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Most disciples of Osho Rajneesh who want to talk about both sides of the man find him a beautiful enigma, as well as a huge blessing in their life. At the very least he got multitudes of people to vigorously breathe, move, dance, laugh, cry, sing, feel, drop inhibitions, carefully witness the bodymind, meditate, work hard and give great thanks to the Divine Existence!While many of these persons will openly admit as true most of the serious flaws and foibles pointed out by his critics who've dared to speak publicly (such critics—including ex-Rajneeshee disciples Hugh Milne, Satya Bharti Franklin, Deeksha/Maria Grazia Mori, James Gordon, Julian Lee, Kate Strelley, and Christopher Calder—are quoted at some length at this webpage), the faithful disciples nevertheless gloss over or rationalize away the problematic aspects as being "irrelevant" or some kind of Gurdjieff-style "testing of disciples' egolessness." They still prefer to express tremendous gratitude and appreciation for all that they learned and received from Rajneesh over their months or years with this "gifted" and "remarkable" man, as several of his devotees have described him in their emails to me, a few of which i will reproduce later at this webpage.
Rajneesh used myths of the occult and his natural ability to influence people to achieve the same goals. thesis in graduate school back in 1983 focused on the cross-cultural, widespread set of phenomena associated with figures from religious history East and West, ancient and contemporary, who are felt to be the source of this unusual energy that gets variously called Shaktipat by the Hindu Tantrikas (bestowal of the Divine Shakti energy), the Charismata Power of the Spirit by Christians (from Jesus and early followers to medieval monasteries to modern-era Pentecostal and Charismatic circles), the Baraka or Berekah blessing force around many Muslim Sufi and Jewish mystics, the Wang empowerments around certain Tibetan Buddhist lamas, the Ch'i or Ki energy around meditation masters and martial artists of China and Japan, the Mana energy around Polynesian shamans and called by various names around other shamans and shamanesses in indigenous tribes found worldwide.Many of these disciples and fans of Osho Rajneesh further wonder why anyone should be at all interested to critique the unwholesome and unsavory aspects of the long-deceased "Bhagwan," when the only thing really important in life, so they say, is "living from freedom in the moment" and "living from the heart, not the head." For the record, while Rajneesh himself very often made this artificial and misleading distinction, he is also on record as more wisely saying: "My way has been described as that of the heart, but it is not true.The heart will give you all kinds of imaginings, hallucinations, illusions, sweet dreams—but it cannot give you the truth.The truth is behind both [head and heart]; it is your consciousness, which is neither head nor heart." (Quoted in P. Mistlberger, Three Dangerous Magi: Osho, Gurdjieff, Crowley, p.346) Former disciple Christopher Schnelle, in a long post on March 3, 2006 for the generally pro-Rajneesh forum rebelliousspirit.com, has written, in part, "What is more important – truth or feeling good? I am writing about Osho because his lies and his deceit caused an enormous amount of pain for a lot of beautiful people.I just draw a clear line between what was good about him and where he went wrong, so that others in the future will not make the same tragic mistakes." Calder has also written: "Ask yourself this question.
What does the average Mafia crime boss or corrupt dictator want most?
Yet a number of us see Rajneesh/Osho quite differently....
Frankly, while he was a very intriguing and in some ways quite helpful figure within the Divine dream, because of his very serious personal shortcomings and flawed way of teaching, I just don't think Osho warrants mention in the same breath as evidently far more authentic spiritual masters including Gautama the Buddha, Jesus, Antony of Egypt, Atisha, Kobo Daishi, Milarepa, Jnaneshvar, Rumi, Chinul, Dogen, Bankei, Hakuin, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Moshe Cordovero, the Baal Shem Tov, Seraphim of Sarov (et al.), and widely visited and well documented figures of the modern era like Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, Ramakrishna, Narayana Guru, Hazrat Babajan, Shirdi Sai Baba, Meher Baba, Shaikh al-Alawi, Padre Pio, Swami Gnanananda, Bhagavan Nityananda, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Anandamayi Ma, Anasuya Devi, Hsu Yun, Hsuan Hua, Taungpulu Sayadaw, Ajahn Chah, Songchol Kun Sunim, Daehaeng Kun Sunim, Dhilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and many other luminaries.
But sadly, there was also a lot of lunacy, immense dysfunction, and astonishing selfishness, pettiness, megalomania, callousness and corruption.
He was/is remarkably interesting as a sensual ecstatic, intuitive mystic, unlicensed psychotherapist of en masse primal scream-cry-laugh "dynamic meditation" therapy, rebellious social-political-religious provocateur, successful self-promoter, cosmic joker, and relentless iconoclast who simultaneously lured his emotionally-dependent followers into making a big icon out of himself.
Though numerous Rajneeshees will claim, using vague or dubious criteria, that their guru was "fully enlightened" (Rajneesh certainly claimed this for himself) and that he enlightened them, too, with his counsels and his "special energy," the bulk evidence indicates that Rajneesh/Osho left a mixed or even tragic legacy. --very misleading or imbalanced teachings as well as quite helpful wisdom, --some really bad advice along with genuinely good counsels, --a slew of lies about himself and his movement, --dozens of glaring errors in his discussions of world religions and other subjects, --personal role-modeling of voracious materialist greed and conniving ambition for fame and power, --narcissistic ego-inflation along with authoritarian power-plays and lack of empathy, --intellectual dishonesty and petty oneupsmanship tactics, --a hypocritical inability to live what he preached (e.g., telling everyone to "go beyond the mind" while talking for tens of thousands of hours from a heavily opinionated and error-prone mind; preaching that the enlightened one lives in tension-free ease viewing life as a play while he himself frequently used laughing gas/nitrous oxide and valium to the point of incoherence, said some of his closest people), --a penchant by Rajneesh and his appointed leaders for deceitful spinning or rationalizing nearly every time they were confronted on anything of importance, --heavy solicitations and numerous scams by his appointed leaders to fleece his followers and their families of as much of their money and possessions as possible (especially from 1980 onward), --crushing work-loads for exploited disciples (routinely 15-18 hours, 7 days a week), at the Oregon ranch in USA from 1981-5, --a commune at Poona, India and then one in Oregon often buzzing with ecstatic excitement and groovy sensuality but also debauched by wanton sex (and countless venereal diseases), --a several-year period of violence at Poona and branch-communes worldwide (resulting in bruises, blood, even broken bones and rapes) until it was banned by the Rajneesh Foundation in 1979, --and diverse criminal activity from the mid-1970s to mid-1980s in both India and Oregon.