Selected Correspondence Peter
Rajneesh aka Osho and Sannyas
PETER: To Correspondents No’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Here-now:
Well I did butt in on your list, and I subscribed because I was told there was some discussion on the list for a while about a book I have written about my years as a Sannyasin of Osho. I have watched for some 2 months of mailings, but the quoted Osho poetry the other day inspired me to write a comment.
I was a Rajneeshee for some 15 years full on, living in various communes, giving money, countless hours of worship, meditation, Satsang, white robe, discourses, etc. – so I have well experienced the world of Osho.
When I first became a Rajneeshee, I was attracted by two things –
I turned my back on the normal world and, falling in love with the Master, launched myself into this new adventure. I was particularly taken by his wisdom about Religions and the problems they cause and the fact that most wars and persecutions are the result of blindly following some particular Religious doctrine and defending or attacking others of differing belief.
The first 4 years were glorious, with the aim of a utopia in America, a city to show the world how to live. The heady days came crashing down with the internal corruptions and the external pressures from the local communities who felt threatened by the anti-Christian Devil and his followers in their midst. The threat of violence was diffused when Rajneesh left and the dream was shattered.
Then came Pune 2, and delicious years of worship in the Ashram, architect/builder for the Samadhi, meditation and groups, and then He died. I continued on devotionally for some 2 years, but found myself following a dead Master – something that was at odds with my understanding that when a Master dies the formation of a Religion is the inevitable result. Sure enough, one night in White Robe it hit me like a ton of bricks as I was shouting ‘YA–HOO’ to an empty chair. Is this what it had all come to? This was undoubtedly religious practice, church if you like, the organization with its own rules, ethics and morals was a Religion, the Ashram was Mecca, the Samadhi a holy shrine, and Sannyas a world wide religious-social club.
Such was my pride and loyalty that it took another year or two before I finally began to look for something fresh and new in the spiritual world and tried out a few other scenes. None was satisfactory, but I did begin to gain a broader vision of the spiritual world. Finally, I realized that the Spiritual is nothing more than Eastern Religion, that in fact I had only traded believing in Western Religion for believing in an Eastern Religion. And all of it merely ‘that Old-time Religion’, to quote from the song.
Why was it that that Spirituality seems to promise so much and has delivered so little? The East is a chaos of poverty, pollution, overpopulation, repression for women, multitudinous worship of gods and ancient spirits, rigid class structures, theocracies, technological underdevelopment, sexual repression, corruption, etc. And yet we look to their religions as the solution to both personal, and global, peace and harmony?
The other issue for me was that I saw, despite the centuries of devotion, meditation, spiritual practice and surrender, that so few had achieved the prized goal of Enlightenment. I saw recently that a Buddhist claimed, with some pride, that only about a thousand Enlightened ones had emerged from 2,500 years of devout effort by millions of monks. This meant a success rate of 0.0001% – pretty bad odds, and confirmed in my personal experience in Sannyas and amongst Osho followers.
In the end I had to admit that Spirituality was a failure for me and was as inherently flawed as all other religious pursuits.
Up until now there have only been two alternatives on offer for a human being, either to be normal and accept the world as it is, or be spiritual/religious. The only difference between the last two is that religion promises paradise in an after-life and spiritual (eastern religion) offers a glimpse of it while ‘in the body’ and a ‘final’ release into a glorious after-life (Nirvana, etc.)
Now there is a third alternative – a new, non-spiritual, down-to-earth, actual freedom.
RESPONDENT: Here we go, again. You made it look like you want to discuss Osho’s words but there is no word on that, in fact you just want to play a little humble guru-ly. Why don’t you say so in the first place?
PETER: I am willing to discuss Osho’s words anytime. The problem is that people regard him as a god and as such it is heretical to even question His word. His word is God means that one cannot question them as you are then seen as a non-believer and a heathen. It is all a clever ploy to avoid serious discussion on serious matters – like how to stop humans fighting and suffering on this paradisiacal planet.
PETER to No’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Here-now: For some 15 years full on, living in various communes, giving money, countless hours of worship, meditation, satsang, white robe, discourses, etc. – so I have well experienced the world of Osho. When I first became a Rajneeshee, Peter to No’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Here-now
RESPONDENT: How do you do that? Or you mean actually you took sannyas? However, the difference is huge, because the first is impossible, except if you are born in Rajneesh’s family and I don’t think so.
PETER: To become a Rajneeshee (as it was once called) involved a change of name, a mala with His photo in it, wearing red clothes (at the time), renouncing any past religions, living in a commune or around like-minded people (other Sannyasins), going to discourse, Satsang or ‘White Robe’, reading and quoting His words, doing meditations, and feeling love and gratitude for the love He gave me. I could go on, but that was how I became a Rajneeshee.
PETER to No’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and Here-now: I was attracted by two things –
RESPONDENT: O, poor guy, who promised you all of this? I have never heard Osho promising anything to anybody, why should you be an exception?
PETER: I was always in the spiritual world for ‘peace of mind’, freedom from the ‘self’, isn’t that what they all promise – maybe you and I read different books. I think Rajneesh’s vision for a New Man, Zorba the Buddha, the Rajneeshpuram experiment all attest to the second point.
PETER: I think you will find books on the new man, Rajneesh’s vision for Humanity, etc. still available but given that they failed they might not still be ‘in print’. They are certainly not favoured topics of conversation since the collapse of Rajneeshpuram.
RESPONDENT: Peter, this comment does not address the issue of you perceiving promises that were never made and as a result of your perception the resentment you now seem to project.
PETER: I have neither resentment nor gratitude towards Osho. To have been a part of such a spiritual movement around a living Enlightened one and be witness to the eventual formation of a religion on his death has been extraordinarily useful in understanding the whole meta-physical spiritual world.
