‘There is no need of any organization.’ Osho
I recently met a young woman in the marketplace. She was reading Ram Dass’s Be Here Now. I asked her if I could take a look at it. Be Here Now moved a generation in its time, but today it appears more like mystical mumbo-jumbo than anything else. I handed the book back, saying, ‘I’ll find you something better to read than this.’ I immediately thought that I must have an Osho book in the house that would serve the purpose.
The last few days an Osho book, titled Kyozan, A True Man of Zen, has been lying on one of the coffee tables in my living room. I have no idea how it arrived there. Last night, for want of something to read, I took it to bed and read half the book. I won’t give it to the young marketeer, because it is simply not suitable. The book is not for the uninitiated, it does not make much sense unless already familiar with Osho’s ways, and you have to wade through the mud and terrible jokes to find the jewels. A couple of rare diamonds in particular will lay the foundation for this thread.
The first is. ‘Zen has no fixed teaching because every fixed teaching will become out of date tomorrow.’
How true. This simple statement encapsulates so well the essential Osho, and puts paid to the ignorant ones who rave on about Osho’s vision, his heritage and his teaching. In Osho’s life all three of those things were in a constant flux and therefore difficult, if not impossible, to fix into a permanent form. Osho puts it it in a more poetical way when he concludes, ‘Every new dawn brings a totally new world around you. If it does not look new it is because you continue to hang on with old eyes.’
In this particular frame, the ones with the old eyes that Osho refers to are the fundamentalists, in my eyes at least. The reason for the rise of fundamentalism in our world today is because of the huge mess we have made. The fundamentalists believe that a return to the old ways is the way to go. The logic behind this is that if it worked back then it should work now and if it doesn’t you just have to reinforce the old ways any old way you can and its sure to work. Such misguided logic is completely blind to the fact that the old ways helped create all the mess in the first place. Result: an even bigger mess that leaves us living on a spinning ball of ever increasing confusion.
What almost surprises me is the rise of fundamentalism in the sannyas ranks. A longing for the old days, a return to the ashram days of the past. Trying to create a situation similar to how it was when Osho was alive, ignoring Heraclitus’s warnng that you can’t stand in the same river twice.
Osho continues, ‘Zen is rebellious at all possible points. It fills my heart full of great gratitude for these lions. At least a few people have declined the offer, the invitation to become slaves. At least a few people have roared and declared their freedom from bondage. And those are the only real people. Unfortunately they are not many.’
Now, that is the man I loved talking. ‘Unfortunately they are not many.’ How sad, how very true, and if you happen to be one of them look out, the fundamentalists will feel threatened by your very existence and will do everything they can to pull you down into their quagmire of the past. If you are rebellious at all possible points the fundamentalists will hate you for it. I reckon what lies behind this is the fundamentalist’s need for certainty. No need to look further than the rabid IS if looking for religious certainty. The rebel, on the other hand, is only sure of one thing and that is to keep moving with life’s changes. On a number of levels what Osho said and did was relevant to the time frame he found himself living in. What was useful then may well obsolete now.
I see this for instance in the True Man of Zen book. I am sure if you were present it would have been unforgetable. Reading about it now makes me cringe in places. Osho told awful jokes, not funny and at times on par with what my grandson and his pals might produce in the school playground if in a naughty mood. A newcomer reading such tripe would probably put the book down and write it off as drivel. And thus they would miss the most important point of all, it was not the jokes that mattered it was who was telling them and who was listening and laughing uproariously as a result. It worked brilliantly back then but today it does not. And so it goes on many levels for the sannyas community in general. People today advertise free hugs on the street. Thanks to Osho, the hugging revolution came and went.
In a chaotic world fundamentalism’s rise is predictable. One of the main reasons that the world is out of control is the failure of the old ways to keep it in control and then backtracking to reinforce the old ways. The end result is that the old ways have not only become useless but also dangerous and destructive.
Historically the old ways faded over generations to be replaced by what appeared new at the time. What is different today is that the world is on the brink and we don’t have the luxury of having plenty of time to wait until the new ways manifest. In many ways the sannyasin global community reflects the world at large. There are a few rebels, plenty of fundamentalists, some who are running around like headless chickens etc. If the lions don’t roar enough sannyas goes down the tubes.
As a rebel I don’t have much time for the past and, if I wish to move in a direction from now, forward is the only way to go. It almost defies belief that certain sections of sannyasin society, particulary Indians, want to create a Hinduistic religion around Osho’s memory, replete with creating a holy of holies around Osho’s samhadi etc. If the Osho vibe is to stay alive that is not the way to go. Osho was/is a celebration of life, not worshiping dead ashes. Osho’s puts it best. ‘All that you need is just to be silent and listen to existence. There is no need of any religion, there is no need of any God, there is no need of any priesthood, there is no need of any organization. I trust in the individual categorically. Nobody up to now has trusted in the individual in such a way.’
Did Osho misplace his trust? Well, if you look at the rise of fundamentalism in the ranks, one can only conclude that he did, because if they have their way sannyas is dead. In my opinion it is already in its death throes. Any roaring lions around to save the day?