Three decades have passed since Osho’s death but the impact of his ideas can still be felt in spiritual thought and evolution, writes Swami Anand Arun
On January 19, 1990, Osho left his body at his Pune ashram and a rushed cremation was carried out after the public announcement of his death. His body was brought out for ten minutes after which it was hurried to the burning ghats where it was cremated within a few hours. When the news of his death spread out to his disciples and lovers around the world, his body had already been cremated in Pune. At that time, I was in Nepal. When the news flashed on the television screen, I couldn’t believe it.
Almost three decades have passed since that day, but the mystery around Osho’s death still remains dense. Abhay Vaidya’s recent book titled Who Killed Osho? has raised logical questions about the possibility of foul play in Osho’s death. I am reminded of the time when I had talked to Osho about his death when he was in Nepal.
It was the month of January in 1986 and I was sitting in front of him in room number 514 of the Soaltee Oberoi Hotel in Kathmandu. It had been a few days since Osho had arrived in Nepal. Being his organiser and the ‘center leader’ in Nepal, I had the opportunity to closely observe the activities of the people around him. From the beginning days of his movement, Osho was always surrounded by people who were very devoted to him and his cause and loved him. But being constantly surrounded still seemed dangerous.
It was a cold January morning and Osho was sitting on the sofa in his room while I was sitting down on the carpeted floor. There was nobody else in the room so I could easily pour out my heart to him. I told him that I was concerned about his life and suspected that he would be murdered. He listened to me very intently but there was no reaction on his face. It was as if he already knew of it and had already accepted his fate. After hearing my concern with the same grace and calmness, he asked me, “What can you do against it?”
I immediately replied,“We could take you into police protection and you can stay in Nepal forever.” Osho looked at me and said, “No enlightened master has ever lived under police protection. My work will suffer that way.” Soon, there was a loud knock on the door and I had to close the conversation and leave the room. After four years, we were to know through a news channel that Osho had died in Pune.
Osho lived a short but eventful life of 58 years. He was not only an enlightened master but also one of the greatest intellectual giants of our times. Essentially an iconoclast who opposed all generally accepted beliefs, pre-conceived notions and traditions, Osho’s oppositions were based on his deep study and observations of all religions and beliefs. He had a deep understanding of practically every known religion of the world. His discourses cover every aspect of human consciousness and spirituality and express his thoughts in clear, everyday terms. In his books created from his extemporaneous talks, Osho covers every issue of human life. They range from petty relationship problems to the ultimate seeking of enlightenment and from ancient wisdom of the Upanishads to the latest inventions of science. If it wasn’t for Osho, we would have never known about the 70 and more great enlightened mystics of the spiritual world that he has spoken about in his books and lectures. Osho brought them out of the oblivion. His teachings were never static or academic. They sprouted from enlightened wisdom.
Today, there are more than 700 books to his name which are spiritual bestsellers and have been translated into all major languages of the world. The fact that twenty nine years after his death, his speeches, both in recordings and in print, are still in demand, bears testimony to the fact that Osho remains one of the greatest spiritual leaders of our times.
Humanity is yet to evaluate and acknowledge Osho’s enormous contribution to this world. After attaining his enlightenment, Osho’s sole intention was to help uplift the human consciousness and free humanity of its own bondage. When asked about why he read so much when he was already enlightened, Osho gave a very touching answer that reflects the intensity of his efforts to help humanity.
He replied, “My hunger for knowledge has been utterly sated. But if I am to help the people, I need to speak to them in the language they understand, to trace the history of their thought process and the surroundings that shape their thoughts. Therefore, if I am to help them, I have to be one among them. It is torture for me to read all this intellectual nonsense. Once you know yourself, there is nothing worth knowing. But I want to reach out to as many people as possible, and I must be more informed than they are if I have to convince them to listen to me.”
Osho has left a legacy of wisdom but his contributions are not limited only to the intellectual arena. Osho’s contribution in bringing a new revolution in the world of spirituality and religion is unparalleled. It will take centuries for mankind to rightly comprehend how much it has benefitted from it. Before Osho, religion had always been a serious affair and religiousness and seriousness were almost synonymous. Osho created a revolution by introducing celebration into meditation; no one had ever imagined that spiritual seeking could also be a joyful affair and that there was nothing sinful in being happy.
Osho developed more than six hundred meditation techniques. It was Osho who saw the relevance of western psychotherapy to the process of meditation. Perhaps Osho’s greatest contribution to humanity was the incorporation of catharsis into meditation. This made the very activity unique in contemporary spiritual practice. Catharsis is a breakthrough in human psychology and is proving as a great release for contemporary mankind to express its suppressed emotions such as violence, anger, sex, fear etc.
In today’s world where the institution of family is slowly disintegrating and the concept of private property and isolated egoistic lifestyle has created a selfish mankind that is insensitive towards the world around it, Osho’s concept of commune living has come up as the perfect alternative. Osho was not just an individual entity; he continues to be a force that helps people live a more conscious, balanced and meditative life.
Sunday, 27 January 2019 | Swami Anand Arun | in Agenda