Part two

Part Two
Acharya Rajneesh
1951-1970 Jabalpur

 

“My old books are immensely important.
Unless you understand them, you will not be able to understand me.
But remember, it is a constant flow and change,
so don’t be bothered with inconsistencies, contradictions.
If you go on, soon you will be able to find the truth.
And once the truth is revealed,
all contradictions and inconsistencies dissolve.
Then you can see, crystal-clear,
that it is a single message from the roots to the flower.
It is a single organism.” From the False to the Truth #11

 

2.0 Jabalpur

For almost twenty years, from 1951 onwards, Osho lived in Jabalpur and these years not only proved to be his longest dwelling in one place ever – although he was changing his residence in the city several times – but Jabalpur also turned out to be the place for events and experiments that were to make an everlasting impact on his future work. Here in Jabalpur his academic studies in philosophy were carried on – except for a few years spent in nearby Sagar for his M.A. – and Jabalpur was where he witnessed his enlightenment in Bhanvar Tal Garden in 1953. Furthermore he was teaching for years at Jabalpur University as an ass. Professor in philosophy, and finally the city, centred in the geographical heart of India, proved to be a convenient base for his extensive train rides when in the 1960s he was touring All India for the dissemination of his message. After some time he chose to drop the hazardous traveling and moved to Bombay in 1970 where he mostly was staying in his Woodland residence except for his scheduled meditation camps. So we may indeed benefit from a look at the city of Jabalpur, to many of our readers not known as well as Bombay and Poona, and also its physical outline at a time when Osho was a most active and prominent figure on its religio-cultural arena. Thereby we get the gist of what were the roots of the local environment and the atmosphere he was imbibing during these formative years of his life.

Until early 20th century Jabalpur was spelled Jubbulpore with the origin of the name probably deriving from the Arabic word Jabal meaning a hill or mountain, so Jabalpur would be the city of rocks. Or, as others are claiming, the name of the city may be connected with a Brahmin sage Javali and his disciples who settled here in former times, his name being modified to the present spelling of the city.

Jabalpur town itself was established in 1819 by the British as an administrative centre and military cantonment due to its natural defensive location in a rocky basin surrounded by granite hills and situated in the very watershed of the subcontinent. The sacred Narmada River (Delight-giving) is running only 10 km to the south at the place of Gwari Ghat.

To the people of Northern India this area was earlier called Gondwana, an unexplored country with inaccessible mountains and impenetrable teak forests inhabited by the savage tribes of Gonds from which it took its name. They were snake-worshippers and the remains of their fortress and watch tower Madan Mahal placed on an impressive rock of granite are still to be seen. Their former capital Garha from the 14th century is now located within the growing boundaries of Jabalpur city itself. In the forests of these territories Rama and the Pandava brothers of Hindu mythology had taken refuge, and the area has been used also as the setting for Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.

The Gonds belonged to the aboriginal tribes which populated India more than 3000 years ago before they were driven into the less fertile mountainous areas by the intrusion from north of the Aryans and later on the Moghul Emperor Akbar. The present Adivasi community in India is to this day including the remaining descendants of the country’s aboriginal tribes. Near Bhopal the famous caves of Bhimbekta decorated with prehistoric aboriginal rock paintings are pointing backwards in time to the earliest Palaeolithic inhabitants of the area.

So the city of Jabalpur is located at 1.306 feet above sea level in the very heartland of British India. This central part of India was from 1820 known as the Sagar-Narmada Territory conquered in 1817 by the British from the rule of the Bhonslas of Nagpur who on their part in 1797 had ended the former rule of Maratha Pandit from Sagar. The king Appa Saheb Bhonsle is still held in high esteem in Madhya Pradesh as he was pioneering the resistance movement against the British in the state. The Bhonslas were notorious looters, and the Gurandi Sunday Market, much frequented by Rajneesh for his purchase of stolen books, had its name deriving from these Gerandas, the Hindi word for looters.

The territories largely covered by jungle were included in the newly constituted North-Western Provinces in 1835, and Jubbulpore was to become an important military post with large cantonments along the river after it was made the headquarter for an Agent to the British Governor General in 1820. The widespread discontent from the Bundela uprising in 1842 had not fully subsided when during the Sepoy Mutiny the sepoy 52nd Native Infantry regiment, commanded by Lt. Col. Jamieson, in September 1857 left their post in Jabalpur. A more appropriate and less colonial term for the Sepoy Mutiny would be The First War of Independence or The Great Uprising, where Hindus and Muslims could be seen fighting side by side against the British. The whole countryside surrounding Jabalpur now suddenly found itself occupied by the freedom fighters, and in the town itself all women and children were protected inside the blockaded residence of the Commissioner, but the expected attack never came. A few months before the uprising small chapatties had mysteriously been sent around from village to village as tokens telling the people that they were to be prepared for a sudden and dangerous event soon to come upon them. The sepoy regiment at Sagar had rebelled in July but shortly afterwards a mobile column with European gunners from Kamptee had arrived and decisive action was taken also against the joining rebels from Jabalpur. Their leader Raja Shankar Shah was executed in the new fashionable way tied to the mouth of a gun and blown up. In the aftermath of the amnesty from May 1858 further discontent was seething and expressing itself in various movements for religious and social reforms, but at the same time big money lending zamindars and landowners established themselves in Jabalpur among them Gokul Das who was to become a central figure in the development of the town.

For the inhabitants of Jabalpur the completion of the railway in 1870 made Jabalpur an important junction for the Bombay-Calcutta line and it also implied that the British administration could now enhance the tax revenue with the argument of increased trade and raised prices. By 1920 the narrow-gorge line between Jabalpur and Gondia was constructed and the old important trunk road going south, New Great Northern Road still connecting Jabalpur with Nagpur, gradually lost its importance as trade shifted to the villages near the stations. In former days only the road between Jabalpur and Mandla town remained passable at all times throughout the year, and as we have seen around Kuchwada the majority of villages at the time Osho was born still had poor communication, and they remained cut off from the outside world during the monsoon. Some villages in Jabalpur district were only accessible by elephant and many villages had no link at all with the district roads.

The Central Provinces was formed into a separate administration under a Chief Commissioner in 1861 uniting also some districts which had lapsed on the death of the Raja of Nagpur in 1854. Nagpur with its fortress in the town centre was made the capital and seat of the Resident of the Central Provinces, and later on only 50 miles from Nagpur Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram in Sevagram was located, a tiny village which became the core of much of the country’s thinking and action in Gandhi’s social revolution.

Bordering the Central Provinces were the native and princely states of Bhopal, Indore and Gwalior with their rulers finally deprived of all their power by Nehru when in 1947 the region passed from British to Indian rule. Later on neither Indira Gandhi had great affection for her country’s maharajahs and nawabs, although four generations of broad-minded begums had made the sultanate of Bhopal, founded by the Afghans, with its early compulsory public education one of the most modern states in all Asia.

In the days of the Central Provinces Jubbulpore was not only the second town after Nagpur but also the name for a district, and from 1851 the city was headquarter for Jabalpur Division with a Municipal Committee established in 1864. The climate of the area is fairly cool, and Jubbulpore was generally considered the most desirable of the plain stations in the Central Provinces. From 1956 to this day Jabalpur has once again become the second city now within the new Hindi speaking state of Madhya Pradesh – India’s largest state, the size of France – with its capital at Bhopal and located in the geographical heart of the country. With its sublime mosques and magnificent palaces Bhopal was nicknamed India’s Baghdad and Bhopal was the promised land for many new industries, including Union Carbide, with its population increasing five times at the end of the 1960s. The worst industrial disaster in history that happened on December 2nd 1984 was in sharp contrast to the festivities lasting for three days when the railway station in Bhopal was inaugurated exactly one hundred years earlier on November 18th 1884 in all its splendours by the begum, the slight woman concealed behind her burkha who ruled over the Muslim sultanate of Bhopal, and the railway they now inaugurated was financed with her very own funds. (1)

Jubbulpore was furnished with a central jail for the town and its district for the Thug and Dacoit convicts who were ravaging the countryside, and in the 1880s the existence of a sect of Thuggee murderers devoted to Kali was discovered. The Thugs were a fraternity who swiftly murdered their victims with a turn of cloth before they rubbed and buried them as a religious act pleasing their Goddess Kali. Later we will see that Rajneesh occasionally gave talks also to the prisoners in the central jail of Jabalpur. As early as 1836 a School of Industry was set up to re-socialize Thugs and their families with a production of good tents and carpets, but it took more than half a century to wipe out their religious practice. A Supreme Court was further established 1889 and also a hospital – from 1933 Victoria Memorial Hospital – and a lunatic asylum was in town as well as museum and library both.

In the industrial expansion of Jabalpur we see the great landowning banker now addressed Raja Gokul Das, who was supported by the British due to his loyalty during the mutiny, becoming a central figure investing his money in cotton spinning and weaving mills. In 1904 the army built a Gun-Carriage Factory near the railway station, in 1940 supplemented by one more ordnance factory, the Bomb & Shell Factory. A significant factory was the Pottery Works of Burn and Company, and limestone and coal from nearby Gadarwara and iron from ores around Sagar and Jabalpur were exported from the Jabalpur District as trade moved increasingly along the improved railway line, and also grain from Jabalpur and Narmada divisions became still more important as an export crop. Thanks to its railway infrastructure Jubbulpore soon became a trading mart for grain, cotton, salt and other produce and its factories, some of them with housing facilities, for pottery works, glass, lac-dye, opium, jute and hemp made the town widely known in Central India.

In spite of all expansion Jabalpur preserved its pattern of being a mega village copying in its larger format the charming features of the smaller villages in the countryside, and even when Osho was staying in the town in the 1950s and 60s unlike cities in the West Jabalpur was not marked by dire side effects of its industrialism and throughout the years it retained its traditional structure of an overgrown village.

With all its expansion Jabalpur reigned supreme at the centre of the region’s railway communications and by 1910 it had become the largest commercial and industrial town in the Central Provinces. But as a whole the province remained agricultural and the majority of its people were still living off the land as they had been doing since the dawn of time.

While Osho spent his childhood in Gadarwara Jabalpur was to a growing extent under the inspiring impact of the Civil Disobedience Movement and when later on he was living in the city the wearing of that most legendary crown in India’s history, the white cap of those who had fought for the nation’s independence, was still a common feature in the dress code of the city. Jabalpur has a long tradition for political activities, but the political centre has always been Nagpur where Gandhi and the assembled 16.000 Congress delegates had passed their historic policy and principle of non-cooperation, Satyagraha, at their landmark meeting on resistance in Nagpur 1920. But it was on the very building of the Jabalpur Municipality the National Flag, the tricolour with the charkha in the centre, had been raised for the first time on Gandhi Day, March 18th 1923, as a provocation to the British rulers. And in the streets of Jabalpur young students were marching singing national and patriotic songs that soon were on the lips of the common masses and making their contribution to the awakening of a new national spirit.

Jabalpur’s cultural and social scene proved to be a literary nursery with many writers, publishers and printers all making a most supporting publishing environment for the first booklets published by Osho in the 1950s. And the events we have seen in the history and development of Jabalpur and its role in India’s liberation were all part of the inhabitants’ common consciousness and thus constituting the mental framework of the first local listeners from Jabalpur when Osho slowly started gathering people around him for talks and discussions at his residence.

2.1 Academic studies in Jabalpur and Sagar

India’s first universities were founded in Bombay, Madras and Calcutta in the mid-19th century. They were followed by Allahabad in 1887 and the upgrading of the old Saugor High School into Jabalpur Government College in 1885. Shortly after its foundation Jabalpur Government College was affiliated with Allahabad University from 1891, and among all the colleges affiliated with Allahabad University Jabalpur was well-known for its good standing in the B.A. examinations. At that time institutions in higher education were of the affiliating type, where both private and government colleges were affiliated to a certain mother university. (2)

Jabalpur Government College was in 1916 named Robertson College, and just before independence this old Robertson College, now renamed Mahakoshal Mahavidyalaya in 1947, was somewhat upgraded but still teaching to B.A. level only. Accordingly Rajneesh had to leave Jabalpur in 1955 and continue the studies for his M.A. at Sagar University. Sagar University had been founded in 1946 and was known for its well-established teaching at undergraduate as well as postgraduate level. This university had in terms of affiliation in the 1950s replaced Allahabad as the mother institution for Jabalpur Government College.

Finally on Gandhi Jayanti Day, October 2nd 1957, Jabalpur University was formally inaugurated by Pandit Govind Vallabh Pant, and already from 1959 a scheme was approved for the establishment of also post-graduate studies and research in the Humanities. This development scheme for Jabalpur University included the founding of a new university library, an institution which proved most beneficial to Rajneesh’s extensive reading during the 1960s. It was at this newborn university Rajneesh was teaching philosophy in the Faculty of Arts from 1958 until he finished his teaching career as an ass. professor in 1966 to devote more time to his traveling and lecturing. (3)

Twenty colleges in the district of Jabalpur were in 1960 affiliated to Jabalpur University with a total of 9.500 students in 1960-61, both males and females, although the first female students in Robertson’s College were not admitted until 1930. This university expansion in mid-20th century took place in the days when Rajneesh was part of it all, and he himself also benefited from the need for enrolment of new lecturers in higher education which now demanded highly qualified, intelligent and devoted persons on the staff. And new institutions were still emerging: Engineering College in 1947, Medical College in 1956, Veterinary College and Home Science College both in 1960 and a second university in Jabalpur Jawahar Lal Nehru Agriculture University was established in 1964-65. The college education gained momentum in Jabalpur these years, and the change in the academic life of the city and the new inhabitants, teachers as well as students, all attached to the upcoming institutions were to provide Acharya Rajneesh with many new listeners to the talks he started giving at his shifting residences in Jabalpur.

When Rajneesh was a student before 1956 the pattern of higher education in Madhya Pradesh remained based on the old system from the pre-independence period, but an reorganization now led to the introduction of the Three Year Degree Course after the student had passed the Higher Secondary Examination from the former High Schools. The college where Rajneesh began his academic studies in Jabalpur was Hitkarini Mahavidyalaya founded by Hitkarini Sabha, the nationalistic Hindi movement devoted to strengthen the Hindi-speaking public and especially the student community as reported by some of Osho’s biographers. (4)

“In 1951, after graduating from high school in Gadarwara at the age of nineteen, Rajneesh went to Jabalpur, where he enrolled at Hitkarini College.” (Joshi 1982, p. 49)

“Graduating from the Gadarwara high school in 1951 and moved to live with cousins in Jabalpur. While his melancholy, withdrawal, and headaches are said to have deepened to the point of appearing life-threatening, he nevertheless enrolled in Hitkarini College.” (Carter 1990, p. 42)

“In 1951 he graduated from high school and went to Hitkarini College in Jabalpur. He was so argumentative and difficult that he was asked to leave. He was admitted to another college, but preferred to stay at home rather than attend classes.” (Storr 1996, p. 49)

Unlike other universities in India set up in the 1870s in Rajkot, Raipur, Ajmer, Lahore and Indore which were all trying to assure a steady supply of loyal followers for the British rulers at a time when the Indian elites in British India educated in the West had become too closely involved in anti-imperialist politics, the universities established in Allahabad and Jabalpur were both serving the educational needs of their students without the underlying agenda of supporting the paramount power. This said, it also indicated that their students as well as students from many other universities in India through their studies acquired not only the knowledge needed to stand up against the British but also risked imprisonment or even deportation to Port Blair on Andaman Islands for their participation in the Indian Liberation Movement prior to Independence in 1947. When students at the Robertson College joined the satyagraha in 1930 the college was closed down and only reopened on the condition that political demonstrations should not be allowed within its premises, and it is most unlikely that the young and political aware Rajneesh living in Gadarwara did not hear about the incidents happening in Jabalpur during the nationwide Bharat Choro (Quit India) movement in 1942 when looting and sabotage with cutting of telegraph and telephone wires were taking place and the crowds had to be dispersed by tear-gas and a curfew ordered.

A number of problems faced the Indian university system in the mid-twentieth century when Osho had his academic career. Many students were unfit for their studies and should have been diverted to other educations as the percentage of failures in university examinations was alarmingly high; many students were deprived of higher education because of poverty; the system was examination-ridden and not really educative with a static curriculum that had not changed according to new societal demands; the student ratio per teacher was high and teachers were kept on a low salary, a feature still to be seen in the low status of educationists in Asia in general.

The founding fathers of India did try to give free India a national language of its own, but the decision to make Hindi in the Devanagiri script the official language of the country within fifteen years after Independence could never be implemented. The adoption of regional languages for instruction at universities instead of English was recommended in 1949, but the proposal aroused heated controversy and only little progress was made in this direction even when Hindi by the central government was made the official language for education in 1965. English still remained the lingua franca of an India with its many regional languages and dialects, although Gandhi and Nehru both were much aware of the danger of confining themselves to a new elitist English-educated class in India with little or no contact with the masses. Nehru himself is said to have spoken Hindi with an English accent.

This may not be fair, but at this place I want to draw the reader’s attention to a publication Modern Godmen in India. A Sociological Appraisal (Mehta 1993). The author has contributed to several of the studies in the series Role of Religion in Indian Society on senior fellowships awarded to him by ICSSR. This fact is in no way a guarantee of scientific method and the quality of the publication as we will see. “From 1944 to 1951, he studied in Jabalpur and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree.” (Mehta 1993, p. 82). Not so. At that time he was still enrolled in Middle School and Higher Secondary School in Gadarwara. “As an assistant professor at an obscure university from 1960-1966, he had drawn crowds in cities across India by attacking Gandhi, socialism, and orthodox Hinduism.” (Mehta 1993, p. 152). The ‘obscure’ university was, as we have seen above, Jabalpur University on which my own studies have revealed nothing coming close to obscurity. On his method Mehta claims that one of the reasons why ISKCON and Rajneesh were chosen for investigation was the numerous studies conducted particularly by Western scholars. And still his study is based on four secondary sources only: Rajneesh. The Mystic of Feeling (Prasad 1978), The Golden Guru (Gordon 1987), Cities on a Hill (Fitzgerald 1986) and Bhagwan Rajneesh – The God that Failed (Milne 1987). To put it mildly, the study is biased and thoroughly incorrect and may be a general warning against Indian and Western so called academic studies which in fact is revealing the limitations of the author’s perspective and his lack of skills in information retrieval. Accordingly, when reading any biography or study on Osho we have to be aware of interest and bias of those authors and publishers behind the publication. Otherwise we’ll end up in a state of total confusion, as indicated several times in this essay.

Settling in Jabalpur

Early on from mid-1800 Sagar and Narmada territories had formed an education circle with responsibility for the founding of village schools centred round the town of Sagar. Schools were gradually built to manage also secondary and tertiary education and the number of students began to grow. By 1911 the Narmada valley division had the highest number of literates in the province, at 10 % of the population, and Jabalpur the highest number of male literates in the Central Provinces. (5)

Jabalpur is only 80 miles from Gadarwara on the main road or by train, so Rajneesh was to remain in close contact with his family, the journey being no more than two hours by train. But still his farewell with Nani when he was leaving Gadarwara was a very intimate and heartbreaking affair as mentioned before in the section on his days in Gadarwara. Osho says:

“When I passed my matriculation exams, my whole family was in a great turmoil, because they all wanted me to be a scientist, somebody wanted me to be an engineer – because in India these are respectable jobs, paying jobs. You become rich, you become well known, you are honoured. But I said, “I am going to study philosophy.” They all said, “This is nonsense! No man of sense will go and study philosophy. What will you do after that? Six years wasted in the university studying things that are of no use. They don’t have any value, you will not even get a small service, a small job.” And they were right.” (Sarito 2000, p. 50)

“Without her [Nani] I may have been a shopkeeper or perhaps a doctor or an engineer, because when I passed my matriculation my father was so poor, it was difficult for him to send me to university. But he was even ready to borrow money in order to do it. He was utterly insistent that I go to university. I was willing, but not to go to medical college, and I was not willing to go to engineering college either. I flatly refused to be a doctor or an engineer. I told him: “If you want to know the truth, I want to be a sannyasin, a hobo.” (Sarito 2000, p. 23)

After the row with his father on his choice of career, Rajneesh instantly left by train for Jabalpur where first he was to stay in the house of one of his aunts, as his father had two sisters living there. Babu Lal had followed him to his new residence from Gadarwara, and was relieved to see that Rajneesh had arrived safely at his destination. Still at dinner he once more questioned Rajneesh’s choice of becoming a graduate in humanities and fine arts and not in science, but understanding that in no way he could prevail on him to reconsider his choice of career, he left shortly after dinner. Even some money he wanted to offer for his studies was turned down as Rajneesh wanted to be self-dependent without financial help from anybody. Anyway, Rajneeesh didn’t stay for long in his aunt’s house as the behaviour of his uncle, his aunt’s husband, was not supportive, especially after Rajneesh had an argument with the uncle’s visiting guru, Hari Baba. Osho says:

“I know that no house is ever going to be mine…From my Nani’s house I moved to my father’s sister’s house. The husband, I mean my father’s brother-in-law, was not very willing…Not only unwilling, but stubbornly unwilling, because who would accept a troublemaker unnecessarily? They were childless…had a beautiful bungalow, with more room than for just one couple. It was big enough to have many people in it. But they were rich people, they could afford it. It was not a problem for them to just give me a small room, although the husband was, without saying a word, unwilling. I refused to move in.
I stood outside their house with my small suitcase, and told my father’s sister that,…”I cannot enter unless I am convinced that he will be happy to have me. And I cannot promise that I will not be a trouble to you. It is against my nature to not be in trouble. I am just helpless.”
The husband was hidden behind a curtain, listening to everything. He understood one thing at least, that the boy was worth trying…
I lived in that house, and naturally from the very beginning, a conflict, a subtle current arose between me and the husband, and it continued to grow…The first, of course, was his guru. The moment he entered the house I told my father’s sister, “This man is the worst I have ever seen.”…My uncle’s guru, Hari Baba, was thought to be a saint…The conflict started and continued.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 356

Being asked whether Osho broke with his family when he left for Jabalpur his father Babu Lal tells us: “No, when he attended university he would always come to see us. He was deeply attached to his family, and never expressed any desire to separate from us; even when he got his doctorate and began teaching in faraway places, he would regularly embark on a long journey just to spend some days with all his family. He showed us the same respectful and loving attitude that he had in his childhood. Every summer he would come to spend his holidays in his native village, and they were always beautiful meetings.” (6)

According to Rajneesh it looks that during his later studies for his M.A. in Sagar he was economically supported by the very founder of Sagar University, Dr. Harisingh Gaur:

“When I was a student at the university, I used to receive two hundred rupees per month from someone, I knew not who. I had tried every way to find out who the person was. On the first day of every month, the money order was there but there was no name, no address. Only when the person died…and he was no other than the founder of the university in which I was a student.” The Messiah, vol.1 #10.

In Glimpses of a Golden Childhood it appears that also Rajneesh’s own guru Masto Baba had been supporting him with money during his studies in Jabalpur, to a level even with three cars, bungalows and acres of land. This may have been some overstatement as most of these facilities were put at his disposal and borrowed from his friends in Jabalpur. Following the publication of some of Osho’s early books in the mid-sixties the Parikh couple, next to their useful gifts to Rajneesh already in 1960, now presented him with a new Herald car to help him save time and add some comfort to him in his mission. “A black car was presented to him by an Indian lady: Madan Kunwar. Kranti Beej is to her.” (7)

“And he certainly introduced me to many people who have always remained anonymous; but whenever I needed money, the money arrived. When I was at Jabalpur, where I was at the university and stayed more than nine years, the money was continuously coming. People wondered, because my salary was not very much. They could not believe how I could use such a beautiful car, a beautiful bungalow, a vast garden, acres of green. And the day somebody asked how such a beautiful car…that day, two more arrived. There were three cars then and nowhere to keep them.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 318

The graceful walking style of Rajneesh was to be recognized also in his way of driving his car in Jabalpur in the 1960s, and this gentle and slow driving could later be observed by his followers during the daily 2 o’clock drive-by at the Ranch in Oregon in the early 1980s. And it may be added that Swami Chinmaya, his secretary in Bombay, kept to this way of driving throughout his whole life, so when touring the hilly surroundings of his later ashram in Bagheswar his driver never went faster than 30 km/hour. From Jabalpur Ageh Bharti remembers Rajneesh’s way of driving his car: “His walking style was known to everyone. He walked so gently and gracefully as if He strolled on a bed of roses. In the same way, He drove the car, as if it unmoved on the road but just slipped out. We sat at the rear of the car and felt elated. Great luck! Bhagwan drove and devotees sat watching! These were very ecstatic moments.” (Bharti 2007, p. 175)

According to his own words Rajneesh changed his house in Jabalpur several times and for various reasons. Some places he could not sleep at night because of the noisy atmosphere, other places he found the air stifling and he lacked some fresh air during the night:

“In Jabalpur I changed houses so many times that everybody wondered if it was my hobby changing houses. I said, “Yes it helps you to become acquainted with so many people in different localities and I love to be acquainted.” They said, “It is a strange hobby, and very difficult too. Only twenty days have passed and you are moving again.” (Urmila 2007, p. 106)

Following the short stay with his aunt and her husband Rajneesh was living in a very small house outside Jabalpur city, and as the house was said to be haunted by ghosts he was staying there for free. He had now started as a subeditor at the newspaper Nav-Bharat and with the help of the staff at the paper he had taken the room on rent. And in that isolated house – with the beautiful Satpura Mountains in the horizon –  he was to live for some time during his academic studies in the 1950s. This house had three rooms and two of the rooms were finally occupied by a newly married couple. But as the walls of the house were very thin and Rajneesh had to listen to the couple’s love making dialogues all night through, he is said one night to have knocked on their door and in a mild voice asking the couple to lower their talking a bit to let him have a chance to get some sleep himself. In the morning the owner of the house told Rajneesh to leave the house. We do find some inconsistency in the timing and location of this early residency outside Jabalpur as Osho has never disclosed the locality, but we do know that he took his food in a nearby restaurant Sharma Bhojnalaya. (8)

“From this house [his aunt’s] I moved to a university hostel, then to a small house when I went into service. But the house was small…I could even hear what they were saying in their bed…The wall is so thin…
And do you know that even today I have to sleep with ear plugs. Those earplugs started after that night. It was long ago – it must have been somewhere in 1958, or perhaps the end of 1957, but somewhere around there. I started using earplugs just so as not to hear what was not meant for me. It had cost me a house, but I left immediately.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 361

Following this event for a brief period he took a small house on rent at Madan Mahal Road on the Eastern outskirts of the city towards Deotal – near the later Osho Amritdham Neo Sannyas Ashram of Sw. Anand Vijay – and there he also purchased a second-hand old bicycle to take him around in the city. After this house on Madan Mahal Road Rajneesh had shifted to his cousin Arvind Kumar’s house in Jabalpur where he stayed together also with Kranti Didi. Kranti was the cousin sister of Rajneesh, the daughter of one of his father’s sisters, and here he stayed with his family while passing his B.A. examination in 1955. (9)

Arvind Kumar Jain, Osho’s cousin, has narrated to Gyan Bhed on their staying together in Jabalpur and also Osho has commented on their relationship: “Rajneesh came at Jabalpur in 1951, and at that time his age was only 20 years. He had taken admission in Hitkarini Mahavidyalaya from where he had passed his Intermediate Exam. At that time he used to live with me and our house was near Plaza Talkies. He used to wash his clothes himself and used to press them also. He was fond of eating a namkeen-Mixture called Ushal Misha from the famous shop of Ram Bharoose Halwai. He was also fond of seeing films. He was a member of three libraries and also used to purchase old books from Gurandi market (where stolen books were sold). He used to spin yarn on charkha, and after selling yarn he used to purchase Khadi for his dress. He used to go to Bhanvar Tal Park daily, where later on he was enlightened.” (10)

Osho says: “I was working with one of my cousin-brothers. He was a very talented boy; he is now a professor in a university. But he is very cowardly. So whatever he clings to, it is very difficult to persuade him to drop it if something better is available – because what he is clinging to is safe, he knows it. He was from a very poor family. His mother died and his father married again, and the woman started torturing the boy. So I told the boy to come and live with me so he lived with me. He was studying and he was also working part-time in an office…
The boy was getting only seventy rupees per month from the office, and the principal was ready to give two hundred rupees for the same time – and almost no job, just being a librarian. And I said to him, “It will be good, you can read while there is nobody disturbing you, and you can become acquainted with the great literature; it will all be available to you. And you remain in the college. You can study, you can work there.” The Transmission of the Lamp #20

Arvind Kumar refused to leave his job at the office even after Rajneesh tried to hypnotize him on the matter, but in the years to come he turned out to be a most helpful secretary to Acharya Rajneesh during their time in Jabalpur, and throughout his time with Rajneesh he was devoted to preserve the many items he was managing during his function as a secretary: Manuscripts, records and other personal possessions. Osho’s book collecting and lecturing in his residences from 1961 in Napier Town and Kamla Nehru Nagar will be described in the following parts of this essay. (11)

Activities and Pleasures

So Osho went to college in Jabalpur, or rather, he went to several colleges as he had to change college according to the cultural atmosphere and tolerance among his teachers. He first took admission in Hitkarini Mahavidyalaya, the former Robertson College, and at the same time he secured his financial situation with the editorial job at Nav-Bharat. On his very first day at college he was summoned to the principal’s office, mainly due to his wearing his button less long kurta and dhoti with wooden sandals instead of shoes, and also because of his preference for being bare headed instead of wearing the almost compulsory Gandhi cap. Having exchanged their views on the issue of dress code the principal admitted to put an end to the tradition of wearing Gandhi caps at the college. Sukraj Bharti and Osho remember the events leading to his premature dismissal from the college due to his challenging style when arguing with his professors.

“Then for college in Jabalpur, where he changed college, as he was not allowed to ask questions.” (12)

“The first college I entered, I wanted to learn logic. And the old professor, with many honorary degrees, with many books published in his name, started talking about the father of Western logic, Aristotle.” (Urlila 2007, p. 112)

So from 1951 Rajneesh was first a student at The Faculty of Art at Hitkarini Mahavidyalaya, but following some heated discussions with his professor in psychology Dr. S.N.L. Srivastava, who even threatened to resign as we will see, Rajneesh after eight months moved on to Indian College, where he was accepted on the explicit condition that he was not allowed to attend any classes in philosophy or psychology. Here he continued his intensive reading as fortunately enough he had been allowed only to use the library, and he was reading on his own continuing his close affinity from Gadarwara for reading in libraries and also charging out books to be read elsewhere in a natural setting. Not the reading of textbooks for the courses at college, but he was reading a much wider field of subjects. “He was here on his own reading, reading, reading. Not textbooks, but a broad range of subjects.” (13)

Unfortunately the colleges and universities where he studied in Jabalpur did not differ much from the schools he had attended in Gadarwara. The knowledge he was supposed to acquire at this academic level was lectured and read by professors who were only reciting and repeating the facts they had picked up during their own studies years ago, and it was not part of their understanding that they had to follow up on newly published books and the recent developments within psychology and philosophy.

“I could never manage to fit anywhere. As a student I was a nuisance. Every professor who taught me looked on me as a punishment that God had sent for him…I could not fit in with anything. Whatsoever they taught me was so mediocre that I had to fight against it. I had to tell them, “This is very mediocre….” Now, you can imagine saying this to a professor who had been hoping that you would appreciate his lecture – which he has been preparing for days – and at the end of it a student stands up…And I was a strange student, to say the least.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood 1990, p.244

His compulsory courses in logic did not exceed essentially from what he had already learned during his schooldays in Gadarwara, and his confronting style of debating with its cutting points was a constant disturbance to his first lecturer, the professor of logic and Ph.D Dr. Srivastava, as already mentioned. Their encounters have been narrated by Osho in two somewhat differing versions where he is throwing some light on the events that left him almost an outcast in the academic world of Jabalpur.

“It was a constant problem for me in my university. I have been expelled from many colleges and many universities. For the simple reason that I knew more than the professor. I was reading so much, and the professor had stopped reading thirty years before when he passed his Ph.D. and became a professor. He was finished. But in these thirty years so much had grown. These past thirty years man has grown in every dimension of knowledge, more than he has been able to in three thousand years.
So when I entered the philosophical class, my professor had no idea of Jean-Paul Sartre, no idea of Jaspers, Martin Heidegger, Soeren Kierkegaard. Those names were not part of his education, because when he was studying these people were not in existence. They were not part of the curriculum. And what he remembered was Bosanquet, Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach. Now they are all outdated. They have been replaced by better minds, far more intelligent. I knew all about Kant and Hegel and Bosanquet, but I knew much more about Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russel, Sartre, Marcel. They had no idea of these people.
It was a strange situation, because on every point they were feeling defeated. I was expelled just for the simple reason that the professors complained continuously against me, that I am a disturbance, that I don’t allow them to move a single inch without days of argument. “And when are we going to finish the course? This boy seems not to be interested in the course and he brings such names which we have never heard, and it is very awkward in front of the other students to feel that you know nothing about the latest developments in philosophy.”
My principals would call me and they would say, “We know perfectly well that you are not wrong. You are not being expelled for doing anything wrong. I feel sad and sorry for you, and I want you to forgive me, but we cannot loose the professor. He is our old, well-reputed professor, and he has threatened that either you will be in the university or he will be. He’s given his resignation.” They showed me his resignation. It said, “Either you expel that boy or accept the resignation.” (Urmila 2007, p. 110)

Osho’s answer to the professor’s ultimatum presented to the principal gave the whole matter a certain twist:

“I said, “It is better you expel me, because what I am doing here I will do somewhere else. But your college, your university will miss a well-reputed professor. And I don’t want him in his old age to find another job somewhere else; no, that is not for me to do. That is ugly. You call the professor, give him his resignation back, and tell him that I am being expelled.”
I have seen tears in my principal’s, in my vice-chancellor’s eyes, that they are expelling somebody who has done no wrong. And I said to them, “You need not feel sorry about it. I have not done anything wrong, but I have done something far more dangerous, and that is make the professor feel embarrassed continuously every day.”
Now these professors could have bridged the gap. They could have simply said, “Perhaps
you are right and we are wrong; but the reason is that we studied thirty years ago, and we don’t know anything about what has happened within these years. Wittgenstein – the name we have heard for the first time from you. So naturally we cannot argue.”
Just this much was needed, and they would have gained my respect that they are capable men who can accept even ignorance. They are humble people who can say clearly, “I don’t know, so you please don’t bring these thirty years in. What I know I can discuss with you with full confidence, but you bring people’s names, theories, ideas of which we know nothing. But just to pretend that we know we argue with you, and naturally we are defeated because we are not really aware of what you are saying and we don’t understand the implications of it.” (Urmila 2007, p. 110)

As an expelled and unwanted student he had to ring the bells of the principals from the various colleges in Jabalpur to track down if there was any chance of admission anywhere for him in Jabalpur.

“In college, I even had an agreement with the principal, B.S. Audholia. He was a beautiful man. He was the principal of a college in Jabalpur, in the very centre of India. Jabalpur has many colleges, and his was one of the most prominent.
I had been expelled from one college because a professor was not prepared to remain in service if I was not expelled. That was his condition – and he was a respected professor…
The principal…had to give me an explanation, so he called me…
I said, “You call me here and you are asking me what do I have to say? I say that you should expel this other fellow, Doctor S.N.L. Shrivastava. He is just stupid, even with his Ph.D. and D.Litt. – which makes it worse. I did not harm him, I simply asked questions which were completely legitimate. He teaches us logic, and if I am not allowed to use logic in his class, where am I to be logical?”…
He [Shrivastava] finally wrote a letter to the principal, saying, “This cannot go on any longer,” and he wrote, “I don’t want to face that boy. Either you expel him or you must relieve me of my duty.”
The principal showed me the letter. I said, “Now it is okay. He is not capable of even encountering me in your presence, just once, so that you see who is logical…Please expel me right now, and give it to me in writing that I am expelled.”
He looked at me and said, “If I expel you it may be difficult for you to get admission in any other college.”
I said, “That is my problem. I am a misfit – I have to face these things.”
It was after this had happened that I knocked on all the doors of all the principals in the city – it is a city of colleges – and all of them said, “If you were expelled then we cannot take the risk. We have heard the rumours that you have been arguing continuously for eight months with Doctor Shrivastava, and that you did not allow him to teach at all.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 246

Rajneesh’s reputation as a troublemaker was known in all academic circles of Jabalpur and all colleges were more than reluctant to admit him as a student. But finally the principal of D.N. College of Jabalpur (Indian College) gave way and made it clear that he was willing to accept Rajneesh on certain conditions.

“The principal was a good man. He said, “I will not expel you, because I don’t see that you have done anything wrong. But I cannot afford to lose the professor either, so I will make arrangements for you in another college.”
But the rumour about me had spread in all the colleges. The city I was in had almost twenty colleges and finally it became a very prestigious university just by combining those twenty colleges. He sent me to another principal with a letter of recommendation, but he must have phoned him to say, “Don’t believe in the letter of recommendation. I had to write it because I have to get rid of that student. He is not wrong, but he is absolutely individualistic and that is going to create trouble.”
I went to see the other principal, and he was waiting. He said, “I can admit you only on one condition: that you will never attend the college.”
I said, “Then what is going to happen when it is time for my examination?”
He said, “I will give you the necessary percentage for being present in the college, but this is a secret pact between me and you.”
I said, “It is perfectly good – anyway your professors are out of date. But can I enter the library?”
He said, “The library is perfectly okay, but never attend any class because I don’t want to hear from any professor the complaint that you are creating trouble.”
And I have never created any trouble! I was simply asking questions which…if they were really gentlemen they would have said, “I will find out. For the time being, I don’t know.”
But this is the most difficult thing in the world to say, “I don’t know.” (Urmila 2007, p. 113)

Dr. Dasgupta, a Bengali who among his colleagues was considered a madman, was another of Rajneesh’s professors. Once he was visited in his house by Rajneesh who felt an urge to connect with this other misfit fellow being. During their conversation he told Rajneesh that he didn’t need to stay in the students’ hostel, as there was enough room at his house for both of them.  Rajneesh also offered to join his class as the only one, and come to his house for the lecture instead of him having to go to the university far away for no obvious reason:

“One of my professors was the strangest man I ever came across in the university world. For years not a single student enrolled in his class, the simple reason being that he would always start his lectures on time, but nobody ever knew when he was going to end…
He was really respectful. Without joking he said, “In this university nobody has turned up for my classes for three years. In fact, I have stopped going myself. What is the point? I deliver my lectures in this room, exactly where you are sitting…
Just one thing, forgive me, but although I can start my lecture on time – if it is eleven, I can start at eleven – I cannot guarantee that I can finish when the bell rings forty minutes later.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 345

So these glimpses may give us some understanding of the organizational culture at the colleges Osho frequented in Jabalpur. And still, what we may call his independent academic studies continued with his comprehensive reading into a wide range of subjects, and his interest in esoteric phenomena was growing in those days up to his enlightenment in 1953.

Among the treasures preserved by Nikalank are Rajneesh’s three diaries or notebooks from his student days in Jabalpur. Nikalank tells us, that while studying before enlightenment Osho used to write poems in Hindi in those notebooks. Next to writings in Hindi also English is used in those diaries, and all texts are, not surprising to us any more, written diagonally across the lines of the notebooks. Rajneesh’s writings in Hindi on chakras, samadhi etc. are documented in these notebooks. (14)

Next to silence the listening to music was one of his favourite leisure activities, and later on at Sagar University he is said to have entertained himself by playing gramophone records which he later brought with him to Jabalpur continuing his evening habit of listening to classical Indian as well as Western music (See Appendix).

“When Rajneesh was a student at Sagar University, he used to hear the music of gramophone records in his room at the hostel. He had a very old type of hand driven gramophone and after taking his dinner he used to hear the old records of Thakyr Onkar Nath, Sehgal, K.C. Dey, Noor Jahan, Pankaj Malik and also listening to music records of flute, sitar and veena.” (15)

Fig. 1. A sketch drawn by Osho in 1952.

Fig. 1. A sketch drawn by Osho in 1952. Retouched.

His choice of music was quite a challenge to his fellow students more interested in love songs from the movies, and they made a complaint to the superintendent of the hostel of his playing the classical Indian music. Refusing to obey the order and stop his record playing, the case was forwarded to the vice-chancellor who, intrigued by Rajneesh’s understanding of the virtues of classical music, soon overruled the superintendent’s decision. Rajneesh said to him,

“The music has two dimensions. One is vertical and the other is horizontal. In the horizontal dimension of music we hear only words and around each word there persists its emotions. But between the interval of two words, where there is a depth, the words loose their meaning. Ordinarily the mind and the general people want to hear the new songs and new music because they want curiosity and excitement at each moment. But such type of music does not reach to the heart and soul. It does not vibrate your beings. And the classical or semi classical music which I used to hear for years, after hearing it, my consciousness floats just like the current of a river. It opens the door to my heart and refreshes me…East has known the secrets of music long ago and for this very reason the music was introduced in temples. Kabir, Nanak, Surdas, Meera and many other saints used to sing devotional songs playing their music instruments. Music has magical qualities. It can melt the stones, a roaring lion can be peaceful by hearing it, music can create clouds and rain which is Malhar Rag, and unlit lamps can be burned by Deepak Rag.” (16)

Not only indoor activities were kind to him, but we hear him speak repeatedly about the pleasures of walking and absorbing the natural scenery:

“There was a hill station in the state where I was a professor for many years, and on that hill station was a resthouse far away deep in the hills, absolutely lonely. For miles there was nobody…even the servant who used to take care of the resthouse used to leave by the evening for his own home. I used to go to that resthouse whenever I could find time and sometimes it used to rain just like this…and I was alone in that resthouse and for miles there was nobody. Just the music of rain, just the dance of the trees…I have never forgotten the beauty of it. Whenever it rains I again remember it. It has left such a beautiful impact.” The Great Pilgrimage #27

Although Osho was immersed in reading most of the time, be it day or late evening, he later happened to use the various social and cultural offers in Jabalpur for the dissimination of his message. Next to his studies and later lecturing in Jabalpur a number of social clubs were active, and we will see that he gave some of his first talks in these settings: Narvada Club, Jabalpur Club, Lion’s Club, Gujarati Club, Rotary Club and Parsi Club – Persian had been introduced as the official government language by the Moghuls – only to name a few.

For the lovers of Bollywood movies more than ten cinemas were at hand in those days, called Talkies to distinguish them from the shows with silent movies touring the villages in the countryside. Some of these Talkies were Empire Theatre, Mahavir Talkies and Laxmi Talkies. Since he was a teenager Rajneesh had been befriended with cinemas and Hindi movies, and also in Jabalpur he used to watch movies as narrated by Arvind Kumar Jain and documented in The Mind of Acharya Rajneesh:

“I have returned from a movie show. It is surprising to see how far these pictures fascinate people, the pictures cast on the screen by means of electricity. Events take place when actually there are no events. I looked at the people at the show. It appeared to me that they had forgotten themselves, as if they did not exist: only the series of pictures electrically produced were all.” Seeds of Revolutionary Thought #79; The Mind of Acharya Rajneesh (1974), p. 256

During his stay in Oregon in the early 1980s when his reading had come to an end due to the condition of his eyesight the watching of movies now on his video player was revived as one of his past time pleasures, and the Ten Commandments is said to have been among his favourite movies at that time.

He was in Jabalpur concerned with his physical health following his daily diet and taking care of his body without ending up in ascetic extremes:

“There are people who are always after their body. The physical body is all for them. This is an extreme. Then as a result of severe reaction another extreme crops up. Both the extremes spring up from the body. The body is neither to be fondled and made much of, nor to be broken and shattered. It is a fully stored-up dwelling. It is essential to keep it healthy and clean.
Spiritual life is not antagonistic to healthy normal life. It is perfect health. It is synonymous with a situation full of melody and beauty, cadence and concordance. Suppression of the body is not spiritualism; it is hedonism in disguise.” Seeds of Revolutionary Thought #92

His dentist Devageet has narrated his impression of Osho’s teeth in the late 1980s as clues to his general health:

“Most adult show a reduction in the size of the dental nerves as they become worn with age. However, despite heavy attrition, due to his youthful experiments with diet and food, when he had restricted his diet to grains and beans, cooked and uncooked, Osho’s teeth showed remarkably large and vital nerves. They were comparable to those of a young child, while the outer enamel and dentine showed the excessive wear and tear of an old adult. It was a dental paradox.” (Devageet 2013, p. 168)

His weight was reduced or increased by regulating his food intake, and its quantity and his understanding of keeping his body physical fit also made him practice various kinds of sporting:

“In Jabalpur, for several months it was observed that Osho sipped Mozambique’s juice. Then for few months, He took tea instead of juice. Sometimes for five to six months, He drank soda. For another few months, he survived on porridge. Sometimes for months, He ate chapatti made of wheat and grain flour and sometimes devoured tasty food.” (Bharti 2007, p. 65)

“I remembered that I used to play volleyball when I was a student.” (Sarito 2000, p. 105)

“For ten years I used to run eight miles every morning and eight miles every evening – from 1947 to 1957. It was a regular thing. And I came to experience many, many things through running.” Zen: The Path of Paradox, vol.1 #7.

These were the years after Osho’s enlightenment in 1953 where he built up his body to reach its physical climax in a powerful stage of guna as seen on contemporary photos, and never again he was to see his body more healthy than in the early 1960s. For a thorough description of his experiment with the three gunas see The Awakened One (Joshi 1982, p. 69) who concludes “He remained in the fiery rajas throughout the following years until he began to manifest the cool sattva guna and finally settled down in Poona in 1974.” During the energy spent in Poona One he was to become still more fragile and his stay in Rajneeshpuram and subsequent life threatening events in several US prisons left his body in a condition far from the powerful physical appearance he exposed in Jabalpur and Bombay. But still during Poona One his appearance was praised:

“None but a heavenly teacher has a body such as his, golden colou’d, gloriously resplendent. Born in the world, he is the most eminent of men; his eyes clear and expanding, the lashes both above and below moving with the lid, the iris of the eye of a clear blue colour, in shape like the moon when half full, endowed with such characteristics as these, without contradiction, he foreshadows the most excellent condition of perfect wisdom.” (Prasad 1978, note on book jacket)

From the late 1960s when Osho visited Bombay, Laherubhai recalls a few incidents where his guest revealed some thumb rules for staying healthy: “I said to him, “This time you have to come to my house. My flat is on the 5th floor and there is no lift in the building.” He said, “Okay, No problem.” Then we came to Bhagwan Bhawan, Mashid Bunder. While climbing the stairs, he said to me that if we keep exhaling through the nose as much as we can at the time of climbing any heights then we do not get tired…Sometimes I used to take him for a walk at Mumbai’s Nariman Point seashore. Sometimes we use to go to have ice cream and shopping for clothes of his choice…Once Osho had said to me, “If we feel very tired at any time then first we should wet our body with hot water, then rub the whole body with grounded salt and take bath after ten minutes. If we do this, we will not feel tired and the body will become light like a flower.” (Laheru 2012, p. 30)

“People used to say to me, “Your body is like a marble statue.” It was. My weight was one hundred and ninety pounds, and it was not fatness – I have never been fat. It was immensely solid, like a rock. I was never sick, I was unaware what it means to be sick. But as my body went on deteriorating, I became aware what headache is, what migraine is, what stomach upset is, what finally became my diabetes and my asthma. Now I am only one hundred and thirty-one pounds, down from one hundred and ninety.” From the False to the Truth (Talks in America) #24; (Sarito 2000, p. 102)

Osho took the chance of composing his own independent schedule of which lectures to attend in his studies, and he allowed himself to pick up knowledge on other subjects supplementing the study of his principal subjects. Occasionally he took science classes in an attempt to broaden his understanding of the whole range of sciences and their interrelationship. But never did Osho attend any classes on the art of poetry as he wanted to keep his interest in poetry alive and not risk having it destroyed by dull professors lacking any sense of poetic dimensions.

“Universities destroy people’s interest and love for poetry. They destroy your whole idea of how a life should be; they make it more and more a commodity. They teach you how to earn more, but they don’t teach you how to live deeply, how to live totally – and these are where you can get glimpses. These are where small doors and windows open into the ultimate. You are told the value of being a prime minister or a president but not the value of being a poet, a painter, a singer, a dancer. Those things are thought to be for crazy people. From Darkness to Light, #6; (Sarito 2000, p. 85)

“In my vision it is a triangle – science, religion, art. And they are such different dimensions – they speak different languages, they contradict each other; they are not in agreement superficially, unless you have a deep insight in which they can meld and become one. My effort has been to do almost the impossible.
In my university days as a student, my professors were at a loss. I was a student of philosophy, and I was attending science classes – physics, chemistry, and biology. Those professors were feeling very strange: “You are here in the university to study philosophy. Why are you wasting your time with chemistry?” I said, “I have nothing to do with chemistry; I just want to have a clear insight into what chemistry has done, what physics has done. I don’t want to go into details, I just want the essential contribution.” Transmission of the Lamp #37; (Sarito 2000, p. 104)

Due to disciplinary and argumentative reasoning we know that much of his time had to be spent outside auditoriums and classrooms. The time he gradually devoted on daily meditation was considerable, and he often went to the hills of Devtalgarha with the main temple Vallabhacharya surrounded by no less than 108 Shiva temples. Earlier tantric temples in the area had all been destroyed, but still Rajneesh found the setting supportive for his meditations and exercises. There were caves where he would stay all night, meditating in the darkness under the starlit sky. Methods deriving from Zen, Sufi gurus and Gurdjieff were practised, not to mention his contemplations on enlightened persons like Patanjali, Ashtavakra, Mahavir, Buddha and Guru Gorakh. He was expanding his understanding of phenomena like the void beyond the bodymind, the path to enlightenment and the multiple difficulties on any chosen path. The methods developed by Kabir, Nanak and Ramakrishna were seen as more effective as they were not austere, but more soft and life confirming.

His old master Masto Baba is said to have met him one night in the hills of Devtal. He was playing his veena (string instrument) and singing alternating with their sitting in silence and some mysterious waves may have been transmitted between them at this occasion. Before leaving Masto Baba succeeded in putting some money in Rajneesh’s pocket and told him that he would be back. (Bhed 2006, p. 111)

Sometimes Rajneesh used to enter the Bhanvar Tal Garden at night to lie down under some tree and practice being a witness to whatever was happening around him, be it on the earth or in the dark sky.

During the years when he was studying in Jabalpur, Rajneesh used to go to the temples of Khajuraho almost every Sunday. From his Nani he had picked up the secrets of tantra, and he had read the old and rare books she had presented to him from her father’s heritage after his death. She was herself illiterate, but from her tantric father she had picked up a lot of tantric understanding, and Rajneesh had during his adolescence intensively studied the tantric classics like Shiva Swarodak, Shiva Sutra and Vigyan Bhairav Tantra.

According to legend, secret tantric sutras had been passed on by Shiva to his consort Parvati. The sensual idols sculptured on the outside walls of the preserved temples at Khajuraho are still documenting the philosophy of Tantra Vigyan, and that to an extend which made Gandhi wanting it all to be torn down to hide them from people’s eyes had not Rabindranath Tagore prevented him from doing so, saying: “This is absolutely stupid. They are not pornographic, they are utterly beautiful.” (Sarito 2000, p. 203). These temples, now on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Monuments, were a source of constant inspiration for Rajneesh during his time in Jabalpur, providing him with sensual insights and counterbalancing the dry world of knowledge that was his daily routine at university.

Leading fanatics and moralists of the Hindu religion have repeatedly been killing the followers of tantric practises, and their temples depicting sexual scenes have been destroyed all over India as later generations were offended by these truthful presentations of sex as another way to salvation. It was long ago the tantrics had left Northern India to seek refuge in Bengal, Assam, Tibet and Nepal. Only the remoteness of the Khajuraho temples hidden in the dense forests of this Indian heartland has saved them from also Muslim iconoclasm and destruction.

In the early 1950s the Indian mystic Masto Baba journeyed with Rajneesh and out of his vast network of people introduced him to the first primeminister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and his young daughter Indira. She was later much interested in Osho and she is said to have had one of his books on her bedside table when in October 1984 she was assassinated by her Shikh bodyguards, following her attack on The Golden Temple in Amritsar. Masto Baba and the young Rajneesh were on the first day having an unscheduled meeting with Nehru for ninety minutes leaving the later Prime Minister Morarji Desai waiting in the secretary’s front office for his own appointment to happen. Osho has recalled that from that time on Morarji became his enemy causing quite some trouble when in the 1970s a growing Poona ashram tried to find an alternative location for its activities. Back in the 1950s the three of them are said to have met over three days in Nehru’s house Trimurti, which was later turned into a museum, talking of poetry, the poetic experience, meditation and what not. Finally Nehru gave Masta Baba the address and phone number of Ghanshyam Das Birla, one of the richest men in India, in case he could be of any help to Rajneesh.

Outside Jabalpur The Marble Rocks with a number of famous places are strewed along the Narmada River, most notable Bhera Ghat from where boating under the white moonlit marble hills along the river can be enjoyed. Here after the Dhuan Dhar falls (literally: falls of smoke) the Narmada River winds its course and meanders through the tortuous gorge made by more than 100 feet high rocks of off-white marble cut with ores of soft soapstone used for local handicraft in the area. All these places are for decades well known to many Indian tourists for their scenic beauty, and they may have introduced Osho to his lifelong fascination and inclination for the use of marble in his residence and meditation halls. Over the years he gained a deep insight in the properties of this material, and we may leave the possibility open that his studies in various sciences, including chemistry, have developed in him an understanding of the similarities between the chemical and molecular components of marble and human skeleton bones. Again and again the qualities of marble were to be praised in his future discourses:

“I lived in India in a place, Jabalpur, for at least twenty years. Just thirteen miles outside Jabalpur is one of the most beautiful spots – perhaps the most beautiful in the whole world, something that seems to be not of this world. A great river, Narmada, flows between two mountains there. The mountains are not ordinary mountains, they are marble mountains. Just think of a white, marble mountain…for two miles on both sides, two marble mountains. The river flows in between, and in the full moon night the mountains are reflected…
On a full moon night I took him [Dr. Saxena] there…As we went deeper, the place became just something other-worldly, almost a dreamland. He said to me – he is a very logical man – he said, “Take the boat close to the rocks. I want to touch them and see whether they are there, or I am hallucinating, or you have given me some drug.”
I had to take the boat close to the mountains. He touched them, he kissed them, and he said, “You need not go around the world to find the most beautiful place. This is it.”” From the False to the Truth #7

Returning to Jabalpur from their journey to Delhi, Rajneesh took Masto Baba to these places along the Narmarda River where he used to spend every full-moon day and night. In these surroundings Masto Baba revealed to Rajneesh that during their stay in Delhi Nehru had mentioned to Masto Baba that he compared Rajneesh first to Gandhi and later he recognized him to a coming Lord Buddha. (Bhed 2006, p. 119)

Deer, tiger and boar used to live here along the river with leopards and sloth bear further away in the forests and mountains, and still crocodiles can be seen in the river swimming near the shrine for Shiva built midstream in the river. At Amarkantak the sources of the sacred Narmada River are guarded by a little colony of priests who have made their temples in the solitary and primeval forests. The Narmada ranks as the most sacred river in India next only to the Ganges and numerous shrines and temples have been erected along its banks. The sacredness of the Narmada River was without doubt well known to the young Rajneesh when he enjoyed swimming in its waters and it has influenced the spiritual quality of the meditations and exercises he performed along its banks as a youngster.

Nav-Bharat

The printed press had played an important role in the development of political life in the Jabalpur region from around 1870 and in the wake of the limitations in the Press Act from 1858. As early as in 1872 the first private newspapers appeared in Jabalpur with Shubh Chintak, a Hindi weekly, and later on the Jubbulpore Times, an English weekly, as the leading papers with a fairly large circulation. They propagated from their very start a critical stance towards the British administration, and the urban presses had their central role in the opinion making on the influence of the British presence. Organizations were founded as forums for urban dwellers to express their views and in 1890 Hitkarini Sabha was formed in Jabalpur where it founded not only several colleges but also a literary association to strengthen the Hindi-speaking public and especially the student community. Its monthly magazine in Hindi Hitkarini Patrika was the most important journal published in Jabalpur District during a decade from 1911 to 1922 where it strongly promoted the Non-Cooperation Movement and made a significant contribution to the cultural and literary life of the district. Another paper Lokmat of Jabalpur later had to be suspended by the authorities during the resistance movement.

The nationalist Hindi organization Arya Samaj sought to stand up against both Christian and Muslim influence and to encourage urban Hindus to oppose anything harming their honour and traditional culture. The founder of Arya Samaj, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, had visited Jabalpur in the early 1870s and the first branch of the organization was formally opened in the town in 1895. With its emphasis on the authentic texts of the Vedas, Arya Samaj was part of a new propagation and revival of Hindu faith including Ramakrishna Mission and the Theosophical Society reaching out to the West through Vivekananda’s successful lecture tour to Europe. In 1912 a lecturer from the Samaj urged townsfolk in Jabalpur to wear ‘national dress, study religious books and adopt national manners and customs.’ (Baker 1993, p. 322; Mishra 1956, p. 158)

These papers and organizations with emphasis on Indian identity paved the way for the Indian liberation movement and articulated national values as a basis for compelling the British to leave India. Around 1900 already six printing presses with English, Hindi and Urdu type were to be found in Jabalpur, and before World War I Seth Govind Das had made Jabalpur a centre of Hindi literary activity next only to Allahabad and Varanasi. He formed a Hindi Sahitya Sabha and in this way provided still another forum for nationalist propaganda including the unity of the country under a common Hindi language. He became an influential supporter of Rajneesh in Jabalpur and is remembered by Osho with reverence:

“I know one very famous Indian politician, Doctor Govindadas. Maitreya knows him because they were in parliament together. Doctor Govindadas was in the parliament perhaps the longest time in the whole history of humanity; from 1914 till he died, I think in 1978, he remained continuously, without a single gap, a member of parliament. He was the richest man in the whole state of Madhya Pradesh…He was president of the Hindi language’s most prestigious institution, Hindi Sahitya Sammelan.” From Darkness to Light #6

By December 1920 the situation in Jabalpur had somewhat disintegrated and the town was with Seth Govind Das in the frontline now ready for widespread non-cooperation with the British. In a contemporary police report the commissioner noted:

“Jubbulpore itself has recently been receiving the attention of disaffected non-cooperators, who have been doing their best to sow the seeds of trouble among a hitherto contented and well behaved population. I have noticed since my arrival here a very distinct deterioration in the attitude of the citizens towards Government, its measures, and its officers….Respectable members of the community…have warned me that, unless the Government is prepared to take some action to hearten up the well affected and to put a stop to dangerous propaganda among the lower classes, there will be serious trouble.” (Baker 1993, p. 324)

Seth Govind Das later became the foremost and leading Gandhian in Jabalpur and president of the new provincial Congress Committee. At the Hindi C.P. Provincial Political Conference held in Jabalpur 1921 he had acted as chairman and exposed the hollowness of the reforms and on his march as leader of a procession to the warrior-queen Rani Durgawati’s historic samadhi about thirteen miles outside Jabalpur, he had taken a solemn vow to carry the struggle for independence to a successful conclusion. This was the start of his lifelong political career also as an M.P. in Delhi. After the War in 1946 he started the Jai Hind (Victorious India), a Hindi daily from Jabalpur and this influential daily was edited by S.S. Sharma and ceased its publication on 31st December 1954 where it was incorporated in the Nav-Bharat (New India), another Hindi daily of the city where Rajneesh was now among its staff. (17)

Those were the conditions in Jabalpur for the press and civic organizations in their historic heading towards liberation before Rajneesh in the early 1950s joined the press corps of the city. His wish to collect his own money and be self-dependent was fulfilled when – while he was still living in his aunt’s house – he in 1951-1952 got a job as assistant editor of Nav-Bharat which had started its circulation in 1950. For the next three years and with a monthly salary of 75 Rupees his time was now shared between his studies and the editorial work at the newspaper. Sometimes he also took leave from the office work to carry out reporting journalism in town, including the covering of various cultural programmes, and during 1954 he made translation work from English to Hindi for the paper (18). Among his contributions to the paper Nikalank recalls features on May 1st, Workers’ Day, and on Lenin, showing us that some of his socialist inclination was still active and well. (19)

According to Ram Chandra Prasad Rajneesh was urged to take up the position at the newspaper due to his parents’ situation: “When the indigence of his parents compelled him to leave College for about a year, he took a job on the Navabharat, a local daily, as its assistant editor.”(Prasad 1978, note on book jacket)

“The whole night I was working as an editor of a newspaper, and in the day, I went to the university. For years I could not sleep more than three or four hours – whenever I could find time in the day or in the night.” From Personality to Individuality #13

Vasant Joshi writes that Rajneesh stayed with the newspaper only for a few months, and we will have to keep in mind that those were the days when Rajneesh was in a critical state of mental health for a whole year before his enlightenment in March 1953. (Joshi 1982, p. 50)

“I was once an editor, and I resigned from the post because everything has to be pro-government. Truth is not the criterion. The poor individual is not to be protected…Second thing I found, that they are not interested in any good news. They are only interested in rapes…” The Last Testament, vol.4 #26

In the early 1950s Osho published some features in various Hindi newspapers. A story in Nav-Bharat written by Osho, just before his enlightenment when he was 21 and capturing his dark mood in those days, is translated under the heading Unfulfilled Passion and reprinted in Osho Times International with an editorial note:

“This story was first published in Hindi by Nav-Bharat, a daily newspaper in Jabalpur, on November 28, 1953 with the following editorial note:

Adhoori Vasana (Unfulfilled Passion) is the author’s romantic story. In Indian philosophy, the basis of reincarnation is the unfinished and incomplete passions of this lifetime. The author of the story has written in another place that “Passions are in the body but they are not because of the body. Rather, the body itself is because of them.”

Unfulfilled passion goes with one beyond this life and takes on a new body. The cycle of birth and rebirth is a play of these unfulfilled passions. This is the theme of this story by the author.

Nav-Bharat again published this story in its issue of August 23, 1984 with the following editorial note:

Acharya Rajneesh who has journeyed from being Rajneesh Kumar to Acharya Rajneesh to Bhagwan Rajneesh (to Osho) has had a deep relationship with Jabalpur.

Shree Rajneesh, who is discussed not only in India but the world over because of his thinking and concepts, sent us this romantic story some 31 years ago for publication. It is re-published here word for word along with the original editorial note as taken from the Nav-Bharat of November 28, 1953. “Excerpts:

“I was alone on the path with my song and the sleeping moonlight lay spread far and wide over the mountain tracks. The nights were becoming cold, and it had begun to snow over the high mountains. In only a month’s time large flakes of snow would start falling here too, the rivers would freeze and turn into silver streams and the snow would be shining on the black mountain peaks as if they were wearing white jasmine flowers in their hair.
I kept walking on ahead, almost lost in my thoughts. Sometimes a bird would fly past, disrupting the silence of the night and filling the solitary valleys with the sound of its beating wings. And then the chilled silence of the night would regather itself as trembling waves reunite with one another and again become silent after a stone has broken the river’s surface.
The youthful midnight moon was shining and a lone fragment of white cloud floated by its side. The thought came, “The moon has someone, but I am all alone.” I raised my eyes, and looked at the desolate valleys spread all around. And then it was as if I was looking at my twenty-five-year-long life, which in this moment seemed to be nothing but a long, desolate, dark valley. This made my heart feel sad and I started humming my song again, the one that had suddenly broken off in the middle…” (20)

Osho has told us about his experiences in Jabalpur at the Nav-Bharat and he included some background with various reasons for his resignation from the newspaper, but also differing periods of time for his position at the paper. Actually it seems that he was attached to the paper for quite a few years until he had to leave for Sagar to continue the studies for his M.A.

“I went to work as a journalist. It was the worst thing that one can be forced to do, and yes, I was forced to do it because no other job was available. And journalism in India is the third degree of the third-rate. It is not just third-rate, it is the worst in the world. I did it but could not do it very well…
And the job ended very soon because I was fast asleep, with my legs on the table, just the way I am right now [in the dental chair], when the owner, the chief editor entered. He saw me, shook me, and I opened my eyes and looked at him and said, “This is not gentlemanly. I was fast asleep and you disturbed my dream. I would give a fortune for that dream to continue again. I am ready to pay; now tell me how to continue it.”
He said, “What do I care about your dream? I am not concerned with it. But this is my time and you are being paid for it. I have every right to wake you up.”
I said, “Okay, then I have every right to walk out.” And I walked out. Not that he was wrong, but it was not my place. I had entered into a wrong place. Journalists are the worst people, and I know them: I lived with them for three years. It was hell.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 271

“I myself have been once a journalist but I could not go more than a few weeks. The owner called me, he said, “You should have been born in satyug.”
I said, “What has happened?”
He said, “You will destroy my paper. You have already reduced my readership to half.”
I said, “It does not matter if your paper is finished, that is not the point. But right things should reach to people” The Last Testament, vol.5 #8

In Bombay, December 1968, Rajneesh gave an interview to a reporter from the Times of India in which he emphasised the need of a radical change in the educational system. After the interview he told the reporter of his insights concerning the process of editing a newspaper, and in the following years Osho repeatedly would draw on his experiences as a sub-editor in Jabalpur and the way journalists in their writings are distorting the truth constantly.

“Many journalists take my interview, but publish them after many alternations which makes all the stuff useless. You have promised to publish it as it is, but I’ll see if your editors are courageous enough to do so without being influenced by the politicians and the so called religious leaders. I am an optimist and have given this interview with positive hopes.” (Bhed 2006, p. 263).

Next to Nav-Bharat some early writings from Rajneesh 1952-53 are to be found also in Jai Hind (Victorious India) and in Gyanodaya (The Rise of Wisdom). From his own personal diary excerpts were occasionally to be found in both Nav-Bharat and in Jai Hind. This early diary is mentioned in his discourses but is not part of Nikalank’s collection and by now it seems to have disappeared. Journalism and media ethics were themes popping up in Osho’s discourses again and again later on in Poona, not the least following his experiences in the U.S. in the mid-eighties. (21)

Studies for M.A. in Sagar

Sagar University (former spelling: Saugar) at 116 miles from Jabalpur was every year holding competitions in inter-university debating, as well as inter-university contests in the writing of essays. For four years Rajneesh had won the inter-university debate competition and he had caught the attention of one of the judges, professor S.S. Roy. Recently Roy had witnessed Rajneesh’s skills in debating at the All India Debating Competition held at Allahabad University that year, giving him ninety-nine marks out of hundred. Eventually he recommended Rajneesh to continue for his M.A. at Sagar University, praising among other things the university’s library which he claimed to be very rich and well stocked with its collection containing all kind of books. He even promised Rajneesh that if he happened to require any book not held by the library it would immediately be purchased at his request.

“I was at university, a poor student. I reached university somehow by working at different kinds of jobs. Again, just by coincidence, I participated in a national inter-university debate. One of the judges, who is now the head of the department of philosophy at Allahabad University, S.S. Roy, just fell in love with me. And the same was true from my side too.
He gave me ninety-nine marks out of a hundred – he was one of the judges in the debate. Naturally I won. It was a very important debate because the winner was going on a three months’ tour of the Middle East as a government guest. He was to be treated almost as an ambassador. It was a great opportunity.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 327

“Like Socrates, Osho was a highly skilled debater and a merciless questioner of anything smelling of dogma or righteousness. Back in his college days, he won awards for official debate contests, but the same ability to charm people with relentless probing of traditional values and beliefs also won him enemies and got him twice expelled from college.” (Mistelberger 2010, p. 582)

Sagar University (the oldest university in the state founded 1946 and later renamed Dr. Harisingh Gaur University) was located on a hill near a vast lake and surrounded by smaller hillocks, and the sunrises and sunsets from here were among the most beautiful he had seen throughout India. Osho says:

“Its name was the University of Sagar. Sagar means “ocean.” Sagar has a tremendously beautiful lake, so big that it is not called a lake, but sagar, an ocean. It really looks like an ocean, with waves rising on it. One cannot believe that it is only a lake. I have seen only two lakes with such big waves…the lake of Sagar and the lake of Bhopal.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 181

Other universities for his M.A. studies seem to have been considered, among those the renowned university in Varanasi:

“After my graduation, I went to the Hindu university in Varanasi to study, because that is the biggest university in India. But I stayed there only twenty-four hours. The man I stayed with was Dr. Rajbali Pandey; he was the head of the department of history. He tried to persuade me not to leave. “Why? – you will not find a better place, at least not in India. It has the best scholars, the best professors, all the best facilities possible. You should think about it.”…
“No, I cannot be in this university. It may have great professors, it may have great libraries, it may have great facilities, but I would prefer some huge, big, ancient trees.” And I wandered all over India to find a university where there was something better than Jabalpur. And when I found Saugar I remained there, because Saugar is just unimaginably beautiful.”  From Ignorance to Innocence #17.

The university was founded by the wealthy Doctor on law Harisingh Gaur who from his early childhood devoted himself to the idea that his birthplace should have one of the best universities in the world. He managed to enrol outstanding professors from all over India by paying them high salaries and the deans and professors started searching for exceptional students to enrol at the university, tempting them with among other benefits the university’s exceptional favourable ratio of teachers to the number of students. My guess is that Osho may have easily accepted the motto of the university: From Unreal To The Real.

Professor Roy promised to support him financially in Sagar, and he also made arrangements to secure Rajneesh’s free lodging and boarding at the university’s hostel. Furthermore he took the responsibility to ask the vice-chancellor for his special scholarship to be granted Rajneesh, a scholarship of his personal choice which is three times more than the usual scholarships bestowed on first class students and winning gold medalists at the university.

“After receiving my B.A. I left Jabalpur because one of the professors in Sagar University, S.S.Roy, was persistently asking me, writing me, phoning me to say, “After your B.A. you join this university for your postgraduation.”
From Jabalpur University to Sagar University there is not much distance – one hundred miles. But Sagar University was in many ways unique. It was a small university compared to Benares University or Aligath University, which had ten thousand students, twelve thousand students. They are just like Oxford or Cambridge – big universities, big names. Sagar University had only one thousand students and almost three hundred professors, so for every three students, one professor. It was a rare place; perhaps nowhere in the world can you find another university where there is one professor for three students. The man who had founded the university was acquainted with all the best professors around the world. Sagar was his birthplace; Doctor Harisingh Gaur was his name… Then the professors and the deans were all in search of the best students. And somehow this professor S.S.Roy, who was the head of the department of philosophy, got his eye on me. I used to go every year to Sagar University for the interuniversity debating competition. For four years I was winning the trophy, and for four years he was listening to me as a judge – he was one of the judges.” From Darkness to Light #6; (Sarito 2000, p. 85)

So due to the professor’s intervention Rajneesh was promised not only a scholarship for his studies at Sagar University, but also free boarding and lodging in the university along with the scholarship. Rajneesh wanted the vice-chancellor to be told explicitly that four times he had already been expelled from another college. And the vice-chancellor should also be shown the certificates from the former university managers mentioning in wearying details their understanding of Rajneesh’s character and whole personality. Professor Roy assured him that the vice-chancellor, due to his studies at Oxford University, was quite different from the traditional and orthodox educationists and managers Rajneesh had met up to now in Jabalpur, and personally Roy would like to see Rajneesh as a future Gold Medalist from Sagar. Even Rajneesh’s remarks on his uncompromising way of living independently and untouched by any undue interference and imposed discipline, manners which in the past had caused constant clashes with his former university managers, were waved away by professor Roy who assured him that his ways of behaving would cause no problems at all in this case. Finally after a lengthy debate on the conditions for continuing his academic studies in Sagar, Rajneesh accepted the offer and promised to join Sagar University for his M.A. During their conversation Rajneesh had also told Professor Roy:

“I have been in many colleges because I have been expelled again and again. So in four years time…People study in one college, I have studied in many, but all that I can bring from them is expulsion orders. I cannot produce a single character certificate – so you have to recommend me. You are my only character certificate.” He said, “Don’t be worried about that.” So I moved to Sagar.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 323; (Urmila 2007, p. 137)

On the very first day of his studies at Sagar University professor Roy took Rajneesh to see Dr. Karpatri Tripathi, the vice-chancellor and a former professor in history. Having examined the ‘expellee’ certificates from Rajneesh’s former colleges he concluded that Rajneesh was nowhere to blame for the trouble mentioned in the critical documents. Rajneesh was for his lodging in the beginning allotted a double bedroom, but the vice-chancellor assured him that it was only a matter of time before he would get a single room of his own, as he was most likely to keep away any fellow student with his extraordinary personality. The hostel was located in the former military barracks of Makronia where he was sharing a room with a room mate, who was only present for one week every month. Cleaning the room was not one of Rajneesh’s favourite activities, so this mundane matter was done mostly by a student living in the room next to his, or by his room mate. So not unexpectedly it was a rare sight to see Osho sweeping his room with a jharu (broom).

The natural setting of Sagar pleased Rajneesh tremendously. The university itself was situated on a hill with plenty of old and dense trees on the surrounding hills. The lake below the hill was filled with lotus flowers, and it would be an easy guess that these wonders in nature was taking him back to his early childhood days in Kuchwada with its pond, birds and sounds of nature. Watching the sunrise and sunset from the hilltop and the blossoming and fading away of the lotus flowers in the lake were some of his dearest moments while attending Sagar University. (22)

Rajneesh tells about the inspiration he found for his painting in the colours of the sky over Sagar, but all his paintings as well as his written poetry was destroyed by himself later on. He claimed in Jabalpur that his paintings were subjective and depicting his own experience and only those persons with some level of consciousness would be able to understand them. Still his inclination to express himself in painting never fainted and was continued later on in Poona One where he was making exquisite felt pen drawings in the new books he bought for his library and his large size and coloured signatures. The signature paintings were later to be exhibited in his library in Poona: “The ‘signature paintings’ in this exhibition were done directly into books, in colored inks with markers.” This author can verify the uniqueness of these original paintings and the energy field you enter when in your own hands you are holding and looking through still more paintings kept in a folder and stored in the kitchen depot. (23)

Rajneesh remembers from Sagar when meeting Professor Chandra, a keen painter who had his paintings on display at his residence. Following their exchange of opinion on visual art the professor went with Rajneesh to his hostel and had a look at the two paintings of Rajneesh still standing on the floor in the room, and he was commenting upon the pieces in a very favourable way. Osho says,

“I myself have been very interested in painting. From my very childhood I started many paintings but not a single painting I left intact. I have burned all of them. One of my professors was a painter himself. I used to visit his studio, and I used to say sometimes, “This seems to be wrong. If you do a little changes here then the whole impact of the painting will be different.”
He started asking me, “Are you a painter? – because whatsoever you suggest, reluctantly I do it, and certainly it improves the painting. And by and by I have dropped my reluctance. I simply accept your suggestion. But this is possible only if you are a painter…because there are so many people coming here. Even my own students who are painters never suggest that this is wrong; just a slight change will do a miracle. And it does. So you have to explain to me the truth.”
I said, “Yes, I am not a painter, but I paint.”
He said, “What is the difference between being a painter and painting?”
I said, “There is much difference: I don’t allow my paintings to be exhibited because I am still not in a position to create objective art, they are all subjective. They represent and reflect my mind, and what can my mind be to others? They are already burdened with mind; now, burdening them more is inhuman. So I paint because I enjoy painting. I love colors.”
And I don´t know why Sagar University in India…I have traveled all over India continually for thirty years, but I have never seen such colors in the sky as happens over the lake by the side of the university in Sagar. Never have I seen anywhere such splendor; the sunrise, the sunset, are just divine…without there being any God.” From Darkness to Light #27

All paintings and poems were to be destroyed and the urge to express himself in artistic ways disappeared overnight following his enlightenment, but as mentioned this artistic vein of his was to be resumed in his signature and book paintings later on.

“I painted, and destroyed my paintings. Only a few friends have seen them. I allowed this professor to see a few of my paintings. He said, “You are mad – these paintings are far superior to mine. You can earn so much money, you can become world famous.”
I said, “I accept your first statement. You said, “You are mad” – I am! That’s why I am not going to leave these footprints of a madman for others to travel and follow.” I have destroyed all those. I love poetry. I have written poetry. But I continued to destroy it. My basic standpoint was that unless I am no more, whatever I do is going to harm others. This is the Eastern way.
Now it is unfortunate that when I disappeared, the desire to paint or to make a statue or to compose poetry all disappeared too. Perhaps they were just part of that madman who died. And I am happy that nothing of it survives…Moreover India is also very rich in folk art and Nand Lal Basti and Avindra Nath had painted this folk tradition very beautifully.” (24)

The dress code of the university was pretty much challenged when Gandhi-like Rajneesh started wearing a white khadi dhoti, kurta, lungi with his white shawl, a dress more commonly used and belonging to South India than to a academic university in Central India. Still it gave him more pleasure to wear the traditional dress and he felt it much more comfortable in the Indian climate. Its use was not limited to the hostel only, but also to the university premises, and his wearing a lungi caused much attention from the students and teachers. Even the vice-chancellor came out to see this sacrifice of respectability, but having discussed for some time the alternative Rajneesh was putting forward – the traditional nudity seen in India’s spiritual life throughout history also among Jain saints – he made up his mind to leave Rajnessh to his own dress code instead of creating more chaos. Rajneesh used to wash his clothes personally, and he always wore neat, clean and well ironed clothes. It seems like washing his clothes was much preferred to cleaning, and his clothes were so clean that colleagues would ask him where he got his laundry done. (Sarito 2000, p. 95; Bharti 2006, p. 223)

“I was determined to do everything that was not allowed. For example, when I was in college I wore a robe without buttons, and pajama pants. One of my professors, Indrabahadur Khare…I remember his name although he died long ago, but because of this story I am about to tell you I cannot forget it.
He was in charge of all celebrations in the college. Of course, because of all the awards I was bringing to the college, he decided that my picture should be taken with all the medals, shields and cups, so we went to the studio. But a great problem arose there when he said, “Do up your buttons.”…
That photograph still exists. One of my brothers, my fourth brother, Niklanka, has been collecting everything concerning me from his very childhood.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 480

For the first few days at the university Rajneesh used to wear his wooden sandals (khadaun) traditionally used by Indian sannyasins as they avoided any kind of leather coming from animals. But from the echoing on the cement paths and the verandas on the university premises everyone could hear when he was coming along clapping in his wooden sandals. Rajneesh claimed to Professor Roy that the sandals helped him to keep his consciousness alert – even when he was asleep. Later on he changed this wooden footwear to a yellow leather pair of chappals from Gandhi Ashram. Rajneesh also grew a natural beard and went into discussions with his professors and fellow students on their habit of shaving daily. Once Professor Roy went with Rajneesh to the office of the vice-chancellor who inquired on the subject of his growing a full beard. Osho says:

“I told him, “You have put a wrong question. In fact, I should ask you; why have you shaved? Because, I have not grown the beard. It has sprouted on its own. I have not done anything directly with it. But you have done something directly with the beard. You have shaved it. So the first question arises as to why have you shaved?” At this stage, the vice-chancellor felt quite embarrassed. He shut his eyes for sometime…
At this juncture, he tendered an apology. He was so much impressed that he was granted scholarship without any hesitation. Later, he remained a very good friend of mine till I was in Sagar University. He extended many facilities, which were not accessible to students. He was daring and upright. To ask for an apology with a student needs courage. He selected only erudite scholars and meritorious students during his tenure.”(Bharti 2007, p. 104)

His co-hosteller Dr. Bhagwan Singh recalls how Rajneesh used to get up any time between 4 o’clock or 5 o’clock in the early hours of the morning, and after meditating and doing some exercises and oil massage in his room he would have a wash and go to the bathroom at 6 a.m. After this his routine was to collect an empty bucket for his unwashed clothes and with his soap ready wait for the water supply in the tap. Then after cleaning the bathroom and washing his clothes he would perform some yogic exercises inside his room, heat milk and add some honey. His healthy diet included occasional milk with ghee, lemon water and the practise of naturopathy, mud-therapy, urine therapy and the use of enema. Then after his bath and breakfast he would spread his mat on the floor and sit to study for hours using a red and blue pencil to mark certain parts of his reading. After taken his lunch Rajneesh would rest for a while and then come from his room clad in a white dhoti, kurta and a pair of chappals with a pen and note-book in his hand heading for the class room. He might later while time away gossiping with his fellow student on the floor outside his room before again spreading his mat and sit down to study reading the books issued from the library. At 4 o’clock the water supply was on and he would have his afternoon bath and a dry-massage in the evening. After the evening meal he could be seen strolling with his friends the two to three kilometers to the Makronia Railway Station, discussing with his fellow students the ‘isms’ of their time: Gandhism, Marxism and Freudism. But also, in a more serene and less revolutionary mood, the teachings of Buddha, Mahavira and Krishna. (Bharti 2012)

Ever since his childhood and adolescence in Gadarwara the ability to question everything had been with Osho as we have witnessed again and again. In his studies and discussions with his professors in Jabalpur this ability was to make him notorious famous and a nuisance to anyone who had to teach him in class. As aforementioned his inclination for asking questions and discussing everything combined with his oratorical skills made his teachers reject to his presence and even confront the principal declaring that either Rajneesh had to go or they would leave their position at university. Again and again he proved to be a trouble maker and a nuisance to his lecturers, but at Sagar University he came to terms with a few of his professors and established a fruitful and mutual relationship. Dr.S.S.Roy and later on Dr. S.K.Saxena were here the main figures supporting him in his studies and in his intellectual development. Roy was a firm vehicle for Rajneesh’s matriculation at Sagar University, and Saxena, who himself later became a professor at the University of Hawaii, was heavily engaged in making the final examinations from the university succeed without any peculiar disturbances from the part of Rajneesh.

