Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
“I use words. Listening to my words you stop thinking.
And in those moments when there is no thinking,
much transpires, much that cannot be said
but can only be understood;
much which no language is capable of expressing.
But the very presence of a man who knows,
starts stirring your heart, changing your being.”
The Transmission of the Lamp
Before he left Jabalpur in June 1970 Rajneesh had already referred to Bombay as the place where he had his greatest following, and he had added too, that the most intelligent people in India of course are to be found in Bombay. He may have alluded to the many well-off Jain businessmen in Bombay who had become his friends, but also the many Gujarati Hindu and Jain families he had acquainted would from now on have a much better opportunity to keep in touch with their master. In Bombay he would furthermore be in close connection with the main office of Jeevan Jagruti Kendra (Life Awakening Movement). So Bombay was where the people and the money were located, ready to move the work of Acharya Rajneesh further on and into a new phase with an expanding international focus.
The Marathas and Gujaratis were the main groups of Metropolitan Bombay when Rajneesh arrived to the largest urban area in India and capital in the state of Maharashtra. For centuries the city was known as The Gateway of India, a name given to the seaside domed arch of yellow basalt built in 1924 to commemorate the arrival of the British king, George V in 1911. And in 1947 the British left their Indian Empire under the same arch with troops marching on to their ships for the last journey home, an emotional scene to be repeated in Hong Kong exactly fifty years later.
Way back the district was a Portuguese possession and anchorage from 1510 to 1661 when it was ceded to Charles II as part of the dowry of princess Catharine of Braganza. In 1668 Charles II transferred the place to the East India Company for an annual rent of ten pounds. Under governor Gerald Aungier (1669-1677) Bombay developed into a prosperous town and it soon supplanted Surat as the principal English settlement on the west coast, now also the capital of Bombay Presidency. With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 it became the first Indian port of call for incoming ships from Europe, an opportunity for trade that made the foundation for what was to follow.
The history of the construction of Bombay is a constant struggle against the sea, as the area was composed of seven hilly islands levelled to make one big island. All drinking water had since the great plague in 1896 to be brought in from lakes far away, and clean water was a scarce commodity causing theft and periodic riots over water. But sometimes during the rainy season, water is not at all in short supply. This author remember, when stranded in Bandar during his field studies, he witnessed the downpour of 960 mm in the cause of 18 hours on that fatal day in July 2005, when Bombay was drowned and everything came to a halt. Everything. Thousands of commuters and school children could be seen slowly walking – silently and gracefully – on empty flooded street lanes with their black umbrellas against the torrent rain towards distant homes as all public connections by trains and busses came to a stand still during the night.
The city of Bombay was built on the manufacturing of cloth, and when Bhagwan was a resident it had just started its slow move from factories to offices and later on into the information age. While, at the same time, half the population still doesn’t have a toilet and are relieving themselves outdoor by the sea or elsewhere. In its earlier days Bombay used to be a beautiful and breathable city, but already after one year in this unhealthy and polluted environment Bhagwan’s chronic health problems were at stake. His asthma, diabetes and various allergies, eventually made him move to the healthier climate in Poona. The saying goes that Bombay ‘is the toilet of India which only got flushed in the monsoon!’
Some parts of central Bombay have a population density of one million people per square mile, which is said to be the highest number of individuals massed together anywhere in the world. The slum population of the metropolis doubles every decade, and the building of new homes for tenants are obvious less than satisfying, with the Rent Act of 1947 as a crucial legislative weapon to create continuous doubt in the mind of a property owner, if the land in question really belongs to him. (Kurian 1976; Mehta 2005)
3.1 Arriving in Bombay
The Bombay of the 1970s was not only the biggest, fastest and richest but also the most cosmopolitan and most hybrid city in India. It was for this place that Rajneesh left academic life and his residence in Jabalpur for good and arrived at Victoria Railway Station in Bombay on July 1, 1970. Many friends had gathered to welcome him at the railway station, and while the train slowly moved in he was in his usual manner standing at the compartment door, greeting people gathered on the platform with his folded hands in namaste. Laxmi, who had now been close with him for quite some time, was standing among other people on the platform, wearing her new ochre clothes, the traditional colour of Indian sannyasins. When the train finally came to a halt Rajneesh smilingly said she was to become his first sannyasin, and on the spot he named he Ma Yoga Laxmi. So Laxmi became his first sannyasin, initiated right there in the noisy marketplace of one of India’s most busy and crowded railway stations. (1)
With rounds of garlands decorating his neck he slowly went to his car, and was taken to his apartment in C.C.I. Chambers (Cricketers’ Club of India). The flat, no. 27 owned by Shri Himatbhai Joshi on the fourth floor at Dinshaw Vacha Road / Marine Drive near Churchgate), had been prepared for him in advance offering three bedrooms and one big hall. After refreshing himself he addressed his followers and told them that the Dynamic Meditation and its powerful potentials would be included in the evening speech which was to follow. Any questions on this topic were to be given to his secretary Laxmi before the evening lecture.
The discussion of the potentials of Dynamic Meditation was dealt with intensively by Osho in this period, starting with his speeches in the Nargol meditation camp on May 5th, and the rationale and structure behind the meditation is laid out in many of his discourses also later on. The Dynamic Meditation was to become the most famous of meditation methods designed by Osho, with its phases of heavy body work alternating with silence, and it stands out as a landmark for his ability to conceive highly effective and cathartic methods for the growth of his disciples. In Bombay Dynamic Meditation took place every morning at Chowpatty Beach near Woodlands Apartment which Osho did not attend, and here Indian Karuna would keep up the energy by shouting, “Faster, faster, breathing, faster, breathing.” (2)
Fig. 1. Citymap, Bombay. With indication of two residences and places for lectures: C.C.I. Chambers (near Churchgate), Woodlands (Peddar Road), Chowpatty Beach (Juhu), Strand Book Stall (Sir D.N. Road, Dhannur), Cross Maidan, Bhagwan Bhavan (Majid Bunder St.), Palm Beach High School Ground, Patkar Hall. More here? In progress.
Still some inspiration had come from the outside, and it suffice here to point out that the ‘Stop’ exercise is borrowed from Gurdjieff and the timing of the meditation and the silence around sunrise bear witness of the Japanese Zen Buddhist morning rite – attended by this author in Bodh Gaya – as well as the Egyptian Sun adoration rite, a culture from where Osho later on in Poona was inspired to erect his monumental pyramids in black marble in his ashram.
At C.C.I. Chambers, a centre for businessmen, Osho would in his daily schedule take a nap in the afternoon, while Laxmi went home to eat and shower before returning in the evening to prepare for the discourse. Laherubhai assisted him and took care of him, but as he was not able to stay around the clock he recommended Laxmi and Chinmaya to Osho who immediately agreed to the proposal and they both became his secretaries in Bombay: “Every morning, Laxmi used to come from her house to C.C.I. and stayed there until late night. Chinmayji stayed in C.C.I. only. Osho’s cousin sister, Krantiben, who was taking care from Jabalpur days also stayed in C.C.I. Ishwarbhai and I used to go to meet Osho two or three times every day and whatever work was given to us, we did it according to his instructions.” (Laheru 2012, p. 52)
“He is staying as a guest in a three bedroom apartment at C.C.I. Chambers which is rented by a friend of Him. In one of the bedrooms, we–maybe eight friends–do dynamic every morning from seven to eight. I am staying in the suburbs of Bombay and it takes me nearly an hour to reach there. One of the friends leads the meditation and the rest of us participate in it. In the silent period of the meditation Osho comes in the room to see how we are doing today. I am sitting silently in Buddha posture and feel His presence near me.” (Jyoti 1994 #53)
Many visitors came to see Osho at C.C.I. and forty to fifty seekers could be seated in the hall. The flat was abundant with activities and every morning active meditations started in one room. Eventually the lift would malfunction due to overload, causing endless complains from the other tenants over the noise and expenses for the constant repairs of the lift, which made the society of C.C.I. take objection because of the excessive flow of visitors. It was already time to move on.
3.2 Woodlands Apartments
With Rajneesh’s growing number of listeners, meditators and visitors, I.C.C. Chambers near Churchgate soon proved too small to meet the requirements, and Acharya Rajneesh accordingly in November 1970 shifted his residence to A-1 Woodlands Apartments on Peddar Road in Bombay’s Cumbala Hill district, a spacious three-bedroom flat of 3500 square foot area with larger facilities, and where one of the rooms could be destined exclusively for Osho’s study-cum-bedroom. Especially the large living hall was more suitable and comfortable for the seating of his listeners giving room for about 200 people. The residential complex was an elite address in south Bombay, and the flat was soon bought in the name of Jeevan Jagruti Kendra for Rs. 250,000, and Shri Kakubhai and Shri Manikant Khona (Manu) managed everything by working day and night, and they completed painting the flat just in time. The building was twenty-seven storied, and Osho was living on the first floor overlooking the beautiful front garden. He had himself been involved in the selection of the flat, and was initially shown a flat on the twenty-first floor with a terrace that could seat two hundred people. He reclined the offer due to his understanding that meditators must relate with nature and that any accommodation above level three might result in some alienation from nature. He further remarked that the effect of living on heights away from nature was unknown. Visitors could now use the staircase and all problems with overloaded lifts had disappeared overnight. (3)
In Woodlands his followers now could get in touch with meditation practises and regular evening discourses and they were coming in scores. Businessmen from Gujarat and friends from Nagpur and Poona and many other parts of Western India were here his guests.
Osho’s daily schedule at Woodlands mainly differed from that of his Jabalpur days of traveling in the way that more of his time was devoted to homely and indoor living and studying, offering his guidance to his many visitors.
He was up at six thirty every morning, and invariably there were several people waiting for his darshan and talk. Often he would call these people to his room for a spontaneous talk perhaps on the significance of meditation and the orange color or whatever he fancied they were delighted to hear. But his schedule with an afternoon nap was to be continued at Woodlands, as Veena recalls: “Bhagwan was deeply ‘attached’ to his afternoon nap. Nothing was allowed to interfere with that map! In Woodlands it was time for those around to also have a siesta or catch up on some reading or personal activities.” (Veena 2012, p. 24)
As a vegetarian Osho used to eat balanced food, but his extensive touring of All India from Jabalpur had brought an irregularity into his eating and affected his health. Now in Woodlands some effort was made to turn this back on track and his caretakers were keen to serve him a healthy and appropriate diet. Yet his morning breakfast at 8 a.m. was a meagre one: Plain Green Label tea without milk and sugar and only two apples following his morning bath. For lunch he balanced this with edible seeds of plants like lentils or beans, some vegetables with two prepared sauces, curd, porridge and two dry chapatis. Dinner was very much like lunch, only with porridge being replaced by soup or salad. The diet was now and then supplemented with panipuri and jaljeera, and an ice cream was also to be seen now and then during the hot season.
Where Osho in Jabalpur had rested and listened to music following his dinner before he went on reading late into the night, his daily evening discourse at Woodlands made him change this programme. He now had his lunch at 11 a.m. and following this he took a three hours rest where he used to listen to music on his record player. Among his favourites were ghazals sung by Mehandi Hassan, Ghulam Ali and Jagjeet Sing. Also the semi-classical songs of the famous Ustad musicians Alauddin Khan, Bade Ghulam Ali and Kumar Gandharva were often chosen by him, occasionally added with instrumental music played by Ravi Shankar, Bismillah Khan or Hari Prasad Chaurasia. After dinner in the evening he now only took a ten minutes rest before he was ready to deliver his evening discourse to the audience. His discourse completed, once again he took some rest listening to his music records before again disappearing into the volumes of his library. When reading, milk mixed with cardamom or nutmeg was his evening treat. Before sleep he liked kalakand or rasmalai, like in the days when his Nani was catering for him. His sleeping schedule was fixed in the sense that he always got up in the morning at the same time, no matter how long into the night he had been reading. And it looks like he was giving prasad to his devotees:
“After leaving my office, I come straight to the Woodlands by 6:00 pm and wait in the kitchen for Osho’s thali (in which He eats His dinner) to be brought out of His room when he has finished. There is always some leftover food in his thali and the cook, Maharaj, gives me two chappatis to eat. I have stopped eating lunch these days and this is my only meal of the day. I eat with much delight from Oshos’s thali. In india leftover food from the master’s thali is called ‘prasad’ and devotees feel blessed to have a bit of it. I feel blessed eating His prasad everyday.” (Jyoti 1994 #79)
Cleanliness and aesthetics were the keywords for his assistants in their caretaking of his daily needs as well as the maintaining of his library. Particles of dust were a rarity in the flat, and bathrooms and kitchen were kept so clean that any health inspector would have wasted his time on the premises. Shining steel vessels were beautifully arranged on the shelves in the kitchen, and the number of towels reached four, each with its specific use in the cleaning and wiping of vegetables before cooking. These towels were all washed immediately after use, to keep the hygienic level as high as possible. One more towel could always be found on Bhagwan’s shoulder, where it served his personal needs day and night and was changed every morning and evening. His bathroom saw three additional towels, also to be changed twice during the day. Some assistants must have been really busy cleaning towels in Woodlands those days. (4)
Osho’s 40th birthday celebration on December 11, 1970 was held in Woodland Apartments and Ma Bhagawati purchased the very first copy of Prem Ke Phool (Flowers of Love) published on that occasion. Shri Mahipalji was organizing the program for the celebration with speeches of Laherubhai and Kakubhai before Osho gave a discourse published in Maati Kahe Kumhar Su #5. In Kakubhai’s speech he said to Osho: “When you end the discourse, you always say, ‘I pay my obeisance [pranam] to the Supreme Soul sitting in everybody.’ It may be correct for him. But I suggest to him that he should say like this, ‘I pay my obeisance to the Supreme Soul sleeping in everybody.”…Subsequent to this incident Osho stopped saying, ‘My beloved friend,’ in the beginning, and ‘I pay my obeisance to the Supreme Soul sitting in everybody,’ at the end of discourses as he used to say before.” (Laheru 2012, p. 64)
From Keerti’s narrative of his first meeting with Osho the following year we’ll get an idea of what it was like as a newcomer to go and see him in Woodlands for the first time: “I arrived in Bombay on the morning of September 4, 1971. I had five rupees in my pocket. A taxi was too expensive so I took a bus and went to Jeevan Jagruti Kendra to find out Osho’s residential address. The office boy, Balkrishna directed me to ‘A-1 Woodlands Apartments, Peddar Road’ and he told me how to get there by bus.
At the entrance to the apartment there was a notice board saying that ‘Meeting Times with Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh are from 9.30 to 11.00 a.m. and 2.30 to 4.00 p.m.’
I entered the apartment and introduced myself to His secretary, Ma Yoga Laxmi, who was sitting at the reception desk. There were a few cheerful sannyasins sitting nearby laughing and having fun. I asked Laxmi if she could arrange a time for me to meet Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
“Have you heard His discourses?” she asked.
“I have been reading His books.” I replied.
“Then it would be better,” she said, “if you first attended his discourses in the Patkar Hall, before coming for Darshan.” (Swami Chaitanya Keerti in: Bhagawati 2010, p. 344; Keerti 2000)
Keerti stayed on waiting to see Bhagwan, and finally a note he had written to Bhagwan was answered, and he had his first darshan with his master, who was sitting in his simple and small revolving chair with a glass wall behind him. After exchanging some words – “Kaise Aana Hua?” What brought you here? – Bhagwan asks Ma Anand Madhu through the intercom to bring a mala and soon after the visitor had been given his new sannyas name: Swami Chaitanya Keerti. He is introduced to Madhu who was the coordinator of the Kirtan Mandali that was due to leave the very next day for Gujarat and to arrive at Mount Aby the following month for the next meditation camp: “You join this group, sing and dance with this group and we will meet in Mount Abu next month,” he heard him say. On his way out Keerti’s mood was dancing as it would be for years to come when he was dancing and singing Kirtan Mandali in the streets of India:
“Utterly thrilled and blessed I came out of the Woodland Apartment and found the whole of Bombay celebrating…dum dum dum…loud drum-beats. People were carrying Lord Ganesha idols and there were processions after processions – very crazy, and very colourful.
I found myself dancing with them – I had met the ultimate in human form and my happiness knew no bounds. I was not a dancer. I was a very serious person. Osho had filled me with a new consciousness that made me dance – an unknown dance. And the journey of dance had begun.” (Swami Chaitanya Keerti in: Bhagawati 2010, p. 348; Keerti 2000)
Ma Prem Fatima tells about her first meeting with Bhagwan in Woodlands after having first disassociated herself to the proposal from her friend, and she is vividly picturing the fame Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was having among the major part of Indians in those days:
“But when she mentioned another guru one day, I exploded: “Rajneesh, did you say? That charlatan! That peddler of spiritual euphoris? Never!” I hissed and slammed the door. To have suggested Rajneesh was stretching it to profanity. The sex guru was by now a swear word in India. My friend’s persistence however, prevailed over my resolve and we hailed a cap…
Erstwhile freaks and dropouts turned sannyasins took up every inch in the spacious hall of his Peddar Road apartment. Their eyes glazed, their looks vacuous, they were saffron-clad with malas strung around their necks.
Entered Bhagwan Rajneesh, now called Osho, dressed in an immaculate white robe. Head down, hands folded, he greeted his herd, lowered himself in a chair and trapped a bevy of beautiful sannyasins in his lusty leer. Those mesmeric, lotus eyes gradually turned to orbs of burning desire. Some letch of a guru indeed! I felt repelled and desperate for escape. My eyes combed the somnolent assembly for a way out. But the saffron sea was too engulfing for me to swim through.
Much concentrated staring later, he became a smile around and started to speak. And a miracle began to unfold itself word by enchanting word. His unhurried, soothing voice ripped apart dead scriptures, moth-eaten traditions, sham and hypocrisy. His truth, wisdom and deep insight cast a spell over me. I sat glued to his magic through the length of the discourse.” (Ma Prem Fatima in: Bhagawati 2010, p. 486)
Osho recounts how his visitors were confused when after the darshan in his small study they tried to find the right way out of the room:
“You say: My first meeting with you at Woodlands, ended with my getting up from sitting at your feet and walking, not out of the door, but into your closet!
It was not only you, it happened with many people, because in Woodlands, where I used to live, the door to my room and the door to my closet were exactly the same. For anybody who entered for the first time, it was natural – the chances were fifty-fifty, so almost fifty percent of the people used to go into the closet – and I enjoyed it very much! I used to have an electric remote control lock by my side for both doors. Once a person entered my closet, I would lock it…
It was really fun, because people would come out of the closet so embarrassed, so upset…The closet was big enough, so they would move around inside, and there were so many robes…so they would go around the robes, and finally they would come out, very shocked. What had happened? – they had entered by the same door, or so they thought. As they came out, they became aware that there was another door just beside it, exactly the same, painted the same color.
There was also a third door, which led to my bathroom. Once in a while…somebody would come out of the closet door in a hurry, and – as the mind is, it goes to extremes – he would miss the middle one and go to the third door, which would take him into the bathroom. Those who entered the bathroom would take longer to come out, because from my bathroom opened another door, which led to my sauna.
Coming out of all those doors, they would feel so embarrassed that they would ask, “What happened to the door by which I came in? And I would say, “Always remember the golden mean, the middle one.” And it is not only true about those doors: in your life also, never go to the extremes. Always find the middle one, the golden mean. At the extremes, truth is always a half-truth; only in the middle is it complete, is it whole.” The Rebellious Spirit #17
Before the camp at Kulu Manali in September 1970 a friend one afternoon visited Osho in his flat at C.C.I. and enquired about the colours Laxmi was wearing and her new name. Responding to his enquiry Osho took the opportunity to initiate Laxmi into neo-sannyas for the second time:
“Sitting up in bed Osho took a fresh sheet of paper and wrote ‘Ma Yoga Laxmi, Secretary to Acharya Rajneesh’. Handling the sheet over to Laxmi Osho explained to Laxmi that with the death of a person the identity dies too. Similarly with a new birth a person gets a new name. “Laxmi you are reborn. A changed name will help you to disconnect with the life you have lived so far and commence a new life. When I initiate people each male will have a prefix ‘swami’ and each woman’s name will have prefix ‘ma’ to her name. Ma means mother. It denotes feminine attributes including warmth, love, soft and care. While swami is one who is a master of the self, one who has conquered the unconscious.” (Laxmi 2002)
This was confirmed when in Woodlands he appointed Ma Yoga Laxmi and also Swami Yog Chinmaya as his secretaries to help managing the growing community around him. The daily organizational matters were to be taken care of by Laxmi, whereas Chinmaya was to conduct classes and later oversee the expanding field of publishing. Laxmi was to become a long time key-figure in the growth of Bhagwan’s work, also in Poona later on as the managing trustee of the Rajneesh Foundation.
Born into a prominent Jain family with in Bombay, Laxmi had from her youth in the early 1960s had a keen interest in Indian politics to a great extent influenced by her father, a successful Gujarati businessman, who was all for India’s independence movement. As a member of the Indian National Congress Party he was close to many political leaders including Gandhi, Nehru and Patel, and Laxmi was being groomed for a political career. Laxmi heard Bhagwan for the first time at the Mahilla Vibhai (All-India Women’s Congress), when she was a secretary of its Bombay branch. Acharya Rajneesh was invited as a guest and lead speaker on the silver jubilee meeting, and from the very first sight of him something had clicked in her, and her destiny as his loving follower was a matter of fact.
A breakthrough in her commitment followed at a meditation camp in Nargol in 1969, where Bhagwan had said, “You don’t know why I have come, but I do!” making Laxmi ponder all night on her being, and she remained in a blissful state for three days. From now on she devoted herself entirely to Bhagwan’s vision, and she started accompanying him on his travels in the final months where he was still based in Jabalpur. During meditation a vision had appeared to her, and from now on she began wearing ochre-coloured clothes, the traditional colour of sannyas, several months later to be practised by Bhagwan when he began to initiate into neo-sannyas.
“Laxmi was petite, short and fair. A round face, high cheekbones, she had a pleasant appearance. Simple and well dressed, she was very conscious of personal hygiene. Her eyes would shine and face light up with a smile where ever Osho and his work were mentioned. She often waved her left hand excitedly while speaking to make her point. Her fragile appearance was no match to her calm yet passionate and extraordinary energy. She had a diminutive body but was a giant in terms of courage and fortitude.” (5)
Like her whole family Laxmi was devoted to Gandhian ideology, and Gandhi and other leaders of India’s freedom movement had visited her family country house in Kutch, Gujarat. She was herself weaving her own khadi for cloth, an iconic gesture widely propagated also among well-heeled Indians. One time when Osho was staying with her family in Bombay the issue came up and he asked her:
“What is average number of hours one spends on mundane affairs in routine? How many hours is one left with for other matters? Should one spend time in weaving for oneself? Instead should one ensure employment to millions who work in mills manufacturing cloth? If middle class people do not buy cloth then hundreds of workers will be laid off in mills. And their families would starve”. He added that Gandhi’s idealism would lead to poverty. Khadi is good and cool to wear but there is no need for all of us to weave it. Let the poor get employment in mills and industries. This would generate more money. Weaving khadi is good work in villages that do not have electricity as it provides work to people. But in cities industry should be allowed to flourish.”
Further he added,
“I am not trying to convert you. If this appeals to you only then you may stop weaving. In the time saved you work on your growth. Be more aware and meditative. Sit in silence, watching sunrise, listen to the birds twittering, and enjoy the fragrance of flowers. These will enrich you and you will feel more energetic. In the moment of death, social work, family, friends will not be of any help. Only your awareness and meditation will be your light.” (Laxmi 2002)
Shortly after this conversation Laxmi stopped weaving her hand spun khadi, realizing that her friends were only boosting her ego and praising her for her simplicity. India had now several cloth mills unlike in the days of Gandhi, where cloth was imported from Britain. And from now on she gradually renounced Gandhi’s idealism from her daily life. Her change of fabric from homespun khadi to terrycloth was noticed by Osho, and she asked if he would like new clothes, as cotton appeared wrinkled during his travel. He agreed, and soon Osho had new chaddars and lungis. But as remembered by Veena, he held on to his khadi blankets during Poona One and World Tour: “She [Vivek] explained that the only blankets Osho was comfortable with were cotton khadi blankets that he had been carrying around for years (a bit like Peanuts!) There were eleven of them, all different, and he liked to use them in a certain combination which necessitated her spreading them over the bed twice a day (for his midday nap and night)…These two blanket combos were carried around the world because, despite a few attempts at change, nothing ever suited him as well as they did. He had those same blankets for thirty years or more. Says much for the quality of khadi products!” (Veena 2012, pp. 115 & 118) (6)
Laxmi was the first to meet all new visitors and neo-sannyasins who came to see him at Woodlands as she handled his daily appointments. Laxmi remembers from the time at Woodlands:
“Several years passed by with this routine. Each day unfurled its bag of surprises. For Laxmi it was sheer joy to work for Osho. Laxmi would be at the front desk by eight to organize meetings for Osho and seeing visitors. The busiest hours were eight to eleven in the morning and three in the afternoon to eleven in the night. In the beginning Laxmi was his secretary, driver, cleaner, assistant and certainly a disciple. It was a one-woman show.
Osho’s cousin sister [Kranti] took personal care of him. In the event Osho’s cousin was away to Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, Laxmi stayed at Woodlands whenever. During her stay Laxmi would serve Osho’s meals and sleep in his room.” (Laxmi 2002)
His cousin sister Kranti had taken care of his daily needs, but after her marriage to Kabeer and their subsequent move to Ahmedabad, Mukti became in charge of the kitchen and Laxmi took care of the many other responsibilities needed to ease Osho’s life. In 1985, at the Ranch in Oregon, Osho was to say:
“One of my oldest sannyasins, Ma Yoga Laxmi, was the president of the Indian section of my sannyasins for almost ten years, and has been with me almost for twenty years.” From the False to the Truth #4
One night, while staying at Woodlands, Laxmi had an experience of witnessing herself, and from now on she was seeing Laxmi engrossed in activities in the third person and ever hence she was referring to herself in third person and never as self. According to Kul Bhusan:
“At a certain point of her inner journey, she dropped her identification with ‘I’ and referred to herself in the third person in speech as ‘Laxmi’ rather than as ‘I’. Since then, it became for her never to use the expression ‘I’ in her conversation and also in this book [Journey of the Heart] as she tells her story. She talks about herself and her experiences in the third person with only an occasional use of the first person (‘we’).” (7)
Osho and Laxmi have both narrated on the episode before his enlightenment, when he was meditating sitting in a tree, and how he suddenly felt his body falling to the ground, while he was having an out-of-the-body experience (OBE) and physically still sitting atop in the tree. Meanwhile two women passing the tree spotted the body and touched it on the ground. Instantly, Osho says, he returned to his body. After this he realized that feminine touch is potent to reestablish contact with one’s body, and ever since he had chosen women as his caretakers and grounding mediums.
Sheela has this description of Laxmi’s appearance at Woodlands: “His home was a three-room apartment in a high-rise building. His secretary Ma Yoga Laxmi (everybody called her Laxmi or Ma Laxmi) welcomed us from behind her desk, which stood at the entrance of the apartment…Laxmi – that’s how I addressed her when I got to know her better – was a small, petite woman who probably weighed no more than forty kilos. She looked very fragile. Her clothing consisted of a bright orange lungi, a kind of sarong worn by people in southern India, and a red kurta. She wore a red scarf over her head, like the hood of a nurse or a nun. Around her neck was a mala with a photo of Bhagwan. Her body appeared weak, but she walked, spoke, and moved with great energy. Her voice had strength. Her behaviour radiated confidence. She appeared astute and authoritarian.” (Sheela 2012, p. 116)
Laxmi and Vivek are both included in the description of the Bombay phase in The Sound of Running Water: “From this time onwards two disciples become the pivotal figures in the life of the new community. They are now the only disciples to have constant access to the Master. Their roles are beautifully complementary dovetailing the day-to-day administration of the outer, public organization with the more private world of the Master’s household. As Bhagwan’s secretary, Ma Yoga Laxmi has been largely instrumental in creating and administering the whole complex structure of activities around the Master, and she is the one who is directly responsible for their growth. Wild, volcanic and unpredictable, surrounded by the constant noise of action, Laxmi contrasts strikingly – at least at the surface – with the unhurried, slightly amused calm of Ma Yoga Vivek. Vivek is Bhagwan’s constant companion and is rarely known at this time by those in the world outside the grounds of the residence. She has the extraordinary and exacting task of looking after the Master’s household and his physical well-being. Virtually all directives from the Master are channelled through these two disciples and the influence of their very different life styles is clearly felt throughout the growing community.” (Asha 1980, p. 76)
As we can see from Laxmi’s writing on Bombay she had a variety of tasks to perform, some of them more risky than others. With him to Bombay Osho had brought his own car but soon the trust of Jeevan Jagruti Kendra found it appropriate to purchase one more car: A big white Chevrolet Impala (8), which was at once painted orange. They all went for a test drive on the first day with Laxmi driving sitting on cushions at the wheel due to her low stature. She was fond of cars and from age nine she had been driving one of the family’s imported cars around the family garage. When Osho asked her to change seat with him he speeded away on the highway at 140 kilometres per hour, until he abruptly applied the power brakes causing disturbances and minor bruises among the passengers inside the car. Then Laxmi resumed driving. (Laxmi 2002)
Video 1. Life is just a play. Remembering Ma Yoga Laxmi. #1 of 3.
Laxmi resigned as director of the Rajneesh Foundation in 1981 and met with her master in Oregon before she returned to India in 1985 diagnosed with cancer. She saw Osho for a short time when he was back in Bombay 1986 and Laxmi left her body in 1990.
In the first months in Woodlands many questions in Bhagwan’s lectures were asked by Swami Kriyanand Saraswati, who before joining Osho in 1966 had been a traditional Hindu saint living at a college of yoga in Bihar and searching for a guru to guide him. With every right we can say that he fell in love with Osho, and initiated into sannyas in the Kulu Manali camp September 1970 he was given the name Swami Yog Chinmaya. As Bhagwan’s secretary he became instrumental in the expanding publishing of the discourses held at Woodlands and elsewhere in the early 1970s.
In the Darshan Diary: The Buddha Disease (Monday 10 January 1977), we have an interview in Poona with Chinmaya, where he describes his first meetings and impressions of Osho in Jabalpur. First some editorial comments: “Chinmaya was one of the first disciples of Osho and has been living in the ashram with the two dozen or so other Indian sannyasins for some years now. Over the past year particularly, he has come to be regarded – not unkindly – as the ashram’s pundit, or Mullah Nasruddin alternately.
The questions he puts to Osho in the morning discourse are invariably lengthy and very intellectual, setting Chinmaya up for the inevitable zen Whack from Osho and friendly chafing from fellow-sannyasins!…[he] has established a reputation for being able to produce deeply significant and highly esoteric reasons for the most innocent of happenings around Osho!…
Coming from a family who followed the orthodox Hindu tradition, Chinmaya remained discontent with that way of life and started searching intently by himself…
Chinmaya: In 1965 I came across a very small article written by Osho, written by himself – he used to write articles for magazines and newspapers, Sunday articles. I came across this article – Love, non-violence, meditation and samadhi – and it struck me very deeply because I was well acquainted with previous literatures about yoga and Bhakti and had been in contact with yogis and wandering monks.
I immediately caught the quality and joyousness of Osho and felt that I had to meet this man. I read his first book of meditation The Path of Self-Realisation originally in Hindi, so I had grasped this basic attitude towards religious experience, about an approach to life that was against all techniques, all gurus, scriptures, traditions, patterns, disciplines, and I was a very staunch student of yoga so I became more curious. This man seemed to be very much a stirrer up of debate and yet very charismatic…
Before coming to Bombay to make his headquarters he had been talking to a group of 60.000 about being aware of socialism, and in the mornings he was taking meditation classes…
At the end of April, 1971, just before visiting Ahmedabad, Osho called me and said that a new phase of his spiritual work would start – the work between master and disciples. He said that we should find a new name for him and especially asked me to bring a list of possible names. He liked the name ‘Bhagwan’ and immediately ordered me to change his names in recent publications and called me one evening to announce the change of name in public and to explain why he had changed from Acharya Rajneesh to Bhagwan Rajneesh.
It caused much controversy all over India because the word ‘Bhagwan’ is highly respected; no man would dare to call himself God. Many articles appeared against the change and Osho received hundreds and hundreds of letters against it. After about one month he suddenly wrote a press note of about fifteen lines, saying:
‘I am nobody – only he is. Whatsoever the existence, the infinite reality, states, I just respond to it. So I’m not a person, not a Messiah, not a Teerthanka – but I am nothing less!’
The excitement continued for about eight months and then everybody settled…
Chinmaya became Osho’s secretary for three years, organising lectures, meditation programs and camps…
Chinmaya: I used to see him a lot at this time – I used to sit with him for approximately one to two hours a day and I used to have conversations and consultations with him. In the first early years I also used to travel with him for lectures and camps.
Before residing with him I was living in his ideas, his expressions, in the world of his words and, a little bit, the world of meditations. But when I started living with him, my relationship became of being to being, the words and his wisdom became secondary and closeness became deeper and deeper. Slowly, slowly I started dropping scholarship and knowledge and mind and became concerned with inner silence and spiritual questions…
The more he kills me, the more grateful I become…tears of gratefulness overflow from my eyes.” (9)
It is Chinmaya’s understanding, that Osho’ contribution in mysticism is a clear fulfilment linked to a long line of previous masters, and that after 1990 old sannyasins are now ego-positioning themselves as being Osho-near. The legacy of the secretary to an enlightened master is the fragrance of an awakened intellectual presence; it is an alchemic process and a transformation demanding a whole new directory to be written to encompass these highly charged matters. (10)
Chinmaya was living together with Osho at Woodlands, after he had stayed behind in I.C.C. Chambers for some months to take care of practical matters before moving to Woodlands. While Osho was in Oregon Chinmaya had his ashram in Nepal, which he sold after being with Osho in Kulu Manali 1986. He returned to Poona II and left in 1989 for Bageshwar in the Himalayas.
One of the first seekers to come from the West to meet Bhagwan in 1971 was Christine Woolf from Frankfurt am Main in Germany. She was initiated in Woodlands and received her new name Ma Yoga Vivek (meaning awareness in Sanskrit). As a reincarnation of Rajneesh’s teenage girlfriend Shashi (Gudiya), who had died in 1947, she was to remain the closest companion of Bhagwan, caring for his household and all his needs until his final days in Poona.
“I had a girlfriend when I was young. Then she died. But on her deathbed she promised me she would come back. And she has come back. The name of the girlfriend was Shashi. She died in ’47. She was the daughter of a certain doctor in my village, Dr. Sharma. He is also dead now. And now she has come as Vivek to take care of me. Vivek cannot remember it. I used to call Shashi Gudiya, and I started calling Vivek Gudiya also, just to give continuity. Life is a great drama, a great play – it goes on from one life to another.” The Path of Love #2
She met Bhagwan at the first meditation camp held at Mt. Abu, in April 1971, where she was breathless when watching the catharsis of the participants in the Dynamic Meditation. On request, she went to see Bhagwan in the Circuit House where he was staying, in a darshan consisting of periods of her passing out and Bhagwan’s guidance of how to enter the meditations offered during the camp. One other day when Bhagwan left the stage and walked to his car outside the camp area, he called Vivek over and put his arm around her shoulder, saying, “You’re going to live with me.” She was not able to sleep all night and many experiences were as explosions happening to her during that camp. It was totally beyond anything that she had ever read or felt before, and after the Mt. Abu camp she went back to Bombay and took sannyas on April 16th, 1971.
“Yesterday, someone came to me in the morning, and I told her to take sannyas. She was bewildered. She said to give her time to think and decide, at least two days. I said to her, “Who knows about two days? So much you require…take it today, this moment.” But she was not decisive, so I gave her two days. The next morning she came and took it. She has not taken two days, only one day. I asked her, “Why? You have been given two days, why have you come so soon? She said, “At three o’clock at night, suddenly I was awake, and something went deep within me telling me, “Go take sannyas.”
It is not a decision that she has made, but a decision that has been made by her very deep-rooted mind. But the moment she came in the room I knew her, I knew that mind which she came to know twenty hours later.
So when I say take sannyas, there are so many reasons with every person to whom I tell it. Either he has been a sannyasin in the past life, or somewhere in the long journey he has been a sannyasin.
I had given her another name yesterday, but today I had to change it because I gave her that name in her indecision. Now I am giving her a different name that will be a help to her. When she came this morning, she herself was decided. That other name was not needed at all. And I have given her the name Ma Yoga Vivek, because now the decision has come through her vivek – her awareness, her consciousness.” I Am the Gate #2 (16 April 1971)
Later on when she was asked whether she remembered anything about being with Bhagwan before, she replied: “No, not of being with Bhagwan. A few days after I took sannyas he was giving lectures in English in his room, in his bedroom. There were…maybe thirty people…There were so many people and everyone was talking, talking, talking. I was just sitting on the bed. Something went click! It went shoop, shuushh, and I suddenly went in…I then had an experience of one past life; it wasn’t with Bhagwan. I didn’t know anything about past lives…
I didn’t start living there and start looking for him, until ’73. We moved to Poona in ’74, so it must have been in ’73 that I totally looked after him and moved in.” (11)
Vivek was basically his caretaker and companion from 1973 and for the rest of his life, and it has been put forward that she was also engaged in some sexual relationship with him. She met her untimely death in December 1989 only one month before Osho left his body. In Oregon in the mid-80s Osho was to say:
“Look at Vivek, who has been with me longest – for fifteen years. When she first came, she was only twenty; now she is thirty-five. Almost half of her life she has been with me. And she has served me with an immense devotion, love care, such that you can only find in ancient stories about women, not in reality. From the morning when I wake up, till at night when I go to sleep, she is running all around. She has no time of her own, every moment she is devoted. Just to serve me is her joy.” From Bondage to Freedom #14
“Vivek has been for sixteen years with me. When she came she was only twenty years old; now she is thirty-six, almost twice the age. and all these sixteen years, day in, day out, she has been taking care of me with as much love as possible, with a deep devotion.” Beyond Psychology #24
“Bombay was an uncomfortable place to be in – dirty, hot, and very humid. I spent a lot of time just hanging out in Woodlands – the rather up-market apartment block in which Osho lived – and meeting the sannyasins who came in and out. Most were Indians but there were a few Westerners. The person who became my closest friend was a reserved, exquisite English woman, Nirvano.” (Veena 2012, p. 97)
Next to Laxmi, Chinmaya and Vivek other assistants to Osho included Narendra, Ma Taru, Ma Darshan, Ma Karuna, and Ma Jyoti who were all catering to his personal needs and requirements and staying at Woodlands at a temporary basis: “When Bhagwan was still living in Bombay, there were five people who lived with Him in His apartment and cared for His physical needs.” (Sheela 2012, p. 169)
Kranti. According to Chinmaya the name means awareness rather than revolution. Ever since the earliest days in Jabalpur Kranti was taking care of Rajneesh’s personal needs while they were staying together. She left with him for Bombay and continued to serve him as his personal assistant, while Rajneesh’s secretary Arvind Kumar Jain chose to remain in Jabalpur. Kranti was an educated teacher, and she had to go to Jabalpur some weeks every year in an official procedure to keep her teaching position. She didn’t want to give up her job, but gradually the understanding was shared that Laxmi had to precede Kranti as his closest assistant, partly due to her much better command of the English language. When Osho and Kranti were living in Woodlands, Osho returned from Ahmedabad with Kabeer and Krishna Saraswati, who stayed with Osho for three years (May 1971-74). Krishna Saraswati is now  living in an isolated place outside Ahmedabad and is still very dedicated to Osho. Osho was in many ways challenging Kranti’s moral conceptions, and gradually stepping back she felt at last she had to leave him with Kabeer. (12)
Arvind Kumar Jain, his former secretary from Jabalpur, only visited Bhagwan once at Woodlands, and he felt that his own change of status as former secretary, the change of name to Bhagwan and the introduction of sannyas, these matters were altogether forcing him to step back: “I simply went once to Bombay in 1971, when he was at Woodlands. But there I felt that I’ve got no need now in his mission, so I myself keep away from that mission. And I don’t have more contact physically with the mission of Osho, but for spirituality and for other divine work I was doing itself at Jabalpur.” (13)
Mukta. “Mukta…as far as I am concerned, you are the only sannyasin amongst millions who has loved me from the very first day you entered into my room some twenty years ago…I can remember the first day you entered into my room in Bombay. sitting on the sofa, I had a very clear perception that you had not come with Pratima, that sannyasin, but that Pratima had come with you, my future sannyasin. And that same day Mukta became a sannyasin. Such unwavering trust and love is the only miracle worth calling a miracle.” Satyam-Shivam-Sundram #27
In a letter to Mukta from 1971 Osho tells her that she has been related to Yoga Vivek in one of her past lives. A Cup of Tea #6
Sheela. Sheela was the youngest daughter of a Baroda based industrial family and her father, Ambalal Patel, a friend of Osho’s father. Whenever Osho was lecturing in Baroda he used to visit Ambalal Patel who was keen to introduce his children to men of high esteem. She was only partly involved in the household at Woodlands, but was later to become his secretary in late Poona One, where she was to replace Laxmi, and during the years in Oregon, U.S.A. she played a crucial role as Bhagwan’s secretary and spokeswoman.
“Sheela had come first to me because her husband was suffering from cancer, and the doctors in America had said that he cannot live more than two years. She was desperately in search of someone who could help.
Her husband, Chinmaya [other than his secretary], was a beautiful man. He remained with me, and it almost always happens, when you are facing death meditation is easy…
Sheela had to remain with him, so it was just accidental, her coming to me, her remaining with me.” From Bondage to Freedom #5
3.3 Neo-sannyas in Kulu Manali
Osho – at this time still called Acharya Rajneesh – began in 1970 to initiate seekers into neo-sannyas or discipleship, a path of commitment to self-exploration and meditation which does not involve renouncing the world or anything else. Osho’s understanding of ‘renunciation’ is a radical departure from the traditional Eastern cincept. To him it’s not the material world that needs to be renounced, but our past and the conditioning and belief systems that each generation imposes on the next. We are here dealing with an event of obvious significance, and to Chinmaya the great distinction in Osho’s work is to be found between before and after his introduction of sannyas in 1970. (14)
“Neo-Sannyas International is set up as world movement. Osho appoints presidents, vice presidents and secretaries for continents, countries, and for provinces in India.” (15)
“Those who were close to him during this period say that his radiance and force were such that one would begin to shake, cry, or feel a lot of energy just by being near him. People felt this very intensively during one of his meditation camps held in August, 1970. He would shake people’s beings just by seeing or touching them. He disclosed at this camp that he wanted to initiate into sannyas (discipleship) those who felt inwardly connected to him. Thus at a meditation camp organized by Jeevan Jagruti Kendra held from September 25 to October 5, 1970, at Kulu Manali (Himachal Pradesh), a beautiful resort in a valley of the Himalayas, here Bhagwan initiated six people into sannyas. He gave new names to these individuals and formally began the Neo-Sannyas International Movement.” (Joshi 1982, p. 95) (16)
Twenty-five friends left with Osho by flight from Bombay to Delhi in the morning on September 24th, and from Delhi they had to reach Kulu Manali in the mountains by car. When Osho did not like Ambassador cars his friends had arranged an Impala car for his journey. All day from 11 p.m. and throughout the night they continued the long journey with rain in between, until in the early morning they had a break at a roadside tea vendor where they could wash, have some drink and rest for a while. Osho always preferred soda instead of water for drinking, but unfortunately his soda had been left behind with Laxmi in another car far behind on the road. Some film songs could be played on cassettes and particularly one song had Osho’s liking: Tum Mujhe Yun Bhula Na Paaoge (You will not be able to forget me like this) from the Hindi movie Pagla Kahin Ka. Finally after completing the journey of about 20-22 hours, on the evening of September 25 they reached Kulu Manali and checked in at a hotel where the water supply was lacking, and their longing for a bath had to be met with buckets of water being carried in. Easy to understand that on their return journey to Bombay after the camp they preferred to go by car to Chandigarh only and from there by plane to Bombay via Delhi. The carrier turned out to be named Krishna. (Laheru 2012, p. 58)
At the Kulu Manali camp in his morning lecture on the 26th Osho was speaking on Krishna, and that morning he revealed to his listeners that his work was to jump to a new level. He explained a new asceticism, and he introduced a totally new understanding of the traditional concept of sannyas. Saffron clothes were to be the dress code of those initiated, who were also to wear a mala with his picture in a locket, and finally they would receive a new name from their master. Osho recalls the night before he started this new phase:
“The day I started initiating people, my only fear was, “Will I be able to some day change my followers into my friends?” The night before, I could not sleep. Again and again I thought, “How am I going to manage it? A follower is not supposed to be a friend.” I said to myself that night in Kulu Manali in the Himalayas. “Don’t be serious. You can manage anything, although you don’t know the ABC of managerial science.”
I recall a book by Bern, The Managerial Revolution. I read it not because the title contained the word revolution, but because the title contained the word managerial. Although I loved the book, naturally I was disappointed because it was not what I was looking for. I was never able to manage anything. So that night in Kulu Manali I laughed.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood #23
At the end of the morning lecture his secretary Laxmi announced that in the afternoon on the 26th an initiation ceremony would be held in the same meditation hall where they had now been listening to him, and those who would like to take sannyas had to wear a saffron sari, lungi or kurta.
Gyan Bhed narrates that sixteen meditators had signed up with Laxmi to be initiated, many of them Jainas. The first one was a woman Sharmistha who received the name Ma Anand Madhu, and to celebrate the occasion she was right on the spot handed over Osho’s golden watch, given to him by the astrologer from Benares who in his childhood had predicted that he would become enlightened. To the remaining initiates Osho was giving the love of his heart, and he presented them with a coconut as a symbol of memory. To all individuals Osho put his thumb on their forehead and electrically they received the divine energy and shaktipat. According to Gyan Bhed their names in Sanskrit were as follows:
Sharmistra of Ajol – Ma Anand Madhu
Kumari Lakshmi of Bombay – Ma Yog Laksmi
Kumari Bhagwati Adwani of Gorean – Ma Yog Bhagwati
Swami Kriyanand Saraswati – Swami Yog Chinmaya
Kumari Pushpa Chodan Di of Poona – Ma Yog Priya
Kumari Mangala Duggal of Poona – Ma Yog Yash
Kumari Meena Modi of Rajkot – Ma Yog Samadhi
Jasu Kothari of Rajkot – Ma Yog Prem
Sri Ranjit V. Parikh of Kalyan – Swami Anand Krishna
Sri Krishna V. Ringwala of Ahmedabad – Swami Anand Murti
Sri Swami Pragyanand of Bombay – Swami Anand Pragyan
Sri Babu Bhat Shah of Aazole – Swami Krishna Chaitanya
Sri Hasmukh Lal Rawal of Aazole – Swami Krishna Tirtha
Sri Harishchandra of Delhi – Swami Chaintanya Bharti
Sri Kam Bhai Shah of Kalyan – Swami Prem Murti
Sushree Zewre Shah of Bombay – Ma Krishna Karuna
Laxmi kept on noting down the new names of the initiated, knowing full well that this was only the beginning of something that was to grow in future years. As Osho was giving out new names on the spot according to the nature of the individual ascetic, she found it necessary to register all names used to prevent future repetition. Her protocol listing the names of the first 500 sannyasins was kept by Chinmaya and is now with Nikalank (1999).
Laxmi, who herself was initiated – in fact for the third time – at that occasion, mentions that Osho initiated twelve people at the camp, compared to the numbers six mentioned by Joshi and sixteen by Bhed, and she recalls:
“Shortly after this, 26th September 1970 marked the beginning of a new era. At a meditation camp at Manali, Himachal Pradesh, Osho initiated twelve people, including Laxmi, a western and a Japanese woman. Manali is a beautiful hill resort enveloped by tall mountains. Laxmi liked these lush green mountains scantily populated with sparse residential houses. High peaks stood firm at a distance. The more distant virgin peaks were clad in snow. There was a feeling of vastness and expanse in these mountains. Deep gorges and canyons seemed to have bottomless depths.
Neo-sannyasins were advised to wear lose clothes particularly during meditation. The twelve neo-sannyasins were given new names written on a letterhead each personally by Osho. Asked to wear a mala, with a locket of Osho’s picture, the sannyasins were explained its significance. They were told like beads of the mala strung in one thread, similarly all the paths of spirituality led to one absolute and ultimate truth. Therefore it was meaningless to argue with someone on the credibility of any single path. Osho’s picture in the locket was a constant reminder that he was faceless, a non-entity, a commoner, a nobody.” (Laxmi 2002)
At the Kulu Manali camp there were a little more than fifty participants in the very intimate gathering. Dynamic Meditation was first thing in the morning, and discourses were held in the morning after meditation as well as in the evening. Osho would return to his room in the morning, and usually some disciples would sit in around Osho while he talked spontaneously to them. Osho announced that after the camp, he would like to see a meditation centre happen at Aazole, and that Swami Krishna Chaitanya and Ma Anand Madhu were to look after the center, where those who had adopted sannyas could live in a commune and pass on the message of meditation and love to other people. In years to come Osho were to speak over and over again on the relationship between a master and his disciples (guru-shishya or guru-chela).