RESPONDENT: Yes I have read the books you speak of, and they are not a defence nor an explanation for your having perceived promises that were never made. ALWAYS the ranch experience was described as an ‘Experiment to provoke God’. There are never any promises or guarantees when experimenting with the unknown.
PETER: I can only say what it meant for me – I was looking for peace of mind for myself and for peace on the planet. And I see that Sannyas experiment failed, not only for me, but for thousands of others. I know of many people who have yet to recover from the Ranch experience or for whom the enthusiasm for change or challenge simply withered away. What are your goals in life and in being a Sannyasin? What is it that you are seeking in life?
RESPONDENT: Perhaps you still could find some benefit in taking responsibility for choice of action. No one forced you to believe anything. You made choices. You looked for and found what didn’t exist.
PETER: Of course I was a Sannyasin willingly. It was at the time the best game to play in town. Along with thousands of other Westerners I was seduced by the exotic East and it’s religions. I thought that the solution for me and solution to the mess that is human interaction on the planet was to be found there. But I was wrong, and it took quite an effort to admit it.
RESPONDENT: This is the same type of situation I wrote to you before, with your ‘promises’ that you perceived, and then were never delivered. There for you created opportunity for you to be offended. This offence is projected as the failure of Osho and All Gurus throughout time, and then you can offer your solution...The New 3rd way... (but I did notice in other posts since then you stopped referring to your perceptions as promises...)
PETER: I take it that you are referring to the post when I stated the reasons I became a Sannyasin (to quote) –
You will notice I said the promise ‘at’ rather than the promise ‘of’ since, even in those heady days, I had the sense to realise it was up to me.
As for the New Man – ‘Zorba the Buddha’ – that particular dream died for me, and many others I know of, when the Ranch folded. The dream failed there and then, and any mention of it to Sannyasins only results in either blank looks and statements such as yours. Maybe I was the only one who gave any credence to the concept of a New Man. Maybe I was just naïve ... (I certainly was gullible).
RESPONDENT: Busy? Just pointing out how you attempt to deceive, confuse, and how you now evade by making yourself the same as ‘There were many more Sannyasins around the world in communes for whom those 5 years’ ..., but you, you Peter did not worship for 5 years. Period. If you had you might have realized what the ranch was really about. However, in this regard you do have lots of company. Many Sannyasins didn’t get what the ranch was about. They merely saw the next lesson for them. To have an overview that is true, a genuine perspective of what Osho was doing there, you would have to be near his level of consciousness, and I’m afraid that is quite a stretch for you.
PETER: Being a down-to-earth sort of ‘old chap’ and a bit naïve to boot – I believed it was about a New Man, a city to challenge the world, a new way of living and working together, a new way of being together as human beings. A city of higher consciousness than the rest of the world. A city free of crime, a city of love.
But as you say that I am only one of the many who ‘didn’t get what the ranch was about’, perhaps you can tell me what the Ranch was really about? What is the true overview as you see it?
PETER: There were many more Sannyasins around the world in communes for whom those 5 years were ‘a time of continual ‘worship’ and excitement, being part of this great experiment, and there was little time for, or emphasis on, therapy or meditation’. Not an exaggeration but a common experience for thousands I assume. It is an exaggeration to assume that only those ‘Resident’ on the Ranch had the vision, shared the experiences and felt the feelings I talk about.
As I said the main point of the story is relevant to all Sannyasins at the time – with a gun, without a gun, on the front line, or watching on from elsewhere in the world.
RESPONDENT: So, do you really want my answer here? Well I’ll write it for everyone else, who doesn’t trash these posts, because I don’t feel you’ll hear it, but what the heck, I’ve got plenty of time.
PETER: I would like to know – it is almost impossible to find anyone who is willing to clearly talk about those times. And I have got plenty of time as well.
RESPONDENT: BTW, I used to be an officer on the National Guard, and I know the military mentality or lack of same very well.
PETER: I have never done military service, just spiritual service, so you are one up on me there.
RESPONDENT: It is true that the ranch was a very dangerous place. I know, but I wonder if you know why?
PETER: Was it because both sides were armed, and both sides were convinced they were ‘right,’ and were convinced that the other side was ‘wrong’? Just a guess, but that is the basis of most wars, conflicts, ethnic cleansings, sectarian violence, disputes, troubles, etc. in the world.
RESPONDENT: First of all, I had no ‘stated position’. Where do you get this stuff? Pure love and trust has got to do with killing for the master? How you try and confuse everything.
PETER: This gets a bit silly here. Are you saying you have not written about your valuing pure love and trust?
The reason that I probably would have killed or died for Rajneesh was out of ‘love’ for him and because I put my ‘trust’ in him. We are usually willing to kill in order to protect those we love – be they kin, kind or leader, and further, would often sacrifice our own life in order that they may live. This is a common reaction – a direct product of our instinctual programming. This is all very straightforward and basic stuff.
PETER: Being a down-to-earth sort of ‘old chap’ and a bit naïve to boot – I believed it was about a New Man, a city to challenge the world, a new way of living and working together, a new way of being together as human beings. A city of higher consciousness than the rest of the world. A city free of crime, a city of love. But as you say I am only one of the many who ‘didn’t get what the ranch was about’, perhaps you can tell me what the Ranch was really about? What is the true overview as you see it?
RESPONDENT: I am rather down to earth also, but I am rarely naïve growing up in New York City, rather I am innocent when I am. Unlike you who ‘believed’ the ranch was about the things you mentioned, I saw that it was indeed about these things and more. It was to create a Mecca, a magnetic force to bring all open people to Osho.
