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OSHO

A Profile
The story of Osho-master, mystic, madman
Bhagwan Rajneesh, and the Lost Truth
Osho Talks by Titles
a fully enlightened master
Osho lovers recommended writings
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Osho : A Profile

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Osho was born in 1931 to a Jain family as Rajneesh Chandra Mohan in Kuchwara, a town in central India. He claims to have waited 800 years to find parents of sufficient purity for him to take human birth, having already sought enlightenment at the feet of many great Masters in previous lives. (Whatever the merits of this claim it is of interest to see that the parents of great Masters may be significant, for example both parents of Ramakrishna had a presentiment of his spiritual greatness, as did the mother of Krishnamurti, to say nothing of Mary mother of Jesus). As a child Osho was unruly and adventurous. His main early influence was his beloved grandfather, whose death was a terrible blow to the young child. Characteristic of the young Osho's temperament was his leadership of a gang of boys, inspiring them with daredevil acts such as diving from great heights into rivers and whirlpools, or from a bridge guarded by a policeman to prevent suicides. Osho was self-confident and sometimes aggressive, particularly if he thought that his rights had been ignored.

Despite a rather basic early schooling Osho studied philosophy at Jabalpur University, where he received his BA degree in 1955, and where he later taught. He also attended the University of Saugar and obtained an MA in 1957. He taught until the force of his spiritual illuminations led him to the life of spiritual Master. Osho claims that every seven years he went through a spiritual crisis, the first being on the loss of his grandfather, and the second at the age of fourteen when he felt, somewhat like Ramana, that he was going to die. Taking leave from school for a few days he found an almost deserted temple in the mountains and laid down, as if to die, or to be reborn in some as yet unknown way. Eventually a snake made its way over his body, and Osho thought that this would be the turning point : life or death. The snake passed on its way and the youth felt that a new life had been given him. His interest in all things spiritual continued and in 1953 at the age of twenty-one after seven days of intensive spiritual search he was enlightened under a tree in a local park.

Osho began an intensive teaching itinerary, commenting once that he had been his own 'John the Baptist' to prepare India for his later teachings. This period of exhausting travel ended when he settled firstly in Bombay and then in Koragaon Park in Pune (Poona), where an ashram was founded around him, and he acquired the honorifics 'Bhagwan' and 'Shree'. As Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh he taught to ever-increasing crowds of followers, initiating those who chose it into 'neo-sannyas', which involved the wearing of orange robes and a 'mala' or necklace bearing his picture, and the taking of an Indian name. Despite his provocative teachings he had a significant number of Indian followers, but the bulk of his disciples were Westerners.

Before long he had an international following with 'Rajneesh Centres' in many major cities around the world, where books and tapes were sold and visitors could participate in a number of the meditations he had devised, many of which included dancing or chaotic movement and breathing. Osho had little interest or patience in convention and was under pressure from the Indian government for tax irregularities. In 1981 he moved his commune to a large ranch bought for the ashram in Oregon USA, and proceeded to create an alternative society partially based on the Israeli kibbutz system. They turned the unproductive ranch into fertile farmland, combining an intense spiritual practice with long hours of manual labour. As the project grew the community wanted to incorporate their settlement as a city, a move that alarmed local residents, and hostilities grew between the two communities. The ashram leader, a woman called Ma Anand Sheela, was eventually accused of plotting to poison local residents, interfering with the democratic process and even of plotting to kill the district attorney. Osho (as he had become known in this period) had spent some years in silence, so it is debatable as to his role in the events that led to the collapse of the commune, but he was arrested and charged with falsely arranging marriages. While in prison Osho claims that he was poisoned by the authorities with thallium, and on his eventual deportation and return to India his health deteriorated. He died in 1990, at the age of 59, and in intense pain. The ashram claim that his early death was due to thallium poisoning, citing similarities with the mysterious death of a anti-nuclear civil rights campaigner who had been imprisoned in the same jail in the US as Osho.

Osho's teachings centred on awareness and a love of life. For many years he spoke for one and a half hours a day, and while he was in India he alternated on a monthly basis between the English and Hindi languages. The transcripts of his talks appear in almost five hundred volumes, which include book series on the great spiritual teachers of the world. His ten-volume translation and commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are typical of his early discourses, combining his own translation from the Sanskrit original with lengthy commentary, interspersed with jokes. The breadth of his reading was remarkable, perhaps only approached by Douglas Harding amongst the Masters presented here (as we saw Krishnamurti took no interest at all in the teachings of others, and is reputed to have read mainly detective novels). Osho's eclecticism gave him a universality of mind, but makes it hard to pin down his own teachings.

Awareness is a common theme however, in particular the 'double-edged arrow of awareness' that G.I.Gurdjieff taught (or 'double-barbed' as Douglas Harding called it, quite independently). Osho was greatly influenced by Gurdjieff in his approach to teaching, believing that the mind-feeling-body continuum benefited from 'shocks' that helped stimulate awareness and wake up the dormant spiritual side. These ideas were put into practice in a series of meditations that Osho devised, and in workshops or 'groups' that became the mainstay of practice for visitors to the ashram and centres round the world. Osho adopted many psychotherapeutic techniques that were in vogue in the seventies, and, in keeping with the doctrines of sexual liberation of that time, encouraged sexual experimentation as part of spiritual practice. He drew heavily on Hindu and Buddhist Tantric sources for guidance on the use of sex in the pursuit of transcendence, and it is for this that he is mainly infamous now. Few seemed to have noticed how often he spoke of transcending sex, implicit for example in the title one of his early books From Sex to Superconsciousness. His approach was to go through sex rather than suppress it, but his goal was nevertheless its transcendence.

Osho also emphasised the master/disciple relationship, which he saw as a kind of love affair. He thought it unlikely that an aspirant could gain enlightenment from his discourses in printed form (however insightful they may have been), often stressing that it was his presence, or the 'silence between the words' where the real work took place. This was a quite traditional view of the role of guru, in the East at least, but for many of his Western followers it may have been their first exposure to the idea.

His embrace of the breadth of life, in opposition to traditional views of renunciation, found a simple formula in his three 'M's --- Music, Mathematics, and Meditation, standing respectively for the arts, science/technology, and the spiritual. He felt that to neglect any one of these three areas was to become narrow or even one-dimensional, and in the modern era it was absurd to turn one's back on the delight and creativity of the arts, or the knowledge and living standards that science and technology could bring. Accordingly, life in the ashram involved the arts, the creation of beautiful buildings and gardens, and the use of modern technology where appropriate. For Osho, transcendence meant to embrace everything that life had to offer, rather than to shut down the senses and dull the mind.

Commentary

Osho was an iconoclast. While Krishnamurti ignored Indian spiritual traditions (and all other spiritual traditions for that matter), and spoke out against the guru principle, he did not otherwise set out to destroy tradition. In contrast Osho was convinced that the ancient spiritual traditions of India (in particular) were in themselves an obstacle to spiritual progress. His main target was the concept of renunciation, which he saw as responsible not only for the material poverty of India, but for the serious, if not rather grim, face of religion. His vision of the spiritual life was that it should be light, joyous and full of humour, rather than serious, sorrowful and moralising. Although he had immense respect for Ramana Maharshi and Sri Ramakrishna, he saw their renunciative stance as part of a past that should be overthrown, and his chosen method was to take the ancient symbol of renunciation, the ochre robe, and turn it into a symbol of the 'new man'. His followers, called 'neo-sannyasins', were to retain the inner spiritual life of the renunciate, but embrace and celebrate every aspect of the physical life, including sex. His target was conventional Hindu society, and the orange-robed Westerners flaunting their sexual and material wealth achieved his purpose of shocking conservative Hindus. His own symbolic revolt against renunciation included the wearing of expensive clothes and watches, and the gradual accumulation of 92 Rolls-Royces.

The events in Oregon leading to the expulsion of the movement and Osho's death are considered by many to undermine or negate anything of value in Osho's teachings. A neutral and critical appraisal of Osho's legacy is long overdue, as most commentators seem to have drawn on a single book for negative material, The God Who Failed, by Hugh Milne. Such an appraisal will have to wait, but what is of importance here is the implication of Osho's experiment for via positiva.

Osho attempted a revolution in spiritual thinking, to integrate the spirituality of a Ramana or Ramakrishna, with a love of life. He called his ideal composite 'Zorba the Buddha' after a novel about a Greek man with an exuberant lifestyle. As such it is worthy of consideration, all the more because Osho also recognised the importance of the jnani / bhakti distinction. While Whitman is the great guru of via positiva, he has been largely ignored, and even Osho was not aware of his significance. Harding's via positiva is neutral about the world, which is there mainly to demonstrate our 'original face' or true nature. Krishnamurti saw the beauty of the natural world, perhaps mainly in an aesthetic sense, but Osho went much further in advocating a love of life in all its ramifications. The fact that his experiment 'failed' in the eyes of most commentators has left the world community of spiritual seekers wary of such an approach and more likely to succumb again to scepticism about life itself. This can be seen in the teachings of Andrew Cohen for example, whose emphasis on purity and moral values is a reaction to many of the teachers of the 1970s, who, like Osho, were experimenting with sexual openness and counter-culture ideas.

Osho's via positiva is contradictory or paradoxical however. In Oregon he spent several years in complete silence, one of the marks of the renunciative life he so criticised. He also lived a very simple life, in a small room, ate a vegetarian diet, and had no legal title to any ashram property or possessions. Paradox was part of his teachings, and he did not encourage attempts to distil his often contradictory remarks spread over some 500 volumes into a coherent and concise system of thought. He liked to enter deeply into the teachings of whoever his discourses focused on, and said that his ability to become a conduit for their teachings inevitably meant that there would be contradictions. There were common themes however, one being that the inner transformation of the individual from a divided and fearful personality into an enlightened being grounded in awareness could be described as the transition from an experience of the world as a chaos to the vision of it as a cosmos. This is a valuable clue to the via positiva, that its hallmark is a perception of the manifest world as profoundly and beautifully ordered. In contrast most beginners on the spiritual path are drawn to explore religious teachings because they feel that life is a chaos.

There is no doubt however that Osho left chaos behind him. He was influenced by G.I.Gurdjieff in his teaching methods, which included techniques for deliberately creating confusion in the disciple's life and mind in order to allow a new and more spontaneous order to arise. What he failed to take from Gurdjieff however was an extreme selectivity of pupil, allowing instead individuals with a range of vulnerabilities and personal problems to be exposed to his methods, often through senior ashram members, who were not necessarily gifted teachers. The desire to reach a large number of people also permitted power-hungry individuals to take control of the community. Given that many of his followers only seemed to have learned from him the least attractive of his qualities, noticeably a contempt for tradition and the democratic process, the disaster in Oregon was inevitable. The real loss is the devaluing of his teachings, which, as found in his books, audio tapes, or videos, are a treasure-trove of spiritual insight.

Osho does not deserve to be dismissed. His discourses are instructive in the positive sense as his mistakes are in the negative sense. Any new spiritual community is capable of the errors of Oregon. This is closely related to the unfortunate instinct of seekers to latch onto the apocalyptic and paranoid components of a teaching, even when these comprise a very small part, as in Osho's case.
 

The story of Osho-master, mystic, madman

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By Amit Jayaram for Lifepositive.com

http://www.lifepositive.com/Spirit/masters/osho/osho.html

Trying to define Osho is like trying to imprison a rainbow or catch a cloud that's floating through your room.

Like sand, he slips through your fingers: like a sparkling drops of dew, his magic vanishes with the rising sun of definition.

Samuel Johnson, in his Preface to Shakespeare, says that Shakespeare is not a pretty garden, but a great forest, a forest that is wild and wonderful.

So is Osho. And it is his wildness that is his greatest flavor. A trip with Osho is no picnic for socialites or fingernail-clicking namby-pambies. Osho's sweep is as vast, as majestic, as diverse, as unpredictable as life itself.

There is majesty here, but danger too. Far past the comfortable backwaters of respectability, morality, ethics and so-called sanity, we find ourselves on the high seas of life, with no buffers between us and the elemental powers of the universe.