On the following day he delivered a speech on the implications of his sannyasins’ transformation removing any doubts and illusions they may have had concerning their forthcoming initiation. The camp was concluded with lectures on the way of Krishna and his personality, and these were later published titled Krishna Smriti. After returning to C.C.I. Chambers in Bombay about 10-12 people were from now on initiated in his morning and evening gatherings. (Bhed 2006, p. 309)
Sw. Rudra has these annotations on the discourses on Krishna: “The Indian mystic Krishna lived many centuries ago, yet in him Osho sees a man far ahead of his time, whose time, even now, is still to come. Where most orthodox religions are anti life, Krishna’s revolutionary insight is that a really religious life is one that is enjoyed and embraced fully. This series of discourses is devoted entirely to questions from seekers, and in his responses Osho gives glimpses of the vast joy to be found when life is embraced fully.” (17)
In his introduction to the first English edition Krishna. The Man and His Philosophy (1985) Swami Anand Madyapa writes: “These discourses were given fifteen years ago to small groups of seekers during a meditation camp at Kulu Manali, India, near the foot of the Himalayas. They are just as fresh, as full of meaning and relevance to our lives today as when Bhagwan gave them years ago. When Bhagwan speaks of Krishna, He speaks not only of Himself but of the potential, the possibility that exists for each of us to become a dancing, celebrating Krishna – free to be strong, full of fire yet loving and compassionate; free to live life now, today, enjoying and accepting life’s contradictions.”
A total of 21 talks on Krishna, Krishna Meri Drishti Mein, were delivered at the Kulu Manali camp September 26 to October 5, 1970, but the first discourse is from C.C.I. Chambers in Bombay held on July 20, 1970, where Bhagwan is introducing his listeners to the new series on Krishna:
“He accepts life in all its facets, in all its climates and colors. He alone does not choose; he accepts life unconditionally. He does not shun love; being a man he does not run away from women. As one who has known and experienced God, he alone does not turn his face from war. He is full of love and compassion, and yet he has the courage to accept and fight a war. His heart is utterly non-violent, yet he plunges into the fire and fury of violence when it becomes unavoidable. He accepts the nectar, and yet he is not afraid of poison. In fact, one who knows the deathless should be free of the fear of death. And of what worth is that nectar which is afraid of death? One who knows the secret of non-violence should cease to fear violence. What kind of non-violence is it that is scared of violence? And how can the spirit, the soul, fear the body and run away from it? And what is the meaning of God if he cannot take the whole of this world in his embrace?
Krishna accepts the duality, the dialectics of life altogether and therefore transcends duality. What we call transcendence is not possible so long as you are in conflict, so long as you choose one part and reject the other. Transcendence is only possible when you choicelessly accept both parts together, when you accept the whole. That is why Krishna has great significance for the future.” Krishna. The Man and His Philosophy #1
This was definitely not the last time Osho would spellbound his Hindu listeners with his rendering of Bhagavatapurana and its tales of Krishna’s childhood and youth in a village of cowherds, Gokula near the forest of Vrindavan, where his charm and beauty won the favours of the cowherds’ daughters. Most famous of these was Radha, and their relationship has in Hinduism a profound symbolism, meaning the love felt by the soul for the divine and the interplay between the soul and its master.
After leaving the Kulu Manali camp Osho went to Bombay and then to Amritsar, and when he returned to Bombay in October 1970 his residence had been shifted from C.C.I. Chambers to Woodlands Apartments. (18)
Only a short time after the initiations at Kulu Manali Osho’s beloved grandmother Nani was at her deathbed. On October 7th, 1970, she expired at the age of eighty, and Osho went to Gadarwara one last time to perform the death ceremony teharvi, thirteen days after death as he had promised her to do. In Osho Hi Osho (Bhed 2001) Nikalank Bharti is sharing his memories on how Nani’s death was conveyed to them very vividly in a dream, four days before they at the same time received both a postcard and a telegram telling them that Nani had expired. Osho narrates from the Kulu Manali camp:
“My grandmother was right in saying I would not have friends…only to the point when I started initiating people into sannyas. She was alive for just a few days after I initiated the first group of sannyasins in the Himalayas. I had particularly chosen the most beautiful part of the Himalayas, Kulu Manali – “the valley of the gods” as it is called. And certainly it is a valley of gods. It is so beautiful that one cannot believe it, even when one is standing in the valley itself. It is unbelievably true. I had chosen Kulu Manali for the first initiation of twenty-one sannyasins. I would have liked to initiate my grandmother, but she was in the village of Gadarwara. I even tried to contact her, but Kulu Manali is nearly two thousand miles from Gadarwara.” (Urmila 2006, p. 159)
A considerable number of Osho’s discourses have included his answering of the many questions being raised on sannyas:
“My sannyas is life-affirmative. Nothing like this has ever flowered in the earth. It is a totally new phenomenon. All the old ideas of sannyas were based on escapism, or renunciation. My sannyas has nothing to do with escape. It is against escape, because to me God and life is synonymous. It has never been that God and life are synonymous. God has always been put against life; you had to drop life to attain God. And I say to you, you have to live as totally as possible, as intensively as possible, as passionately as possible if you want to know God at all…
The old concept of sannyas all over the world was to give you a rigid discipline, to give you a character, to give you a certain form, a pattern, a lifestyle. My sannyas is not like that at all – it is a radical change. I don’t give you any character, because to me the man of character is a dead man. I would like to take all character from you so you are left in a creative chaos…so each moment one has to respond to life, not out of a certain pattern…Let this sannyas be a great love affair with life itself…and there is no other God. If you can find life, you have found God…” (Joshi 1982, p. 96)
And further he has commented:
“To me, sannyas does not mean renunciation; it means a journey to joy, bliss. To me, sannyas is not any kind of negation; it is a positive attainment. But up to now, the world over, sannyas has been seen in a very negative sense, in the sense of giving up, of renouncing. I, for one, see sannyas as something positive and affirmative, something to be achieved, to be treasured…For me, sannyas has no limitations, no inhibitions, no rules and regulations. For me, sannyas does not accept any imposition, any regimentation, any discipline. For me, sannyas is the flowering of man’s ultimate freedom, rooted in his intelligence, his wisdom. I call him a sannyasin who has the courage to live in utter freedom, and who accepts no bondage, no organization, no discipline whatsoever.” (Urmila 2006, p. 158) (19)
Jyoti is describing how Osho in Woodlands bought home a big pile of orange cloth to make sure that Laxmi, Karuna and Jyoti all had their dresses ready for the camp. He initiated her right away the following morning, while she was standing in her orange lunghi with Veena in his room at Kulu Manali before discourse. Jyoti is very reluctant to wear the orange colour at her office when back in Bombay:
“A special meeting is arranged in the evening in His living room, where He explains to us about His Neo-Sannyas movement. I leave the meeting with a heavy heart. I can’t digest this heavy dose. We have to live in our homes, continue our jobs and wear orange clothes and malas around our neck. It sounds easy but does not seem practical. I am unable to sleep the whole night. When I visualize the whole scene of going to my home and office in orange clothes, my mind simply freaks out.” (Jyoti 1994 #58)
Bhagwan has in details repeatedly explained the implications of the new name, the colours and the mala to be worn by his sannyasins.
“I give you a new name only to make you feel that names are not important. Your old name can simply disappear because it was only a label, it can be changed. You are not the name.” I Am That # 6
The ochre colour: “One reason is that it makes you feel just like the sunrise in the morning. It is the color of the sun rising; the rays of the sun in the morning are ochre-colored…The color creates a living atmosphere – someting alive and vibrating.” I Am the Gate (1978), p. 41
The mala is clearly to be distinguished from the cross:
“The mala represents life. The cross represents death. The mala represents a certain art of making life a garland…The mala represents time as beads, visible, and the thread as eternity, the invisible.” The Book of the Books, vol.6 #4
In the early days of neo-sannyas two different forms were offered the newly initiated sannyasins. Either a life long sannyas commitment wearing the saffron dress, or a more time-bond sannyas wearing white clothes. As remembered by Laxmi and Ageh Bharti:
“Meanwhile in Mumbai several people were being initiated. Initially there were two options available for sannyas. There were sadhus initiated who wore white and continued living as householders. In some cases people were initiated temporarily for a few months in order to enable them to adjust to a new lifestyle. Sannyasins were initiated for long-term. Later the title sadhu and temporary sannyas were dropped. Only sannyas was offered and all became sannyasins.” (Laxmi 2002)
“He told those [at 2nd Mt. Abu camp September 1971] who are not courageous enough to wear saffron clothes and yet want to take sannyas, could wear white clothes and ‘mala’ that had to be kept visible from outside. However, such sannyasins would be called ‘Sadhu’ and ‘Sadvi’. Later, when s(he) would gather courage, s(he) could then wear ochre-red clothes. Then ‘Swami’ and ‘Ma’ name would be given to them. Moreover, it was hoped that finally every Sadhu (Sadhvi) would become ‘Swami’ and ‘Ma’ one day.” (Bharti 2007, p. 217)
“So let there be one thousand, two thousand sannyasins, then there will be an atmosphere of easiness, then people will know that there is nothing to be afraid of. First this atmosphere of “there is nothing to be afraid of” must come. Then we will create that step. We can call it sadhu or bhikshu or…I am thinking to call it sadhu. They will be in a white robe with a mala. The robe will be white with a mala – sadhu and sadhvi. And that too will be allowed only for a particular period, for example, for one year. Then he will have to decide either to go back, or to go on. It cannot be prolonged forever – because this is only a step, so we cannot allow anyone to stay on that step continuously. He must go on or back down. So this will be for a period: for six months or for one year. In that one year a person will gather enough courage to jump. No one will go back. In one year we will think about it. You can make provision for it in the constitution, but we will allow it after one year.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #14
“Prasanta [his wife] knew that at that time Osho allowed some of his people to choose between wearing either orange or white – although he’d specifically told me to change to orange – so she asked him: “Him being at home in orange clothes dosen’t look good” – she was referring to the Hindu custom where traditional sannyasins wear bright orange to show their renunciation of work and family – “why can’t he wear white, like your other sannyasins?”
“Don’t be worried,” Osho said. “You will be even better off than before. In orange clothes he won’t do anything bad – he won’t go to a movie, he won’t go to a pub, he won’t smoke…That’s why orange clothes are better than white!”
At that moment I understood again what a great multi-layered device these clothes were. Orange makes everyone look at you and that brings awareness to yourself in the crowd, you become an individual and therefore more responsible. Now he was giving another slant to it.” (Teertha in Savita 2014, p. 52)
Supplementing the large number of sannyas initiations at meditation camps initiations also happened at Woodlands on a daily basis:
“In those days, at Woodlands in Bombay, I used to give sannyas to people alone in my room.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood #10
“I asked Laxmi, the small lady in orange, if I could see Bhagwan to be initiated. While entering his room, I had a quick, intimate glimpse of him closing a book and putting it on a shelf nearby…Still crying and sobbing I left the room…I was lead to the library downstairs where a cup of hot chai waited for me, as well as a book by Bhagwan: “I Am the Gate”. “I am glad I can now write your new name into it,” Deeksha said, while inspecting the initiation certificate to check on the spelling…
The meditation camp [at Mount Abu] was for me a major revolution in body and mind through the Dynamic meditation, the Kirtan dancing and Tratak jumping on one side and the two daily discourses, which I kept commenting in my head with: “Of course I knew that all along, why hasn’t someone else said that before?” I travelled back to Bombay with the rest of the group (Osho had his own carriage on the same train which gave me a warm feeling) and felt so light in my body that it was easy to rest on the hard metal rack high up in the compartment.” (Ma Yoga Punya in: Bhagawati 2010, p. 128) (20)
At a rare occasion Bhagwan initiated his own mother into sannyas early in 1971, when he had requested her to come to Bombay from Gadarwara to spend some time and have a look at the ocean for the first time in her life. It was on the eighteen day of the Jain religious festival called Payushan in Patkar Hall on Marine Lines that in the evening he gave her a new name, Ma Amrit Saraswati and also her second son who had gone with her received his sannyas name Swami Nikalank Bharti. Their mutual touching of each other’s feet was a moving event for those present, and she has later expressed her double feelings of being both a mother and a devotee. (Joshi 1982, p. 105)
“When my mother came to be initiated by me, I touched her feet because she proved to be a rare mother. To bow down to your own son is really arduous and hard. It is almost impossible to touch the feet of your own son – it needs great courage. It needs great risk to drop all your ego. I touched her feet not because she is my mother, I touched her feet because she dared! I touched her feet for the reason…I was immensely happy. It is rare, happens only once in a while. And I touched her feet also for another thing: because after that she would not be my mother and I would not be her son. That account has to be closed as beautifully as possible.
It was a drastic step. She had always thought about me as her son. Now, no more. Now she would be my disciple and I would be her Master. Up to then she had been giving advice to me, she had been directing me – “Do this and don’t do that.” Now all that is not possible. Now I will be directing her, I will be giving advice to her, I will be ordering her to do this or that. The whole situation is going to be radically changed. She risked.
I respected her courage, I respected her egolessness. And the account has to be closed beautifully: this was the last time I would be a son to her; it will remain in her consciousness forever. Since that moment all the ties have been broken. It was the beginning of a rare relationship. I touched her feet not only because she is my mother. I touched her feet because she dared, she dared a lot. She dropped her ego.” Wisdom of the Sands #8
And it happened over the years that all members of Osho’s family were to take the step and become his disciples:
“To be a mother is nothing special. Every woman is doing it and all the animals are doing it. But to be a mother and yet have courage enough to listen to one’s own son is something special and rare and in that way my family is rare. My father was a disciple, my mother, my brothers, my uncles – my whole family.
It needs guts. They have taken a great step.” The Last Testament, vol.5 #2
Babulal, his father, remembers: “He actually started giving sannyas in Manali, in the foothills of the Himalaya, and we got to know it through others since we never had a chance to visit him there. However, we were happy to know that his spiritual movement was growing, that disciples were coming to him from all over the world. All this was for us a source of great happiness…even though it was not yet clear to us what it was all about! And what to say about me, that I have been the last member of the family to ask for sannyas from my son. He never invited me to take sannyas, as he never invited anybody of our family, and I think nobody in the world; he was just waiting in silence for each one of us to become ready, with our own timing and inclination.
My wife had invited me many times to take sannyas from him, but I always used to answer that I wasn’t mentally ready for it, even if sometimes I would go to listen to his discourses, but nothing else! I even participated in some of his Meditation Camps, but it took me over two years to decide for this adventure, until one day in 1975…I was here in this room, there was a full moon in the sky, and at dawn I was sitting in meditation as usual, when suddenly my body started trembling and shaking on it’s own, and it went on for a couple of hours. Finally when I came back to my senses my sons asked me what was going on, and I told them that what I’d been waiting for years had just started happening to me; somebody decided to inform Osho, and even though it was only four in the morning, they woke him up to tell him about the latest events. After a few minutes he appeared in my room, and I bowed down to him and I touched his feet…and Osho bowed himself and touched my feet, so I bowed again and I touched his feet once more, starting to cry with no control, and at this point he asked Laxmi, his secretary in those years, to give him her mala, and once he had the mala in his hands he placed it around my neck like a garland of love…and this is how I became a sannyasin.
The next day Osho sent me some orange robes through my daughter Niklam [?], and my new name, ‘Devateerth Bharti’…Now there is no more father and no more son. Now I am a disciple and he is my Master.” (21)
The following early story by Swami Amrit Pathik on his way to initiation maybe recognized by other followers too: “At the time I took sannyas (on June 6, 1971), I was a lonely Peace Corps volunteer from New York…A villager, Maheesh Joshji, had given me a book, Path of Self-Realization, by Osho, who was then called Acharya Rajneesh, and I had discovered Osho’s address in Bombay (now Mumbai) through some relatives of His in Jabalpur, a few hours away from Kapurdha by bus.
In June 1971, I met Osho in His apartment at Woodlands in Bombay. His serenity and His love were overwhelming. One morning, another American had taken sannyas, and Osho turned to me, saying something like, “Why not you, too?” During the day, it struck me that this was an offer I could not refuse. So a few days later, I appeared in my newly purchased orange robes, and Osho gave me sannyas and the name Swami Amrit Pathik. He said He would be with me when I returned to the village. A few months later, in October, after hopping on and off a variety of trains, I landed in Mt. Abu for my first meditation camp, where Osho orchestrated all the meditations – Dynamic, Kirtan, Tratak – amidst the hills and temples of this ancient place. As the meditation camp came to an end, I was among the many who stood on the side of the road as Osho was driven to the railroad station. When the car passed me, He reached out and gave me a flower – a symbol of His love forever implanted in my heart.” (22)
Veena recalls from Woodlands one incident where five blonde good-looking German guys on their travels in India had come to see the ‘orange’ guru and how Laxmi had told them that they may go in and see Osho: “I waited in anticipation. It was always interesting to see how newcomers responded to Osho. Finally they trouped out, all laughing, all with malas around their necks.
Sitting down to partake of Laxmi’s proffered cups of tea they told me what had happened. After a long chat with Osho he introduced the topic of sannyas and found that they were all quite willing to take the step. Osho leaned forward in his chair and said something like: ‘Das is a German word, no?’ They agreed that it was. Then Osho smiled and said. ‘It is a Hindi word too. It means ‘devoted to’.’ Then he pointed to each one in turn and said, ‘So – Haridas…Govindas…Anandadas…Krishnadas… and Ramdas!'”(Veena 2012, p. 70)
When Osho started initiating people into sannyas not unexpectedly this was an act provoking many who knew him. To most Indians he was in this matter showing contempt to the rituals and sacredness of the Hindu tradition, and they were not holding back when showing him their opinion of his infamy.
“But as I left the university and I initiated the movement of sannyas, a tremendous change happened. My initiation of the movement of sannyas created trouble. None of my colleagues – teachers who had been with me for years – would even come to see me. Some were Hindus, some were Mohammedans, some were Jainas – and I was a rebellious spirit. I belonged to nobody.
And the people who used to come to me – I was still teaching the same meditation – started spreading opposition to me, because now it was a question of their religion, their tradition, their church. They did not even come to understand that I am doing the same thing. Just because my people have started wearing red clothes does not mean that my teachings has changed. I just wanted to give an identity to my people so that they could be known all over the world and they could be recognized everywhere.
But they stopped coming – not only teachers but even students who had loved me. And then I saw that all our love and all our respect, all our friendship is so shallow that if our tradition, our convention, our old, ancient beliefs are in some way attacked, all our love, all our friendships disappears.
You will be surprised: even the friend who had given me his bungalow and had the marble temple made especially for me sent a message – he could not face me himself – he sent a message from his manager that because I did not belong to any ancient path, I should not use his place for my meditation school…as if anything old is bound to be gold. Most probably the older it is, the more rotten it is.
I sent him a message, “I will leave your house and the temple, and you can do whatsoever with it. But I am with the sunrise; I am not with the sunset. And I want the whole world to be with the new and not with the old.”
Truth always moves with the fresh and the young and the innocent. It dies with the knowledgeable, the scholarly, the clever, the so-called wise – who are really otherwise.” The Transmission of the Lamp #7
“I flew into Bombay during the July monsoon of 1973 and went directly to Woodland Apartments on Peddar Road. But I had been up all night, so I was told to come back, freshly bathed.
I went into his bedroom the next day, all spruced up, and sat on the floor in front of his chair – I was the only person there with him – and almost immediately he asked me to move closer and close my eyes. Before I knew what was happening, he had put something over my head which I felt bump against my chest.
Oops! This was not what I had in mind…I remember thinking.
It was a wooden mala with a locket dangling from it, just like the one around the neck of my erstwhile rival.
Oh wel. Let’s give it a try!
Then Osho sat back and started talking about the meaning of Satyamurti, the new name he was giving me.” (Satyamurti in Savita 2014, p. 60)
“On request Bhagwan Shree was also initiating people by sending them the Rajneeshi garland and their new name of sannyas. For those who had taken sanyas, it was necessary to wear the saffron clothes even in offices, schools and in their shops. These persons had to face a bitter opposition from all but they were determined to face all of it smilingly.” (Bhed 2006, p. 350)
The introduction of neo-sannyas is a phenomenon of bhakti (devotional) yoga, where the path of the devotee is based on a deep and intimate connection with the guru in what may be called, as Osho himself has been doing for years, a pure love affair with the master. His device of making his disciples wearing a locket with his photo may also be understood in this context.
Initiations took also place in Jabalpur, and Nikalank is in Osho Hi Osho remembering from his work as an engineer and meditator in Jabalpur together with Amit, also a brother of Osho’s. According to this excerpt Nikalank continues to share some experiences of energy transmission from Osho in Bombay to the participants in the Jabalpur meditations during sannyas initiation: “I was running a small industry of precast concrete in the name of Jyoti Udyog. In that building in a room separately, I had established a meditation centre. About 10 to 12 friends used to come there for meditation. At that time with the permission of Osho, I myself used to initiate sanyas and Osho had already given me some malas. But I only initiate sanyas when I myself feel in deep meditation that I had got the indication from Osho to initiate him.” (23)
New sannyas names and their relation to the sannyasins’ former names was a question bound to pop up:
“You ask: You address certain sannyasins by our original name, never using our sannyas name. Not only this, but you affix to our name “ji,””Babu,”Bhai” – a sign of respect shown to elders! – and I feel embarrassed.
Govind Siddhart, this is true. There are a few people who I have known long before the initiation into sannyas started. Even before sannyas they were sannyasins by their attitude, by their gratefulness. So when they took sannyas, as far as I was concerned, there was no change. They were already sannyasins to me. They were unaware of it, but to me there was no change. This was the reason that I continued their old names.
For example, I am addressing Govind Siddhart for the first time; otherwise I have always called him Lashkarji, Kakubhai, Falibhai, Jayantibhai…I have known them for so many years before sannyas, and there has been no drastic change. They smoothly moved into sannyas, so smoothly that I don’t remember a few of their sannyas names. I don’t know what is the name of Falibhai, and there is no need. Falibhai will become enlightened as Falibhai. He must know his sannyas name, but I have forgotten because I have never used it. And that was the case with Lashkarji. Today I have used Govind Siddhart before you all, but from tomorrow – again Lashkarji! Names don’t matter.” The Rajneesh Upanishad #14 (24)
3.4 Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
The name change from Acharya Rajneesh to the honorific Bhagwan seems to have been anticipated by Ageh Bharti already in Jabalpur before 1970:
“During Jabalpur days, He was known as Acharya Shri Rajneesh, but in my poems (published in ‘Yukrand’ magazine) I went on addressing Him as Bhagwan.
Many lovers started to criticize and condemn me. Many letters were received in which they wrote that I was going against the teachings of Acharya Shri and that I wanted to make people worship Him. A young man from Bombay used to get very angry. In his letters, he almost threatened to kill me if I called Him Bhagwan again. Another Osho devout from Vadodara had serious objection to this form of glorification…
Lastly, one day I enquired Osho, ‘I am being opposed by lovers continuously. Am I committing a mistake by calling you Bhagwan?‘
Osho observed, ‘You are doing the right thing. Let them oppose, you continue writing as you have been writing.’
Hearing this, I felt unburdened reverted to writing with greater punch and confidence.” (Bharti 2007, p. 44)
But it was not until May 1971 in Bombay, at a time his work was entering a new dimension, that the epithet Bhagwan (The Blessed One) was proposed by Chinmaya and accepted by Rajneesh. This month was also the time when Bhagwan for the first time publicly acknowledged his enlightenment (See chapter 2.2 in Jabalpur section).
“It is a symbolic name, however, and signifies qualities related to heart, love, and devotion. It was meant to symbolize heart-centered work, work that henceforth would happen more in terms of love, in tune with the spirit of Bhakti, Sufism, Tantra. The new dimension that Bhagwan wanted to point out was this dimension of heart or love. His emphasis was no longer on the intellect, on appealing to large numbers of people. The teacher (Acharya) had communicated enough through the head; he now wanted communion to take place heart to heart with those who were in love with him. From then on Acharya Rajneesh came to be known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.” (Joshi 1982, p. 111) (25)
From many of his followers criticism was raised against the new epithet and name Bhagwan, blaming him of exposing himself to a more godly status which was not acceptable. Some who had come to him only to gather knowledge were unable to follow him and many automatically disappeared from his movement and a new kind of people started arriving. The crowds disappeared overnight, as the word ‘Bhagwan’ functioned like an atomic explosion dispersing those egos, who could not follow his calling himself Bhagwan nor the new dimension in his work he was entering.
In The Discipline of Transcendence Bhagwan has at length elaborated on the connotations of his name change and his core message that everyone is potentially divine:
“The Indian term for God, Bhagwan, is even better than God. That word is tremendously meaningful. It simply means “the blessed one,” nothing else. Bhagwan means “the blessed one” – one who is fortunate enough to recognize his own being…
“You ask me: Why do you call yourself Bhagwan? Why do you call yourself God?
Because I am – and because you are. And because only god is. There is no other way, there is no other way to be. You may know it, you may not know it. The only choice is between ignorance and knowledge. The choice is not between whether to be a god or not to be a god; the choice is whether to recognize it or not. You can choose not to call, but you cannot choose not to be. But it has to be understood, because it is one of the most radical standpoints about life…
Calling myself Bhagwan, I would like simply to say to you to gather courage, reclaim your wings…the whole sky is yours. But without wings it is not yours. Reclaim your wings and don’t allow anybody to condemn you. Respect yourself! If you cannot respect yourself, you cannot respect anybody else. When you respect yourself, a great respect arises. Then you respect the tree, the rock, the man, the woman, the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars. But those ripples of respect arise only when you have started respecting yourself.
I call myself Bhagwan because I respect myself. A am tremendously fulfilled as I am. I am the blessed one. I have no discontent. That is the meaning of Bhagwan – when you have no discontent you don’t desire anything in the future; your present is so full, overflowing…when there is no hankering.
That’s why we call Buddha Bhagwan. He has denied God in his cosmology. He says there is no God, no creator. Christians become very puzzled when Buddha says there is no God, no creator. Then why do Buddhists call him Bhagwan?
Our meaning of Bhagwan is totally different. We call him Buddha, Bhagwan, because he has now no more desires. He is contented. He is happy and at home. He has come home – that is his blessedness. Now there is no conflict between him and existence. He has fallen in accord, in harmonia. Now he and the whole are not two separate things. They vibrate in the same way. He has become part of the orchestra of the whole. And by becoming a part of this great orchestra of stars and trees and flowers and winds and clouds and seas and sands, he has become blessed – we call him Bhagwan.
When I call myself Bhagwan, I am simply saying to you, “Look at me – the roses have bloomed. And what has happened to me can happen to you. So don’t feel desparate and don’t feel depressed. Look at me and your hope will come back, and you will not feel hopeless.”” The Discipline of Transcendence, vol.2 #4
In the process towards choosing the new epithet Bhagwan his secretary Chinmaya is the key person:
“A few years back, one day I called Yoga Chinmaya and told him to find a new word for me because I was going to function in a new way. I was known all over the country as the acharya. The acharya means a master, a teacher, and I was a teacher, and I was teaching and traveling. That was just the introductory part of my work; that was to invite people. Once the invitation reached, I stopped traveling. Now those who want, they should come to me. I have gone to their home, knocked on their doors. I have told them that I am here and any day the desire arises in them, they can come. I will wait. I have shown them the path towards me.
And then one day I called Yoga Chinmaya and I told him, ‘Now find a new word for me because the word “teacher” will not be enough.’
He brought many names for the new function that I was going to take. He said, ‘Maharishi, great seer.’ I said, ‘That is comparative – seer and great seer, rishi and maharishi. No, that is not good. And everybody cannot be a seer. It is a talent. A few people can become seers, everybody cannot become a seer.’
Then he said, ‘Paramahansa, the great swan? Again it is comparative. And it is a symbol of hierarchy. In certain old sannyasin orders, Paramahansa is the peak – but it shows graduation, step by step. It is mathematical, calculative.
He said, ‘Then what about Avadhuta? That too is another comparative term, belonging to another sect of sannyasins. It is again parallel to Arhat and Paramahansa, and belongs to Tantrikas. Avadhuta is their last stage. But it shows achievement.
I said, ‘Find something which is universal. Find something which is not relative.’ And then he found ‘Bhagwan’.” The Discipline of Transcendence, vol.2 #4
Bhagwan has commented extensively on the etymology of his new epithet. After explaining the two other words for God in Sanskrit and in Hinduism: Paramatma (the supreme soul) and ishwar (the richest), he continues with the word bhagwan, the third word for God, after making the remark that English language is offering only one word for the phenomenon of God:
“Bhagwan is very difficult to understand or to be explained in any other language. In Hindu scriptures …remember that, because bhagwan is used by two kinds of people in India: Hindus, one; Jainas and Buddhists, two. Jainas and Buddhists don’t believe in a God, still they use the word bhagwan. For Buddha, Buddhists use bhagwan – Bhagwan Gautam Buddha. And Jainas also don’t believe in a God, but for Mahavira they use Bhagwan Vardhman Mahavira. So their meaning is totally different.
Hindus are very down to earth. You will be surprised, even shocked, but the original root in Hinduism of bhagwan is bhag – bhag means “vagina.” You could not have imagined! And bhagwan means “one who used the vagina of the universe to create” – the creator. Hindus worship the female vagina and the male phallic symbol, shivalinga. If you have seen a shivalinga, the marble emerging is just a symbol of the male sexual organ, and it is standing in the vagina. Underneath it, if you have looked, there is a marble vagina, out of which it is emerging. Hindus have worshipped it symbolically, and it seems meaningful in their reference, that any creation is bound to be the meeting of the male and the female, yin and yang. So for the “creator” they use the word bhagwan. But the origin of the word is very strange.
Buddhists and Jainas don’t believe in God, don’t believe that anybody created the world, but they also use the word bhagwan. They have a different origination for their word. In the Jaina and Buddhist reference, bhag means “fortune”, and bhagwan means “the fortunate one, the blessed one;” one who has attained to his destiny, who has matured.” From Unconsciousness to Consciousness #3; (Sarito 2000, p. 141)
“It does not mean God to me, it does not mean the creator, it simply means the blessed one – one who is at home, has arrived; one who has found, one who has encountered himself. Then there is nothing else but blessings, and blessings go on raining over him. Day in, day out, the blessing goes on showering. So remember, bhagwan has nothing to do with God. It has certainly something to do with godliness, because that is what arriving is: coming home. That is what makes you the blessed one.” From Unconsciousness to Consciousness #3 (Sarito 2000, p. 142) (26)
The epithet-issue was addressed also in a question raised spontaneous during a lecture in the hall of Palm Beach School in Bombay on 22nd of August 1972. At this occasion Bhagwan smilingly and calmly answered the question thrown to him from an agitated listener during his speech: “Why do you call yourself Bhagwan? You answer my question if you have the courage.” Bhagwan said:
“I have never claimed, but if you say so, I do accept that I am Bhagwan. I am saying so because it is not possible to become any thing other than Bhagwan. You are also Bhagwan. There is nothing else other than Bhagwan in the world.
May be, you don’t know that you are Bhagwan, but he, who does not know or has forgotten that he is a Bhagwan must explore. He must find some way out to get back his memory. Bhagwan means the purest existence. People think that Bhagwan is he who has created this world. But I have not created the world so this title should not go to me. For me Bhagwan (God) means the nature within me, the ‘Tao’, the existence within me – the pure consciousness and its apprehension and entering into that existence.
You are also the same Bhagwan. May be, you recognise it late, but if you try you can experience it. It is our nature to be Bhagwan.” (Bhed 2006, p. 347)
This answer is said to have calmed down the conflict with followers, who had criticized his change of name, but Bhagwan also had very specific reasons for using his name change as a device to do some needed weeding among his followers – once again:
“I chose it for a very specific purpose and it has been serving well, because people who used to come to me to gather knowledge, stopped coming. The day I called myself bhagwan, they stopped. It was too much for them, it was too much for their egos. Somebody calling himself bhagwan? It hurts the ego. They stopped. They were coming to me to gather knowledge. Now I’ve changed my function absolutely. I started working on a different level, in a different dimension. Now I give you being, not knowledge. I was an acharya and they were students; they were learning. Now I am no longer a teacher and you are not here as students…
I am here to impart being. I am here to make you awake. I am not going to give you knowledge, I am going to give you knowing – and that is a totally different dimension. Calling myself bhagwan was simply symbolic – that now my work had entered a different dimension. And it has been tremendously useful. All wrong people automatically disappeared, and a totally different quality of people started arriving.
It worked well. Chinmaya’s choice was good. It sorted out well. Only those who are ready to dissolve with me remained, all others escaped. They created space around me. Otherwise they were crowding too much, and it was very difficult for the real seekers to come closer to me. The crowds disappeared. The word ‘Bhagwan’ functioned like an atomic explosion. It did well. I am happy that I chose it. Now people who come to me are no more argumentative. Now people who come to drink me, to eat me, to digest me. Now people who come to me are great adventurers of the soul. And they are ready to risk – to risk any and everything.” The Discipline of Trancendence, vol.2 #4
After elaborating on everyone’s potential of becoming a God Osho continues:
“Calling myself Bhagwan is a device. Sooner or later, when you have grown up and you have understood the point, and when your presence here has created a different quality of vibrations, I will stop calling myself Bhagwan. Then there will be no need. Then the whole atmosphere will be throbbing with godliness. Then people who will come, it will shower on them. It will penetrate into their hearts. There will be no need to call me anything – you will know. But in the beginning it was needed, and it has been of tremendous help.
The last thing about it. I am not a philosopher. Always remember me as a poet. My approach towards life is that of poetry, is that of romance. It is romantic, it is imaginative. I would like you all to be gods and goddesses. I would like you to reveal your true being…
If you decide to go with me, you will become more and more watchful. And the more watchful you will become, the more you will be able to understand me, the more you will be able to understand what has happened, what has transpired within my soul. You will become more and more a participant in this happening, in this dance, in this singing.
And by and by you will see – the master is coming. And it is not coming from the outside, it is coming from your innermost core, it is arising from your depths. I looked in, and I found him there. My message is simple – that I have found the god within me. My whole effort is to persuade you to look within. The only question is of becoming a watcher on the hills. Become a witness – alert, observing – and you will be fulfilled.” The Discipline of Trancendence, vol.2 #4
The epithet Bhagwan opened up for a continuous stream of misunderstandings among journalists and biographers. It was very hard for many writers to convey the implications of this new change and its affinity to Indian spiritual tradition, and fairly often a translation of Bhagwan Shree as ‘Sir God’ can be seen in their writings.
“The journalists are always playing a vicious game. They started calling me godman, I have never called myself godman. And then they asked me, “Why do you call yourself godman?”
There is no species in the world which can be called godman. Just to be a man is enough – there is no God. At least I cannot call myself a ‘godman’, because I don’t accept any existence of a god who created the world…
The hypothesis of God does not help. I don’t have any hypothesis of God. To me life is divine. To me existence is godliness, not God. To use the word ‘godman’ for me is simply stupid. But journalists started calling me that, and then started asking me, “Why do you call yourself godman?”
Strange! They started calling me the guru of the rich and then started asking me, “Why do you call yourself the guru of the rich?” They started calling me the sex guru, and then they started asking me, “Why do you call yourself the sex guru?”
I have never called myself godman. Yes, the people who love me have called me Bhagwan, but Bhagwan does not mean God. We have called Gautam Buddha ‘Bhagwan’ – and he does not believe in any god. We have called Mahavira ‘Bhagwan’ – and he does not believe in any God.
So ‘Bhagwan’ cannot be synonymous with God. And I say unto you that I am the blessed one, but I am not the godman. I am simply a man fulfilled.” The Last Testament, vol.6 #12
His change of name from Acharya Rajneesh to the honorfic Bhagwan caused an extensive upheaval among his followers as we have seen, but both names were indeed deeply rooted within the Jain tradition. Next time we’ll again witness such a change is in 1988 in his playing with names, like Osho Rajneesh, until finally he fell at ease with Osho, now within a Japanese tradition. Like Buddha Osho were to change his name four times throughout his life on this planet.
In Woodlands the stream of arriving Westerners increased on a daily basis, and now slowly and very gradually from early 1971 Bhagwan began to reduce his public contact. First he stopped lecturing in open public meetings, then press interviews were cancelled as well as meetings with leading citizens and big shots from the society. His travels were reduced to a minimum, and his preference was from now on to put his energy into speaking to small groups of listeners gathering at his residence only, trying to reach those individuals who were sincere and courageous in their search for truth. Quite in tune with his dimensional change from communicating to the minds through knowledge to reaching the hearts of his seekers through communion.
“His years in Bombay, July 1, 1970, to March 20, 1974, were the years of personal and intense encounters with selected individual seekers. He met each individual directly, intimately, face-to-face. During these days, one could get to siee him almost any time of the day. He appeared to have started his work with these early disciples – as if he were spreading his roots, as if his roots were searching for a ground to launch a worldwide movement of spiritual awakening.” (Joshi 1982, p. 117)
In a letter dated 1/16/71 Bhagwan is explaining to a friend, Shree Omprakash Agrawal in Jullunder:
Until now, the well reached out to the thirsty, but from now on, this may not be possible. Now the thirsty will have to come to the well. And perhaps this is also according to the law. Is it not? I have almost stopped traveling. The message has been delivered. Now the one who wants to find me will find me, and the one who does not want to find me, I have knocked at his door as well.” (Joshi 1982, p. 104) (27)
Bhagwan’s availability to individual seekers increased from now on, and he has commented upon what was behind his move to stop speaking in public and to focus more on working with individuals:
“To talk to disciples is a different matter. To talk to the multitude is a different matter. That is why I had to stop talking to the crowds. I had to create a special class of my own sannyasins with whom I could have a communion of the heart.” Sufis. The People of the Path. Talks on Sufism, vol.2, #10
“In the beginning I was talking to the masses. It was a totally different kind of work; I was in search of disciples. Talking to the masses I was using their language; talking to the masses was talking to a primary class. You can’t go very deep; you have to talk superficially. You have to look to whom you are talking.
Then, slowly slowly a few people started turning from students into disciples. Then my approach changed. It was now possible to communicate on higher levels – they started becoming committed, they started becoming involved with me, with my destiny. My life became their style, my being became their being.” The Book of the Books, vol.1 #8
“I will slowly confine myself to a room: I will stop coming and going. Now I will work on those who are in my mind. I will prepare them and send them out. The moving from place to place, which I cannot do myself, I will be able to do by sending out ten thousand people.” Dimensions Beyond the Known #4; (Urmilla 2006, p. 157; Sarito 2000, p. 226)
As more and more Westerners were drawn to Bhagwan, he was fully aware of their potential for becoming his ambassadors and mediums when they returned to their home countries. They had heard or read something of Bhagwan and they came to stay initially for a short period, later hundreds stayed for a longer time in Bombay and later again thousands when Bhagwan had shifted to Poona. They were, according to Vasant Joshi, very courageous, rebellious, creative, and had great potential for giving birth to a new religious consciousness and their psyches were ripe and ready to receive Bhagwan’s energy and guidance. (Joshi 1982, p. 117)
“I went to India with the specific objective of finding a guru and travelled extensively meeting most of the known gurus then: Satya Sai Baba, Neem Karoli Baba, Sant Keshavdas, Swami Muktananda, Anandamayi Ma, and various other Matajis…
Meeting Bhagwan at that time was pretty casual. Everybody hung out in the common area of Bhagwan’s apartment waiting for an appointment to take sannyas or ask some personal question. Bhagwan’s room didn´t have much more in it than a bed, chair, desk, and phone.” (Swami Rammurthi in: Bhagawati 2010, p. 246)
In Secrets of Discipleship edited by Ma Ananda Prem and published by Jeevan Jagriti Kendra, (2nd edition September 1972), we find the text from a discourse by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, given February 26, 1971 in Bombay, India. Over its 42 pages Bhagwan is explaining these new challenges with a guru relationship to his disciples, and it is surprisingly enough printed in white characters on the background of black paper which we’ll have to imagine when reading this excerpt:
A GURU is not a teacher because
religion cannot be taught. It is
not information. Religion is
a way of living, so guru means
a person who has attained
a religious mode of living.
To one in contact with him,
to one living with him,
something is communicated,
though not through words.
HIS VERY PRESENCE IS A COMMUNION.
The relationship is
less like a teacher and pupil and
more like a lover and a loved one.
THE RELATIONSHIP IS INTIMATE.
A basic requirement is that the guru
must have himself attained
because he cannot communicate
that which he has not realized.
A teacher need not be
A Realized One, but a guru is
bound to be. A teacher can
give information secondhand, but
a guru cannot.
So a guru means
A PERSON WHO HAS REALIZED TRUTH.
Now he is the source.
He does not give
secondhand information from
scriptures or from traditions.
HE HAS ENCOUNTERED THE REALITY.
He is face to face with it, so
whatsoever is being said
or communicated by him is
on his own authority…
And there is no word in English
to translate the word “guru”,
because in Western culture and
tradition, no relationship like that
has ever been in existence.
The relationship between
a guru and disciple is
basically Eastern. So no one can
understand in the West
what is a guru. At the most,
they can understand teacher.
And the relationship is so intimate!
As I have said, it is like love…
The East has so MANY secret keys.
A single key is enough, and
a single key opens
thousands and thousands of locks.”
Secrets of Discipleship, p. 5
“In the old days, particularly in the East, hypnosis was used in every ashram. The master used it in every way to help you, because consciously you may take years to do a particular thing, but in hypnosis, through hypnosis, within seconds it can be done. Unnecessary effort can be saved. But only masters were allowed to hypnotize. Hypnosis remained a secret science in the East; it was not used publicly because there are possibilities of misusing it.” Vedanta: The 7 Steps to Samadhi #9
The devices Bhagwan unfolded to suit his Western disciples included a work-farm commune named Kailash after Shiva’s mountain abode in Tibet, located near Saoli and Chandrapur in the far-away rural center of Maharashtra. Here the disciples’ commitment and ability to surrender their egos were put to a test in primitive real life far from the affluent lives they had left behind. The farm belonged to Madan Kunwar Parikh of Chandrapur, the past time mother of Osho, who had received numerous letters with anecdotes from Osho all published later on in Kranti Beej (Seeds of Revolutionary Thought). She was with her husband, also a long time supporter of Bhagwan, facilitating this audacious experiment, where the South African Veetrag soon was in charge, challenged by Teertha and Shiva both. In her Glimpses of my Master (2012) Veena gives us a very convincing picture of the hardships these outlandish Westerners had to overcome during the experiment.
This commune continued until early Poona One in August 1974, and another commune was set up in Baroda in Gujarat made available by Swami Swarupanand Bharti and his wife. Bhagwan’s experiment with disciples living together in hard-working communes was to some extent inspired by Gurdjieff’s ideas and his commune in Fontainebleau in France, and later this device came to its ultimate test in the transformation of the hilly wasteland of Oregon into the thriving town of Rajneeshpuram, based on recycling and organic farming. And a few more ingredients.
These rural experiments aiming at a Western segment of his followers were complemented by some devices more suitable for his Indian disciples and more in tune with traditional Indian devotional work: the Kirtan Mandali groups where his saffron clad Indian sannyasins were dancing in the towns and villages of India.
“In October 1971 Osho starts the Kirtan Mandali groups of Indian and Western sannyasins, who travel around India giving talks on His teachings, leading meditations, playing music, singing and dancing.” (28)
So his Indian disciples were mostly dispersed in these Kirtan Mandali groups who were to dance, sing and play their way through the towns and villages of India. They were singing traditional and also new devotional hymns and songs, and they were conducting meditations and playing tapes with Bhagwan’s discourses in Hindi. Their challenge was to surrender and live lovingly and joyously in an unfriendly and even hostile environment. These farming experiments and kirtan groups both lasted until Bhagwan moved to Poona in 1974.
“You want to know what Kirtan…can do to enhance devotion. It can do a lot if we do it rightly. The way we are doing the second stage of Dynamic Meditation can be used for singing or dancing as well. It has been used in the past by those who knew its real meaning. Those who don’t know the real meaning just dance and shout – which is a waste of time. If kirtan can be done in the way of the second stage of the Dynamic Meditation, it can be of tremendous help.
If you can dance with abandon, you will begin to see yourself and your body as separate from each other. Soon you will cease to be a dancer; instead you will become a watcher, a witness. When your body will be dancing totally, a moment will come when you will suddenly find that you are completely separate from the dance…
And Chaitanya [Bharti] surpasses even Krishna in dancing; his dance is magnificent, incomparable. Perhaps no other person on this earth danced as much as Chaitanya.” Krishna: The Man and his Philosophy #13
“Vairagya was born and grew up in Gadawara, the same village in central India where Osho was born. He became a sannyasin in his teens and when he was in his early twenties Osho asked him to travel all over India as his representative, making music – the name for such devotional music is kirtan. With a small group of sannyasins he would enter each city, singing and dancing, attracting crowds, selling books of Osho’s discourses and also giving discourses himself.” (Radha 2005, p. 72)
During the resistance movement against the British, Kirtan singers had gained their traditional reputation as religious extremists as quoted in a committee report from 1912: “Kirtan singers are another agency for creating disaffection, and they have always been very prominent. As usual these singers sing patriotic and religious songs and everywhere consort with extremists.” (Mishra 1956, p. 262)
“At that time a group of people called a Kirtan Mandali travelled with Him while He led meditation camps all around India. I was four years old when this group came and stayed in our house, and it was my first exposure to saffron clothes and the malas. Singing devotional songs with high rhythmic music, these people looked so divine, as if they were possessed by the unknown. Their faces were glowing with freedom, devotion, bliss and ecstasy. They looked so radiant with something I fell in love with madly. I developed a strong bond with this group, which I still maintain to this day.” (Ma Deva Priya in: Bhagawati 2010, p. 62)
“Kirtan Mandalis, groups of Sannyasis and Sannyasins, were sent in various parts of India to convey the message of love and meditation of Bhagwan Shree. They used to sing the devotional songs dancing madly.” (Bhed 2006, p. 350)
“Later on [after Kulu Manali camp] two ‘kirtan mandalis’ were sent around the country who were dancing and chanting kirtan on the roads, giving talks, playing Osho’s talks on audio cassettes and introducing Osho-meditations to people.” (Bharti 2007, p. 193)
Swami Chaitanya Keerti was part of the Kirtan Mandalis groups and in an interview he has talked on these events and his subsequent editing of early magazines on Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. (See chapter 3.9 Periodicals)
Three Kirtan Mandali groups are mentioned by Ageh Bharti: One led by Swami Chaitanya Bharti, another by Swami Vairagya Amit and a third by Swami Narendra Bodhisatva. Narendra recalls that food was very limited in these days, and that they were selling Osho’s books when touring around the country. At that time all books published by Osho could be bought for Rs. 50.00 – the whole lot. Later on in Woodlands Narendra got involved with Chinmaya in the editing of the Newsletter and other publishing. (Bharti 2007, p. 229) (29)
“Among the other sannyasins, Kailash and the touring kirtan group are the major topics. Many Westerners have simply come to India with no specific plans for going anywhere else, and it appears Osho doesn’t want us just hanging about in Bombay, so two proposals are in the Mount Abu air.
The kirtan group holds no attraction for Divya or for me. Neither of us can carry a tune, and the idea of singing and dancing – albeit in praise of Osho – through a series of smelly Indian cities like a bunch of southern Baptists turns us both right off.” (Allanach 2010, p. 27)
3.5 Reading and book collecting
From his very first days in Bombay Osho’s visits to its well-stocked bookshops had been a thrill to his bibliomania, and he kept on reading and indulging himself in the treasures of his books. Now mostly during the break after his 11 a.m. lunch and after the evening discourse in his new daily schedule, whereas in Jabalpur his evenings had been entirely free for him to be spent on reading.
“Osho’s extensive library is brought from Jabalpur to Woodlands Apartments. Friends continue sending books for him, and now he receives the latest publications from the West on religion, mysticism, sciences, sociology, psychiatry, therapy, humour, etc. During discourses Osho often comments on books he is reading.” (Osho’s Life www)
While in Jabalpur Osho still had to rely on public and academic libraries to quench his thirst for reading. So the fairly progressive library policy of the Bombay government regarding a network of four regional libraries, in Bombay, Ahmedabad, Poona and Dharwar, of which the Central Library in Bombay is the depository library (Delivery of Books Act 1954) receiving two copies of every book printed in the state direct from the printer including Jeevan Jagruti Kendra, this whole library development in the mid-20th century with its in-house reading facilities, turned out to be of no benefit to Rajneesh at all, as his funds by now were gradually supporting the extensive purchase of his own reading material. (Ramakrishna 1961)
Bhagwan commented on the reading process, at a time when his eyes were still fine and before he had to stop his reading in 1981:
“When you look, you are throwing a certain amount of energy. Wait, be silent, allow that energy to come back. And you will be surprised. If you can allow the energy to come back, you will never feel exhausted. Do it. Tomorrow morning, try it. Be silent, look at a thing. Be silent, don’t think about it, and wait patiently for a single moment – the energy will come back; in fact, you may be revitalized.
