Osho: The Guru of Choice

by Dan on February 18, 2010

I think I’ve mentioned him a few times on this blog before, but I wanted to take a post to officially extend my recommendation for this speaker and author  His name is Osho, and his writings have a unique power I have yet to see replicated from another author.  He’s rather unconventional in his presentation, and that’s what makes him unique.  Think a dark side version of Paramahansa Yogananda (Autobiography of a Yogi), or Eckhart Tolle.

Osho’s writings are confrontational, radical, and provocative.  No matter what spiritual or non-spiritual belief you take, he will attack your belief system.  The book I’m reading now, The God Conspiracy, has as its introduction him explaining why people who believe in God are idiots, and how Atheists are idiots as well.  Are you a moderate who believes in a universal energy and reincarnation?  Then you’re an idiot too.

Your response is, “Wait… what?”

Osho is a clean break from depending on other people for your beliefs.  While there are many speakers like T. Harv Eker and Lester Levenson who say “Don’t believe a word I say,” Osho takes it to the extreme.

He will intentionally contradict himself for the sole purpose of making you doubt him.  At one speaking engagement, he’ll tell a gay man to cure himself of his desires because homosexuality is a disease of the mind.  In another speech, he’ll say homosexuality is a perfectly natural way of being.  His followers are constantly befuddled by these contradictions.

You don’t know whether he’s telling you wisdom or lies when he talks, so you have no choice but to take everything he says with intention to check it out for yourself.

There’s an old Zen story about a Master who calls his student into the room.  The Zen master says “Tell me about reality.”  The student says “Reality is an illusion.  There are no objects, and there are no people.  There is no Buddha or student.  There is only nothingness and totality at once.”  The master hits the student in the head hard with his cane and says, “If there are no objects, what hit you?”

Osho is the verbal equivalent of the Zen master who will beat you if he senses you’re trusting in blind faith instead of verifying for yourself.    It is this quality that makes him probably the best instructor for spirituality and self development.  He forces you to challenge your beliefs about the world, yourself, and even what he teaches you.

The man was deported from the US, and refused entry in about 100 countries, from what I’ve read.  He had a cult-like commune in the US which had corruption and assassination plots associated with it.  His whole life was surrounded by controversy, and you can discover a million reasons to discredit him, if you choose to.  However, his content stands up against everything else.  Honestly, I’m glad he’s dead so I have no chance to join his cult.

I believe most or all of his books are his speeches put to print, but the publishers have done an amazing editing job so if you didn’t know otherwise, you’d assume, they were originally in book form.

If you look in Borders, you’ll probably want to take 10 books of him home at once, but I recommend at the top of the list The God Conspiracy, Meditation: The First and Last Freedom, The Book of Secrets, The Book of Wisdom, and The Mustard Seed.

I suggest you avoid the books in white covering general topics like Courage, Intuition, Joy, etc.  Those are good but his real power comes from when he’s giving commentary on a specific guru or text.  Also, while there are plenty of audios of him, his Indian accent can make him hard to understand, so I’d skip those too.

He won’t convert you to anything “New Age,”, and he doesn’t believe in miracles (or does he?), from what I have read.  He’s basically a reality melter for you, no matter where you’re coming from.

If I could sum up Osho’s way of guidance in a few sentences, it would be this:

You’re flailing about the ocean, looking for a belief system to hang on to, because ambiguity is so scary.   Osho throws you pieces of driftwood that you cling to, and after a moment of security, they each disintegrate in your hands.

“Reincarnation is real,” he tells you, and you feel better.  “Actually it isn’t at all, you go into nothingness.”  Wait, what?  Your driftwood disappears and you’re scared again.

“Jesus knew what he was talking about,”  Hmmm, feeling better.  “But he was just crazy so everything he said was a lie.”  Oh no…..

You’re off on your own again.

He keeps tossing you empty beliefs that seem so real because of his unbridled charisma and centeredness, until you accept that no one can tell you how to live or what to believe.

You stop and just let go of any desire to hold onto any beliefs, not caring if you sink to the bottom of the ocean and drown.

Instead you float.  You float freely, and for the first time, you feel completely safe not knowing or believing anything.  You just are, and whatever you do is fine, because it’s what you want to do for the moment.

–Dan

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andy Nicola October 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Dan,

I just finished reading your article The Guru Of Choice, and felt that you did a splendid job in describing this most illusive fellow named Osho. Looking forward to reading more of your writings.