And our captain, far from sheltering and consoling us in this our first assay into the world of the uncharted, pushes us into the danger. He removes our props, throws away our crutches, destroys our conditioning, tramples on our most cherished beliefs and abandons us, naked and unprotected, to the gigantic waters of the cosmos.

Most of us are too scared to even allow him to take us thus far, and run away, often without even trying to find out what he is really saying. But even amongst those of us who walk some steps with him and encounter the utter nakedness of floating on the high seas of life, almost none of us can deal with the feeling of being unprotected, unguarded, unprepared. We are terrified and rush back, often swearing never to go again.

But there is something haunting about the experience. Almost against our will, we wander into this boundless ocean again. An ocean called meditation, where we turn inward to face ourselves. Despite the confusion. Despite the fear. Despite the darkness, the absence of the comfortable, the familiar.

Slowly, hesitantly we enter this space. Where, with William Blake, we see "the worlds in a grain of sand, heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the eternity in an hour". This is the oceanic world. The world that is Osho...

BUDDHAM SHARANAM GACCHAMI
"Somebody anonymous, somebody who is more a nobody than a somebody; a man who has died long ago as a separate entity…"

Where does one begin? At the beginning? One wonders. Because this story is as much about time and space as it is about here and now, about eternity. Because this is the story of one who was never born, never died. One who visited plant Earth briefly, and left his gentle imprints on the measureless sands of time.

As a child growing up in the grace and openness of total freedom a gift from his wonderful grandparents. As a young adult, exposing the stupidity of a bankrupt educational system with the scalpel of an incisive mind and penetrating insight. As Acharya Rajneesh, roaming the vastness of India to encounter people, to enchant them with his incomparable oratory, to help them transform themselves with the Dynamic Meditation he devised for our troubled age. As Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, immobile in Pune, western India, the wanderer in him dissolving into the sage, creating a vibrant "Buddha field', a crucible of the spirit where countless seekers absorbed the energy and used the techniques made available to trigger the process of self-discovery.

As Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in the Oregon days, when he and his sannyasins transformed the face of a timeless desert into a green and beautiful land before (according to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh Poisoned by Ronald Reagan's America by Sue Appleton) a bigoted government threatened by his extraordinary insight and unparalleled courage, used every foul means at its disposal to poison him with long-acting thallium, depart him and prevent some dozen world governments from entertaining him, in the ugliest way possible. As Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh of the World Tour days, when nation after nation passed beneath him like the fleecy clouds beneath the wings of a plane, and his fiery discourses in Greece, in Uruguay startled a shell-shocked world into awareness.

As Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, in the days when he returned to his commune in Pune, his discourses were initially as fiery as those he delivered during the Oregon and World Tour days. But they soon mellowed into the most deeply meditative ones he had ever given—they veered towards Zen and, for the first time, began to include group meditation. A couple of years after he came back home, the Acharya who was Bhagwan became Osho, the oceanic one.

And that's all there was, because soon the thulium administered to him by the US authorities when he had been arrested without a warrant and spirited away to parts unknown (documented by Appleton), began to take effect. His failing health started affecting his work. His regular discourses were interrupted repeatedly. Eventually, he surrendered to the effects of the poisoning; a life rudely cut short, when the world could have benefited from fresh insights and his unique wisdom for many more decades.

These details are insignificant trivia. Like looking at the grooves on a gramophone record reveals no mysteries about the music they contain, these biographical benchmarks say little about the spirit, the genius and the effortless ebullience that is Osho. The tense I use is important. His leaving the body has had little effect on his living presence. Whether in the Osho Commune International in Pune, at other communes and meditation centers around the world or wherever his sannyasins and lovers gather in his name, hear him, read him, or talk about him, Osho is tangibly present.

What he called the Buddhafield in Pune is the very matrix of the energy field he created around him and has a very powerful and immediately tangible presence even today. His is a presence that pervades the world.

Every day, new people take their first hesitant steps towards him and slowly slip into the silence of his presence, the fathomless depths of his insight, the healing aura that emanates around him.

Like most enlightened masters, Osho was continuously misunderstood by small minds soaked in prejudice, and fell prey to the gratuitous violence of man—like Jesus and Socrates before him. His truth was too incandescent, his candor too blinding for men who had lived in darkness all their lives.

He held the mirror up to us, to reflect our follies, our prejudices, and our superstitions; our implacable and adamantine conditioning that holds us prisoner all our lives. But we were too fainthearted to look. And a vast majority of those who looked, looked briefly, were terrified of their reflection and railed against the mirror.

It is far easier to break the mirror and not have to see our tortured reflection. To look, accept, admit and begin the arduous journey of transforming oneself is difficult, well-nigh impossible. When the mirror that was Jesus reflected us, we crucified him. When the mirror that was Socrates reflected us, we poisoned him. A similar fate was reserved for Osho. We human beings certainly have a strange way of saying 'thank you' to the enlightened beings that make their effulgence available to us.

What did Osho do? He told us to give up our phony adherence to an ossified past that haunted us, and live in the moment, use the alchemy of meditation to transform ourselves—to become Christs, not Christians; Krishnas, not Hindus; Buddhas, not Buddhist. His crime was that he spoke the truth.

He dared to tell us that sex was the first rung of the ladder to super consciousness; that unless we accept the rung and use it as a stepping stone, we would be stuck forever—the very energy that is sex is transmuted into super consciousness. We continued to sweep sex under the carpet or indulge in it, and called him a Sex Guru.

He dared to expose the deep nexus between priests and politicians that has kept humanity enslaved from beginningless time. He showed us how the priest uses the carrot of heaven and the stick of hell in the matrix of a psychologically nonexistent past and future, how he creates guilt and fear and then provides panaceas for it. How the politician divides us into fragments and then speaks of uniting us; creates hatred and ill will, then talks about universal brotherhood; creates and espouses the divisiveness of nation states and then gives it a sanctity that can demand sacrifice. We continued to run like frightened rabbits into the warrens of a bankrupt society and organized religion, and called Osho dangerous, the antichrist, the unbeliever.

Prophets are often ahead of their time, but Osho was centuries ahead of his. When his majestic vision showed us a brave new world, we hung on to the apron strings of society and church, tradition and conditioning, and huddled deeper in the cavern of our own little selves.

In his masterpiece, A Marriage of Heaven and Hell, William Blake says that if the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite... But man has closed himself up till he sees all things through the narrow chinks of his cavern. But it is never too late.

The italics in "as it is" are mine. That's what Osho said again and again all his life, but our conditioning didn't let us hear. He said we were all Buddhas, gods in exile; that God was not separate from existence, but immanent in existence-only God is an all is God.

Osho may not be in the body, but his spirit is ever present, ever available, his Buddha field of transformation a tangible reality. Never born, never died—just visited Planet Earth. He can still catalyze an unprecedented change in your life today.

All you have to do is visit his Buddhafield in Pune, read a book, listen to a tape. And watch the magic unfold within you.

DHAMMAM SHARANAM GACCHAMI
"Life is not a problem to be solved, it is a mystery to be lived..."

Osho's basic message is no message. His basic teaching is no teaching. He doggedly opposed the creation or following of philosophies and ideologies. Although he spoke on more scriptures than anyone else in the history of human consciousness—and with the greatest authority on subjects and people ranging from subatomic physics to Vincent Van Gogh, Karl Marx and Freud—he warned against following scriptures and underlined the great danger of knowledge; he repeatedly emphasized the importance of one's own experience and the danger of imitating others, no matter how enlightened.

This applied as much to him as to anyone else. Although he emphasized the need for a guru, he stressed that it was not the truth, but a necessary evil. That, after crossing the river, the raft becomes a hindrance if still carried. That, when more gross and mundane obstacles have been overcome, the guru becomes the obstacle and has to transcend.

He spoke on almost every mystic this world has had the privilege to witness with such insight that they sprang to life; their presence became a living reality while his enlightenment breathed life into them again. And yet he offended more people by criticizing messiahs and prophets than anyone in the history of humanity. He did this with the professed intention of what he used to love calling 'hammering'—a process of deep reconditioning by challenging and uprooting the deepest and most cherished beliefs of a person. It is only a wholly de-conditioned person, he said, who has the innocence, the fluidity, the effervescence to dissolve into the totality, without leaving a trace.

One of Osho's most significant contributions to the seeker of this age, and ages to come, is the breathtaking clarity he brought to the critical, perhaps preeminent, importance of the here-now.

Osho was controversial and reviled purely because he lived this insight—he didn't just talk about it. He repeatedly said that there is only one world, one space, the here and now. That it is journeying from one place to another, not this so-called phenomenal world that is the real sansar. That being here-now, not journeying at all, is the end of the sansar. That ethics and morality and respectability are false coins. That people who give you goals—no matter how laudable—are your enemies, because goals create the future, and trigger the debilitating mechanism of desire. That people who tell you how to become and what to become are the poisoners.

Such a person cannot draw lines between the good and the bad, the sacred and the profane. Osho always said that divinity is not separate from existence it is immanent in existence. As Blake said, all that lives is holy. He also continuously emphasized that the divine is not separable from existence, like a painter from his painting. It is integrally connected with existence, like a dancer with his dance. Which is why he used to say again and again that, if there is such a thing as the divine, it is not a noun but a verb; not a persona but a process; not a creator, but creativity.

A person like him has eyes to see. He can see that there is only one energy. It can be blocked or freed. The energy freed from the repression of sex, or indulgence in it can become the ladder to super consciousness. He can see that energy always flows towards the source of the greatest joy—when the window of meditation opens, the energy that was sex, was attachment, was greed, gets absorbed and subsumed by it. That prejudice, no matter how ancient and hallowed, must be destroyed if one wants the authenticity that is the first prerequisite to the unfolding of our hidden splendor.

Osho also revealed a great secret to us—do not fight with darkness. It is nonexistent and therefore impervious to struggle. He used to say that when we want light in a room, we do not push the darkness out; we merely light a candle. And the darkness of a million years has no resistance; in just a moment a small candle dispels it. Osho likens all our negative qualities to darkness, and calls all ethics and morality an effort to fight with darkness and therefore doomed to fail. The nature of all ignorance and all unconsciousness is the nature of darkness. The only way to dispel it is by bringing light in—the light of love, the light of meditation.

Another very critical contribution from Osho was a strong insistence on change in daily life. He repeatedly said that one should renounce the mind, not the world; that those who renounce the world are nothing but escapists. A monk renounces the world, the crowd for 30 years, but he still remains a Hindu, a Christian, a Buddhist. And to be a Hindu, a Christian, a Buddhist is to be part of a crowd. The individual can be a Christ, but not a Christian.

This is reflected in his notion of sannyas, which he called Neo sannyas. It is revolutionary. There are no vows. No bindings. The only vow an Osho sannyasin takes is a commitment to himself, to meditate. Osho always said that his sannyasin is truly like a lotus flower. She lives in the world, but the world does not live in her, just like the lotus rises above the dirty water of the lake it grows in.

Osho revolutionized meditation as we know it. He contributed scores of new and innovative meditations to the world.

Osho felt that, in the days of old, sitting meditations were beneficial to large numbers of people, because life was less stressful, living simpler. In modern conditions, the mind and body rebel against it. And any force is unnatural and harmful. It leads to what Osho called a state of inner civil war, which dissipates energy and is very destructive.

Osho's dynamic meditations begin with activity like jumping or dancing. After some time, when the body is naturally tired and the mind calmed by physical activity, the mediator sits, or lies down, to meditate—in consonance with nature, not struggling against it.

Osho brought laughter back to religion. He used to be very fond of saying that guilt is a state of sickness, that seriousness is pathological. Far from the somnolent and lethargic atmosphere one still associates with religion, his commune and his discourses were distinguished with laughter, ebullience and vivacity. Words like joy, celebration, fun and festivity are key words—not in terms of significance, but in their actualization in the here-now he inhabited.

No one used as wide a variety of jokes and anecdotes with consummate skill as Osho, to slip skillfully past conditioning and break down barriers. His discourses, whether on masters and mystics or responses to daily life questions, were filled with vitality and energy—they throbbed with intensity and passion.