PETER: Okay, so whereas I merely ‘believed’ what the ranch was about, you ‘know’ and you ‘see’ due to your higher level of consciousness. It does rather strain my neck a bit, as I am forced to forever look ‘up’ to your level. It does make discussion, on the basis of us being two human beings, more than a bit difficult.
RESPONDENT: It is true that the ranch was a very dangerous place. I know, but I wonder if you know why?
PETER: Was it because both sides were armed, and both sides were convinced they were ‘right,’ and were convinced that the other side was ‘wrong’? Just a guess, but that is the basis of most wars, conflicts, ethnic cleansings, sectarian violence, disputes, troubles, etc. in the world.
RESPONDENT: No, the ranch was a very dangerous place because of the potential to be a Mecca of consciousness. Were it to succeed, it would have been a gigantic embarrassment to all religious and political leaders.
PETER: I guess we at least agree on the fact that it failed. None of the many similar experiments that have occurred throughout history have succeeded and most have either imploded, died a disreputable death, or dawdled to extinction. The Ranch died when Rajneesh flew out.
RESPONDENT: Osho would have proved that they were 3rd rate mentalities. There is no way, in my view, that those in power would permit the ranch to reach its potential. They would have simply dropped nerve gas on us, and then thrown cool-aid packages around the place, and 99.99% of the people in the world would believe that Jonestown repeated itself.
PETER: I seem to remember that the Ranch imploded from internal strife, corruption, violence, deception, and deceit rather than from military intervention. Seems to me you are being a bit hypothetical here – something I was accused of when I stated that I probably would have killed for the ‘love’ of my Master.
PETER: Yes, apart from the devout few in Pune the Sannyas world seems to have little to do with what Osho was really talking about. It seems to have become yet another quasi-religious social club able to loosely contain all manners of beliefs and New Age fads.
RESPONDENT: I like the movie ‘The Life of Brian’ a lot. The poor guy, Brian, is saying to the crowds: ‘piss off’, ‘I am not your saviour, you have to think for yourself’ and throws a sandal at the crowds that have seen some kind of messiah in him. The crowd immediately picks up the sandal and preserves it as ‘holy’, and more, everybody takes off one of their own sandals to follow their master! Most of us follow something and Osho keeps sending us the message: ‘Stop the fucking nonsense you bunch of idiots and just see for yourself. Don’t kiss my finger nor bite it but effortlessly see the fucking moon Here and Now!!! Don’t wait for anything, see, investigate who you are, don’t postpone. Nothing is needed.’ He was telling us jokes, creating situations that were difficult to take, created vigorous meditations to break barriers within us, and finally he refused any medical treatment to shock us into independence by dying prematurely... I mean, what more the guy could possibly have done to stop us from either licking, kissing or biting his finger pointing to the reality of life? He practically nullified all religious concepts so that following him mentally be difficult, to show us that for every concept there is an anti-concept. He said that we have to be vigilant and finally to give up any idea of superiority/inferiority related to the master! He wanted us to be balanced, happy human beings, enjoying all aspects of our life – even the parts that are almost impossible to accept.
PETER: Yeah, I liked ‘Life of Brian’ a lot and remember watching it after the end of Rajneeshpuram and thinking the same – that we had stuffed it up. The real shocking thing for me happened sometime last year, when I started to question my loyalty and devotion to Osho. I realised that, had I been on the Ranch at the end at the time when it was under threat, I would have defended Osho – to the point of having a gun and using it. That bought home to me the fact that I was willing to kill or die for my beliefs. And then I saw that this was exactly what others did for their beliefs. And then it was easy – the whole stack of cards fell, I was able to see actually what went on, free of my rose-coloured glasses. But it is not something I can make someone else understand – for me I had a realization such that the whole construct of belief, trust, faith, loyalty and love collapsed.
Also this is not an anti-Osho thing particularly, it is just that he was my spiritual master so I know that ‘path’ very well. I too was attracted to the no-god teachings of Osho initially. But what I have found is that the East have a different concept of God compared to the Christians. As such, the teachers rile against the idea of God (the white bearded one in heaven), while merely espousing the Eastern concept of God. According to Eastern teaching you can realize God while in the body (Enlightenment) and then have an after-life (the Further Shore, Mahapari-Nirvana, the Ultimate Liberation, etc.).
Eastern spirituality is such a nebulous and confusing mish-mash that it is hard to make sense of it, but I found it essential to understand what it was that I was following. It is a devilishly clever mythical construct and is given credence by the feelings of love, togetherness and bliss that well up in the heart while in the seductive presence of the teachers.
Look, all I am saying is that the facts, the results, don’t stack up with the beliefs and hopes.
What I now live as an actuality 24 hrs. a day, every day, no matter what I am doing, or not doing, far exceeds anything that I have experienced or know is possible to achieve through meditation. I live in the actual physical world and nothing churns in my head or heart. There is direct sensate experiencing that is magical, fairy-tale like, perfect and pure. Colours are vivid, hearing is multi-layered, tastes are sensational, touch is exquisite, interactions with people are invariably delightful, events are serendipitous. The brain is capable of astounding clarity, I can communicate directly with others and reflect on my actions and thoughts. An innocence is readily apparent that has only been wished for before in humans and is beyond my wildest dreams.
This is far superior to Enlightenment. This way you get all of the benefits of Enlightenment and none of the down-sides such as power, delusion, being a Saviour of others, having to spread the message, having disciples follow you, celibacy, ... to name a few.
But you can’t get that by clinging on to any beliefs at all – we are, after all, talking about an actual freedom, a freedom from all the Ancient Wisdom. That appears to be the tough bit, but it is only fear that stops us trying anything new.
RESPONDENT: As for Sannyas, I’ve never been into believing in God; as a matter of fact, Osho repeatedly said God doesn’t exist.
