Moksha: Total freedom

To experience true and complete freedom—moksha, don't look into the past or the future. It is here, now, in this moment

Silhouette of a woman outdoors gesturing freedom

Freedom can be of three types, and those three types have to be understood well. The first is freedom from, the second is freedom for, and the third is just freedom—neither from, nor for.

Freedom from the past

The first, freedom from, is a reaction. It is past-oriented; you are fighting against the past, you want to get rid of it, you are obsessed with it. Psychoanalysis tries to give you this freedom, freedom from—from the past traumas, childhood wounds. Primal therapy is based basically on the past. You have to go backwards to free yourself from the past, you have to reach to the first primal scream, then you will be free. So, freedom means—for primal therapy, for psychoanalysis and for other therapies—that the past has to be dropped. You have to fight with it, you have to somehow manage to disentangle yourself from the past; then you will be free.

As far as this freedom is concerned, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud are not opposed to each other; they both agree. Karl Marx says one has to become free from the past, all past social structures, economic structures. His approach is political, Freud’s approach is psychological, but both are rooted in the idea of ‘freedom from’.

All political reforms are reactions—and when you react, you are never free. This has to be understood. It only gives you an appearance of freedom, but it is never true freedom. Out of reaction, total freedom is not possible. Out of reaction, true freedom is not possible. And only total freedom is true freedom.

Becoming the enemy

You can go against the past, but just in being against it, you are caught by it from the back door. That’s why it has happened again and again that with whomsoever you are fighting, you become like him. Choose your enemies very carefully, because you will be determined by them! Fighting with them, you will have to learn their strategies, obviously. You will have to learn their tactics, you will have to learn their ways. Slowly, slowly enemies become very alike—more alike than friends.

It happened in Soviet Russia…. When the revolution came and the communists changed the whole social structure, the czar was killed, and a strange phenomenon came into existence. The people who had killed the czar turned out to be greater czars than the czars themselves. Persons change but the structures remain the same, because the idea of freedom from is basically wrong.

Freedom for the future

The second idea is freedom for; it is future-oriented. The first is political, the second is more poetic, visionary, utopian. Many people have tried that too, but that too is not possible. Because future-oriented, you can’t live in the present—and you have to live in the present. You don’t live in the past, you don’t live in the future, you have to live in the present.

Visionaries only imagine. Beautiful utopias they have imagined, but those utopias never become reality, cannot become reality.

If you react to the past, you are determined by the past. If you forget the past and look at the future, you are still driven by the past, you just are not aware of it. Looking at the future you dream beautiful dreams, but they can’t change reality. The reality remains the same; dreams are very ineffective, impotent.

The first, freedom from, is a reaction. The second, freedom for, is revolution. The third, just freedom, is rebellion. It is present-oriented. The first is political, the second is poetic, the third is mystic, religious.

Just freedom

What do I mean when I say, “just freedom”? Neither for nor against, no past, no future, just being herenow, just living moment-to-moment with no ideology, with no utopia. The real sannyasin, the real mystic, is not against the past, is not for the future. He is so utterly absorbed by the present that he has no time, no energy, for the past and the future. This is how the rebel is born.

The rebel is the most beautiful phenomenon in the world. Buddha is a rebel, so is Jesus; Atisha is a rebel, so is Kabir. These are rebels. You will misunderstand them if you think of them as if they were revolutionaries; they were not. Neither were they reactionaries. Their orientation is totally different; their orientation is now, here. They don’t live for any ideal, and they don’t live against any ideal. They don’t have any ideas; no ideology exists in the consciousness.

The sheer purity of this moment… they live it, they enjoy it, they sing it, they dance it. And when the next moment comes, they live the next moment with the same joy, with the same cheerfulness. They move moment-to-moment, they don’t plan ahead.

That’s why in the East, where mystics have been a great force, nothing like communism has happened. The idea is Western, the idea cannot be conceived to have happened in the Eastern consciousness. And nothing like future utopias has happened either.

But something totally different has happened: a Buddha, an Atisha—individuals living moment-to-moment in such sheer joy that their joy is contagious. Whosoever comes in contact with them is overwhelmed, starts looking at reality with new eyes. They give you a new insight into the herenow. This is ‘just freedom.’ Meditate over it.

The magic of this moment

There is no need for any psychology either, and that’s why psychology has not happened in the East. There is no need to go into past traumas, and in fact, even if you go into past traumas you are never free of them. Maybe you become more accepting, more understanding, but you are never free of them.

The East has not created anything like communism, and it has not created anything like psychoanalysis, for a certain reason. The reason is that the mystic is not trying to be free from the past, the mystic is not trying to be free for something in the future. The mystic’s effort for freedom, what he calls moksha, total freedom, has nothing to do with that which is no more, and has nothing to do with that which is not yet. His whole concern is this moment, this small crystal-clear moment. And to be in this moment is to be in meditation.

Excerpted from The Book of Wisdom/ Courtesy: Osho International Foundation/

Magnifying lens over an exclamation markSpot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!

Osho was never born never died. He only visited this planet earth between 11 December 1931 and 19 January 1990. He was a charismatic and gifted speaker who became the leader of a worldwide new spiritual movement.


  1. We always are talking of freedom, but we really do not know the meaning of it. But when I am reading or hearing Osho’s words it is more easy to me to understand its meaning. I love Osho.

  2. osho touches the depth of every issue and just make me to understand it. Very nice that Osho never says what to do ,what not to do. I love him.

  3. Osho’s words are not only words. When someone is without any conditioning then one can realize that these are more than words.

  4. Osho has a constant emphasis on mediation throughout all of his talks. For more on meditation, see Osho’s book, Meditation: The First and Last Freedom. It is truly wonderful.

  5. WONDERFUL article… what struck me the most is that isn’t it amazing how here-now is exactly the opposite of nowhere?? And it takes you everywhere that truly matters!!

  6. whatever is filled is really empty.
    whatever is empty is filled. understand the paradox behind, you are sure to reach the success


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here