Bookreviews on Osho books
Books I have loved, recommended by

Singing Silence and The Royal Way Review by H. P. Sah

My People, Anant Ki Pukar, a new Hindi book by Osho has just been published

The Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic Review by Swami Kul Bhushan

The Inner Journey by Osho Reviewby Kuldip Dhiman

New Man for the New Millennium Review by Kuldip Dhiman

Glory of Freedom Review by M.L. Sharma Sridhar Sattiraju from Hyderabad, India

Books I have Loved
Author: Osho
Review by Sridhar Sattiraju from Hyderabad, India published on Sulekha.com

Osho, the much maligned, maverick modern guru of the "New Age" meditation, was one of the most
voracious readers - a fact he often confessed. He used to read an average eight thousand-odd pages
every day till his death! So, it is not just a matter of record but also one of curiosity for even his most vehemant critics as to what are his books, his reading tastes. Out of this curiosity of one of his followers was born a book - call it a small china box within a larger china box - a compendium of the books which are recommended by Osho. In this book which I stumbled on an accidental visit to the local Osho Mevlan library, I was struck by a couple of features which make this tome different. It is bound in luxuriant leather, with easy-to-read double-spaced sheriff font spread over 16 chapters - covering 168 books in all! One hundred and sixty eight books drawn from a range of religions, languages, schools of thought and eras. To give a trailer - in one chapter he talks about such varietal range as Gandhi's autobiography, Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, The Art of Tantra, Adi Shankaracharya's Bhaj Govindam and Zen Buddishm.
In another he talks about The Myth of Sisyphus, Das Kapital, Principia Mathematica, Light of Asia, War and Piece, Gospel of Ramakrishna, Koran, Songs of Nanak, Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Thus Spake Zarathustra. Of course, one must not get too carried away by Osho's discourses on books that moved him - there, methinks, seems an opinionnated ebb to his choice as when he lambasts Gandhi for his title (He thinks it should be MY EXPERIENCES... and not MY EXPERIMENTS... as truth can only be experienced, not experimented with).Similarly, he goes into a sudden, orgasmic burst of superlatives over some authors - if there is only one book, then it will be only this. Ironically, you hear this quote atleast for twenty-odd books! Despite the spasmodic and somewhat discontinuous remarks about various authors and their works, some of which are their magnum opuses, Osho's prejudices are not camouflageable - he has a disdain against Gandhi, communism, bigotry, dogmatism, Aurobindo, et al. Yet what he mentions definitely seems worth paying a nodding acquaintance with - that meditation is the essence of love and love is all and typical oshoisms like that. I keep saying this for every book that I recommend but then read this one too - for I recommend only good books!

original in the internet: www.sulekha.com

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Osho again on Sufi path
Review by H.P. Sah

Singing Silence. Pages 215. Rs 100. The Royal Way. Pages 216. Rs 100. Both by Osho. Diamond Pocket Books, New Delhi.

A machine works according to its design. It cannot do anything for which it is not built. Human beings work according to their will. Autonomy of will distinguishes human beings from autometa. The difference between man and machine is unquestionable to all of us. But is this difference valid? We hardly ever feel the need to raise such questions. While listening to the lectures of Rajneesh (or Osho), you will definitely feel the need to raise such a question because it helps you "see" that most people behave in a mechanical way for most of the time.

George Gurdjieff used to say that people pass their lives in sleep: although they think that they are awake, in fact they are asleep. Sufis also talk of "sleep" pervading our life, and our waking state is often under the influence of sleep. Osho’s lectures on Sufism published in a book form under the titles "Singing Silence" and "The Royal Way", give us a clear understanding of sleep.

In fact this has been one of the themes on which Osho had spoken all through his life. So there is nothing new in these two books for those who knew him closely and listened to his lectures frequently. But for thousands of persons who are too busy to read Osho books or spare time to listen to his lectures, the handy pocket book editions of Osho’s lectures will prove to be a great help to acquaint themselves with the spiritual dimension of life.

Silence cannot be sung, but it can be heard. It can be felt, and on occasion it is distinctly felt by all. So in one sense, we can hear silence. Various sorts of external and internal noise have so suffused the eternal silence that we are unable to hear it. But yet we have not lost the capacity to hear it.

We can still hear something other than noise also. That is why all of us love to listen to good music. Music creates a space in which internal noise is silenced for a while. But once the music is over, we are back again in our noisy world without having any awareness of the fact that it was silence in which we were lost and the notes of music only helped in creating a space within which silence could appear prominently.

Sufis have developed a method — a "tariqa" — by which one can become aware of the eternal silence, which is the source of ecstasy. Sufis know the art of helping one hear silence: they know the art of "singing silence".

