Sannyas News Editor Parmartha examines the views and evidence
Maybe it doesn’t matter. However Osho himself certainly seems to have thought it was worth examination, and thought (under Amrito’s influence) that he was dying of thallium poisoning between 1985 and 1989, which was somehow administered to him in the USA (in 1985) when he was separated from his close disciples, and taken from one prison to another for 10 days after being arrested in North Carolina, and before arriving back in Oregon.
However there are many other hypotheses, including that he just “gave up” after some thirty years of being the servant of God.
We also all must own up to the fact that Osho took nitrous oxide over many years, and the spin of those in charge of public relations in all the various bodies that now take Osho’s work forward don’t like to discuss this or even acknowledge this. This seems to apply equally to Osho International, to Osho World and to Arun’s outfit in Nepal.
In fact I have seen many deny this hallucinogenic aspect of Osho’s life altogether. However these are easily refuted by reference to the three articles that were written under the collective title “Tooth Truth: Memoirs of a Dental Triumvirate” and printed in the March/April 2001 Edition of Viha Connection. They were written by Nityamo, Ashru and Devageet. Nityamo and Ashru were at various times dental assistant’s to Devageet, who was Osho’s personal dentist from around 1978 to his death. Particularly in Nityamo’s account, but also in Ashru’s, it is clear that Osho had three periods of nitrous oxide usage, Poona One, on the Ranch and in Poona two. Some commentators have denied Osho’s use of nitrous oxide in the Poona two period. Even a brief examination of Nityamo’s article, when she speaks of sessions and dates them in 1987 and 1988 contradict this. For some reason public relations people for Osho don’t wish to acknowledge Osho’s use of laughing gas after 1985 and, only in a passing way, before that time. I suspect the pre 1985 scenario is because they want to distance Osho’s use of the gas away from proximity to his death. Further I can only assume this is done because they feel it subtracts from their view that the main cause of Osho’s death was poisoning by the US government, not Osho’s own use of nitrous oxide.
Secondly some have questioned the amount of nitrous oxide that Osho was absorbing. I can only suggest people read these three articles. It is clear that Osho was sometimes calling sessions two or three times a day even in Pune one. Just as Osho rightly claimed that he had spoken more words than any other teacher living or dead in his life, it is fair enough comment that he might well have inhaled more than any other known nitrous oxide user over the three periods. If so, it must have had a very deleterious effect on his overall health in a body already weakened by diabetes. However it is also clear from a careful examination of the text of the three Osho books dictated under nitrous oxide (Notes of a Madman, Books I have loved, and Glimpses of a Golden Childhood) that this was very much Osho’s own choice, and that he was encouraging his Noah’s Ark as he called his helping team, to forget his bodily welfare.
The other rather facile argument put forward is that all these sessions were for dentistry purposes only. However it is clear if one reads the “Nitrous books” that this is not the case. There is clear evidence there that Osho is encouraging his team of helpers to increase for example the dose, and then record his experience of the drug.
I continue to have an open mind on Osho’s use of nitrous oxide and his death. The symptoms of nitrous oxide poisoning are very similar to thallium, and of course there may have been more than one cause of Osho’s death, but laughing gas simply cannot be ruled out as having no effect on his health at all.
I also continue to have an open mind about whether Osho simply considered his use of nitrous oxide part of his private life which was no-one else’s business (which some argue) , though I doubt it because he must have authorised, and even pushed for the publication of the three ‘nitrous’ books. Sheela and Vivek in a strange alliance (they agreed on little else) certainly did not want them published.
Some commentators consider that those such as myself who remind others of this hallucinogenic aspect of Osho’s life “negative” and “not really disciples”!
Odd, for me it makes Osho more interesting, rather than less. But apart from that, anyone who is really on the mystic path cannot refrain from examining the truth, however unpalatable. What think ye?