Celebrate! Friends, Celebrate!
Ma Yoga Neelam
It is indeed a moment of rejoicing: Osho’s name and his meditations are now free from the fetters of US trademarks. After a ten year long battle between OIF (Osho International Foundation) Zurich led by Jayesh and OFI ( Osho Friends International) led by Swami Atul Anand, Osho Friends International has won. Congartulations and cheers to OFI for their unwavering devotion to fulfilling Osho’s wish.
Osho devised many meditation techniques in the late sixties and early seventies. Never in his lifetime did he express his wish to trademark the meditations, as he always felt that the meditations are a gift of Awakened Ones and are meant to raise the consciousness of humanity. He openly proclaimed this in one of his discourses in Gautama the Buddha auditorium: “Things can be copyrighted, thoughts cannot be copyrighted, and certainly meditation cannot be copyrighted. They are not things of the marketplace. Nobody can monopolise anything. But perhaps the West cannot understand the difference between an objective commodity and an inner experience”.
When asked how to protect the purity of his meditations, he gave a very simple solution: “Make my meditations as widely available as possible so that millions of people come to know them directly. That’s the only positive way; otherwise you will be wasting time and money in fighting with people”.
This was a very clear guideline and this was his wish. But a few years later, as time passed by, Jayesh did the opposite, going against the guideline and wishes of his Master. With the help of Amrito and Anando, he took a totally negative direction of dominating Osho sannyasins and lovers, and whoever did not toe their line was either ridiculed, harassed or banned from the commune. Talking about toes—I remember in one of the meetings between Amrito and Sw. Chaitanya Keerti, Amrito said: “Now we have got our copyrights and trademarks registered. We have the power to step on some people’s toes, and we intend to do that. “Feeling sad, Keerti reminded him: “These toes are of Osho’s sannyasins and lovers who are doing his work.”
And in their new found power and arrogance they started harassing and intimidating Osho sannyasins (who were involved with Osho’s work for years) with legal threats. In India, they began this with sending legal notice to Delhi-based Osho World Foundation prohibiting them to use Osho’s name ( www.oshoworld.com) on the web. Moreover very inhumanly they got thousands of copies of Osho’s books in France shredded because the sannyasin publishers were unable to pay royalties to OIF. Besides this, there are several examples where devoted sannyasin publishers and meditation center leaders were served legal notices forcibly discouraging them from contributing to Osho’s work and vision, thus creating anger and resentment among them.
Thanks to USPTO ( United States Patents and Trademarks Office) which in a strongly worded decision said: “Based upon the testimony and evidence of record we find that primary significance of Osho is as a religious or meditative movement and not as a source identifier for goods or services….As a result defendant cannot foreclose others from utilizing the term Osho.”
This landmark verdict came on 13th January 2009. But Jayesh and his team did not accept it. He filed a notice of appeal in the federal court on March 12, 2009 challenging the decision. Apparently he realised later on that there was nothing more to be said or added, and he had no hope of winning, he withdrew the appeal and OFI agreed to it. In mid July the federal court released the order dismissing the appeal. Now the trademarks of Osho and his meditations in the US finally stand as cancelled.
The sannyasins and lovers of Osho would find the decision as an end of a bitter episode. I do wish to reinforce the fact that now Jayesh should take constructive steps to get all the Osho trademarks cancelled in other countries wherever he has applied. I am sure thousands of Osho lovers would welcome this momentous decision and be delighted to seeing Osho and his meditations now freely available all over the world. It is equally important to recognize that this would save enormous amount of energy, time and money that he has been wasting. The same can be used in doing such things as organizing more and more meditation events around the world, publishing more books, especially the unpublished ones which are not available in the market; making Osho’s name, his photographs, his words, his meditations as widely available as possible. That will be the positive way, the Osho way, of protecting the purity of Osho and his vision.
Ma Yoga Neelam
(Personal secretary to Osho for India, She was appointed by Osho as one of the member of the Inner Circle, she also was his caretaker when Osho returned from USA and later after his coming back to India from the world tour).