How Still was Osho? The Watch Test

Remarkably is the answer, other worldly another.

In his insightful and recently published little book, My Dance with a Madman, (recalling his reflections of his life with Osho,)  Anand Subhuti. a former parliamentary correspondent in the UK House of Commons, records on this subject something we found surprising.  (Subhuti was in a somewhat privileged position of access to Osho for some years as he was one of the main press people in the Pune ashram.)

“‘Can a lazy man become enlightened” a question to Osho from an English therapist in the seventies, Subhuti records. Osho’s answer “Only a lazy man can become enlightened” !

Subhuti goes on “Osho certainly practiced what he preached. When he wasn’t giving discourse, or darshan, or meeting his various secretaries, he was sitting alone in his room doing nothing.  Just to give you an idea of what this (latter) means, I’ll tell you about the expensive Swiss watch that was given to him. It had a delicate self winding mechanism designed to use ordinary everyday movements to power rewinding. It did not need a battery, or a hand winding mechanism. When it was placed on Osho’s wrist, there was a problem! it stopped. He just didn’t move enough to power it. So he gave the watch away to one of his dsciples. ”

Subhuti adds, “To me, this capacity to be still, silent and alone is the most rare and extraordinary quality of any human being.”

The view of Osho largely sitting in his room doing nothing has been challenged elsewhere as a Poona one myth.  But Subhuti’s close hand experience of Osho, and this story of his offers some confirmation.

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45 Responses to How Still was Osho? The Watch Test

  1. martyn says:

    To Vaclav Havel…..
    Thank you Thank you Thank you….

    you’ve left us….and have left behind clear proof in the manic twentieth century that just by being human …an ordinary accessible intelligent human being ….makes all the difference…. and you did it with laughter and playfulness in great adversity….what a lovely man…

    Goodbye, great thanks and loving best wishes….

    { “Truth lies not only in what is said, but also in who says it, and to whom, why, how and under what circumstances it is expressed.” Václav Havel. }


    by Joe Grgas online admirer of Havel……
    In practical terms, ‘living in the truth’ means to strive at not being ambiguous and to always speak and act clearly about ones thoughts and motives.

    It is a reminder to critically dissect and evaluate the importance (or lack) of the avalanche of information that we are constantly bombarded with every day. It offers a reminder that by doing many small things in a concerted way, a huge difference can often be realised…

  2. martyn says:

    If silence is not your familiar state…though you have been impressed or temporarily sublimely affected by someone whose state it was/is, then still it does not entitle me you or anyone to be absolutist about its value to anone elses daily life…absolutist in that it becomes a vault-repository icon of unsatisfied individuals….elevating an alone ‘silence’ (relating to the universe of self )to not only a memory but a target for life that sometimes, daily, is bereft of the natural mutual exchange of productive humane, person to person insight that is necessary for our daily composite mutual fulfilment…

    far better to nurture in open recognition that which we more easily access and use without giving much quotidian attention to, but which we could not possibly live without….friendship, honesty, frankness, tenderness, affection, intelligence, cooperation, endurance, nurture, material assistance… the list is endless….than to seek solace by way of the attributes that became/become targetised or meditatively seekable in sannyas ( fact : …because you do osho meditations will not give you silence as a way of life .. just like praying will not give you miracles..just look around so called meditation is people and their implicit and expressed character values that count (or not).. not how they organise the amount of attempted silent internal space…that’s like re-arranging the furniture….so what…)
    .. not only that, but also group de-conditioning attempts were remarkable only because those who participated in this addition to silence-seeking often bypassed their familiar natural attributes , and became manic in their pursuit of the esteemedly silent and a shroud for their less than human intrapersonal accountability…i have countless examples of so called religious individuals, who just cannot cope with being human…they’re too humourlessly earnest, too private, too confused, too damaged, too lost and too scared to admit to it…
    ….and to those who never took the interpersonal expressive plunge because of terror at the thought of exposure and frankness..a huge part of the ideological protection religious language gave them was theirs also for free…but utterly useless… silence… because it was a pretence for their lack of straightforwardness….

