As “one man against the whole history of humanity,” as Osho describes himself, it follows fairly naturally that he will be the most misunderstood. And mostly the misunderstanding arises because most people only see one snapshot of what is really an adventure movie. They see a pool rather than a river of consciousness.
As time goes by and our understanding of the full implications of that river increases, what is most striking is the process. Yes, the essential was always there, is always there. But the form was tailored to the needs of the moment: what would best help his listeners at that moment to move on, to move away from that “whole history,” in which he could see people trapped, towards that he describes as the possibility of a “Golden Future.”
So, first he was known as someone similar to J.Krishnamurti — against masters, disciples, techniques and so on. A firebrand who berated the conventional wisdom of his time, whether it was Marx or Gandhi, Mahavira, Shankara or whosoever that he found needed to be questioned or reassessed. But then it seems he discovers that the people who will understand him are actually trapped in the religions. So he takes up religion.
There is a very funny story of Osho turning up to talk on Krishna in Bombay in the late 60’s. The doorman asked in surprise if it were true he was talking on Krishna, because “you were here two years ago talking against Krishna.”
Osho describes in the following words the first steps into the traditional role of master and disciple:
“The day I started initiating, my only fear was, ‘Will I be able to someday change my followers into my friends?’ The night before, I could not sleep. Again and again, I thought, ‘How am I going to manage it? A follower is not supposed to be a friend.’ I said to myself that night in Kulu-Manali in the Himalayas, ‘Don’t be serious. You can manage anything, although you don’t know the A-B-C of managerial science.'”
So rather than staying with doubt, as J.Krishnamurti did, Osho begins with trust first as the foundation of a really intelligent doubt. But he says of this period:
“The game that I had to play was a necessary evil; otherwise it would not have been possible to find you. Do you think you would have come to an atheist, an amoralist, a godless, irreligious person? If you ask yourself that question you will understand why I had to use religion and religious terminology. I was using it against myself just for you. It was for your sake that I have been doing that whole number, but now there is no need.”
( Personality to Individuality, Ch 14, Q1)
So he plays the role of master, initiates disciples, sometimes on railway stations, makes a satire out of our conditioning around “sannyas,” accepts the name Bhagwan to infuriate all, and then one day simply says, “The joke is over.”
Explaining this he says:
I would like to say something which I have been keeping a secret my whole life.
Then Osho describes how Ananda asks Buddha if he has passed on everything….
Buddha said, ‘You will understand. I have said only this much, and I have kept secret all these leaves that are in the whole forest.’
And continuing further, Osho says:
My situation is just different. I have said the whole forest; only one thing I have kept secret, just one leaf.
Osho then describes that what Buddha is saying about returning as the friend is of tremendous importance, that it is just Buddha’s insight that:
The ancient relationship between the Master and the disciple would become irrelevant in twenty-five centuries. It was his clarity of perception — he was not predicting anything — just his clarity to see that as things are changing, as they have changed in the past and as they go on changing, it would take at least twenty-five centuries for the Master and disciple relationship to become out of date. Then the enlightened Master will be only the friend.
I had always wanted not to be a Master to anybody. But people want a Master, they want to be disciples; hence, I played the role. It is time that I should say to you that now many of you are ready to accept me as the friend.
There are people who are sometimes in tune with me and sometimes not in tune with me. You are asking why it happens. The reason is — perhaps you may be surprised to know — sometimes they are in tune with me because I am in tune with them, because whatever I am saying is in accordance with them. They feel, “This is perfectly right.” They are not in tune with me. On the contrary, they feel they are in tune with me only because I am fulfilling some of their ideas, some of their expectations. That is illusion.
Once you are really in tune with me, you cannot fall out of it. But if somebody falls out of it, that simply means that I have said something, I have done something, which is not in accordance with you. You remain the judge. You have not dropped judgment. Your ego is still there.
So remember one thing: when you are with me, then it is a continuum, without any gap. What I say, what I do, does not matter, because you are not a judge. You love me the way I am. I don’t judge you. I love you the way you are. And if it changes, then remember it is a judgment, and rather than going with me, you are trying to drag me with you. And that is not very loving.
And then Osho ends by saying:
(The Last Testament, Vol.3, Ch.23)
Of course, Osho has always insisted that he has no followers, only fellow travelers, but following is so easy and cozy. Then it is not my responsibility. Then I can put the responsibility on someone else, God, my guru, Jesus, Buddha, whatever. But slowly and inexorably Osho withdraws his support we seek for our projections, like a bird luring its young from the nest. And that is now the acid test.
“To Be, or not To Be” is no longer an issue for one devoted to Osho’ vision. The issue now is: How To Be and How Not To Be. Creating something that depended on Osho’s presence was one thing. To create now something that is self-regenerating, self-growing, without any outer help, relying only on one’s inner sources and maturity is a different thing altogether.
It is useful to acknowledge that, Osho lived and functioned in “Here & Now” and to that extent he invites us to be part of a spiritual growth process as he designed it not leaving it to be altered or interpreted differently later. Warmth and love, awareness and understanding, collective creativity with individual responsibility, non-tinkering with his words, vision and meditations have never been subject to negotiation or open to be discounted for finding quick answers.
Historically, within the various spiritual movements, the differences in perceptions and practices are evident — for some, remaining true to the Master; and for others, interpreting the truth Master has given as they deem fit regardless of how it works or doesn’t work spiritually. Consequently, the challenge remains for each seeker under this situation to find where he/she stands rather than getting into value judgments.
Finally, “Forget and Forgive” statement by Osho is an indication for one to grow in spiritual maturity and not for finding justifications in allowing one to fulfill one’s ego-mind. In this respect, it is crucial to learn what Osho says in answer to a question:
“HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED?
(The Transmission of the Lamp, Ch.29)
This is very different if one were to interpret Osho’s statement to mean just ignoring Osho – his work and vision, in justification of what one sees through one’s ego-mind.
One indeed feels so fortunate and blessed that, Osho left his message totally unambiguous in nature as far as his worldwide revolution in consciousness is concerned. Who would have thought it possible, otherwise — that today his work is expanding and growing “beyond our minds” as he forecast?
–Swami Satya Vedant