"If you really want to know who I am, you have to be as absolutely empty as I am. Then two mirrors will be facing each other, and only emptiness will be mirrored. Infinite emptiness will be mirrored: two mirrors facing each other. But if you have some idea, then you will see your own idea in me."
- "Your laughter is medicinal. You are too serious. You need to laugh."
Osho Zen Tarot: The Transcendental Game Of Zen
Joy: The Happiness That Comes from Within
The Book of Secrets: Keys to Love and Meditation
The works of Osho challenge readers to examine and break free of
the conditions, belief systems, and prejudices that limit their
capacity to experience life in all its richness. One of the best-known
and most provocative spiritual teachers of the twentieth century, Osho
has been described by the Sunday Times of London as one of the
"1000 Makers of the 20th Century" and by American novelist Tom Robbins
as "the most dangerous man since Jesus Christ." More than a decade
after his death in 1990, the influence of his teachings continues to
grow, reaching seekers of all ages in virtually every country of the
Osho said that enlightenment is everyone's natural state, but that one is distracted from realising it – particularly by the human activity of thought, as well as by emotional ties to societal expectations, and consequent fears and inhibitions.
He was a prolific speaker (in both Hindi and English) on various spiritual traditions including those of Buddha, Laozi, Krishna, Guru Nanak, Jesus, Socrates, Zen masters, Gurdjieff, Sufism, Hassidism, Tantra and many others. He attempted to ensure that no "system of thought" would define him, since he believed that no philosophy can fully express the truth.
orator, he said that words could not convey his message, but that his
basic reason for speaking was to give people a taste of meditation:
“ I am making you aware of silences without any effort on your part. My speaking is being used for the first time as a strategy to create silence in you.
This is not a teaching, a doctrine, a creed. That’s why I can say anything. I am the most free person who has ever existed as far as saying anything is concerned. I can contradict myself in the same evening a hundred times. Because it is not a speech, it has not to be consistent. It is a totally different thing, and it will take time for the world to recognise that a tremendously different experiment was going on.
Just a moment … when I became silent, you become silent. What remains is just a pure awaiting. You are not making any effort; neither am I making any effort. I enjoy talking; it is not an effort.
I love to see you silent. I love to see you laugh, I love to see you dance. But in all these activities, the fundamental remains meditation.”
Osho said he loved to disturb people – only by disturbing them could he make them think. Accordingly, his discourses were peppered with offensive jokes and outrageous statements lampooning key figures of established religions such as Hinduism, Jainism or Christianity. Concerning the virgin birth, for example, he said that Jesus was clearly a bastard, since he was not Joseph's biological son. An attempt on his life was made by a Hindu fundamentalist in 1980. Osho, however, said that the only thing he was serious about in his discourses were the jokes – they were the main thing, and everything else was spiritual gossip.
Osho said it was very difficult for modern man to just sit and be in meditation, so he devised so-called Active Meditation techniques to prepare the ground. Some of these preparatory exercises can also be found in western psychological therapies, such as breathing, gibberish, laughing or crying. His most significant meditation techniques are today known as "OSHO Dynamic Meditation", "OSHO Kundalini Meditation", "OSHO Nadabrahma Meditation", "OSHO Chakra Sounds", For each meditation, special music was composed to guide the meditator through the different phases of the meditations. Osho said that Dynamic Meditation was absolutely necessary for modern man. If people were innocent, he said, there would be no need for Dynamic Meditation, but given that people were repressed, were carrying a large psychological burden, they would first need a catharsis. So Dynamic Meditation was to help them clean themselves out; then they would be able to use any meditation method without difficulty.
Osho Essential teachings
On MEDITATION - Meditation is a state of witnessing without judgments. It is not concentration: it is relaxation, let-go. There is no "how" to this, because "how" means doing – one has to understand that no doing is going to help. In that very understanding, non-doing happens.
Meditation means awareness. Whatsoever you do with awareness is meditation.
Action is not the question, but the quality that you bring to your action.
Walking can be a meditation if you walk alertly. Sitting can be a meditation if you sit alertly.
Listning to the birds can be a meditation if you listen with awareness. Just listening to the inner noise of your mind can be a meditation if you remain alert and watchful.
The whole point is: one should not move in sleep. Then whatsoever you do is meditation.
On ENLIGHTENMENT- Enlightenment is everyone's natural state, but that one is distracted from realizing it – particularly by the human activity of thought, as well as by emotional ties to societal expectations, and consequent fears and inhibitions.