PETER: I know many discourses where he talks of God, Oneness, Divine, Sacred, Holy, Nirvana, Love, Being, Buddha Nature etc. The use of words with capital letters in all his writings and books is a clear indication of God or the Divine in whatever form or description. The Eastern spiritual tradition is not monotheist like most Western spiritualism and, as such, God is a slippery concept, and deliberately so. Whichever way you look at it, both Eastern and Western Spirituality clearly indicate a ‘something else’ or ‘somewhere else’ apart from this physical universe.
RESPONDENT: Yes, slippery, like a bar of soap one desperately tries to grasp when taking a shower. Don’t know why you insist on talking about God. There is no God, for Christ’s sake!
PETER: I keep forgetting that for Sannyasins now Rajneesh is God, not merely the Master ‘who’s finger points to the moon’. He is the moon, hence the shift in Sannyas from seeking enlightenment and freedom to grateful prayer, worship and devotional servitude to Him. I wrote a bit in my journal of the time when it first became apparent to me that Rajneesh was God and Sannyas was a Religion –
PETER: A very good question and one I am pleased to answer. I do find it excellent that we can swap observations about these matters – to dare to question both the bona fides of the Gurus as well as their Message(s).
RESPONDENT: In a recent reply to No 11 you stated –
It appears to me that you must have had intimate contact with a considerable number of these people to make such a statement. Is that the case?
If this is so, your definition of Guru differs markedly from mine.
PETER: Well, not many people had ‘intimate contact’ with Osho for he led a life of increasing isolation and separation from his disciples. I did, however, see enough ‘back stage’, as it were, to see a lot that was hidden from many.
The bit I write about in the journal will give you a brief idea –
The main point about Rajneesh was that he was not available to scrutiny, and deliberately avoided it. I was witness to one incident when a disciple of many years was publicly dressed-down in Buddha Hall because he had been overheard by someone casting doubts on His truthfulness.
Rajneesh certainly did not have an ordinary life in terms of being free to come and go as He pleased in anything resembling normality, and the women in his life all worshipped the very ground He stood on. Any semblance of direct down-to-earth intimacy (or communication) between ‘fellow human beings’ is inherently impossible in the God-man – disciple system.
PETER to List C: Well, looks like it is one of those days when it’s a letter to everyone ...
Vineeto is typing one as well besides me now, so there will be a lot of words from the ‘Peter and Vineeto show’...
I do like writing to people personally, and answering questions or objections, but occasionally I like to tell a bit of my story as well, and get it out of the personal arena. The thing, of course, is that this is not anything personal that we are saying. We are talking about an actual freedom from the Human Condition, a condition that afflicts all humans This freedom is available for everyone although it is clear that not everyone will want to take it on. I wanted to give you the motive, the ignition point by telling you about the time when I really decided I would make the search for freedom the most important thing in my life. It is the first chapter in my journal for those who don’t mind a bit of reading ... who can spare the time. (see below)
The other thing I have been musing over is the curious reaction from Sannyasins to my Journal. I liked Sannyas and Sannyasins, particularly in the early days. There was a sense of pioneering, challenging the norm, giving it a boots and all approach. Now I get many people telling me ‘I’m all right’, ‘I’m watching my self’, ‘I’m happy’, ‘Life goes on and I’m going with the flow’, ‘I am already That, all I have to do is realize it’ ‘There is nothing I can do – it is all in God’s hand’s’ etc. etc. Acceptance was always an acceptance of me as I was, whereas if I was honest with myself, I wasn’t the best I could be – I wasn’t free.
That’s all – I want to keep it short, but I just wanted to say this is nothing personal, humans are all inflicted with the same disease. The scientists are starting to isolate the genes, or software, that triggers the instinctual behaviour patterns relating to fear, aggression, nurture and desire – so it is a fact. But now there is a chance to do something about it, in you.
Serendipity is operating for who-ever is reading these words ... the ‘train’ is passing by.
All you get by waiting to live fully ... is more waiting.
So, another little tickle from the keyboard ... it is such an amazing thing to do with your life – to become happy and harmless. Beats becoming God by a country mile!
The following is a bit of writing from the Death-Chapter,
RESPONDENT No 12: Getting back to my story, ... <Snip> ... At the first annual world celebration at the ranch in 1982, on the first day not wanting to wait in line all night, I slept in and was one of the last to arrive. I walked in to Rajneesh Mandir, and feeling the open hearts of 12,000 people, I burst out crying and didn’t stop for hours. Now years later, I don’t feel I know anything really, yet I have a perspective from which to see and understand. It has just occurred to me that this list is the only place I really ‘talk’ about this. (I’ve been wondering what my attraction to this list is about.)
RESPONDENT to No 12: This is the first time I have really felt you in an e-mail. Beautifully put.
PETER: I see you liked No 12’s story –
Swapping stories is surely one of the most useful by-product of discussion. That we can swap stories as to what we have found out about being a human being.
I would like to tell you my ‘ranch’ story –
RESPONDENT: Recently, I was speaking to someone who was carrying a gun there, in fact many of them were friends of mine, and interestingly, he was of the opinion that many of them would not have been able to kill anyone. So maybe that is why you weren’t given a gun!
PETER: T’is interesting writing on this list. When I said I was a Sannyasin to find peace of mind and peace on earth (the New Man), I was told I was silly. When I said I was seeking Enlightenment, I was told I was silly. When I said Rajneesh was talking about God, I was told I was silly. When I said Rajneesh was teaching in the Eastern spiritual tradition, I was told I was silly. When I said I saw the Religion forming, I was told I was silly. When I said that I probably would have killed to protect Rajneesh – all of a sudden I am the only one who loved him that much!