People continuously ask me…I go on reading continuously so they ask me, “Why are your eyes still okay? You must have needed specs long ago.”
You can read, but if you are reading silently with no thought, the energy comes back. It is never wasted. You never feel tired. My whole life I have been reading twelve hours a day, sometimes even eighteen hours a day, but I have never felt any tiredness. In my eyes I have never felt anything, never any tiredness. Without thought the energy comes back; there is no barrier.
And if you are there you reabsorb it, and this reabsorption is rejuvenating. Rather than your eyes being tired they feel more relaxed, more vital, filled with more energy.” Vigyan Bhairava Tantra #51
“I was reading Castaneda’s book. His master, Don Juan, gives him a beautiful experiment to do. It is one of the oldest experiments…” Vigyan Bhairava Tantra #77
“Just a few days before I was reading Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions. This is a rare book. It is really the first book in world literature in which someone bares himself, totally naked…” Vigyan Bhairava Tantra #15
“I was just looking at a Peanuts joke-book. Charlie Brown says there, “I love mankind; it is people that I can’t stand.” Vedanta: The 7 Steps to Samadhi #3
In Bombay Osho might order books from catalogues, but more often he went to bookshops himself purchasing books for his collection. His favourite bookshop in Bombay was definitely the Strand Book Stall (Sir D.N. Road, Dhannur), where he used to come early in the morning with Laxmi and may be one more swami to carry the purchase. The present owner Shenve (2005) still remembers helping Osho also before 1970, when he visited Bombay for lecturing, and he recalls the way Osho selected new books, in a rare combination of random choice and with utmost awareness both. Also the Ritz and the smaller New and Secondhand Bookshop (Old & New Book Depo), at Kalbadevi Road near Edward Cinema, were among the bookshops he visited in the metropolis. Quite often also Chinmaya would accompany him and help in the selection of books. Sometimes they would go to Chor Bazar north of Crawford Market to check out the stalls for new or second hand literature to dive into. His secretary Laxmi was in Bombay to drive his car and take him to bookshops, pay the bill and hand over the books to Karuna when they arrived home. Laxmi herself took care of what books he had read and what books he still had not read, an impressive assignment I dare say . Also Maitreya accompanied him to bookshops, and his biographer Ram Chandra Prasad stayed with him for some time in Bombay and he also took part in all these bookish adventures. (30)
“In the beginning when Osho used to come from Jabalpur to Mumbai, sometimes Kakubhai, Laxmi and I used to take Osho to Strand Book stall situated at D.N. Road and Old and New Books at Kalbadevi, Mumbai to buy new books. Many times, we had to park the car at distance and go walking in the hot season, at that time Osho liked to drink cold Coca-Cola.” (Laheru 2012, p. 65)
“I loved hearing all these stories of the Bombay days, and of the early days in Poona. How Bhagwan would go off with Laxmi to the best bookstores in Bombay and buy an incredible stack of books to read. Those same books were now out in the corridor [in Lao Tzu House, Poona], immaculately looked after by his sannyasins.” (Meredith 1987, p. 104)
The arrival of Westerners certainly had an impact on his reading, as he now had to qualify his insight into the cultural and mental background of his new followers, no longer coming from the Indian sub-continent only, but from a variety of European, American and Australian states. Clearly he was studying philosophy and psychology, the whole conditioning of the Western mind, as a background for his expanding dialogue with Westerners to improve his understanding of their social and religious programming. He was in fact also borrowing from many Indian schools of psychology integrated in the religious frameworks of Patanjali, Buddhism, Tantra, Advaita Vedanta and the Syadvada of Jainism.
“The Seekers from the West who first came in scores while Bhagwan was in Bombay… came from different cultural and family backgrounds, religious denominations, and cultural beliefs…
For the development of Rajneesh’s experimental method and his understanding of the Western mind, his reading was essential and comprehensive…It is quite clear that apart from his voracious reading (about one hundred books per week, according to Rajneesh’s librarian) and thus being greatly informed about the world he is living in, his direct contact with thousands of people from the West made it possible for him to study Westerners and the Western mind very closely and intimately, leading to a meeting between master and disciple but also a meeting between East and West.” (Joshi 1982, pp. 117 & 171)
Veena recalls when in Bombay, at a time where the number of his own published discourses were still in limited supply, she asked Osho if there were any other books he could recommend his Westerners to read. He gave her a list of seven books of which she only remembers six: “The first and most important in his opinion was ‘The Book of Mirdad’ by Michel Naimy. Others were ‘The Prophet’ by Kahil Gibran, ‘Zen Flesh, Zen Bones’ by Paul Reps, ‘The Way of Zen’ by Alan Watts, ‘Jonathan Livingstone Seagull’ by Richard Bach, and a book on Tantra whose title I can’t recall. Of this book he said this was the only book written in English which had some notion of what Tantra was about – all the rest were just sensation-seeking, money-making fakes.” (Veena 2012, p. 61)
But as Osho has revealed in Dimensions Beyond the Known, it was not simply a love of books that made him read so much. There was a deeper motive. He describes how enlightened masters develop strategies in order to attract disciples – and gave the example of how Buddha and Mahavira were obliged to practice austerities, because that was a recognized proof of spirituality in their time. (31)
“What Mahavir and Buddha did not have to do, I have to do. Just for nothing, I have to read everything that there is in this world. It is all useless; I have no use of it. But to the modern world which does not bother for the one who goes on a fast or for the one who sits with his eyes closed, no message can be given through practising austerities. If anyone can be reached by any austerity, it is only through that of my having digested the great accumulation of intellectual knowledge that is daily growing bigger and bigger.
That is why I have spent my whole life with books… I have had to take the trouble of reading so much that is of no use to me – however only after taking that trouble can I communicate and make my message intelligible to this world; otherwise not.
The modern age of science can understand only its own language.” Dimensions Beyond the Known, p. 197
Osho’s intensive reading in Bombay may also be seen as a progression from lower to higher chakras, if we compare to his more physical activities in the 1950s Jabalpur, even when we remember that reading was also an important part of his daily schedule at that time. His reading in Bombay was continuing and broadering his insight and understanding of a variety of philosophical schools and religions which he had been building up already from his early days in Gadarwara, as we have seen. New influences were still manifesting themselves and were to impact his thinking and become themes in his discourses for years to come. In the words of Mistelberger in his The Three Dangerous Magi:
“To cover the influences behind Osho is not as easy because his range was vast…several traditions can be identified as having been a pivotal influence on Osho’s general overall teaching and those are Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Tantra, Gurdjieff’s practical ideas (not his cosmology), Western humanist and transpersonal psychotherapy (especially Wilhelm Reich), and Western philosophy, in particular, the figures of Nietzsche and Socrates – the latter to a degree probably not generally recognized.” (Mistelberger 2010, p. 575)
Osho was also buying books for his library when passing through Ahmedabad on his way to a meditation camp at Mt. Abu. Here his favourite bookshop was located on Gandhi Road, but it was closed down in the late 1990s. He was here scanning the shelves and then buying 4-5 books before making the bill. Gujarat is a religious state with wealthy businessmen, and Osho often went here to visit his many friends, who were into money and meditation both. One of them was Swami Satya Bodhisattva (Jayantibhai) who used to organize Osho’s discourse series in Ahmedabad as well as his meditation camps in Mount Abu. (32)
“Osho is giving discourses on Bhagwatgeeta in Ahmedabad. Every night, after evening discourse, He is reading five to six books in two hours. I can’t conceive how He manages it. When I look into the books which He has finished, I find some lines are underlined on different pages. He signs each book with the date of reading. Today, I accompany Him to a bookstore for purchasing more books. I guess, it is the biggest bookstore in Ahmedabad. Thousands of books are on the shelves. The man on the counter greets Osho with folded hands and touches His feet. It seems he is one of the lovers of Osho. Osho places His hand on his head and enquires with him about the latest publications. The man invites Osho to come inside the shop and in minutes Osho has sorted out thirty-two books. I am astonished at His marvellous memory. He remembers the names of the books, including author’s names.
While coming back, sitting near Him in the back seat of the car, just out of curiosity I ask Him, “Osho, after enlightenment, why are you reading all these books on different subjects?” He says, “It is the most arduous work for me. Mahavira’s fasting for days is nothing compared to reading all this rubbish. Since Mahavira, man has changed a lot. To communicate with intelligentsia of this time, I have to speak from their level. Only when they are intellectually satisfied, they will be able to understand that which is beyond intellect.” Then He warns me, “Never get lost in reading all kinds of books. My books are the essence. They are enough to guide any seeker of truth.” He further adds, “All old books in the name of religion have no future. They all need to be replaced by my books, which can attract the youth in future.” (Jyoti 1994 #67)
In his daily schedule he had his midday rest for three hours after lunch listening to his music, and at 2 p.m. he took tea, plain Green Label tea as usually without milk or sugar, before spending some time with reading and meeting with his assistants and those who had taken appointment of meeting. After dinner in the evening he now only took a ten minutes rest before he was ready to deliver his evening discourse to the audience. Then following his discourse he once again took some rest listening to music before he again disappeared into the volumes of his library. While he was reading, milk mixed with cardamom or nutmeg was his evening treat. Before sleep he liked kalakand or rasmalai like in the days when his Nani was catering for him. (33)
The number of people seeking a private darshan with Osho at Woodlands was a constant challenge to his daily schedule – including his time for reading and study – and he was suggesting many ways for Laxmi and others to handle this problem without anyone getting hurt or feeling rejected. This was something which had been going on ever since his years in Jabalpur:
“It was like that in Jabalpur. There was no hindrance whatsoever, so I would be seeing people from morning till night. If someone came and sat with me for three hours, I was tied up for all that time. Then it became a habit for people. They wanted to come every day, regularly. So their times became fixed: “At five o’clock so-and-so is coming…” and without fail they would come and sit with me every day at that time. And even those who came every day felt hurt if you stopped them…
So you should start telling everyone that it is not Laxmi’s fault, it is nobody’s fault – my decisions are being followed. For those whom I feel it necessary, I immediately give time; for those whom I don’t feel it is necessary, I don’t give time. If I don’t give time, you should understand that you don’t need time and that anyway you are not following my suggestions…
So the trouble at the moment is that in order to protect me, you take the blame onto yourselves. You might say, “Taru may have made a mistake; Desai-ji may have made a mistake. Osho is very loving; someone in the middle must have been the problem.” Never say that. Say that Osho is such a man – wrong or right however it may be. He meets whomsoever he wants to: he doesn’t meet those he doesn’t want to.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #12
Still, like we have seen before, it is obvious in Woodlands also that Osho was putting his reading aside whenever visitors arrived: “After a while, I am allowed to go into His room. As I open the door I see Him sitting on his chair reading a book. Seeing me walk in He puts the book aside and chuckles at me. I touch His feet and sit on the floor near His chair.” (Jyoti 1994 #80)
Many authors and books were over the years praised by Rajneesh and these recommendations have been collected in Books I Have Loved (1985) (All 167 titles are presented in the Appendix). The book itself is dedicated to Alan Watts (1915-1973), the English mystic and intellectual,
“…Watts was writing about the synthesis of therapy and meditation, of Eastern and Western transformational pathways, as early as 1961, via his key work Psychotherapy East and West. Osho read a number of Watt’s books, and was especially impressed by three: The Way of Zen (1957), This Is It (1960), and The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are (1966). The last title in particular Osho favoured; all three were included on his list of 167 favourite books. Significantly, he ended his series of lectures on his favourite books by dedicating them to Alan Watts.” (Mistelberger 2010, p. 587)
Laherubhai recalls on Osho’s reading and ordering of gadgets from advertisements: “From childhood, Osho had the hobby of reading and collecting books. He also used to read newspapers and magazines and through them, he used to get the latest information from all over the world. And from the advertisements appearing in them, if any new thing had come in the market and if he liked it, he would inform me to bring it…he ordered an exercising device called Bullworker, and he got used to it and he used it daily…[an electric blanket] he did not like it and so he sent it back…At that time he used cuff links in the sleeves, so friends would gift him different type of cuff links, which he would use for 3-4 days and then gift them to some other friends.” (Laheru 2012, p. 82)
In all likelihood we may notice that Bhagwan’s intensive use of all libraries within reach in his academic days in Jabalpur had come to an end when he moved to Bombay. Now his funds made it possible to focus on the collecting of books for his own private library, and we have no indications whatsoever that he has been a library user of Bombay University Library at Fort Campus (in 1976 partly relocated to Kalina as Jawaharlal Nehru Library), or at the Royal Asiatic Society Library, both holding a minor collection of Osho’s publications (20 and 15 titles respectively in 2005). And his time as an ardent user of the local public library, in Bombay the State Central Library, as he had experienced it intensively in Gadarwara, was definitely over by now.
Library in Woodlands
When Osho in October 1970 had lighted the funeral pyre of his beloved grandmother Nani in Gadarwara. he took the opportunity when passing through Jabalpur, to arrange for his library collection to be moved from Jabalpur to Bombay. (Urmila 2006, p. 159)
“November 1970. Osho came to Jabalpur for three days. It was about 10pm when Arvind, Nikilank, Narayan, Bheekam, Kranti, and I were cleaning and arranging the books for packing. Osho was sorting the books out passing mischievous remarks to make us laugh often.” (Bharti 2007, p. 201)
“He left Jabalpur for Bombay with a minimum of things, and returned to Jabalpur in September 1970 after the meditation camp in Kulu Manali to sort out things in Jabalpur. Double copies were donated to Jabalpur University library.” (34)
“Osho’s maternal grandmother died on October 7, 1970 at his village Gadarwara. At that time, Osho went to Gadarwara for the last time for her funeral. And when he came back to Mumbai he brought his whole library of books from Jabalpur to Mumbai.” (Laheru 2012, p. 63)
These memories by Urmila, Ageh Bhati, Pratab and the university librarian Naik seem reliable, but still other understandings are put forward. Most notably Nikalank who claims that when Osho on June 30th 1970 left Jabalpur for Bombay, his library at that time was packed in boxes by Nikalank, Amit and other of his brothers to be sent to Woodlands. His whole library was brought to Bombay, when he moved from Jabalpur. All English books were sent to Bombay; maybe some spare copies and old material in Hindi were donated to Jabalpur University library. (35)
In A-1, Woodlands Apartments, Peddar Road, his apartment on 1st floor had a huge living room and all its walls were furnished with shelves for books enclosed behind sliding glass fronts. On the end walls, with their windows towards Peddar Road and the backside, top shelves right under the ceiling also gave room for his collection. This living room was used also for evening lectures and celebrations, and its floor was in different levels with the end towards the street somewhat lower than the other end. No specific library room was around, and his reading mostly took place in the study, a smaller private room which was said to be divided ‘with a room within the room’, as also his bed was to be found here. Here his favourite revolving chair was standing in a corner with a small bookshelf nearby, where he kept the new books and magazines he was reading, before they were stacked onto the shelves of his library collection. In his small study individuals were received during the day for intimate darshan with their master, and here he also initiated people into sannyas. In his study a player for cassette tapes was also available for his use, and a small fridge, said to have contained among other items, bhang lassi.
“Osho had brought a library of thousands of books from Jabalpur. He used to bring in many new books which he like and they were being added to his personal library daily. Ma Karuna and Ma Jyoti did the work of arranging his books properly and taking care of them.” (Laheru 2012, p. 65)
Disciples in scores have in their writings described Osho’s library at Woodlands and how some were taken breathless by its content. Kushwant Singh, the Indian newspaper editor and writer, once paid a visit to Rajneesh at Woodlands, and he clearly remembers the impression the book collection had on him. In his foreword to Life Mysteries, a Penguin compilation on Osho, he writes and comments on Osho’s reading compared to the reading of other masters and gurus:
“I arrived at Woodlands at the appointed time and was shown into a large, airy room lined with books. I was told to wait a few minutes for the Acharya. I went round the bookshelves. Most of the collection was in English; a few in Sanskrit and Hindi. I was baffled by the range of subjects: religion, theology, philosophy, history, literature, biographies, autobiographies down to books on humour and crime. It occurred to me that I had not seen books in ashrams I had visited. Some had libraries meant for the use of disciples but most consisted of books on religious subjects or tracts summarizing sermons of their gurus. Other gurus read very little beyond Hindu scriptures, the Vedas, the Upanishads and the epics, and rarely bothered to read books on Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity or Islam. Rajneesh had. Consequently while others had only their religions or what they vaguely learned at second hand, Rajneesh had studied them from original sources and evolved an eclectic faith of his own.” Life Mysteries (1995), p. vii
“In one important respect at least, the contrast between Rajneesh and Krishnamurti is admittedly tremendous. While the former is a profound scholar, a voracious reader, and a philosophical cormorant, the latter has repeatedly declared that he has not ‘read any books on psychology or any religious books, fortunately.'” (Prasad 1978, p. 67)
People and books, books and people. Those were his main occupations while staying at Woodlands.
“Normally Bhagwan did not receive anybody without an appointment. But, unusually and also fortunately, Ma Laxmi did not send us away that day. She led us into the living room that served as the office as well as the library and asked us to wait. It was an impressive library, the only room in the apartment to which visitors had access. Three of its walls were covered up to the top with thousands of colourful books. The fourth wall consisted of windows. A fresh breeze was blowing in from the sea. The books and the fresh air made me forget that I was in the middle of a dirty and polluted city like Bombay. The noise of the outdoors was absent here. We were absorbed in the silence of the premises. Ma Laxmi went and asked Bhagwan whether He wanted to see us. A few minutes later, my father and I were guided to His room. Bhagwan sat with crossed legs in a comfortable armchair in one corner of the room. He was wearing a white wrap. Beside Him stood a small table on which several books were lying. Opposite His chair were two beds. Apart from this the room was empty.” (Sheela 2012, p. 117)
“Shelves of books lined every wall in the huge reception area while sparse modern furnishing, a sky blue carpet, and a huge picture window that looked out on a well-manicured lawns gave the place a feeling of expansiveness…I entered Bhagwan’s large, stark room with its single bed, chair and table-height bookcase, its bare linoleum floor…[my body] made its way back to the reception room and melting sunk to the floor resting against one of the glass-enclosed bookcases…in Woodlands, I never slept anywhere else after that, living with Vivek in the crawlspace under the raised floor in the reception room…I crept to the stairs on all fours and climbed out of the cramped crawlspace we shared with musty trunks, piles of books and stacks of folded chairs…A few days later Laxmi asked me to ask the pretty young Indian woman [Sheela] who’d collected money with us that evening to help Vivek and me re-organizing Bhagwan’s library…Sheela never helped Vivek and me with Bhagwan’s library.” (Bharti 1992, pp. 23,26,41,46)
“Her name is Leena and she has come to India to visit a guru as has just about everybody – but wanted also to visit the already famous Goa. The film-makers had been filming the guru in Bombay and she had decided to join their entourage…
[Later in Woodlands:] The little lady is quickest and grasps my hand. I’ll give you some food,” she says, and draws us both into a large book-lined room. There are two western guys sitting around looking holy and they talk to us…After awhile I escape to look at the book titles while Toby absorbs more spiritual indoctrination. Perusing the titles I’m impressed. This is good subject matter. I long to open a volume or two but the glass-covered shelves are locked.
Finally the little lady brings us some very nice-tasting food and some time later reappears to usher us down a corridor and into a cool, green-coloured, very simply furnished room. There is a man sitting in a chair…
My degree is in psychology so my first label of Bhagwan is: “This is the greatest psychologist I have come across.”
He discusses religious philosophy with the next guy and my second label forms: “This is the greatest intellect I have come across in my lifetime.” (Ma Prem Veena in: Bhagawati 2010, p. 311)
“Laxmi stays back in Mumbai when Osho was out in the mountains conducting camps. She would paint, clean and organize his books that were several thousand in number. Osho read about thirty books in a month as though he had a scanner in his eyes and speed-reading ability. He often quoted from these books. So much so a single reading and Osho had memorized it all.
On arrival from the hills Osho would find the apartment clean and with a new look. People visited the apartment from early morning to late in the night. It was now a public place. Some came to meet him; others came for information, while some came to buy books. Until now all English titles were translations of Hindi discourses.” (Laxmi 2002)
According to Laxmi quite a few strange incidents happened at Woodlands, when opposition from orthodox Hindus occasionally reached the apartment. She recalls that one day a young man made his way into the apartment, where he picked up a paperweight from the desk and hurled it at her. She escaped the assault and the paperweight continued its curve into the glass cabinet of books and a loud explosion was heard as glass crashed with splinters falling all over the room. When he calmed down he was offered a glass of water, and it turned out that his wife had taken sannyas the day before, and he was now afraid that she might renounce the family and quit her home. Listening to his story Laxmi had roared into laughter, before telling him the concept of neo-sannyas, and that Osho wanted to make temples of family homes and not to ruin them. He was advised to read some books of Osho to get things right and refrain from more violent behaviour.
“The Master is sitting there in his revolving chair. There is a glass wall behind him, the sun is shining and He is aglow. The chair is simple and small. He is sitting in it, but he is really all over the room. The empty room is filled, vibrating with His glowing presence…After asking me questions about my education and listening to my reply he called Madhu through the intercom.” (Keerti 2000, p. 194)
“As I entered the Woodland living room, I started crying so loud, that Osho heard me from his room and Laxmi informed him that Seeta had arrived…I faced Osho from the door. He was seated about fifteen steps away from the door in the corner of the room.” (Keerti 2000, p. 135)
Sometimes in Woodlands his disciples were allowed to open up the glass cupboards and check out his books, noticing their bookmarks and pencil dots in the margin. The books were mostly in English collected from his reading years in Jabalpur, some of them were in Hindi. But books in the English language were to predominate his library collection from now on, mirroring the arrival of Westerners as already pointed out. And the key words for Osho’s assistants managing his library were the same as later on in Poona: Aesthetics and cleanliness.
Indian Ma Karuna (Sushree Zewre Shah) already living in Bombay was his assistant and librarian who took care of his book collection at Woodlands. She had a degree in library science, just like Naik who had been Rajneesh’s university and personal librarian in Jabalpur. Karuna stil has very sweet memories from her time at Woodlands. Not only the walls in the living room were covered with books, but she remembers that also in the two bedrooms all walls were covered with shelves behind glass. At all times, night or day, Bhagwan would have access to these books shelved in the two bedrooms occupied mostly by Kranti and Kabeer and by Chinmaya and his girlfriend. (36)
After carrying his new books home Osho first affixed his signature to the books, and eventually he made a painting in some of the books before reading. While reading he would be marking the book with his dots, small underlinings and notes in the margin, all in a system much to his own invention, and not to be understood right away by others. Karuna remembers from her time when managing his library that she was very sensitive to her work space, and how she received vibrations from touching his books passing through her hands thus reaching a trancelike state of mind in her library work.
Karuna managed the technical procedures at Woodlands and recalls that labels with book numbers according to Osho’s wish were initially placed on the back of the book covers; this system was later changed and the labels again removed. A register or catalogue was according to Chinmaya not existing, but Karuna recalls that two drawers with inventory cards were worked out, replacing Osho’s first register of the accession in a ledger. These drawers with cards and also the old ledger were later taken to Poona in 1974. The shelving of the books in the living room-cum-library and in the bedrooms at Woodlands was alphabetically according to title. (37)
Karuna and Taru were both part of the household at Woodlands, and also Ma Dharam Jyoti was one of his several caretakers, as she later was to become to full extent for his mother Mataji in Poona. She remembers Osho was reading 4-6 books in two hours in his small study where also his bed was standing. (38)
So in Jabalpur as well as in Bombay Osho was reading throughout the day and into the night. But we may remember that reading was never his first priority, as it could easily be changed by social interaction, and whenever people came around his book was put aside instantly for his attendance of the visitors, a feature rarely seen among devoted and sincere readers. (39)
The journalist and author Aubrey Menen has in his book The New Mystics commented upon Rajneesh’s library – in Woodlands and later on moved to Poona in September 1974 – and his reading capability: “In his ashram he has an enviable library of books. He advises his disciples which of these they should read, and to which passages they should pay attention. He marks these passages with scholarly neatness: one dot for a notable passage, two dots for those which are very notable. He has one of my books [The Space Within the Heart] on his shelves. In it I describe my own experience of the Upanishads. I value the fact that I have several dots, single and double, and I feel that it is generous of the swami to give me this nihil obstat.” (Menen 1974, p. 201)
Ma Prem Jeevan recalls the days when she in Osho Library in Poona was reviewing many of the books from Books I Have Loved for the Osho Times: “In those years, it was with great joy that I had to read the very books that Osho had read to review them. I saw how he doesn’t underline what he wants to save, but rather puts a small dot in the margin near a significant portion of the paragraph instead. Sometimes, if he wants to mark them, perhaps for use in his discourses, he would put a small line, like a dash, or two or three small dashes horizontally to each other in the margin, and sometimes in different colors for what ever is his markings.” (40)
Always Rajneesh was been reading with a pencil in his hand. First his marginal notes were in Hindi until his fifth grade at school, from then on his notes were in English exclusively. He was reading at high speed and still he was able to make notes and collect quotations while reading. The amount of his bookmarks in the margin of the book, his speed of reading and the number of books read on a daily basis are summing up to a simple miracle. To close observers in his own household this miracle consisted of two elements, according to Karuna: A genius plus the phenomenon of enlightenment. Or in the words of Divya: “I was able to have one more starlighted magic-wand-look at the master’s handwriting and the numerous notes in multicolored paper (according to the day), and the symbols that He uses next to the sutras that He is commenting on. Seeing His handwriting a few days back had stirred something willowy inside of me, but seeing these symbols today really hit some supraconscious level in me: like a kind of communication beyond words! He uses the upward pointing triangle, the downward pointing triangle, the circle, the circle (solid) within the circle, the square, solid and empty, dots (two, three…), triangles on top of triangles (up to three), an upward and a downwards triangle together, two triangles in the Star of David symbol, two solid squares side by side, a grill-like configuration of straight lines, a kind of asterisk-star, thicker and thinner straight lines…like a whole universe of supra-intelligence! A knowing without knowingness triggers off a light bulb inside me somewhere (I understand now the comic-book sign of the light-bulb for an idea!).” (Divya 1980, p. 383)
Bodhisatva Narendra, Osho’s cousin, recalls: “From Jabalpur he had earlier brought both books in Hindi and in English with him to Bombay, as from the very beginning he was collecting and reading books and literature in English.
One shelf must have contained 60-70 books, many of which were of small seize. The books were arranged properly according to title and not in a systematic order. Bhagwan may ask us now and then for a specific title already shelved to be brought to him. He had signed all of his books on the first page, and all new books had a marking, a red or a black star, the meaning of which is a mystery for You to sort out. The new books coming from bookshops were studied in his small study room where a small cubboard for the new books could be found. I do not remember any registration or card catalogue drawers for his library collection at Woodlands.” He adds that Osho sometimes created new words when speaking in Hindi, a language far richer than English to express otherworldly phenomena. Osho was very concerned with the design of his publications: In the selection of photos, cover layot, lettering and calligraphy etc. Sometimes a double policy was carried out, with cheap paperbacks as well as hardbound editions. The launching of new titles was now and then coordinated with celebrations, and Bhagwan wanted by monthly sales reports to monitor the statistics of his publishing. (41)
Kavisho, his librarian in Poona Two, is narrating on his books from Bombay and Poona One in Lao Tzu Library during Poona Two: “Many of the marked books have small red and blue dots that Osho placed in the margin to note significant passages, while others have comments at the end. Kavisho gives the example of one book about running, in which there are many pictures of the author running endlessly across all kinds of difficult terrain, and at the end Osho writes “Take it easy.”
As Kavisho explains, it is quite common to see words or phrases written by Osho at the end of the books that later became titles for His discourse series. Take It Easy became the title for one Zen series, and Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap, Zing was used for another.” (42)
His personal library at Woodlands was later moved from Bombay to Poona and Sw. Bodhisatva Narendra recalls how he was managing this task given to him by Osho: “On March 21st 1974 Osho left Bombay for Poona, and in the morning he was leaving he called me and said, “You will have to remain here until we get the space for the library ready and also the ways to preserve it. Then I will call you.”
So I almost remained there at Woodlands for six months. And in those six months I was among all those books and in that atmosphere. It was really like living in an energy field among all those words he had spoken and read. He had been marking and writing with red pencil and drawing small magic stars in some of those books, and his signatures were later published as Osho Art. I was staying in the very study room in which he had been living and reading. Finally the cartons with books were loaded on two trucks to be carried to Poona.” (43). We may also notice that according to Sw. Nikalank Osho’s Lao Tzu Library in Poona never held all the books read by him throughout his lifetime, but to his estimate maybe only one tenth of the whole lot. (44)
When packing Osho’s library at Woodlands, Narendra do not remember having seen any of the small booklets published in Jabalpur. Neither does he remember any publications from Jeevan Jagruti Kendra in Bombay among the books in the library he was packing for Poona. Nor were any of these early publications from Jabalpur and Bombay to be retrieved in the database with access catalogue to Osho Lao Tzu Library’s holdings in July 2006. So all these virgin prints and early booklets seem not to have been included in his private library and in today’s Osho Library in Poona, a condition that does not make bibliographic documentation less uncomplicated.
3.6 Discourses and publications
At Woodlands the space for Osho’s work was limited and neo-sannyas took shape rather casually But basic facilities existed, and when needed public lectures were arranged on Bombay’s open maidans and in city halls to give more space for the gathering of people. During these talks thousands of listeners came to hear Osho speaking, and for the first two years in Bombay he continued lecturing in Hindi. After the evening lecture was finished at Woodlands, the assembled sannyasins would sing and dance in kirtan.
“Bhagwan arrived in Bombay on July 1, 1970. There he began what was a totally new form for him – regular evening discourses with fifty-odd people about spiritual and esoteric matters. He dwelled into the hidden secrets in various spiritual traditions; he enjoyed answering questions based on the previous lecture and went deeply into his answers. It was a very intense, live, powerful dialogue, most of which has been compiled and translated from Hindi in The Mystic Experience.” (Joshi 1982, p. 94)
Laxmi remembers from Woodlands: “At five thirty in the morning Dynamic meditation was led by a sannyasin at a friends house in Mumbai. Later, meditators gathered on Chowpatty Beach in the open. Osho stopped public speaking and gave discourses only for his disciples and devotees in the living room at Woodlands. On the average there were close to a hundred people always comfortably seated. The setting was intimate and relaxed.” (Laxmi 2002)
“At night Bhagwan held public discourses. While some of these discourses took place outdoors or in a public lecture hall accessible to everyone, others were conducted in His apartment. At these events, one could see Bhagwan and sit close to Him. The number of listeners depended on the location. Sometimes there were just 100 to 120 visitors, and sometimes as many as 5000 to 8000 participated.” (Sheela 2012, p. 134) (45)
The Bombay phase is only partly covered in biographies on Bhagwan, and misunderstandings are often to be found among Western scholars and others dealing with these early phases. Sometimes you may be under the impression that Osho’s early phases in Jabalpur and Bombay are considered mythical stuff not to be brought into the clear daylight too abruptly. Carter writes:
“Various pamphlets describing Rajneesh began to appear in 1971 (Milne: Turning In [sic] and Do not Read), and the first book in the English language, The Gateless Gate, was published in Bombay…A new English language book appeared in 1973 and the burst of publication the following year shows that several more were ready in the process of being written [sic]. The Silent Explosion (1973) appears to have been the public announcement of the new movement…One of the earliest publications of Rajneesh’s discourses was with an obscure “Anand Shila Press of Bombay,” which may have been created by Sheela’s family…taken as some confirmation of early backing by Ma Anand Sheela (Silverman, at this time) or by her family.” (Carter 1990, pp. 48,54,277,279)
Even while staying away more and more from big assemblies it became evident that his personal security was still a matter of concern to his followers. Osho’s openness and availability to his sannyasins was not without flaws, and gradually the trustees of Jeevan Jagruti Kendra realized that some measures concerning his personal security had to be taken. One episode happened while Osho was speaking on the Geeta and a regular listener, who used to shout during lectures and raise his objections to what he was hearing, he one day before discourse hid himself behind a pillar and leaped on Osho as he walked towards the hall to address the gathering. He got hold of Osho’s chaddor only, and while Osho was standing smilingly with his bare chest the offender was taken away by others. Now a bodyguard was hired who followed Osho wherever he went, and also guarded the main gates while Osho was in the apartment, as remembered by Sheela:
“Bhagwan’s provocative lectures had made Him the target of fanatics as well. His security was a major cause of anxiety for us. He had to be always protected. In the early days, when He was still a travelling philosopher, He used to allow people to touch Him. But sometimes visitors would pretend to want to touch His folded hands but then would injure Him with razor blades or needles. We would find out about this only on seeing blood on His hands and handkerchief. So it became essential for us to prevent the audience from coming close to Him and touching Him. We had to take many precautionary measures. This was no paranoia. The threats were quite real.
I personally witnessed two attacks on Him, one in Bombay and one in Poona. Even now I can remember them clearly. One was during an evening discourse in Bombay. Bhagwan’s words were mesmerizing as usual. We were totally absorbed. After He had talked for half an hour, there was a sudden restlessness in the crowd. An angry drunk man was trying to enter the room. He had an open knife in his hand, and murder was writ on his face. He was very angry at Bhagwan and wanted to kill Him. He was a fanatic. The guards outside the gates were holding him to keep him from entering the room. The unrest soon changed into a fight. Bhagwan stopped talking. He looked at the door and called Narendra, a long-time Sannyasin. He was a cousin of Bhagwan and had been living with Him for many years.
Bhagwan ordered, “Naren, release him! Let him come in.” Narendra did not want to do that. He did not order the release of the man. Bhagwan strictly commanded him, “Naren, release him! I am telling you, you should let him come in.” Now Narendra had to release him. I could not believe my eyes. From my seat close to Bhagwan I could clearly see the whole scene. The drunk was a madman, extremely dangerous. He was boiling inside and had foam in his mouth. Full of compassion, Bhagwan said, “Come. Come here.” The man went up to Bhagwan, fell at His feet, and cried. Bhagwan put His hand on his head and continued His discourse, as if nothing had happened. He was as fluent as before. There was no interruption. The way He resumed was really remarkable. How can one be not affected by such a situation? For me this was unbelievable.” (Sheela 2012, p. 188)
Swami Sadar Guru Dayal Singh reports an incident from sometime between 1971-1973 when Bhagwan was speaking in Patkar Hall: “That was the rainy season. But it was not raining at that time. Osho’s discourse was going on in Patkar Hall. When I came out of the hall after the discourse, I noticed a group of some fifty to sixty people shouting slogans against Osho across the road with banners in their hands.
On the banners were written derogatory slogans like ‘The Guru of the Rich’, ‘Government’s Agent’, ‘Sex Guru’ etc. As Osho reached the car, one of the leaders of that group named Gaur started heading towards Osho’s car with a banner in his hand. Then, moving swiftly towards him I warned him that if he wanted to shout slogans he should stay back and not try to approach the car. To this, he retorted, ‘What if I move ahead? Can you stop me?’ and started proceeding towards the car. At this, I hit him hard on his head with an umbrella and he fell down. He tried to fight with me but I forcibly laid him down. We were still lashing and fighting with each other when some sannyasin friends interfered and separated us. Swami Krishna Arup (Chenani) told me later that the entire incident was seen by Osho himself as he drove sitting in the car.”…”It came to light later on that this man named Gaur had chosen palmistry as his profession on the foot path of the V.T. Railway Station. For insulting Osho, he was heavily bribed by someone – that was all.” (Bharti 2012, p. 221)
Another attempt to silence him is told by Swami Anadi Anil, son of Sohan Bafna: “But, I still vividly remember that once when Osho was about to come out of Woodland around 6.30 p.m. – probably he was going to deliver a speech in the Azad Ground – someone was waiting for Osho with a dagger in his hand. In those days Laksmi used to drive Osho’s car. I was walking just behind Osho. That man, seeing Osho, was for a moment taken aback. I immediately caught him with all my might. Then I freed him when Osho got into the car. He left the place with leaps and bounds and did not even turn back once.” (Bharti 2012, p. 247)
In an interview in Lord of the Full Moon (1980) Sw.Anand Maitreya has narrated how he first met Osho at Woodlands: “I met Him in 1965 first, about twelve years ago, in Delhi where I happened to be a member in parliament. I came to know of Him in Bombay where I was for a week, listening to J .Krishnamurti. I was staying with a friend who is a great industrialist and he presented me with newly published books by Bhagwan. I read them on my way back to Delhi…In 1972 I joined Him at His Bombay “Woodlands”. He told me, “There is a lot of work to be done and you just come to Bombay and stay with me.” (46)
Lectures at Woodlands were mostly in series covering a religious figure or theme, alternating with his well-known sessions with questions and answers where his disciples had the opportunity to enquire into the sutras, which had been read in the previous evening, or whatever came to their mind. But as we will see, these series were often to be discontinued for some time and resumed again later, maybe also changing their location like series starting in a meditation camp were to be continued in Bombay later on, or even intertwined with another series running parallel in time. Questions in their hundreds were asked by Narandra, Maitreya, Chinmaya or Keerti and answered by Osho to be published later on.
Many early booklets were later to be included in compilations, of which a growing number began to be published in English offering his disciples a chance to enrich themselves by reading his lectures from Jabalpur and early Bombay. Some of Osho’s earliest discourses are to be found in In Search of the Miraculous, vol.1-2 (1984), The Mystic Experience (1977) and The Eternal Quest (1980)
Jeevan Jagruti Kendra was for years the leading publisher of Bhagwan’s books in Hindi, but slowly we find that outside publishers show an interest in the publishing of his books. The most powerful publishing house to get involved in the publishing of Acharya Rajneesh was Motilal Banarsidass in Delhi, who already in 1966 had released Path of Self-Realization (Sadhana Path), Rajneesh’s first booklet in English. Lala Motilal Jain (1874-1930) was the founder of the publishing house in Punjab 1903, and his son Lala Sundarlal Jain (15.02.1900-23.1.1978) had to shift the company to Delhi following the upheavals caused by India’s independence in 1947. He was himself involved with Rajneesh, and whenever his lecturing, organized by the manager, was happening in Delhi, the acharya used to live with him for longer periods like 10-14 days, on the 1st floor in his house with the family’s rooms further upstairs and ground floor used for the bookshop-cum-showroom, which is still there. He even organized Rajneesh’s meditation camps in Kashmir and Kulu Manali, and soon these lectures came out in a steady flow of new titles in Hindi as well as in English. For many titles the front cover was designed also by Bhagwan’s disciples in Bombay.
Sunderlal was grandfather to the present managing director and editor in chief Narendra Prakash Jain, who took over the publishing house when his father Shri Shantilal Jain (1913-1997) had died. The 100 jubilee year was celebrated with the heading 100 years of Indology 1903-2003, and a number of Osho’s books have by now been in the publisher’s book list for nearly 50 years. So the management of this publishing has held Bhagwan in high esteem and felt admitted to the spreading of is message. (47)
Next to Motilal Banarsidas Star Pocket Books, later Diamond Pocket Books, was out early to make Osho’s lectures available. The grandfather of the present owner N.K. Verma founded the publishing house in Pakistan 1928 and moved to India after the liberation. In 1972 Neelam and Usha met with Star Pocket Books, and from then on they started publishing Rajneesh in Hindi at low price. The four first titles were each sold in 55.000 copies. Their relations were discontinued during the years in Oregon, but reassumed when Osho returned to India, and since then app. 300 titles in Hindi and 70 in English have been on their list of publications. The managing director, like in the case also with Motilal Banarsidass, is a follower of Osho and their commitment is mirrored in their selective policy for their publishing. (48)
Ishwarbhai was in Bombay mostly managing Jeevan Jagruti Kendra on extremely limited funds. Osho usually left all economic affairs to Laherubhai and Ishwarbhai, but sometimes he was complaining on Ishwarbhai’s financial management. Ishwarbhai was a crucial figure for the spreading of Osho message, but economic management was extremely difficult in those days, and paying the bills was an ongoing challenge. It is reported that now and then even checks were issued that could not be met properly. Also Vasanjibhai was involved in the publishing work of Jeevan Jagruti Kendra next to his recording of the evening lectures at Woodlands. Ishwarbhai recalls that some old editions from Jeevan Jagruti Kendra were sent to Oregon later on, other old editions ended up in Cologne in Germany. (49)
“And Mumbai is not a center as yet. What center is there in Mumbai? Just three or four friends! But the idea has run through the whole country that Mumbai is some kind of center; that it is wealthy. There is neither wealth nor money; they are constantly in debt and in trouble – no question of making money… Ishwarbabu keeps writing checks and they keep bouncing. The checks should not be written because there is no money in the bank. But he says that it will be fifteen days before the check is returned, and by that time we will have managed something…Ishwarbabu has no money at all, but he says we sold literature worth two hundred thousand rupees this year. So how is that literature produced if there is no money whatsoever? He prints one book, sells it, and using that money starts printing another…At present there are about one hundred books, and this is nothing.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #6 & #12
The financial situating for running Bhagwan’s household and the publishing of his discourses was not that encouraging in spite of a constant flow of donations from his devotees. Laxmi remembers:
“Facillities for sannyasins improved and were enhanced. However Laxmi was perpetually hard pressed for money. She worked with the same resolute as St. Theresa who started out to build a cathedral and succeeded owing to sheer faith. Similarly Osho’s work was carried out on a shoestring budget. Laxmi believed that with the Master’s grace and trust of a disciple, milestones can be achieved.” (Laxmi 2002)
“Teertha, Sagar and Chinmaya were editing Bhagwan’s books. Mamta was transcribing them. I had no particular task, so I took on myself to take care of the household and the purchase of food.” (Sheela 2012, p. 137)
“There is plenty of new work that can be started, there is no shortage of work. For instance, at the moment Ishwarbabu is looking after all the publications. Lashkari-ji has said that he has experience in publishing, and he has his own press, so he has offered to look after it. But I think we should start a separate publishing division with Lashkari-ji called Neo-Sannyas Interational Publications, and we should entrust him with that. There are so many books waiting to be published that even if you start separate divisions, you would not manage at all…Gradually you can separate the publication work into different languages. For example, publishing in Marathi is stuck. Make a separate committee for it. Let them raise their own funds and be responsible for it. Ishwarbabu will not be involved with this committee; it will raise and manage its own funds. After all, in the end all the funds are doing the same work. So it is okay to do things separately. Separate the Marathi publishing, then gradually separate the Gujarati, the Hindi, and the English publishing. Gradually divide them.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #12
“I’m sitting in the office of one of the largest printing presses in Bombay right now, waiting six, eight, ten hours for work on one of Bhagwan’s books to be completed and shown to me for approval, work that in the West would take minutes to complete.” (Bharti 1981, p. 56)
The delivery of books from Osho’s publishers to the sellers and customers saw some mistakes now and then, which put even more strain on the tight financial situation. A suggestion from Osho was to keep a register of five thousand customers in India, who would receive any new book by mail right from the press on subscription basis, paid by cash on delivery, and he had some very optimistic calculations on the future of his publishing, and he advised not to mention names to prevent the beginning of politics:
“Don’t print less than ten thousand copies of any book. Five thousand copies should go directly from the press to your listed customers. Then all your expenses will be covered, and you can sell the remaining five thousand copies easily, without a problem. You are pricing your books at four times the production costs. If you spend five thousand rupees on printing, then even after giving forty percent commission and deducting all the expenses, you should still make five thousand rupees. If you print twenty books a year, you will easily make one hundred thousands rupees. There is no question about it. And those twenty books are to be gradually printed in all the languages. And Babubhai: treat the publishing very professionally. Spend money on advertising them properly – in the same way as you do for any of your private products.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #12
“That kind of politics comes from the beginning. Its journey begins from this place: who did this and who didn’t, whose name got a mention and whose name didn’t. We have to remember that whenever a mention needs to be made, say that the center did it, the friends of the center did it. Even when a book is published names should be abolished. The publisher should be Life Awakening Center.” The secretary’s name should not be given. Whosoever is the secretary at that time will be the publisher. Then no one will ever feel that his name was once there, but now it has been removed. When a name is changed – today it is this person’s, tomorrow it will be that person’s – a chain of misery and pain begin.” Work is Love made Visible (2011) #13
Audio. The importance of recording in audio and documenting the words of Acharya Rajneesh was recognized and initially attempted in a variety of technical standards and qualities. Laherubhai, now living in Bombay, has recorded Rajneesh’s discourses from 1970 up to 1974. To this purpose Laherubhai imported an entire recording system from abroad, and he has later donated all tapes and master cassettes to the ashram in Poona (50). The possibility of increasing sales by offering taped lectures was recognised by Osho early on, but his idea of producing also long playing records with lectures never happened as the market for audiotapes was expanding rapidly:
“I think you should start selling audiotapes. But leave that to Ishwarbabu, and what will the result be? There are so much work put onto one man’s shoulders that I sometimes wonder how he manages everything! Yes, there is a little problem: he notes things down somewhere in his diary and it is all a hodgepodge, and he goes on doing everything. There are dozens of other matters in his diary. He takes care of the correspondence too; he is attending correspondence until late – one o’clock in the night – until Guna really tells him off!…Make separate arrangements for audiotapes, make a separate committee for it, because gradually audiotapes are going to start selling as much as your books. There should be a separate department that produces only tapes – that makes them professionally and sells them. They should be produced in advance. If a blank cassette is available for fifty rupees in the market, then sell it for sixty rupees – ten rupees will pay for the cost of recording and all other management expenses. But the tapes should be prepared in advance, and sold in the same shop as our books are being sold. Make full sets of all the discourse series, because if I travel around less – and I am going to go out less – then your tape sales will increase rapidly…Right now there are five thousand hours of recordings with Lehroo – perhaps they will never get published because I will go on speaking every day, and while you are busy publishing those talks you will not be able to publish those fifty thousand pages from before.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #12
Laherubhai recorded Osho during his stay in Bombay and he recalls from C.C.I. Chambers in 1970: “An interview of Osho was taken by Shri Pathakji for the purpose of an article to be printed in Hindi monthly magazine ‘Dharmayug’ of Times Group on the occasion of Shri Krisna Janmashtmi, at C.C.I. Chambers on July 20, 1970. I was recording the interview on my tape recorder. In about one and a quarter hours the interview was over, so I checked whether the recording was proper, and found that the whole talk was not recorded for some reason. I got very much perplexed. I wondered what to do? How to tell this to Osho and what he will say? All these thoughts came to me but it was a must to talk about this with Osho. Nervously, I said to Osho that the talk was not recorded. I was afraid that Osho will be angry on me but that did not happen and he said, “Don’t worry, you call Pathakji again.” After eight days, Osho gave interview to Pathakji again and to my surprise Osho talked the exactly same way again as he had talked before. The whole talk is published as the first discourse in Osho’s book ‘Krishna Smruti.’ The first talk was not recorded in my tape recorder so I felt guilty and I decided that from then onwards two tape recorders would be used to record all his talks, so that the recording would be proper.” (Laheru 2012, p. 53)
“Osho never wrote anything except a few letters to his lovers. All his talks and discourses were recorded. Before publishing them as books, their script was prepared. For this work, Pathakji of Dharmyug used to come to my place, listen to the recordings, and then write them in shorthand. Then he would type them and prepare the script. That would be published as books. At that time, it was special instruction from Osho that his discourses and talks should be published as they were spoken and not a single word should be added to or deleted from them.” (Laheru 2012, p. 54)
The whole discourse series Vigyan Bhairav Tantra was tape recorded as remembered by Veena, and she tells how she finally managed to carry the tapes with her back to Europe for copying to the new centers popping up: “A few days after that meeting in Bombay, Bhagwan embarked on the first of his famous Vigyan Bhairav Tantra series. To say we were ‘gob smacked’ would be a crude but highly appropriate description of our state. At that time the discourses were recorded by anyone who could manage to stick a mike up on the stand in front of Bhagwan. Primitive, to say the least. The only tapes of Bhagwan’s discourses that I had were some Nirvano had recorded by dint of sticking the mike of her tiny tape-recorder up there too. I may be wrong, but I have a feeling that until that time, Bhagwan had never given solely English discourses – they had hitherto been either in Hindi or a mixture of English and Hindi. I had to have the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra tapes – but at that time things were run by a kind of syndicate which grimly held on to all the tapes and the few booklets which had been printed. Despite my efforts there was no way I could get hold of them…
In those days there was no quick means of copying tapes and only one Indian sannyasin had a spool machine sophisticated enough to do an extensive copying job – at talking speed, no fast duplicating button. The master tape was purloined, and a night session of taping began. The discourses lasted eleven hours – it was twelve hours until my plane took off. I had checked in and was waiting at Immigration when the sannyasin ran into the airport brandishing the precious spool. I scooped it up, hugged him and ran for my plane.” (Veena 2012, p. 28)
In the months before his passing away in January 1990 Osho had explicitly asked for the translation work of his Hindi discourses to be speeded up. Scores of Hindi discourses, from Bombay and from Poona, are still in the process of being translated into English, many of these are discussing esoteric secrets and ancient texts which he never included in the English discourse series. There is also other hitherto unpublished material in English, including some darshan diaries from Poona One, which will come out in coming years, the first one At the Feet of the Master (1997).