Sagar University was not only the place where he entered into a tense intellectual debate with his professors but also the arena for his maiden speech to a wider audience consisting of his fellow students and professors. On October 2nd, 1955, the vice chancellor Dr. Ram Prasad Tripathi presided over a large scale celebration of Gandhi Jayanti in a huge hall of the hostel where Rajneesh stayed. After some official speakers Rajneesh’s name was suggested from the midst of the crowd, and the speech delivered by him extempore is said to have been of such fluency and insight that it was given a loud ovation. Now it was the vice chancellor’s turn to address the audience, but the report says he admitted that he could not speak on Gandhi Ji with that flow and ease with which his predecessor had spoken and that nothing at all remained unsaid. This event made Rajneesh known as a scholar in wider academic circles and was in fact to be the very start of his lecturing and traveling over the following years. (Bharti 2012)

Professor S.S. Roy, appointed head of the department of philosophy at Sagar University, was already familiar with Rajneesh’s talent for logic and argumentation, as we have heard, when for four years he had listened as a judge when Rajneesh came to Sagar for the interuniversity debating competition and had won the trophy year after year. He was rather impressed by the way Rajneesh presented his arguments and how he would choose only those essential aspects of the subject-matter of the discussion that were unlikely to occur to anybody else.

The day when Rajneesh first joined Professor Roy’s class in philosophy the questioning started immediately. Roy was an authority on two philosophers, F.H. Bradley from England and Shankaracharya from India whom he had studied in Oxford and Benares respectively. In his thesis he had discussed their understanding of the Absolute, and he had shown how Bradley from the West and Shankara from the East had both arrived at the same conclusions. His heart was won over when Rajneesh questioned the discrepancy in claiming the ‘Absolute’ – or God – to be perfect and complete, disregarding the fact that while being still a living phenomenon it was likely to grow into even more subtle forms as only dead concepts could be excluded from further improvements.

Over the next ten days the professor pondered upon the remarks made by Rajneesh, and when they met Rajneesh referred to Why I Am Not a Christian (1957) by Bertrand Russell, the English philosopher, where he pointed out how all religions have invented the term God only to exploit people. He added that the Almighty or God as an energy phenomenon is a name for the whole of existence and not some person sitting high in the sky. This energy power is to be experienced only through meditation. Buddha calls that energy shunya or zero, Mahavir calls it the ‘Flowing soul’. He exists and does not exist as well. He is a mystery. He can’t be expressed, but He can be felt only. (25)

Following their academic discussion Rajneesh was invited to move his things from the students’ hostel and into the house of Professor Roy, where Rajneesh from now on was to live together with the professor’s family. In the evenings professor Roy and Rajneesh used to have lengthy discussions on spirituality, philosophy and related domains. Rajneesh was expounding on Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutra, the Brahma-Sutra of Shankaracharya, Bhagawat Geeta and Sankhya, and during their conversations Roy realized that although he was familiar with these scriptures, the mysteries they contained were still unknown to him and that his insights were based on the words only and not on the wonders pointed at in the words of the scriptures. Rajneesh’s insight in Indian philosophy showed him that whoever claims to have knowledge, it is nothing but words, and that those who has really known the truth have given you some hints and directions to be caught through feelings only and not through bookish studies.

Professor Roy admitted to Rajneesh that he, and certainly also his wife, had been hypnotized by the transparency of his eyes, the same eyes Roy had seen in Masto Baba and Pagal Baba who were both known to him. Rajneesh is commenting on the qualities of Professor Roy as well as the promise he had given to his masters Pagal Baba and Masto Baba on completing his academic studies:

“But that debate, and his remembrance of Pagal Baba and Masta Baba, was the reason I stayed at the university of Sagar. He was there at that time. I said, “If I have to be a postgraduate then let it be under you.”
It was Pagal Baba’s desire, and also Masta Baba’s, that I should be prepared in case I was ever in need. I have never needed anything. Not only have I never needed anything ever, but I have been showered constantly by things from all sides. That’s why I told you something went right for me from the very beginning.
S.S. Roy was one of my most loved teachers, for the simple reason that he was capable of asking me to stand up in class and explain something to him that he could not understand. And I had to do it. Once I said to him, “Roy Sahib” – that’s what I used to call him – “it does not look good that you ask me, your student.”
He said, “If Pagal Baba could touch your feet, and if Masta Baba could not only touch your feet but had to fulfil every rational and irrational demand made by you” – and I have been irrational from the very beginning, just irrational – “then why could I not ask? I am just a small man.”
I have known hundreds of professors as teachers, as colleagues and acquaintances, byt S.S. Roy stands apart. He was so authentic that you could not find more authenticity in any teacher. And he was so much in love with what I used to say to him that he used to quote me in his lectures – and not just use it, but he referred to it as my statement. Of cause the other students were jealous. Even the other professors in the philosophy department were jealous.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 327

It is no wonder that Roy considering all his affection for Rajneesh had strongly recommended him to the vice-chancellor in Sagar for a scholarship at the university. Some time later however Roy had to move for a higher position at Allahabad University, but before he left Sagar University he had to promise the vice-chancellor that he would not let Rajneesh join him in his move to Allahabad University. From Allahabad professor Roy still used to visit Sagar and see Rajneesh almost every month, telling him how comfortable he was and what a high salary he was to earn in his new academic position. But also how he missed the intriguing and challenging questions Rajneesh used to ask him, questions not be answered right away, if at all. When professor Roy had left for Allahabad Dr. S.K. Saxena proved to be a most inspiring professor to Rajneesh for the rest of his studies at Sagar University and supporting him during the final examinations. Osho says:

“He was a man of exceptional qualities. He was the only professor out of the whole lot that I came across – teachers, lecturers, readers, professors and whatnot – he was the only one who was able to understand that he had a student who should rather have been his master.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 182

When Rajneesh first met Saxena in his class, the professor invited him to come and see him in his office where they were discussing Saxena’s early doctorate thesis on consciousness written in English and he suggested to Rajneesh to make a translation of the thesis into Hindi.

“When on the first day I entered the university’s philosophy class, I met Dr.Saxena for the first time. Only for a few professors did I have really great love and respect. These two were my most loved professors – Dr.S.K.Saxena and Dr.S.S.Roy – and for the simple reason that they never treated me like a student… He [Dr.Saxena] took me into his office and took from the shelf his thesis for a doctorate that he had written thirty years before. It was on consciousness. He said, “Take it. It has been published in English, and so many people in India have asked permission to translate it into Hindi – great scholars, knowing both English and Hindi perfectly well. But I have not allowed anybody, because the question is not whether you know the language or not; I was looking for a man who knows what consciousness is – and I can see in your eyes, on your face by the way you answered … you have to translate this book… In the next two-month summer vacation I translated the book [from English into Hindi], and I made those editorial notes.” From Misery to Enlightenment #1; (Sarito 2000, p. 90)

Before the translation of the thesis on ‘Consciousness’ was carried out, they had agreed that Rajneesh was allowed to do some under linings and put his comments in the footnotes to the thesis, and also to add his commentaries if he found some important points missing from a chapter. As there was no personal experience behind the writing of the thesis, it was purely descriptive and in all aspects depending on the text study of the sacred books of the East relating to consciousness.

Rajneesh was adding quite a lot of commentaries to the thesis on the different levels of consciousness, including super consciousness (turiya). So the thesis now turned out to be written by a scholar and the footnotes by a meditator, who had ventured more deeply into the subject matter of the now improved text. But in the end Dr. Saxena had some second thoughts and was convinced that the publishing of a Hindi translation was out of the question as the added notes and editorial comments would have destroyed his whole reputation which was firmly build on this early thesis of his. For Rajneesh this translation event and its outcome made him duly consider his future course in academic life and ponder on the values and ethics embedded in the culture of academics. Osho says:

“So my whole life from the very beginning has been concerned with two things: never to allow any unintelligent thing to be imposed upon me, to fight against all kinds of stupidities, whatsoever the consequences, and to be rational, logical, to the very end. This was one side, which I was using with all those people with whom I was in contact. And the other was absolute private, my own: to become more and more alert, so that I didn’t end up just being an intellectual” From Misery to Enlightenment #1; (Sarito 2000, p. 91)

Rajneesh was now staying in the house of Professor Saxena on his insistence after Professor Roy had joined the Allahabad University. Saxena strongly wanted Rajneesh to prosper in his studies, but he was very much disturbed when he noticed that Rajneesh did not have any interest in even touching, not to say reading, the compulsory course textbooks. In the words of Gyan Bhed:

“One day, when he [Dr. Saxena] did not find any effect of his request he said in an irritated tone, “When you read all types of books with interest, then why not the course books? I know that the knowledge that you have is much more than what these books contain, but still the question papers will follow these books only. On many occasions the answers composed on the basis of common sense do not fetch good marks.”
“I don’t want good marks!” was Rajneesh’s reply.
“What? If you don’t want, the university, its V.C. and even myself want you to top the list. When the university gives you scholarship along with free boarding and lodging, it also expects something from you – a good result.” (Bhed 2006, p. 150)

So Saxena had brought Rajneesh from the hostel to his house one month before the examinations as he wanted Rajneesh to read those course books at least once before the exams. Saxena even brought the whole set of compulsory text books and put them on the table, but Rajneesh is said never to have touched them. For the exams Rajneesh was determined not to answer from the course books, but to follow his own intuition and common sense and also draw on his meditative approach to his sleeping powers.

As Rajneesh felt he couldn’t comply to these expectations from the academic authorities he packed his few belongings that very day after Saxena had left for the university, and returned to his room at the hostel to stay with the other students.

Saxena’s request that Rajneesh should return to his house was initially turned down, but he still continued his support to Rajneesh in his studies. He knew that Rajneesh used to sit quietly for hours near the lake in Sagar enjoying the early sunrise, and sometimes also he arrived home rather late in the evening to the hostel only to get up too late the next morning. This way of living was a matter Saxena wanted to deal with as he was afraid that Rajneesh might miss the morning start of the final written examination for his M.A. Saxena even had his own car repaired to pick up Rajneesh from the hostel half an hour before the start of the examination and to drive him back again after the examination period of three hours.

During the written exam the answering of the questions was a matter of two hours only for Rajneesh, and subsequently he remained sitting in his chair meditating for the last hour. According to Arvind Kumar Jain his paper seems to have attracted quite some interest from the external evaluator:

“As part of the exam in Philosophy one paper has been send to Varanasi University for evaluation by the university authorities. The professor who was on duty on the seat was of senior age and he has written in his report, that whosoever may be the student behind this examination, he has given such answers precisely, briefly and with such straightforwardness that I’m fully satisfied with such type of answers which I never thought I was going to see in my whole lifetime. I’m totally satisfied with the answers that are contained in this answersheet, and now I will stop my qualification work after this answersheet. Ultimately, when the result was published, it was the answersheet of Osho himself. At that time Osho was studying at Sagar University, a very old and renounced university in the centre of M.P. The name of the professor at Varanasi is not known as it is the secret work of the university.” (26)

Not only Saxena but also the vice-chancellor Dr. Tripathi wanted Rajneesh to win the gold medal at Sagar University with maximum of marks in the written and oral examinations. As the vice-chancellor asked Rajneesh for his opinion on which external examiner-cum-censor to invite for the upcoming oral examination in philosophy, Rajneesh suggested to him the name of professor Sir Saiyad, Head of Department of Philosophy at Aligarh University. Only later Saxena was informed on this choice of external censor, and from his previous experience he had come to know Saiyad was a very strict censor and a miser in giving good marks to the students. From Darkness to Light #12. (27)

When the day came for Rajneesh’s final oral examination in philosophy, Dr. Tripathi had been permitted by Dr. Saiyad to attend in silence the examination of Rajneesh. As his first question Professor Saiyad asked Rajneesh on the difference between the Eastern and Western concept of philosophy.

In his answer Rajneesh pointed out that there is no fundamental difference between Eastern and Western philosophy, as the love for knowledge and intelligence is the same everywhere and does not know of any borders or limitations. Following a silence for several minutes Dr. Saiyed admitted that he might be right, but traditionally Eastern and Western philosophies are described as antagonistic by Bertrand Russell in his History of Western Philosophy (1946) and by the president of India Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan in his Indian Philosophy (Vol.1-2, 1923), and by the Japanese writer on zen D.T.Suzuki. Rajneesh responded that the selection committee for the Nobel Prize in 1950 was to be scolded and even called cowards for having given Russell the prize for his third rate History of Western Philosophy and not daring to state the reason for the prize on his much more controversial Why I Am Not A Christian (1957). On Radhakrishnan’s Indian Philosophy the examiner Dr. Saiyed was told by Rajneesh that these two volumes originated from a thesis written by a research scholar under Radhakrishnan when he was a professor at the Calcutta University. He got the book printed in England without any changes in the text and later on he silenced the research scholar, who had taken the case to the High Court, with a bribe of ten thousand Rupees. This origin of Indian Philosophy in the 1920s was not known to neither Dr. Tripathi nor to Dr. Saxena, but to Dr. Saiyad this was known already as an unpublished secret and he was amazed from where Rajneesh had learned the intriguing history behind the publishing of this famous and widely read thesis. Further Rajneesh argumented that the rishis of ancient India never intended to imprison the truth within the arbitrary boundaries of the nations or corners of the world when they gave us the Upanishads, Geeta, Patanjali Yoga Sutra and other scriptures. (28)

We may have to bear in mind that whenever Rajneesh criticized other philosophers, he was actually attacking scholasticism as such, and philosophers like Kapila, Nagarjuna, Socrates and Nietzsche were all held in high esteem by him throughout his whole life.

Having now answered the first question quite satisfactory and astonished both Tripathi and Saxena, as the second question Rajneesh was finally asked what was his general understanding of the term philosophy. “Rajneesh gave a straight answer without hesitating, “Why has a person come here when he does not know what philosophy is? I have already said very clearly that philosophy means the love for knowledge, curiosity for knowledge or aspiration for truth. It is impossible to explain love and curiosity in words. It can only be felt. One, who attains it, is lost within himself. Whatever people say about it, is only a signal or indication. Most remains unsaid even after saying a lot.” Then he looked at Dr. Saiyad and said, “God knows why you are asking such questions. It was useless to answer them, but still I tried to answer them only to prove that they are wrong. Why don’t you ask me meaningful questions?”
To this Dr. Saiyad did not respond, but quietly he gave him ninety marks out of hundred and stood up. He looked at Dr. Saxena and said, “I don’t have to ask him any more questions, it is very risky to ask him any question. He is so carping that he proves my question itself wrong.” (29)

Both his professors at Sagar University were much surprised and happy to see Dr. Saiyad giving him first class marks, and Saiyad even wanted Rajneesh to be invited for their evening dinner to continue their discussions and dwell more deeply in spiritual matters of mutual interest. At the evening dinner philosophical thinking and renowned books were discussed at length, among others All and Everything by Gurjieff, In Search of the Miraculous and Tertium Organum by Ouspensky, Philosophical Lectures and Philosophical Investigations by Ludvig Wittgenstein and Osho quoted one of his favourite sentences from Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, “That which cannot be spoken, should not be spoken about. One should remain silent about it.” Professor Saiyad was stunned by the scope and range of Rajneesh’s reading and he remarked to Saxena that Rajneesh seems to have profited from the rich philosophical collection at the university library in Sagar. To this Saxena replied, “Before joining this university he had already read those books and he had purchased them already at Jabalpur. Not only these books, he had purchased so many valuable books from Gurandi Market at cheep rates and he had brought a good collection of books with him when entering our university. The university library is very rich because the founder of this university Mr. Gaur has given us full liberty to purchase the books on our sweet will. After giving consideration at the proposals of this young man, we had purchased a large number of philosophical books.” (30)

Sufism, psychosynthesis and the merits of Bertrand Russel’s History of Western Philosophy were further discussed after dinner, and Dr. Saxena told Saiyad of Rajneesh’s earlier meeting with Shree Lalji Tandon, head of the Department of Psychology at Varanasi Hindu University where he hadn’t been able to answer the questions raised by Rajneesh.

Having passed the oral examination with ninety marks out of hundred as the first student in the history of Sagar University, Rajneesh now was to be awarded the gold medal for his merits. In his following address to the students at the hostel where Rajneesh had been staying on and off, Saxena mentioned the words of Dr. Roy that God had gifted Rajneesh with an extraordinary brilliance from which philosophy derives. Whatever Rajneesh knew, he knew it from his very own experience, and he was finally described as a Gangotri, the very source from which the Ganga of knowledge emerges.

The vice-chancellor embraced Rajneesh and put the gold medal around his neck, congratulating him for his achievements with First Class Honours in philosophy. He drew the students’ attention to the fact that Dr. Roy had wanted to take Rajneesh with him to Allahabad University when he left for his new position, but fortunately this was not put into effect. He added that if the situation had demanded it, he himself would have cancelled Rajneesh’s leaving certificate for another university. Finally he informed the audience that Rajneesh had been allowed to receive his degree even without taking the N.C.C. training, which had been a verbal contract between the vice-chancellor and Rajneesh. (31)

Then it was Rajneesh’s turn to speak out, and he told his fellow students that he never had joined the university to get first marks nor the gold medal. Dr. Saxena, he said, had been his guardian, teacher and friend, rendering him unconditional love and affection, and he added how grateful he was to Sagar University. But after these sweet words on Saxena and the university the rebel addressed the qualities of his fellow students and his intention to throw away the gold medal he had just received. Rajneesh continued his speech according to Gyan Bhed: “I never wished to come first, because I have never included myself in the competition for this ambition. It is my firm decision that I will throw this medal into the well in front of you all. You should consider that I have not come first class first. Only I want to tell all my friends that I am not superior to any of you. It is just by chance that I have got the first class. I could have even failed because I have neither ever bought a course book nor read it even once. I only used to read other books. My answers were original and not learnt from the books. Probably, therefore the examiners liked them and gave good marks. It is the greatness of the examiners, otherwise they could put a zero against my answers and I could have failed, but in that case also I would have not felt sorry. And the fact is that I had prepared only to fail. If Dr. Saxena had not taken me from the hostel to the examination hall at seven in the morning, it might be that I would have either remained sleeping in the room or enjoying the sight of sunrise and the beauty of the lotus flowers in the lake because the beauty of nature is dearer to me than anything else.” (Bhed 2006, p. 159)

This incident is mentioned by Devageet although with a few inconsistencies in academic degree and location:

“After his enlightenment he completed a doctorate in philosophy, gaining the annual gold medal as the University of Jabalpur’s most brilliant graduate. He threw the medal down a well, in an act symbolizing his rejection of the trap of respectability.” (Devageet 2013, p. xv)

When they were returning from the hostel after the ceremony, the vice-chancellor had told Saxena that he wanted Rajneesh to continue on a scholarship at the university as a research scholar, an outcome to be put utmost at stake by the disrespect Rajneesh had shown the university by dropping the gold medal he had just received into the well after the professors had left the celebration at the hostel. In spite of this event Saxena’s understanding and acceptance of Rajneesh’s behaviour was unaffected and he still supported his scholarship for postgraduate Ph.D. studies at Sagar University and accordingly he was asked by Rajneesh if he would be his supervisor on the subject ‘Religion’. Saxena was startled by this perspective and advised him instead to change the subject into ‘Psychology of Religion’ with a professor in psychology as his first supervisor. The topic chosen by Rajneesh was showing that he had absolutely no intention to join a research fellowship at Sagar University as no professor was available at the university with a background in the domain of ‘Religion’. The outcome of this was their request for him to apply for a vacant position as a lecturer in philosophy in Raipur, and that very evening Saxena brought him the application form for the position, got it filled in by Rajneesh and posted it himself because he feared that Rajneesh might not post it in due time or not at all. (On this point see also: 2.5 Lecturer and ass. professor of philosophy)

So in 1957 Rajneesh received his M.A. with First Class Honours in philosophy, and he was a Gold Medal winner in his graduating class and the All-India Debating Champion. Having now fulfilled the promise to his own master Pagal Baba he felt no need to continue for any postgraduate studies. Osho says:

“I came first in the university and won the gold medal. But I had promised, so I had to drop the gold medal down the well in front of everybody; the whole university was there, and I dropped the gold medal. I said to them, “With this I drop the idea that I am the first in the university, so that nobody feels inferior to me. I am just nobody.
You will not believe me, but I only remained at university because I had promised Pagal Baba to get a master’s degree.
The university gave me a scholarship for further studies, but I said no, because I had promised only up to this point.
They said, “Are you mad? Even if you go directly into service you cannot get more money than you will get with this scholarship. And the scholarship can extend from two to as many years as your professors recommend. Don’t waste the opportunity.”
I said, “Baba should have asked me to get a Ph.D. What can I do? He never asked me, and he died without knowing about it.”
My professor tried hard to persuade me, but I said to him, “Simply forget it, because I only came here to fulfil a promise given to a madman,”
Perhaps if Pagal Baba had known about the Ph.D. or D.Litt. then I would have been in a trap. But thank God he only knew about the master’s degree. He thought that was the last word. I don’t know whether he really wanted me to go for more scholarship. Now there is no way. One thing is certain: that if he had wanted it, I would have gone and wasted as many years as necessary. But it was not a fulfillment of my own being, nor was the master’s degree.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 323; (Urmila 2007, p. 137)

As a continued postgraduate study was ruled out as an option, the completion of his academic studies now meant that he was to apply for a teaching position at some university according to his choice or make other use of his achieved B.A. and M.A. degrees from Jabalpur and Sagar universities. We will soon see that after a short stay in Raipur Rajneesh is joined to his own university in Jabalpur as a lecturer in philosophy from 1958. But first a few words to indicate towards on his enlightenment in Bhanvar Tal Garden in Jabalpur, an insight which not unexpectedly was to play an everlasting role throughout the rest of his days on the planet.

2.2 Enlightenment in Bhanvar Tal Garden

In the East, enlightenment is described as a state of ultimate consciousness or total awareness, as attained by Gautama Buddha, Lao Tzu, Jesus, Socrates and others. Western concepts of ‘enlightened’ connoting ‘modern’ and ‘the Age of Enlightenment,’ indicating 18th century European intellectual ferment, are only linguistically similar, and the phenomenon of enlightenment is lacking in all main-stream Western psychotherapeutic understandings with some notable exceptions as William James, C.G. Jung and R.D. Laing.

Contrary to his earlier satori experiences Osho’s enlightenment event had a permanent impact on his consciousness and hence as a fully awakened man all sense of personality in terms of identity and biography had evaporated. Enlightenment (nirvana, kaivalya or moksha) is a state of no-mind beyond all attributes and certainly not a concept to be explained in logical terms as it transcends any logic and verbal attempt to express the very phenomenon. How to express in words that which is beyond words? We can do no better than to refer extensively from Osho’s own words in an attempt to describe in words that which exceeds words, and especially The Discipline of Transcendence: Discourses on the Forty-Two Sutras of Buddha #29 (vol.2, 1978) is a key source to this event and can be read in a comprehensive excerpt in Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic (Sarito 2000, p. 68). Here in his own words Osho has provided us with a detailed narrative much more elaborated than any enlightened being before him. And enlightenment is not to be labelled an experience but rather a direct recognition of our true self. Osho says:

“One of the most fundamental things to remember is that whatever you come across in your inner journey, you are not it. You are the one who is witnessing it…even greater travelers of the inner worlds have gotten stuck in beautiful experiences, and have become identified with those experiences, thinking, ‘I have found myself’. They have stopped before reaching the final stage where all experiences disappear…enlightenment is not an experience.” (32)

Osho has given us his understanding of the limitation of words when trying to reveal the phenomenon of enlightenment, and he tentatively describes his enlightenment in words,

“Lao Tzu says: The moment truth is asserted, it becomes false. There is no way to communicate truth. But language has to be used; there is no other way. So we have to use the language with the condition that it cannot be adequate to the experience. Hence I say “the day I achieved my enlightenment.” It is neither an achievement nor mine.” Theologia Mystica #9

“I must have come across hundreds of mystics describing it as if suddenly thousands of suns have risen within you. That is a common expression in the mystic’s language, in all languages, in different countries, in different races.
Enlightenment simply means an experience of your consciousness unclouded by thoughts, emotions, sentiments. When the consciousness is totally empty, there is something like an explosion, an atomic explosion. Your whole insight becomes full of a light which has no source and no cause. And once it has happened, it remains. It never leaves you for a single moment; even when you are asleep, that light is inside. And after that moment you can see things in a totally different way. after that experience, there is no question in you.” (Urmila 2007, p. 129)

In a dispute with one of his professors in Jabalpur Rajneeesh has placed Buddha and Ramana Maharshi in the same league of enlightened beings and accused the professor for not going to see Raman Maharshi when he was still available – to see the face. (33)

The maulshree tree, which was a focus point for Osho’s enlightenment event, is still to be seen in Bhanvar Tal Garden in Jabalpur where it is surrounded by a small ditch to be crossed on a steel-bridge (34). Bhagawati reports from her visit to the park in the morning of March 21, 2011: “Fortified, we drive to the park…Excitement starts bubbling up when we pay for the tickets and enter the main gate, which is flanked by two large but friendly looking fiberglass dinosaurs. It seems it is a very odd world out there in Jabalpur! The park is large, more on the ornamental side, with well-kept flower beds and many trees and green lawns where people can sit in the evenings when it is cool and their children can run around and play. Alpine-style wooden fences separate some of the lawn from the paths, elsewhere grassy patches are protected by metal fences. The path leads to a circular area, maybe 15 meters in diameter, protected by a metal fence with a small gate. It is here that the maulshree tree rises from the middle of a patch of brown earth surrounded by grass, and a narrow moat encircles the area. In the evenings children paddle around and around that moat in a small yellow plastic boat. There is no plaque that refers to Osho or the tree and I am glad about this. I step bare foot onto a blistering hot narrow metal bridge to walk over the moat towards the big tree which has a rather short trunk yet a very wide crown. A handful of sannyasins are sitting or standing to the side – I hear later that there had been a large celebration in the morning when we were still sitting on the train.” (35)

Osho later recounts on a bodhi tree near his parents’ home in Gadarwara,

“As I went out of the house, just close by there was a very beautiful bodhi tree – the kind of tree under which Gautam Buddha became awakened. The tree got the name bodhi tree because of Gautam Buddha. One does not know what it used to be called before Gautam Buddha; it must have had some name, but after Buddha it became associated with his name…There used to be such silence, such coolness underneath it, nobody to disturb me, that I could not pass it without sitting under it for some time. And those moments of peace, I think sometimes may have stretched the whole day.” The Great Zen Master Ta Hui #28

Prelude

The seven-year period from his fourteen to his twenty-one year may be called the Search, during which period he spent his time on intensive reading on all subjects and also experimented with medita­tion techniques. This search was leading to his enligh­tenment at 2 a.m. March 21st 1953. He was now at the age of twenty-one and majoring in philosophy at D.N. Jain College in Jabalpur (Indian College).

From his early childhood Rajneesh had been experimenting with out-of-body experiences and these exercises are among the multiple preludes to what was to follow in 1953, including his first satori in the Shiva temple at riverbank in 1946. One day when walking in the hills surrounding Sagar Rajneesh remembered that once in his childhood he had jumped into the overflowing Sakkar River during the rainy season to swim in the currents of the roaring river. When carried away by the water he thought he was to be drowned now and here, until suddenly he felt an out-of-the-body experience when seeing himself swimming over the surface of the water while his body was under water. He stopped moving his limbs and the river carried his frozen body safely to the other bank. His soul entered his body as soon as he reached the bank.

This episode from Gadarwara became a vivid recollection when later, approximately one year before the big event, he was sitting in one of his favourite trees outside Sagar, where he had been invited from Jabalpur to participate for three days in a debating contest. He used to sit in the tree for two or three hours, and one day in 1952 it happened that he fell down from the tree. He then felt that his soul was floating in the air with a silvery string attached to his abdomen (36). But unlike his previous experience in Sakkar River, this time his soul could not enter his body right away. It was not until a milkmaid, who used to supply milk to the hostel, came along and put her hand on his head rubbing his third eye believing that he was dead, that his soul finally entered his body with a powerful force.

Having now experienced the separation of the eternal body from the physical one falling down from the tree, Rajneesh became a bit more cautious with his experiments. From now on, whenever going into Shavashan (Shav, dead body; ashan, posture) he arranged for his eternal body to return to his physical body within an hour. This happened six times within a period of six months.

“And I had to keep myself close to myself. I would not talk to anybody because everything had become so inconsistent that even to formulate one sentence was difficult. In the middle of the sentence I would forget what I was saying. In the middle of the sentence I would forget where I was going. Then I would have to come back. I would read a book – I would read fifty pages and then suddenly I would realize, “What am I reading? I don’t remember at all.” My situation was such…” (Sarito 2000, p. 65)

His life was now on the brink of a constant nervous break down – or break through – and he found himself disconnecting more and more from people in the world around him who thought him to be mad. According to Mistelberger (2010) Rajneesh was contemplating and spending his mental energy on his own Zen koans, small statements that is devised to put your logical mind to a full stop. Intensively doubting and questioning everything, slowly he was moving on the road towards being a total witness to existence. He was not taking much food and was exhausting himself mentally as well as physically by running every morning and evening for five to eight miles, and his spiritual state was such that in the West it might have been diagnosed a severe mental illness. As just quoted, he might start reading a book, his favourite leisure activity, and after reading a few pages he totally forgot what he had read. Or as Rajneesh in a joke described his state of mind in those days,

“The door of the psychiatrist’s office burst open and a man rushed in. “Doctor!” he cried, “You’ve got to help me. I’m sure I’m losing my mind. I can’t remember anything – what happened a year ago, or even what happened yesterday. I must be going crazy!”
“Hmm,” pondered the shrink. “Just when did you first become aware of this problem?”
The man looked puzzled. “What problem?”” (Sarito 2000, p. 63)

His concerned parents remembered the astrologer’s prediction of Rajneesh’s death at age twenty one and took him to several doctors. Finally they ended up with one insightful vaidya (ayurvedic physician) Pundit Bhaghirath Prasad who emphatically examined Rajneesh’s mental health and finally with tears in his eyes declared, “He is not ill. I have been searching for this state myself. He is fortunate. In this life I have missed this state. Don’t take him to anybody. He is reaching home.” (Sarito 2000, p. 63). So Prasad was himself a seeker and from now on he was protecting Rajneesh against other doctors and physicians with less understanding of his state of mind.

Enlightenment

From the days around Osho’s enlightenment we have in his personal diary and notebooks some published works with indications of his state of mind. An excerpt from his magazine Mukul called The Play of Life, Death and Nature (January 1953) and some expressions on temples not being the abode of God from Saptahik Prakash (21.09.1953) will suffice to give us an understanding of his poetic gifts as well as his level of understanding in those days. First The Play of Life, Death and Nature from Mukul:

“It is midnight. Stars are also sleeping and the neighbour’s clock has become silent after ringing twelve times. Around an electric lamp post a crowd of moths is flying, and in no time the appetite of the soil below the lamp post shall swallow the lives of these moths. But of these mad moths, no one knows.
Bubbles, rays and colourful games of life arise like trees from the breast of sleeping oceans and are soon to disappear.
By unveiling the petals of flowers, spring is awake and the coming of autumn defoliation leaves its mark on the dried body of trees.
In infinite play it wanders untired again and again in ancient ways and alleys free from all limits to an endless row of trees.
Life and death, smiling children and dry bones in the graves. Moths will be born and moths will dye, but the honey taste on the lips of the stars crushed by the night will be unidentified with this play.
Nature or existence never cares, neither do life nor death. To life nature is unknown and unidentified, as life is unknown to nature.
Two unknown persons meet on the road and one day their meeting comes to an end. This is the whole story of this world. Under the influence of time much is created & much is destroyed and all the creations and destructions come in the current of time and remains unaffected. In the ocean of time the waves of life and death appear, but they are neither life nor death itself.
One day the oil in the lamp is exhausted, the sudden unity of this earthen body with its breaths is broken and the unending current of time flows in ecstasy and overjoyed time. Neither it has any proportion or end, nor any means.” (37) 

In the newspaper Jai Hind one page from his diary with his understanding of Leela called This Useless Play was published 21.09.1952. In the Jabalpur weekly Saptahik Prakash from May 1953 some part from his diary called Manan (Thinking with love and sympathy) was published, and again in same magazine some more expressions on 21.09.1953. Other writings by Osho revealing his insights around 1953 appeared in the newspaper Nav Bharat, and in the monthly Hindi magazine Gyanodaya titled Atma chintan ke chan (Moments of Self-thinking) in September 1953. Some of these early texts have been published in excerpts in the magazine Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and in Gyan Bhed’s Ek Phakkar Messiah Osho, vol II. At this time in the early 1950s Rajneesh had also translated Khalil Gibran’s A Wanderer for publishing in Nav Bharat or in a contemporary magazine.

“Without heart, all the temples and churches are of no use. If God is not in the heart then he cannot be in any temple.
The man who was the first one to build a temple, surely he would have been an atheist. He had quietly turned out God from his heart, and with great skill he buried him in the earth of a temple.
For those whose God of any religion is only in churches and temples, there is no God in that religion. Once I was asked who were the atheists, I replied, “Those whose Gods are in the temples.”
The temple is not the abode of God, it is his grave. If you want to save the God, bring him into your hearts. He should be turned out from the temple.” (38)

“For many lives I had been working – working upon myself, struggling, doing whatsoever can be done – and nothing was happening. Now I understand why nothing was happening. The very effort was the barrier, the very ladder was preventing, the very urge to seek was the obstacle. Not that one can reach without seeking – seeking is needed – but then comes a point when seeking has to be dropped. The boat is needed to cross the river, but then comes a moment when you have to get out of the boat and forget all about it and leave it behind. Effort is needed, without effort nothing is possible. And also with only effort, nothing is possible…
The day the desire stopped, the day I looked into it and realized it was simply futile, I was helpless and hopeless. But that very moment something started happening for which I had been working for many lives and it was not happening. In your hopelessness is the only hope, and in your desirelessness is your only fulfilment, and in your tremendous helplessness suddenly the whole existence starts helping you…
It was impossible to make any sense out of it, what was happening. It was a nonsense world – difficult to figure it out, difficult to manage in categories, difficult to use words, language, explanations. All scriptures appeared dead, and all the words that have been used for this experience looked very pale, anaemic. This was so alive. It was like a tidal wave of bliss…
I was becoming loose from my past, I was being uprooted from my history. I was loosing my autobiography. I was becoming a nonbeing, what Buddha calls anatta. Boundaries were disappearing, distinctions were disappearing. Mind was disappearing; it was millions of miles away.” The Discipline of Transcendence, vol.2 #29

For seven days in mid March 1953 Rajneesh lived in this very hopeless and helpless state – the dark night of the soul – and those days of transformation were the final phase before enlightenment happened. What he experienced that night on March 21, 1953, took place when he was asleep in his room as well as in Bhavar Tal Garden. For the whole day he had been in a intoxicating state and only taken some fruits and milk offered to him by Kranti, who with her brother Arvind had been looking after his needs also during this challenging period. His severe headaches were not caused by intensive reading, like in Gadarwara, but now they were closely related to his psychological state of mind.

“Near about twelve my eyes suddenly opened – I had not opened them. The sleep was broken by something else. I felt a great presence around me in the room. It was a very small room. I felt a throbbing life around me, a great vibration – almost like a hurricane, a great storm of light, ecstasy. I was drowning in it. It was so tremendously real that everything else became unreal. The walls of the room became unreal, the house became unreal, my own body became unreal. Everything was unreal because now there was for the first time reality…
That night for the first time I understood the meaning of the word maya. Not that I have not known the word before, not that I was not aware of the meaning of the word. As you are aware, I was also aware of the meaning – but I had never understood it before. How can you understand without experience? That night another reality opened its door, another dimension became available. Suddenly it was there, the other reality, the separate reality – the really real or whatsoever you want to call it. Call it God, call it truth, call it dhamma, call it Tao, or whatsoever you will. It was nameless. But it was there – so transparent and yet so solid one could have touched it. It was almost suffocating me in that room. It was too much and I was not yet capable of absorbing it.” The Discipline of Transcendence, vol.2 #29

He leaves the room and walks into nature in the middle of the night,

“A great urge was there just to be under the sky with the stars, with the trees, with the earth…to be with nature. And immediately as I came out, the feeling of being suffocated disappeared. It was too small a place for such a big phenomenon. Even the sky is a small place for that big phenomenon. It is bigger than the sky. Even the sky is not the limit for it. But then I felt more at ease. 
I walked towards the nearest garden. It was a totally new walk, as if gravitation had disappeared. I was walking, or I was running, or I was simply flying; it was difficult to decide. There was no gravitation, I was feeling weightless – as if some energy was taking me. I was in the hands of some other energy.
For the first time I was not alone, for the first time I was no more an individual, for the first time the drop had fallen into the ocean. Now the whole ocean was mine, I was the ocean. There was no limitation. A tremendous power arose as if I could do anything whatsoever. I was not there, only the power was there.” The Discipline of Transcendence, vol.2 #29

And his steps lead him towards Bhanvar Tal Garden:

“I reached the garden where I used to go every day…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, pulled me towards itself. I had not chosen it, God himself had 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.
It is difficult to say how long I was in that state. When I went back home it was four o’clock in the morning, so I must have been there by clock time at least three hours, but it was infinity. It had nothing to do with clock time. It was timeless.
Those three hours became the whole eternity, endless eternity. There was no time, there was no passage of time; it was the virgin reality – uncorrupted, untouchable, unmeasurable.
And that day something happened that has continued – not as a continuity, but it has still continued as an undercurrent. Not as a permanency – each moment it has been happening again and again. It has been a miracle each moment…
That night I became empty and became full. I became non existential and became existence. That night I died and was reborn. But the one that was reborn has nothing to do with the one that died, it is a discontinuous thing. On the surface it looks continuous, but it is discontinuous. The one who died, died totally; nothing of him has remained.” The Discipline of Transcendence, vol.2 #29

“You ask me, what happened when you became enlightened? I laughed, a real uproarious laugh, seeing the whole absurdity of trying to be enlightened. The whole thing is ridiculous because we are born enlightened, and to try for something that is already the case is the most absurd thing. If you have it, you cannot achieve it; only those things can be achieved which you don’t have, which is not intrinsic parts of your being. But enlightenment is your very nature.” Theologia Mystica #9

Nikalank, Osho’s brother, is not seeing his enlightenment as happening in a specific moment, and in an interview with Gyan Bhed he is placing the event in context with Osho’s whole way of living: “It shall be wrong if I say that he had attained enlightenment in a particular segment of life. He was a born Buddha. He says that we are all Buddhas by birth, then what can be said in his case. He was a Buddha by birth, but at the level of understanding the happening of enlightenment had occurred. As far as his behaviour, life style, his artistic grace, his fearlessness and his rebellious spirit are concerned, and as far as his unique expression on everything is concerned, it is like that. There may be moderation in all things, but those qualities were present in his earlier life also. Those who had seen him in his childhood, they may bear witness that whatsoever he was doing, whether he was taking care of plants in the garden, drawing water from the well, painting a picture, playing the flute or folding his handkerchief, there had been a qualitativeness and grace in it. He used to pick up the handkerchief as if its heart was throbbing, and while folding it he poured himself into it so deeply that whosoever saw it would have been surprised in the same manner, as if he was watching the scene of a pleasant sunrise or of a blooming rainbow. And after folding the handkerchief, when he folds it in such manner, when seeing it you shall feel such artistic beauty as if you were seeing a piece of art by Michelangelo.” (39)

Aftermath

Following his enlightenment Rajneesh left for Gadarwara right away to meet his beloved Nani and show her what had happened to him. On the train from Jabalpur to Gadarwara, according to Gyan Bhed, Osho is said to have written in his diary a few words on his inner experience:

“My inner self has been full of such a light which has neither a source, a cause nor any past. I am experiencing this cool light every moment and even in my sleep I am aware that one such supernatural lamp is lighting within me…I was getting free from my past. I was being eradicated from my history. I was losing my autobiography…Now I am only “I”, “I” who is not only a body, but a part of the Deity. Now the drop has mixed with the ocean and the ocean into the drop.” (Bhed 2006, p. 128)

Masto Baba and Magga Baba both were to recognize Osho’s enlightenment, and Masto Baba now for the first time used the epithet Bhagwan which was later to be accepted by Osho from his early days in Bombay. After showing their reverence to Osho their supportive mission for his spiritual growth had come to its ultimate end and accordingly they could now both leave for the Himalayas. Pagal Baba, the third of Rajneesh’s Indian masters, had at this point already left his body. (Bhed 2006, p. 125)

Nani was waiting at the platform for his train to arrive at the railway station and she had already been well informed by Shambhu Babu on what had happened to her grandchild (40). To Nani Osho looked completely changed like something unprecedented had happened to him. Remembering the forecast by the astrologer from Kashi she recognized his enlightenment and touching his feet she became his first disciple on that very platform at Gadarwara RLY, as Osho later recalled her spiritual state:

“This is the first time I have told anybody. My Nani was my first disciple. I taught her the way. My way is simple: to be silent, to experience in one’s self that which is always the observer, and never the observed; to know the knower, and forget the known…Nani was not only my first disciple, she was my first enlightened disciple too, and she became enlightened long before I started initiating people into sannyas. She was never a sannyasin.” (Urmila 2007, p. 132)

Following his enlightenment he felt a physical weakness, like his life has been reduced by ten years or so, from a lifetime of seventy years to sixty years only. He would later leave his body at age fifty nine. He noticed that the hair on his chest from now on started growing white, at age twenty one, a change he could not hide as he was wearing a wrap-around lunghi the whole day so his chest was always naked. But since his enlightenment and the experience of watching his physical body from the outside with his consciousness, the existence of his physical body and its ultimate death had become meaningless to him. From now on he remained only a witness to these changes of his body. And he went into his first prolonged period of silence,

“After my enlightenment, for exactly one thousand, three hundred and fifteen days I tried to remain silent – as much as it was possible in those conditions. For a few things I had to speak, but my speaking was telegraphic. My father was very angry with me. He loved me so much that he had every right to be angry. The day he had sent me to the university he had taken a promise from me that I would write one letter every week at least. When I became silent I wrote him the last letter and told him, “I am happy, immensely happy, ultimately happy, and I know from my very depth of being that I will remain so forever, whether in the body or not in the body. This bliss is something of the eternal. So now every week, if you insist, I can write the same again and again. That will not look okay, but I have promised, so I will drop a card every week with the sign “ditto.” Please forgive me, and when you receive my letter with the sign “ditto,” you read this letter.” The Rajneesh Bible/From Unconsciousness to Consciousness #1

Magga Baba was the one who made Rajneesh speak again after his period of silence, and Rajneesh remembers from their talk,

“He himself had remained silent his whole life. Nobody heard about him; nobody knew about him. And he was the most precious man I have come across in this, or any of my lives in the past. His name was Magga Baba. Once in a while, particularly on cold winter nights, I used to find him alone; then he would say something to me. He forced me to speak. He said, “Look, I have remained silent my whole life, but they do not hear, they do not listen. They cannot understand it; it is beyond them. I have failed. I have not been able to convey what I have been carrying within me, and now there is not much time left for me. You are so young, you have a long life before you; please don’t stop speaking. Start!” From Unconsciousness to Consciousness #1

In Oregon between 1981 and 1984 Osho observed a similar period of silence also lasting 1.315 days, exactly similar to the number of silent days in the period after his enlightenment. Osho has indicated that while Magga Baba did in fact encourage him to teach, at the same time he warned Osho not to declare his enlightenment as this would create antagonism among his listeners. Osho did not publicly acknowledge his enlightenment until he told Kranti in November 1972, more than a year after he had changed his name to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and had stopped his arduous and sometimes life threatening travels.

“Many people have asked me why I kept silent about the fact I became enlightened in 1953. For almost twenty years I never said anything about it to anybody, unless somebody suspected it himself, unless somebody said to me on his own, “We feel that someting has happened to you. We don’t know what it is, but one thing is certain: that something has happened and you are no more the same as we are – and you are hiding it.”
In those years not more than ten people asked me, and even then I avoided them as much as I could unless I felt that their desire was genuine. I told them only when they had promised to keep it a secret. And they all fulfilled their promise. Now they are all sannyasins, but they all kept it a secret. I said, “You wait. Wait for the right moment. Only then will I declare it.”
I have learned much from the past Buddhas. If Jesus had kept a little quieter about being the Son of God it would have been far more beneficial to humanity. I had made it a point that until I stopped traveling in the country I was not going to declare it; otherwise I would have been killed – I would not be here.
Once I have finished with traveling, mixing with the masses, moving from one town to another…and there was not a single bodyguard. It would have been no problem to kill me, it would have been so simple. But for almost twenty years I kept absolutely silent about it. I declared it only when I saw that now I had gathered enough people who could understand it. I declared it only when I knew that now I could create my own small world and I was no longer concerned with the crowds and the masses and the stupid mob.” The Dhammapada, vol.11 #2; (Sarito 2000, p. 231)

In The Awakened One Vasant Joshi narrates insightfully on the circumstances around Osho’s going public with his enlightenment many years after the event happened, “Bhagwan himself did not reveal the event of enlightenment to anyone for about twenty years. The story came out rather dramatically one night while Bhagwan was living in the Woodland Apartments in Bombay. Kranti, Bhagwan’s cousin, was often asked by friends if she knew when Bhagwan was enlightened. She could not tell them because she did not know, but every time someone new asked her about it, she again felt the impulse to try to find out from Bhagwan. Kranti finally asked Bhagwan about his enlightenment:

“Last night, November 27, 1972, the curiosity that I had carried for so long became uncontrollable. It was about eleven thirty. After taking his milk Bhagwan had gone to bed. I also lay down in my bed and suddenly I felt like asking Bhagwan when he had attained enlightenment. No sooner had the thought occurred to me than I asked, “When did you attain enlightenment?””(Joshi 1982, p. 57)

Bhagwan is urging Kranti to remember by herself as she was a witness at that time to the whole event when they were living together in Jabalpur. In their nightly dialogue of questions and answers almost twenty years later Bhagwan concludes that the event took place at two o’clock a.m. on March 21, 1953, in Bhanvar Tal Garden where he sat under the maulshree tree.

“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.
In his last moments Vivekananda said he had been calling for one hundred people to come forward to work with him, but that they had not come and that he was dying a very unhappy and disappointed man. Vivekananda was convinced that he could have changed the world if those hundred men had come forward. But they never came. And Vivekananda died.
I have decided not to call but to go to the villages and search out those hundred men. I will look deep into their eyes to fathom the depths of their souls. And if they do not heed my call I will bring them forward by force, by compulsion. If I am able to bring together one hundred such men I assure you that the souls of those one hundred men will stand out like Mount Everest, casting their brilliance on an erring mankind and leading it to the right path.”

Osho continues and elaborates on his vision and the seekers needed to carry on the torch:

“Those who accept my challenge and have the strength and courage to walk that difficult path with me must remember that the path is not only difficult, it is also unknown. It is like a tremendously vast sea, and we have no map, no chart of its depths. But the man who has the courage to enter the deep water should realize that he only has that strength and power because God himself has called on him. Otherwise he would never be so brave. In Egypt it was believed that when a man called on God for strength and guidance it was because God has already called on him and that there would have been no call otherwise.
Those who have this inner urge have a responsibility towards mankind. And today it is of the utmost urgency to go to the four corners of the world, to sound the call for men to step forward to sacrifice their whole lives to reaching the heights of spirituality and enlightenment…
I am throwing out a great challenge to those who feel they have something good to offer humanity. I intend to wander through as many villages as necessary, and if I encounter eyes that can serve as lights for others, or eyes in which I feel I can kindle the burning flame of conviction, I will take those people with me and I will work on them. I will make them able. I will impart to them all the faculties necessary to enable them to hold high the torch and illumine the dark path men thread to a brighter future, to a future full of knowledge and light.
As for myself I am fully prepared, I do not intend to die like Vivekananda saying I spent my life searching for a hundred men and could not find them.” (41)

When asked if Osho ever talked about his experience of enlightenment, his father Babu Lal recalls: “No, he has never given any hint about it! Only many years later I got to know that my son had declared during a discourse in Mumbai to be enlightened, and we heard about it while we were having dinner through an uncle, who was talking about it as being one of the rumours that were circulating about Osho, and none of us was much interested! Many years passed before I heard about this story again, but in reality I felt that my son was not my son anymore, that he had transcended his being, and I realized that only in the moment when I took sannyas from him.” (42)

Osho’s enlightenment had a definite influence on his general health for the rest of his life. He reveals that most enlightened people leave their body within the next few years after their enlightenment, with Buddha and Mahavir as outstanding exceptions due to their common history of being warriors and their strong bodies. Staying in the house of a medical doctor in Patna in 1960 Osho tells us how he was suffering from a severe migraine which lasted for 21 days. Before his enlightenment he never had any migraine but ever since that day he used to have this disorder four times a year, every time lasting day and night for a longer period. He was just able to lie down with a wet towel over his face and not being able even to open his eyes. The doctor prescribed him some sleeping pills to make him rest during the night, and those helped him to endure his condition. In other sources he tells us that migraine had occurred earlier in life also, especially when too much reading triggered it on. But it remains a fact that his condition worsened following his enlightenment. The smell of flowers was always dear to him and he was surrounding himself with their fragrance until this too had to pass due to an evolving allergic sensitivity. Coughing was activated which again caused attacks from asthma, and his immunity to infections was affected also. Krishnamurti is said to have suffered from migraine for forty years, almost same period as Osho, and all these effects on his body are put together by Osho in: Light on the Path #35

We may end this attempt to narrate some subtle aspects of Osho’s enlightenment with his words on the implications for the future work as he later recalls in Rajneeshpuram. His comments on the implications for questions and his answers explain to us the chemistry behind this dialogue:

“For example, every enlightened person will have a deep silence – almost tangible. In his presence, those who are open, receptive, will become silent. He will have tremendous contentment, whatever happens makes no difference to his contentment.
He will not have any questions left, all questions have dissolved – not that he knows all answers, but all questions have dissolved. And in that state of utter silence, no-mind, he is capable of answering any question with tremendous profoundity. It needs no preparation. He himself does not know what he is going to say, it comes spontaneously; sometimes he himself is surprised. But that does not mean that he has answers inside himself, ready-made. He has no answers at all. He has no questions at all. He has just a clarity, a light that can be focused on any question, and all the implications of the question and all the possibilities of its being answered suddenly become clear.
So you may find that sometimes you ask something, and the enlightened man answers something else. That happens because you are not aware of the implications of your own question. He does not answer only your words. He answers you. He answers the mind that has produced the question. So many times the question and the answer may look not fitting, but they certainly meet. It is just that you will have to dig a little deeper into the question, and you will find that it was exactly the question. It will happen many times that you will understand your question for the first time when it has been answered, because you were not aware of that dimension, you were not aware of your own mind, your own unconscious, from where those words have come.
But the enlightened man has no answers, no scriptures, no quotation marks. He is simply available; just like a mirror he responds, and he responds with intensity and totality.” The Last Testament, vol. 3 #29; (Sarito 2000, p. 81)

And then, late one night in October 1989, only a few months before he left his body, Osho told his personal dentist Devageet what proved to be his last comments on his enlightenment:

“The Master, and any enlightened being, has gone beyond mind, and the mind is the ego. It is the mind, with all its conditioning, that contains all ideas of relationships and dependencies. They are all rooted in our ancient biological memories. In enlightenment the relationship with one’s own self also disappears. It too is a type of relationship.
The Enlightened One has no mind in this sense. All conditionings have gone, and gone forever. When the ego finally disappears there is nobody, no self. The Master has cut the roots of biological bondage. For him all unconsciousness has disappeared. All that remains is the nothingness that Buddha cals ‘anatta’.
Enlightenment means that nothing stands in the way between existence and the Enlightened One. He stands alone and naked before existence. In a certain sense he is no more. He has dissolved into the world, into Existence. His trust is immense. His ego has dissolved into his trust. What was ego is now trust. He has become trust. He has become love. There is no ego in the way. He has dissolved into the beyond, into Existence itself. He is a continuity with Existence itself. For the Enlightened One there is total discontinuity with the mind and all that went before. The past has been completely dropped. Relationship is utterly impossible.” (Devageet 2013, p. 204) (43)

2.3 Reading and Book Collecting

His whole life Osho was a devoted collector of books and he was constantly enlarging his private library collection. Most of his daily time was throughout the years spent on reading, mostly within his favourite domains of philosophy and religion, but he was an avid reader who devoured books on a multitude of topics and enjoyed also ideas not too mainstream such as exorcism, socialism and communism. The truth is that he was more than just building and enlarging his book collection. He also treated this essential part of his activity in a way that showed a profound interest and knowledge in those practical and technical matters that turn a book collection into a library. From his very childhood at age eleven he was managing an inventory of his own book collection, where in a systematic order titles, authors, subjects and provenience were listed in his own handwriting. This first bibliographic exercise of his was continued until 1950 when he was to leave for Jabalpur, and ever since library science methods, interior design and the bibliographic registration of his growing collections have been integral parts of his library activities. As we will see his bibliophile passion continues in Jabalpur, Bombay and Poona where eventually his personal library found a lasting location and in the years to come grew to what may be considered to be at least one of the world’s largest private libraries, if not the largest.

So we have to bear in mind that although the main emphasis of his teachings and philosophy was always on heart and feelings and centring on the body, he was beyond doubt himself a highly cerebral character, using to the utmost the capacity of his brain to encompass every field of science, be it philosophy or library science. And his reading and ever growing library are cornerstones in his intellectual development for years also after his enlightenment and essential for his reaching out to scores of Westerners of which the majority turned out to be highly educated followers.

“He was one of few Eastern gurus to emphasize the difference between intellectuality and intelligence. The former was, for him, the province of the typical academic. Because he himself had spent many years in academia – being an undergraduate, then graduate student and then professor until age thirty-four – when he criticized academic approaches, particular in the philosophical and religious fields, his words carried weight. His main point was that excessive intellectuality keeps us at arm’s length from things, making it more difficult to experientially penetrate deeply into the essence of something.” (Mistelberger 2010, p. 175)

His absorption in books was not at all a new event distinct from his Indian culture and tradition. Although the Chinese unquestioned have the privilege of being the founders of libraries and library science – the saying goes that they invented writing so that they could talk to the gods – the inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent were taking up the new ways of communication fairly easily and in a most devoted manner. Still the first religious tradition in India was an oral one, covering the Vedas, the ritual laws of the Brahmanas and the philosophical Upanishads. But two new sects arising at the same time did not share this reluctance to write down their sacred texts. To Buddhists and Jains the creation of canons of scriptures were essential and they maintained monasteries as religious and educational centres also in Sri Lanka where simultaneously the copying from dictation of the sacred scriptures on palm leaves was taking place, a physical format quite different from the Chinese scrolls.

The building of libraries in India was attracting pilgrims from China who after returning home were narrating on what they had seen, and they also returned from India laden with books. When Hsuan-Tsang arrived in Narlanda – 40 miles south-west of Patna – in 629 he found thousands of monks studying not only the varieties of Buddhist thought but also a wide range of other subjects. Narlanda’s library was housed in three large buildings one of which, Ratnadadhi (Ocean of Gems), was nine stories high and housed sutras and tantric literature stored flat on shelves and in heavy wooden chests. Other Chinese visitors were breath taken seeing these treasures and a constant flow of copying and exchanging of texts was taking place between India, China and Tibet. This proved to be a lucky cultural exchange when Narlanda was destroyed by Muslim raiders in the 12th century. Or to be more correct according to a Tibetan source: The buildings were repaired after the looting, and the decisive embers that burned down the valuable collections came from two indignant mendicants who were insulted by some young novices at Narlanda, an act that finally consumed the remaining parts of the precious library. (Kaula 1965, p. 459)

In the previous section on Gadarwara we mentioned the Jain tradition for honouring books and libraries, and the impact on the boy Rajneesh from the Jain literature and culture he met in his family has been outlined. The Jain cultural care to preserve any sacred book was with him his whole life, and the extent to which he went to secure the physical safety of his collection is always apparent in the communication with his librarians and secretaries throughout the different phases and settings of his work.

Around the time Osho was born a part of the civil resistance against the British had been the violation of the Sedition Law which was prohibiting certain anti-imperialistic publications. At a large public meeting in Jabalpur Seth Govind Das and others had read selected portions from Pandit Sunderlal’s Bharat Ne Angrezi Raj which had been proscribed by the authorities, and this reading of proscribed books also became popular in other parts of the province. The story of the long Indian fight for freedom has been told in the authoritative publication The History of Freedom Movement in Madhya Pradesh, edited by D.P. Mishra, himself a former freedom fighter, and it is describing the growing resistance movement the young Rajneesh had witnessed during his growth. (Mishra 1956)

The writings of Mahatma Gandhi were cherished by Osho, and it is likely that he has read Gandhi’s autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth (1927 & 1929) already during his adolescence in the 1940s’ Gadarwara. Gandhian ideology was still dear to him and he might have enjoyed reading Gandhi’s plea, “My writings should be cremated with my body. What I have done will endure, not what I have said or written,” as well as the significant title with its experimental approach to life. (Gandhi 2001, p. 1). In Books I Have Loved Osho is mentioning not only Gandhi’s biography, but also the fact that both of them shared an inclination for many authors mentioned by Gandhi: The Light of Asia (1879) by Sir Edwin Arnold (1832-1904), a blank-verse rendition of the life of Buddha was by Gandhi regarded as the book par excellence for the knowledge of truth, Bhagavadgita and John Ruskin’s (1819-1900) Unto This Last. Four Essays on the First Principles of Political Economy (1900), a book much praised by Osho and ‘impossible to lay aside’ by Gandhi who later translated it into Gujarati, entitling it Sarvodaya (The Welfare of All). (44)

In progress. Preliminary map.

Fig 2. Map of Jabalpur. New. Sketch to be drawn from map with places of interest identified: Residences: Bhaldarpur, Deotal, Yogesh Bhawan in Napier Town, Garha Road in Kamla Nehru Nagar. Rani Durgawati University and Library. Mahakoshal Mahavidyalaya College and Library. Hitkarini Mahavidyalaya. Water Tank/Khandari Water Works. The Agricultural Institute. RLY station. Bhanvar Tal Garden. Nav-Bharat newspaper company address. Sushma Sahitya Mandir Hindi bookshop at Jadeharganj Market.

Fig 2. Map of Jabalpur. Sketch to be drawn from map with places of interest identified: Residences: Bhaldarpur, Deotal, Yogesh Bhawan in Napier Town, Garha Road in Kamla Nehru Nagar. Rani Durgawati University and Library. Mahakoshal Mahavidyalaya College and Library. Hitkarini Mahavidyalaya. Water Tank/Khandari Water Works. The Agricultural Institute. RLY station. Bhanvar Tal Garden. Nav-Bharat newspaper company address. Sushma Sahitya Mandir Hindi bookshop at Jadeharganj Market.

We have seen that from 1969 onwards Osho distanced himself from Gandhi as well as from Marxism. In the words of Dhirman: “Rajneesh says that in some of his earlier discourses he had praised Mahatma Gandhi; as a result many Gandhians got attracted to him. They became a nuisance, because they were only interested in hero-worshipping Gandhi, in fasting, wearing cotton, etc. They were not at all interested in inner transformation. So in order to get rid of them, Rajneesh criticised Gandhi in some of his discourses. Soon most of them disappeared. Some people, then, thought that as Rajneesh was against Gandhi, he must be a communist. So Marxists started appearing at his lectures. In order to get rid of them, he attacked Marxist ideas publicly. As a result, most of the leftists stopped coming to him. Then, because he spoke very logically, a huge crowd of intellectuals began to flock towards him. Rajneesh soon got fed up of them because all that they did was argue and argue and nothing else. He was not interested in arguments or proofs, he was interested in experience, but the intellectuals wanted logical discussions. To get rid of such people, he made some illogical statements.” (Dhirman 2012, p. 28)

Osho’s reading underwent some changes in its focus after his Enlightenment: “The event did not change either Rajneesh’s routine or his lifestyle, however. He continued to attend classes at college whenever he felt like doing so, but remained busy mostly reading and writing. The reading he did then and later was, however, for a different purpose. Before enlightenment, his reading was part of his own search, while after that happening; reading became part of his work to help those who were still searching. Reading made it possible for Rajneesh to be familiar with current thinking and research, and its terminology. Thus his reading enabled him to communicate his thoughts and share his experiences in a up-to-date manner, and he also wrote for various newspapers and magazines in Hindi.” (Vasant 1982, p. 67)

“[After Enlightenment] Osho returned to normal daily life, and one of the first things he did was to set up that rhythm of reading a dozen or more books a day, with which he was to continue for more than twenty years. Literally he appears to have read everything there was to read on religion, philosophy and psychology. (“Mahavira’s fasting for days is nothing compared to reading all this rubbish” he said.) Later, and I don’t think he was being bombastic, he claimed to have read more books than everyone else in the world.” (Sam 1997, p. 110)

By his nature Rajneesh was destined to move into extreme polarities. The mayor of Jabalpur, Bhawani Prasad Dewari, who had tranlated Tagore, in 1956 said that either Rajneesh would go mad reading 10 hours a day, or he would become a genius. Rajneesh became during his days in Jabalpur widely known for his extreme thinking power and total involvement in whatever he was doing including his reading. He thought the unthinkable and books were his supporters in this process. (45)

Always he was reading with a pencil in his hand. His marginal notes were in Hindi until his fifth grade at school; from then on all notes were in English. The amount of his bookmarks, the speed of his reading and the number of books read on a daily basis are summing up to a simple miracle, consisting of an intellectual genius-cum-enlightenment. He was reading at high speed and still he was able to take notes and collect quotations from the text while reading. As remembered by Ajit Kumar Jain, the editor of Yukrant: “When reading, Osho was looking at one page at a glance. He was always reading with a pencil in his hand, leaving marks in the book. He was so fond of reading and had spend so many hours on reading, six-seven hours a day, also borrowing books from a Jain library, Chouksey Mandir Library. When he was writing letters and manuscripts he was using his Parker fountain pen. (46)

“In his later days he devoted 10-12 hours for daily study, and he had his own method of studying. Where he sees some very important point in the text of that book, he used to mark it by red pen. And if it was some moderate important one, he used to use green pen. So in this way he categorized the important points by adding with red points or with some underlined headings and then for some moderate meaningful text he used to have green colour.” (47)

His practice of underlining naturally caused some limitation on his borrowing of books from libraries in Jabalpur, but as we will see in the next chapter his use of libraries was in no way out of the question although in several places he claims that library books were not used by him at all. And as to all readers of library books, under linings by former readers are nothing but a nuisance for Osho’s own interaction with the text. Osho says:

“I must have seen thousands of books, and perhaps no other man in the whole world can claim to know more about books than I know…
I used to love underlining my books, that’s why I have never been interested in reading books from any library. I cannot underline a book that has been borrowed from a library, I cannot put my stamp on it. And I hate to read a book which has been underlined by somebody else, because those lines which have been underlined stand out and they unnecessarily interfere in my own conception, in my own flow.” Satyam Shivam Sundram #9

If Rajneesh was reading when some visitor arrived, he used to put a pencil in between the pages of the book to mark the break in his reading and indicate from where he was to continue his reading later on. One day when a former minister of state was visiting him at his residence in Jabalpur, Ageh Bharti remarks on this reading habit: “In front of Osho, there lied [lay] a book with a pencil in between the pages. It showed that Osho was reading the book and might have kept [it] aside with the pencil as a book-mark when the former minister arrived.” (Bharti 2007, p. 74)

Asked if he had ever seen Osho getting angry Ageh Bharti answered that he only once saw Osho being annoyed, when some lady in his room dropped a book on the floor while carrying it from one end of the room to another in Jabalpur. (48)

Osho’s appetite for books has caused some inconsistent remarks on his way of getting his books from also more illegal channels. The young university librarian Ram Chandra Naik (with a B.A. degree in Library Science from 1961) was servicing Rajneesh in Jabalpur, at the University Library as well as taking care of his private book collection. He recalls that in his private collection no classification system was used in these days, and the collection was on 15.000 volumes when Osho left for Bombay. They were befriended and Osho occasionally visited Naik at home with his family. Naik has insistently and most trustworthy denied any stealing on the part of Rajneesh from any library collection, and yet Osho’s secretary Anando was of the understanding that in his student days he might have acquired some titles from library collections to keep for himself. Further Ageh Bharti recalls that from the public library in Gadarwara Osho is said to have taken out and kept for himself New Values for a New India written by a lecturer from Lahore as he at that time was very interested in its content on Gandhi. (49)

“I know that Osho loved books – He collected them from his earliest days, stealing them from libraries when he had no money, and spending all of his allowance when he was at university on books.” (50)

From the start of his academic studies Rajneesh had emphasized to his father that he would not accept any money from his home in Gadarwara, but still he is acknowledging the important role of his father in satisfying his constant craving for books, although in this late comment from Poona Two Osho may have overstated not only the seize of the library’s book stock but also the amount of his father’s donations:

“My father used to send me money, and that money helped me to purchase as many books as possible. Now, the library, you see – it has one hundred and fifty thousand books. Most of them were purchased with his means. All the money he gave me went into purchasing books, and soon I was receiving scholarships – and all that money went into books.” Christianity: The Deadliest Poison And Zen: The Antidote To All Poisons #8

When he became an ass. Professor in Jabalpur most of his salary was to be invested in buying books for his collection, as remembered by Arvind Kumar Jain: “When Osho was doing his M.A. Degree at Sagar University, also here he studied the available different subject Books of his choice & in the coming years at the time of professor’s Job in Mahakoshal Mahavidyalaya in the Philosophical Department he has not only studied the Books of his Interest on Different Subjects of Mahakoshal Mahavidyalaya’s Library & Jabalpur University Library but also at the time of Government Service of Professor he invest 70% of Salary Income in purchasing very rare Books of his Interest.” (Jain 2007 #9)

As a student his funds were fairly limited and he often strolled to select from the piles of old books being sold at the footpath of the Gurandi Bazar. Among other goods old books were recycled at the market and here famous books could be found at very cheap rates. The weekly Gurandi Sunday Market derived its name from the Bhonslas, the former rulers of Nagpur and Jabalpur, who were called Gerandas, the local word for looters. To what extent the extensive buying of books with a somewhat uncertain provenance may be labelled handling of stolen goods is for every reader from other cultural contexts to decide.

“In Jabalpur there was one beautiful place where I was an everyday visitor; I would go for at least one or two hours. It was called the Thieves Market. Stolen things were sold there, and I was after stolen books because so many people were stealing books and selling them and I was getting such beautiful books. I got Gurdjieff’s first book from that Thieves Market, and Ouspensky’s In Search of the Miraculous from that Thieves Market.
The book was fifty rupees, from there I got it for half a rupee, because in the Thieves market, books are sold by weight. Those people, they don’t bother about whether it is Ouspensky, Plato, or Russell. Everything is all rubbish; whether you purchase old newspapers or you purchase Socrates, it is the same price. I had collected in my library thousands of books from the Thieves Market. Everybody used to ask me, “Are you mad or something? Why do you go continually to the Thieves Market? – because people don’t go there. To be associated with the Thieves Market is not good.”
I would say, “I don’t care. Even if they think that I am a thief, it is okay.”
To me the Thieves Market has been the best source – even books which were not in the university library I have found in the Thieves Market. And all those shopkeepers were selling stolen books, and every kind of stolen thing. In India, in every big city there is a Thieves Market. In Bombay there is a Thieves Market where you can find everything at just throw-away prices. But it is risky because it is stolen property.” From Personality To Individuality #4

One outstanding book by Mikhail Naimy stands out far above any other book according to Osho’s evaluation in Books I Have Loved. Not in the words of the book, but “The meaning of the book is running side by side in silence between the words, between the lines, in the gaps.” A technique not far from his own way of expressing the message in his discourses.

“I was a student in the university, but on Sundays I used to go to a market in the city where stolen things were sold. I was not interested in anything else, just stolen books. I got The Book of Mirdad as a stolen book. Somebody’s whole library…three hundred books in all, and all the books were beautiful. And for those three hundred books a man was asking only a hundred rupees, so I immediately gave him a hundred rupees.” The Osho Upanishad #7

“I once got into trouble because I purchased three hundred books from one shop, simultaneously, in one day, because a whole library of somebody’s had been stolen. Just for one hundred and fifty rupees, three hundred books. I could not leave a single one. I had to borrow money, and immediately rush there, and I told that man, “No book should go from here.”
Those books had seals with a certain man’s name and address, and finally the police came. I said, “Yes, these are the books, and I have purchased them from the Thieves Market. In the first place this man is almost ninety years old – he will be dying soon.”… From Personality To Individuality #4.

The books had been stolen from their former owner, a retired professor of literature, and when the police was called for they took Rajneesh to the old professor where he succeeded defending his purchase of the stolen collection:

“You cannot read anymore; your eyes are no longer in a situation to read. If you just want to keep three hundred books on your shelf, I can bring five hundred books, six hundred books. But don’t ask for those three hundred books, particularly for The Book of Mirdad. That I cannot return to you, stolen or not stolen.” The Osho Upanishad

Without doubt the professor himself had loved the books stolen from his library immensely:

“And I have loved those books, cherished those books. My whole life I have collected the best books. And the moment you said The Book of Mirdad you closed the deal. You just take these fifty rupees, and whenever you need more – because I don’t have anybody; no wife, no children, and enough pension, and I don’t have any expenses – you are always welcome to come to me. If you don’t have money to purchase books I am here. Your love for Mirdad has made you a man of my family. I have loved Mirdad my whole life…And you are ready to fight for a stolen book, you are ready to go to the court for a stolen book. There is no need. I was in search of you. It is strange, he said, that The Book of Mirdad has found you itself.”

“That’s how I found the first copy of The book of Mirdad. Its second edition had not been published, it has not been translated into any other language. It needs to be in every house, it is so precious. And it has touched your heart. Just don’t start having expectations, and it will help you immensely on the way.” The Osho Upanishad

Another significant title by P.D. Ouspensky was not to be obtained neither from Gurandi Bazar nor from the various libraries he was using in Jabalpur. Talking about Ouspensky’s Tertium Organum in Books I Have Loved Osho reveals how this celebrated book came into his possession. The book was bought in 1954 while he was a univer­sity student and the copy, which is still in Osho Library in Poona, contains prolific underlining in red and blue pencil. Even though the book was extremely expensive, Osho was determined to have the brand new copy:

“Tertium Organum was a costly book. In India, in those days, I was getting a salary of only seventy rupees each month, and by coincidence the book cost exactly seventy rupees, but I purchased it. The bookseller was amazed, he said “Even the richest man in our community cannot afford it. For five years I have been keeping it to sell, and nobody has purchased it. People come and look at it, then drop the idea of buying. How can you, a poor student working the whole day and studying at night, working almost twenty-four hours each day, how can you afford it?” I said, “This book I can purchase even if I have to pay for it with my life. Just reading the first line is enough. I have to have it whatsoever the cost…I gave the bookseller my whole month’s salary. You cannot understand, because for that whole month I had to almost starve. But it was worth it. I can remember that beautiful month: no food, no clothes – even not shelter. Because I could not pay the rent I was thrown out of my small room; but I was happy with ‘Tertium Organum’ under the sky. I read that book under a street lamp, it is a confession. And I have lived that book. That book is so beautiful, and more so now that I know that the man did not know at all. How could he have managed it then? It must have been a conspiracy of the gods.” Books I Have Loved (1985), p.27

Having read his new book by Ouspensky all night through under the lamppost someone finally in the morning put a blanket over him. When later on he opened his eyes he found himself, having caught a cold while reading and now being feverish, in the warm house of his younger aunt. Hot tea was brought to him by his cousin Kranti, who also assured him that the costly book he had been reading so intensively during the night was safe with them in the house. His younger aunt, the mother of Arvind and Kranti, was disappointed that Rajneesh had not come to her house when sometime ago he had left the house of his older aunt, and since then had been living as a tenant in a small rented room in the countryside. Until his buying of Tertium Organum made him leave also that place. (51)

Compared to Rajeesh’s costly purchase of Tertium Organum, Parmanand Bhai Patel, a renowned industrialist and politician of Jabalpur, was advised by him to buy Ouspenski’s The Fourth Way, but as the price of the book was very high and amounted 100 rupees, he claimed that he could not afford it. Patel and Rajneesh remained close during their time in Jabalpur, and visiting friends of Rajneesh were often staying in Patel’s guesthouse. (52)

Rajneesh’s preference for Russian and socialist writers had been apparent from his youth and this interest continued during his years in Jabalpur. Manvendra Nath Roy – the communist, not to be mixed up with S.S. Roy, Rajneesh’s professor at Sagar University – used to come and visit Rajneesh when he was staying in the countryside outside Jabalpur as he too loved the place, himself being a resident of Nainital in the Himalayas. He was asking Rajneesh of his opinion why he himself had not succeeded in propagating communism in India as it had been his intention after he returned from the Soviet Union. Rajneesh told him that first he would have to become a hypocrite to succeed in India, and then he said that to have any appeal in this country, he had either to become a mahatma or give up any ambition of leadership. In the following quotation we get an impression of the young Rajneesh’s wide range of reading into every possible subject or ideology, seeking the answers in books that could quench his thirst, until his enlightenment in 1953 put an end to his own search for truth in books. From then on his reading of books was to broaden his understanding of the human psyche, not to support his own search which had now finished. (53)

“You will be surprised to know…I was very young when I became acquainted with a man, one of the most intelligent men I have come across, who was with Lenin and Trotsky in the Soviet revolution. His name was Manvendra Nath Roy. He was one of the members of the international commanding body of the communists, the Politburo. He was the only Indian who ever rose to that status, and he fought in the revolution side by side with Lenin… When M.N. Roy came to India, he found himself in an absolutely different world…Perhaps I was the only person who became very deeply interested in him. It was just by chance that I met him, in a train. I was going for my studies, traveling from my village [Gadarwara] to the bigger city to join a university. And just on the platform we were both waiting for the train…because in India no train ever arrives on time…
The train was late and I was sitting on the bench, and M.N. Roy came and sat by my side. I was reading a book by Lenin, his collected works. He was surprised, because I was so young – may have been seventeen years old. He looked at the big volume, and he asked me, “Where did you get this collected works of Lenin?” I said, “I have the whole library of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, everybody.” He said, “You are the first man…I have been here for seven years, continuously trying. Are you a communist?”
I said, “Right now I am nobody. But who knows? I may turn out a communist. I am looking in every direction without any prejudice. Whichever dimension fulfils me totally, I will be that. Communism is my study, I am not a communist. I have to study many more things before I can decide. I have to look into anarchism, I have to look into socialism, I have to look into capitalism, I have to look into spiritualism. Before that I cannot say anything. I am just a seeker.”” (Urmila 2007, p. 106)

Ajeet Kumar Jain, the editor of Yukrant, has experienced three different residences in Jabalpur and the various interior arrangements of the book collection. The first one was back in late 1961 when Rajneesh was staying in Gupteshwar’s house in Deotal:

“His library in the first house was very small with the books not so properly arranged, and the number of books was also less. Then came the second place in Napier Town. In that house also the numbers of the books were not so much and the books not so properly arranged either. In this Napier Town residence there was a central hall room for meditation and from here he was also answering questions from people. The books were in his study and living room. I was in that hall room taking the addresses of the people that were coming; distributing texts to them later on and addressing newspapers after the meeting was over.

But in Kamla Nehru Nagar people could see they were entering a great library of the city. The bookshelves were open and had no glass covers. The bookshelves were on all floor to the last slab in this his last residence in Jabalpur. Osho’s library was so well arranged that even in the dark night, if he had to find a book, he would put his finger only on that book. Thousands of books were there and everything was so wonderful.” (54)

Swami Narendra remembers from Acharya Rajneesh’s last address in Kamla Nehru Nagar on Garkha Road his way of keeping his collection organized: “At his last address in Jabalpur he was only for nine months, and the bookshelves were all around him in the big hall where he was receiving people and answering people in his library room all surrounded by books. It was almost 12 x 12 feet. At the back of the dais behind him you also had books standing, supported by two elephants at the end. Around him he had all the books he had read, with new books standing at the back nearby. There was no meditation hall at this place in Jabalpur. After taking our meals in the evening, there was laughing meditation for one hour continuously, where he was cracking jokes while lying down in the small room there, which was also used for his reading. After one hour he was coming to his library and had some books taken from there, and I’ve also read much in his library.” (55)

At Yogesh Bhawan, the two-storeyed bungalow belonging to Mr. Deokinandan Jain where Rajnnesh was a tenant from 1960 to 1967, he was in the daytime reading for hours at length at the dakat, the raised seat which was also used for his meditation sessions late in the afternoon when listeners and seekers arrived. The central room was the meditation hall, as he called this room with its wooden panels, and according to some sources it was also his library room with books on shelves while others deny that his books were ever kept in this hall. According to Ageh Bharti the hall soon proved too small to accommodate the number of listeners present for the talks and meditations held on Sundays at 8 p.m. Urmila recalls: “He was sharing his friend’s house with its nice garden in front. After the drawing room there was a big hall full of racks all around, and in the centre a wooden divan dakat on which he used to sit and read and meeting visitors. Meditations also took place in this hall. Bedrooms were upstairs.” (56)

“In those days, Osho used to speak in the evenings of every Sunday at his residence, ‘Yogesh Bhavan’. His audience consisted of people from all castes, creed and young, old, men – women but more number consisted of educated people like authors, poets, painters, doctors, professors, lawyers, religious and social leaders, engineers, psychologists, industrialists, educationalists, and students etc…Within a few days, Osho’s traveling around the country went up to such an extent that He had to stop His Sunday talks of ‘Yogesh Bhavan’. He could give time to Jabalpur residents only once or twice a month, since ‘Yogesh Bhavan’ hall was now too small to accommodate, these discourses were now held in ‘Shaheed Smarak Bhavan‘, a far bigger and the most prestigious hall of the city in those days. The dates of these discourses were fixed to suit Osho’s engagements and His convenience.” (Bharti 2007, p. 268). (57)

The arrangement of his book collection was a matter of great interest to Osho as pointed out by Arvind Kumar Jain in his remembrance of the time he was living with Osho: “Purchasing of BOOKS is a lovely work for Rajneeshji, but more lovable work than purchasing was to maintain and arrangement of Books Decently. When we were living together with Rajneeshji at Yogesh Bhavan, Napier Town, Jabalpur, thereby Dadaji Shri Deokinandanji has constructed a meditation Hall with marble flooring [See photo] and covered the walls with Teak wood & Ply wood. There were eight Almirah in the Meditation Hall where Osho keep the Books & upto staying period from 1961 to 1968 at Yogesh Bhavan, all the Almirah were full of Invaluable Books which Rajneeshji has purchased them.

Studying, Thinking, Analysing, Meditation & in the Sambodhi State of Consciousness Rajneeshji preaching the path of self Realisation by arranging weekly Meditation Class at Yogesh Bhavan in Meditation Hall on Every Sunday from 7.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. in the night hours in which the Youth Devotees, Social Workers, Learned Scholars, professors, Advocates, & people from Different Sectors came in large numbers & doing Meditation. The Devotees now & then solve their spiritual Queries with Osho…When we shifted the house from Yogesh Bhavan to Kamla Nehru Nagar with Rajneeshji, here also in a big Hall He has arranged his Books in wooden shelf & in cemented Racks around the Hall at Kamla Nehru Nagar. The Collection of Books is increasing Day by Day.” (Jain 2007 #9)

One silent meditation from Yogesh Bhawan is remembered by Naik: Rajneesh is silently sitting at the dakat, while Naik is giving his instructions from the carpet on the floor below Rajneesh’s seat where he was sitting. The audience was to remain in silence for one hour during the meditation. In the late sixties it became a usual structure for Acharya Rajneesh to include in his lectures a period of sitting silently in meditation at the end of the session. A somewhat more experimental meditation took place at night when Rajneesh took Naik on bicycle to Ranital, the cremation ground outside Jabalpur. Drawing a circle on the ground Rajneesh then told Naik to stay in the circle with a lemon in his hand while he himself was meditating elsewhere outside the circle. One hour later the meditation was finished. This happened 15-20 times in the following years. One of Rajneesh’s masters was Makasai (Magga) Baba, a miraculous saint who gave magical powers to Rajneesh and is mentioned in Glimpses of a Golden Childhood. During the night time Rajneesh visited him near New Modern Lodge with Naik and received his blessings and transfer of magical powers. (58)

Osho’s experimental approach to new adventures is evident when he is disclosing to what austerities he went in order to gain some insights in the hidden world of Islam’s Sufi order of mysticism:

“You will not believe me, but I went through circumcision at the age of twenty-seven, after I was already enlightened, just to enter a Mohammedan Sufi order where they would not allow anybody in who had not been circumcised. I said, “Okay, then do it! This body is going to be destroyed anyway, and you are only cutting off just a little piece of skin. Cut it, but I want to enter the school.”…
I entered the Sufi order – this I am confessing for the first time – and even allowed those fools to circumcise me. They did it by such primitive methods that I had to suffer for at least six months. But I didn´t care about that; my whole concern was to know Sufism from within. Alas, I could not find a real Sufi in my life. But that is true not only about the Sufis; I have not found a real Christian either, or a real Hassid.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990) #9

Whereas Islam, Mohammad and the Koran are absent in Osho’s preference of sutras as starting points for his discourses, the unorthodox Sufis were commented upon extensively in The Wisdom from the Sands (vol. 1-2), Sufis: The People of the Path a.o. where the Persian sufi Rumi (died 1273) has been quoted by Osho. The Sufi understanding of the possibility for each individual to get an intuitive experience of the divine was dear to him, and so was their antagonism to the mainstream orthodoxy of Islam. Not that the Sufis were not austere in their mystical practice and way of living (suf means wool, their original simple clothing), preferring a path of asceticism to the lures of the material world. Dancing and ecstasy were stepping stones to their meeting with the beyond, and later on in Poona Osho’s disciples could participate in whirling dance like the Dancing Dervishes which can still to be watched in Konya, Turkey, where the Mevlevi-order is performing the traditional whirling. Sufism expanded into India and other countries in Asia, partly because of their use not of Arabic, but of the local languages in the transmission of their path.