    I don’t know who Mr Havel was.. but I know what he represents in me…and the image I have is not someone who told me to keep looking for the unwavering complete transformed moment of stillness, until i go gaga….(you can get that by doing the satori group…its really good for that stuff… i did and it was)
    …..and the world we live in needs more of that kind of bohemian courage .. in your mouth and words and office interactions and friendships and your freedom to say things even if you ain’t perfect and your love of life and and and…..and less of the glossy silent mime acts sannyasins who content themselves with the average behaviour rituals…. for the mediocre entranced by the mediaeval…

  3. martyn says:

    The original declaration or manifesto which lead to the Charter 77 movement and directly supported by Vaclav Havel…From a UK underground magazine.. International Times which I was all too briefly involved with in the late 70′s.. cos i was only 19…and didn’t realise how important everything was when you look back..Look at the bottom of the 100 points.. and ask the same question today…..(sitting in a chair and humming may not be the final result for you or me….who knows you may even become or are intrinsically a reckless feckless enlightened being.. without an armchair…or watch )

  4. Parmartha says:

    Yeah Martin, there’s a lot of Buddhist pride in some spiritual circles (though cant say I have noticed it in the same way in sannyas circles) that goes into formal meditations, and postures of stillness or silence. …
    But the old man didn’t encourage that unduly… what about the repeated invitation to meditate in the marketplace where the range of social skills you yourself seem to advocate in your post, and the acquiring of same, are so deftly employed.
    Some critics of Osho are particular about that he wasn’t at all silent and still whilst in his room, but used it to see rich people for private audiences, and telephoning the various secretaries with additional requests for Rollers, and setting up nitrous sessions, etc. This post was to underline that reliable Pune one witnesses like Subhuti (who was by no means a devotee) definitely had a different view and that view was that Osho did sit in silence in his room for considerable periods.

    • martyn says:

      on a scale of values of attuned worthiness, silence or silent mode or red robey video sitting is right up there with good behaviour… self expression is only an ‘acceptable’ approach which is left behind at the sacrificial altar of venerating collective meditative behaviour …or to break through, growthfully, open up etc… once you love being openly you.. and are better at it than those who declare its good to group.. then ‘they’ move the goalposts and say you are not in your heart.. then not into silence. then then then….
      the rationale is externally validated by the group corpus when consumed by and for the groups interest..

      • Parmartha says:

        It’s not always clear what you mean Martin. I say this to help. But if I think your last post meaning is…
        I suppose the sannyasins I mix with, and have mixed with in the past were not white robe types, and I dont see this as the dominant representation of sannyas. (In fact as I understand it Pune have now dropped white robe??)
        I know quite a few people who never really did any groups to speak of and always seemed to keep their individuality. In or out of sannyas there will always be problems with “group” behaviour but my impression has always been that considerable numbers of people drawn to Osho were and remained individualists.
        As I have said elsewhere Osho did not need an “organisation”, but clearly choose to have one. Some rough things go with the latter whoever we talk about. But as I think others active here have pointed out they would never have heard of the guy without an efficient organisation being in place. Maybe for example you and me!

  5. martyn- did Havel leave the czech republic in a better off state than when he first took office?- my answer is, yes and no.. better to have freedom than to be under a fraudulent so-called communist gov’t, but look at the Czech republic now- super high unemployment and buried in massive debt- oh btw, when Havel was prez, it was known as Czechoslovakia , a little later did they split up- those Czechs hated the Slovaks; a kind of forced marriage the commies arranged. so much for brotherly love and unity in the cosmos.

    • Parmartha says:

      Dont think that Havel’s achievement rests with the after 1989 period. But prior to that, after being imprisoned by the communists and leading that velvet revolution – in which there was very little bloodshed – and not knowing how it would turn out – he could have easily been massacred – that was a rare courage and rare naked leadership in 89.
      Havel is an interesting case, he thought that it was possible to play the philosopher King – but it never works. Politics ends where truth begins – as often as not.
      Havel is worthy of discussion – but Martyn, etc why did you not start a string on him rather than discuss him here off topic?

      • martyn says:

        because as kafka said…’ who are the fish in the silent cave of wise folly who bask in the sunshine whilst others play with beachballs on the sands of time.’…(its a metaphor that actually tells you everything you need to know about Osho sitting alone , but i have to hide my true thoughts from the state censors.. so i write in allegory instead about Havel..)

    • martyn says:

      the office of presidency is not Havel the man…..or ….his life story was not defined by his role later as man at the top…he was a citizen first and foremost in his life …and with intellectual discrimination and accountability along the way as his interviews and letters testify…. never mind about his personal love life………
      the presidency was not in the defining lens of the telescope…neither before during or after becoming prezzy….but thats just my definition for whatever objective truth I care to muster…

      and by definition he was an ethicist .. so i don’t even see him playing any role in defining cz economic development…

      No, for me what ‘learning’ from his contemporariness does.. is that it shoves being stupid , hidden, unexamined,mechanically socialized,mentally enforced and subjected to idiomatic false exchanges …. .. way down the list of how to announce yourself to the world every morning… and you don’t ever hear the spiritual dictionary being churned out … although its there… like in the wonder of storytelling… you can allow yourself to be carried away into a pretend which becomes more fully liveable, than all the pragmatic survival routines and all the deliberate spirituality that modern folk need so badly as readymade take aways…
      Havel made his own…and his evidence is to see how by openly challenging the enforced mentality of every day life is plenty enough to bring joy to merry pranksters who won’t back down…..