Listening to Bhagwan
He is said to have spoken the most flowing Hindi, ranging from Veda-like poetry and songs to the slang of the village dialogue. For Western disciples it was enough to be in his presence and listen to the flow of sounds in Hindi. What may not be known to them, was the difference in his approach and directions given to Westerners and Indians respectively, when he responded to the questions from his listeners. Laxmi recalls from her listening to Bhagwan in 1969, when he was lecturing in Bombay before moving there:
“During this period Osho spoke extempore. His discourses were fired with radicalism, combat and powerful. His oration was lucid, full of poetry and spontaneous and the command on Hindi language unparallel and remarkable. He spoke on love, sex to superconsciousness, education, women, the social structure of the society.” (Laxmi 2002)
“I loved the few Western sannyasins around Osho and the many Indian friends. Together we made a colorful collection of seekers, dressed in orange gowns or white casuals, gathering nightly at Osho’s apartment, eagerly waiting for Him to come out to be with us and answer some of our questions. The traffic noises from the street below helped to accentuate the profound silence with which Osho’s presence would envelop us all…Periodic discourse series both in Hindi and in English also allowed us to be near Him. They were held to begin with in His apartment, later in a public auditorium and sometimes even in a huge sports arena where He spoke in Hindi to up to 20.000 Indians.” (51)
Bhagwan’s speaking in Hindi may at first glance be likely to turn off his Western listeners in numbers, but also this author can testify that the so-called language barrier seemed to be a minor problem to many of his listeners from abroad:
“The daughter of Ma Yoga Mukta from Greece took sannyas during this camp, and when asked if she had some language problems listening to Osho in Hindi, she replied smilingly, ‘I don’t follow Hindi, but I can hear Him.'” (Bharti 2007, p. 209)
“He was beginning a series of public talks in Hindi that evening at a park in town…I didn’t understand a word Bhagwan said that evening when he spoke, but it didn’t seem to matter. As mesmerized by his eloquent gestures as I was captivated by his voice, I sat silently beside him, filled with bliss. It was the first time I’d ever seen Bhagwan in anything other than a long, white turtleneck robe. Bare-chested, he wore a white lunghi wrapped like a skirt around his waist and a white shawl over his shoulders.” (Franklin 1992, p. 45)
Naturally the impact of his words in the mother tongue of his listeners was bound to be even more uplifting, his discourses being a blend of music and poetry:
“Acharya Rajneesh (later to be known as Osho) was 39 years old when I first met him at his Bombay apartment in December of 1970. With long beard and large dark eyes, he looked like a painting of Lao-Tze come to life…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…Rajneesh spoke on a high level of intelligence, and his powerful 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.” (52)
Video 3. Rare Osho Footage from Bombay. 51 seconds.
Krishna Prem recalls from Osho speaking in Bombay at a public event: “I was just remembering something that Osho shared with me. It was a time when I was leaving India and I was going to California and you remember I said that he loved when I said I was going to California. And he said, “Well, tonight when I speak, I would like you to sit very close to me. I have a message for you.” I got excited, a personal message for me in public in front of fifteen thousand people because this was a public event and when a master speaks in Mumbai, fifteen thousand people is actually a disappointingly small crowd. I got there early because I wanted to sit next to Osho and of course everybody else had had the same feeling. I wasn’t sitting very close but to be honest with you, I never had the feeling that sitting close was anything important for me; some people like to sit on his lap; I did not have that feeling. I was already in love and I could see people really working hard to be close to him. It just never was a major concern. When I say I was leaving Osho, for me the poetry was in leaving him. Going to America at that time and sharing meditation with friends and speaking about Osho; that was my life. I really enjoyed myself. Being near him I often slipped into unconsciousness, and I have also been conscious far away from him. So I never had that problem. I many times sat with him and to be honest where I really got stoned was through just sharing. I guess that’s one of the reasons I am writing this book. Anyway, that night can you believe it; fifteen thousand people and Osho was going to give me a personal message. I was pretty excited and the talk, believe it or not, was in Hindi. He might have been giving me a personal message all night long, but I don’t speak Hindi and I just sat there and said to myself, “Shit.” Right in the middle of this one and half hour Hindi discourse and you can imagine, I think in America we’d call it a snorer, I basically was nodding off, passing out, sitting on the ground, uncomfortable as hell, what am I doing here, this is foolish…and then in the middle of the one and half hour lecture, discourse, darshan, whatever you wanna call it he said, “Do not build a house on the bridge.” And he said this in English; do not build your house on a bridge. And it was incredible. It was like a search that began that moment. I just kept repeating that sentence to myself for years. What the hell does that mean? “Do not build a house on the bridge.” And it has been really beautiful for me.” (Krishna 2011, p. 188)
“When I am speaking to you, it is in fact the universe using me. My words are not my words; they belong to the universal truth. That is their power, that is their charisma, that is their magic.” Satyam-Shivam-Sundram #7
Listening to Bhagwan was more than just the words he communicated to his people, rather it was a multi facetted affair, where his gestures and facial expressions contributed utterly to the whole scene and captivated his listeners as can be seen on the many videos from his discourses:
“I cannot speak without my hands. If you tie my hands I cannot speak a single word because it is not only that a part of me is speaking, it is my whole being that is involved in it. My eyes, my hands, my whole body is involved. My whole body is saying something, is supporting what I am saying in words.” (Sarito 2000, p. 142)
“If you tie both my hands I cannot speak. i simply cannot speak. I will simply be at a loss for what to do, because my hands are so deeply connected with my expressions.
And you must know that each hand is connected to one hemisphere of the mind, the left hand with the right hemisphere, the right hand with the left hemisphere. They are extensions of your mind. So whenever I speak, I am speaking through two mediums; through words and through hands. Each gesture of the hand helps me to give expression to a certain idea. If my hands are tied down, it is impossible for me to say anything. I have tried it, and I suddenly find speaking absolutely difficult. I want to say something, and I say something else. The whole thing is that the rythm with my hands is disturbed.” The Path of the Mystic #17
“On what was planned to be my last day in India, with my address book in hand I drove up to Woodlands, a high-rise flat of apartments with a couple of cedars in the front yard. The door to the first floor was answered by a small lady dressed in orange. Already accustomed to the Indian way of life, I left my Kolhapuri sandals at the door end entered the pleasantly cool flat. The cook offered me a cup of chai and, coming from Italy, I was introduced to two young women called Lalita and Deeksha who were also from Italy. I received a lively introduction into the man they called Bhagwan (I had this name totally wrong in my notes) and the meditation he taught which they called Dynamic. There would be a discourse on Yoga that evening at 7 in Woodlands and in the morning at 6 the Dynamic Meditation would be held on Chowpatti Beach, a leisure place at night to where Saeed’s brother-in-law Kabir had taken me for milk shakes and pakoras…
He is so young, was my first impression [at the evening lecture] and I carefully listened to what he had to expound over Patanjali’s Sutras, even taking notes. I was a bit disappointed that I had to sit in the back. The front was only for people wearing orange, Deeksha said. I wanted him to see me; I wanted him to know that I had arrived.” (Ma Yoga Punya. In: Bhagawati 2010, p. 128)
“The discourse took place in his living room with the many shelved books. This room could accommodate 60 to 80 people. When it was very crowded there could be up to 100 present here. This evening it was totally full. I would not for anything in the world have missed the lecture. We were sitting with our backs up against the wall. I was impatiently waiting to see those incredible eyes once again. Bhagwan came from his bedroom and slowly made his way through the room, his hands together in ‘Namaste’.
He had a white robe which went to his feet. A hankerchief was on his shoulder. When he arrived a silence at once fell over the audience. You could have heard a needle falling in his living room.” (Sheela 1996, p. 98) (53)
His preference for talking rather than writing, and his very way of talking with its silent gaps as a device for reaching a meditative state of mind was commented upon again and again by him in a most self-analytic manner, which provided his listeners with an understanding of what they were witnessing and the oratorical devices he used to keep them alert. A wide range of rhetoric means could be noticed by his listeners: The rhytm of his prose, the musical effect of tautologies; antithesis and paradox, rhetoric questioning, his use of metaphors, parables and allegories. He was an extremely skilled orator and he knew every part of the trade. Including the comic relief factor!
“No, I do not want to write. There are many reasons why I do not want to write. For one thing, in my opinion it is absurd and useless to write. It is useless because for whom shall I write? Writing appears to me to be like writing a letter without knowing the address. How can I enclose it in an envelope and dispatch it when I do not know the address?
A statement is always addressed. Those who want to address the masses write. This is the way they address the unknown crowd. But the more unknown the crowd, the fewer are the things that can be said. And the nearer or more known the individual addressed is, the deeper can be the dialogue.” Dimensions Beyond the Known, p. 23
Prasad, his first biographer, has this early assessment of Bhagwan’s power of speech: “Rajneesh, who makes his speeches in Hindi, is one of the greatest living orators in India whose language is heavily Sanskritized.” (Prasad 1978, p. 68)
“As far as I am concerned, I am not what they call a speaker or an orator. It is not an art to me or a technique; technically I go on becoming worse every day! But our purposes are totally different. I don’t want to impress you in order to manipulate you. I don’t speak for any goal to be achieved through convincing you. I don’t speak to convert you into a Christian, into a Hindu or a Mohammedan, into a theist or an atheist – these are not my concerns.
My speaking is really one of my devices for meditation. Speaking has never been used this way: I speak not to give you a message, but to stop your mind functioning.
I speak nothing prepared – I don’t know myself what is going to be the next word; hence I never commit any mistake. One commits a mistake if one is prepared. I never forget anything, because one forgets if one has been remembering it. So I speak with a freedom that perhaps nobody has ever spoken with.
I am not concerned whether I am consistent, because that is not the purpose. A man who wants to convince you and manipulate you through his speaking has to be consistent, has to be logical, has to be rational, to overpower your reason. He wants to dominate through words.” The Invitation, p. 154
“My purpose is so unique – I am using words just to create silent gaps. The words are not important so I can say anything contradictory, anything absurd, anything unrelated, because my purpose is just to create gaps. The words are secondary; the silences between those words are primary. This is simply a device to give you a glimpse of meditation. And once you know that it is possible for you, you have traveled far in the direction of your own being. Most of the people in the world don’t think that it is possible, they don’t try. How to give people a taste of meditation was my basic reason to speak, so I can go on speaking eternally – it does not matter what i am saying. All that matters is that I give you a few chances to be silent, which you find difficult on your own in the beginning.” The Invitation, p. 155
Further he is commenting on his subtle way of transmitting:
“You say: I would suggest that you should devote mornings to answering our questions and evenings to your independent discourses.
No, it would not be proper. I will say what I have to say; you need not worry about it. Whatever questions you ask, I will say only that which I have to say. Questions don’t make any difference.” Krishna: The Man and his Philosophy #12
“Yes, you are right, this is a game of questions and answers. They are simply an excuse so that you can be with me. You are so accustomed to words that without words you cannot find out what you are doing here. You feel a little crazy. But with words, everything feels right.
I would have preferred to sit silently with you, but the trouble is, if I sit silently, then your mind goes yakkety-yak, yakkety-yak. I can even hear the sound – so many wheels moving. So I decided this way it is better.
I use words. Listening to my words you stop thinking. And in those moments when there is no thinking, much transpires, much that cannot be said but can only be understood; much which no language is capable of expressing. But the very presence of a man who knows, starts stirring your heart, changing your being.” The Transmission of the Lamp, p. 247
When commenting on Osho’s devices as an orator, Mistelberger is referring to the scholar Georg Feuerstein, who may have a point when he is identifying Osho’s main intellectual weakness: His tendency to teach with a broad canvas and occasionally due to educational considerations blandly to oversimplify his talking on a certain subject to reach the estimated level of understanding among his listeners. (Mistelberger 2010, p. 590)
Finishing his discourses in Woodlands, Bhagwan would say,
“I am grateful that you listened to me with such love and silence. Now to end, I bow down to the godliness that dwells in you all. Please accept my pranam, my offering of respect.”
When he first moved to C.C.I. Chambers in Bombay, Osho was still known as Acharya Rajneesh, and his first lecture outside C.C.I. Chambers took place September 1-5, 1970, at Shanmukhanand Hall in Sion where he spoke on Mahavir’s philosophy of non-violence and Mahavir’s other resolutions relating to possessionlessness, theftlessness, passionlessness and alertness. Tapes from this series were soon offered in meditation centers and listened to attentatively by his friends. The discourses were later published as Jyon Ki Tyon Dhar Dini Chadariya. This series on Mahavir was continued from November 10th to 17th to a much larger audience at Cross Maidan in Bombay.
In the same month from the 29th of November, 1970, Bhagwan began a new 34-part series in Ahmedabad on Geeta Gyan Yagya, the popular Hindu scripture Shrimad Bhagvadgita with Krishna’s celestial songs. This series was to be published with the title Geeta Darshan in eight volumes, initially translated by Swami Satya Vedant. A female devotee opened the morning lecture by singing a shloka (couplet) from the Geeta and translated it into Hindi. Bhagwan then threw his light on the first 22 shlokas of the Geeta, and he presented to his listeners a psychological analysis and understanding of Arjun’s grief. For the evening lecture, those who had heard him in the morning now had brought their friends and relatives with them. These series on Krishna made the educated Hindus aware of Bhagwan, the very same people who had distanced themselves from him due to his controversial series on Sambhog Se Samadhi on sex and Gandhiwad ki Shav Pariksha critical on Gandhi. The number of listeners to his lectures as well as sales of his audio cassettes were enlarged in the Hindi community due to his interest in and insightful expounding of their common spiritual heritage. (54)
Shrimad Bhagvadgita would be the first time that Bhagwan gave a series of talks on religious sutras, a disposition to become his landmark in Bombay and Poona for the rest of his life. But not in Oregon, U.S.A. His time in Bombay would be a gradually move from the Indian scriptures to start with, to include most religions of the world to suit his wider and growing international audience. He had earlier delivered separate lectures on the teachings of certain mystics, like in September 1969 when in Kashmir he gave a series of talks on Mahavir: The Man and His Philosophy, and again later in September 1970 where in Kulu Manali he delivers the series on Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy. In both these series we can see focus was on the person and his philosophy, but without commenting on their scriptures respectively. Osho is explaining the origin of sutras and shastras:
“Sutras are very small maxims, aphoristic. The reason why sutras were used in the past was that until writing came into existence, everything had to be memorized. You cannot memorize a big book, but you can memorize small sutras in the seed.
So all the ancient awakened ones have spoken in sutras, so that those sutras would reach the coming centuries just by memory. There was no other way of conveying to the future generations. Hence all old languages are very poetic, for the simple reason that poetry can be memorized more easily than prose. You can sing it…
When there was no way of writing, sutras came into existence; very small, aphoristic, two lines at the most – and that too written in a poetic form, so you can hum, recite, sing, and let them settle in your memory.
So there are sutra priests, and when writing came into existence, shastras, scriptures, were written. Now there was no need to write aphoristically, because in an aphoristic style there is the possibility of misinterpretation…
You will find in India a strange phenomenon which has not happened in any place outside India. Every sutra book has been interpreted in thousands of ways, because the sutra is so small, so condensed, so full of meaning, that you can take any viewpoint. It opens in all dimensions; you can interpret it in such a way that nobody has ever thought of.” Yakusan: Straight To The Point Of Enlightenment #2
Osho continues his lecture explaining how the multitude of sutra interpretations gave way for shastras in prose:
“So there are interpretations of sutras, but these interpretations are also sutras. So then there are interpretations of the interpretations…Sometimes it goes on until one sutra has been interpreted, then the interpretation has been interpreted – twelve times, fifteen times, thirty times. I have come across one thousand interpretations of Shrimad Bagavadgita.
Such a thing has never happened anywhere else in the world, because never were such condensed sutras given. Seeing the difficulty of sutras, that they can be interpreted in millions of ways contradictory to each other and create many schools of thought…This was not the purpose. There was a single meaning, but who knows which is the right meaning? When there are a thousand meanings available, how are you going to choose which was the original meaning?
Hence, shastras came into existence. ‘Shastras’ mean prose scriptures. You don’t have to interpret. Every detail is given; not just a condensed aphoristic form, but everything that the person wanted to say has been explained by himself. You don’t need any interpreter…
The sutra priest exists for sutras; they are just biological computers carrying sutras. You ask them for sutras, they will give you sutras. And there are shastra priests; they don’t know anything on their own authority, but they can give you the whole shastra with all the interpretations possible. But it is all games, gymnastics of intellect and language.” Yakusan: Straight To The Point Of Enlightenment #2
The Geeta-series were resumed again in Ahmedabad from the 3rd of May 1971, when Bhagwan spoke on the sixth chapter of the Bhagwad Geeta, now called Geeta Gyan Yagya or Geeta-Philosophy by the listeners. Every second day Bhagwan was expounding the Geeta, alternating with days where he answered questions from the participants and as usual he also initiated people into neo-sannyas.
Picking up the thread from these expoundings Osho would not continue this series on Geeta Gyan Yagya in Ahmedabad until the 5th of November, 1971, where they were continued until November 21st. Now the talks were focusing on the chapters seven to ten of the Geeta, and these talks were very much appreciated by the educated Jain people, as well as the liberal Hindus. The former were impressed when Osho revived the voice of Mahavir and called him the peak of consciousness, and the latter because he called Krishna a complete incarnation and delivered an insightful talk on Krishna Smriti and Geeta Gyan. This was once again his subtle way of attending new listeners to his message and then slowly spinning them into his own understanding. If not another sudden and useful weeding among his listeners was needed to leave behind those, who could not participate in this ongoing manoeuvre towards truth he was presenting to their dispersing no-minds.
“Those who knew me for years, who knew that I had always been against God, were really puzzled, absolutely puzzled. One of my teachers, whom I had tortured for three years continually in my high school [in Gadarwara] because he was a very pious type of man: praying morning and evening, and continually keeping on his forehead the symbol of his religion…I was continually harassing him about everything; he was incapable of answering any question…
This teacher met me almost twenty years afterwards in a discourse in Bombay. I was speaking on the most popular Hindu scripture, the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita. He could not believe it; thousands of people…and I was speaking on Bhagavad Gita! And not only thousands of people but hundreds of sannyasins too. He came to the back and waited there for when I came out.
He said, “What has happened? You are transformed!” – and he touched my feet.
I said, “Don’t touch them. I am not transformed, I am the same man. And I am very stubborn: I am going to remain the same man to the last breath. Don’t touch my feet” – but he had already touched them.
He said, “You must be joking! If so many sannyasins…” That’s why I had chosen the orange robe, just to sabotage the whole idea of ancient sannyas. There was now no difference between my sannyasins and their sannyasins: it was difficult to figure out who was who. And my sannyasins were increasing every day, in every place all over the country. And when he said that so many sages were also sitting there, I said, “None of them is a sage! Keep your eyes open and close your ears. You should not come here – you are a simple person, this is not for you.”
But he said, “I have heard you, the whole lecture, and I have been reading the Gita my whole life, and nobody has ever interpreted Krishnas’s words the way you have. I have read many commentaries, but listening to you I found that all those were third rate.” From Personality To Individuality #14
Considerations on constructing a meditation temple or hall in Bombay were ongoing, and a program for this purpose was organized by Jeevan Jagruti Kendra in Shanmukhanand Hall on January 18, 1971, where a Hindi souvenir Udgosh (Proclamation) was published. Osho attended this program and explained in detail about the construction and need of the project. (55)
Orange was the chosen colour, but also green had been considered by Bhagwan, and he acknowledged to Veena that green was the colour most conducive to meditation and it should be the predominant colour in the meditation center Nirvana she was about to open in London. (Veena 2012, p. 27)
“My understanding is that if you want to enter meditation, you should change the color of the walls in your house because certain colors may not allow you to meditate. If you have painted the walls red, yellow or black, and then you sit there with closed eyes, within five minutes you will start feeling restless.” Work is Love Made Visible (2012) #11
It was the feeling of most visitors that the hall at Woodlands was gradually becoming smaller and smaller as the number of devotees kept on growing. So the need to go to some outdoor setting for his discourses was definitely becoming an urgent issue. At Cross Maidan maybe eight or ten thousand were able to listen to his talks on the eleventh canto of the Geeta between the 3rd and 14th of January, 1973. And once again Bhagwan was elaborating on moving inwards as the only way towards truth. Ageh Bharti remembers in Blessed Days with Osho some of those places in Bombay where Osho used to deliver lectures outside his residence at Woodlands:
“In Bombay, I was present in Osho’s discourses at the following places.
– Shanmukhanand Hall (5 days)
– Cross Maidan, Prithviraj Theatre
– Bhoola bhai Auditorium.
During Shanmukhanand hall talks, the road opposite the hall used to be closed for about 90 minutes due to the parking of many cars. Several times, I was present during lovers’ talks and press conferences by the Western Press.” (Bharti 2007, p. 276)
When speaking in the Shanmukhanand Hall in Bombay at a function organized under Dhyan-Mandir-Anudan-Yojana on the 18th of January 1971, Bhagwan talked about the many conflicts between the religions of the world. But he also pointed out, that there was no difference of opinion between them regarding meditation, and that the founders of religion had all experienced meditation and thus reached the ultimate state of blissfulness. He declared his wish to set up meditation centres in all the big cities and unfolded his vision on their capability with the help of science to meet human needs, and he continued:
“These meditation centers will explore into all the aspects of life – what type of dress should a meditator wear, what should be the color of the walls and what atmosphere should be around? I want there should be clusters of bamboos, mango orchard, singing birds and artificial spring so that there should be peace like in a forest. There is a complete philosophy in my mind in this regard. If those, who approve of it, try and contribute, the work can be done. This can’t be done right now as every important work requires time to be done. If you sow a seed today, it will take time to sprout, develop into a tree and flower. If only one thing is there in the mind of a man that he has done something for the welfare of mankind, it is enough to give him delight and calmness.” (Bhed 2006, p. 331)
“So the main thing is to set up such centers where all aspects of life can be touched upon, where work in all directions can happen, and where we make it possible for people do dive into silence from every direction. Such a set-up is possible. It will not be very difficult. The strategy that has made people restless is also a set-up, but a set-up that has created this madness.
So a meditation center is needed. I don’t know about money matters, Ishwarbhai and all of you will understand that. I won’t get involved there. I just know that if you are able to create such a set-up, then you will be able to do something for all the future generations of this country as well as something for yourselves; something valuable, which will have a lasting effect on the consciousness of the country.
Some literature will also be needed. Whatever literature there is right now in the name of religion is absolute rubbish. Because of this literature, anyone with any intelligence will not be able to become religious. What we call “religious literature” is repulsive to anyone intelligent. You have to be retarded to read such literature! So we need literature which touches the intelligentsia of the country – something which can enhance the country’s brilliance, make it juicier. These centers can also become a base for publishing and circulating such literature.” Work is Love made Visible (2011) #11
The seed to this vision for lush and growing meditation centres would sprout and be fulfilled during the 1970s, also in the ashram in Poona where he moved three years later. But in a short perspective his listeners became eager to collect money for the purpose of founding such a centre in Bombay and to start a new commune there.
As we have seen it was a common feature for Bhagwan in Bombay to have more than one series of talks running at a time. Some series were delivered with alternations of parallel series that were interrupted and then reassumed when it was appropriate, or when he returned to the place where the series had started, like his talks on the Geeta starting in Ahmedabad in November 1970 and continued there in May and November 1971. Likewise his talks at Woodlands on Gahre Paani Paith from April to July 1971 were intertwined with a breaking new and remarkable series of talks on the Chinese mystic Lao Tze, a mystic to whom Bhagwan returned again and again in his discourses in Poona and whose honorific name was to be used for his residence in Poona, Lao Tzu House– A taoist influence could be seen also in the naming of Chuang Tzu Auditorium, his first place to deliver discourses in Poona I. As Taoism was his first Far-Eastern religious sutras to embark on, Zen Buddhism showed much later to be his last and unfinished discourse series. These two religious paths are not that far from each other in their core message, and in their way they are framing his whole edifice of discourses delivered from 1970 to 1988.
The Chinese mystic Lao Tze and the book Tao te Ching were presented to a mostly unprepared Indian audience on 15th of June 1971. Only few of the listeners had any previous understanding of the Chinese philosophical tradition and taoism, at the time when Bhagwan under the auspices of Amrit Addhyayan Vartu (Nectar Study Circle, Bombay) began his discourses on Tao te Ching and talked about his own closeness to Lao Tze. At the same time he was distancing himself from some of the religious figures he had been lecturing on in the previous period in Bombay with a very positive response, as we have seen:
“I speak on Mahavir as a part of my duty, but my heart is never with him. He is too mathematical, like a vast desert. I speak on Krishna, because he is multi dimensional super human, but he seems more like a myth than a real man. I speak on Buddha – I love him as a friend. Friendship is good but not enough. I speak on Lao-Tzu totally differently. I do not love him, because how can you love yourself. I speak as if speaking on my own self. It is just like as if I am looking in a mirror – my own face is reflected.” (Bhed 2006, p. 337)
Bhagwan was now from ABC introducing taoism to his Indian listeners, who naturally were much more familiar with Mahavir, Krishna and Buddha than with Chinese spiritual tradition.
“The word Tao has many meanings. It is a variegated word. One of its meanings is ‘the way’. Others are ‘religion’ and ‘super rules’, but it does not mean the highway that is traditionally bound. It means a free path, as when a bird flies in the sky, it determines a path but it does not become a fixed path. Birds don’t leave any fooprints. Those, who have to follow that path, can’t get any guideline of that path. Tao’s path is not like a path leading to a destination. One can get to the destination by standing on the spot where he is…
Lao Tzu, in his first formular, writes – “The path, which can be moved upon, is not a perpetually authorized path because our destination is not far away, it is here near us. One, who takes a path to find himself, will only go astray. In fact, there is no need of a path to reach oneself. Only he reaches who does not walk.”” (Bhed 2006, p. 336)
This ancient Chinese tradition, centred on the legendary teacher and mystic Lao Tze, has evidently been a source of deep inspiration to Osho, and he has repeatedly referred to Lao Tze as a figure which he has quite a lot of difficulty in separating from himself. The identification between the two is unquestionable, and Osho has expressed his intimate affinity with the Tao Te Ching, the taoist key writings accredited to Lao Tze. (56)
This his first series of an Eastern Master was published in two solid hardbound volumes by Motillal Banarsidass The Way of Tao. Discourses on Lao Tse’s Tao-King (vol.1-2. 1978-1979). Its first volume contained 22 discourses from June 19, 1971 to November 8, 1971, and in second volume 22 lectures from January to June, 1972 were to be found. The talks were all given in Hindi and translated into English by Dolly Didi.
Sikhism in India is originally a kind of Hindu Taoism, founded in response to the challenge of Islam by Guru Nanak (1469-1538) and influenced by the mystical Hindu-Sufi poet Kabir. Read this excerpt from Swami Ananda Maitreya’s Foreword: “This book is an extraordinary attempt to fill the ocean in a vessel. The ancient sages revealed their knowledge, their philosophy in the form of maxims and seed-mantras. The Tao-Upanished is matchless from this point of view also. His language reminds the reader of Saint Kabira of our country. Kabira is the nearest to Lao-Tse in his patronage of the simplicity and mysteriousness of life…
Fifteenth of June, 1971, was an auspicious and blessed day when Bhagwan Sri started his string of lectures on Tao-Upanishad in the Immortal Study Circle, which is specifically meant for the quest and investigation of Truth. Six sessions of a week each, have been completed up-to-date. In this book, twenty-two lectures of the first three sessions have been given together. Only eight chapters of Tao-Teh-King have been dealt with in this. It is evident that Tao-Upanishad will be published in many parts in the near future. We are filled with a sense of supreme joy in presenting the first part to our beloved readers.” The Way of Tao, vol.1, p. X
That Mahavir had not been entirely dismissed from Bhagwan’s broad repertoire was shown when a new series took off in Patkar Hall in Bombay on August 18th 1971, Mahavir Vani (The Voice of Mahavir). The discourse series was held in the mornings from 8.30 to 10.00 a.m. for eighteen days. The participants were chanting the five salutations Namokar Mantra honouring the Arihants, the ascetics, the acharyas, the Upadhyayas and all the saints of the world. Following this, Bhagwan started to throw his light on the scientific importance of sound and the secrets of electromagnetic field. “The gate of your heart opens as you perform salutation and dedication and also your receptivity increases…One who can perform these five salutations with full reverence can only experience and tell that this formula is quite auspicious and destroys all the sins.” This series lasted until September 4th, 1971. (Bhed 2006, p. 341) (57)
“Jivan Jagruti Kendra had arranged for eighteen days discourse series at Patkar Hall, Marine Lines, Mumbai, during the 8 days of Shwetamber sect and 10 days of Digambar sect of Jaina’s Paryushan festival. In this series, Osho gave total 54 discourses in three series in three years. He spoke from August 18, 1971 to September 4, 1971 and from September 4, 1972 to September 21, 1972 and from August 25, 1973 to September 11, 1973 he explained the Sutras of Lord Mahavira in detail and made them alive by explaining their relevance in today’s scientific perspective.
Osho’s discourses in Patkar Hall on Mahavir Vani used to start promptly at 8.30 and continue up to 10.00. Large number of Jainas were coming to listen to his discourse and sitting in their seats before time. The hall was so occupied that people had to sit on the stage around Osho and in the lobby also.
In the first three discourses Osho discussed in detail about the Namokar Mantra and its effects. He explained the scientific meaning of the mantra, and at the end of the discourse, he gave live example of the mantra by way of Chanting and Kirtan…On April 14, 1965, at Choupati, Mumbai, in a public meeting organized on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti, Osho had talked avout taking the sutras of Mahavir beyond the seven seas, and he proved it in the Patkar Hall.” (Laheru 2012, p. 71)
How tight a schedule Osho was enjuring when he was speaking is shown by Jyoti, who went along with him to many of his outdoor arrangements: “Lately, lots of people from the film industry are getting interested in Osho. Kalyanji, Mahipal, Vijayanand, Mahesh Batt, Manoi and Indivar are the main ones. Kalyanji is the tops as a music director. Indivar is composing songs for films. He wants to compose Osho’s teachings in his songs. Manoj is a famous film director and actor. Today, Manoj has invited Osho to his residence in the suburbs of Bombay. After evening discourse at Cross Maidan, Osho is straight away taken in a car to Manoj’s house…I look at my watch, it is quarter to twelve. In fifteen minutes it will be midnight. I feel concerned about Osho. He has already spoken two hours at Cross Maidan. It is almost three hours now He is speaking here. Tomorrow morning, at 8:00am, there is another meeting at Birla Kedra Kendra near Chowpatty. I am engrossed in all these thoughts and wake up only when the meeting is over after five minutes.” (Jyoti 1994 #68)
When speaking at Cross Maidan Bhagwan always had to estimate the number of listeners, as he could choose between big scale in Cross Maidan near Churchgate or the smaller Cross Maidan near Dhobi Talaoa. Sometimes bookstalls were set up for the sale of Osho’s booklets and magazines: “I have to take care of maintaining the bookstall at Cross Maidan. We are hardly eight to ten friends who are actively involved in this work during Osho’s discourses and Bhagawati is one of them…This week passes very fast and Osho is back from Mount Abu. Tonight at 6:30pm He starts a new series of discourses. Nearly ten thousand people have gathered to listen to Him at Cross Maidan. The bookstall is very busy and I am worried about Bhagwati who has still not arrived to help me. Discourses continue for nearly one and a half hours and still there is no trace of Bhagwati. Somehow, with the help of a few friends, I manage the bookstall.” (Jyoti 1994 #74 & #75)
On the ground of Churchgate in Bombay Bhagwan continued his talks on Geeta Darshan in December 1972 on the day before his birthday, which was celebrated with friends and members of Jeevan Jagruti Kendra (58).
Video 2. Birthday Celebration 1972 at Woodlands. No audio.
And although Osho through his wide outdoor lecturing was reaching out to a great number of people, many of them listening to him for the first time, he constantly had to consider the level of consciousness among his listeners. He first reduced the number of discourses on open grounds and preferred to move into suitable auditoriums, and as time went by he chose to direct himself entirely to those devotees, who were turning up every evening at Woodlands for his lecture. Addressing a smaller number of people for a longer period of time gave him a much better opportunity to move into more subtle matters compared to his larger assemblies. And large assemblies did indeed get together when he gave his speeches:
“Recently, people in Indore said it was more than thirty years since they has seen so many people – well educated, intelligent – gathering together in one place. All of them had an eagerness to understand, a thirst that has not been seen for such a long time: three thousand people in the hall, some eight thousand standing outside – even standing in the mud – all listening for an hour in pin-drop silence! There were no arrangements to keep any kind of order, no volunteers, but everyone was standing quietly by himself so that nothing would get in the way of his listening…
Recently I went to Varanasi. I was there for the first time, but the meeting was so big. People said there were never so many people in Krishnamurti’s meetings. It is fifty years since the Theosophical Society’s hall was built there. One of their trustees said, “In fifty years – and I have heard people from Annie Besant onwards – this is the first time that the hall has been full. It has never been full before. I could never have imagined that people would even be standing outside the hall. This is the first time we have to provide seating outside. For the first time in fifty years I felt that this hall is too small.”” Work is Love made Visible (2011) #13
“Osho has stopped giving discourses to the public on open grounds. Every evening He is speaking to a group of friends in the living room of the Woodlands apartment. Morning discourses are arranged in auditoriums. We are about fifty sannyasins now, who are allowed to sit behind Him on the podium. After discourse, there is kirtan (singing & dancing). We all dance on the podium and Osho joins us with clapping to the rhythm of the music. It is a kind of energy play on the stage. People sitting on chairs in the auditorium stand up and dance. Every day, two or three friends gather courage to take the jump into sannyas.” (Jyoti 1994 #61)
So his last public discourse on open ground turned out to be on the Geeta #13 on May 14, 1973 at Cross Maidan in Bombay. From now on he only addressed those coming to his place at Woodlands except for pre-arranged meditation camps at Mt. Abu.
At the very same day Bhagwan settled in C.C.I. Chambers he had started his evening discourse on July 1st 1970, dealing with issues concerning his Dynamic Meditation, the seven chakras, the Kundalini energy, the OM-meditation and also the secrets of Tantra. This first series of discourses by Osho from Bombay July 1 to July 12, 1970, were published in Jin Khoja Tin Paiyan, and they were continuing the series held at the previous camp at Nargol.
“Osho has started speaking every evening from 8.00pm at His apartment in Woodlands. Sometimes discourse goes on for a couple of hours.” (Jyoti 1994 #64)
A new discourse series on Krishna started on the 20th of July and was later published as Krishna Smriti (The Remembrance of Krishna), and his expounding of Krishna’s merits was resumed at the meditation camp in Kulu Manali in October and in the discourse series Geeta Gyan Yagya in Ahmedabad in late November. These series on Krishna turned out to be steady selling books for years to come. (59)
After his move to Woodlands Apartments in February 1971 Bhagwan here delivered speeches on Ek Jyoti Sansar, 28.02.1971; Ek Anekan Naam Tumhare, 07.03.1971; Ghar Hi Khojo Bhai, 10.03.1971 and Jyoti Swaroopi Atma on 12.03.1971. These first lectures in C.C.I. Chambers were collected and published in a book entitled Main Kehta Ankhan Dekhi.
During these lectures listeners were introduced to many esoteric phenomena and in one of his speeches Osho is quoted for having said: “The truth revealed by a Buddha only become scriptures and beliefs in later times and then this belief turns into superstitions with the lapse of time when the priests make it a business. The mantras (hymns), things or places, that were alive in the time of the Buddha, have become dead. People having Trinetra (third eye) questioned regarding temples, pilgrimages, placing mark on idol-worshipping, mantra-tantra, shastra-Purana, Yagya performance, Grah-nakshatra, astrological calculations and shakun-apshakun.” (Bhed 2006, p. 324)
When requested to deal more in depth with these esoteric matters Bhagwan delivered a new comprehensive series of talks on these phenomena. These discourses were given at Woodlands between April 26th and July 10th 1971, and they were later to be published in a book titled Gahre Paani Paith. Translated into English it appeared as Hidden Mysteries (1997), but it was initially prepared with the title Odysee Within. So its six discourses from Bombay in 1971 didn’t go to press in English until 26 years after they were delivered. The content is rather esoteric, e.g.: The Hidden Mysteries of Eastern Temples, The Occult Science of Forehead Marks and the Third Eye and Occult Dimensions of Idol Worship. As Swami Yoga Pratap Bharati writes in his introduction: “The amount and quality of the work that has been done in the East relating to the science of the inner man, the science of the subjective, is mind boggling. One after the other, the geniuses of the inner world went on touching ever new peaks and heights of consciousness. And the number of new findings, techniques and applications went on growing, in the attempt to help man to realize the true nature of his subjective reality – the inner self, the ultimate super-consciousness. Slowly all these techniques and sciences and their symbols, meanings and uses have been lost – leaving only superstitions and rituals to be practiced in their place.” Here Osho brings light to the science and purpose of these almost forgotten mysteries. We may take the point that he did not lecture on these matters for years thereafter, until in Uruguay during the World Tour where he resumed these issues and spoke on The Transmission of the Lamp (Talks in Uruguay).
Sw. Rudra has written these annotations to Hidden Mysteries: “Five chapters on ancient secrets man has been pondering over for centuries. Osho unveils new truths about pyramids, the third eye, ancient temples, mantras, sacred places of pilgrimage and their esoteric rituals and significance. This small volume also contains two fascinating chapters on astrology” (60)
Temples, mosques, churches and gurdwaras were here described with their properties for echoing and increasing the sound upwards towards the sky and the universe. Trinetra marks on the forehead and their relationship with the third eye was explained, a discussion to be resumed also in lectures during World Tour in Kathmandu. Further the role of idol-worshipping as a mean for man to connect with his chosen image of God and to constitute a doorway to the divine. And Bhagwan also dealt with pilgrimage to holy places, which were charged with the energy of divine powers, the nature of holy places and their chosen settings, an intriguing matter which varies from faith to faith:
“All the Hindu pilgrimages are on the river-banks and those of the Jain religion are on hills, also on those deserted and dry hills without any greenery. The Jain ascetics experimented on alchemy related to fire (the element) within heir bodies whereas the Hindu took to the water element. The keys for both of them were different. The Jain dried their bodies using fast and penance. The Hindu adopted devotion and yoga which required witnessing in the body, hence they used ghee, milk and curd in sufficient quantity so that there should not remain any dryness.” (Bhed 2006, p. 326)
“From 1970-1974 Osho gives many discourses on esoteric subjects, published under the titles: In Search of the Miraculous, The Psychology of the Esoteric, I Am the Gate, Hidden Mysteries. These are complex and need to be read in full. After 1974, Osho did not often speak on these subjects.” (65)
“Whatsoever I am saying is in many ways esoteric. That is why many times I become very confusing to you. Any exoteric teaching is never confusing, it is clearcut. It is just like two plus two equals four, it is always a simple thing. But the esoteric, the inner, the secret, is difficult to understand, because your understanding becomes disturbed with any new knowledge which has to be absorbed…
I have been in contact with many esoteric groups. I have known many persons who are still alive who belongs to some group. I have known many keys which were delivered by authentic teachers. But no key of the old tradition is enough, so I am devising new keys. Because I am devising new keys, I am not directly concerned with any esoteric group, as each esoteric group is interested in and is entrusted with a particular key to preserve. I am not interested in a particular key. I am interested in devising new methods, new techniques, new keys, because all the old keys have become in many ways irrelevant…
I go on answering not in order that my answer will become your answer, but because if you can listen to me silently, totally, in that silent listening you will come directly upon your own innerness. Suddenly it can explode in you, suddenly you can be in another world that is completely different from any in which you have been living. And if that happens, then you have come home into a new existence.
That new existence is your own. It is an esoteric, inner secret. That inner existence has all these things.” I Am the Gate #8
Whenever he was transmitting esoteric matters Osho has deliberately made a distinction between that which can be told and subsequently published, and those phenomena too delicate to be passed on in other ways than by the spoken word only.
“So although Buddha had said a lot, all of it was not recorded. The same way, not everything that I will say will be recorded. All of it cannot be reduced to writing. Firstly I will say only that much publicly which can be recorded without any risk. Publicly I will say only that much. And that which needs to be treated and preserved as secret teachings will never be disclosed to the public. I will transmit them to deserving individuals who will save them in their memory.” In Search of the Miraculous (1984), p. 221
In early October 1972 it was time for launching an eagerly awaited series on the 112 methods of transformation mentioned in Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, first published in five volumes entitled The Book of Secrets (1974 – 1976). The series on Vigyan Bhairav Tantra were to be resumed at Woodlands after Bhagwan had returned from his fourth meditation camp at Mt. Abu in October, and the series continued into November, 1972. Until November 1973 Osho are expounding this well-known series of 80 discourses in English with his commentaries on the 112 meditation techniques given by Shiva to his consort Devi. When beginning to unveil these secrets Bhagwan opened his first lecture with these words:
“Some introductory points. First, the world of Vigyan Bhairav Tantra is not intellectual, it is not philosophical. Doctrine is meaningless to it. It is concerned with method, with technique – not with principles at all. The word ‘tantra’ means technique, the method, the path. So it is not philosophical – note this. It is not concerned with intellectual problems and inquiries. It is not concerned with the “why” of things, it is concerned with “how”; not with what is truth, but how the truth can be attained.
Tantra means technique. So this treatise is a scientific one. Science is not concerned with why, science is concerned with how. That is the basic difference between philosophy and science…
The second thing: this is a different type of language. You must know something about it before we enter into it. All the tantra treatises are dialogues between Shiva and Devi. Devi questions and Shiva answers. All the tantra treatises start that way. Why? Why this method? It is very significant. It is not a dialogue between a teacher and a disciple, it is a dialogue between two lovers. And tantra signifies through it a very meaningful thing: that the deeper teachings cannot be given unless there is love between the two – the disciple and the master. The disciple and the master must become deep lovers. Only then can the higher, the beyond, be expressed.
So it is a language of love; the disciple must be in an attitude of love. But not only this, because friends can be lovers. Tantra says a disciple moves as receptivity, so the disciple must be in a feminine receptivity; only then is something possible. You need not be a woman to be a disciple, but you need to be in the feminine attitude of receptivity…
Thirdly, the very word Vigyan Bhairav Tantra mean the technique of going beyond consciousness. Vigyan means consciousness, bhairav means the state which is beyond consciousness, and tantra means the method. The method of going beyond consciousness. This is the supreme doctrine – without any doctrine…” Vigyan Bhairav Tantra #1
“Osho is speaking every evening in the living room of Woodlands apartment, which can accommodate nearly two hundred people. He has stopped talking to the masses and is interested in talking to small groups of people, who are ready to travel with Him in unknown spheres. He has started speaking on the 112 techniques of meditation written by Shiva in his book called “Vigyan Bhairav Tantra.” While explaining these techniques He suggests that just listening won’t help. It can give you intellectual understanding only. For experience, we have to practice any technique regularly at least for three months.” (Jyoti 1994 #69)
“By this time thousands were visiting Osho. Neo sannyas movement now gathered momentum and grew rapidly. Publishing had grown multifold. For months he spoke regularly in English on the hundred and eight techniques of meditation of Lord Shiva. Shiva is one of the Hindu Gods of Trinity amongst Vishnu and Brahma. These meditations are known as Vigyan Bhairav Tantra. These discourses were published in English entitled ‘The Book of Secrets’. In addition other English discourses were transcribed and published in ‘Sannyas’ a bi-monthly magazine, edited by sannyasins.” (Laxmi 2002)
“Osho’s work rests on Shiva’s invaluable contribution, the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra. These 112 methods of medeitation are the culmination of Shiva’s vast experience. They are the basis of many meditation techniques. The essence of most of them is witnessing the content of mind and all inner experience with equanimity.” (Ishwara 2002, p. 519)
Osho has included Vigyan Bhairav Tantra and the author Paul Reps in Books I Have Loved:
“Paul Reps is still alive somewhere in California . He has in this small book not only collected Zen anecdotes but also Vigyan Bhairav Tantra – the one hundred and twelve sutras of Shiva to Parvati, his beloved, in which Shiva talks about all the keys possible. I cannot conceive that there can be anything more to meditation than Vigyan Bhairav Tantra. One hundred and twelve keys are enough – they seem to be enough; one hundred and thirteen will not look like a right number. One hundred and twelve looks really esoteric, beautiful.
This book is very small, you can carry it in your pocket; it is a pocketbook. But you can also carry the Kohinoor in your pocket…although the Kohinoor is studded in the British crown, and you cannot carry that in your pocket. But the most beautiful thing about Paul Reps is that he has not added a single word of his own – which is incredible. He has simply translated, just translated.” Books I Have Loved #15
“The main literature in this period [Bombay] was the ten volume commentaries on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and The Book of the Secrets, a five volume commentary on 112 meditation aphorisms in the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra. Discourses from this time taught Westerners to treasure texts of India.” (Gussner 1993, p. 49)
Returning from the seventh meditation camp at Mt. Abu in October 1973 Bhagwan discontinued his lengthy discourse series on Vigyan Bhairav Tantra and without hesitation he decided to embark from December 25th on another gargantuan new series of discourses which were of no smaller volume than the 112 meditation techniques. The series were revealing the path of yoga in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras later to be translated into English in ten volumes as Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega. Discourses on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (March 1976-July 1978). (62)
Bhagwan explained in his introduction to the series a new definition of Yoga more suitable to the modern age:
“Before we talk about the fist sutra of Patanjali, a few other things have to be understood. First, yoga is not a religion – remember that. Yoga is not Hindu. It is not Mohammdan. Yoga is pure science just like mathematics, physics or chemistry…and Patanjali is the greatest name as far as the world of yoga is concerned. This man is rare. There is no other name comparable to Patanjali. For the first time in the history of humanity, this man brought religion to the state of science: he made religion a science, bare laws; no belief is needed…
Yoga is concerned with your total being, with your roots. It is not philosophical. So with Patanjali we will not be thinking, speculating. With Patanjali we will be trying to know the ultimate laws of being: the laws of its transformation, the laws of how to die and how to be reborn again, the laws of a new order of being. That is why I call it a science…
[Patanjali] will not use poetry; he will not use a single poetic symbol even. He will not do anything with poetry; he will not talk in terms of beauty. He will talk in terms of mathematics. He will be exact, and he will give you maxims. Those maxims are just indications what is to be done. He will not explode into ecstasy; he will not say things that cannot be said; he will not try the impossible. He will just put down the foundation, and if you follow the foundation you will reach the peak which is beyond. He is a rigorous mathematician – remember this.” Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, vol.1 #1
According to Gyan Bhed Bhagwan was in his discourses also introducing the listeners to other works of Patanjali: “Patanjali is the mainstay of all the methods. He has written three volumes. ‘Yog-vasishtha’, ‘Vyakaran’ and ‘Commentary on Charak Sanhita’. People very rightly say about him that he has washed the dirt of the body writing ‘Commentary on Charak Sanhita’ and the dirt of tongue and language writing ‘Vyakaran’ and has purified the consciousness by writing ‘Yog-vasishtha’.
Yoga teaches people to suppress and oppose the mental attitudes, but people in Patanjali age were very simple. Most of them were neither intellectuals, tense nor suppressed. But now people do not have either time or patience. The whole life is spent in accomplishing self-restrain and finally it will be known that it is not accomplished.” (Bhed 2006, p. 362)
The introduction to the Yoga Sutras was concluded by Bhagwan advising his listeners not to waste their time on austerities, but first of all continue to meditate. Then celibacy, non-violence, non-theft, renunciation and truth will follow on their own in due time just like a shadow. As Ma Ananda Prem tells in her introduction on the relationship between the two paths, that of the tantric surrendering and that of the yogi’s will. This was what Bhagwan was revealing to us in those two discourse series:
“One interesting fact that Bhagwan indicates is that after much arduous effort, lives and lives perhaps, the seeker on the path of will, the yogi, will have to come to the path of surrender, to tantra. When he realizes that all efforts are failing, that he has struggled and struggled and reached nowhere, he will come to see that he is at a point where effort itself is the barrier. Then only one thing remains for him – to surrender himself totally. The moment total surrender happens, he is already Enlightened.” Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega p. xi
Completing the first part of the discourses on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras Osho at the Mt. Abu meditation camp for nine days in January 1974 started discussing in English the Akshya Upanishad later published as Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi (1976). In the evening Taru sang the invocation, eternal Sanskrit chanting, before Bhagwan introduced the participants to the themes and meditations that were to follow during the camp.
