The previous post was a letter of apology to Osho International Foundation (OIF) from the former Director of Osho Boulder Meditation Centre in the United States. Below Sangeet answers his main points. (Ed.)
This is an open letter in response to your letter (of apology to OIF). I’m sorry to hear that you feel you have been out of integrity in recent years. I always hope that Osho’s people will have the strength and courage to be in our truth, in spite of any opposition we might face.
I understand that after Suvarna was subpoenaed (required) to testify in the US trademark case, and gave completely honest testimony, the people from OIF (the Swiss nonprofit) were instrumental in having all the board members from the Boulder centre banned from the Pune Resort. I can’t help but suspect that this “apology” of yours is really a way for you to get your ban lifted or is a response to some other pressure. By the way, after all the years you spent running the Boulder center with Suvarna, playing music with her, and (she thought) being her friend, you could at least get her sannyas name right in your letter. But then, you didn’t really write that letter, did you?
If your motivation for signing the letter is to get your ban lifted or to get someone’s approval I’m very sorry, because you must feel pretty rotten at some level for letting yourself down this way. On the other hand, I could be wrong, and if you really are sincere, then I congratulate you for coming into your integrity. Osho said we were all His successors but it is very difficult to pull that off. It is difficult to respect people with different points of view, yet I think it’s essential. Osho said this has never been done before, but He believes we can do it. I believe we can do it too.
For myself, I feel very much in integrity with my understanding of the situation. I heard Osho say that he did not want any religion, institution, or organization formed around His work. He spoke of religiousness versus religion and organism versus organization. I understood Him to say that an organization would be the ultimate threat to His work. Disciples at some point down the line always want to become respectable; they always want to be accepted. No one with an authentic religious teaching can ever be respectable, so authenticity has to be watered down. If we create an institution where people have the power to water down or suppress Osho’s real teachings, we’ve destroyed Osho’s work. It might not happen in our lifetime, but it will happen.
I heard Osho say to each one of us, “This has happened to every major religious teacher. Please don’t let it happen to My work.” I didn’t think much about it at the time, but 30 years ago, when I first heard Him ask this, I said in my heart, “Yes. I won’t let that happen.” When the time came for me to put up or shut up, I resisted. I had a life I wanted to live, blah, blah, blah. But in the end I knew I really wanted to keep my promise, and I would continue to keep that promise. (I think Existence listens in to promises made to the Master, and it’s pretty hard to weasel out.)
Near the end of Osho’s life I was working in His library one day when Anando came back from seeing Osho. She said that He had spent the whole session that day telling her why it was important that the Inner Circle and Presidium, which He was in the process of setting up, should never interfere with the centres. He told Anando how much damage Sheela had done to His work by interfering with the centres and said that it was important to the success of His work that the centres be left alone. Maybe it was delusions of grandeur, but I said to myself, “I’ll make sure that never happens again.”
By legal definition, if there really was an Osho trademark, as OIF claims, OIF would be required to exercise direct control over the centres or the word Osho would no longer be a trademark. That means that if OIF really didn’t control the centres and OIF ever wanted to enforce the trademark, it wouldn’t be able to. Without control a trademark would mean nothing. In the US case Vatayana testified under oath, several times, that OIF already actively controls all the Osho centres in the world. She specifically mentioned how she had personally exercised control over the Boulder centre.
Since this is exactly what I understand Osho to have asked us not to do, I have done everything possible to prevent this from happening. If you sincerely disagree, I have no problem with that.
I think it’s important to say that in the US trademark case the three-member board ruled unanimously, in a very strongly worded opinion, that there never had been an Osho trademark. OIF was really stretching to try and create the illusion of one. This is important, because if you aren’t trying to push the river, to create fantasy in the face of reality, then there’s no reason to be angry or vengeful if someone like Suvarna simply tells the truth. If you aren’t living a lie, there’s no reason to fear the truth. And let’s face it, it takes a tremendous amount of energy to try and prop up a lie. What a waste!
If you, the people from OIF, and other likeminded souls want to form some kind of a voluntary organization that will preserve what you think is a “golden” form of Osho’s teaching, go for it. No one is stopping you. Every religious or philosophical faction through time has always believed that its interpretation is “golden,” but that’s your freedom. This would at least be an honest approach to the issue of preserving Osho’s teachings, and there would be no need to try and intimidate anyone else into going along.
On the other hand, if you want to force legal control and your “golden” interpretation on other successors of Osho who choose to be independent, that’s not OK at all. Osho spoke about the difference between persuasion and coercion. Persuade away, but if you coerce, threaten, or bully, expect to find some of Osho’s people facing you and saying calmly, “Back off. This is not going to happen.”
In my understanding, Osho’s teaching is about individuals. It’s a wildfire burning out of control, because that’s the nature of truth. When the individual is consumed by the wildfire, that person’s own individual teaching happens inside. There’s nothing for anyone else to keep “golden.” In fact, there’s nothing that is anyone else’s business.
But that’s just me. If you disagree sincerely and respectfully about this, then I respect and support you in living your truth. I do not respect or support bullying, name-calling, threats, or intimidation.
So, Jamie, if your “apology” was just a wank to get back into the Resort or please someone else, that’s pretty pathetic. On the other hand, if you are sincere, then I hope you’ll continue to stand up for what you think is right. If we disagree forever, so be it. For me the most important thing about being with Osho is to live our integrity and truth—disagreement is not very important.