Our upbringing, training and our approach to environment all have conditioned us to respond to every situation in a mechanical way. Stereotype roles are taught to us and we have formed habits of acting accordingly. In all normal situations we act guided by our habit. Only in moments of crisis we stumble and become aware of the situation and of ourselves. But soon we get used even to that situation and begin to respond mechanically: we fall back to "sleep" again.

To face reality it is necessary to decondition ourselves from the whole set-up of artificially cultivated mechanical responses. We have to unlearn the old mechanical way of living and have to become as innocent as animals.

The Arabic word "suf" which is the root of "sufi" means wool. Osho interprets suf as a symbol of animal. He says that one can not enter the world of Sufis unless one becomes innocent like animals.

One has to throw away all masks that social and religious institutions have given us in the name of civilsation and education. It requires a great deal of courage. It is extremely dangerous to stand against established norms. One has to be prepared to pay a heavy price for doing what Mansoor or Sarmad did.

According to different interpretations, the word sufi is derived from different roots such as sufia which means wisdom, or sufa which means purity. Osho explains all these meanings in his lectures in "Singing Silence". In his view, all these meanings indicate one single fact that Sufis dissociate themselves from the unreal world of borrowed knowledge and have got up from the sleep to see the truth for themselves.

A scholar on Sufism may find Osho’s interpretations to be against historical facts. But Osho is not interested in scholarship at all. In fact, he is not clarifying Sufism; he is trying to give insights into the spiritual life of Sufis. He says: "I will not be talking about Sufism. I will be talking Sufism".

Osho’s lectures are not grave, systematic and a consistent philosophical discourse. He loves telling jokes of Mulla Nasruddin and quotes philosophers out of context. Very often he ridicules philosophy and philosophers. But he is serious about parables and stories of saints’ lives.

One such story in "Singing Silence" reveals an important truth about the character of a true saint. Once a person came to see Sufi saint Bahauddin Shah. He tried to flatter thesaint by saying that he possessed many spiritual qualities and his simplicity was the proof that he was a true saint.

In fact, the person wanted to hear in response his own praise by Bahauddin Shah. The person would be very much like us whose egos get flattered by false praise and are hurt by true criticism. We adopt all cunning measures to promote and nurse our ego and in this process we don’t hesitate to fool a saint.

A Sufi master, however, cannot be fooled. Complete dissolution of the ego is the aim of Sufism and a Sufi saint does nothing which may strengthen a person’s ego.

So Bahauddin Shah, totally unaffected by the flattery, replied bluntly to the person that he was pretending to have those high qualities which he did not possess. The reply was contrary to the expectation of the person. His ego was badly hurt. But that is what a saint is supposed to do.

Osho, through this story, cautions us against the wayword ways of our ego and gives us a valuable insight into the nature of a true saint. A true saint, whether he belongs to the Sufi tradition or any other, remains completely untouched by praise and criticism. That is exactly the nature of a "sadguru" as described by Ramana Maharishi.

Most religions preach that one should have full faith in God. But those religious traditions which aim to attain spiritual experience, give more importance to the guru than God, or equate guru to God himself. If divinity is not merely an ideal but a living reality, it can be seen most clearly in an enlightened master. The spark of the divine is distinctly visible in a "sadguru".

In Sufism, where experience reigns over dogmas, the master is given the highest importance. Without having contact with a living master, one cannot enter into the world of Sufis. A disciple has to surrender himself at the feet of a master. This is the specific feature due to which sufism is distinctly different from orthodox Islam, although it has emerged from the latter. In Sufism the master is more important than the book.

Osho explains the reason for this departure very clearly and boldly in his lectures on Sufism collected under the title "The Royal Way". He says books are dead and can be exploited both by us and by the so-called religious authorities to serve petty ends. A living master cannot be exploited or "misused". Our domineering ego can interpret the words of holy books to suit our convenience.

A living master does not allow it to happen. He is a vigilant witness of the spiritual progress of his disciple and can see his ego in all its disguises. Only he knows what will strengthen the ego of his disciple and what will dissolve it. Books in the absence of the master becomes useless; rather they become dangerous.

Osho’s comments on the holy books may sometimes appear provocative. They are not. His comments are thought-provoking. Similarly, his emphasis on the importance of surrender at the master’s feet may be seen as an attempt to persuade his audience and reader to surrender at his feet. It may be a matter of dispute but his valuable insight into the world of Sufism cannot be rejected due to that controversial argument.

By reading these comments the reader will feel the need to decide for himself which way he wants to form his opinion. No one can remain indifferent about these comments and this is the power of Osho’s words that involve the reader in the discussion.

Osho did it through his lectures when he was present. Even years after his passing away he continues to do the same by his recorded speech and transcribed words.