Osho's discourses, meditations, and the energy he shared with his sannyasins and lovers did more than give a delightful freshness, an enticing now-ness to the quest for self-awareness. His words and his life exemplified another unique ability: the ability to simplify, deconstruct and explain some of the most nagging mundane problems that beset humanity. He was also without doubt a psychotherapist par excellence, and took psychotherapy beyond its own frontiers—helping a person adapt to a neurotic society—into the vistas of meditation, freedom from all conditioning, and enlightenment.

To me, Osho represents the omega point of the entire spiritual history of mankind. He is the first enlightened master who had the environment and ability to assimilate the million facets of our spiritual heritage into a laser beam-like precision, without losing the flavors, the richness, and the diversity. In a world that had become a global village, Osho had the ability to soak himself in all the religious, social, cultural and intellectual traditions of mankind. And he had the inner depth, breadth, expanse and insight to transmute them into a vision both uniquely his own and man's heritage since eternal time.

Some centuries from now, when a more placid humanity views Osho in tranquility, they will see him as he is, always was and will be: a world in a grain of sand. For a grain of sand hides the subatomic dance. And it is a grain of sand that makes our spectacular universe a living reality.

SANGHAM SHARANAM GACCHAMI
"I want to sabotage that stupid idea of an ashram: that it should be dead, people should be inactive, dull, uncreative, against life, against love…"

One of the most famous tourist hand marks in India is no monument weathered by age, or the ruins of a city made famous by some bloodthirsty army or empire. It is the Osho Commune International in Pune.

Located in Koregaon Park, the Osho Commune attracts thousands of sannyasins and lovers of Osho who make up a sizeable portion of the floating population in the city.

Who are these people? Why are they attracted to Osho? Why are they so controversial? And what exactly happens in the Osho Commune to make people flock there?

One of the most significant aspects of Osho's vision was his notion of the New Man, who would be integrated and total. Such a man would be beyond belonging to a religion, a nation, and a caste, even the gender that the phrase implies. The New Man would also be free of the schism between the inner and the outer. He would, in Osho's words, be Zorba the Buddha. Combining the deep meditative vote of the Buddha with the passion and intensity of Zorba the Greek, he would be a true individual, free of social programming—centered and equanimous, yet full of zest and love of life, with great inner and outer richness.

The Osho Commune is a concrete example of this synthesis, this holistic view of life. William Blake says that as the caterpillar lays its eggs on the fairest leaves, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys. The commune is a celebration of freedom from the schism between body and spirit, artificially created and exploited by priests and politicians. The New Man says yes to both and no to nothing. Thus, he is wholeness, a totality not torn apart by conflict. And in him, the seed of a new future beings to take birth.

The commune is an exemplification of communism with a spiritual base. It is a gathering of individuals, not a crowd of people. Individuals coming from the space of freedom to experiment with freedom. This creates what Osho called a Buddha field, a place where individual seekers can gather with other individual seekers in the voyage of self-discovery.

In the commune, distinctions are dissolved. Identities and conditioning slip away. Religion and race, nationality and caste, gender and status, color and creed disappear in the oneness of meditation and inner exploration. Everyone functions simply as a human being, growing and evolving into the divinity that is their true nature and birthright.

The commune is a model, a family of the future. A relationship within the existing family structure is not possible because it is a relationship of mutual possessing and being possessed, with love and freedom sacrifice at the altar of dependence and expectation. People become roles and functions, and relating becomes impossibility. This is a new family structure, free of possessiveness and expectation, based on interdependence, on interconnectedness. The growth of the commune is the growth of individuals, and the growth of individuals is the growth of the commune. This is what makes the difference. The commune is an authentic space, not a conditioned reflex.

One of the most significant aspects of this dissolution is the dissolving of gender. For the first time perhaps in the history of humanity, women can down the yoke of subservience and be truly creative. Osho used to often say that, with the suppression of women, 50 per cent of the world's creativity has not been allowed to blossom. If this hadn't happened, our world would have been a different place. In the commune, a woman can do anything form welding to Japanese gardening, free of role expectations and gender stereotyping.

Being a part of the commune also involves a change in gestalt. We normally look for what we can get, not what we can give. In the commune, two primary principles operate. Contribution. And meditation. Both help the individual and the commune, but in different ways.

Contribution allows the seeker to give her time, her energy to the needs of the commune—but this benefits her immensely too because it has a strong therapeutic element. In the easy confluence of the sangha, it is easier to empathize, to drop the ego, to surrender totally.

Meditation helps the seeker in her own development. But the atmosphere, the energy of meditation permeates the space and contributes in a large measure to the Buddhafield, which nourishes the entire community.

The commune is a laboratory of the spirit, free of respectability, so -called morality and ethics, of meaningless outdated taboos that still torment an unconscious humanity. In the commune, the seeker has access to a wide variety of meditations as well as an incredible range of group therapies to unburden guilt, dissolve age-old fears, obsessions and prejudices.

No one was a greater lover of all that is aesthetic than Osho and his Commune reflects it, reveals it, and resonates with it. Interwoven with vegetation and peopled with creatures coexisting with seekers in their natural habitat, the commune is an aesthete's paradise.

The Buddha Hall, which can seat as many as 10,000 people used to play witness to Osho's discourses. Today, it is the main center of meditation through the day, followed by an evening celebration called the White Robe Brotherhood, in which seekers, Osho lovers and sannyasins dress in white robes and gather to sway to live music, dance and submerge themselves in the here-now, before they see a video recording of an Osho discourse.

Apart from the aesthetic environs, the commune is a nerve center of creative activity. Theater, music, dance, painting are woven into the life of the commune. There is tennis, called zennis, swimming, and the martial arts the commune is buzzing with activity. Everywhere, energies are creating, whether in the silence of meditation or the music of relating and creativity.

The commune is perhaps one of the very few places in the world, which are truly modern. Here, the anachronistic baggage of the past that we tend to carry with us is truly forsaken, as are the taboos and conditioning we have too long taken to be ourselves. It is a center of freedom and love, where the individual vibrates in harmony with other individuals and the Buddhafield they create around each other. In an easy and fluid atmosphere, seekers contribute, meditate and grow, in the grace of individuality—in the beautiful environment of their sangha.

Life Positive, March 1997

Eleven years after he passed away, the rebel Osho's popularity continues to grow. But what is his enduring contribution and what will be the fate of his legacy, with the Pune Commune trying to transcend him and some prominent followers breaking away?...to read an article by eminent journalist Suma Vergese click here
 

Bhagwan Rajneesh, and the Lost Truth

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Christopher Calder  

http://home.att.net/~meditation/Osho.html

"Meditation must not be made into a business." Acharya Rajneesh 1971


     When I first met Acharya Rajneesh at his Bombay apartment in December of 1970, he was only 39 years old.  With long beard and large dark eyes, he looked like a painting of Lao-Tse come to life.  Before meeting Rajneesh I had spent time with a number of Eastern gurus without being satisfied with the quality of their teachings.  I wanted an enlightened guide who could bridge the gap between East and West and reveal the true esoteric secrets, without what I considered to be the excess baggage of Indian, Tibetan, or Japanese culture.  Rajneesh was the answer to my quest for those deeper meanings.  He described for me in vivid detail everything I wanted to know about the inner worlds and he had the power of immense being to back up his words.  At 21 years old I was naive about life and the nature of man and assumed that everything he said must be true.

     Rajneesh spoke on a high level of intelligence and his spiritual presence emanated from his body like a soft light that healed all wounds.  While sitting close during a small gathering of friends, Rajneesh took me on a rapidly vertical inner journey that almost seemed to push me out of my physical body.  His vast presence lifted everyone around him higher without the slightest effort on their part.  The days I spent at his Bombay apartment were like days spent in heaven.  He had it all and he was giving it away for free!

     Rajneesh possessed the astounding power of telepathy and direct energy transmission, which he used nobly to bring comfort and inspiration to his disciples.  Many phony gurus have claimed to have mysterious abilities, but Rajneesh had them for real.  The young Acharya never bragged about his powers.  Those who came near soon learned of them through direct contact with the miraculous.  One or two amazing occult adventures was all it took to turn doubting Western skepticism into awed admiration and devotion.

     One year earlier I had meet another enlightened teacher known to the world as Jiddu Krishnamurti.  J. Krishnamurti could barely give a coherent lecture and constantly scolded his audience by referring to their "shoddy little minds."  I loved his frankness and his words were true, but his subtly cantankerous nature was not very helpful in transferring his knowledge to others.

     Listening to Krishnamurti speak was like eating a sandwich made of bread and sand.  I found the best way to enjoy his talks was to completely ignore his words and quietly absorb his presence.  Using that technique I would become so expanded after a lecture that I could barely talk for hours afterwards.  J. Krishnamurti, while fully enlightened and uniquely lovable, will be recorded in history as a teacher with very poor verbal communication skills.  Unlike the highly eloquent Rajneesh, however, Krishnamurti never committed any crime, never pretended to be more than he was, and never used other human beings selfishly.

     Life is complex and multilayered and my naive illusions about the phenomena of perfect enlightenment faded with the years.  It became clear that enlightened people are as fallible as anyone.  They are expanded human beings, not perfect human beings, and they live and breathe with many of the same faults and vulnerabilities we ordinary humans must endure.

     Skeptics ask how I can claim that Rajneesh was enlightened given his scandals and disastrous public image.  I can only say that Rajneesh's spiritual presence was identical to that of J. Krishnamurti, who was recognized as enlightened by every high Tibetan Lama and revered Hindu sage of the day.  I do sympathize with the skeptics, however.  If I had not known Rajneesh personally, I would never believe it myself.

     Rajneesh pushed the envelope of enlightenment in both positive and negative directions.  He was the best of the best and the worst of the worst.  He was a great teacher in his early years, with innovative meditation techniques that worked with dramatic power (see explanation and warning about Osho's Dynamic Meditation technique near the bottom of the page).  Rajneesh lifted thousands of seekers to higher levels of consciousness and detailed Eastern religions and meditation techniques with luminous clarity.

One false move.  One grand error.

     When former university professor Acharya Rajneesh suddenly changed his name to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, I was dismayed.  The famous enlightened sage Ramana Maharshi was called Bhagwan by his disciples as a spontaneous term of endearment.  Rajneesh simply declared that everyone should start calling him Bhagwan, a title which can mean anything from 'divine one' to God.  Rajneesh became irritated when I would politely correct his mispronunciations of English words after his lectures, so I felt in no position to tell him that I thought his new name was inappropriate and dishonest.  That change in name marked a turning point in Rajneesh's level of honesty and was the first of many big lies to come.

     Rajneesh lived in an ivory tower, rarely leaving his room unless to give a lecture, his life experience cushioned by throngs of adoring devotees (see photograph).  His isolation became even more complete when he moved from his small Bombay apartment to a large and luxurious estate in Poona, India, in 1974.  As most human beings who are treated as kings, Rajneesh lost touch with the world of the common man.  In his artificial and insulated existence, Rajneesh made one fundamental error in judgment which would destroy his teaching.

"What you tell them is true, but what I tell them (the useful lies) is good for them."  Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh 1975

     Rajneesh calculated that the majority of the earth's population was on such a low level of consciousness that they could not understand nor tolerate the real truths.  He thus decided on a policy of spreading seemingly useful lies to bring inspiration to his disciples and, on occasion, to stress his students in unique situations for their own personal growth.  This was his downfall and the prime reason he will be remembered by most historians as just another phony guru, which he undoubtedly was not.

     Acharya, Bhagwan Shree, Osho...all the empowering names taken by Rajneesh could not cover up the fact that he was still a human being.  He had ambitions and desires, sexual and material, just like everyone else.  All living enlightened humans have desires.  All enlightened men have had public lives that we know about and all have had private lives that remained secret.  The vast majority of enlightened men do nothing but good for the world.  Only Rajneesh, to my knowledge, became a criminal in both the legal and ethical sense of the word. 

