January 06, 2003, firstname.lastname@example.org
Let us get Osho back to Osho Commune
Dear Friends and Sannyasins of Osho;
A few years back, I ran into a sannyasin friend, who locally distributes Osho´s books. We talked and I asked about his book distributing. He sighed, “Chinmaya, things have changed, now they want us to put the emphasis on Osho’s work and not on him. You know, it used to always be the other way.” It gave me an uncomfortable feeling but I did not know what to make of it. What I failed to realize was that a series of disturbing changes had already started in the Osho Ashram in Pune, which recently culminated in the demolition of Buddha Hall.
I received an email one evening that Buddha hall had been demolished. It mentioned that the official reason was that it was getting old and now we have the new mediation hall. I could not sleep that night – it felt very wrong. If management is concerned about our attachment to buildings then what about Osho’s residence or the Ashram itself- will it be demolished too?
Osho showed us the Buddha inside ourselves, initiated us in neo-Sannyas and sent us out into the world to live as Buddhas. Buddha Hall was the spiritual birthplace for many of us. Every year and half when I travel to the Ashram, at first, I just sit at the gate. I have returned home. Mediation happens in the Buddha field in Buddha hall – where Osho catapulted so many of us into our spiritual journey. The new meditation hall may be a great place but Osho was never there. Why destroy the Buddha hall where Osho enabled us to go within ourselves? It is a historical place, it is a holy place and it is our home.
I was sitting in my office, when news tracker from the New York Times, popped on my screen. “His photographs have been taken down in the Ashram, his birthday and samadhi days are no longer celebrated and his smiling photographs have disappeared from Osho Times front page and there are rumors that no longer sannyas will be given with mala.” Tears started flowing. I sat stunned. The ranch is long gone and the possibility of attack to Osho’s legacy did not even cross my mind. I remember the day when I got a phone call from the Ranch that they had located Osho in an Oklahoma jail – thanks to the US media. Now the New York Times is telling me what is happening to my spiritual birthplace and my spiritual master.
Swami Yogendra, the present trustee of the commune, was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “Someone comes in and there are like 1,000 pictures of this dead guy, and they’re like ‘Whoa, get me out of here,” Well, if you do not expect Osho in Osho commune, what do you expect? Do we need to have people like Yogendra, who calls Osho- the dead guy- be the trustee of the Ashram? Even the Times said, “But these days almost nowhere in the commune that bears his name (Osho) are there pictures of the late Osho himself. Would Osho have wanted that?” You know things are terribly wrong at the Ashram when news reporters are asking, “Where is Osho?”
Some people want to make a business out of teaching Osho’s mediations. Look at Christianity- you cannot stop that, but I did not expect it to happen in the Pune ashram at the cost of moving Osho out of the Ashram. He did not particularly care to return to Pune, but that was his home and the Indian government did not deny him the right to come back and give discourses in Buddha Hall. He wanted to be in Buddha hall to share himself with us. We had him back in Buddha hall doing what he loved the most. We forgot the ranch and moved on. Now with this happening, the wounds have reopened.
I look in the local yellow pages and there are over two-dozen places to teach yoga and mediation. No guru needed. Just ten bucks per class and the first class is free. Can we teach spirituality this way? Take Osho out of his ashram and you have killed it, leaving the appearance of a body with no soul. Do we want that? One can de-emphasize Newton and still learn about gravity. In fact it is easier to teach gravity with Newton or Einstein de-emphasized. It simply does not work for the inner journey of spirituality. Osho stands for an inner transformation to Zorba the Buddha- nothing less. Can we do this without Osho’s presence in the commune?
I continue to hear that Osho’s books are now being printed with sections deleted. Osho made few requests, one of them was to present his work in its entirety. The rights to Osho’s books have been sold to western publishers who are starting to publish his work in an edited form. Soon we will be reading Osho’s books on mediation, edited by someone who is inexperienced with mediation or Osho.
NO ONE owns Osho’s words- they are a gift to the entire humanity and we can do no more than to preserve it in its original form and make it available to all those who are interested. www.oshoworld.com has started to distribute the books and tapes, in its original form, at no cost to the world. I could not imagine a nobler work. However, as false coins take the real coins out of circulation- with time the market will be flooded with commercial and politically correct edited versions of OSHO’s discourses. Do we care what Osho said or we care for what he should have said so that his books can sell better and that he does not offend people?
We all have seen the copyright mark right next to Osho’s name for some time. If Osho is a copyrighted trademark then every time we use his name –we need to identify it as a copyrighted trademark! Can it get any worse? Osho is our master and not a trademark. Thanks to the efforts of Keerti and Osho Friends International- the courts have nullified the trademarking of Osho’s name.
From what I understand – Osho left the management of daily affairs to a group of twenty-one people who have been slowly pushed out by the remaining five people. I spoke with one of the original twenty-one and he said that “I am one hundred percent sure that Osho did not want this new hall and never asked for the destruction of Buddha hall.”
It is painful to see management denying entry to the ashram- to those who objected to the destruction of Osho’s legacy. I asked a long-time sannyasins, “Swami ji why don’t you say something, ” and got the usual response, “Well I agree with everything you say but I do not want to be banned from going to the ashram.” It is hard to believe that these are the same people who in the seventies and eighties wore orange clothing only and mala with Osho’s photograph and chanted in streets the name of Bhagwan and today they are scared to speak up when their master’s legacy is being destroyed. If we do nothing, soon there will be nothing.
I want those of you who are scared of being banned from the Ashram to know that it is our spiritual birthright to visit the samadhi of our spiritual master and meditate in Buddha Hall. Dear Friends – let us work to restore Osho’s legacy. Let us bring Osho back to his commune and let us tell the present ashram’s management to leave the resort business to others.