‘Nobody is here to fulfil your dream.’ Osho
‘I leave you my dream.’ Osho
‘You might say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.’ John Lennon
During the seven wonderful years I spent with Osho,1974-1981, I underwent one of the steepest learning/unlearning curves of my 62 years of existence. I haven’t always felt gratitude for that time in my life. I do now. Amongst many other things, I feel grateful for being freed from the many pitfalls encountered when devoting time to a guru, in order to learn what that most mysterious of relationships is all about…and yes I know that Osho said the relationship was only from our side, because he was not. Nonetheless, a relationship did exist, be it one-sided or not.
When I first met Osho, in February 1974, I was opposed to the idea of surrendering to an Indian Guru. My generation had, for instance, learned from the Beatles about their much publicised relationship with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the ensuing scandals. On the other hand, psychedelics had opened my eyes to the fact that there is more to life than meets the uninitiated eye and due to influential books, like Paramahansa’s Autobiography of a Yogi and Ram Dass’s Be Here Now, the answers to life’s deeper questions, and the possibility of protracted states of drug free bliss apparently lay at the feet of Indian mystics. So, in a mystical nutshell, that is how I wound up sitting, looking up into Osho’s bottomless eyes on the back porch of Lao-Tzu house in the company of a dozen or so beautiful people.
Osho did not bother to ask me if I wanted to take sannyas. He just chuckled, dropped the mala over my head and told me my new name along with its significance. It was an unforgettable moment. I really felt like I was gaining admittance to the guru’s spiritual family. I felt privileged, knowing in my heart I must have gotten something very right in order for this to have happened. I’d finally arrived home after a seemingly endless journey and it was extremely intimate. Such impressions remained with me for about 4 years, by which time Osho had gone mainstream and personal access to him had been curtailed in the extreme. This did not affect the feelings of love and reverence I held in my heart for Osho and still do to this day.
Was Osho enlightened? That depends on what your personal definition of enlightenment is. If one looks the adjective up in a dictionary you are liable to find something along the lines of: having or showing a rational, modern, and well informed outlook. In that case I would say, yes, Osho was definitely enlightened. If one starts to compare him to the likes of say Buddha, Christ, Krishna etc., which he often did himself, I’d have to say that is definitely stretching the imagination’s elastic a bit. Osho was somehow too human to enter the league of such distinguished gentlemen.
During my early teens, my mother, who was quite a wise woman in her own right, advised me that, if I wanted to know who someone really is, do not listen to their words, but rather observe their actions. On that level Osho was an extremely contradictory man. Yes, like the rest of you, I know his rap about being contradictory in order to be in tune with life’s contradictory nature. However, many of the contradictions in Osho’s life were such that it was obvious that the man was not practising what he preached. One simple example of what I’m driving at is contained within the following anecdote. During the mid-seventies the ashram was a hive of physical activity. Buddha Hall was undergoing major renovations, which meant the place was filled with a veritable cacophony of sound, hammers, electric power tools, saws etc. In the middle of this there was a ten day meditation camp going on. People complained and Osho spoke about it in discourse, in a Buddha Hall that had fallen temporarily silent except for his amplified voice. His response ran along the lines of one’s meditation was not going deep if a few worker’s tools could disturb it. We all nodded sagely upon hearing this pearl of wisdom. Round about the same time it came to my ears that Osho had complained to the guards that children playing in the ashram’s precincts had been making a noise and he wanted it to stop…permanently! Draw your own conclusions.