“I have commented on hundreds of mystics, many of them Sufis who are in revolt against the orthodox Mohammedan structure. When Sufis heard about my commentaries on sufism, at least two or three times a year I received beautiful printed copies of the Koran, with letters saying, “You are the only person who can write a commentary, because you are not a Mohammedan. Mohammedans cannot do anything against you; they cannot expel you.” Satyam-Shivam-Sundram #20

Osho discloses some context for his extensive reading as a way to reach out to new people by presenting them with their own religious texts in his new and catching perspective. His strategy was to connect with new listeners by reaching out to them exactly at the level of their own understanding and traditional religious values:

“Once I was speaking in a Mohammedan institute in Jabalpur. One of my old Mohammedan teachers had become the principal of this institute, and he was not aware that this speaker was going to be the same person he had known as a student. Somebody had told him that they heard me speaking on Sufis, and that was something incredible: “We had not thought about Sufis that way, and our institute will be honoured if this man comes.”…
I was speaking in Amritsar in the Golden Temple of the Sikhs. Everywhere, all around the country, people had asked me thousands of times, “Why do you grow a beard?” I had become accustomed to the question and I enjoyed answering in different ways to different people. But in the Golden Temple when I was speaking on Nanak and his message, a very old sadar came to me, touched my feet and said, “Sardarji, why have you cut your hair?” That was a new question, asked for the first time. He said, “Your beard is perfectly okay, but why have you cut your hair? And you being such a religious man.”…
From among these people I found my people. It was not difficult, it was very easy. I was speaking their language, using their religious idioms, quoting their scriptures, and giving my message. The intelligent people immediately understood and they all started gathering around me.
All over India I started creating groups of my own people. Now there was no need for me to speak on Sikhism, Hinduism, Jainism; there was no need, but for ten years I had been continually speaking on them. Slowly, when I had my own people, I dropped speaking on others. I stopped traveling also, because there was no need. Now I had my people: if they wanted to come to me they could come.” From Personality to Individuality #14; (Sarito 2000, p. 106)

Rajneesh was in Jabalpur using several bookshops for his ongoing project of purchasing new books in both Hindi and English for his own library collection. The bookshops most frequently visited by him in Jabalpur were:

Modern Book House (now: Books Heaven), where he bought some of his books in English. (59)

Universal Book Service, at Jadeharganj Market near City Bengali Club for books in English and Hindi. The chair that was brought for Osho when he came to the bookshop is still with the same owner (February 2000). The location was shifted a short distance in 1990.

But most important to Rajneesh was his favourite bookshop Sushma Sahitya Mandir at second floor at Jadeharganj Market for his buying of Hindi books only. The bookshop is still (February 2000) with the same owner, a long time friend of Rajneesh S.M. Jain (Shri Shobhagyamalji), and with the original interior and shelving as it was to be seen forty years ago when Acharya Rajneesh was a frequent visitor. The shop still offers early editions of Rajneesh to its customers, and Rajneesh has recommended the shop to his follower Ageh Bharti when he once inquired where to get hold of Herman Hesse’s book Siddhartha, as we soon will see. The owner was himself involved in some of Rajneesh’s earliest publishing by means of Acharya Shree Rajneesh Sahitya Publication Trust, Kamla Nehru Nagar, Jabalpur.

Arvind Kumar Jain remembers Osho’s visits to bookshops in Jabalpur: “The owners of Book-shops were Knowing the Deep Interest of Rajneeshji in Books study, and as soon as Rajneeshji enters the Hindi Book-shop named ‘Sushma Sahitya Mandir’, its owner Shri Shobhagyamalji shows the new Arrivals of Hindi Books on Poetry, Literature, Ethics, Religion, Philosophy, Criticism & other Reference Books & he purchased the Books of his choice. The same was the case with English Books & he purchased the English Books from Modern Book House, Jabalpur. If the amount of Books exceeds, the payment was made in the next coming month. The main part of Books which Rajneeshji purchased, almost all the books were studied by him before month ending & the study was seriously done by using the Red & Green points.” (Jain 2007 #9)

From this bookshop and its safe 2nd floor location at Jadeharganj Market Rajneesh witnessed the communal riot in February 1961 and the plundering of shops in the market. This was in no way an uncommon occurrence in Jabalpur, which earlier had witnessed repeatedly communal clashes in 1923, 1924 and in 1938:

“I was sitting in a bookstall on a second story when a riot broke out. People were killing each other, taking things from shops, whatsoever they wanted.” The Rajneesh Upanishad #35

The riots and looting of Muslim shops also extended to Gadarwara, and in spite of a dusk-to-dawn curfew the local authorities in Jabalpur did not quite understand the complexity of the city. They even refused to take into confidence the two major daily papers Nav-Bharat and Nai Duniya or the evening daily Jabalpur Samachar who were all acting with considerable restraint and trying to pacify the inflamed feelings of the Hindu majority. The Hindu students of the City College were taking a leading role in the initial phase of confrontations which led to the worst communal violence Jabalpur had seen for years. The city was enveloped in smoke with flames rising in different parts of the city, and the violence and ransacking of houses extended even to middle class localities like Wright Town and Napier Town where Acharya Rajneesh was staying at that time. Unlike Jabalpur the administration in Sagar worked together against the riots now spreading all over Madhya Pradesh, and the holocaust reached a level that chocked nationwide and caused the prime minister Pandit Nehru to visit Jabalpur in July 1961 and condemn the earlier communal riots in his speech at Subhadhara Nagar Maidan. (Joshi 1961; Mehrotra 1961; New Age 1961:31)

Osho’s younger brother Nikalank was driving him around in Jabalpur 1965-69 for his almost daily visits to the bookshops mentioned, and Niklank was occasionally on his own purchasing books on behalf of Rajneesh. Niklank might then select 4-5 books according to his knowledge of Rajneesh’s preferences and his choices were always accepted when he returned home. ‘Osho was working through him,’ as Niklank remembers. From his travels Osho used to bring small presents to Nikalank, usually things of magic like magnets etc. Later on Nikalank received one copy of each new publication from Osho which, according to Nikalank ‘was magic enough to me!’ (60)

Whenever Osho went to Bombay he always remembered to visit the Strand Book Stall (on Sir D.N. Road, Dhannur) to buy new books for his collection. Here he was browsing along the shelves, choosing intuitively among titles and authors, and also the seekers at other places were to a great extent involved in his reading experience and took actively part in providing him with a constant flow of reading material.

“Soon I had friends all over India, and I was purchasing books everywhere – in Poona, in Bombay, in New Delhi, in Amritsar, in Ludhiana, in Calcutta, in Allahabad, in Varanasi, in Madras. All over the country I was purchasing as many books as possible – as many as the friend with whom I was staying could manage.” Christianity: The Deadliest Poison #8

“I was to accompany him to a bookshop [in Bombay 1966]. I don’t think the bookshop itself had any special significance, but this created an opportunity for me to be in the car with him while another disciple did the driving…
Once in the shop, I would stay by his side while he walked around and indicated various books on display. He didn’t examine them or even pick any of them up; his eye would be caught by the title and he’d just point and say, “I’ll have that, and that, and that…” The salesman had a pad and he’d simply write down whatever title Osho asked for.
He was totally present in this. It was as if he wanted to read everything that was available. He’d choose maybe 35 books at a time and arrange to have them delivered to where he was staying as a guest. He must have had an account there, because he didn’t pay and clearly didn’t carry any money with him.” (Dulari in Savita 2014, p. 41)

When she was twenty years old his later secretary Neelam in March 1969 received a list of books Rajneesh wanted to be taken to Manali for him to read during the time he was having a meditation camp at this place in the mountains. She remembers that when reading he was turning the pages in a steady and slowly way using 30-45 minutes only to read a whole book. Once Neelam wanted to check up on his ability to remember what he had been reading, and he said: ‘Go ahead’. She opened a book on a page at random, and it turned out that Rajneesh with his photographic memory remembered what he had been speed reading at the very same page. His extensive reading over the years had made it easy for him to follow the writer’s mind and with his insight to anticipate the writer’s turn of thinking and expression. In all aspects of his reading capability we always have to keep in mind his childhood’s socialisation into the Jain culture with its old tradition for writing and reading (61). His photographic memory was not limited to books only, but also to his remembrance of people:

“When I was traveling in India for fifteen years continuously, I used to remember thousands of peoples’ names. For five years I might not visit their town and then suddenly one day I would be there and I would remember all those people. Hundreds of people – and they were surprised how I could remember their names. But that was not a problem at all. They thought it had something to do with memory. It had nothing to do with memory – I have a very lousy memory – but I had a deep interest in people.
So whenever I am talking to one person I forget the whole world. Then that person is my whole world – at least for that moment, only he exists. So if you meet me after many lives somewhere, I will remember you. That one moment of total attention, that moment of love, that one moment of focussing on you, that one moment when you become my world, is enough! You are engraved forever, enshrined forever – it is impossible to forget.” For Madmen Only #20

The books of Acharya Rajneesh was loading with his energy and love and this energy field of his was transmitted into the pages during his reading. This experience of loaded energy contained in the books which had passed through his hands was confirmed by Karuna, his Bombay librarian, and is still to be experienced by those who are walking through his library premises with its shelved corridors on their way to his Samadhi in the former Chuang Tzu Auditorium in Lao Tzu House, Poona. (62)

According to Rajneesh’s own words it was his purchase at Gurandi Market of the professor’s stolen library that made him start signing his own books – just in case they were to be stolen later on:

“And as he went away, I tore one page from each [with the seal/ex libris and provenance], the first empty page which means nothing, and I just signed the books. From that day I started signing my books, because it might have come in handy someday if my books were stolen – at least they had my signature and the date. And because I had taken out the first page, I would sign on two or three pages inside also, in case my books were stolen, but they never were.” From Personality To Individuality #4

Not only were his books loaded with energy, but he also staged an understanding and respect for the holy scriptures which were in the juridical system used in ways not too flattering for their intrinsic values:

“The first time I appeared in an Indian court, I refused to take the oath. The magistrate was shocked. He said, “Why are you refusing?”
I said, “There are many reasons. First, on what book do you want me to put my hand? The Bible? Even the contemporaries of Jesus did not believe him, and the man was put on the cross. He was considered a greater criminal than any other c riminal by his whole contemporary world. And you want me to put my hand on his book?”
He said, “No, you can put your hand on Bhagavad Gita.”
I said, “Then you are going from bad to worse, because this man Krishna has stolen sixteen hundred wives from people, married women, and he himself was not a man of his word or promise. He has broken his promises, he has gone against his own word, and you want me to put my hand on his book? Then I will have to wash my hands!”
The magistrate said, “Then forget about the books. You simply say yourself that whatever you say will be true.
I said, “You don’t understand even simple logic. If I am a man of lies, what is the problem for me to say that whatever I say will be true? It is still going to be a lie. Either you accept me as a man of truths, but don’t ask for an oath.”
This is the world that we have created – where in the name of justice all kinds of injustices will be done, where in the name of truth all kinds of fiction will be invented, imposed, conditioned.” Om Mani Padme Hum #15

Rajneesh’s openness for experimenting with the physical book format can be seen from his meeting with the female mystic Bhuribal during his first meditation camp held at Ranakpur in 1964:

“At the next camp her disciples waited eagerly, with great excitement. She had put a book in a chest and had it sealed. She had a lock put on it and brought the key. Her disciples lifted the chest on their heads and brought it to me. They asked me to open it. I opened it and took out a booklet, a tiny little booklet of some ten or fifteen pages; and tiny – about three inches long by two inches wide. And black pages without any white… I said, “Bhuribal, you have written well. Other people write, but they blacken the page only a little bit. You wrote so theré is no white left at all.” She had written and written and written…I said, “This is real scripture. This is the scripture of scriptures. The Sufis have a book, it is a blank book. They call it The Book of the Books. But its pages are white. Bhuribal’s book has gone beyond this. Its pages are black.” (63)

The involvement in reading was a mutual affair also for many of his listeners and it appears from following quotation of Ageh Bharti that Rajneesh was supporting and engaging himself in the reading of his followers:

“At Jabalpur, once I inquired Osho, ‘Acharya Shri, I came to know that during your recent discourses in Bombay; you spoke about some ancient river. Which river did you recollected?”
Osho replied, “Herman Hesse has authored ‘Siddhartha’. You might have read and you would know all about the river. You can enquire for the book in ‘Sushma Sahitya Mandir’ (a bookshop at Jabalpur, where Osho used to buy books). Now it might have been translated in Hindi. If it is unavailable, tell me, I shall buy from elsewhere.”
A few months rolled. Osho was away from home. I came to see him off at the railway station. Prof. Arvind and Kranti were there. Osho browsed over books on the bookstall. We stood near the luggage where AC 1st coach was expected to stop. It was not very far from the bookstall. Osho looked at me. I was surprised Him doing so quite often. However when He beckoned, I realized the need and hastened to meet Him.
Osho asked me, “Could you get Herman Hess’ book or not? If not, it is available here in English, we can have it?”
I replied, “Acharya ji, I got the book from ‘Sushma Sahitya Mandir’. I have read it. It’s a wonderful book.”
It showed how Osho took care even of subtle things of chums. The recollection of such empathy and similar incidents brought me tears down the cheek.” (Bharti 2007, p. 106)

Always traveling by train on second class, this mean of transportation provided at that time during the 1950’s and 1960’s a silent space for his reading. On tour he was constantly visiting books­hops in other cities where ever he stayed to meet his listeners, and on his journeys out of Jabalpur for lecturing and meditation camps he was constantly buying new books at the large bookshops of Bombay and Delhi. After a journey to Amritsar, Hoshangabad and Pipariya – where for three years he had promised to give a talk at the Government Degree College – Acharya Rajneesh returned to Jabalpur where on February 2nd, 1970, he was received at the railway station by professor Arvind Kumar Jain, his wife Ramaa, Kranti and Ageh Bharti. His train, the Janata Express, was the only connecting train, but it had third class coaches only and it had been quite a challenge to carry with him and secure the parcels of his new books.

“Our eyes went throbbing out of joy. Now the train came closer. Our eyes widened to find Osho where He stood at the entrance of a third class bogey with a bewitching smile. We rushed towards Him. Now the train has come to a halt.

Osho alighted from the train and responded to our greetings. He immediately responded by gazing at me, ‘Shiv, four bundles of books must be in some coach ahead. Just go and find out.’ I rushed to find the books and in the fifth coach’s corridor, four bundles of books were lying. I hired a coolie and brought the bundles near Osho, who was waiting. We came out of the platform. Osho remarked, ‘At Pipariya, due to a crowd of passengers it became very difficult to get into the train. I had no trace of my luggage. At the last moment, while the train was moving, some one shouted that the bundles of the books are in some coach ahead and ‘Bull worker’ is left behind at Pipariya only.”

So it happened that these new books worth thousands of rupees and bought by Rajneesh on his journey survived being tampered with by fellow travellers or unloaded by the railway police to be deposited in the ‘Lost Property.'” (Bharti 2007, p. 176)

Next to his extensive reading and studying Rajneesh was holding on to his talent for storytelling and the cracking of jokes, which soon became a integrated part of his discourses. This laughing habit of his was very characteristic, according to Arvind Kumar Jain: “When I was associated with Osho he generally devoted himself for study, from the beginning of the morning hours till night. But when he got leisure time he associated with his family members, with my elder sister, myself, my nieces and my child. He used to laugh with these people, saying the stories of Nasmullah and other incidences which happened to him in the outer world where he had been been for his lecturing program or at meditation camps. In life, he said, nothing is more valuable than laughing. So all that time we spent beautifully, making us laughing, laughing, laughing. His way of narration and expression was so deeply concerned with his life association that people who so listened to him was deeply involved in that atmosphere itself. And he once narrated the story of the three laughing saints in Japan, filling their pockets with crackers when going on the funeral pyre.” (64)

“He was a master of dry humour, and probably no guru, let alone professional comedian, in history has made light of religions and religious leaders with as much gleeful irreverence as Osho did.” (Mistelberger 2010, p. 159)

Rajneesh’s own library in Jabalpur had according to some optimistic informants grown to around 15.000 books at the time he left the city to settle in Bombay in 1970, but according to Sw. Bodhicitta Rajneesh’s library in Jabalpur was on app. 5.000 books only. (65)

Arvind Kumar Jain recalls an inventory for Osho’s library made in 1964, although no classification system is reported to have existed for the collection during the Jabalpur period as remembered by Naik. His secretary is also stating a fairly exact and somewhat lower figure for the size of the library collection in 1970: “In the year 1964 he told us to make a list of books and make them categorized under the headings Philosophical, Psychological, Religious, then Ethics, Literature, Poems, books on Aesthetic sense and Moral Sciences and then Scriptures. So we take that work also and categorize them and place them on the shelves he was having in his residence [in Yogesh Bhawan]. So he was fond of making use of the categories of the books.

There was a registration in a big ledger containing 3-400 pages, and at that time the books were two thousand in numbers. In 1970 when he left for Bombay he has given the responsibility to me to send the books to Bombay. At that time I had kept his books in 70 cartons with numbers, each containing 50 books. Half a truckload I had sent to Bombay, in all books which were numbering 3.500 books.” (66)

From his own talks we have already heard him say that second hand books and underlined library books were in general disgusting to him, but we have also seen that he was in fact purchasing second hand books and in Jabalpur taking out books from public as well as academic libraries. The number of books in his own library collection mentioned by him when he left Jabalpur for Bombay – 150.000 volumes – is clearly exaggerated as he never had a private library this size. Rather this figure might indicate the total number of books read by him during his entire lifetime. The Last Testament (Crete). 02.03.1986

When lecturing in other places it may have been the responsibility of the host who had organized the invitation to pay for Osho’s shopping in the local bookstores like in Madras (Chennai) in July 1969: “One day Osho went to visit Theosophical Society of Chennai. He spent some time there and also took interest in the books of J. Krishnamurthy. Osho was very much interested in books so I went with him to a big bookstore on Mount Road of Chennai. Osho bought some books and asked me to take the money from his bag to pay for them. But I did not do that and told Nanubhai that if anybody invited Osho and if he bought any books etc. from his city then the host is expected to pay for them. Thus I made Nanubhai pay for the books.” (Laheru 2012, p. 38)

Spare copies of books in Hindi were donated to the university library when Osho left Jabalpur and some damaged books were given to his friends also, pretty much the same procedure for weeding his collection before moving out of town, and at the same time acknowledging the service he had received from the public library when twenty years ago he had moved from Gadarwara to Jabalpur. (67)

2.4 Academic Libraries in Jabalpur

From mid-19th century the urban middle classes in Jabalpur with their growing literacy demonstrated an increasing political awareness, not quite unaffected by the circumstances following the uprising in 1857. An emerging profession of lawyers founded the first libraries in Jabalpur, as did municipal committees and private agencies which also set up their libraries in the town prior to the founding of libraries made by literary associations and other organizations like Hitkarini Sabha, Arya Samaj and Hindi Sahitya Sabha with their emphasis on Indian identity. In Bradshaw’s Colonial Handbook or Manual for Travellers a museum and also a library are already in 1884 mentioned in the entry on Jabalpur. (Bradshaw’s 1884)

The public libraries of Madhya Pradesh were in the 1950s and 1960s inherited from the public library systems as it existed in the separate units of the former states integrated into Madya Pradesh in 1956. In the new state the public library service was to be managed by two separate departments, the urban public library service being cared for by the Directorate of Public Instruction, while the rural library service was managed by the Directorate of Panchayat and Social Welfare. The level of coordination was low and an overlapping of efforts let to wastage and delays in proper actions. Qualifications of library staff was in general on a very basic level and no one recognized the need of having a professional and trained librarian at the helm of public library service as a general standard throughout the state.

Next to the state managed public libraries, a large number of private libraries were run voluntarily by local citizens and receiving support from the state government in the form of grant-in-aid. This was also the case in Jabalpur, where the prominent public library was the State Central Library with its chief librarian and two technical assistants, a library also used by Rajneesh in the 1950s although it had only limited access for the general public, unlike the fully accessible Jabalpur District Public Library.

So apart from the university libraries Osho is said to have frequented three or four different public libraries for his reading, and among other libraries used by him to various degrees during his time in Jabalpur, most frequently in the early 1950s before the founding of the University Library, were the following:

– The Sanskrit Sangh, established in 1940, offered a library called Gandhi Pustkalaya, well-equipped with Hindi, English and Sanskrit literature.

– The Jain Samaj ran the Mahavir Pustakaya at Jawaharganj with reading material and meetings.

– The Gandhi Vichar Parishad in Wright Town mainly aimed at the propagation of Gandhian ideals and literature.

– The Banu Samaj Club maintained a library-cum-reading room.

City Bengali Club with a small library.

P.S.M. Prandya Sickshan Mahavidyalaya.

– A number of smaller libraries in Jabalpur were run by various organisations of community welfare, and most associations in Jabalpur were in those days to be found within the sphere of literature and culture.

Arvind Kumar Jain remembers from Osho’s use of libraries: “During His Study upto Higher Secondary School & afterwards when he stays at Gadarwara he has studied the maximum number of Municipal District Library Books of His interest. The same happened at Jabalpur, when Rajneeshji was studying in Graduation of Arts, He studied most of the Books on Philosophy, Religion, Ethics, Political Thinkers, Sociology, Poetry, Literature Books of Town Hall’s Municipal District Library. The same incidence took place in studying most of the Library Books of Hitkarni City College & D.N. Jain College (Indian College) where he studied for Graduation Degree Course.” (Jain 2007 #9)

In the mid-20th century only slowly the need for an organized university library sevice was recognized, and at the time Rajneesh was studying in Jabalpur Indian academic libraries in general were inadequate and insufficient to meet the needs of the students and teachers at the college level. Lack of understanding was behind the low priority in terms of funding, and proper development only came slowly as the education at that time was centred on lectures only. The use of curriculum textbooks still prevailed and the organisation of students to work with various projects, demanding literature to be retrieved by the students themselves from the larger book stock of an academic library, was yet to come. But this way of studying beyond the limitations of the textbooks was anticipated by Rajneesh and he is again and again mentioning the vast importance the use of libraries had on his intellectual evolution:

“[In my university days as a student] I was rarely in my classes, I was mostly in the library. My professors were continually saying, “What are you doing the whole day in the library? Because so many complaints have come from the librarian that you are the first to enter the library and you have to be almost physically taken out at the end of the day. The whole day you are there – and not only in the philosophical section, you are roaming around the library in all the sections that have nothing to do with you.” I said to them, “It is difficult for me to explain to you, but my effort in the future is going to be to bring everything that has some truth in it into a synthetic whole. To create a way of life that is inclusive of all, that is not based on arguments and contradictions, that is based on a deep insight into the essential core of all the contributions that have been made to human knowledge, to human wisdom.” Transmission of the Lamp #37; (Sarito 2000, p. 104)

“And the mind is such a delicate and complicated computer. Man has made great computers but none is yet comparable to the human mind. Just a single human mind has the capacity to contain all the libraries of the world. And just a single library – the British Museum Library – has books, which if you go on arranging them like a wall, one by one, they will go three times round the earth. And that is only one big library. Moscow has the same kind of library, perhaps bigger. Harvard has the same kind of library. But a single human mind is capable of containing all that is written in all these books, of memorizing it. In a single brain there are billions of cells, and each single cell is capable of containing millions of pieces of information. Certainly one will go mad if one is not already standing outside of the mind. If you have not reached the status of meditation, madness is sure. They [his professors at university] were not wrong, but they were not aware of my efforts toward meditation.
So I was reading strange books, strange scriptures from all over the world; yet I was only a watcher, because as far as I was concerned I had come home. I had nothing to learn from all that reading; that reading was for a different purpose, and the purpose was to make my message universal, to make it free from local limitations. And I am happy that I have succeeded in it completely.” Transmission of the Lamp #37; (Sarito 2000, p. 104)

In several of his discourses Osho has referred to the importance of libraries for the preservation and development of the human mind, and the ancient library in Alexandria, crucial to the preservation of manuscripts from the antique Greek and Roman world and linking Europe to the cultures of the Middle East, is together with the British Library mentioned for their importance in Sermons in Stones #1

In the Rajneesh Bible, Osho is telling us that in one of the numerous discussions with his professors in class he criticized the outdated knowledge they were taught, and he insisted that the professors should be updated with new developments in their field. With the help of the librarian [Naik] he had gone through the record of borrowers [sic] and they concluded that the professor in question had never taken out any book from the university library. Confronted with this fact, the rumours among his colleagues made quite a few professors, who had never consulted the library, now start studying the new arrivals of library books, not to get caught in more embarrassing situations on this matter. (68)

As we have heard, Professor S.S. Roy recommended Rajneesh to continue the studies for his M.A. at Sagar University, praising among other things the university library which he claimed to be very rich and with a book collection containing books in all the sciences. He had even promised Rajneesh that if he happened to require any book not held by the library it would immediately be purchased at his request. Sagar University Library had in its initial phase been located and organized in former military barracks, but the library moved to a new building at the university campus in 1960 after Rajneesh had left Sagar. His addiction to library services also in Sagar is documented by Vasant Joshi:

“Rajneesh completed his B.A. in philosophy in 1955, and began working toward his M.A. at the well-known Saugar [new spelling: Sagar] University where he lived in a student dormitory for two years. Rajneesh got his master’s degree in philosophy (first division) in 1957 and was recognized as an outstanding student of the universi­ty. Those two years he enjoyed tremendously, immersing himself completely in the vast collection of the university library and also enjoying the pleasant natural setting around Saugar. Rather than attending classes, again he spent most of his time reading in the library, and even on holidays when the library was closed, he could be found reading on the library lawn or wandering alone into the nature. Deeply integrated, his behaviour still was that of rebelliousness and experimentation and it didn’t matter much to him whether his acting was confor­med with the dictates of family, university or religion.” (Joshi 1982, p. 68)

“We all lived in military barracks, because the university had started so suddenly and there had been no time to make hostels or libraries. It was just an abandoned military barracks. But the place itself was beautiful, situated on a hill.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 181

At Sagar University the founder Doctor Harisingh Gaur himself was a great lover of books and his whole private library containing books he had collected in the course of time from all over the world was donated to Sagar University Library.

“And Doctor Harisingh Gaur must have been a tremendous lover of books. He donated his entire library, and he managed to get as many books as possible from every corner of the world. A single man’s effort…it is rare, he created Oxford just single-handed, alone. Oxford was created over one thousand years; thousands of people have worked. This man’s work is really a piece of art. Single-handedly, with his own money, he put himself at stake.” (Sarito 2000, p. 87)

At the time Rajneesh was an associate professor in the 1960s at Government College in Jabalpur, two academic libraries were at his disposal. One library was connected with the Arts College where he was employed, Mahakoshal Mahavidyalaya Library, but more frequently he preferred the newer Rani Durgawati University Library which had been founded in 1956. Here at the university library he was assisted sometimes several hours a day by Ram Chandra Naik, the university librarian who was in service from 1962 until 1996, and who also helped Osho organize his private library in Jabalpur. Sixteen reading desks are still preserved (February 2000) at the Reading Hall just as when Rajneesh had 50-100 books passing over his desk on a weekly basis, but the stacks have later been changed. Rajneesh did not occupy a fixed desk, but he was to sit down wherever a desk was available, and some books were then kept at the desk for days, if not taken home. According to library regulations, as a teacher Rajneesh could take home five books at a time, students two books only. Osho is said continuously to have suggested new titles to be bought to the library collection.

The books were organized according to the Dewey classification system and accessible by means of a card catalogue, so on request the books were taken from the closed stacks at that time to the reading room.

From its founding in 1956 the university library was using a fairly modern charging system – probably the Newark system – with issuing cards and book cards, a more updated library technology than keeping record of the charging out of books in a handwritten folio ledger as still used at Mahakoshal Mahavidyalaya Library in the 1950s when Rajneesh returned from Raipur and was enlisted as a lecturer in philosophy. The listing in a ledger, although an outdated method, has the advantage of recording the books taken out by an individual library borrower making it possible to follow also Osho’s reading over a period of time. The charging system with its issuing cards and book cards has later been changed. (69)

From the ledger recording the charging out of books from Mahakoshal Mahavidyalaya Library we can by way of example notice a page from July and August 1958, where Osho with his signature states that he has taken out titles mostly within the field of philosophy, e.g.: Studies in Dying Cultures; An Experiment in Time; Spirit and Nature; Modern Man; In the House of Meditation; Confucius: The Man and the Mystery and Attack Upon Christendom by Soeren Kierkegaard, the Danish existentialist philosopher. (70)

We have now seen that right from his early academic days in Jabapur when studying for his B.A. and later on in Sagar for his M.A., Osho was fiercely fighting the rigid limitations of the textbooks being offered for his studies. In this endeavour the libraries were his intellectual salvation, and his crediting of libraries and their role in his development can be found in numerous places in his lectures the following years. His chosen helpers had in his days as a lecturer and ass. Professor been the new Rani Durgawati University Library and his older college library Mahakoshal Mahavidyalaya Library, whereas during his early academic study also the public libraries and various library collections in clubs and socio-literary associations have been supporting him in his continuous craving for reading material. His personal library collection was growing steadily as his resources improved being an ass. Professor during the 1960s and we now turn to his academic years when he was lecturing in philosophy at Jabalpur University.

2.5 Lecturer and Ass. Professor of Philosophy

The main chronology of Osho’s academic career is as follows: He passed his B.A. from Mahagoshal Mahavidyalaya (Degree College) in 1955 and his M.A. in philosophy from Sagar University in 1957. Rajneesh was from September 21st 1957 first enlisted in a teaching position as a lecturer of philosophy at Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya (Sanskrit Degree College) in Raipur. From Raipur he was six months later in March 1958 transferred to the new Jabalpur University where he continues his teaching as a lecturer. One year later he is from March 1959 appointed associate professor of philosophy. For eight years Osho was now teaching at Jabalpur University until he finally resigned from his position on August 1st 1966 to devote his time entirely to his spiritual work and his followers. We have to bear in mind the very unusually fact that his B.A. as well as his M.A. both were completed after his enlightenment in March 1953, making up some softening of the dichotomy between academic career and spiritual enlightenment. A characteristic of his academic years, very much to the point, has been given us by Mistelberger in his The Three Dangerous Magi:

“Here is the ‘Acharya Rajneesh’ (as he was called then, acharya being the Hindi word for ‘teacher’), a small yet vital and handsome young man in his late twenties with penetrating eyes, highly eloquent, brilliant and knowledgeable, a forceful, stubborn and overbearing personality with strong anti-authoritarian tendencies, and (by his own understanding) spiritually self-realized to boot. It’s easy to imagine that he must have been a holy terror and why he was kicked out of two colleges. But as usually happens, as many people who are intimidated and scared off by such a man, others are drawn to him. There are few things as powerful and magnetic in life as someone who challenges status quo and old conventions in a way that is both aggressive and eloquently well reasoned.” (Mistelberger 2010, p. 80)

After Rajneesh had passed his M.A. examination at Sagar University with the highest marks possible, he had with him the appointment letter for a position as lecturer at the affiliated Sanskrit Degree College in Raipur. This his first academic appointment was facilitated and recommended by Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, education minister of Madhya Pradesh and later president of India together with Shri Takhtmalji Jain, state congress president. Having now fulfilled his academic obligations he went to his home town Gadarwara to see his family and also to recall his memories from the Sakkar River and the Shiva temple where he used to meet his beloved Shashi.

Rajneesh writes to a friend in Gadarwara from Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya in Raipur, on September 23rd, 1957:

“Respected Daria Ji, I have come here the day before yesterday. I have been appointed by the State government in Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya (College), Raipur. I had joined the college the day before yesterday itself; the heart was very sad at the time of signing in; a feeling persisted as if the moments of freedom are coming to an end. Teaching in a college feels to be very dead; it does not impart any message of life. In the heart of my heart I know that I am not for all this, but one will have to wait for that moment and the day when one will be able to engage in that work which will truly make my “I” my “I”. That day I will become a dwija, the twice-born; I will be born again. “I” will be truly born. I am incessantly praying for that day.
How is Satya? My love to all. By 5th or 6th October I am reaching home. The rest is all fine. My respects to honourable Lal Saheb and others. What are you doing; write.” (71)

When asked by some friends why he had decided to become a teacher in the university Osho gave them his answer where he mentions the importance the role as a teacher may have for his future work:

“When I decided to become a teacher in the university, a few of my friends who were aware of what had happened to me asked me, “What are you going to do?”
I said, “It will be good if I can be a teacher for a few years, it will help me tremendously: it will give me the skill. Now I have something to express. I have something to share, but the skill is needed. The best teacher is one who can help the last person hearing him, the lowest in intelligence, to understand. Of  course the best ones will understand easily, but you have to keep aware of those who are not that intelligent.”…
When I graduated from the university I immediately went to the education minister of Madhya Pradesh. He was also the chancellor of the University of Sagar, where I had postgraduate degrees in psychology, in religion, in philosophy.
I went directly to him. I told his secretary, I am going to meet the chancellor of my university, not the education minister, so don’t come in between me and the chancellor. He knows me, he has been coming to the university every year for the convocation address. He has even addressed under my presidency the philosophical department of the University of Sagar. He knows me.” Guida Spirituale #6

We find quite some inconsistencies in the accounts of how he got the lecturership in Raipur. Having exchanged some remarks on the missing character certificate, the chancellor finally agreed to provide Rajneesh with an appointment order in another college right on the spot, without wasting time with unnecessary mailing. This version is not in accordance with what is mentioned earlier, where professor Saxena is said to have posted Rajneesh’s application on his behalf. Also the story goes that professor Saxena had produced an ‘original’ character certificate from a ‘copy’ made by Rajneesh himself, containing the following phrasing: “I certify that this man is totally ignorant, and there is no certainty about his character. He says some thing today and something totally different tomorrow. This man cannot be trusted.” (Dhirman 2012, p. 13). And Osho’s father Babu Lal remembers the days when his son got his first assignment as an university lecturer in this way:

“All our worries regarding his future disappeared completely when the Minister for Education met with him, and told him how sorry he was that for that particular year all the professorships had been announced already, and if he wanted to teach at some university he would have to wait for the next year. But my son told him that if a Minister was sincere with his praise and really wanted to, he could find him a job even the next day; and that’s how he got his first assignment. But since there was nothing else available, he was assigned as a Sanskrit teacher to Raipur College, even though he was a laureate in philosophy! I have heard from many people that never before has Sanskrit been taught with such profundity and such enthrallment.” (72)

“So I took the appointment order, and the next day I appeared in the college where he had appointed me. I used to live in Raipur. I lived there only for six months just through the mistake of government bureaucracy. I was to be appointed to Jabalpur but some idiot wrote Raipur instead of Jabalpur. And I saw it happen, because I was there, in the capital. I looked at the letter – Raipur? But I said, “There is no harm; for a few months let us be in Raipur. I will be absolutely useless there because the college is a Sanskrit college and I have no qualifications for that college. So I will enjoy myself as long as I am there – there is no work for me.” (Urmila 2007, p. 141)

The college in Raipur he joined only after a lot of local opposition, and he finally realized that the college could offer no teaching opportunity for him at all in his three main subjects, philosophy, psychology or logic. Initially the principal would not allow him to join the college at all, and he was only allowed to join the staff as a result of a conversation between the principal and the state secretary on education in his Bhopal office. Rajneesh was accordingly told that in a short time he would be transferred to some other college.

“So I went there. The principal said, “But your qualifications are for a philosophy department, and we don’t have any philosophy department. This is a Sanskrit college. There is a linguistic department, but you don’t have any qualification for it.”
I said, “I know. But what to do with bureaucracy? They have given me a holiday, so don’t create trouble. They have sent me, and this is given to me directly by the education minister.”…
So for six months neither the department bothered, nor the principal bothered to do anything. And I was not at all interested in making a fuss about it: it was going perfectly well. I lived in the campus in the Sanskrit college, but for almost the whole day I remained in my quarters. Once in a while sometimes I would go to the library or just chitchat with the professors and come back again. There was nothing else for me to do.” (Urmila 2007, p. 141)

With no teaching obligations to be fulfilled in Raipur next to his ongoing reading of books his time was partly spent on anthropological studies of the various tribes living in the jungles of Bastar near Raipur, an aboriginal area he had been introduced to by the former raja Pravir Chandra Banj Deo a few years earlier. The customs and traditions of the tribes, in partucular their ritual ghotul hut, caught his interest because of their easy living and multiple ways of celebrating in dancing and singing. This devotional body culture was to become an integral part of his work later on.

Finally, after six months had passed in Raipur, his transfer came and Rajneesh left in March 1958 to join the teaching staff at Mahakoshal Mahavidyalaya (Degree College) in Jabalpur. As his salary was low – and money had first of all to be left for the purchase of books – he rented a cheap room in the dirty streets of Bhaldarpura. For one and a half year he lived here in Bhaldarpura before moving in September 1959, following his appointment as an ass. professor, to a house in the more pleasant neighbourhood of Gupteshwar near Deotal in the Eastern outskirts of Jabalpur. Osho’s father Babu Lal recalls from Osho’s academic career and the enthusiastic interest in his lecturing right from his early days as an orator:

“Throughout his days at the university he appeared perfectly ordinary to us, even though he had shown to be very intelligent and brilliant…it would have been impossible not to notice it, because in those times in India orators were much in demand, and so were good public discourses; it was common to have some debates with two orators opposed to one another, with the winner chosen by open acclamation. In addition, our son was winning one debate after another, and he had achieved an immense reputation, but we could never had imagined what was going to follow later!
We had very normal ambitions for him, that he would become a good lawyer, or a teacher…but then, once he got his doctorate in philosophy he came back home and spent four months unemployed, until one day through some acquaintances he was invited to hold a series of conferences at some big university. It was there where it became obvious that his discourses turned out to be so fascinating, so transporting, that soon the Aula Magna was no longer sufficient to contain all the students and professors who were attending those meetings. At some point it became necessary to move everybody into open air, to the university’s courtyard, which was always full of people even when it was raining. By now both students and professors were bowing in front of him, as if he was a guru of some sort, and he was just twenty-five years old!” (73)

“I enjoyed my student life immensely; whether people were against me, for me, indifferent, loved me, all those experiences were beautiful. All that helped me when I myself became a teacher, because I could see the students’ viewpoints simultaneously when I was presenting mine”. Transmission of the Lamp #37; (Sarito 2000, p. 94; Urmila 2007, p. 142)

From the very start as a lecturer Rajneesh was introducing a simple and straightforward way of teaching and yet these methods were arousing many comments among his colleagues. Small things like making the students move from the back of the room to the empty rows in front of him, and telling the boys and the girls – each grouping in their own corner – to come and get mixed. He even made jokes on the students wasting their time and youth in the study of philosophy, when they should rather go out and make love to each other, and he even offered his advice to them in the noble art of writing love letters. These developments aroused the vice-chancellor’s curiosity, not at least because of Rajneesh’s pulling of students from other classes who all came to see for themselves these new ways of teaching and thus were overcrowding his classes with students hanging around in windows. Rajneesh couldn’t care less as he never noted the students’ attendance, and every month he just filled out randomly in the attendance register whether the students had been present or not: Absent, present, absent, present. All he had to remember in this game of random choice was that every student got more than seventy-five percent presence so they were allowed to enrol for examination.

“Throughout his teaching career, Rajneesh was known as a brilliant and wonder­ful teacher. He inspired interest and a spirit of investigation in his students and encouraged them to search for answers on their own. He is said to have been so popular that students often left other classes to sit in on his.” (Joshi 1982, p. 77)

“When I became a professor, this was my first thing. For the first month those who wanted to participate in my classes had to learn how to listen. It was complained against me that “this is not part of the university course, syllabus; nowhere is it mentioned that for one month we have to learn to listen.”…In the beginning it was very difficult for the students to sit for one hour silently listening; the birds outside, any noise – some professor shouting, some car passing, some airplane zooming – and you just listen. Nothing has to be done – just pure listening.
Many of them left before the month was finished. If thirty started, it was almost certain that only ten would be left. But those ten have remained grateful to me; not for what was taught after that month but what they learned in that one month. What was taught was good to get the certificate but what they learned in that one month of silent listening became a new way of seeing things, of being.” The Rajneesh Bible, vol.4 #21

We may keep in mind the educational culture of India where the repetitive style was the traditional way to earn a livelihood in the future. Students have been conditioned to obey rather than to use their potential for questioning, a matter so dear to Rajneesh himself. Their energies were directed towards upward mobility within an existing hierarchical order which is contrary to anything unconventional, challenging and innovative. The way Rajneesh himself was constantly questioning his teachers and defying his textbooks have been even more unusually in the academic culture of the 1950s than we may now imagine. The Indian approach may be summed up by the motto: Nakal mein akal hai (wisdom lies in copying). And certainly, it is not an easy affair to label Rajneesh a copyist.

Teachers at the university were much preoccupied with mundane matters like salary and the competition for higher posts in the academic world. They were indeed much more interested in these questions than in the students and their future. Rajneesh’s used to send one student to collect his salary every months, telling the student that if needed he was allowed to keep some of it for his own private expenditure. A small school of meditation was opened after 1961 in the bungalow of one of Rajneesh’s friends Shree Deoke Nandan in Napier Town where its central marbled and temple like hall provided seating for at least fifty people in meditation. Many students and professors from the university are said to have come to this place where they were introduced to meditation for the first time.

The need for highly qualified teachers in India’s expanding academic world was evident, and Rajneesh’s methods were not totally out of touch with the recommendations from the authorities for higher education: “The teacher, like an artist, philosopher and the man of letters should perform his duties conscientiously as an individual directed by an inner creative impulse, not dominated and fettered by an outside authority.” (Shamsuddin, 1978, p. 40)

Rajneesh’s understanding of the educational and academic system in India in those days is expressed in his remarks following an episode in the late 1960s when the vice-chancellor of Jabalpur University had to call in the police when students had gathered at his residence to put forward some of their grievances. The police had to use lathis (wooden sticks) to disperse the mob and they even raided hostel rooms where some students had been beaten with steel rods. In his commenting on this incident Rajneesh accused the vice-chancellor for having called the police to settle the matter and he continued:

“And not only that, our education system is wrong, even our examination system is wrong. Only a few set of questions are asked every time. Their answers are written in the books word by word. They need only to be learnt by heart. I think no intelligent student will learn by heart like parrots. In this way, neither there is any opportunity for the development of mind nor does one need any intelligence in cramming. And today children are more intelligent than they were before. Their contention is that if the answer is already written in the book, why bother about learning it by heart. On the day of examination, we shall copy it down from the book. The questions should be so framed that their answers cannot be directly copied from the texts.” (Bharti 2007, p. 112)

So Rajneesh’s classes were in many ways quite different from those of his colleagues. His classes became more like debating clubs, where everybody was allowed to argue and to doubt everything. All that mattered was a constant sharpening of the students’ intelligence, and because of the freedom and respect given to them the students are said to have loved his way of teaching.

As complaints were coming from every other educational department – now sucked of their students – the vice-chancellor had to interfere and he came to one of Rajneesh’s classes in philosophy to see with his own eyes what was going on. The students were sitting silently next to each other without any need of throwing notes and letters, all disturbances had been taken from the very root as no repression was to be seen whatsoever.

“But few from his own department, who were jealous of him, complained to the V.C. that he was teaching ridiculous things in the class instead of teaching the prescribed syllabus. They also complained that he made boys and girls sit together in the classroom and they were contaminating the atmosphere of the college. The V.C. made enquiries at his own level and talked to Rajneesh and rejected the complaints considering them useless…Slowly, the essence of the lecture of Acharya Rajneesh reached the staff-room. Now some of the lecturers also started coming to listen to his lectures, but few, who kept enmity with his department listened to some of his lectures standing in the veranda only.” (Bhed 2006, p. 172)

The educational agenda was a topic he was to return to again and again in his lectures all over India, especially when addressing the students at various teachers’ colleges as we will se later on. Once when attending an early seminar on the growing situation concerning lack of discipline in the schools, he told his colleagues:

“I see that somewhere the very basis is missing. A teacher is one who is respected naturally, so a teacher cannot demand respect. If the teacher demands respect, he simply shows that he is not a teacher; he has chosen the wrong profession, that is not his vocation. The very definition of a teacher is one who is naturally respected; not that you have to respect him. If you have to respect him, what type of respect is this going to be? Just look: ‘have to respect’ – the whole beauty is lost, the respect is not alive. If it has to be done, then it is not there. When it is there, nobody is conscious about it, nobody is self-conscious about it. It simply flows. Whenever a teacher is there it simply flows.” (Urmila 2007, p. 145)

Rajneesh was in the 1960s slowly becoming a spiritual teacher, acharya, and drawing people to come and listen to him, like in former days in India when people were used to travel miles upon miles to get in touch with a teacher or guru with something to be imbibed by his listeners (74). People around him started calling him Acharya Rajneesh, a role very familiar to the Hindu society and in particular the Jains. According to Vasant Joshi, a guru has always held a very prominent and exalted place in society as he is identified with the divine: Acharya devo bhava. Three different roles can be identified:

 – A family guru. Where the guru is also a scriptural authority and head of a religious sect. He is the one who conducts rituals, and presides at auspicious occasions such as birth of a baby in the family, marriage and other celebrations.
– A formal teacher and an educator. He teaches and imparts education in a school environment.
– As a self-realised being who has seen. He is the one who has seen or known the truth. Joshi mentions that in his search for truth a guru engages seekers and diciples into a creative dialogue. In modern times these conversations are seen with Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Maharshi Ramana, J. Krishnamurti and with Osho. (Joshi 2010, p. 249)

“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.” The Discipline of Transcendence, vol.2 #4

“In India a person is called an acharya, a master, only if he has written a commentary on three things: first, the one hundred and eight Upanishads; second, Shrimad Bhagavadgita, Krishna’s celestial songs; third, the most important of all, Badrayana’s Brahman Sutras. I have never spoken about him. I was called acharya for many years, and people used to ask me if i had written all the commentaries – the Gita, the Upanishads and the Brahman Sutras. I laughed and said, “I only tell jokes. I don’t write any commentaries whatsoever. My being called an acharya is a joke, don’t take it seriously.” Books I Have Loved #5

When teaching, Rajneesh usually divided his period in the class into three parts. If Aristotele happened to be the topic he would in the first part of the period give an account on the essence of the philosopher as described in textbooks and other sources. Then in the second part of the period he would refute all the quoted theories, and in the third part he finally invited the students to come forward with their questions.

“When I became a professor myself, I had to make a new arrangement. The arrangement was that in each forty-minute period, twenty minutes I would teach the syllabus as it was written in the books, and twenty minutes I would criticize it. My students said, “We will go mad.”
I said, “That is your problem – but I cannot leave these statements without criticism. You can choose, when your examination comes, you can choose to write whichever you want. If you want to fail, choose my part. If you want to pass, choose the first part. I am making it clear; I am not deceiving anybody – but I cannot go on deceiving you by teaching you something which I think is absolutely wrong.” (Urmila 2007, p. 144)

And then very slowly his way of lecturing was to be known to a wider audience of listeners outside the university campus in Jabalpur: “Those who enjoyed the lectures and felt as fresh air, talked high of it in the social and religious gatherings. As a result he was first invited to deliver speeches in various programmes and later to inaugurate institutions like Lion’s Club and Rotary Club etc. People began to address him ‘Acharya Rajneesh’ and the students called him ‘Acharya Shree’. Though he had been in the limelight in Jabalpur from his student hood only due to the broadcast of his lectures on the All India Radio and also due to his performance in the Inter-University Debate Competition.” (Bhed 2006, p. 172)

Sri Rekhchand Parikh, who was a wealthy businessman from Chanda (later on renamed Chandrapur), had already listened to Rajneesh when he was speaking at Bajaj Badi in Bombay for the first time ever in 1960. His wife, Mrs. Madan Kunwar Parikh, who had not yet given birth to a boy, was convinced that Rajneesh happened to be her incarnated son who had been separated from her in her previous birth. She called on Rajneesh at the very same evening as he had delivered his talk at Bajaj Badi, and she invited him to give a talk at Chanda when he had finished his programme in Bombay.

Mr. Parikh himself was greatly influenced by what he had heard from Rajneesh in Bombay, and he made Rajneesh stay in Chanda for three days delivering his talks every day with an increasing number of participants, answering questions from the listeners and also teaching Mr. Parikh some practices of meditation. Mrs. Parikh was hoping Rajneesh could make her husband more interested in spiritual matters and start sharing his wealth in charity. Accordingly Rajneesh happened to find a small packet containing Rs. 10.000 in his suitcase when he left Chanda by train on a first class ticket homebound for Jabalpur. In an accompanying letter Mr. Parikh was praising Rajneesh to be the man he had been searching for and asked him to accept the small gift.

From now on Mrs. Madan Kunwar Parikh was writing letters to Rajneesh seeking his guidelines on her experiences with meditation. And so was Mr. Lala Sunderlal, a leading plutocrat and capitalist from Delhi who lived at Bungalow Road in Jawaharnagar. He used to write intimate letters to Rajneesh and often in the following years Rajneesh was invited to speak in Delhi at programmes organised by the Jain society in Delhi.

On Rajneesh’s second visit to Chanda in 1962 Shree Rekhchand Parikh presented Rajneesh with some useful and costly utensils much needed for the spreading of his message: An Olympia typewriter, a cooler, a fan, a reel-to-reel tape-recorder along with many blank spools, a battery, a loudspeaker, a wall-clock, a wrist watch, a camera and a set of exquisite fountain pens, including what was to become his favourite Parker pen. All items were to be of great help for his writings and recording of what was to happen in the following years. The gift was taken by Parikh himself to Jabalpur and he told Rajneesh he was happy to be the first sponsor to offer these items in support of Osho’s future work. From now on his speeches at meditation camps and elsewhere on a irregular basis began to be recorded and made available for listeners as well as for readers by the function of Jeevan Jagriti Kendra. (75)

Besides his numerous books Rajneesh had at his residence in Yogesh Bhawan a radio-gramophone and a small collection of records with classical Indian and Western music. In the evening, after he taken his meal, he used to relax for around one hour, where he enjoyed listening to music before he resumed his reading and studying. At the university he had been telling the vice-chancellor of his own understanding of music: We have two types of music, one is vertical and the other is horizontal. Indian classical music has the quality that by hearing it your consciousness rises vertically upwards like Kundalini energy, whereas hearing some heartedly pathetic singing you feel as if you are flowing in the current of a river. That is horizontal music. (See Appendix)

At one time in Jabalpur Mr. Nemichand Jain – later Swami Anand Vijay – requested Rajneesh to inaugurate a new extention to his ‘cut-piece’ cloth shop. A professor from a degree college at Satna was accidentally there, and having read some books by Rajneesh he now wanted to take the opportunity for a darshan. When Ageh Bharti was asked by the professor why Acharya Rajneesh was wasting his precious time with mundane affairs like this, he received no answer. Anyway, the next day Bharti went to Rajneesh’s residence and expressed his displeasure by asking him why he consented for such programmes. Rajneesh replied like an innocent child, “This is for you all to think, where to take me, where not to take me. Otherwise whenever you take me, I have to go.” (76)

In his spiritual teaching career he had been visited at the university by the first Westener in his life, Dennis Lingwood (Sagharakshita), founder of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (77). Rajneesh’s teaching obligations as an ass. Professor were slowly being downgraded when his travels and lecturing started and soon took momentum. And the balance between teaching and traveling was much more at stake than some sources are indicating: “His thirteen years as a university professor – summer holidays and countless weekends spent wandering India, challenging, provoking – were over.” (Allanach 2010, p. 2)

His travels extended indeed by far summer holidays and weekends, and it’s no wonder that his touring All India for his lectures and meditation camps, and his long time absence from his academic obligations, caused quite some disturbance among his colleagues at the university in Jabalpur. Soon the situation reached a critical level and Acharya Rajneesh realized that his time as an ass. Professor at university was coming to an end.

“Acharyashree had been very busy in the same manner since the middle of 1964. After he had resigned from the university [in August 1966], he had stopped coming back to Jabalpur in between his programmes because he had been free from the binding of posting his attendance in the university register. He used to cover up the syllabus in the first two months and then he went to the college three four days in a months and solved the problems that the students had. Some jealous professors had complained against him in this regard, but then he requested the university to expand the syllabus of all the faculties of B.A. The complainants had to withdraw when they saw the game was overturned. Even the V.C. could not gather courage to ask him for explanation because he knew that Acharya Rajneesh used to teach the students much more than the prescribed syllabus in two months only and prepared them in such a way that they could fetch more marks than obtained by the students in the yesteryears. The V.C. was also influenced by his extraordinary argumentation skill and his glamorous personality.” (Bhed 2006, p. 238)

At the university the heat was on among his grudging colleagues these years when his journeys made Rajneesh a constant target for his colleagues’ complaints. For seven months a year he was away from the university, and during this absence his fellow lecturers and professors were nagging him for feeling himself superior to them and accordingly they complained to the vice-chancellor, quoting Rajneesh for having said explicitly that he disliked management, law, order and tradition. Take that! Osho says:

“I was moving around the country. Everybody knew because the newspapers were publishing that I was in Calcutta addressing the university, I was in Benares..and they knew that I was supposed to be there in Jabalpur. My principal once asked me for dinner, and at his home he said, “Do at least one thing: Go wherever you want, but don’t let it be published in the newspapers because then it becomes a problem. People start asking us, “If he is in Madras, but we don’t have any application for leave. He never informs us when he goes or when he comes back.” From Ignorance to Innocence #29

But it seems that also other matters like the rigidness of the syllabus were behind his distancing himself from the academic world which he claimed was under increasing influence of Western values:

“I had to fight the university continuously. They were not ready to include yoga or meditation in the university courses, but they go on bragging that this is the land of Gautam Buddha and Mahavira and Bodhidharma and Patanjali and Kabir and Nanak – they go on bragging, but they don’t see what they are doing. Their journalism, their education, their politics, has no trace of Kabir or Nanak, or Patanjali, or Buddha. They are under the impact of Western masters.” (Urmila 2007, p. 145)

Among the accusations raised against Osho was the fact that for the past six years he had never attended the annual photo session of the teaching staff at the university, with photos of the staff to be included in the university’s printed journal. Ever since his student days he had been a nuisance to everyone at the university, and now as an ass. Professor he was even criticized for imposing his dictatorship on the students, allowing no one to either cough or sneeze during his lessons. And according to his opponents in the academic world, he considered himself so wise that he could criticize anything written in the books, and he proved always to be in opposition to every single matter, constantly arguing that it was all wrong and only he was right.

Ma Anand Sheela, his later secretary in Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, has in memoirs from her time with Osho a few remarks on his days in Jabalpur and his way of teaching and relating with students and colleagues: “During the first two years of His stay in Bombay, He began to give shape to His teachings. He started as a travelling philosopher after being thrown out of the University where He was teaching philosophy. He did not want to conform to the traditional rules and constrained thinking forced on Him there. He was known and respected among His students for His rebellious attitude. He was also a danger to female students. Women who attended His lectures would get infatuated with Him. Their attraction was a constant problem for the rest of the professors, who would be jealous. Moreover, they did not like that His lectures were always popular and overcrowded even though He taught a very dry subject – philosophy – and that even the students not enrolled in His class would bunk their other classes to listen to Him.” (Sheela 2012, p. 130)

Of the events around his resignation we are dealing with various versions of how it happened: “After the first meditation camp held in 1964, Rajneesh traveled far and wide conducting such camps all over India. These meditation camps and his dis­courses became instantly popular and he began to stir the nation. Now he felt the time had come for him to free himself from the university job, and in August 1966, having just returned from a tour, he was asked by the principal to resign, the reason stated to be his dress style. For years Rajneesh had been wearing a traditional lungi (a long piece of cloth wrapped below the waist) and chadar (a long piece of cloth wrapped around the body above the waist) when performing his teaching, and now pressed by the principal Rajneesh immediately submitted his letter of resignation, which he always carried with him.” (Joshi 1982, p. 82)

According to his brother Nikalank, Rajneesh was in fact never asked to resign by the principal, although he was as usually ready to respond also to this situation. His wearing a lunghi was quite common in those days, although not that common in an academic setting, and he would usually be teaching while sitting cross legged on a table dressed in his lunghi. He is repeatedly said to have worn the traditional Indian dress beautifully, but as a lunghi had no pockets he could not possibly have been carrying his resignation with him, as claimed by others. (78) In Osho’s own words:

“I loved the lunghi because it is very simple, the simplest; no need of a seamstress, no need of any tailoring, nothing; just any piece of cloth can be turned into a lunghi very easily. But I was not in south India, I was in central India where the lunghi is used only by vagabonds, loafers, unsocial elements. It is a symbol that the person is uncaring about society, that he does not bother what you think about him. When I started going to the university in a lunghi, when I entered the university everything stopped for a moment; students came out of their classes, professors came out of their classes. As I passed along the corridor everybody was standing, and I waved to everybody – a good reception!” From Misery to Enlightenment #26

Finally the vice-chancellor in 1966 promised to call on Rajneesh and discuss the matter with him. Summoned to his office Rajneesh is said to have taken his seat without being even permitted, and when confronted with the complaints of his colleagues he called the arguments nothing but outlets from asses and donkeys. The conversation was overheard by many of his fellow teachers, who were listening outside the room and behind the curtain, and the vice-chancellor now told Rajneesh that he was insulting not only his colleagues but also his own position as vice-chancellor and that he had to suffer the consequences. According to Gyan Bhed Osho responded in this way:

“Saying so Rajneesh pulled the writing pad on the V.C.’s table and wrote the resignation letter only in three lines and signed it. He handed over that letter to the V.C….Rajneesh got up and said laughing, “I was really mad when I joined the service. Today my mind has been set right for the first time. I have been thinking for many months that I am only wasting my time in teaching only thirty students, whereas I can satisfy thousands and lakhs of people in that much of time. I can show them the way to light. You please don’t think that you are responsible for my resignation. I was to resign. This conversation only became the means for that.” (Bhed 2006, p. 228)

“I did not leave it because the work was wrong. I left it because the work was too small. I can do a vast amount of work, so I had to leave. This means I did not leave it because it was not right. With the same amount of energy a vast amount of work can be done, so to use all that energy for ten to fifteen students did not seem appropriate…The question was that in philosophy classes there are sometimes two students, sometimes three, so if I were to spend two years with three students, that would have been a criminal waste. Knowing this, I left. I did not leave because it was wrong. Working at the university was not wrong.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #8

“The day I left university service, the first thing I did was to burn all my certificates and diplomas, and the whole nonsense that I had carried all along, neatly piled. I enjoyed the burning of it so much that my whole family gathered around, thinking that finally I had gone completely mad…
I said, “My whole life I have been trying to burn these certificates, but I could not because they were always needed. Now there is no need: I can be as uneducated as when I was born.”
They said, “You are foolish, utterly mad. You have burned the most precious certificates. You threw the gold medal down the well, now you have burned even the last remnant showing that once you were the first in the whole university.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 300

That Osho should actually have destroyed his academic certificates and diplomas in the fire is denied by his secretary in Jabalpur Arvind Kumar, who has been guarding these documents since he inherited them from the estate of Kranti following her death in 2006: “Secondly, I have prepared a RARE ALBUM Of OSHO, containing 181 Black & White Photographs (1965-1969) with Meritorius Bachelor’s & Master’s Degree, Character Certificates & Documents of Public Service Commission concerning about Government Service of Lecturer’s Job of OSHO.” (79)

The complete record of preserved academic certificates a.o. is as under:

1. Certificate of Intermediate Exam. 1953.
2. Debate Certificates. Two sheets. 1955.
3. Degree of Bachelor of Art… 1955.
4. M.A. Final Philosophy Marks sheet. 1957.
5. Degree of Master of Art… 1957.
6. Character Certificates of Prominent Personalities. 6 sheets.
7. Certificate of Honorary Membership of Jain Wisdom & Culture… Kanpur 1962.
8. Service Documents of Lecturer’s Job. 3 sheets.
9. Honour & Devotion Expression. One Memo from Lion’s Club Rajkot (West).

Osho says:

“The day I resigned my post of professor in a university I burned all my certificates. A friend [Arvind Kumar Jain] used to live with me; he said, “What are you doing? If you have resigned…I don’t agree that you have done the right thing, but burning your certificates is absolutely unnecessary. You may need them some day; keep them. And if you cannot keep them, I will keep them; you just give them to me.”
I said, “I am finished with all this stupidity. I want to burn all the bridges. And I will never need them because I never look back and I never go back. I am finished with it. It was all nonsense and I have been in it enough.”
But I had not compromised with any vested interest; that’s why I had to resign: because I was not teaching what I was supposed to teach. In fact I was doing just the opposite. So many complaints against me reached the Vice-Chancellor that finally he gathered courage to call me. He never used to call me because to call me was an encounter! Finally he called me and he said, “Just look – all these complaints are here.”
I said, “There is no need to bother about the complaints – here is my resignation.” He said, “What are you saying? I am not saying that you should resign!”
I said, “You are not saying it, but I am resigning because I can only do the things that I want to do. If any imposition on me is there, if any kind of pressure is put on me, I am not going to be here even for a single moment. This is my resignation and I will never enter this building again.” (Urmila 2007, p. 150)

And although some colleagues and even the Minister of Education in Madhya Pradesh are said to have persuaded him to stay he remained determined to finish his academic career that very moment. Something more fulfilling was to come.

“He could not believe it! I left his office; he came running after me. When I was getting into my car he said, “Wait! What is the hurry? Ponder over it!”
I said, “I never ponder over anything. I was doing the right thing. And if there are complaints – and of course I know there are complaints – there must be, because I am not teaching what your stupid syllabus binds me to teach, I am teaching something else.”
It was very difficult to get out of it because all my friends came to persuade me, the professors came to persuade me, all my relatives tried to persuade me: “What are you doing?” Even the Education Minister phoned me: “Don’t do such a thing. I know that your ways are a little strange, but we will tolerate. You continue. Don’t take any note of the complaints. Complaints have been coming to me too, but I am not taking any notice of them. We don’t want to loose you.”
I said, “That is not the point. Once I have finished with something I am finished with it. Now no pressure can bring me back.” (Urmila 2007, p. 150)

Leaving the office of the vice-chancellor Rajneesh went straight to the Gulmohar tree which had been an ongoing focus point to him throughout his time at university. He parked his car under the tree and admired its vermilion blossoming, and even talked to the tree, embracing it with his arms. On a visit to the university one month later, it turned out that the tree out of its natural cycle had lost its leaves and had died. His affiliation with living trees was evident, and he remembered the days when he went to school in Gadarwara and used to sit under a mango tree on his way, a tree he saw had been cut down on one of his later visits to Gadarwara.

In a letter dated 5.8.1966 Rajneesh writes to a friend and mentions his sense of freedom now he had left his teaching position at the university:

“I was out of station. Have returned only day before yesterday. I have become free of the University, hence now travels are my only life…” (80)

And this new gained freedom was to be devoted to an even more intense traveling during his five last years in Jabalpur, conveniently located in the Indian heartland for his reaching out to all corners of India. As concluded by Wallis:

“In 1966, he gave up his university post and under the title of Acharya (Teacher) Shree Rajneesh, devoted himself to delivering public lectures; to personal contact with enquirers and an emerging group of Indian disciples; and to the organization of regular meditation camps utilising an eclectic range of meditational techniques, later to issue in his own technique of “dynamic meditation”. At these camps he would also deliver daily discourses on themes from various sacred literature and in response to questions.”(Wallis in: Aveling 1999, 

2.6 Religious Conferences

Rajneesh made himself known within various religious functions in Jabalpur right from his first years as a student of philosophy, and the religious gatherings he attended were in the beginning those within the Jain and the Hindu faiths. And certainly not the small Roman Catholic Church which was to be found next to the Wesleyan and American Methodist Churches in Jabalpur, where in earlier times also the Church of England Zanana Mission had been active with its six private schools. Rather he continued in the vein of his childhood upbringing and attended the Jayanti (annual function) held in Jabalpur on December 19th for the Jain saint Taran Taran. When Osho started participating regularly from 1960 in these celebrations, the function on his suggestion eventually widened its scope to include all religions, and to reflect that had its name changed to the syncretistic Sarva Dharma Sammelan (SDS: All Religions’ Conference). Next to this function Osho also delivered a singular and notorious famous talk at The Second World Hindu Religion Conference in 1969. These strictly orthodox Hindu conferences were held in various places on a national level. A common feature throughout Osho’s talks at any religious conference was his controversial approach to the subject-matter causing quite some irregularity in his appearing on stage and occasionally he saw his future engagements being cancelled.

“I was lecturing in different universities in India – and India has almost one hundred universities. The students were the ones who got the point most. I was teaching in religious conferences. The people who gathered to listen got the point, but the organizers, the religious leaders, became my enemies.
So any conference, any gathering of religious people I have visited once, I was not invited there again. Just in one visit I had disturbed their people so much, stirred so many doubts and questions in their minds. Because this is one of my basic standpoints: the way to truth is not belief, but doubt; not faith, but inquiry…” The Last Testament, vol.1 #13

Other Jain religious festivals were attended by Osho and from early 1960s he was traveling also to Bombay to reach these audiences. According to Ageh Bharti in the beginning his discourses were arranged by Deriya Ji and supported through donations from a rich jeweller Tara Chand Kothari, but Laheru gives us this context for his speaking in Bombay: “Since 1961-62 some institutions in Mumbai arranged Osho’s discourses. Especially the section of people who listened to Osho was Jains. During their religious festivals, Mahavir Jayanti and Paryushan, Osho was invited from Jabalpur for discourse series organized initially by Bharat Jain Mahamandal and then by Mumbai Jain Yuvak Sangha…According to Shri Harshadbhai he had listened to Osho for the first time at Birla Matushree Hall in Mumbai on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti. Osho was a guest at Shri Rishabhdashi Ranka’s house at that time.” (Laheru 2012, p. 10)

Taran Jayanti & Sarva Dharma Sammelan

In Jabalpur the conferences Taran Jayanti had been celebrated from 1939 onwards as annual functions on December 19th. According to Arvind Kumar Jain Osho participated in these conferences for the whole period he was staying in Jabalpur from 1951 onwards in the days where he evolved as a thinker and religious figure. As early as in 1953 Rajneesh is said to have made a speech at the eve of saint Taran’s celebration, but as his words were not appreciated by some of the orthodox Jains the strong reactions to his performance at that time caused a yearlong break in his attending the listeners in this annual congregation of Jains. The Jabalpur conferences were arranged by Jains and we have seen that Osho’s family in Gadarwara was followers of the Digambari branch of Jains which held the Jain mystic Taran Swami in high esteem. As Rajneesh’s appearances at these annual functions were his virgin performances as a speaker to greater audiences it is not without reason that his cousin Arvind Kumar Jain has called a chapter in his memoirs on Osho for the ‘Base of World-Wide Fame – Sant Taran Taran Jyanti Function’. (Jain 2007)

We have to accept a fairly high level of uncertainty when trying to investigate Osho’s participation in these early religious conferences. According to Nikalank Osho was away from Jabalpur doing his M.A. at Sagar from 1953 to 1955, then one year at Raipur and it is not too clear what happened 1957 to 1959. So he might not have attended Taran Jayanti in those years at all. But from 1960 until 1969, when he was to leave for Bombay, he was regularly addressing this function of Jains, and his first public speech for Jains after his first attempt in 1953 was to be arranged by Sri Ghasiram Samaiya in 1960 on the occasion of the Taran Jayanti, now changed into Sarva Dharma Sammelan (All Religions’ Conference, or: Meeting of All Faiths) with the participation of prominent speakers coming from all over India. We will in some of the quotations to follow see these two names for conferences being mixed up. In her time-line of Osho’s work Anando has included these comments on his early participation in religious conferences:

“Begins to visit Mumbai from Jabalpur, invited to speak at the Jain religious festivals, Mahavir Jayanti and Paryushan, at Birla Matushree Hall organized initially by Bharat Jain Mahamandal and then by Mumbai Jain Yuvak Sanga.” (81)

During one of his many travels Rajneesh once happened to meet the former raja of Bastar, Pravir Chandra Banj Deo, when they were both traveling in the same compartment on a train on tour to participate in Sarva Dharma Sammelan (82):

“And we were going to be the guests at the same palace of the Gwalior maharani, the queen of Gwalior. We were both to participate in an annual conference she used to call a World Conference of All Religions…I was invited by some misunderstanding. The maharani must have read some of my books and thought that I was a religious person.
On the first day of the meeting she became so worried, because at least fifty thousand people were there in the palace grounds…It is a beautiful palace, and it has a huge ground where fifty thousand people can sit every year. But when I spoke, she was completely shattered. She could not sleep. At twelve o’clock in the night she knocked on my door. I had left her at ten o’clock after the meeting. I could not think who would be knocking on my door, so I opened the door, and it was the queen herself. She said, “I cannot sleep. You have shattered my whole mind. And now I cannot allow you to speak tomorrow.” The conference was going to continue for seven days, I spoke only one time…So I said, “If I am not going to speak, then I don’t have to stay here. You have asked me for seven lectures, and just one lecture and you are finished. Let me do my job. Those fifty thousand people will ask for me.”
She said, “I know it, because you were the only one they seemed to be interested in, and there was absolute silence in the crowd. The priests go on speaking, who cares? They are telling the same thing again and again, year after year, the same dogmas. For the first time, the queen said to me, “I understood what it means to have pin drop silence. So they will be asking, but it is difficult, because all the other participants are absolutely against you.”” I Celebrate Myself, God is No Where, Life is Now Here #6

After the conference Rajneesh went with the former raja to Bastar, a secluded Indian territory South East of Jabalpur up to the Eastern Ghats. The territory was not part of British India and the Indian aborigines were still to be found in the dense jungles. The Gond, Munia Doria and Maria sub tribes all caught his interest and Rajneesh was discussing their way of living and celebrating and their free way of dancing in particular. His observations may have included the tribal educational institution of the Gond’s, their tribal ghotul hut which is a zone for the youths of the village where they can practice social and sexual interaction. This was most likely the first time Osho met the phenomenon of sacred dance in a devotional context later to be supplemented during his stay in Raipur in 1957. Throughout his entire work emphasis was continuously put on the disappearing of the dancer into the dance and on dancing your way to God, an expression also used as the title of one of his later darshan diaries Dance Your Way to God (1978).

When years later he was speaking at the Taran Jayanti in 1960, Rajneesh took as his starting point the very words of the saint, and he was in his speech stressing the need for meditation rather than the formal ritual practices of the Jain religion. Not unexpectedly this provoked some orthodox Jains in the gathering to oppose him while some young and educated listeners were much more in line with his understanding. When the symposium came to an end some touched his feet with reverence and also took appointment at his residence to get a touch of his meditative approach. This public sermon happened to provide him with invitations to speak at a few new places in the following months (Bhed 2006, p. 178). Gyan Bhed also presents an account that Rajneesh, for the first time since 1953, in 1960 was invited to the Sarva Dharma Sammelan organized by Acharya Tulsi at Rajsamand [Rajnagar] in Rajasthan, where about 50.000 people had gathered for the event with Sri Morarji Desai, at that time Minister of Finance, as the guest of honour. The start of the conference was blurred by a heated and serious discussion on who were to sit on what level according to his rank and status, a discussion Rajneesh is said to have solved to the satisfaction of all participants. He later spoke on What is Religion, and drew attention from various sides of the audience with his opposition to the conditioned orthodox and traditional ways also Jain followers were behaving in their daily religious practices. (Bhed 2006, p. 179) (83)

At one of its meetings in Jabalpur in the early 1960s Sarva Dharma Sammelan had chosen Acharya Rajneesh to preside over the conference, a function he now occasionally performed. As remembered by Ageh Bharti:

“‘All Religions’ Conference’ was held at Jabalpur. The representatives of important faiths assembled and elected Osho as its chairperson. Many religious leaders presumed themselves to be radical thinkers, but practically they’re not. They repeated in discourses what the conventional reformers spoke. Nobody had realized the self. In addition, several politicians too address such gathering using Osho’s exact words. I have noticed that even renowned orators hesitate to claim as an orator on the dais from where Osho was to speak. They were rather puzzled. They have shivered in disguise. So, out of fear, the shrewd speakers expressed Osho’s thoughts to avoid themselves being attacked. Nobody can become great by repeating someone’s thought waves. He would remain so. The real has limitless, while the unreal, the tangible is always limited to what one has heard or read from books about the ‘real’.
In the aforesaid ‘All Religions Conference’, one religion’s representative recalled, “Religion is one, Truth is one”. Osho confined his address to the topic. He has said it so many times. Osho is limitless. He unveiled new dimensions by opening new doors.
So in His presidential speech, Osho interpreted, ‘Truly speaking since we accept that there are not many religions; two, three, four or five. Similarly, we will have to stop saying ‘one’ religion. Because, ‘one’ carries no meaning, if there are not two, three or four. There is religion or there is no religion. Even to say, ‘religion is one’ is not right; because behind that ‘one’ religion, deep down the same thought goes on that ‘His’ is the ‘one’ religion. For example, if Jaina hears this, he understands that ‘one’ is Jaina religion and when Hindu hears that there is only ‘one’ religion, he understands that that religion is what is written in the ‘Vedas’. Similarly when a Muslim listens, he also accepts it to be absolutely right. He also nods his head but he too feels that ‘one’ religion is ‘Islam’. As long as we do not assert that ‘religion is’, neither is it one nor two nor three and that religion is neither Hindu nor Muslim nor Christian nor Jaina nor Buddhist. As long as one is a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, or Jaina, one cannot be religious. It would be more appropriate to say that one is religious or one is not religious.’”(Bharti 2007, p. 108)

According to Gyan Bhed it was not unexpected that Osho would challenge also Hindu dignitaries as it happened later on at the Sarva Dharma Sammelan in Faridabad in the 1960s. Jagatguru Shankaracharya of Uttar Dham was among the organisers, and as one of his secretaries happened to be inclined towards Rajneesh she saw her way to invite Rajneesh to join the meeting and be listed as a speaker. The meeting had hardly begun before we hear that some arguments were raised concerning the various levels on which the dignitaries were to be placed on the ground or on the platform. During the exchange of arguments on this subtle matter rooted in the traditional Indian caste system and its concept of inferiority and superiority Rajneesh is quoted for having said:

“Presently there are four peeths (seats) in the country. The Shankaracharya of every peeth calls himself the Jagat Guru. I challenge Shankaracharya Ji Maharaj for the debate. I am ready to accept a five member panel from among you as the judges, but the condition is that if he is defeated in the debate, he will have to abandon his title of Jagat Guru.” (84)

The secretary who had invited Rajneesh for the meeting was accordingly criticized by Shankaracharya, and she warned Rajneesh that some hooligans were ready to attack him if he intended to speak from the stage. Somehow Rajneesh managed to grab the microphone at an interval between two speakers, and his action and quest for speaking were supported by the raised hands from the assembly of people, claimed to be fifty thousand strong. Hearing him talk on sat (truth) and Godliness the people began to shout and damn Shankaracharya when they were told about the initial episode and discussion on the levels for the seating of the dignitaries. Soon after the disciples of Shankaracharya in their response started burning crackers and shouting slogans and in the chaos that followed the whole meeting had to be dispersed.

In the section on Gadarwara we have met Osho’s family background deeply rooted in Jainism, and we should not be surprised that he felt at ease using Taran Swami’s mystical path of religious approach in his first sermons to an audience. But also the more orthodox Jain attitude to learning and the value of books was cherished by him, as illustrated in this text from a statue of Sarasvati in The British Museum. These values were to stay with him throughout his entire lifetime: “The goddess of learning, Sarasvati, is particularly honoured by the Jains; their monasteries have traditionally maintained substantial libraries where scriptures detailing the life of Mahavira as well as large collections of secular works are preserved…The Jains have a pantheon of sixteen goddesses of learning, the most important of which is Sarasvati or Shruta Devi, the ‘goddess of sacred learning.’ The importance of learning in Jainism helps explain why Sarasvati is shown holding a book…Her most important attribute is the text itself.” (85)

On the variety of scriptures within the Digambara tradition, at least partly known to Osho, Dundas has presented us with this outline: “Everything points to the existence of an original and ancient shared Jain textual tradition which gradually diverged: Although the Digambaras do not have a formal canon of their own they have nontheless evolved a quasi-canonical grouping of texts into four literary categories called ‘exposition’ (anuyoga), a term associated with the legendary teacher Rakshita who supposedly divided up the scriptures for fear that they would be forgotten … The ‘first’ (prathama) exposition contains Digambara versions of the Universal History; the ‘calculation’ (karana) exposition contains works on cosmology; the ‘behaviour’ (carana) exposition includes texts about proper behaviour for monks and lay people and the ‘entity’ (dravya) exposition contains a wide variety of writings dealing with metaphysics in the broadest sense.” (Dundas 1992, p. 70)

As we will see later on, controversies like the ones described above, were to follow right until Osho’s last lecture in Jabalpur at Taran Taran Jayanti on December 19th, 1969, before he left for Bombay the following year and made an end to the hassling of the crowds. Still, this move did not make him completely invisible on the religio-political arena, as we will see.

Second World Hindu Religion Conference

Years later Osho’s appearance at the Second World Hindu Religion Conference was to arouse strong feelings from his orthodox opponents quite similar to what had happened when he was participating in Sarva Dharma Sammelan in 1960. Or to be more precise: His skills in lecturing and his courage developed during the 1960s and made him an even more eloquent speaker who was not likely to accept any compromising from what he himself considered the truth and the way in which it was to be transmitted to large crowds of people. No matter what opposition he might have to confront in his attempt to reveal his message.

The Second World Hindu Religion Conference was held at Patna from March 29-31, 1969, and to attend the conference Rajneesh was going by Bombay-Howrah Mail leaving Jabalpur at 2 p.m. for the 15 hour long journey. Acharya Rajneesh was accompanied by his cousin-cum-secretary Arvind Jain, his cousin Kranti, Chouksey and Shiv Pratap Singh, who were all seated in some other coach.