Sufism is "The Royal Way"on which everyone can walk. But the way is not the same for everyone. If differs from person to person to person depending on their psychic levels of development. So an enlightened master is needed who can guide each individual on his individual journey. Once the person is initiated into the path of Sufism, it becomes the responsibility of the master to look after the disciple on his spiritual journey and help him at every turn till he reaches the ultimate destination.

Before a master passes away, he appoints his successor who could continue to help his disciples on their path. Masters come and go, but the "silsila" of the masters is always kept alive so that the path of the seeker remains always lighted and he can progress in his journey without any interruption.

Osho indicates in one of his lectures that a Sufi master sends his disciples to a different enlightened master if he finds that the time of his withdrawal from world has come but none of his own disciples has attained enlightenment. While "silsila" shows how much care a Sufi master cares for his disciples, it also reveals the complete egolessness of the master who lives only to kindle new lamps to spread spiritual light everywhere.

After years of the death of Osho, it is heartening to see that some publisher has brought out his lectures in a book form. The price of the books is high for a paperback edition. More people will read Osho’s books if the price is lowered a little.

It would be good if Osho’s lectures on yoga, tantra, tao, etc. are published in a paperback edition. More people would be able to know what Osho actually said apart from what they hear from others as what he said.

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My People
Anant Ki Pukar, a new Hindi book by Osho has just been published. This beautiful book costs only forty rupees and can be purchased from Osho Commune bookshop.

What Osho says in the very first discourse is an eye-opener to all the sannyasins, especially those who are involved in Osho's work.

He says, "This is not a propaganda. This is not to create an organization. We don't want to create a center that could become powerful. But we have to spread the message in such a way that it is without the help of a cult or an organization, without creating any powerful center. Hence a deep contemplation is needed."
"We want to create a group of friends, we don't want to make an organization. In a group everybody is equal, equally valuable. Nobody is an officer, nobody is respectable, nobody is low and nobody is high. And each person has come because of love. Except love, there are no orders that have to be obeyed.

"Certainly, the group of friends has different rules and organization has different rules. The group of friends is totally chaotic, anarchic institution. An organization is well-planned structure, bound by rules and dogmas. I don't wish to bind you in rules and dogmas, because I am fighting against them. Such organizations already exist all over the world. Shall we make one more such organization?"

A few years ago one such organization was created in New York. This organization claimed the ownership of everything that Osho created after 1953, the year of Osho's enlightenment; when Osho was no longer a person but dissolved as ego into the ocean of existence. He had no claims over anything. But these self-styled disciples who made New York as their new base to claim ownership of Osho's works started doing things against the vision and wishes of our beloved master. This organization is called Osho International Foundation. It has been sending legal notices to Osho lovers who have been working for Osho out of love. Osho Dhyan Mandir in New Delhi registered the name of its website oshoworld.com and fast came the legal notice, in which I was described by them as their former employee and not as a disciple or lover. Also Osho International Foundation, New York threatened in this notice that it will cancel and withdraw the center's name Osho Rajyoga Center that has been in existence since 1978, with Osho's blessings. The reason given was that we were not limiting our activities according to the rules set by them (These three people in New York) we are expanding beyond the limit.

Did Osho believe in limits? Can Osho's work be confined? I have a passion and resources to share Osho's revolutionary insights as widely as possible - free of cost, as a gift. Do I need any permission from this so-called headquarters in New York? The purpose of www.oshoworld.com is just that. But we are being challenged to waste our resources in fighting legal battles as they wasted Commune's one million rupees in advertisement against Ma Yoga Neelam. The same amount of money could have been used creatively, to publish his books or distribute his audios. Now I am being harassed continuously as I have to keep coming every now and then from New Delhi to Pune to appear in the court cases, which are basically commune's cases but the management team is not interested to finish them. They are being unnecessarily prolonged and me and Vairagya are being harassed.

My suggestions to Osho lovers are to go ahead and share Osho and his vision in every possible way, without bothering about self-declared owners of Osho's works. As a disciple everybody has an equal right to share Osho. Osho says that he has no successors or all of his sannyasins are his successors. He says: " I will be dissolved into my people."

Now "my people" have to be watchful that such words like "my people", "my sannyasins", "my commune" is being edited out from books. The Book of Wisdom is one example of such editing. Instead of including more people into "my people", such heart-touching words of feeling are being removed. It is quite clear that "my people" look threatening to the power hungry controllers.

Swami Chaitanya Keerti

Quotes: Meditation in Action
from Anant Ki Pukar

Osho says that he prefers a group of friends to an organisation. A group of friends accomodates a variety of people, with all the differences of opinions. Everybody is free, nobody is in any bondage. Wherever one feels in a bondage, the meritorious person starts feeling hardship. Evolved consciousness does not want to be in bondage. So we have to keep it so open that when somebody joins us he should not feel bound, he should feel free. Whether he comes in or goes out, he should not feel any difference about it. Such a group can be formed, such a party of friends can be formed - with such largeness. Because any body who joins in the beginning does not know how big this revolution is.

