Thoughts on Osho

Osho, also known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, was a guru, of sorts, and Indian mystic who I have a mixed opinion of. After all, I usually dismiss gurus and swamis as just more exploiters the ignorant, but Osho may deserve some respect, though not as a guru or spiritual teacher. He was controversial as a public speaker in India between the 60’s and 70’s because he had criticized not just institutionalized religions, but also socialism (which he believed would socialize poverty) and Mahatma Gandhi (he criticized Gandhi as a masochist reactionary who worshipped poverty), as well as encouraging an open attitude towards sexuality (which led him to being called a sex guru in the press), and we all know how modern Indian society looks down on openness about sex. He believed that qualities such as meditation, awareness, love, celebration, courage, creativity, and humor were being suppressed by institutionalized religion, static religious traditions and belief systems, and socialization. Unlike other gurus, he never saw his followers as below him but rather as “fellow travelers” with equal chance of reaching enlightenment, while most gurus saw themselves as superior to all others, that their form of yoga is better than all others, that they are the avatar of a deity or incarnation of some Buddha, or that they were chosen by a god or yogic master thousands of years old, based on what? Oh, and they claim to have superpowers. Often, when they die, leave a disciple, relative, or rich benefactor as an heir. But back to the point, what really earns Osho respect is his exposing of the fraud perpetrated by many gurus during the 60’s and 70’s in India. He had exposed the gurus as con artists and abusing Western disciples for sex. He also demanded that they come out and prove their alleged powers instead of just talking about them. For instance, he exposed a Jain guru as being corrupt and ignorant of sexual abuse of nuns committed by monks, and that beautiful Jain women were being groomed by monks to become nuns so that they can rape and abuse them later, and then order them to commit suicide by starvation. It was so big at the time that the Indian government tried to hush this up like any other scandal. They wanted his head on a platter. It was a huge shock to people in India, who blindly followed religious figures. The mere fact that supposedly celibate monks would groom girls into nuns and then rape them into starvation, they thought, was better not to know. It seemed they’d prefer delusion than for the truth to come out. What sounds ironic is that even the Communist parties in India attacked Osho for this, and so-called atheists attacked him for showing religion as a scam. Then he fled to America in the 80’s and things took a turn for the worse. Some of his followers who lead the communes he had there had been found to be responsible for bio-terror attacks on people in The Dalles (including the contamination of food). People assumed Osho was behind it and he became the victim of a blame game. After that, the authorities decided to go beyond what was called for. They bound him like a devil and paraded him like something to be ridiculed and mocked. Then, after a hero’s welcome in India, he became very anti-American, and also anti-homosexuality, which is bad when you consider that he said it in front of gay followers who asked him about the subject. It should be noted that the Oregon commune was made with a great sense of urgency pertaining to Osho’s prediction that the world would be destroyed by nuclear war or other disasters in the 90’s. He believed the “third and last world war” was happening and that a new humanity needed to be created to prevent “global suicide”, and the idea behind the commune was to be “a Noah’s Ark of consciousness”, with a new sense of exclusivism behind it.  Naturally, the nuclear hellstorm didn’t happen. In 1984, one of his followers announced another prediction by Osho, in which he thought that two thirds of humanity would die of AIDS, thus his followers were required to wear rubber gloves and condoms if they wanted to have sex, and they were told to refrain even from kissing. It was the trip to America, and afterwards, that changed him. No longer was he a respectable critical thinker. Instead, he became like every other hack trying to predict the end of the world and make a new age. There, he stopped paying attention to what was cool about him. All in all, I respect him as the critical thinker of the 60’s and 70’s, but that’s about it.