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 a logical conclusion. Freud was a pan-sexualist, Osho is a pan-naturalist. Freud focused on sexual repression and guilt; Osho is concerned with the 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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