Osho says further that those who are interested to spread any thought, they have to remember constantly to make this circle of friends bigger. Once a person comes in contact he should become our friend for ever. And I want to remind you that you should not worry so much about money, you should take more care about the friends. We should not worry about the friends just because we want money from them. Then everything will go topsy-turvy. Money comes with friends just like a shadow with a man... Man comes, with him follows his strength, his love, his power, his shadow. And then the shadow comes dancing, you don't need to go somewhere to bring it.

Osho emphasises that he wants to base this whole thing on love. The whole meaning of this work is that we are being connected with the larger society of people, we are relating with many people. And if we can relate with people each time with love, only then our work is good, artful and successful.

Osho talkes about his centers. He says that there sould be small units all over the country. They should start their work according to their capacity. But remember that they are not branches, they are independent units. And there's nobody above them to give them orders. I don't agree that there should be such a thing that somebody from above should say: do this way or that way. Then begins the hierarchy, the whole vicious circle begins. Each unit is independent. Sure they can consult each other, but they all have to function in their own way. They can look at each others' constitution and whatever is beneficial can be adopted.

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A Treasure Chest with Trivia

"One day we will have to write the whole of history with a totally different orientation, because the facts are trivia - although they are material, they don't matter. And the truths are immaterial but they matter," says the preface by the compiler of 'The Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic'.

A pity that this very idea is ignored repeatedly in what follows. First, it is NOT an autobiography. Although the book contains Osho's own words but their selection transforms the compiler into a biographer. Osho - whose name is derived from 'oceanic' - offers an unlimited choice from his spoken words; thus the inclusion of incidents or insights by some one else means a selection and a different emphasis, so it cannot be an autobiography. Despite this, Osho's words are real treasure especially in the section - The Legacy.

Second, a great deal of trivia is included. Many chapters start with extracts from press interviews showing the transient which is elaborated upon in the ensuing extracts from Osho's works. Is this an effort to whitewash the sensational headlines he created with his interviews? Osho's showmanship is over, his substance endures from now until eternity; and one cannot have enough of it - in this book or any of his 650-odd titles which are increasingly appreciated.

Thirdly, an entire section of this book - Reflections of an Empty Mirror: The Many Faces of a Man who Never Was - is a mitigating appeal to correct the mass media image Osho. These momentary perceptions are out of focus a decade after he left his body. What remains and indeed gathering greater momentum by the day are his insights which are now more relevant now than ever before.

Then there are a couple of bloomers - transcribing Ravana as Ramana which ruins the hilarious incident of Ram Leela and transcribing Dacca instead of Dakar as the capital of Senegal.

Having said that, the book offers vintage Osho. Right from his first seven formative years to his departure, his unique perspective enthralls, stimulates and jolts traditional thinking. His years as a village enfant terrible, a rebellious student and a revolutionary professor make the most stimulating reading.

The pivotal moment of enlightenment comes alive in his words as an experience beyond words. What he imbibed in his first seven years endured as a constant rebellion for the rest of his time on this planet. It laid the foundation of an iconoclast colliding with the traditional mind to make a turnaround.

How he infuriated the former Prime Minister of India Moraraji Desai over a decade is not found in these pages; neither are Osho's pithy barbs at the American, Jewish and Vatican establishments which were the real reasons for his expulsion from United States. Perhaps the biographer found them 'incorrect' for inclusion!

The chronology section bears out the point about facts made in the preface. This chronicle has major gaps and overemphasis, for example the date of the announcement of his final name Osho, the undue stress on 'harassment' of his personal entourage, the excessive coverage of his stay in USA and the days just before he left his body. Selection of what will endure should be the criteria and not what agenda or readership it serves. Despite reading the words of Osho, one who has experienced Osho is left with the feeling that the book does not do justice to him. The trivia ruins the treasure.

A similar attempt to present Osho in one volume was made over 20 years ago resulting in 'The Sound of Running Water'. Obviously, it did not cover his entire life but what it presented in terms of words, graphics, photographs, layout, design and print production has never been equalled so far. Today, this priceless volume is cherished and preserved as an heirloom by those who had the courage to invest in its high price at that time.

"A good book," wrote the poet John Milton, "is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life." More than anyone else, this spiritual master deserves but still awaits such a book.

Leave alone an autobiography, even Osho's biography presents immense challenges - for how can you fill or even distill an ocean in a tank? If you want to drink Osho, savour him in pegs and sip him neat.

