Osho, a man of Zen, the rise of fundamentalism and a case of misplaced trust: Commentary from Lokesh

‘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 ‘Zen has no fixed teaching because every fixed teaching will become out of date tomorrow.’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?

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34 Responses to Osho, a man of Zen, the rise of fundamentalism and a case of misplaced trust: Commentary from Lokesh

  1. madhu dagmar frantzen says:

    Just loved that PIC, Lokesh!

    As well as the fresh air to breathe by your contribution ‘Christmas-Special’, a new thread which I can very well relate to.


  2. Lokesh says:

    Exactly ten years to the minute I was sitting on a pile of granite boulders on the south coast of Sri Lanka with the tsunami’s waters all around me. I thought that I was about to die. I did not, but within a radius of 6 kilometres almost 10,000 people did. Sobering stuff. Message for the day…count your blessings.

  3. shantam prem says:

    Nice life incident, Lokesh.
    Maybe it was the collective blessings of all your gurus! Lols!

    • Lokesh says:

      Maybe not, Chud Meisterji, such notions belong to a bygone era and man’s need to see gurus as having supernatural powers. I always dug what Osho said about siddhis: they are but cufflinks to a real master.

      Then again, does a real master wear a shirt that requires cufflinks? Whatever the case may be I appreciate your sentiment.

  4. Kavita says:

    Mystery of the book lying on the coffee table!

  5. shantam prem says:

    In the heavenly galaxies, one fine day, Osho went to J.Krishnamurti and said, “Your influence on my disciples is great, Sir.”
    J.Krishnamuri was a bit surprised, the nam who was cynical about everybody was saying something humbly.
    J replied, “I did not get it.”
    Osho explained, “I gave my all to create some kind of structure, a new kind of organisation and my disciples fucked it up and then they quote you, “There is no need for any organisation.”

  6. Tan says:

    Loved the pic, it is just perfect!

    It happens sometimes, I tap icon Sannyasnews and it starts downloading Humaniversity, or I am in Sannyasnews and tap Caravanserai and here comes Humaniversity. It is like that?

  7. bodhi heeren says:

    I was just waiting for the line “As a rebel I…” (!!). But it sure must be wonderful to be the guy who is always right and knows the way the rest of us (or even the rest of the World) ought to walk :-)

    By the way. I find ‘Be Here Now’ a brilliant book and I like most of Osho’s jokes. Not much hope for me it seems….

    • Lokesh says:

      Bodhi says, “It sure must be wonderful to be the guy who is always right and knows the way the rest of us (or even the rest of the World) ought to walk.”

      Perhaps it is. I wouldn’t know. I find it enough to do my own walk.

      Bodhi concludes, “I find ‘Be Here Now’ a brilliant book and I like most of Osho’s jokes. Not much hope for me it seems….”

      This suggests that he is in dire need of a visit to a decent bookstore and needs to develop his taste in jokes…Oh, almost forgot, and that he misses my point entirely in regards Osho’s role as deliverer of the world’s dumbest jokes.

      His conclussion that he is therefore seemingly bereft of hope leaves me wondering what on earth he is talking about. Could be a reference to the inscription above Dante’s ninth gate of Hell, “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate”. Then again it may simply be a case of someone talking in their sleep; common enough in the world today.

  8. Parmartha says:

    Thanks for the article, Lokesh. Well considered.

    I always felt there was a paucity of real individuals, even in early Sannyas, let alone now!
    True individuals are very few in number. Quite rightly, they often choose to be anonymous and disguised. What’s the point of giving up one’s life when the crowd gets terrified?

    I know a few like Mansoor, Jesus, etc. did, but even amongst those, not that many ‘took on’ the world publicly.

    Of the Buddhas, Mahavirs and Zen Masters, quite a few died in their beds, and who can blame them? Osho’s trust in individuals is, in my view, well placed. One real individual can do more than crowds of millions, so not that many are needed, whether invisibly or not.

  9. shantam prem says:

    If organisation is an important aspect of getting spiritually awakened, all the his majesties and her majesties would have already be awakened.

    If there is no need of any organisation, why the hell billions of people are not awakened spiritually?

    To create any kind of bracket is an attempt to squeeze unknown into the suitcase of one´s perceptions.

    • Lokesh says:

      El Chudo enquires, “If there is no need of any organisation, why the hell billions of people are not awakened spiritually?”

      Billions of people awakening spiritually was never in the equation, because it is an impossibility. Any master worth his salt knows this. Those who think it is a possibility are simply uneducated or wish to ignore the reality for one reason or another. Give the masses religion to keep them a little in check is about the extent of it. Billions of people are not in the least interested in awakening, mostly unaware that the possibility even exists. Spiritual awakening only concerns a small minority of people.

      Chudo cannot accept that Osho declared that no organisation is needed, because if that is the case his one-man crusade will appear futile, which indeed it is.

