Saturday, July 22, 2000
T H I S  A B O V E  A L L

A spiritually incorrect mystic
By Khushwant Singh

I AM currently reading the autobiography of the late Acharya Rajneesh, known to his disciples as Osho. It is entitled Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic. I try to read everything I can spoken by him on tape or taken down by his followers and printed in the weekly Osho Times and the innumerable books containing his sermons. I do so because I regard him as a propounder of new ideas on existence, its purpose and whatever, if anything, remains of us after death. He was an iconoclast who held nothing sacred, questioned the veracity of religious dogma and cleared cobwebs of confused thinking from people’s minds. He was much the most erudite of world’s religious philosophers. He was witty, humorous and often ended his sermons with a dirty joke with four letter words. He was a rare phenomenon.

Rajneesh was lucky to have broad-minded parents. Although they were Jains and his father did his best to conform to society’s norms, his mother rejected all customs and encouraged her son to question his school teachers, preachers of religion and think for himself. It is in their childhood that parents start brainwashing their children and make them incapable of breaking free from the mental chains in which they are bound from infancy.

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May 20, 2000

Writing about his mother, Rajneesh says: "Now I can say that woman was really great, because as far as religion is concerned, everybody is lying. Christians, Jews, Jains, Mohammedans — everybody is lying. They all talk of God, heaven and hell, angels and all kinds of nonsense, without knowing anything at all. She was great, not because she knew, but because she was unable to lie to a child".

"Nobody should lie — to a child, at least — it is unforgivable. Children have been exploited for centuries just because they are willing to trust.. You can lie to them very easily and they will trust you. If you are a father, a mother, they will think you are bound to be true. That’s how the whole of humanity lives in corruption, in a very slippery mud of lies told to children for centuries. If we can do just one thing, a simple thing— not lie to children and to confess to them our ignorance — then we will be religious and we will put them on the path of religion. Children are innocent: leave them not your so-called knowledge. But you yourself must first be innocent, unlying, true."

Rajneesh thought for himself. He rejected all religions as false. He rejected conventional notions of the man-woman relationship, love and marriage as based on false promises and preached the gospel of free-love. His disciples shed their inhibitions as they shed their clothes. He came to be maligned as a preacher of promiscuity and sex guru. Although I had vast admiration for Rajneesh, I did not accept all his ideas as he often said contradictory things and believed in re-birth after death, which has not been scientifically proved, and practised meditation which I regard as a waste of time.

Once I visited Osho’s commune in Pune. I was charmed by the happy atmosphere that prevailed there: greenery, flowers, music, meditation combined with a large library, reading rooms and people going about their daily chores with smiling faces. I did not see Rajneesh; he was unwell. I wondered how long his commune would last after he was gone. It has become big business with 750 meditation centres across 80 countries, including 200 in India, 1500 books published in 40 languages with 3.5 million copies sold every year; tapes of music and sermons.

I got to know some Osho disciples, notably his attractive lady secretary Ma Neelam and Chaitanya Keerti who looked after his press relations. Neelam was then living in the commune before she rented a flat nearby. She spent a better part of each morning in the meditation hall. Chaitanya Keerti looked after publications in Delhi. Both have now been banned from entering the Pune commune which was, to them, their Makka and Medina.

The Osho empire is split down the middle. The cause is greed. A group based in New York and Zurich has laid claims to having the copyright all of Osho’s works as well as his techniques of meditation. I could understand Americans trying to grab patent rights over Basmati rice and neem products — where they mercifully failed — but how can anyone patent thought and meditation? Sounds preposterous. The attempt is also contrary to what Osho stood for. In his book Om Shantih Shantih Shantih, he wrote: "I have told Neelam, my secretary, to write to them. Things can be copyrighted, thoughts cannot be copyrighted, and certainly meditations cannot be copyrighted. They are not things of the marketplace. Nobody can monopolise anything. But perhaps the West cannot understand the difference between an objective commodity and an inner experience. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has copyrighted transcendental meditation and just underneath in a small circle you will find written TM — that means trademark! For ten thousand years the East has been meditating and nobody has put trademarks upon meditations. And above all, that transcendental meditation is neither transcendental nor meditation... just a trademark. I have told Neelam to reply to these people. You don’t understand what meditation is. It is nobody’s belonging, possession. You cannot have any copyright. Perhaps if your country gives you trademarks and copyrights on things like meditation, it will be good to have a copyright on stupidity. That will help the whole world to be relieved..... Only you will be stupid and nobody else can be stupid; it will be illegal."

How can you catch the sea breeze in a net? The slogan of true Osho disciples is "Osho, everybody’s birthright; nobody’s copyright."

All about wives

lA man said his credit card was stolen but he decided not to report it since the thief was spending much less than his wife did.

lMan is incomplete until he is married. Then he is finished.

lA little boy asked his father, "Daddy, how much does it cost to get married?"

The father replied, "I don’t know son, I’m still paying".

lYoung son: "Is it true, Dad, that in some parts of Africa a man doesn’t know his wife until he marries her?"

Dad: "That happens in every country, son."

lThen there was a man who said, "I never knew what real happiness was until I got married; then it was too late".

lA man placed an ad in the classifieds: "Wife wanted". The next day he received a hundred letters. They all said the same thing "You can have mine".

lA woman was telling her friend, "I made my husband a millionaire".

"And what was he before you married him?" asked the friend.

A billionaire", she replied.

lThe trouble with being the best man at a wedding is that you never get to prove it.

lA man, upon his engagement, went to his father and said, "Dad! I’ve found a woman just like mother".

His father replied, "So what do you want? Sympathy?"

lEighty percent of married men cheat in America. The rest cheat in Europe.

lMarriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience.

(Contributed by Amir Tuteja, Washington)