     Rajneesh never lost the ultimate existential truth of being.  He only lost the ordinary concept of truth that any normal adult can understand.  He rationalized his constant lying as "lefthanded Tantra," but that too was dishonest.  Rajneesh lied to save face, to avoid taking responsibility for his own mistakes, and to gain personal power.  Those lies had nothing to do with Tantra or any selfless acts of kindness.  What is real in this world is fact and Rajneesh misrepresented fact on a daily basis.  Rajneesh was no simple con-man like so many others.  Rajneesh knew everything that Buddha knew and he was everything that Buddha was.  It was his loss of respect for ordinary truthfulness that destroyed his teaching.

     Rajneesh's health collapsed in his early thirties.  Even before reaching middle age, Rajneesh suffered reoccurring bouts of weakness.  During his youthful college years, when he should have been at a peak of vigor, Rajneesh often had to sleep 12 to 14 hours a day due to his unexplained illness.  Rajneesh suffered from what Europeans call Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) or what Americans call Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).  His classic symptoms included the obvious fatigue, strange allergies, recurrent low grade fevers, photophobia, orthostatic intolerance (the inability to stand for a normal period of time), insomnia, body pain, and extreme sensitivity to smells and chemicals, a condition doctors now refer to as "multiple chemical sensitivity."

     Rajneesh's trademark chemical sensitivity was so severe that he instructed his guards to sniff people for unpleasant odors before they were allowed to visit him in his quarters.  People with Gulf War Syndrome, MS, and other neurological diseases are also often highly sensitive to chemicals and smells.  Rajneesh's poor health and strange symptoms were a product of real neurological damage, not some esoteric supersensitivity caused by his enlightenment.  Rajneesh also had Type II diabetes, asthma, severe back pain, and most likely fibromyalgia.  

     Rajneesh was constantly sick and frail from the time I first met him in 1970 until his death in 1990.  He thought he was getting a different cold or flu every week.  In reality, he suffered from a chronic neurological illness, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, with flu like symptoms that can last a lifetime.  Rajneesh could not stand on his feet for long periods of time without becoming lightheaded because he suffered damage to his autonomic nervous system which controls blood pressure.  This neurally mediated hypotension (low blood pressure while standing) causes chronic fatigue and can lower IQ due to a lack of sufficient blood and oxygen being pumped to the brain (brain hypoxia).  In the 1970s Rajneesh often complained of becoming lightheaded immediately upon standing.  During the final few months of his life in Poona he frequently passed out into complete unconsciousness.

     Rajneesh used prescription drugs, mainly Valium (diazepam), as an analgesic for his aches and pains and to counter the symptoms of dysautonomia (dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system).  He took the maximum recommended dose of 60 milligrams per day.  Rajneesh also inhaled nitrous oxide (N2O) mixed with pure oxygen (see Osho in the Dental Chair), which he claimed increased his creativity (see dangers of N2O).  The nitrous oxide probably did relieve the sensation of severe exhaustion and suffocation patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome often feel, but it did nothing for the quality of his judgment.  Naive about the powerful effects of drugs and overconfident about his own ability to fight off their negative effects, Rajneesh succumbed to addiction.  

     A number of disciples have claimed that Rajneesh was so intoxicated at his Oregon ranch in the 1980s that he sometimes urinated in the halls of his own home, just as heroin addicts and common drunks often do.  I believe this to be true as the last time I saw Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh he was inebriated to the point of becoming physically ugly.  He had the same washed-out look and foolish behavior I had witnessed in addicts while working at a methadone clinic in the United States.  Rajneesh had miraculous mental powers, but he was an ordinary human being physically and could not tolerate the devastating effects of massive doses of tranquilizers.

     On top of Rajneesh's physical illness, his massive intake of Valium caused paranoia and greatly reduced reasoning power.  Valium addicts often think the CIA or other unseen villains are plotting against them, so it is not surprising he imagined he was poisoned by the United States Government.  His reasoning power became so damaged that at one point Rajneesh actually considered moving to Russia to combine his totalitarian form of spirituality with Russian communism, an idea no sane man could possibly entertain.  Historically Valium has been the drug of choice for CFS sufferers, as it masks the unnerving symptoms of dysautonomia and helps bring sleep.  Rajneesh suffered from insomnia, yet another classic symptom of CFS.

     Rajneesh was a physically ill man who became mentally corrupt.  His brief experimentation with LSD only made matters worse.  Rajneesh's drug use and addiction was a problem of his own making, not a government conspiracy.  Rajneesh died in 1990 with heart failure listed as the official cause of death.  It is probable that the physical decline Rajneesh experienced during his incarceration in American jails was due to a combination of withdrawal symptoms from Valium and an aggravation of his ME/CFS due to stress and exposure to allergens.

     After Rajneesh's humiliation and downfall in America, he declared that he was "Jesus crucified by Ronald Reagan's America."  In truth Rajneesh was a drug addicted guru who self-destructed through his own wrong actions.  Comparing himself to Jesus was doubly dishonest as he himself had no respect for Jesus.  He once undiplomatically proclaimed to the American media that everything Jesus said was "just crazy."

     Upon his sudden death in 1990 there was much media speculation that Rajneesh had committed suicide by taking a overdose of drugs.  As no disciple has confessed to giving Rajneesh a lethal injection, there is no hard evidence to support the suicide theory.  A compelling circumstantial case could be made for such a scenario, however, with suicide provoked by Rajneesh's constant ill health and disheartenment over the loss of Vivek, his greatest love.

     Vivek had taken a fatal overdose of sleeping pills in a Bombay hotel one month before Rajneesh's passing.  Pointedly, Vivek decided to kill herself just before his birthday celebration.  Rajneesh had threatened suicide at the Oregon commune several times, hanging his death over the heads of his disciples as a threat unless they obeyed his wishes.  On his last day on earth, Rajneesh is reported to have said "Let me go.  My body has become a hell for me."

     The rumor that Rajneesh was poisoned with thallium by operatives of the United States Government is entirely fictional and contradicted by undeniable fact.  One of the obvious symptoms of thallium poisoning is dramatic hair loss within seven days of exposure.  Rajneesh died with a full beard and no exceptional baldness other than ordinary male pattern baldness at the top of his head.  Radiation poisoning, another fictional cause of his illness, also causes dramatic hair loss.  

     The symptoms which may have led Rajneesh's doctors to suspect poisoning were in fact common symptoms of dysautonomia caused by ME/CFS.  Those symptoms can include ataxia (uncoordinated movements), numbness, standing tachycardia (rapid heart rate upon standing), paresthesia (sensations of prickling and itching), nausea, and irritable bowel syndrome which causes alternating between constipation and diarrhea.

     The only proven cases of poisoning related to Rajneesh were carried out by Rajneesh's own sannyasins in 1984.  A sannyasin is an initiated disciple, one who takes sannyas.  There were 751 victims, including women and small children, at ten different restaurants in the small city of The Dalles, Oregon.  Rajneesh sannyasins attempted to take over the Wasco County Commission by making so many people ill on election day that they could elect their own sannyasin candidates.  See the Rajneesh bioterrorism newspaper story.

     Rajneesh disciples poisoned salad bars with salmonella bacteria, which was mixed into salad dressings, fruits and vegetables and the restaurants' coffee creamers.  Forty-five people became so ill they had to be hospitalized, thus making the case the largest germ warfare attack in United States history.  Sannyasins were later suspected of trying to kill a Wasco County executive by spiking his water with an unknown poison.  Michael Sullivan, a Jefferson County District Attorney, also became ill after leaving a cup of coffee unattended as Rajneesh sannyasins roamed the courthouse.  Rajneesh never bothered to apologize to any of people who were poisoned by his own trusted disciples.

     Members of Rajneesh's staff were poisoned by Ma Anand Sheela, Rajneesh's personal secretary.  Sheela had the habit of poisoning people who either knew too much or who had simply fallen out of her favor.  Sheela spent two and a half years in a Federal medium security prison for her crimes, while Rajneesh pled guilty to immigration fraud and was given a ten year suspended sentence, fined $400,000. and deported from the United States of America.  

     Rajneesh felt that teaching ethics was unnecessary because meditation would automatically lead to good behavior.  The actions of Rajneesh himself and his disciples proves that theory to be completely false.  Rajneesh taught that you should do as you please because life is both a dream and a joke.  This attitude led to the classically fascist belief that one can become so high and mighty that one is beyond the need for old fashioned values and honest ethical behavior. 

     Those unfamiliar with the Rajneesh story can read the book Bhagwan: The God That Failed, published by Saint Martin's Press and written by Hugh Milne (Shivamurti), a close disciple of Bhagwan during his Poona and Oregon years.  Mr. Milne's book is largely corroborated by Satya Bharti Franklin's book, Promise of Paradise: A Woman's Intimate Life With 'Bhagwan' Osho Rajneesh, published by Barrytown/Station Hill Press.  Both books are out of print but secondhand copies of the books can be obtained through Amazon.Com and Amazon.Com.UK.  There have been several other tell-all books published on the same subject matter, but I have not read them and I do not know the authors, so I do not mention them by name here.

     Regarding Bhagwan: The God That Failed, I can verify many of the facts Mr. Milne states about the life of Rajneesh in Bombay and Poona, though I have no first hand knowledge of the tragic events at the Oregon commune.  My contacts with people who were there lead me to believe that most of the facts Mr. Milne presents of the Oregon era are also highly accurate.  Hugh Milne is due great credit for a well written and entertaining book which is a sincere effort at complete honesty.  On a few occasions, however, I differ from Mr. Milne's interpretations of what the facts he presents actually mean.

     Rajneesh did not suffer from "hypochondria," as Mr. Milne suggested.  Rajneesh had a very real neurological disease which he mistook for frequent viral infections.  Rajneesh became unusually afraid of germs only due to his understandable medical ignorance.  I fully agree with Mr. Milne that Rajneesh suffered from "megalomania," however, and will add that the short statured Rajneesh had a Napoleonic, obsessive and compulsive personality.

     Mr. Milne suggests that Rajneesh used "hypnosis" to manipulate his disciples.  Rajneesh had a melodic and naturally hypnotic voice which would be a great asset to any public speaker.  However, in my personal opinion, Rajneesh's power came from the intense energy field of the universal cosmic consciousness which he channeled like a lens.  Hindus call this universal energy phenomena the Atman.  As a Westerner I prefer more scientific terms and describe the Atman as a highly evolved manifestation of time-energy-space, the TES (see The TES Hypothesis).  

     Hugh Milne's book records a day when Rajneesh admitted, while under the influence of nitrous oxide, that there is no such thing as 'enlightenment.'  I cannot confirm this event through other contacts, but I assume if true Rajneesh was simply stating what U.G. Krishnamurti has said all along, that the storybook fiction we accept of a perfect enlightenment, full of infallible wisdom, is a big lie.  A powerful and expansive conscious state does exist in humans who achieve it, but the way this state is described by the religious establishment is an egocentric fiction, contrived by spiritual leaders to control the masses for their own personal gain.  

Enlightenment is not something you own.  It is something you channel.

     Whatever term you use for the phenomena of enlightenment, it is scientifically accurate to say that no human being has any power of their own.  Even the chemical energy of our metabolism is borrowed from the sun, which beams light to the earth, which is then converted by plants through photosynthesis into the food we eat.  You may get your bread from the supermarket, but the caloric energy it contains originated from thermonuclear reactions deep in the center of a nearby star.  Our physical bodies run on star power.  Any spiritual energy we channel also comes from far beyond, from all sides of the universe, from the complete TES, from beyond the oceans of galaxies and onto infinity.  No human being owns the Atman and no one can speak for the TES.

     The Void has no ambition or personality whatsoever, so Rajneesh could only speak for his own animal mind.  The animal mind may want its disciples to "take over the whole world," but the Void does not care because it is beyond any motivation.  The phenomena we called Rajneesh, Bhagwan, and Osho, was only a temporary lens of cosmic energy, not the full cosmos itself.

