Medicine for the soul
Aradhika Sekhon

The Alchemy of Yoga
by Osho. Fusion Books, New Delhi.
Pages 294. Rs 150.

OSHO is a fountain of wisdom that never goes dry. (He is) this century's most original mind`85the quintessence of the wisdom of the ages. When V. N. Narayanan said this about Osho, surely he was also referring to the fact that Osho makes ancient wisdom attainable and simple to understand for the ordinary person who cannot go to the source. Osho makes problems-be they of a vast cosmic nature or humble, personal ones-simple and solvable, and the path to spirituality, doable and attainable. For instance, he says, "You can be free. You need not wait for the whole world to be freed first. You can be blissful. You need not wait for the whole world to be freed from miseries. If you wait, you will wait in vain, it is not going to happen."

The Alchemy of Yoga consists of Osho's commentaries on the yoga sutras of Patanjali, a series of spontaneous talks given by him in the Chang Tzu Auditorium, Pune. These transcribed talks "address the seed or the source of misery." Osho proposes that one can be happy. The reason we are not so is because "we habitually and mechanically seek solutions and understanding outside of ourselves." We are not ready to take on the responsibility of our actions and are trapped in a self-made prison. Osho resolves this problem by giving a vision of how to begin to go inwards and break the cycle of anguish-blame that we find ourselves in.

Simplicity is the essence of Osho. So yoga, according to him, need not be a path of hardship. The people too afraid of freedom have thus represented it. The book is full of practicalities and strong doses of good sense that could be applicable to any reader.

For example, he says while explaining the concept of avidya (which he examines from a multitude of viewpoints), "Always remember that you are you. You are neither Vivekananda, nor Buddha nor me. Don't get too influenced ...don't get too impressed alert, watch, observe and unless something fits with your nature, never take it Buddha, Jesus, Ramakrishna, be enriched by their experiences, but don't be impressed`85don't imitate ...always take according to your nature."

While addressing the problems of the ego, he says: "Egoism is the identification of the seer with the seen, with the vehicle. If you drop the identification with the vehicle, ego drops ...don't get identified with the body-the eyes, ears, hands, mind, heart and suddenly there is no ego."

Another feature of Osho's explanations is that his contexts are so very modern. Often he will take up the Western stream of thought-psychology, philosophy and reason-examine it, compare it with the Indian thought and then clearly judge it. Osho also talks of the process of prati-prasav elucidated by Patanjali wherein Patanjali says that the source of the five afflictions can be abolished by resolving them backwards to their origins.

He compares prati-prasav to the Janov's theory of Primal Therapy and says that it constitutes but a part of the Patanjali process of prati-prasav. He also examines the work of Western thinkers like Jung, Freud and Janov in the light of the fact that they have been working with ill people, patients. They have not come across healthy people. So whatever their findings are, they are based on physiology.

"...all Western psychologies are based on pathology...the perfect psychology has to be based on Buddha-like people, not (even) just healthy people."

Osho speaks of the importance of meditation and group consciousness. Osho has made Patanjali's sutras comprehendible. This is a book that addresses spiritual maladies and offers panaceas.