Osho Commentary on Dionysius
aka Denis the Areopagite, Bishop of Athens 9-117
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Another Dionysius link ~
NB: parts in ALL CAPS indicate fragments from Dionysius

Dionysius uses two kinds of language. One he calls "cataphatic." "Cataphatic" means a positive language which speaks of God as Father, light, spirit, power and being; it tells us what God is like. But remember, it is only a finger pointing to the moon the finger is not the moon. The cataphatic language is useful, at least useful for those who are very childish in their approach towards life. A child can understand God only as Father, hence all childish religions talk about God as Father. When religion reaches maturity it drops that idea completely.

Jainism does not talk about God as Father; in fact, it does not talk about God at all. Buddhism emphatically denies talking about God, because to talk about God you have to use cataphatic language and a cataphatic language is at the most approximate. But as far as truth is concerned you cannot be approximately true: either you are true or you are not true.

Can you say to somebody, "I almost love you," or, "I love you approximately?" That will look very stupid, silly! Either you love or you don't love. You cannot say, "I love you fifty percent, sixty percent, seventy percent." The idea of percentage won't work; it is either a hundred percent or nothing at all.

Truth cannot be approximately described. Hence to call God "light" is helpful for children to understand, but is not the right way, because then darkness is denied. If you call God "consciousness," then where are you going to put matter? If you call God "spirit," then the body becomes something ungodly, undivine, evil.

It is because of this cataphatic language that millions of people are misguided. They become anti-body, anti-life, anti-love, anti-joy, anti-pleasure-anti-everything! for the simple reason that they have become accustomed to a cataphatic language.

Dionysius says remember that cataphatic language is just like music. You cannot describe music, but you can give instructions about music, you can give notations for music. And the person who understands the language of notation, one who can decode it, will be able to produce music: the indescribable will be heard. But it is a very indirect way. If the person does not know anything about the notations he may start worshipping the notations as music. He may try to hear it by bringing the notation close to his ears and he will be surprised: "There is no music! And that fool was saying that great music is contained in this notation, and I don't hear anything at all!"

In the middle of a busy street, a madman is kneeling down, his ear to the tar. A passerby sees him and becomes very puzzled by the scene. Not being able to contain his curiosity he also kneels down and puts his ear to the ground.

He does not hear anything so he says to the madman, "What are you listening to? I can't hear anything."
The madman replies, "Yes, it has been like that since this morning."

You cannot hear music from musical notations that will be mad but you can produce it. Those notations are not descriptive, they are instructive. These two words are significant, "descriptive" and "instructive."
All great Masters are instructive, they are not descriptive. They are not describing God; they are simply instructing you how to create agnosia, the state of not-knowing, so that knowing can happen.

The second kind of language Dionysius calls "apophatic." It is negative language which speaks of God in terms of what he is not. This brings you closer to the truth because it does not say anything about God; it does not affirm anything. It is not via positiva, it is via negativa. It simply says, "God is not this, God is not this." It simply denies.

Dionysius says it is like a man who is trying to make a statue out of a marble rock. He goes on chipping, cutting pieces of rock, goes on throwing pieces of rock, chunk by chunk. Slowly slowly the statue emerges.
When you are with a Master who knows the art of apophatic language... and a Master cannot be a Master without knowing the use of apophatic language. All Masters are via negativa, neti neti, neither this nor that. If they sometimes speak in descriptive language, that is only for the newcomers, for the initiates, but not for the adepts not for those who are getting a little more mature, a little more centered. For them they always speak the language of negation. They always say, "This is not, this is not, this is not..." They go on eliminating the unnecessary. And finally, when they have eliminated all, they say, "Now this is it!" But still they will not describe it, they will only say, "This is it! Now, here... this silence... this agnosia... this is it!"