     Rajneesh, as George Gurdjieff, often used the power of the Atman for clearly personal gain.  Both men used their cosmic consciousness to overwhelm and seduce women, which was largely a harmless affair in my opinion.  Gurdjieff was ashamed of his own behavior in this regard and vowed many times during his life to end this practice, which was a combination of ordinary male lust backed up by the potent advantage of oceanic super-mental power.  Rajneesh went even further and used his channeled cosmic energy to manipulate masses of people to gain a kind of quasi-political status and to aggrandize himself far beyond what was honest or helpful to his disciples.  In Oregon he declared to the media that "My religion is the only religion!"  Diplomacy and modesty were not his strong points.

     To my knowledge, George Gurdjieff never reached the extremes of self-indulgence of Rajneesh and even warned his disciples not to have blind faith.  Gurdjieff wanted his students to be free and independent with the combined abilities of clear mental reasoning and cosmic consciousness.  Rajneesh, by contrast, seemed to believe that only his thoughts and ideas were of value because only he was "enlightened."  This was a grand error in judgment and revealed a basic flaw in his character.  Unfortunately, when Rajneesh achieved the ability to fully channel the power of the Atman he failed to apply the needed wisdom of self-restraint.  His human mind so rebelled against Asian asceticism that he failed to ensure that his borrowed power was only used for the good of others.  Rajneesh was driven by personal ambition, not just compassion.

"Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac."  Henry Kissinger

     After leaving India in 1981, Rajneesh bought the 64,000 acre Big Muddy cattle ranch in eastern Oregon for six million dollars.  Rajneesh created his desert commune from his own powerful mind and named it "Rajneeshpuram."  He made himself the ultimate dictator, his picture placed everywhere as in an Orwellian bad dream.  J. Krishnamurti called Rajneesh a "criminal" and Rajneeshpuram "a concentration-camp under the dictatorship of enlightenment."

     The totalitarian atmosphere of Rajneeshpuram was just one of the many reasons I did not stay at the commune beyond several brief visits.  I was interested in meditation, not in a big prison camp where human beings were treated like insects with no intelligence of their own.  Rajneesh put such a high emphasis on his disciples following orders without question that they did just that when Ma Anand Sheela, Rajneesh's personal secretary, gave absurd orders to commit crimes which Rajneesh himself (hopefully) would have never approved of.

     When you decapitate the intelligence of human beings you create a situation that is highly dangerous and destructive to the human spirit.  You cannot save people from their egos by demanding "total surrender."  The anti-democratic technique of forcing blind obedience did not work well for Hitler, Stalin, or for Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.  Germany, Russia, and the Rajneesh Oregon commune were all destroyed because of authoritarian imperial rule.  A diversity of opinion is always healthy because it acts as an effective counterbalance to the myopic arrogance of those who would be king.  Rajneesh never understood this truth of history and referred to democracy scornfully as "mob-ocracy."  Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was an imperial aristocrat, never a generous and open minded democrat, and he put his contempt for the democratic process into highly visible action in Oregon.

     In an attempt to subvert local Wasco County elections, Rajneesh had his  sannyasins bus in almost 2,000 homeless people from major American cities in an effort to unfairly rig the voting process in his favor.  Some of the new voters were mentally ill and were given beer laced with drugs to keep them manageable.  Credible allegations have been made that one or more of the imported street people died due to overdosing on the beer-drug mixture, but to my knowledge that charge has not been conclusively proven.  Rajneesh's voting fraud scheme failed and the derelicts and mental patients were returned to the streets after the election was over, used and then abandoned.  If Rajneesh sannyasins had only held truth above all instead of obedience to guru above all, then no crimes would have been committed and the commune might still be in existence today.

     Rajneesh used people, spoke out of both sides of his mouth, and betrayed the trust of his own disciples.  This betrayal caused Vivek, his longtime girlfriend and companion, to commit suicide.  Rajneesh even lied about her death, slandering his greatest love in her grave by falsely claiming that she was chronically depressed due to some intrinsic emotional instability.  Vivek was never depressed during the years I knew her and she was the most radiant women I have ever known.

     Vivek was a glowing student of meditation, but her only meditation method was being with Rajneesh and absorbing his tremendous energy.  When her one true love collapsed into insanity she took her own life out of overwhelming grief.  Rajneesh drove her to suicide because she could not understand nor tolerate his mental decline and collapse.  Rajneesh lied about her death to avoid taking responsibility for his own bizarre behavior, which was the underlying cause of Vivek's despair.

     The same disciple who administered nitrous oxide to Rajneesh has been spreading negative rumors about Vivek, claiming that she was not a meditative person, as himself.  He also claims that Vivek committed suicide because she was depressed about reaching the age of forty and that she suffered from a hormonal imbalance.  This same sannyasin denied to me emphatically that he gave Rajneesh irresponsible levels of nitrous oxide, but later admitted to others he gave Rajneesh one to two hour nitrous oxide "treatments" every day for five months.  That level of exposure is clearly drug abuse with no legitimate medical justification.

     The young Acharya Rajneesh started his life as a teacher who condemned false gurus and ended his life as one of the most deceitful gurus the world has ever known.  The difficult fact to comprehend is that he was enlightened when he was an anti-guru puritan and he was still enlightened when he was the ultimate corrupt self-indulgent guru himself.  This seemingly irreconcilable contradiction is the real reason I write this essay.  I love to go into uncharted territory where others fear to tread.

     When you combine man's natural tendency for selfishness with an ivory tower lifestyle, you have a situation where ethical behavior can appear to be optional.  Combine the unhealthy atmosphere of self-deification with a debilitating progressive illness that lowers IQ, and on top of that add drug abuse, then you have a cliff that even an enlightened man could fall from.  That fall could happen only if the enlightened man makes one wrong choice, one false move, from both the heart and from the mind.

     Bhagwan's wrong choice was to disregard truthfulness in favor of what he thought were useful lies.  Once you make that wrong turn, away from ordinary straightforward truth, you have lost your way.  No human being can disregard fact on a regular basis without finding himself in a sea of turmoil because by discarding fact you discard the ground beneath your feet.  Little lies grow into big lies and the now hidden truth becomes your enemy, not your friend and ally.

     Rajneesh overestimated himself and underestimated his own disciples.  The real seekers around him could have easily handled the truth and were already motivated without the need for propaganda.  Rajneesh had been a high guru for such a long time that he came to see himself in grandiose terms.  He was indeed an historic figure, but he was not the perfect superman he pretended to be.  No one is!  His disciples deserved honesty but he fed them fairy tales "to give them faith."

     Jiddu Krishnamurti had been more honest than Rajneesh in repeating relentlessly that "there is no authority" due to the intrinsic nature of the cosmos.  Ardent Rajneesh disciples didn't heed Krishnamurti's warnings and put blind faith in a man who claimed to be all-seeing, to have all the answers, and who once in 1975 brashly stated that he had never made a single mistake in his entire life.  Clearly Rajneesh made as many mistakes as any human being.  Just as obviously, his basic existential enlightenment was no guarantee of functional pragmatic wisdom.

     While Rajneesh was a brilliant philosopher he was a lost babe in the woods when it came to the world of science.  Worried about worldwide overpopulation, Rajneesh pressured his disciples to undergo medical sterilization procedures.  Unfortunately, he did not consider the demographics of population growth.  The current population expansion is largely a phenomena of poor third world nations, not a problem originating in the USA, Canada, and Europe where birth rates are actually falling.  North America and Europe are only experiencing population increases due to legal and illegal immigration from third world nations.  Having his Western disciples medically sever their reproductive capabilities only added to this imbalance and many former disciples now regret they complied without question to his thoughtless edicts.

     Discouraging followers from having families is a common device of gurus to keep disciples from spending money on children rather than handing their cash over to the guru himself.  Childless disciples make better workers and are usually more subservient.  Thus medical sterilization fit into Rajneesh's business plan and desire to create an army of disciples who felt that "only the relationship to your guru is important."

     Rajneesh declared that the AIDS epidemic would soon kill three quarters of the world's population and that a major nuclear war was just around the corner.  He thought he could escape nuclear holocaust by building underground shelters and slow the spread of AIDS by having his disciples wash their hands with alcohol before eating meals.  His more reasoned admonition was for his disciples to always use condoms.  To enforce his sexual rules, which also involved elaborate instructions on the use of rubber gloves during sexual encounters, Rajneesh encouraged his sannyasins to spy on each other, reporting the names of those who failed to conform to his orders.

     During his earlier Poona days, Rajneesh stated that we are attracted to beautiful people because their outer beauty represents the inner beauty of their souls, as it is the soul which creates the physical body and mind.  Science knows as fact that DNA creates the body and brain, not any mysterious immaterial "soul."  Outward beauty does not even guarantee a sane mind.  The infamous serial killer Ted Bundy was quite handsome and charming outwardly, yet he is estimated to have murdered between 35 and 50 women just for the trill of it (see photographs of Ted Bundy).  

     The disaster of Rajneesh appointing himself the singular great brain of the universe was compounded by his lack of real world reasoning skills, and this was the case even before he started taking large amounts of Valium.  Rajneesh had no understanding of, or appreciation for, the scientific method.  If he thought something was true, in his own mind, that made it true.  Rajneesh could weave magnificent philosophical dreams and addict his disciples to imagined worlds of spiritual adventure, but those dreams did not have to stand any empirical test of truth.  In the world of science you have to prove what you say is true through testing.  In the world of philosophy and religion you can say anything you desire and throw caution to the wind.  If your words sound good to the masses they will sell, whether they are fact or fiction (see Common Lies of the Phony World of Mystics).

     Rajneesh ruled his desert empire as a warlord with his own private army and puppet government.  His visions and ideas, faulty or not, were taken without question as the word of God.  His disciples were judged by their ability to surrender to his will and any opposing views were branded as an unspiritual lack of faith.  As conditions at the ranch became progressively more unpleasant, a number of sannyasins escaped by hiding in the back of outgoing trucks.  Their quest for freedom upset Rajneesh, who demanded that the disillusioned must now ask his permission to leave.  Rajneesh then dramatically threatened suicide if others escaped by stealthful means.

     Rajneesh's poor reasoning became even more apparent during and after the Oregon commune scandal.  After being jailed and then deported from the USA, Rajneesh angrily declared America "a wretched country" and Americans "subhuman," ignoring the fact that it was he, an Indian, who pled guilty to felony immigration fraud and that it was Sheela, an Indian, who ordered the most serious crimes which brought his empire to ruin.  Even in his fifties Rajneesh was still lying to get his own way, still demanding to always be the center of attention, and by 1988, suffering from drug and illness induced dementia, was pouting that his box of toys, his expensive car collection and jewel encrusted watches, had been taken away.

     Rajneesh's disciples thought they were following an authoritative "enlightened master."  In reality they had been mislead by a highly fallible enlightened human animal who was still a little boy at heart.  Rajneesh had not only misrepresented himself personally, but he misrepresented the phenomena of enlightenment itself.  The idealized fantasy of perfect enlightenment does not exist anywhere in the real world and it has never existed.  The universe is far too big and complex for anyone to be its "master."  We are all subjects, not masters, and those who pretend to be infallible and all-knowing end up looking even more the fool in the end.

"Nature does not use anything as a model.  It is only interested in perfecting the species.  It is trying to create perfect species and not perfect beings."  U.G. Krishnamurti

     The famous sages of old seem perfect to us now only because they have become larger than life myths.  The long passage of time has allowed their followers to effectively cover up their guru's flaws, just as Rajneesh disciples are currently rewriting and censoring history to cover up Rajneesh's great failings.  Rajneesh was never more infallible than any other human being.  What we call enlightenment is not a cure-all for faults and frailties that cling to human animals even after they achieve maximum possible consciousness, which is perhaps a more realistic definition of the term 'enlightenment.'

     The contradiction of corruption and enlightenment can occur because the individual is only the lens of enlightenment, not the source of cosmic power itself.  The enlightened only allow universal energy to pass through them unblocked, untouched, and uncontaminated.  In a way no one ever really becomes enlightened personally.  Enlightenment happens at the place where you are standing but you cannot own it or possess it.  All the words of so-called enlightened men come from the human brain which interprets the phenomena of enlightenment like a translator.  The words do not come from the enlightenment itself.  By definition enlightenment cannot speak.  It is absolutely silent and beyond any need to speak.  