Osho was accompanied by three friends – Kranti, S.N. Chouksey, an Osho lover with a tape recorder and myself [Ageh Bharti] with copies of ‘Yukrand’ magazine.” (Bharti 2007, p. 138)

Rajneesh was always carrying with him his address diary with its phone numbers on friends and other contacts nationwide, but now in Patna no one could be reached due to faulty telephone lines (86). In Patna he was to stay with his friend Ram Chandra Prasad, the Head of the Department of English at Patna University who was to publish the very first presentation in Hindi of Rajneesh and his philosophy that very same year: Samanwaya, Vishleshan aur Samsiddi (1969). Driving to his house Rajneesh paid a short visit to Mathura Prasad Mishra (later Swami Anand Maitreya). Rajneesh, Kranti, Chouksey and Pratap Singh stayed in the big house of Chandra Prasad with its small but beautiful lawn suitable for their evening stroll. Maitreya is later remembered with reverence by Osho:

“Swami Maitreya, in his past, was a politician, and he had much promise. He had been a colleague of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Jaiprakash Narayan, and Ramdhari Singh Dinakar. For many years he was a Member of Parliament. Somehow he got hooked with me, and all his dreams of becoming a great politician, a great political force, disappeared.” Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, vol.9 #10. (87)

The next morning Rajneesh first had to go and see a medical doctor, and in the evening Dr. Prasad took Rajneesh to the venue of the conference, the Gandhi Maidan in Patna where also Dr. Karan Singh (Cabinet Minister of the Indian Parliament) was attending the conference. Seth Govind Das (author, former freedom fighter and now member of Lok Sabha, the Indian Parliament) was just making his speech. He was soon followed by Shankacharya of Puri, Ji Maharaj, who was holding his royal umbrella and from his golden dais was expounding the perennial truths of the Vedas and the rationale behind the caste system founded in the holy scriptures. Every tenth minute in his ninety minute speech he was repeatedly interrupted by the singing of devotional songs – Jai Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram – and without doubt the shankacharya was regarding with dismay the appearance of the name Acharya Rajneesh figuring on top of the list of speakers. After his speech the organizers of the conference were silently scorned for accepting Acharya Rajneesh on the list of speakers, as the shankaracharya had repeatedly instructed them that he himself was not to be called at any meeting if Acharya Rajneesh was to appear among the other speakers. (88)

Finally, when invited to the raised podium to speak, Acharya Rajneesh started his fierce firing against the shankaracharya and the orthodox Hindu organizers of the conference with these words:

“That is not a true religion which teaches man to hate man, telling that life is unsubstantial and sorrowful, which teaches discrimination between man and man and untouchability, even if it considers that there is a soul within a man, which considers women and shudras [untouchables] liable to reprimand taking them rustic and animal like and which supports the self-immolation system making the life of widow a hell…
On the one hand this anti-life and anti-world philosophy sheltered escapism and on the other the priests kept on convincing people ‘Whatever is happening is the result of our deeds in the previous births. Whatever is to happen, must happen. Accept your plight quietly, if you want to correct your next birth.’ Their vested interest was that the poor subjects should not revolt against their kings. The kings, in return, gave them beautiful women, wealth and respect…
Please don’t get startled. You all must have heard the story when Aadi Shankaracharya was returning after having a dip in the Ganges in Benaras in the winters. He was coming up the steps in the morning twilight when suddenly he dashed against a Shudra. He became angry and said, “You stupid! Can’t you see? Why didn’t you get aside when you saw I was coming after taking the holy bath?” That Shudra had heard his commentary of the philosophy, so he said “Lord, this world is an illusion, I too am an illusion and hence your dashing against me is also an illusion. Why do you get angry then? Your getting angry for an illusion is also an illusion…
What sort of religion or dignity was it? Melted glass was put into the ears of a Shudra for the offence of reading the Vedas. Was this the Ram-Raya which Shankararcharya Ji Maharaj wants to bring?” (Bhed 2006, p. 271)

After Rajneesh had spoken for 10 minutes only, a man from the podium already wanted to oppose Rajneesh, and after 25 minutes the whispering on the podium had become quite loud. These words aimed at the Ram-Raya of shankaracharya were the last to be heard in Rajneesh’s 45-minutes speech, and immediately Shankaracharya got up, started to beat his chest and said:

“I am the knower of all the religious scriptures, what will Rajneesh speak? One, who opposes the Vedas and other religious scriptures, is not a Hindu. I will read the first ‘shloka’ (verse) of the ‘Manusmriti’ (the oldest scripture of Hindu religion) and He will have to reply to it, and he will not be allowed to go from Patna until He replies”.

Osho woke up, took the mike, and said, ‘Whatever you want to say, I will answer. But whatever time is allowed to you, that much time must be allowed to me also’. Then Osho took His seat. All the gathering that had stood up, sat down again. On the podium, also everyone sat down.” (Bharti 2007, p. 147)

According to Gyan Bhed, who himself was not present at the conference, unlike Ageh Bharti who did participate, the followers of Shankararcharya continued their uproar and snatched the microphone, when Rajneesh had seized the microphone to ask on the whereabouts of his opponent. The organizers of the conference showed no intention of calming down the scene and to continue yesterday’s debate. With two sections of hooligans constantly shouting – ‘Rama’ in favour of Shankaracharya, as well as ‘Zindabad’ in favour of Acharya Rajneesh – the organizers finally had no other option than to close down the whole conference scene. Again Rajneesh was to head for the protection of his car, now driven by Lali Bhai, but before he left the stage he once more time encouraged his listeners to come to the Sinha Library Ground where he would give a talk on the following day. So the schedule of The Second World Hindu Religion Conference was slowly falling apart day by day and not until the 1st of April, the first day after the conference had officially ended, Acharya Rajneesh could finally speak to the large assembled crowd at Gandhi Maidan.

When speaking against Jainism as well as Hinduism Rajneesh was explicit in his strategy of using other religious faiths as a mean and jumping board to reach out to people, as we can see from following quotation from Osho:

“When I started speaking in religious conferences, he [Osho’s father] asked me, “What is happening? Have you changed?” I said, “Not a bit. I have just changed my strategy; otherwise it is difficult to speak in the World Hindu Conference. They won’t allow an atheist on their stage; an amoralist, a godless person they won’t allow. But they invited me – and in the name of religion I have said everything against religion.”
The shankaracharya, the head of the Hindu religion, was presiding over the conference. The king of Nepal – Nepal is the only Hindu kingdom in the world – inaugurated the conference. The shankaracharya was in great difficulty because what I was saying was absolutely sabotaging the whole conference, but the way I was presenting it, people were getting impressed. He became so angry that he stood up and tried to snatch away the microphone – this old man. While he was trying to snatch it away, I said, “Just one minute, and I will be finished.” So just for one minute he stopped – and in one minute I managed!
I asked the people – there must have been at least one hundred thousand people – I asked them, “What do you want? He is the president, he can stop me if he wants, and certainly I will stop. But you are the people who have come here to listen. If you want to listen to me, then you all raise your hands – and to make it clear raise both your hands.” Two hundred thousand hands … I looked at the old fellow and said, “Now you sit down. You are no longer president: two hundred thousand hands have cancelled you completely. Whom do you represent? You were president – these people had made you president, now these people have cancelled you. Now I will speak as long as I want to speak.” From Personality to Individuality #14; (Sarito 2000, p. 106)

Ageh Bharti tells us that Dr. Prasad and other followers were worried about Rajneesh’s health and his new evening appointment with the medical doctor at 9 p.m.. Rajneesh had agreed to this and from the mike he told the audience that he would leave his tape-recorder for Shankaracharya’s speech to be recorded, in order that Rajneesh could answer him on the following day. Thus challenging the religious authority again and again, it didn’t take long before a crowd of supporters of Shankaracharya began to shout in excitement and they started moving towards the stage. At this point Rajneesh was taken to his car, after Dr. Prasad and others had formed a circle around Rajneesh to defend him. Most of the participants in the conference were now leaving, and from his car, before it slowly pulled out with Dr. Prasad at the steering wheel, Rajneesh promised them to be back at the same time the following day. A queue of people had gathered towards the main gate of the maidan, and some were shouting slogans for Rajneesh raising their hands: ‘Acharya Rajneesh Zindabaad!’ (Long live Rajneesh).

These events at the conference in Patna, excluding the threat from the crowd on Osho, were to be reported widely in national newspapers and magazines as descibed by Gyan Bhed: “In the conference, Osho was fiery and took previous speakers to task on every single point in favour of obsolete tradition, religion, and religious heads. All English and vernacular newspapers reported prominently about Osho on their front pages. Later, I saw many India level news magazines too like ‘Link’, ‘Patriot’ and ‘Muktadhara’ etc that were published from New Delhi which reported at length with great praise for Osho in endearing terms.
One magazine reported, ‘A young rebel, Acharya Rajneesh, from Jabalpur, became great inconvenience and trouble to the traditional minded Shankaracharya’.
Another magazine reported, ‘His thoughts were like quinine pills to poor Shankaracharya (The Pope of Hindus).’
However, it was a great surprise to me that none reported about the predicament when Osho got down from the aisle and reached the car through the frenzied mob. The reporters failed to report about the sheer negligence of the police. I am sure, had it been some political leader in place of Osho, dozens of police officials could have been suspended.
Not only did newspapers and magazines abstain from publishing the uncouthly behaviour of the mob but also Osho lovers from Patna chose to remain silent about an incident where His life was under threat. Osho was in great danger there till he sat in his car. Even Kranti and S.N. Chouksey did not tell anyone about the incident. This prompted me to write about the second World Hindu Religion conference. (S.W.H.R.C.).” (Bharti 2007, p. 137)

On the following day Rajneesh was not scheduled to speak again, nor was the Shankaracharya, but Dr. Prasad had arranged for Rajneesh to speak on Sinha Library Ground in the morning as well as in the evening from 6.30 to 7.30 p.m. All day Rajneesh had Dr. Prasad calling the organizers of the conference to find out if Shankaracharya would be ready for a discussion as settled on the previous day but all in vein. At the end of the evening talk Chouksey and Shiv Pratap remained behind and managed the tape-recorder and the enlisting of new subscribers to the magazines. Rajneesh instead went to Gandhi Maidan and when his followers later arrived at the venue they found Rajneesh seated on the stage as on the previous day, while Shastriji of Varanasi was delivering his understanding of the holy scriptures based on his extensive reading. Chouksey started recording the proceedings at the conference, but as Rajneesh was not included in the programme he was not invited to speak.

“That day in the evening a large crowd gathered in the Sinha Library ground to listen to Acharyashree. The audience was about one and a half time of that gathered in the Gandhi Maidan. This meeting continued the next day also both in the morning and the evening. Acharyashree won the hearts of the people of Patna with his revolutionary speech. People also took much interest in the meditation practices taught by Acharyashree. The new and old editions of both ‘Jyoti Shikha’ and ‘Yukrant’ were sold like hot cakes on the stands. People also bought the books written by Acharyashree with great interest.” (Bhed 2006, p.278). (89)

In the words of Ageh Bharti: “Then, next day [March 31st] i.e. the last day of the conference got winded up. First day, after Osho’s talk it ended at about 9 pm. Second day, when Osho left, it ended. Third day, it did not even start. Really, from several points of view, it became a great historic event! Third day, attempts were made by us that Osho  should address the public but Gandhi Maidan was booked by S.W.H.R.C. for three days. The organizers could permit us to hold our meeting. They refused when contacted. Osho spoke during the morning and evening sessions on the ground of Sinha Library. In the afternoon, He addressed the students of Khalsa College, Patna. Well, on the fourth day, Gandhi Maidan could be booked where Osho addressed the public. It was the biggest gathering that Osho addressed during that Patna journey.” (Bharti 2007, p. 153)

“In Patna Osho was with other religious teachers in 1969 attending a conference where he annoyed the other participants. So he had to leave the conference and he continued lecturing to his followers for three days in a library in Patna instead, Sinha Library.” (90)

Next to his participation in the Second World Hindu Religion Conference held in Patna in 1969 it seems that Rajneesh also attended a Hindu conference in Ahmedabad, Gujarat:

“Once I happened to stay in Allahabad. I was attending a Hindu world conference. Somebody by mistake had invited me thinking I was a Hindu. They found out, but it was too late. By that time I had disturbed everything that they were planning: how to convert the whole world into Hinduism.” From Personality to Individuality #2

It happened that after this conference a law suit was filed against Rajneesh in Gujarat High Court claiming that his unorthodox thinking had hurt the religious feelings of Hindus, and the news on the case had appeared in a Jabalpur daily paper, which had printed the report of Rajneesh’s blasphemy on its front page. During a public gathering in the Shaheed Smarak Bhavan auditorium in Jabalpur Rajneesh addressed the gathering and answered an ardent follower who inquired how he felt on the court’s case against him. Rajneesh answered: “I want to remind you about my return from Ahmedabad. Around 20.000 people in the gathering listened to my address. None of the audience was on his feet in anticipation of answer to his question. Whosoever wanted to answer, he could have done amicably. He should call for meetings, write articles in the newspapers, and speak against me. I am ready to discuss directly. Recently, the Shankaracharya of Puri had challenged that he wanted to discuss with me. I had accepted the challenge, but the next day he did not turn up at the conference. Now such situations are difficult to handle. I went there for two days hoping that if he came, direct discussion could be possible but the organisers had told that he would not come and that they would not let me speak there.” (Bharti 2007, p. 116)

“I would have loved not to be associated in any way with the word religion. The whole history of religion simply stinks. It is ugly, and it shows the degradation of man, his inhumanity, and all that is evil. And this is not about any one single religion, it is the same story repeated by all the religions of the world: man exploiting man in the name of God. I still feel uneasy being associated with the word religion. But there are a few problems: in life sometimes one has to choose things that one hates.
In my youth I was known in the university as an atheist, irreligious, against all moral systems. That was my stand, and that is still my stand. I have not changed even an inch; my position is exactly the same. But being known as an atheist, irreligious, amoral, became a problem. It was difficult to communicate with people, almost impossible to bridge any kind of relationship with people. In my communing with people, those words – atheist, irreligious, amoral – functioned like impenetrable walls. I would have remained so – for me there was no problem – but I saw that it was impossible to spread my experience, to share…
And I was continually arguing on street corners, in the university, in the pan wallah’s shop – anywhere that I could get hold of somebody. I would hammer religion and try to clean people completely of all this nonsense. But the total result was that I became like an island; nobody even wanted to talk with me, because even to say hello to me was dangerous: where would it lead? Finally I had to change my strategy…” From Personality to Individuality #14; (Sarito 2000, p. 106)

And the strategy of reaching out by talking of religious figures already well-known to his listeners proved beneficial.

“It took a few years for me to change my image in people’s eyes. But people listen only to words, they don’t understand meanings. People understand only what you say, they don’t understand what is conveyed unsaid. So I used their own weapons against them! I commented on religious books and gave a meaning that was totally mine…
So this was the only way. When I started speaking on Jesus, Christian colleges and Christian theological institutes started inviting me to speak… That was the situation: I was prohibited from entering my own city’s central temple, and they had the support of the police so that I should not be allowed in. So whenever there was a Hindu monk speaking inside, a policeman was on guard outside to prevent me coming in… But now the same temple started inviting me. Again the police was there – to prevent overcrowding! One officer who was still there said to me, “You are something! We were standing here to keep you out, now we are standing here because too much crowding is dangerous – the temple is old.” It had balconies and at least five thousand people could sit inside. But when I used to speak there, nearabout fifteen thousand people would turn up. So people would go onto the balconies, which were normally never used. One day it became so serious that it was possible the balconies might fall down – so many people on the balconies, and it was such an old temple. Then naturally they had to arrange it so the next day only a certain number of people were to be allowed in.” From Personality to Individuality #14; (Sarito 2000, p. 106)

The vocabulary may be the same and familiar to his listeners, but his own message may still be well hidden between the lines.

“And I found the way; it was very simple. I simply thought, “Use their words, use their language, use their scriptures. And if you are using somebody else’s gun, that does not mean you cannot put your own cartridges in it. Let the gun be anybody’s, the cartridges are mine! Because the real work is going to happen through the cartridges, not the gun. So what’s the harm?”
And it was easy, very easy, because I could use Hindu words and play the same game; I could use Mohammedan words and play the same game; I could use Christian words and play the same game. Not only were these people coming to me, but Jaina monks, nuns, Hindu monks, Buddhist monks, Christian missionaries, priests – all kinds of people started coming to me… They started coming to me and asking me questions. I just had to be alert in the beginning to use their vocabulary, and just between the lines, between the words, to go on putting the real stuff in which I was interested.” From Personality to Individuality #14; (Sarito 2000, p. 106)

Among his earliest followers the majority were Jains soon to be followed by Gandhians, both groups having their specific ideology which could not evade being challenged:

“Because I was born into a certain Jaina religious group, they were the first people to surround me. When people started looking at me, asking me questions, feelings that sometimes had happened in me, the first ones were bound to be Jainas because they were my relatives, they were my neighbours. It was obvious they would be the first. Naturally their questions were concerned with Jainism, with Mahavira…
The second group that followed, which was certainly the closest group to the Jainas…Mahatma Gandhi had adopted a Jain doctrine of nonviolence, so all the Jainas became Gandhians, and all the Gandhians came close to the Jainas. At least on one point they were in agreement. So when Jainas were becoming alert that I am a dangerous man, Gandhians followed. Their great leaders – Vinoba Bhave wanted to meet me; Shankarrao Deo attended a meditation camp; Dada Dharmadhikari attended many meditation camps; Acharya Bhagwat attended many meditation camps. And because these were the thinkers of Gandhism, all over India Gandhians started becoming interested in me. Again I was surrounded by a certain group with a fixed ideology. The day I criticized Mahatma Gandhi…I was simply stating the facts, not even criticizing him. Somebody had asked, “What do you think about Mahatma Gandhi and his philosophy of nonviolence?”..I said that Mahatma Gandhi was simply a cunning politician.” Hari-Om-Tat-Sat #18. (91)

According to Osho’s own words his unorthodox approach and criticism of the Jain faith in the end had the result that he was expelled from the Jain community:

“There was a time I was surrounded by Jainas. Unfortunately I was born in a Jaina family, so naturally my first audience was of Jainas. They were immensely happy because I was saying things they had never thought about. I was interpreting their scriptures in a totally new way…Because of my interpretations they had a tremendous hope in me, that perhaps I may spread their religion to the whole world, take the message to the whole world. But they were unaware – they were my first audience – they were not aware what kind of man I am; I cannot support anything which my heart is not ready to support. So a few things I have supported in Jainism – people were very happy. But the moment I started telling about things which I cannot support, they were shocked. I have walked on their fingers. Just a small thing – which is so rational – and the Jaina community…their supreme command decided to expel me.” The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here #16

Next to the Jains and the Gandhians Acharya Rajneesh also reached out to the Sikhs and commented on their ten masters:

“I had talked about one small book, Japuji, and the Sikhs were immensely happy because no non-Sikh had ever bothered. And the meaning I gave to their small booklet they had never thought of. But when I said, after two years, in a meeting in their Golden Temple that, “I consider only Nanak to be enlightened; the remaining nine masters are just ordinary teachers,” they were ready to kill me. I said, “You can kill me, but you will be killing your eleventh master!” The Path of the Mystic #27

Before moving to Bombay in 1970 Acharya Rajneesh spoke on December 19th 1969 for the last time in Jabalpur on the Jayanti celebration of the great Jain saint Taran Taran. Finishing a meditation camp in the afternoon of December 12th, 1969, Rajneesh had left Junagarh by plane for Bombay where he stayed for some time invited by some of his friends:

“Before going to Junagarh and while returning, Osho stayed in Bombay on some friends’ request. Great music director Kalyanji, Anandji, their parents, the renowned playback singers in Indian films Mahendra Kapoor, Ms. Kamal Barot, Ms Kalyani Mittra, the renowned poet Indivar and about dozen of orchestral crew had a fervent request to Osho that they would like to give an orchestra programme at Gadarwara and Jabalpur in Osho’s honour. Osho agreed that when He returns from Junagarh, they may join Him by the same train from Bombay to Gadarwara, stay there the whole day, give their program at night and start next day for Jabalpur.” (Bharti 2007, p. 163)

They all left Bombay by the Bombay-Howrah Mail and finally the train reached Gadarwara where a warm welcome at the station was given before they headed for the house of Rajneesh’s family, about five kilometres from the railway station with flowers being spread in front of them right until they reached his house. In the evening the orchestra programme was arranged on the huge maidan in Gadarwara civil area, with all artists sitting on the stage in a straight line with their instruments and Rajneesh on a chair on the right side. It was said that never before and never since had such a big programme taken place in the small town of Gadarwara.

The following day they went by train to Jabalpur where on December 19, 1969, the birthday anniversary of Taran Taran was to be celebrated. Rajneesh had been invited as the chief guest long time ago and the programme was arranged in the biggest stadium of Jabalpur. They decided that Kalyanji’s orchestra would play a concert in the honour of Rajneesh which caused some natural initial confusion among the followers of Taran Taran about who was actually the main figure at the anniversary celebration, Rajneesh or Taran Taran?

On the day for the celebration people started coming very early for the event and the flow of people went on increasing. Soon the public was overflowing the whole place and tried to get inside the stadium which was already full. The presence of the well-known film artists had attracted thousands of also so-called intellectuals who, according to Ageh Bharti, never came to listen to Rajneesh (Bharti 2007, p. 168). Soon the crowd went uncontrolled with everyone wanting to come up front, and as a result the singers and musicians were unable to sing or recite anything and finally they had to leave the stage. Now even the stage began to shake and soon threatened to fall down. Still sitting on the dais Acharya Rajneesh was now taken from the stage and through a veranda he entered the big hall behind where already the musicians and women had gathered. The power supply now failed and the organizers asked Rajneesh and the film artists to return through the rear door of the hall that opened towards the road. They left by their cars, but not without having their cars stoned by the angry crowd and Rajneesh’s driver was slightly wounded. But all in all they got away safely from the mess and among people it was evident that the powerful mixture of Taran Taran, Acharya Rajneesh and the renowned film artists was too heavy a cocktail for the crowd to go unfettered.

Controversy was almost like a brand for Rajneesh when he attended these religious conferences with their well-defined orthodox crowds of devoted listeners, but also his intensive lecturing with its search for truth to an audience of more diversified and secular groups of people on his numerous travels, was constantly causing enmity and harassment from the authorities as well as from individual listeners.

2.7 Teaching and Traveling

Throughout his years of traveling, Rajneesh spoke to vast audiences consisting of up to fifty thousand people and also to small groups huddled in smoke filled rooms. He begins to address these gatherings in the open-air maidans of India’s major cities, and four times a year during the sixties he conducts intense ten-days meditation camps in secluded locations. During this phase of his work he was known as Acharya Rajneesh, and according to Urmila we see his affinity for speaking to an audience founded way back in his childhood years, and from Osho’s words we sense the pure joy this communication has meant to him:

“Osho was talking on meditation and contemplation from his very early youth, 13-14 years onwards, to small groups of friends and listeners. After 10th grade, 18-19 years, Osho went to college in Jabalpur where he continued to address his audiences.” (92)

“For thirty-five years I have been continually speaking for no purpose. With this much speaking I could have become a president, a prime minister; there was no problem in it. With so much speaking I could have done anything. What have I gained?
But I was not out for gain in the first place – I enjoyed. This was my painting, this was my song, this was my poetry. Just those moments when I am speaking and I feel the communion happening, those moments when I see your eyes flare up, when I see that you have understood the point…they give me such tremendous joy that I cannot think anything can be added to it.” From Ignorance to Innocence #23; (Sarito 2000, p. 117)

The intensive journeys Acharya Rajneesh had to undertake to reach his growing number of listeners all over the subcontinent was to a high degree facilitated by the central location of Jabalpur in the heartland of Central India, and the railway lines running through Jabalpur were very favourable to his needs. We’ll have to remember that in the 1940s long-distance trains were still making a halt in order that 1st and 2nd class passengers could eat at station restaurants, and a block of ice in a container was in those days used to cool the heat down in the 1st class compartments on the train. During the 1950s when Osho went ahead with his traveling, meals started being served on order in the compartments and train travel was generally greatly improved. In his early days he used to travel on 2nd class, but as his funds during the 1960s made it possible, he now changed to 1st class AC. Often his journeys had Bombay as destination leaving Jabalpur at 5.15 p.m. for the 18 hours journey.

The connection by East Indian Railway UP from Calcutta via Allahabad to Jabalpur had been effective since 1867, an important year in the commercial history of the province, as from now on trade concentrated on the railways with all important roads leading from the producing tracts towards the new railway stations. Jabalpur became a terminus and junction for the Great Indian Peninsula DOWN from Bombay (616 miles/986 km. Fare in 1884: 33 Rupee, 8 Anna). It was the earliest railway line undertaken in India, but not connected with Jabalpur until 1870, when in the presence of the Duke of Edinburgh and the Viceroy, the Earl of Mayo, for the inauguration celebration, from now on Jabalpur with its sprit new railway station became the place to change for the onward journey to Calcutta (793 miles via Allahabad). The bridge over the Narmada River near Jabalpur – from which the young Rajneesh was to jump so eagerly – was one of the largest works in the construction of the line, and placed at the junction of the two important railway systems of India Jabalpur was described as “it is by position, the Alexandria of the East and West of India”. (93)

Osho’s first public speech was held already in 1953 at the eve of saint Taran Taran’s Anniversary as we have heard, and in these early days when he was studying for his B.A. in Jabalpur he had already started his satsangs where eight to ten friends gathered around him. Later when he returned from Sagar to a position as lecturer in Jabalpur, the number of friends had gone up to twenty, including the principal Adhauliya, Jagmohan and Roshanlal Bhikham Chand Jain. This small group met on Tuesdays in the foul environment of Bhaldarpura with its dirty and smelly drains and plenty of mosquitoes in the air. Not being affected by the surrounding scene Rajneesh was sitting in his chair in front of his small house, dressed in his pure white lungi-kurta and addressing the few listeners around him, among them also Sri Devaki Nandan, who became so influenced by Rajneesh’s speeches that he invited him to live as his guest in his large bungalow in Napier Town, one of the elite areas of Jabalpur. Similar to Wright Town Napier Town was a well-planned newer part of Jabalpur established in 1941 and Rajneesh was to stay in his bungalow from 1961 to 1968. In his house, Yogesh Bhawan, there was a large marbled hall where easily eighty to ninety people could sit together on the floor attending sermons and meditations, among them also the very first Western listeners: “Osho was in Jabalpur staying in Yogesh Bhawan, sharing a friend’s bungalow with a nice garden. Adjacent to the drawing room you had a big hall full of racks, all around the walls. In the middle a wooden divan, dagat, on which he used to sit and read and meet people. Also meditations were carried out here. Bedroom was upstairs.” (94)

“When Osho lived at Jabalpur, even then, sometimes one or two friends were seen from the western countries but in Mumbai their number went up.” (Bharti 2007, p. 276)

The year before this facility was made available for his speaking Rajneesh had from 1960 on every Tuesday (Osho Ek Phakkar Messiah is mentioning Sunday for his later weekly meditation classes in Yogesh Bhavan) started lecturing in Arya Samaj Mandir situated near the pond Sri Nath Talaiya in Jabalpur. He had at that time already made his name known among the citizens of Jabalpur as he was writing a regular newspaper column titled Atmachintan – self contemplation. The readers of his columns in Nav-Bharat had gathered at small Tuesday-symposiums in the Arya Samaj Mandir and at this time the programmes for his lectures were to be found in the local newspapers at a regular basis informing also new listeners of the symposium schedule. One morning in 1960 Shree Ghase Ram Samaiya, head of the Jain Society in Jabalpur and owner of a leading cloth shop in Jabalpur Peepal Wala, had knocked on Rajneesh’s door and told him that he used to read his colums in the newspaper Nav-Bharat. His son happened to be a student in Rajneesh’s philosophy class and he had brought home the news that some of the professors in college used to turn up for Rajneesh’s lectures sitting on the back benches and listening with keen interest. Samiya requested Rajneesh to address the Jain Society in Jabalpur at the eve of Varni Jayanti function to be arranged at the fountain of Jawahargunj at 9 a.m. Rajneesh agreed and after listening to the well-known speeches of the honoured Jain munies he gave his understanding of a truthful living and accordingly he was invited by Rotary (See photo) and Lion’s clubs in Jabalpur as well as by office bearers of Jain societies from the neighbouring towns.

Ajeet Kumar Jain, first editor of Yukrant, has in an interview told his memories from these early meditation classes. “In 1961 I was a student and my age was only 19 years. I had heard his first sermon in Jain’s Paryushen at Hanuman Tal. Still I remember that in his lecture Acharya Rajneesh said: “The people who go to temples, how much do they know about themselves? One who knows himself only he will know the real truth. Truth has to be sought inside only. If temples are not used as meditation centres, then one day also in India there shall be the same situation as in Soviet Russia.”

His lecture was against the old traditions, scriptures and superstitions. He was hitting on the old pattern of society. He was awakening the masses. It impressed me too much and after some time I wrote him a letter and he immediately replied to it. He wrote a letter on 6th of May 1963 whose translation is as under:

“Oh Supreme being!
I have received your loving letter. You are passing through the pains of birth. You want peace, that is good. By reading Vivekanand, Gandhi Ji and Jain philosophy, you have yourself created anxiety and unrest in your mind. This knowledge is borrowed and of no use. When you are living at Jabalpur, why have you not met with me?”
I met Acharya Shree on 13th of August 1963 at his Napier Town residence. Without asking me anything he said, “Are you Ajeet Kumar, who wrote me the letter? I have been waiting for you.” Then he asked to my whereabouts and told me, “We arrange meditation class each Tuesday. Do come!” When I went there on Tuesday there were 25 to 30 persons. Acharya Shree talked for half an hour. Then he had answered the questions, which were asked him by the people. After that there had been the meditation and by doing it I felt much relaxation and peace.
When all people had left the hall, I folded the matting, bowed down to him and returned to my hostel. Next day when I met him again he asked “What is your problem?” I said, “You talk about soul, god and truth. But when I go inside I see only young and beautiful girls. In my dreams also there are only girls and sex. And this is not my problem only, it is the problem of all my friends also.” Then he talked about suppression and catharsis and gave the sutras of From Sex to Superconsciousness.
On next Tuesday when I went with my 15 to 20 youths to him, after the discourse and meditation he had separately and in details taught us on the subject of sex. All of my friends determined that we have to make special efforts to spread his non violent movement which is very beneficial to all. I used to report the minutes of Tuesday proceedings in local newspapers, and I had also maintained a register where every person who had attained the meeting was requested to write his name and full address and to intimate the message of meditation classes to others also, who are interested in meditation class. With these efforts on the next Tuesday the number of meditators had increased and doubled in numbers.
With our continuous efforts of two or three months the gathering had increased up to 500 people. Then like in Bombay, Jeevan Jagriti Kendra had come into existence. Friends of Jeevan Jagriti Kendra in Bombay had presented us with a loud speaker. Then with the permission of Acharya Shree, his discourses were arranged in Shaheed Smarak Hall. The rent of the hall is Rs. 30/- which was collected by taking donations. Press reporters were also invited in that meeting. Then every month a series of his lectures on different topics at Shaheed Smarak had started. The gathering had also increased from 500 to 2000 and later on his fragrance had spread and various social and educational institutions such as Lions, Rotary, Sindhi Samaj, colleges and other universities had also starting inviting him to lecture. Some of the topics of his lectures were: The Contribution of Women in the Civilazation, Love and Marriage, Religion and Science, Youth and Sex Education and Karl Marx and Gandhi etc.” (95)

So slowly more people had started coming for his evening lectures at his house in Napier Town where the attendance gradually increased to more than twenty and later on to fifty or sixty people. Many of the listeners were his former friends from the earlier Arya Samaj symposiums who now started attending his Sunday lectures at 8 p.m. in Yogesh Bhavan, Napier Town, on a regular basis. But soon the number of participants increased beyond the capacity of the hall, and the symposiums had to be shifted to the auditorium of Shaheed Smarak Bhavan (The Martyrs’ Memorial Hall) at Gol Bazar where up to 1000 listeners could attend his lectures. And in the beginning of the 1960s Rajneesh was called to address audiences by Lions Rotary clubs, Sindhi Samaj and other social and educational institutions in Jabalpur. (96)

In 1960 an invitation took him to Bombay where he was to lecture continuously the next years before he finally settled in the metropolis in 1970. Acharya Rajneesh had in Jabalpur made a speech at a Jain fair held in Pisanhari Madhaiya, when afterwards Chiranji Lal Badjatya who was the General Manager of Jamuna Lal Bajaj happened to be very influenced by what he had just heard in Rajneesh’s speech, and he went to see Rajneesh when he was just about to leave the fair by car for his residence. They both sat down on a blanket and Chiranji Lal praised Rajneesh for his truthful way of addressing fundamental questions for common people, and he persistently asked him to come to Bombay and speak on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti. Mentioning that he knew nobody in Bombay, Chiranjilal assured Rajneesh that he didn’t have to worry and that everything would be taken care of, including all arrangements, contacts and railway tickets. Before they parted Rajneesh had agreed to come to Bombay to speak and Chiranji Lal promised to meet him at the railway station on his arrival in Bombay. (97)

“The first time I spoke in Bombay was on Mahavira’s birthday. At least twenty thousand Jainas were present…I had come for the first time to this city. The man who invited me was a very rare man, rare in the sense that there was not a single important person in India who was not respectful towards that old man. And the reason was that that old man…his name was Chiranjilal Badjate and he was the manager for Jamnalal Bajaj. Jamnalal Bajaj had invited Mahatma Gandhi from Sabarmati, Gujarat to his own place in Wardha, and had made a beautiful ashram for him there…He was the man who invited me to Bombay. I had spoken at a Jaina conference, and as I came down from the stage – it was a cold night, he was covering himself with a blanket – he threw the blanket on the ground, took hold of me and asked me to sit down, just to sit down for five minutes with him…He said, “I am inviting you to Bombay for a conference, and you cannot say no.” Tears were in his eyes; he said, “In my whole life I have heard all the great orators of this country, but I have never felt such deep harmony as I have felt with you, although what you were saying was against my conditioning. I am Mahatma Gandhi’s follower. I am the manager for Jamnalal, and I have lived my whole life according to Mahatma Gandhi’s principles – and you were speaking against them. But still somehow I felt you are right and I have been wrong.” The Rajneesh Upanishad #13

At the fixed date Rajneesh arrived at the venue in Bombay and found that 25-30.000 listeners had gathered for the event. The first speaker was the famous Jain saint Chitra Bhanu Ji who stood up and made a speech full of tales of the many miracles happening in Mahavir’s childhood. As some of the devotees present started clapping when the speech was finished, Rajneesh stood up and strongly questioned the miracles laid out by Chitra Bhanu. In the words of Gyan Bhed: “Mahavir had explored truth and therefore truth is considered religion in Jainism. The saint who preaches untruth can never be religious. I have come to you to speak the truth. Though truth is unpleasant to the ears and it causes enmity, but an explorer of truth never cares for it. Your Chitrabhanu Ji Maharaj is a liar and cheat. He wants to cheat you and tempt your egotism. This is not the path of truth. He says that Mahavir did not sweat and his sweet smell spread all around up to miles. These are poetic languages. The fragrance of his personality was felt all over the country and it is still so, but it does not mean that he did not sweat. Sweating is a natural system to expel poison from within the body. If it stops, the flow of life will stop.” (Bhed 2006, p. 182)

Rajneesh continued his speech and gave a few of his unorthodox clues to the nature of fear and consciousness: “I want to give you tips of fearlessness. Don’t fear life. Accept it as a challenge. Don’t run away from life. Just wake up. Mahavir had been talking of this fearlessness only. But people like Chitrabhanu don’t want you to wake up because then they can’t drive you like sheep. They want you always to fear from sin, hell and life whereas I want to tell you that unconsciousness is the biggest sin and the worst hell. This life is a boon of nature and not a curse. Enlightenment is the nature of life and it is meaningful only if it continues. Once you understand the meaning of life, you won’t need to fear death and then death will become the doorway to the next life for you. The deeper you understand it, the sooner you will be free from the fear of death. The only aim of life is to attain the optimum of consciousness…Perhaps Muni Maharaj shall argue that it was written in his scriptures. But I tell you such scriptures were written by munies like Chitra Bhanu Ji. He wants to spread superstition and to extract the belief of the jain society. The real scripture is Mahavir Vani who remained in silence. The enlightened Sidhas had experienced and understood that silence through telegraphic communication and in this way the real scripture came into existence…Mahavir had been seeking the truth. He was a true seeker. For this very reason in jain religion, the true religion is truth only. And a muni who speaks false cannot be a religious man. I have come to tell nothing but the truth. Truth is very bitter and it creates enmity. But the true seekers never cares about the result.”  (Bhed 2006, p. 182). (98)

As some influential industrialists and plutocrats of Bombay had missed their opportunity of listening to Rajneesh at this first speech on Mahavir Jayanti, some of them because they naturally had to attend to their daily business, Badjatya soon arranged for one more meeting on the third day of Rajneesh’s stay in Bombay, now in an air conditioned hall of the Juhu Hotel at Juhu Beach in the northern outskirts of Bombay, a place that Rajneesh was to return to again and again in the following years. It was to Juhu that Gandhi had been taken after his – last – release from jail in May 1944 due to his grave physical condition, and following the death of his beloved Kasturba who had died in prison earlier that year.

For this occasion in 1960 with Acharya Rajneesh speaking, dignitaries from Bombay and Gujarat were invited, along with some important figures of the Jain sect who had come to attend the Mahavir Jayanti celebration from places like Poona, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Junagarh and other provinces. This time Sri Badjatya had invited Sri Jamuna Lal Bajaj from Wardha, the presence of whom is said to have caused quite an increase in the number of people attending the meeting and accordingly the hall was packed when Rajneesh started his one and a half hour long speech on ‘Exploring Truth’ with the words:

“Dear Pious Souls! (Pujya Atman). The question ‘What is truth’ is very like as a fish asking ‘where is the ocean’. A fish is born in the ocean and spends all its life wandering here and there in the ocean itself. Probably this is why it is away from the knowledge of ocean. It is more difficult to know a thing which is very close to you than to know a thing which is away from you. This is the greatest problem with us. There must be some distance, some gap to explore, but there is no gap between truth and us. We can’t explore what we are.” (Bhed 2006, p. 183)

Chiranjilal Badjatya was himself present at the meeting sitting in an armchair by the side of the stage although he was not quite well, and he had missed also the first entire speech by Rajneesh due to his bad health. The audience in the hall was clapping their hands vibrantly when Rajneesh had finished his speech, and Archarya Rajneesh ki Jai was shouted from the listeners. In what was soon to become a common pattern, the next morning 30-40 people from the Jain societies in various cities in Maharashtra and Gujarat had come to see Rajneesh and invite him to some adoration speech series to be held at their places.

Seth Govind Das, the senior Hindi author, had one time in 1964 or 1965 invited Rajneesh to his residence Gokul Das Palace as he turned out to be rather impressed by their previous meetings and the meditation practices he had learned from Rajneesh. The reason behind their meeting this time was the grief and hopelessness felt by a mentally disturbed Govind Das upon the suicide of his beloved son Jagmohan Das, the deputy minister in the Dwarka Prasad Cabinet in Madhya Pradesh. His death was a deep shock to Govind Das, himself being a M.P. elected in Jabalpur. He consulted Shankaracharya and several Jain saints and they all advised him to perform rituals and recite the Geeta every day.

It was not until one of his friends Mr. Baredia introduced him to Rajneesh, whom he had already seen at the residence of the Indian Prime Minister Sri Lal Bahadur Shastri, that some breakthrough happened to the grief Govind Das was carrying deep inside himself. At their meeting he was crying deeply beating his chest, when Rajneesh after a while made him calm down and told him a story related to his present condition:

“Gautam Buddha was once walking in a village garden along with some ‘Bhikshus’. Suddenly a woman along with some villagers came to him with the dead body of her only son and said, “You are a God. Please bring my son back to life. My husband has died a year ago. How will I be able to bear the agony of my son’s death now? Buddha said – “I will bring your son back to life, but there is a condition. Bring me a few grain of mustard from a house where no death has ever occurred.” That mad grief stroked woman went from door to door asking for it. Everywhere she got the same reply. “What to talk of few grains, you can take a bucket of mustered, but the problem is that there have been death of either uncle, aunt, grandfather or brother in the family. Thus she moved the whole village and as soon as she realised the essentiality of death, she fell in Buddha’s feet and converted into a ‘Bhikshunee‘. She forgot the agony of her son’s death.” (Bhed 2006, p. 206)

From Rajneesh Govind Das received the advice to meditate and to be an unattached witness to whatever was happening around him, and at his home in Gokul Das Palace programmes were from now on organised for Rajneesh’s meditations and lecturing. A ten days series was named Jeevan Mratya (Life & Death) later to be published in a booklet, and the gist of the series was written by Seth Govind Das in an article Ek Tarun Jain Chintak Se Mulakat (An unique Meeting with a young Jain Thinker) and published in the leading Hindi weekly magazine Dharm Yug. From now on he used to stay in for Rajneesh’s weekly lectures and meditations. With him he brought his stenographer who used to take down the entire question-and-answer session in shorthand later to be published in an article also in Dharm Yug but now in Seth Govind Das’ own name. When the devotees of Rajneesh informed him on this matter, Rajneesh said, “He is spreading my ideas and teachings and doing my work. It is meaningless to think whether it is published in his name or in any other name.” The spreading of his message is all that matters, be it in his way or in any other way. (99)

Further Seth Govind Das introduced Rajneesh to other M.P.’s in the state including Mangaldas Pakwasaji, the governor of Madhya Pradesh, who also picked up some meditation practices himself and even introduced a scheme to teach meditation to the inmate prisoners. Rajneesh was later allowed by Mangaldas Pakvasa to visit the central state prison of Madhya Pradesh located in Jabalpur and containing 3000 rather diehard prisoners. He used to go there on Sundays, and Rajneesh soon realized that most prisoners were longing to get out of prison and practice whatever they had learned while being detained behind the walls. In one of his addresses to the prisoners Rajneesh is telling them his own understanding of freedom:

“Brethren! Do not be under the delusion that you alone are in fetters; those outside this prison, who are apparently free, are also in chains, though their shackles are of a different kind. Their desires are their chains; their ignorance is their imprisonment. Man’s bondage is of man’s own making. Man himself labours at making the walls and bars for his prison. Though what I say may surprise you, the truth is that most of us spend our lives creating prison-houses for ourselves…
I appeal to you: if you fall in love, let it be with God! And if you must be in bonds, let the bonds be of the limitless firmament! And if you must be in a prison-house let nothing less than the cosmos be your jail! And if you must confine yourself to any limits, let these be the frontiers of freedom! And if you must seek manacles, then seek the ties of love, because love means freedom absolute!” From Darkness to Light #4; (100)

Debate and controversy

The lecturing of Acharya Rajneesh was in no way without harassment from the authorities and individual listeners in his audiences, and his constant hammering on vested interests and traditional religious practices was over and over again leading to intimidations and controversies, not to mention violent reactions from the gathered crowds and even life threatening situations.

“There was a time for thirty years when I was traveling alone around India, not even a single person with me, facing hostile crowds of thousands of people. But I have never felt insecure for the simple reason that if I am saying the truth, how long can you remain hostile?” The Last Testament, vol.2 #7

“For three weeks out of a month I was sitting on trains. One morning I would be in Bombay, the next morning I would be in Calcutta, the next day in Amritsar, and the following day in Ludhiana or Delhi. The whole country was the field for my operations. Everywhere, therefore, wherever I went, controversies naturally grew in abundance, because if you do something actively a reaction is bound to be there. Action and reaction are born simultaneously.” Dimensions Beyond the Known #6

“The European parliament has a resolution now to ban me collectively, rather than separately, so all European countries who are members of the parliament automatically become closed.
The same situation was happening in India. At the stations my train would be delayed for two hours because there were people who did not want me to get down at their city, and were forcing the train to take me back. I would be speaking in an Indian city, and the electricity would be cut off. And this was happening so often, again and again, that it could not be just accidental. The fifty thousand people would be sitting in darkness for half an hour, one hour, and the electricity wouldn’t come on. And finally I would have to inform them, “Now it is pointless – you please go home. I will stay a little longer in the city so you will not miss any lecture of the series.” And as the people were leaving, as I was leaving, the electricity would come on.” Beyond Psychology (Talks in Uruguay) #23

“Once it happened in Baroda. I was talking to a big crowd. Somebody sitting just in the front row became so disturbed by what I was saying, he went out of control; he lost his senses. He threw one of his shoes at me. At that moment I remembered that I used to play volleyball when I was a student, so I caught hold of his shoe in the air and asked him for the other one. He was at a loss! If you want to present something to me…” He waited. I said, “Why are you waiting? Throw the other one too, because this way neither will I be able to use the shoe nor will you be able to use it. And I am not going to return it, because evil should be returned for evil! So you please give the other one too.”
He was so shocked because he could not believe it. First, what he had done he could not believe – he was a very good man, a scholar, a well-known Sanskrit scholar, a pundit. He was not expected to behave like that, but it had happened – people are so unconscious…I was not angry, I enjoyed the scene. In fact, it was something so beautiful that many people who had fallen asleep were suddenly awakened! I was thinking on the way that it is a good idea, that I should plant a few of my people so that once in a while they can throw a shoe and all the sleepers will wake up. At least for a few moments they will remain alert, because something is happening! I am thankful to you.” For years he went on writing to me, “Please forgive me! Unless you forgive me I will go on writing.” The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, vol. 11 #9; (Sarito 2000, p. 105)

Gyan Bhed is rendering the same episode with the throwing of a shoe against Acharya Rajneesh and he continues in his account from this meeting in Baroda: “When the audience became silent Acharyashree again said, “The truth that I am unveiling can anger people even to throw a bomb on me or to shoot me down because it is the same society where Socrates and Meera were poisoned, Jesus was hanged on the cross and Sarmad’s and Mansoor’s heads were chopped off. It is not a new thing, but if you feel that we have become more civilized, the proper way is that whoever has any disagreement to me, statement should come up to the stage and talk to me logically. I am even ready for an open debate. I only say that we should think over whatever is written in the holy books. These holy books are only the collection of the preaching of those who have experienced truth and have seen the self (soul). Those who have collected them have recorded them according to their own wits. Even the preaching of Buddha and Mahavir had been recorded after a long time on the basis of remembrance only. I am only dusting the holy books after experiencing the truth. If you want to attain truth, you yourself have to explore. The paths explored by others are not at all useful for you as the water drunk by me can never quench your thirst. There is no highway to truth. You have to determine you own path as the birds do when they fly in the open sky…” (Bhed 2006, p. 266)

Acharya Rajneesh was occasionally invited to enter into open debate with well-known scholars, priests and pundits where his scathing tongue and logical points had their impact on the other participants in the debate. Vedant Joshi mentions an early illustration of this when Rajneesh gave a speech at the annual Teachers’ Day at D.N. Jain High School in Jabalpur where his disrespectful remarks on S. Radhakrishnan, the former president of India, were shocking the audience:

“It happened once that I was speaking in a conference with Chandan Muni, a Jaina monk who was very much respected among the Jainas. He spoke first, and he talked about the self, the realization of self, and the blissfulness of self. I was sitting by his side, watching the man. All those words were empty; there was no support from his experience. I could see in his eyes, there was no depth… And it happened within two years. He was in contact with me – letters, learning meditation, doing meditation – and after two years he dropped out of the Jaina community. He was so well respected, and the Jaina community is very rich…and he dropped out.
He came to meet me. I could not believe it. When he came to my house and said, “I am Chandan Muni,” I said, “You have changed so much!” He said, “To be free of a prison, to be free of borrowed knowledge has been such a great relief that I have again become young” – and he was seventy years old. He said, “Now I am ready to do whatever you want. I have risked everything; I was rich, I renounced that to become a Jaina monk. Now I have renounced Jainism, the monkhood, just to be nobody so that I can have a total freedom to experiment.” Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries (Talks in Greece) #27; (Sarito 2000, p. 114)

Debating was to Rajneesh a constant game and a way for him to burn the Rajas (passion). From his very childhood and up to the time when he took the M.A. degree he had been living in darkness just being a witness. He could attain Buddhahood like Lao Tse and Meher Baba only by practising darkness (Tamas). His Rajas started when he took up teaching and addressed crores of people in meetings and assemblies when touring the whole of India. (Bhed 2006, p. 217)

“During the period of inactivity I practically did not speak at all – or, I spoke but little. If questioned repeatedly, I would reply briefly. During the period of activity, I went on speaking even if uncalled for and uninvited. I went myself to people just to speak, and my language was full of fire. Now people come to me and ask why I am not now speaking in this same fiery language that used to stop one’s very heartbeats even.
In those days, there was fire in my language. This fire was not mine. It came out of the rajas guna. That was only one method for burning out the fire of the rajas guna. It must burn in full ferocity so that it can turn to ashes quickly. The milder the fire, the longer it takes to burn out. It was, therefore, a process of total burning out for the purpose of a speedier reduction to ashes. Now that fire is quenched.” Dimensions Beyond the Known #6

Hardship of Traveling

In Osho’s own words a colourful description can be found of the hassles and tortures to his health during his intensive travels on trains and what not in his reaching out to new audiences throughout the subcontinent to share what he had found.

“Just think of me – wandering in India for years, and in return getting stones, shoes, and knives thrown at me. And you don’t know Indian railways, waiting rooms; you don’t know the way Indians live. It is unhygienic, ugly, but they are accustomed to it. I had suffered for those thirty years as much – perhaps more – than Jesus suffered on the cross. To be on the cross is a question only of a few hours. To be assassinated is even quicker. But to be a wandering master in India is no joke.
I was the healthiest person you could find. Before I started these journeys, knowing perfectly well my health was going to be destroyed…I had to eat all kinds of food, and in India the food pattern changes just within a few miles. I had to live with dirt, uncleanliness, and I had to be ready for all these rewards – stones, shoes, knives being thrown at me. And India is a vast country, almost a continent – I was always on the train.
There are places which take forty-eight hours to reach by the train. And aeroplanes reach only to a few capital cities. If you want to reach the people you have to go in a train. And if you want to enter the very central parts of the country, you have to use even worse trains. Of course, I went on and on destroying my health, knowing perfectly well what I was doing.
But what I had found I wanted at any cost – at the cost of my life – to share with a few people, to make them afire. My body may die in the effort, but I have made a few other bodies lighted with the same flame, and they will go on spreading the fire around the earth.” From the False to the Truth (Talks in America) #24; (Sarito 2000, p. 102)

“Traveling all over the country, while I was preparing for my people, I was studying all kinds of people – neurotic, psychotic, all kinds of people spiritual, material.” The Secret #10

We may be surprised to hear how addicted Rajneesh had become to the noise of trains and shouting people, and that tape recordings of this whole mess helped him to fall asleep at night.

“When I used to travel in India for many years continually, I was almost always on the train, on the plane, in the car, just traveling, moving. The train was the only place for me to rest. Once I got out of the train there was no possibility of rest – five, six meetings per day, colleges, universities, conferences, friends, journalists, press conferences. It was impossible. The only place for me to rest was the railway train. After twenty years continually traveling I could not sleep because the whole noise of the train and its wheels and the people coming and going and railway stations and hawkers and people shouting and all that – was missing. You will be surprised to know that I had to record it on a tape recorder, so when I go to bed they will put on the tape recorder and just listening to it I will go into a perfect sleep. Then they will remove the tape recorder. Otherwise it was difficult, I will toss and turn. Twenty years is a long time, and it became such a habit.” (Urmila 2007, p. 146)

Many stories are told on Rajneesh’s experiences over the years on his travels by train. As punctuality is not a too common feature for the arrival of trains, he once gave his compliments to some driver as the train had arrived exactly on time. Only to be told by the driver that the train was exactly 24 hours late. It was yesterday’s train! The delays of the trains were declared in instalments of few hours, which would keep people more calm and quiet, not knowing that these continuous announcements would eventually sum up to say forty-eight hours. When told this tactic Rajneesh once responded to a stationmaster:

“I said, “I can understand your great compassion; otherwise there would be many heart attacks, heart failures…if you start declaring it exactly right.” I have seen trains coming sixty hours late and I have been sitting on the platform for sixty hours, but it was always “two hours more…two hours more.” It can happen only in this country, which has learned to live patiently – nobody bothers. People accept it as if it is determined by fate; you cannot do anything about it.” (Urmila 2007, p. 147)

When changing trains on their journey from Jabalpur to Patna in March 1969 Ageh Bharti told Rajneesh that the coolie who had brought the luggage from some other platform would get hurt as he was not being paid yet. “Osho replied with a smile in His most usual manner, ‘His number is 389. I keep traveling frequently, he will come across some day, and I will pay him.’ It was very amazing to recollect Osho did not miss to note the coolie’s number even in that busy platform.” (Bharti 2007, p. 140)

Concerning his traveling gear it looks like Rajneesh had made another choice preferring, when he was touring, a suitcase to the ordinary holdall for his bedding gear in which a pillow, razai, blankets and cotton bed sheets could be stored.

“He took out His bedsheet from the suitcase and made out His bed. I helped Him in doing so. (He used to carry two big size suitcases. One of which was for His beddding which included bedsheets, ‘chaddars’ to cover the body and two pillows). Then He laid down on His right side with His right hand in between the two pillows, right leg straight with left one over the right slightly bent.” (Bharti 2007, p. 141)

“While travelling, Osho used to carry a big suitcase in which he used to keep his clothes and two pillows. With this, he also used to carry a thermos, filled with sweet-lime juice, and instead of water, he liked to drink soda. He also used to carry a Samsonite briefcase in his hand…Osho liked Germany made ‘4711 Ice Eau De Cologne’ very much. It was rarely available in India. I enquired about it in Chennai and was very happy to find it there. I bought whatever 8-10 bottles of ‘4711 Ice Eau De Cologne’ and gave to Osho. He was very happy and kept all the bottles carefully in the bag.” (Laheru 2012, p. 33 & 39)

“Laxmi recalls Osho’s sensitivity. He always carried two pillows, linen and a blanket during journeys. Osho used oil in his hair and it rubbed on the linen, especially pillow covers were oily. However as cotton wool is recycled, Laxmi decided to redo Osho’s pillows. The used cotton wool in the pillows was indeed soft, it had absorbed oil. However Laxmi decided to retain old cotton. Six new pillows stuffed with new cotton wool were ordered. That night Osho’s bed had new pillows. Next morning Osho told her that the pillows were good, however the cotton was fresh and the old cotton pillows may be disposed off. This sensitivity amazed Laxmi.” (Laxmi 2002)

Laxmi had begun to accompany Osho for the lecture tours outside Bombay also, and she noticed that the accommodation provided for Osho was often inadequate. The rich were miserly and mostly accommodation was not up to the mark. Laxmi started guiding his hosts on his health and sensitivity to smells, and she gave instruction for his diet and things to be avoided due to his diabetes including tempting sweets.

Laherubhai remembers: “When Osho travelled in the car, he liked to sit in silence on the backseat of the car, but in the beginning days 2-3 friends used to sit with him. Osho used to get tired after the meetings and after that talking with people in the car was taking too much stain. Therefore, I had to stop people from sitting with him in the car. So those people used to be angry with me.” (Laheru 2012, p. 25)

“I am in the train, four persons board the train. They are sitting in the room; they are talking. So many people talked with me in the train that when I reach where I am supposed to talk, I had a sore throat due to these people. One has to talk louder in train. And they got facility that they are talking for eight to ten hours. Howsoever I asked them to leave me, excuse me! But they are lovers, they say, we do not want to leave you.” Tao Upanishad. Part 5, #52

Ageh Bharti’s memories from another journey to Ludhiana give us an impression of the hardship to be endured: “He allowed me a lot of His proximity. I got the golden opportunity to accompany Him on several of His itinerary.
Now about Ludhiana Journey, Osho and I left Jabalpur by Bombay-Howrah mail train in the afternoon of August 1, 1969. We have to board another train at Allahabad. Jabalpur to Allahabad is only six hours journey, but our train ran behind the schedule.
We reached Allahabad at night but missed the connecting train – ‘Upper India’. Osho had reserved berth in the A.C. first coach of that train. Now, we had to wait for another train, the ‘Toofan Express’. This means five hours wait. We went to the upper class waiting room of station on the first floor. Osho took seat on one chair and stretched His legs on the other. Another chair lied [lay] vacant just opposite Him. I do not like the Idea of sitting on a chair just opposite and so close to Him. However, when He asked me to do so, there was no way left…
At about 4.30 a.m., I went upstairs to the waiting room again. There the attendant told me that He (Osho) called for a coolie and has left for the platform only few minutes before. I got stunned. ‘My God, Osho has to take care not only of His own luggage but also mine.’ I ran fast down the steps towards the platform…
‘Toofan Express’ chugged out. Osho was in a first class coach, because there was no A.C. coach in the train. I occupied a two-tier compartment. I had a berth to sleep but I was unable to sleep. The thought kept me constantly haunting that Osho could not get proper rest the whole night in the waiting room and how He had to keep awake the whole day. (In India, in the first class compartments, berths are meant for sitting between 6.00 a.m. and 9.00 p.m.) Only to verify this, I went to see Osho at several stations and really, I found Him sitting. It hurt me to see how troublesome and difficult those journeys are for Osho
We reached Ludhiana railwaystation at 4.45 a.m. Osho received a grand welcome at the platform by a large number of friends. Some paid their obeisance at His feet; some gave a casual hug for a while. Friends presented garlands and bouquet in a long series. Meanwhile, a tall handsome man after meeting Osho, came to me, took my hand and kissed. I learnt later that he was Mr. Kapil. (He [Mr. Kapil Mohan Chandok] became the host of Osho during the successive visits to Ludhiana.)” (Bharti 2007, p. 54)

Osho had His unique way of bading friends. When the train moved, He used to stand at the coach gate for a while, and return to the berth after nodding His head with a smile.” (Bharti 2007, p. 139)

Going by plane was not an option, but now and then he was using other means of transportation than trains: “I used to go to take meditation camps in Udaipur. It was a long journey from the place I used to live, Jabalpur. Thirty-six hours, because there was no plane at that time. In Jabalpur, there was an airport, but it was a military airport, and they were not allowed to open it for the public. Now it is opened.” God is Dead, Now Zen is the only Living Truth #2

“It happened I was traveling from Bombay to Calcutta. It was a long journey, but I enjoyed trains rather than airplanes because that was the only time I could rest. From Bombay to Calcutta it takes forty-eight hours by train, the fastest train. So I was hoping to just relax end enjoy for forty-eight hours, because once I entered Calcutta there would be at least five meetings a day, and there was not going to be any rest.” From Death to Deathlessness #27

It may be added, that when visiting Calcutta Acharya Rajneesh used to stay in the house of Indu Jain, who was married to one of India’s wealthiest industrialists, and she had a room in her house ready for him. She had been a devotee of Rajneesh since long and was an avid reader of his books. (Allanach 2010, p. 243)

“Have you ever ridden on a camel? Then you will know. I have suffered much, because in India in the desert of Rajasthan, the camel is the only way to go from one place to another. Sitting on a camel for a few hours, one starts believing that hell is real.” From the False to the Truth #15

“There is only one picture, which they go on publishing all over the world, in which I am riding on a Kashmiri horse. It is just a picture; I was not really riding. But because the photographer wanted me to be photographed on a horse, and I loved the man – the photographer, I mean – I could not say no to him. He had brought the horse and all his equipment, so I said okay. I just sat on the horse, and you can even see from the picture that my smile was not true. It is the smile when a photographer says, “Smile please!” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood #10

Repea­ted­ly he went back home to Jabalpur to find a space for himself, to recover in between his traveling and to be alone for a while. Jabalpur was his mountain for recovering, and when the multitude started coming there, he had to leave that place also. Not only physical hardship, but also mental burdens had to be managed, and over time these travels became less and less meaningful as the lectures had to be repetitive for all newcomers arriving for their first time, as in those days he was not addressing the same group of listeners. So his meeting ever new crowds of people, where he had to start from the very beginning with his message, now began to burden him and he started longing for a place to settle more permanently where he could address an audience of reappearing listeners on still higher levels of consciousness. In his own words:

“I kept on traveling throughout the country. As much as I traveled in those ten to fifteen years, no one would travel even in two or three lives. As much as I spoke during those ten to fifteen years would ordinarily require ten to fifteen lives. From morning until night I was on the move, traveling everywhere.
It was impossible to get even a single moment alone. I had to go back again and again to my place where I used to live in Jabalpur and kept myself absolutely alone. Jabalpur was very unfortunate. I would go around the country and everywhere I would meet people – but not in Jabalpur. That was my mountain. And when I would come to Bombay, or to Delhi, or to Poona, people would ask me why I unnecessarily traveled so much back to Jabalpur again and again. Fifteen, twenty days…and I would have to go back to Jabalpur for three or four days, and then I would start again…It was unnecessary. I could have gone from Poona to Bombay, from Bombay to Delhi, from Delhi to Amritsar, from Amritsar to Srinagar. Why should I first go to Jabalpur and then again after a few days?
Jabalpur was my mountain. There I kept myself absolutely alone. When it became impossible to be alone even there and the multitude started coming there, then I had to leave that place.” (Urmila 2007, p. 146)

“If I see people silently sitting, attentive, drinking in every single word, focused, meditative, I can say far higher things; far more complicated things can be explained to them.
But if no friends are sitting in front of me, I always have to begin from ABC. Then the plane can never take off; then the plane has to function like a bus. You can use a plane like a bus – but it can take off only when it gains speed; a certain situation is needed for it to gain speed.
I used to talk to millions of people in India; then I had to stop. I was talking to thousands – in a single meeting, fifty thousand people. I traveled around that country for fifteen years, from one corner to another corner. I simply became tired of the whole thing, because each day I would have to start from ABC. It was always ABC, ABC, ABC, and it became absolutely clear that I would never be able to reach XYZ. I had to stop traveling.” The Book of Wisdom #6; (Sarito 2000, p. 116)

“The patience of a Master must be phenomenal. How must it be to speak to people day after day and to know that they do not understand? To see on their faces that they are daydreaming and can only understand one percent of what is said; and yet to keep trying to tell them. Osho has been speaking for thirty years. He used to give five discourses a day.” (Shunyo 1991, p. 34)

“Six weeks later [in the late 60s] Osho returned to Mumbai for three days. Overjoyed Laxmi ran around offering tea and snacks to visitors. During this period Osho spoke extempore. His discourses were fired with radicalism, combat and powerful. His oration were lucid, full of poetry and spontaneous and the command on Hindi language unparallel and remarkable. He spoke on love, sex to super consciousness, education, woman [and] the social structure of the society.” (Laxmi 2002)

“Osho has already resigned from the university as a professor. He is travelling around India conducting meditation camps and giving public discourses on open grounds to fifteen to twenty people at a time. He is very fiery. He is roaring fearlessly like a lion, uprooting everything traditional in India. Bombay has become His main centre of work, though He is still staying in Jabalpur. On many occasions He is travelling by train from Jabalpur to Bombay and staying there as a guest in some friend’s home till He gets connecting flights for His destination. He is travelling the same way while going back to Jabalpur. Bombay friends are fortunate to meet Him very often.” (Jyoti 1994 #7)

Household

While Osho was staying in Jabalpur it was soon arranged that his cousin Kranti, her brother Arvind Kumar and also Ajeet Kumar all were to work as his personal assistants. Kranti was his housekeeper and caretaker, while his cousin and secretary Arvind Kumar Jain – an later university professor in accounting – was occupied with keeping a diary and the entering and noting of all Oshos’s  programmes. Next to his fixing of dates for future schedules and engagements he was also taking part in typing and editing, and he was in charge of the daily flow of visitors. Arvind Jain remembers:

“After 1966, when he resigned from his professorship, we had little amount of expenses, but without worrying about the financial aspects of his life, he has left for the wellbeing of humanity. He approached to public lectures in all different places of the country, say the metropolitan cities Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Chennai also, and some great cities like Poona, Jaipur and Indore. In Jabalpur he used to deliver monthly talks under the Life Awakening Society [Jeevan Jagriti Kendra]. That society arranged lectures every month. So after 1967 I was mostly busy with his public meeting affairs, with publication work and with all of the associated work relating to publication and public moments.” (101)

In the beginning Arvind Jain was also driving for Acharya Rajneesh when he visited bookshops in Jabalpur, but soon Osho had learned how to drive his own black Herald car which had been presented to him by Mrs. Madan Kunwar Parikh:

“When I came to learn driving -…the man who was teaching me driving was called Majid, he was a Mohammedan. He was one of the best drivers in the city, and he loved me very much. In fact he chose my first car.” God is Dead. Now Zen is the only living Truth #1

Homespun khadi (swadesi: of one’s own country) had by Gandhi been turned into a political weapon, and Rajneesh himself in his early college years preferred khadi material for his clothing as he liked its pleasant and cool touch. On a daily basis he was wearing a white lungi with a buttonless long kurta combined with a long white coverlet which he used for many purposes, including refreshing himself from sweating in the heat of the day. It can be added, that he exercised salt-and-water treatment following also on this point Gandhi, his first and last role model, who had said on his khadi campaign, in the ‘conviction that with every thread that I draw, I am spinning the destiny of India.'(Brendon 2008, p. 376). So in those days he was still wearing his snow-white lungi with the upper part draped in a similar shawl, and it was only after his speeches on Gandhi in 1969 he changed his daily style of dressing and stopped wearing khadi clothes.

Rajneesh was in this phase of his work in Yogesh Bhavan taking his periods of rest during the day and in the late afternoon, before seeing visitors at 8 p.m. in the big hall of the house. The hall itself was, according to some visitors, stacked with books along its walls, but this arrangement has been denied by other visitors. In the evenings he was usually reading or attending to appointments, sometimes in his study room. And after his dinner he rested while listening to his LP records with classical Indian as well as Western music.

A growing number of people were paying him daily visits to ask for his help with their personal and existential problems. Many were said to be cured of their mental problems, maybe also supported in this respect by the beautiful garden setting surrounding the house. When opening the outer gate to Yogesh Bhavan you entered a small garden with its plants and creepers with fragrant flowers, and its fragrance from a variety of flowers used to have quite an impact on the visitors when they were passing through the front gate with its impressive and well-designed name plate (See photo) and through the rose garden to Acharya Rajneesh’s residence.

Many flowers were growing in his garden like in a wild forest, but most prominent were the roses growing wild without being trimmed by a gardener, and next to the gate a board was placed: ‘Flower plucking for offering on idols is prohibited.’ His understanding was that flowers were to remain living in the garden and not spend on dead idols, or on himself by visitors who wanted to show their respect to him. Even snakes were to be found in the garden due to the fragrance of the roses Rat ki Rani (Night Queen) and Chameli. Another fragrant flower, Nargis, which he knew from the making of garlands in Calcutta, was also among the flowers in his garden. From Personality to Individuality #22; The New Dawn #7

Power of Speech

Numerous accounts are to be found of the impact Osho’s words, gestures and his whole appearance had on his listeners and their being. And certainly his rhetorical skills as an orator will have to be stressed, as not only the contents of the words but his subtle way of conveying his message is adding another dimension to the transmission of eternal truths. Osho was without any doubt drawing on the rich Indian oral narrative tradition of how to catch and keep the attentiveness of the listeners.

“His voice and oratorial skills were equally persuasive. In India, the oral tradition is still kept alive by highly accomplished village storytellers, who weave into the traditional myths stories of their grandmothers and political events. Osho may well have been nourished by this tradition and certainly polished his gift during his academic career and later travels”. (Puttnick 1997, p. 35)

Still a student in the early 1950s Rajneesh had already started his public speaking, and his way of speaking, including as an integral part the vital gaps suddenly happening in the middle of a sentence, had already found its mode:

“One of my vice-chancellors, even though I was only a student in the university, made it a point that he should be informed whenever I was going to speak. No matter what, he would cancel all appointments and he would come and listen to me. And I asked him, “You are a great historian…” He was a professor in history in the University of Oxford, before he became the vice-chancellor in India.
He said, “I love your gaps. Those gaps show that you are absolutely unprepared, you are not an orator. You wait for God, and if he is waiting…then what can you do? You have to wait in silence. When he speaks, you speak, when he is silent, you are silent.
The gaps are more important than the words because the words can be distorted by the mind but not the gaps. And if you can understand the gaps, then you have understood the silent message, the silent presence of the divine.” The Rebellious Spirit #2

Osho’s way of speaking and his usage of Hindi have been commented upon by himself over and over again in multiple lectures and his stylistic considerations are put forward openly.

“I cannot force you to be silent, but I can create a device in which spontaneously you are bound to be silent. I am speaking and in the middle of a sentence, when you were expecting another word to follow, nothing follows but a silent gap. And your mind was looking to listen, and waiting for something to follow, and does not want to miss it – naturally it becomes silent. What can the poor mind do? If it was well known at what points I would be silent, if it was declared to you that on such and such points I will be silent, then you could manage to think – you would not be silent. Then you know: “This is the point where he is going to be silent, now I can have a little chitchat with myself.” But because it comes absolutely suddenly…I myself don’t know why at certain points I stop.
Anything like this, in any orator in the world, will be condemned. Because an orator stopping again and again means he is not well prepared, he has not done the homework. It means that his memory is not reliable, that sometimes he cannot find what word to use. But because it is not oratory, I am not concerned about the people who will be condemning me – I am concerned with you.”…So my speaking is not oratory; it is not a doctrine that I am preaching to you. It is simply an arbitrary device to give you a taste of what silence is, and to make you confident that it is not a talent – that it does not belong to any specially qualified people, that it does not belong to long austerities, that it does not belong to those who call themselves virtuous. It belongs to all, without any conditions, you just have to become aware of it. That’s my whole purpose in speaking to you.” The Invitation #14; (Sarito 2000, p. 121)

It is pointed out by Osho that listening to his words is nothing but a device to make his followers ready for the silence and the void which is the ultimate goal for his transmission.

“So my speaking, my talking should not be categorized with any other kind of oratory. It is a device for meditation, to bring the confidence in you that has been taken away by religions. Instead of confidence they have given you guilt, which pulls you down and keeps you sad. Once you become confident that great things are available to you, you will not feel inferior, you will not feel guilty – you will feel blessed. You will feel that existence has prepared you to be one of the peaks of consciousness.
It will take a little time to gain confidence – that’s why I have been speaking, morning and evening, for almost thirty years continuously. Perhaps two or three times in these thirthy years, I have stopped because I was not feeling well; otherwise I have continued to speak. But because I cannot go on speaking the whole day to keep you in meditative moments, I want you to become responsible. Accepting that you are capable of being silent will help you when you are meditating alone. Knowing your capacity…and one comes to know one’s capacity only when one experiences it. There is no other way.” The Invitation #14; (Sarito 2000, p. 121)

Rajneesh’s flowing Hindi was in the Bagheli dialect of Eastern Hindi, which is the vernacular of the Jabalpur area. It is said to be spoken by the hero Ramachandra and is the dialect in which nearly all epic poetry was written. More essential to our narrative is the fact that the Jain founder Mahavira used an early form of the language when he was conveying his teachings to his disciples, and in this way the early Eastern Hindi, the local Prakit, became the sacred language of the Jains. Eastern Hindi has a great literature and this was the language Osho was mastering with all its poetry and clearness when he himself started lecturing in the footsteps of Mahavir. And he was very well aware of the phonetic qualities in also the Sanskrit language. Osho says:

“Hence the Sanskrit language is phonetic, not linguistic – the emphasis is more on the sound than on the word. And so for thousands of years it was felt that these valuable scriptures should not be written down, because it was natural that no sooner were they written down, then the emphasis on sound would be lost…The scripture had to be passed on to others directly by word of mouth, so scriptures were known as shrutis, meaning that which is learned by listening. What was passed down in the form of written books was never accepted as scripture.” Hidden Mysteries #1

The telling of a few jokes to freshen up the serious minds of his listeners was another feature introduced in his lecturing, and this art of cracking jokes was later in Poona demanding some whole department with witty sannyasins to satisfy Osho’s daily need for new jokes to bestow on his listeners. A collection of jokes used by Osho was later published as Take It Really Seriously. (Vimal 1998)

“I have been searching for jokes which have their origin in India. I have not found a single one. Serious people…always talking about God and heaven and hell and reincarnation and the philosophy of karma. The joke does not fit in anywhere.
When I started talking – and I was talking about meditation – I might tell you a joke. Once in a while some Jaina monk or a Buddhist monk or a Hindu preacher would come to me and say, “You were talking so beautifully about meditation, but why did you bring in that joke? It destroyed everything. People started laughing. They were getting serious. You destroyed all your effort. You did something for half an hour to make them serious, and then you told a joke and you destroyed the whole thing. Why in the world should you tell a joke? Buddha never told a joke. Krishna never told a joke.”
I would say, “I am neither Buddha nor Krishna, and I am not interested in seriousness”
In fact, because they were becoming serious, I had to bring in that joke. I don’t want anybody to become serious. I want everybody to be playful. And the life has to become more and more closer to laughter than to seriousness.” The Path of the Mystic #40

“In India I had continuously to tell people, “Please stop taking notes because you are destroying the whole atmosphere. I am not a professor and this is not a class, and when I am speaking and you are taking notes, you can’t hear me. You are concentrated on taking notes; you will miss many significant things.” Listening to me, sitting relaxed, suddenly a deep relaxation happens inside, and something that you have forgotten…” Beyond Psychology (Talks in Uruguay), p. 216

Chinmaya, his later secretary in Bombay, has in an interview recalled how he met Osho in Jabalpur 1965 where after having read some articles and books he procured Osho’s address and made his way to where he lived:

“Chinmaya: Finally I was in front of his bungalow and read the nameplate ‘Acharya (teacher) Rajneesh’, and I relaxed.

Slowly I opened the gate and entered into the beautiful rose garden which he himself used to maintain and has mentioned many times. I entered the main building and just gave a sharp knock on the door and heard the sound, ‘Please come in’. I pushed the door open and just in front of me Osho was sitting.

I was attracted immediately because he was so healthy and shiny and beautiful…and so young! He was writing on a pad – perhaps some article for a magazine. Immediately he put his pen aside and welcomed me. He asked what my occupation was and what I practiced in religion and he listened very carefully to my description of what I was practicing. I told him that I had read a few of his articles and books and that I had many questions that I would like to ask him because I was a yogi student and he was so much against techniques. He was against even concentration, all physiological techniques, breath techniques, meditation techniques, visualization techniques, feeling and sound techniques. He slowly explained how the techniques are harmful, how they spoil the subtle brain nerves, how they are violent, how they manipulate the human brain and how risky that is. So he talked for about one and a half hours and then he said, ‘Enough for today?’ I said, ‘No! I still have half my questions unanswered!’ He said to come again next morning.

Maneesha: Can you describe a little more about him as a person?

Chinmaya: He used to always sit on a mattress bed and visitors would sit with him on the same mattress. He used to always have a bare chest and wear a white lunghi.

I found him tremendously magnetic and just radiating energy, bubbling over with energy. It was as if you were near a cyclone of energy. He was so robust and healthy and strong that you completely forgot who you were, where you were…and the past just disappeared because he took your attention completely at every level. He was so refreshing, so rejuvenating to be near, that all problems, all the past, was completely forgotten. For the first time you felt that you could solve everything in life and I felt for the first time that here was a man who could reply to all my thousands of questions…

Later on I became aware that he was working on the minds of people for the first ten, twelve years of public contact after enlightenment and post graduation. He had in his mind how he would go step-by-step dealing with the consciousness of Indian citizens who were in contact with him.

At that time he was using negation and debate, challenging people in their ideas and beliefs, challenging the intelligentsia of the nation – and hitting hard. He used to disturb them terribly – just as if he wanted to wash out the rubbish from their minds so that he could put in his new vision and ideas…

His life was entirely different from Krishnamurtis. For many years – at least twenty years – Osho used to live in guru fashion – long-hair, lunghis and a big cover sheet over his chest and wooden sandals. He looked like a spiritual man. By all means – the outer appearance and the inner personality – he was the perfect spiritual man, whereas Krishnamurti looked very much like a layman.” The Buddha Disease 10.01.1977. (102)

“Today Osho is speaking to college students at Baroda University. Thousands of students have gathered to listen to Him. The hall is over-full with all the doors opened. Lots of people are standing all around the walls and outside to listen to Him. I walk behind Him to the podium with my little cassette recorder. As we reach the podium, my ears are deafened with noise of clapping and whistling. There is much excitement in the atmosphere. He is going to speak on youth and sex. He greets everyone with folded hands, sits down in the lotus posture and closes His eyes. I try to tighten my little microphone wire with the rod of the mike placed before Him. Students start throwing paper arrows towards me. I feel very awkward. Somehow, I ignore it and make myself comfortable sitting near Him with my recorder in front of me.

I start gazing at Him. In a couple of minutes, He opens His eyes and straight away looks at a door. Friends from Bombay, not finding any seat in the hall are standing there. He passes a message for them to be allowed to come and sit behind him on the podium. I am simply surprised to see His concern about such little things. He looks at me and smiles, I press the recording button and hear His sweet voice addressing the audience. “Mere priya Atman” which means “My Beloved Self.” There is pindrop silence, only His voice is echoing in the hall, quenching the thirst of those who are ready to receive Him in their hearts.” (Jyoti 1994 #28)

“Osho first made an appearance in my life in 1967. My brother had brought home a magazine which had an article written by him in it, and what I read there filled me with awe: How can a man write like this? I wondered. I was deeply touched and badly wanted to know whether this man was still in his body…perhaps I could meet him?

Just a short while later, there was an ad in the paper saying Osho would be giving a talk in a conference hall in Bombay, and as I was working for the railways in Bombay itself, off I went to see him in person.

He was wearing a long white lungi tied at the waist, with a second white piece of cloth, a chadar, thrown around his shoulders, and he was sitting cross-legged on a cushion on a platform draped with bright fabric, which he had accessed by climbing up onto a chair.

The first thing that impressed me was how Osho had namasted his audience as he came onto the podium. This was a real breakthrough. Up till then all the religious teachers I had come across would extend a special blessing mudra with the right hand up, and I had always felt this gave the impression they considered themselves superior. A namaste, on the other hand, means I greet the god in you, which meant the divine in each of the people who had come to see him – and that really appealed to me.

He then went on to call his audience “mere priye atman” – Sanskrit for my beloved ones, which was also surprising. This was the first time I had heard such an address. But it was while listening to him speak that I fully recognized this man as an incarnation of god, a truly realized being. There was a beautiful simplicity about his speech – and I was struck in particular by one thing he said: that man is miserable because he is asleep.” (Teertha in Sarito 2014, p. 49)

We may finish by referring his own advice from January 1969 to the listeners on how to deal with what they are witnessing:

“I have to inform you of three small points: The first point is that when I come and go, no one should touch my feet. I am nobody’s guru, and I do not believe that anyone is anyone’s guru or disciple. Hence, no one should touch my feet. I am also not a saint or mahatma. To attempt to be a saint or a mahatma seems extremely childish to me. So there is absolutely no need to treat me with reverence, admiration or veneration. It is more than enough respect for me that you listen attentively to what I say. You do not even have to accept it. Just think about it and experiment. If it is right, it will stay; and if it is not, it will drop…” Trisha Gayi Ek Bund #1

On the Road

To anyone who may ponder on his scheduling, the quantity of Osho’s engagements for lecturing and the intensity with which he was touring all India year after year in the 1960s, is nothing but astonishing as we will see. Osho’s meditation camps in his Jabalpur phase are all presented in the following chapter 2.11.

1963
In letters from Rajneesh his early tours and meditation camps are mentioned and also the implication for his health:

“Moving around for the whole of May [1963] affected my health so all programmes for June: Bombay, Calcutta, Jaipur were cancelled…A Cup of Tea. Letters from 1963 #8

“All your letters arrived in good time but as I have been busy I could not reply sooner. I have been out most of the time and I have just returned after speaking in Jaipur, Burhanpur, Hoshangabad, Chanda and other places.” A Cup of Tea. Letters from 1963 #12

“I have just returned from Rajnagar in Rajasthan. I was invited to a religious function there organized by Acharya Shree Tulsi. I put four hundred monks and nuns through an experiment in meditation. The results were extraordinary.” A Cup of Tea. Letters from 1963 #13

1964:
“…on September 8th 1964 where Rajneesh arrived to Bombay invited by Shri Yans Prasad Jain. On the following day, September 9th, Rajneesh gave a sermon in the Tarabai Hall on ‘New faces of enlightenment’ followed by an evening sermon on the premises of Amolak Amichand High School with some 10.000 attendants, concluding the sermon with the words:

“I am grateful to you all for you listened to me with so much of love and peace. I am feeling that during my speech you forgot that you are earthen lamps. Definitely you experienced that there is a light within you and you are light giving lamps.” (Bhed 2006, p. 198)

The topic for a following sermon on September 10th 1964 in the Alankar Theatre, Bombay, was ‘A Constructive Vision of Practicing Religion’. From Bombay Rajneesh went on to Poona, a place he had visited once before and where some youth followers had been much influenced by his speeches. Here in Poona he stayed at what was to become his usually resting place here, in the house of the Baphana family, and with the mistress Sohan Baphana who had learned meditation practices from him on his first visit to Poona. The secretary of the Jain Mandir, Pungalia Ji, had missed Rajneesh on his first visit and this time he was indeed looking forward to ask him a few questions on which he received a direct answer from Rajneesh:

“Remember it! Time is running away with its pace. How long will you postpone your inner journey? You are already in the third stage of life. Our greatest agony is that either we live in the past or in the future, whereas the best practice is to live in the present. Execute the sacred thought immediately, that has come to your mind and please don’t postpone it on the tomorrow, when you have come into my company and you are anxious to explore truth please turn your anxiousness into the aspiration of life.” (Bhed 2006, p. 199)

From his letters we can see that Poona was one of Osho’s repetitive and favourite places to visit for lecturing years before he made the decision to set up his ashram in Koregaon Park ten years later in March 1974: “Give my regards to all there. You are not coming to Poona – I shall miss you.” A Cup of Tea. Letters from 1966 #42

1965:
After the meditation camp at Ajol starting February 2nd 1965 Rajneesh made his way to Delhi via Ahmedabad and Baroda where he was to make speeches at both places. At Delhi an All-India assembly of saints numbering 20.000 people had gathered to protest against the use of vulgar and sexist posters, books and films degrading society with their obscenity. At the end of the gathering Rajneesh made his speech pointing out also the spiritual context of vulgarity in the sacred Shastras and Puranas of the Hindus and he went on without paying much attention to the tender feelings of his listeners:

“Is the context of the ‘Cheer-havan’ not vulgar? Aren’t the cohabiting idols in the Jagannathpuri Temple vulgar? Isn’t the worship of the penis penetrated into the vagina in all the Shiv temples vulgar? I know many ‘ashrams’ where vulgar activities are conducted. None of you have come forward to stop these vulgarities.” (Bhed 2006, p. 202)

Immediately after his speech Rajneesh left the stage as he could easily feel the protests rising in the audience of saints, and the organizers of the assembly deeply regretted that they had called for Rajneesh to attend the gathering, as his challenging of their values proved to be much too offensive to the audience.