      The official international plaudits from politicians now of him don’t log at all on my Havel radar….and they couldn’t reinvent him even if they tried… he was just the best of the 60′s and 70′s coming in around the 90′s .. cos the commies were always 20 years later than the west by default…

      I taught in CZ and at least they understand the word bohemian, and respect its legacy….allowing for considered conversations from the most ordinary citizens who lived those years…..

      Hey JC why not read this Xmas the story of Bohemian Good King Wenceslas …and look at photos of Prague and castles and pine forests.. and then read some snippets of Havel…its perfect for seeing in the snowy new year….

      must go …as my Perry Como video is about to start….

  6. frank says:

    that watch tale is just such a silly story.

    by the 70s,automatic winding was standard for expensive swiss watches and they could run for 32 hours stationary.(unenlightened rich folk would take them off at night.)
    and what about that other famous osho feat of reading 20 books a day?
    doesnt that require wrist action?
    the stories these pen-pushing professional disciples come up with!!
    but,keep it coming…
    i was born yesterday and the lobotomy went fine,thanks…..

    • martyn says:

      Frank how come you know so much about swiss watches .. you treasured old time-piece-taker, of a self wind-up merchant you.

      Actually i have a self winding swiss Baume et Mercier watch that i want to shift , any reasonable offer considered.. it dates from the seventies.. and because its a ladies watch it doesn’t hold much charge in its tiny mechanism.. so without a good wristing can go a bit limp…and even stop altogether.. though its perfectly good for non stillness professionals…and its waterproof too….

      • frank says:

        yes,i find those important pro disciples do tend to be pretty heavy on the wrist action,and they still need winding up….
        i always have my rolex on at all hours,along with my glasses.
        i find that if i know where i am and when i am,then i know who i am.

    • sannyasnews says:

      Doubt whether Subhuti made this story up. But yes, it could have been a rumour that became a fact within Subhuti’s mind. In those days, believe it or not Osho’s day to day life was of great curiosity to disciples though it was clear he was not that fond of sharing it.
      There were also stories about him eating 14 chappati’s a day…..just to stay in the body!

      • frank says:

        that “stay in the body” mullarkey is an old eastern routine.

        here`s a quote from a book alan watts wrote in 1960.
        “..the eastern ways of liberation have been astonishingly ingenious.
        their masters,whom society would have considered utterly subversive,have convinced society they are its very pillars.
        it is thus that the guru who has a bad temper,drinks or smokes gives the impression that he indulges in these little vices deliberately-in order to remain in his bodily manifestation,for if he were consistently unnattached to the material world he would cease to appear in it”

        it is interesting that osho dedicated his nitrous books to alan watts.
        a little nod he never made in his everyday discourses.
        in nitro veritas?

        • sannyasnews says:

          Swami Frank,
          Can you reference where Osho dedicated the nitrous books to Alan Watts? There will be those who disbelieve you!

            • frank says:

              from memory,i believe it was “books i have loved”.
              there is reference to it in pierre evald`s “india`s greatest bookman”
              a very interesting article by osho`s danish librarian in poona 1.
              have you read it?
              its worth a google.
              i emailed pierre evald and asked him if there was a list of all the books in oshos library.he replied unfortunately not.
              i know there were some unusual items in there.i myself spotted a couple of 60s screwball american comedies in there on the way to the samadhi before i got moved on by the white sock police……
              if there are those who disbelieve me,i would suggest to them to stick to hagiographic tales of the legendary wrist actions of the great masters.
              that will suit them better.

              • alokjohn says:

                By the way does anyone have an opinion as to whether he read the books in his library? Someone said he read several books a day .
                I wonder if this is possible for heavy non fiction books. I am inclined to the opinion that the library was for show and most of the books he had not read.

              • Arpana says:

                Good straightforward article. Didn’t realise he had that many books. I was a ferocious reader at one time. He lapped me twenty times and rising.