Dionysius says:

THIS IS MY PRAYER. AS FOR YOU, BELOVED TIMOTHY, EXERTING YOURSELF SINCERELY IN MYSTICAL CONTEMPLATION, QUIT THE SENSES, THE WORKINGS OF THE INTELLECT, AND ALL THAT MAY BE SENSED AND KNOWN, AND ALL THAT IS NOT AND IS. FOR BY THIS YOU MAY UNKNOWINGLY ATTAIN, IN AS FAR AS IT IS POSSIBLE, TO THE ONE-NESS OF HIM WHO IS BEYOND ALL BEING AND KNOWLEDGE. THUS THROUGH INDOMITABLE, ABSOLUTE AND PURE DETACHMENT OF YOURSELF FROM ALL THINGS, YOU WILL BE LIFTED UP TO THAT RADIANCE OF THE DIVINE DARKNESS WHICH IS BEYOND BEING, SURPASSING ALL AND FREE FROM ALL.

This is something tremendously beautiful. Dionysius writing to his disciple, Timothy, says:

THIS IS MY PRAYER.

A real Master cannot say more than that. He cannot order you. He cannot say, "Do it you have to do it!" He does not talk in terms of shoulds and should-nots. He is not in any way trying to lay his trip on you. He is simply praying for you. Dionysius says:

THIS IS MY PRAYER.

"This is what I would like to see happening in you. This is my wish, my prayer. So don't take it as an order; it is not that you have to do it. It is not that if you don't do it you will be punished, thrown into hell for eternity. There is no need to listen to me, there is no need to follow me. This is only my prayer, because I have experienced such transcendent beauty through agnosia that I would like you, beloved Timothy, also to share it. I would like to share it with you. If you are ready, the sharing can happen."

And this is the way to be ready: exert yourself sincerely not seriously but sincerely. There are people who are always doing things halfheartedly; lukewarm is their life. They never achieve anything because they are always holding back. They never move into anything totally, intensely. They are always standing on the bank and thinking of the farther shore. Or even if sometimes they try, they are riding on two horses; in case the one fails, the other will always be there. They are riding in two boats. Their life is so divided that whatsoever they do they always do with a dividedness. And any flowering of consciousness is possible only when there is an organic unity in you. Hence:

... be sincere IN MYSTICAL CONTEMPLATION, QUIT THE SENSES...

Dionysius says: Watch your senses. You are not the eye but the consciousness standing behind the eye. The eye is only a window don't get identified with it. And so are all other senses: they are only windows. You are standing behind the window don't become the window! Don't start thinking, "I am the frame of the window."

That's what everybody is doing. You become identified with your senses, you become identified with your mind, you become identified with a thousand and one things.

And you completely forget that you are only one thing and that is witnessing, consciousness, awareness.

... QUIT THE SENSES, THE WORKINGS OF THE INTELLECT...

Don't get involved in the mind. Watch the mind pass by. Slowly slowly the functioning of the mind ceases.

... AND ALL THAT MAY BE SENSED AND KNOWN...

And go on dropping that which can be known and sensed so that you can fall into agnosia.

... AND ALL THAT IS NOT AND IS.

And don't become attached to the positive or the negative, to the theist or the atheist.

A rare man Dionysius is. He is saying these things behind the cover of Christianity, hiding this great mystic approach as great as Lao Tzu's or Buddha's behind the covers of the Bible. Hence he has survived he managed well. Christians have never condemned him, otherwise he might have been burnt alive; at least his letters would have been destroyed.

Thousands of great treatises have been burnt and destroyed, and if they are not burnt and destroyed they are lying in the basement of the Vatican. Thousands of manuscripts never read, never allowed the light of the day! Nobody can approach them.

In fact, it should be one of the duties of the UNO to free all the manuscripts which are imprisoned in the Vatican. And there are millions, not few. This is a great crime! Centuries of understanding of enlightenment are hidden, not allowed. Catholics have a special category for such books. Once they are put on the black list, no Christian is allowed to read them; to read them is to commit a sin.

Dionysius must have been a very intelligent man; he managed well. He deceived the Vatican, he deceived the popes. After all, he himself was a bishop he knew all the inside tricks! His treatise is thought to be Christian; it is not Christian at all. It has nothing to do with Christianity. Jesus would have agreed with it, but not the Christian organization.
taken from Theologia Mystica, by Osho
Other "Lost and Found" commentaries by Osho

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