Having finish the meditation camp in Mahabaleshwar February 12th to 14th 1965 Rajneesh returned to Jabalpur and shortly after went to Poona to speak for another assembly of saints. From there he went on to Ahmedabad where Jeevan Jagriti Kendra and Jayantibhai had arranged a busy schedule of programmes in Gurajat. Then followed a flow of meetings in Ahmedabad, Baroda and Aazol and a few more places before Osho gave a speech in Surandranagar on July 25th 1965 on ‘Essence of Love’. Here he is quoted for having said:

“The lotus of love blossoms only in the mud of mental disposition. One can go across the mental disposition knowingly only by stepping into it knowingly. One’s love can be transformed only by making it expectationless, free of jealousy and free from the feeling of ownership and then one can reach the bottom of the soul. This is the only way to reach ‘Ram’ (God) through ‘Kaam’ (passion)…
First you learn to love yourself. Only he is able to love others who can love himself. He sees the same eternity in each and every particle which is within himself, and expectation, either good or bad, becomes the obstacle matter if it is the expectation to attain salvation or Almighty. The mind can stay at the centre only if the consciousness becomes motionless from all its movements. Then only one can experience ‘Sat’ ‘Chit’ and ‘Anand’(Bhed 2006, p. 213) (103)

Truth, godliness and beauty – Satyam, Shivam Sundaram – were the key topics in his speeches those days and they were identified and elaborated on by using new terms and phrases in his speaking. The sermons were often in their phrasing different from previous ones, depending on his understanding of the capacity of his listeners, and for the greater part they were spontaneous and unprepared, like a transmission of words from a limitless external source. But still among his manuscripts from the mid-60s a number of prepared drafts for some of his speeches are to be found. See Appendix.

Also in Jabalpur he seems in 1965 to have delivered lectures at various places, e.g.: Lecture on Birth Control at Family Planning Centre, lecture on Psychotherapy at College of Education Guidance & Psychology College and a lecture called A New Dimension for Future Generation at Navin Vidys Bhavan Higher Secondary School.

1966
From August 1966 when he left his position as ass. Professor of philosophy his time was now entirely devoted to touring the whole country and addressing audiences, sometimes up to four times a day. With this intense travel schedule his friends at Jeevan Jagriti Kendra always tried to make his journeys as comfortable as possible, so his seat reservations were preferably in air-conditioned compartments or first class. (104)

Osho was in the habit of writing letters to his friends or reading the books he was carrying with him when going by train. Only during the night he was sleeping, with his own pillows he always kept with him for his sleep on the trains. Often his sleep had to be interrupted when the train reached a station in some big city where his followers had gathered to bestow him with flowers or presenting him with fruits or prepared food. They had learned his travel schedule from the programmes now being printed in the magazine Jyotishikha and some devotees might even be seen massaging his feet or body along his journey.

With his fellow travelers in the compartment he used to keep himself in silence, and he was not indulging himself in their petty conversation or answering their many questions on his family and whereabouts. This asking a whole series of intrusive questions is a common Indian way of establishing the right equation between themselves, hence their social space can be defined according to their respective status. But he had a way of his own to avoid any intrusion in his silence:

“I was traveling for twenty years continuously; once in a while there was another passenger in the coupe. The first thing the person will start asking, “What is your name, where are you coming from, where are you going, what is your business?” I was surprised: why should one bother about these things? So I started…before the person will ask. I will enter, I will say, “This is my name and this is my father’s name and this is my father’s father’s name, and this is my business, and this is where I am coming from and this is where I am going…” And the man will feel a little afraid.
He will say, “But why you are telling me?” I will say, “Because you will ask sooner or later. Let it be finished. Have you any more questions? – because after this I am going to remain silent. For twenty-four hours we will be together, so I have said everything that you wanted to know.”
And then I will be silent, just watching the man. And it would be such a beautiful experience! He will be fidgety, tossing and turning, opening the suitcase – for no reason. He would know, I would know, that there is no reason. Then closing it, then trying to read a book – which he is not reading, just looking. Then putting it away, then calling the servant, then going to the bathroom, then coming up…
Just something is disturbing him: a very strange man has entered. You had not asked his name, and he tells all the names of his fathers and grandfathers and what they did and how many brothers they have and how many brothers he has and how many sisters, and who is married and who is not married…” Light on the Path #4

The Inward Journey in Osho’s Guidance by Ma Anand Urmila is presenting us with an early insight in the way Acharya Rajneesh was working with his close followers in Jabalpur. Mr. D.D. Mehra of the renowned publishing company Rupa & Company in Calcutta had introduced her to the acharya, when he presented her with some of Osho’s very early publications. After some mailing between them, Urmila was invited to meet Rajneesh, either in his college or at his residence. Soon after, on January 23rd 1966, she was waiting for Rajneesh at Mahakoshal College in the staff-room, where he was expected to arrive in the morning:

“…a big wooden screen was kept next to the entrance. There was a big gap in the lower portion of the screen through which only the feet of the person entering the room could be seen. I kept on looking and finally I saw a figure clad in white emerging out of the screen.

As the figure came nearer I was surprised to see a well-build young man of medium height. His complexion was fair and lips rosy. His large black eyes were extraordinary lustrous. I had expected to meet an ancient looking sage but here was a young man with a flowing black beard. I got up from the chair and went forward to greet him with folded hands.” (Urmila 2005, p. 14)

They sat down at a table near the window, and she was now putting forward to him all the questions that had been piling up during her spiritual search. After talking for quite some time in the staff-room, he offered to take her home in his black Herald car, and they agreed to meet again at his residence at Yogesh Bhavan a few days later when he had returned to Jabalpur after some scheduled travels. Accordingly Urmila visited Rajneesh in Yogesh Bhavan and she remembers the impression his way of speaking had on her:

“I met a young man, who was Osho’s cousin [Arvind Kumar], outside the house… Osho was sitting with some young men in his simple drawing room…I sat down and listened to his talk in general. He was expressing his views about life in general, literature and art. I was surprised to notice that his ideas about these subjects were so liberal and so new that even I, who was supposed to be very broad-minded, was shocked to hear them. He was criticizing all the prevalent ideas about these subjects. I wondered whether it was due to his original thinking or due to his being too egoistic. His views did not agree with the traditional thinking.” (Urmila 2005, p. 20)

Another contemporary account of listening to Rajneesh has been given by Ma Dham Jyoti when she first heard Rajneesh in 1968:

“I am twenty-six years old. It is Sunday, 21st January 1968 and today Osho will be speaking at 4.00 p.m. in Sunmukhananda Hall in Bombay. One of my friends, knowing my quest for truth, advises me to go and listen to Him. I have already heard so many so-called saints and mahatmas that I am disillusioned by this religious game going on in India. But somehow, Osho, who is known as Acharya Rajneesh, attracts me. I decide to go to His discourse.
At 4.00 p.m. I find my way to the second floor balcony of Sunmukhananda Hall, which is overcrowded. Lots of people are standing on the sides near the walls and there is quite an excitement in the air. It is very noisy. This is one of the biggest auditoriums in Bombay, with the capacity to hold about five thousand people. I find a seat, make myself comfortable, and try to relax.
Within minutes a man with a beard, wearing a white lungi and shawl appears on the podium, namastes the audience with folded hands and sits down in the lotus posture. I am sitting quite far away from the podium and can hardly see His face, but my heart is throbbing with excitement in anticipation of listening to this unknown man.
In a few moments I hear His sweet but strong voice addressing the audience as “Mere Priya Atman” – my beloved souls. Suddenly there is pin drop silence in the auditorium. I experience His voice taking me into a deep relaxation and I am listening to Him in utter silence. My mind has stopped: only His voice is echoing inside me. I am in a total ‘aha!’ and wonder: He is answering all the questions which have been bothering me for years.
The discourse is over, my heart is dancing with joy, and I tell my friend, “He is the Master I am looking for. I have found Him.” I come out and buy a few books and a magazine called Jyoti Shikha. As I open it, I see that the headline on the page reads “Acharya Rajneesh’s 36 Birthday Celebration”. I can’t believe it – I am sure it is a printing mistake and it should be ’63’. I ask the girl at the counter; she laughs and says that ’36’ is right. I still can’t believe that I have heard the discourse of a man who is only thirty-six years old. From His speech He sounds like an ancient rishi of the times of the Upanishads. I start reading His books and find myself totally unburdened of my borrowed knowledge. His words leave me in utter emptiness.” (Ma Dharm Jyoti in: Bhagawati 2010, p. 232)

“I was 26 years old [in 1966], already six years into an arranged marriage and living in Bombay with my husband and daughter, when my sister invited me to a discourse given by Osho. I sat in the hall in the third row, and at one point, I looked up onto the stage, where he was sitting cross-legged on a dais in his white shawl and lungi, and I saw nothing but light. He was covered in it.
I didn’t know what was going on. Seeing this glowing brilliance all over; seeing someone bathed in light…it was astonishing. I had never experienced anything like that before – I never even knew such a thing could exist. And it was so strange and so beautiful, I didn’t trust myself. I thought I was hallucinating.
After his lecture, he came down the aisle and he pointed to where I was sitting, stopped nearby and reached out and handed me a flower – he had only one or two in his hand…flowers that someone had given him. He gave me the flower and asked me to come and see him at the house where he was staying as a guest.
I visited him there that same afternoon and we had a simple, chatty sort of conversation. And that chat was the start of my journey.” (Dulari in Savita 2014, p. 41)

1967
At his residence in Yogesh Bhawan, Napier Town, Osho continued to speak in the evenings of every Sunday to a growing number of seekers, and when the hall proved too small discourses were then moved to Shaheed Smarak Bhavan as previously mentioned. But his speaking engagements extended all over the city of Jabalpur and according to Ageh Bharti from February 1967 onwards a number of localities were used for various groups of his listeners: Jabalpur University, Jabalpur Agriculture University, Jabalpur Engineering College, Theological College, Caravaz Radio Station, Sindu Bhavan, Town Hall, D.B. Club, Degree College of Psychology, Anjuman Higher Secondary School, Datt Bhajan Mandir, Kings Garden, Jabalpur Stadium, NCC Head Quarters Office, Palace of Raja Gokuldas, Sanatan Mandir, Divisional Railway Manager’s Office, Railway’s Divisional Medical Officer’s residence and Col. R.G. Singh’s residence.

Laherubhai remembers when he for the first time listened to Osho on March 21, 1967 in Bombay: “His dress, a white Khadi (hand-woven cotton) Dhoti, a Khadi Shawl on the shoulder, and a Kahdi hanker chief in the hand, his impressive face, his physical beauty, his long arms, his compassionate and magnetic eyes and his style of sitting, were very much influencing and attracting me…The subject of the discourse was ‘Is God Dead? (Kya Ishwar Mar Gaya Hai). It was in Hindi. It was on the second day of the discourse series, and its sub-title in the book was ‘Only the one who dissolves will gain (Jo Mitega Wabi Payega)‘…There must have been about five thousand people present in that gathering. It was complete silence when he started his discourse. It felt like an uninterrupted current of some divine sweet music was flowing…At that time Osho was a guest at the bungalow of Shri Dhanpatibhai, also known as Kakubhai, at Vachha Gandhi Road, Vachha Villa, Mumbai.” (Laheru 2012, p. 8)

On March 20th he speaks in Bombay at Cross Maidan Dobi Talao for 5000 listeners on the subject: Is God Dead? (Kya Ishwar Mar Gaya Hai?) And later on in Jabalpur for three days Sadhna Shevir at Jawaharlal Nehru Krashe Vishwavidyalaya.

In the afternoon of July 1st 1967 Rajneesh gave a lecture on education and personality at S.N.D.T. Women’s College in Matunga, Bombay, and before he finished his speaking, he responded in his usual way to questions raised by the listeners. In his one hour long lecture among other things he told his listeners,

“Search of personality is the real education. But these days we leave the university after losing our personality. Every individual is born to become something and he has his own unique talent. He does not have to become like anybody else. He has to become just like him according to his own nature – the nature he is born with. The day it occurs, he experiences blessedness and gratitude in his life. But one who loses himself on imitating others, lives a painful life because his own seed which was eager to develop into a tree is blunted for ever.” (Bhed 2006, p. 234)

The travel schedule where Ageh Bharti has been on the road with Acharya Rajneesh on journeys for lecturing other than meditation camps (See 2.11 Meditation Camps) gives us some impression of the extent of his touring around:

– Patna (Bihar) March 29 to 31, 1969
– Ludhiana (Punjab) August 3 to 5, 1969
– Ludhiana (Punjab) March 21 to 24, 1970
– Ludhiana (Punjab) August 20 to 23, 1970
– Bombay, several times
– Gadarwara (M.P.) December 1969
– New Delhi August 1969
– New Delhi March 1970
– New Delhi August 1970
– Nargol (Gujarat) 1968
– Ahmedabad (Gujarat) 1970. (Bharti 2007, p. 271). (105)

On his travels to Gujarat Acharya Rajneesh found many followers among the wealthy Jain tradesmen of the state. Gujarat is lush and rich and prosperous; the land well-irrigated and productive; the people healthy and smiling and well-fed in dire contrast with neighbouring states like Maharashtra and Rajasthan, as described by Krishna Prem in his Osho, India and Me. (Allanach 2010)

His programme for a few weeks in July and August 1967 gives us an impression of how tight an itinerary he had to fulfil in his constant reaching out to new listeners, now he had left his teaching obligations and academic career behind him:

From July 10th to 12th 1967 his programmes were in Nandurwar where his lectures were held at various schools. On the 12th he addressed a large meeting in Jalgaon saying in just a few words what was to become a central issue in his entire work as a mystic:

“Where is God? In the temples, mosques, churches or in the Sikh gurudwaras? No! No!! God is there, where we never search for Him. He is within ourselves. Therefore, he, who searches for Him there definitely gets Him.” (Bhed 2006, p. 235)

After Jalgaon Rajneesh spoke in the morning of July 13th 1967 again on education at the Teachers Training College in Azol. It is evident that his academic career at the university had sharpened his awareness to the implications of a nationwide inadequate educational standard:

“Now-a-days, the direction of education is perplexed in itself and therefore man has lost the direction of his life. The present education system is incomplete and partial. It only imparts the crammed knowledge and only enlarges the range of knowledge. So every individual, except the Buddha, is completely illiterate. His heart and his innerself remain illiterate and he does not even cast a glimpse over his soul. And I can’t call it education which does not point towards the inner self.” (Bhed 2006, p. 235)

His addressing teachers and lecturing on education was an ongoing happening as his understanding was this would be the most useful way to reach out to future generations, and among the many colleges he visited with talks on this topic were Podder College and Birla Krida Kendra, both in Bombay. Nine of Osho’s talks on education were later to be compiled in Revolution in Education (1997).

From Azol Rajneesh in July 1967 returned to Jabalpur where a lot of letters were waiting for him to be answered, and he also wrote new letters addressed to people who might be of any help to him in his future work.

In the beginning of August 1967 he arrived at Gwalior by Punjab Mail, and on August 2nd he started a three day assembly invited by Gyan Mandir, Laskar. Again he was hammering on the falseness of the established religions and their temples, and once again he was pointing to the way inward:

“God is nowhere in the exterior, but in the interior of every individual. One’s soul is God. Body is the temple and soul or consciousness is its God. It is useless to wander outside. End up the egotism born out of unconsciousness. Become a witness leaving the feelings of performership. God is within you and not away from you.” (Bhed 2006, p. 236)

On August 3rd and 4th he was in Madhav Ashram in Gwalior and here he ended his lecture and the answering of questions with the following words on truth and meditation:

“God is Sat Chit Anand. Attaining truth (sat) is only attaining God. Truth is unknown. To know the unknown, it is necessary to leave the known. Unknown can enter there where there is no known. Thoughts are known therefore, truth is available in thoughtlessness. Convert your thought (mind) into thoughtlessness and the only method for this is meditation. Only meditation can bring thoughtlessness and then one can feel the soul (self). Knowing the soul is only knowing God.” (Bhed 2006, p. 237)

His stay in Gwalior was as mentioned by invitation from the Gyan Mandir, and as other invitations were piling up he graciously accepted to visit all the places brought forward to him whenever he got the time. In the afternoon of the 4th he addressed the female students and women of the city at Women’s College, Murar, and here Rajneesh was talking on women and their role in society, and he is among other things quoted for having said:

“I want a perfect balance between East and West. Women must get opportunities to develop themselves. She must get opportunities to develop themselves. She must accept challenges in all the spheres of life. She can gain social liberty only through economic liberty. But the woman should not try to become equal to men as in the West. She should develop the nature gifted virtues of love and kindness.” (Bhed 2006, p. 238)

His essential talks dealing with organizational issues at the camp in Lonavala late December 1967 are referred to at several appropriate places in this essay, but here one part will illustrate the constant pressure from people all wanting to be close to him:

“Recently in Varanasi, I came back at around ten in the night after having spoken, and there were eight to ten people gathered in the house waiting. I had been speaking from the morning, had returned at ten in the night and I was going to go straight to bed – but there were eight or ten people sitting in the room. They had no idea and they cannot be blamed. They just wanted to ask me a few things. They had come to see me out of great love. They began talking about their things. They were still asking things at half past twelve at night.
Now my host, the owner of the house, became restless and started pacing up and down. He started gesturing to me again and again seeking my permission, asking whether he should get rid of them now. But these people were so absorbed in their discussions, and the discussions were useful, meaningful. These were the problems of their lives. How could they be expected to be bothered whether I should now go to bed?
At last, they had to be told at one o’clock in the morning. And when they were told, they became sad. They said, “We have been waiting for your arrival for the last six months. And tomorrow morning you will be gone. Is it not possible that, for our sake, you don’t sleep for just one night?
I said, “It can be done. But how long can things go on like this? I can forego sleeping tonight, and I can forego sleeping tomorrow night, but how long can this go on?”” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #6

1968
The following year in a program organised in Baroda on September 8th 1968 some questions were asked on Rajneesh’s role in politics, and he answered that he never intended to take part in politics in any way. But he wanted a change in the field of religion only and to set up Ashrams or Meditation centres in each village and each city where regular meditation would be practised. He also spoke on Rousseau’s ideas of equality and on the distribution of wealth and communism in Marx’s The Capital, ideas that were appreciated by many professors and thinkers attending the lecture.

From Baroda he went to Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Udaipur, and when returning to his beloved Jabalpur again he addressed the youths of the country through the Yuwak Kranti Dal before he left for Patna and Calcutta already in the morning on the following day in another nothing but breathtaking travel schedule. He was addressing people in schools, colleges, clubs and social institutions, and in among the listeners to his speeches he slowly planted the seeds of self-revolution Atma-Kranti, answering their questions and removing their doubts and illusions in his attempt to wake up their consciousness. During the break in his interrupted series on love and sex which had started in late August in Bombay and was not to be continued until late September, he speaks in Jabalpur on Rebellion with Wisdom, a lecture delivered on 23rd of August.

Two lectures on death Mein Mrutyu Sikhata Hoon (I Teach Death) were delivered in Bombay on 4th and 5th of November, and the monthly series in Jabalpur arranged by Jeevan Jagruti Kendra continued at Shaheed Smarak Bhavan with My Thoughts About God and A critical Analysis of Gandhiji During Gandhi Centenary Year. Other lectures in this series were The Future of India, Revolution in Education, India and the Young Generation and What is Death? At N.C.C. camp for students in Jabalpur Osho gave a lecture In Search of Anand.

Ageh Bharti remembers the names of several listeners to his discourses, some of them VIP’s from Jabalpur: Dr. Seth Govind Das (senior member of The Indian Parliament and famous author), Parmanand Bhai Patel (Education Minister for Madhya Pradesh and a leading industrialist), P.C. Shukla (Divisional Medical Officer), Dr. A.K. Bijlani (Railway Divisional Medical Officer), S.C. Gupta (Railway Divisional Mechanical Engineer), A. Sharif (Divisional Rail Manager), R.L. Sethi (Railway Divisional Commercial Superintendent), Dr. Balani, Dr. Urmila Singh, Col. R.G. Singh (Indian Army), Prof. Gurunani (Degree College of Psychology), Vyohar Rajendra Singh (Author, freedom fighter and great Gandhian leader of the country).

Attendants from outside Jabalpur to Archary Rajneesh’s speeches included the following persons according to Ageh Bharti: Dr. Shiv Sharma (Personal physician of Dr. Zakir Hussain, president of India), Mahendra Kumar Manav (Author and Minister for Madhya Pradesh), Kalyanji (Musician of international repute), Anandji (Musician of international repute), Indivar (Great poet in films), Kalyani Mittra (Playback singer), Mahendra Kapoor (Playback singer). (Bharti 2007, pp. 269-70)

“On October 2, 1968, Osho was invited for inauguration of an institution named ‘Lizzat Papad’ at Mulund, Mumbai. So I took him to Mulund. There were so many people and there was no special arrangement for him. Osho and I sat in the chair like other guests in hot atmosphere. The speakers on stage gave some speeches, after that some garlands, and the inauguration was over. Then some friends came and took Osho on the stage. After the ritual of ‘Introduction’ of Osho by the organizers, he gave a discourse on the subject “The Search for Truth” [Satya ki khoy] in Hindi in his unique style and spellbound the guests.” (Laheru 2012, p. 23)

1969
An event starting on February 13th 1969 for three days with speeches by Rajneesh had been organized in Gujarat, and in his first talk he started with the following words:

“My dear friends! The sun has just risen. I was viewing the sun when suddenly I saw two birds flying in the open sky where there is no path marked, no boundary wall, no limits and no footprints. Seeing them flying in the limitless sky I thought, ‘Doesn’t the human mind desire to fly like the birds? Doesn’t the human soul long for rising above all the limitations and breaking all the bindings? Doesn’t it long for going into the open sky where there are no walls, no limitations and where no footprint emerge?’
The name of that open sky is God, but people here get trapped in various bindings just after taking birth. Even if one is born independently, there have been very few people who can live and die independently. There is none whose soul wants to be dependant, but man starts to become dependent gradually.
The factors like -ism, community, religious books, principles, and the family are those bindings which are not visible, but they make the soul dependent. And if this dependence is struck on or some spiritual teacher tries to free him from the bindings, he protects his dependence and considers the spiritual teacher an enemy. An independent soul is required for a revolution in life. A soul trapped in a capsule, in words and in theories can not go through any revolution in life. Such people are unfortunate because they are barred from knowing what is hidden in life. They are deprived of the knowledge of the mystery, the delight, the music and the nature.” (Bhed 2006, p. 264)

In the evening he gave a speech on ‘Freedom from the crowd, the society and the others’, and on the 14th he was speaking on ‘Freedom from Suppression’ hammering once again on the holy books with their stories of angry and egoistic saints before he continued his tough journey.

“Acharyashree returned to Bombay from Gujrat. He gave an important speech on the topic ‘Students & Sex’ in the auditorium of the Bombay University on the 16th of February, 1969. He reached Junagarh on the 24th February after giving sermons in Nagpur, Nasik and Rajkot. There he started a meditation camp with the name ‘Exploring Truth’ from the next day. Guiding the meditators on the path of truth in this camp he returned to Jabalpur via Ahmedabad where many letters from his friends were waiting for him.” (Bhed 2006, p. 267)

In March a lecture was arranged at 4 p.m. at the DB Club in Jabalpur. The meeting is to be presided over by Brigadier R.S. Jaitley and is organized by Officer Shri B.L. Nag of the Gun Carriage Factory who later became Swami Advait Bharti. The  listeners are all eagerly waiting for Rajneesh to arrive, but he seems to be very late. Anyway at 3.59 sharp Rajneesh is arriving driving the car himself. When asked he told that Alok, the car driver, suddenly had caught a fever. Then Rajneesh decided to drive the car himself to the Club. On stage he asked Shri Jaitley about the topic on which he was to deliver his speech. Jaitley said, “Life today is so busy. How is it possible to seek God?”, later to be published in a Hindi booklet under the same title. (Bharti 2012, p. 257)

Another talk by Rajneesh was made at the Government Engineering College in Jabalpur on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Guru Nanak in the evening on December 22, 1969. Although in favour of Guru Nanak Devji the lecture is said to have been fiery and controversial and aimed against his followers who were challenged in their belief system, causing some Sikh students to use abusive language when Acharya Rajneesh left after the lecture. For technical reasons the recording of the lecture failed, and Ageh Bharti was encouraged by Rajneesh to reconstruct the entire lecture from his memory. What he could recollect was later printed in Yukrand magazine, but any help from Rajneesh in this respect was smilingly denied with the words: “When do I remember what I spoke?” (Bharti 2007, p. 172)

Speaking at The Theological College in Jabalpur in 1968 or 1969 the director of Ethiopia Radio Station at Jabalpur centre, Mr. Bhaskar Rao was present in the audience and he asked Rajneesh on the subject of God’s omnipresence, on the riverbanks as well as in the ocean. In his response Rajneesh said:

“When your eyes are closed, there is darkness, but if we open our eyes, there is light. The light does exist when eyes are closed but it is not visible. Similarly, God is everywhere but it is not a reality unless one has drowned deep. When one drowns, he realizes that it is everywhere. It is in the ocean as well as at the bank. Only ‘It’ is.’
‘After realization, even if one is drowned in the ocean, he is at the bank and vice-versa. There remains no difference between the bank and the ocean. Therefore, the real question is not about the existence of light. The real question is whether the eyes are open or closed. But the eyes open only on drowning in the ocean and ‘Samadhi’ is that ocean, the ‘Void’ is that ocean. Thought is the bank. Leaving the bank of thought is to dive into the ocean of ‘Samadhi’. And then one realizes that ‘It’ was even before, ‘It’ is even now. However, it is realized only when eyes are open.'” (Bharti 2007, p. 107)

Not only was Osho speaking at the Christian Leonard Theological College in Jabalpur but according to his own words he was even befriended with the principal and some of his associates:

“One great Christian theologian used to come to India often. His name was Stanley Jones. Generally he was the guest of the principal of a Christian college. The principal was my friend; that’s how I came to be acquainted with Stanley Jones. He had written many beautiful books, very beautiful. He was a man of tremendous scholarship.” The Rajneesh Upanishad #27

One evening some friends had come to Yogesh Bhavan where they were questioning Rajneesh: ‘During your discourse in Indore city, you told that there is no next life. Is there really no re-birth?’ Osho replied,

‘People misunderstand me many a time. There is rebirth certainly. I do not oppose this. When I say there is no next life, my intention is not to make the next life a basis for any of your actions.’

‘For example, some one may think that one should follow the maxim – eat, drink and be merry – in this life and search for God in the next, or that one should do good deeds in this life so that one’s next life is good.’
‘My emphasis is that present is all that is. Present is the only reality. The past is gone. Future has not yet come. What is present is the only truth. When I say there is rebirth then your habit of postponement gains strength. If man’s habit of postponement is broken, he can accomplish a lot. So, when I say there is no rebirth, my meaning is only this. Do not postpone things in the name of rebirth or next life.’ (Bharti 2007, p. 31)

Dr. Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel Prize laureate who had been admired by Rajneesh since childhood for his religious hymn Gijantali (Song Offerings), was among those who met Rajneesh in Jabalpur, and after the meeting he made the following interpretation of their sharing: ‘I am able to love God, because he gives me freedom to deny him.’ I feel very fortunate that I never found any point about which I could disagree. When I was near Him, I was not; my thought process ceases. Who can then disagree or agree? Just His presence made me meditative.’ (Bharti 2007, p. 33)

On another occasion when Ageh Bharti was seeing Rajneesh, some other visitors were also present, among them professor Gurunani from a college of Psychology who wanted Rajneesh to address the student community and the academia on My Vision on Psychiatry. They were also commenting on the meeting a few days ago at Shaheed Smarak Auditorium in Jabalpur which had gone well and attracted a large gathering. After they had left, Ageh Bharti stayed behind and told Rajneesh about his experiences while meditating. Earlier he had connected with peace and bliss during his meditations, but recently just death had come up. To this Rajneesh suggested nothing but acceptance:

‘Whatever is happening, accept it. Even if death comes, it has to be accepted. What can we do? We can’t stop the rising of the moon or the stars. We can’t stop our breathing. We can’t do a single thing. We have no control over anything. So even if death comes, what can you do? In fact, there is only one manly and courageous thing that one can do and that is – a total acceptance.
Whatever happens, accept it. Don’t try to escape from it. In fact, there is no way to escape and the fear is there, only because we try to escape. As one accepts, one becomes fearless. In fact, fear has no existence. Fear is a shadow of non-acceptance. For fifteen days, you practise acceptance and see what happens.’ (Bharti 2007, p. 34). (106)

When his work at the Department of Railways permitted – in those days he worked as a locomotive driver – Ageh Bharti used to accompany Acharya Rajneesh when touring for his lectures in different parts of the country. And those times when he could not go with him, Rajneesh was usually seen off by him when leaving Jabalpur by train from the railway station and Ageh Bharti also used to welcome him on his return. From Acharya Rajneesh’s maiden visit to Ludhiana in 1969 where he had another tight program to fulfil his impact on the listeners is recorded in details by Ageh Bharti:

“It was 7.30 a.m. Osho began his first Address. Osho was known for His punctuality at congregations. It was a big hall. As already stated, this was Osho’s first visit to Ludhiana but the hall got overcrowded and fell short to accommodate the congregation. After the lecture, Osho suggested the organisers that the evening meeting followed by others should be held on the open ground, just opposite the hall.
In the afternoon of August 3 and 4, friends and lovers were blessed with the opportunity to see Osho in person.
In the evening, Osho delivered His lecture at 8.30 p.m. on the open ground known as Direshi Ground. Around 40.000 people have gathered to listen to the radical thinker. Hearing Him, people appeared as if they were in a spell. They were deeply fascinated.
Next morning, He addressed the public on the same ground for an hour. It was a huge gathering indeed! All eyes were glued with euphoria, joy and love for Him.
Later at 10 a.m., He addressed the students of Arya College. The whole area around the college turned into a big parking bay of cars, motorbikes, and scooters. The auditorium of the college was massive, but it was packed to capacity. Hundreds of students stood outside to listen. I never saw anybody to have heard with such rapt attention. The massive gathering appeared to have been transported to a different world.
The evening meeting took place on the same ground. In spite of the huge gathering, there was absolute silence – a moving phenomenon to witness. It was felt as if the whole existence has come to a standstill. Osho’s discourses touched the hearts of the audience so deeply that many people went deeply anguished with tears of love and joy.
In the evening, Osho arrived and occupied His seat, I addressed the public about the Yukrand magazine to raise funds through advertisements and annual subscriptions. It was felt as if Osho’s great blessings were being showered on me in the process.
August 5, 1969. Time: Morning Hrs. Osho addressed another gathering on the Direshi Ground. He delivered another talk with punch and fun in the Agriculture University campus…
At 3 p.m., the intelligentsia of the city like professors, judges, and advocates were invited for a meeting wherein they posed questions to Osho. Around 100 people assembled there. After listening to Osho, all of them were outshining with the aura on their faces.
The evening talk of August 5 was the last talk in Ludhiana…
Time: 10.30 p.m. We were at the railwaystation. Hundreds of lovers and admirers bade goodbye to Osho. Many friends from neighbouring cities like Jalandhar, Amritsar and Chandigarh who stayed for those three days in hotels and guesthouses were seen at the station. Friends presented garlands to Osho. The train chugged out slowly…” (Bharti 2007, p. 57)

On his way from Ahmedabad to Jabalpur Osho answers questions in Laheru’s residence in Bombay on esoteric subjects and later he talks in the music room of Kalyani’s, the famous musician and member of Jeevan Jagruti Kendra in Bombay, on the subjects ‘Individual Freedom’ and ‘We and Our Expectations’.

Osho was lecturing in Chennai (Madras) with an interpreter into Tamil as remembered by Laherubhai: “Thus, from July 20, 1969 to July 22, 1969, a friend called Nanubhai Bhatt had arranged Osho’s discourses at Chennai in South India and invited him there. Osho accepted the invitation. Osho and I reached Chennai by flight. Nanubhai Bhatt had come to receive Osho at Chennai airport and there they were introduced to each other…Osho’s discourses were held at three different places in Chennai. Osho would talk in Hindi and one person would translate it into Tamil simultaneously. Large number of people attended. These discourses could not be recorded.” (Laheru 2012, p. 38)

Still preserved on audiotape is a symposium talk including questions and answers for artists coming from Bombay to his residence now at Kamla Nehru Nagar in Jabalpur (See Appendix). Among the topics dealt with in this session are the spiritual journey of Osho, the responsibility of parents towards children and marriage & society.

The former freedom fighter Seth Govind Das had by now become an M.P. and it seems he had introduced quite a few ministers and politicians to Rajneesh. In general their concern was not meditation at all, but more likely they were looking for some leader figure, and also they wanted to come forward with their own personal and professional problems. For some time Rajneesh had been considering how to get rid of this kind of followers and when returning to Jabalpur after a journey to Srinagar and Kashmir, he got an opportunity to address this matter. Members of the Congress Committee invited him to speak on the 5th of October 1969 on the occasion of Gandhi’s centennial birth celebration, and he gladly accepted the invitation as he saw a possibility to do some necessary weeding among his followers.

On the day for the celebration in Jabalpur The Martyrs Memorial Building at Gol Bazar (Shaheed Smarak Bhawan) was fully packed, and also outside the building nearly two thousand people were standing to attend the centennial celebration, not the least due to the announcement that Rajneesh would speak on Gandhi at the end of the celebration. Congress leaders and a deputy minister in the Madhya Pradesh government had come with other politicians to attend the function, and Rajneesh’s invitation had been promoted by Seth Govind Das and the regional deputy minister who were both his followers, but some other politicians had the feeling that he was going to criticise Gandhi. We have here to keep in mind the respect for Gandhi shown by Rajneesh earlier and make a clear distinction when Acharya Rajneesh was criticising Gandhi and his ideology and when it was Gandhi’s followers and their cunning minds he was hammering.

Having listened to the various speeches on Gandhi – Father of the nation, freedom fighter, idol of truth, promoter of ahimsa – Rajneesh was welcomed with loud handclapping from the audience when at last he stood up to speak and he started with these provoking words, not on Gandhi but on Gandhism:

“So far as Gandhi’s character is concerned, I admire his simplicity, truthfulness, honesty, lovingness and courage. I give him very much respect, but on this occasion we need to think over Gandhism. But a Gandhian is nervous to think that all the blank patches of its 20 years old history will be unveiled if people start thinking over it. He adopted Khadi following Gandhism and spins thread on the spinning wheel (chakra) applauding Gandhiji. He invokes Gandhiji in all the matters, but his own character is faulty and hypocritical. He has exploited people befooling them in the name of Gandhism. He has made the nation poor filling his own treasure…
Gandhiism honoured poverty by dignifying it as ‘Daridra Narayan’ (the poor as God). As a result people were satisfied in themselves considering poverty as an honour. They never tried to make money. The concept of ‘Plain living and high thinking’ stopped the development of the country…The Gandhians are submerged upto the brim in corruption fulfilling their suppressed temptations with the demise of Gandhiji. All the ideals have gone away. Therefore it is very necessary today to think over Gandhism. It has damaged the nation a lot and now we have to be cautious so that it can not do so any more.” (Bhed 2006, p. 284)

Now some shouting was heard from the Gandhians present as Rajneesh was about to conclude his one hour long sermon, and more confusion arose when out of a sudden Rajneesh was accused of abusing Gandhi by a local politician who had seized the microphone. Finally the meeting had to be dissolved, and at its reopening on the following day – now without Rajneesh’s participation – only 50-60 people came to attend that meeting. The criticism of Gandhi was a hot issue in the papers and magazines for quite some time, and as Rajneesh continued to speak on this topic in his sermon at Ahmedabad, the government of Gujarat took the opportunity to cancel a request he had put forward at that time for the allotment of some land in Ahmedabad for his hermitage and ashram. Later in the Poona phase – and certainly also in Oregon – we will again see the authorities’ reluctance to comply with his needs for moving to more spacious locations and properties for his movement. Still it looks like it was a Gandhian who first introduced Rajneesh to Poona where his ashram was to flower in the 1970s:

“I was brought to Poona for the first time by a man who was a close contact of Mahatma Gandhi, Rishabhdas Ranka. Mahatma Gandhi’s basic theme was that all religions are equal, although it was not his practice; it was only theoretical, verbiage. And Rishabhdas Ranka lived in his ashram, so he was very much influenced by his ideas that all religions are equal. He was by birth a Jaina…” Zen: The Mystery and the Poetry of the Beyond #5

Osho’s compassion included also those opponents who were interrupting his lectures: “I have been fortunate enough to witness Osho in various occasions, sometimes the occasions were very dangerous when His meetings were disturbed. But He remained calm and compassionate even towards opponents. In those moments, Osho’s innocence and spontaneity have been worth seeing. Well, one such occasion I could recall when Osho spoke on Mahatma Gandhi at Jabalpur.” (Bharti 2007, p. 90)

It turned out that some offender who had encouraged Rajneesh also to mention some good things about Gandhi after the lecture had been beaten himself by some unknown people. On the following day when Rajneesh was told about this he felt sad and summoned his people to take care that such things would not occur. It was to earn a bad reputation not only to the friends of Rajneesh, but he himself could not accept such actions as it was too much to him to witness.

Rajneesh’s speeches on Gandhi made the khadi wearing Gandhians detach themselves definitively from his entourage, which was in fact his deliberate intention, and from now on Rajneesh himself also changed his daily style of dressing and stopped wearing khadi clothes. The role of Gandhians in India is a major theme in the history of the country and is briefly laid out by Varma:

“No sooner had he died, and even during his lifetime, than his followers betrayed his Spartan code of living. They wore the homespun khadi that he wore, and paid copious amounts of lip service to his ideals, but took to the opportunities of the good life effortlessly. Mahatma Gandhi’s triumph was the independence of India. His failure was the subsequent rejection of Gandhism. The personal austerity that Gandhi propagated found very few takers, for the same reason that socialism found very few believers. Both went against the grain of the way Indians are. Nehru’s personal faith in socialism spawned a vast and unproductive hypocrisy. During his years as prime minister (1947-64), and for more than two decades after that, socialism became an article of faith to be breached in practice and praised in theory.” (Varma 2005, p. 81)

Already in a previous lecture Osho had made his points clear concerning Gandhi, on July 19th in Bombay: Where are the Gandhians? And in Jabalpur he had made a start in English in a lecture for the group Anup-Pur (Shahdel M.P.) at his residence Kamla Nehru Nagar on the subject Life & Sex. The preserved lecture was delivered in Hindi with a part in English. (107)

1970
Ageh Bharti reports from Osho’s second visit to Ludhiana in 1970: “Osho visited Ludhiana for the second time in March 1970 for three days. Kapil hosted Him. I am fortunate to be with Osho again. Daily around 40.000 people gathered for Osho’s lectures on the same Direshi ground. First morning, only 40-45 people attended the meditation course but the next day, around one thousand five hundred people attended the meditation program. Osho was invited to speak in the degree college and Universities. The whole city is charged with divine energy and everywhere people are talking of Osho with great enthusiasm. A special talk is arranged in the extension library auditorium where entrance is restricted only to the members of lions, rotary and such other clubs along with some VIP’s and dignitaries. (Bharti 2007, p. 97)

At this second time in Ludhiana Rajneesh was requested to address the student community at Government Degree College for Women. Before his speech the principal in her office asked Rajneesh to speak in a manner that the student would not have to ask their professors embarrassing questions later, as had been the case after his first visit. At this, Osho spoke impatiently, “It is not possible for me to speak in a way that questions are not raised by students. In fact, the purpose of my speaking is to make them raise questions. So I am not going to speak here.” (Bharti 2007, p. 99). Hearing this the principal apologized and pleaded Rajneesh, already on his feet ready to leave, to stay and deliver his lecture. Rajneesh agreed and gave a radical speech in the auditorium much appreciated by the attending female students.

The scene of departure at Ludhiana Ralwaystation can be vividly imagined when reading Ageh Bharti’s narration: “1970, March 24. Time: 11 p.m. There were hundreds of people at the railway station [in Ludhiana] to give a send off to Osho. The most beautiful thing that happens near Osho is indescribable. People’s overflowing love through tears, silent prayerful hearts, their bright eyes, their blissfulness, their unexpressed dance, their laughter, their feelings of gratitude, all that is beyond the capacity of words and this is what is seen at the railway station.” (Bharti 2007, p. 97)

On his numerous following visits to Ludhiana next to Direshi Ground Acharya Rajneesh also spoke at localities like The Agriculture University, Arya College, Degree College for Women, Extension Library Auditorium and Khalsa School. During the first visit to Ludhiana his host was Mr. Gill, Senior Superintendent of Police, and on his second and third visit in March and August 1970 the industrialist Mr. Kapil Mohan Chandok was his host.

Whenever he was lecturing Rajneesh was a source of controversy, and slowly it dawned upon him that some changes had to me made for the future arrangement for his speeches to his followers. His move to Bombay on July 1st 1970 is his chosen decision to break the fatiguing pattern of constant travel and lecturing in different places. He was obviously tired of people coming for spiritual entertainment, and to waste his energy and time on crowds who were in no way ready to listen.

“This is one of the greatest problems of the mystics: “Who can I tell about this, who will understand?”
I was traveling in this country for fifteen years, day in, day out, year in, year out, talking to thousands of people. Slowly, slowly I became aware that I was talking to walls. These people could not understand what I was saying. They could hear, but they could not listen. The words reached them but the meaning was left behind. I tried in every way, but it was impossible. Then I had to decide to stay in one place and only to talk to those few who really wanted to understand – and not only to understand, but who were ready to be transformed.
Once I was talking on Krishna in a meeting, and people were sitting with their backs towards me, talking with each other, gossiping – their backs towards me! That was the last day, the last straw on the camel. In the middle I left. The president of the meeting said, “Where are you going?” I said, “I am going forever! I am finished with these stupid people. I am talking about Krishna, they have invited me to talk to them, and nobody seems to listen.”
I have been moving in the masses for years. I have not decided in a hurried way to drop out of the mob – I saw that it was absolutely absurd: you go on talking to people who are not ready to listen; you go on talking to people who are not seekers, who are not in any search; you go on talking to people who have come just for entertainment. Why should I waste my energy and time? I tried in every way to be available to bigger crowds, but then I found it was impossible. They come here as an entertainment, and they hear through one ear and from the other it is lost…
I looked into thousands of people, and I found that only a very few are there who will take the seed to the heart, who will become soil to it, who will absorb it. And others are just curiosity-mongers, just entertaining themselves. Maybe the entertainment is religious, but it is meaningless.
Politicians started becoming afraid. They cannot tolerate anybody who has power over millions of people. It was difficult for politicians to collect a few people to listen to them, and I was speaking before a hundred thousand people or two hundred thousand people.
Shoes have been thrown at me, stones have been thrown at me. I am speaking, and in the crowd a band is playing so nobody can hear what I am saying. Poison has been given me twice, to kill me. And the last thing before I left was an attempt on my life.” (Urmila 2007, p. 155)

The quote is an authentic account of his experiences while being on the road year after year from his base in Jabalpur, the large gatherings of people he met – although here exaggerated in number of listeners – and the hardship to be encountered when speaking to crowds of people seeking entertainment and nothing more. It seems that his discourses on Krishna in early 1970 was the tipping point for him to change the setting to the metropolis of Bombay with its large number of potential followers, and a more calm daily scene with time for both reading and addressing those chosen few who were ready to listen. So his move to Bombay signalled the end of his traveling phase, but not of his meditation camps which were to be continued until his next move to Poona in 1974.

One of the last speeches to be delivered in Jabalpur was a lecture at Jabalpur University 31st March, 1970. The lecture was titled What is Rebellion and addressed to the students and an audience of outside guests. (108)

In June 1970 just a few days before Osho moved to Bombay three students of Government Engineering College made an appointment for a photo session and came to see him. For a whole hour they made Rajneesh dance to their tune: Sitting here and there, shooting while signing photos, plucking dry leaves off the plants in the garden, lying in complete sleeping posture (Shavasana), and even when finally they lighted a candle and requested him to read in the candlelight he obeyed their command. He played it all very simple during the session, and we may wonder where those photos are today. (See photo)

In Jabalpur Ageh Bharti used any opportunity to make people he met aware of Rajneesh’s existence. So while Acharya Rajneesh was living in Yogesh Bhavan in Napier Town, Bharti had been reading his published books to his friend Dr. B.G. Awasthi in his clinic, who later made an appointment to see Rajneesh in his residence. Dr. Bijlani, the railway divisional medical officer and chairman of Jeevan Jagriti Kendra, and three more friends happened to arrive also at the same occasion to listen to Rajneesh’s talks. When they had left, Bharti asked Acharya Rajneesh if there was any higher state than the one he was in. Rajneesh answered instantly and spontaneously, “No, there is no higher state than this.’ (Bharti 2007, p. 127)

And how Osho worked to make this state of consciousness known to his seekers by means of the printed word, and his understanding of the limitations of bookish transmission, we will get to know in the following chapter on his publishing.

2.8 First Printed Booklets

With his words Osho had reached out to audiences in ever new places, with the location’s physical premises often as the only limitation on the number of listeners for his lecturing. From early on the realisation was there, that also printed media and new audio- and visual technology had to be used for the dissemination of his message, and as we will see in the next chapters we are to witness a snowball effect which in years to come would tumble down the mountain with a steady flow of lectures, discourses and darshan diaries in its slip stream. This all proved to be quite a challenge to the discipline of bibliographic control. How to map this whole field of publications, in various languages, in various media, with their title changes and a constant stream of new editions, each edited according to the interest of the publisher and marketed at various segments of readers? And we will repeatedly experience the publishing of a few of his lectures in a certain booklet, only to be reprinted with some more lectures and an alternate title a few years later.

The difficulties in bibliographic control dealing with his early published booklets are to be measured against the bulk of unrecorded lectures delivered all over India never to be included in a publication. In the 1950s a tape recorder was not part of Osho’s gear when travelling by train, and only occasionally someone in the audience took the opportunity to write down in slow hand what was being spoken. A phenomenon which Rajneesh himself did criticize on more than one occasion: When you are listening to me, be like a sponge, and do not waste your time on taking notes and bringing in your mind:

“In India I had continuously to tell people, “Please stop taking notes because you are destroying the whole atmosphere. I am not a professor and this is not a class, and when I am speaking and you are taking notes, you can’t hear me. You are concentrated on taking notes; you will miss many significant things.” Listening to me, sitting relaxed, suddenly a deep relaxation happens inside, and something that you have forgotten…” Beyond Psychology (Talks in Uruguay) #24

Still quite a number of his early lectures not recorded in full were to be found paraphrased in issues of the magazines Jyoti Shikka and Yukrant published from Jabalpur and Bombay. When Rajneesh started publishing his speeches in mid-20th century it was in an India with a rich literary tradition and a considerable bookmaking industry. Many of the publishers were but very small, with an annual average of 20 published books, and of all books published in India 50% were textbooks at that time. (109)

“The twentieth century saw a rapid growth of printing and publishing in India, though the book trade is still largely unorganized. The Indian Book Trade and Library Directory, 1950-51, lists about four thousand printers, thirty-seven hundred publishers and booksellers, and one thousand Indian newspapers and periodicals. According to Government of India statistics, 6,570 newspapers were in existence on December 31, 1956, of which 476 were dailies. The total number of books published in India now is estimated to be around 50,000 a year.” (Ramakrishna 1961, p. 140)

A complete and reliable bibliographic record of Osho’s early virgin prints is accordingly hard to compile as the preservation as well as registration of these early booklets are rather incomplete, and they are not included in the Indian National Bibliography (INB) until 1965 due to their limited number of pages. So here we use the term virgin prints to cover those early booklets of Osho not registered in the Indian National Bibliography, and we may very well prepare ourselves for some incomplete bibliographic entries hopefully to be corrected and supplemented by the readers of this essay. And it is beyond any doubt that Osho very much cherished his old publications from Jabalpur and Bombay:

“You are asking me, that I have said that my old books are not important…You want to divide me in two parts – my old books, and my present message to you – so that you can choose. I will not allow you such a convenient way.
My old books are immensely important. Unless you understand them, you will not be able to understand me. But remember, it is a constant flow and change, so don’t be bothered with inconsistencies, contradictions.
If you go on, soon you will be able to find the truth. And once the truth is revealed, all contradictions and inconsistencies dissolve. Then you can see, crystal-clear, that it is a single message from the roots to the flower. It is a single organism.” From the False to the Truth #11

Osho has commented on the many mistakes in translation work done in the early period in the late 1960s, from Hindi to other Indian languages and from Hindi into English as well:

“The work that has happened so far on the books is better than nothing happening at all. It is not something that has yet become what it ought to be – and it could not have become so yet. Friends who felt love for the work started doing something. They were neither literary people nor writers. Those who came out of love also did some translation work. That translation too was only a symbol of their love; it is not that they had some great qualification for doing it. But had they not done it, it would not have happened. Because they did it, this idea can arise today that something better should be done…
And every center can work in this direction, because I am speaking so much that it is beyond the capacity of the Mumbai center alone to cope with publishing everything. The amount I speak in a month – on various subjects, on various topics – no one center can handle alone. The Mumbai center is coping with it, coping beyond its capacity…
Every place should care for this work; every center should care for this work. Whenever you can manage to publish them, publish them. Gujarati publications in Gujarat, that is good; Marathi publications in Maharashtra, that is good; Hindi publications in the Hindi region will be best. There is nothing in the way of this. Whichever friend wants to do something by himself, even privately, should do it…
One friend translated my words into English. His translation could not have been right. Other people also told me that his translation was not right. I said, “But none of the people whose translations can be right ever say to me that they will translate something! This man says he can, so let him do it. When someone who translates correctly comes and says he wants to translate, I will let him translate. Right now, I let whoever comes do it. Just look at this poor man’s courage! He doesn’t know much English and yet he is translating.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #6

Sarlo is offering his understanding of Osho’s early talks in Hindi: “Osho’s Hindi books offer a lot of unique content not found in the English books. For starters, he talked on many figures more or less unknown outside Indian culture, but beyond that, his mannerisms, cadence and other aspects of delivery were very different. He used notes for his jokes in English discourses but had his Hindi listeners rolling on the floor without using any notes. And it is worth mentioning that his Hindi audience could be considered generally more sophisticated regarding philosophical matters, so more nuance and subtlety was there in that area, and perhaps less subtlety in “psychological” matters.” (110)

“Recently one friend translated something, but I didn’t like it. He had translated The Perfect Way, but it was not a good translation. One thing was that he translated it in an Eastern way – just like Eastern scholars would, just as one would translate ancient scriptures like the Puranas. He translated it into archaic English. It did not feel good. And then he also made some fundamental mistakes. In many places the meaning became completely the opposite of what I had said. So that translation had to be stopped, it was not allowed to be sold. But the book had already reached some places.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #8

And from early on his love and care for the design and quality of the books with his message were evident, and we can follow his ongoing involvement in the improvement of his books. For the rest of his life, in fact:

“All the publishing work could be done there too [at the centres]. I have a vision for each and every thing. I have a vision for the smallest of matters of life. For instance, I cannot call the way the books are printed “printing”! If we had our own printing press, if we organized it ourselves, then the printing would also be an art. If you look at a Japanese book about meditation, just looking at the book you will enter into meditation. You will read the book afterwards, but as you start looking at it and turning the pages you will feel that you have started to become silent. The books should be this artistic, created in this manner. The moment a book is in someone’s hands, it should touch them.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #7

Virgin Prints

From Osho’s own words we have a first indication. “My first book was published in 1960.” Beyond Psychology (Talks in Uruguay) #16. This is most likely a reference to the booklet published when Osho participated as a speaker in Taran Taran Jayanti in Jabalpur 1960. But as we will see there are many more and even older early booklets to be included in his bibliographic record.

Osho’s first public speech was delivered already in 1953, at the annual function – Jayanti – of the Jain saint Taran Taran. It was not liked by some of the orthodox Jains present, so he was not invited by this sect until 1960, but from then on and up to his move to Bombay in 1970 he was regularly addressing this annual Jain function. These talks at Taran Taran Jayanti and at other religious conferences have been described in the previous section: Religious Conferences.

As early as from 1955 and onwards some virgin Hindi pamphlets by Rajneesh were published by Jain publishers in Jabalpur, with one booklet being published every year, among these the Hindi first edition of The Science of Transformation. These pamphlets with Rajneesh’s studies and message were distributed among the participants at the annual religious conferences – Sarva Dharma Sammelan [All Religions’ Conferences] – where Rajneesh gave talks and occasionally presided. (111)

In Jabalpur, when he was a professor in the mid-60’s, Osho had told Urmila to take down notes of what he was saying from the couch in his library. Next day he would approve the formulations. The period documented is January 1966 – February 1967. Osho took the manuscript to Jeevan Jagruti Kendra, Bombay, and the first Hindi edition of Urmila’s Shanti ki Khoj (In Search of Peace; The Inward Journey) was published in 1970. According to Urmila, the seeds of all that was to follow in the years to come are contained in his three early booklets Kranti Beej, Sadhana Path and Sinhanad. (112)

This indication of Osho’s early core publications from an Indian insider may differ from some Western general perceptions, which has been put forward also by the present administration in Poona, but they emphasise that in the future we need to deal with Osho’s early publications at some length and depth as they may not be too well known by his readers in the West:

“The manifestos here [pre-Bombay] are From Sex to Superconsciousness and Roots and Wings.(Gussner 1993, p. 49)

Not all of his mystic wisdom is to be found in printed books, but some insights have been transmitted only to chosen seekers present, which is another phenomenon to be considered when trying to map Osho’s bibliographic record of public speaking.

“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

Also Ahimsa Darshan (1966) claims to be one of the earliest Hindi booklets, and its English translation is one of the first booklets to be printed with Rajneesh’s words in English: Philosophy of Non-Violence (1968), published by Sundarlal Jain at Motilal Banarsidass in Delhi. A 33-page printed leaflet, apparently with the text starting right on its front page, dealing with fearlessness, salvation from the self and courage as prerogatives for a spiritual life. All for just 3.00 Rupees, and its Hindi edition 1966 could be bought for 40 paisa only. The booklets message is in line with Rajneesh’s yearlong dedication to Gandhi’s ahimsa (non-violence) philosophy for promotion of civil rights, and disheartening relevant for an India with its communal riots between Hindu and Muslim citizens, clashes Rajneesh himself had witnessed in Jabalpur at Jadeharganj Market in 1962. Excerpts:

“Fearlessness is the first condition for the life of spiritualism. One who cannot take courage to that, cannot dive deep into his own self. The courage which is required for going alone in dark nights, in darkness and in unknown and fierce path, a greater courage than that is required to go into the self, because it breaks the sweet dreams which one has built up about his own self and because as one has to face such ugly and condemnable sins from which one has taken himself to be entirely free…
From fearlessness non-violence flows.
One reaches the state of meditation through the self. But on reaching that state, the self and the non-self disappear. That difference was due to thought. Meditation is beyond difference and dualism. It has no difference, no twos. Just as the lamp-thread burns the lamp-oil and ultimately also burns up itself, similarly the self, after getting free from the non-self, becomes free itself. The salvation of the self is also salvation from the self.
Meditation is God incarnate. From realization of God, godly conduct emanates. The centre of godly conduct, truth and its circumference is non-violence. In meditation, there grow the flowers of truth and fragrance of non-violence.” Philosophy of Non-Violence, pp. i & 33

Passive resistance by mass action against British authority had been spearheaded by Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) in his article The Object of Passive Resistance (1907), but Gandhi’s own basis for non-violence is to be found in a famous article The Doctrine of the Sword written by Gandhi in 1928, where he says: “I am not a visionary. I claim to be a practical idealist. The religion of non-violence is not meant merely for the Rishis and saints. It is meant for the common people as well. Non-violence is the law of our species as violence is the law of the brute. The spirit lies dormant in the brute and he knows no law but that of physical might. The dignity of man requires obedience to a higher law – to the strength of the spirit…
And so I am not pleading for India to practise non-violence because it is weak. I want her to practise non-violence being conscious of her strength and power…I want India to recognise that she has a soul that cannot perish, and that can rise triumphant above any physical weakness and defy the physical combination of a whole world.”

The following essential booklets in Hindi were according to Nikalank among the titles published in Jabalpur before 1965: Jivan darshan (Philosophy of Life. 10 letters), Naye sannyas (Neo-sannyas), Amrut kan (Nectar Particles), Yuvak aur sex (Youth and Sex). (113)

Some other booklets published in Hindi during the 1960s by Jeevan Jagriti Kendra in Bombay were the following discourse series from meditation camps, praised by Sanjay and Manu, both in Multimedia, Poona: Naye Manushya ke Jivan ki Disha (The Birth of a New Man), Surya ki Ore Udan (Flight Towards the Sun), Path ke Pradeep (Light on the Path), Mitti ke Diye (The Earthen Lamps). (114)

According to Ageh Bharti the following titles were published in Hindi in 1969 or before that year: “In the name of books at present, there are ‘Kranti Beej’, ‘Sadhana Path’, ‘Mitti Ke Diye’, ‘Singhnad’, ‘Main Kaun Hoon’ and two booklets ‘Naye Manushya Ke Janam Ki Disha’ and ‘Ahinsa Darshan’. (Bharti 2007, p. 40)

And similar we find in Prasad’s Acharya Rajneesh. Samanwaya, Vishleshan aur Samsiddi (1969, p. 215) a listing of early translations into English also available from stalls and bookshops in 1969: Path of Self Realization (4.00), Seeds of Revolutionary Thoughts (4.50), Philosophy of Non-Violence (0.80), Who Am I? (6.00), Earthen Lamps (4.50), Wings of Love & Random Thoughts (3.50) and The Mysteries of Life and Death (4.00).

Who Am I? was translated from the Hindi by Dayanand Bhargava and published by Motilal Banarsidass in 1968, with a second revised edition 1973. It is a most comprehensive compilation edited by Miss Margaret Poss with seventeen translated lectures from Jabalpur. The lectures included in its second edition are listed in Contents: Who Am I?, What is Dharma, Religious Faith in the Fire of Science, The Science of Man, Freedom from Thought for the Birth of Thoughts, Let Us Live and Know, The Aim of Education, The Right to the Property of Life, The Process of Meditation, The Unknown Roots of Life, What is Non-Violence, The Direction of Happiness, Ask and Receive, God is Love, Morality Fear and Love, The Meaning of Non-Violence and I Teach Death.

Some of Osho’s rare early books were rewritten in Poona in the 1970s and their translation into English improved by Krishna Prem. On this editing work he is telling us in his Osho, India and Me (Allanach 2010):

“Initially, his work in the commune was editing – rewriting Osho books that had been translated into English by Indian editors and, as a result, were often difficult for Westerners to read and understand. The titles he rewrote, include From Sex to Superconsciousness (published by Rebel Publishing, India), The Pefect Way, Pointing the Way and The Long and the Short and the All (all published by Motilal Banarsidas, India).” (Allanach 2010, p. 254)

On Osho’s early publishing we know that sales were rather limited and some tricks had to be used to promote his books: “His earlier books were published by Sushima Sahitya Mandir Jabalpur and the members of Jeevan Jagriti Kendra of Jabalpur were doing their best to make the publicity, but the sales were very very nominal. Acharya Rajneesh enquired from the members of Jeevan Jagriti Kendra Jabalpur, “What is the progress of sale? I am still seeing the heaps of books here. The sale of books at meditation camps is not enough. They should reach the ordinary people also.”
One of the members said, “The city booksellers are not ready to sell them. I had left some copies in two booksellers’, but after two weeks both insisted that “You please take these books, we are helpless to sell them.””
Acharya Shree smiled and advised them to apply the formula of George Bernard Shaw. He himself explained, “When Bernard Shaw himself published his first play (book) then he used to go to booksellers in different dresses again & again and ask them to give that particular book, which is so popular and had created a typhoon in literary world, and the writer of that play is George Bernard Shaw. He used to say that many leading organizations are making arrangements for its show very soon. Then he used to give his own address, from where the books could be collected. By advertising so, in few months there had been a great demand of these books and all books of that edition were sold in three months”.
He further said, “If you want that by reading my books, people feel ecstasy and they start meditation and get inner light, then you have to apply all such type of methods, so that these books may reach to people in general. This is the age of advertisement, so from tomorrow all you people should start this agenda, because you are all the publishers, printers and distributors of these books.” This incident was told by Osho himself in one of his sermons of Rajneesh Bible.” (115) (On these early talks see also section on Compilations in Bibliography)

Sadhana Path (Path to Self-Realization)

Rajneesh’s first publication for a wider audience in Hindi was Sadhana Path containing Rajneesh’s lectures from his first meditation camp – which he called a Sadhana Camp – in Ranakpur, Rajasthan, held in June 1964. According to the Indian National Bibliography in its 1965 annual volume this first edition was published by Jivan Jagriti Sangh from Bombay in December 1964. The editor is not mentioned in this very first entry of a publication by Osho in INB, but the book is on 152 pages and in a note is mentioned that the Appendices at the end include the philosophical questions with their replies. Arvind Kumar Jain as his secretary typed Sadhna Path from Rajneesh’s handwritten paper manuscript in Hindi, but the manuscript itself is not known to have been preserved. Osho made the proofreading himself and also corrected from the typesetting. (116)

“Ranakpur Meditation Camp becomes a landmark in Osho’s work because, for the first time, his discourses and meditations are recorded and published in a book, Path to Self-Realization, which is widely acclaimed in India. Osho later said that this book contains his whole teaching which have never altered. (It is reprinted as The Perfect Way).” (Urmila 2007, p. 149; Sarito 2000, p. 225)

This discourse series was the first one to be recorded on audio-tape and later published in English as The Path of Self-Realization (1966), also with an alternate title as Path to Self Realisation (1971), and later again titled The Perfect Way (1979). It contained ten discourses translated from Hindi, and the discourses originated as mentioned from his first meditation camp held in Ranakpur, Rajasthan, 3.6.1964 – 8.6.1964. With lectures in the morning and a session with his answering of questions from the participants in the evening session. Some sources claim that parts from Sadhana Path are included in Pointing the Way (1979), but this seems not to be the case.

Among the early publications rewritten and improved by Krishna Prem in Poona 1977 is the translation of The Perfect Way due to a somewhat inadequate first translation into English by T.V. Parameswar Iyer. In his Osho, India and Me (Allanach 2010) Krishna Prem tells us how he got this assignment, quoting first Laxmi and then Rajneesh from a darshan in the evening of the very same day:

“The following afternoon she passes me another Indian-English gem, The Path of Self Realisation. “His first camp,” is all she says, “1964. In the hills of Rajasthan.”
“It was my first camp,” he continues, settling back in his chair, re-crossing his legs. “It was held in Rajasthan in 1964. And they hired a professional translator to do the book in English. But he was a South Indian and he didn’t speak Hindi very well. Besides, he never met me. He didn’t know me.”
He suddenly leans forward again and fixes me with a look of an intensity that takes me aback after the casual way in which he has been speaking. “You do what you want with it, Krishna Prem,” he says. You know me.” (Allanach 2010, p. 161)

In the introduction to his rewriting of the first English edition, Krishna Prem writes in May 1977: “Wake up! You are not who you think you are! This is the call of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. It is the daily morning reveille at his Ashram in Poona; it is the call he has been making for over twenty years.

“The Perfect Way” is early-Rajneesh, 1964. Thirteen years ago. The discourses and question-and-answer sessions in this volume came out of his first testing of a new idea, the meditation camp. He envisaged an intensive programme lasting several days and allowing seekers to dive totally into an atmosphere of meditation. That initial camp was held in early June in a quiet spot in the hills of Rajasthan, and Bhagwan has used the camp format ever since. At the Rajneesh Foundation Ashram in Poona one ten-days camp is held every month…But no matter how hard they resisted the Truth or how hard or how subtly we resist it now Bhagwan kept on and keeps on calling. 15.000 words a day. 105.000 words a week. 5.500.000 words a year.” The Perfect Way (1979), p. vii

The English translations of Sadhana Path have seen title changes from Path of Self-Realization to Path to Self Realization and finally The Perfect Way (See Bibliography). In her Introduction to the paperback edition from Rajneeshpuram July 1984 Ma Deva Sarito writes:

“It is June 3, 1964, and a group of people have gathered in a secluded retreat in the hills of Rajasthan, India. Few, if any can imagine they are participating in an event which will prove to be the first seed of a revolutionary experiment in the flowering of human consciousness – one which will eventually transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people over the world…This book is page after page of blue sky.” The Perfect Way (1984), p. vi

Her Introduction has been amended in the revised edition 2001 where she also writes: “When the second prime minister [Morarji Desai] of India traveled to Russia, a copy of The Perfect Way was in his hands. Then there was a ninety-year-old lifetime seeker’s comment when he stumbled upon The Perfect Way: “All my learning of the scriptures was futile, only this small book is enough.”” The Perfect Way (2001), p. ix

On the cover notes for the Motilal Banarsidass edition in 1979 we can read: “These discourses are the outcome of Shree Rajneesh’s first testing of a new idea, the meditation camp, envisaging an intensive programme lasting several days, which enabled the seekers to dive totally into an atmosphere of meditation…He shocks, seduces, stuns, soothes, spanks, spins spicy and sensational stories and sends his disciples spiralling into incredible spaces – and incredible growth. The Perfect Way is among the clearest, cleanest and most concise collections of Bhagwan’s words.”

Before presenting his two maxims – Live in the present and Live naturally – Osho begins and later finishes his welcome speech to the participants with the words:

“I see man engulfed in deep darkness. He has become like a house whose lamp has been snuffed out on a dark night. Something in him has been extinguished. But a lamp that has been extinguished can be relit.
I see as well that man has lost all direction. He has become like a boat that has lost its way on the high seas. He has forgotten where he wants to go and what he wants to be. But the memory of what has been forgotten can be reawakened in him…
Now the night is well advanced and the sky is filled with stars. The trees and the valleys have gone to sleep. Let us also go to sleep now. How quiet and silent it all is! Let us also merge into this peacefulness. In deep sleep, in dreamless sleep we go to the very place where God dwells. This is the spontaneous, non-conscious samadhi that nature has bestowed upon us. With the help of this Sadhana Camp we can also reach the same destination. But then we will be conscious and aware. This is the difference and it is a great difference indeed. In the former we are asleep; in the latter we are wide awake.
Let us now retire into sleep with the hope that we will attain samadhi. When our hopes are accompanied by determination and right-endeavour they are bound to be fulfilled.
May God guide us along the path. This is my only prayer.” The Perfect Way (1979), p. 1

Later editions (2001ff) have been edited according to an revised policy for editing Osho, leaving considerable room for future hermeneutic study of Osho’s texts. The discourses are now considered timeless and need no identification in space and time, so dates and chronology are omitted making it possible to alter also the structure in chapters. Where earlier editions (1979 & 1984) had an identical number of chapters (10) this structure is from the 2001-edition altered into 14 chapters starting with parts from Osho’s welcome talk to the participants in the evening of June 3rd being transferred to his first morning speech on June 4th. Some parts are omitted and also the translation has again been revised: God sometimes changed into existence, shastras into scriptures etc. The following quotation is on the limitation of all scriptures from the revised 2001-edition:

“What purpose will the study of the scriptures serve? You can’t attain to knowing that way, it just trains your memory. You learn a few things that way, but are learning and knowing the same thing? You learn about God, about truth, about the soul. You will be able to give ready-made answers about them. But there is no difference between that and what the parrot in your house repeats every morning. Truth is not to be found in the scriptures. It is in the self, in your self.
In scriptures, there are only words and they are meaningful only if one has realized the truth within oneself. Truth cannot be known by learning the scriptures, but certainly by knowing the truth the scriptures become known…
I too am speaking in words, and this is how the scriptures came to be. If you just cling to the words, my whole effort will be useless. No matter how many of them you memorize, they will serve no purpose. These too will become a prison to your mind and then you will wander in this selferected prison of words all your life. We are all locked in prisons of our own making. If you want to know the truth, destroy this prison of words, tear down the prison walls and burn the blockade of information to ashes. From these ashes real knowledge will be born and in this unimprisoned consciousness you will see truth. Truth comes, but before that you must make room for it yourself. If you throw words out, truth steps into that empty space.” The Perfect Way (2001), p. 85

These few excerpts from The Perfect Way illustrate Osho’s pushing everyone to go within rather than disappear into the world of matter and scriptures. Remember, this is said by someone who has spent more time than most people in meditation and in reading of scriptures to know also their representation of existential truth.

“May I also remind you that we cannot know the world, we can only have an acquaintance with it, information about it. And there can be no information about the self, we can only know it. That is why, in the case of matter, in the case of the material world, it is enough to be an expert in the scriptures, but is not so in the case of the self. Science is scripture; religion is not. Science is information about matter, while religion is a knowing of the self. Science is a scripture; religion is a spiritual discipline.” The Perfect Way (2001), p. 171

“I will say how can you know the truth as long as there are scriptures in between? This false notion that truth can be obtained from someone else, from the scriptures or from a guru, does not allow you to search for it within yourself. This idea is a big obstacle. This search is still in the world. Remember that the scriptures are part of the world as well. Whatever is outside is the world. The truth is where there is no outside – it is within, where the self is. The self is the real scripture. It is also the only real guru. By entering the self, truth is attained.” The Perfect Way (2001), p. 193

Praised by Urmila as one of the early essential publications of Osho, and pointed out by several other sannyasins also, is Sinhanad (The Lion’s Roar), a talk from Bombay in 1964, first published in August 1965 and with a second edition from September 1967. These two editions are in Hindi with its original title, but the book was later renamed Path ki Khoj (Searching the Path) and became chapter #15 in one of Osho’s most read Hindi books Sadhana Path. An English version of Sinhanad is to appear soon (2012) as chapter #5 in a new book called Path ki Khoj containing seven talks with a similar subject matter. (117)

The Perfect Way is without any doubt among Osho’s core publications from Jabalpur, and it presents the essence of his early message to be elaborated upon in his numerous discourses in years to come. It is in the same league as I Am the Gate (1972) from Bombay and his opening discourse series from Poona My Way. The Way of the White Clouds (1975).

Kranti Beej (Seeds of Revolutionary Thoughts)

In 1960 Acharya Rajneesh meets Mrs. Madan Kunwar Parikh (Ma Anandmayee) whom he recognizes as his mother in a past-life. Mrs. Parikh is 40 years old at the time, and she on her part recognizes that Rajneesh is enlightened. She is living in Chanda (later changed to Chandrapur), Maharashtra, as the wife of Shree Rekhchand Parikh, and is a religious lady from a rich family running an orphanage for three hundred children in Chanda. In one of her dreams she had been told that soon she would have her bereaved son back, so she was very fulfilled when meeting Rajneesh soon after the dream. A religious function had been arranged on the eve of the 75th birth date of Shree Chiranji Lal Barjharti, general manager of Seth Jamuna Lal Bajaj and trustee of Jain Mahamandal. Rajneesh had been invited for the celebration, and when seeing him she felt as if she had got back her son of her previous birth. She was impressed by his lecture and met him at 9 a.m. where she invited him to visit Chanda for satsang. She hoped that his presence would influence her husband Shree Parikh to be more interested in religious activities and donate some money in this respect. Rajneesh returned to Chanda and spent three days as their guest, and when he returned home to Jabalpur and opened his suitcase he found ten thousand rupees with a letter enclosed from Shree Parikh: “I am a miserly man and with folded hands I am offering a little amount for your work. Please accept it.” In May, on his next visit to Chanda, Rajneesh was presented with an Olympia typewriter, a spool-to-spool tape recorder, some fountain pens, among these his favourite Parker pen, a brand new model 1951, and other valuable items for his work.

From now on Mrs. Madan Kunwar Parikh is writing her letters on an almost daily basis to Rajneesh, seeking his guidelines and comments on her experiences with meditation. In return Acharya Rajneesh writes hundreds of letters to her, and from his correspondence to her 120 letters are published under the title Kranti Beej in 1965 (English translations: Seeds of Revolutionary Thoughts (1969) and Seeds of Revolution (1969); reprinted with alternate title Seeds of Wisdom (1994). These letters recount various incidents in Rajneesh’s life, and as parables they are presenting his teachings in a suggestive and simple language within a framing of natural settings. The collection of letters are Krantisutras, and the publication was suggested by the Parikh couple when Rajneesh met them in Chanda. Next to his many other presents to Rajneesh it remains an open question whether Parikh was also sponsoring the publication. (Bhed 2006, p. 188) (118)

According to Narendra “Revolution means tearing down the very framework of mind, the very conditioning, the entire way of thinking.” The readability of the text has been rendered by Urmilla, the author of Shanti ki Khoi, who received the book as a gift from a friend in Calcutta already in August 1965: “So one day just out of curiosity I glanced through the first few pages of the book, ‘Kranti Beej’, and I got so engrossed in reading it that I finished more than half of the book in the first sitting. I had never read anything like that before. The language of the book was very simple and the sentences were short. The facts of life were conveyed in short parables. Though I could not grasp their meaning properly yet I could understand the overall message hidden in them, which penetrated my heart.” Urmila 2005, p. 12. (119)

Ram Chandra Prasad, the autor of Rajneesh: The Mystic of Feeling (1970), comments and quotes from the Introduction to the first English translation (with its alternate title) from 1969: “In the Introduction to The Seeds of Revolution the reader gets a graphic account of the Archarya in the latter’s own words – an account in keeping with the creative, mystical mind. He calls himself a peasant who sows his field with seeds. In course of time the seeds sprout up and grow into sweet-smelling flowers. As soon as his life is filled with their rich fragrance, he finds himself carried away from the phenomenal world of matter to the essence of things. Now the mystic’s language melts into a series of floral metaphors, and he says: ‘And the fragrance has meant a new life, a new birth to me, and I am not what I appear to be to the naked eyes of the beholder. The Invisible and the Unknown has now opened the doors through which I can survey the heavenly world of the elect that my eyes had not seen, and hear melodies, which my ears had not heard. And, what I have thus known and acquired is as ready to flow out from me as the mountain stream that hastens towards the sea.” (Prasad 1978, p. 5)

Sw. Rudra has on Wikipedia made this annotation to the book: “This one of a kind volume comprises extracts from 129 of these letters and anecdotes Osho wrote to her during his travels around India in his earlier days. Through vignettes of scenes he witnesses – children playing on a river with paper boats, the movement of a bullock cart, an earthen lamp being extinguished, a storm striking a village, sunrise and sunset, the life and death of a flower – Osho brings out the parallels in the psychological world of every individual.” (120)

The parables are like pearls on a string and we may pick a few samples to get an idea of what is to be found in Kranti Beej:

“A bullock cart is being driven. I watch its wheels revolve round the axis. The wheels go round and round on what is fixed and motionless. There is inactivity behind activity, like void residing at the core of existence.
Similarly one day I saw a violent dust storm arise. A huge ball of dust was rising up in a circular motion, but in the middle there was a point where everything was quiet and steady.
Is not the radical Truth of the world manifest through these symbols?
Is not the Voidness seated at the very core of entire existence?
Is there no inactivity behind all action?
Void alone is the centre and vital breath of existence. It alone has to be known. We have to be in it because it alone is our real being. Whatever individual centre one has, one has to be that. We do not have to go anywhere else, but to that which we are.
How is this to be accomplished?
See that which ‘sees’ and you descend into the void.
We have to proceed from the ‘seen’ to the ‘seer’. ‘The seen’ is form, action and existence. ‘The seer’ is formless, actionless, and void. ‘The seen’ is the other, the unstable wordly bondage, non-liberation, and transmigration. ‘The seer’ is oneself, stable, Brahma, liberation, salvation, emancipation. See; see Him who sees. This is the essence of yoga.
This alone have I been saying every day. This alone exists in whatever I am saying.” Seeds of Revolutionary Thoughts #15

And one more:

“It has been raining in hissing torrents since sunset. The gusts of wind have up-rooted even huge trees. The electric supply is off and the city is plunged in darkness.
A mud-lamp has been lighted in the house.
Its flame rises up. The light (lamp) is part of the Earth but the flame continuously shoots up; what it strives to reach and realize is not known.
Man’s consciousness too is like this flame.
The body is satisfied with the earth but in man there is something in addition to the body which wishes to rise up above the earth incessantly. This consciousness, this shooting flame of fire, alone is the vital breath of man. This zeal to rise up incessantly is his soul.
Man is man because he has this shooting flame. Otherwise everything is only mud.
If this flame burns completely, and blazes fully, there is revolution in life. If this flame comes into view entirely, in the midst of mud itself the mud can be surmounted.
Man is an earthen lamp. While there is mud in him, there is light in him too. If the attention is centred round the mud alone, life is wasted. There must be attention to the light too. Everything is transformed the moment the light is attended to, because in the mud itself the Lord is seen.” Seeds of Revolutionary Thoughts #21

And the last one:

“It was raining last night. I had come in. The windows had been shut and there was a sense of suffocation. I opened the windows. A wave of freshness blew in with the gusts of the rain-drenched wind. When I sank into slumber I know not.
In the morning there was a visitor. On seeing him I was reminded of the suffocation of the previous night. It struck me that all the windows and all the doors of his mind were firmly shut. He had not left even a single window within open, whereby fresh air and light might get in. Everything was found shut. I talked to him and realized that I was talking to the walls. The majority of people are similarly shut ones who have been denied novelty, beauty and freshness of life.
Man fashions out of his own hands a prison for himself. Suffocation and despair are experienced in the internment but he is not aware of the root cause – the source of boredom and bewilderment. Thus the whole of life is spent. He who could have the delight of a flight in the open sky shuts himself in the cage of a parrot and breathes hard.
If we demolish the walls of the mind, we attain an open sky, and this open sky is life. Everybody can attain this liberation as this liberation attains everybody.
I repeat this almost every day. But, perhaps my words do not reach everyone. Their walls are impregnable, but howsoever strong the walls, they are weak at the base because they are walls of grief. This is the only ray of hope that they are made of grief. What is grievous cannot last long; only Bliss can be eternal.” Seeds of Revolutionary Thoughts #84

The collection of parables is rounded off with these words:

“…The bird that flies in the air leaves no groove behind. Similarly, they who move in the firmament of truth hardly ever leave a groove behind. Therefore I tell you it is futile to search for any path, for actually there is no path as such. The so-called paths which seem to exist lead you only to bondage; they do not let you move freely. The seeker of truth has to make his own path. And how beautiful it is! Besides we should know that life is not an engine going on the beaten track. It is but a stream that rises from the mountain and runs towards the sea.” Seeds of Revolutionary Thoughts #120

Krishna Prem remembers when living in Goa in the early 1970s he read Kranti Beej:”I preferred smaller books, and I got a book called Seeds of Revolutionary Thought by Acharya Rajneesh. Now when I say this word Acharya to you, I think you may get the same basic idea, what the hell is this word Acharya?…I just picked up this little book, which was about a hundred pages long. That was the book I got and that was the book that changed my life…I began to read this book and it was really good. I loved it, I loved it and I loved it…You know when I first got back to the states in ’74 I only had one little Osho book, that same book. I went by the reading library and I bought the book from the bookseller and I still had it crumpled in my pocket. It’s the only book I have ever read of Osho…on the plane from West Virginia to New York I re-read that book that I hadn’t read for two years, and all I can say is that the book was alive again in a different way….You may wanna take some time to pick up an Osho book, pick up a book on meditation, go into it, meditate on it, read it again in two years and see how much life has changed.” (Allanach 2010, pp. 87, 168 & 170)

The publication of these early prints by Rajneesh, Sadhana Path, Kranti Beej and Sinhanad was marketing him and making him available to a greater audience all over India. Following the publication of these books the Parikh couple, next to their earlier gifts to Rajneesh in 1960, now presented him with a new Herald car to help him save time when traveling and add some comfort to him in his mission: “A black car was presented to him by an Indian lady: Madan Kunwar. Kranti Beej is to her.” (121)

Jeevan Jagruti Kendra (Life Awakening Centre)

With his emphasis on developing the spiritual potential of each individual person it was not until the early 1960s Osho realized that an organization – or as he prefers to call it: A gathering of friends, a non-organization – was needed to disseminate his message to a wider public. And from the very beginning of this organizing he was aware of the many pitfalls and power games that might rise within a formal organization, caveats only to be confirmed and coming into light during the later phases of his work in Rajhneeshpuram and Poona. Supplementing what is to follow in this chapter, we may remember that after Osho left his position as an ass. professor in 1966, he applied Samagra Jeevan Men Kranti (Revolution in All Phases of Life) as a name for his movement and his personal motto.

