October 12, 2000
PANCHGANI, October 11: While a rebel group led by former Commune spokesperson Swami Chaitanya Keerti is getting set to nullify the copyright monopoly of Osho’s words through cyberspace, another rebel group spearheaded by old time Osho’s disciple Swami Chaitanya Bharati is making a mockery of trademarks and patenting rights of Osho’s meditation techniques via a live and boisterous 10 meditation camp.
The 10-day intensive `Osho Dhyan leela’ meditation camp which concludes on Thursday, amidst the misty blue mountains of this picturesque hill station of Panchgani, has all the ingredients of open defiance, to the coterie that claims to exclusive possess Osho’s intellectual property rights.
Also this camp belies Osho’s vehement opposition to a spiritual heir, thanks to Swami Chaitanya Bharati, Osho’s one time fancied photographer and meditation camp co-ordinator, who has donned on the robes (metaphorically speaking) of his Master and conducts his camp in a similar fashion.
Swami Chaitanya Bharati’s discourses, mannerisms and gait have the typical flavour of Osho during his Mumbai days in the early 1970s. Wherein a motley crowd of about 50 would listen in rapt attention, during the question-answer session which always took the form of discourses. Wherein, such sessions were interspersed with laughter and anecdotes. Swami Bharati is doing just that here, with the 55 participants having swooped down from all over the country like Bihar,U.P, Delhi, Haryana, Bangalore and Pune and with Western disciples from Germany, Italy, USA and UK. His discourses, like his master are addressed both in Hindi and English and he talks with pauses. Even his `Namaste’ after his discourse is unmistakably Osho’s style Attended by old time as well as new sannyasins (meaning those given sannyas by Swami Chaitanya Bharati and not the Osho Commune), practically all the meditation techniques that the Osho International Foundation first claimed to have trademarked and then loosened the rigidity by allowing anyone to conduct, but strictly by the book, are being experienced with an added tinge of salt, pepper and lime.
Bharati, with a tinge of arrogance and a seemingly dedicated mission of addressing the issue of copyright, trademarking and patenting claims by “a group of unmeditative people who pretend to be interested in Osho”, through this camp, has succeeded only in making digs at the “Inner Circle” (which is in charge of administration of Osho’s intellectual as well as administrative works). His appeal to the Osho sannyasins all over the world to choose the platform of his camp to discuss an action plan to fight the “dictatorial attitude of the inner circle” has certainly come a cropper.
Several prominent old time sannyasins from India and other parts of the world were sent personal invitations, but none made it to the camp. However, Bharati proudly flaunts his correspondence which reveals the “support” they have given to Bharati’s rebellion against the commune. The only salvaging point is the promise by rebels Ma Neelam, Swami Tathagat and Swami Chaitanya Keerti, all prominent Indian sannyasins who walked out of the Osho Commune in outrage last year, to attend the camp on the last day of the camp, that is Thursday to discuss the controversial copyrights issue.
Otherwise, Bharati is content with having received several letters of encouragement for openly defying the commune. For example, an old time German disciple, Swami Samarpan, who has been successfully conducting meditation camps in his country writes to Bharati, “Osho is alive in you and me and all who have heard his simple message. We are all part of this atomic explosion of enlightenment which cannot be stopped by the fools in the Inner Circle.”
However, the copyrights, trademark and patenting issue seems to be almost a non-issue here, where disciples are not only embracing Bharati’s wise words and wisecracks with utter sincerity but are brushing off the copyright controversy like paper with a broom. States Ma Prem Sandesh who has come to attend the camp all the way from Delhi, “This copyright issue is all rubbish, in fact it is all superficial and worldly. If you are meditative, you cannot even consider this to be of any significance at all.”
For Ma Prem Pativedha, a German disciple who was Osho’s follower since 1978, Swami Bharati’s camp has brought in a renewed vigour for meditations. Says she happily, “I have done meditations at the Osho Commune as well but there is no one enlightened to guide you there, so you don’t enjoy it as much. Here, I get apt guidance from Swami Bharati, who is so enlightened and that makes a lot of difference while doing meditations.”
The day in the life of this 10-day meditation camp is a la Osho commune everyday routine. The day begins with Dynamic Meditation and ends with White Robe Brotherhood. What are the other meditations that he conducts? States Swami Bharati, “Almost all the meditations conducted at the Osho Commune are conducted here in pure, original form. Only at the fag end of the session, I have changed the music for more indepth meditativeness and alertness.”
He informs that in these last nine days, he has been conducting the Dynamic Meditation, Natraj, Kundalini, Vipassana, Stop Meditation, Gibberish, No Mind Meditation and others. What about following them to the core as prescribed by the Osho International Foundation? He quips, “Who are they to decide? They have never meditated. They just pretend. They are destroying Osho’s work by being very serious about patenting and trademarking Osho’s meditation techniques. Just like the sun, moon and the stars that cannot be patented, similarly Osho’s works can never be patented. I have been conducting meditation camps for Osho for nearly two decades and I used to alter some portions, but he never objected. So, who are these people to object? And why should I care about their false impositions?”
However, Swami Bharati has altered the Whiterobe Brotherhood completely, with sufi dance, devotional songs, classical music and recitals from the Bhagwad Gita forming different elements of this one and a half hour Whiterobe brotherhood, as against a recorded discourse by Osho. But Swami Bharati. He has thrown the rule book down the deep valley of this Sahyadri hills and hopes to emerge a Master of a New Man.
Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.