                • martyn says:

                  he was on speed too? You never would have known by the way he talked.. sounded more like valium not thallium…maybe it was a mispronuciation after he had his teeth out….
                  you can imagine the scene can’t you..there’s devateeth with biro and notepad…

                  ‘ thooks i thave boved…thedicaded to tathan thwatts,,,ps wheths my thaliumm’ ‘oh thuck it the bottlthse’s out of gathhhh’

          • alokjohn says:

            Surely they are the dental books, not the nitrous books. I think N20 is not explicitly mentioned in the introductions to the books.

            • frank says:

              his whole style was different in those nitrous books,not to mention refs to nitrogen oxygen and drugs etc…
              think beatles in their moptop phase then post acid sgt peppers.
              can you tell the difference?
              thats how obvious it is.

              • Arpana says:

                I read Notes of a Madmen in 1987 and the Nitrous Oxide mentions made barely an impression on me, barely touches me even now. Feel indifferent really; and then when you guys began to mention that, I knew what you were talking because of the book I guess; but what stood out for me was the innumerable mentions of the mantra Ohm mani padme hum, on account of how he had allways appeared to be against manta chanting. ( Started to chant the mantra when I got in my head, and the use had a dramatic positive impact on me, which is why i still remember the book, including being able to picturre the edition. ) Interesting how we see different things in these books depending who we are.

                • martyn says:

                  with all those worldwide and indian book sales… just where is the friggin money going…. no wonder that psychonaut Klingon rajneesh mime artist wants to run the show with sales like that…and apparently Osh gets quoted by the resort as not believing in charity yet they play the tax game and are precisely that to avoid hefty charges and even more baksheesh…
                  they haven’t even built a cheap restaurant or a subsidized retirement home for thought watchers…. don’t tell me that it costs a lot of money to have people sit in a pyramid… i know .. i know the cost of pyramids these days….and heart opening surgeons…. its diabolical….

  7. jaycpennie says:

    time for me instead to play good ole St. Nick- i think today or yesterday was his day traditional central and eastern european holiday- we celebrated it in my house during my childhood(parents from eastern europe). at least those folks separated the celebrations of jolly St. Nick from Christ’s birthday-well the christianized version- christ was actually thought to have been born during the summer(it was an effort to entice the pagans to convert when they combined the winter solstice and jesus’ b’day).

  8. jaycpennie says:

    everyone at SN and Martyn- enjoy a holiday eggnog(spiked w/dark rum) on me… cheers!!!

  9. shantam says:

    let us not talk about wrist watch or wall clock, but the energyfield of a man like Osho who created the enviornment where seekers around the globe could meet, meditate and merge.
    MAy be the following quotaion just read, can shed some light on the ultimate process-
    “Even if I die and my people can remain rejoicing, loving, the energy field will remain. I cannot take it away with me. But if they start being ordinary again, jealous, full of hate, hostility, violence, then they will destroy the energy field. I have created the energy field; now it is existing almost independent of me. And my whole effort is that while I am alive I should detach myself completely from the energy field and see whether my people can manage it.”

  10. martyn says:

    Oh little star of Sh_an_tam , how still we see you lie
    Above your deep and dreamless tweets we silently go by
    No dear , we care not about your wr-i_t_i__ng,
    But because you’re a san_nya_sin
    We’ll let you speak , on the SN tweet ,
    With a carol , with you to sing-a-long in_

    :) :)

    Happy Xmas Everyone…..and ta for the rum ol’ JC you old Jangley Bal-kaner.

  11. shantam says:

    Arpana, once in a while it is not bad to clarify one´s stand, when one writes publicly about the politically incorrect issues.
    I won´t say Western sannyasins are diluting the energy field of Osho. No at all. Basically they will come to Osho, Pune like always, once the Management head takes his head away from that place. So simple.
    It is a mystery of Life how a Canadian sannyasin is ruling the place as if he is the crown prince of some gulf country.
    Surely, my complain is that why the majority of western sannyasins who have been nurtured by Osho´s work don´t open their mouth to convey their discontent in a loud and clear tone, rather they have chosen a simple way to ignore…
    May be these people have used their protest energy for Free Tibet Campaign!