The level of denial is quite breath-taking. Most take the facts we are talking of and take them personally, whereas we are talking of the Human Condition – common to all. Any personal experiences we relate, as evidence of the Human Condition in us, is then used against us, as a defence for the status quo.
RESPONDENT: Well, now that the old man has snuffed, we will probably never know for sure...
PETER: In reply to your comments on my story –
Yes, the idea that the guns, poisonings, buggings, vote rigging, bombings, etc. were all a device to teach us a lesson, got everyone – including Rajneesh – off the hook from examining and being responsible for their actions. Except the ‘scapegoats’, of course, some of whom are still serving long prison sentences.
RESPONDENT: It always seemed a strange idea to me, that it should all be a device, as if Osho was sitting there designing this kind of situation to teach us a lesson. Firstly, human nature is quite capable of coming up with this sort of stuff on its own, without any help. And secondly, well, I really can’t see him being bothered with it. Out of interest, what happened when your honesty caught up with you...?
PETER: He is quoted as saying – ‘I had chosen Sheela to give you a little taste of what fascism means.’ Osho
When my honesty caught up with me, it forced me to admit that I was as mad and as bad as everyone else in the world. As I wrote last year –
It meant that I couldn’t turn away any more. If there was to be an end to malice and sorrow on this fair planet – it was up to me. For ‘I’ am humanity, and Humanity is me. I could no longer be dishonest and blame others for the religious wars, persecutions, reparations, tortures, and ‘sectarian’ violence that still rage on earth.
RESPONDENT: So you did whatever you did for 15 years... What is the significance of comparing it with some who may have been 25 years or whatever I have been doing?? As I see it, this comparison does not follow logic. What about the millions of people who have never been Rajneeshees or Sannyasins. Do they then become the wise one by your equation and reasoning?
PETER: I have told you of my aims in being a Sannyasin, have written of my experiences and now put it out so others can abuse me freely because I have dared to question the Sacred beliefs and Ancient wisdom. I am always curious as to what others are searching for, do they have any aims in life, and if they are searching do they have a time frame or seek specific results and changes in themselves. The other curious thing that happens is because I ‘dare’ to question the existence of God, then I am seen as being either a Guru or a Devil. And this is despite the fact that I firmly state that Gods, Gurus, Devils and Demons dwell only in the passionate domain of human imagination. That it is all a gigantic fairy-tale, only made ‘real’ by the re-telling for millennia.
RESPONDENT: Here you also missed the comparing of being a Rajneeshee and a Sannyasin. You talk as though they are the same thing. But they are two distinctly different words. For me I found there to be a great difference between the two as I have been both. (currently, I function as a individual) But being a Rajneeshee is one who does as instructed, no responsibility, a drone, worker, whose value is found in being a part of the overall unit. Rajneeshees are who built the ranch.
PETER: I take it you weren’t at Rajneeshpuram. That was the time that Rajneesh first began to establish the religion with the name Rajneeshees.
RESPONDENT: Being a Sannyasin for me was/is about making choices. And the choices are taking personal responsibility or avoiding personal responsibility. Both are the available options, and still there are no guarantees of outcomes regardless of one’s choices.
PETER: So does this mean that it doesn’t matter what one does, it is all right anyway. I read a bit of Ramesh Balsekar the other day and he said it didn’t matter if you killed someone as it would have been God’s will anyway. I truck with none of this. I enjoy freely and sensibly exercising my will – no God’s will operates in this body.
RESPONDENT: I have been reading more of your site and still find many things you say resonate with me, but I am feeling that one of the things that causes me to feel some distance in regard to you is your constant naming of our departed friend as Rajneesh, instead of the name he came to prefer, OSHO. I cannot understand this lack of respect, and I cannot understand why you like to call yourself an ex-Rajneeshee. In my experience Sannyasins rarely called ourselves Rajneeshees, it always seemed to be a term flung at us by the media and others who wanted to cast us in a certain light. I have always found the term a bit offensive. Perhaps this is a result of my beliefs and conditioning. I will look into myself further around this. Meanwhile I just want to put this out. I love the name OSHO, I love the being OSHO, and I find that the way you choose to speak of him stands in my mind as something between us. So I put it out to you, into the space between us. Isn’t that part of the method you love? To examine everything that prevents us becoming intimate and equal. Well, this is something I would like to examine with you.
PETER: I had a conversation with someone yesterday, who said that how I talked and wrote was offensive. I asked whether she found what I was saying was offensive or how I said it. Few bother to make the distinction. I have had mostly criticism of what I have said in my story but to date no disputing of facts. I take from this that the responses are emotional ones based on my stepping on someone’s dearly held belief. And of course they feel personally attacked. On a bigger scale this leads to religious wars and persecutions. For me I truck with nothing Religious or Spiritual. I have no religious tolerance whatsoever, so all call me evil, but given that I was a Sannyasin, particularly the followers of Mr. Chandra Mohan call me evil.
PETER to Publishers of a New-Age Satirical Magazine: Hi Guys,
I have read a report on the back page of the local paper that in your recent satirical magazine, [quote] ‘none of the content was intended to be a piss-take of Osho’ but your ‘targets were the parasitic gurus/teachers who try to identify themselves or their teachings with him, while still playing it ‘safe’ – unlike Osho himself who spoke spontaneously and openly, regardless of the consequences.’ [endquote]. I take it that this was a gross misquote as the statement contains several obvious factual errors – In the magazine you targeted Isaac Shapiro and Antoinette Varner, to name two that come to mind, both of whom have no association or identification with Mohan Rajneesh aka Osho.
[quote] ‘While still playing it ‘safe’ – unlike Osho himself who spoke spontaneously and openly, regardless of the consequences’ [endquote] is also factually wrong. Both of the above Gurus speak spontaneously, as in not reading from notes, and openly, as in to those who pay to sit and hear their words – exactly as did Mr. Rajneesh.