Osho’s way of finishing his discourse and signalling to his listeners that they were to part for now, shows quite some changes in the various phases of his work. In Bombay we have heard that his usually ending would sound like: “I am grateful that you listened to me with such love and silence. Now to end, I bow down to the godliness that dwells in you all. Please accept my pranam, my offering of respect.” In Poona One his Hindi and English discourses were finished with his brief statement: “Enough for today.” (Aj Itna Hee). And in Poona Two he rounded off by saying to Maneesha, who had been reading the sutras and questions to him: “Okay, Maneesha?” No wonder she was to be known with the prefix ‘Okay Maneesha’ among her friends.
Bhagwan was in Jabalpur preparing his articles in manuscripts written in longhand on quality paper, later to be typed by his secretary Arvind Kumar Jain and then submitted to various magazines as already mentioned in the section on Jabalpur. Now in Bombay we can no more certify that he by himself was producing material specifically for publication in magazines, as his focus and priorities had now shifted to the publishing of booklets and also books in binding. So we may presume that the published articles as mentioned below almost exclusively were excerpts from his discourses or other compiled articles from his entire work, which already in Bombay was of a fairly impressive scale.
Sw. Keerti has in an interview with Gyan Bhed published in Osho Hi Osho mentioned that there was a regular column in the leading Hindi magazine Dharm Yug called Dharma Charcha (Discussions on Religion) where contributions by Acharya Rajneesh were to be found, and Keerti remembers reading some article by Rajneesh Manushya Ek Machine Hai (Man is a Machine) which had quite an impact on him for a long time. If the files and archives of Dharm Yug are consulted we may in its back issues find early and hitherto unknown writings coming from Osho during his years in Bombay. Some articles may have found their way into a published booklet, but a lot of treasures are still to be discovered by scrupulous search in the archives of a wide range of other Hindi magazines, as mentioned by Ageh Bharti. In his Blessed Days with Osho Ageh Bharti includes his comprehensive and exceptional outline of the articles published in various magazines during the years 1967 to 1983. (Bharti 2007, p. 283)
The articles mentioned in the list are only those submitted to the editors by Ageh Bharti himself, and excluded are the many articles submitted by other devotees. Articles for 1967-1969 are to be found in the earlier section on Jabalpur, but here follows Bharti’s listing of the Indian periodicals in which material on Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, or excerpts from his discourses, can be found for the years 1970-1973, including frequency, place of publication and number of articles:
– Sarvahitkari. Monthly. Dehradun. (3)
– Dharmamarg. Monthly. Jammu. (1)
– Kalpana. Monthly. Hyderabad. (1)
– Kadambini. Monthly. New Delhi. (1)
– Saptahik Hindustan. Weekly. New Delhi. (7)
– Rasvanti. Monthly. Lucknow. (6)
– Kriti Parichay. Monthly. Jabalpur (M.P.). (2)
– Rajdarpan. Weekly. Akola. (4)
– Sutrakar. Monthly. Calcutta. (5)
– Gauri. Monthly. New Delhi. (1)
– Abhaidoor. Weekly. ?. (1)
– Ravindra Jyoti. Monthly. Jeend (Haryana) (1)
– Jivan Sahitya. Monthly. New Delhi. (1)
– Saptahik Jagvani. ?. Jabalpur (M.P.). (1)
– Dainik Jagran. Daily. Kanpur. (1)
– Swatantra Bharat. Daily. Kanpur. (1)
– Sainik. ?. Kanpur. (1)
– Ekant. Monthly. Bareli (U.P.). (11)
Of these 49 articles 37 were published in 1970-1971 and only 12 in 1972-1973 indicating the mentioned change of his focus towards book publishing. The magazines with the highest number of published articles are Rasvanti (Monthly. Lucknow. 11), Sutrakar (Monthly. Calcutta. 10) and Ekant (Monthly. Bareli (U.P.). 11).
We may conclude that magazine publishing to Osho, as to many other writers in spe, was mainly a first step towards their preference of book publishing. This said, we will still see a continuous wave of excerpts from his discourses published in Yukrand and Jyotishikha, the magazines coming from his own organization Jeevan Jagruti Kendra, as well as in Newsletters in English soon to appear internationally. (See chapter 3.9 Periodicals)
3.7 Meditation camps
Meditation camps continued to be guided by Osho at least four times a year, and some of his favourite locations like Mt. Abu were now far more accessible and within reach from Bombay. Camp programs soon included drum music during the meditations, and classical Indian music could be heard played by outstanding Indian musicians, not to mention Taru’s chanting of Sanskrit hymns which were to become a hallmark for these camps. Her enchanting voice singing ageless chants of the Upanishads could be heard in Buddha Hall years later in Poona Two, unforgettable for those who attended. Further Osho gave room during these camps also for more lengthy discourse series, alternating and continuing between camps and in house lectures at Woodlands.
Ageh Bharti recalls participating in the following meditation camps conducted by Osho:
“(a) Nargol Meditation Camp for three days in 1968
(b) Jabalpur Agriculture University, 3 days in 1968
(c) Junagarh Meditation Camp: Dec. 9 to 12, 1969
(d) Aajol Meditation Camp: 3 days in August 1970
(e) Mt. Abu-I Camp: 9 days in April 1971.
(f) Mt. Abu-II Camp: Sept. 25 to Oct. 2, 1971.
(g) Mt. Abu-III Camp: April 2 to 10, 1972
(h) Mt. Abu-IV Camp: Oct. 13 to 21, 1972
(i) ‘Anand Shila’ Camp: Feb. 9 to 17, 1973
(j) Mt. Abu-V Camp: April 6 to 14 April, 1973
[Mt. Abu VI July 1973 is not mentioned by AB]
(k) Mt. Abu-VII Camp: Oct. 5 to 13, 1973
(l) Shri Rajneesh Ashram Pune, I participated in 15 to 18 camps, there was neither any record nor do I remember them.” (Bharti 2007, p. 278)
“Osho continues to lead several meditation camps each year, many of which are held in the hill resort of Mt. Abu in Rajasthan. Osho introduces new meditation techniques, with music, and shaktipat experiments. Discourses include commentaries on the Upanishads, The Seven Steps Portals of Samadhi by Madame Blavatsky, and Light on the Path by Mabel Collins, as well as instructions for the camp, and for meditations…In January 1972, for the first time Osho leads a Meditation Camp in English as well as Hindi. After July 1973 the camps are alternately all English or Hindi. Osho continues this pattern until 1981, after which his discourses are in English.” (63)
“When I am speaking in Hindi – many people do not understand Hindi but they can also utilize this occasion. Those who do not understand Hindi should close their eyes and listen just to the sound. They should sit in silence as if in meditation. And many times the truth that one does not understand through the words one comes to understand merely by listening to the sound.
When I am speaking in English, friends who do not understand English should not think that this is of no use to them. They should close their eyes and meditate on the sound of my words without attempting to understand the language. There is no need to try to understand a language which you do not know. Sit silently, become like an ignorant person, and meditate upon the impact of the sound. Just listen. That listening will become meditation and it will be beneficial.
The real question is not the understanding, but to become silent. Hearing is not the point, becoming silent is the point. So many times what happens is that what you have understood becomes a barrier, and it is good to listen to something that you do not understand at all; then thinking cannot interfere. When something is not understood there is no way for thoughts to move; they simply stop.
Therefore, listening sometimes to the wind passing through the trees, to the birds singing, to the sound of running water, is better than listening to the seers and sages. The real Upanishads are flowing there, but you will not understand them. And if you do and you can just listen, your intellect will soon quiet down because it is not needed. And when your intellect quiets, you are transported to the place you are in search of.” Finger Pointing to the Moon #2
“By this time a few westerners had come to stay with Osho. Meditation camps were a major attraction for overseas visitors. Keeping this in view Osho began conducting a ten day camp once in three months in the mountains. Most were held in Mount Abu, Rajasthan. Not as far away as Kashmir, Mt. Abu despite its not as high peaks is exquisite and only two-hour drive from base. As more and more overseas visitors and sannyasins came Osho began to hold meditation camps in English. Frequently he spoke on the Upanishads, a holy book of the Hindus…
Also the master transmitted energy to them. This transmission process is called shaktipat. Uncommunicable in words, Osho rarely spoke of it as it is an experience. He gave a taste of oneness to his sannyasins. This came to be known as communing/communion.” (Laxmi 2002)
“A friend asks: ‘What is shaktipat or energy transmission? And is it possible that someone can transmit divine energy?’ No one can do shaktipat, no one can transform energy; but someone can be a vehicle for such transmission. It is true that no one can do it. And if somebody claims that he can do it, he is indulging in sheer deception. No one can do it, and yet in some moment transmission of energy can happen through someone. If that someone is totally empty and surrendered, shaktipat can happen in his presence. He can work as a conductor, as a catalytic agent, but not knowingly. Through him God’s infinite energy can enter into another person.” In Search of the Miraculous, vol.1 #6
“From February 1973, every month, on the first day, Osho’s shaktipat sessions were held at Birla Krida Kendra, Choupati, Mumbai, at 7.30 in the morning, in which about 700 to 800 friends used to take part…Osho expressed his desire to do mass shaktipat experiment in public. For that, he asked us to make arrangement on a huge scale. On Osho’s instructions, arrangement for chapter 12 discourses of Geeta was done, on big scale, in big Cross Maidan near Churchgate instead of the smaller Cross Maidan near Dhobi Talao. Banners and posters were put at various places in Mumbai. Advertisements were published with great elaboration in newspapers. Beautiful arrangement was made in the Maidan for seventy to eighty thousand people. A huge stage was decorated beautifully. Osho used to be present on stage exactly at 6.00 in the evening…As Osho had decided on March 21, 1973, he was going to do mass shaktipat experiment. On March 20 during the Geeta discourse, he invited people and asked them to come with certain preparations…In the beginning [on March 21] Osho explained about the experiment of shaktipat and gave some instructions. And as he started the experiment and the music started, people stood up and started jumping, leaking, and dancing. More over, when Osho stood up on his chair and raised both his hands towards the sky it felt as if some divine power has filled over the whole Cross Maidan. People were expressing their repressed feelings by dancing, jumping, laughing, crying and shouting. The one-hour experiment was completed in three stages of 20 minutes each.” (Laheru 2012, p. 68) (64)
Aubrey Menen in his book The New Mystics and the True Indian Tradition (1974) vividly recalls one of Bhagwan’s ‘mass meditation’ sessions probably at the Bombay Cross Maidan around 1972. The author himself did not participate actively in the event but remained himself a spectator. Some of the photos by Graham Hall picture a setting on the Western seashore of Bombay along Marine Drive whereas another setting at Cross Maidan is also alluded to by Osho (See chapter 3.8 Westerners and Publications in English).
“It took place at 9 a.m. under the dazzling, but still tolerable, morning sun of India. The site was a large open space, the garden of some institution unconnected with Rajneesh. There was nothing very private about the garden: a wall bounded one side of it on which were perched urchins and fisherboys ready to watch the fun. When I arrived, it already held some two thousand people. The entrance fee was nominal – 12 cents – which was not always collected. On a platform at one end was a revolving chair, covered in fawn leather. It was a luxurious affair, of the sort that one would expect to find behind the huge desk of some top American executive. On this chair sat the swami, relaxed as no top executive ever is. He gazed at the audience as though there was nobody at all. It was composed mostly of Indians – clerks on their way to the office, housewives on their way to the shops, some neatly suited businessmen, university students, and a few old men in retirement. There were some foreigners, Americans and Swedes in the main, and a scattering of those young people in scanty Indian dress who come from abroad, seeking wisdom. I saw no Dharma-bums or their successors. All sat on the ground, with a fringe of standing people who, like me, were interested spectators.” (Menen 1974, p. 201)
“A little group of women carried a parcel to the dais, unwrapped it, and showed it briefly to the swami. It was a plaster model of his feet, gilded, and intended, I was told, for some South American ashram. Then the mass meditation began.
Speaking first in Hindi and then in excellent English, the swami told us with the utmost brevity what was going to happen. For the first twenty minutes the audience was to let itself go. ‘Do exactly what you like: shout, dance, sing: just as you please. For the next twenty minutes meditate in absolute silence: meditate on whatever you choose. I shall be here to help you. For the last twenty minutes be happy: let me dance in your hearts.’
I noted particularly that in his whole brief address – he made no other – only this last sentence had any touch of rhetoric. This was a rare thing in India, where to speak in public without lengthy preambles, turgid prose and portentous but empty similies is considered almost an insult to the public.
A brisk rhythm from an expert drummer (on tape, the machine being clearly visible together with a worried recording engineer) roared from powerful loud speakers. For a few moments nobody moved. Then the swami swivelled his chair round to the left. He held out his hands, palm upwards, fingers wide apart. His head leaned gently to one side, in a gesture of gentle, almost feminine, invitation. Slowly he swivelled round a full half-circle. As he moved, pandemonium broke out under his abstracted gaze…
The drum stopped for the last time. The swami left his chair and moved to his car, people crowding round him to touch his hands or feet. Assistants moved his chair and put it on the top of a taxi. The swami drove away. An American girl burst into violent sobbing, while her companion watched her with amused smiles. The place of assembly was dotted with prone men and women, exhausted by their experience.” (Menen 1974, p. 203)
“You have nothing to do; you are not the doer. Only be empty, so that I can enter you and work. On your part only surrender is required. Then I will do the rest. But once I enter you, then let any reaction happen and cooperate completely with them.” (65)
In Flight of the Alone to the Alone (1970) Acharya Rajneesh answers questions from a female French seeker Dr. C. Guinebert during the meditation camp at Baroda 29.07.1970. Questions on meditation, yoga and yogi, Advaita and sleep. He finishes with A Practical Preparation for Meditation, where on seven pages he unfolds the various steps in his meditation techniques practised at the meditation camp. On the front cover this booklet has a multi coloured artistic and eye-catching layout made by Nath Vairal who also made the cover for Kranti’s Lead Kindly Light (1972) and some other early booklets.
Soon after this session Rajneesh was again leading a meditation camp organized in Ludhiana from August 20th to 24th. It was the third time Ludhiana was chosen as a campsite, following the earlier camps in August 1969 and again in March 1970. This camp was organized by Kapil Bhai and Kusum, and Rajneesh had been invited by Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Shaskiya Mahila Vidyapeeth, Khalsa College and the Rotary and Lions Clubs in Ludhiana. Some public relation work was carried out in the afternoon when Rajneesh addressed the teachers and students of Krishi Vishwavidyalaya as well as some prominent citizens and answered questions from the listeners. This event helped increasing the number of participants of the camp to be started on the following day. At the first morning about 250 meditators did Dynamic meditation while it was raining cats and dogs. The rain stopped when Rajneesh started his morning speech, and in the evening he continued in the Dareshi Ground where about twenty thousand people are said to have come to listen to his talks. (Bhed 2006, p. 308)
Before he arrived at Ludhiana Osho was told that some Hindu extremists from Amritsar were preparing to oppose him with their black flags and slogans in the streets. Anyway, the first evening discourse went on without any disturbances, but during his last talk on August 23 some people were on their feet shouting at him while he was lecturing. Osho was protected against the Hindu crowd by Kusum, the wife of Kapil who organized the camp, and while supporters were shouting “Rajneesh ki Jay” he left to catch his evening train for Delhi passing through still more protesters at the station. These lectures at Ludhiana made Osho cancel his further scheduled talks in Amritsar and Chandigar and they signalled the final end of his public talks in India. The lectures are recorded on the cassette Naye Samaj ki Khoj. From now on, apart from his meditation camps, he only went to Poona to talk once or twice, and his future meditation camps were for the next years mainly, but not exclusively, conducted at his favourite setting Mount Abu. The Ludhiana event was not a regular camp, but rather a new concept with public lectures and meditations conducted by Osho on microphone, before accompanying music for Dynamic meditation, Kundalini and other meditations was to be composed by Chaitanya Hari. As remembered by Ageh Bharti:
“According to me as I saw it, the first thought of giving sannyas occurred to Osho on August 23, 1970 at Ludhiana during one of his evening speeches. Kindly refer to the chapter titled ‘He was crowned with danger’ of my book ‘Osho Gatha’. On that evening, that was the last speech of Osho delivered during that journey. He is answering the questions. Hardly had he spoken for forty-five minutes when some dim-witted started shouting and making noise. For a while peace was restored, but then as soon as Osho started speaking the hooligans began to shout again and advanced towards the stage. Some of them went up the stage also. Someone else caused disturbances by destroying the tent. Others, disconnected the wire with the result that the mike stopped functioning. The meeting was greatly disturbed. Ultimately, on being told by some friends that Osho had to leave by the 11 o’clock train, he stopped in the middle of the speech and was taken to the host’s residence. I had taken along with me the magazine Ukrand so I reached home 20 to 25 minutes later. I took my seat near Osho. There were dozens of friends, including Kapil, Kusum and others were sitting there too. I said, “I feel deeply pained for all that happened today during the discourse.”
To this, Osho replied, “What you are expected to do now is to reach the site of my discourses with a few friends 2 or 3 days before the scheduled program, and every morning the entire group should take a round of that place singing devotional songs on the road in the early morning. By this, the atmosphere of the city will get purified to an extent and when I come to speak two or three days after this, I think there will be no such protest. No opposition.”
After this ugly incident when we reached the station, a whole mob was seen waiting there with black flags in hand. And they were shouting ugly slogans of Murdabad. Even lovers retorted to this by shouting favorable slogans. On the very same day, Osho asked Shri Harish Chandra (now Swami Chaitanya Bharti) to come to the Ajol Meditation Camp with saffron clothes. This camp was to start after two or three days. This was told by Shri Harish Chandra himself.
Harish Chandra got two saffron Kurtas and two lungis made and these he took with him. I too attended the Ajol Camp going there from Delhi via Ahemadabad. But in this Ajol Camp Osho did not start giving Sannyas although it had occurred to his mind earlier at Ludhiana. This – giving sannyas – he started in September-October at Manali.” (Bharti 2012, p. 228)
“This memoir refers to the Ludhiana visit in August 1970, It was not a camp but Osho used to conduct dynamic meditation in the morning on an open ground and deliver discourses in the evening on another far bigger open ground.” (Bharti 2007, p. 188).
As we have seen above, Ageh Bharti recounts that Osho after Ludhiana wanted clothes to be made ready for sannyas initiations already at the following camp at Ajol in late August, but the start of initiations into neo-sannyas was postponed until one month later at the Kulu Manali camp in late September.
From Ludhiana he went via Jalandhar to Baroda where a three day meditation camp had been organized. When this camp was completed he returned to Bombay via Ahmedabad, a sacred place and major pilgrimage site with its Swaminarayan temple, where he often made a stop-over and lectured also when passing through Ahmedabad by train on his way to Mt. Abu from Bombay. He was in Ahmedabad most frequently lecturing at Gujarat University and at Town Hall near Ellis Bridge, often full with people standing outside, and also occasionally speaking at Pridam Nagar at Football Ground and at Kangariya. The love between Osho and the open and receptive people in Gujarat went both ways, and at one point he even held a workshop for members of High Court. We remember that the first talks in his series on Geeta Darshan were held in Ahmedabad, where also the series was to be resumed later on.
This time he was conducting a meditation camp at Aajol near Ahmedabad on 28-30 August, 1970, arranged by Smt. Dharmishtha Shah (Ma Anand Madhu) and Shree Babu Bhai Shah. “There was a one-hour silent meditation with Osho in the afternoon. Osho’s chair was kept in the middle. He had instructed that during silent meditation, if someone wanted to meet Him, one could go and sit quietly near Him for a minute or two and return without causing disturbance to anybody. We sat in silence with Osho. His chair was in the middle on which He sat cross-legged. The chappal (footwear) of one leg was on the ground, leaving the foot naked. Most of us were acquainted with His posture. This was exactly similar to His sitting posture during ‘evening darshan’ in Pune.” (Bharti 2007, p. 197)
In the evenings Tratak meditation was offered with some naked meditators on the podium behind Osho in the large auditorium of the school. One girl from Bombay, Karuna Shah, was naked throughout the whole camp, and the District Magistrate Shree R.C. Bhansali (Sw. Advait Bodhi Satva), who also participated in that camp, later had to resign from his job as he refused to accept the order from the local government not to wear saffron clothes in his Jabalpur office. After Aajol camp Osho lectured at the Doctors’ Association in Ahmedabad in the evening before returning by train to Bombay and C.C.I. Chambers.
The state of Gujarat remained his favourite choice for meditation camps and lectures already from the Jabalpur phase, and even more so after his move to Bombay. Rajkot, the third largest city, was often chosen, and the second largest city Surat was used to a much lesser extent than Ahmedabad and Rajkot. He rather preferred lecturing at Nargol near Surat and not in Surat itself, and four or five meditation camps were in a few years to be held in Nargol. At the meditation camp in Ajol the series The Inner Journey was delivered. Another series on death was given at a powerful Hindu place called Dvarika, where no meditation camps could be held due to the holiness of the place so only lectures were delivered. Dulsisham was also a place where meditation camps occasionally were held. It very much looks like the days around full moon were the most convenient time and his main choice when planning for his camps. (66)
Bhagwan’s meditation camps held at M0unt Abu are certainly his most notorious camps, but a lot was happening at other places too, as we can see from several accounts by participants in camps held elsewhere in India and from Osho himself.
An early account of listening to Acharya Rajneesh presumably at a meditation camp before 1974 is by Peter Brent: “We sit in a long room, I on a black plastic-covered couch; three doorways lead to a wide, balustraded terrace, their blue hangings flapping, as the fan overhead stirs the heavy air. In the house of one of his richer supporters we are waiting to speak with Acharya Rajneesh…He sits cross-legged, his plump and hairy stomach slightly creases as his shoulders droop forward. He holds a blue towel across his lap; from the waist down he is wrapped in a fine, white robe. His hair has receded, leaving a smooth, pale brown skull, now gleaming with sandalwood oil, and a fringe of long, grey hair which hangs down behind his ears to his shoulders. His beard is long, its black, oiled ringlets almost dividing so that it looks forked…tiny beads of sweat sit for a while on his smooth, young-looking brow, then disappear. Now and then a current of air passes through the crowded room, an intermittent mercy. After fifty minutes or so he leans back; the audience is over. He seems to have delighted by the very act of speaking, taking pleasure in the play of his own mind, so that sometimes he has made the same point in several different ways for the sheer gratification the turning, interlocking wheels of his intelligence give him.” (Aveling 1999, pp. 3 & 10) (67)
“After a short wait, we were shown in to see Osho. The room was bare except for Him, seated in a black vinyl executive-style no furniture, no carpet, just Him. We were seated in two rows, the sannyasins bowing to His feet in the front, we neophytes at the back…At Mt. Abu the meditations were held in the grounds of a large hotel called the Palace Heights.” (68)
Ma Dharm Jyoti remembers from her first meditation camp at Nargol: “Finally, the day of His first close-up darshan – when I will be able to sit near His feet – at Nargol has arrived. There are about five hundred people in the camp: it is a beautiful place on the seashore, surrounded by tall trees. I find my tree near the makeshift podium and make myself comfortable underneath it. My eyes are glued to the pathway from where He will be coming, and in a few moments I see Him coming in all His beauty and grace, wearing a white lungi and a shawl wrapped around the upper part of His body. I can literally see some kind of pure light surrounding Him. He has a magical presence, not of this world. He namastes the audience with folded hands and sits in the lotus posture on the little square table covered with a white cotton sheet.
He starts speaking, but His words are slipping away above my head. There is utter silence all around except for His voice and the sound of waves from the distance. I don’t know how long He spoke; when I open my eyes He has already gone…
In the morning at eight o’clock, we gather again at the same place for His discourse – He will be answering our questions, and many people are handing in pieces of paper to a man who is working as His secretary…
At 2.00 p.m. I reach the bungalow where He is staying. Lots of people have already arrived and are waiting to meet Him. His secretary comes, and people start going to His room, one by one. Mostly, everyone comers out within two or three minutes.” (Ma Dharm Jyoti in: Bhagawati 2010, p. 234)
“Bhagwan would be sitting on the dais, and on the other side there was a clock on a post.” (Barnett 2000, p. 124)
“I used to go to Bhavnagar, to Rajkot, to Dwarka – and there were a few very beautiful places for camps – Nargol…miles and miles of huge saru trees. The sun never reaches underneath them because on top they are so full of leaves, branches, and they grow very close. And by the side of the sea you can hear the sound of the sea waves and listen – sitting, not together, but scattered in the forest.” Hyakujo: The Everest of Zen #8
For the first meditation camp held in Matheran (1971) in Maharashtra, Laxmi’s family suggested that Rajneesh could be hosted at the family’s Kuruwa home. The proposal was soon accepted, and special arrangements were made for his stay at the house. The cook was given specific instructions for the preparation of the meals, which comprised of fruits, cracked wheat, lentils, dal, a bean soup dish, boiled vegetables, salad without chilly and spices. Several members of Laxmi’s family joined the camp, and they had joined with Rajneesh at Neral from where they proceeded together to Matheran. For five days the meditators attended discourses in the morning and sat in silence with their master in the evening. In the afternoon they also had the opportunity to sit with him in silence, and they sat close around Bhagwan, while he touched the third eye centre on the forehead of the meditators in turn. Each would then move to accommodate the other to follow in line.
“It happened at a camp in Matheran. I was staying very far away from the campus ground. The first evening, when I was going to my bungalow, a dog followed – really a rare dog. Then the dog remained continously…He would follow me to the camp, and when others were meditating he would sit more silently, more deeply, than those who were attending the camp. And then he would go back with me.
The last day, when I left Matheran by train, he followed the train. He was running by the side of the train, and the guard took compasssion on him and he took him in. Up to Neral he came. This was a slow train, a toy train, coming from Matheran to Neral, traveling just seven miles in two hours, and the dog could follow. But from Neral it is a fast train. When I took the train from Neral to Bombay others were standing there on the platform weeping and crying, and the dog was also standing there in tears.” A Bird on the Wing #9
Regal Hotel in Matheran was again the place for a new meditation camp lasting one week from the 8th of January, 1972, where Osho was commenting on Sarvasar Upanishad. These 17 discourses were later published in English and included in That Art Thou (1987), meaning ‘Atman is Brahman, the Self is united with the All’. That Art Thou contains fifty-one discourses given by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in the months of January, March and October 1972 at meditation camps in Mt. Abu and Matheran on Sarvasar Upanishad, Kaivalya Upanishad and Adhyatma Upanishad. These discourses were in Hindi and English, from the first meditation camps in which Osho spoke in English, and the book contains several photos in black-and-white from these camps. These early discourses are here compiled and translated from Hindi, and from the translators’ notes mentioned in the Introduction it is evident that with these discourses the translation process has been quite a challenging one. To give you a gist the notes may say:
– ‘Mixture of handwritten manuscript and carbon of preliminary translation here.
– Two different translations of first few chapters.
– One translation (possible combination) of rest.’
In her introduction Amrit Sadhana writes: “When I was asked to help with the Sanskrit texts which appear in this book, I had no idea that I was being invited to set out on a journey. Perhaps it was the serene, unearthly atmosphere of the Lao Tzu garden [in Poona], charged by Bhagwan’s presence; the stately, meditative trees, friendly ducks waddling through the walkways, which made these timeless upanishadic times come alive.
As I started listening to the audio cassettes one by one, Ma Yoga Taru’s raw, enchanting voice singing those ageless chants of the Upanishads reversed the time track and once again I was transported into the early seventies, when Bhagwan actually conducted these meditation camps.
These camps were a love affair! All the people who had gathered were Bhagwan’s lovers and beloveds, who did not care much for growth or spirituality. In the sixties Bhagwan used to travel extensively throughout India, always staying with people who invited him. He would chit-chat with them, listen to their woes, and shower love on their hearts thirsty for love. Every member of the family would feel, that Archarya-ji – as he was called in those days – was one of them, their very old. So for all the people who attended the camps, it was a case of their beloved turned God! The camps were conducted in a very informal and friendly manner.
Bhagwan would choose to speak on one Upanishad, which is the most precious treasure of ancient Indian wisdom. First he used to speak in Hindi, and later in English for westerners, who had just started to appear in the meditation camps.” That Art Thou, p. 7
At this camp it was annouced by Chinmaya in Osho’s presence on the morning of the 14th, that the friends who did not have the courage to wear orange or white clothes could wear any clothes of their choice, only wearing the mala visible. These people would be addressed as Sadhak and Sadhika. More than hundred took sannyas from Osho, including Laheru who had been holding back but was now given the name Sadhak Anand Sagar. This way of initiating people into sannyas was for one day only and the very next day Osho stopped these initiations. (Laheru 2012, p. 79)
The number of Westerners was now up to more than a dozen and at this camp Bhagwan used to speak for one hour in Hindi and for 45 minutes in English, as seen in this quotation from Ma Prem Veena who participated in the camp:
“Two weeks later – a time warp. I am in this mountain hill station called Matheran in the Ghats between Bombay and Poona. No roads up there, no cars – only little horse-drawn buggies. Huge trees meet overhead and you walk everywhere under a canopy of green. The houses are pure British Raj. I feel like I am in history. I find a small hotel, check in and wander my way over to the ‘meditation ground’ – a big open space under the trees. It is evening. Stars sparkle through the leaves and branches, there is a soft silence – that magical mystique of India pervades. I am transported I am not sure where.
I look curiously at the other 12 westerners grouped together at one side of the 300 strong crowd of Indians. Everyone is dressed in orange and wears the locketed mala. Suddenly the excited chatter ceases and Bhagwan, dressed in a white lungi and shawl, steps onto the small platform and seats himself cross-legged. He gestures to the westerners to come closer and then begins to talk in Hindi. (Later he explains that it is good for the westerners to be close as it keeps us more alert. We might space out as we don´t understand anything!) I am captivated by his presence. He emits an air of peace and calm yet incredible vitality. And what he says seems to be very funny as the crowd is laughing continuously.
Suddenly I jerk upright. He is talking in English! Just for us 13 people! He speaks simply but poetically and I am enthralled. Then he suddenly switches back to Hindi and I subside, bemused. For an hour and a half – without any notes – he keeps us all captive and I finally drift off to bed thinking this was not such a bad idea after all.” (Ma Prem Veena in: Bhagawati 2010, p. 317)
“Ever since I met Osho, from the very beginning, He emphasized on silence. In Nargol meditation camp (1968), Junagarh meditation camp (1969), Aajol Camp (1970), Mount Abu camps of the beginning years (1971, 1972, 1973). He always had a schedule for one hour silence for seekers. He used to sit silent with seekers. In Mount Abu’s later camps, for half an hour Kirtan (chanting of devotional songs), dance, and then half an hour silence were arranged.” (Bharti 2007, p. 281)
Over and over Acharya Rajneesh has pointed out that temples are for ignorant people only and truly not needed for enlightened persons. He himself is said, as already quoted, never to have visited the Dilwara Jain temples with their fine marble carvings at Mt. Abu or any temple at all. This may be just another hardcore myth, as it is hard to believe that a chapter like Hidden Mysteries of Eastern Temples in Hidden Mysteries (1997) could be written by anyone who had not been observing the powerful interiors of the temples and the rituals he is conveying in the text. Once Osho had even replied to a question from Mrs. Parikh:
“There is a temple in my neighbourhood. Every night there is bhajan and kirtan and after that the entire chamber is filled with the fragrance of incense. Then there is Arti, instruments are played, reverberations is there and drums are also beaten. Then the priests dances and consequently the devotees too. One day I went inside the temple to see all this. What I saw was not worship, it was only unconsciousness. It was forgetting the self in place of prayers.” (Bhed 2006, p. 188)
Initiatives were made to construct a permanent hall for meditation at a piece of land to be called Anand Sheela, donated by Praveen Bhai (Swami Anand Sagar) and Ma Anand Saroj for a commune to serve Bhagwan’s work. The place was about 40 miles from Kalyan, up in a valley near Ambernath Trimurti Hills with lush vegetation and a nearby tranquil lake. Project funding for this upcoming world headquarters for Osho’s work had begun at the third meditation camp at Mt Abu in April 1972 where donations were collected. New Jeevan Jagriti Kendras in Ajmer and Sirohi were started to support the project, and after some time 6-7 sannyasins were living there and preparing the site. In this supportive setting, a vast open ground next to a lake and among hilltops in absolute silence, an eight days meditation camp was organised starting from the 9th until the 17th of February, 1973. An accommodation in tents had been set up by Swami Satya Bodhisattva, Swami Anand Bodhisattwa, Swami Anand Muni and Swami Shankar Bharati from Ahmedabad. Sadhu Anand Sangam from Bombay was catering the canteen and offering the participants their daily meals at low cost.
“Land, Ho! (A New Ashram for N.S.I.) N.S.I. is happy to announce that 125 acres of land has been donated by a friend as grounds for an ashram and meditation camp facility. The land is between Ambernath and Kalyan, only 37 miles from Bhagwan Shree’s current Woodlands residence in Bombay proper The name Ananda-Shila Foundation is now given to this project, and the island project, previously carrying this name, is now dropped, and the island will be sold. The newly donated land has a hill with very ancient natural stone carving of a spiritual nature. The hill is known as Tri Murti Hill. The land also contains a pond and lovely grounds for ashram and meditation camp purposes. Donations towards the building of facilities are welcome.” (Sannyas, 1972:3, p. 57)
Bhagwan had to stay in a guest house at Kalyan with rough rides by car on a uneven road to travel the 10 kilometres to the camp site took him 40 minutes, when going back and forth four times every day. He spoke in Hindi and in English in the morning as well as in the evening discourses, where the subject matter was Madame Blavatsky’s book The Seven Steps of Samadhi. In that camp Osho is quoted for repeating like Krishna, “Leave everything and come. Do not delay, do not waste time.” (Bharti 2007, p. 236)
Around 550 meditators attended the Anand Sheela camp informed by reading on the event in the magazines Yukrant and Jyotishikha. Among the participants around 80 seekers were coming from countries abroad covering several continents: America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Bhagwan’s mother and father were both present also at this camp, the latter is said to have danced wildly to the devotional songs performed by Sadhu Prem Singh and Ma Amrit Sadhana. Shri Purushottam Gujrati of Poona was playing his veena in a most enchanting way to the delight of the meditators. Donations were collected and auctions held among the participants to cover a loss of Rs. 73.000 for the arrangement of the camp. Ageh Bharti is praising Anand Sheela as the best camp up to now, and on his return Bharti stays a few days in Bombay and meets Ishwarbhai at Rajneesh Aum centre in Bombay:
“I stayed there on February 18 with my cousin Braj Bhooshan Singh at Dadar. The next day, both of us went to Woodlands (where Osho lived in those days) and met beloved Osho. On February 20, I asked my cousin to reach his office leaving me to meet ‘Bhawan Bhuvan’ Sadhu Ishvar Samarpan. I was surprised to see Ishvar Samarpan at his office where every room was full of Osho’s books. There was a separate library in which thousands of audio tapes of discourses were available. Some people have come to see him in connection with Osho’s work. I was glad to see such an expansion of Osho’s work.” (Bharti 2007, p. 239)
And Krishna Prem remembers: “I first met Osho on Valentine’s Day in 1973 at a meditation camp in the Indian desert. At night, I slept on the ground just outside the room where he was staying, and, as I recall, the mosquitoes that kept me company were bigger than my consciousness. I’d just arrived in India after my five-year fight with the army about Vietnam.
In the morning, Osho sat in a chair just in front of me, dressed in a simple white robe. My first thought was: how can a man have such so much strength and lightness at the same time? I remember instantly falling in love with him while not exactly feeling great about myself. My dark side, my inner secret, was killing me. Out of the blue, Osho looked at me and said, “The revolution is inside yourself.” (Krishna 2011, p. 119)
After the Anand Sheela camp Swami Anand Maitreya with ten more sannyasins stayed on at Anand Sheela, but soon all construction work had to be interrupted due to some legal regulations and the search for a place suitable to a permanent commune had to be continued elsewhere.
“When Osho lives in Bombay there are four experimental Communes, while a search continues for a property where thousands of people can meditate and live together. Overseas, several new meditation centers are set up, some of which are residential ashrams…
In October 1971 Vishwaneed Neo-Sannyas Commune is set up by Ma Anand Madhu in Ajol, Gujarat. Facilities are provided for experiments in 21-days’ silence and seclusion…
In 1972 Samarpan Rajneesh Sadhana Ashram, New York, is the first residential ashram overseas…
In 1972 two farming communes are set up: ‘Kailash’ in Chanda, donated by Ma Anandmayi, Osho’s past-life mother, where a group of 30 Western sannyasins participate in a 6-month residential program; and ‘Samarpan’, Baroda, Gujarat, donated by Swami Swarupanand (Sheela’s father), for a group of Western and Indian sannyasins. Some experiments developed by Gurdieff are used.
In 1972 an island at Ambernath near Bombay is donated and inaugurated as ‘Ananda-Shila’, with the Meditation Camp in Februar 1973. However the land is found to be unsuitable infested with mosquitoes, and the water salty.” (69)
“The ashram is an Eastern concept, there is no word to express it in English…A monastery is a training school; an ashram is not a school, an ashram is a family. And an ashram doesn’t exist as an institution, cannot exist as an institution. The ashram exists around an enlightened person, that is a basic must. If the enlightened person is not there the ashram disappears; it is the person around whom the ashram can come into being. When the enlightened person is dead the ashram has to disappear. If you continue the ashram it becomes a monastery.” Vedanta: The 7 Steps to Samadhi #8
On the continous obstruction by the authorities of his meditation camps Osho has commented, that these controversies were behind his decision to let go of any more camps and confine himself to lectures in his Woodlands apartment.
“They [politicians] started disturbing my meetings. They started creating chaos in the meetings, blocking the roads so I could not reach to the place in time, even trying to prevent me from stopping at a station. They would collect their people and they wouldn’t let me step down from the train to the platform. This was the terminus – the train could not go ahead – but they were insisting that I cannot stop here in their city. When it became almost impossible, I dropped traveling. I had already enough people, so I started a new phase: meditation camps in the hill stations or in faraway Kashmir for those who wanted to be with me for twenty-one days or seven days – small camps, big camps. For a while it went well because I was not entering the cities, but politicians cannot sit silently. They were living so much in the fear of being thrown out of their power positions that they started creating trouble for the meditation camps. Hotels were reserved but when we arrived the government had canceled the reservation. Now the hotel manager would say, “We cannot do anything, it is from higher up; the government wants to have a special conference for these seven days so we cannot give it to you.” And there was no conference. The hotel remained empty just so that we could not have the camp. When even to have a camp became impossible, that was the time I moved to Poona – just to remain there. “Now anybody who wants to come should come here” – because they had made it almost impossible for me to move.” The Path of the Mystic, p. 282; (Urmila 2007, p. 161)
“I found that meditation camps began creating trouble for me. In Rajasthan, in their assembly, they decided that I should not be allowed into Rajasthan. I had been going to Mount Abu which is in Rajasthan. In Gujarat, at that time, Morarji Desai was the chief minister. He himself proposed to the assembly that my coming to Gujarat should be prohibited…
So it became a trouble that my camps should be stopped everywhere. Now, my camps were not doing any harm to anybody. And in my camps only people were coming who wanted to come.” Hyakujo: The Everest of Zen #8
On the organizing of future meditation camps Osho has spoken on several occasions in his early days in Bombay, and he had a vision for a place Saputara on the outskirts of Bombay, where camps could be held at weekends and also seminars targeting special segments of his followers – a whole structure of groups and sessions that were to be practiced in Poona later on:
“Then there are the meditation camps. Keep a separate committee for them. Then there will be no need for you to discuss the camps; the committee will look after them – where a camp will happen and everything else along those lines. And because I will be staying here longer now, more and more camps should be organized near Mumbai. My idea is that in the future we should have three or four camps with both the dates and the places permanently fixed every year. Then people will know that on those days the camp is happening. And even if people arrive without advance information, there will be no problem. Create a separate committee to organize this…
Saputara campus is being created. Recently they talked of it costing one hundred thousand rupees, and a promise has also been received for one hundred thousand rupees, so I have asked Jayantibbhai to look after it. Let Jayantibbhai be on the committee, let Laskari-ji be there, Mridula Abhyankar has also offered, so those three can be on it. They can include three or four other people whom they would like to work with, or people who offer can join them.
Let them create a campus – a campus outside Mumbai that can be used at weekends. Many friends from all around have started coming, so you will need at least some kind of a guesthouse – maybe where people pay – but at least make arrangements for those coming from outside. Ten to twenty people will be able to stay there, maybe permanently, but later on they will be very useful to you. So one guesthouse will have to be built for about ten to fifteen or sixteen people to stay in. Everyone should be able to stay there, and they can have their meals somewhere else. They can pay for their stay. Create a separate committee to arrange all of this.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #12
“Yes, soon we will have a camp and soon there will be separate camps for sannyasins. The moment there are one thousand sannyasins, then we will have separate camps. Sannyasins can participate in ordinary camps but no non-sannyasins can participate. So those camps will be organized by Neo-Sannyas International, not by the Life Awakening Movement. They will be organized by N.S.I….That training will be more helpful if we don’t have a camp, but have training classes – because in a camp there will be five thousand people, it will be difficult. It will be better to have training schools or training seminars, for a limited group, for thirty – a twenty-one-day period for thirty people – so we can pay them individual attention. So in the ashrams we can have training seminars for three weeks or for four weeks, for thirty people…Yes, we will train, we should have courses. For example, the healers must have a different course. So we will have a general course for every sannyasin to attend. Then we will have special courses: a different course for healers, a different course for teachers, for those who will teach meditation. These will be special courses.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #14
Mount Abu Camps
Mount Abu, an old and sacred place for the Jains of India, became one of Bhagwan’s most preferred places for his meditation camps, convenient located within a few hours journey by train and bus from his residence in Bombay and easy to reach for his followers in Ahmedabad and other places in Gujarat. At that time in the 1970s Mt. Abu hill station was looking like a paradise on earth, with beautiful jungles and wild animals in thick mist, and it is told by the owner of Bikaner Palace Hotel that a tiger was once shot right on the doorsteps to the hotel. Around Nakki Lake and the town itself legendary rock formations are pointing back to former times. Mt. Abu is mentioned in the holy scriptures, referring to Shiva praying at the spot and seven great rishis have for long been worshipped here, all having their ashrams build at the holy mountain. It was now again a place for meditation, chosen by Rajneesh due to its scenic beauty and its supernatural powers, with the important group of Jain temples at Dilwara only five kilometres away from the town itself. Where rivers are cherished by Hindus, mountains are a preference for Jains as we may note from their choice of pilgrimage sites: Their sacred mountain Shatrunjaya (place of victory) in the West of Gujatat, Shravanabelgola with Indragiri Hill near Mysore, not to mention Mount Kailash in the Himalayas, the source of four of the longest rivers in Asia, where the followers of Jainism in their religious exercise with other devotees are walking the 53-km path around the holy mountain.
The first meditation camp at Mt. Abu in April 1971 was held at Scout Ground, a former golf course which has now moved elsewhere. With a raised platform on the solid rock itself and its lush and shady mango tree it was an Arcadian landscape of great beauty. The place is very much preserved as it was at that time, and it is still used for scout camps, with a few later constructions added in concrete for improvement of facilities. At Scout Ground on Mt. Abu meditation camps were held in April and September 1971, in April and October 1972 and in April, July and October of 1973. On the first camp he is said still to be called Acharya Rajneesh, on the second camp he titled himself Raja Rajneesh and from the third camp in April 1972 finally Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. (70)
The primary meditation camp at Mt. Abu was held between April 4 and 10, 1971, when 4-500 participants in saffron and white clothes were dancing and singing their way through the town while they were watched with utterly astonishment by the local residents, who all were to witness these celebrations quite a few times in years to come. In the moonlit evening the camp was inaugurated by Bhagwan and the following morning he began a series of 13 talks on Ishawashya Upanished. On the next evening before Bhagwan’s discourse the film actor Man Mohan Krishna sang his touching devotional songs. More than a dozen foreigners were participating and imbibing Rajneesh’s flowing Hindi performance, and notably at the camp was the introduction of a new type of Tratak meditation, where participants were emptying themselves by throwing all their feelings outward before swallowing in Bhagwan through their wide open eyes. The camp lasted for one week, including a night with boating on Nakki Lake, and on the last day 51 people took sannyas, raising the total number of all initiated to 215 on that day. Ageh Bharti, who had been initiated in January 1971, participated in this first Mt. Abu camp and remembers:
“Osho became deep mystery to me. His discourses took us deeper and deeper, revealing new mysteries every day. Daily about 10-15 people would sob during His discourse, but the evening talk of April 8 was the most wonderful when almost everybody wept loudly losing control over their emotions…
Then one evening, during ‘Tratak’ meditation, Osho stood up and made gesture with hands to put our energy in meditation. In those moments, it seemed that Osho was the ocean of compassion itself. In the depth of my heart, I felt like dying. The ecstasy was too much to bear with.” (Bharti 2007, p. 210)
Rajneesh was during the first camps at Mt. Abu staying in Koda House (Rajasthan Circuit House) in room #4 now changed into a dining hall.For later camps he stayed in more comfort at Bikaner Palace Hotel placed high on a hill, and once belonging to the Mahararaja of Jaipur and used as his summer palace. Today the place is still with the family (2006). In the small courtyard next to his favourite room #2 Osho used to sit under a Gulmohar tree, which is still to be seen at the place.
The first meditation camp at Mt. Abu is said to have been stopped due to public reaction to the excesses during the camp, where the participants were encouraged to strip naked for their dancing meditations. The District Magistrate was participating and he too was dancing naked at that first camp. The local people at Mt. Abu are known to be rather materialistic and not much into spirituality, and only a few locals had come out to the campsite of curiosity. Nearly all people at the camp were coming from the outside, mostly from Bombay and Ahmedabad. Heavy guards were at the gate checking gate passes required for the participants to enter the compound. It is told that people came together and surrounded Rajneesh when after his lecture he was walking on the path towards his car, and his clothes were stripped by ardent participants, pieces of his cloth later to be preserved with much sweetness by his followers.
Abu with its supporting natural environment was again chosen as setting for a week long second meditation camp starting on the 25th of September, 1971. The climate was cooler at this time of the year so most participants were staying in nearby hotels, but still some adventurous meditators were sleeping in their own tents pitched in the open field. During this camp 165 people took sannyas, including one police inspector and two judges, one of them the justice of Jaipur, Shree Bhansali. Also Ma Neelam, who was to become Osho’s secretary later on in Poona Two, took sannyas at this camp. Nirvana Upanishad in 15 discourses (alt.: Nirwan) published in That Art Thou (1987) was chosen as discourse series for this camp, and it was also here that Prabhu Chikitsa (Divine healing) was practised after being introduced by Sw. Yogi Chinmaya and Sw. Krishna Saraswati at the first Mt. Abu camp. Osho concluded his commentary on Nirvana Upanishad with some reflections, quite in line with what we have heard him say before: Not to get stuck listening only to the words coming from a sage.
“We have reviewed the Upanishad and have noted certain statement in which the sage has warned us not to repeat his words except to those who are intimate with us. The words should be told only to those who will not misunderstand. Tell them to one who is ready to learn and who will not add meanings of his own. He should understand only that which is told. Tell these words to one who can bow down at your feet, who seeks not only answers but convictions born out of action, one who wants to reach the highest stage of spiritual knowledge.
The sage gives this last advice: that before repeating this Upanishad, first be sure the person is responsible. And this ends the Nirvana Upanishad. The Upanishad ends here, but through this you will not achieve nirvana. Where this Upanishad ends, the journey to nirvana begins.
I am more emphatically interested in meditation than in discussions. These discussions are just to give you a push, to satisfy you in an intellectual way; just to give you a feeling that whatsoever you are doing is very intellectual, rational. So that you can be persuaded into something else. That something else is not rational; that is irrational…
Our meditation is a jump into irrational existence. And existence is irrational – it is mystic, it is a mystery. So please don’t cling to what I have said to you; rather, cling to whatsoever I have persuaded you to do. Do it, and someday you will realize that whatsoever I have said is meaningful. But if you go on clinging to what I have said, it may give you knowledge, it may make you more knowledgeable, but you will not attain to knowing. And whatsoever I have said may even become a hindrance.” That Art Though #17; (Urmila 2006, p. 160)
During the second camp Rajneesh was again staying at Rajasthan Circuit House at Mt. Abu, and sitting on the lawn on the 29th with Kranti, Kusum, Kapil and Ageh Bharti, Osho was asked if his health was suffering from the pollution at his new location in Bombay and whether it was possible to experiment with Prabhu Chikitsa (Divine healing) on him. He answered, that he was watching his health closely and would see after a few months, but he laughingly ruled out Prabhu Chikitsa as a mean to better his own condition, due to his acceptance to anything happening with him, even sickness. Still, in a few years it turned out time was ripe to leave for the more healthy climate in Poona.
