go and look at your so-called saints. Many of them remain butchers. The quality, the attitude, the violence, their very look towards you, is condemning, violent. You are a sinner and they are saints. When they see you, the very look is such that you are condemned, you are thrown into hell.

Nan-in said, ”So it is not good to change his outer life; it is better to bring a new quality to his mind. And it is good to let him remain a butcher, because he is disturbed by his butchery and violence. If he becomes a saint he will remain a butcher, but then he will not be disturbed. His ego will be strengthened. So this is good. He is disturbed that violence is there, and he has become at least this much aware – that this is not good. He is ready to change, but just readiness to change will not help. A new quality of the mind has to be developed. Let him meditate.”

After one year had passed, the man came. He had become a different man. He was still a killer, but the man had changed although the doing remained the same. He came to Nan-in again and he said, ”Now I am a different man. I meditated and meditated and meditated, and my whole life has become a meditation because you told me to meditate in whatsoever I am doing. I am butchering animals, but the whole day I am meditating. Now what do you tell me to do?”

So Nan-in said, ”Now do not come to me. Allow your awareness to make a path for you. You need not come to me.”

So the butcher said, ”Now, only if you say remain in the profession will I pretend to be there. But as far as I am concerned, I am no more there. So if you allow me, I am not going back. But if you say to go, then it is okay. I will go and pretend, and I will continue.”

This is how, when your quality changes – your quality of consciousness – you become a different person altogether. And tantra is concerned with you, not with what you do.

[Osho - Vigyan Bhairava Tantra]