     Rajneesh died addicted to Valium and he experienced all the negative symptoms of drug addiction, which included slurred speech, paranoia, poor judgment, and dramatically lowered intelligence.  At one point his paranoia and confusion were so great that he thought a group of German cultists had cast an evil spell on him.  His physical disabilities and drug abuse were simply more than his mortal brain could take.  His biggest flaw, his disregard for the ordinary concept of truth, was his ultimate downfall and for that crime he must be held fully responsible with no excuses.

"Never give a sucker an even break."  W.C. Fields

     Rajneesh lied when he said he had enlightened disciples.  He lied when he said he never made a mistake.  At the end of his life he was forced to admit he was fallible as his list of bungles had grown to monstrous proportions.  He lied by pretending the therapy groups run by his disciples were not mainly a money making device.  Rajneesh lied about breaking United States immigration laws and only admitted the truth when he was presented with overwhelming documented evidence against him.  He lied by saying that he was adopted in a phony scheme to get permanent residence status.  Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was no bank robber, but he certainly was a very big liar.  The ridiculous thing is that all of his lies were totally unnecessary and counterproductive.  As conventional and square as it may sound, honesty really is the best policy!

     Rajneesh lied when he claimed he was not responsible for the horrors of the Oregon commune because he hand picked Ma Anand Sheela and the people who committed the major crimes of conspiracy to commit murder, poisoning, first-degree assault, burglary, arson, and wiretapping. Rajneesh himself gave direct verbal approval for Sheela's illegal wiretapping and bugging of his own disciples.  The fact that Rajneesh did not order or have pre-knowledge (hopefully) of the most serious and dangerous crimes does not mean that he was not ethically responsible for them.

     If a teacher puts a drunken sailor in charge of driving a school bus and the children end up dead, then the teacher is responsible for their deaths.  Rajneesh knew what kind of a person Sheela was and he chose her because of her corruption and arrogance, not in spite of it.  In a cowardly attempt to evade his own failings he changed his name from Rajneesh to Osho, as if a change in name could wash away his sins.

     There is no publicly released evidence to suggest that Rajneesh ordered the germ warfare attack on the ten Oregon restaurants.  There is also no publicly released evidence that implicates Rajneesh in the plot to have a sannyasin pilot fly an airplane full of explosives into an Oregon courthouse in order to intimidate the political opposition.  Luckily, the sannyasin pilot who was asked to perform the insane task was not as dumb as the plotters and fled the commune without committing any crime.

     Rajneesh was directly responsible for the twisted mix of totalitarian slavery and libertine indulgence that the commune represented.  According to highly credible published reports, Rajneesh allowed middle aged men to have sexual intercourse with pre-pubescent girls at the commune in the name of sexual freedom, yet disciples were not allowed to have a mind of their own and had to totally surrender to the great Bhagwan's will.  Disciples were often forced to work 12 hours a day in cold and difficult conditions while Rajneesh himself enjoyed, in his own words, "groovy spaces" in his private heated indoor pool, watched countless movies on his big screen projection television, and enjoyed his daily drug supply.  Rajneesh showed his divine love for his disciples by squandering millions in hard earned commune assets on his car collection and expensive jewelry, and all in the name of egolessness and spiritual surrender.

     Why did Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh own 90 Rolls Royces?  Why did Saddam Hussein own dozens of luxurious palaces?  Those desires were products of the base animal mind of two men who grew up in poverty.  Enlightenment does not care about symbols of power and potency.  Looking for hidden esoteric explanations for obsessive behavior is pointless.  Is there an occult reason that Elton John spends over $400,000. per month on flowers?  Is there a secret spiritual reason that Rajneesh had a collection of dozens of expensive ladies' watches?  The universal cosmic consciousness is completely neutral and without any need to possess, impress, or dominate.  It also cannot drive or tell time.

     One of Rajneesh's most blatant lies was that "the enlightened one gains nothing from his disciples."  Rajneesh wanted people to believe that everything he did was a free gift born of pure compassion and that he gained nothing personally from the guru-disciple relationship.  In obvious provable fact Rajneesh gained much from his disciples; money, power, sex, and the titillation of constant adoration.  Being a guru was his business, his only business.  Without that income, at least on the material level, he was just a short, balding Indian man who could not hold a job.  Rajneesh's very real enlightenment would not pay his bills or give him the material luxuries he craved, unless of course he used his intoxicating energy to gain power and money from his own disciples.

     Just as rock stars become energized by screaming fans at concerts, Rajneesh gained emotional energy and support from his disciples.  The energy transfer was a two-way street, not a totally free one-way gift.  During Rajneesh's incarceration in America, a television network broadcast a video of Rajneesh caught off-guard by a security camera while he was being held in a waiting room.  Rajneesh looked bored and disgusted, just as any ordinary man might be.  He didn't look blissful or enlightened at all.  In my own opinion that video clip revealed the stark truth about the phenomena we call 'enlightenment.'  The realization of the Void is not enough for anyone.  All human animals, enlightened or not, need social interaction and the comforts of the material world to be content.

     Consciousness needs entertainment to survive and Rajneesh used his disciples as playthings for his own amusement.  Rajneesh had no bankable power of his own.  He could only gain material power by manipulating others to do his will.  The equation was simple; the more disciples he attracted, the more power and wealth he obtained.

     Rajneesh, on so many levels, was just an ordinary man.  Sexually he was even less than ordinary.  Pretending to be a great tantric in his early years, Rajneesh handed out ridiculously bad sexual advice at a time when he had very little first hand experience with sex himself.  During his Bombay era, Rajneesh often grabbed the breasts of his young female disciples.  On at least one occasion he asked a couple to have sex in front of him so he could watch.  The couple wisely rejected his request.

     Rajneesh often asked women half his age to strip in front of him so that he could "feel their chakras."  To facilitate this practice, he installed an electric lock on his bedroom door that could be activated from his desk where he spent most of his time.  After Rajneesh started having sexual intercourse on a regular basis, the spiritual need for him to feel the chakras of his female disciples mysteriously vanished.

     Rajneesh groped the breasts of two of my women friends and "felt the chakras" of a third.  I soon began to realize that like so many other girl grabbing Indian gurus who had made the headlines, Rajneesh on the human level was just an ordinary sexually immature Indian male.  My lady friend who suffered the charkra feeling incident was so put off that she never came back to see him.  He had told her "Don't worry, you are mine now."  That grasping statement had chilled her as much as the sexual advance.  The young woman was a student of Indian music and had previously been sexually exploited by a famous Indian musician she had studied with.  She knew first hand what many Indian men were like.  Rajneesh proved himself to be predictably and disappointingly the same.

     Rajneesh had much inside him that I wanted;...light, energy, and a vastly expanded state of being.  Regrettably, he also had much inside him that I did not want or respect.  I do not find fault with Rajneesh for having the same sexual desires that all men have.  I do find fault when he was dishonest and cruel for selfish reasons.

     While living in Bombay, Rajneesh made one young woman pregnant through an aggressive and unasked for seduction.  The young woman was highly upset and forced by circumstance to have an abortion.  Rajneesh, protecting his image as a great guru, lied about his involvement and claimed that she had imagined the whole affair.  The young woman told the American Embassy her story and that incident marked the beginning of Rajneesh's troubles with the United States Government.

     Most of Rajneesh's close disciples believed the young woman, not the much older "enlightened" man.  Similarly, decades later many would believe a young White House intern, not a much older President Bill Clinton.  Being president, or being "enlightened," does not always ensure good behavior.

     Nature has provided human animals with a strong, virtually unstoppable sex drive to ensure reproduction of the species.  Because of the overwhelming importance and power of sex, most gurus, enlightened or not, have maintained active sex lives which are often kept secret for purely political reasons.  In his early years Rajneesh lied about his strong sexuality by claiming to be celibate.  To be fair, this has to be understood in the context of a rigidly anti-sexual and highly hypocritical Indian social structure.  Later on, after his position as a guru had become solidified, Rajneesh publicly bragged to the American media about having sex "with hundreds of women."  All of Rajneesh's sex partners were his own female meditation students who were used as his personal harem.

     All human beings are animals, specifically mammals.  Scientists now understand that human DNA is approximately 99.4% the same as chimpanzee DNA (see news story).  World history, Asian mythology, politics, and the world of alpha male gurus makes allot more sense if you keep that unavoidable fact in mind.  Our most primal subconscious motivating forces come from the animal world, which we are still a part of. 

     The last time I visited the Rajneesh ashram in Poona, India, was in 1988.  It was literally like a loud convention of German Brownshirts (storm troopers) by that point.  Rajneesh, alias "Osho," was still very popular in Germany, due in part to his comments in the German magazine Stern which were widely interpreted as being pro-Hitler.  Many young Germans who were looking for a strong and charismatic leader were thrilled by his words.  Those who lost loved ones during World War II were justifiably shocked.  

     Even in the early 1970s in Bombay, Rajneesh made careless statements which could easily be interpreted as being pro-Hitler and pro-fascist.  In one lecture on "esoteric groups" he claimed that Adolf Hitler had been telepathically propped up by an occult Buddhist group that Rajneesh himself was in contact with.  During World War II it is well known that a number of Brahman Indian yogis and Japanese "Zen masters" had supported the Axis cause and the extermination of the "inferior races," so Rajneesh's claim was not entirely surprising, if not totally believable.  

     Years later in Poona, Rajneesh gave an infamous lecture in which he stated that Jews had given Hitler "no choice" but to try to exterminate them.  In his last years Rajneesh stated that "I have fallen in love with this man (Adolf Hitler).  He was crazy, but I am crazier still."  Rajneesh said that he wanted his sannyasins "to take over the world" and that he had studied Hitler to gain insight into how to accomplish the task.  For a man who portrayed himself as the world's smartest, highest, and greatest soul, such remarks were proof to me that his drug use had destroyed the quality of his mind.

     Rajneesh's comments about Hitler could be discounted as obnoxious but largely harmless hot air if it were not for the fact that he put many of Hitler's techniques into practice.  Rajneesh used Hitler's big lie method of mind control very effectively and demanded total surrender from his troops (disciples), just as Hitler did.  Rajneesh condoned illegal spying on his own disciples at the Oregon commune and used informants to weed out the disloyal.  Sheela, his personal secretary, turned the tables on Rajneesh by bugging Rajneesh's trademark high-backed chair.  The Oregon police later found Rajneesh's illegally taped conversations, but due to rules of evidence they could not be used against him in a court of law.  The tapes were reported to be highly damning as to Rajneesh's culpability in much of the commune's illegal activity.

     Rajneesh turned many of his disciples into the equivalent of armed Brownshirts.  I have received letters from several of Rajneesh's former security guards who admitted they had fallen under the spell of fascism and now regretted their behavior and attitudes.  One wrote that he did not even know how to meditate and that the thrill of power was what kept him loyal to his great leader.  In Poona, Rajneesh guards beat up an annoying local resident, his hands held behind his back as the guards pummeled him.  In Oregon, Rajneesh guards were armed to the teeth with handguns and military style semi-automatic assault rifles.  Rajneesh was never an admirer of the great Indian pacifist Mahatma Gandhi, but he did have a unhealthy fascination with Adolf Hitler as well as United States General George Patton.  According to Shivamurti, Rajneesh watched the movie Patton over and over again on his big screen television at his ranch in Oregon.  

     In my opinion Rajneesh's worst personal trait was that he could dish it out but he could not take it.  He constantly put his disciples through great physical hardships which resulted in serious illness and even death for some, yet he himself lived in luxury and could not endure physical discomfort without complaining loudly like a baby.  After his arrest on October 28th, 1985, at the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, Rajneesh was interviewed by ABC television news.  He began his jailhouse interview by crying in a shrill voice about his less than royal accommodations in the slammer.  His high pitched whining was so weird and annoying that a late night comedy television show used the footage sarcastically as a joke about "God" complaining.