Swami Kul Bhushan

The book is available at
Osho World
Ansal Plaza, Khelgaon Road,
New Delhi 110049
Tel: 011-626 1616
Fax: 011-626 1618

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What morality? It is physicality!
Review by Kuldip Dhiman
The Inner Journey by Osho.
Penguin Books, New Delhi. Pages 262. Rs 250.

“I am the beginning of a totally new religious consciousness. Please don’t connect me to the past — it is not even worth remembering.” This is Acharya Rajneesh or Bhagwan Rajneesh or Osho, master of the rhetoric, making one of his characteristic statements.
At the time when all the babas and gurus were busy preaching morality, making us feel ashamed of our bodies and making us feel guilty for enjoying ourselves, Rajneesh emerged on the scene like a tornado with his unconventional views. Not many could digest his teachings, and there are many among us who have condemned him as a hedonist without hearing a word of his discourses.
This is sad, because in spite of all his eccentricities, there is a lot that one can learn from Rajneesh.
Over the centuries, we have nourished our minds at the expense of our bodies. And almost all civilisations and religions are guilty of it. So much stress has been laid on the glorification of the mind that the body is now seen as an ugly and sinful mass of flesh and bones.
This dualism is actually responsible for most of the ills of our society. Our seers recognised this problem and that is why they introduced the system of yoga in order to strike a perfect balance between the mind and the body. Unfortunately we lost this balance and we began to glorify asceticism: eat less, sleep less, have less fun, avoid all worldly pleasures, shun beauty. Self-denial somehow got associated with self-realisation.
In the present volume, “The Inner Journey”, based on talks given by him at Ajol in Gujarat, Rajneesh tells us that the most important centre in the human body is the navel, followed by the heart and the mind. Unfortunately for centuries we have reversed the order, making mind the most important centre.
This has created havoc in our lives because if the navel centre is undeveloped and weak, other centres will be weak too. “The mind alone,” Rajneesh stresses, “will take man only towards madness. Do you know that the more a country becomes educated, the more the number of mad people there?”
Most religions and saints tell us to control the mind, suppress all evil thought. But suppressing does not really help because whatever you suppress “goes more deeply into your being — because what you are suppressing came from within, it did not come from outside. . . And the mind functions in certain ways. For example, whatever you want to suppress or escape from becomes central to the mind. . . .To forbid is to attract, to refuse is to invite, to prevent is to tempt.”
So instead of suppressing our thoughts, we should drop all conflict, try to come to terms with it and just watch. Understanding and watching will have two results: “First, your knowledge of your own energies will develop, and knowing them makes you the master; and, second, the strength of the grip which these energies have on you will decrease.
“Slowly, slowly you will find that at first anger comes and then you watch; then after a while, gradually, you will find that when anger comes, the watchfulness will come at the same time. And finally you will find that when anger is about to arise, the watchfulness is already there . . .
“Then you will realise that you have discovered an amazing method: you will have discovered that only in unconsciousness do anger, sex and greed have power over you. Watching them, bringing your awareness to them, they all disappear.”
It is generally accepted that as we become enlightened our consciousness moves from the lower part of our body to the mind. But this belief is erroneous and misleading, says Rajneesh. “The journey of a meditator is downwards, towards the roots. One has to descend from the head to the heart and from the heart to the navel. Only >from the navel can anybody enter into the soul: before that one can never enter it. . . . A meditator has to bring this life-energy deeper, more downwards, more towards the centre; he has to turn it back.”
For this, we have to first relax the mind, and then “create tension in the strings of the heart . . . If these two things happen, then the third thing can happen: then it is possible to descend to the real centre of your life — the navel.”
Other ways through which the dormant energy of the navel could be awakened are proper diet and adequate sleep. Rajneesh then demonstrates his relaxation and meditation techniques practically. Whether they work or not is up to the reader to find out by following them step by step.
What sets Rajneesh apart from other gurus is that while they tend to destroy the thinker in you, the questioner in you by asking you to follow them unconditionally, he encourages you to question everything, doubt everything, and to adopt a scientific approach. But the problem is Rajneesh does not teach us how to think, how to question, how to analyse. One reason could be that he was himself an unsystematic thinker, and his knowledge of science was superficial, outdated and even unreliable.
Whenever he tries to support his arguments with the latest advances in science he is vague, and never mentions his source. For instance when he says that the navel is the centre of life-energy, he does not support his argument scientifically or even rationally. He tells us that whenever we are in danger, we feel the impact on our navel, and when we see our beloved our heart beats faster, hence the navel is the centre of life-energy and heart the centre of love.
Now this line of reasoning is a case of unwarranted conclusion. According to modern science, when we see danger, our eyes send the appropriate message to our brain, which in return signals our various body organs to react to the situation. In case of danger, the brain directs our guts to tighten up for a fight or flight response; and in the case of love, our breath stops for a while because we are so enamoured of our object of love; hence the brain directs the heart and lungs to beat faster to make up for the lost oxygen.
True, science still has a long way to go, but just because an organ behaves abnormally under a given situation, is no proof that it is responsible for the resulting emotion.
The other problem with Rajneesh’s discourses is that they are often marred by sweeping statements that he was so fond of making, thus giving ammunition to his detractors. “I am beginning of a totally new religious consciousness,” he boasts. “Please don’t connect me to the past — it is not even worth remembering.” Having said that, he borrows liberally from Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Chinese, Japanese, and western philosophy and from almost everywhere; the only problem is that he does not acknowledge his debt.
And though he was brilliant, the fact is there is nothing really original in Rajneesh’s thought. There is nothing like “Rajneesh philosophy”. He was an expert at reinterpreting age-old wisdom and making it relevant for the present age. This was his main achievement, and it would be a pity if we ignored him solely because he dared to question our sense of misplaced morality.