On LOVE - Love is the only real thing worth doing. All else is secondary. If it helps love, it is good. All else is just a means, love is the end. So whatsoever the pain, go into love. If you don't go into love, as many people have decided, then you are stuck with yourself. Then your life is not a pilgrimage, then your life is not a river going to the ocean; your life is a stagnant pool, dirty, and soon there will be nothing but dirt and mud. To keep clean, one needs to keep flowing. A river remains clean because it goes on flowing. Flow is the process of remaining continuously virgin. A lover remains a virgin. All lovers are virgin. The people who don't love cannot remain virgin; they become dormant, stagnant; they start stinking sooner or later -- and sooner than later -- because they have nowhere to go. Their life is dead. That's where modern man finds himself, and because of this, all kinds of neuroses, all kinds of madnesses, have become rampant.
On CELEBRATION - Celebration is the foundation of my sanyas, not renunciation but rejoicing; rejoicing in all the beauties, all the joys, all that life offers, because this whole life is a gift of God.
On HAPPINESS - Happiness is a function of truth. Whenever there is truth, happiness functions. Whenever there is not truth, happiness stops functioning and unhappiness functions.
On CREATIVITY - To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.
Osho was born Chandra Mohan Jain in Kuchwada, a small village in the Narsinghpur District of Madhya Pradesh state in India, as the eldest of eleven children of a cloth merchant. At the time, an astrologer predicted that he might die before he was seven years old according to the birth chart. His parents, who were Taranpanthi Jains, sent him to live with his maternal grandparents until he was seven years old.
Osho said this was a major influence on his growth because his grandmother gave him the utmost freedom and respect, leaving him carefree; without an imposed education or restrictions.
At seven years old, he went back to his parents. He explained that he received a similar kind of respect from his paternal grandfather who was staying with them. He was able to be very open with his grandfather. His grandfather used to tell him, "I know you are doing the right thing. Everyone may tell you that you are wrong. But nobody knows which situation you are in. Only you can decide in your situation. Do whatsoever you feel is right. I will support you. I love you and respect you as well." He resisted his parents' pressure to get married.
He was a rebellious, but gifted student, winning the title of All-India Debating Champion.
He started his public speaking at the annual Sarva Dharma Sammelan held at Jabalpur since 1939, organised by the Taranpanthi Jain community into which he was born. He participated there from 1951 to 1968. Eventually the Jain community stopped inviting him because of his radical ideas.
said he became spiritually enlightened on 21 March 1953, when he was 21
years old. He said he dropped all effort and hope. After an intense
seven-day process he went out at night to a garden in Jabalpur, where
he sat under a tree:
“ The moment I entered the garden everything became luminous, it was all over the place – the benediction, the blessedness. I could see the trees for the first time – their green, their life, their very sap running. The whole garden was asleep, the trees were asleep. But I could see the whole garden alive, even the small grass leaves were so beautiful. I looked around. One tree was tremendously luminous – the maulshree tree. It attracted me, it pulled me towards itself. I had not chosen it, god himself has chosen it. I went to the tree, I sat under the tree. As I sat there things started settling. The whole universe became a benediction.”
He finished his studies at D. N. Jain College and the University of Sagar, receiving a B.A. (1955) and an M.A. (1957, with distinction) in philosophy. He then taught philosophy, first at Raipur Sanskrit College, and then, until 1966, as a Professor at Jabalpur University. At the same time, he travelled throughout India, giving lectures critical of socialism and Gandhi, under the name Acharya Rajneesh (Acharya means "teacher"; Rajneesh was a nickname he had been given by his family). In 1962, he began to lead 3- to 10-day meditation camps, and the first meditation centres (Jivan Jagruti Kendras) started to emerge around his teaching, then known as the Life Awakening Movement (Jivan Jagruti Andolan). He resigned from his teaching post in 1966.
In 1968, he scandalised Hindu leaders by calling for freer acceptance of sex; at the Second World Hindu Conference in 1969, he enraged Hindus by criticising all organised religion and the very institution of priesthood.
In 1969, a group of Osho's friends established a foundation to support his work. They settled in an apartment in Mumbai where he gave daily discourses and received visitors. The number and frequency of visitors soon became too much for the place, overflowing the apartment and bothering the neighbours. A much larger apartment was found on the ground floor (so the visitors would not need to use the elevator, a matter of conflict with the former neighbours).
On September 26, 1970, he initiated his first disciple or sannyasin at an outdoor meditation camp, one of the large gatherings where he lectured and guided group meditations. His concept of neo-sannyas entailed wearing the traditional orange dress of ascetic Hindu holy men. However, his sannyasins were not expected to follow an ascetic lifestyle.
From 1971, he was known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Shree means Sir or Mister; the Sanskrit word Bhagwan means "blessed one". It is commonly used in India as a respectful form of address for spiritual teachers.