It is obvious from the first point that if your intention was to target Gurus who claim a different God-man as their Master, then you are indulging in one of the most dangerous and potentially seditious forms of satire – religious persecution. Those who loudly and publicly proclaim that ‘my God is the only God and all other Gods are false Gods’ are those who actively perpetuate the tradition of religious bigotry that has caused all the religious wars, crusades, tortures, persecutions, perversions, repression, recriminations, prejudices, retributions, pogroms, etc.
I take it you were misquoted but you may well consider publicly correcting the statement lest the New Age religions all too rapidly fall into the trap of the Old Age religions. The forming of fighting schisms and sub-schisms is the inevitable result of all religious belief but you may not want to be identified with those who actively promote religious conflict.
This same religious conflict inexorably leads to religious wars, crusades, tortures, persecutions, perversions, repression, recriminations, prejudices, retributions, pogroms, etc.
As for the second point, I can only assume that ‘regardless of the consequences’ is a reference to the drastic consequences that Mr. Rajneesh’s spontaneous and open speaking bought on himself and his followers at the Ranch in Oregon. Certainly his most un-‘safe’ comments were his virulent condemnations of Christians while staying in America and his ‘waving a red flag at a bull’ resulted in him fleeing the country leaving his followers behind to face the National Guard. Rajneeshees conveniently forget that he spoke ‘openly’ in terms that would be regarded by most as blatantly derogatory of others’ religious beliefs.
You may remember Mr. Rajneesh’s raging against the Christians at the time but as a reminder I’ll quote him –
Outrages like these, combined with poisonings, buggings, arson, vote stacking, etc. caused a situation where armed conflict became a distinct and very real possibility. There were a number of police and FBI investigations under way and the National Guard was reportedly on stand-by. Both sides were armed and ready. Rajneeshees were well armed and deliberately invited the press in to show off their weapons and training. In the end, Rajneesh flew the coup, so the situation was diffused, but it shook many people’s faith to the point that many dropped Sannyas, became disillusioned or ‘watered down’ their faith to a more ‘safe’, and less fervent level.
But I take it that you were misquoted, or I have misinterpreted what was meant by the quote. Surely you are not condoning one religion riling against another to the point where virulent feelings, or even armed conflict, are the inevitable result? The recent issue of the other Rajneeshee magazine in town contained an oblique reference to Christians in its editorial piece and, as such, it is obvious that much Rajneeshee-Christian ill-will still exists even today, many years after Rajneesh’s anti-Christian tirades.
It would also seem irresponsible to add to this intolerance a new ill-will – to promote conflict between Rajneeshees and the other New Age religious groups by giving the impression that you are deliberate ‘targeting’ those who follow different religious Masters, and promoting an ‘unsafe’ style of ‘spontaneous, open speaking’ that is derogatory of others’ spiritual belief to the point where it provokes conflict and hostility.
What tweaks my interest in your current plight is the fact that I recently wrote an article for the other Rajneeshee magazine lampooning spiritual belief, God-men and Gurus. Being an actualist and, as such, a thorough-going atheist, I was ridiculing all and every spiritual belief, not trumpeting that ‘my’ God is the only God and all other Gods are false Gods, as the Local paper quote implies you were doing with your magazine.
Perhaps, in the interest of local ‘inter-spiritual harmony and good-will’, you may consider correcting the facts and the disturbing impression that is evident in the quote of the local paper. Left uncorrected, the local paper quote leaves the impression that Rajneeshees are a self-centred, bigoted, elitist and intolerant lot, which I am sure was not your intention.
PUBLISHER No 2: To clarify a few points...
Re gurus ‘identifying themselves with Osho’ etc. For the record, Isaac does directly claim that he is completing Osho’s work. (So this is not factually wrong!) But apart from this, what we meant by ‘association’ was that if someone uses an Osho Centre as the platform for their personal spiritual teachings, they ARE in our opinion claiming legitimacy through association.
PETER: I presume these teachers are at the Osho Centres with the agreement of the those running the Centres, and as a Rajneeshee, it would seem that your beef should be with your fellow Sannyasins, who welcome them into the centres and not those using the facilities. It’s like inviting someone into your lounge room and then other members of the family berating them for intruding.
PUBLISHER No 2: We have very often heard it said that there is ‘no difference’ between THEIR teachings and what Osho was about.
PETER: I always find it interesting that Rajneesh spoke glowingly of many other Masters, including Ramana Maharshi, and said he was of the same ilk and spoke the same message, yet if anyone speaks of Rajneesh in the same inclusive terms the cries of foul are heard loud and clear. In other words, when it suited him, Rajneesh included himself in the Eastern religious tradition, yet your words and actions seek to exclude others who would associate with, include, or speak glowingly of Him. No matter how loudly you protest, this could appear to others to be a version of ‘My God is the Only God and all other Gods are false Gods’ – or false Gurus, in this case.
If you re-read what I said, you will see that I never questioned your motives but only pointed to the dangerous impression you may very well be creating.
PUBLISHER No 2: We questioned THIS in our magazine, and NOT their right to teach whatever they want in their own groups or organizations.
PETER: Again a policy such as this can create the impression in the larger spiritual community of this area that Sannyasins are exclusive, elitist, isolationist and more superior than others. I realize that the exclusion of other teachers from Sannyas facilities is the official policy of the Inner Circle in Pune and I am also aware that it is a policy of some controversy among the Rajneeshees community, but to publicly blame the guest-Gurus is surely to aim one’s barbs at the wrong target.
PUBLISHER No 2: The magazine was intended mainly for the Sannyasin community. We make no claims in it of any spiritual ascendancy or supremacy and the only people in danger of suffering religious persecution or hatred because of it were ourselves.