“1962. THE FIRST MEDITATION CENTERS. During his travels and speaking engagements, Osho often conducts guided meditations at the end of his talks. The first meditation centers to emerge around his teachings are known as Jivan Jagruti Kendras (Life Awakening Centers), and his movement is called Jivan Jagruti Andolan (Life Awakening Movement).” (Sarito 2000, p. 224)

“As for the name Jeevan Jagriti Kendra is goes back to 1965 and to J.J.Sangh [sangh means commune] meditation camp in Mahabaleshwar near Poona. J.J. Sangh, was the first name in December 1964 and Jeevan Jagriti Kendra was not yet decided upon until January 1965 and it was entirely Osho’s decision. So in 1965 Jeevan Jagriti Kendra was started in Bombay with Ishwarbhai publishing. Five to six peoples were involved in the beginning and the name came from Osho: Life Awakening Center. Jeevan Jagriti Kendra was a name for all to use. Outside Bombay there was another publisher: Ananda-Sila Prakasana [prakasana means printing] with a meditation campsite for discourses in 1974.” (123)

“On June 15, 1965, some friends from Mumbai and Pune established a trust dedicated to Osho’s work. The name of the trust was decided to be ‘Jivan Jagruti Kendra (Life Awakening Centre)’ and its trustees were Shri Gulabchand T. Sheth, Shri Durlabhjibhai K. Khetani and Shri Ramanbhai C. Shah, who used to do the work of arranging Osho’s discourses, meditation camps and publication of his books. In the beginning Shri Ramanbhai C. Shah managed the work of Jeevan Jagruti Kendra from his office at Kalbadevi, Mumbai. Then it was shifted to New Empire Building at Fort, Mumbai and then to Eastern Chambers, Masjid Bunder, Mumbai, for some time and finally to Bhagwan Bhavan, Masjid Bunder, Mumbai.” (Laheru 212, p. 11)

“In 1965 several of Bombay’s Jain businessmen formed the Jeevan Jagruti Kendra (Life Awakening Center) to support Rajneesh and propagate his teachings.” (Gordon 1987, p. 26)

“Jeevan Jagruti Kendra was founded to organize his extensive preaching tours throughout India, the meditation camps, and to the publishing of his books and a monthly magazine in Hindi. Ishwarbhai was in charge of Jeevan Jagriti Kendra from 1967. When The Rajneesh Foundation was estabished in 1975 the Jeevan Jagriti Kendra organization was wound down accordingly.” (Aveling 1999, pp. xxi-xix)

The members of Jeevan Jagruti Kendra in Bombay are listed according to Gyan Bhed, and those with an asterisk are also interviewed in his Hindi book Osho Maikhane Ke Deevane Rind (Mad Drunkards of Osho’s Tavern):

1. Sw. Ishwar Samarpan *
2. Sw. Chaitanya Sagar (Laheru Bhai) *
3. Sw. Anand Kiran *
4. Ma Yoga Laxmi
5. Sri Rishabh Das
6. Sw. Govind Sidharth (Lashkari Ji)
7. Sri Himmat Bhai Joshi
8. Sri Mahipal (Hindi movie star)
9. Sri Kalyanji Anandji (Hindi music director)

On the background for the founding of the formal organization Jeevan Jagruti Kendra and his intentions for this function laid out at the meditation camp in Lonvala 1967, Osho says:

“I lived for twenty years without any organization, but then it was so impossible to work. Even in the night when I was asleep there were fifty people sitting in my room; everywhere there was a crowd. Even to talk to me was impossible; one could not ask anything. It became so impossible to give attention to individuals, to help them to grow, to share my joy with them. And the crowd was absolutely useless, because I am not a person who can have anything to do with a crowd.
My work is basically concerned with the individual because only the individual has the capacity to grow. The crowd never grows; it remains always the same. It was the same when it crucified Jesus, it was the same when it poisoned Socrates, it was the same when it killed Mansoor, it is the same with me. The crowd is absolutely useless; the crowd belongs to the lowest stratum of intelligence.
And what I am saying can be understood only by very highly intelligent people; that is the possibility of only a few individuals, a few chosen individuals. Just to make it possible for chosen individuals to be with me I had to create a formal organization.” (124)

“The Life Awakening Center is not a religious organization. It is an organization of religious people for social transformation and revolution. Nobody will become religious by becoming a member, but those who want this society, this life, this morality, this current system, this tradition to change can become members and strengthen the organization. This will be an organization for social, not religious, revolution. It will be for social reform; not for spiritual peace but for social revolution. This should be made clear: it is a movement for social revolution…So of course the friends at the Life Awakening Center are to take care of me, but more than me they are to take care of those friends who will be coming to see me”. Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #6

“In 1967-68 Shri Ishwarbhai and Shri Himmatbhai Joshi were trustees of Jeevan Jagruti Kendra and eight to ten other friends were working as committee members. Whenever Osho used to come to Mumbai from Jabalpur, Shri Harshadbhai and Shri Anopchandbhai took the responsibility of receiving him from or sending him to station or airport. Shri Premchandbhai Maheshwari and Shri Vasanjibhai Lodhaya used to arrange his discourses and recordings. Shri Ishwarbhai Shah used to do publication of books and other management of Jeevan Jagruti Kendra. I used to help all of them in their work.” (Laheru 2012, p. 11)

Osho’s care and love for his books since he was a student and even from his very childhood is obvious also in the publications from Jeevan Jagriti Kendra. The energy and time Rajneesh spent on the creative work in book design, selection of titles and photo design also for front covers of books and magazines are of a considerable seize.

We will have to keep in mind that the Jeevan Jagruti Kendra founded in Jabalpur precedes the foundation of its brother organization in Bombay of which Gyan Bhed has a different dating: “By then a ‘Jeevan Jagriti Kendra’ (Life Awareness Centre) had been established in Bombay also. Acharyashree reached Bombay on the invitation of Sri Shri Yans Prasad Jain on the 8th of September, 1964 where he was received and welcomed by many friends.” (Bhed 2006, p. 197)

“From Sri Rekhchand Parikh, the wealthy industrialist from Chanda, Rajneesh had received Rs. 10.000 as a donation when he first lectured in Chanda in the early 1960s. This amount was used instantly for the establishing of Jeevan Jagriti Kendra (Life Awareness Centre) in Jabalpur for the promotion of his work. Members of the Jabalpur centre were to a great extend the youths who were attending Osho’s symposiums in Yogesh Bhavar: Master Bhikhamchand, Ajeet Kumar, Sabsukh Lal, the acvocate Dutta, Mr. A.V. Bijlani, Mendibala, Mr. Devkinandan and others.” (Bhed 2006, p. 187)

Ajeet Kumar Jain, the first editor of Yukrant, remembers from the time in Jabalpur when he requested that Rajneesh should lecture every day, and later the master would himself give the name Yukrand to the new magazine: “Jeevan Jagriti Kendra in Jabalpur was a conversion of a Publication Trust which was founded by me only [Viswa Maitri Sangh] and already publishing Osho. I met Osho first time in 1961 when I was nineteen years of age. I asked myself, ‘What is he speaking?’ Then in the next few years I only attended two or three lectures, but when in 1963 I met him again I then asked him to address his listeners every day to convey his message to mankind…All the mysterious things in his life happened before 1960. When he was quite young many mysteries happened to him in Gadarwara and onwards. He was speaking from the land which was not visible to people. Not speaking from books, not from memory, and not from knowledge.” (125)

Gyan Bhed has listed some of the key members of Jeevan Jagriti Kendra in Jabalpur. “In my book Osho Hi Osho, I had taken the interviews with the following members of Jeevan Jagriti Kendra (Life Awakening Centre):

1. Sri Yogendra Kumar Dutt, Advocate Jabalpur. He is the oldest member of JJK and is the nephew of the famous Bengali poet Satendra Nath Dutt. He came in contact with Osho in 1960.
2. Master Bhikham Chandra Jain (Sw. Anand Bharti).
3. Sri Ajit Kumar (Editor of Yukrant).
4. Sri Arvind Kumar (Editor of Yukrant).

During my interviews, these persons had mentioned the names of the following persons who were the members of Jeevan Jagriti Kendra in Jabalpur:

1. Dr. A.V. Bijlani D.M.D. (Medical Railway Superintendent). Chairman of Jivan Jagriti Kendra in jabalpur.
2. Sri Arun Juxi.
3. Bhai Mendiwala.
4. Sri Barerhia ji.
5. Smt Kamla Jain.
6. Sri Sammaiya ji
7. Subsukh Lal
8. Ma Anand Urmila.” (126)

In a famous lecture from a camp in Lonavala, Anand ki Phukar (Call of Infinity) delivered on 23 December 1967 more than a year after he had resigned as an ass. professor, Osho is coming forward with some guidelines for the work to be done by Jeevan Jagruti Kendra with the spreading of his message to All-India and soon also beyond the borders of his mother country. He is telling us that initially when he started speaking, he had no idea that what he was saying to individual people would some day also need to be made public. But he had now realized the necessity for spreading his message of love, peace and compassion to the maximum number of people, and in particular how to disseminate without creating a cult and becoming propagandists:

“This is what you have been invited here to discuss. In the coming sessions, I will gradually tell you about the things I can see. And I will also expect you to think along these lines. I will say a few basic things to you so that you can think them over…We have to create a gathering of friends, not an organisation in which there are authorities, hierarchies, higher and lower people…In a gathering, each person has only come there out of his love. Except for love there are no other commandments which he has to follow; nor are there any oaths and pledges which he has to fulfil; nor are there any vows and precepts to which he commits himself. He has joined it only out of his love and individual freedom, and he can leave the moment he wants to do so…So a gathering of friends, Jeevan Jagruti Kendra, may come into existence; we have to think along these lines…The gathering of friends is totally, what we may call an anarchic institution. An organisation is a well planned system bound by rules, principles and laws. I do not intend to bind people by laws, rules or principles, because I am fighting against these very things…So, we should not attempt to create uniformity, otherwise an organisation starts coming into existence.” (Joshi 2010, p. 235)

Furthermore he is pointing out that a gathering of friends is not to be centred around a certain individual, because that person may soon become the centre of worship. Collectively those present are in love with a vision, but they will neither have any worship, be anybody’s followers, nor have any leader. And Osho continues:

“So many people all over the country come and say to me that they want to help in the work; so many people write me letters asking me what they can do to help in the work. It is our responsibility to make room for all these friends to contribute. And you completely drop and let go of the notion that there could be anyone who might not be useful for something. Such a person does not exist on the earth. What to say about people, even animals and birds becomes a help…I can tell you some of the central points around which some thinking needs to be done. But I have no understanding of the details; how things are to be done, how many people will be required to do them, how much money will be needed, how much labour will be needed. All of this you probably know more than I do. How to give it a practical form and how far to take it, you certainly know about all that more than I do. I don’t know even the ABC of it.” (Joshi 2010, pp. 240 & 246)

The camp in Lonavala was a small, experimental gathering in an alternative format, this time not for listening to discourses, but to encourage the participants to think over and discuss for themselves the organizational needs:

“So we should reflect and then we should again have a camp in which people from all over the country can gather. It is also necessary for them all to meet each other, it is necessary that they become acquainted with each other. They are doing the work in their areas. Your cooperation and encouragement are necessary for their work. They shouldn’t feel alone there. They should feel that there are also more friends all over the country, that they are not standing all alone somewhere, that they have fellow travellers, and that if there was work to be done, they would come and help.” (Joshi 2010, p. 247)

“After the establishment of Jeevan Jagriti Kendra, its branches automatically were opened in each big town or city whereever he gave a sermon. Volunteers came forward themselves to work in the branch and requested for instructions. The number of subscribers of ‘Jyotishikha’ (a monthly published magazine) was increasing rapidly in which the sermons of Archaryashree and his programmes were published. The head-office of Jeevan Jagriti Kendra was in Bombay and now it was planned to publish his sermons in book-form in Marathi and Gujrati other than the Devnagiri.” (Bhed 2006, p. 235)

Quotation from a letter written by Rajneesh in 1970:

“You can meet friends of Jeevan Jagruti Kendra
and begin working for Yuvak Kranti Dal
(Revolutionary Youth Force).
There are no rules about it –
there can never be rules in revolution.
There needs to be an awakening of understanding among youth
with scientific studies replacing blind faith –
this is all I wish for.” A Cup of Tea (1983), p. 69

Motilal Banarsidass is the leading publishing house in Delhi for Rajneesh’s early books and in this way supplementing the work made by Jeevan Jagriti Kendra in Jabalpur and Bombay. In a delicate situation the owner Lala Sunder Lal came to Rajneesh’s rescue according to Ageh Bharti, when the pursuit from an ardent female follower got a little too hot:

“At Jabalpur, once a woman academic from Banaras Hindu University came to meet Osho. She has read one of His books ‘Kranti Beej’ (means The Seed of Revolution). She was crazy about meeting Him. On arrival at Jabalpur, she learnt from Osho’s secretary that Osho had been to Delhi on an invitation from some organization. She was so restless to meet Him but decided to reach Delhi and meet Him instead of returning home. So, she left by first train to Delhi…Euphoric with ecstasy she met Rajneesh in Delhi and told him she wanted to stay with him the maximum of time. She also stayed in his room at night, until the organizers put an end to this arrangement. Rajneesh shifted to the residence of Lala Sunder Lal, the proprietor of Motilal Banarsidas publishers where Rajneesh was to stay on his future visits to Delhi. Continuing to Ahmedabad on invitation for public talks Rajneesh learned that the newspapers had commented on the incident and some of his friends told him that he might earn a bad name and not being accepted as a saint. To this Rajneesh responded: “When did I claim to be a saint and when did I claim to be a moralist?” (Bharti 2007, p. 78)

Towards the Unknown is published in August 1969 translated from its Hindi original printed same year. It is a compilation on Rajneesh’s discourses on the subjects of religion and science and religion and education. In his preface the translator P.B. Tilwani is commenting on the task of translating Osho and he writes as follows:

“This book in your hand entitled “Towards The Unknown” is the translation of original Hindi ‘Agyat-ki-Aur’ being the scholarly discourses by Acharya Rajneesji to whom the readers know as free thinker of the time.
Though in my humble attempt I have strived to reflect the charm and beauty of the original discourses I was at times, compelled to exercise my judicious discretion and had to make either the subject explanatory or coin the Hindi term in equivalent English nearest to the Hindi concept, more particularly in respect of ‘external value’ and of ‘Universal application.’ How can I under the circumstances, claim loyalty to the original?…
As the title suggests, the subject selected is ‘Unknown’, divided into two parts, the first being ‘the religion and the science’ and the other being ‘the religion and the education’. What Acharyashri means by ‘religion’ is not any of the traditional religions but a religion not identified with any cult or ideology. For him, the science is the discovery of objectivity whereas religion is the inquiry of subjectivity. For him, the education is the self-creativity free from pair of opposites. By education, he does not mean techniques or theories but education is a freedom song and the creativity to the unknown discovery of subjectivity as well as objectivity.
Through all possible efforts have been made to bring the true tone of the spirit and meaning of the original, I have but to admit that I have not been able to follow up the original. I am quite conscious of such shortcomings that may have crept in, inspite of my efforts to avoid them and I sincerely crave the indulgence of the readers on this aspect of the book. P.B. Tilwani. 15th August, 1969.” Towards the Unknown, p.5

In a preamble to the book Osho says:

“What is science?
Discovery of ‘unknown’.

And religion?
Religion too is a discovery of ‘unknown’.

Science is the discovery of that ‘unknown’
which is ‘objective’
And religion of that which is ‘subjective’.

They are two sides of the same coin.
They are friends and not enemies.

 And the future of mankind lays only in rhyme
and rhythem of both.” Towards the Unknown, p. 7 (127)

In Gyan Bhed’s presentation the status for the publishing of Rajneesh’s booklets was as follows in October 1969 before Rajneesh made his move to Bombay in 1970, and he mentions four titles in Hindi published in 1970 along with translations into Marathi and Gujarati (by Shri Durlabhjaibhai Khetani) also starting to appear.

“Many collections of Acharyashree’s sermons had been published by Jeevan Jagriti Kendra. Pungaliya Ji had got five books translated into Marathi. ‘Sadhana Path’, ‘Kranti Beej’ and eight other books had been translated into Gujarati and were ready for sale on the stalls. ‘Sinhanad’, ‘Amrit Kan’, ‘Ahinsa Darshan’, ‘Mitti ke Deeye’, ‘Path ke Pradeep’, ‘Main Kaun Hum’, ‘Kuchh Jotirmay Ksan’, ‘Naye Manushya ke Janma ki Disha’, ‘Surya ki ore Udan’, ‘Prem ke Panth’, ‘Satya ke Agyat Sagar ka Amantran’, ‘Agyat ki Ore’, ‘Sambhog Se Samadhi’, ‘Sambhawanaon ki Aahat’ and ‘Naye Sanket’ had been published in Hindi. These were priced at Rs. 1 to Rs. 4.50. The new and old editions of ‘Yukrant’ and ‘Jyotishikha’ magazines alongwith the above books had been the centre of attraction for the meditators at the stalls of the meditation camps. As soon as the stalls opened the Rajneesh literatures sold like hot cakes. Many meditators used to purchase more than one copy of the books so that they could present them to their friends and relatives.
Sometimes on some stall the editor of Jyotishikha (quarterly), Sri Mahipal was observed enlisting new members (subscribers). Even the editor of ‘Yukrant’ and secretary of Acharyashree, Arvind Kumar Jain and Ajeet Kumar and the assistant editor, Alok Kumar Pandey, were also busy in enlisting the new members. ‘Satya ka Sagar’, ‘Shunya Ki Nao’, ‘Prabhu ki pagdandiyan’ and ‘Satya ki Pahali Kiran’ had also been published by June 70.” (Bhed 2006, p. 293)

Sambhog Se Samadhi Ki Ore (From Sex to Superconsciousness)

Acharya Rajneesh was in August 1968 invited by Shri Parmanandbhai Kapadia to give some lectures to a big public gathering of several thousand people in Bombay in the prestigious Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Auditorium. The theme he was asked to speak on by the organizers, Bombay Jain Yuvak Sangha, was ‘love’. Instead he talked about sex as a mean to achieve superconsciousness, and in his first discourse on 28 August 1968 Rajneesh explained that love and meditation were the transformation of sexual energy, and that if sex is suppressed it cannot be transformed. He emphasised transcendence of sexual energy and by the end of the lecture those influential Jains who had arranged the talk, all sitting on the stage behind Rajneesh with their white Gandhi caps, had fled from the platform. As many people were outraged, the gathering was erupted and the owners of the auditorium cancelled the series which were scheduled to have continued the following days.

“When I ended my talk that day, I was surprised to see that all the officials who had been on the platform, the friends who had organized the meeting had vanished into thin air. I did not see one of them when I walked down the aisle to leave.
Not even the main organizer was present to thank me. Whatsoever white caps there were, whatsoever khadi-clad people there were, were not on the dais; they had already fled long before the completion of the talk. Leaders are a very weak species indeed. And swift too. They run away before their followers do.” From Sex to Superconsciousness #5

“In his talks, he began to aim his criticism at more specific targets, particularly Hindu leaders, and his first major book, a collection of lectures called From Sex to Superconsciousness published originally in 1968, served to cement his reputation as a deeply radical figure. India is a nation of strong sexual protocols and Osho’s ideas about sex energy (doubtless influenced by Western figures like Wilhelm Reich whom he’d read) were highly inflammatory…and because he was well-read in Western philosophy and psychology he understood the phenomenon of repression, but not only for that reason. He also recognized repression from his own Indian culture with the violent reaction many had to his teachings on the innocence of sexual energy. In this connection it should be mentioned that Osho was well familiar with the work of Wilhelm Reich, the pioneer of 1960s bodywork methods whose radical teachings on ‘orgone’ energy and the importance of the sexual orgasm were highly controversial in his day. On more than one occasion Osho said that Reich could have been his disciple (and even bestowed a posthumous initiation on him…).”  (Mistelberger 2010, pp. 81 & 166) (128)

Fig. 3. From Sex to Super-Consciousness. 1971.

Fig. 3. From Sex to Super-Consciousness. 1971.

Very ancient Indian texts are existing on sex like Kama Sutra, the renowned classic on erotic wonders with its explicit instructions in every detail of human sexual life, attributed to the sage Vatsyayana almost two thousand years ago. But Rajneesh was the first one to speak out openly on the subject:

“A country which has produced the philosophy of tantra, a country which has made temples like Khajuraho, Koranak, cannot be so stupid that it will not understand what I am saying. Khajuraho is my proof. All the literature of tantra is my proof. And this is the only country where something like tantra has existed. Nowhere in the world any effort has been made to transform sexual energy into spiritual energy.” The Last Testament, vol.4 #14

“…India, once the land of the Kama Sutra, is now one of the world’s most buttoned-up and prudish places. Despite a dazzling variety of Sanskrit terms for every shade of sexual arousal, no modern Indian language has a word for orgasm. Although the possibilities of sex have never been so exhaustively catalogued as in the Hindu shastras (where every conceivable type and variety of conjunction is described and analysed – upside down, as a team sport, cojoined with every animal in the bestiary), India has for thirty years resisted the onslaught of the sexual revolution which swept much of the rest of the world in the sixties.” (129)

“Sexuality in India has always been regarded as the subject of legitimate and sophisticated inquiry. Traditionally it was looked upon as an essential part of the study of aesthetics: sringara rasa – the erotic rasa or flavour – being one of the nine rasas comprising the classical Hindu aesthetic system. The Judaeo-Christian religious tradition, which tends to emphasise the sinfulness of the flesh, the dangers of sexuality and the realisation of sexual renunciation and virginity, begins its myth of origin with the creation of light. In contrast, the oldest scripture of the Hindu tradition, the Rig Veda, begins its myth with the creation of kama – sexual desire: in the beginning was desire, and desire was with God, and desire was God. In the Hindu scheme of things, kama remains one of the three fundamental goals of human existence, along with dharma, duty or religion, and artha, the creation of wealth.” (Dalrymple 2009, p. 187)

“His talks on Gandhi created a great storm all over India, and on August 28, 1968 Rajneesh added more fuel to the fire. He was invited to give a series of lectures on ‘love’ to be held at one of the prominent cultural and educational centers in Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. The lecture was in Hindi and what Rajneesh said in this lecture was so unexpected and provocative that the lecture series was cancelled and he returned to Jabalpur. Exactly a month later, Rajne­esh returned to Bombay and lectured on the same subject (September 28 through October 2) in an open public meeting before fifteen thousand people at Gowalia Tank Maidan. When these speeches were published, they brought up an almost unison rejection from the public and the media, the issue of sex dis­cussed openly in public had to give way to a strong reaction. In 1979 these discourses were translated into English and published under the title ‘From Sex to Superconsciousness.'” (Joshi 1982, p. 87)

“His famous book From Sex to Superconsciousness was thought to be pornographic by many Indians. Their religious feelings were violated because a holy man had spoken so openly about sex in the book and had given sex a religious legitimacy…There was so much controversy that India’s Parliament actually discussed banning it.” (Sheela 2012, pp. 131 & 167)

In the first lecture when after one month Rajneesh resumed the series on September 28th he prepared his listeners on what was to follow:

“In the coming days, I invite you to consider my topic. It is one on which your aged seers and sages cannot be expected to talk. And perhaps you are not used to hearing such discourse either. Your mind may react in fear, but I urge you to be patient and to listen attentively. It is quite possible the understanding of sex may lead you to the temple of your soul. That is my desire. May God fulfil that desire.” From Sex to Superconsciousness #2

Exactly one month later Rajneesh finally gave four more discourses on the subject, ignoring public objections and even threats to his life, and on 28 September he returns to Bombay to complete the talks to a large audience, but this time at a new location. His talks on sexuality and human consciousness were now resumed at Kranti Maidan, Gowalia Tank in Bombay, an open air field that could easily accommodate 20.000 listeners. The five discourses were arranged every evening, except one day when the discourse could not be held due to heavy raining. And without doubt Rajneesh was aware, that in this very place 26 years ago the All-India Congress Commitee had gathered in August 1942 and passed their historic Bharat Choro (Quit India) resolution on the complete transfer of power from the British colonial rule to the Indian people. Now the agenda was not a outer political one with Gandhi and Nehru present, but an exploration into the inner liberation of man conveyed by a modern Indian mystic. (Mishra 1956, p. 468)

“People were shocked when I spoke about sex at the first meeting last month, in Bombay. I received many angry letters asking me not to talk in this fashion, letters saying I should not speak on this subject at all. I wonder why one should not discuss this subject? When this urge is already inherent in us, why should we not talk about it? Unless we can understand its behaviour, can analyze it, how can we hope to raise it to a higher plane? By understanding it we can transform it, we can conquer it, we can sublimate it. Unless that happens, we will die and still we will be unable to free ourselves from the grip of sex.” From Sex to Superconsciousness #2

“On my return to Jabalpur, three days after my talk at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Auditorium here in Bombay, I received a letter from a friend telling me that if I continued these talks I would be shot. I wanted to reply to him, but the trigger-happy gentleman seems to be a coward; he neither signed his letter nor gave his address; he was probably afraid I would report the matter to the police. Nevertheless, if he is present here, he should accept my reply now. Even if he is here, I am sure he is either hiding behind a wall or a tree. If he is anywhere around I wish to tell him that I am not going to report the threat, but that he should give me his name and his address so that I can at least send him a reply. But, if he doesn’t even dare that much, I will give him my reply here. He ought to listen carefully.” From Sex to Superconsciousness #5

The total series of five discourses (one discourse at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and four discourses from Kranti Maidan) is published in Hindi with the title Sambhog se Samadhi ki ore (1969), were translated into English From Sex to Superconsciousness (1971 & 1979), and in India it soon became his most-read book. The press sensationalizes and distorts his teachings, and labels him the sex-guru, and the book soon made him notorious and famous throughout the whole country. In a recent reprint (2008) it comes with a new subtitle: A Book as Infamous as it is Famous. In Osho’s own words:

“I have written one book – not written, my discourses have been collected in it – it is called From Sex to Superconsciousness. Since then, hundreds of my books have been published but nobody seems to read any other – not in India. They all read From Sex to Superconsciousness. They all criticize it also, they are all against it. Articles are still being written, books are written against it, and mahatmas go on objecting to it. And no other book is mentioned, no other book is looked at. Do you understand? As if I have written only one book… But nobody has given any explanation why they are condemning me – because of my book, which has been translated into thirty-four languages, has gone into dozens of editions, and is read by all the monks! Whether they are Hindu, Jaina, Christian, or Buddhist, monks are the best customers for that book. There was a Jaina conference here in Pune just a few months ago and my secretary informed me, “It is strange. Jaina monks come and they ask for one book only, From Sex to Superconsciousness. Then they hide it in their clothes and just go out of the door silently so nobody finds them out.” People are suffering from a wound. Sex has become a wound. It needs to be healed.” I Celebrate Myself #1; The Secret of Secrets, vol.2 #10

“Many persons came to me when the book From Sex to Superconsciousness was published. They came and they said, “Please change the title.” The very word ‘sex’ makes them disturbed – they have not read the book. And those who have already read the book also say to change the title.” Vigyan Bhairava Tantra #17

The term Supersonsciousness is used by Osho in this series according to his transmission of the Eastern concept of the seven layers of consciousness (See The Rajneesh Bible, vol. IX #15, 25.10.1985). He kept on using this impressive term throughout his discourses, although he later tended to substitute it with terms like inner stillness and awareness, and his understanding of sex energy is laid out by Dhirman in this way: “All the confusion about sex, argued Rajneesh, arises because we see it only from a physical perspective. To him sex could be experienced at three levels: physical level, mental level, and spiritual level. At the lowest level sex is physical, it is instinctual. The next is the mental level, here it is subtler than the physical level. At this level there is an interplay of feelings, emotions, and tenderness. The third level is that of spiritual love. Here love is in its purest state devoid of all conflicts, jealousies, exploration, and anxieties.” (Dhirman 2012, p. 167)

Rajneesh explained to his followers that he never spoke to fulfil any person’s expectation, that they were free to leave if they felt defamed, and that it is good being opposed by people because it gives publicity. Many people who had been disturbing Rajneesh now dispersed away from him automatically, in a sweeping he was to repeat a few more times in years to come. The continued series of discourses started on the fixed date although many orthodox Jain people and the Shivsena people were protesting quite a lot. More people than expected turned up to attend the talk, many of them were youth and for the first time Rajneesh’s followers had required protection from the police to avoid any disturbances at the event.

Beginning his first talk when reopening the series, Rajneesh said: “The human race has been talking of love for the last five to six thousand years. People are singing the songs and religious songs of love, but love has got no status in the human life. Religion talk of love, but the type of love that has been shading the human race like a misfortune till date, has shut down all the doors of the human life. There is no difference between the East and the West in this regard… The desire for sex in the human heart is not in fact the passion, because man repents and becomes sad after doing sex. He wants to get rid of it. This has much religious sense. Men can never get into this inner self except when he is under the influence of sex-sensation. In this deep layer two things occur. Egotism is excreted. ‘I’ (self) completely vanishes. The next moment time vanishes. Timelessness occurs. There is neither any past nor future, only present remains. These two factors are most essential for religious beings and for ecstasy…I am telling you that sex is divine. The power of sex is the power of God.” (Bhed 2006, p. 248)

In the following two days Rajneesh further elaborated on the secrets of the coital idols carved at the temples of Khajuraho and Konark, the three levels of sex – body, mind and spiritual levels – and the series was finished with some revolutionary points from these four sutras: 1. Getting rid of books and promises. 2. Getting rid of the society, the crowds and the others. 3. Getting rid of suppression. 4. Neither consumption nor suppression – only awakening. (Bhed 2006, p. 250)

On the initial considerations when planning the series of talks Gyan Bhed is telling us: “Acharyashree was teaching the art of life-transformation through love, touring all the parts of the country. The explorers of truth who could not have listened to his speeches started attending his meditation camps reading his books ‘Kranti Beej’ and ‘Sadhana Path’ after they had been published. They experienced the presence of a new ‘Paramhansa’. They were not only the Jain people, but those also who followed other religions.

According to the Jain customs people thronged to touch Acharyashree’s feet after the sermon and each of them met Acharyashree to discuss his/her family problems. Some of them came only to take his blessings so that their worldly wishes could be fulfilled. Acharyashree was in search of some way to get rid of such people.

Educated and prosperous people of the Jain society had started understanding his message well, being free from tradition and orthodox customs. For the orthodox Jain people who used to touch his feet, Acharyashree nearly exploded a bomb announcing a new venture. After the sermon at Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan Acharyashree announced that he would very soon organise a series of sermons on ‘Sex to Superconsciousness’ at Gwalior Tank. Hearing this the orthodox type religious people of both Hindu and Jain religions started opposing him. Some more people, who were very closely attached to Acharyashree, also requested him through letters not to start this series of sermons. They argued that many people were defaming them (Acharyashree and his followers) being agitated by the announcement.” (Bhed 2006, p. 247)

In Rajneesh: The Mystic of Feeling (Prasad 1978, pp. 110-140) a whole chapter is allocated to Rajneesh’s series on sex in Bombay, which is discussed and analyzed at  some length:

“His discourses on sex in Sambhog se Samadhi ki ore, for example, have an unobtrusive and dignified energy as well as a dynamic force of the astonishing kind which one finds almost everywhere in Zen teachings. The listener finds the Acharya at once launching his argument, wheeling through a number of anecdotes and parables, and plunging home with the statement that ‘those who strive to discipline themselves not by surrendering desire, but by trying to drive it underground, may indeed reap troubles enough and to spare.’ These professors of religious morality are dangerous because of the volcano of lust seething within them, because they are emotionally starved and are consumed by their own desires.” (Prasad 1978, p. 110)

Krishna Prem has told us how he by Laxmi was asked to do some of his first rewriting on From Sex to Superconsciousness, and he is commenting on the quality of the English translation at hand:

“Here,” she says when I’m ushered in, holding a little volume in her hand, “Osho wants you to rewrite From Sex to Superconsciousness.”

“On the way back to the Green, the compliment my Master is paying me begins to register. After being away for so long, without even seeing me yet, he’s trusting me with From Sex to Superconsciousness, with the one book of his that virtually every educated Indian has read! I don’t know what to say – not even to myself!
Laxmi has told me about From Sex to Superconsciousness. It contained a series of talks Osho had given in Hindi in Bombay in 1968, And they’d been real blockbusters.
Osho had been living in Jabalpur at that time, Laxmi said, and a group of Bombay admirers, mostly Jains, had invited him to come and give a series of talks on a specific topic: Love.
According to Laxmi, Osho literally blew them away. By the time he finished his first talk, none of the organizers was to be found in the auditorium. Shocked and scared, they’d all split. What Osho had said that evening was that love was one rung on a ladder that begins with sex and ended in samadhi, in superconsciousness. And in no uncertain terms he told them that before they could hope to know anything about love they first had to come to grips with its lowest form, with sex itself.
Laxmi laughed at the memory, of the scandal of Osho’s having mentioned sex in public. The talks had been cancelled and he’d gone back up north, to Jabalpur. But some people had wanted to hear more and a month later he’d returned to finish the series.
“It was before fifteen thousand people at Gowalia Tank Maidan in Bombay,” Laxmi told me, her eyes shining. “One night, the rain started pouring like anything. People began getting up and moving about. Then came Osho’s thrilling voice, booming over the microphone, commanding like the thunder. ‘Don’t move!’ he said. ‘Just remain where you are and listen to what I am saying. What difference does it make if you become a little wet or not? I am ready to be wet! Just go inside yourselves and listen!’
“There was a pin-drop silence,” she said. “And people just stayed where they were. And his voice! Beautiful, musical, pouring, just like the birds singing!” Then she reached out and took my hand. “Ah, Krishna Prem,” she said, “those talks in Hindi were so, so beautiful.”
Nearing the Green, thumbing through the pages of the volume Arup has given me, I am amazed at the mess the Indian translator has made, at the terrible, stilted English he has produced. “Those talks in Hindi were so, so beautiful,” she said. And I vow, for Osho and for his little secretary Laxmi, to do my utmost to make them beautiful in English as well.” (Allanach, 2010, p. 156)

Krishna Prem has further mentioned that the book From Sex to Superconsciousnes was read, although with obvious disgust, by the prime minister of India Morarji Desai, who in 1978 had a meeting in Ahmedabad with some sannyasins who presented him with a memorandum asking for his help in allowing them to establish a new commune in Kutch as the ashram in Poona had been flooded with people during the late 1970s:

“About Kutch he said, “I cannot help you. On the one hand you want help from me, and on the other hand your Acharya speaks about me as he likes, You call me a urine-drinking Prime Minister and in the same breath you want my help?”

“He referred again to Osho’s book From Sex to Superconsciousness, saying he’d found it repellent. He then dismissed the disciples, saying he had no more time for them in Ahmedabad and that if they wanted to discuss the matter further they would have to come to New Delhi.” (Allanach 2010, p. 224)

On the necessity of a healthy energy system for physical as well as spiritual growth Subhuti has the following remarks: “Meditation need not have the dead quality of a graveyard, but should have an alive, throbbing, pulsating silence, full of presence and power. Sex energy, according to Bhagwan, is the unrefined crude oil out of which the high octane gasoline of consciousness is refined. Hence the book that made him notorious in India: From Sex to Superconsciousness.” (Subhuti 2011, p. 23)

“Rajneesh was not a ‘sex guru'”, Kakar wrote, “although like Michael Foucault, he too believed that a person’s sexuality revealed his or her essence, or as he put it, ‘the attitude towards sex is a very symbolic attitude; it shows everything about your whole life.” (Kakar 2009, p. 10)

Veena writes: “In his book ‘From Sex to Super-consciousness’ Osho laid out his whole approach to freeing mankind of its sexual hang-ups so that it could move into a higher state of being. Osho uses the metaphor of coal and a diamond: coal is the same base matter as a diamond; coal transformed becomes a diamond. In its lowest form, sex is like coal, dark and heavy and of only mundane consequence; in its highest form, it is like a diamond, beautiful, precious and full of light.” (Veena 2012, p. 72)

In his Rajneesh – a Glimpse (1970) Vora is commenting on Rajneesh’s lecture series shortly after it had taken place: “Rajneesh deals with all the facets of life because for him nothing in the whole world is insignificant. Once while exposing the truths of the prime energy of sex, in a series ‘From Sex to Super-consciousness’, he advised people to understand kindly the mysteries of pro-creation. The views on the subject are found in minute parts in various philosophers: in psycho-semantic theories of neo-existentialism, Lawrence’s ‘blood’, Hemingway’s ‘Good’, Shavian ‘life-force’, Yoga’s ‘Prana’, Hippies’ ‘Blues’, mythological Eros, Sufis’ ‘mai, Tao’s ‘Ying yang’, etc. in one form or another. His exposition was the farthest elongation of the primal energy to that end where it is nothing but the starting point of a religious life, at the cross border of wisdom – Viveka“. (Vora 1970, p. 12)

No surprise this series on From Sex to Superconsciousness made Osho notoriously famous almost overnight in all corners of India, and the book itself became a steady seller for years bought by all kinds of people, including orthodox Jains and Hindus and ordinary people to whom even the title of the book was challenging their social environment and had to be covered up, and it may be argued that no single title of the complete array of Osho’s books has had a greater impact and a wider range of readers than this small series of five lectures on a highly charged topic from 1968.

Samajwad Se Sawadhan (Beware of Socialism)

From his childhood days in Gadarwara and into his teens Osho had been reading and identifying himself with leftist ideas much under the influence of his uncle Shikarchand Jain, who had sown in him the seeds for an understanding of the socialist ideology promoted also by Nehru in his liberation movement and later on as a prime minister with close ties to the Soviet Union. We’ll have to keep in mind that when using the word socialism, Rajneesh actually means Marxism or communism without subtle distinction between these ideologies.

In April 1970, from April 13 to April 17 at Cross Maidan in Bombay, Jeevan Jagruti Kendra had organized for Acharya Rajneesh to deliver a series of what turned out to be nothing but another highly controversial discourse series on socialism, discourses which were to upset many Gandhians as well as communists. Communists had been attracted to Rajneesh towards the end of his period of traveling out of Jabalpur in the 1960s, and some of them continued their affinity to him when he settled in Bombay, soon after he had finished his series of political lectures with their devastating criticism of Marxism. The talks were filmed in a 16 mm reel and were later on published in English entitled Beware of Socialism (1978). They are characterized in this way by Dhirman, the Indian scholar: “Even if this book had not appeared, there was enough inflammable material in his discourses to infuriate not only the orthodoxy but also progressive intellectuals. Modesty and political correctness were not his strong points. Brutally frank and fearless, Rajneesh was bold enough to speak on political and social issues as well. He attacked communism, when it was at its peak, by giving a series of lectures that were later published as “Samajvad Se Saavdhan” (Beware of Socialism). His condemnation of communism was so damning that people thought he was an American agent. It must be remembered that before this, he had attacked capitalism for reducing everything to business, and people thought that he was a Russian agent. He acknowledged the contributions of M.K. Gandhi, but he was the first man to criticise him publicly for his impractical and outdated socio-economic policies.” (Dhirman 2012, p. 7)

The discourse series in April 1970 was continuing what had happened one month before: “On March 5, 1970, a meeting of Indian industrialists with Osho was organized by Kakubhai and one of his industrialist friends, Shri Suresh Kilachand. The meeting happened at his guesthouse situated at Altamount Road. The subject of the meeting was ‘Contemporary Socialism’. At that time, current questions on capitalism and socialism were discussed in detail.” (Laheru 2012, p. 48)

Osho reveals in his later lectures some episodes from his political life and his personal friends from his days as a teenager in Gadarwara when he was in close contact with communist thinking:

“When I said, twenty years ago, that men are not equal, the Communist party of India passed a resolution against me, condemning me. And the president of the Communist party of India, S.A. Dange, declared that soon his son-in-law, who is a professor, is going to write a book to confute my idea that men are not equal. He has written a book against me; although there is no argument except anger, abuse and lies – but not a single argument to prove that men are equal.” Zarathustra: The Laughing Prophet, vol.2 #3

In The Mind of Acharya Rajneesh (1974) part four is on ‘MAN & MAN – Socialism and the social dimension of life’, and here his thinking is put forward very explicitly:

“When I caution you against socialism, I mean the Socialism that is established or rather forced upon the people before it due time. Capitalism must be allowed its full term of evolution for it is but the incubating period before socialism emerges. I only advocate the establishment of a Socialism that is a natural, proper growth in the cycle of evolution. Even Marx himself never dreamed of Socialism being established in Russia nor did he imagine China turning red because Russia and China are poor countries. Marx had imagined that Capitalism would succumb to socialism in either America or Germany but history belied his hopes and calculations. Capitalism broke down in Russia and China and now India is thinking of doing away with it also. But these are countries which have no wealth – only abundance of poverty! These masses can be stirred to action through envy alone.
On the other hand, Marx’s thinking was very logical. He was correct in saying that whereever and whe[n]ever Capitalism had its full growth, it would have to depart.
What we need today in India is atmosphere, congenial to the development of Capitalism. India should take a decision that for fifty years it will allow Capitalism full growth. Then only Socialism will come. It will come of itself. The country will not need an Indira or for that matter, anyone else, to usher it. For if one were to ask, “Who established Capitalism?”, the answer would be that Capitalism emerged of its own accord when Feudalism reached its peak of development.” The Mind of Acharya Rajneesh (1974), p. 161

Osho further comments on the events around a published thesis by a professor and son-in-law of Amrit Dange, critical of his work as an acharya:

“He has written a thesis against me because I am confusing people’s minds. It is difficult to figure out whether I am atheist or theist, whether I am a religious man or an anti-religious man. Through the whole of his thesis he tries to figure who I am – and finds that it is impossible, and that I am simply a confuser.
Amrit Dange, the president of the Indian communist party and one of the oldest communists in the world, was part of the international communist party at the time of the Russian revolution, he was one of the members along with Lenin and Trotsky. Just by chance we were in the same compartment, traveling…
So he said, “We have all the books [on Rajneesh]. Perhaps you are right; he is a fool. Three years he has wasted, and he has published it with his own money. No publisher was ready to publish it. ´Because,´ they said, ´the country is clearly divided; there are no neutral people available, so who is going to purchase the book? He published it with his own money and now he is sitting on the whole lot.” From Personality to Individuality #22

On another communist friend, the novelist Yashpal, Osho tells us:

“I had one communist friend – he was really a great intellectual. He had written many, nearabout a hundred, books, all on the communist theme but in a very indirect way; they were novels. But through the novel he was preaching the communist theme, so indirectly that you would be influenced by the novel. The novels that he had written are first rate – he was a first-rate creative writer – but the result ultimately will be that he will be pulling you towards communism.
His name was Yashpal. I told him, “Yashpal, you are against all religions” – and communism is against all religions, it is an atheist philosophy, “But the way you behave and other communists behave simply proves that communism is another religion.”
He said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “I simply mean that you are as fanatic as any Mohammedan, as any Christian. You have your trinity: Marx, Engels, Lenin. You have your Mecca – Moscow.; you have your kaaba – the Kremlin; you have your holy book – Das Kapital. And although Das Kapital is now a hundred years old you are not ready to change a single word in it. In a hundred years economics has changed totally – Das Kapital is absolutely out of date.”
He was ready to fight. I said, “It is not a question of fight. Even if you kill me that will not prove that you were right. That will simply prove that I was right and you could not tolerate my existence. You give me arguments.” From Darkness to Light #29

His considerations on socialism and standpoint in the political sphere are presented right from the beginning of the series:

“The first thing to understand is that socialism today stands as an enemy, in opposition to capitalism. But whatever socialism may be, it is the child of capitalism. Capitalism arose out of a system of feudalism. And if capitalism is allowed to develop fully, it will lead to socialism. And socialism, allowed to turn its full course, will turn into communism. And in the same way communism can lead to anarchism. But the basic condition is that these systems should be allowed to evolve fully, completely…
Remember, if capitalism is developed properly, socialism will be its natural outcome – in a pregnancy of nine months the child comes out of its mother’s womb naturally and silently. So, talk of socialism when capitalism has not yet grown to its full height, is suicidal.
I am myself a socialist, so it will surprise you to beware of socialism. I also want the child of socialism to come to India, but on one condition – that it completes its full nine months in the mother’s womb. This country has not achieved capitalism as yet. So talk of socialism here at this moment is as dangerous…as dangerous as it proved in Russia, and is going to be proved in China. China is out to kill millions, and yet socialism will not come there, because nothing in life happens before its time. The law of life does not permit haste. This country has yet to develop its capitalist system…
If I warn you against socialism, it does not mean that I am the enemy of socialism. In fact, the socialists of the day are its enemies, for they do not know what they are doing. They are setting on fire the very house they live in. They will be burned, and with them the whole country will be burned.” Beware of Socialism #1 (130)

The listeners’ responding when Osho was distancing himself from the socialist and communist cause very much resemble the weeding among his Gandhian followers when Osho in 1969 started criticizing Gandhi and his ideology of poverty. Certainly Osho has never been for those who couldn’t stand up to the challenge of their innermost values.

Compilations

The Mind of Acharya Rajneesh is edited by Shireen Jamall and published by Jaico Publishing House in Bombay 1974. It is the first compilation in English of Rajneesh’s talks from Jabalpur and all over India from the 1960s. It was printed in a second edition with an alternate title The Mind of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in 1980. As this publication is rare and almost impossible to borrow through libraries, some excerpts will follow to give a gist of the content of these vintage texts of Acharya Rajneesh, where anecdotes, stories and parables are interwoven in his lectures.

Part I. (45 numbered anecdotes).
“Thousands of years ago, a town with many temples got submerged in the sea. The bells of those drowned temples are still ringing. It is possible that the underwater current makes them ring.
I wished to hear that music. So, I went in search of that sea. After several years of wandering, at last I did reach that sea-shore. But, behold what was there was the loud tumult of the sea. The strokes of waves, after striking on the rocks, were resounding manifold in that lonely place. Neither was there any music nor were the ringing bells of the temples. I kept listening intently to the shore. But there was nothoing, but for the sound of breaking waves.
Then one night suddenly I found the bells of submerged temples ringing; their sweet music filled my life with joy.
Now somebody is constantly awake within me. Sleep has vanished for ever.
And life has been filled with light; because where there is no sleep, there is no darkness.
Do you also want to go near that sea shore? Do you also want to hear the music of the submerged temples of God?
Let us then go. Let us move within ourselves. One’s heart itself is that sea, and in its depth is the town of the submerged temples of God.
But only those who are, in all respect, calm and concentrated are able to hear the music of those temples.” (Page 1)

One more anecdote from the collection:

“12. Do not search for religion; search for yourself. Religion will then automatically come to you.
Does religion exist in scriptures?
No. Religion does not exist in scriptures. Scriptures are dead and religion is a living entity.
Does religion exist in sects?
No. Religion does not exist even in sects. Sects are based on unions and religion has an absolutely independent identity of its own. For that it is not necessary to go out side; but you have to move inside.
Religion exists in every breath of the self. All that we lack is the sight to uncover and see it.
Religion exists in every drop of blood of the self. We lack the courage and determination to search it out…
Truth can be found only by self-effort. Nobody else can give it. One has to swim in the sea of truth by himself. Those who look out for support get drowned near the coast itself, and those who take up courage to swim for themselves cross it over even after a little drowning.” (Page 24)

Part II. Sex as a Source of Spiritual Energy

Part III. Man God – The spiritual Dimension of Life

“To reach the innermost centre of our heart – the ‘Temple of God’ we will have to pass through four chambers. On each of these I shall give you detailed discourses. These chambers are called (1) Compassion, (2) Friendliness, (3) Cheerfulness and (4) Renunciation. With the opening of each door we shall be drawn, nearer and nearer to our goal, with a magnetic force. When ‘Renunciation’ the last chamber is reached, we shall have shed everything unwanted and become one with the Supreme force. By this time we shall have got rid of all false values and our masks. With a completely detached mind we shall become One with Him.” (Page 117)

Also included in the compilation is the everlasting theme of speech versus silence:

“Speech, on most occasions, is an effective way of inviting attention of another person. We make use of the listener as a basket into which we empty our thoughts! The listener becomes only a means to an end!
Silence establishes tranquillity within, rids us of our ego and makes us sensitive to other people and objects around us. An intimate contact is achieved and we lose ourselves in the growing warmth of genuine sympathy.
One day a Mr. X came to me because he was most eager to have an hour’s tete-a-tete with me. Throughout the hour my responses were monosyllabic. At the end of an hour Mr. X thanked me for a very interesting conversation. I was amused as it was he who had done all the talking. I said so to him, but he obviously had not given an ear to that remark of mine for he kept on insisting that he had a wonderful one hour with me!
Speech therefore, in most cases, is only an audible expression given to his own thoughts by the speaker, without being concerned about the listener’s reaction.
Love is being concerned about another person, that is why, a lover becomes tongue-tied in the presence of his beloved.
The man who has come to love silence speaks not to make himself the centre of attention but only when speech becomes necessary either to solve someone else’s problems or to give solace to another.” (Page 127)

Part IV. MAN & MAN – Socialism and the social dimension of life

See quotation in chapter on Beware of Socialism.

[Part V] Random Thoughts

“Awakening is life; sleeping is a form of death. It is the lamp of awakening which fills the heart with light; sleeping is darkness and to be in darkness is to be in misery, pain and remorse. Let us ask ourselves where we are, what we are? If we are in remorse, in fear, in pain and misery, then we should understand that we are in darkness. We should know that we are in sleep. Before one moves in the direction of awakening it is necessary to know that he is in sleep.” (Page 229)

“Man is a lamp. There is mud in him, there is light in him too. If the attention is centered round the mud alone, life is wasted. There must be attention to the light is taken notice of because in the mere itself the lord is seen.” (Page 242)

[Part VI] Conversations

Interview by a French seeker, Dr. C. Guinebert from Paris in 1970 published in Flight of the Alone to the Alone (1970). Some questions are asked by Mayogabhaabti, Yogacharya Mahendra, Yogacharya Kriyananda and others.

[Part VI] LSD. Two pages which is the last part of the compilation.

[Part V] Random Thoughts is to be found in another early compilation with talks from Jabalpur titled Wings of Love and Random Thoughts (1969). The first part of the book is a discourse from 1969 called Wings of Love. The second part is a collection of 224 short numbered texts called Random Thoughts. These adapted short texts are essentials from his teachings comprising most aspects of life, death and beyond:

“17. What is it that I say? Words? No. No. Those who hear my words alone cannot understand what I talk about. Are we engaged in intellectual deliberations? No. No. We are not doing anything of the sort. In fact, we are not deliberation at all. Instead, we are seeking a situation in life, an aspect of existence. We are seeking entry into pure existence…But then certainly understanding means an entry, a penetration, besides understanding. Life can be understood only by passing through love, not through deliberation. We have to live life. Do I make you understand my word? Do not worry to understand it. Worry will not let you understand. Just think and see. Flowers blossom on the trees. Just look out. What wonderful flowers adorn the Gulmohur trees. Do we ponder over them or see them? The cuckoo is coming. Do we ponder over it or hear it? Similarly listen and see what I say. It is not deliberation but sharp and penetrating vision that can take you as far as its meaning. Deliberation shudders at words. But vision pierces through silence. Deliberation goes on pondering in vain. But vision unfolds the meaning. Vision becomes deeper to the extent that is free from deliberation. Deliberation entails time. It is an action.” Wings of Love and Random Thoughts #17

In Pointing the Way (Motilal Banarsidass 1979) we have an essential compilation with revised versions and improved English translations of some early books by Osho. They were Seeds of Revolutionary Thoughts (Kranti beej 1965), Earthen Lamps (Mitti ke diye 1966) (preserved as manuscript, see Appendix). A collection of 180 translated fragments from Hindi discourses were included together with letters to friends, incidents and records of conversations. From the editing process Krishna Prem has given us this account: “Path to Self-Realisation has been finished, titled Pointing the Way, and now I’m wading through one hundred and eighty letters and anecdotes and excerpts from talks, trying to turn two old collections, Earthen Lamps and Seeds of Revolutionary Thought, into one cohesive volume. And the book is progressing beautifully. After the morning discourse I cycle home and, naked and alone in the flat, the maid gone, I boil the day’s milk, set out bread to rise and, Ness-coffee in hand, get down to it. There are some exquisite pieces in the volume I’m editing, real little gems, and my days are inspired, filled with the vastness of his vision and the wonder of his words.” (Allanach 2010, p. 171)

In his introduction to the compilation Pointing the Way Krishna Prem writes on the social environment for seekers around Osho in the early Jabalpur days: “Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh is the clearest signpost you’ll ever encounter on your journey through life. He’s a lighthouse, a beacon, a lodestar; like Jesus or Buddha or Lao Tzu, he’s a finger pointing to the moon.
That’s what this book is all about – using words to express the inexpressible, employing the finite to indicate the infinite, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, revealing the mystery hidden in the mundane. A finger pointing to the moon…
Pointing the Way” is a collection of 180 fragments from discourses, letters to friends, incidents, records of conversations. Before the years of Bombay, before the Ashram in Poona. They come from a time when he was able to roam freely, speaking here and there in lecture halls, in private homes, on train journeys, over dinners, in the villages, in the cities. They come from a period when you joined the solitary figure in white on one of his morning walks, when you dropped in on him with a question, when you strolled home with him at night for a chat. But no matter how you chanced upon him then, or how you meet him now, you come away with a burning thirst that can only be quenched by the Divine.” Pointing the Way (1979), p. 1

As the book is a compilation of early core publications of Rajneesh we find its pages are filled with pieces of text of varying length, displaying what some might be tempted to call the quintessence of his teachings:

“Do you know what I teach? I teach a very small secret. I teach the secret of how to become an emperor. What could be greater than this little secret!
You may ask how everyone in the world can become an emperor. But I say it can be so. There is a vast kingdom where everyone is an emperor! But everyone in the world is a slave. And even those who think they are emperors are slaves to their own slaves.
There is one world outside man and there is another world inside him. In the outside world no one has ever really been an emperor despite the fact that most people are struggling towards this end alone. Perhaps you are also involved in the same struggle, in the same competition. But, I tell you, if you want to become an emperor it is not the world you must conquer, but your self. Christ has said, “The kingdom of God is within.” Are you not aware that those who have conquered the outer kingdoms have missed their selves? And how can a man who has lost his self become an emperor? To be an emperor it is imperative a man at least be the master in his own house.” Pointing the Way (1979), p. 165

Like Pointing the Way also The Long and the Short and the All (1975) was edited by Krishna Prem in Poona. Where Pointing the Way contained early essential books previously published in inadequate English translations, The Long and the Short and the All contained excerpts from six early talks, possibly from Kulu Manali 1969, and letters in a mosaic of texts from punching one-liners to excerpts over several pages. The text is arranged into six thematic sections: Knowledge and Understanding, Truth and Understanding, Religion and Education, Thought and Vision, Life and Death and Love and Happiness. In its Introduction Krishna Prem writes:

“This volume is a mosaic, a mixed bag of tricks. There are one-liners to shock you, anecdotes to shake you and questions to stir your heart. There are tales to provoke you, talks to inspire you and treatises that will turn you into the very thirst for your own transformation.
This book has everything. It’s a tranquil lake. It’s a roaring waterfall. It’s the nightingale’s song; it’s the hornet’s sting. It’s a garden in the sunshine; it’s the jungle on the darkest night. It’s the long and the short and the all.” The Long and the Short and the All (1984), Introduction

A few excerpts from the compilation are once again presenting some fiercely remarks on the followers of Gandhi:

“Their snow-white hand-woven khadi garments were dazzling in their purity; their khadi caps seemed as if they could lift an empire out of the dust and turn it into something solid, into something beneficial for a suffering people. But today those same khadi caps, once regarded as symbols of purity, have fallen so low into the dust that they deserve to be burned in the public squares. Now they are totally bourgeois; now they are emblems of red-tapism and corruption.” The Long and the Short and the All #5.

“The way to probe into the facts of life and death is not by thinking about philosophy or the scriptures – and those who pursue these avenues will uncover nothing worthwhile. My approach is existential, because this way you can really understand that you are life and that you have no death. This truth can be entered into, experienced as fact, lived. But those who use thinking in their attempt to unravel the meaning of life and death will never achieve anything, will never arrive at any kind of result – even if they spend their whole lives immersed in such thoughts.
We can only think about what we know. You will be utterly lost trying to think about something that is unknown to you…
Whatever theories the philosophers have evolved about life and death have no value at all. Whatever is written in the books of philosophy about life and death is only indulgence in thoughts, mere theorizing – and totally worthless. Only what yoga says about life and death holds true, and all other theories are just word games.” The Long and the Short and the All #5.

A few more gold nuggets from The Long and the Short and the All:

Truth can only be realized. It cannot be explained or understood.” The Long and the Short and the All #2.

“I had to forget everything I had learned, everything I had been taught. To attain my own vision, I had to get rid of all those second-hand points of view. To think my own thoughts I had to free myself from all the borrowed ideas that had been pumped into me. If you want to learn to walk you have to stop leaning on someone else’s shoulder. and only when you stop looking through someone else’s eyes will your own eyes open. Remember, the man who sees life through the eyes of another is even more blind than the man who is born without sight at all.” The Long and the Short and the All #3.

When the first draft for the introduction was finished it was presented to Veena before being snapped away by Laxmi: “I’m just on my way in [to Osho],” she says, whipping the sheet of paper from Veena’s hand and turning on her heel. “I’ll take it in and see what he has to say.” A few moments later she’s back. “It’s fine. He says you should title the book as well.” Masking my surprise, I look at the introduction she’s returned to me, hoping for instant inspiration. “It’s obvious,” I say. “I’ll just call it The Long and the Short and the All. Did he say what he wants me to do next?” (Allanach 2010, p. 182). The next morning Krishna Prem was given a translation of a Hindi series on the fifteenth century weaver-mystic Kabir to edit.

Further excerpts from Osho’s early talks in Jabalpur and Bombay are to be found in the following compilations: Early Talks (Talks from 1965 to 1970), The Eternal Quest (1980), The Perennial Path (1972), containing unique points not covered later on, and Revolution in Education (1997). (See Compilations in Bibliography)

Books on Acharya Rajneesh

Among those devotees who had gathered around Osho in his Jabalpur residences or met him during his travels, some could not help telling and writing about their experiences with their master, and around 1970 the first studies and short biographies on Osho began to appear, although we will have to wait until the late seventies for the waterfall of laudatory biographies by Western sannyasins that began to fill the shelves of the libraries with their personal and scholarly stories from a mystery school in the making far away in India. Not unexpectedly over the years also fiercely reports by opponents were to be seen.

When going to Patna in Bihar, known for its modern history of anarchy and ridden by caste riots, Rajneesh used to stay with his friend Ram Chandra Prasad, who was to write the very first comprehensive academic study in Hindi of Rajneesh and his philosophy. Prasad was also writing and publishing some shorter articles and introductions in Hindi on Acharya Rajneesh and together they used to visit bookshops in Patna when Rajneesh was in town delivering his lectures. Dr. Ram Chandra Prasad was a follower and a scholar both, and positioned as Head of the Department of English at the University of Bhagalpur, with a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh and a D.Lit. from Patna University. He had met Rajneesh in 1967 and became the author of Acharya Rajneesh: Samanwaya, Vishleshan aur Samsiddi (Acharya Rajneesh: Overview, Analysis and Synthesis), published by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, in 1969.

First English edition was out from Motilal Banarsidass in Delhi 1970, dedicated to Mahipal, A Felow-Traveller, and a second English edition in 1978 with identical title: Rajneesh. The Mystic of Feeling. A Study in Rajneesh’s Religion of Experience. The 1969-edition is allegedly an earlier title than the one edited and translated into English 1970 (Prasad 1978), and this first Hindi edition is said never to have been translated in its original version. His work is a first attempt in a scholarly way to present Rajneesh’s thinking, and it may, due to their close relationship, not be viewed as an entirely objective assessment. On the other hand, without their mutual affinity the book could not have come forward.

“PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION (1970)
Archarya Rajneesh has begun to hold a commanding historical significance in India in spite of a continuing controversy about his stature as a seer. Even those who refuse to judge his brilliant speeches as original philosophical contributions prefer to view him as a great orator, or as a critic of culture and religion, or even a superb master of Hindi which he speaks with extraordinary fluency and ease…Indeed, he mounts a concerted attack on traditional religious assumptions, insisting in particular on ‘a special transmission outside the scriptures’…It is a difficult task to examine the teachings of such a versatile and dynamic preacher as Rajneesh briefly, especially because they have meant and can mean many things to many people. Partly this is due to their length and partly due to the scope of the questions considered: they range from political and economic thought to minute points of religious dogmatics, sex and superconsciousness. An attempt has, however, been made in the following pages to consider his views seriatim [in succession], to deal with their sources in the introductory section of this study, and to sum them up in the final.” (Prasad 1970, p. v & 1978, p. ix) (131)

“PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION (1978)
This is a revised edition of The Mystic of Feeling that was first published in 1970. The book was written in the years 1969-70, when I was teaching at the University of Patna. The reprint has made it possible to enlarge the conclusions, to correct the errors that occur in the first edition and to revise the text thoroughly. Now that the disciples of Bhagwan have edited hundreds of new books covering a wide range of spiritual topics on which the Master has been preaching, I have decided to bring my analyses up to date in a separate volume. The new books from Rajneesh’s own publishing house (euphemistically called Rajneesh Foundation) deserve to be appraised more for the valuable matter they contain than for the price.” (Prasad 1978, p. ii)

Books in English by Rajneesh mentioned in the second edition of The Mystic of Feeling from 1978 are: The Wings of Love (p. 8), Random Thoughts (p. 10), Philosophy of Non-Violence (p. 50) and Who Am I (p. 76), and references to the following title in Hindi can be found: Ahimsa Darshan, Anteryatra, Sawikriti men Utha Hath, Kranti Beej, Mitti ke Diye, Main Kaun Hun, Naye Manushya ke Janma ki Disha, Naye Sanket, Path ke Pradeep, Prem ke Pankh, Satya ke Agyat Sagar ka Amantran, Satya ki Khoy, Surya ki ore Uran, Singhnad, Sadhana Path, Sambhog se Samadhi ki Ore and the magazines Jyoti Shikha and Yukrand.

In his introduction Prasad is presenting Rajneesh in context with both Gurdjieff and Krishnamurti, and he is pointing to inspiration from these figures with views that may strike the readers as being too well-known to be original, and he calls Rajneesh an eminently great assimilator of new ideas which he puts forward to his audiences in easy-to-understand dissemination through his lectures. They are obviously all three of them tapping from the same eternal source, where Rajneesh is much inspired by also Zen Buddhism and Taoism to be confirmed in several passages of Kranti Beej and in his recalling of Zen anecdotes narrated also by D.T. Suzuki. Rajneesh’s references to the void or sunyata can be observed throughout his whole work, from Kranti Beej to his very last discourses on Zen in Poona Two in the late 1980s. (Prasad 1978, pp. 23 & 85)

“Rajneesh’s chief pronouncements concerning the right kind of education are essentially similar to those of Krishnamurti and have been presented in Towards the Birth of the New Man, one of his most brilliant and lively addresses; in Random Thoughts, a collection of his important instructions, and in the numerous volumes of Jyoti-shikha, a quarterly published in Bombay to disseminate his views.” (Prasad 1978, p. 45)

In Prasad’s conclusion and summary of his book he makes a prophecy on Rajneesh’s future fate which was to come true in U.S.A. in a way which could not be expressed in details around 1970, but only alluded at:

“The critics of Rajneesh, however they may fail to agree on secondary matters, are for the most part at one in assigning to him his place in the spiritual life of the country. They agree that the Acharya is an exceptional man, the very embodiment of wisdom, piety and virtue. Such, indeed, is the force of his personality and the ardour of his spoken word that one feels that he, unaided and alone, can achieve the triumph of universal enlightenment. None among his listeners can question his erudition, his charm, his high integrity, his fairness, his wisdom, or his amazing courage.

Possessed of occult powers and clairvoyance – and I fancy he must have gone through decades of difficult experience and sadhana and what not – to make him what he is, Rajneesh cannot escape the usual fate of unusual men like Socrates and Christ. Although he does no mean tricks and panders to nothing base, some of us fellows are frightened of him because he does everything better than we can do it, and is superior to us all. Nothing gives small minds a better handle for hatred than superiority, especially when the superiority is never asserted, but only felt.” (Prasad 1978, p. 216)

“Those who have realized the real self are, according to the Acharya, silent. Is not this silence eloquent enough to convince us that Truth lies not in speech, but in silence, or that silence itself is Truth. Books are no more than signposts on the road to the wisdom that makes the seeker free; that wisdom is not in the books themselves. For the Self that we need to know is within, nor outside: if and when the eye of wisdom is opened, the Self will be found shining in all His glory, directly, without any medium. Books breed the notion that the Self is something outside, needing to be known as an object, through the medium of the mind.” (Prasad 1978, p. 162) (132)

Some caveat may be needed when reading Prasad’s presentation. On the book jacket we find in a note that from 1957 to August 1966 Rajneesh taught philosophy at the Sanskrit College in Raipur, which is obviously a misunderstanding in the publishing.

At the same time when Prasad’s study was published in English, another introduction to Acharya Rajneesh was available in the bookshops: Rajneesh – a Glimpse (April 1970) written by V. Vora. Like Prasad Vora is presenting his rather intellectual guide into the world of Rajneesh’s teachings, without much flavour and sensibility to the more subtle dimensions of his work, a feature not confined only to Prasar and Vora, but a constant challenge to anyone trying to deal with these phenomena. In excerpts we may have a gist of its contents and style of writing:

“Rajneesh is not a man of our times. He belongs to futurity. A modern Socrates he is, continually travelling the length and breath of this country, holding meetings and discussions at street corners and parks, in auditoriums and palace halls. His discourses have been a source of anxiety to local leaders wherever he camps. National sociologists and moral vanguards frown upon his philosophy of life, his vision of religion in New Light and the insistent demand for a change at all the levels of life and society…
Once Acharya Rajneesh was asked that if language was insufficient, and intellect not the proper instrument for the realisation of Truth, or the achievement of peace, why did he bothered at all to lecture or discuss with people? He said that he aimed to aid the intellectualization, and enlightenment. Thereby the aim was to create problems, to raise storms in the listeners so that out of confusion, the listener, at some fortunate moment may decide to desist from mental gymnastics, throw away all gurus, religion, ideals, prejudices and initiate themselves into that sphere which starts from where the intellect ends. He gave an instance that one night in his houseboat, Tagore was reading very late at night about Beauty. After much mental gastronomy, at last in exasperation, he threw away books with a conviction that Beauty cannot be realised thus. He puts out the light… A flood of moonlight rushed into the cabin. And, lo!…he started dancing with joy in the moonlight. He had achieved what he seeked, by throwing away intellection.” (Vora 1970, p. 20)

Vora’s booklet on Rajneesh was on 24 pages only and published by Jeevan Jagruti Kendra in a series called ‘Don’t Read’ series: Leaf one, a series in which no other titles seem to have appeared. It mentions following titles were in the press by April 1970, just before Rajneesh’s move to Bombay: From Sex to Superconsciousness, Truth a Project, God on Office Table, Yoga and the Establishment, Lovely Revolt and Socialism Under Searchlight.

Prasad’s and Vora’s scholarly studies on Acharya Rajneesh are supplemented by other publications mentioned by Rajneesh in his discourses, among these a biography on Rajneesh by the Hindu saint Karpatri ardently criticizing his teachings:

“One of the great Hindu monks, Karpatri, has written a whole book against me; and when I saw it I wondered how he managed. Statements that I have never made he makes in my name, and then criticizes them. Now, anybody reading this book will think that he has finished me completely. He has not even touched me. His secretary has written the introduction to the book, and seems to be an intelligent man because in that introduction he says, “We are obliged to Osho because he created this opportunity and the challenge for all those who think to reconsider everything and not just accept anything without reconsidering it…He came personally to give me the book. I looked in it here and there and I asked him, “You are the secretary of Karpatri” – he was a Hindu sannyasin himself – “Have you not noticed that these statements are not mine? Most probably the book was dictated to you.”
He said, “I was afraid that you were going to say that.” I just looked here and there in the book and I told him, “This statement is not mine. Nor only is it not mine, it is contrary to me, absolutely against my statements. You are an educated person; how did you allow it to happen? You should have prevented it, because this book is absolutely false and whosoever reads it will have a totally wrong concept of me.” From Ignorance to Innocence #20

Next to the book written by the Hindu monk Karpatri another biography by an author from Baroda is mentioned by Osho to have been published even with his blessings inside.

“In India it happened, one man wrote a book against me and he sent me the proof copy. I looked into it – it was all rubbish, lies fictitious stories with no evidence. Still, I sent him my blessings and told him to print it on the first page of the book. He could not believe it; he was so disturbed: what kind of man is this?
He lived in Baroda, a thousand miles from me, but he came to see me – he had never seen me. He was just collecting third-rate yellow newspapers and cuttings and gossips, rumours…and he managed to make a book. And he asked me, “Have you seen inside or have you simply sent blessings?”
I said, “I have gone through it word for word; it is all bullshit, but you have done so much work collecting bullshit, you need blessings.”
He said, “But this looks strange – with your blessings. I know this book: even while I was collecting and writing…My purpose is to earn money – this book is going to become a bestseller – but now seeing you and your response, I feel perhaps I should not have done this.”
I said, “No, you continue. Let this book go into the market. Collect more, because while I am alive more and more lies will be there, more and more gossips, rumors – you can always earn money; this is a good way. It is not doing any harm to me. And the picture you have chosen for the cover is really beautiful…
Your writing is good; what you have written is nonsense, but the way you have put it and presented it is really good. And you devoted almost one year to my service. I cannot pay you, but I can give you my blessing.”
And the book was published with my blessings and every criticism that appeared in newspapers about the book mentioned it: “It is strange that Osho blesses it.” And just that simple blessing cancels the whole book.” (Beyond Psychology (Talks in Uruguay) #29) (133)

A professor, who is the son-in-law of S.A. Dange, the president of the Communist Party of India, wrote a book against Rajneesh to confute his idea that men are not equal. He published it with his own money as he could find no publisher ready to publish it. No copies were ever sold, and the author was finally sitting on the whole lot of copies. From Personality to Individuality #22 (134)

Some of the Jabalpur VIPs closest to Rajneesh were the industrialist Parmanand Bhai Patel, who became the education minister of the state of Madhya Pradesh, and Dr. Seth Govind Das, the former freedom fighter and later member of The Indian Parliament. In Rajneesh’s early days in Jabalpur Govind Das had arranged a series of Rajneesh’s public talks at his residence Gokul Das Palace where listeners had been welcomed. He was a long time friend of Acharya Rajneesh and later on he also visited him in Woodlands, Bombay. In those days before 1969 when Rajneesh was still writing his lectures and articles, he has graciously written the introduction to the compilation of 32 essays published by Govind Das in 1966. Excerpt:

Introduction

Thoughts are thoughts. They are neither mine or yours. But, the self-centeredness of man’s thought is immense. That is how the ego is bolstered, otherwise what is ego and where is it? What can be more false than the ego? That is why somehow or the other the ego is all the time finding some support to save itself. Through money, through power, through knowledge, through renouncement – it tries to save its shadowy existence and make it seem real. Its food is: ‘this is mine’. The life blood of ‘I’ is ‘mine’. Then, it may be my money, my renouncement, my country, my religion or my thought. Until the idea of ‘mine’ remains, ‘I’ (ego) will remain. Where there is no ‘mine’, there is no ‘I’. And then whatever remains, that is what really ‘is’. You can call it parmatma, or super-self.
Dr Goving Das has collected these thoughts. It is clear that these were born when he spent some time with me. We used to discuss a lot. He has taken some of these ideas as a starting point and with them stitched a garland of his own with them. As far as I am concerned, I am unable to recognise my ideas in this garland. The garland maker has added and subtracted a lot. These ideas were not mine then, when we discussed them. When I had not known the truth, then that appeared to be the only truth which was supposedly ‘mine’, and now that I ‘know’, the truth is that which is neither ‘mine or yours’. And these thoughts are not as they were when they were born because in the interval of time they have travelled a lot…” (Govind 1966) (135)

Govind Das and Patel were both reading Rajneesh’s published books and they recognised his bibliographic knowledge as well as his mystic wisdom as narrated by Ageh Bharti:

“Once, Kranti, Arvind, and I had gossip with Osho at His Kamla Nehru Nagar residence, when Dr. Seth Govind Das arrived. He paid obeisance to Osho with folded hands and took a seat. We stopped chatting because Dr. Seth Govind Das had an appointment. He told Osho that he was writing a book on Mahatma Gandhi and besought Osho to suggest some books on him and the place from where he could get it. Osho suggested nearly dozen books and informed from where the books could be had. About one book, He told it could be had from such and such shop in Calcutta and if not perhaps, it could not be found anywhere. He had to ask only this much…
Osho told me that once He and Parmanand traversed together in the same A.C. coach when the latter told Osho, “I have read your book, ‘Asvikriti Mein Utha Hath‘ (means ‘Hand Raised in Disagreement’). During the past ten thousand years, such book was not written but this I cannot say in public.” (Bharti 2007, p. 128)

From the very start we have seen that Osho took a great interest in the design of his publications. The first virgin prints of Osho were lay outed with simple typographical lettering on the front cover, but soon Osho chose to put his own photo instead, knowing full well the mesmerizing effect his eyes and whole face might have on any potential buyer.

“Kamta Sagar was a renowned artist in Jabalpur. He has designed the cover pages of two of Osho’s books besides those of some of ‘Yukrand’ magazines.” (Bharti 2007, p. 173)

Lalbahadur Shastri became the prime minister of India after Nehru in 1964, and according to Osho Shastri was much interested in his work, and he is said to have read Sadhana Path and Kranti Beej at his time of death on an official journey to the Soviet Union:

“Lalbahadur Shastri was interested in me very much, and promised that although his party and colleagues did not agree with it, he would try his best to implement my ideas. But he died of a heart attack in the U.S.S.R. His secretary reported to me that all the way on the journey he was reading my book, Seeds of Revolutionary Thought. And the night he had the heart attack, another of my books, The Perfect Way, was in his hands.” From Unconsciousness to Consciousness #27

“Lalbahadur Shastri, was immensely interested in me. He died with one of my books on his chest. He was reading it and must have fallen asleep, had a heart attack, and died…” The Last Testament, vol.1 #9

We have been referring extensively to Osho’s own recollections from his Jabalpur period, and also to the revealing biographies, now available in English translations, written by his followers Sw. Ageh Bharti and Ma Anand Urmila who were both present in those days, whereas the later and partly fictitious renderings by Sw. Gyan Bhed are based on his interviews with participants in the events described in the text. (136)

Acharya Rajneesh’s years in Jabalpur 1967-1970 have been covered by Sw. Ageh Bharti (aka Shiv Pratap Singh, born 1934) in a number of biographies, including his diary publication Blessed Days with Osho (2007). He had met Rajneesh in his young age and had taken the opportunity to watch his divine play under numerous conditions. Some of his memoirs were printed in Yukrand in the early 1970s, and when reading these Swami Anand Maitreya wrote a letter to him encouraging him to put his vivid descriptions of his days with Rajneesh together in book form. This first collection of Ageh Bharti’s memoirs was published in Hindi with the title Indradhanushi Smritiyon Mein Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh (1978) (Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh in the Rainbow of Memoirs). In his preface to the maiden Hindi edition Maitreya writes that he can see a future when epics will be written around the aura of Osho, and he recites the words of the Hindi poet Maithili Sharana Gupta: ‘This, a triumphant cheer, in the glory of those who’ll be coming, from those in passing.’ (137)

Before Bharti met Rajneesh in February 1967 he had already bought two booklets by Rajneeesh at the Gadarwara railway station kiosk in October 1966, so Rajneesh’s first booklets seem already to have been available to the general public at this early time.

Ageh Bharti’s love and affection for Osho and the foundation for his entire work and publishing is expressed in these lines: “I have never experienced such peace as I have when I was near Osho. Neither I have seen nor heard of any individual other than Osho who has such deep clarity and insight into human mind and life. The love and fearlessness that I felt near Him was unique and inexpressible.” (Bharti 2007, p. 49)

Ageh Bharti is also behind an edited compilation entitled Beloved Osho (Bharti 2012) presenting us with first hand material from his earlier published books in Hindi on Osho. The matter for this compilation are translations from these four books: Diary ke Panne (2001) (Pages from a Diary), Anjane Osho (1998) (Unknown Osho), Meri Rajneeshpuram Yatra (1996) (My Journey to Rajneeshpuram), and Osho Ek: Swad Anek (1995) (One Osho: Many Tastes). In these devotional writings Ageh Bharti intimately takes us into the early phases of Rajneesh’s work, his childhood in Gadarwara where his use of the public library from age ten is meritoriously described with a full listing of 568 titles taken out by Rajneesh in the years 1942-1951 and also his donations to the library when he moved to Jabalpur. A co-hosteller with Osho in Sagar University Hostel 1955-1957, Dr. Bhagwan Singh, gives us a touching memoir of their student days, and finally we are on the Ranch in Oregon visited by Ageh Bharti in the Summer of 1985. This edition also contains b/w photos of Rajneesh’s signature from the library’s ledger in 1942 and 1943 and from his donated books in the early 1950s as well as photocopies of some manuscripts from the late 1960s.

Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a well known poet from Ludhiana, a collector of Rajneesh’s publications and a regular subscriber to all Rajneesh magazines, suggested in 1969 to Ageh Bharti that an organisation should be shaped around Acharya Rajneesh to spread his thoughts, and that Ageh Bharti should take the opportunity to write an introductory book on Rajneesh, like “An introduction to His Thoughts.” At this time Jeevan Jagriti Kendra was up and running, but this request and encouragement from Bachchan was behind the numerous writings coming from Ageh Bharti’s hand in the coming years. Ageh Bharti had first met him at Ludhiana in August 1969:

“I left Osho at Delhi railway station and went with Bachchanji to his residence. On the way Bachchanji suggested, ‘There should be an organisation near Osho to spread His thoughts. He has put His hands on the right pulse of India. When He speaks, there are ripples of energy coming out from Him. I am very much impressed by Him. You are close to such a great man; you should make the best use of it. Why not write an introductory book on Him, like “An introduction to His thoughts.”? Osho should initiate the people. I am engaged until October, but later whenever He was in Jabalpur for eight-ten days, please inform me. I want to come to Jabalpur for ten days. I would like to be with Him for as long a time as He may allow.” (Bharti 2007, p. 62) (138)

In his Author’s Note introducing the subsequent English edition Blessed Days with Osho (2007) Ageh Bharti writes: “And I have accepted the challenge of writing about Osho. I do not know how it will be possible. Many a time, I have tried to pen my thoughts. When it was published in magazines, I have found myself misfit to complete the task, after gauging the output. I haven’t been able to express even one-thousandth of what I wanted to express. I believe even if I applaud Him with intrinsic energy, I shall do injustice to Him…
The memoirs contained in this book were published in 1978. The title ‘Indradhanushi Smritiyon Mein Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh’ (Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh in the Rainbow of Memoirs). Osho himself has suggested the title. Subsequent edition appeared in 1993 as ‘Osho Gatha (A Saga of Osho)’. It has been acclaimed as one of the glorified titles.
Osho always encouraged and loved my writings. He saw my last article in May 1989 before attaining the samadhi. A leading newspaper carried the article. He liked the contents when it was read out [by Neelam, his Hindi secretary], I had the following response: Osho has not enjoyed any article for the past several days as much as He enjoyed this article and Ageh Bharti should be informed to continue such write-ups. The commune informed me about the response through a letter.
What could have been a greater blessing than this?
The fifteen books on Osho authored by me (Hindi) have brought me laurels from every nook and corner through letters, phone calls and personal meetings. Many of the readers suggested me to make available the translated version (English). I could not find time to do so, following my preoccupation with the department of railways. I have worked on other books from 1991 after attaining superannuation limits. So, the translation work on memoirs had been kept off for a while…
I am indeed thankful to Ms. Sanchita Shrivastava – Satna (Madhya Pradesh). Ms. Usha Gupta – Bombay and Dr. Rajesh Deharia, Government Medical College, Jabalpur who have rendered invaluable assistance from time to time in drafting the specimen.
Then, came along Ma Bodhi Safi (Dr. Jyoti Arora) who has proved to be of tremendous help in completing the work on this book. She has edited [and translated] the draft specimen under my observation. Had Bodhi Safi not initiated, certainly, this book would not have reached the readers. Naturally, I shall feel greatly obliged to her and extend my warm regards…
This book is a translation of Osho Gatha (Osho Saga). A few memoirs have been taken from my third book – Osho ke Sang Kuchh Anmol Kshan (Some Precious Moments with Osho). Each memoir is unique, separate and complete in itself.
I sincerely hope the reader will have at least a casual glimpse into the being of multi-dimensional enlightened Master Osho in resplendence. June 17, 2006 – Swami Ageh Bharti(Bharti 2007, p. 13) (139)

Ma Anand Urmila was an early devotee of Rajneesh listening to his talks in Jabalpur in the late 1960s, and she too has published the impressions from her time with Rajneesh in The Inward Journey in Osho’s Guidance (2005) which presents us with an early insight in the subtle ways Acharya Rajneesh was working with his close followers in Jabalpur.

The Hindi edition was published by Jeevan Jagruti Kendra in Bombay with the title Shanti ki Khoj (1970), and it contained a compilation of Rajneesh’s early talks in Yogesh Bhavan with answers to Ma Anand Urmila’s questions during her stay in Jabalpur from January 1966 to March 1967, just around the time when Rajneesh resigned from university in August 1966. The talks are of a more intimate character compared to other published lectures and they have in 2005 for the first time appeared in English and literally speaking they are taking us into the intimate and spiritual atmosphere at his residence Yogesh Bhawan when he was working with his followers. Rajneesh had asked Urmila to take down notes of what he was saying at the couch in his library hall in Yogesh Bhavan and the next day he would approve her formulations. Rajneesh then took the manuscript to Jeevan Jagruti Kendra, Bombay, and the first Hindi edition of Urmila’s Shanti ki Khoj was out in 1970.

