oshoOn occasion I like to expand on some of my spiritual and philosophical influences which include the likes of Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung and the Dalai Lama; among many other writers and spiritual leaders. One such influence is Chandra Mohan Jain (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh); also known simply as Osho.

“Spirituality is rebellion; religiousness is orthodoxy. Spirituality is individuality; religiousness is just remaining part of the crowd psychology. Religiousness keeps you a sheep, and spirituality is a lion’s roar.”

Osho (Born December 11th, 1931 – died January 19th, 1990) was an Indian mystic, guru and spiritual teacher who travelled throughout India during the 1960s as a public speaker. A professor of philosophy, he relocated to the United States; only to be deported in the 1980s due to some serious legal ramifications.

“Go inwards. Find your inner space, and suddenly, you will find an explosion of light, of beauty, of ecstasy -as if suddenly thousands of roses have blossomed within you and you are full of their fragrance.”

Controversy aside, Osho is known for his open attitude towards sexuality and his unorthodox teaching methods that were interwoven with humor and rhetoric; revealing paradox and contradiction, thus making his work somewhat difficult to summarize.  Osho was skilful in merging eastern philosophy with western ideals; formulating a fundamental understanding of ego and mind: According to Osho, every human being exhibits Buddha nature with the capacity for enlightenment. In his teachings he surmises that it is the ego that usually blocks the road to enlightenment. The art in life is identifying and then separating ourselves from social conditioning and false needs and conflicts which create this illusory sense of identity which is a barrier to man’s inner gift to self-evolve.

“Nothing kills the ego like playfulness, like laughter. When you start taking life as fun, the ego has to die, it cannot exist anymore.”

I have always been drawn to his teachings on meditation. Osho taught that meditation is not only a practice but also a state of awareness to be maintained in every moment; a total awareness awakening the individual from the sleep of mechanical responses conditioned by beliefs and expectations. That idea resonates well with me and is reflected in my writing.

“Meditation is nothing but a bridge between you and light.”

No stranger to controversy and opinion, Oshos legacy is certainly up for debate and criticism. When you read about the history of his life you see an imperfect person preaching enlightenment and wisdom.  That is the burden of a spiritual leader: To be held to this higher moral standard.  I suppose a good question is whether or not his poignant quotes and philosophical contributions seem to stand above any short falls that history may present. Like many great writers and teachers like Alan Watts or Hemingway, the burden is heavy and the final toll is equally intense for some.  The skill in how we walk through life is extracting the positive from the negative and moving forward as best as possible with grace, energy and wisdom. As I continue to learn more about this controversial spiritual leader, I am becoming more convinced his legacy is in question.

“Spirituality is your original face; it is the discovery of your intrinsic nature.”


SIDE NOTE: I have received several messages from very knowledgeable people who have expressed their discord with the troubling side of Osho: A person who is known for his wisdom (as seen in so many FB and Twitter quotes) and also the train wreck of legal issues including drug addiction, financial and social misconduct,sexual abuse/harassment and other lawsuits. I must admit, though I did do research on his past; seeing much of the controversy; it still interested me that so many people were drawn to his wisdom (including me!) – maybe unaware of the sick parallel world he lived. I want to be clear that this is not a ringing endorsement but merely a snap shot of a person whose credibility may be in question more than his wisdom. Hind sight is always 20/20 –  I have since pulled a couple lines and added a couple lines of copy for amendment purposes – JCB


John C. Bader

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