By now the daily schedule for a Mt. Abu meditation camp had been polished as reported by Ageh Bharti: “Osho delivered the discourse between 8.30 am and 9.30 am followed by meditation for an hour between 9.30 am and 10.30 am. Afternoon time between 2.30 pm and 3.30 was reserved for those who want to meet Osho one-to-one and for those who wanted to take sannyas. From 4 pm to 5 pm, Kirtan meditation was held under His gracious presence. In the night, from 8 pm to 9 pm, Osho delivered the discourse and the day’s schedule ended with an hour long meditation between 9 pm and 10 pm. This had been the schedule otherwise, the silence and meditative atmosphere of the camp was always other worldly environment, which cannot be expressed in words.” (Bharti 2007, p. 216)
But the number of visitors wanting to see him in a private darshan during his early camps out of Jabalpur, quite a few of them having the idea of being ‘special’, was something to be dealt with constantly also during his camps in the Bombay phase:
“It already happens. In the meditation camps we keep a time at noon for people to meet me, but instead, I end up meeting people all day, because those special people, as you call them, say, “That one and a half hours is for everyone. Keep at least ten minutes separate for us.” They don’t want to be with all those other people. But it is very interesting: Who are “all those other people”? That one and a half hours of my time is gone anyway, and those who wanted separate time, those complainers, want tim e in the morning.
Every day during the meditation camps I am talking up to eleven o’clock at night. You have no idea: I get back to the place where I am staying by half past ten, and they are already there, waiting for me! I arrive back from the morning discourse and they are already there. What begins at eight o’clock in the morning goes on until eleven in the night, without a pause. There are the three discourse and meditation meetings, the noon time for meeting me personally and then those who want a special time are also there…” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #12
A new feature at this camp was Osho’s introduction of his notorious jokes and stories of Mulla Nasaruddin, and every day in his discourses he narrated five to six jokes on Mulla. (See chapter 3.8 Westerners and Publications in English). “One day, I [Ageh Bharti] asked Osho, ‘Did Mulla Nasaruddin ever exist? Some people say that he did not.’ Osho replied, ‘Certainly, he had existed and also he was a very strange man. He conveyed his message through small stories. The special thing in him was that in his stories, the main character was that of a fool and he always kept himself in that place. Thus he would convey his message without any antagonism.’
I further asked, ‘Are all these stories told or written by him?’
Osho replied, ‘He has told many stories but the stories that I am narrating, are my own. In fact, I am creating a character of Mulla Nasarruddin.’ (Bharti 2007, p. 218)
“Jokes were a big part of Osho’s lectures for many years, although more so as time went on. These were written by his disciples and then he would read them out at the end of his lectures. He usually delivered these jokes deadpan – in fact, despite his humour, he rarely laughed, generally inclining more toward an amused half-smile, clearly taking more delight in seeing his disciples laugh. As time went on, the jokes became increasingly ribald. They were in a sense a teaching device.” (Mistelberger 2010, p. 182)
“People behave differently, because they have been conditioned differently. I have been searching for a joke that is purely Indian, but I have not been able to find one, all jokes are imported. It is good that there is no taxation on imported jokes; otherwise, in India there would be no jokes at all.
The Indians have been too serious about things, about God, about the ultimate. You cannot conceive of Gautam Buddha laughing, or Shankaracharya laughing, or Mahavir laughing – that is impossible. i have always wondered about it…” The Rebellious Spirit #10
A third meditation camp at Mt. Abu took place between April 2 and 10, 1972, where Bhagwan delivered his series of talks on Kaiwalya Upanishad (Kaiwalya meaning salvation or more precise: The moment when I am alone in consciousness). During the camp Bhagwan made every effort to take the meditators deep into their own being, and he is quoted for having said: “If you feel your clothes to be an obstacle to meditation, and you want to put them off, drop them without any hesitation and become naked, because only he can drop clothes whose sexual temptations have fallen. If people are in habit of seeing nakedness, sexuality is automatically gone.” (Bhed 2006, p. 346)
For Osho’s friends coming from Jabalpur it was quite a journey traveling all the way to Mt. Abu, which could be reached on the third day only after change of trains four times at Ujjain, Nagda, Vadodara and Ahmedabad. At Ahmedabad also Osho’s parents, Daddaji and Mataji, joined the caravan heading for the camp. From Abu Road Railway Station the 500 participants finally made it by bus on the winding road with its sharp curvatures up the mountains to the camp site at Scout Ground outside the town. During the camp Bhagwan delivered an hour long discourse in Hindi to be followed by another 45 minute lecture in English, discourses in pairs in the morning as well as in the evening. Before the discourses Ma Yoga Taru with her voice coming from beyond was chanting divine Sanskrit Sutras. Rajneesh was at Scout Ground lecturing via loudspeakers for the first time, so everyone could listen to his expounding of the scriptures, in Hindi and also in English, and his way of expressing himself in Hindi was very powerful as remembered by Devi Singh Bikaner. (71)
On the full-moon night during the camp Kirtan and dancing substituted the Tratak meditation, and his parents silently stood by somewhere and participated in their ordinary way. Osho’s childhood friend from Gadarwara, Swami Sukhraj Bharti, sat over a bed sheet opposite the canteen every day late in the afternoon and smilingly welcomed every one and asking them, “What will you take Sir, cold or hot, sweet or namkeen?” He has narrated to Ageh Bharti how in their childhood he was wrestling with Raja and how he had been watching his jumping into the river from the train bridge high up, only to be carried away by the water to some bank further down the Narmada River where he came ashore and remained resting in the sand. 190 meditators were initiated at the third Mt. Abu camp, and also collection of money for the projected Anand Shila commune took place during this camp.
700 people participated in the fourth meditation camp at Mt. Abu from 13th to 21st October, 1972. By now saffron had become the most common colour to wear, and when Bhagwan arrived in his car he was welcomed in a colourful scene with meditators under kindled lamps throwing their flowers at him and chanting: Om Jai Rajneesh Hare…
Preparations for the camp involved Veena and Nirvano (Vivek) who had both dressed up in fancy clothing before they were read the dress code by their master: “After ten days Osho, his entourage, and hundreds of Indian sannyasins arrived for the meditation camp. Nirvano bravely made the first step by wearing the orange coloured skirt. Retribution was swift! We were called to face the Master with our pretty clothes and told in no uncertain terms that plain orange was the colour and plain fashions were the order of the day.” (Veena 2012, p. 101)
Veena participated in the camp and gives us a glimpse of the magic: “I remember that time as being pure and utter magic. The camp was held in Mount Abu, a hill station on the borders of Maharastra and Gujarat. It was not so much a hill station for the British – like Matheran – but more for Indian maharajas and the like. Mount Abu is a weird and wonderful mountain, rising almost perpendicularly from the hot desert plains. The top is an assortment of small hills and on the peak of each one a palace is built – thirteen in all. In the centre was a big lake surrounded by rocks and palm trees. I sometimes had the feeling of being in the garden of Gethesemene. Mount Abu also has one of the most famous of all Jain temples. Bare concrete outside – a bit like an adobe – the inside stuns with the most intricate, marvellous marble carving man can create. It simply defies description. I have no words.
Entering autumn the nights were cool, but the night-scented flowers waved fragrance after fragrance into the air. Nowhere else in their world have I experienced the perfumes of flowers as in India. Another aspect of India’s indefinable magic.
Bhagwan always planned the camps to end on the night of the full moon. That last night, instead of taking a taxi, a few of us decided to walk down the mountain side – about twelve kilometres – to the Mount Abu train station below. A slight mist gave the moon a haze and we felt we were floating down the mountainside under water. I don’t recall my feet touching the ground.” (Veena 2012, p. 26)
Bhagwan spoke at this camp in 17 discourses on the Adhyatma Upanishad published in That Art Thou (1987) unveiling to the listeners his subtle method of using any scripture as a jumping board to dive into any message of his own he wanted to convey. He told his listeners:
“I could have directly talked to you. This Upanishad is only a means. It will be easy for me to explain, whatever I want under its cover. Upanishads are talked of only to create the environment of the Upanishad Age. The words of the Upanishad are songs, sung to praise some flowers, but it is not the feeling of a flower. If one tries, he can only get a glimpse of a flower, you don’t stop at the sight. You have to continue your journey till you become Bhagwan.” (Bhed 2006, p. 349)
Among the 215 meditators who took sannyas was also Osho’s beloved uncle from Gadarwara Kakaji (Sri Shikharchand). In a very moving initiation ceremony Osho’s sister Ma Yoga Bhakti first garlanded her master, who himself later bowed down at his uncle’s feet. And again Ma Yoga Taru kept the listeners spellbound with her enchanting voice singing ageless devotional chants (72). Years later when he was back in Bombay 1986 following the World Tour Osho was once again to embark on a discourse series on the Upanishads using these scriptures as a starting point for his exposition of the vested interests he had challenged during his stay in Oregon and on his subsequent World Tour, when he was rejected entry to 21 countries, most of them including England (Heathrow) and Sweden (Arlanda) hard core Western democracies officially all holding the valuable freedom of speech in high esteem. (See Postscript)
With each meditation camp the number of sannyasins in saffron clothes and wearing their mala was growing. For the fifth meditation camp at Mt. Abu, held between April 6 and 14, 1973, some were arriving to Mt. Abu with the Howrah-Bombay mail and they were dancing and celebrating, when already on their long journey they had reached Jabalpur and Gadarwara, where Bhagwan spent most of his life, singing Rajneesh Aaye, Anand Laye (Rajneesh came and brought bliss). At Gadarwara Osho’s younger brother Nikalank was at the platform to see off Swami Narendra Bodhisattva, and as they traveled on a great kirtan took place in the coach with Jai Rajneesh Hare – Jai Rajneesh Hare and devotional songs by Swami Anadi Saraswati from Jabalpur.
They all reached the Abu Road station at 7 a.m. on the 6th of April, 1973. On a banner at the bus-stand just outside the railway station, where they were to continue their journey by bus and sing their bhajans (devotional songs) going to the meditation camp, they could read Jeevan Jagruti Kendra welcomes you! while they were served tea and bisquits from Swami Krishnanath, Swami Jagatram and Swami Yog Pratapi. The scene at Mt. Abu had changed quite a lot since the first meditation camp here two years ago. Now the celebration had spread allover the town, where the saffron colour had become almost the common dress code and sannyasins were to be found everywhere, now also among the residents of the town.
At 11:30 a.m. Bhagwan was scheduled to arrive in Mt. Abu by Gujarat Mail from Bombay, and he was welcomed with flowers on all roads and the singing of slogans Rajneesh Aaye, Anand Laye. The organizers were even applauding the government with a ‘strategic’ banner Rajasthan Sarkar ki Jai, which could be seen while he slowly approached the meeting hall at Bikaner Palace Hotel in his Impala car overloaded with garlands. Both the Scout Ground and the Circuit House had been booked three months in advance, but all reservations had been cancelled by the Rajasthan government at the last moment. The whole arrangement had to be shifted to the Bikaner Palace Hotel on the very top of the hill, where Osho had stayed before and a big ground was earmarked for meditation and discourses on the hotel campus itself with its big trees. This change of setting was causing some additional expenses for all meditators as they could no longer stay in their tents on Scout Ground but had to stay in the hotels of Mt. Abu and go by taxi back and forth the distance to the Palace Hotel on top. (73)
Many government officials were watching closely what was happening during the camp, and they had by now banned the habit of being naked during meditation practised in the previous camps. Bhagwan entered the meeting hall and inaugurated the camp by lightning the lamp before starting his lecture and answering the questions that had been put forward to him.
“Friends had asked many questions. All the questions are related to the ascetics being naked during meditation, the ban imposed by the government and my accepting the ban. The raising of such question is but natural because my dear friends could not avail the tents that were set in the Scout Ground and were cheaper where they could enjoy free natural atmosphere. You have to take shelter in costly hotels and guest houses. Again you have to spend money on coming to this place, to attend meditation practices and sermons. You have to go through many inconveniences. But for an ascetic, it is a small test. I am happy that you have passed this test very successfully. I am really very delighted to see your love and enthusiasm.” (Bhed 2006, p. 359)
So the banner applauding the government was certainly meant to calm down the whole matter. And after Osho had lit the lamp and thereby inaugurated the camp, he commented on the situation:
“It has been a helplessness for us because of the ban imposed by the government of Rajasthan only two days ago that if we wanted the camp to be held, there won’t be any permission of becoming naked during meditation and if we wanted this facility, then there won’t be any camp. So, the less evil was opted for. The government informed us only two days ago that they would not provide any ground, institution or building owned by the government for the camp. Now, ascetics had already come not only from all corners of India, but foreign countries also. Hence, only this could be managed. The camp had been organised in this hotel premises. Moreover, government have the right to deny giving their land for the purpose. I don’t find any fault in their order because the land is theirs. We don’t have any land or building where we can manage as we wish and the owners of the Palace Hotel are also helpless. They don’t have the courage to allow us to be naked here in their hotel. It is the question of the business. But you please don’t take it like we have changed the process of meditation or we have bowed down to the government. The government have only given us an opportunity so that we can arrange and put our own place where there won’t be any binding.” (Bhed 2006, p. 359)
The whole affair once again pointed to the fact that a commune without any restrictions from the outside world was very much in demand. Bhagwan went on and concluded his lecture with the words:
“Moreover, the government have their own anxieties too. They have pressure from the society, journalists, sects and religious leaders, but if we have our own arrangements, no such pressure will dominate…
Even I won’t ask you to drop your clothes on the roads because you don’t own roads. The others who move on those roads may get disturbed by your act. At the same time I would like to tell the others that they have no right to object if we do so in our own place, or in any lonely place. Of course! I had permitted you to drop your clothes during meditation, but it does not mean that you can do it everywhere. If you take interest in dropping clothes then it leads to opposite direction. It is a separate issue that you drop your clothes during meditation, but if you show others your nakedness, it is entirely a different thing. Showing one’s nakedness to others is a psychological disease.
I am not a propagator of nudism, but I do agree that nakedness can be usefull in meditation.” (Bhed 2006, p. 359)
This matter settled Bhagwan in his afternoon lecture took the book Light on the Path (Sadhana Sutra) by Mabel Collins as the starting point for his talks, which were published in 1978 as The New Alchemy. To Turn You On. Talks on Mabel Collins’ Light on the Path (Samadhi Ke Sapt Dwar), and her book Light on the Path was included in Books I Have Loved (1985). The chapters 18-34 in The New Alchemy on cathartic meditation techniques are recorded at Anand Shila Meditation Camp outside Bombay in February 1973. They are in the appendix titled: A Period of Silence. A History of the Anand Shila Meditation Camp in Bombay (February 1973).
In the Preface with his inauguration of the camp, Osho says:
“I have called you here. And you have heard my call. And you have come. But this coming, this outward coming, is not enough. Now I will call you again on a different journey, the inner one. And if you cooperate, if you are ready to move inward, it will help.
The most important thing to remember is that the inner journey requires deep courage. It is an adventure into the unknown, and the sea is unchartered. It needs courage to take a plunge.
What is this courage? The courage is to leave your past and to take a jump. If you are not courageous, you go on continuing with your past. You go on repeating the past again and again. You move in a wheel, in a circle. Your whole life becomes just a repetition. Courage means the courage to come out of this vicious circle, to break the continuum – to be discontinuous with the past, to be new, to be reborn. This meditation camp is going to be a happening for a rebirth.” Light on the Path (1978), p. xii
During one of his evening discourses a wild storm was blowing for half an hour, causing some distress among the listeners, as an electric wire was swaying dangerously over Osho’s head while his speaking continued with full vigour. The camp’s schedule was similar to that of Anand Shila camp and the other camps, with Osho lecturing in Hindi alternating with English to accommodate his increasingly mixed audience. His view of the bogus sadhu’s of India was clearly expressed: “One day, during a Hindi discourse, Osho said, “People come to me and say that a particular ‘Baba’ produces ‘Tabiz’ and ‘Ash’ from his hand. Now such people are impressed by a Juggler, not by a saint.” Osho never liked such magic. I saw the biggest miracle happening near Him that only His presence made thousands of friends to dance madly, caring least for the society and its culture.” (Bharti 2007, p. 250)
“After a short wait, we were shown in to see Osho. The room was bare except for Him, seated in a black vinyl executive-style chair: no furniture, no carpet, just Him. A beautiful aroma of the powerful aromatic oil He always wore met our noses. We were seated in two rows, the sannyasins bowing to His feet in the front, we neophytes at the back … At Mt. Abu the meditations were held in the grounds of a large hotel called the Palace Heights.” (74)
700 meditators joined this fifth camp at Mt. Abu and of these 250-300 were foreigners, and a total of 250 people were initiated into sannyas. Among the initiated were several government officials and 75 percent of those officials overlooking the camp are reported to end up as sannyasins keen on purchasing Bhagwan’s discourses and pictures from the camp exhibition. Music was played throughout the camp by an orchestra arriving from Porbandar in Gujarat, and Swami Narayanadas from Germany was playing his flute. Osho’s other uncle (his father’s brother-in-law) is said to have been initiated at this camp, with Osho touching his feet in a moment of deep silence.
At the sixth meditation camp at Mt. Abu eight hundred people turned up in July 1973, of which now almost half the number were foreigners. Western sannyasins were initiated in numbers during this Mt. Abu camp, and it reached the highest number of Western initiations in all meditation camps. All 17 talks in this camp were in English on Kathopanishad, dealing with the secrets of death and the life beyond the death of the body, to be published in The Supreme Doctrine (1977). What a young sannyasin, Swami Dayanand, witnessed listening to Osho only in English without knowing the language, is very similar to the morning when this author was for the first time attending Bhagwan speaking in Hindi during Poona One:
“In the camp, Osho spoke in English. I do not understand English but His gestures, His way of speaking, His compassionate looks, His whole body language, all that I am getting to see, I cannot forget in life.” (Bharti 2007, p. 255) (75)
Quite a new feature was the five-piece conga drum band Osho had brought to the camp, and from now on his emphasis on music and dance was developing rapidly. Osho says on the effect of music:
“Your mind is in a chaos. That chaos has to be brought out, acted out. Chaotic music can be helpful, so if you are meditating and chaotic music is played, it will help to bring out your chaos. You will flow in it, you will become unafraid of expression. And this chaotic music will hit your chaotic mind within and will bring it out. It helps.
Rock, jazz, or other music that is chaotic in a way also helps something to come out, and that something is repressed sexuality. I am concerned with all your repressions. Modern music is more concerned just with your repressed sex, but there is a similarity. However, I am not concerned only with your repressed sex; I am concerned with all your repressions, sexual or not sexual…
This state of mind is neurotic. The whole society is ill. That is why I so much insist on chaotic meditation. Relieve yourself, act out whatsoever society has forced on you, whatsoever situations have forced on you. Act them out, relieve yourself of them, go through a catharsis. The music helps.” The Book of Secrets #28
For the seventh camp held at Mt. Abu in October 5th to 13th, 1973, Osho again arrived from Bombay to Ahmedabad by Gujarat Mail, and from there he went on by car to Mt. Abu together with Ma Yoga Kranti and others and he checked in at Bikaner Palace Hotel in his usual room #2. More than one thousand people attended this camp of which around 350 took sannyas, bringing the total number of sannyasins to a total of eight thousand. Among them was Madan Kunwar Parikh, the past time mother of Osho, who in her initiation received the name Ma Anand Mayee. As a resident of Chandrapur (formerly Chanda)in Maharastra she had received numerous letters with anecdotes from Osho, all published in Kranti Beej (Seeds of Revolutionary Thought) and her husband had been most generous to Rajneesh, when in 1960 he had presented him with a number of presents and writing utensils to facilitate his work.
The theme for Bhagwan’s discourses was a continuation of his talks in the previous camp on The Supreme Doctrine (Kathopanishad) and discourses during the camp were held in English and Hindi both. A free restaurant Preeti Bhojnalaya was offered by Swami Anand and Swami Vivek Sagar of Porbandar, and when loss was inevitable meditators’ donations started pouring in like testing a new system of economy. Again Osho made himself available to individual seekers, who could come to him with their enquiries and concerns on taking sannyas. (76)
After the camp, the departing scene on the platform at Ahmedabad railway station was getting almost out of control, as a huge crowd of friends and other passengers followed Bhagwan towards his A.C. first class coach. His shawl was ribbed from him in the chaos and he even had to take care of his long beard. People were going to extremes in their efforts to come close and have a darshan, and we can understand that all this trying to touch his feet and pushing in the crowd was behind his decision to protect himself and refrain from conducting any more meditation camps. It was evident that things were getting too hot, and next time a meditation camp was to be held it would be inside the new ashram in Poona, and then in a totally new format without Bhagwan present to conduct the meditations. These camps may at that time have lacked something in their energy field compared to the earlier camps, as rendered by Ageh Bharti when reporting from the camps he had joined years ago: “(l) Shri Rajneesh Ashram Pune, I participated in 15 to 18 camps, there was neither any record nor do I remember them.” (Bharti 2007, p. 278)
The last meditation camp ever to be conducted by Bhagwan in person was held at Mt. Abu, from January 11th to January 19th, 1974. Nine discourses given during the 9 day Meditation Camp were published as Vedanta. Seven Steps to Samadhi. Discourses on the Akshya Upanishad (1976) which has appeared in several later editions, one of these (2007) with a new subtitle: Talks on Indian Mysticism.
During one of the camps at Mt. Abu Ma Dharm Jyoti remembers how on the last full moon night Osho suggested that everyone went boating on Nakki Lake after the evening meditation, and all boats were reserved for the event.
“When Osho arrives at the lake there are already about five hundred people waiting there in the garden. It looks very chaotic but surprisingly in a couple of minutes people fall in line on both sides making a path for Him…He walks towards the lake with folded hands, namasteing everyone. A few friends join Him in the same boat and the rest of us take other boats. It feels like a great celebration on the lake. All the boats are filled with sannyasins dancing and singing. I look at the full moon and imagine that moon god must be desiring to come down and join in our celebration.” (Jyoti 1994 #31)
3.8 Westerners and publications in English
A few Western seekers had initially been with Acharya Rajneesh for some time in late Jabalpur from 1968 to 1970, but it was not until his years in Bombay that Westerners began to gather around him in greater numbers. And soon his discourses were translated into English and they came from the printing press at accelerating speed, with I Am the Gate as the first breakthrough to a Western public. But we will have to bear in mind, that even before Westerners were among his listeners, a few booklets translated into English had already been published before he even considered speaking in that language. The Philosophy of Non-Violence (1968) was the virgin one of these booklets, because English was a lingua franca to cut through the many languages of India, but also indicating some vision on his side that one day he might be targeting a broader international audience.
The Westerners Osho initiated into neo-sannyas in Woodlands returned to their home countries in the West and started spreading their message that Bhagwan was there and available to all seekers. This was cerainly not a piece of cake, as they were facing strong opposition when they were showing the orange phenomenon, and it became natural for them to gather in a growth oriented and supportive communal life.
“Each year an increasing number of Westerners are coming to Osho, as centers are being set up around the world. Many of these hippies coming to Osho have had spiritual experiences with lsd and other drugs which led them to meditation. Several are in the helping professions: social workers, therapists, psychiatrists. Osho experiments with new meditation techniques.” (77)
“I got the feeling he was checking out these strange westerners and finding out how their heads worked, how to approach them, how to help them. I thought nothing of a future but, as we now know, he was laying the foundations for the future.” (Veena 2012, p. 20)
An early western sannyasin was Sw. Smrit Pathik who met Osho when he was a Peace Corps volunteer working in agriculture extension in Madhya Pradesh: “A villager, Maheesh Joshiji, had given me a book, Path of Self-Realization, by Osho, who was then called Acharya Rajneesh, and I had discovered Osho’s address in Bombay (now Mumbai) through some relatives of His in Jabalpur, a few hours away from Kapurdha by bus. In June 1971, I met Osho in his apartment at Woodlands in Bombay. His serenity and His love were overwhelming. One morning, another American had taken sannyas, and Osho turned to me, saying something like, “Why not you, too?” During the day, it struck me that ths was an offer I could not refuse. So a few days later, I appeared in my newly purchased orange robes, and Osho gave me sannyas and the name Swami Amrit Pathik. He said He would be with me when I returned to the village. A few months later, in October, after hopping on and off a variety of trains, I landed in Mt. Abu for my first meditation camp, where Osho orchestrated all the meditations – Dynamic, Kirtan, Tatrak – amidst the hills and temples of this ancient place. As the meditation camp came to an end, I was among many who stood on the side of the road as Osho was driven to the railroad station. When the car passed me, He reached out and gave me a flower – a symbol of His love forever implanted in my heart.” (78)
“There are stories that a disciple come to the master and wait for thirty years, would not ask anything but just wait for the master to ask, “For what have you come?” Thirty years is too much – one life completely wasted – but waiting for thirty years will do the work. People from the West come to me and they say, “This very evening we are leaving, so give us some key. How can we become silent? But we don’t have any time to stay – we must go.” They are thinking in terms with which they have become acquainted – instant coffee – so they think there must be some instant meditation, a key I can hand over to them and it is finished. No, there is no key. It is a long effort. It is a deep patience. And the more you are in a hurry, the longer it will take. So remember this: if you are not in any hurry, it may happen this very moment. When you are not in a hurry the quality of mind is there, silence is there.” Vedanta: The 7 Steps to Samadhi #5
Ma Yoga Prem, aka Big Prem, was one of Osho’s earliest Western disciples who had first heard about Osho on a train going to Chicago in 1971, and soon after she found herself in Woodlands without any idea about anything Eastern or the Master-disciple relationship, all of which proved no hindrance to her commitment. She learned Hindi and stayed with an Indian family in Matunga, a suburb to Bombay. In Poona One she transcribed Osho’s darshans and was part of the Saswad experiment.
That the integration process with the Indian followers and the Western newcomers was not always a smooth sailing is witnessed by Veena during the Mount Abu meditation camp in October 1972: “Two friends from the UK joined me at this camp to meet Osho for the first time. One had taken sannyas. We were all quite disturbed by many things we saw around us: the egoistical posturing of people pretending to be holy and spiritual, the false positivity, the incessant spouting of spiritual mumbo-jumbo and, worse of all, the obvious greed and attempts to profit financially from the event. Regretfully I must say that the majority of the people there were Indian. There were only a few foreigners and we were under constant attack as the local perception then was that we were rich and they were poor and therefore we were fair game to approach and exploit. That we were mostly hippies existing on a very tight budget didn’t enter their perceptions.” (Veena 2012, p. 181)
“Many hippies have visited me. I felt really sorry for them. They were going on a right path, but somewhere the path turned to polar opposite. Their resentment was so strong that they started doing exactly the opposite of what they were taught to do. They dropped out of schools, out of colleges, out of universities, because it was not their own choice.
But do you know what happened to the hippies? You don’t find them after the age thirty-five. They come back to the society, become again what they have been taught. Their long hair disappears, their beards disappear, their moustaches disappear. All the hippies who have reached nearabout the age of forty are now perfectly accepted gentlemen in the society. They are good businessmen, good salesmen, successful.” From the False to the Truth #25
In Memoirs of a Hippie Girl (2013) Ann BeCoy describes her Indian Hippie Trail with many stories of drugs and gurus including a meeting with Bhagwan 1972 in Woodlands – called Hanging Gardens Ashram, Bombay. Her account and the intimacy she is said to have experienced may be of a more fictitious nature rather than disclosing factual events. She received the name Diksha (initiation) and only stayed for a while before she left to trace other figures in India’s spiritual landscape, among them Krishnamurti and Neem Karoli Baba, the guru of Baba Ram Das who authored the splendid Be Here Now (1971). She tells from her first glimpse of Bhagwan in his study, “The moment I looked into his kind face I was struck by his radiant countenance. He was an utterly beautiful man. His eyes glowed with mischievous laughter; he had magnificent, long curly locks of black hair and a slightly graying beard to match. He was dressed in the cleanest (were they starched?) white robes I’d ever seen, and had an unusual but pleasant fragrance. He wore an expensive gold watch (which I thought odd, since gurus were not supposed to have possessions).” (BeCoy 2013, p. 112)
“LSD can be used as a help, but the help is very dangerous; it is not so easy. If you use a mantra, even that can become difficult to throw, but if you use acid, LSD, it will be even more difficult to throw. The moment you are on a LSD trip you are not in control. Chemistry takes control and you are not the master, and once you are not the master it is difficult to regain that position. The chemical is not the slave now, you are the slave. Now how to control it is going to be your choice. Once you take LSD as a help you are making a slave of the master and your whole body chemistry will be affected by it…
So I am not against LSD, and if I am against it, it is conditional. This is the condition: if you can remain the master, then okay. Use anything, but remain the master. And if you cannot remain the master, then do not enter into a dangerous road at all. Do not enter at all; it will be better.” (79)
Veena remembers from her first meeting with Bhagwan: “Finally I arrive in Goa, the original hippie paradise. It was here that I learned of the latest figure in the guru craze, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. I wasn’t interested in gurus but events conspired to sit me down (on an ugly brown vinyl sofa) in front of an awe-inspiring man dressed in white (acceptable) ensconced in a very bare room painted an awful shade of green (unacceptable).” (Veena 2012, p. 95)
Jeevan Jagruti Kendra remained the leading publisher and distributor of Osho’s books, with Motilal Banarsidass continuing its publishing which had started already in the 1960s. And during the 1970s we see other publishers in India as well as in the West investing and taking their chances in the publishing of this emerging Indian mystic: Jaico Publishing House (Bombay), Harper & Row, Lawrence Verry Inc. and Diamond Pocket Books to name a few.
Beyond and Beyond (November 1970) by Acharya Rajneesh is the first booklet published after Osho’s move to Bombay, compiled by Swami Kriyananda Saraswati (Chinmaya’s name before change of name), Ma Yoga Taru and Ma Dharma Jyoti. It contains a discussion with a delegation of students from U.S.A on 21st July 1970 at Bombay. Included is also Chinmaya’s first 2½ page introduction to Acharya Rajneesh, where he writes:
“This booklet contains one of the hundreds of interview taken by the foreign seekers. We publish it as a glimpse, a ray of his infinite wisdom, so that those who read it can seek for more and more, deeper and deeper.
Let God send thirsty seekers, striving souls, restless youths, hungry and angry new generations to dive deep into the cool and serene illumination, enlightenment, and divinity of Acharya Rajneesh to be awakened to save the humanity.” Beyond and Beyond, p. 7
Among the questions answered – they are on God, the meaning of life, prayer – the first one is asking for him to explain the basic Indian philosophy, and in his answer Rajneesh winds back to his oral examination for his M.A. in Sagar, where he also made the point, that philosophy is one universal field without any geographical divisions in the human mind, and he continues:
“In reference to this one thing must be said. In India we have called philosophy ‘DARSHAN’. Darshan means to see. We have not called it thinking. We have called it seeing. In Europe the term philosophia carries another connotation. Philosophy means love of knowing, love of thinking. There is no parallel term in western language for Darshan. A new term has been coined by Herman Hesse. That term is appealing. He has coined a new term that is philosia, the love of seeing. ‘Sia’ means to see, ‘Philo’ means love and ‘sophy’ means thinking. Philosophy means love of thinking. We have no term in India for it. We cannot translate Philosophy in any Indian language. Because our term is Darshan, that means to see, not to think, but to see. Seeing comes not through mind, but at the moment mind is annihilated, the moment mind is not, the moment mind ceases.” Beyond and Beyond, p. 16
More and more people were coming from the West, and they all had a much better opportunity to meet Bhagwan at Woodlands, when in early 1971 he had fulfilled his fixed engagements and was able to reduce his travels and public exposure. On January 6th Bhagwan had received Dr. John George Henrotte from Paris and Mme. Yuki Fujita (Ma Yoga Maitri) from Tokyo in his flat in I.C.C. Chambers. Their whole conversation took place in English and was published as The Vital Balance (March 1971). Answering a question from Henrotte Osho elaborated on the use of the human brain and the art of balancing it with human emotions, and from his words it is evident that he is now aiming at his new readers in the West:
“Intelligence must be balanced by love…The East became warped with the heart. Now the west has tried the other polarity. Both have achieved disastrous results. There is a rebellion in the west’s new generation against intellect, against reason. The whole mind of the new generation is leaning towards the irrational. Nature takes its own revenge – always. Nature is very revengeful. It never pardons, it never forgets. If some part of it remains suppressed or unfulfilled, it will have its revenge. So the irrational in the West is taking its revenge. In the East, the rational has got the appeal, the scientific has got the appeal, communism has got the appeal. Religion has lost – it no longer appeals to the East, as reason has been all along suppressed. So to me, neither a human being nor a human culture can be healthy without an inner balance between the rational and the irrational…So always balance one by the other.” (The Vital Balance, p. 4) (80)
Fujita mostly kept quiet and listened to the conversation between Rajneesh and Henrotte, but at the end he answers her question on how to proceed on her spiritual path when she is at home again in Japan. He advised her not to plan anything, but “Just go. Sit there. Meditate and see what happens. Things are bound to take their own course.”
Their conversation was published by Jeevan Jagruti Kendra already two months later in The Vital Balance (March 1971), including Acharya Rajneesh: A Glimpse by Chinmaya. This publication was the first to go to press with the acharya’s interviews while he was staying at C.C.I. Chambers, and the conversation and its subsequent publication is a first attempt from Rajneesh to reach our towards Europe and Japan from where many disciples were to come to him in the following years. Returning home they are both said to have been writing on their experience and meeting with Bhagwan, and they attracted new visitors to his Bombay residence, which shortly after their meeting was shifted to Woodlands.
A delegation from a congress on psychology Manav Sambhawana Andolan, with some reputed delegates from Europe and America, visited Osho at Woodlands in the end of July 1971 to discuss matters in psychology of mutual interest and to partake in the meditation practices. The interchange is reported to have taken place in a positive atmosphere, and also these visitors may in their home countries have contributed to the dissemination of Bhagwan’s presence and his availability to seekers worldwide. He was further invited to deliver speeches for the scholarly circles in their home countries, an offer he never seems to have responded to.
In one of his morning lectures at Woodlands Bhagwan was asked why so many Westerners have started coming to him compared to the number of Indians. He explained that due to the fact that India is a poor country, Indians in general came to him to ask for his help to improve their living conditions. But they had to realize that he was to snatch everything away from them, and that he only wanted courageous and selected people around him. After a little pause he continued:
“The motion of history is also circulatory. There was once a time when India was quite well-to-do. Art develops in prosperity and as a result of which religion originates. A hungry person can never think of God or salvation. Then Vatsyayan and Acharya Vrihaspati emerged in this country. The Charwak philosophy was circulated. Buddha and Mahavir spoke of the path of sacrifice getting bored of over-indulgence.
Today America and Europe have reached the optimum of materialism like ancient India. They have completed half of the way to become Buddha by being Zorba. Now they are getting bored of wealth and glory. They, who are joining and coming from the West, are intellectuals. Being equipped with scientific brain they have already given up orthodox customs. They are well aware of the uselessness of wealth and sex…They have fully enjoyed the worldly life like Zorba and are in search of peace and enlightenment. The circle of the history has moved and the present situation is that the West has become spiritualistic whereas the East has become materialistic. Now, the chance of the occurance of enlightenment (Buddhatwa) in the West has increased very much.” (Bhed 2006, p. 328)
“My first exposure to Bhagwan was in 1971 in London as I sat in the office of Kaleidoscope (later called Community), a Growth Centre for Self development that Michael Barnett (later Somendra) and I co-ran…
Another two acquaintances were Patricia Clare and Paul Lowe (Poonam and Teertha) who ran the ‘other’ London centre, Quaesitor. I know, we were supposed to be so enlightened that we would not be competitive with each other, rather cooperative; but that was not always the scenario…still, their disappearing to India was an event.” (Ma Prem Tao in: Bhagawati 2010, p. 292)
Sheela recalls from Bhagwan’s outdoor discourses in Bombay and how newcomers were received at Woodlands by Laxmi: “Around 1972 an increasing number of western tourists became attracted by this phenomenon called Bhagwan and He was always keen to have a large international audience. Typically after His public discourses there would be music and celebration for the audience. His western followers were always seated on the podium. During the celebration they would dance around Him on it, along with some selected Indian supporters. It was always an interesting and colourful event. I attended many of these discourses and really enjoyed them all. A few months after I came to know Bhagwan, towards the end of 1972, a clearer structure started emerging around Him. He became more and more exclusive. His secretary Laxmi started to more carefully select His visitors. All new visitors were asked to participate in Dynamic Meditation before they were allowed to have an audience with Him. Bhagwan had developed this meditation Himself. It took place every morning at six o’clock on a very crowded Chowpatty Beach in central Bombay.” (Sheela 2012, p. 131)
Now was the time for Bhagwan to deliver his lectures also in English, and some of the early ones were series including Inward Revolution, Secrets of Meditation, The Three Ladders of Divinity – Sex, Love and Prayers, The Kundalini Yoga, Science of Dharma, Secrets of the Seven Bodies, Functions of Knowledge and Appropriate Balance. These speeches were collected and compiled in book form and titled The Inward Revolution (1973). The compilation supplemented the already available translations from Hindi like Path of Self-Realization (1966 & 1971) and this compilation soon became popular among his Western followers.
Initially some of Osho’s Hindi lectures were translated into English to reach out to his Western audience, but growing numbers of visitors made him now start to deliver three talks a week in the English language. This series in English, all together called The Gateless Gate were to be published with the titles I Am the Gate (1972), The Inward Revolution (1973), The Eternal Message (1973) and The Great Challenge (1982). During these series in English 10 to 15 foreigners were sitting in along with the Indian listeners, a number rising to 80-100 on special occasions. (Bhed 2006, p. 340)
At Woodlands in February 1972 Bhagwan spoke in English on Atma Pooja Upanishad, published as The Ultimate Alchemy (Vol. 1-2, 1974), and these talks and expoundings on the Upanishads were much appreciated by the attending Westerners. This series was resumed in Bombay in August same year when Bhagwan had returned from the third meditation camp on Mt. Abu.
Sometime in 1971 Secrets of Discipleship was published in its first edition, edited by Ananda Prem, and also in its second edition from September 1972 we find the text from a discourse by Bhagwan given February 26, 1971 in Bombay, where he is explaining the guru relationship to his disciples. The first edition is printed in white characters on black paper, and an excerpt from this booklet can be found in the previous chapter 4.0 on Bhagwan’s individual work.
I Am the Gate (1972).
His first discourse series to be held in English at Woodlands was I Am the Gate (1972), with eight talks by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, in which he is interviewed by his disciple Ma Anand Pratima from 14-28 of April and again from 2-14 of June 1971. This discourse series was taken down in writing by Chinmaya and as planned it was an opening and break-through to Western readers. After its first edition in 3000 copies it was published in subsequent editions 1975, 1977 & 1990, and it stands out as the principal work in Osho’s early publishing from Bombay. The first edition in September 1972 was compiled by Ma Yoga Laxmi and Swami Krishna Christ and edited by Ma Ananda Prem and Swami Yoga Chinmaya. In his eight page foreword to the first edition Chinmaya writes on the present state of the world and Bhagwan’s role:
“Readers of this book, “I Am the Gate,” which is a compilation of eight discourses by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, may feel and realize that it is as fresh as the words of Christ, as deep as the words of Krishna, as subtle as the words of Upanishadic Rishis, as mysterious and transcendental as the words of mystic poets.
But here all words are scientific, rational – and yet they bring the reader to the very edge of the intellect, pushing him into the mysterious, the hidden, the secret, the occult, the esoteric, the transcendental…
In this “esoteric situation of the world”, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh has to convey his occult and esoteric teachings to the selected capable ones, as well as to the masses…
So firstly, Bhagwan has to use and revive the dying old esoteric groups, and secondly, he has to pass the pains of forming an altogether new esoteric group…
In this background, “I Am the Gate” will give you a clearcut picture of the crucial world situation. It will also make you aware of the urgent and immediate need to JOIN and JUMP into this essential MOVEMENT (which is but a COSMIC PLAY), in order to save humanity from total destruction.
Let God send thirsty seekers, striving souls, restless youths and the hungry and angry new generation to dive deep into the cool and serene illumination, Enlightenment, and divinity of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and become awakened so that they may save themselves as well as the world.” I Am the Gate, p. 8
The eight interviews included in I Am the Gate are as follows: I Am Consciousness I Am Freedom, Neo-Sannyas: The Answer to Human Crisis, Occult Devices and Spiritual Search, Love Grace and Divinity, Meditation and the Paths to Inner Awakening, The Secrets of Spiritual Explosion, The Occult Mysteries of Initiation and I Am the Gate.
These headings were changed in later editions, and the three appendixes included in the first edition are also omitted later on. In the appendixes to the first edition Ma Ananda Prem is writing a biographical glimpse of her master, and Chinmaya is laying out the visions and activities of Neo-Sannyas International Movement. In a preamble the actual number of neo-sannyasins is mentioned, and Chinmaya is in details describing the Aims and Objectives of N.S.I. (Neo-Sannyas International) as well as the activities and practical ways of the organization. The amount of organizational and practical information written by Chinmaya and contained in this Appendix 3 in I Am the Gate makes it an obvious and very useful manual for those Westerners who were to return to their countries and celebrate the message of Osho (81). On the new structure, with both Life Awakening Centres and Neo-Sannyas International, Osho has these remarks:
“The Life Awakening Center is an institution of all those friends who are not sannyasins. Neo-Sannyas International is only for sannyasins. So the Life Awakening Center is a feeding institution for you, because through it people will come and become sannyasins. It is a feeding institution; you are a specialized wing. So The Life Awakening Center will continue. Sannyasins can be in the Life Awakening Center, but non-sannyasins cannot be in N.S.I. Someone can hold a post in Neo-Sannyas International and also apost in the Life Awakening Center – sannyasins can be both. But non-sannyasins cannot enter N.S.I…Your work will be specialized. This specialization will concern the transformation of individuals into sannyas. The publication of literature – especially for meditation, for sannyas, for occult training, for yoga – is your specialization…So create your own specialized literature soon. Have your own magazine, first an international magazine in English, then in national languages, and then in regional languages.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #14
In the early years in Bombay Osho spent a lot of energy in designing the organizatorial structure of his growing movement, a discussion that would go on for years to come: How to make the whole work happen in the most supportive way?
“So I don’t believe in elections. If the work is going to be done, I believe in direct nomination from the top. Yes, if you want to satisfy people, if you want to satisfy everyone, then elections are the way. But this work is an altogether different matter. If you are trying to satisfy everyone, then it’s okay. You have a thousand members, you go for elections, everybody will feel juiced up, and everyone will come to the meetings because there will be opportunities for defeating others, for winning, for forming parties and groups. But it won’t get any work done! As far as doing the work is concerned, then this won’t help and it will just bring politics into your inner world. So I am not at all in favour of elections. I would not like to put you into that situation. I am in favor of direct nomination. I would not like to put you into that complex situation called an election.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #12
At a talk in 1971 included in I Am the Gate Bhagwan was asked a question concerning the personal aspects of his spiritual awakening: “Excuse me for asking such personal questions, but who are you, and why have you come into the world? Bhagwan replied:
“It makes no difference whether these questions are personal or not because to me the person does not exist. You cannot ask any personal questions because there is no one to be related to as a person. In fact, it is not presumptuous to ask questions, but to assume that a person is, is certainly presumptuous. The person is non-existent, a non-entity. In fact, there is no person…as far as I am concerned, I do not feel at all to be a person. The deeper one goes the lesser one is. And once someone reaches to the ultimate core of himself, there is no self at all.” I Am the Gate, p. 2
In her introduction to the second edition (Rebel 1990), Ma Satya Priya says: “To those of you who have never read I Am the Gate, I say read it. To those of you who have read it years ago, I say read it again. And to everyone I say, above all, drink it, it is an endless source of the nectar of life.” I Am the Gate, p. viii
Krishna Prem remembers his first reading of Osho when a friend of him, Sw. Shyam Chaitanya, had just returned from India to Canada and presented him with a book: “But he left a book on the table behind him. “I am the Gate”. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
Halfway through the first page I said in amazement, “This man is telling the truth!” It was so clear, so simple so sharp. It cut through all the crap like a razor; it sent the mystic mystique up in a puff of smoke. And four years ago this month, with my worldly possessions once again transformed into traveller’s cheques, I was on a plane for Bombay.” Pointing the Way (1969), p. 89
If we, like some sannyasins playfully prefer, open the pages at random choice in I Am the Gate, we may end up with this quotation:
“Whatsoever I said may not be what I mean, and what I mean may not be what I said. So do not confuse my sayings with my meanings, but always look into the deep. Always listen to that which has not been said, but indicated. There are things which cannot be said, but shown and never said. All that is deep, and all that is ultimate, can only be shown and never said. And I am saying things which cannot be said. So do not think of my words. Always throw the words as meaningless; then go deep down to the wordless meaning, to the silent meaning. It is always there behind the word.
The words are always dead, the meaning is always living. One can be open to the words, but one can never be open through the intellectual understanding. You can be open with your total being, not with only your intellect. It is not that the intellect sometimes misunderstands – the intellect always misunderstands. It always errs.” I Am the Gate #1
First U.S. edition was published by Harper Colophon Books in 1977, and in her introduction to this edition Satya Bharti writes: “I loved the first book I ever read by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, so much that I could scarcely read it. I read a phrase, a sentence, and got up and danced. I couldn’t believe it. Here in Bhagwan Shree’s world was everything I had ever believed, everything I had ever suspected, all articulated so lucidly, so poetically, that all I could say was, “Yes!” Yes and thank you. A thousand thanks. It was the beginning of an intense romance, one that has grown deeper with the years.” I Am the Gate (1977), p. vii
“We talked some more and later they gave me a book to read, “I Am the Gate”. It was one of the first books that had been published in English from this guru.
When I was reading the first few pages of “I Am the Gate” I noticed that there was something very different, very new, something that I hadn’t read or heard before. I couldn’t put my finger on it. And it definitely had its effects…
When we arrived in Bombay and took a taxi, the driver asked, “Where are you going?” We said we want to go to see our Master, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. An he said, “Oh, he is giving a discourse tonight in Cross Maidan, a park in the middle of Bombay, I think it is just about time right now. And I said, “Yes; let’s go, take us right there.” He drove us there and it was just starting, people were milling in, there was this huge space fenced in with a stage and we walked in. A few people in orange sitting around in the front were welcoming us like family: they said come on, you are sannyasins, sit up on the stage not knowing what to expect. He was to arrive in about fifteen minutes and then a curtain opened and he walked in and oh my god, oh my god, I was in tears, he was so beautiful, and I felt like yes, yes, I am home, I am home, I found him! He found me! And I was sobbing like a baby just looking at him, he was so clear and I knew him and he was more real than anything I had ever seen. The connection was instant; it was like meeting a long lost beloved friend again after a long, long time. And then I just sat there while he spoke in Hindi and I was in bliss.