      • shantam prem says:

        “Osho declared that no organisation is needed”…

        When Osho was dying and whispering the last sentences, there were three people in the room:

        • Lokesh says:

          Chudo, from what I have seen, people who are dying are dying of something. It is therefore that, as far as an overall picture goes, it would seem to look at the entirety of a dying person’s life, as opposed to a last-gasp statement, is the best way to gain a clear perspective as to what that person’s life constituted.

          A man like Osho’s last words are significant, but I would say that each person’s interpretation of those words could differ in the extreme, as is indeed the case with Osho’s last words. Some do not even believe those were his last words. I was not there so I don’t know anything about that.

  10. Viral says:

    When I met Osho he showered me, like HE showered so many thousands, with so much love, bliss and gifts…Also a very funny tip…

    Viral: If I could ONLY TAKE ONE of your hundreds of available books. Which one would you suggest I take?

    Osho: Leave my books, they are dead. Watch my video discourses or listen to my audio. Don’t bother with reading my books. With my books you will miss so much of my message. With books you will miss my silences, you will miss my eyes and hands which say so much more than the dead words in my books.

    Viral: But if I have no tv or no audio player then what to do? Which ONE BOOK of yours has the most comprehensive coverage of your message? Perhaps your biggest book? ‘The Book of Secrets’?

    Osho (laughing): You will be surprised that my most powerful book is not my biggest book but my smallest and shortest. I am always full of jokes. So look for the smallest book and there you will find more than enough to bring you to your core.

    Viral: Which is your smallest book, OSHO?

    Osho: I will tell you which is my shortest book. But not now. For now, you go and watch my video discourses.

    Viral: Yes, I will watch you, or listen to you, and if, and only if, I cannot do these two things, I will read you.

    Osho: Very good, Viral…So now let me recommend to you ‘Kyozan: A True Man of Zen’.


    Google this title, ‘Kyozan – A True Man of Zen’ and download it for free. Osho spoke these words that were transcribed into this small but power-packed book to his beloved friends, assembled on the Buddha hall marble, PUNE, on four consecutive evenings, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th December, 1988.

    • Lokesh says:

      Obviously, Osho saw that sales of ‘A True Man of Zen’ were not what they should be so, always a savvy businessman, he did a wee bit of PR.
      I’ll bet Viral bought at least one copy, if not more.

  11. shantam prem says:

    “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.”

    Yes, you cannot step into the same river twice. Few rivers merge in the ocean with the time, few rivers lost their way into the desert.
    Sannyasins being wiser than wise can decide themselves, have they taken the path of evolution or decline?
    Benefit of following the philosophies is that even if great philosophy sinks like Titanic, faithful followers can still claim, “It is floating. New York is just 24 hours away.”

    Matter of the fact is, Osho created an organisation the way someone creates car manufacture company or pharmaceutical factory. If you don´t like such companies, such corporates, and you prefer some Ramesh, Suresh, Biri Baba, Marlboro men, it is well and good, but why to spit on the walls of someone´s ashram?

  12. shantam prem says:

    Let us not forget, Sannyasnews too is an organisation. Maybe not as big as Time Warner or Osho Media International, it is still an organisation. Few people have invested money and time into its operations.

    Without this Sannyasnews, we would not have got the platform to share diverse views, opinions and life expressions. My fascination for Sannyasnews is simply for the reason, it is the true representative of diversity of Osho´s Sannyas. It is a small jungle.

    I feel immense repulsion for Osho resorts or other Osho media outlets; they are the bodies without the rectum! Naturally they smell like plastic. There is no aliveness of jungle but systematic English Garden. Nothing more disgraceful cannot be to the memory of Osho!

  13. Parmartha says:

    Shantam says: “Let us not forget, Sannyasnews too is an organisation”.

    Never thought of it that way myself, Shantam. The co-founder of SN, Prem Paritosh, when he was alive, used to call it “a collective”. I would share that view.

    • Lokesh says:

      Paritosh’s last words: “I leave you my collective.”

      Oh, oh, does this mean organized according to the principles of collectivism, the political principle of centralized social and economic control, especially of all means of production?

      But didn’t Paritosh once say there is no need for a collective, during his famous Sermon on the Mount broadcast live from Parliment Hill? Time to consult the I-Ching.

      • sannyasnews says:

        Just for further clarification, though we see the joke, Lokesh!

        ‘Collective’ is normally defined thus:
        “A collective is a group of people that share or are motivated by at least one common issue or interest, and work together to achieve such a common objective. Collectives differ from co-operatives in that they are not focused upon any economic benefit or saving.”

  14. Kavita says:

    Thanx for clarifying, Parmartha, I have an allergy for organisations since quite a while now.

  15. madhu dagmar frantzen says:

    Need to address a special Thanks to Parmartha and to Sannyas News for turning the wheel today…

    And yes, Lokesh, snow came down today here; I don´t know about your (outer) place. Here, all is snow white, also in midst of the city. And like always, there is this special Silence that comes with snow – not to speak of the crispy cool and yet warm(ing) air – the kids are in JOY.


  16. Bhikkhu says:

    Thanks, Lokesh. An article well considered. Will look in my library for the book.

    It is amazing how many gems are there still to discover in Osho’s words from the 70s.

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