Monday, February 18, 2008

Rajneesh 'Osho" (December 11, 1931 — January 19, 1990)

By Kuldip Dhiman

"I AM the beginning of a totally new religious consciousness. Please don't connect me to the past - it is not even worth remembering": This is Acharya Rajnish or Bhagwan Rajnish or Osho, master of rhetoric, making one of his characteristic statements. At the time when all the babas and gurus were preaching morality, and making us feel guilty for enjoying the good things of life, Rajnish, with his unconventional views, emerged on the scene like a hurricane.Not many could digest his teachings, and there were many among us who condemned him as a hedonist without having heard a word of his discourses. This is sad, because in spite of all his eccentricities, there is a lot that one can learn from Rajnish.

Rajnish 'Osho'Rajnish Chandra Mohan, as he was known in his college days, got a gold medal for his M. A. in philosophy. Later he taught at the Jabalpur University for nine years, and attained fame as Acharya Rajnish. He resigned his post in 1966, and four years later began initiating disciples in Manali. At about this time he set up his famous commune in Koregaon, Pune, and began to call himself Bhagwan Rajnish.

Most religions have been telling us to control our mind, suppress all evil thought, and lead a life guided by a strict moral code. Rajnish, although not the first one to challenge this view, came out openly against against such drab stoic principles imposed upon society by self-styled religious and cultural overlords. He pointed out that suppressing of desires does not really help, for whatever you try to suppress "goes more deeply into your being, because what you are suppressing came from within . . . . And the mind functions in certain ways. For example, whatever you want to suppress or escape from becomes central to the mind. . . To forbid is to attract, to refuse is to invite, and to prevent is to tempt".

So instead of suppressing our straying thoughts, we should drop all conflict, try to come to terms with it and just watch. Understanding and watching will have two results, says Rajnish, first your "knowledge of your own energies will develop, and knowing them makes you the master; and second, the strength of the grip which these energies have on you will decrease. Slowly, slowly, you will find that at first anger comes, and then you watch; then after a while, gradually, you will find that when anger comes, watchfulness will come at the same time. And finally you will find that when anger is about to arise, watchfulness is already there . . . Then you will realise that you have discovered an amazing method: you will have discovered that only in unconsciousness do anger, sex and greed have power over you. Watching them, bringing your awareness to them, they all disappear".

As time went by, Rajnish moved to Oregon, US. Five years later he got himself involved in controversies,and had to return to India. In his later years he chose to call himself 'Osho'.

Laced with wisdom and humour, Rajnish's discourses are a treat to the ear. But one has to be careful, for while his teachings could lead you to a heightened state of consciousness, they could also drive you to the depths of decadence.

The epitaph on the tombstone of this singularly extraordinary and colourful of all guru reads: Osho, Never Born, Never Died, Only visited the Planet Earth between December 11, 1931 and January 19, 1990.

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