original in the internet: www.tribuneindia.com

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Don’t believe, just ‘live’
Review by Kuldip Dhiman
New Man for the New Millennium by Osho
Edited and compiled by Ma Deva Sarito and Ma Kamaal Penguin Books, New Delhi. Pages 275. Rs 250.

ONLY Rajneesh "Osho" could have done it.

When invited by a well-known religious organisation to speak, Rajneesh, on the spur of the moment, decided to play a practical joke on the organisers and the audience. He began talking about a strange and highly advanced society called "Sitnalta". The truth of the matter is that before delivering his speech, Rajneesh was reading about the mythical continent called "Atlantis". He just reversed the order to make it "Sitlanta"!

He told the gathering that in our body we had 17 chakras, not seven as mentioned in ancient Indian scriptures. The great ancient knowledge is lost, but a secret society of enlightened masters called "Sitlanta" still exists, and this society knew all the mysteries of life.

As people listened with rapt attention, Rajneesh went on and on with all sorts of nonsense he could come up with. He was surprised at the gullibility of his listeners. But an even greater surprise was yet to come. At the end of the session, the president of the society, who was totally floored, came up to him and said, that he had heard about that society and its activities.

Then letters started pouring in, says Rajneesh, One man went so far as to say that he was a member of the "Sitlanta" society. "I can vouch that whatsoever you have said is absolutely true," he averred.

Such are the uses of "belief". It is very comforting, it is so reassuring, it makes us feel so secure. The more absurd the notion, the more illogical and unscientific the reasoning, the stronger is the belief. People are out there, eager to believe anything. Anything, so long as it is reassuring. If you proposed something logical, and if you could prove it scientifically, the question of believing it or not believing it would not arise, because the statement is true, irrespective of anyone’s opinion. If 2+2 make four, they will do so, whether you are a Sikh, a Hindu, a Jew, or an atheist.

All beliefs are absurd, avers Rajneesh, "man is basically coward, he does not want to enquire." Because if you enquire, you might discover the truth, and not many of us are brave enough to face the truth. Science has shattered so many so-called religious truths, truths revealed by "God" himself to his representatives on earth, but people go on believing regardless.

How does one discover Truth? "By dropping all kinds of beliefs, — and remember I am saying all kinds of — belief in me included. Experience me, come along with me, let me share what I have seen, but don’t believe, don’t be in a hurry. . . .What I have seen cannot become your experience unless you see it."

When it comes to the ultimate truth, then, every one of us has to discover it our own way. It cannot be discovered by following a Jesus, or a Buddha, or a Krishna.

As we enter the new millennium, all this must change. Rajneesh believed that at the turn of the millennium, a "new man" will be born. But he won’t be the ubermensche of Nietzsche or Superman of fiction, this "new man" will be totally different. "The old man was other-worldly, the old man was against this world. The old man was always looking to the heavens. The old man was more concerned with life after death than life before death.The new man’s concern will be this life, because if this life is taken care of, the other will follow of its own accord."

The new man will not lead a life based on belief, he will simply live. Only those who simply live, without belief, come to know what truth is. Neither the believer nor the non-believer ever comes anywhere near the ultimate truth.

So far our lives have been governed by fear — even God was nothing but a creation based on fear. When it comes to realising the ultimate truth, we must remember that fear is not the key.

The new man will live life naturally. He will not be conditioned by society’s efforts at making us civilised and cultured. "Everybody is born as one single individual," reminds Rajneesh, " but by the time he is mature enough to participate in life he has become a crowd. If you just sit silently and listen to your mind, you will find so many voices."

It is no exaggeration to state that most of us are mentally sick, thanks to all the conditioning we have had. We have to learn to cleanse our minds of all this conditioning. We have to break away from the past, we have to peel off the layers that cover our true self.