    • martyn says:

      Because shantam and all the lost confused people in oshodom like you.. of which there are thousands ….i wasn’t ‘passively’ nurtured.. i gave him my trusting sexuality/relationships etc to alternately abuse and enjoy/indulge via gonzo therapists and the language of obedient growth and ….he gave me his spiritual energy and energy darshan and slightly still does by linked transference when listening to his voice…once a sucker always a sucker :)

      BUT .. it was a quid pro quo and nobody owes anybody anything …not even a thank you or apology..because it was all done in the name of self interest…you win or lose its tough titties in oshodom…

      if there had not been, via virulent borrowed condemnation of our so-called ‘conditioning’ ( i’m nowhere near even being a cuckoo Indian conditioned sexually hidden sikh-er-osho-freak-aholic)…….then the sabotage of ‘rebellious anyways’ decent people (me) with such an anti-democratic humourless authoritarian principle at work, …(and there still is via osho approved borrowed language hurdles such as i’m deeper than you, i’m more aware., more groups, more powerful groups,. you’re off , you have to open up , you are just not letting go …and there still is because have you heard ‘trust me.. i’m an osho self appointed shrink guide meditation chakra advisor etc etc… ‘

      ……..then…..i might have cared about preserving in aspic a singular version of Osho’s contribution to humanity/me …as it is i’m liable to smile, bow gracefully , laugh, whinge take the piss and give him two fingers … just to prove its all part of the game….
      so take your anti religion religion of whatever colour and go stick it up your chapatti.. including any tibetan flags too…
      oh and one more thing after another ride on the public metro i don’t give a stuff about saving humanity either.. just like you don’t give a stuff about eating cow burgers…

      clear enough shantam ? though i do use a lot of words sorry bout that but, I think my message is not borrowed one of disposable words but lived out in many shades of sannyasin life.. and because its not so facile and full of happy clappiness as a solution to life’s little upsets of how still or not you are.. that’s your business not mine….

      and i’ve never recommended a commune to anyone though i know a lot of people who should have needed to really put their arse on the line and live in one…just to find out how shitty it could get…and still come out breathing… just !

    • Arpana says:

      There you go again. Sweeping statements. Assumptions. How do you all this about all the western sannyasiins. You don’t . You assume whatever fits your prejudices.

  12. shantam says:

    Martyn this is for you, just like one of the candles among many candles in the church.
    You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.
    ~ Nietzsche ~
    Thanks to God…for sending his son in December ( or to the fiction writers who created such wonderful story). festivity about his happy birthday is creating warmth for centuries, when there is melancholic cold all around.

    • martyn says:

      Of course Xmas time is a great time of year….well apart from the slaughter of all those innocent animals….

      And thanks also to this Czeh man Havel ..who will remain for many many of us testament, to the coming out from our introverted ghettoes of obedience whether psychological or social , religious or ambitious …
      we can…..
      because playfulness and intelligence are man’s best friends….
      and now the world has seen what a libertarian humanist bohemian like Havel is capable of .. its no longer a dream to live in our world and not the world made by others who are incapable of it…if you want to practice the same way that is…

      and this also means freedom from non-dissenting ‘osho new men and women’ who offer incomprehensible medicinal self awareness self improvement psycho babble routines through years of burdened behaviour shaping rituals… at weekend liberation events for cash….in ever declining circles…that look glossy and bourgeois by comparison. Especially cos..

      all you have to do is proclaim and live it…
      because you are..
      the spirit of living your life doesn’t get much better than this…

      and I’m not denying for one minute the radiance of the divine light from osho….but self awareness is more accessible living freely bohemian …than in bouncing up and down communually trying to find it instead,(!!!???) whilst shedding your other voices in favour of one singular meditative one.

      • sannyasnews says:

        From Sannyasnews:
        Because of Martyn’s sometimes very difficult to understand prose there was a misunderstanding re his first para. It is now corrected, Martyn was referring to the annual slaughter of animals to appease meat eaters at xmas, not to the one off slaughter of innocent children by Herod at the first Christmas. We apologise if we inadvertently misunderstood Martyn’s drift.

  13. sagara says:

    That chap, Shantam, certainly would not have any problems with a self-winding watch as he obviously does a lot of wrist movements. I mean to say, ‘once in a while it is not bad to clarify one´s stand’ takes ineuendo to a new level.

  14. shantam says:

    To create Beautiful World from beautiful Words is as arduous and life consuming work as to bring water or sewerage pipe into every house.
    Problem with spiritual seekers, specially Osho Sannyasins and His readers is that they become too much hypnotised with the Words of their path founder. In that sense, my heart feels immense reverence for people passionately rooted in Christianity, through sheer motivation and grit, they have built an amazing civilization out from a very ordinary book; The Bible.
    Marry Christmas!!

  15. Karima says:

    Silence in the market place,
    Silence in all these stories,
    Silence in the chatterdychat mind,
    Silence in all these opinions,
    Silence in this crazy world,
    was this not the message of Osho?

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