Sw. Bodhisatva Narendra remembers from his time in Jabalpur when he was involved in the editing of the first Hindi edition of Shanti ki Khoj: “The story goes from my home town Gadarwara and onwards. In Jabalpur I was first involved in the editing and publishing of a book called Shanti ki Khoj and also involved in other small books. I was writing an article because at that time technical help was not available. Also I was writing the notes and they were later on published in Jyotishikha. At the same time I was also a lecturer in psychology and used to come to Jabalpur every month for meditation. My dissertation was called The Effect of Meditation on Personal Change, but somehow it was not approved, partly because in India they were concerned by Western methods only.” (140)

The talks in Shanti ki Khoj were later to be translated into English by Urmila herself and the book appeared as The Inward Journey in Osho’s Guidance in 2005 after a preliminary digital version In Search of Truth had circulated and some mistakes had been edited before the final printing. (141)

In Junagarh, Gujarat, a meditation camp was arranged in December 1969 by Dr. Hemant Shukla and Magan Bhai Tanna. According to Ageh Bharti, who was attending this camp by invitation of Jaya, Shukla’s wife (later on Ma Yoga Meera), and at that occasion he carried a bundle of Urmila’s newly published Hindi book Shanti ki Khoj, which had been supported in its publishing by Jaya and her husband. The book also contained some of Rajneesh’s earlier discourses delivered at camps in Junagarh.

Before Urmila and Acharya Rajneesh got acquainted on 23rd January 1966, she had been looking intensively for someone to guide her on her spiritual path. She had been reading the mystical poems of Kabir, while she was studying in Calcutta for her M.A. in Hindi literature, and she started reading books like Search in Secret India (1951) by Dr. Paul Brunton and the biographies of the enlightened mystic Ramakrishna, his disciple Vivekananda and further Maharishi Ramana and Mahayogi Aurobindo without finding any clues for her path or some useful method for her meditation.

In August 1965 Urmila had gone to Calcutta to attend a wedding, and among her old friends she had met Mr. D.D. Mehra of the renowned publishing company Rupa & Company next to Indian Coffee House on the corner of College St. and Bankin Chatterjee St., who had introduced her to Rajneesh’s understandings and offered her two of Rajneesh’s early publications.

“While presenting me two small Hindi books he said, “I give these books to all my friends.” Curiously I looked at the titles of these books. One was ‘Sadhana Path,’ and the other was ‘Kranti-Beej’ I just could not make out the subject of these books.
‘Kranti-Beej’ in Hindi means ‘Seeds of Revolution’, so I wondered if it dealt with communism! The name of the author was ‘Acharya Rajneesh’.” (Urmila 2005, p. 11)

She was at that time living in Lucknow where her husband was an army officer soon to be posted to some other place, which luckily turned out to be in Jabalpur, where Rajneesh was already living. And his next posting would to be in Poona, of all places. The writing of her Ph.D. thesis in literature at the University of Calcutta was now postponed, but one morning she happened to look at the books she had received from Mehra in Calcutta. Finally after mailing to Rajneesh, Urmila was invited to meet him either at his college or in his residence, And soon after, on January 23rd 1966, she was waiting at Mahakoshal College in the staff-room where he was expected to arrive in the morning.

In the Preface of The Inward Journey in Osho’s Guidance (2005) Urlila tells about her days with Osho and the intentional background for the publishing of the book:

“At that time Osho was teaching philosophy in Mahakoshal College, Jabalpur and he was known as ‘Acharya Rajneesh´. The name written on his name-plate at his residence, Yogesh Bhawan, and also on his letterhead was Acharya Rajneesh. He used to drop in at Urmilas’s place going to his college or returning from there. During these visits he expressed his views on various topics regarding spiritual path and life in general.
This is an authentic reporting of his discussions with her, because he had asked her to write down whatever he had said and this she did regularly.
Everyday after his departure she used to write down the whole matter and read it out to him the next day to get his approval.
After listening to the written material, invariably he said, ‘Okay’.
After some time Osho asked her to write her own experience of meditation so that it would be the introduction to the compilation of his talks (the answers to her questions) which would be published in her name.
This idea was a surprise to her and she protested vehemently because she thought that being a novice on the path of meditation she had nothing much to say and her contribution to the book was nothing except noting down his words of wisdom.
The Osho explained to her that by publishing her experience of meditation he wanted to convince the people in general that everyone can tread the path of meditation and no special quality or qualification is required for this.
After listening to this argument of Osho, she had to agree to the idea of the book being published in her name.
Even the title of the book was decided by Osho.” (Urmila 2005, p. 7)

So the first part of Shanti ki Khoy is an intimate account of her spiritual search and first meetings with Acharya Rajneesh, while the greater part of the book is Urmila’s rendering of early talks given by Rajneesh at his residence in Yogesh Bhawan, where he was answering the questions she had asked him during their meetings.

One day Urmila asked Rajneesh a question about the nature and relationship between God and the soul and the attaining of samadhi. His answer made her realize why she used to get confused by reading philosophical books on spiritual matters:

“There are two types of questions. One is based on scriptures – which is generally theoretical; it is just an intellectual query. The second type is existential; it is directly concerned with us. It genuinely bothers us.
I have noticed that since the Hindu scriptures mention ‘atma‘ (self) all the Hindus are curious to know the relationship between ‘atma’ and God. There is no mention of God in the Jaina scriptures. So a Jaina never asks about God. The Buddhist scriptures do not discuss anything about the soul. So the Buddhists are absolutely silent about it.
The fact is that most of the questions of people are based on their scriptures. The study of scriptures may give you some theoretical knowledge regarding the soul and God but it is not your own wisdom, it is not ‘gyan’.
One can become a scholar by accumulating the thoughts of the people but one cannot become a spiritualist like this. Because the borrowed knowledge cannot bring any change within us, there can be no inner revolution. Just as our body cannot be nourished by the food consumed by another person, the same way we cannot get peace and bliss by the other person’s experience of truth. The awakened persons like Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira and Christ never wrote anything themselves. They did not write any scripture. The ultimate experience of emptiness can be expressed only in silence. Whenever something is said in words, different people interpret it in different theories according to their understanding. That is why hundreds of commentaries are written on Geeta, that is why so many creeds were born based on the words of Buddha and Mahavira.” (Urmila 2005, p. 45)

Osho further revealed to Urmila the difference between theoretical knowledge and the methods offered to reach to the ultimate truth through your own experience:

“The writers of these scriptures did not write anything out of their own experience. For their theoretical knowledge they depended entirely on the experience of others. They tried to understand the spiritual experiences of others according to their own intellectual capacity, which is just not possible. They tried to draw conclusions on the basis of their logic and then they propounded various doctrines.
This kind of philosophers discuss a lot about the truth but they themselves do not know how to gain this spiritual experience. By reading their theories and doctrines people think that they have become spiritual but this intellectual knowledge can never be your own wisdom.
It is impossible for anyone to understand the meaning of the words of the awakened person unless one reaches the same spiritual height. We have to tread the path ourselves to rise the level of our consciousness. Nobody else can take you there. You have to make the effort sincerely. Buddha and Mahavira did not propound any theory. They only talked about the method of how to reach the ultimate truth.” (Urmila 2005, p. 45)

This question from Urmila on borrowed knowledge was one Rajneesh had been confronting again and again when raised by his listeners:

“Once I came across a book written by a Jaina saint about meditation. It was really beautiful but there were just a few places by which I could see that the man had never meditated himself – otherwise those places could not be there…You can write books about meditation and never come across the space that meditation is. You can become very efficient in verbalising, you can become very clear in abstraction, in intellectual argumentativeness, and you can forget completely that all the time that you have been involved in these intellectual activities has been a sheer wastage.” The Art of Dying #1

Rajneesh has in his discourses referred to Urmila and her husband, whom he continued to contact when he was visiting Poona before 1974:

“One of my friends was a colonel in the army, and his wife was my student in the university. She introduced me to the colonel, and after Jabalpur, where I was a teacher, they were transferred to Poona, so I used to come here and always used to have at least one meal in their house.” Christianity: The Deadliest Poison #4

Years later Urmila was to become a co-editor of the publication for Osho’s 75th birthday in 2006: Osho Call of the Ocean. Pictorial glimpses of Osho’s life 1931 to 1990. The jubilee book is presenting rich photo coverage of Osho’s lifetime and in excerpts from his talks he is sharing his memories all the way from childhood and academic years to the later phases of his work. Naturally the Jabalpur period is covered at length, with numerous texts which had not been printed elsewhere before.

Throughout the years we’ll see a steady publishing of biographies on Osho’s life and teachings. Only a few of those are covering his years in Jabalpur, but occasionally we see some accounts from his early followers and members of his family, next to those appearing in magazines, e.g. Acharya Rajneesh Se Miliye (Meet Acharya Rajneesh) in Jain Jagat (Jain World. March 1965, 4 pages).

Arvind Kumar Jain had in four or five chapters already in 2000 described the time he was living with Rajneesh in Jabalpur, but his memoirs were not to be completed until a few years later in his book Ankahe Pal (Untold Moments with Osho) (Jain 2007. Unpublished Manuscript) written with his relative Kranti as a co-author. Excerpts from his manuscript have been quoted in relevant places in this section on Jabalpur.

“I was of the opinion that whatsoever of Golden Days I’ve spend with Osho, I must have to write for the wellbeing of the people. But the time was not mature, and not until I was at Ahmedabad with my elder sister at her residence I got the privilege to write my untold moments with Osho. Whatsoever I was knowing, I write those experiences, and whatsoever was the feeling of Ma Yogi Kranti she associated with those experiences. We both together had written those experiences in Ahmedabad [where Kranti was living], and inspired by writing of these experiences with Osho was my son, my daughter and my brother in law Chirantan Bramachari, Swami Krishna Kabeer.” (142)

Audio, Radio, Photo and Video

Slowly during the 1960s the importance of recording and documenting the words of Acharya Rajneesh was recognized, leading to the foundation of Jeevan Jagruti Kendra, and initial attempts in a variety of technical standards and quality with spool-to-spool tape recordings were practised.

The first recorded lecture and preserved tape seems to be Agyat ki Aur recorded in Ahmedabad. 7.10.1963. 57 min. Earliest recordings with music are from 1970, containing meditation music, drums, celebration music and Kirtan.

Sw. Devendra, in Audio Department, Poona, has in his files audio recordings from 1964 onwards, mentioning a recording from a meditation camp with The Path of Meditation as the earliest one from 1964. He is searching old audio material from Osho’s lectures all over India including from S.N.Chucksay, now living in Raipur. (143)

Sw. Anand Kiran has recorded the early discourses of Osho in different meditation camps up to 1970, and he is said to be in possession of old spool-to-spool tapes still not yet published. Osho’s secretary Arvind Kumar Jain started to record Rajneesh’s lectures regularly on tape recorder from 1968 onwards. He has 30 audio tapes from the 1960’s with recordings of talks held at various locations in India. (144)

Laherubhai, who has moved from Ahmedabad and is now living in Bombay, recorded Rajneesh’s discourses given at Woodlands from 1970 up to 1974. For this purpose Lehru Bhai had imported an entire recording system from abroad, and he has later donated all the tapes and master cassettes to the ashram in Poona for remastering. This donation of spool-to-spool tapes as well as audio tapes is including more than 5000 hours of tapes 1963-1989 of which much is left from the 1960s and not yet published. (145)

Already in the late 1960s, when Osho was still visiting Bombay from Jabalpur, he had started his recordings: “After that [March 1967] whenever Osho’s discourses or other programs were arranged in Mumbai, I used to reach there with my tape-recorder and record the discourse. Other friends from the listeners also used to record on their tape recorders…When in 1967 I went to listen to his discourse at Cross Maidan, Mumbai, I met some of my friends, Shri Harshadbhai, Shri Ishwarbhai, Shri Anopchandbhai etc. I got some tapes of his discourses recorded before 1967 from them. I brought the tapes and copied them in my tape-recorder for myself. In those days recording used to be done on spool tape recorders. Cassette tapes were not available then.” (Laheru 2012, p. 10)

Laherubhai further recalls that he used to go to various places in Mumbai with his taped discourses, and gather some friends and arrange for them to listen to Osho’s discourses. Once when he was returning home after such a gathering he forgot all five spools he was carrying in a taxi, and surprisingly he was able to collect those very spools four or five years later from Taximen’s Union Office, all tapes safely waiting to be picked up by him in a cupboard in Lost & Found.

Osho’s younger brother Nikalank invented around 1965 a gadget for the transmission from spool-to-spool tapes. The audio track was distributed to six persons who simultaneously was writing each his sentence. It was a mechanical device invented to save time and Osho is said to have appreciated it. Anyway, it was only an experimental exercise. (146)

Keerti has called Ageh Bharti ‘The first tape-recorder of Osho’ and he is himself telling of his ability to remember Osho’s spoken words and to take them down in writing:

“I met Osho on 10th of February 1967 for the first time, and after two-three months I started on this work. And I never took notes, it was all there just recorded in my brain and then I later took it down on paper. During his lectures, if I heard one discourse as long as I would not hear a next second discourse that previous one was recorded and I could repeat it frankly. And the moment I hear the next one then it is at once lost and wasted. So I was writing literally and was remembering everything. Even today I remember everything if there is a reference to anything that happened, then it is there again, picturesque. So I started writing and he read and encouraged me very much for writing and for talking to new friends all over India wherever I went on my duty with the railways.
Already before 1967 he had started tape-recording. But many discourses were still lost unrecorded in cities, hundreds and hundreds all over the country. And many also disappeared later on and vanished from the tapes for technical reasons.” (147)

When asked if Acharya Rajneesh was also dictating directly to him, Ageh Bharti remembers: “That was when he started the interview. I had told Kranti, his caretaker in Jabalpur, that I see Osho is answering questions from so many people, and not very sensible questions also at that time. But I told him I have to ask you something, but to me he never said OK, come. She then told Osho, and the next time when he came from the door and I went to see him, he asked me to come and ask a question. I said, ‘I don’t have anything to recall.’ ‘You don’t need to recall’, he said, ‘You take pen and paper and write the answers.’ I said, ‘I cannot write that fast.’ He said, ‘No, I’ll slow down.’ Then I took pen and paper and asked my question and he dictated the answer and I wrote it all down in longhand. Beautiful. Yes, I asked that question and I got it published. Only once I took that interview, otherwise I have not taken any interview whatsoever.” (148)

“…when I went to Osho the next time, smilingly, he said, “Shiv, you ask me whatever you want to”. I replied, “At present, I do not have tapes, etc. ready with me.” He said, “Never mind. Take a pen and paper. I shall dictate. You go on writing.” And this is what happened exactly. I borrowed a pen and a piece of paper from Kranti and sat down to write. He kept on dictating and I, writing. The questions are not very intelligent but every word that he dictated I kept on noting down. He would stop after two words. That gave me time to write and then he would continue. For these reasons, this question-answer talk has become especially memorable. Today, I do not even remember whether it got printed or not.” (Bharti 2012, p. 223)

Acharya Rajneesh is commenting on the use of audio technology in his famous lecture on the work of Jeevan Jagruti Kendra and the spreading of his message given in Lonavala 23.12.1967.

“For instance here, if I spoke without the use of a microphone it would be adequate. Then even if my voice did not reach you very clearly, it would still be adequate. When there are fewer people they can hear me, but if there were many more people then my voice would not carry far enough. When we use a microphone, my voice can reach a long way. Today so much technology is available that if it is all made use of, one person can do more work in his lifetime than Buddha and Mahavira could have managed in twenty lives, had they wanted to.” (Joshi 2010, p. 238)

According to Gyan Bhed, Osho later even had some words of warning to those who might get to much addicted to the listening to his words on tapes:

“Now [in 1969], the audio cassettes of Acharyashree’s sermons were also available which the meditators purchased with great interest. Some people had become addicted of listening to these cassettes. They could not sleep until they had listened to these. But in one of the meditation camps Acharyashree said, “Whatever I am telling about is only a hint to truth, because truth when spoken out, becomes untruth. So, my dear friends please try to feel the silence which is there behind my words. As you get into the depth of meditation, you start getting all answers in my silence automatically. Words never take you to any destination, but only detain you. But still you have to take help of words after failing. So, you please don’t stick to words. Understand the hint and start on your inner journey.”
This warning was a lesson for those who had become addicted of listening to the cassettes. Acharyashree left for Gujrat the very next day to start the Dwarka camp.” (Bhed 2006, p. 293) (149)

Ma Dharm Jyoti was among those recording his discourses during his traveling and at meditation camps, including a stopover in Srinagar en route to Kashmir, coming from Jabalpur to Delhi by train and onwards by plane to Srinagar, where Osho and his group stayed in the cottages Chasme-Shahe at Dal Lake.

“In the morning discourse I am sitting very close to Him, recording His discourse on my little cassette recorder. I don’t even know about extension cords. I tie my little microphone wire to His mike as usual and sit down…Osho decides to speak in the living room of His cottage every morning and evening…During discourse I sit near Him with my little cassette recorder. Friends are allowed to ask questions during discourse. It is more like an intimate dialogue than a discourse. Every day He is taking us deeper into the mystery of existence. I am listening to Him and at the same time watching the recording indicator needles moving, giving me the signal of the volume. When one side of the tape is about to finish I slowly press the stop button and I observe Osho stops speaking till the recorder is on again.” (Jyoti 1994, pp. 25 & 57)

Gyan Bhed describes how Osho’s secretary Arvind Kumar Jain also recorded some of Osho’s lectures already in 1962-1963 immediately after they received their fist tape recorder from Shree Rekhchand Parikh. These tapes are said never to have been published, but their quality is questionable. (150)

A number of audio cassettes with Osho’s lectures in Jabalpur 1965-1969 have been preserved by Kranti, later on to be remastered by Swami Krishna Kabeer (aka Chirantan Bramachari) and kept by Arvind Kumar Jain after Kranti’s death in 2006. The total number is 13 or 14 audio cassettes with 12 hours and 54 minutes of speech, and in a letter Arvind Kumar Jain is referring to these recordings of which a full listing can be found in the Appendix:

“Hence, The BLISS Of OSHO & Invisible state of MAA YOGA Kranti Inspired us to Frame a monetary fund for Relief of Cancer patients by selling off the Invaluable Lectures, Talks, symposium Talks of OSHO Delivered 1965-1969 at different places of Jabalpur City of 12 hours Duration on Different subjects in 14 Audio Cassets [MASTER CASSETS] still unheard so far by the Devotees & Lovers of OSHO AT-LARGE.” (151)

At present it cannot be verified whether these remastered recordings have been made available to listeners or not, but the recordings are among the many preserved by devotees in a number of places throughout the years. These tapes are generally in various states of decay still waiting to be remastered and made available to the general public.

Radio

For a brief period of time, apparently six months, a series of Osho’s thoughts were broadcasted daily in the morning on Radio Patna in short features of 5-10 minutes called Vindu, Vindu Vichar (Minute Thoughts / Point to Point Thoughts). These broadcastings may or may not have been authorized by Osho, but among his manuscripts a number of sheets with the same title are to be found, including Vichar Anu (Provoking Thoughts). According to Ageh Bharti the daily broadcast had a somewhat diverting origin:

“In the entire city of Patna, wherever I happened to go, I found people talking of Osho alone. The director of Patna radio station invited Osho in his office and took an interview for broadcasting from his radio station. Later, the interview was broadcast in instalments for months. Every day, the front pages of newspapers covered Osho prominently. His program was for three days. By the last day, the whole Patna city became Osho’s fans.” (Bharti 2007, p. 274)

“Osho had in 1969-70 short broadcastings on Radio Patna every morning for 5-10 minutes called Vichar Anu (Minute Thoughts). These recordings may have been preserved in the archives of Radio Patna.” (152)

“Osho had ‘Minute Thoughts’ early in the morning on Radio Patna.” (153)

“When for the first time, somewhere in 1950, I entered a radio station studio for a lecture to be recorded…They wanted to display it all over India, broadcast it, for the simple reason that I was so young and the director of the radio station had heard me speaking in a university debate. He could not believe what I was saying, so he invited me to the studio sometime “to record any subject you give me.”” From Misery to Enlightenment #21

“In India, one radio station was reading my statements every day, for ten minutes in the morning, without mentioning my name – but passages from books, stories. Hundreds of letters came to me saying, “These people are stealing from your books.”
I said, “Don’t be worried. My name is not significant, my message is. They are cowards, or perhaps they love me but they are government servants.”
In India radio is owned by the government, television is owned by the government. If they use my name, they may lose their jobs. And certainly during that series, which was continuing for six months, even ministers, cabinet ministers and the prime minister, were quoting from those statements, thinking that they have nothing to do with me. But the people who were listening knew that those statements were not coming from Indira Gandhi – they could not be, they had no relevance with the person – they were stolen. And they started searching for the place from where the statements had been stolen.
Finally I met the person, the director of that radio station. He was a lover of me, and he said, “I have been condemned. Hundreds of letters are coming to me, saying, “You are stealing. You are not mentioning Osho’s name. But if I mention your name then the series will be stopped that very day. I will continue as long as they don’t discover..”
And the moment it was discovered, immediately the series was stopped and the man was removed. He told me, “It happened because of that series. People started writing letters to the prime minister saying, “This man is stealing passages from Osho.”
The prime minister herself had been stealing. Her lectures have been sent to me, and word for word, long passages have been stolen from me. But I have always taken the standpoint: let the truth reach to people by any means, by anyone.” Beyond Psychology (Talks in Uruguay) #3 

The broadcastings mentioned were all from Radio Patna although the Jabalpur station of All India Radio had been inaugurated in 1964. In the Appendix is mentioned a 10 minutes Radio Talk in Hindi delivered in 1968 at All India Radio in Jabalpur on the subject What is Religion. This tells us that occasionally also the local All India Radio in Jabalpur was broadcasting Osho’s early speeches, but at present the extent of this broadcasting from Jabalpur cannot be verified.

Photos and Video

Nikalank, Arvind Kumar and Ageh Bharti are among those who have been collecting and preserving old material on Osho’s work, with some artefacts later on to be whirled into an uncertain destiny due to the events at the Ranch in Oregon. Ageh Bharti was a visitor here in 1985, at the time when a project for The Rajneesh Academy in two pyramid shaped buildings was planned to house facilities for library, academy and museum.

Years before Rajneeshpuram Ageh Bharti recounts how his photos were arranged in an album given to him by Osho’s father, Dadda Ji. What really happened started in February 1979 in Poona where Laksmi asked him: “If you are in possession of some old photos of Osho, please send them immediately when you reach home. These photographs will be sent back to you safe after we get them copied.” After reaching home, I sent forty five of Osho’s old photographs…In March 1979, I again went to Poona. Then, Ma Yoga Laksmi told me, “Meet Swami Narendra Bodhisattva and take your photographs back from him. Don’t forget. We do not need them now.”…A moment later I extended that envelope containing Osho’s old photographs towards Dadda Ji. He looked at each photograph with great interest and pleasure. When he was looking at the photographs, the expression that he had on his face then was not that of a father looking at his son’s photographs. It so seemed as if a disciple was looking at his guru’s photographs or that of a devotee looking at his deity…Dadda Ji then said that he passed these photos on to Ma Mridula of Sagardeep Osho Ashram, Bombay, and that she would have a ‘copy’ made of these photographs. Then, of course, they could be sent back.

When, on December 6, I went to Poona to celebrate the birthday of Osho, Mata Ji informed, “Dadda Ji himself has arranged your photographs in the album. He said it would not be possible for poor Ageh Bharti to get it made.” (Ageh Bharti 2012, p. 240)

“I send so many photos, more than hundred old photos from Jabalpur, to Rajneeshpuram, 146 photos in all went to the museum starting up there. But now they are all lost. And Osho himself has given hundreds of photos which he had himself cut with scissors to make them fit for the magazines. These photos he had given to me and I was keeping those photos. They were send to the museum with many magazines and articles, but they are all lost. I’m not aware of any existing photos of Osho speaking to the tape-recorder.” (154)

Osho has from the very start of his speaking focused on using his picture to attach new followers knowing full well the effect his outlook might have on the beholder, and in Jabalpur Rajneesh had his photo taken at several occasions. Like one time, when visited by a friend from Bombay Mr. Pohumal, the most renowned photographer in Jabalpur Mr. Shashin Yadav was summoned. He took his picture while Rajneesh was sitting in a posture facing and addressing Mr. Pohumal. Osho has commented on the demand for his photo:

“For example about my photograph. I am getting hundreds of letters every month asking for my photograph. From where can I send the photograph? If I don’t send it, people write again saying, “Can’t you even send us one picture?” So the only way is to make the photographs available, so whoever wants one can have it. How can I send the pictures? People even come to my house asking for my photograph. Where am I to get the photographs from? How am I to keep them, and send them? And how many should I keep? The best thing is to keep photographs on the stall, and whoever wants one can have one. And if someone doesn’t want one, there is no problem.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #10

Photo portraits are to be found on numerous front covers of his books, and black-and-white photos taken from the very start of Rajneesh’s days in Jabalpur as an academic and later acharya are still available from the two studios he used in Jabalpur: Navrang Studio near Sharda Cinema at Gorakhpur Market, and at Raj Studio. (See photos)

Many devotees have collected and preserved in albums his photos from many places all over India, among these most notably his brother Sw. Nikalank Bharti, with his extensive family collection of five photo albums, and his Jabalpur secretary Arvind Kumar Jain. The latter is having an album containing 181 rare black & white photos of general public meetings, meditation camps & others at different places in India, and two more valuable albums he inherited from the estate of Kranti. Chaitanya Bharti was to become Osho’s chosen photographer in Bombay and he is behind many outstanding colour photos from this phase.

Unique three-minutes film footage kept by Nikalank was sent to Oregon later on, but like other documentary material they seem to have vanished following the closure of the Ranch in 1985. Some preserved footage from early meditation camps where Acharya Rajneesh is leading the meditations is included in the video The Rising Moon covering the period 1968-1975 (Osho Verlag), and the first film recording of a lecture is from Cross Maidan in Bombay April 1970:

“For the first time, Osho’s programs, ‘Beware of Socialism’ meetings and active meditations at Palm Beach, were filmed in a 16 mm reel. After that, Osho’s Nargol meditation camp and his journey from Mumbai to Pune were also filmed in a 16 mm reel. There were total four reels. One reel was lost afterwards from that, and three reels were copied into video cassettes and later in CDs. Later on, it was discovered that Ma Madhu’s husband had destroyed the reel which was lost, in Ajol (Gujarat).” (Laheru 2012, p. 50)

2.9 Letters, Manuscripts and Articles

The whole bulk of published discourses delivered by Osho throughout the years in Bombay, Poona and Oregon are transliterations of his words from the recorded audio tape, so these discourse books were in fact never written but spoken verbatim without any manuscript, and only the sutras and jokes were written on the notepad he held in his lap.

The ‘He-never-wrote-myth’ can be founded is his own words, as the following quotation will show, and throughout the years this myth has been put forward wholeheartedly by sannyasins and researchers alike, whose perspective has been limited to the Poona One phase and maybe to Bombay, but definitely not to Osho’s time in Jabalpur where he stayed for twenty years and where the foundation stones – also in handwriting – to his whole vision were carefully laid out.

From a letter written in 1963 we can indirectly find a confirmation that he was indeed writing in those days in Jabalpur: “I am not writing anything on Bhagwan Mahavir at the moment. There is no urge whatsoever in me to write.” A Cup of Tea. Letters from 1963. No. 8

Anyway this myth is to be firmly nullified by a reality check and by recognizing the large number of preserved handwritten sheets of manuscripts, all with notes written in longhand in Jabalpur when in those days he was carefully preparing for his lecturing prior to 1969. And also in manuscripts are preserved articles submitted to a large number of magazines on regional as well as a national basis in India, not to mention his private correspondence.

“Even I myself have not written anything…just a few letters to those who were very intimate to me, thinking, or perhaps believing, that they will understand. I don´t know whether they understood or not. So my book A Cup of Tea is the only book that can be said to have been written by me. It is a compilation of my letters. Otherwise I have not written anything.” Books I Have Loved #7

Letters

Osho was in Jabalpur and later on in Bombay a compassionate and devoted writer of letters to his wide range of followers, and many of these were letters to Sohan Baphana, the recipient of letters contained in A Cup of Tea, and for the rest of his life in discourses he referred to her as one of his most devoted disciples.

Some of the letters have been collected into publications like A Cup of Tea (for Sohan Baphana) and Kranti Beej (for Madan Kunwar Parikh), but the main part of his numerous letters are still unpublished and only preserved by the various recipients from whom some of these letters will be presented in this chapter.

In 1960 Osho meets Mrs. Madan Kunwar Parikh (Ma Anandmayee) whom he recognizes as his mother in a past-life. Mrs. Parikh is 40 years old at the time, and she recognizes that Rajneesh is enlightened. Acharya Rajneesh writes hundreds of letters to her, of which 120 were published under the title Kranti Beej (1965) (English alternate titles: Seeds of Revolutionary Thoughts (1969); Seeds of Revolution (1969); part of Pointing the Way (1979) and Seeds of Wisdom (1996)). These letters recount various incidents in Rajneesh’s life and are as parables explaining his teaching in a language easy to understand for readers, who by these plain tales are introduced to subtle and mysterious phenomena. Some excerpts from Kranti Beej are presented in chapter 2.8. (155)

The correspondence between Rajneesh and Mrs. Madan Kunwar Parikh, the wife of Mr. Rekhchand Parikh who had been providing Rajneesh with his Olympia typewriter, tape recorder, fountain pens and other items for his work, was published as Kranti Beej containing Rajneesh’s letters to her, a collection of Krantisutras. The publication was suggested by the Parikh couple when Rajneesh had come to Chanda to meet them, but whether Parikh was himself sponsoring also the publication of Kranti Beej we cannot tell with any certainty. (Bhed 2006, p. 188)

After Rajneesh’s stay in Poona September 1964, Sohan Baphana, her husband and Pungalia Ji had accompanied Rajnesh to the three day meditation camp in Matheran where they participated in the meditations and listened to his speeches. From Matheran they accompanied Rajneesh to the Nairal station from where they were to return to Poona. Before parting Sohan Baphana was weeping emotionally, and she asked Rajneesh if he would answer her if she mailed some letters to him. Rajneesh looked at her and said in the words of Gyan Bhed: “Your tears are invaluable. I can see that these are coming out of your heart and not from your eyes. They can’t be paid back in any kind. I consider you my sister so I must give you something or the other. I’ll write you one hundred letters in return for these tears, no matter whether you write to me or not.” (Bhed 2006, p. 199)

Sohan Baphana was relieved as she had never hoped that Rajneesh could spare the time for writing letters to her. In the following years Rajneesh wrote her more than one hundred letters with his guidelines for the problems popping up in her meditation and in the development of her consciousness. These intimate early letters – all handwritten – between master and Sohan Baphana and some other disciples are published in A Cup of Tea (1980) containing Flowers of Love (all letters translated from Hindi) and a second part with letters in English or letters translated from Hindi written to Indian and Western disciples. These letters have previously all been published in the 1970s in six small booklets, e.g. Antarveena. All handwritten letters in Hindi have first been translated by Dolly Diddee into English, and her translation has been improved in later editions. In his introduction to the first English edition of Flowers of Love (1980) dated September 1977 Somendra writes:

“A word about the background of these letters. The first one hundred and fifty were written originally in Hindi to people…The letters were originally published in Hindi under the title Prem Ke Phool; later an English translation appeared under the same title in English: Flowers of Love. Through a happy collaboration of Swami Anand Maitreya, and the editor, a completely new, freer, more accurate and much more flowing translation has happened and now appears in this book. The final two hundred letters, all except a few written to early sannyasins, mostly Westerners, first appeared in print in the early seventies in six small booklets. Some re-editing of these letters has taken place and the names of all respondents, save a few, have been omitted, as have named references in the letters themselves, on the grounds that Bhagwan is addressing us all, all of the time. Each letter is to you and me, not to him and her – as you will discover.” A Cup of Tea (1983)

Neelam was later to become Rajneesh’s secretary in Poona and she remembers the publishing of his early letters: “Osho wrote Thought Provoking Lectures (Vichar Patra) to Ma Sohan Bafna, living in Poona, in the late sixties. Everyday she would receive one letter and later these were published in Hindi Path ke Pradeep (1974) (Lamps on the Path). He also wrote many letters to her which were included in different Hindi booklets, and they got translated into English and were again included in books. Osho stayed in the house of Ma Sohan Bafna whenever he was visiting Poona before he settled there in 1974.” (156)

Whenever he was visiting Poona Osho was staying in Sohan’s house and sometimes giving discourses at Sanghvi Tiffin Factory quite a distance from her house. She and her husband Bafnaji were still participating in meditation camps like Nargol in the late 1960s.

“While travelling in India, Osho likes to stay at Sohan’s home when He is in Poona. I never want to miss this opportunity of being with him at Sohan’s home. Sohan is madly in love with Osho and His people. Her home becomes like a place of pilgrimage while Osho is staying there…In the afternoon it is like a great feast. Every visitor is offered sweets, snacks and tea. Osho also comes out of His room and sits on the sofa in the living room surrounded by lots of friends. His presence and invisible fragrance is very tangible in the atmosphere.” (Jyoti 1994, p. 44)

So Flowers of Love consists of one letter each day, sometimes even two, written to Ma Sohan Bafna, but when reading those early letters from Acharya Rajneesh it is evident, as pointed out by the editor Somendra, that they are not to be considered as personal letters only, but rather they are dealing with topics of general interest to his followers and the many problems and hindrances they may stumble upon in their quest for truth. On the discrepancy between writing – or speaking – to a single individual versus writing to all readers and listeners in general, Osho has commented with veracity and repeatedly pointed out that we have to absorb his message even when it is addressed to some other individual.

A final compilation of Osho’s letters to Sohan appeared in Life Is a Soap Bubble (2012) containing 100 letters from 1964-1965. On the origin of the letters it says: These 100 passages were written by Osho, and mailed to a disciple, Ma Yoga Sohan. Sohan was crying as Osho left at the end of a meditation camp in Matheran and he promised her that, as he had nothing else to give her in return for her tears, he would send her a letter every day…and that she should keep them so they could be published one day.” Life Is a Soap Bubble, p. iii

The structure of his letters are mostly a few lines introducing today’s theme, followed by a parable illustrating the very theme, and the letter is finished by another few lines drawing up some conclusive understanding of the chosen points. Excerpts:

“The eternal is hidden in the moment, and the vastness of infinity is contained in the atom. He who ignores the atom, thinking it is just an atom, loses the infinite itself. It is only by digging in the lowest that you find the highest.
Each and every moment of life is significant. And no moments is less or more valuable than any other moment. To wait for a particular moment to find bliss is useless. Those who are aware turn each and every moment into bliss. And those who keep waiting for the right opportunity loose the very opportunity of life itself. The fulfillment of life is not attained all in one go, in a lump sum. It is to be found bit by bit, in each and every moment.
Once, after a master left his body, his disciples were asked, “What did your master value most?”
They replied, “Anything that he was involved in, in any given moment.”
The ocean is made up of many single drops. And life consists of many individual moments. He who becomes aware of the drop comes to know the whole ocean. And he who has experienced the moment has experienced the whole of life.” Life Is a Soap Bubble #11

“Life is a soap bubble. Those who don’t see it like that are drowned and destroyed in it. But those who become aware of this truth start searching for a life which is eternal.A mystic was once imprisoned. He had uttered a few truths which the emperor didn’t like at all. A friend visited him in prison and asked, “Why did you unnecessarily get yourself into all this trouble? What harm would there have been if you hadn’t said those things?”
The mystic said, “I can only speak the truth now. I cannot even think of saying anything false. Since I experienced a glimpse of godliness in my life, truth is my only option. And this imprisonment will only be for a short while.
Somebody went and told the emperor this. The emperor said, “Go and tell that mad mystic that this imprisonment is not for a short while, but for life.”
When the mystic heard this, he laughed and said, “Please go and tell the dear emperor that the mad mystic has asked, ‘Is life there for more than a short while?'”
Those who want to find real life will have to understand the truth about this so-called life of ours. And those who make an effort to understand its truth discover that its reality and its meaning are no more than a dream.” Life Is a Soap Bubble #38

In A Cup of Tea the first 150 letters are from the early period 1962 until 1970, while the remaining 200 letters all are from the year 1971, reflecting the change in Rajneesh’s residence to Bombay where now more time could be devoted to correspondence compared with the years when he was traveling and lecturing constantly out of Jabalpur, and only had the opportunity of handling his correspondence when he was at home for a few days at his base in Jabalpur. Only in some early letters from 1963 is he mentioning locations and his travelling schedules, whereas this kind of information is not to be found in his later letters. Occasionally also upcoming meditation camps are included in his letters, encouraging the receiver of the letter to join the camp. Furthermore the later letters are more rich on jokes and anecdotes compared to the earlier ones reflecting a change in his style and usage during the 1960s.

Some excerpts from Rajneesh’s early personal letters reprinted in A Cup of Tea may give us some understanding of his personal writing style, very focused and straight to the point:

“Don’t hesitate to write,
I have lots of time for you.
I am for those who need me-
nothing in my life is for myself.”
(Letters from 1964 #17. Excerpts)

” Love.
I looked for your letter as soon as I got here yesterday.
Though it was Sunday, I kept waiting for it.
It came this evening
how much you write in so few words!
When the heart is full it pours into the words
and so few are needed.
An ocean of love can be contained in just a jug!
As for scriptures on love
it is enough to know the four letters of the word!
Do you know how many times I read through your letters?”
(Letters from 1965 #23)

The theme of communication and of being trapped by clinging to words instead of enjoying a silent communion is repeated in several letters:

“Love.
I have received your letter.
I was very glad indeed to get it,
more so since you have sent a blank sheet.
But I have read in it
all that you have not written
but wanted to write.
Besides, what can words say?
Even after writing,
what you had meant to write remains unwritten,
so your silent letter is very lovely.

As it is,
whenever you come to see me you are mostly silent,
but your eyes tell all,
and your silence too.
Some deep thirst has touched you,
some unknown shore has called you.
Whenever God calls He calls this way-
but how long will you go on standing on the shore?
Look! The sun is out
and the winds can’t wait to fill the boat’s sails!”
(Letters from 1969 #55)

“Words are the form
and form has its own beauty, its own melody, its own music,
but this is not enough,
and he who considers this enough
remains discontented for ever.
The soul of poetry lies in silence.”
(Letters from 1969 #60. Excerpts)

A few more letters from A Cup of Tea are reprinted in full length in the Appendix. Letters contained in A Cup of Tea from the years 1970-1971 are presented in the following section on the Bombay years. Also to be found in the Bombay section are personal letters from Acharya Rajneesh to Kranti written in Bombay and later to be published in English, Hindi and Gujarati. (157)

A very intimate and beautifully written letter with his original letterhead was written to Kranti from Yogesh Bhavan in Napier Town, Jabalpur, where Rajneesh stayed until 1968 as a guest in the house of Shri Devaki Nandan. It has not been published before and is to be found in its full length translated into English in the Appendix.

This letter to Kranti, called by her pet name Mounu, is a lengthy and very supportive letter, written in a situation when Kranti was in need of clarifying her feelings and relationship with Rajneesh. It is dealing intimately with love, with the conditioning from the society and with his mission: Why he is here, and the way he is. This preserved letter belongs to a small number of outstanding letters due to its loaded content and the intimacy with which it was written. It appears that Rajneesh has written this letter to Kranti for her consolation and to improve her understanding, and although the date is not mentioned its content and the letterhead indicates its time of writing, which should be pre-1969. Presuming that Rajneesh did not use writing paper with a letterhead from his former postal address, when in 1968 he moved from Napier Town to Kamla Nehru Nagar, and considering his style and accuracy in all communication matters this is rather unlikely. (158)

Kranti was to become the first one in the line of female caretakers and secretaries to Osho: “There is evidence that women have sometimes been historically significant as the power behind a prophet’s throne. This was certainly the case with Osho, whose main emotional support in the first phase of his teaching was his devoted cousin, Kranti. The most important single follower from 1969 to 1981 was Laxmi, [a role later to be assumed by Sheela].” (Puttick 1997, p. 164)

The letter was found in Kranti’s estate and has been passed on to her husband the former Swami Krishna Kabeer (aka Chirantan Bramachari) whom she had married in the Bombay years on Rajneesh’s suggestion. Kranti was the cousin sister of Rajneesh, the daughter of his father’s sister, and she had become an early widow. In India love relations with a cousin sister, not to say a widow, is considered to be sinful. Later on when Ma Laxmi was nominated as secretary at Woodlands in Bombay, Kranti felt this change in her position very insulting and frustrating. (159)

On Rajneesh’s maiden visit to Ludhiana in early August 1969 Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan came to see him and he happened to give a fairly accurate prophecy on the destiny of Acharya Rajneesh. He was himself a poet of international repute and a most popular Indian author of about 80 books. During their meeting on August the 6th – the World Peace Day commemorating the bombing of Hiroshima on that very day in 1945 – he had presented a copy of his collection of poems Madhushala to Rajneesh. Also Dr. Tripathi had arrived with some 20-25 female students. Talking on peace Rajneesh distanced himself from Gandhi’s ideology, which made a listening sannyasin loose his temper and angrily challenging Rajneesh. When they were all leaving Ludhiana for Delhi Bachchan wished to make a prophecy, and being encouraged in this by Rajneesh, he said, “You are a tragic person and you shall be crucified.” (Bharti 2007, pp. 62 & 275)

From Jabalpur Bachchan was informed that Rajneesh would be available to him in mid-October, but unfortunately he happened to slip in his bathroom and had to cancel his visit. The letter written by Acharya Rajneesh in September 1969 from his residence at Kamla Nehru Nagar in Jabalpur to Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachchan is as follows:

“My beloved one,
Where does it happen that two persons meet?
At least on this earth, it does not happen, isn’t it?
Dialogue seems to be impossible here.
But sometimes the impossible also happens.
That day, this is what happened.
Having met you,
I felt that meeting could also happen,
and dialogue too,
and even without words.
And your tears gave the answer.
I am very grateful for those tears.
Such resonance happens only in a while.
I have gone through “Madhushala”
Again and again I have gone through it.
If I could sing,
then what I would have sung is what is sung in it.
Only such sanyas
that can accept the world also happily,
I call sanyas.
Aren’t really the world and ‘Moksha’ (salvation) one and the same?
In ignorance, there is duality.
In knowing, there is but only one!
Ah! Is that worth calling a religion
that cannot sing the song of love
And cannot dance in joy?

-Rajneesh Ke Pranam
08.09.1969

P.S.
Shiv says that you are to come over here.
Do come soon.
Time has no certainty.
See, the morning has happened,
The sun has arisen,
And now it is not very far that it will set!” (Bharti 2007, p. 63) (160)

When handling Rajneesh’s incoming mail in Jabalpur while he was traveling, Ageh Bharti used to visit his residence in Napier Town a few times every week to check up on his mail. Some letters on future appointments were answered by his secretary Arvind Kumar Jain, who was in charge of his calendar and the appointments for his lectures, while those letters concerning the submission and publishing of his articles in Hindi magazines were within Bharti’s domain. The total bulk of Rajneesh’s mailing is by Ageh Bharti defined in three categories:

“I used to go to His residence twice or trice a week to check his mail while He was on tour itinerary. Usually, there’re three kinds of letters. One – Personal letters from men and women devout from every corner of the country. Two – Letters conveying someone anticipating dates of convenience to address the public. Three – Letters seeking Osho to write articles for some magazines and newspapers. Mostly, I have enjoyed reading all those letters. Prof. Arvind Kumar dealt with the letters inviting Osho for lectures. And I would take those letters home which sought for His articles.” (Bharti 2007, p. 39)

Arvind Kumar Jain remembers when Acharya Rajneesh was writing his letters and manuscripts: “As far as I remember, he was personally writing his speeches until 1967, and after 1967 he simply writes answers to his personal letters only, letters which came from the whole country and from abroad.” (161)

Returning home in 1969 after the Junagarh meditation camp, followed by the music celebrations in Gadarwara and at the anniversary of Taran Taran in Jabalpur on December 16th, Rajneesh reached his home place in Kamala Nehru Nagar where he was seen by Ageh Bharti, while sorting his mail of which those letters not requiring any further communication were immediately torn off.

“As I reached Osho’s residence I found Him enjoying the letters in His study room. Many letters were accumulated in His absence between December 6 and 17 while He had been on a tour. He sorted them which needed His reply. The letters that don’t need to be replied were being torn off. When I reached there some 30-35 letters lay torn near Osho. I went on speaking about the disturbance that happened in the function with an expression of worry on my face.
At this, He laughed and said, “Such things go on happening. All that happened is now past. Why do you worry for that which is nowhere now but in the memory? Let it be buried. To remain with it, to weave the warps and woofs of the memories was of no use.” (Bharti 2007, p. 170)

Still those letters torn were the minor part of the whole lot and most of the letters he received were answered with empathy and in the style we have presented in a few excerpts. These letters from Osho were preserved by the recipients as precious and personal items from a unique phase of their lives.

 

In a letter to Osho dated November 7th, 1968, Laherubhai expresses his uncertainty concerning Osho’s criticism of Gandhi at the previous camp at Nargol and the subsequent opposition to him. Osho is answering his letter a few days later:

“My Beloved,
I am obliged to receive your compassionate letter.
I am not against any person.
However, I am definitely against the principles, which have harmed the nation, and are harming it.
The criticism of such theories is necessary.
Because, only by this criticism the intellectual individuals of the country can be forced for contemplation (think).
This will create opposition against me, definitely.
But I want this only to happen.
Truth always wins.
And whatsoever I am doing, if it is not the truth, then its defeat is justified.
Do not worry about the friends who will leave me.
I do not want ‘My’ friends, I want friends of ‘The Truth’.

My obeisance to all there.
Sd/-
13-11-1968

To: Shri Lacherchand B. Shah, Mumbai. (Laheru 2012, p. 36)

Manuscripts

Thanks to valuable early accounts by his secretaries in Jabalpur, Arvind Kumar Jain and Ageh Bharti, his way of writing and its development throughout the years can be followed and understood. Also his biographer Vasant Joshi has included some observations on Rajneesh’s handwriting from the very beginning at primary school in Gadarwara:

“Right from the first grade at public school Rajneesh became known for his beautiful handwriting and his ability to paint.” (Joshi 1982, p. 27)

For a start he used his left hand when writing, and he remained a left handed writer most of his life. In his last years in Poona Two, when all his writing had almost come to an end, some photos were taken in Lao Tzu Library showing him signing and painting in his books, obviously with his right hand. In his own words:

“You will be surprised to know that when I started writing, being such a nuisance I started writing with my left hand. Of course everybody was against me, again, of course, except my Nani. She was the one who said, “If he wants to write with his left hand what is the wrong with it?”…But nobody would allow me to use my left hand, and she could not be everywhere with me. In school, every teacher and every student was against me using my left hand: right is right, and left is wrong.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1990), p. 255

His secretary in Jabalpur, Arvind Kumar Jain, had been associated with Osho since he was fourteen, and he clearly remembers his way of writing when he was young and later on as an academic scholar in Jabalpur: “From his very beginning of childhood he was holding the pen in a very peculiar manner in his left fingers of his hand. And he writes beautifully with the assistance of those fingers by his left hand. And I’ve not seen such a personality who can use his left hand and holding the pen in his two fingers. It was a unique experience to see his writing practice by his left hand.
The writing of Osho was like a river flow. And as nobody knows how the river flows and where it is flowing, like that Osho himself was writing with his left hand. And at that time he didn’t want a single noise to be there in his isolated meditation room. He used to write the purpose for writing of his essence, and as anybody looks one can feel his writing pen was such a flowing hand, with full of flowing nature, with full of utmost confidence. So one thing, which I do experience by his writing, is that he was a person of solitary, integrity and the willpower like Himalaya.” (162)

Audio 2. Arvind Kumar Jain. (162)

The later writing of Osho’s with his right hand also has been confirmed by Vasant Joshi, the author of The Awakened One (1982, alt.t. 2010): “Personally, I have always seen Osho writing/signing on his letterhead with his right hand. In photograph he is also shown painting with his right hand. I am not surprised though, if he also used his left hand for writing – his creativity could touch any act with equal grace and ability.” (163)

What seems to be the case is that he was ambidextral and capable of writing effortless with any hand he might choose, although it is likely that his left handed disposition over the years seems to have given way to predominance of writing his signatures and painting of miniatures in his books mostly by using his right hand.

His signature was changed over the years from initially being in three parts to a signature in one flow. “Initially he used to write Rajneesh C[handra] Mohan. He writes Rajneesh, and then he writes C and Mohan in a very simple way. But as in the later state I cannot say what happens with Osho himself. His signature becomes mysterious, and only those persons who are being closely associated with him can understand what is going on.” (164)

“On our trips to the meditation camps, we would often travel in the train with him though in a separate coupe – it was always the first-class air-conditioned cabins we used. Once, when I was seven months pregnant and travelling to my second camp, some cousins and I were discussing his signature. None of us could understand how the letters were written or make out how his name was spelled.
One person said that it was not a signature at all, but actually a drawing; another insisted it was a signature, but an illegible one. There was quite a bit of discussion about it, and at that moment, Osho passed by in the corridor outside our compartment, and I asked him to come in and clear up the mystery. He sat next to me and he carefully wrote this signature out and explained every character one by one for all of us to see. He made it clear that it was in fact an actual signature, only it was written in such an ornamental way, it had confused us.” (Dulari in Savita 2014, p. 42)

So we will thoroughly have to punctuate the prevailing myth that Rajneesh never wrote as plenty of letters, manuscripts and drafts for lectures and articles are preserved from his hand. Even though this is one of the most persistent myths presented, and repeatedly emphasized over the years by publishers who wanted to make the point that all his discourses were extemporaneous and transcribed verbatim from the audio recordings. And this is indeed true for his lecturing from around 1968 onwards, when audio recordings had been introduced and his level of transmitting his message no longer was in need of prepared manuscripts for his lecturing – and subsequent publishing – as in his first years as a speaker in Jabalpur.

“But he has written no articles himself after 1967. Only he has delivered public lectures which were recorded on tapes, and after that they were written and published for public welfare. So there were no manuscripts for his lectures after 1968.” (165)

In an earlier letter Arvind Kumar Jain tells of the manuscripts in Rajneesh’s own handwriting and the question of the authentication of these valuable gems: “…since 1950 onwards till 30th June 1970 when Osho left Jabalpur for Bombay, I gracefully lived jointly with Osho. During this graceful period of Twenty years what had not been done by me only God knows.
Although all activities related with Osho’s daily routine – physical & philosophical-literary respects – developed my own personality. Fortunately as per God’s will I happened to be Osho’s Personal Assistant during his evolving period 1960 to 1970. In the same period the different Philosophical, Literary & Psychological enlightened Writings with Travel Programme Lectures recorded by Osho himfelf in his own Hand-writing which is with God blessings retained & preserved with me. Therefore my Authentication is all & all & I do not need any authentication.” (166)

Arvind Kumar Jain was the one person most deeply involved in the publishing of the early lectures, and he remembers how in 1960 Rajneesh had himself been experimenting with writing the drafts for his lectures on his new Olympia typewriter with its Hindi keyboard until this procedure was transferred to and carried out by Arvind Jain for the rest of the 1960s.

“In May 1960 the Olympia German typemachine of Hindi was presented to Osho by some of his devotees [Mr. Rekhchand Parikh]. Only for a few days he used that machine for his personal letters and for some symposium notes. But then he left that practice, and he had given that machine to me. At that very machine I used to type his lectures, his articles and I did send them to various magazines for publication. He was not worried to work on typing, for he had no time to have that kind of physical labour. That’s why he had given that type of work to me.” (167)

On a preserved draft Vigyan aur Dharma (Science and Religion) – ‘Discourse given at Gujarati University, Ahmedabad’ 1968 – two sheets were written on the typewriter – presumably by Arvind Kumar Jain – and we can see how in the margin Osho has then elaborated and enhanced the text in his own handwriting, changing from horizontal to almost vertical orientation in order to fill out all available space on the sheet. (See photo)

On the provenance of Osho’s paper for his manuscripts and the use of his preferred Parker ink pen, presented to him among other utensils by Parikh in 1960, we can tell from Arvind Kumar’s recollection of his writing practice:

“The paper he used for his manuscripts is from Orient Paper Mill, Amlay. It is full foolscap seized folio paper, 9 by 13 inches. This quality of paper is for manuscripts and not for typing. For typing ordinary paper was used.
And he used to have the quality to adopt the things of higher age, say he was fond of having properties. So at the time when he was writing he used to write with his Parker pen, and especially he bought Parker ink also. Black colour and Royal Blue were his favourite colours, and only occasionally he used to write with green and red ink.” (168)

The manuscripts preserved in Acharya Rajneesh’s handwriting are covering the whole field of his lecturing in the 1960s. They are numbering a total of 477 sheets, of which 42 sheets are written also on the reverse page. According to Chinmaya’s estimate only 30-40% of the preserved manuscripts have already been published, exemplified by Earthen Lamps (2012), first published in Hindi entitled Mitte ke Dyie (1966). An excerpt:

“I consider this power to see oneself in all one’s ugliness, nakedness, and animalism to be the first step on the ladder of self-revolution.
Only the person who is able to see the ugliness in himself is capable of giving beauty to himself. Without the capacity for the first, the second is not possible, and anyone who covers up his own ugliness and busies himself with forgetting it will remain ugly forever. To know and accept the Ravana, the evil, in oneself is the first, inevitable step to becoming a Rama, a virtuous person. The ugliness of life remains hidden and secure if one remains unconscious about it.
First of all, I will have to know myself as I am. There is no alternative. If, on this very first point of the journey, we give room to falsehood then the truth can never be found in the end. But because of its ugliness we disown the reality of the self and start nourishing an unreal and imaginary personality. The desire for beauty is all right in itself, but the path is not right. The ugliness of the self cannot be eliminated by putting on beautiful masks, and what is more, because of such masks the self continues to become even more ugly and unshapely. Then slowly, all knowledge of the self disappears, and we only remain acquainted with and recognize our false masks. If one’s own face is lost it becomes impossible to recognize the self anymore.
A lady went to the bank to take out some money. The cashier asked her. “How do I know that you are who you say you are?”
She quickly took a mirror out from her bag, looked into it and said, “Believe me. I am who I say I am.”
In your search for truth, in your search for the existence of your real self, first you will have to wrestle with your own masks. Without discovering your real face, you can neither discover yourself nor refine yourself. The palace of truth stands on the foundation of reality. And no other power except truth can bring civilization.” Earthen Lamps #37

Osho’s choice of paper for the writing of his manuscripts is by no means accidental, and we may from another quotation understand that we are dealing with an aficionado on the subject of paper, in this case most likely from the newspaper press with which he was acquainted from his time as a subeditor on Nav-Bharat:

“Once, Osho told me that different papers have different taste and with closed eyes, only by smelling, He can tell to which country it belongs – America, Russia, Japan or some other country.” (Bharti 2007, p. 172)

Articles

Arvind Kumar Jain is narrating from his time as Osho’s personal secretary in Jabalpur, where together with Kranti he was taking care of his daily needs. Already from 1955 he used to assist in the publishing of Rajneesh’s articles in various Indian magazines, from 1967 assisted in this by Ageh Bharti as we have seen.

“From my very childhood at age 14 I had the privilege to be associated with Osho. I used to call him Bharia, in Hindi that means elder brother. He was my first cousin, my maternal uncle’s eldest son.
Regarding my personal experiences with Osho and my assistance as his personal assistant, it was a natural outcome of our association and of our living, as he was having more fun to employ another person as his personal secretary. So he has given me that opportunity to be his personal secretary, and as his personal secretary living the years 1960 to 1970, that is to say June 31 1970 when he left for Bombay, I used to fulfil all his physical daily needs. That is to say, to bring milk, to have fruits, to have other arrangements of his daily needs. But it is very immaterial, for him and for me also.
The most essential part which I was engaged in with him was to arrange his symposiums, to have the correspondence with the persons to whom he had to deal, to give appointments and to have all the associated work of his publishing.
That is to say, whatsoever he wanted to have published he gives as duty to me and always he gives me his writings. And I do recollect from his memoirs, that when I was at age seventeen and Osho was seven years elder to me, say at the age 24, he used to give me his writings regarding his spiritual articles. And those articles I used to type and send to the printed magazines.
At this time the top magazines of India in Hindi were Shikerni (Hindi monthly magazine), Dharma Yug (leading Hindi weekly magazine widely circulated), Saptahik Hindustan (weekly Hindustani magazine also widely circulated, New Delhi).
So to all these magazines I used to send for his publication. And when those articles were published in those magazines it was so mesmerizing like anything. So it happened with me, and I feel great pleasure in those days. That work he has given to me and with my whole heart and my whole soul I had taken all that work as a great privilege that God has given to me.” (169)

The following magazines were, next to those already mentioned, among those publishing Osho’s articles submitted to them out of Jabalpur: Kadambini ((Hindi monthly from New Delhi), San Marg (The Right Way), a religious regional magazine published in Madhya Pradesh, Rasvanti, a monthly from Lucknow and Sutrakar, a monthly from Calcutta and also some more sectarian Jain magazines: Jain Jagat (The Jain World) and Marg Darshak (He who shows the Way), both with a rather limited circulation within the Jain community,

From 1962 to 1970 his articles used to be published on a regular basis in the weekly magazine Prakash (Light), in which a column called Atma Chintan (Thinking about Self) was reserved for him. And as mentioned by Ageh Bharti earlier Aaranti was another magazine publishing articles from Acharya Rajneesh’s hand – or occasionally by Ageh Bharti’s, who had been trusted now and then to write in Rajneesh’s name. Ageh Bharti, himself a poet and writer already before he met Acharya Rajneesh, narrates an incident on early publishing for magazines, when he was handling the mail while Rajneesh was out of Jabalpur:

‘And I would take those letters home which sought for His articles.
I don’t exactly know how this happened through me. How simple it was to draft an article of one or two pages? The publishers needed the length of the article ranging from 20 to 22 pages, incorporating salient points in proper sequence. Besides this, I usually sent articles on my own to dozens of magazines that had not demanded articles.
Before meeting Osho, I was known as a poet and a writer. My poems and articles were being published in many magazines across the country. So I had my own set of friends and acquaintances with those publishers. Thus, I started to send articles of Osho to them.
Once in the year 1969, it happened that Osho was on tour itinerary. As usual, I went to His residence to check the mails. Amongst the letters, there was a letter from some Roshan Utpal of Indore (Editor, Aarati Magazine). He often sought Osho about an article on communalism. He has also requested humbly that the article should be sent as early as possible, as the print matter was sent to the Press.
I was in a great dilemma. Neither have I read nor have listened about the Osho’s views on communalism. In the name of books at present, there are ‘Kranti Beej’, ‘Sadhana Path’, ‘Mitti Ke Diye’, ‘Singhnad’, ‘Main Kaun hoon’ and two booklets ‘Naye Manushya Ke Janam Ki Disha’ and ‘Ahinsa Darshan’. There are few issues of ‘Jyotishikha’ published from Bombay and ‘Yukrand’ published from Jabalpur, both exclusively for Osho’s thoughts, but none of them carried anything on communalism. Moreover, I have not heard Him on the particular subject. So there was no way other than to wait until His return. I became upset because whenever some one seeks an article, neither I keep myself idling nor sleep until I have despatched that. However, I was helpless that time.’ (Bharti 2007, p. 39)

We may ponder upon the fact that Rajneesh never took his stand or commented on the important question of communalism which was to leave its bloody mark repeatedly in many cities and districts of India. And still is. And in the same vein we can note that Osho never gave any discourse series on Mohammed or the Koran (Al’Qur’an means ‘the recitation’), but with great pleasure he seems to have elaborated in several series during Poona One on the path of the Sufi mystics. Some of his titles are: The Wisdom of the Sands (vol.1-2) and Sufis: The People of the Path (vol.1-2).

In this account Acharya Rajneesh’s confidence in Ageh Bharti is revealed, when he is giving him the permission occasionally to write articles in his own name and put Rajneesh as the author when needed:

“At last, the day arrived, when Osho had to return by Bombay-Howrah mail. As usual, I went to the station and received Him with open arms. It was always a blessing to meet Him on such occasions. After greeting Him, I asked, “How was the journey? And how were the programmes?”
Osho replied, ‘Good’ and wondered, ‘Are you sending something (some article) somewhere?
I replied in brief about the articles published in some magazines besides those about to appear (embargoed) ahead. However, one publisher sought an article on communalism which was delayed. For, I have neither noticed you to have addressed nor interpreted anywhere in any book or magazine so far.
Osho replied curtly, ‘You should have sent.’
I replied politely, ‘But your language, your way of expression is so beautiful! It would be great injustice to you if I write and send the article in your name on the topic.’
He explained, ‘No, whenever there is such an occasion, you should write and send.’
When I noticed that He was serious about what He was asserting, I looked into His eyes and implored, “Should I send it then?”
‘Yes’.
‘O.K.’
Osho left for His residence from the railway station. I paid my obeisance and returned home. It was around 2.30 p.m in the afternoon. I drafted the article by 6 p.m. in the evening and mailed to the publisher in His name. I paid late fee to get the parcel delivered by the railway mail service so that it could reach the editor of the magazine on the same night. I did not even like to wait until the next day for post-office to open. Nor, I showed it to Osho for His perusal before sending.
Finally, the article was published in the said magazine [Aarati magazine]. I have received appreciation from all corners.
Indeed, it was a rare gesture – blessing in disguise for me to send an article on His behalf in those days. I felt absolutely grateful for His confidence on me.” (Bharti 2007, p. 40)

Osho used to enquire on his return, Shiv, are you sending something for magazines?’ Often I replied about the number of articles yet to be published in the forthcoming issues of magazines.’
He used to reply with a wry smile, ‘Good, keep on sending.’ I used to return home on the same evening and show the specimen copies of magazines.’ (Bharti 2007, p. 39)

In Work is Love Made Visible (2011 #8) Osho is encouraging his people to publish two articles to introduce him to Krishnamurti’s followers; one written by those followers and given to Bachchubhai to publish, the other one as an reply written by Osho’s followers – including a list of all Osho’s books – and both articles were to be distributed in Krishnamurti’s meetings. In the same chapter from a meditation camp in Aajol 1970 Osho is being interview by a reporter from the Times of India, one of his first interviews to a national media, where he is answering all questions on his family, education and on God in telegraphic short sentences, mostly one or two words only.

While working in Press Office Krishna Prem once in 1978 paid a visit together with Madhura to the editor of the magazine Dharma Yug (a leading Hindi weekly magazine widely circulated) the litterateur Dr. Dharm Vir Bharati at his office in Bombay. He was determined not to publish the material forwarded to him, although the transcript from some discourses contained an answer to a question he had asked Acharya Rajneesh way back, and he tells about his meeting with Rajneesh in Jabalpur years ago:

“His tone softens slightly. “I met him once, you know. Twelve years ago. I asked him a question. I asked him, ‘Why do you bother with the rich? If you really are an Acharya, a teacher, why do you not go out and spread your message to the poor?’ And do you know what he did?” he asks, his voice hard again. “He leaned back in his chair, your Acharya, closed his eyes and said, ‘One day I will answer you.” (Allanach 2010, p. 217)

Supplementing Rajneesh’s manuscripts are some articles printed in the following magazines, and they are preserved in paper format only without the original manuscripts:

* Vigyan Ke Agne Mee? Dharma Ka Viswas (Religious Faith in Fire of Science). Kadambani, June 1966. 4 pages.
* Dharma Aur Vigyan (Religion and Science). Marg Darshak, April 1965. 3 pages.
* Acharya Rajneesh Se Miliye (Meet Acharya Rajneesh). Jain Jagat, March 1965. 4 pages.
* Mahavira Ka Sadhna Path (Path of Mahavira Sadhna). Jain Jagat, April 1965. 3 pages.
* Prem Kya Hai (What is Love?). Jain Jagat, July 1965. 3 pages. Followed by announcement of public meditation meetings.
* Satya Aur Ahimsa (Truth & Non-Violence). Jain Jagat, August 1965. 3 pages.
* Mahavira Ki Moal Shikcha (Basic Education of Mahavira). Jain Jagat, September 1965. 4 pages.
* Ahimsa Kya Hai? (What is Non-Violence?). Marg Darshak, September 1965. 5 pages. B/w head and shoulder photo on front page.
* Gyandaya magazine had two articles on contemplation by Osho in September and November 1953. Also Prakash magazine saw writings from Osho on contemplation etc. (170)

In his Blessed Days with Osho Ageh Bharti in his affidavit, written in 1983 to support Bhagwan’s staying as a religious leader in the USA, has included a comprehensive and exceptional listing of articles published in various magazines during the years 1967 to 1983. Ageh Bharti writes: “All the periodicals in the languages of the entire country would quite often publish excerpts from His lectures, books, and interviews. Several Osho-lovers used to contribute articles to the magazines on demand. Today, I do not have the records to testify except some periodicals that brought out articles of His message presented by me alone.” (Bharti 2007, p. 283)

So the articles mentioned are only those submitted by Ageh Bharti, and if we compare with those just listed above we will see that they may constitute only the top of the total iceberg. Articles for 1970-1973 are to be found in the section on Bombay, but here follows Bharti’s listing of the Indian periodicals in which material on Acharya Rajneesh can be found for the years 1967-1969, including frequency, place of publication and number of articles:

Sarvahitkari. Monthly. Dehradun. (5)
Dharmamarg. Monthly. Jammu. (5)
Madhumati. Monthly. Udaipur. (2)
Kadambini. Monthly. New Delhi. (3)
Muktadhara. Weekly. New Delhi. (2)
Rasvanti. Monthly. Lucknow. (5)
Raktabh. Monthly. Phagwada (Punjab). (1)
Aarti. Monthly. Indore (M.P.). (2)
Brahmavani. Monthly. New Delhi. (2)
Rajdarpan. Weekly. Akola. (2)
Anahoot. Monthly. Varanasi. (1)
Anita. Monthly. New Delhi. (1)
Vijyant. Monthly. Raipur. (1)
Sutrakar. Monthly. Calcutta. (5)

Of the 37 articles only 7 were published in 1967-1968, after he had resigned from university, and 30 in 1969 indicating a growing public interest in Rajneesh’s work or a more focused and devotional effort from Ageh Bharti in submitting his master’s voice. Next to Ageh Bharti we’ll have to point out, that also Arvind Kumar Jain and Narendra, both within his family, were very dedicated in forwarding Rajneesh’s articles to be printed in magazines. And among Osho’s many assistants in those days also Shyam Soni, his friend since childhood schooldays in Gadarwara, helped and supported him as his co-secretary in Jabalpur. (171)

Important to mention is the existence of five preserved note books from the 1960s written by his secretary Arvind Kumar Jain. They were written in the evenings and contain in longhand the talks he had been listening to during the day as well as Osho’s meetings with persons and his traveling schedules. Written in Hindi, the note books are still to be translated into English and they may reveal to us some very intimate insights in Rajneesh’s transmission of his message to his followers (See Appendix). They are “Personal Notes in Notes Book taken by Prof. Arvind Jain regarding Acharya’s (Osho) Life Philosophy & psychological Analysis given to Meeting Persons:

1. One Note book of 84 Pages – Notes of Public Meetings Lectures & personal Meetings Guidance of Osho to Meeting Persons. Written on front cover: ‘Notes of Public Meetings Address & Personal Meetings of OSHO with Dignitaries.’ April 1961 to July 1961.

2. One Note book of 40 pages – Notes on Talks on Life Awakening Subjects given by Osho during October 1962 to November 1962. Written on front cover: ‘Notes on Life Awakening Talks By OSHO.’

3. One Note book of 64 pages – Written on front page: ‘Notes on/of Osho visit to Chandrapur (MHS.) First Fortnight of October 1962.’ Including Osho’s blissful Talks. Some drawings and models.

4. One Note Book of 9 pages – Notes on Osho’s Visit to Gadarwara – 16th May to 23rd May 1963. Written on front page: ‘Regarding OSHO – Life Philosophy.’

5. One Note Book of 250 pages – Notes of Osho’s Life philosophy which Osho has given to Meeting Persons during January 1963 to June 1963. On front cover: ‘Notes on OSHO’s Life Analysis over Different subjects Meeting with Different Personalities & Group Discussion.” Pages are unlined. (172)

Fig. 4. Notes of Public Meetings Address & Personal Meetings of Osho With Dignitaries.  April 1961 to July 1961. By Arvind Kumar Jain, Secretary. Opening.

Fig. 4. Notes of Public Meetings Address & Personal Meetings of Osho With Dignitaries. April 1961 to July 1961. By Arvind Kumar Jain, Secretary. Opening.

These letters, manuscripts and articles are offering us some glimpses from the master’s desk in the days when his vision was gradually put into writings for the benefit of the public. These manuscripts offer us a unique opportunity for further research into the corrections and proofreading Osho made to his preliminary writings before a lecture was delivered or the printing of a specific text in book format or as a magazine article.

2.10 Periodicals

To start publishing his own magazines was a decision to achieve several objectives in Acharya Rajneesh’s work from the mid-1960s. His magazines were the most flexible way to give his followers the opportunity to read new and yet unpublished lectures in the days when the publishing of his booklets was still a rarity and not a common feature. Furthermore the periodicals were a channel to keep his growing caravan of listeners informed of new upcoming meditation camps and the schedules for his traveling and lecturing. They were knitting his seekers and meditation centres together with a regular connection providing them with an understanding that they may be geographically isolated in various Indian cities, but still they were part of a growing network all over India around their master.

In his years as a teenager in Gadarwara we have seen that his interest in publishing and reaching out to readers was already present. Prayas (Effort) was the name of the handwritten magazine he edited in his sixth grade with rubber letters from his toy press used for printing the title headings on the pages, the page numbers and a few whole pages with text. But most pages were written by hand, some with vivid calligraphic drawings of the headings. On top of each of its pages the word PRAYAS had been stamped in Roman lettering. The contents of the magazine was hand-coloured drawings, jokes and poetry, and all articles were written by Osho, three or four in his own name Rajneesh Mohan Chandra (RMC), some others were written under various pseudonyms and he even took the freedom to use the names of his classmates and friends as the authors for other texts in the magazine. Prayas appeared in two annual issues only, 1944 and 1945, but only the 1945-issue is still preserved, not quite unaffected by the strain of insects and more than fifty rainy seasons. Some photos of the preserved 1945-issue can be found in the section on Gadarwara.

Following his move to Jabalpur in 1951 he may have felt the need for sharing his understanding whith those who were ready to listen. Rajneesh was still a B.A.-student at college, when in 1952 he began editing his second magazine publication Mukul now properly printed. Mukul means a soul or a flower in bud.

Three issues published in Jabalpur during 1952 and 1953 are known, of these only the third issue from 1953 seems to have been preserved and that in a fairly miserable and damaged condition. Editors were his friends Hari Krishna Tharpati and Bajnath Sharma. From the contents of the third issue we can mention: On Kahil Gibran. Rajneesh: My Thoughts (on destroying the old to create the new). On Ghandhiism. Rajneesh: Life, Death and Nature. And some jokes and poems. The ‘Letters to the Editor’ were all written and answered by Rajneesh himself, quite in style with the editorial liberties he had already arrogated when making Prayas happen in 1945. As a new feature Mukul was also including advertisements from some local Jain businessmen in Jabalpur, a connection with wealthy businessmen to be developed in coming years especially in Gujarat. (173)

Jyotishikha

“JUNE 1966: JYOTI SIKHA (LIFE AWAKENING) MAGAZINE. A quarterly magazine in Hindi is published by Jivan Jagruti Kendra of Bombay, which also becomes the official publisher of books transcribed from Osho’s talks. By this time, he is widely known as “Acharya Rajneesh.”” (Sarito 2000, p. 225)

First regularly published periodical with the message of Acharya Rajneesh was Jyotishikha (Lamplight) published from Bombay by Jeevan Jagruti Kendra. It was a quarterly magazine published from June 1966 until June 1974, when Rajneesh had moved to Poona and a major reorganization, including the publishing of magazines, was taking place. So for eight years Jyotishikha was serving as a common link between the followers of Rajneesh, and we can presume that a lot of pristine lectures, articles and other hidden gems in its issues are yet to be translated. The fact that Rajneesh’s first magazine was to be published out of Bombay and not from Jabalpur, where he was living at that time, tells us that not only was a body like Jeevan Jagruti Kendra already at hand for the spreading of his message in the metropolis at that time, but also that he was deliberately aiming at reaching out from Jabalpur towards a new segment of educated and open minded listeners in Bombay and to cover other parts of Western India. As Urmila is telling us, the magazine was from the very beginning intended to be exclusively for Rajneesh’s vision:

“Osho wanted this magazine to publish his lectures and not contain articles by other persons to avoid much confusion. It was to be a one man’s message. It was better designed and of better paper quality compared to the later Yukrant.” (174)

“From June 1966, Jivan Jagruti Kendra, Mumbai, published a Hindi monthly magazine ‘Jyoti Shikha’, dedicated to Osho’s work, so that all the people of India should benefit from his words and get information about his programs. Shri Jatubhai Mehta was the editor of Jyoti Shikha. In the initial days Shri Jatubhai Mehta, Shri Durlabhjibhai Khetani and Shri Rishabhbhai Ranka etc. were working for Jivan Jagruti Kendra. In the very beginning in 1960, very few people in Mumbai and India knew Osho.” (Laheru 2012, p. 32)

As for the circulation numbers of Jyotishikha we are not able to tell with any certainty, but from Gyan Bhed we may estimate some level for the distribution of these early magazines in 1969:

“The magazine ‘Jyoti-Shikha’ published by Jeevan Jagriti Kendra, Bombay was more popular in Gujrat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. The beloved friends of Acharyashree from Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, U.P. and Bihar laboured a lot of [to] popularize ‘Yukrant’. As a result two thousand copies of Yukrant started being published whereas Jyoti-Shikha was published at its normal course. A minimum of one hundred to one hundred fifty new subscribers took these magazines in every camp taken by Acharyashree. The new editions of ‘Kranti Beej’ and ‘Sadhana Path’ had also been published.” (Bhed 2006, p. 270)

Ageh Bharti mentions another magazine Naye Beej (New Seeds) which was to be published from March 31, 1966, but ‘for some reason or other it could not come into existence’. This project was considered three months before the publishing of Jyotishikha from June 1966. (Bharti 2012, p. 155)

For three years Jyotishikha remained the one and only magazine connecting Osho’s followers, but then, only one year before he was to move to Bombay, another magazine was launched, now out of Jabalpur.

Yukrant

From 1969 it was considered appropriate to supplement the Bombay based quaterly Jyotishikha with another more frequently published magazine for the readers and devotees interested in the whereabouts of Acharya Rajneesh. So now Yukrant (Abbreviation of: Youth – Revolution) was published in Jabalpur from June 1969 to April/May 1975. (175)

Ageh Bharti remembers the considerations when choosing the name for the new magazine: “At Jabalpur, once He told friends that He would like to float an organization Yuvak Kranti Dal (Yukrant) i.e. Youth’s Revolution Group. This organization should work at two levels, responsible for generation within and outside in the society. For peace, He coined good techniques of meditation.” (Bharti 2007, p. 66)

“I want a Yuvak Kranti Dal, a Revolutionary Youth Force, all over the country – a youth organization called Yukrand – which may be organized on military lines. Young people will meet there every day – both girls and boys – and they will play there. And my concept goes on growing that meditation for older people will be about relaxation, and meditation for the young will be active – meditation in action, meditation while playing, meditation while parading, exercising, drilling.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #6

“Just recently those boys in Jabalpur did some good work. They worked well. If young people become interested…And you have to make them interested. Just recently fifteen or twenty boys created a group in Jabalpur to take our literature from door to door. They got a very god response. Whereever they went, they received a very good response; they had a very good response.
A friend has a plan for a weekly bulletin, so those boys are starting it from January. They are getting ready to publish it in Jabalpur. It is a small newsletter of six pages, and all the information can be there.” Work is Love Made Visibel (2011) #10

The magazine was published without any external investment and its first editor Ajeet Kumar was a primary figure in Jeevan Jagruti Kendra in Jabalpur, and he was much engaged in the collecting of advertisements for Yukrant from Jain businessmen in Jabalpur. He remembers from the first publishing of the magazine, its intended frequency and the subsequent change of editor, where Arvind Kumar Jain followed him as the editor after two years:

“First issue of Yukrant appeared on the 7th of March 1969. The magazine was intended to change after two years into a daily newspaper for spirituality and debate. It came out fortnightly for one or two years, and then changed by Arvind Kumar to a monthly magazine, when he took charge of the magazine. I was very good in writing Hindi language; wording was my property, so Osho asked me to publish a new magazine supplementing Jyotishikha already being published from Bombay. A merging of Yukrant and Jyotishikha was suggested by Jeevan Jagriti Kendra. Osho said, ‘No merging’, so they were to continue as two separate magazines and we worked six-seven months together from Jabalpur.
The name for Yukrant came from Osho himself, and five editors were involved in the first issue: Arvind Kumar Jain, Kranti, Shree Abdul Radeem, Bhikhan Chand Jain and myself Ajeet Jain. The publication was Swamitri Publication.
Myself I had been doing work of Osho since 1963, and in 1969 I had to choose between a career as an advocate or a devotee of Osho. 200 rupees a month was offered, but later changed by Arvind Kumar Jain to be paid after one year only. Osho wanted me to be paid to keep me with the publishing of Yukrant magazine, but having transferred the magazine to Arvind Kumar Jain two years after its first issue I started my own practice as an advocate.” (176)

Fig. 5. Design of front page for Yukrant made by Osho. Two arrows. 26.5.1970. With signature in three parts. 25x8,6 cm. The Hindi text says: "You ask regarding Sai [Baba of Shirdi]? Regarding Jesus? Regarding the Buddha? But, what should I say regarding myself? Lamps are several, but the light is one. Flutes are several, but the music is one. But, those who limit their vision to the waves are unable to see the ocean. And those who cling to the leaves forget the tree. The vision of duality always breaks the one into several."

Fig. 5. Design of front page for Yukrant made by Osho. Two arrows. 26.5.1970. With signature in three parts. 25×8,6 cm. The Hindi text says: “You ask regarding Sai [Baba of Shirdi]? Regarding Jesus? Regarding the Buddha? But, what should I say regarding myself? Lamps are several, but the light is one. Flutes are several, but the music is one. But, those who limit their vision to the waves are unable to see the ocean. And those who cling to the leaves forget the tree. The vision of duality always breaks the one into several.”

The secretary and later editor Arvind Kumar Jain tells about the editing of Yukrant, and how also material for the magazine arrived from Jeevan Jagruti Kendra in Bombay, which still stands out as the main centre for the distribution of Rajneesh’s vision:

“The first issue of Yukrant was published on 15th June 1969. That was the day for selfillustration of Osho and his blissful shadow, where so many persons of adult age came and a crowd of those youth Jains. A most important contribution lay with my college and friend Shree Abdul Radjeem, who in spite of his physical fitness was associated with me at my own press, named Azeem Printing Press, where I with the assistance of three more writers printed Yukrant. The material which was published in Yukrant has been sent from Bombay by Jeevan Jagruti Kendra, and some of the lectures we were having of previous dates from Jabalpur we published also, and some writings of different personalities, like Shree Madu and other fellow beings of Buddha. In this way we were working for Yukrant.” (177)

Designs for some Yukrant magazines and also two of Osho’s books were made by Kamta Sagar, a renowned artist at Jabalpur. (Bharti 2006, p. 173). But the most ardent designer was Osho himself, to be seen by way of example from the design for Yukrand front page made by Osho with two arrows dated 26.05.1970, and with his signature in three parts. (See photo) (178). The Hindi text on the design outline says:

“You ask regarding Sai? [Baba of Shirdi]
Regarding Jesus?
Regarding the Buddha?
But, what should I say regarding myself?
Lamps are several, but the light is one.
Flutes are several, but the music is one.
But, those who limit their vision to the waves
are unable to see the ocean.
And those who cling to the leaves
forget the tree.
The vision of duality always breaks the one into several.”

