Real Freedom – A Spiritual Story by Osho

Once Diogenes was caught by a few people, robbers. Diogenes was a very healthy mystic. In the West, he seems to be the only person who can be compared to Mahavira in the East. He used to live naked, and he had a beautiful body.

It is said that even Alexander was jealous of him. And he was a naked fakir; he had nothing other than his glory, than his own beauty. He was caught: he was meditating under a tree in a forest, and a few robbers caught him.

And they thought, ”It is good. We can get a good price for him. He can be sold in a slave market.” But they were afraid, because the man looked very strong. The robbers were at least half a dozen, but still they were afraid. And they approached very cautiously because he could be dangerous. He alone seemed to be enough for six people.

Diogenes looked at them and said, ”Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid, I’m not going to fight you. You can come close to me, and you can put your chains on me.” They were surprised. They chained him, they made him a prisoner, and they took him away to the marketplace.

On the way he said, ”But why have you chained me? You could have just asked me, and I would have followed. Why make such fuss about it?” They said, ”We cannot believe that somebody is so willing to become a slave!”

And Diogenes laughed and he said, ”Because I am a free man, I am not worried about this.” they could not understand.

Then, in the marketplace, standing in the middle of the market, he shouted, ”A Master has come to be sold here. Is some slave desirous of purchasing him?”

Look what he said: ”A Master has come to be sold here. Is some slave desirous of purchasing him?”

Osho's Explanation

A Master is a Master. Real freedom is not against bondage, real freedom is beyond bondage.

If your freedom is against bondage, you are not really free. You can escape to the Himalayas just because you are afraid of the marketplace and the wife and the children, but you are not really a free man. The Himalayas cannot become your freedom. You are afraid of the wife; and if the wife comes to see you in the Himalayas, you will start trembling. Your henpecked husband will suddenly be there.

Osho – Path of Love

What is the Meaning / Moral of Osho's “Real Freedom” Story?

One spiritual moral of this story lies in Diogenes' fearlessness in the face of adversity. Despite being caught by robbers, he remained calm and composed, showing no sign of resistance or fear. This teaches us the importance of cultivating inner strength and resilience, even in the most challenging circumstances. When we are rooted in our spiritual truth and connected to our inner power, we can face life's trials with courage and grace.

Another lesson we can draw from this story is the power of surrender. Diogenes willingly allowed himself to be chained and taken away, demonstrating a deep sense of acceptance and surrender to the present moment. In spiritual practice, surrender is not about giving up or resigning ourselves to fate, but rather about letting go of resistance and trusting in the divine flow of life. When we surrender to what is, we open ourselves to greater possibilities and invite divine grace to work through us.

Diogenes' playful attitude towards his captors also offers a profound spiritual teaching. Instead of harboring resentment or anger towards them, he approached the situation with humor and lightness. This reminds us of the importance of maintaining a sense of humor in the face of adversity and not taking life too seriously. Laughter can be a powerful tool for spiritual growth, helping us to release tension, gain perspective, and connect with the joy of the present moment.

The marketplace scene, where Diogenes boldly declares himself a master for sale, carries a deeper spiritual message about the nature of freedom. Despite being physically bound by chains, Diogenes proclaimed his inner freedom and sovereignty as a master of his own destiny. This highlights the distinction between outer circumstances and inner freedom, reminding us that true freedom comes from within and cannot be confined by external conditions.

Furthermore, Diogenes' unconventional behavior challenges societal norms and invites us to question our own beliefs and assumptions. By embracing his nakedness and living in simplicity, he defied conventional standards of wealth and status, pointing towards a deeper truth about the nature of true abundance. This encourages us to reevaluate our values and priorities, and to seek fulfillment beyond material possessions and social approval.

At its core, this story invites us to reflect on the nature of mastery and servitude in our own lives. Are we slaves to our fears, attachments, and egoic desires, or are we masters of our own destiny, guided by the wisdom of our higher self? Through self-inquiry and spiritual practice, we can awaken to our true nature as divine beings, capable of transcending the limitations of the ego and embodying our highest potential.

The story of Diogenes offers profound spiritual insights into the themes of fearlessness, surrender, humor, inner freedom, and self-mastery. By embodying these qualities in our own lives, we can navigate life's challenges with grace and wisdom, and align ourselves with the divine flow of existence. As we cultivate greater awareness and spiritual maturity, we can awaken to the inherent freedom and mastery that reside within us, and live authentically from the depths of our soul.

Personal Reflection Questions

Spiritual stories are an opportunity to reflect on your own life. Here are 10 questions you can use to go deeper with the teachings in this story:

  1. Reflecting on Diogenes' fearlessness when confronted by the robbers, how do you typically respond to challenges or threats in your own life? Are there areas where you could cultivate greater courage and resilience?
  2. Diogenes' willingness to accept being chained and taken away raises questions about surrender and acceptance. In what ways do you resist or struggle against circumstances beyond your control? How might embracing a mindset of surrender enhance your inner peace and well-being?
  3. Consider Diogenes' humor and light-heartedness in the face of adversity. How do you use humor to navigate difficult situations in your life? Are there times when you could benefit from adopting a more playful and light-hearted approach?
  4. Reflecting on Diogenes' declaration of being a “free man” despite being physically bound, what does true freedom mean to you? How do you experience freedom in your own life, both internally and externally?
  5. Diogenes' unconventional lifestyle challenges societal norms and expectations. In what ways do you conform to societal expectations, even if they may not align with your authentic self? How might you embrace greater authenticity and individuality in your life?
  6. Consider the theme of self-mastery and inner sovereignty depicted in Diogenes' story. How do you cultivate a sense of mastery over your own thoughts, emotions, and actions? What practices or beliefs support you in embodying your highest potential?
  7. Reflecting on Diogenes' comparison to Mahavira in the East, consider the qualities of spiritual awakening and enlightenment. In what ways do you pursue spiritual growth and self-discovery in your life? How might you deepen your connection to your inner wisdom and divine essence?
  8. Diogenes' bold proclamation in the marketplace invites reflection on the power of self-affirmation and self-awareness. How do you affirm your own worth and value in the world? How might you cultivate greater self-awareness and self-confidence?
  9. Reflecting on Diogenes' simple lifestyle and lack of material possessions, consider the role of simplicity and minimalism in your own life. How do you relate to material possessions and worldly attachments? How might simplifying your life enhance your sense of inner peace and fulfillment?
  10. Finally, contemplate Diogenes' profound statement, “A Master has come to be sold here.” What does this statement evoke within you? How might you embrace the qualities of mastery and leadership in your own life, inspiring others through your wisdom and authenticity?