Saturday, February 25, 2012
THE ULTIMATE ICONOCLAST
Dear friends after lying with several publishers for three years, my new book is finally out. Hope it interests you.
THE ULTIMATE ICONOCLAST
Understanding Rajneesh Osho’s Revolutionary
and ‘Dangerous’ Ideas
‘It is not that I am dangerous,
It is the truth that is dangerous’
Easily, one of the most interesting and controversial thinkers of the present age, Rajneesh Osho, once said: ‘I am leaving something really terrible for scholars; they will not be able to make any sense out of it. They will go nuts — and they deserve it, they should go nuts! But nobody can create an orthodoxy out of me, it is impossible.’
The challenge is formidable because Rajneesh spoke for about forty years, and there is a whole library of his discourses transcribed into more than seven hundred books. He once said jokingly that many of his discourses still had not been transcribed. When everything is collected, he suggested, we could call it Encyclopaedia Rajneeshica.
The matter is further complicated by the fact that he spoke on so many religions, philosophies, and theologies that one could go mad keeping track of his immense reach. It is doubtful if any single individual ever spoke on so many different subjects and issues as he did. Even if one tried to follow his work, one is at the end left baffled; one is unable to fit him into any category, any school, or religion. Some believed that he was the very apotheosis of spiritualism and wisdom, while others called him a materialist, a capitalist, a Marxist, a godman, a prophet, a failed messiah, a philosopher, a non-philosopher, a charlatan, a fraud, a nihilist, a hedonist and what not. How could one individual evoke so many diverse and contrary opinions from so many people?
Rajneesh’s entire philosophy, as we shall see later in the book, was to go beyond dogmas, categories, and isms. A liberated person belongs to no system; some system might coincide with his thinking, but he does not try to mould his life according to any established dogma. That is why the moment you tried to associate Rajneesh with some religion, dogma, or philosophy; he would say something preposterous to shatter your image of him. Most thinkers are misunderstood for no fault of their own, but Rajneesh often deliberately created misunderstanding about himself. He might have mused like Dr Rahi Masoom Raza:
The narrow-minded priest calls me an infidel;
And the infidel thinks that I am a Mussalman
Or as Friedrich Nietzsche said in Twilight of the Idols: ‘Posthumous men like me, for instance, are not so well understood as timely men, but they are listened to better. More precisely: we are never understood, and hence our authority . . . .’
True to his word, Rajneesh is a big headache for the scholar as his several signatures indicate. One cannot make out whether the language is Hindi, English, or Chinese. They look more like a work of modern art.
Who was this bearded man with mesmerising eyes? What should we make of his impossible legacy? What did this ultimate iconoclast want to say?
To such questions Rajneesh used to say that who he was depended on the way we looked at him. Those who wished to see a rogue would see a rogue, and those who wished to see a saint would see a saint. But ‘If you look at me with total emptiness, I will be different. . . . . I am just a mirror. Your own face will be reflected. . . . So it depends on the way you look at me. I have disappeared completely so I cannot impose on you who I am. . . . There is just a nothingness, a mirror . . . . If you really want to know who I am, you have to be as empty as I am. Then two mirrors will be facing each other, and only emptiness will be mirrored . . . .’