     During Rajneesh's appearance on the ABC television show Nightline, Rajneesh gave evasive and dishonest answers to all of Ted Koppel's questions and behaved as an unusually pompous and inept politician caught red handed at illegal activity.  Rajneesh claimed that he was not responsible for any of the crimes committed at the commune because he was "in silence."  In proven fact, although Rajneesh had stopped giving public lectures for a time, he had never stopped talking to Ma Anand Sheela and other close disciples.  Rajneesh was always the ultimate authority at the commune, even though Sheela committed some of the most serious crimes behind his back.

     Rajneesh's favorite Rolls Royce dealer stated that "the Bhagwan" had spent hours on the telephone talking to him about his often weekly purchases of new automobiles.  All of the 90 Rolls Royces were paid for from general commune funds on his direct orders, not "gifts" from outsiders as he would later try to claim.  Rajneesh was the only person who wanted the cars and he was the only person allowed to drive them.  After bankrupting the commune he claimed the automobiles were owned by the commune, not by him.

     Rajneesh pretended not to know that he was leaving the United States to escape an impending arrest warrant, thus secretly abandoning his disciples to face the music on their own.  His own sannyasins did not know he had left the commune until they learned from the media of the arrest of Rajneesh and several followers at the North Carolina airport.  Their luggage contained a bag of cash, a box of expensive jewel encrusted watches and a handgun.  Rajneesh's defense was that he was innocently sleeping when police boarded the private jet he had hired to escape to Bermuda.  Rajneesh said he thought Bermuda was just another American state and that he was going on vacation to rest and to escape "death threats."  The authorities later learned that a Rajneesh disciple with ties to the United States Justice Department had tipped off Rajneesh about his impending arrest on immigration fraud.

     The Rajneesh cult had little luck winning over American television viewers.  Ma Anand Sheela disgraced herself on Nightline weeks earlier by bursting into loud obscenities, forcing Ted Koppel to take her off the air.  The NBC television show Saturday Night Live climbed on the Rajneesh comedy bandwagon by doing a skit about an auction with actor Randy Quaid selling off "the Bhagwan's" approximately 90 Rolls Royces.  The FOX network cartoon show The Simpsons produced a spoof of Rajneesh, depicting a white gloved guru driving his Rolls Royce down a dusty commune road as his disciples felt joy at eating his road dust.  In the cartoon, the great guru tried to escape the commune with bags of cash in a homemade peddle driven flying machine.

"When it comes to gurus, take the best and leave the rest." Ramamurti Mishra

     During my last visit to the Poona ashram in 1988, Rajneesh was in silence because he was angry at his own disciples.  He wanted his sannyasins to demonstrate in the streets against some Indian officials who had spoken out against him.  Wisely, no one was interested in creating a new confrontation.  This spell of sanity among the flock irritated Rajneesh, who canceled public talks as punishment.  I was thus only able to see him on video tape.

     On the taped lecture Rajneesh was ranting emotionally, and factually incorrectly, about how the police in the United States had stolen his collection of jewel encrusted ladies' watches.  He said they would never be able to wear them in public because his sannyasins would see the watches on their wrists, at airports etc., and start screaming out loudly that "you stole Bhagwan's watch!"  His words and manner were so childishly irrational that he reminded me of Jim Jones.  This crazy old man, now called "Osho," was a far cry from the serene, dignified, and highly eloquent Acharya Rajneesh I had met years earlier.

     Some may be horrified that an enlightened man could become a convicted felon, but that has not stopped me from seeking the ultimate existential truth.  Rajneesh's life is a lesson for us all to practice what we preach.  Rajneesh gave great advice but he could not heed his own wise words.  He is also a reminder not to take what people say very seriously.  It is better to observe how people live and put less emphasis on what they speak.  Talk is cheap.  Actions are more costly and telling.  

     Do enlightened men have egos?  In my younger idealistic years I would have said the answer is no.  Rajneesh, Gurdjieff, and even J. Krishnamurti prove to me that they do.  I became convinced that Rajneesh had an ego when I saw him on television in chains being transported from jail to an Oregon courthouse.  In response to a reporter's question he looked into the television camera and spoke to his disciples saying "Don't worry.  I'll be back."  It was not what he said, but the look in his eyes that was positive proof for me.  I could see his ego in action, calculating and manipulating.  Once you see something that clearly no rationalizations can cover up the basic truth.  Rajneesh was magnificently enlightened but he was also profoundly egotistical.

     For ordinary humans the ego is the center of awareness and the Void is perceived only at the periphery.  People look at a picture taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and they see the Void as an outside object, not as a personal identity.  When you become enlightened, either temporarily in a satori or permanently as a Buddha, the situation is reversed.  Now the Void is your center of awareness and the ego is at the periphery.  Ego does not die, it just no longer takes the center stage of your attention.

     Enlightenment is a functional disassociation of identity.  The human brain is a biologically created thinking machine that has evolved for both personal self-preservation and the survival of the species.  The ego, which is a selfish motivating force, is needed to protect our colony of living cells (the physical body) from danger and to keep our cells replenished with food and water.  If you did not have an ego you would not be able to think, speak, or find food, shelter, and clothing.  The ego function is so vital for survival that the human brain evolved with two potential ego mechanisms, one a centralized ego and the second a larger and more diffuse backup system utilizing less central portions of the brain.

     If the body and brain becomes physically ill with high fever and the centralized ego center is damaged, the backup ego mechanism may temporarily take over its function.  This is ego displacement without enlightenment.  The backup self-maintenance system keeps sleep walkers out of danger and helps enlightened human animals find food and the basics of life, so they do not physically die as a result of their own deep meditation.

     Enlightened humans do not feel their more diffuse ego and thus they feel as free as space itself.  In actuality ego is still present and working, just as our autonomic nervous system keeps on working whether we are aware of its function or not.  You do not have to consciously tell your heart to beat 70 times a minute because it will keep on beating regardless of your awareness.  The brain function that controls heart rate is automatic (autonomic) and does not need our consciousness to make it work.

     Some enlightened human animals have become fooled by the phenomena of ego displacement and thought they no longer had any personal selfishness that could cause trouble.  Meher Baba spent much of his life bragging about how great he was, yet at his center he felt perfectly egoless.  He once even proclaimed that "No one loves me as much as I deserve to be loved."  In truth Meher Baba was very egocentric and should have realized that even enlightenment is no excuse for bragging.

     The same fundamental misjudgment plagued Acharya Rajneesh.  He became fooled into thinking that he was above arrogance and greed, but that was simply not the case.  The ego is an integral part of the structure of the human brain.  It is not simply psychological, but neurological and hard wired into our neural pathways (see the scientific study of 'self'').  The self-survival, self-defense mechanism we call 'ego' cannot be destroyed unless the physical body dies.  

     Even enlightened humans have to mind their manners and realize that the Atman is the wondrous phenomena they should promote, not their own fallible and temporary personalities.  Ramana Maharshi had the right approach in this regard, and that is one reason he is still beloved by all.  Ramana Maharshi promoted the Atman, the universal cosmic consciousness, but never his own mortal body and mind.

     Despite his corruption, his poor judgment, and his disastrous last years, everyone who experienced Acharya Rajneesh's oceanic energy still loves at least the memory of his spiritual presence.  Through it all, the good, the bad, and the horrific, Rajneesh's vibrations were always magnificent.  Visitors to the Osho ashram in India often feel a giant wave of cosmic presence there.  That wave is but the vibrational remnant of what we once called Rajneesh.  The body has been turned to ashes, and Rajneesh himself is gone, but the wave can still be felt.  In the same way J. Krishnamurti's presence remains a powerful force at Arya Vihara, his former home in Ojai, California.

     Rajneesh's spectacular energy was proof that he was 'enlightened' in the Eastern esoteric sense of the word.  The Eastern esoteric definition is an energy phenomena, gained only by those who are totally open to the infinite power of the universe.  The Western meaning of 'enlightenment' simply means to be a very wise man, which Rajneesh, in my opinion, was not.

     It is because I value the truth above all that I write what I believe are essential criticisms.  If we cannot analyze our mistakes then our suffering was a waste of time.  The ongoing cover-up of Rajneesh's frailties by his establishment disciples will only destroy the possibility of learning from his tragedy.  Osho worshippers can destroy the tapes and physical evidence of his insane behavior, but they cannot change what actually happened.

     Even after returning to Poona, Rajneesh continued his Valium and nitrous oxide use and seemed unable to learn from his own mistakes.  Rajneesh had often branded his critics as "idiots," yet in his final years he himself did not have any sane voice inside himself to say no.  Enough is enough!  Like a deranged alcoholic, Rajneesh could not stop his destructive behavior and the quality of his judgment dropped below that of even the most ordinary of unenlightened human beings.  Rajneesh had used the myth of Tantra to rationalize his dishonesty and selfishness and now he could not stop.  He had become a drug addict, plain and simple, and no amount of spiritual rationalizations could alter that fact.

     I miss Acharya Rajneesh, never Osho, because he was at his finest when he had no manipulating political organization surrounding him.  When Acharya Rajneesh was just a man in an apartment with one old Chevrolet, not dozens of Rolls Royces, he was more honest and true.  When he became his own political establishment things started to go wrong and that is often the case with men of great power.

     The Rajneesh scandal exposed the unconscious slavery of Bhakti Yoga and the underlying fraudulence and corruption of "lefthanded Tantra."  What is needed is an honest path, built on self-observation, self-reliance, and respect for truth.  The days of the know-it-all guru are over.  It is time to realize the source of all things directly.    

     Rajneesh's lifelong teaching had been that enlightenment meant a state of perfect egolessness which brought about great wisdom, compassion, and in his unique case, total infallibility.  In the last months of his life Osho finally admitted publicly that the ego could not be destroyed, only "observed."  The basis of his demand for total surrender of his disciples was that the ego contaminated followers must submit their will to the perfect master, because only the master had no ego and thus could do no wrong.  If this were not true, then why should any disciple surrender to another fallible and corruptible human ego?  The course of Rajneesh's own life proved that his basic teaching was wrong and a lie.

     In his last days Osho argued with his doctors to ignore their medical ethics and give him even more nitrous oxide.  Osho rationalized his drug addiction just as a teenage boy might if caught smoking marijuana by his own mother.  The God "Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh" had fallen down to the stumble-drunk Osho, and a substantial number of his disciples were so addicted to his artfully seductive words and false image that they did not even seem to see what was happening right in front of their eyes.  It would be wonderful to believe that enlightened men were perfect in every way.  That would make life simpler and sweeter, but it would be fiction, not fact.

Addendum - On letters I have received

     Any thoughtful person can imagine the wide range of letters I have received as a result of posting my Web essay on Acharya - Bhagwan - Osho - Rajneesh.  To date about half of the letters have been from former Rajneesh disciples who generally agree with my comments and who thank me for putting them on the Web.  Those who agree tell me they see "compassion for all involved" on my Web page and that I got it "just about right."

     The other letters I receive are from current disciples of the now deceased Osho, many whom have never actually met the man in person.  Those letters range from death threats from several German disciples to poorly written and often unsigned insults.  The Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance also gets lots of hate mail, but from many different cults, not just from one.  It is interesting to see how most personality cults are alike in this regard.  The us vs. them mentality takes over and anyone who does not tow the party line of the cult is deemed a villain.

     Meditation has nothing to do with cults, organizations, politics, or business, but for many meditation is a secondary issue.  For them it is all about hero worship and blind obedience to the memory of a now dead guru, which is a silly waste of time in my opinion.  Why not go directly to the source of all gurus and religions through your own meditation?  There is an old Zen saying that "One should not become attached to anything that can be lost in a shipwreck."  Certainly this admonition applies to gurus as well.

     Several Osho followers have written me claiming to be enlightened and I hear reports that many Osho disciples now make that claim.  One man said that he was "the new Osho" and invited me to visit his Web page.  His page displayed a large heroic picture of himself, much self-promotion, and an advertisement for prostitutes in Russia, who he claimed were practicing "Tantra."  So for him "enlightenment" and being "the new Osho" literally means to be a pimp.