Ageh Bharti and Gyan Bhed are both mentioning that Yukrant was marketed as a fortnightly magazine already in March 1969, although the first issue of Yukrant evidently has the publishing date 15.6.1969. According to Ageh Bharti Yukrant was released at the Matheran meditation camp on March 20th, 1969, where Rajneesh started the series ‘Sound of Approaching Possibilities’ (Sambhavnaon Ki Aahat). Here he pointed to meditation as the only way not leading us astray, and on this camp Ajeet Kumar was to read his laudatory poem on Acharya Rajneesh to a reportedly enthusiastic audience:

“When Ajeet Kumar came to Matheran from Jabalpur with the first edition of ‘Yukrant’, Rajneesh-lovers bought the copies like hot cakes. The meditators not only became annual subscribers, but many of them deposited Rs. 250/- as life long membership fee. Many deposited the annual subscription fee on behalf of their relatives also. About Rs. 30.000/- was collected in an instance. This edition of the magazine was published without any capital investment and any external monetary aid. Only Ajeet Kumar’s tireless efforts had made it possible. He had gone from shop-to-shop to collect advertisements for the magazine. He had edited the gist of Acharyashree’s sermons and had read the proof. Bhikham Chand Jain, Arvind and his friends of Jabalpur had also helped him.
Ishwar Bhai and Mahipal were greatly delighted to see ‘Yukrant’. They announced before the sermon. “Ajeet Kumar, the heart of Jeevan Jagriti Kendra, Jabalpur has come to us with the first edition of ‘Yukrant’ which you have welcomed from the core of your heart. It is a fortnightly magazine. If you extend your support to the magazine as you have done today, they are planning to convert it into a weekly magazine. Now, I invite the same Ajeet Kumar to come on the stage and offer the flowers of reverence to Acharyashree because only he has been in the company of Acharyashree for most of the time during the past three years.
Ajeet Kumar came upon the stage and touched the feet of Acharyashree. Then saluting the audience he said, “To say anything about Acharyashree is not only difficult but impossible. It is not at all possible to limit him within words or within any boundary. Even if he is very near to you, he seems to be far away from you. But on the contrary when he is far away from me, I feel his presence very nearer to me.
I am trying to produce my feelings through a poem even though I know it very well that I could not express what I wish to. I have only tried to do so.” He started with his poem:
“Neither surrounded by words / Nor bound by any limitations / He is so eternal, so eternal; / We have not known him yet. / He is not the base of a creation, / And not an incarnation on earth. / Neither a Jagatguru, a saint, a scientist nor an explorer; / Neither a sage, a learned man, an author nor a preacher. / I am feeling like saying, / Acharyashree is nothing, / And whatever he is, / My songs can’t reach there. / They go but stop / Meanwhile, / Acharyashree advances.
The meeting hall echoed with clapping sound. On request Ajeet Kumar continued with his poem:
Now, you tell me, O my heart! / How can I introduce him / Who dwells in every heart like this? / And still if you havn’t understood, / I must tell, / Acharyashree is nothing, / He is something, / He is something more, / He is everything”.
This time people clapped with more zeal. Ajeet Kumar had to repeat the poem on public request. Seeing the interest of the meditators for the poem, Ishwar Bhai Shah and Mahipal got it printed the same day and distributed among them during the next sermon. Acharyashree was beyond such praises and condemnations. He only said starting his sermon, “I am overwhelmed seeing the limitless love of my friends for me!” (Bhed 2006, p. 269)

Ageh Bharti remembers from the Second Hindu World Conference held in Patna in March 1969 (See 2.6 Religious Conferences), where also Yukrant was out and quite some disturbance occurred during his distribution of the magazine during the conference:

“He has talked about this in many lectures. A three day conference, Shankacharya was there, the Hindu Pope was the chairman and a discussion went on. I was also on the stage, the high podium, sitting behind Osho listening to all those talks, about fifteen people were sitting there. 45 minutes were given to Osho as the fourth speaker on the first day…it might have gone on until two o’clock at night, but it ended at 8.30 in the evening.
At the second day Osho was not to speak, but his lecture was arranged somewhere else on the ground. There I was standing with Yukrand magazine and all, and after the lecture people gathered around me as I was selling subscriptions for Yukrant magazine at the conference. I had a friend also, Chouksey, and at some time after the lecture had ended on the second day, a young Hindu went up on the stage and took things away, and all the magazines disappeared also as he ran away shouting at Rajneesh.
After fifteen minutes Osho got up to leave, but a sannyasin asked him to speak. He was always around attending all his talks and listening with full attention, love and respect. Osho said No!, but the audience was shouting for more also. On the third day the conference not even started. Osho had been talking about very dangerous things.
I March 1969 the first issue of the magazine Yukrant was out. Ajeet Kumar Jain was editing Yukrant in the beginning, and Arvind Kumar was the main man. He was also Osho’s secretary and Kranti was also there.” (179)

As complaints from the subscribers were received, Osho had to deal with the problem of irregularity in the publishing of his magazine and the division of labour among those involved in making Yukrant happen.

“Prof. Arvind Kumar published a magazine namely ‘Yukrand’ from Jabalpur. It was dedicated purely to Osho’s thoughts and value system to be emulated by His devouts.
I was fortunate enough to find my memoir or poem getting reproduced in each of its issues. The special issues entertained me as the Guest Editor. Sometimes, I wrote the editorial. Most of the readers across the country believed me to be the publisher. So, the friends and readers alike used to complain over the delay of the periodical, whereever I accompanied Osho. Often they complained about the delay in bringing the issue, without understanding the infrastructural problems faced by the real publisher.
Each time when I returned home, i.e. Jabalpur, I conveyed the anguish to the publisher, Prof. Arvind Kumar, but in vain. There was hardly any improvement on this aspect. He was not only lazy, but lacked from courage. For Osho’s ‘Yukrand’ meant Yuvak Kranti Dal, connoting Youth’s Revolution Group, but out of fear Prof. Arvind Kumar used to incorporate a footnote on the jacket, mentioning Yug Kranti Darshan, meaning the Philosophy of revolution for the [this] age.
Eventually, I reported the matter to Osho, ‘Delayed publication of Yukrand every time is not understandable. If Arvindji pays more attention, certainly it could be published on time. And once it is brought out on time, the sequence remained to be followed strictly.’ Osho resented over the development and remarked, ‘Arvind is lazy. The magazine should be published on time.’ At this juncture, Osho inquired, ‘Does Arvind give you some money for postage etc. or not?’
‘Yes’ I replied. ‘How much he gave?’ Osho asked.
“It’s enough.” I replied.
(Osho had advised Prof. Arvind Kumar once, to pay money for Shiv Pratap to postage stamps in sending articles to the print media.)
Osho called for a congregation of friends (1969) after a couple of days. The participants included Prof. Arvind Kumar, Ajeet Kumar, Bhikham Chand, Alok Pandey, R.R. Mishra, Narayana Prasad Shrivastava etc. I was out of town in connection with my duties with the department of railways. Osho assigned the work for the volunters. He insisted everyone to do his work promtly so that the magazine was brought about before the deadline. The friend circle often suggested my name to read the final proof of specimen dummy.
Osho wondered, ‘No, proofreading won’t be right for Shiv Pratap. Find someone else.’
The friends-circle recommended me after discussing that Shiv Pratap as the right person.
Osho replied, ‘Proofreading is a mechanical and dry work. It won’t be right for him. Alok Pandey, you do this work.” Alok Pandey took over the job.
When Narayana Prasad Shrivastava reported about the proceedings of meeting, my heart melt like a burning candle. It reflected two things. One, Osho cares for little things for His lovers. Second, how innocent and apolitical He was! Alok Pandey could feel bad. Osho could have said repeated the work in a different manner. But He remained intrinsically pure and simple. I was assigned to monitor the state of things and assist others during my absence. Often Osho advised, “Shiv’s bicycle is old. Arrange a rented new bicycle so that he has no difficulty in commuting!’
I wonder even now on His motherly affection for us!” (Bharti 2007, p. 43)

“Once I composed a poem, titled ‘A Reality’. I wrote it on a piece of paper and showed it to Osho.
After reading the poem, Osho makes a little change in the title with a blue pencil with His own hand. He writes a prefix ‘Acharya Rajneesh’ to the title ‘A Reality’ and puts a colon in between. Now the title becomes ‘Acharya Rajneesh: A Reality’. And at the bottom where there was no name etc. He wrote ‘shiv’ and says to me, “Give it to ‘Yukrand‘ to publish.”
Instead of giving that paper to ‘Yukrand’ on which Osho Himself changed the title and added my name at the bottom, I wrote the whole poem on another paper with changed title, my name at the bottom and gave it to ‘Yukrand’ magazine for publication. And that paper on which Osho wrote is safe with me even today. Right now, it is in front of me. So the English translation of the poem can be read as under –

Acharya Rajneesh: A Reality 

Really,
How wondrous it is
I am seeing it with my own eyes that
what sometimes I read, and couldn’t understand.
Yea, I am seeing with my own eyes
That something is happening on the earth
And the whole world is asleep,
Wonder of Wonders!
That ‘YOU’ have descended on the earth.
And they are fleeing towards moon and stars,
And, at least for me,
this is a far more new wonder that
After having seen,
even a wonder remains no longer a wonder!
Really, beloved Buddha!
Now it is not a wonder for me
that when you were here, You were not heard!
Yes, beloved Krishna!
It is not a wonder to me
that people fought against a lover like you,
and created strategies to kill you.
My beloved Jesus!
It is no longer a surprise to me
that loving man like you
was taken to be a Vagabond.
And you were crucified on the cross.
And Beloved Socrates!
Now it is not a problem for me to understand
that you were humiliated and poisoned.
In fact, all this is strange
that for me now, all is wonder.
And simultaneously, nothing is wonder!!
-Shiv
(Bharti 2007, p. 123)

Sometime later Rajneesh passed on a letter for Ageh Bharti when he received him at Jabalpur railway station. It turned out to be a warm letter of gratitude from Jayati, one of the readers of his articles and poems on Osho. (180)

According to Ageh Bharti some fraud once happened in the collection of money for Yukrant, and this small incident was commented upon by Rajneesh in his usual disarming manner:

“It happened once that a friend approached Rajneesh and said he would work for Yukrand. He commenced his work and started to collect money in the name of Rajneesh, but suddenly the friend disappeared to Kashmir with all the money and was not to return. His expenses for rent of room had to be paid by Arvind Jain later. When being warned that he should keep away from bad company Rajneesh answered: “This Universe is very big, if he has taken, so what? Accept this too with a smile.” (Bharti 2007, p. 67)

Gyan Bhed has in his Ek Fakkar Messiah Osho conveyed that these early magazines constitute a major source for the initial phase of Osho’s work, and for his own writings on Osho also, “The matter was taken from the founder members of Jeevan Jagriti Kendra, Jabalpur, “Jyotishikha” and “Yukrant”, published by the Jeevan Jagriti Kendra of Bombay and Jabalpur. The report about earlier meditation camps held from 1964 to 1973 & all that was happening around Acharya Shree, its entire information with the Hindi discourses had been reported in these magazines. These magazines were being purchased by each meditator and they helped a lot in spreading his movement “Samagra Jeevan Men Kranti.” The institution of sannyas at Manali meditation camp, coming of foreigners into his contact, and the story of seven meditation camps held at Mount Abu was described with minute details in volume V of Ek Fakkar Messiah Osho. Some glimpse of that you will find in the abridged English version The Rebellious Enlightened Master Osho (2006).” (181)

Most of Gyan Bhed’s writings on Osho are based on interviews and early articles in Hindi from Yotishikha and Yukrant, and although it is not to be denied that his whole approach in writing on Osho may in parts be labeled fictitious, it is obvious that a lot of material is still hidden in the pages of these early magazines, waiting patiently to be translated into English and possibly causing some rewriting of what we have been relying upon op to now. It may one day even come true that what Westerners call fiction may turn out to be nothing but reliable sources hidden in Hindi magazines.

One more magazine seems never to have manifested: “Then, there is a format drafted by Osho in his own hand; format for a magazine “Naye Beej” – that means ‘New Seeds’. It was to be published from March 31, 1966 but for some reason or other it could not come into existence.” (Bharti 2012, p. 155)

The Hindi magazine Jagruti is an excellent source to the early publishing of Acharya Rajneesh; among other things one of its issues contains a detailed chronology of his numerous travels in the 1960’s.

Yotishikha and Yukrant both continue their more or less steady circulation during Osho’s stay in Bombay, now supplemented by a few more magazines also in Hindi. They cease their publishing in the early phase of Poona One, after a circulation period of eight and six years respectively, to give way for a restructuring of the whole periodical scene.

New magazines in Hindi with a more professional layout like Rajneesh Darshan were in the early 1970s supplemented by other periodicals appearing in English for a growing number of devotees in the West: Rajneesh Newsletter and Sannyas. And from Poona One other national magazines are published outside India in English, German, Spanish and Japanese around the globe.

2.11 Meditation Camps

In the 1960s Osho was talking to constantly changing crowds of listeners. This made him bored and tiresome as again and again he had to start from ABC with listeners who seemed occupied with other more mundane matters than their personal growth, smoking their beedis and chit-chatting with their fellow listeners. The urge evolved to work with the same gathering of meditators over a few days to create a sacred space for them to experiment with their being and where they were actively doing something and not just participating and sitting in an assembly of passive listeners. So from 1962 until 1974, when Osho moves to Poona, he organize a series of meditation camps, usually four times a year, each with a duration from three to ten days. During these camps he gives several daily discourses and leads various meditations, including a variety of exercises in being silent. Recordings from his discourses at these early meditation camps were to become among first published books.

“JUNE 1964: RANAKPUR MEDITATION CAMP. Ranakpur Meditation Camp became a landmark in Osho’s work because for the first time his discourses and meditations were recorded and published in a book, Path to Self-Realization, which was widely acclaimed in India. Osho later said that this book contains his whole teaching, which has never altered. The book is now in print under the title The Perfect Way (Rebel Publishing House, India). (Urmila 2007, p. 149; Sarito 2000, p. 225)

Ranakpur was his choice for this meditation camp due to its magnificent sub-tropical scenery and the sacredness of the place, with the Adinath temple complex built in honour of the Jain Tirthankaras (litterary ‘fordmakers’) and one of the most important pilgrimage places of Jainism. The temple itself is of enchanting beauty with its 1.444 ornamented marble columns and brimming white exterior which changes its appearance during the day contrasting the lush green of the surrounding forest. Aesthetic sense, also in the interior design of his library, was to stay with Osho for his whole lifespan on earth, drawing among other sources on his experiences and socialization as a Jain.

Acharya Rajneesh’s lecturing was not without hassling from the authorities on various levels, and the situation at that time in the 1960s made him choose to downgrade his traveling and speaking to ever new listeners, and instead start conducting meditation camps, where people could come and stay with him for a few days and experiment with their spiritual growth.

“I used to talk to crowds of fifty thousand people or one hundred thousand people, and I knew that everything was going beyond their heads; they were just sitting there.
These people loved me, not because they understood what I was saying, but just because of the way I was saying it. They loved my presence but they were not seekers. They had just taken an opportunity.
Soon I became tired. It was utterly useless because they were listening with one ear, and from the other it was going out – that was the men! Women listen with both the ears, and everything goes out from their mouth. Just a little difference! Have you ever seen two women sitting silently together?
The world is so full of gossiping, and you are talking about meditation. It is so juicy to gossip about what is happening in the neighbourhood. As far as meditation goes, there is enough time in old age, or even after death. Silently lying down in your grave you can meditate as much as you want. But right now there is so much happening all around – somebody’s wife has escaped, somebody’s husband is cheating his wife…
Seeing the situation, that it is almost futile to talk to the crowd, I started gathering a few people. The only way was to drop speaking to the crowds. I would go to a mountain and I would inform people that whoever wanted to come to the mountain for ten days, or seven days, could come and be with me. Naturally, if somebody takes ten days out of his work, he has some interest, it cannot just be curiosity. If he leaves his wife and children and job for ten days, at least he shows a sign that he is not only curious but he really wants to know. That’s how the meditation camps began.” (Urmila 2007, p. 148; Sarito 2000, p. 225)

1962
A few years before the well-known camp in Ranakpur 1964, Osho had arranged two early meditation camps in Jabalpur itself, the first one arranged near Water Tank in 1962 and a second one at The Agricultural Institute in 1963. So initially Rajneesh had started his scheme of using meditation camps for the spreading of his message at this early phase when he was living in Napier Town, Jabalpur. His very first meditation camp was arranged in the open at a place near Khandari Water Works on the insistence of his friends and with Kaksi Bhai Menandiwala as its secretary, a Gujarati Jain and very close friend of Rajneesh. At this first camp no sleeping arrangements were made for the participants in the camp, so everyone had to find his own lodging outside the camp site.

Speaking at the meditation camp at Khandari Water Works, Rajneesh talked on the secrets of meditation. In a one hour long speech he declined the accusations that meditators were selfish when they withdraw themselves into meditation. Meditation takes one into a state of thoughtlessness, no mind, and calmness occurs, when something which cannot be expressed in words, is experienced. After his speech Rajneesh asked everyone to lie down on the ground in complete relaxation and experiment with lax meditation, which was to be repeated in the afternoon. This very first meditation camp was considered highly successful by Rajneesh and his friends, and they immediately started planning for a second camp on a somewhat larger scale.

After Rajneesh had returned to Jabalpur from one of his first journeys to speak in Bombay in 1963, his friends requested him to make a second meditation camp at the premises of The Agriculture College in Jabalpur. Now one hundred and fifty men and women attended this second camp for three days, and the event was vividly reported in the local newspapers, leading to a sudden increase in the number of participants in the meditations.

Osho’s first meditations and discourses in Bombai were at Hira Baug Wadi, C.P. Tank in 1962, and in 1963 his discourses were arranged at a friend’s bungalow at Babulnath near Chowpati where Osho conducted experiments in Vipassana meditation with more than 100 participants. One seeker, Shri Bharatbhai Ghadiyali, who met Osho already in Hira Baug Wadi and was introduced to Vipassanana the following year, is mentioned by Laherubhai as a still devoted and practicing disciple. (Laheru 2012, p. 11)

The phenomenon of people meeting only in silence had happened earlier as a historical event in Jabalpur. During the resistence movement between the World Wars the freedom fighter Seth Govind Das had decided to hold a ‘dump’ meeting with thousands of participants at Tilak Maidan, as any public speaking in those days had been prohibited and was the direct way to jail. So people were just squatting on the ground day and night and no speeches were delivered. Still Seth Govind Das once again had to go to jail shortly after the ‘dump’ meeting.

1964
The news went that a third meditation camp was to be held for five days from June 3rd 1964 at Shree Muchala Mahavir Ji Campus in Ranakpur, 60 km north of Udaipur in Rajasthan and tucked away in a remote valley of the Aravalli range. Even though this camp was mainly organized by Shree Kothari Ji, former minister of the Rajastani Government, at the request of Rajneesh’s friends in Rajasthan, the attendants for the camp reached about sixty men and women. Some of them had known him for years and were coming from Rajneesh’s ‘homely’ locations far away, Gadarwara, Jabalpur and Sagar in Madhya Pradesh. For the participants the camp’s activities – and passivities – could be benefitted with visits at the beautiful and famous Jain temples of Ranakpur, some of the largest and most important Jain temples in India, and at the Shree Muchhala Mahavir itself. This first meditation camp outside Jabalpur is rightfully widely mentioned in the secondary literature on Rajneesh, although some inaccuracies in the camp’s origin and duration are to be found:

“By 1964 he had found financial backing to set up his first meditation camp, a ten-day retreat at Machala Mahavir in Rajasthan.” (Clarke 1990, p. 44)

Ranakpur meditation camp became a landmark in Rajneesh’s work because now for the first time his ten discourses were recorded and published in a book, Sadhana Path (Path to Self-Realization, and he has later said that this book contains his whole teaching which have never altered. The audio-recording of his speeches began at the Ranakpur meditation camp, and he was with this new technology entering a new level for the dissemination of his words. Slowly during the 1960s the importance of recording and documenting the words of Acharya Rajneesh was recognized, and initial attempts in a variety of technical standards and qualities with tape recordings were practised. (Urmila 2007, p. 149; Sarito 2000, p. 225)

In the evening of June 3rd Acharya Rajneesh inaugurated the Ranakpur meditation camp and addressed the listeners in his welcome speech:

“I see man engulfed in deep darkness. He has become like a house whose lamp has been snuffed out on a dark night. Something in him has been extinguished. But a lamp that has been extinguished can be relit.
I see as well that man has lost all direction. He has become like a boat that has lost its way on the high seas. He has forgotten where he wants to go and what he wants to be. But the memory of what has been forgotten can be re-awakened in him.
Although there is darkness there is no cause for despair. The deeper the darkness, the closer the dawn. In the offing I see a spiritual regeneration for the whole world. A new man is about to be born and we are in the throes of his birth. But this regeneration needs the cooperation of each of us. It is to happen through us and through us alone. We cannot afford to be mere spectators. We must all prepare for this rebirth within ourselves.”The Perfect Way. The Welcome. (Urmila 2007, p. 149)

He continued by revealing to the seekers that the camp was to be seen as a wake up call:

“The approach of that new day, of that dawning, will only happen if we fill ourselves with light. It is up to us to turn that possibility into a reality. We are all bricks of the edifice of tomorrow and we are the rays of light out of which the future sun will be born. We are creators not just spectators. The need, however, is not only for the creation of ourselves. It is by creating himself that man creates humanity. The individual is the component of society and both evolution and revolution can take place through him. You are that component.
This is why I want to call you. I want to awaken you from your slumber. Don’t you see that your lives have become quite meaningless and useless, totally boring? Life has lost all meaning, all purpose. But this is natural. Without light in man’s heart there cannot be any meaning in his life. There cannot be any joy in his life when there is no light in his inner being.” The Perfect Way. The Welcome. (Urmila 2007, p. 149)

In his welcome speech at the camp Osho also gave the participants three guidelines:

“The first maxim is: live in the present. Only the present is real and alive. And if the truth is to be known it can be known only through the present.
The second maxim is: live naturally. Just as actors in a play remove their costumes and makeup and put them aside after the performance, in these five days you must remove your false masks and live in it.
The third maxim is: live alone. Inside, do not allow things to crowd in on you. And the same is true for the outside – live by yourself as if you are all alone at this camp. You don’t have to maintain relations with anyone else.” The Perfect Way. The Welcome. (Sarito 2000, p. 225)

The meditations practised at the camp were all silent meditations, sitting calmly watching your breath in Vipassana meditation in the morning hour before the sermon, or relaxing your body in the evening into Shawasan (Posture of the Dead) following the evening discourse. To some of the fifty to sixty participants Rajneesh was a well-known figure, but to many listeners this camp was their first meeting with Acharya Rajneesh. In a lecture after the Ranakpur camp he recalls:

“Bhuribal is very closely connected with me…But as she was illiterate, perhaps her name won´t ever become known. She was a villager, she belonged to the country people of Rajasthan. But her genius was unique; without knowing scripture she knew the truth…
It was my first camp. Bhuribal was a participant in it…She attended the first lecture..the words and events of the camp that Bhuribal participated in are collected in a book called The Path of Self-Realization. It was the first camp; only fifty people participated. It was in Muchala Mahavir, an isolated uninhabited ruin in far Rajasthan. Kalidas Bhatiya, a High Court advocate, was with Bhuribal. He served her…” (182)

Devotees from other states in India than Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan had not even been informed of the meditation camp in Ranakpur, and in a final announcement when the camp came to an end, an all-India meditation camp was heralded with its place and dates to be announced later on. In Osho’s own words the meditation camp and the silent meditations practised there in Ranakpur are mentioned in a letter from 1964 printed in A Cup of Tea:

“My respects to you.
Your letters were received.
I have been away, so I could not reply at once.
I have just got back from a camp at Ranakpur.
It was just for friends from Rajasthan,
that’s why you weren’t informed.
It lasted five days and about sixty people participated.
It was a wonderful success
and it was obvious that much happened.
Encouraged by the results
the organizers are planning a camp on an all-India basis.
You must come to that.

I am glad to hear your meditation is progressing.
You have only to be silent.
To be silent is everything.
Silence does not mean absence of speech,

it means absence of thoughts.
When the mind quietens down it becomes linked to the infinite.
Don’t do anything,
just sit and watch the flow of thoughts,
just watch.
This just watching dissolves thought by itself.

The awakening of witnessing
brings freedom from the modifications of the mind.
With thoughts finished,
consciousness is.
This is samadhi.

Love to all friends.
A Cup of Tea. Letters from 1964, #19

A following meditation camp also in 1964 was held at Matheran hill station for three days, and it was at this camp the promise was given by Rajneesh to Sohan Baphana from Poona that he would write her daily letters to support her on her spiritual path. Those letters were to be collected and printed in Prem Ke Phool with a later English translation Flowers of Love (1977) and finally published in A Cup of Tea (1980).

“There is a hill station, Matheran, where there is a very beautiful scenic spot. I have seen many mountains and many places where mountains echo, but Matheran’s echo is very rare…” The Messiah, vol.2 #6

After the meditation camp at Matheran and home again in Jabalpur, Rajneesh started persuading people around him to leave behind all knowledge to be found in books, and instead gain knowledge and insights that were based on their own experiences. In this respect a new format for meetings was introduced, a Gyan Satra (Knowledge session), and the first Gyan Satra was organised by Lala Sunderlal for three days, December 12th to 14th 1964. Welcoming the questions from the meditators Rajneesh has said according to Gyan Bhed:

“I want that you should start your journey with doubt and not with belief. The imposed belief pushes one into the depth of superstitions and a feeble shadow of doubt still remains with him. Hence, the journey started with doubts is auspicious. One, who doubts starts exploring and a time comes when he begins to doubt on the doubt itself and then only [in a] trice reverence originates.” (Bhed 2006, p. 200)

1965
These shorter knowledge sessions Gyan Satra were used by Rajneesh as another format complementing the more expanded meditation camps, and Rajneesh visited Bombay again on January 20th 1965 for a four days ‘Knowledge session’ organised by Ishwar Bhai. After the session in Bombay Osho continues by car, accompanied by Ishwar Bhai, to Ajol in Mahesana District, Gujarat. Here a three-day meditation camp started on February 2rd 1965, and in this Ajol camp Rajneesh talked on meditation practices and on how to activate the navel centre.

“We have to think upon two things. One how to loosen the strings of the mind and secondly, how to lighten the strings of the heart. Maintaining these two is meditation. If these two are done the third automatically occurs. We are attached to the real centre of life – the navel.” (Bhed 2006, p. 240)

In the Ajol camp Rajneesh also turns his focus on the body movements of the meditators, which were to be in accordance and balanced with the navel to activate the navel centre in a style familiar from Chinese Tai Chi. He gave the following prescriptions for the activation of the navel centre: Proper exercise, balanced food, appropriate sleep, proper labour and adventurous living.

Rajneesh had a liking for Gujarat also before his first meditation camp at Ajol with its famous Hindu temple. His love for the state and its people went both ways, and in general he was much loved by the open and receptive people of Gujarat. Often the Town Hall in Ahmedabad was full when Acharya Rajneesh was lecturing here, and people had to stand outside. Acharya Rajneesh held some workshops and sessions in Ahmedabad, also for members of the High Court, and the businessmen of Gujarat were very open for new ideas while at the same time they were firmly rooted in their traditional culture. (183)

Fig. 6. Map with locations for meditation camps.To be drawn on map of Northern India, including: Bombay, Jabalpur, Delhi, Poona, Nargol, Junagadh (Gujarat), Aajol, Mt. Abu, Ludhiana, Matheran, Anand Sheela (40 miles from Kalyan up in a valley near Ambernath Trimurti Hills), Ranakpur (60 km north of Udaipur in Rajasthan), Mahabaleshwar near Poona, Udaipur, Pahalgam (in Kesar valley about 95 km east of Srinagar in Kashmir), Dwarka (Gujarat), Manali, Sharadagraam. In progress.

A following meditation camp at Mahabaleshwar started on February 12th 1965, and in this opening speech at 8 p.m. Rajneesh conveyed what he expected from the participants in the three days the camp was going to last, and like in earlier camps we hear the importance of the practicing of silence:

“My dear ‘Atman’ (Pious Souls)!
First of all let me welcome you – because you are anxious to know God…One change, that I would like you to bring about, is that you don’t talk much during these three days. Try to keep yourself silent as far as possible, speak only if it is necessary. Your limited talks should be regarding the camp and the meditation you are doing and not concerning the daily routine. You will get two benefits of it. First your energy which is wasted in talking will be stored and second you will be able to utilize that energy in meditation…You may feel some inconvenience, some troubles and some complaints but you please ignore them. We have not gathered here for convenience or inconvenience…We’ll continuously try to enter into our conscience, meditation and the state of trance.” (Bhed 2006, p. 208)

On the following day, February 13th, Rajneesh in his morning speech to the meditators talked on purification of the body by means of appropiate food, exercise and rest, cleanliness, catharsis and creative work. His speech in the evening was on purification of thought by means of Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram (Truth, Godliness and Beauty) and through association with a virtuous man. In his speech the next day, on February 14th, the focus was on bodylessness and some of his points were that 1: If one only recalls that he is consciousness and not a body, the identity of his body breaks away. 2: Bodylessness occurs only by observation of all bodily functions. And 3: Bodylessness is felt through Shawasan by thinking that the body has become dead, quieting the breath and body.

Every day during the camps there were meditations both in the morning and in the evening, along with Rajneesh’s talks in the fixed scheme for these camps he was now using on a regular basis. Part of the structure from now on was that in his talks he integrates giving answers to the questions the participants had been encouraged to forward to him. And the suggestion to remain in silence during meditation camps was a format to be repeated again and again in years to come:

“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)

1966
The second meditation camp to be held in Rajasthan, this time in Udaipur, was organised by Sri Hiralal Kothari from May 14th to 17th 1966 on the premises of Teachers Training College near the lake of Fateh Sagar Jheel. For this meditation camp most participants had arrived from Gujarat, Bombay and Rajasthan.

The daily structure for the camp was laid out with a morning discourse from Rajneesh followed by meditation. Then an hour for questions in the afternoon, and in the night one more discourse or question hour followed by meditation. And late in the evening right until midnight, every individual at the camp could meet Rajneesh to discuss their problems related to meditation. This is what may be called a fairly packed scheme for Rajneesh and the organizers of the camp.

A well known episode with silence and blank pages took place at the Udaipur camp, when Ma Bhuripal, who had participated in the first meditation camp in Ranakpur in June 1964, came forward to ask for the blessings of Acharya Rajneesh for a small book with blank pages she had kept. Along with 15-20 disciples Ma Bhurabai had arrived on the second day of the Udaipur camp to listen to Rajneesh. She was sitting in silence during the meditation, and having afterwards fed Rajneesh with her own sweet mangoes she invited him to come to her hut the following day where she wanted him to release a holy book. The offer was accepted by Rajneesh, and at 8.30 in the morning the car of the Maharana of Udaipur, who was a disciple of Bhurabai, drove to the camp to pick up Rajneesh. Arriving at the hut where she was staying, he was offered a handful of jasmine flowers of which he left one flower floating in a bowl filled with water.

“Suddenly he sighted a couplet on the wall, where it was written ‘Silence is the means, silence is practised, silence is assimilated into silence, silence understood, silence is the understanding, silence is assimilated into silence’. Acharyashree smiled reading it.
Then Bhurabai put a book wrapped in a satin cloth and requested him to release the holy book. Acharyashree took the book out from the cloth and showed it to the people sitting in the hut. He overturned the leaves of the book. The whole book was plain. Acharyashree smiled. Then he took his seat on Bhurabai’s request. There was silence for some time. Both Acharyashree (the Buddha) and Bhurabai (the Siddha) were lost in that deep silence.
After three or four minutes Bhurabai said, “Please speak something, Babu!”
Acharyashree, keeping mum for a minute, said, “There is nothing greater than silence. The clear sky is blue, the earth is blue. All the noises and turbulence are at the circumference. As you move towards the centre from the circumference peace and silence start raining and the noise of thoughts calm down. Truth is faced in super silence. There is no way to express it in words. Laotse has said that truth becomes untruth as soon as it is expressed in words…

See, Bhurabai got the blank book released by me. How many of you could understand the mystery of that Blank book. The holy book of the sufies is also blank. Nothing is written in that. This gives the message that truth cannot be explained in words.” (Bhed 2006, p. 222)

Afterwards Rajneesh told the anecdote on Mahakashyap who was the only one to grasp the silence Buddha was transmitting when he was only holding a lotus flower, and after sitting for five minutes in utter silence Acharyashree took leave from Bhurabai and her disciples and returned to the meditation camp in session. The incident has been recalled by Rajneesh shortly afterwards and he tells on the Black Book of Bhuribal:

“At the next camp [in Udaipur] her disciples waited eagerly, with great exitement. She had put a book in a chest and had it sealed. She had a lock put on it and brought the key. Her disciples lifted the chest on their heads and brought it to me. They asked me to open it. I opened it and took out a booklet, a tiny little booklet of some ten or fifteen pages; and tiny – about three inches long by two inches wide. And black pages without any white… I said, “Bhuribal, you have written well. Other people write, but they blacken the page only a little bit. You wrote so there is no white left at all.” She had written and written and written…I said, “This is real scripture. This is the scripture of scriptures. The Sufis have a book, it is a blank book. They call it The Book of the Books. But its pages are white. Bhuribal’s book has gone beyond this. Its pages are black.” (184)

One of the followers of Acharya Rajneesh, who had not been able to participate and help in organizing the Udaipur camp, received a letter from Rajneesh containing the words:

“I think you won’t be coming to Udaipur to assist me
and that’s on your mind.
Come if you can,
if you can’t – never mind,
you are helping me all the time.
Isn’t one’s love help enough?
If you don’t come I will miss you
because the camp at Udaipur
is linked for me with being with you,
so I am hoping you can come.
Regards to all.”
A Cup of Tea. Letters from 1965, #29.

We cannot tell if this particular camp at Udaipur is the one referred to by his secretary Arvind Kumar Jain, but his memories from a meditation camp near Jaipur may give us some general idea of Osho’s arrangements for the camp and the participants’ experiences:

“He had arranged a camp near Jaipur which I attended. It was my privilege to be at that camp, and some cinema artist Shimal and other dignitaries also took part in that camp. It was a very intensive camp which he had arranged here, and he took every kind of trouble for the public welfare of the participants. He had to do nothing with himself, but he took any kind of torture for those fellow beings to be benefitted by the divine forces which he himself had experienced in his life.” (185)

1967
No camps are mentioned in Bharti’s listing for this year.

Arvind Kumar Jain remembers Rajneesh’s consideration for choosing the right beautiful scenic settings, like former hill-stations and power-places, for his meditation camps, and also how political and religious figures started gathering around Acharya Rajneesh:

“As far as I remember he used to choose the isolated and dense forested areas which had a riverlike look and those with a natural beauty, as places for his meditation camps. In the year 1964 he had his first meditation camp at Ranakpur in Rajasthan, and the lectures which he delivered there for five days were published in his first book in Hindi Sadhana Path. And he had also arranged camps at the request of some literate devotees in various places, and actually in 1967 at one specific place in Delhi, so that the intellectuals of that surrounding area may come and take part in the meditation camp. And I do remember that in the year 1967 when that camp was arranged, a very great devotee of Mahatma Gandhi, Shri Madakarai and also Vimla Jain, a great seeker of theosophy and truth, they used to listen to his talks and take part in the meditation. And not only was the vice chancellor of that university there, but also other intellectuals took part in the meditation camp by the great scholar of the century, Osho.” (186)

1968
At a meditation camp in Ajol, Gujarat, Osho spoke on the body, the head, the navel and the tuning of the heart.  The eight discourses from February 3, 1968 to February 5, 1968, were years later translated from Hindi Antar Yatra and published under the title The Inner Journey. A Practical Guidebook for the Seeker (1996). Excerpt from Osho’s talks:

“Books, scriptures and gurus are dangerous because they have readymade formulas. They tell you that you should wake up at a certain time, you should eat this, you should sleep like this and you should do things in this way. These readymade formulas are dangerous. It is good to understand them, but each person had to make his own arrangements for his life.
Each person has to find his own path of meditation. Each person has to walk by himself and create a path for his spiritual journey. There is no readymade highway for you to go and start walking on; there is no such highway anywhere. The path of the spiritual journey is like a small footpath – but a footpath that is not even there! – you create it as you walk along it and it continues for howsoever long you walk on it. And the more you walk, the more your understanding of the journey that is yet to come will develop.” The Inner Journey #3

Starting on May 2nd 1968 Osho had organized a three day meditation camp in Nargol, Balsad District, Gujarat, with its parole Shunyata Ki Nao (Boat of total voidness) written on a board above the entrance of the camp. The campsite was a beautiful place on the seashore in Saru forest, where also lodging and boarding were offered for the seven to eight hundred participants. The discourses from the camp were published as Shunya Ki Naav and Neti-Neti dotted with small parables on meditation, emptiness and shunyata. In his opening lecture on the first evening Osho spoke on the empty boat and clarified the significant difference between an assembly of listeners and a meditation camp with people eager to act and do something to help their spiritual growth:

“Empty vessels are helpful if you want to swim in the ocean. So if you want to swim in the ocean of God or in the ocean of life, you will have to make your own body an empty vessel. The more a man is empty, the more he becomes able to swim across. But the problem is that we are always after filling ourselves up, someone with gold, another with soil, some with knowledge and some with gold or soil or gems, such a vessel will certainly sink. Whatever we have filled into ourselves will only drown us. Only an empty vessel can help in swimming. And religion is that art of swimming. How can we empty the vessel and be able to swim? How can we sail the zero (Shunyata) boat of life to the unknown shore which is called God or truth, how?
Yesterday someone asked me on the way, “What is a meditation camp? What is the assembly of saints?” I told him, “Assembly is for those who are disciples and are eager to hear and a meditation camp is for those who are meditators and are eager to do something and not only to hear. So those who have come here only to hear something have opted for a wrong place. I myself visit your town and cities to tell you about everything so that you can hear but you are called to such distant and to this lonely place so that something can be done. Don’t be anxious to hear something during these three days. You must come with determination to do something during these days.”
His speech was concluded with a short story and he finished by saying, “Finally, I bow to God present within everyone present here. Please accept my Pranam.” (Bhed 2006, p. 242)

After the camp at Nargol in May 1968 Rajneesh proceeded in a rather busy schedule for more meditation camps in the following months in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madya Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Bihar. Then again in October he returned to the seashore of Nargol where on October 30th, 1968, Rajneesh inaugurated his second meditation camp at Nargol lasting until November 3rd. At this camp he again urged the participants in the camp not only to listen to his words, but rather do something with themselves here in the present moment:

“My dear friends. You were called and you came. Probably you are not well-aware why you have been called here. If you have thought that I’ll speak and you will listen to it, than you are wrong because I myself shall visit each and every village to speak. There is no need to come over to this place only for listening to me. Your visit is meaningful only if you have thought to do something. As for me, I have called you to do something…If you remain here at this very sea-shore, keep on hearing the roars of this very ocean, under the shade of these very trees and the light of this very moon and these stars in this very sky, then something can happen. The first condition for a meditator is to live in the present.” (Bhed 2006, p. 258)

A new meditation to stop the stream of thoughts was introduced by Rajneesh to the meditators and developed during the camp. Sitting in Sukhasan posture looking at the tip of the nose they were told to ask themself the question Who am I, and to ponder upon this question over time, not to let the first superficial answers satisfy their quest, but to keep on asking until one day the answer will emerge which opens to their very being. This fundamental question was to be pursued and pondered upon in later therapy groups in Poona – Enlightenment Intensive – where the participants were listening for days to each other’s understanding of their self. At a meeting with young participants during the camp Osho starts a movement Yuvak Kranti Dal (Youth Revolution Party / Youth Force) which he intended to spread all over the country. (187)

“The morning session concluded after the meditation practice. There was a special programme of ‘Intimate Relationship’ in the aftersession. All the meditators sat silently in the company of Acharyashree under the shade of the Saru trees. One by one each of them sat before Acharyashree for two minutes. If he was silent inside he had an intimate relationship established with Acharyashree and Acharyashree transmitted to him in his silence all that was not possible to be spoken in words. In the night session Acharyashree answered their questions then all went into Shawasan doing the ‘nose tip’ meditation practice.” (Bhed 2006, p. 260)

At this second camp at Nargol in an interview with Shri Chandrakant Vora Osho was criticizing Gandhi severely. This attitude of his had serious consequences and made the Gujarat government cancel some land allotted to Osho for the making of an ashram in Nargol. Discussions were going on in Ahmedabad and Baroda newspapers forcing many followers in Bombay to turn away from him and making it more difficult for Laherubhai to arrange for his accommodation in Bombay. (Laheru 2012, p. 26)

As for the structure of future camps aimed specifically at those people working together with him, Osho gave his considerations in a meeting, where he guided his friends and explained their work and responsibilities:

“Today’s gathering has been called because I have been thinking that from next time, the camps should be for four days instead of three. The first day should be for all the friends. One day should be spent with them, and the camp will start the next day. Then I can do something for them, and they can think and reflect in this direction. And in whichever village we are meeting, we are gathering together, there should be a one-hour sitting for the friends of that village who have become actively interested in doing the work. There should be a get-together for them in which we can think together how we can expand the work there. Whoever has any proposals should bring them and explain to the others how the work can move forward according to their ideas.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #10

During the meeting Osho also mentioned that Shri Narendra was doing his research on meditation and preparing his Ph.D. thesis on the subject after having finished his M.A. in psychology. He urged his seekers to inform Narendra about the changes happening to them as a result of their meditations, so he could complete his research. He also told the young people to create a youth force in their respective home towns. The discourses of this second camp of Nargol were published in Hindi Prabhu ki Pagdandiyan (The Walkways of the Lord).

1969
Osho returns in March 1969 to Matheran, the place where at an earlier camp in 1964 Sohan had received his offer to write to her every day. Laxmi’s family had suggested to Jeevan Jagruti Kendra that Rajneesh could stay at Kuruwa, the family’s home, and to Laxmi’s delight the offer was accepted. The cook was given special instructions for the meals, which comprised of fruits, cracked wheat, lentils, dal, a bean or bean soup dish, boiled vegetables, salad without chili and spices. Seven members of the wealthy Laxmi family all went to the camp, and they met Rajneesh at Neral from where they all together proceeded to Matheran for the camp. During this camp also the first edition of the magazine Yukrant was released and subscribers signed up in numbers. Laxmi recalls:

“During the meditation camp the meditators attended discourses in the morning and sat in silence during evening for five days in Osho’s presence. In the afternoon the mediators sat in silence with their eyes closed around Osho. During this hour they were encouraged to express their feelings. While some cried, the others laughed. After this hour was over they sat closer around while Osho touched the third eye centre on the forehead of the meditators in turn. Each would then move to accommodate the other.” (Laxmi 2002)

“The Matheran meditation camp which started on the 20th of March, 1969, was unique in itself. The 600 medtators who attended this camp were from Bombay and Matheran. At the time of sermons 2500 to 3000 people gathered there. Some people came from Poona and Bombay by car only to listen to the sermons.
This camp was organized by Ishwar Bhai Shah, secretary of Jeevan Jagriti Kendra in Bombay assisted by many followers of Rajneesh like Rishabhadas Raka, film actor Mahipal and others. This camp was named ‘Sound of Approaching Possibilities’ (Sambhavnaon Ki Aahat). (Bhed 2006, p. 268)

Here Osho also suggested that future meditation camps could be targeted towards specific segments of his followers; separate camps for workers and organizers, for young people, professors, educators, politicians and camps exclusively for initiated sannyasins. One may wonder from where he might get the energy and time for these elaborated programs:

“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.” Work is Love Made Visible #10 & #14

It may be during this camp at Matheran that Jyoti observed a dog coming regularly to sit silently near the podium while Osho is speaking. He sits at the same place every day like a great meditator and looks very attentive with his ears raised while Osho is speaking. After the camp when the mini train running between Matheran and Neral station is leaving the dog starts running with the train until Osho indicates with a gesture of his hand that he can stop running. Osho remarks, “He is a very evolved soul.” (Jyoti 1994 #40)

 

Later that year a meditation camp and symposium for two weeks had been organized by Shri Sundarlal Jain from Delhi for a whole fortnight at Pahalgam (188) located in the charming Kesar valley about 95 km east of Srinagar in Kashmir. Each year in July or August thousands of Hindu pilgrims are walking their yatra (pilgrimage) partly on ice to the famous Amarnath cave in that area. The camp was held from September 17th to October 3nd, 1969, and the discourse series was titled Mahavir in My Opinion (Mahavira: meri drsti mein (1971)) in which Osho discussed deep esoteric matters. To join this camp seekers had arrived from Bombay, Gujarat, Delhi, Ludhiana, Haryana and Rajasthan, and again the format was the well known combination of daily lectures and the answering of the questions people had put forward to him.

For the meditation camp in Kashmir lasting for two weeks, Laxmi had persuaded her maternal uncle to accompany her and join the camp. Sixty people attended the camp, and Osho’s talks on Mahavir in the discourse series were recorded on spool-to-spool tapes. Laxmi remembers, that they were overwhelmed with the perspective he provided on Mahavir. To them it was a fresh journey with Mahavir, a new experience. The uncle apologized his earlier behaviour and decision not to host Bhagwan in the family’s home in Bombay and he later explained the issue to the family after having returned from the camp. On his return to Bombay Laxmi’s uncle told the family he regretted his earlier decision not to host Osho at their home in Bombay, a matter he also had apologized to Osho and Laxmi during the camp. Laxmi recalls from the camp: “A fortnight long meditation camp was on the anvil in Kashmir. Laxmi coaxed her maternal uncle to accompany her. Sixty people attended the camp. Here Osho spoke on Mahavir. Both Laxmi and uncle were overwhelmed with the perspective Osho provided on Mahavir. It was a fresh journey with Mahavir. It was a new experience with Mahavir.” (Laxmi 2002)

Prior to the camp Lala Sundarlal had called Rajneesh by phone and requested that he should spend a few more days to enjoy the overwhelming beauty of the Himalayas, so Rajneesh had arrived in Kashmir ten days before the camp was scheduled to start.

“Acharya had the desire to enjoy the invaluable treasure of natural beauty in the charming valley of Kashmir in his heart for long. Looking into his diary he postponed some of the programmes and headed towards Kashmir. He viewed the glacier in Sonmarg. He was astonished to see the exquisite beauty of the safeda (white trunk) trees standing on either side of the road like sentries. He reached Khillan Marg on the back of a horse and enjoyed sliding on a sledge there. He also enjoyed boarding a ‘Shikara’ (houseboat) in the Wular and the Dal lakes. It was the time when the entire valley was full of flowers and fruits. He reached Pahalgaon on the fourth day.” (Bhed 2006, p. 279)

In his first meditation camps Osho’s discourses were exclusively in Hindi, and only in later camps English was used. Those two languages are according to a Mt.Abu-interview with Devi Singh Bikaner said never to have been mingled at the same meditation camp, an understanding which is contradicted by the complementary use of both languages to suit the mixed audience at a camp in January 1972. After July 1973 his last camps are alternately in English or in Hindi. Pahalgam meditation camp in 1969 was the first occasion for Acharya Rajneesh to speak publicly in the English language and attending to a Western audience. English was from now on practised by Rajneesh when addressing Western as well as his Indian audiences; also for his Indian listeners, with their many languages and regional dialects, it was quite common to use English as a lingua franca. Just like today. In several places Osho has commented on the level of his speaking capability in English:

“When I started using English for two or three months I was thinking in Hindi and speaking in English. It was a double trouble. I don’t know English but I manage. I am surprised myself because English is such an unscientific language and I am not acquainted with it in any way, but when you have to say something, when you have something to say, then the language follows. If you have just a little bit of an acquaintance with the words they follow, they fall in line.
I don’t care. What does it matter if a word here and there is mispronounced? My whole life I have been mispronouncing.” From Darkness to Light #14; Books I Have Loved #7. (Urmila 2007, p. 152)

“Anyone listening to Osho’s English, his pronunciation and phraseology, may sense that his mastering of Hindi, verified by Indian listeners again and again, is in quite another league, and yet the way he speaks his peculiar English is in fact making him easy to understand to his extremely mixed audiences from many various countries and tongues. A very small number of Indins speak English with ease, but a great many more have learnt to get by in it.” Varma is arguing that less than two per cent of the entire Indian population speaks English adequately and that the Indian elites, with their minimal or inadequate knowledge of Hindi, have presided over a linguistic apartheid, where most of the population have been unable to acquire the fluency in English of their social ‘superiors’, “Indian English is littered with instances of spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, pronunciation howlers and incorrect phraseology…The result is a nation of linguistic ‘half-castes’, insecure in English and neglectful of their own mother tongue.” (Varma 2005, p. 114)

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was in those days famous in Jabalpur for his emotionless Bhavateet meditation, and the teaching of his Transcendental Meditation with its 20 minute repetition technique of a mantra. Rajneesh was invited by participating Western and Indian followers of Maharishi to talk to them during their camp at Pahalgam. Rajneesh answered questions from the disciples of Maharishi, and he explained to them that their chosen method for meditation, with the muttering of a mantra, would lead them nowhere, but only into an illusory state of auto-hypnosis. Even when chanting a mantra the mind keeps itself occupied, and only by doing nothing, remaining totally alone, that very moment would lead you to your inner depths. Jyoti recalls from the camp:

“I take my little cassette recorder and join with two more friends in the car in which Osho is going. In nearly ten minutes, the car stops near a bungalow which has a beautiful big lawn in the garden. Lots of chairs are around. Mahesh Yogi is sitting on a chair talking to his disciples, who look very excited as we reach there. Osho namastes everyone with folded hands and sits on the chair next to Mahesh Yogi. I sit next to Osho with my recorder in my lap. There is no mike arrangement. Mahesh Yogi continues talking to his disciples for a while, explaining to them about the different paths leading towards the same goal. I look at Osho, He is sitting with His eyes closed.
One of Mahesh Yogi’s disciples expresses his wish to hear Osho. There is pindrop silence for a moment. Osho opens His eyes; I am holding the microphone in my hand for recording his talk. Up till now, I have never heard Osho speaking in English to a group of Westerners. Maybe it is His first talk in English. It is more like a dialogue than a discourse. I hear Him say, “There is no goal; the question of paths does not arise. All paths take you away from yourself. You are simply dreaming…”
Mahesh Yogi’s disciples are conditioned by his teachings about different techniques. They start arguing with Osho. I can see they are not open and receptive; their minds are full of borrowed ideas. Still, Osho is answering their stupid questions for about an hour. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi looks very disturbed. Osho can destroy his whole business, which is based on teaching people transcendental meditation. He does not allow Osho to finish His talk and interferes by trying to explain to his disciples that Osho’s approach is different but He means the same thing. I am simply surprised by his stupidity. He is trying to protect himself by compromising with what Osho has said.” (Jyoti 1994 #51)

“I am against the so-called trancendental meditation of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It is very destructive. It is a lullaby; it gives you good sleep, at the most. It can’t awaken you. It can cool you, it can give you a little calmness; it is good for people who are suffering from nervousness, tension, anxiety. It is a psychological device, it is a psychological drug – a non-medicinal tranquilizer. But it is not meditation, no. It is neither meditation nor transcendental; it is not at all. It simply soothes you, consoles you, helps you to go into good sleep.
But meditation is just the opposite. Meditation is waking up. It is not a lullaby, it is diametrically the opposite. It is a shock, it shatters your sleep and your dreams. It shatters all identities. It reveals one fact, that you are God. It only reveals your reality and takes all illusions away.” (Urmila 2007, p. 153)

From his dak-bungalow in Pahalgam Rajneesh went to the local graveyard where he searched every grave very carefully, until he said to Lala Sundarlal that those two graves he was pointing out were those belonging to Moses and Jesus Christ. And he told him the Muslim legend from the Koran on the later event of Jesus’ going to Kashmir, fathering a family and his final death there. He also told him that the meaning of both Gadarwara and Pahalgam was The Village of the Shepherd. Having paid his homage to the graves of the religious founders he went to see the chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Sheik Abdullah, to whom he had already been introduced together with Masto Baba in Delhi some years ago. During their conversation it became evident that the sheik had no intention of permitting Rajneesh to buy any land in Kashmir for the setting up of an ashram and heritage in the mountains. In the presence of Pandit Nehru, Sheik Abdullah had in Delhi indeed promised to help Rajneesh if needed, but now he admitted that because he was afraid of what might happen in terms of religious disturbances in the future, he could not allow Rajneesh to purchase any land or to settle down permanently in Kashmir. The situation in the divided state and the tensions between Muslims and Hindus were such that this idea had not the slightest chance to succeed.

At the end of October 1969 another four-day meditation camp was organized by Shri Puskarbhai Gokani again near the sea-shore and this time at Dwarka in Gujarat, from October 28 to October 31. Osho’s stay was arranged in a school building causing quite some disturbances with nightly female intruders: “Some two or three women, who were probably schoolteachers there, would reach to Osho’s room and bother him in the night. After the last discourse and meditation of the night Osho came back to his room and needed rest. So I used to stop people who came to meet him at that time. Moreover, I told them that Osho must take rest at that time, and if they want to meet him then they should come at the meeting time. In spite of this, they would forcibly reach to him and ask him their personal problems. Osho would give them the solutions calmly.” (Laheru 2012, p. 41)

Here the 250 male and female participants meditated at the beach and had their stay in a large hall nearby, where also a small stage of wooden planks had been constructed for Rajneesh’s lectures, furnished with a mattress and a white bed sheet. The slogan for this camp was ‘I teach Death’ (Main Mrityu Sikhata Hoon). Acharya Rajneesh had during this camp delivered his insights on death; that it is a fiction, and he explained that samadhi experienced through meditation is similar to the experience of death.

“In the meditation camp, Osho answered questions of the seekers in the morning and evening and after that he conducted meditations. In the afternoon from 2.00 PM to 3.00 PM there was silent meditation practice in the presence of Osho. In it, the seekers would sit silently near Osho and if somebody felt to go near him then he could go and express his feelings near him for two minutes.” (Laheru 2012, p. 41)

“In 1969 I attended a three-day meditation camp in Gujarat, where Osho was giving a series of Hindi diasourses called Main Mrtyu Sikhata Hun (meaning: I teach you death). The whole set of lectures was about death and dying.

In the morning he would talk for one hour, then there would be a meditation on death. And in the afternoon there would be questions and answers. Then, on the third day, Osho asked us to sit in silence with him for one hour. I was puzzled about this, not knowing what it was to sit in silence. I looked around to see what the others were doing – everyone was sitting still, with their eyes closed, their backs upright and legs crossed…so I followed suit and as I did so, I slowly started relaxing. First the body relaxed, then the mind relaxed…and soon it was very beautiful just be sitting in some unfamiliar silent state, watching my breath slow down until there seemed to be nothing happening at all.” (Teertha in Savita 2014, p. 51)

Swami Anand Arun remembers from the camp: “Many thousands of years ago, Dwarika was ruled by Krishna and it was his favourite place for his pastimes. The background of the Arabian Sea, and above all the mystical presence of Osho took my consciousness to newer realms. The meditations on the sandy beaches of the sea, triggered a deep transformation within me, and turned the whole course of my life. Osho’s presence, his discourses and meditations on the art of dying took us within to a deep inner awareness of undying. Later the discourses given in that camp were published as a book called “Mein Mrityu Sikhata Hu (In Hindi).” (189)

The discouses in this Hindi series seem to have continued from Bombay in 1968, over Dwarka in 1969, to be finished in his early days in Bombay 1970: “There are total 15 discourses in Hindi series ‘Mein Mrutyu Sikhata Hoon (I Teach Death)’, which were published as a book. The first two discourses happened in Mumbai on November 4 and 5, 1968. After that, next seven discourses happened in Dwarka Meditation camp and then next six discourses happened as question answer series from August 1, 1970 to August 6, 1970 at C.C.I. Chambers, Mumbai.” (Laheru 2012, p. 41)

These 15 discourses were first intended published as The Gateless Gate, a title already used for a compilation of letters from 1971, but they were later to be published with the title And Now and Here (1984-85) in two volumes. In volume two and in a one-volume 2008-edition the Dwarka discourses were supplemented with material from The Mysteries of Life and Death. (See Bibliography)

In her introduction (1984) Ma Krishna Gopa writes: “In the fall of 1969, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh gave a series of discourses at a meditation camp at Dwarka, in Gujarat, India. To the seekers gathered around him, he spoke of life and death. He told them that the only way to ever live life fully was to experience death, accept death, embrace death, understand death in all its aspects. He led them in meditations that would allow them to experience their nothingness. He exhorted them to inquire into every corner of their lives and their universe and find death dancing, hand in hand with life, its partner and its self. This book presents these discourses. He is speaking to you and me. He is giving us the key to life, showing us the witness, showing us the divinity of all things, asking us to put aside our hopes and assumptions and desires, and drown in His ocean.”

During his inauguration speech, lasting for a little more than thirthy minutes in the evening of October 28th, 1969, Rajneesh addressed the participants:

“My dear friends! We are free from what we have known and also we conquer that what we have known. I would like to tell you that there is nothing more true than death, but death only appears to be true and we feel that the entire life is surrounded by death only. The fear of death has created the society, the family and the nation and it has only gathered friends. This fear only has created the competition of gathering wealth. This fear has given us the aspiration for status and the most surprising fact is that this fear has originated Gods and Temples. Therefore, whatever we have managed considering death to be a truth, has become untrue. Life can not become a truth till [as long as] we have the fear of death. Only they can conquer life from whom the fear of death has vanished…
I’ll talk only about the process how you can stand face-to-face to death during the remaining three days. I hope many of you will know how to die during these three days and will be able to die. It will be a great achievement if you are able to die at this sea-shore where once Lord Krishna had stepped…
Neither you have to get rid of death nor conquer it. You have only to know it and it becomes salvation. The knowledge of death makes death to disappear and then suddenly we are attached to life for the first time. In meditation also we have to die leaving all and only the feeling – I should remain only like a spectator. And then death will occur inside. If you are able to leave yourself and can gather the courage to die, the situation will occur which is called ‘ecstasy’. Now you all get ready for the meditation of death.” (Bhed 2006, p. 288)

Before guiding the seekers through the meditation Osho explains the four steps of the meditation in which they may witness an experience similar to death:

“The first step is to let loose your body. You have to draw all the power of the body within yourself. Only if you wish, the power returns.
The second step is to be silent. Breath should become so slow that it is hardly noticeable. Gradually the breath stays at one point. If it stays for even a moment, you can notice the limitless distance between the body and the soul.
The third step is the mind becoming quiet and zero. So, thoughts are also to be made dull.
And the last step is to become a witness of bodylessness, breathlessness and thoughtlessness. You have to keep silent for ten minutes. You will intensify your bodylessness, breathlessness and thoughtlessness at my instructions.
All of you please sit down or lie down on the sand quietly.”(190)

Osho leads these meditation techniques to make the participants understand the experience of death and his inauguration speech was followed by the described ‘Floating and Dying’ meditation (Bahana aur Mitana), a new meditation that was to be given its final shape at Chowpatti in Bombay on November 25th 1969, at the Birla Kreeda Kendra.

A meditation camp was arranged in Junagarh, Gujarat, at the end of that year by Dr. Hemant Shukla and Magan Bhai Tanna in December 9-12, 1969. Ageh Bharti attended this camp by invitation of Jaya, later on Ma Yoga Meera, the wife of Dr. Hemant Shukla, and he was carrying a bundle of Urmila’s newly published Hindi book Shanti ki Khoj, which was published by Jaya and her husband. The book contained a.o. some of Rajneesh’s discourses delivered at an earlier meditation camp at Junagarh itself. Many people joining the camp came to congratulate Rajneesh on his birthday, December 11th, which happened during that camp, and some of them presented gifts to him. Rajneesh was staying in the state government Circuit House with Laxmi of Bombay, who for a considerable period was to become his secretary from July 1st, 1970 in Bombay and later in Poona until May 31, 1981, when he left for U.S.A. Laxmi is mentioned more fully in the section on Bombay.

The structure for the meditation camp at Junagarh was an hour long discourse in the morning as well as in the evening, followed by 15 minutes of meditation. In the afternoon Rajneesh used to meet the devotees between 2 and 3 p.m., and following this session there was a one-hour long sitting, satsang, in deep silence in his presence. Rajneesh had also here suggested the participants to remain in silence for the whole time they were in the camp. During the camp one day Jaya desired a photo session with Rajneesh, and some different and very innocent moments are said to have come out of this. Osho suggested that his friends go to the studio and have their photo taken dressed in traditional Kashmiri garments. They persuaded the cameraman to follow them back to the camp, where he takes the picture of Osho dressed up on horseback.

“In a few minutes He comes out dressed in Kashmiri dress looking like a Mughal emperor with mischievous smile on His face. The cameraman is waiting with his horse on the ground near our cottage. Osho walks gracefully and slowly to the horse and pats him. He rides on the horse, looks at us smilingly and the camera clicks. Next day, we get this beautiful picture of Osho sitting on the horse like the emperor of Kashmir.” (Jyoti 1994 #46)

But also other energies were around this camp, as somebody cracked explosives during Rajneesh’s evening discourse – living with awareness was the theme! – on the 12th, and when he was reaching for his car after the discourse, hundreds of students were chasing him and it was a hard taks for his followers to keep them at bay. The crowd was massive as the car rolled out, and according to Dr. Hemant Shukla the disturbances were due to the great influence of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in that area. (191)

When later on back in the Circuit House Rajneesh commented on the questions from his friends, he had the following remarks on the opposition he was confronted with:

“They try to disturb my meetings, they oppose but there is nothing to worry. In 1916, Banaras University foundation was being laid. Gandhi was there. Gandhi was not well-known till that time. After great recommendations, he was permitted to speak only for five minutes. But when he spoke, people got utterly displeased. Even Annie Besant and Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya objected to Gandhi’s speech because he was speaking against the prevalent norms. Lastly, people started to shout and Gandhi could not speak even for five minutes. But within three years, they started to follow Gandhi and in three years, Gandhi became very popular. So there is nothing to worry. Opposition is also necessary.” (Bharti 2007, p. 160)

The camp closed down on December 12th, but Rajneesh was not to leave Junagarh until the following day in the afternoon. This gave him enough time to address the students the following morning, where he delivered a lecture emphasising the need of science and religion to join hands together. After the discourse dozens of students surrounded Rajneesh to take his autograph, but when he walked towards his car some other students like before started to push forward from behind, while in front of him others kissed his beard and hugged him while photographs were being taken. When reaching the Circuit House many friends came into his room, and a boy is said to have asked him in a shrilling voice, ‘Have you attained God?’ To this Rajneesh calmly replied:

“Recently, there was a conference where three such people were present who claimed to have realised God. In the end, those three Gods quarrelled also. God had no claim. He was humble by nature. But the real thing that matters is your thirst. Are you really thirsty or listening to my talks, you have become thirsty? Often people’s thirst is not their own. Search for that thirst within you and if there is thirst, you will certainly find it. You cannot live without finding. There is no other way to live. And the day you will find it, it will be clear to you as to who has found it and who has not found it. Presently whatever you understand by seeing me, is right”. While Osho concluded with the aforesaid words, the young man running fast falls at his feet.” (Bharti 2007, p. 162)

Finishing the meditation camp Rajneesh had left Junagarh by plane for Bombay, where he stayed for some time at the request of some of his friends before he left for Gadarwara. Here in the evening an orchestra programme was arranged on the huge maidan in Gadarwara civil area. The following day Rajneesh and his musician friends all went by train to Jabalpur where on December 16, 1969, the birthday anniversary of the great Jain saint Taran Taran was to be celebrated with Rajneesh invited as the chief guest long time ago. The events at that celebration have been laid out earlier in this section on Jabalpur.

In the ensuring months three camps were scheduled at Nargol, Maharashtra. A beautiful place, Nargol is a sand beach and trees that are just look alike of pines. Here during the first camp Osho suggested that all those present be silent for five days. Laxmi participated in that camp and was silent for three days until a moment of unawareness hit her. A breakthrough in her commitment happened at that camp in Nargol in 1969 where Bhagwan had said, “You don’t know why I have come, but I do!” making Laxmi ponder deeply all night on her being and she remained in a blissful state for three days.

1970
A third meditation camp took place in Nargol from the 2nd to the 5th of May 1970. What made this camp notorious was the introduction of the first rough version of the Dynamic Meditation (Sakriya Dhyana), which was to be fine-tuned from this very first design until 1973 where it reached a well-experienced stage. Throughout the years this cathartic meditation proved to be one of the most effective ways of waking up the energy of man. To wake up the sleeping energies and become a pure witness, he gave the following instructions to the meditators:

“Put all your strength in inhaling and exhaling deep breaths. Let the whole of your body tremble. Let a storm occur. Let you feel only your breath. Many things will occur if your energy is awoken, your body will tremble, you may feel like crying, body parts will move and make different poses. Let it occur whatsoever it is; you go on taking and releasing deep breaths.” (Bhed 2006, p. 291)

The first three steps in this initial version of the Dynamic Meditation were each of ten minutes duration: Deep breathing in the first step, seeking purgation while inhaling and exhaling in the second step and asking themselves ‘Who am I?’ in the third step. Finally these steps were followed by Shawasan (Silence in the Posture of the Dead). Rajneesh was guiding the meditators on their way through the various stages, and he explained in his lectures the mechanisms of the meditation, and elaborated on the phenomenon of energy transmission, shaktipat. In Nargol he was also telling the participants on his spiritual and psychological sources for the development of his Dynamic Meditation:

“There are two ways. Either relax directly as Tao implies, or relax indirectly as the Upanishads say. Create the tension to its ultimate, and then there will be relaxation. And I think the Upanishads are more helpful, because we are tense and we understand the meaning, the language, the ways of tension. Tell someone suddenly to relax and he cannot…
When you have come up to the climax, your whole body, your whole mind, becomes hungry for relaxation. With so much tension, you want to stop, and I go on pushing you to continue, continue to the very end. Do whatsoever you can do to create tensions, and then, when you stop you just fall down from the peak into a deep abyss. The abyss is the end, the effortlessness is the end, but the Upanishads use tension as the means.” (Urmila 2007, p. 154) (192)

The first experiment with Dynamic, before the camp held at Nargol, had happened in Bombay already on April 15, 1970, on the ground of Palm Beach High School situated at Nepean Sea Road near the beach, and the meditation was to be revised many times in the next years. Initially Osho conducted this meditation himself, urging the meditators to push on even more, as documented on video. However later on he stopped leading himself, conga drumming was introduced and finally recorded music was played and a fifth stage eventually added.

“There was a meditation camp in Nargol and Osho had been leading Dynamic meditation on a windy beach. But with all the activity involved – catharting, jumping up and down – people dressed only in a lungi tied at the waist found their covering falling off. The wind would blow the lungi open and with all the shaking and moving, the long strip of cloth would get in the way and eventually unwind and fall on the ground.
So he told people not to worry about wearing clothes if they didn’t want to. If they preferred, they could do the meditations naked – it was a purely practical suggestion. But of course this attracted attention. And soon a photographer found his way there and took pictures, which were immediately published in the major news magazine, The Illustrated Weekly of India. What we saw were photos of naked people crying or rolling on the ground – all the things that people do in Dynamic which look terrible when photographed – all this gave Osho a very bad reputation.” (Dulari in Savita 2014, p. 43)

The opening lecture from the meditation camp at Nargol in the evening of May 2nd, 1970, was later published as The Journey of the Kundalini by Jeevan Jagruti Kendra (November 1974) with the subtitle: From the Pool of the Life-Energy to the Universal Spirit. Returning to Bombay after the camp Osho had a stopover at Swami Muktananda’s Ashram at Vajreshwari, where he made himself familiar with the organization of the ashram. Just in case.

During the 1960s the meditation camps were complemented with the establishing of local meditation centres in many places all over India. In February 1964 Acharya Rajneesh had written in a letter:

“I am going to speak on Samadhi Yoga in Delhi and I have also to inaugurate ameditation centre there. Such centers I have already begun at Bombay, Calcutta, Jaipur, Kanpur, Udaipur, Chanda and other places. Thousands of people have come into contact and one gathers hope that meditation can be brought to each and every home. Meditation is the central essence of religion. It is only through re-establishing it that religion can be revived.” Four Letters to Ma Dharm Jyoti #4

The first meditation centre was opened in 1962 as Jivan Jagruti Kendras (Life Awakening Centres), and Rajneesh named his movement Jivan Jagruti Andolan (Life Awakening Movement).

“With the help of meditation temples or centers, I would like to, in a scientific way, introduce the modern man to meditation – not only in an intellectual way, but to introduce him to meditation in an experimental way. There are certain things that we can know of only by doing them. The meditation centers are scientific places where a modern man can understand meditation through modern language and symbols. Not only that, he can actually meditate and get introduced to it. There are one hundred and twelve such methods in the world. I would like to give a detailed scientific basis for these methods in the meditation centers. So that not only can you understand, but also do them.” (Sarito 2000, p. 224) (193)

“I was recently in Gadarwara. They have started a center there. They asked me if they should organize it in the same way as the center in Mumbai. I said to them, “Don’t even bother to do that. They have patrons who pay one thousand rupees. Your whole life will be gone in just trying to find one patron. You won’t find one here. If you look for patrons who will pay fifteen rupees, you can find some.” Work is Love Made Visible (2011) #6

Acharya Rajneesh conducted meditation camps at other places in India next to those already mentioned, among these Varanasi (Benares) in Bihar, with its deep religious tradition and the place from where both Buddha and Mahavir have originated.

The metropolis of Bombay was to become Osho’s new place for his residence, conveniently located also for the continuation of his meditation camps, which were mostly attracting participants from the Eastern states of India like Maharastra, Gyjarar and Rajasthan not to mention the metropolis Bombay itself.

2.12 Leaving Jabalpur

“1970-1974: BOMBAY. On June 27, 1970, a send-off celebration is held for Osho in Jabalpur, where he has been a professor and lived for many years. On July 1, Osho moves to Bombay and begins to give regular evening discourses to about fifty people, sometimes concluding with a meditation or singing and dancing. He travels only to fulfil outstanding speaking engagements, and by December these are completed.” (Sarito 2000, p. 225) (194)

Osho has commented in this way on his decision to end his phase of lecturing and traveling and his move from Jabalpur to Bombay:

“You ask me: Why did You stop traveling? Traveling, I was trying to find people who are ready to go with me to any end. The moment I became aware that I had enough people in India, that I need not bother to go on traveling, I could now settle in one place and let people come to me. As I became settled, Indians came, and soon people from around the world slowly, slowly started coming.” The Last Testament, vol.1 #13

“I used to come to Bombay, before I settled in Bombay, almost two or three times per month because the headquarters were in Bombay, the whole work was there. There I had the greatest following; and the most intelligent people in India of course are in Bombay. Slowly thousands of people started knowing me.” From Personality to Individuality #28

In 1970 Rajneesh writes to a friend and he remarks on his intense years of travelling:

“This was my assurance given to many friends in the previous life
when truth is attained, I will inform them.
That I have done.
Hence, my travels in India are almost over.
Certainly some friends are outside India also – I am creating the bridge to contact them.
Although friends have no memory of the promise taken,…
But what is known to me must be done.
Now, and generally I will stay at one place.
This way I will also be able to concentrate more on the seekers.
And I will be more available to those who really needs me.
Whether I travel or not, whether I speak or not, it will make no difference for those who are ready to move
along with me.
For them, even not travelling my travels will be continuing,
And even in my silence I will be speaking.
If my body disappears in the formless, even then they will go on receiving the support of my hands.
And not only today but ever – I will show them the path through the eternal flow of time.
Because, not I am not – only God is singing the song through my flute.
May those who have eyes see it.
May those who have ears hear it.
May those who have wisdom recognize it.”
Four Letters to Ma Dham Jyoti #3.

Laxmi recalls the time when the moving was being discussed:

“It was proposed that Osho be invited to live in Mumbai. Osho’s reply was simple. He would be fine in any place, however people would need to be aware that no one was obliged to him. He said the invitation stemmed from people’s love for him, however he would not accept any interference in his work. He warned that the message was to help people to be aware…As regards funds Osho said that it was up the the trustees to take care of the needs of Osho’s work. The trust [JJK] could publish books, charge entry fee to visitors for lectures, charge for food and lodging. Osho was not in need of money for personal expenses. The trustees agreed to these proposals and Osho accepted their invitation to live in Mumbai.” (Laxmi 2002)

Osho’s departure from Jabalpur naturally caused some changes and evoked strong emotional feelings among those who had been close to him during his many years in the town. His secretary Arvind Kumar Jain also felt like being left behind and he has confided that Rajneesh, when asked for the rationale behing his move, had answered, “Basically because of money.” (195)

“For his fellow beings welfare and for the worldwide following welfare he left Jabalpur for Bombay and the Lord has fulfilled his mysterious life. Likewise he has fulfilled me to that end also. In the beginning it was my personal physical loss when Osho left Jabalpur, and I was for four years in a heavenly state of madness, called bhia by this separation. I simply went once to Bombay in 1971 when he was in Woodland, 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 it myself at Jabalpur.” (196)

“So almost four years after his resignation in 1966 from the university, Bhagwan decided to leave Jabalpur. He cut short his travels, reduced the number of meditation camps, and began packing up his personal library. His friends were eager and ready to find a place for him in Bombay where he could find his own space and also be able to meet people.” (Joshi 1982, p. 94)

In the end of June, on 28.06.1970, a farewell party for Rajneesh was organized by his followers and admirers in Jabalpur. The event was held at Shaheed Smarak Bhawan (The Martyrs Memorial Building), where the vice-chancellor of the Jabalpur University Dr. Rajbali presided over the function. Only a few of those present were allowed to speak at the occasion, among them were not unexpectedly mostly V.I.P.’s and notabilities, people like the chairman of the municipal corporation, the local MLA, two professors, an advocate and a doctor. The invitations were arranged by Mr. Bhikam Chand Jain, who on request included Shiv Pratap Singh to speak before Archarya Rajneesh himself was given the word.

Acharya Rajneesh and his work were much praised in their speeches, but at the same time they also deliberately dissociated themselves in subtle ways from his ongoing criticism of notabilities within the political and religious establishment. None of the speakers present had ever done any meditation with Rajneesh, they hardly ever attended his talks and only very few of those being close to Rajneesh are said to have been invited for the farewell party.

First speaker was professor Ms. Kamla Jain who happened to deliver a long and boring speech, and as time was running out with speaker upon speaker Shiv Pratap Singh felt the whole scene was getting much too formal and dull, and he had to remind Mr. Bhikam on his permission to speak. In his emotional speech among other things he then said:

“Acharyashree has been such a spiritual teacher and saint whose company has transformed the lives of thousands of people. They have got a new light of life. Till now whatever the speakers have spoken about Acharyashree is incomplete and formal because those speakers have never been in close contact with Acharyashree. They have never experienced the divinity and super consciousness in him…
I don’t think it is sufficient to commemorate such a person only by garlanding him. Such a person can be said to be commemorated only if man goes into meditation leaving everything. Only if his inner lamp is lighted on the day when all the worldly limitations of caste, creed, nationality etc. are gone and everything will be determined by love and the day when emergence of a sorrowful, poor and perturbed man will be only an accident. Probably on that day Krishna, Buddha, Mahavir etc. will be rightly commemorated. Presently we are only disregarding them. Bhagwanshree has said – “How can one get the glimpse of God who is unable to locate him in human beings?
I am telling you that it is not the proper time to commemorate Acharyashree. We have to make a lot of labour and a lot of meditation to bring that day.
Yes, we can see him off from Jabalpur. He has decided to live in Bombay now with the intention to spread the spirit of revolutions throughout the world. Of course, you have had the pride of living in his company for such a long period of time. But it is also not possible to see Bhagwanshree off. So, I am only saluting him.” (Bhed 2006, p. 295; Bharti 2007, p. 182)

When requested to speak, Rajneesh is quoted to have said to the attendants of the farewell celebration:

“My dear friends. There is something wrong! Of course I am going to Bombay, but it is wrong that I am leaving Jabalpur, exactly in the way as a tree leaves itself in order to spread in the sky, but the roots still remain there. So, it is not possible for me to leave Jabalpur because wherever I go, I will be treated as a part of Jabalpur. Anywhere else, in any corner of the world I will be merely a foreigner (alien). I can not become a resident of that place. I will be called a resident of this Jabalpur only.
Your greetings and compliments have put me into a sort of trouble. It does not suit in any way that an idol-breaker like me is greeted like this. I think it to be proper if stones are pelted upon me. This greeting is quite a new experience for me. Just 15 days ago I was in Amritsar. People threw stones on me which assured me that I was right. Because when I say something and people have become so much corrupt that it is impossible that they agree to it, I feel that I was wrong somewhere in my saying. People have become so much corrupt that it is impossible that they may agree to a correct thing. But it is a bit troublesome for me if people greet me. The organizers of this ceremony have rightly said that it is not necessary to agree to all my thoughts. What to talk of all the thoughts. I say that it is not necessary to agree to any of the thoughts given by me. So, when you agree, I suspect that there must be something wrong in my thought.” (Bhed 2006, p. 296; Bharti 2007, p. 183)

Following this part of his speech Rajneesh then spoke of the mechanisms in the necessity of destruction in order to create something new, a theme repeatedly elaborated on by Osho ever since his first writings in Mokul 1952, and the courage needed to bring this process forward. And he continued his 45 minutes long speech by saying that his wandering around could not be stopped completely:

“The day I felt that a new soul of the country should originate, I started sowing seeds of revolution going to the villages and the cities. I am always ready to go to any destination to perform this work. I will be in Bombay for a year and then may be I fly to New York. My friends in Bombay may feel happy now, but they will also feel sad to see me off after a year. But in any case, I can’t leave Jabalpur, this I can assure you. Whereever I am, I’ll be known as a resident of Jabalpur…Dr. Rajbali has rightly said that a man like me can not work staying at one place. I am a wanderer so I have to wander about around the globe…I am grateful to you because you listened to me so peacefully. And in the end, I salute God sitting within you, please accept it.” (Bhed 2006, p. 298; Bharti 2007, p. 183) (197)

The formal atmosphere of the celebration had been changed radically, and Acharya Rajneesh was now greeted with shouting and the clapping of hands, when slowly he made his way through the assembly towards his car outside. Some touched his feet and ran to his car to greet him when he was driving off.

“The next day [June 29th, 1970] a farewell function was organised by the All India Medical Association under the chairmanship of Dr. Bijlani where Acharyashree was given an emotion packed farewell. Acharyashree said in his one hour long speech, “If you have to become successful doctors, you will have to treat the patient’s mind first and then his body and to treat yourself you should first know yourself.” (Bhed 2006, p. 299)

In the morning of June 30th at 8 a.m. Shiv Pratap Singh went to meet Acharya Rajnesh at his residence to have a last rendez vous before his departure. He recounts from their last meeting in Jabalpur:

“Then I see a stationery shop opposite the City College. I was reminded; Osho had studied in this college also. He might have sometimes visited this shop. I looked at the shop carefully. Meanwhile, the shopkeeper brought me out of reverie, ‘What do you want?’
I bought an exercise book and reached Osho’s residence. After talking for some time, I expressed my feeling extending the notebook to Him.

He wrote:

“Stop thinking.
Drown deep in Meditation.
There is no other way but Meditation.
Only by that,
You can reach to yourself,
to me,
and to all.”

Rajneesh Ke Pranam
30.06.70
(Bharti 2007, p. 185)

On June 30, 1970, at 5 p.m. he leaves Jabalpur by Howrah-Bombay Mail, and at the railway station in Jabalpur a crowd of friends had gathered to send him off. Overladen with garlands, these were eventually hung on a line from one end to another on his coach, thus decorating the whole A.C. coach with garlands. Tears were shed, and laughter was bursting out. His secretary for the whole Jabalpur phase, prof. Arvind Kumar with his wife Rama stood behind the crowd, both crying loudly.

A few minutes before the train was to leave, Rajneesh’s friends and followers had made two parallel rows up to the door of the coach, and slowly Rajneesh was walking ahead towards the coach. He was touchingly greeted with folded hands and hugged by his followers, and his feet were also being touched. He summoned Shiv Pratap Singh to join him at the meditation camp in Ajol in August 1970, and finally he boarded the train. He stood at the gate facing friends, looking with a smile at everyone when the train slowly chugged off. Rajneesh later remembered some of those present for his send-off, among them the principal Mackvan:

“In Jabalpur, where I lived for twenty years, there is a big theological college [Leonard Theological College] where they train Christian missionaries for Asian countries; it is the biggest in Asia. I used to go there…And that man became a friend [Principal Mackwan] – and of course became corrupted slowly, slowly. His house became my meeting place…And when I left Jabalpur, among the people who had come to give me a send-off was this old Principal Mackwan, with tears in his eyes…, “I am old, and I know you – once you leave a place you never look back.” And I have never gone back to Jabalpur.” From Darkness to Light #15.

The next day he arrived at the Victoria Terminus Railway Station in Bombay where his followers had gathered with more garlands to welcome him.

In his new Bombay phase Osho were to deliver regular evening discourses in Woodlands Apartments to about 50 people on spiritual and esoteric matters, and sometimes he would conclude with a meditation or shaktipat. His years in Bombay 1970-1974 may be considered an transition period from his time with an Indian audience in Jabalpur and his lecturing All India, until his move to Poona in 1974, when the influx of Westerners really took off. Bombay was the place where he was slowly turning his focus towards the international scene and where the publishing of his booklets now increasingly gave way to translations into English, and whole new discourse series spoken in English were in Bombay to appear in hardcover editions. His last travels to lecture in other cities were now only to fulfil outstanding speaking engagements, and by December 1970 these had been completed.

Part Three
Bombay
                                                                                                                                        Contents