Most seekers will agree with the observation that India is a remarkably supportive environment for spiritual growth, as its soil is literally soaked with the remnants of former seekers of enlightenment. Osho comments on this experience:
“For centuries India has been the symbol of the inner journey. It is not just a political entity, it is a spiritual phenomenon. As far back as we know, people have been coming to India from all over the world in search of themselves. Something is in the very climate, something is in the very vibe that helps…” The Rebellious Spirit #15
What happened to Osho after he left Bombay in 1974 is indeed an adventure story which has been covered in depth by numerous writers and scholars since the 1970s, and in due time we intend to follow up on OSHO Source BOOK. Thus we will present Osho’s entire publishing in a bibliography with a framework of events which in certain parts might be subtitled a ‘spiritual thriller’. His ashram in Poona became a beehive for seekers coming from the West in droves to join a community that soon made itself notorious for its experimental approach to group therapy and sexual behavior. In the mornings Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was commenting in Buddha Hall on sutras from all major religions and faiths, beginning with My Way. The Way of the White Clouds and ending in silence and satsang in the Spring of 1981 before he left for the USA.
Inconveniences with the Indian authorities and a bad back condition caused him to make this radical shift in setting. Soon he found himself in the desert highlands of Oregon where his followers were to create an organic and balanced community from what had been a worn out environment. Sannyasins poured in for summer festivals, and after some years in silence Bhagwan was again speaking to his entourage, now on a more political line and no longer on the religious paths he had trodden earlier. Controversy was inevitable as the American establishment had dire difficulty in absorbing both his message and his presence. But he did for once reach out to their common value system, when in a few years his followers presented him with almost 100 shining Rolls-Royces. The Rajneesh Bible and press conferences talks were published in several paperback volumes from those years in the hinterlands of the States. His continued presence with the development of a huge city in his name led to growing pressure from authorities and religious interests, and he was eventually incarcerated after being taken into custody at gunpoint when his plane had to refuel. Now a prisoner in shackles for a week, hidden from his followers, the media and even from his attorneys in ever changing prison locations (Brecher 1993), all evidence points to his fatal poisoning (thallium and radiation) by this repressive force. It would be an overstatement to claim that any action was taken by Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International regarding this violation, but they may have had their focus on other matters at that time. Since those days we have heard repeatedly about the use of ‘hidden prisons’, and most recently (2013) we see a repetition of U.S. command of global airspace, quite similar to what happened during Osho’s World Tour:
“The forcing down of Bolivian President Evo Morales’s plane – denied airspace by France, Spain and Portugal, followed by his 14-hour confinement while Austrian officials demanded to “inspect” his aircraft for the “fugitive” Edward Snowden – was an act of air piracy and state terrorism. It was a metaphor for the gangsterism that now rules the world and the cowardice and hypocrisy of bystanders who dare not speak its name…This hidden history – not really hidden, of course, but excluded from the consciousness of societies drilled in American myths and priorities – has never been more vulnerable to exposure…In revealing a vast Orwellian police state apparatus servicing history’s greatest war-making machine, they illuminate the true extremism of the 21st century.” (1)
A sentence and fine for conspiracy to engage in immigration fraud forcedOsho to leave the United States and return to Bombay. From there, via Kulu Manali in the Himalayas – close to the place he had started initiating seekers into sannyas in 1970 – he embarked on a World Tour to meet his devotees in several countries. The series Talks in Uruguay is here a key series. He was repeatedly denied access – more exact to 21 Western democracies – due to political pressure from U.S. Government. Returning once again to Bombay in 1986 he completed the circle from his earlier stay there in 1970-74. When he arrived in Bombay, he first lectured in Hindi after many years of speaking only in English. The Upanishads series grew out of his stay in a friend’s house in Bombay, and early January 1987 he returned to Poona, where this author remembers the energy of the whole place being reorganized – once again. Now it seemed like Osho felt it was time to catch up with what was left to be conveyed. In lengthy lectures morning and evening he guided his listeners deep into the realms of the Zen masters, until also his health forced him to move into silence and come to Buddha Hall to commune with his disciples in silent satsang. The last discourse by Osho, after thirty years of lecturing, was delivered in 1989 on the evening of April 10th, finishing the series The Zen Manifesto. Freedom from Oneself (1989). His last words ever to be spoken in a discourse series were:
“It is not you, it is your very existence. You are one with the stars and the trees and the sky and the ocean. You are no longer separate. The last word of Buddha was, sammasati. Remember that you are a Buddha – sammasati. Okay Maneesha?” The Zen Manifesto #11 (2)
His ashes are to be found in his samadhi, the former Chuang Tzu Auditorium where discourses and later darshans took place during Poona One. The marble plaque tells us: OSHO / Never Born / Never Died / Only Visited this / Planet Earth between / Dec 11, 1931 – Jan 19, 1990.
Finally it’s tempting to draw some lines from Osho to other religious founders and enlightened masters. When leaving their body this instantly raises the questions of a successor, the future role of a potential secretary and the critical preservation of the message’s purity. These questions were dealt with extensively by Osho in the last six months before he left his body in January 1990, partly in an attempt to avoid creating any schisms within the Sangha. We may here recall Ashoka’s early edict on the pillar in Sanchi, declaring that by command of his sacred majesty ‘no one shall cause division in the order’. (3)
Osho founded in April 1989 – two days before he stopped speaking – The Inner Circle of twenty-one people who were entrusted to continue with the coordination of practical and mundane – but not spiritual – affairs of his work. But in the years after 1990 quite a number of members chose to leave this committee, particularly Indian sannyasins who saw the management’s restructuring of Osho’s legacy happening in a way they could not continue to support. And up came Osho World, centered in Delhi, an organization with mainly Indian sannyasins, which among other things is challenging the Poona administration on the issue of Osho’s copyright. (4)
In an early lecture from the late 1960s, repeated by Osho in The Great Challenge #9, he shares the vision that after his death two groups of followers would arise: One group of organizers – the exoteric group – taking care of mundane matters and preserving his message in media publishing, and a second group – the esoteric group – not really a group but rather individuals more concerned with the inner world and their personal growth. He added that clashes between these fractions were bound to happen and nothing could be done to prevent it. And that has fairly much turned out to be the case during the 1990s and into the new millennium.
Late November 1989, two months before leaving his body, Osho carefully announced his specific wishes for the future use of Osho Library in Poona: Everything should be locked away and only made available to those writing or researching about him; permissions should be rarely granted, and only three books should be taken from the shelves at a time (5). And on his deathbed, after having said ‘I leave you my dream’, he made it known as his last words that his secretary Anando would from now on be his messenger and medium.
All these matters may hopefully one day be lined up more thoroughly in some Encyclopedia Oshoana and it is my hope that the study you have been reading may turn out to be useful in future research and publishing on Osho. After his death all that Osho has said might become a dogma, if not followers recall his constant hammering on the importance of integrating and experimenting with meditation in their daily life, rather than clinging to his oceans of spoken words with all their ambiguity and insistent defiance of our logical way of thinking.
“I am not leaving my statements for scholars; I am leaving them for those who seek of true knowledge and those who are passionate. Only they would understand them. There is mystery in them, not logic.” Na Sansar Na Mukti, Ashtavakra Mahageeta. (Dhiman 2012, p. 27)