The next day we went to Woodlands where he lived on the first floor of this huge apartment building, set on the highest spot of Bombay; a small apartment, a few rooms. I was about to have darshan, meeting the Master eye to eye…
It wasn’t easy to live in Bombay but we found a place two hours away from the centre in Ghatkopar. Every morning at 4 a.m. we got up and took the train stuffed with people to Bombay to do Dynamic Meditation on Chowpatti Beach which is right in the middle of Bombay, with curious locals watching us at six in the morning! But I wouldn’t have missed it for anything; I wouldn’t have wanted to change it for anything. That was it, the beginning of my journey with Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, my Master.” (Swami Dayanand Bharati in: Bhagawati 2010, p. 255)
Veena remembers sales promotion work was happening in London in the very same way Osho had recommended his disciples to carry it out in Bombay: “I London my one copy of ‘I Am the Gate’ was passed from person to person. Because many people wanted to have a copy of their own, however, we came up with the idea of trying to get English bookshops to stock it and embarked on a campaign to bug the bookshops. Every few days we would phone various bookshops saying we would like to buy the book and did they have it. The campaign worked! Eventually Foyle’s (one of the largest bookshops) started to ask who this Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) was and ordered a few copies from India to put on their shelves. Very slowly, faced with what they thought was a growing demand (our phone calls), other bookshops did the same.” (Veena 2012, p. 61)
That I Am the Gate is still stirring the minds of his followers we may see from Dhanyam’s notice in VIHA: “Does anyone know whether the 1971 discourse series I Am the Gate was taped? I have been trying to find a recording, but have not had any success. (I have been especially fond of this book since stumbling upon a copy in a San Francisco bookstore in 1979. It blew my mind and forever changed my life: A few months later I was sitting at Osho’s feet in Pune and received my new name.” (82)
As an indication of what talks of Rajneesh were translated from original Hindi and made available to Western seekers in the early Bombay phase, booklets already published in English are listed on page 31 in Beyond and Beyond (November 1970) as follows: Path to Self-realisation (198 pages, Rs. 4.00), Seeds of Revolutionary Thought (232 pages, Rs. 4.50), Philosophy of Non-Violence (34 pages, Rs. 0.80), Who Am I? (145 pages, Rs. 3.00), Earthen Lamps (247 pages, Rs. 4.50), Wings of Love and Random Thoughts (166 pages, Rs. 3.50), Towards the Unknown (54 pages, Rs. 1.50), Rajneesh: A Glimpse (24 pages, Rs. 1.25), Acharya Rajneesh: The Mystic of Feeling (260 pages, Rs. 20.00), Meditation: A New Dimension (36 pages, Rs. 2.00). These titles are in Turning In (August 1971) supplemented with From Sex to Super-Consciousness (180 pages, Rs. 6.00) and The Mysteries of Life and Death (70 pages, Rs. 4.00).
The following titles translated from Hindi were forthcoming according to Beyond and Beyond and in the press by November 1970: From Sex to Super-consciousness, The Pathless Path, The Occult Mysteries of Dreaming, The Flight of the Alone to the Alone, What is Yoga?, This Insane Society, Freedom From Becoming, The Mysteries of Life and Death, The Will to the Wholeness, The Forgotten Language and L.S.D.: The Shortcut to False Samadhi. In The Vital Balance (March 1971) this list of forthcoming translated Hindi books is supplemented with Journey Inwards, Beware of Socialism, God: Many Splendoured Love, Lead Kindly Light and The Flame of Love.
Original English Booklets published, also according to The Vital Balance (March 1971) are: Meditation: a New Dimension (36 pages, Rs.2.00), Beyond and Beyond (32 pages, Rs. 2.00), Flight of the Alone to the Alone (36 pages, Rs. 2.50), L.S.D. – A Shotcut to False Samadhi (25 pages, Rs. 2.00), Yoga: As Spontaneous Happening (27 pages, Rs. 2.00). In Turning In (August 1971) these Original English Booklets are supplemented with: The Vital Balance (26 pages, Rs. 1.00), The Gateless Gate (48 pages, Rs. 2.00), The Silent Music (41 pages, Rs. 2.00), The Eternal Message (35 pages, Rs. 2.00), What Is Meditation? (58 pages, Rs. 3.00) and The Dimensionless Dimension (47 pages, Rs. 2.00).
The Vital Balance (March 1971) is listing forthcoming Original English Booklets. In press: Freedom From Becoming, The Pathless Path, The Occult Mysteries of Dreaming, What is Yoga? This Insane Society, The Will to the Wholeness, The Forgotten Language, The Great Challenge, The Open Secret, The Silent Music, The Eternal Message, The Worlds Within, The Gateless Gate, The Cosmic Symphony, What is Meditation?, The Agony and Ecstasy, The Inward Revolution and The Courage to be Alone. (83)
Other early lectures, some of them included in compilations, are to be found in The Silent Explosion (1973), The Psychology of the Esoteric (1973), The Mystic Experience (1977), The Eternal Quest (1980) and In Search of the Miraculous (1984). (See section on Compilations in Bibliography).
Several booklets and two comprehensive compilations with stories of Mulla Nasaruddin were published in English during the Bombay years, and by 1974 a total of five books with Mulla’s jokes retold by Bhagwan had been published in Bombay, three of them in Hindi and two in English.
Wisdom of folly was compiled by Ma Ananda Prem and edited by Sw. Yogi Chinmaya and was out in September 1971. It carried a double page photo of Bhagwan on its front and a dedication to Mukta on its title page: “For beloved MUKTA, to laugh, and, to meditate” followed by his signature and the date 21.7.1971.
Thus spake Mulla Nasrudin compiled by Swami Yogi Chinmaya was available with its 237 pages from January 1973. A facsimile of Osho’s handwriting is printed in white letters on black paper, and it comes with a double colour portrait on the title page. This time the collection of jokes was dedicated to Vivek: “for beloved VIVEK to laugh and to meditate with love and blessings,” dated 26.8.1972 and the heading: 225 Mulla Nasrudin stories that never happened; …if one is incapable of laughing, one will become incapable of being religious.” –Rajneesh–. In her foreword Ma Ananda Prem writes: “Seriousness causes a tension that makes this dar[is]carding of “weeds” (samskaras) seem like a tug-of-war between man and the universe. But there is no tug-of-war other than the illusionary one we ourselves have created. By an attitude of light heartedness and laughter at ourselves, the tension relaxes and a let-go comes by itself, effortlessly. And when all the false impressions are emptied from the mind, even to the ends of their very roots, we can at last behold divinity! And divinity is “nothing” but this very emptiness that is at the end — VOIDNESS. So if we can learn to laugh at ourselves, we too can become like Bhagwan — void, divine, endless bliss. Only then can we say we are really religious. Let these Mulla stories be the instrument that will show the way, and let us be deeply grateful to Bhagwan for taking the trouble to teach us through them. Of meditation, Bhagwan says, “…seriousness is a barrier to it. And this seems impossible to some persons, how to be religious without being serious…A temple must be a playhouse — where everyone becomes a child and plays with existence. Meditation is a play regained.” Thus spake Mulla Nasrudin, p. 4
Two hundred two with 202 pages numbering as many jokes was a large and now final compilation with jokes by Mulla Nasrudin. It appeared in May 1974 at the same time Bhagwan moved to Poona. Two hundred two is presenting 202 time bombs of cosmic laughter to the readers and the publisher is wishing them all a good laughter. In his Foreword the publisher from Jeevan Jagruti Kendra Sadhu Ishwar Samarpan (former Ishwarlal N. Shah) is quoting Bhagwan and writes:
“During his discourses on the AKSHUPNISHAD Bhagwan Rajneesh, in answer to a question, beautifully explained the place and significance of LAUGHTER in human life. He said:-
“This is worth considering. It is significant. The first thing to understand is that except for man, no animal is capable of laughter. So laughter shows a very high peak in the evolution of life. If you go out on the street and see a buffalo laughing, you will be scared to death. And if you report it, then nobody will believe that it can happen. It is impossible. Why don’t animals laugh? Why can’t trees laugh?
There is a very deep cause for laughter. Only that animal can laugh which can get bored. Animals and trees are not bored. Boredom and laughter are the polar dualities, these are the polar opposites. They go together. And man is the only animal that is bored. Boredom is the symbol of humanity. Look at dogs and cats; they are never bored. Man seems to be deep in boredom. Why aren’t other animals bored? Why does man alone suffer boredom? The higher the intelligence, the greater is boredom…
Now try to understand the mechanism of laughter and how it happens. If I tell a joke, why do you laugh? What makes you laugh? What happens? What is the inner mechanism? If I tell a joke, expectation is created. You start expecting. Your mind starts searching for what the end will be. And you cannot conceive the end. A joke moves in two dimensions. First it moves in a logical dimension. You can conceive it. If the joke goes on logically to the very end, it will cease to be a joke; there will be no laughter. So suddenly the joke takes a turn and becomes so illogical that you cannot conceive it. And when the joke takes a turn and the result becomes illogical, then the expectation, the tension that was created in you, suddenly explodes. You relax. Laughter comes out.” Two hundred two, p. iii
“Mulla Nasrudin went to the psychiatrist and asked if the good doctor couldn’t split his personality.
“Split your personality?” asked the doctor. Why in heaven’s name do you want me to do a thing like that?”
“BECAUSE,” said Nasrudin, “I AM SO LONESOME.”” Two hundred two, p.1
Three types of laughter are further explained: The first and the lowest is when you laugh at someone else. The second type is when you laugh at yourself. And the highest is the cosmic laughter when the whole joke of this Cosmos is understood.
Next to the above mentioned compilations on Mulla Nasrudin we will have to include Meet Mulla Nasruddin (1974) with its 100 new jokes on 108 pages. It seems to have appeared earlier, without any publishing date, as separate sheets in a box with a facsimile of Osho’s own handwriting.
“I don’t know why your father does not like me,” she said to Mulla Nasrudin at their wedding reception.
“Neither do I,” replied Nasrudin. “After all, money, brains and looks are not everything.” Meet Mulla Nasrudin #1
“Mulla Nasruddin! He is not a fictitious figure, he was a Sufi and his grave still exists. But he was such a man that he could not resist even to joke from his grave. He made a will that his gravestone will be nothing but a door, locked, and the keys thrown away into the ocean.
Now this is strange! People go to see his grave: they can go round and round the door because there are no walls, there is just a door standing there, no walls at all! – and the door is locked. The man Mulla Nasruddin must be laughing in his grave.
I have loved no one as I have loved Nasruddin. He is one of the men who has brought religion and laughter together; otherwise they have always stood back to back. Nasruddin forced them to drop their old enmity and become friends, and when religion and laughter meet, when meditation laughs, and when laughter meditates, the miracle happens…the miracle of all miracles.” Books I Have Loved #8
The jokes of Mulla Nasruddin continued to be published after Osho had moved to Poona: Let Go (1975), 101 Jokes of Mulla Nasruddin (1975) and Beyond Laughter (1975). And much later during Poona Two Vimal and others in Jokes Department were finding jokes for Osho’s discourses in Lao Tzu Library and a joke-compilation Take It Really Seriously (1998) was published presenting a much wider selection of jokes than the first attempts with Mulla Nasrudin stories in Bombay. In its introduction Vimal says:
“Where do all Osho’s jokes come from? From a team of full-time gag writers. Chetan, Satyadharma and myself, perhaps the most serious-looking guys around! Combing through the hundreds of joke books in Osho’s library, looking for something that can be re-worked into a new joke for the current discourse series – because Osho is always against the past! You can see us huddled around our small computer trying out the latest jokes on each other, or perhaps standing just outside the gate of Osho’s house, listening attentively to the jokes pouring in with the endless flood of visitors from all over the world. And boy! – keeping up with Osho is never an easy task (Vimal 1998, p. IX)
“I have to tell jokes, because I am afraid you are all religious people. You tend to be serious.” (Rajneesh Foundation 1979, p. 5)
In his taking humour to another level Mistelberger is connecting Osho with the tradition of crazy wisdom masters of the past. Buddhist mystics, called mahasiddhas. With their unpredictable behaviour and constant challenging of any categorization and religious tradition, they were roaming the Himalayas in the first centuries after the introduction of Buddhism from India to Tibet one thousand years ago. Osho’s reputation for constantly contradicting himself makes it rather pointless to try to make any sort of coherent doctrine from his discourses, which is in itself a classic example of crazy-wisdom style. Being with Osho, listening to his discourses and observing his way of working, in retrospect makes this connection quite reasonable, and among his many schools of inspiration also the tradition of the crazy wisdom masters easily fits in and deserves to be pointed at. The title Wisdom of folly (1971) is pointing in this direction too. (84)
Next to his own publishing Bhagwan occasionally engaged himself in supporting the publishing of other writers who had caught his attention and interest. Thy Will be Done is a collection of poems by Rati Sett donated to Jeevan Jagruti Kendra probably in 1970 and with an introductory poem by Acharya Rajneesh: Living is Love: “when gladness glides / in the deep lake of silence,/ when breath of love / hums an unheard song./ when open sky is wide awake / under thy gaze / fog of doubt melts away / and, fragrant breeze reveals / the sweet pollen of bliss. / the lake, the lotus / and its unseen lover / merge in one lightening thrill.” (Signed with signature in three parts. Dated 10.10.1970 Bombay. India). In his foreword, Rati Sett writes on his poems from 1942: “The thought of publishing them never occurred to me. They lay unheeded for twenty eight years. One day Rajneeshji read them and said he would like to publish them. I am very grateful to him for the affection and kindness shown to me. His exquisite lines, ‘Living is Love’ written for this booklet have touched me deeply and I offer my heartfelt thanks to him.”
Osho’s secretary and foremost assistant in his publishing from Bombay, Chinmaya, is in his library collection having 80% of all booklets published (See photos). In general it may be argued that biographic control of these early booklets is more or less out of control (See Bibliography). Some were later compiled in hardbound volumes as we will see, others were left out for good, and of 45 oldies 6-8 are out of print and 30-40 booklets are not available in full on audio. Some corrections had to be carried out by Chinmaya in revised editions, as it happened that Osho’s words had been somehow changed in the typesetting process. The case of The Eternal Quest (1980), a sister publication to The Perennial Path (Suli Upar Sej Piya Ki (1972), will illustrate the point that some vintage publications are no longer included in the publishing policy of the present management. (85)
Editing and Reading Bhagwan
Quite an amount of human resources has been invested in the recording, transcribing and editing of Osho’s discourses, darshans and press conferences, and the task of transmitting from the spoken words – including the vital gaps – to the printed text has always been a delicate and challenging matter for those involved, be it transcribers, editors or translators.
“If you are reading a book based on my speech that has been reported verbatim, then you will forget that you are reading because you know me. After a few moments, you feel that you are not reading – that you are listening. But if the wording is changed or the style is changed slightly in the reporting, the rhythm and the attunement will break. When those who have listened to me once read my spoken words, reading becomes as good as listening to me. But there are differences because, still, a change in medium changes the intent of what is said.” Dimensions Beyond the Known, p. 27
Sarito has in Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic (Sarito 2000, pp. 117-125) compiled Osho’s concerns on the editing and publishing of his work, and she has further shared her own understanding, which is of general importance and rooted in the many years when she was editing his publications in Poona: “Osho has always been very concerned that his words be preserved as they were spoken. He often talked about the misfortunes that befell people like Jesus, whose teachings have been recorded and filtered through the misunderstandings of his followers so many times that we really have very little way of knowing what he actually said. So from the very early days, all of Osho’s talks have been recorded first on audio tape and later, as the technology became easier to use, on video as well. The job of the editors for years was to work with transcriptions of these recordings to create books. Osho’s instructions were to “make it good English, but don’t change anything.”
What he meant, at least in my understanding, was that we should fix the grammar – which suffered from minor flaws of somebody who spoke English very well, but whose mother tongue was Hindi – and in doing so, be careful not to change the meaning. Even this was an interesting challenge for the editors, who were often confronted with their own misunderstandings and assumptions as they discovered that just changing one word could alter the entire meaning of a sentence.” (86)
This understanding is confirmed by Veena: “Osho loved books and he was fascinated with the process of publishing his own. He read every word that we edited and coached us in the way he would like things done. We had to make necessary grammatical corrections but of course he was adamant that his meaning was not to be changed and we were to retain the flavour of his speaking and never try to impose our style on his words.” (Veena 2012, p. 64)
Reading Veena’s recollections on the publishing of Osho’s books in the early 1970s provide us with a glimpse into the hardships the editors had to endure, when dealing with Indian printing companies: “Getting the books printed was a nightmare! I think we started off with about three publishers in Bombay and one in Poona. None of them, however, could produce anything anywhere near the quality we were after and so we literally set about teaching them how to print books – despite the fact that none of us had ever had anything to do with the process before, except Yatri [in Poona One].
At first the publishers were stubbornly against the improvements we wanted to make so it was an uphill battle, but finally one publisher got first prize in an all India book competition with one of our books. Of course we spared no expense and used the most beautiful paper available to print on. This, coupled with Yatri’s western designs, our superior photography and our painstaking guidance on each tiny detail (simple things that the Indians didn’t think important but we did, like having the margins equal widths, making the text the same length on facing pages, justifying with equal spacing between words, not starting a page with the end of a paragraph etc etc) turned the tide and suddenly the publishers were eager to print our books and to listen to and profit by our instructions.” (Veena 2012, p. 62)
We are years before computerized book production and still in the days of the letter press process where each individual letter was placed with tweezers in a wooden frame, causing numerous mistakes as the Indian workers could neither read nor speak English as described by Veena. And she continues: “When I first met Osho in 1971 in Bombay, very few of his discourses had been published in book form. Those that were published were small booklets strangely translated – one of them started each discourse with the words: ‘Hello Chaps’! Rather un-Osho-like. But the booklet ‘Flight of the Alone to the Alone’ was to change my life. Suddenly all my innermost questions were answered without me even asking them. Many people have had a similar experience when first picking up a book of Osho.
In 1972 an American sannyasin woman called Prem started to compile the first full-length book in English which was based on answers to questions asked by early western disciples. It was called ‘I Am the Gate'” (Veena 2012, p. 60)
“When I came back from the West [in Poona One] Bhagwan had me rewrite old books that were originally delivered in Hindi and then translated into English by Indians, and they were very difficult to read. So what He had me do was rewrite them into good English. So I did about five or six.” (Divya 1980, p. 208)
“Rajiv, one of the Hindi editors of Bhagwan’s books…[In Poona One, Osho said] I have much work for you to do here. Editing, this and that. You and Vivek have a nice room now – we’d just moved into the bedroom next to his, most of the other apartment residents having moved elsewhere before the camp.” (Franklin 1992, pp. 41 & 54)
Even for present day Indian scholars writing on Osho the translation of his words is still a challenge. “When I first heard his recorded discourses over twelve years ago, I, like many who hear him for the first time, was astonished by sheer force of his oratory, poetic language, and the guts to turn accepted notions upside down…Rajneesh’s Hindi was so poetic and idiomatic that it is not an easy task to translate it. I have, therefore, rephrased quotations from his Hindi books, trying my best to convey the essence of his ideas as much as possible.” (Dhiman 2012. Note)
His care and love for the design of his books was impressive since he was a student in Jabalpur, and substantial energy and time was spent in artistic book design, selection of titles and the choosing of an appropriate photo for the front cover of the book. The photos were prescribed requirement to be met, not only in the early days, as he knew full well the mesmerizing effect the display of his eyes and portrait may have on the potential customer in the bookshop. For he was determined that his books should rather be bought and kept by his followers than taken out from a public library to be read and again returned to the shelves.
For one of his Hindi books Mai mrytu sikhata hum (I’m Teaching How to Die) a young boy Randiraj in Bombay made a proposal for the cover with the sun and sunrays, and the book is still published with the same cover. Two stones, one male and one female have also been used on the front cover of an early booklet.” (87)
In the first booklets published in Bombay his portrait usually appears in a black and white photo on one of the first pages of the booklet, who often came with a graphic front cover, some of them with a fairly psychedelic lauout. But soon this concept was alternating with the portrait itself placed on the very front cover of the booklet.
“You will be surprised to know that among the Indian leaders – political, spiritual, intellectual – Bhagwan is read the most. I can say this particularly about His Hindi books. His Hindi books have appeared in pocket-book series and have been sold on a large scale. That is something rare! In Hindi, only cheap sexy novels are printed and sold in pocket-book series, mostly like Gulshan Nanda. But it is something rare that Bhagwan’s books, even on such subjects as Mahavir, are printed in pocket-books and sold. To print a book in pocket-series, it requires that the edition must be as large as twenty-five thousand. And these pocket-book publishers are vying to get Bhagwan’s books, so this is something rare…I don’t think any communist book or Gandhian book, any book on Gandhism or communism or socialism, has sold in such large numbers [as Beware of Socialism] This is something really unique! And who reads them? The “intelligent” people read them. So I am very hopeful.” (88)
In the autobiography of Khushwant Singh, the Indian author and editor, a few references to Osho are to be found, reminding us of the vast field of potential discoveries lying ahead of us if we check up on the numerous memoirs of prominent Indians, who at one point or another have been around Osho in their life. These are still to be retrieved, in Hindi and in English, an endeavour not made any easier by omitting Osho’s name from the index of persons mentioned in the text, as in this case. Khushwant Singh recalls from Bombay: “Then there was the pretty Italian girl, Marcia Graziano, a disciple of Acharya Rajneesh. She was young, petite, with muddy blonde hair and large grey eyes. She tied a saffron-coloured bandanna round her head, wore a shirt and tehman. She looked most fetching in her Sadhvi’s attire; she was serious-minded and rarely smiled, and wanted me to meet her Guru, read his printed sermons and become a disciple. She left a sheaf of booklets with me.” (Singh 2002, p. 241)
Khushwant Sing certainly looked through the books of Osho she had brought to him, and some time later he visited Osho at Woodlands and asked his advice on his own growing concern for death.
“I put my fears to Acharya Rajneesh the one time I met him in Bombay. The only prescription he gave me to overcome my phobia was to expose myself to the dying and the dead. I had been doing this on my own for many years. I sat by dead relatives, attended funerals (I rarely attended weddings), and often went to the cremation ground at Nigambodh Ghat to watch corpses going up in flames.” (Singh 2002, p. 408)
Khushwant Singh writes in his foreword to Life Mysteries (1995), a Penguin paperback introduction to the teachings of Osho: “Many of his discourses were on ancient religious texts of different religions; others were answers he gave in reply to questions. I can personally vouch for their profundity. Several mornings in Kasauli I listened to tapes on Guru Nanak’s morning prayers, japj which I had translated into English verse. I thought I knew everything worth knowing about this morning prayer till I heard Rajneesh’s voice on tape propound esoteric meanings behind every line quoting the Upanishads and writings of Bhakta saints. I had not heard anything so propound from scholars of Sikhism.” (Life Mysteries (1995) p. xv) (89)
The audio recording on tapes of Bhagwan’s discourses is from Woodlands onwards happening with some regularity, and in the recordings from his meditation camps we are presented with a variety of recording qualities on spool-to-spool tape recorders. Devendra is recalling also the oldest music recordings with conga bands for meditations, celebration music and Kirtan music. Laherubhai is in Bombay the key person in the recording on spool-to-spool tapes and in the collecting of lectures from Woodlands and other places. Nishkriya and Jalal have both been involved in recording Osho’s discourses. (90)
Many of the early compilations in English contain separate lectures from Osho’s many travels in India, but also parts from published booklets and selected talks from discourse series are to be found in those compilations, which for the first time made his many Hindi lectures available to a Western audience.
The Silent Explosion (1973) is the title of a comprehensive and significant compilation of talks from Woodlands. The book was compiled by a number of devotees and published by Anand-Shila Publications in Bombay. In his Preface Swami Krishna Christ writes: “Recently, in the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim, His Holiness Lama Karmapa has spoken of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh as “the greatest incarnation since Buddha in India”, and the only living person who can be a world teacher. He went on to say that Rajneesh was “realized” in previous births and was one of the 99 Tibetan Avatars (Divine Incarnations); his golden statue of two life-times ago still in existence and being carefully preserved in a secret cave somewhere in Tibet…
In this book, The Silent Explosion, we have endeavoured to compile the most useful cross-section of the teachings of Bhagwan Shree Rajneeesh, so that one will not only benefit from its reading, but in it will find the tools necessary for encountering the non-intellectual, non-verbal “happening”, that is the experience of meditation itself.” The Silent Explosion. Preface.
From its Table of Contents we may sense the wide-ranging scope of the publication, which shows the inclusion of smaller booklets and titles already published in the previous years: “Flight of the Alone to the Alone, Meditation: A New Dimension, The Occult Meaning of Asanas and Mudras, Kundalini: The Science of Transcendence, Sex Love Prayer and Meditation, The Vital Balance, Religion and the Windows of Man, Mysteries of Initiation, The Unknown Life of Jesus and Letters From Bhagwan.”
In a Postscript Visit to a Tibetan Monastery (Page 202-217) Swami Govind Siddharthji is telling about his visit in June 1972 to His Holiness Lama Karmapa (The 16th Karmapa of the Kagyu School) in his monastery in Rumtek, Sikkim. In 1959 when he left Tibet he made the choice to stay in this place in Sikkim – Rumtek is still (1998) an impressive monastery to visit – while the Dalai Lama settled in Dharmsala in Himarchal Pradesh. When Karmapa was shown the locket with Bhagwan’s photo he made the above quoted comment, and he went on to explain the difference between a Divine Incarnation and a Realized Soul:
“Divine Incarnation means an incarnation of someone who was trained in previous lives to help others, not just a soul who has Realized in this life. In Bhagwan’s case, he has already been trained; he has already been Realized. Now in this life, Bhagwan has taken birth specially in order to help people spiritually – only for this purpose. He has taken birth fully consciously, the Lama said. In that respect I told him that he is teaching many people, and he speaks on many deep things.
His Holiness then said, “You may be feeling that he is speaking for you, but it is not only for you that he speaks. He (Bhagwan) speaks for Akashic Records (records of events and words recorded on the astral planes) also. Whatever is spoken is not forgotten. That is why you will find that he goes on repeating things. He will go on repeating things, and you will feel that he is speaking for you, but as a matter of fact, he speaks only for a few people. ONLY A FEW PEOPLE REALIZE WHAT HE (BHAGWAN) IS. His words will remain in the Akashic records, so that they will also be helpful to people in the future…
“And now we have come to know that here is an Incarnation (Bhagwan) who is doing our job in India and in the world. We are very happy about it.” That is how they think about Bhagwan…
“As soon as his (Bhagwan’s) work is done, he will disappear – disappear completely, and we will not be able to find him.” He said that “It is only by a Tibetan art by which one can disappear.” The same thing had happened to Lao Tse. Bhagwan had also told us that nobody knows where Lao Tse had gone. He just disappeared, when time came instead of dying. His Holiness did not indicate when it would happen to Bhagwan…
His Holiness then said that “Bhagwan really is interested only in people who can know him, and he does not want to waste time. He will not want the wrong people to come. As soon as someone comes to him (Bhagwan), he knows who he is by the colour of his aura, as different colours indicate different degrees of the state of spirituality one has reached, and he immediately finds out about the person.” The Silent Explosion, p. 206; (Keerti 2000, p. 190)
Dimensions Beyond the Known (1975) appeared in several editions (1979, and Sheldon Press in London 1978), containing 6 discourses from 1970 to 1973. The chapter headings have been somewhat changed in the various editions, and in the latest edition (1998) the addressing of the question to Bhagwan is omitted. In his introduction to this latest edition Yogendra says:
“In this book, which contains six talks given in Bombay between 1970 and 1973, Osho gives the reader a new perspective on the universe and its infinite possibilities. He takes the esoteric and with His incredible lucidity transforms it into the exoteric, the known. This is the only book of His I have read where He speaks of His past in such terms. He describes time and its relevance to both His former life and the events of His current life. He describes the process of death, the Tibetan Bardo, and rebirth, not in the usual terms of intellectual speculation and hypothesis but in terms of His own personal experience, of one who knows.” Dimensions Beyond the Known (1998), p. 0
Sw. Rudra has on Sannyas Wiki annotated the entry on the book with these words: “A fascinating journey into the many mysterious realms of our existence, including what happens to a person after death, reincarnation, the esoteric roots of religious experience, and the dimension of time. There is also an account of the Tibetan practice of bardo. The beauty of this book is that it explains metaphysical concepts in a simple and comprehensive way, at the same time presenting some challenging new perspectives on the universe and what makes it tick. Osho also talks intimately about his own past life in Tibet 700 years ago, and the significance of his taking birth in the 20th century.” (91)
“She also lent me an early Bhagwan book, “Dimensions Beyond the Known.” The introduction to this book contained the story of an Indian sannyasin’s visit to a high Tibetan Lama. The Lama on seeing Osho’s photo on the mala pronounced Bhagwan as having been in His past life a great Tibetan Master…Looking back now I find it interesting that that is what I remember most about the book – not some poetic phrase that resounded in my heart.” (Sw. Anand Devopama in: Bhagawati 2010, p. 25)
In Search of the Miraculous (vol.1-2, 1984) contain Bhagwan’s talks from May 2, 1970 to July 2, 1970 at a meditation camp at Nargol and from Bombay. 12 lectures are unveiling the secrets of Kundalini energy and Dynamic Meditation. It was previously published as The Mystic Experience (1977) by Motilal Banarsidass:
“In Search of the Miraculous was in fact Osho’s first major book, and the only one to be published by a normal commercial publisher, by Banarsidas of Delhi. I remembered it being around Poona when we first went there, but it had disappeared under the flood of his later books, and gone out of print.” (Sam 1997, p. 181)
Sw. Rudra has made this annotation on In Search of the Miraculous: “This book is an unusual yet fascinating read for anyone who is interested in the practical application of the esoteric aspects of mysticism, and the science of human energy as it is understood in the East. During this series Osho is in the process of developing his Dynamic meditation, and responding to questions about many facets of his work, including kundalini energy and shaktipat, the transfer of energy from an awakened one to a seeker of truth. All techniques in this book can help us experience miraculous moments when our energy expands and takes us into something far beyond the known.
Guiding the reader through the seven bodies and their corresponding chakras, Osho talks on psychic phenomena, dreams, telepathy, hypnosis, color theraphy, Dynamic Meditation, Kundalini, mediums, gurus, and the Tantric dimension of sex. “I am talking about very scientific things,” he says, “not something belonging to religious superstitions.”
“But you were seeking on your own, a lonely wanderer in search of the miraculous. Because you were not with any master, not with any school where many people were working together for their inner consolidation, you don’t have any memory of such a thing. You have only one feeling, of waiting. That shows that for many lives you have been waiting. And perhaps the time has come and now you may not need to wait anymore because I am ready to give you that which you have been seeking – whether you know it or not.” (92)
“There is a center of our being, hidden within us, where God is known, where we get a glimpse of truth and where we relate with the primordial energy of life. It is this center from where the celestial music is heard, a music that is created without the help of any instruments, and from where such fragrance becomes available which is not of this earth, which is ineffable. It is again this center which knows no bondage whatsoever and which is the door to freedom, absolute freedom. And it is this center that leads us to the beyond which has no frontiers, which is a limitless and infinite expanse, which knows no sorrow and which is nothing but bliss and more bliss and more bliss; nothing but abounding bliss.” In Search of the Miraculous #1
The Mysteries of Life and Death (1971) is another elaboration on these essential issues to deal with for any living being. Bhagwan’s first opening words are quoted below, and so is his finishing of this lecture which is showing us the structure for ending his discourses in the way he used to do in Bombay:
“Man does not even know what is Life, and if we cannot understand the meaning ofLife, then there is hardly any possibility of our knowing what is Death. If the meaning of Life remains unknown and ungrasped, then Death cannot be understood. The truth is this, that our ignorance of the meaning of Life results in the occurrence of Death. To those who have known the meaning of Life, the word ‘Death’ does not exist at all, because death did not happen, does not take place and cannot happen. Some words in this world are totally false, because there is not an iota of truth in them. The word ‘Death’ falls under this category of false words because it is completely untrue…
I am extremely grateful to all of you for having listened to my talk with such loving and peaceful attention. In the end I bow my head in supplication to that Almighty who resides in the hearts of all of you. Please acknowledge my regards.”
In The Mystic Experience (1977) we meet eighteen discourses by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh on the deeply esoteric subject of kundalini. Given May to June 1970 at a meditation camp held in Nargol, Gujarat, and later resumed in Bombay, this dialogue was the first in Hindi to be held at I.C.C. Chambers after his move to Bombay on July 1st, 1970.
In his foreword, dated Bombay 26.1.1971 and translated into English for the 1977 English edition from the original Hindi edition, Yogi Chinmaya writes: “Some wonderful, unique and unparalleled discourses on kundalini yoga by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh are compiled in this book…The first five discourses are from a meditation camp held at Nargol (Bulsar, Gujarat, India). The remaining thirteen are question and answer sessions with special seekers in Bhagwan’s Bombay residence. The discourses in this collection contain many hints and suggestions for experimentation which will inspire the seeker to dive deeper into the depths of Existence. There are hints and suggestions about the esoteric dimensions of kundalini yoga and the tantra, but further details of these are only for the initiates… Shaktipat, grace and the planes of the seven bodies have never before been explained in this clear and scientific manner…Thousands of seekers will find a deep inspiration to enter the world of spiritual quest through this book. With this feeling and hope, and also with an invitation as well as a challenge, we present you ‘The Mystic Experience'” The Mystic Experience (1977), p. viii
In her preface to the first English edition, the editor Ananda Prem writes: “”The Mystic Experience” is a very rare book for spiritual literature. Never before has a book on this important subject appeared based on the experimental wisdom of an Enlightened One. It is revolutionary, disarming, revealing, and practical as well. As far as Bhagwan’s own literature goes, it is one of his best books thus far.” The Mystic Experience (1977), p. xv
“…and I became engrossed in one of Osho’s old books The Mystic Experience. He had spoken to disciples in Bombay five years before in a much different way than He did now. He had talked of esoteric things then, explained ghosts, chakras, the seven bodies of man, but now He was very down to earth and didn’t answer questions on magic and the supernatural.” (Shunyo 1991, p. 13)
These early compilations containing his discourses from Woodlands and meditation camps cannot be recommended strong enough, as their content is showing Rajneesh at the very time he is reaching out to his new Western audience and reintroducing to them his basic understandings, now with still more subtle perspectives and dimensions compared to his time in Jabalpur. The numbers of compilations are quite extraordinary, and next to those already mentioned they include the following publications:
The Psychology of the Esoteric (1973) contains 12 discourses with answers to questions from 1970 to 1972, also published as The Inward Revolution (1973). Its first edition in 1973 was published by Harper and Row Publishers, Inc. as one of the first of Bhagwan’s books to be published by an Western publisher. Later editions are with the subtitles The New Evolution of Man and Insights into Energy and Consciousness. In her introduction Ma Satya Bharti writes: “Osho Rajneesh is not only an enlightened master. He is also a master psychologist. He unpeels the layers of our being, revealing the inner depths that lay hidden within us. He starts from the physical and moves step by step to the transcendental. He starts from where we are to take us to where we can be. “In the East,” He says, “it’s not a question of psychology, it’s a question of being. It’s not a question of mental health. Rather, it’s a question of spiritual growth. The question is not what you do; the question is what you are.”” The Psychology of the Esoteric (1989), Introduction
We have seen that Osho in his camps and during his discourse series in Bombay was keeping to his format and alternating between expounding the sutras and answering questions raised to him by his devotees. In The Psychology of the Esoteric he is elaborating on the art of answering questions:
“Do not ask theoretical questions. Theories solve less and confuse more. If there were no theories, there would be less problems. It is not that theories solve questions or problems. On the contrary, questions arise out of theories.
And do not ask philosophical questions. Philosophical questions only seem to be questions, but they are not. That is why no answer has been possible. If a question is really a question then it is answerable, but if it is false, just a linguistic confusion, then it cannot be answered. Philosophy has gone on answering for centuries and centuries, but the questions still remain the same. However you answer a philosophical question you never answer it, because the question itself is false. It is not meant to be answered at all. The question is such that, intrinsically, no answer is possible.
And do not ask metaphysical questions. For example, if you ask who created the world, it is unanswerable. It is absurd. It is not that metaphysical questions are not real questions, but they cannot be answered. They can be solved, but they cannot be answered.
Ask questions that are personal, intimate, existential. One must be aware of what one is really asking. Is it something that really means something to you? If it is answered, will a new dimension open for you? Will something be added to your existence, will your being in any way be transformed through it? Only such questions are religious.
Religion is concerned with problems, not with questions. A question may just come out of curiosity, but a problem is intimate and personal. You are involved in it; it is you. A question is separate from you; a problem is you. So before asking anything, dig deep inside and ask something that is intimate and personal, something in which you are confused, in which you are involved. Only then can you be helped.” The Psychology of the Esoteric (1989), p. 146
The New Alchemy. To Turn You On. Talks on Mabel Collins’ Light on the Path (1978) contains 35 discourses from February 1973 to April 1973 recorded in the Bikaner Palace Hotel, Mt. Abu, and at Anand Shila Meditation Camp outside Bombay. Later published with alternate title: The Voice of Silence (1999). Chapters 18-34 on cathartic meditation techniques, all in the Appendix of the book, are recorded at Anand Shila Meditation Camp. Ma Satya Bharti writes in her introduction: “In 1973, when the talks contained in this volume were given, Bhagwan’s discourses – particularly those in English – were rare. From time to time there would be an eitht-day or ten-day series of talks which were eagerly awaited and eagerly attended. Sometimes the talks were held in Bombay where Bhagwan was living at the time and sometimes they took place at intensive meditation camps that Bhagwan conducted in various parts of India. The talks in this volume are from two of these meditation camps. Perhaps because these talks are from the first two meditation camps I ever attended – and as such, Bhagwan’s words are irrevocably bound up with my own intense experience at the camps – or perhaps simply because of their poetry, their clarity, their simplicity of phrasing, these two series remain among my favourites. To return to them again now, after several years, has been like returning to an old love, finding the love enriched by time and experience and distance.
The first series, which comprises the major portion of the book, was given in Mt. Abu in April, 1973, and is based on Light on the Path, a theosophical work dictated by one of the ‘Masters’ to Mabel Collins…
The carthartic meditation techniques Bhagwan led at these camps (briefly described in the first part of the book and more extensively in the appendix which contains the second, though earlier, series of talks) were an important part of the preparation of many of us. They were the first step on the path – at a time when I, for one, scarcely knew there was a path, and if I knew it on some level of my being, felt no abiding compulsion to tread upon it. The meditations were a push in the direction of the path. They were an experiential validation of Bhagwan’s words, a glimpse into the reality his words were indicating.” The New Alchemy (1978), p. xi
Meditation. The Art of Ecstasy (1976) contains his talks given from October 1970 to July 1972. The 1st edition was called Dynamics of Meditation, and the last of its 20 chapters is a summary of meditation techniques devised by Osho. Most chapters were previously published in Dynamics of Meditation (1972).
The Great Challenge. A Rajneesh Reader (1982). An essential English compilation published by Grove Press Inc. in New York. Prepared in 1979 and published after the move to Oregon, it contains 13 chapters with discourses from Bombay 1970-1971, previously published as small booklets, including The Flight of the Alone to the Alone, LSD: A shortcut to False Samadhi and Secrets of Discipleship. From the introduction by Swami Krishna Prem: “George Gurdieff used to tell his disciples to read his books three times, that it took at least three readings for his words to penetrate. I’ll be more compassionate and only suggest three readings of Chapter 1 and 2, the chapters in which Bhagwan speaks in detail about his “jet method,” the revolutionary Dynamic Meditation. And this is the crux of his invitation: to try it once and to do it totally is to take the first step toward your own transformation, toward your own Buddhahood.
Try it. It’s done at Rajneesh Meditation Centers around the world. And it’s done every day at the Shree Rajneesh Ashram in Poona, where Bhagwan himself is.
Try it. This is the greatest challenge of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
Swami Krishna Prem
More information on the mentioned compilations and other compilations containing material from the early 1970s is to be found in the sections Bibliography and Compilations in the Appendix.
Books on Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
The first introduction in English made public covering Rajneesh during his years in Bombay was Acharya Rajneesh written by Yogacharya Swami Kriyananda Saraswati, the former name of Swami Yogi Chinmaya. This 3-page biography was printed up front in the first booklet published after his move to Bombay Beyond and Beyond (November 1970, pp. 5-7). It also appeared, now titled Acharya Rajneesh: A Glimpse, and included in the Bombay booklet The Vital Balance (March 1971, pp. 19-22) where it contained the same information on his being and work, this time to be found at the end of the booklet. After his change of name the short biography was called Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh – a Glimpse as in The Gateless Gate (May 1971). Excerpt from the biography included in Beyond and Beyond:
“Acharya Rajneesh is an Enlightened One, who has become one with Infinity, the Totality. He is NOT – but the Infinity breathes through him. He is not a person but the Divinity personified. Transcendental Truth shines every moment through him. His eyes, his fingers, his gestures, his laughter, his smile, brings the message from the beyond and the transcendental. In fact, he is not living in Cosmic Consciousness, but has become the Cosmic Consciousness itself. Even further, he lives beyond Cosmos, beyond Being – in No-Being, in No-thingness, in the Great Void – Nirvana…
He travels throughout the country giving discourses, discussions and conducting Meditation Camps. He challenges and shatters all the set patterns and values of human culture and knowledge. He wants to indicate the totality of Life, and brings about the Total Transformation of human beings. The process, the Alchemy for the inner transformation, he says, is MEDITATION and SAMADHI. As a back-ground for this, one must be free from the clutches of scriptures, words, authorities, traditions, knowledges, beliefs and the past memories. He says that when the consciousness is totally non-identified with the contents within and without it, in that Void, Emptiness, an explosion of everything takes place. One transcends the body, the mind, the thoughts and there remains the pure Is-ness, the mysterious divinity, infinite bliss which no words can describe.
In India Acharya Rajneesh speaks in Hindi language. His lectures on various subjects are published in the form of books which are plenty. Many of the books have been translated into different Indian languages and some of them are in English. To the English speaking audience and foreign interviewers he addresses in English.” Beyond and Beyond (1970), p. 5; The Vital Balance (1971), p. 19. (93)
One more brief introduction, now on five pages, was written by Ma Ananda Prem and published by all likelihood already in the first edition of the booklet Seriousness (1971. 2nd ed. 1974). Excerpts from 2nd edition:
“Every once in a great while, there comes to the world a fully enlightened teacher – a teacher of such a calibre, with so mu[ch]st love for mankind, that all who are fortunate enough to cross his path are uplifted towards their maximum spiritual potential; a teacher whose sole raison d’etre is to bring humanity out of its suffering to divine grace. Such an enlightened one is Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh…
Bhagwan reached full enlightenment at age 21. He tells that his last life was lived some 700 years ago. At age 106, he began a 21-day fast and was to attain the highest consciousness after the 21 days. But he was murdered after 18 days of fasting – 3 days short of the goal. As a result, in this life, it took him 21 years to live out the 3 days. Bhagwan’s mother related that after he was born he refused to eat or drink for 3 days, as if continuing the remainder of his fast, and no effort on her part could get him to take in even a morsel…
This is a restless age – an age where the rapid changes in technology are causing much breakdown of old values and traditional family structures, and much psychological disturbance results. People are seeking desperately for answers. But it is also a very fortunate age – like the age when Christ lived and the age of Buddha. For among us, in the 20th century, is the presence of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh – the enlightened one. The gates of the temple are wide open, he tells us. To KNOW, to SEE and to HEAR, we have only to open our hearts to him and to stop, look and listen.” Seriousness (1974), pp. 30 & 34
In the second edition of Beyond and Beyond (November 1972) the biographical introduction by Chinmaya is now called About Bhagwan and is to be found at the end of the booklet. The introduction is now unsigned but it is in vein with what we have met in the first edition from 1970, with the addition of the founding of Neo-Sannyas International.
“He is not only an Enlightened seer of our times, but a “revolutionary”. He is constantly trying to wake and shake man out of his deep sleep toward taking the plunge into self-discovery, spiritual awakening.
Bhagwan is an Enlightened One who is in constant contact with the Source of Cosmic wisdom, a total opening through which all and any possible devices for Enlightenment can take birth…
Not since Buddha has the world brought forth such a teacher. His Divine nature easily becomes apparent to all who see and hear him and even to all who read his words.” Beyond and Beyond (1972), p. 25
“In India Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh speaks in the Hindi language. His lectures on various subjects are published in the form of books. Many of the books have been translated into different Indian languages, and some of them are in English. The English speaking audience and foreign interviewers, he addresses in English.” I Am the Gate (1972), p. vii
“”If you have any idea of what this book is all about,” Chinmaya wrote in the introduction to one of Bhagwan’s books, “you’ll drop the book. You won’t bother reading it. You’ll come here instead. The book has served its purpose only if you don’t read it, if you say, “The hell with words, the hell with reading “about”,” and come here to experience for yourself what it is that’s here.” (Bharti 1981, p. 105)
Rajneesh. A Glimpse by V. Vora from April 1970 is another short introduction to Rajneesh (listed in The Vital Balance (March 1971, p. 22) and the second biography next to The Mystic of Feeling published in English in 1970 as a separate bibliographic entity on 24 pages. The booklet was also translated and published in Gujarati by Vora. (94)
The Mystic of Feeling (1969 & 1970; second revised edition: Delhi, 1978) by Dr. Ram Chandra Prasad and Rajneesh. A Glimpse by Vora are both presented in the Jabalpur section, and Prasad seems to have published on Osho also in the magazines coming from Jeevan Jagriti Kendra:
“Year 1970. An article of Prof. Dr. Ram Chandra Prasad of Patna University, an Osho lover appeared in the 17th issue of Jyotishikha magazine. Many examples from old Scriptures were quoted with each quotation highlighting about Osho’s views. The article was long but nothing significant was there, except that ‘Osho interpreted the same’ with each quotation. In those days, Jyotishikha was edited by a film actor Shri Mahipal and Osho relocated to Mumbai.” (Bharti 2006, p. 132)
In appendix 2 of I Am the Gate (1972) Ma Ananda Prem is presenting her Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh: A Biographical Glimpse over four pages, an introduction to be found in other Bombay booklets as well, e.g. in Seriousness (1974). She covers his family background, earlier incarnation and his first glimpses of samadhi at age seven and fourteen, and she includes his academic life and final enlightenment:
“Every once in a great while, there comes to the world a fully Enlightened teacher – a teacher of such a calibre, with so much love for mankind, that all who are fortunate enough to cross his path are uplifted toward their maximum spiritual potential; a teacher whose sole raison d’etre is to bring humanity out of its suffering to Divine grace. Such an Enlightened One is Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh…
In past lives he has lived through many spiritual traditions – Hassidic, Christian, Buddhist, Sufi, Hindu, Taoist, Jain and others. He is in living contact with the teachings and practices of these traditions through Akashic Records and intends to revive all the occult and esoteric sciences taught by Lao Tse, Mahavir, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, Nanak, Gurdieff and Raman Maharshi, for the benefit of mankind.
“…We have to jump into a realm where there is nothing but silence…,” he teaches. “What a joy it is to sail like this…to go on sailing in the ocean of the unknown! How can I describe it!”” I Am the Gate, p. 227
Ageh Bharti remembers selling one of his own first booklets Rajneesh Yani Prem on Bhagwan during the fourth meditation camp at Mt. Abu in October 1972: “I took the responsibility of selling the booklet ‘Rajneesh Yani Prem’ (Osho means Love) authored by me. It contained my experience with Osho during Junagarh journey. The booklet receives a warm welcome from Osho lovers. One thousand copies were sold within two days. Swami Anand Vedant of Neemuch helped me in selling those booklets. As long as I was at the bookstall, someone took the copy free and told Ananda Vedanta to take money from Ageh Bharti. Finally, when many copies were sold like this, Ananda Vedanta told me to leave the venue otherwise all the copies would be distributed free. It was really an amazing sale. Many took the copies free and some have paid several times more than the cost out of love. Some friends purchased copies of the booklet to gift their friends. Several friends looked for me after reading the book and kissed me. They liked the book very much.” (Bharti 2007, p. 230)
Lead Kindly Light: Some Enlightened Moments with Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was published by Ma Yoga Kranti in its English version in April 1972. Kranti is narrating her golden moments with Acharyashri during meditation camps, on train journeys and in their home in Jabalpur:
“The night was pitch dark. Though we were sitting in silence, even that silence was a joyfull experience in presence of Acharyashri. So often we have found that even silence becomes eloquent in his presence.
On that moonless night, when we asked him about this our experience, he said, “Words are impotent to express Truth. Truth can be expressed only in silence. The moment we enter silence, the mystery of Truth is revealed. Man’s misfortune is that he has forgotten to be silent; and therefore his entire relationship with Nature has been vitiated. Nature knows only the language of silence. He who knows not that language, ipso facto, loses touch with Nature. And mankind’s misery is due to man’s distance from nature.”
Saying this, he was silent again, and with him we also lapsed into ‘mauna’ (silence). There was no sound outside, but for the rustling of leaves on the trees, and the chorus of chirping insects. The experience was full of dull awareness combined with complete silence; and in that silence, we felt like something within us was disintegrating. The silence seemed to wipe out ever so gently what is known as ego.” (Kranti 1972, p. 5) (95)
Later on Kranti remembers from the many train rides where she was accompanying Rajneesh on his lecturing journeys, and from their homely peaceful moments at riverbank:
“With Acharyashri we were on a long train journey. There were many other passengers besides our group. It was interesting to note that each passenger readied himself to alight, much before he reached his destination. Commenting on this common practice of us all, Acharyashri said, “How alert we remain in an ordinary train journey! And how we lack totally this alacrity in the important journey of life! We neither know our destination, nor are we prepared to alight. When death comes to rob us of life, we are caught unawares. And then, belatedly, we realise that we had forgotten about death; we had forgotten to prepare ourselves for dying…
We had encamped in a small village. Many people had come to meet Acharyashri, bringing with them diverse doubts and problems; underlying all their doubts was their thirst for knowledge; they wanted to know the meaning of life. They were finding worthless their type of existence.