PETER: Ninety percent of the first edition that I read was aimed at lampooning the Gurus and teachings of non-Sannyasins. If the magazine was ‘intended mainly for the Sannyasin community’ then surely it should have been better passed from hand to hand amongst Rajneeshees only so that the followers of these Gurus and teachers did not feel singled out and selectively targeted. After all, you were reported on the back page of the local paper as saying that in your recent satirical magazine,
Can you not see that those people so ‘targeted’ may well feel persecuted?
PUBLISHER No 2: For me, I did the magazine for many reasons, but mostly for fun. I also think that if anyone wants to associate with the ‘Sannyas’ network, they’re fair game.
PETER: Words such as ‘target’ and ‘fair game’ imply a hunt – chase, give chase, pursue, stalk, track, trail, follow, shadow, hunt down, hound; Oxford Dictionary. Could it not be that those people ‘targeted’ as ‘fair game’ feel hunted?
PUBLISHER No 2: As for your questions about ‘speaking spontaneously’, all I can say is that what appeared in the local paper was of necessity written telegraphically. Of course it can be interpreted in many ways. It was in relation to an item in the magazine.
PETER: Precisely the point that I have been trying to make. What you say can be interpreted in many ways. Since my initial post you have qualified your statement by saying ‘ they’re fair game ’ which does narrow the range of interpretation quite significantly.
PUBLISHER No 2: I can’t comment on your opinions about Osho’s words & actions. I won’t pretend to understand anything of what he was up to.
PETER: I find this astounding as the man has hundreds of books, tapes and videos detailing his teachings, dreams, vision, philosophy and religion. As a follower of Rajneesh surely you would make it your business to find out what and who you are following.
PUBLISHER No 2: But I don’t support anyone who uses Osho’s statements to claim authority to denigrate Christianity or any other religion.
PETER: In the first edition of your magazine there was an Osho statement deriding Mother Theresa, a Catholic soon-to-be saint. To publish this particular quote in a magazine targeted at those not of the Rajneeshee faith could well be seen as offensive by many Christians – or did it not occur to you? The comments in the body of the magazine appear to denigrate the teachers and followers of the Ramana Maharshi religion and are made by those claiming to be Sannyasins. Like it or not, the Rajneesh religion – and therefore Rajneesh himself – is implicated by association to these apparently derogatory comments in your magazine.
PUBLISHER No 2: I actually have more respect for some mainstream religious groups than I ever have had – after watching the way many around me have acted during & after Sannyas.
PETER: It always appeared to me that the ‘Inner Circle’ was doing its best to rope in the loose cannons and instil discipline, loyalty, and faith into Sannyasins, in order to make Rajneeshism more mainstream and respectable.
PUBLISHER No 2: A couple of other things ... I’m not sure what you think my ‘current plight’ is, or what connection this may have with your magazine articles, and I certainly don’t know why you think lampooning ‘all and every spiritual belief’ is somehow OK and what I’m doing isn’t.
I don’t claim that mine is the only God, nor am I attacking anyone for their religious views or beliefs.
PETER: I’ve got no idea whether you have a ‘plight’ or not.
I would assume you believe Mr. Rajneesh was a God-man, not a mortal flesh and blood human being – someone who declared he was ‘Never born, Never died, Only visited this planet’, as is chiselled on his tomb. You ‘also think that if anyone wants to associate with the ‘Sannyas’ network, they’re fair game’, which, as I have repeatedly said, can be interpreted by others as a targeted attack on their religion. Nowhere have I said what you are doing is not okay, I was merely pointing out the inherent feeling of persecution that could well be perceived by those so targeted. I am not making a moral or ethical judgement, I am simply stating the facts of the situation.
As I have said, I am an actualist and, as such, a thorough-going atheist. I have no spiritual / religious belief of any kind. To me all metaphysical belief is puerile nonsense – ancient drivel, twaddle and all religion, be it Western or Eastern, is but institutionalized insanity. Because I have no spiritual belief, I ridicule all spiritual belief and don’t selectively target any particular religion – I am intolerant of all religions.
The reason I am concerned about religious tolerance and conflict is that I see that all the so-called New Age religions are rapidly and inevitably going the way of the mainstream religions. The forming of fighting schisms and sub-schisms is the inevitable result of all religious belief and leads to religious conflict. This same religious conflict inexorably leads to religious wars, crusades, tortures, persecutions, perversions, repression, recriminations, prejudices, retributions, pogroms, etc.
You may have also noticed that the only reason the principle and ideal of religious tolerance exists is because of the inevitable and on-going conflict and strife between various spiritual/religious groups and even within individual groups themselves.
PUBLISHER No 2: The magazine was only aimed at the (perceived) gullibility of sannyasins, and at the credibility of the large number of spiritual teachers attempting to connect with the network that Osho developed. No one else.
PETER: Curiously, your stated aim can be seen to be in direct support of the Inner Circle’s policy of excluding ‘other’ spiritual teachers from Rajneesh Centres. This tacit support of the Inner Circle’s policies does seem to be in contradiction of ‘the ridicule of the Inner Circle’ that [Publisher No. 1] mentions was included in the second edition of the magazine. I have not seen the second edition but I take it that your ridicule of the Inner Circle does not include this particular ruling.
As for your aims in producing your magazine you said above –
and in your statement in the local paper you said that your
Now, all of a sudden, we have a new and primary target that the magazine was aimed at –
As I said to [Publisher No 1] when he asked if I’d like to write something for your magazine – ‘The editorial policy of your magazine seems a little too confused and changeable for my taste.’
PUBLISHER No 2: Finally, I was not trying to give the impression that Rajneeshees are self-centred, bigoted and intolerant etc. But reading your letter it seems that you think as much, not just of sannyasins, but also of Osho.