And this is the most difficult thing to do, because to drop the past means to destroy our so-called personality. It is a blow that our ego cannot bear. Most of us are quite happy living with our neurotic selves, even if it means eternal misery.

People have either lead life in a mathematical fashion, calculating every move, or have lived it spontaneously. Both these approaches are wrong. This dualism is the main reason for our suffering. Our effort should be to be as scientific as possible, as far as the objective world is concerned, and as artistic, as spontaneous as possible as far as the world of relationships is concerned.

Rajneesh then devotes some time and talks about freedom, creativity, love, relationships, etc. What is creativity? Here, he elaborates on the philosophy of karma yoga, without really mentioning it. Creativity has nothing to do with art, he says. Art critics have written volumes and volumes on creativity, but what is creativity after all?

The word "creativity" brings to mind all those wonderful works of art, but creativity has more to it than art. Even as mundane an activity as polishing our own shoes could be done in a creative way. "Anything could be creative — you bring that quality to the activity. Activity itself is neither creative or uncreative. You can paint in an uncreative way. You can sing in an uncreative way. You can clean the floor in a creative way. You can cook in a creative way. . . . Creativity is the quality that you bring to the activity you are doing. . . . So the first thing to be remembered is: don’t confine creativity to anything in particular.

"A man is creative — and if he is creative — whatsoever he does, even if he walks, you can see in his walking there is creativity. . . . Once you understand it — that it is you, the person, who is creative or uncreative — then the problem of finding your creativity disappears."

How will the new man form relationships? We talk about universal brotherhood, compassion, love. But why are we, then, in conflict all the time? It is because our relationships are based on conditions. When you lay down conditions, love vanishes, and the relationship become a mere contract.

"Forget relationships and learn how to relate. Once you are in a relationship you start taking each other for granted. That’s what destroys all love affairs. The woman thinks she knows the man, the man thinks he knows the woman. Nobody knows either. It is impossible to know the other. . . . And to take the other for granted is insulting, disrespectful."

The solution is not to get into a relationsip but to relate to the other. Relating, according to Rajneesh, is a continual exploration of the other. "Again and again, you are introducing yourself to each other. You are trying to see the many facets of the other’s personality. You are trying to penetrate deeper and deeper into his realm of inner feelings, into the deep recesses of his being.

"You are trying to unravel a mystery which cannot be unravelled." That is the joy of love, the exploration of consciousness. By not reducing your love to a mere relationship, both parties become a mirror to the other. By exploring the other, you get deep insight into your own being. "Lovers become mirrors to each other, and then love becomes a meditation. Relationship is ugly, relating is beautiful."

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Osho goes Sufi and thrills you
Review by M.L. Sharma

Glory of Freedom by Osho. Diamond Books, New Delhi. Pages 205. Rs 100.

"GLORY of Freedom" in the series "Sufis: The People of the Path" is one of the most consistent works giving a full taste of Osho "philosophy". Where Carl Jung, the most prominent pupil of Sigmund Freud left, Osho appeared. Osho's thought has reached the logical conclusion. Freud was a pan-sexualist, Osho is a pan-naturalist. Freud focused on sexual repression and guilt; Osho is concerned with natural way of life, saying sexuality is part of the natural way of life and does not form a complete picture. Osho is dead against conditioning: social, political, religious, ideological - that is belief systems. He says belief systems are non-communicative.

Osho is a poet and thinker rolled into one and it is an error to make him a pan-sexualist. His love of nature is reflected in the lines: "When you are sitting on the grass, close your eyes, become the grass be grassy... feel the subtle smell that goes on being released by the grass." About conditioning and belief systems he says: "Caged in one's own system, you are unavailable, and the other is unavailable to you. People are moving like windowless houses... Everybody is imprisoned in his own conditionings."

Osho counsels people to free themselves from ideological grooves and "isms". He defines enlightenment as a paradise lost and paradise regained. The child is born in innocence and in order to gain enlightenment, the child will have to lose innocence. "It is like a fish which has always lived in the ocean - it is impossible for the fish to know the ocean... It has been born into it, it is part of it, it is like a wave. To know the ocean a little separation is needed, a little distance is needed. But take the fish out, on the hot sand, there will be pain and there will be suffering, but in that suffering the fish will know for the first time that it has been living in the ocean."

Osho is against substitutes. Cheerfulness in the original state of mind, moroseness is a substitute. In his own words: "The very enjoyment is what meditation is... Let cheerfulness be your only religion, the only law." By happiness he does not imply forgetfulness and lack of sobriety. He quotes Sheikh ibn Ajiba's words to substantiate his point that ecstasy is also the way of sobriety: "Drunkenness with consciousness of the state is higher than drunkenness with forgetfulness. Ecstasy is not the goal but the means, nevertheless an absolutely essential means." Osho's advice is to be drunk and yet alert.