Acharyashri told them, “You get out of life what you put into it. There is no meaning to life, unless we make it meaningful. He who merely wishes to make life worthwhile, without doing anything positive about it, will not succeed. The worthwhileness of life is the result of creative activity, and not indolent passivity…
It was a full-moon night; we were sitting on sands on the river bank. Breaking his quiet, Acharyashri, on his own, spoke to us from time to time. Surprisingly, his words did much to dispel our unexpressed doubts. Nor only this, it seemed to us that he knew even about our unconscious doubts!” (Kranti 1972, pp. 10, 30 & 32)
Lifting the Veil. Kundalini Yoga. A Compendium of Rajneesh’s Essential Teachings is by Ram Chandra Prasad aka Sw. Ananda Vitaraga (First edition, Delhi 1971, reprint 1975). Ram Chandra Prasad is the author on the title page in the 1975-edition and his alias Swami Ananda Vitaraga is figuring on the front cover. Acknowledgement tells that the author was invited by Neo-Sannyas International to write the book, and the help of Shri Narendra Prakash has been of a kind that he is mentioned as a collaborator. Further more are Shri Mahipal, Swami Krishna Saraswati and Shri Jainendra Prakash mentioned and all thanked for their valuable assistance. The book is with an initial quotation by Sir Edwin Arnold: ‘Veil after veil will lift, but there must be veil upon veil behind.’
The biography is an essential close-up presentation of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s teachings and meditations in his early days, less academic and more popular than Prasad’s The Mystic of Feeling (1970). The introduction (dated Bombay, Saturday June 19, 1971) on twenty pages contains seven small texts by Bhagwan all quoted in extenso and the introduction is signed by R.C. Prasad who writes:
“Your question is, What does the Acharya teach?
I hardly know how to say or explain it. To me there is no teaching but the Acharya, like the well known Zen Patriarchs, only discusses looking into the self-nature and sitting in meditation with an empty mind. This is the same thing as grasping ‘the unrecordable voidness…
His books are piles of dynamite! And yet his nature is calm whether it is in a state of activity or in a state of tranquillity. His constant principle, like that of Heaven and Earth, is that his mind is in all things, and yet he has no mind of his own. The constant principle of the sage, to quote Ch’eng Hao’s words, ‘is that his feelings are in accord with all creation, and he has no feelings of his own.’ Yes, he is broad and extremely impartial and responds spontaneously to all things as they come. He follows the law of his nature and in doing so, he follows the Way (Tao)…
If one were asked the chief qualities of the Acharya’s speeches, one would point to their sincerity and their strength. Even those who refuse to judge them as original philosophical contributions prefer to view Rajneesh as a great orator, or as a critic of culture and religion, or even as a superb master of Hindi which he speaks with unbelievable limpidity and effortlessness…
It remains for me to tell you something more about the normal activities of this sage. At all hours of the day one can see him sitting in the freedom and solitude of his air-conditioned room on the first floor of a twentyfive storied apartment house on Peddar Road, Bombay 26, either reading or giving darshan to his devotees and visitors, instructing aspirants or discoursing from a chair in the meditation hall upon such spiritual subjects as are related to the questions put to him by sincere inquirers.
These are his normal activities, but behind them lies another existence, filled with a hidden, superhuman power. He has a secret talent: he is in touch with your innermost self, with forces behind your physical body, he communicates with the esoteric circle of nine adepts brought into existence by Ashoka, and he is in contact with other esoteric groups as well. People believe that not only human beings but the elements and the spirits that dwell in the air as well are susceptible to his power. I do not pretend to confirm the report. That is the province of occultism and theosophy.” (Prasad 1975, p. x)
Lifting the Veil includes an experiment and a verbatim report on The Awakening of the Kundalini Power and Meditation in Bhagwan’s own words, while he is guiding and encouraging the meditators on the meditation camp at Nargol, May 5th, 1970. These 13 pages are the closest we can sense of being there – in his energy field – at a time, when he himself was still guiding his meditations. The pages are of extraordinary intensity with their vivid descriptions of the meditators’ most varied expressions and outpour of energy during their meditation.
Prasad is linking Rajneesh to the great Eastern traditions of Zen in Japan and China’s Taoism with numerous references to spiritual masters and literature, and in this account of ‘early Rajneesh’ we are taken into the very laboratory of an enlightened master and his message:
“Be empty, and you will know.
Be empty, and you will be the mirror.
Die each moment to the past.
Since the eyes are blind, one must open
one’s heart and see with it.
The heart will let you know things
And unless one comes to know the unbelievable,
one has not known at all.” (Prasad 1975, p. 82)
In her One Hundred Tales for Ten Thousand Buddhas (1994) Ma Dharm Jyoti is sharing with us her very personal account of her time with Osho from Jabalpur in 1968 until January 1990 in Poona Two. Ma Satya Priya writes in her introduction to the book: “These tales are a great gift for all of us – those who have sat with the living Master and those who haven’t. It is a book for all seekers. It is also a book for those who are not actively seeking, but surely have the same longing – the longing for a taste of that love which has no bondage.
Ma Dham Jyoti lived and travelled with Osho in the very early days when Osho left being a professor at universities, and travelled around India giving talks and gathering thousands around him. These are the tales of those days.
They are written in the present tense because, as Jyoti says, that’s how they came to her. And, as the writing was happening, she was reliving them with many tears. When this happens, there is no room for the mind. These tales come from the very being, from the very heart source…The phenomenon of Buddhahood is so incomprehensible to the mind. These simple little vignettes are the closest I have ever seen conveying the fragrance of emptiness.” (Jyoti 1994)
When asked about his attitude to some hostile publishing by the editor of Nav-Bharat, the Jabalpur paper where Osho had worked in the early 1950s, and some recent Hindi booklet with a hostile biography, Bhagwan’s answer was:
“Don’t worry about it. And don’t worry about the controversy that will arise either. It should happen, it is good that it happens. We want controversy, because that also creates reverberations. Don’t worry what Karanjia says or writes, don’t worry at all, because anything written by people…Just recently I received a letter from Ujjain about that little booklet someone published about me. The letter said, “The person who wrote this book has done us a great favour, because after reading it we had to read your books. And we found what we had been searching for our whole lives. So whoever that gentleman is, we want to thank him…” However much energy we put into other ways of working, we should put more into journalists, the radio, and other media so that our point of view becomes known in the country, and people become aware that such a thing exists.” Work is Love made Visible (2011) #13
Osho’s phase in Bombay was made known to readers in the West in 1974 when Aubrey Menen issued his book The New Mystics and the True Indian Tradition on the Indian mystics Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Krishnamurti, Chinmayananda, Rajneesh and others. The book contains a very captivating report by the author witnessing what he calls a ‘mass meditation’ with Rajneesh in Bombay. (See chapter 3.7 Meditation camps). When speaking about the purpose of writing his book, Menen says, “I have written this book for those who have wished to know something of Hindu mysticism but who have been repelled by the fudge which surrounds it.” After dealing with other mystics Menen makes it clear when the journey comes to the chapter ‘Rajneesh’ that “Before I write about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh I must, as they say in the British House of Commons, ‘declare my interest’. That is to say, I must confess any personal matter which might prejudice my judgement.” (96). “Rajneesh began his career as a professor of philosophy, taking up that of a swami only after a deep study of comparative systems…Rajneesh’s own thinking is firmly based on the austere principles of the original sages, as my own is. But he has invented a simpler way of at least getting a glimpse of what the original sages were talking about. I think it interesting, practical, and spectacular.” (Menen 1974, p. 201)
Osho has said about The New Mystics:
“The world famous journalist and writer, Aubrey Menon, has written a book, ‘The Mystics’. He has written about me in that book that when he encountered me in Bombay in a Cross Maidan meeting of almost fifty thousand people, he could not believe his eyes. He writes that he had been sitting in the front row when President Kennedy was speaking, but he could not feel anything. The speech was written by his secretary, it was not spontaneous. “It was ordinary, it did not touch anybody’s heart. I came away utterly frustrated.”…
And when he heard me…I am absolutely spontaneous, simple. I don’t know what word is going to come next, I don’t know what I am going to say to you. I just face you and allow my being to be poured into your hearts. He felt it, and he could not believe that my fifty thousand people were sitting so silently as if there was no one – pin drop silence. He says, “I understood the meaning of that phrase for the first time.”” One Seed Makes the Whole Earth Green #4
One early Bombay booklet only is mentioned in Menen’s ‘Books for further reading’: Mysteries of Life and Death (1971) (Alternate titles: And Now and Here and The Long, the Short and the All) by Acharya Rajneesh.
We may note that these first biographical sketches of Osho and his work – from Jabalpur and Bombay – are not unexpectedly all written by Indian authors, who are trying their best to put the whole thing happening in front of their eyes into some comprehensible text message. The ashram in Poona was expanding during the 1970s, and from this phase onwards there is no lack of biographies and reports by Western disciples also and through their narratives Osho was to become widely known as an available master on all continents.
Two vintage magazines with Bhagwan’s message – Jyoti Shikha (quarterly from Bombay) and Yukrand (monthly from Jabalpur) – were still distributed and reached their readers with occasional delays as we have seen in the section on Jabalpur. These delays may, apart from organizational issues, have happened due to what is evident from this quote from Ageh Bharti on the difficulty of expressing in words to the readers of the magazines what he was really experiencing: “No sooner I returned from Mount Abu meditation camp, friends insisted for a reporting of the camp in ‘Yukrand’ and ‘Jyotishikha’ magazines. Osho had been inspiring me to write.
However, I found myself in strange situation that only He could understand. After meeting Him, celebration, dance, and laughter became natural and spontaneous to me but writing became difficult because whatever happened in the camps was really beyond words. The joy, the dance, the blissfulness of hundreds of friends to write in words? I have never seen more loving people than those present in the camp.” (Bharti 2007, p. 209)
Sri Mahipal, the film actor, was one of the editors of Jyotishikha magazine in the early 1970s, and Sw. Govind Sidhart was in charge of the printing. He had written several books himself and Rajneesh Times was later published under his supervision. (97)
Dr. Ram Chandra Prasad, the friend of Acharya Rajneesh and author of Acharya Rajneesh: Samanwaya, Vishleshan aur Samsiddhi (1969) on the teachings of Rajneesh, was one of the many contributors to Jyotishikha and we see that lectures from the magazine were reprinted in other newspapers also. And for more ordinary souls it was tempting to enhance their writings by quoting Osho as were his words their own:
“Later, this politician [Parmanand Bhai Patel], when he became the education minister of Madhya Pradesh, wanted to read Osho’s thoughts on education. At that time, Osho lived in Bombay. Prof. Arvind Kumar asked me to give that issue of ‘Jyotishikha’ magazine in which there was a discourse on education. He was not able to find its copy. I gave the magazine to him, but on one condition that it should be returned.
After a week, I read the reports of a lecture published on the front page of all the leading newspapers of Jabalpur that Parmanand Bhai Patel had delivered in Sihora degree college and it was word by word from Osho’s discourse published in that magazine. This politician took something from Osho’s book, something from J. Krishnamurti’s books, wrote books in his own name, and got them released by the president of India. The title of such book ‘Beyond Mind’ he does not seem to have even a glimpse of beyond the plane of mind, otherwise why would he steal from other’s books?” (Bharti 2007, p. 129)
Once Ageh Bharti wrote a disparaging letter to the editor of Jyotishikha and mailed a copy of that letter to Rajneesh who later commented upon his writing:
“Whatever you have written in the letter is 100 per cent right, but your way of expressing is offensive. An author should be persuasive. For aggressive assertions, I alone am enough. Virtually didn’t you want that your letter should have been published in Jyotishikha so that readers should have known this aspect also?…
But the editor did not publish your letter and your purpose got defeated. You could have written in a non-offensive way, and the editor would have published it. Then it could have reached the readers also. So you should always keep this in mind. Whatever you have written is 100 per cent right, but because of your offensive way it could not reach the readers.” (Bharti 2007, p. 132)
In the Bombay days Sw. Chaitanya Keerti was engaged in the publishing of some early magazines: Anand, Anandini (The Bliss Provider), Rajneesh Sandesh (The Message of Rajneesh) and Rajneesh Foundation Newsletter. As a member of the Kirtan group he was at that time dancing in the streets of the Indian cities, and from his first meetings with Osho in Bombay he had shown a keen interest in Osho’s publishing and literature:
“After traveling with the Kirtan group for one year we started in September 1971, and about one year later I wrote a letter to Osho and asked if I could start his magazine somewhere from Punjab or Haryana. And he sent me his ‘Yes. Let’s try there next time!’, because sometimes the names have already been registered for a different purpose. He had already blessed me with five names, so I had to find out where to start, because now one cannot ignore it anymore.
In a few months time there was a meditation camp at Mt. Abu where I participated. There was one guy from Haryana who said that he could become a publisher and I could edit that magazine. We chose the name Anand. But when I came back, I found out that for the very first issue he wanted so much interference with his photo included and distribution to his relatives. The talk happened in October 1972, and the first issue may have been out in 1973. I soon realized that he was more interested in his self promotion, so I published one issue in 100 copies that he could distribute to his relatives with his photo and everything, and the remaining 900 copies would then be without his photo. This was agreed upon, but after 2-3 issues I realized that he was giving some money to the publisher and really interfering too much. Then I changed the venue to Ludhiana where Neelam was living and I moved there. When I came to know that the name Anand was already registered by some newspaper or weekly magazine in Poona, without asking Osho I made a feminine term of Anand: Anandini. I changed the word to make it feminine; it is like something carrying bliss, the awakening of bliss. After one year or so I left Punjab, because in Punjab people are not so much into reading our publications, partly because Punjabi and not Hindi is their mother tongue, and all the editions of Anand and Anandini had been in Hindi.”
“I took the magazine Anandini to Patna in Bihar, where Ananda Marg originates, and Patna was very infamous in those days also due to some controversies, killings and fightings with Government. We did not want people to identify our magazine Anandini with Ananda Marg in those days, so after one year I decided to change the name of the magazine into Rajneesh Sandesh (The Message of Rajneesh). At that time the magazine was already more than one year old, and I had to struggle for the magazine and wasn’t getting much help, because when you aren’t in the headquarter, then you are out somewhere where people may help you or not, and you cannot always squeeze money out of acquaintances. Osho noticed that in spite of all the struggles I was going on with Rajneesh Sandesh month after month, and he obviously saw some professionalism in my work and he would tell people to support me. In 1973 I moved to Patna in Bihar, to the Indian heartland you can say, where Buddha lived 2500 years ago. And here it was such a welcome. All the old issues, the leftover copies, were sold in the very first day, and I had brought all the suitcases and trunks with me. I said, “Oh, my God!” I may have been in the wrong place in Punjab. Here they are dying with hunger, but they will read literature. That was the quality of that place. Any rickshaw kuli would also read, because they are into knowledge.
Then I published 3-4 isues of Rajneesh Sandesh, and I realized that I’ve changed the name without checking with Osho, and I wondered if I was a true disciple and whether he would like the name or not. So I decided to make a trip to Poona after 2-3 issues in October 1974, and I asked him, “Bhagwan, I’ve changed the name without your blessings. Can I continue with this name Bhagwan Sandesh or get a new name?” He had started the ashram in Poona in March 1974, and he said, “Keerti. Now there is no need to publish it from Patna. Do it from Poona, from the commune here. We plan to start a fortnightly newspaper from Poona itself. So you pack up there and come to the commune.” I said, “Yes, I’ll have to make one more visit to Patna to tell my magazine readers that we are pulling out there, and they will continue getting the copies from Poona itself. So all the memberships will be shifted over to Poona, in the new name of the magazine, to where the master and the magazine are located. The new name was Rajneesh Foundation Newsletter, fortnightly containing one lecture and news, with Keerti as editor of Hindi edition and Teertha of the English edition. (98)
Audio 3. Swami Chaitanya Keerti. (98)
As recalled by Keerti in an earlier interview: “In 1973 Osho blessed me to start his magazine from Punjab and he provided the title: Anand. This was mainly a one-man show, I played the roles from a peon to a publisher to bring out this magazine and distribute it nationwide. In October 1974 Osho invited me to Pune to start his Rajneesh Foundation Newsletter and the first issue of this fortnightly appeared on his birthday, 11 Dec 1974. Since then, my task was to edit his newsletter and his Hindi books. He was very appreciative of my work and often autographed the books that I edited. His blessings kept inspiring me to keep doing this work with more and more passion. He often told me to send the excerpts and one-liners to various newspapers regularly on different occasions like the birthdays of Buddha, Kabir, Meera, Nanak and many other mystics, because he had delivered awesome talks on all the great spiritual masters and their teachings. Ever since, I have been doing this job delightfully.” (99)
The number of periodicals presenting Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his work was becoming more and more significant these years as still more people, more money and more organization gradually materialized. Ageh Bharti is mentioning a considerable and fairly complete list, including fifteen magazines, in his Blessed Days with Osho covering Jabalpur, Bombay as well as early Poona One phases:
“Lovers of Osho published several magazines to publish exclusively Osho’s discourses and thourghts. Some of them that I read regularly are –
1. ‘Jyotishikha’, quarterly from Mumbai.
2. ‘Yukrand’ fortnightly, from Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh (Later it became monthly).
3. ‘Anandini’, monthly from Ludhiana, Punjab.
4. ‘Rajneesh Vani’, Fortnightly from Patna.
4. ‘Bodhisatva’ fortnightly from Muzaffarnagar (U.P.).
5. ‘Roopantaran’, monthly from Pipariya (M.P.).
6. ‘Rajneesh Buddhafield newsletter, monthly from New Delhi.
7. ‘Rajneesh Darshan’, monthly from Mumbai.
8. ‘Rajneesh Prem’, monthly from Agra U.P..
9. ‘Yogadeep’, fortnightly from Pune (M.S.).
10. ‘Sannyas’, Bimonthly Hindi, Pune (M.S.).
11. ‘Sannyas’, Bimonthly English, Pune (M.S.).
12. ‘Rajneesh News Letter’ Hindi, fortnightly from Pune (M.S.).
13. ‘Rajneesh News Letter’ English fortnightly from Pune (M.S.).
All the above magazines were dedicated towards publishing Osho’s thoughts exclusively; serial No. 6 and 7 are still published regularly .” (Bharti 2007, p. 281)
“The quarterly magazine Jyoti Shikar (Awakening Light) continues in Hindi, along with new magazines dedicated to Osho’s vision. Magazines and translations of Osho’s books appear in Gujarati and Maharathi languages. In English a glossy magazine, Sannyas, is published every two months from January 1972 to 1979. Many new booklets and books of Osho’s discourses are published; by 1973, 36 are advertised in English. Later, many of the booklets are compiled into full length books. Jivan Jagruti Kendra is the sole copyright holder and main publisher for Osho’s words in Hindi and English.” (100)
Chinmaya is in appendix 3 to I Am the Gate (1972) listing what may be the actual titles of published official magazines in those days:
7. Publication of Books and Magazines: NSI and Life Awakening Movement (Jeevan Jagriti Andolan, the brother institution of NSI, having non-sannyasins as its members), are publishing various books of Bhagwan in the Hindi, English, Gujarati and Marathi languages. They are also publishing the following periodicals:
a) Sannyas: An English bi-monthly magazine of NSI.
b) Jyoti Shikha (The Divine Flame): A quarterly magazine in the Hindi language.
c) Yukrand: A monthly magazine of the rebellious youth force in the Hindi language. [Downsized].
d) Yoga Deep (The Flame of Yoga): A fortnightly in the Marathi language.
e) Tathata (The Suchness): A monthly booklet series in the Gujarati language.
Ma Yoga Vandana was the editor of Yoga-deep a fortnightly magazine published in Marathi from Poona exclusively on Osho. (Bharti 2007, p. 238)
Ageh Bharti recounts from his experience when preparing an interview for a special issue of Yukrand: “I had to edit the Birthday-special issue of ‘Yukrand’ magazine of December 1971. In order to collect some material for the magazine, I went to Prof. Arvind Kumar’s residence (Osho’s secretary at Jabalpur) in the evening of October 24, 1974. Ma Yoga Kranti (Osho’s caretaker at Jabalpur), Ramaa (Arvind’s wife), Arvind and I were chatting. I requested them to tell something about [Osho] because in Jabalpur, they lived with Osho who left Jabalpur on June 30, 1970.” (Bharti 2007, p. 223)
“I asked Kranti, “You have spent such memorable moments with Osho, why don’t you write about them?”
She replied, “Shiv Bhai (Shiv: Old name of Ageh Bharti) I have forgotten all. You stirred my memories so whatever is coming, I am relating to you.” (Bharti 2007, p. 224)
During the interview Ageh Bharti was encouraging Kranti to share in writing the memories from her time with Osho, which in fact was to happen many years later when Kranti together with Arvind Kumar wrote the unpublished manuscript Ankhe Pal (Jain 2007).
Kranti narrated to Ageh Bharti an incident when Osho had an attack of cholera, while they were living together in Napier Town. He repeatedly went to the toilet during the night, but finally it even became difficult for him to get up from his bed. Then Osho called for Kranti using her pet name Mounu, and despite his refusal and remarks some medicine was brought from a doctor in the middle of the night by Devaki Nandan, their neighbour in Napier Town, and in the morning the illness could finally be controlled.
In another episode Kranti told how Osho once went to the state authorities in Bhopal to give an interview for a position as a professor at Jabalpur University. During the interview he was asked for a character certificate, of which he had none. Osho offered to make a true copy right there in the office and get the original, which was non-existent, when returning to Jabalpur. Bach home in Jabalpur Osho told professor Saxena the whole story, and asked him to make the original of the true copy, which he did while Osho dictated to him the text from the copy. So a true copy was made first and the original later. And Osho was appointed a professor at the University of Jabalpur in 1960, so the certificate game must have played its role as intended.
In English Sannyas magazine was out from Bombay already in 1972 and Sannyas Darshan came out with its first issue in Hindi 1974.
* Sannyas. Bimonthly magazine. Bombay, 1972-81. 1st issue: Jan-Feb 1972. The International Spiritual Magazine of Rajneesh Foundation. From colophon: Founder-Inspirer: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Editors: Ma Ananda Prem, Ma Veet Sandeh. Designer: Arhat. Editorial Commitee: Swami Ananda Vitrag, Ma Samadhi Meera, Swami Sardar Gurudayal Singh. Publisher: Ma Dharma Jyoti. Published bimonthly by Ma Yoga Laxmi for Rajneesh Foundation. “Manifesto: Sannyas is an exclusively spiritual journal dedicated to the following: 1. To bring to the world the revolutionary spiritual teaching of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, an Enlightened Master of our time. 2. To spread the aims and objectives of Rajneesh Foundation: a) teaching the meaning of spirituality; b) experimentation with various techniques of meditation that exist in the Hindu (yogic and tantric), Jain, Buddhist, Christian, Islamic (Sufi), Hassidic and other schools of mysticism. 3. To create a living dialogue between Sannyas and Sansar (the world).” (101)
“Recently some people have been thinking of starting a new English magazine, Sannyas. Create a new committee for it; why go on putting everything on Ishwarbabu’s shoulders? The funny thing is that we talk about dividing the work, and at the same time we go on putting everything onto him. We go on piling everything onto the same three or four people who do all the work. If you want to start Sannyas magazine, create a new committee for it!” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #12
* Rajneesh Foundation Newsletter. 1974-81. Fortnightly. Initially with Keerti as editor of Hindi edition and Teertha of the English edition. Containing one lecture and news.
“It was (on 11 Dec. 1974) called Rajneesh Foundation Newsletter (in Hindi) and in English both twice a month. It was probably next year some month we started Rajneesh Darshan in Hindi and Sannyas in English every two months.” (102)
* Rajneesh Darshan. Bimonthly. First issue: January/February 1974. Edited by Ma Yog Kranti and Krishna Kabeer. Anand Shila Prakashan. Publisher Chandrakant Desai. Bombay.
* Rajneesh Darpan. January/Febryary 1973- . Bimonthly. Editor: Sw. Anand Maitreya. Published by Rajneesh Foundation Prakashan.
* Sannyas. Hindi edition. Bimonthly from 1976. Edited by Keerti and Maitreya.
Sw. Anand Arhat was from 1972 to make the graphic design of title heads to Jyoti Shikha, Sannyas and Rajneesh Darshan and he also designed some covers for both magazines. Sometimes he was replaced by Chaitanya Bharti who was mostly designing covers for Yukrand next to his tasks as Osho’s chosen photographer. Other magazine covers were cut by Kamta Sagar as linocuttings and he designed some book covers using the same technique. With Arhat he was deeply involved in choosing the lettering for covers, beginning of discourses, end-paper and titles for books, supervised by Osho who was sending his messages to both of them through Laxmi.
The most comprehensive collection of Osho’s magazines and journals from Jabalpur and Bombay is credited to Chinmaya’s careful preservation during his time as Osho’s secretary in Bombay. When Osho left for U.S.A. in 1981 Chinmaya moved to Nepal and Chaitanya Bharti was from now on in charge of the collection in Bombay. Rajyoga Meditation Center in Delhi is also well-stocked in terms of magazine collection. (103)
Osho continues to write scores of letters to friends until the end of 1971 when these writings come to an end. Osho’s essence is in fact to be found more often in his letters rather than from his later discourses, and Chinmaya claims that sometimes even sutras in discourses are coming from some of his letters. What is left by Osho to us is for 99% text transcribed from his discourses and only one percent of his total message is left from his handwritten letters, articles and early lectures. These parts are in fact to be seen as core texts in the whole edifice. (104)
Early Bombay saw quite a few collections of letters in English from Osho to Western and Indian friends. These small booklets were to be included in A Cup of Tea (1980), a hardcover ultimate Poona compilation of Osho’s letters to be published in several new editions. His letters from Bombay are containing guidance for the spiritual journey of his followers as well as jokes and anecdotes, but unlike the early letters from Jabalpur remarks on forthcoming journeys and camps are naturally no longer to be found.
Letters in A Cup of Tea up to 1970 are presented in the previous section on Jabalpur. This compilation also presents letters from Bombay 1970 and 1971; that is from the last years before he finally let go of his writing of letters. Of the total 350 letters in A Cup of Tea the first 150 letters to Sohan Baphana were in Hindi and previously published as Prem Ke Phool (1970) (Flowers of Love) and Path Ke Pradeep (1974) (Light on the Path): 100 letters to Sushri Sohan Bafna of Poona written between 1964-1965. The remaining letters #151 to #350, all written in English from Bombay, are first published in other early Bombay-booklets: The Silent Music (1971) 30 letters, Turning In (1971) 30 letters, What is Meditation? (1971) 45 letters, The Gateless Gate (May 1971) 30 letters, The Dimensionless Dimension (1973) 35 letters and The Eternal Message (1972) 30 letters. The letters were at Osho’s suggestion collected from the owners by his secretary Chinmaya, and after the printing most of them were returned to the receivers. Excerpts from some shorter letters:
Do you want to ask questions?
Or do you want to get answers?
Because if you want to ask questions
then you will not get answers,
and if you want to get answers
then you cannot be allowed to ask questions –
because the answer is in that consciousness
where the questions have not yet been raised,
or have been uprooted and thrown out.”
A Cup of Tea #156
Whereever there are words there is no real meaning.
But here also are words?
Then what to do?
Read between the words.
Or read that which is said but not written,
or that which is shown and not even said,
or that which is meant and not even shown.
That is – look in,
because the meaning is within.”
A Cup of Tea #173
See: this is a white paper – it contains words.
You can look at it as white paper or as words.
Or, listen to the silence which contains a sonata;
you can be aware of the silence or of the sonata.
Or, think of the space which contains a building;
you can be aware of the space or of the building.
Or, imagine an empty house;
you can conceive of it as the walls or as an emptiness.
If you see the words, the building, the sonata and the walls
you are in the mind,
but if you see the white paper or the silence or the space
or the emptiness
then you are in meditation.”
A Cup of Tea #272
Do you hear me?
Do you see me?
I stand at the door and knock,
and I knock because of a promise made
in another life and another age.”
A Cup of Tea #296
Love to be alone.
Solitude is the temple of the divine,
and remember that there is no other temple.”
A Cup of Tea #308
In the following letter Osho is sharing the implications of chosing the title for I Am the Gate:
You write me that without me you cannot pass through the gate
and with me you will not pass through the gate.
Oh, I know that!
But you need not do either.
You need not pass through the gate with me or not with me,
because I am the gate.
I am no-one, so how can you be with me or not with me?
And only one who is no-one can be the gate.
The gate means the emptiness
because the gate is nothing but the space to pass through.
Pass through me – not with me – and know.
I appear to be someone only from without, but the deeper you penetrate me the less you will find me.
And in the end – no-one.”
A Cup of Tea #349
The compilation of Osho’s letters Prem Ke Phool (Flowers of Love) was published on Osho’s 40th birthday celebration December 11, 1970 at Woodland Apartments, and Ma Bhagawati purchased the first book for Rs. 40/- with Osho’s signature. After her many friends also bought the compilation, among them Shri Bafnaji from Poona who purchased 500 books and Shri Ishwarbhai who bought 125 books (Laheru 2012, p. 63). Ageh Bharti recalls when he was reading it for the first time in December 1970:
“After writing this letter [to Osho 23.12.1970], I read the Hindi book ‘Prem Ke Phool’ (meaning ‘Flowers of Love’) that contain Osho’s letters to friends. I am very much moved to read the letters especially those written to Sohan Bafna of Pune, India. While reading them, I am continuously in tears. These letters are really intoxicating. He has showered so much love in these letters that it is indescribable…
And in His letters, He wrote to Sohan Bafna, “On my way back, all the time you were with me.”
In another letter, He wrote, “When I returned home from the tour, I immediately searched for your letter in the big pile of letters.”
In some letters, He wrote, “I am sitting today also on the same lawn at the same time but with a difference and the difference is great; yesterday at this time you were with me on this grass and today I am alone.” (Bharti 2007, p. 204)
The gateless Gate (May 1971) is compiled and edited by Sw. Yog Chinmaya. It is a collection of 30 immortal letters written by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh to different seekers all over the world. One excerpt may give us a glimpse of its content and the rationale behind the choice of title. Also the title of the last discourse book published from Poona One, The Goose is Out, can be traced to this quotation:
Love. That which is never lost cannot be found.
And to search for it is absurd.
But, the moment this absurdity is understood, all
seeking stops by itself.
And that which is never lost is found!
That is why I say: seek and you will not find.
Because, the very seeking is the barrier.
The search itself is the hindrance.
Because it created the seeker, the Ego, the illusion
that I am.
And, I am not.
Do not seek and you will find it – the I-am-not-ness.
This nothingness is the gate.
The gateless Gate.
Riko, once, asked Nausen to explain to him the old
problem of the goose in the bottle.
“If a man puts a goosling into the bottle”, he said,
“and feeds the goosling through the bottleneck until it
grows and grows and becomes a goose, and then there
just is no more room inside the bottle, how can the man
get it out without killing the goose, or breaking the
“RICO!” shouted Nausen, and gave a great clap with
“Yes, Master”, said Rico with a start.
“SEE!”, said Nausen “the goose is out!”
[Bhagwan’s signature in three parts]
(To, Shree Inderraj Anand, 10/E, Ben Niwas, Warden Road,
Bombay-26)” The gateless Gate, p. 47; A Cup of Tea #324
What is meditation? (August 1971) also edited by Chinmaya is a collection of forty five Immortal Letters written by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh to H.H. Ma Veet Sandeh (Alias Dr. Miss Grazia Marchiano, Rome, Italy), President, Neo-Sannyas International, for Europe. First edition has Acharya Rajneesh on front cover and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh on title page. All letters are with their headings listed in contents.
The same month of August 1971 saw one more collection of letters Turning In: A collection of thirty Immortal Letters written by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh to H.H. Ma Yoga Mukta (Mrs. Catherine Venizelos), President, Neo-Sannyas International, for North America. Full seize portrait of Rajneesh opposite title page. And at the end of the booklet is Chinmaya’s Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh: A Glimpse. All letters, some of them enriched by jokes, are with their headings listed in contents, and the letters are written on an almost daily basis from 20.4.1971 until 20.5.1971. Excerpts:
“2/ Act Upon Understanding
Love. Never to have seen the truth is better than to have seen it and not to have acted upon it.”
[Signature in three parts]. 23-4-1971. Turning In, p. 6; A Cup of Tea #248
“19/ One Has to Travel the Path Alone
Love. Religion is so much an experience that it cannot be handed over by one to another.
But there are traditions of religious experience which are bound to be false.
Because of the very nature of the religious experience.
One has to travel the path alone with no footprints of other travellers even to guide.
Hasan of Basra was asked: “What is Islam and who are the Muslims?”
He is reported to have said: “Islam? Islam is in the books. And Muslims? Muslims are in the tombs.”
[Signature in three parts]. 10-5-1971.
“23/ There is No Knowing Except Living
Love. There is no answer to man’s ultimate questions.
Because the questions are absurd.
And, moreover, there is no one to answer them.
The existence is silent and has always been so.
So do not ask, but be silent and live it and know it.
Because there is no knowing except living.
The search for answers is meaningless.
A patient in a mental hospital placed his ear to the wall of his room, listening intently.
“Quiet,” he whispered to an orderly and pointed to the wall.
The attendant pressed his ear against the wall, listened, and then said, “I don’s hear anything.”
“No,” replied the patient, “it’s awful; it’s been this way always!””
[Signature in three parts]. 18-5-1971.
The Eternal Message (August 1972) again edited by Chinmaya is one more collection of thirty immortal letters, this time written by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh to Ma Yoga Bhakti, New York, USA, now Ma Ananda Pratima, World President of Neo-Sannyas International. All thirty letters are with their heading listed in Contents.
In his letters Osho kept in touch with his old devotees in Jabalpur including Ageh Bharti, addressed as Shiv, who took care of Osho’s correspondence when he was lecturing out of Jabalpur. Ageh Bharti is presenting a classic exsample of the intimacy to be found in these letters and the feelings of those who had been left behind when Rajneesh shifted to Bombay. It seems to have been a quite comprehensive letterwriting on Osho’s part to keep up with the numerous letters he received from his followers, in this case writings on a daily basis from one particular devotee:
“Most respected Acharya Ji,
I posted one letter to you yesterday only. Yoday I am writing again. Today I read your letters in the book ‘Prem Ke Phool’. Several of your leters have made me laugh. And I have wept also to read some letters. I wept on instances of your compassion.
And yes, you do play games; you are playing. It is OK. Let it be a game. Even if it is a loving lie, please do write a letter to me – at least once. And O great lover! Tell me the truth. Do you ever remember me, too? But also! Who can understand my pain? How to trust this playful man? And who can understand me because I have trusted the One, who is just not worth trusting.
Thanks to Chinmaya who compiled the letters in the form of a book.
My loving tears to you and love to rest of all.
Now enjoy reading Osho’s letters in response to both my letters. He wrote two letters in response to my first letter dated December 23, 1970 and third letter in response to my second letter dated December 24, 1970.
First letter in response to my letter dated December 23, 1970
My Beloved One,
Love is always without purpose.
And therefore the love,
which has some purpose,
is not love.
Love is not a business.
It is far beyond the business-world of give and take.
And this is its beauty.
On this earth, love is the ray of the Divine.
Therefore, with the help of love,
one can reach up to prayer,
one can reach up to the Divine.
It is because of this,
I can say there is no other religion except love.”
Rajneesh Ke Pranam,
(Bharti 2007, p. 205)
Ma Dham Jyoti reveals in her memoirs on her correspondence with Bhagwan: “I start writing a letter to Him every day and expect a quick reply from Him. I have totally forgotten that the letter will take at least three days to reach Him, and even if He replies the same day He receives it, it will take three more days to reach me. A couple of weeks have passed. Today I am coming down from the first floor to leave my office at 5.00 p.m. when I hear my office peon come running behind me with a letter in his hand, which is very unusual. In the office no one bothers about anybody’s personal letters. I take the letter from him – it is from the ‘Beloved of my heart’. I kiss it and open it with shaking hands. It reads like this:
“Beloved Pushpa (my name before I took sannyas)
Love. I am happy to receive your letters. Such longing for God is good because it is the totality of longing which becomes the way to reach him.
I am in Bombay on the night of the 17th, meet at 9.00 p.m., or I will be in Bombay again on the 21st, then you can meet me at 3.00 p.m. Where I will be staying, you can find from these four phone numbers.”
I am overjoyed to read the letter. It is the seventeenth today and I decide to see Him tonight…
I press the call button and this same woman, whom I spoke to on the phone, opens the door and recognizing me feels very sorry for me, for not telling the complete address. She hugs me and takes me by the hand into quite a big living room, where eight to ten people are already sitting on sofas, gossiping about different things. The atmosphere is very light; no one looks serious except me. I feel myself alien in that group, sitting quietly in a corner waiting for my master.
Exactly after ten minutes Osho arrives and we all stand up. He smiles and greets everyone with folded hands in namaste as He passes into another room. Immediately I am called into the room. Again this unknown fear grabs me as I enter; I feel scared, like a little insect going near a fire which will burn him. But this magnetic pull of fire is much greater than the fear. I see Him sitting on the bed in the lotus posture drinking some juice, and I sit opposite Him at a little distance, my legs hanging down from the bed. He finishes His drink, puts the glass aside on the little table near the bed and wipes His mouth with a little white napkin, gives me a smile and asks me to come closer.” (Ma Dharm Jyoti in: Bhagawati 2010, p. 237)
On two occasions Osho in his jesting way has set up his Ten Commandments, the first time written in a letter to one of his disciples in his early days in Bombay, 1970:
“You have asked for my Ten Commandments. It is a difficult matter because I am against any kind of commandment. Yet, just for the fun of it, I write:
1. Never obey anyone’s command unless it is coming from within you also.
2. There is no God other than life itself.
3. Truth is within you, do not search for it elsewhere.
4. Love is prayer.
5. To become a nothingness is the door to truth. Nothingness itself is the means, the goal and attainment.
6. Life is now and here.
7. Live wakefully.
8. Do not swim – float.
9. Die each moment so that you can be new each moment.
10. Do not search. That which is, is. Stop and see.
Several of the commandments are ‘standard’ Eastern spiritual precepts. It is known that in the later version Osho underlined four of them – numbers 3, 7, 9, and 10. But the three that stands out are the first three, because they are suggestive of that rebellious spirit that was such a hallmark of Osho’s character and that stayed central to his philosophy over the remaining twenty years of his life.” (Mistlberger 2010, p. 156)
A beautifully designed and less known compilation of letters is The Goose is out: Osho Letters (Tera Tujh ko Arpan) edited by Sw. Krishna Kabeer (Chirantan Bramachari) and compiled by Ma Yoga Kranti. It was published in Ahmedabad 2001, and its 65 pages contain 14 letters from Bhagwan to Kranti written at Woodlands in Bombay and presented in their Hindi facsimile as well as in English and Gujarati translations. They are all written on his stationary from A-1 Woodland Peddar Road Bombay-26 Phone: 382184 and still with his letterhead acharya rajneesh. (Confer with letter to Kranti in Appendix). Two excerpts follow below, the first one an old Sufi anecdote Osho has been telling again and again in slightly different versions:
“This too, will pass!
Love. Death is hidden in Life! And again Life is hidden in Death!
But where do we find Death in Life?
Where do we listen to “the sound of steps of Life” in Death?
This is ignorance!
Unhappiness is hidden in Happiness! Happiness is hidden in Unhappiness.
But how long do we remember it? This is ignorance!
Once, the emperor, called the brains (scholars) of his country and put them in a great pain. He had asked from them “one sentence of knowledge” (Gyan-sutra) that would enable him remain Unhappy in Happiness and Happy in Unhappiness!
The scholars were dumbfounded! They requested the emperor a grace period of one year!
One year had almost passed but without the solution that was wanted!
They tried with scriptures. They did contemplation and thinking!
But only to fail to find the solution.
In this state of hopelessness, they consulted an old Fakir (Saint).
Fakir started laughing at the state of mind they all were in.
He told them: “You stupid people! You are unhappy yourselves and cannot remain in ecstasy, how possibly could you part with “the sentence of knowledge” to the Emperor? The Emperor wants to see the daylight at night and darkness in the morning with the help of that sentence of knowledge.”
The old Fakir then gave them a ring for the Emperor with the four word sentence carved on it: “This, too, will pass.”
Having seen the sentence on the ring, the Emperor started laughing and them crying; again started laughing and then crying!
As he laughed, he remembered, “This, too, will pass.”
And that is why he started crying!
But when he cried, he remembered: “This, too, will pass.”
And that is why he started laughing!”
The second story written to Kranti is on the Zen master Tozan to whom Osho would return in some of his last discourses in Poona Two:
“God is Omnipresent
Love. For the one who knows, there exists nothing but God.
Meaning thereby, God is everything.
Minutest then becomes vast and the atom becomes the sky!
All the oceans merge into a drop of water and the Sun
and the stars get encaged in a small ray of light.
Tozan was one of those who knew.
Early morning he was weighing cotton.
At that point of time a disciple came and asked Tozan,
“Master! Kindly explain to me, who is Buddha? Where is he?”
Tozan pointed out at cotton and said: “Here! in this much of cotton”.
We may add that on its pages the compilation contains some far-fetched numerology where the sum of the digits from Osho’s birth 11.12.1931 and his passing on 19.01.1990 makes Life and Death interwoven as existential factors hidden in each other.
During his time as Osho’s secretary in Bombay Chinmaya has read thousands of Osho’s handwritten letters, and he is in all probability the one person who has acquired most knowledge by reading these letters from Osho’s hand, in Hindi and English both. They are in numbers surpassing even the numerous manuscripts Rajneesh wrote for his lectures and articles when living in Jabalpur. The number of handwritten letters soared in his first Bombay years, as he was now basically staying at home and had definitively stopped all nationwide traveling and lecturing. The writing of letters was essential to keeping up contact with his followers whereever they were living in India and abroad, until an array of periodicals and other means of communication made his letters redundant.
3.11 Leaving Bombay for Poona
With its growing pollution and traffic Bomay turned out to be quite a challenge to Bhagwan’s health, and this threat was supplemented by the long term weaknesses and effects from his intensive traveling out of Jabalpur for many years with its poor and irregular conditions for eating, far from the healthy living which he had been living in his early days in Jabalpur. Now his diabetes and asthma had worsened and it was time for making another move, this time to a healthier environment not affecting his health.
“Humidity is dangerous for me. Whenever I went to Bombay, attacks of asthma would immediately increase. And my allergy needed dry air and cool air, no humidity. That’s why I shifted from Bombay to Poona, because Bombay was more humid. Poona was less, but still it didn’t make much difference.” (Urmila 2006, p. 161)
What was needed was a much larger and healthier permanent location which could offer the required facilities for his rapidly growing number of followers, and it was evident the Woodland apartment got crowded as more and more people started to arrive also from the West. Osho was now looking for some other place to settle with his followers, but before this could happen one more location was set up in Bombay to take off the pressure on Woodlands, as the management had started putting heat on Osho due to complaints from the neighbours, when also the first encounter groups were happening on the premises. Osho was in these years originally introduced to the West by Dr. Shyam Singha, a London society naturopath, who promoted him to clients active in the Human Potential Movement, and the primary agents in spreading the information on his availability for seekers were therapists from the London growth center Quaesitor (founded 1970) coming to him in Bombay from 1972 and initiated into sannyas. Among these were Paul Lowe (Sw. Anand Teertha) and Patricia Clare (Poonam) who with Michael Barnett (Somendra) from Kaleidoscope all became well-known therapists in Poona One later on. In the wake of the American poets of the beat generation and their popularisation of Buddhism in the counterculture, Alan Watts had at that time constructed the intellectual bridge between Eastern mystical traditions and Western psychotherapy, and he too influenced many people to travel to India to discover meditation. Alan Watts is mentioned with reverence in Books I Have Loved and had locations named after him at the Ranch in Oregon (105). On his work with people and the use of therapy groups Osho has commentedin several places (See Appendix):
“When Western people come to me, I put them into groups. That is good for them. They should start with what is easier for them. Then by and by, slowly I change. First they go into cathartic groups like encounter, primal therapy, and then I start putting them into intensive enlightenment, then vipassana. Vipassana is a witnessing. From encounter to vipassana there is a great synthesis. When you move from encounter to vipassana, you are moving from West to East.” The Tantra Vision, vol.1
Now even his Woodlands apartment was used to its very limit by still more people coming to meet him, and Ageh Bharti reports an episode told by Nikalank Bharti as the search for a new residence was on: “Ultimately a Bungalowe was approved by friends and the cost was also settled for Rs 21 lakhs. On one side of the road was the film star Dilip Kumar and just opposite on the other side of the road was this bungalow. Everything has almost been settled. Only the arrangement was to be done within a few days.
During this perid Swami Niklank Bharti and Kapil – the youngest son of Osho’s sister Ma Yoga Bhakti – came there. Osho said, “A new place has bere finalized. Very soon, we shall change this residence. Both of you go and see the place.” When they returned, Osho asked “How did you like the house? Niklank Ji replied that the new house was quite good and that the architecture was simply wonderful. Then looking at Kapil, Osho asked, “What is your opinion about the house?” At that time Kapil was nearly ten years of age. He said, “Mama Ji, everything about that house is fine, but it is not airy.” And immediately Osdho asked Lakshmi on the intercom to see him. Ma lakshmi came there within moments and Osho said to her, “Laxmi, cancel the deal with that house, for it is not airy.” In this way the deal of the bungalow which had almost been finalized after several visits by friends was cancelled within moments.” (Bharti 2012, p. 236)
Bhagwan first wanted to establish himself permanently in Mt. Abu, but there the Brahma Kumari (Spiritual University) objected heavily to his plans for staying in Mt. Abu. They put tough pressure on the Rajasthani government, so eventually he had to choose Poona instead, where a house in Koregaon Park was purchased from the Jamnagar family. Also considered was an ocean side location in Kutch, but as this was a sensitive border area to Pakistan he could not settle there either, so this oceanic setting was also soon out of the question. Mandevi, His Highness of Kutch, was the owner of this property in Kutch Jeevan Jagruti Kendra tried to purchase for Bhagwan’s ashram. Also one place at Pali Hills in Bandra and another one at Thane near Bombay were evaluated and had to be left out. Then finally Poona was chosen to be the new setting, situated eighty miles southeast of Bombay in a hilly landscape and well known for its pleasant climate, which had made it a hill station for the British families’ retirement from Bombay during the hot season. The city was having a military cantonment, but was also known for its spiritual past associated with enlightened beings, most recently Meher Baba.
“In 1974 Osho suggests Laxmi look for a property in Poona. Laxmi finds #33 Koregaon Park. On 21 March 1974 Osho celebrates his Enlightenment Day with friends in Woodlands Apartments in the morning, and again that afternoon in Poona!” (106)
“This afternoon Osho will be leaving for Poona by road. It is the last celebration in the Woodlands. Ma Taru with a few other friends start Kirtan. Everyone is allowed to touch His feet and take prasad (sweets distributed on celebration days). In the morning I arrive at the Woodlands with my suitcase to leave for Poona with Him.” (Jyoti 1994 #81)
“I don’t have any possessions. Although I live like a king, I don’t possess anything. Nothing is mine. If one day someone comes and says to me, “Leave this place at once,” I will leave immediately. I will not even have to pack anything. Nothing is mine. That’s how one day I left Bombay. Nobody could believe that I would leave so easily without looking back even once.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood #16
We can almost hear him adding, “But not without my library!” Anyway, his beloved library was packed by Sw. Bodhisatva Narendra, who stayed behind at Woodlands after Osho had left Bombay, only to follow him to his new residence in Poona six months later. In Poona Osho Lao Tzu Library was to grow into one of the world’s largest library collections, keeping Osho occupied with his intensive reading during the phase in Poona, where his work was to expand beyond what might ever have been imagined during his early years in Jabalpur and Bombay. Even when leaving for Oregon in U.S.A. (1981-1985) his library was to follow him to America, stored in two containers where it remained unpacked until it returned to Poona in 1987. At the Ranch in Oregon two pyramid shaped two-storied buildings for Academy and Library respectively were on the architects’ drawing-table, but they were never constructed as dire events involving Bhagwan’s persecution, confinement and fatal poisoning while in U.S. custody made them unneeded.
On the exact day, twenty-one years after his enlightenment in 1953, on March 21, 1974, Bhagwan arrived in Poona at Koregaon Park, with seven disciples to begin a new phase of his work. This Enlightenment Day happened to be celebrated with friends first at Woodlands in the morning, and then again in the afternoon after arriving in Poona. The whole celebration and his journey were recorded on 16 mm film. His new phase here in Poona would make the location Koregaon Park famous around the world as a spiritual growth centre, where something rarely seen on earth was taking place in the 1970s. Many more visitors from the West were to come around to see the face and have their lives changed forever in the energy field of an Eastern master, who was introducing them to the heights of human consciousness and their own potential.