Osho was great with kids but I suspect that he really did not have much time for them. Just like the adults he had his favourites. Siddhartha was number one and Osho declared him to be a Buddha. We lapped it up and as little Sid was friends with my son we were occasionally blessed with the wee enlightened one’s presence in our humble hut. As it was to pan out Sid grew into quite a complex personality none of whose traits could be described as Buddha-like. So much for the master’s crystal ball. It was malfunctioning. Yet he kept up the sham of young Sid being a Buddha for years, when it fact it was a piece of fabricated, sensationalistic nonsense. The point is, Osho often said things that sounded very enlightened, but they turned out not to be, no more so than when applied to his personal life. A prime example of this was Osho’s attitude towards drug use. Of the hundreds of people who talked to Osho, when I happened to be present, only one received Osho’s blessings in regards to their indulgence in drugs. For the rest it was a blunt ‘drop it!’ The premise being that drugs moved one in the opposite direction of meditation. Yet, as we all know, Osho succumbed to the temptation of drugs himself, building up a dependence on laughing gas and prescription tranquillizers. How does that fit in with an anti-drug stance and being enlightened? Who was getting high if, as he often proclaimed, there was nobody to get high.? It’s always puzzled me why Osho went for the gas. From my own experience the sensational high soon deteriorates into a very sore head. Yet the master of masters consumed dozen of steel bottles of the stuff. Whatever way own looks it it this is very hypocritical behaviour. So very human.
Which brings us to the mythological aspects of Osho’s life. I was alerted to the substantial myths that are currently mushrooming about Osho here on SN, when I read some idiot raving on about how the spiritually blind could not feel Osho’s energy throbbing from a small box, containing Osho’s toe nail clippings. I’d like to set the record straight on such bullshit.
I’ve had the good fortune to meet many remarkable men and women in my wandering life. On the energetic level I’ve never met anyone who comes remotely close to Osho. I don’t know how it happened but he was indeed a vehicle for an energy force best described as cosmic, divine, pure love etc. Absolutely amazing! I’ll stick to my own experience in saying that it was not difficult for him to read another person’s mind and I know for certain that he was able to travel long distances without his body leaving his bedroom. Osho was not and is not omnipresent and if you feel that you have direct contact in some manner with him today I suggest that you contact a psychiatrist. If for no other reason I say this because Osho claimed that he would merge with universal consciousness etc. at the end of his life, and therefore no signature of individuality would be left. Anyone remember the way of the white cloud? That is not to say that you cannot experience a connectivity with the whole, reality, oneness etc. It’s just that the need to label such an experience as having something to do with Osho, in the form of some kind of divine personality, who causes such things to happen, is childish. Yes, I know that Jesus called God ‘Daddy’ but he was a special case. If one can’t step out of such an obsolete mind set it might be a good idea to visit a therapist who deals with cult casualties.
Therapy. Now there is a touchy subject in Sannyasville. Although most Indian sannyasins will disagree vehemently, the therapy period, during the seventies in Poona One, was a very significant and important stage in Osho’s work. It was powerful medicine and the Indian sannyasins missed out because they were basically not ready for it and I do not mean that in a negative way.. Osho was no fool when it came to such matters and he handled the whole thing with expertise and above all diplomacy. When I arrived in Poona back in 74 I did so with many of my contemporaries. Time has shown me that in general the ones who did not run the therapy gamut in Poona One did not fare as well, upon returning to the world, as the ones who did. The basic premise, as I see it, was that in order to build a temple for the spirit one needs to construct a strong foundation, which means amongst other things to get rid of the rot in the basement of the unconscious. I’m currently reading a book on child psychology that explains how important the first 6 years our lives are in forming our life script. It is shocking because the odds for us having a healthy and happy life are heavily stacked against us, basically because the fucked up parents fuck up the children. Therapy can and does break this vicious cycle. The two dozen or so groups I participated in during Poona One, and the supportive environment, helped me tremendously on my journey through life. One only needs to read the headlines about New Delhi being the rape capital of the world to understand what a can of worms Osho would have opened, had he allowed Indians to join no-holds-barred encounter groups. Instead, he nurtured the Indian sannyasin’s personality and racial characteristics that were already well grounded in their hearts, namely love, devotion and surrender. As it turns out it appears to be a bit of a mixed blessing. I say this because being grounded so much in one’s feelings and emotions can make one blind to certain things in life that are best approached by using logic, even taking into account that some see ‘intellectual’ as being a dirty word in Sannyaspeak, due mainly to Osho’s influence, – somewhat contradictory seeing as how Osho had a highly developed intellect himself. Western sannyasins also got carried away with their surrender trip and thus, for example, a blind spiritual eye caused much of the débâcle that was the Ranch (The Rajneeshpuram commune, 81-85). . Only a few had the guts to use their heads and protest against the absurdities that were taking place. The price paid for this was expulsion from the commune..
