“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” (St. Augustine of Hippo)
“If you have a belief and you come against an experience which the belief says is not possible, or the experience is such that you have to drop the belief, what are you going to choose — the belief or the experience? The tendency of the mind is to choose the belief, to forget about the experience. That’s how you have been missing many opportunities when God has knocked at your door.” (OSHO)
Osho was never big on belief. He wasn’t a believer and was much more in favour of an existential approach to life. And yet, conversely, he was surrounded by believers who believed in him. I believed that my life would evolve and move in a positive direction just by being near him. In retrospect, I suppose that my life did develop due to Osho’s influence and today, I wonder how much my belief in him had to do with that. Belief is a powerful force.
What brought this to mind was someone on SN posting a request for one of those little wooden boxes with Osho’s nail and hair clippings that used to be given as gifts at darshan. I remember how thrilled I was to receive my little round box and how I had a pouch made so I could wear it around my neck, which I did for years along with my mala. I can recall how I felt that the little box emanated a vibration that affected my heart chakra, over which it hung.
The years passed, and I can no longer remember what became of my darshan box, which does not bother me in the slightest because I now view it as a bit of cosmic nonsense I once believed in, but experience has shown me that I no longer need things like that in my life. I am no longer a believer.
Osho often played with the power of belief; often as not, most sannyasins went for it. A good example was when Osho began to use a penlight torch to shine on sannyasins’ energy centres at darshan. One would leave darshan, meet friends outside and be asked if you got the torch treatment. If you did, you were viewed as having been blessed, even though it was pure hokum.
Or how about holding your locket and being in direct contact with Osho? I believed that to be true until one day, I was in an ICU fighting for my life and held my locket and realised it was bullshit. It was a significant moment in my life because that is when I began to wake up from the Osho dream. Of course, this had nothing to do with Osho and everything to do with me. Gurus are the perfect screens to project our fantasies on. I am not sentimental about those times and rarely think about them. I have noticed that some sannyasins imagine there is something spiritual about sentimentality. There isn’t.
I sometimes wonder about some of my profound experiences during the several years I spent in Poona One. Twice I encountered Osho when he was out of his human body, in the sense that he was definitely there, but I could not actually see him. Not only that, I was with other sannyasins, and they also witnessed this extraordinary phenomenon, and the next day Osho hinted at it in his morning discourse.
And that was the thing about Osho. Although there was a lot of theatrics in his performance, he produced an incredible vibe of peace, love, awareness and enlightenment, and nobody can explain how he did that. It was unbelievable. If you experienced that vibe, you can never forget it. I’m grateful for that. So, in the end, experience won out over belief.