Ma Prem Dhoka, a researcher into ‘religious experience’, invites readers to share their experiences of the results of being around Osho.
Osho was known by his sannyasins to be surrounded by an extremely potent and influential energy field that could put people into temporary altered states of consciousness and even deep trances. But Osho is certainly not alone in this. My M.A. thesis in graduate school back in 1986 focused on the cross-cultural, widespread set of phenomena associated with figures from religious history East and West, ancient and contemporary, who are felt to be the source of this unusual energy that gets variously called Shaktipat by the Hindu Tantrikas (bestowal of the Divine Shakti energy), the Charismata Power of the Spirit by Christians (from Jesus and early followers to medieval monasteries to modern-era Pentecostal and Charismatic circles), the Baraka or Berekah blessing force around many Muslim Sufi and Jewish mystics, the Wang empowerments around certain Tibetan Buddhist lamas, the Ch’i or Ki energy around meditation masters and martial artists of China and Japan, the Mana energy around Polynesian shamans and called by various names around other shamans and shamanesses in indigenous tribes found worldwide.
What also became clear to me in my extensive research back then and over the years since then is that such potent, palpable energy or vital force can come through scoundrels as well as saints and sages. It’s for this reason, for example, that early and later Christian leaders ranging from St. Paul to St. John of the Cross were very, very cautious before labelling such energy a clear, pure manifestation of God. Jesus’s criterion, “By their fruits you shall know them”, became paramount, and in many cases Christian sages were carefully watching and feeling with their own charismatic power of “discerning spirits” to determine if the source of the dazzling energy in themselves or others was Divine or demonic or somewhere in between.
The same kind of careful spiritual discernment regarding unusual potent energies and miracles and other manifestations has occurred among the wisest spiritual leaders of our sacred traditions, from the ancient time of the Upanishad’s sages and the Buddha to the present time. It’s well known to the true sages that powerful but ultimately confused, constricted discarnate entities regarded as “demons” or “titans” (Skt.: asura, rakshasa, etc.) can create such electric energies through human beings as a way of then “feeding” on the aroused emotions and psychic states of the hordes of people who surround the human channel. That’s why many Zen masters often warned their students to simply regard all unusual states and energies as makyo, distracting “diabolical phenomena,” and instead wake up to the Open, Infinite Awareness, the formless “Big Self” or pristine “Buddha-Nature.”
In concluding this point:
Just because a charismatic figure is felt to be a powerhouse of energy creating altered states of consciousness in people does not mean the figure should be viewed as a perfected spiritual master or venerated as “Divine,” except in the larger spiritual view that all phenomena and beings and worlds are manifestations of the formless, infinite-eternal Divine. Not to be capable of wisely distinguishing “powers and principalities” is to be vulnerable to delusions and pitfalls.
In the case of Osho, therefore, we can surely affirm that he was somehow a source or a channel, especially from the mid-1960s until some time in the late 1970s (after which it’s hard to determine whether it was Rajneesh or the group-energy of thousands of people responsible) for a very powerful Shaktipat energy that created dramatic effects in numerous persons around him. But what was the long-term effect of all this energy? Yes, there was evidently and undeniably a lot of good! But there were also a lot of “not-so-good” consequences, dark and painful.
So, to reiterate Jesus’s statement: “By their fruits you shall know them.” Taking that statement into consideration, it would be interesting to hear what commentators on Sannyas News have to say about what fruits they have harvested in their life, due as a direct consequence of having contact with Osho.