Today, we have imposters claiming to be channelling Osho’s energy etc. Total nonsense. We also have those claiming to be carrying on Osho’s legacy, when in fact he never really left one. There is very little evidence existing that pertains to such a thing in Osho’s words and there would have been had he felt it as important as others obviously do. Yet these con artists say that they know the inside story, that they are special and so forth.
In regards to people Osho was a great social experimenter. He had his successes and he had his failures, which is entirely in tune with the nature of experimentation. To build a legacy that can lift the consciousness of mankind by reading his books and practising his meditation techniques is pure fantasy. There is much to be gleaned from Osho’s words, but it might be wise to consider that Osho did not actually practise much of what he preached. Perhaps because Osho was a great practitioner of plagiarism; his genius lying in his great skill at synthesizing others’ ideas into something that altogether transcended the original concepts. Osho’s meditation techniques also grew out of this ability and they are brilliant, but they are not the end of the story, but rather a stepping stone towards real meditation, which is bringing awareness into the small and great acts that compose our lives. Jumping up and down going hoo-hoo-hoo every morning is not meant for that but rather introducing one to it. Besides, in the long run, it will damage your knees. In Poona One people who did not progress from Osho’s active meditation techniques to worship (meditation in action) were eventually viewed as being stuck. Therefore those that advocate doing one Osho meditation a day and brainwashing oneself by listening to his discourses daily really are out of touch with the big picture. I’ve observed people who actually practise this and almost all of them are dull and have little to say for themselves that is authentic. As one can clearly see from reading people’s comments on SN, who constantly copy and paste Osho quotes, it is possible to find a quote suitable for almost every argument, including my own. The danger is that using Osho to back up your own point of view is that your vision will lack clarity and definition when challenged by any intelligent person. In that context SN is a great site for honing one’s communication and debating skills, not forgetting one’s sense of humour. It is a pity that so few take advantage of this possibility. Some, of course, do, while others prefer to push their own agenda with little heed for what their detractors say. Then there are the faceless readers who never bother or are too self-conscious to drop us a line.
Meanwhile, in La-la Land, the myths surrounding Osho will continue to build, because people have the need to create some kind of ever-present authoritarian big brother in their lives. Herein lies one of the problems of introducing a guru into your life…you can project absolutely anything on to their wise faces. I ask you, do you honestly need that or is it just a throwback to childhood? I believe, in spite of his need for adulation, Osho wished in his heart for us to be free, which also included being free of him.
Osho was a remarkable man with much to impart. One thing he was not was some kind of all-seeing super man. Osho was a man. Those that do not see that will miss much of what he had to offer in purely human terms. He was and still can be a great teacher in regards remaining sane in a insane world. Although it’s a matter of conjecture as to what might have become of him had he followed his own wise counsel, especially in regards overindulgence in mind and mood-altering substances.
It was a great boon to be with Osho when one could still talk to him face-to-face. In such a situation there was little room for fantasy or deceit because under the penetrating gaze of his eyes it was very difficult to get away with that. Now that the tiger is gone the mice and those jumping on the Osho clone bandwagon will continue to play their games and use a dead guru as leverage to project their ego trip. Fortunately, there are many among us who can see this clearly and SN is one of the best platforms for allowing these individuals to air their views and hopefully deliver a more complete picture of Osho and his sannyasins. My prediction is that SN will increasingly become a focus of attention for those who are new to Osho and wishing a more coherent vision of who and what he actually was. On that level we should all say a word of thanks to the editors for creating SN and keeping the show running. Namaste and a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2014.