The new apartment also proved insufficient, and the climate of Mumbai was deemed very bad for his delicate health. So, in 1974, on the 21st anniversary of his enlightenment, he and his group moved from the Mumbai apartment to a newly purchased (by Catherine Venizelos) property in Koregaon Park, in the city of Pune, a four-hour trip from Mumbai. Pune had been the secondary residence of many wealthy families from Mumbai because of the cooler climate (Mumbai lies in a coastal wetland, hot and damp, Pune is inland and much higher, so it is drier and cooler).
The two adjoining houses and six acres of land became the nucleus of an Ashram, and those two buildings are still at the heart of the present-day Osho International Meditation Resort. This space allowed for the regular audio and video recording of his discourses and, later, printing for worldwide distribution, which enabled him to reach far larger audiences internationally. The number of Western visitors increased sharply, leading to constant expansion. The Ashram now began to offer a growing number of therapy groups, as well as meditations.
During one of his discourses in 1980, an attempt on his life was made by a Hindu fundamentalist.
Osho taught at the Pune Ashram from 1974 to 1981.
On 10 April 1981, having discoursed daily for nearly 15 years, Osho entered a three-and-a-half-year period of self-imposed public silence, and satsangs (silent sitting, with some readings from his works and music) took the place of his discourses.
In mid-1981, Osho went
to the United States in search of better medical care (he suffered from
asthma, diabetes and severe back problems). After a brief spell in
Montclair, New Jersey, his followers bought (for US$6 million) a
64,000-acre (260 km²) ranch in Wasco County, Oregon, previously known
as "The Big Muddy Ranch", where they settled for the next four years
and legally incorporated a city named Rajneeshpuram.
In late October 1985, Osho was arrested in North Carolina as he was allegedly fleeing the U.S. Accused of minor immigration violations, Osho, on advice of his lawyers, entered an "Alford plea" – through which a suspect does not admit guilt, but does concede there is enough evidence to convict him – and was given a suspended sentence and deported from the United States.
Osho then began a world tour, speaking in Nepal, Greece and Uruguay, among others. Being refused entry visas by more than twenty different countries, he returned to India in July 1986, and in January 1987, to his old Ashram in Pune, India. He resumed discoursing there.
In late December 1988, he said he no longer wished to be referred to as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and shortly afterwards took the name Osho.
On January 19, 1990,
four years after his arrest, Osho died, aged 58, with heart failure
being the publicly reported cause. Prior to his death, Osho had
expressed his belief that his rapid health decline was caused by some
form of poison administered to him by the U.S. authorities during the
twelve days he was held without bail in various U.S. prisons. In a
public discourse on 6 November 1987, he said that a number of doctors
that were consulted had variously suspected thallium, radioactive
exposure, and other poisons to account for his failing health:
“ It does not matter which poison has been given to me, but it is certain that I have been poisoned by Ronald Reagan's American government. ”
His ashes were placed in his newly built bedroom in one of the main buildings (LaoTsu House) at his last place of residence, his Ashram in Pune, India. The epitaph reads, "OSHO. Never Born, Never Died. Only Visited this Planet Earth between Dec 11 1931 – Jan 19 1990."
With 200,000 visitors annually, the Osho International Meditation Resort in Pune, India, is one of the largest spiritual growth centres in the world today.
Today, Osho's books are more popular than ever before, with translations published in 55 different languages. At the end of the eighties, the majority of people in South Asia wanted nothing to do with Osho's commune; but since Osho's death, there has been a sea change in public opinion. In 1991, an influential Indian newspaper counted Osho, among figures such as Gautama Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi, among the ten people who had most changed India's destiny; in Osho's case, by "liberating the minds of future generations from the shackles of religiosity and conformism". Since then, his teachings have progressively become part of the cultural mainstream of India and Nepal.
Osho is one of only two authors whose entire works have been placed in the Library of India's National Parliament in New Delhi (the other is Mahatma Gandhi). Excerpts and quotes from his works appear regularly in the Times of India and many other Indian newspapers. Prominent admirers include the Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and the noted Indian novelist and journalist, Khushwant Singh. The Osho disciple Vinod Khanna, who worked as Osho's gardener in Rajneeshpuram, served as India's Minister of State for External Affairs from 2003 to 2004.
In the West, figures such as the American poet and Rumi translator Coleman Barks, the American novelist Tom Robbins and the German philosopher, author and TV host Peter Sloterdijk have championed Osho.
Osho's Ashram in Pune has become the Osho International Meditation Resort, one of India's main tourist attractions. According to press reports, it attracts some 200,000 visitors from all over the world each year; politicians, media personalities and the Dalai Lama have visited the Meditation Resort.