It’s been two-and-a-half decades since Bhagwan Rajneesh passed away. Till date, he remains India’s only true spiritual guru. Many tried their hands at preaching the words of wisdom, but could never make any impact. Some faded away, while others were put behind bars for various acts of corruption and sexual abuse of disciples.
The world needs Rajneesh the most today. In the name of God, every self-proclaimed spiritual guru is exploiting the innocent Indians. Not one baba has the audacity to raise issues that go against the existing beliefs. Baba Ramdev, Asaram Bapu, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar have all tried to make themselves seem larger than life, but the idea always bombed! There can be only one Rajneesh.
Born Chandra Mohan Jain, Osho Rajneesh was a rare mystic. He was an opposing force that destroyed all the dogmas and deeply entrenched ideas in society. Single-handedly, Rajneesh stirred a contentious spiritual movement that took the world by storm. Rajneesh, courtesy of his path-breaking concepts and thought processes, garnered huge followings in India, the US, the Netherlands, Germany and many more. In the 70s and 80s, people were more open to new ideas, they were receptive to even scandalous suggestions.
Rajneesh talked about things that really mattered to common man, and it was not necessarily related to God Almighty. He spoke of love, celebration, courage and humour. He spoke at length the benefits of meditation and the need to stay aware all the time. He was particularly harsh on deep-seated traditions, he pointed out the duplicity of religious leaders, priests and pundits. He laughed at the concept of socialism.
To understand Rajneesh, read this: “I don’t want anybody to stand between the individual and existence. No prayer, no priest… you alone are enough to face the sunrise, you don’t need somebody to interpret for you what a beautiful sunrise it is… And this is my attitude: you are here, every individual is here, and the whole existence is available. All that you need is just to be silent and listen to existence. There is no need of any religion, there is no need of any God, there is no need of any priesthood, and there is no need of any organization. I trust in the individual.”
Or this: ”It was good of Friedrich Nietzsche to declare God dead — I declare that he has never been born. It is a created fiction, an invention, not a discovery. Do you understand the difference between invention and discovery? A discovery is about truth, an invention is manufactured by you. It is man-manufactured fiction. Certainly it has given consolation, but consolation is not the right thing! Consolation is opium. It keeps you unaware of the reality, and life is flowing past you so quickly — seventy years will be gone soon. Anybody who gives you a belief system is your enemy, because the belief system becomes the barrier for your eyes, you cannot see the truth. The very desire to find the truth disappears.”
He was 20 years ahead of his time. His ideas found resonance in quite a few western countries but India still remains opposed to such radical ideas. We are not ready to shed our age-old inhibitions. We are okay with walking in a straight line, it is safe that way.
According to Rajneesh, God is the greatest lie invented by man. He also spoke about a whole new approach towards sexual intercourse – beautiful and harmonious. Sex is not an activity, a chore to perform and be done with. There is a spiritual angle to sex, too. If understood well, sex can lead to enlightenment. Rajneesh was a woman’s man. He enjoyed their company and by his own admission, no man has loved more women than him.
Many of his ideas were considered too bold during his time. Rajneesh spoke in favour of euthanasia for children. He advocated pulling the plug on kids with birth defects. He said: “if a child is born deaf, dumb, and we cannot do anything, and the parents are willing, the child should be put to eternal sleep.”
Meanwhile, in a blossoming northern suburb of Pune lies Bhagwan Rajneesh’s picturesque ‘spiritual health facility’. It is popularly known as the Osho Ashram, and also Osho International Meditation Resort. I stayed at the premises for a month and came back a changed woman. The ashram has continued to thrive even after his death. It was a world within the world. It was where I subconsciously always wished to be.
People from across the world come down to Pune, especially to spend moments of peace and tranquillity. It’s like a resort where you don’t need to step out once you check in. There are swimming pools, sauna, tennis courts, basketball courts, massage and beauty parlour, bistro, book shops and a five hectare Zen garden. Courses are offered in traditional meditation, as well as New Age techniques.
The Pune ashram is a passionate place with a stimulating atmosphere.
Osho Rajneesh was a highly feared man in the western world, especially in the US. He was even arrested because his influence was growing with each passing day.
Keep an eye on this space for more on that.