He objects to repression because it curbs naturalness and when naturalness is curbed, senses are corrupted. "We have not been allowed to be natural - hence man has lost dignity, innocence, grace, elegance... And because of all these repressions the body has become non-orgasmic." It is because of repression of sex, man has lost the sense of smell. Whereas a dog has a strong sense of smell, man has lost all sense of smell. "Smell is very sexual, that's why we have destroyed the nose."

Osho believes that life is sacred. He advocates the principle of joyous waiting and dismisses pessimism in life, and religion. If God spoke to men in the past, he speaks even today.

Osho asks people not to see thorns but the rose alone. "Once you have started seeing the beauty of life, ugliness starts disappearing... If you start looking at life with joy, sadness starts disappearing. You cannot have heaven and hell together, you can have only one. It is your choice." The main thing is how one interprets things. For Osho death is even beautiful and not to be afraid of. "When man is dying. The circle is complete... death is very close to life: it is the very crescendo of life. Life comes out of sex energy and life is moving back to sex energy."

Osho believes in equilibrium. Thus silence is a balance between happiness and sorrow, which is to be preferred. Life is without a full stop. It is a continuous process. Life, love and relationship are not nouns but verbs (living, loving and relating).

Like the Buddha, Osho's main stress is on love and compassion. Trees, he says, even respond to love and compassion. Western mind is aggressive and cannot understand why a tree should even be responsive to finer feelings of love and compassion. His definition of sanyas is very interesting - a creative kind of suicide. "You can still live, but you can live in your own way. Then the need for suicide disappears, or becomes very much less."

Osho denies fatherhood, motherhood, or belovedhood to God. "God," he says, "is experiencing". He explains experiencing in a beautiful way: "Looking at a rose flower, if you disappear into the rose flower and the rose flower disappears into you, the observer becomes the observed, and the observed the observer. There is no distinction left, there are not two things confronting each other but a meeting, merging, melting into each other - then boundaries are no longer there."

For contact with God, it is most essential to drop all theories, explanations and philosophies. "Before God you have to be utterly naked with no explanations, no philosophies surrounding you. In order to see God, you have to be free from 'nafs', which is like a neurotic hunger which cannot be satisfied. "You see the distant but not the close-by." God is very close but our mind is elsewhere. The state is which an ordinary human being exists is called "nafs" by Sufis. "'Nafs' is blind to God, unless you drop 'nafs' you will not see God and God is everywhere. Only God is. Nothing else. But you will not see God, you cannot see God. To see God you will have to drop 'nafs'."

"Nafs" is a desire for more money, power, sex, etc. The first thing to be understood is "nafs" and by understanding it, one should drop it. Just to see it is to drop it. By the drop- ping of "nafs" comes "tambah" - turning back. By turning back one attains the state of "hal", an altered state of mind but a temporary one. Then comes "magma", when "hals" become permanent and are not only flashes. The word "magma" implies arrived. It is the real state of man. From "nafs" to "magma" is the journey of a Sufi.

Osho is against synthesis of religions. He believes there is beauty in every religion and there is no sense in collecting wise sayings from various religions. "No synthesis is needed between a rose-bush and the lotus - they are perfectly beautiful as they are."

Man has cultivated fondness for artificial things - cosmetics, perfumes, etc. because he has lost the sense of smell. The only criterion is how much payment we get. There is nothing new and unique about life being lived. "But if you live a life of comfort and convenience and ritual and formality and lies, you live in hell... start living again. And don't think about pay, you may not be rich but your life will be enriched. You may not have fame, but you will have joy. You may not be known to the world but will be known to God."

About love he muses: "Love means to give all that is beautiful to the beloved. Freedom is the most beautiful, the most cherished goal of human consciousness." Love is one's quality of life. In true love, subjectivity is significant, not object. About God, he says, God exists whether we think about Him or not. "We can go on denying God, that doesn't make any difference - God still is. God is existential... So what is the point of belief or disbelief? Drop them and try to see whatever is the case."

There is unity in existence. The separation is only for delight or for enlightenment. Osho disfavours possessiveness. Two lovers are two pillars supporting independently, unpossessing each other, one roof of intrinsic beauty and spiritual harmony. "Kaaba" is where Rabia kneels in prayer and Vrindavan is where Meera bows. It is one's beauty of soul which makes one feel the spiritual presence of one's beloved. Wisdom is an insight into existence whereas knowledge is borrowed from others.


The book is compulsive reading as it provides deeper insight into the mysteries of existence and love, savouring of unique Sufi thought.

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