PETER: What I said was
From where I stand, in the actual world, anyone who believes in God is plainly silly and does so for ultimately self-centred reasons and anyone who believes themselves to be God-on-Earth is suffering from extreme Delusions of Grandeur. The master-disciple system is rotten to the very core. It is not that I think this is so, it is a fact, and one does not have to delve back into history to see the inevitable results of the master-disciple system in action. All of the religious wars, crusades, tortures, persecutions, perversions, repression, recriminations, prejudices, retributions, pogroms, etc. that have been, and are still on-going, are the direct legacy of the master-disciple system. This appalling carnage will not cease unless human beings wean themselves off the ancient fairy-tale belief in Gods, God-men and life-after death.
PUBLISHER No 2: I am left wondering why you are so concerned about the image of Sannyasins.
PETER: At one time I had many friends who were Sannyasins, as I was, and most were very sincere and totally dedicated in their search for freedom, peace and happiness. As I have said before, at the time Sannyas was the best game to play. I now see a watering down of this search amongst many Sannyasins to the point were many are ‘happy and content’ exactly as they are, with no desire for change. I think this is evidenced by the fact that many are attracted by the teachings that ‘you are already That – all you have to do is realize It’.
To me this is a sorry and lamentable demise of a movement that began in the fervour of 60’s and that was going to change the world and bring peace to this fair planet. This passionate search for freedom, peace and happiness has degenerated into an utterly self-centred fashionable New Dark Age spiritualism that cares not a fig about peace on earth. The current image of Sannyasins in the wider community is that they at the forefront of this self-centredness and are deliberately turning away from the original spirit that was around in the ‘early days’.
PETER: As for ‘cynical disillusioned’, I have had this charge levelled at me countless times. Below is a typical exchange from the Sannyas mailing list before I was cyber-executed from the list for being too heretical and iconoclastic ... <Snip>
PUBLISHER No 1: Look Peter I’m not sure about the stuff you wrote. It all seems pretty right to me except that I see it’s not His responsibility to create this, for me a ‘new man’ of some sort has emerged in me but he didn’t do it, I did. I never saw any of these things as promises, maybe they are, maybe they’re not, but for me they were statements of possibilities. This is possible, but I never thought for one second that he or Sannyas would create this – I realized I had to do anything that needed doing or stop doing things that don’t need doing.
Look, people who want to debate I’m right your wrong or any number of variations on this don’t interest me. I don’t think Sannyas can save the world, or even make a good cup of tea for that matter, but I can and you can if you want to.
PETER: That’s a pretty clear statement. You never thought for one second that the New Man was going to happen and you never thought for one second that peace on earth would ever happen. And you don’t want to talk about or debate about peace on earth. It keeps up the 100% record of Sannyasins who are either in denial or don’t care.
What I find fascinating is a movement that was supposedly altruistic and caring has degenerated into a self-centred social club totally lacking in any direction or motive apart from self-fulfillment – both as a group and as individuals. No wonder peace on earth forever remains an unfulfilled dream. Peace on earth is literally sacrificed at the altar of dead God-men.
PUBLISHER No 1: My relationship, as absurd as it might seem to you, is with Osho not the inner circle or other sannyasins.
PETER: Fair enough. This loyal faith is exactly why the inner circle has the power it does.
The loyal faithful personal relationship that Catholics have with Christ is exactly why the Pope is given the power he has over the faithful. The Pope (and Rome) only has power because Catholics give Him the power.
Realizing this fact is why I quit from the power structure in Pune. I had too much integrity to actually give someone else power over me. To willingly give someone else power over me and then to spend my life riling against it seemed to me to be the height of stupidity.
PETER: Well, it seems that this conversation has come to an end. I can see that you are a firm believer in, and practitioner of, Eastern religion and philosophy and, as such, are not interested in exploring an alternative. Fair enough. It is good to be full-on into something that makes you ‘happier, less serious, more fun and deeper’, as you said.
PUBLISHER No 1: For someone who has discovered freedom you don’t seem to be able to separate your own presuppositions, prejudices and inane judgments from the actual. Do you work it out with a slide rule or what? You seem to be very good at speaking for me and telling me about myself based on my disagreements with your elementary philosophical system. In your mechanical world if one disagrees are they automatically chucked in the ‘firm believer in, and practitioner of, Eastern religion and philosophy and, as such, are not interested in exploring an alternative’ basket.
PETER: Okay. The statement that you are a firm believer in, and practitioner of, Eastern Religion and philosophy is based on the fact that you are a Sannyasin of Chandra Mohan aka Bhagwan aka Rajneesh aka Osho, and even have taken a Sannyasin name.
Sannyas is a traditional Hindi word and
You also said –
Someone who is a Sannyasin, has a declared relationship with a dead Guru is plainly of a spiritual ilk, despite how loudly he might deny the fact.
A firm believer is one who is loyal despite whatever disagreements and misgivings he might have about the goings on that he perceives to be separate from his faith in the Master. You reaffirmed this single-pointed loyalty well when you said –
As for Eastern religious philosophy, your comment on what motivated you to write your magazine –
– is but Eastern fatalism, a version of ‘it is all God’s will’.
Your comment in a post entitled ‘Reality’ –
– is nothing other than Eastern philosophy whereby what is physical, tangible, palpable and actual is seen as illusionary. Another example of this philosophy is –
Your statements –
– represents pure Buddhist philosophy.
These are all puerile psittacisms that have been bandied around the East for millennia, in one form or another. It is stretching the language a bit to call it philosophy for the highest accolade in the East is to ‘really know that you do not know’, or to ‘truly know the Truth which cannot be spoken’.
Peter’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.