     Another man, who had never met Osho in person, claimed that reading Osho's books helped him get over his "mental illness" and now he was "enlightened" himself.  He then forcefully instructed me to rewrite my Web page to make it "less judgmental" and suggested that Osho's hypocrisy was just a means to convey his enlightenment to others.  Well, Osho certainly did convey his hypocrisy to others!

     One young woman who grew up on the Rajneesh Oregon commune asked me how she could make money out of teaching Osho's meditation techniques.  I replied that she should go to an employment agency and get an honest job.  Meditation and business do not mix and there are too many money hungry gurus out there already.

     It shocks me to find that many Osho disciples do not care about the crimes that were committed and are not bothered by the lies and hypocrisy of their own movement.  They don't seem to comprehend that as a result of the germ warfare attack committed by Rajneesh sannyasins on restaurants in Oregon that meditation groups have gotten a very bad name around the world.  The unrelated but equally infamous nerve gas attack on a subway station in Tokyo by a Japanese cult named Aum Shinrikyo worsened this situation considerably.

     The attitude of many Osho sannyasins seems to be that as long as they get their psychic kicks it does not matter who was hurt or how unethical and disgraceful their own behavior was.  In their minds everyone in the world was responsible for the Oregon debacle except them!  As a result of this careless attitude many Americans now feel that if a meditation group starts an ashram nearby it is time to buy a gun and a gas mask.

     The amount of historical revisionism and propaganda put out by some Osho disciples rivals the efforts of Maoists during the 1960s and their state of mind is similar.  If you want to believe in one perfect man, a pope of the universe, then anyone who criticizes that pope is deemed a devil.  Thus all the subtleties of my essay are lost on these disciples and all they claim to see on my Web page is "hate and anger."  Of course they do not see the hate in themselves directed at anyone who does not share their own narrow beliefs.

     Shivamurti's book, Bhagwan: The God That Failed, could have easily also been entitled The Man Who Became His Own Opposite, or The Man Who Betrayed Himself.  I often tell people that if they could go back in time and kidnap the Acharya Rajneesh of 1970, then bring him up through the years to meet the Osho of the late 1980s, that the two men would be at war with each other.  Acharya would have hated Osho's pompous self-indulgence and Osho would have never tolerated the young Acharya's brash criticisms.  Acharya Rajneesh spoke of freedom and compassion.  Osho once said that he wished someone would "shoot" (assassinate) former Soviet leader Mikael Gorbachev because he was leading the Soviet Union to Western style capitalism instead of his own imagined "spiritual communism."  This change in teaching was remarkable. 

     I would like to think that the early Acharya Rajneesh would have approved of my essay, but who can say for sure.  For those who suggest I am not being loyal to Osho, I counter that I am honestly trying to be loyal to Acharya Rajneesh, the man I took sannyas from, not Osho.  The Acharya was a man I still deeply love and respect.  But that Acharya Rajneesh died along time before Osho was even born and the two men were as different as day and night.

     My message to letter writers is to go ahead and write me.  You can vent anger or thank me, but neither will have much effect on me as I have heard it all before, from both sides.  I can only sigh and ask myself how Acharya Rajneesh, who started out as an anti-guru extraordinaire, ended up as he did with this current crop of disciples.  Perhaps it shows that power really can corrupt anyone and that the means rarely justifies the ends.

     In the end where is meditation in all of this?  "Color Puncture," "Tantric Tarot," encounter groups, and every phony crackpot scam in the book is being peddled by Osho disciples for large sums of money, but what about meditation?  Then I think back to the day when the just turned 40 year old Acharya wisely instructed a friendly Japanese woman that "Meditation must not be made into a business."  The corrupt means have gotten so far out of hand that the original intent of the ends, Acharya Rajneesh's noble vision, have long been forgotten by many, but not by me.                  

*Dynamic Meditation: (warning)  This spectacular meditation method was Rajneesh's trademark and remains a tremendously effective tool for naturally expanding consciousness.  Rajneesh never did the technique himself because he didn't need to.  He developed the method simply by observing his disciples, who would occasionally go into spontaneous body movements during his early meditation camps.  When his judgment started to decline he unfortunately changed the third and fourth stage of the method into a pointless torture test.  The correct and most effective version of this meditation technique has four stages, each lasting ten minutes.

Stage #1)  Start by standing with your eyes closed and breath deep and fast through your nose for ten minutes.  Allow your body to move freely.  Jump, sway back and forth, or use any physical motion that helps you pump more oxygen into your lungs.

Stage #2)  The second ten minute stage is one of catharsis.  Let go totally and be spontaneous.  You may dance or roll on the ground.  For once in your life screaming is allowed and encouraged.  You must act out any anger you feel in a safe way, such as beating the earth with your hands.  All the suppressed emotions from your subconscious mind are to be released.

Stage #3)  In the third stage you jump up and down yelling Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! continuously for ten minutes.  This sounds silly, and is funny, but the loud vibration of your voice travels down to your centers of stored energy and pushes that energy upward.  When doing this stage it is important to keep your arms loose and in a natural position.  Do not hold your arms over your head as that position can be medically dangerous.

Stage #4)  The fourth 10 minute stage is complete relaxation and quiet.  Flop down on your back, get comfortable, and just let go.  Be as a dead man, totally surrendered to the cosmos.  Enjoy the tremendous energy you have unleashed in the first three stages and become a silent witness to the ocean as it flows into the drop.  Become the ocean.  

     Rajneesh unwisely changed the third stage of the method to rigidly holding your arms over your head while shouting Hoo!  Even worse, he changed the fourth stage to freezing in place like a statue with your arms still awkwardly held over your head.  This method is not only uncomfortable to the point of torture, it can also be medically dangerous for those with an underlying heart condition.  When you stand with arms elevated over your head you increase your level of orthostatic stress.  This means that your heart must work harder to pump blood that has traveled down to your legs back up to your heart and on to your brain.  You could easily pass out in this position or induce a heart attack in individuals with coronary artery disease.

     Freezing in place makes deep relaxation impossible as it keeps your mind's controlling functions fully operational.  This holds your consciousness on the surface, defeating the purpose of the exercise.  The point of the technique was to have three stages of intense action followed by a fourth stage of deep relaxation and complete let go.  Rajneesh himself could never have practiced the freeze method even in his youth.  Asking his disciples to do it simply showed that he had lost touch with physical reality.  Rajneesh was a fallible human being, never a perfect God. 

     I advise students to only use the enjoyable early version of Dynamic Meditation and not the pointlessly difficult freeze method version.  This wonderful technique was intended to grow with the student and change as the student changes.  After a few years of practicing the method vigorously the first three stages of the meditation should drop away spontaneously.  You then go into the meditation hall, take a few deep breaths, and immediately go deep into the ecstasy of the fourth stage.  Rajneesh intended the method to be fluid, health giving, and fun.  Those new students who wish to experiment with Rajneesh Dynamic Meditation should read the section on Cathartic Dancing Meditation in Meditation Handbook for further warnings and details before experimenting with this powerful technique. 

Rajneesh's (Osho's) books - Be warned that Rajneesh/Osho used words as a device to draw people close to him and was not concerned about speaking the truth.  In my opinion about half of what he said was true, either factually or at least poetically.  The rest was a mixture of fluff, fill, and balderdash.  Much of his words represented a kind of self-serving spiritual pornography.  At his worst Rajneesh came out with titles like "The World of Rajneesh" and his organization's recent printing of  "Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic."  This is like an arrogant television newsman who thinks that he is the story rather than the headlines of the day.

Note  Opinions expressed on this page must be viewed as the ideas of an ordinary student of meditation.  While I truly believe everything I say, you should not believe anything unless you see it, feel it, and know it for yourself.  I make no claims of infallibility.  In fact I absolutely claim fallibility.  

Truth is a sword that cuts in all directions.

It is a mind that is unprejudiced by religion, philosophy, and cultural conditioning.  It is going naked in the stars.
 

Christopher Calder  E-mail

Please feel free to copy, repost, or publish Osho, Bhagwan Rajneesh, and the Lost Truth.

Christopher suggests links about Rajneesh and the Oregon commune

http://www.religioustolerance.org/rajneesh.htm - Brief overview of Rajneesh.

http://www.empnet.com/imageworks/Raj1.htm  -  A few pictures of the Oregon commune.

Osho in the Dental Chair - Parmartha's article in "Sannyas News" about Rajneesh/Osho's use of nitrous oxide.  The article makes no mention of Osho's massive Valium intake for over a decade, which probably did more brain damage than the N2O.  One cannot cheat the body's natural systems by taking drugs to feel good.  There is always a heavy price to pay in the form of loss of healthy brain function.  

http://www.sannyasnews.com/Articles/OshoDentalChair.html - Parmartha's article

 

Osho Talks by Titles

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These titles provide links to one of Osho's talks on the subject described.

 

A fully enlightened master

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http://www.realization.org/page/topics/osho.htm

Born in Kuchwada, Madhya Pradesh, India on December 11, 1931. His parents gave him the name Rajneesh Chandra Mohan and raised him as a Jain. When he was seven, his grandfather died with his head in Osho's lap while riding to the doctor in a bullock cart. Osho became enlightened at 21 and graduated at about the same time from the University of Saugar with first-class honors in philosophy. While a student, he won the All-India Debating Championship. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Jabalpur for nine years. In 1966, he left his teaching post and established an ashram in Bombay. In 1974, he left Bombay and established an ashram in Poona. In 1981, he moved to the United States and established an ashram in Oregon. In 1986 he was deported from the United States for violations of immigration law (to which he pleaded no contest) and returned to Poona. He died on January 19, 1990.

 His Awakening

Osho wrote a wonderful description of his awakening -- perhaps the best account of enlightenment that has ever been written. It's on the web here.

 His Teachings

Osho understood and was able to interpret almost every method that anybody ever used to gain enlightenment, but the technique he stressed above all else was the habit of watching the mind. This leads to mindlessness, which in turn leads to enlightenment. He explains this technique here.
 

Osho lovers recommended writings

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The Book of Secrets: The Science of Meditation
By Osho

This mammoth 1184-page book is Osho's commentary on the Vijnana-Bhairava, the ancient Sanskrit how-to manual that describes 112 methods of attaining enlightenment. Please note that some of the material in this book is also contained in Meditation: The First and Last Freedom,, recommended below. Buy it from Amazon.

 

 

Meditation: The First and Last Freedom
By Osho

One of the best all-around manuals for meditators. Osho believes meditation is watchfulness; he explains how to do it and how to let it carry you to enlightenment. Please note that some of the material in this book is also contained in The Book of Secrets, recommended above. Buy it from Amazon.

 

 

In Search of the Miraculous:
Chakras, Kundalini, and the Seven Bodies
By Osho

Using simple analogies and anecdotes, Osho talks about kundalini, sex, shaktipat, chakras, tantra, and related subjects. Buy it from Amazon.

 

 

The Only Meditation There Is: Watching
by Osho .

In plain, easy-to-understand language (like everything Osho wrote), this article explains that meditation means watching your mind. Watching your mind leads to mindlessness. In mindlessness your mind is quiet, but it's a different quiet than the one that results from forcible suppression. Make this a habit, and everything else follows automatically. It's on the web here.


The Day I Got Enlightened

by Osho

The best account we've ever read of what it's like to get enlightened. It's on the web here.


Some Remarks About Effort
by Osho

Effort is the subject of endless debate. Some seekers say effort is needed to reach enlightenment; others say it's unnecessary or counterproductive. Osho's remarks on the subject are interesting because he understands the validity of both points of view. Some of his comments are on the web here.

 

Related Links

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Osho International Foundation : http://www.osho.com/homepage.htm

 Friends of Osho : http://oz.sannyas.net/

The Real Osho: a short biography by Sw Deva Sarlo : http://www.globalserve.net/~sarlo/Sarlo1.htm

Osho (or Rajneeshism) :  http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/rajneesh.html

Meditate and Celebrate Osho : http://www.chaitanyakeerti.com/pages/questions.html

A couple of news articles :  http://www.sannyasworld.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=375

Commune defends Osho trademark : http://www.expressindia.com/ie/daily/20000830/ina30010.html
 

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