Andy Nicola

2 Sri Propaganda March 12, 2011 at 9:57 am

I absolutely adore Osho for all the reasons you described and more. His controversial, often self-negating nature is what makes him so potent. His humor, his sharp wit and wisdom, and his contradictions can elevate you if you let them.

The great thing about Osho is he is 100% himself. There is no inauthenticity of any kind in any of his videos or lectures. He is totally fearless.

3 Jeet September 2, 2011 at 4:13 am

Dear Dan,

People have always been baffled by his self contradictory speeches and he himself said that he is ‘consistently inconsistent’. I congratulate and thank you for this wonderful article. It will give a good understanding to people who have just begun to read OSHO. Thanks.

4 Anna Coulter February 16, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Dan, I have been with Osho from 1977 – 1984. I lived it all…
it is beyond words.
I am happy about all of our insides.
Anna

5 Sambodhi Prem July 9, 2012 at 12:59 am

Dan,

Great article!
I’ve been a disciple of Osho for 30 years, still am!
We call Osho “the Master of Masters”, he’s incomparable, because he is a complete break from the past, that makes him impossible to put in a box…
When I read my first Osho book (My Way The Way Of The White Cloud) when I was 19 years old, I fell in love – forever – end of story!

Sambodhi Prem

6 Anando Bharti July 9, 2012 at 1:39 am

Hi Dan – great article, thank you. I am an Osho sannyasin since 1979. The only disagreement I have with what you wrote is about:
‘Also, while there are plenty of audios of him, his Indian accent can make him hard to understand, so I’d skip those too.’
It’s not necessary to understand what he is saying. As you noted, he constantly contradicts himself, and that’s because his words don’t matter. Even though they contain many pearls of wisdom, still, words are of the mind, and Osho is all about going beyond the mind. His voice, and more particularly, the silences between his words are potent tools to help the listener enter into meditation, and that’s where we find all the understanding we need for this journey.
It’s also great to listen to him speaking in Hindi – his first language. As a non-Hindi speaker, I experience that his words become incredibly beautiful music, like a waterfall of glorious sounds – and I find myself laughing at his jokes even though I don’t understand them.
And it’s not too late to join his ‘cult’.

7 PremG July 9, 2012 at 8:52 am

Here you will find much to read from Osho: http://o-meditation.com/category/osho/
Love is being,

Prem

8 Kim July 10, 2012 at 12:52 am

Just to make it clear: to call Osho an “author” is incorrect and misleading. Nearly every one of his books are transcripts from his voluminous discourses (as you later clarify).

And then there is your loosely applied term of being a “cult”.

Have you ever “hung” with “sannyasins”? You would likely wish you HAD been part of the “cult” – YOUR word, not mine.

{ :-)

Kim

9 Bart September 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm

My only question after eading this article is: why listen to Osho? why not just practice being?

10 Dan September 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Hey Bart,

To be honest with you, I’m not sure I could pull off “just practicing being” and make it work in the long term. I’d say the same for most of the planet. What Osho does is meet you where you are… lost, overstimulated, confused, angry, and lead you to a better, clearer place. We’re addicted to having complicated systems for understanding psychology and even spirituality. Look at a Yogananda volume and some parts will feel like an anatomy textbook.

Osho takes it A LOT simpler, but not so simple that we’re completely resist or not understand it. My yoga teacher recently said, “All you really have to do is breath deeply and be mindful of your movements but that’s too simple so no one wants to do it.” He has a great point and when I follow that during yoga, everything is amazing. However, it’s tough to stick to that simplicity.

If you can make “just practice being” work for you, then awesome, you’re probably a lot further than most people.

–Dan

11 Bart September 24, 2012 at 3:40 am

Hey Dan,
Thanks for your awnser.
I’ve just starter my ‘ spiritual journey’ for a short period now. And currently looking at guru’s and teachings from different angles.
I think Osho’s teachings are indeed better to understand then for instance J. Krishnamurti or Yogananda. What i ment by my previous comment was “why listen to someone who contradicts himself on purpose ans suggests not to beleive anything he says”.
I guess right now i understand that this is to challenge the ‘disciple’ to think for himself, which is good.
The important thing is to keep an open mind all the time and to not ‘follow’ any belief or teaching.
“Just be”, its almost looks like a hard thing to do in this western society. It feels like a challenge, but maybe we need to get rid of that feeling and get into somekind of flow. For some poeple, that dont know anything about spirituality, it comes more naturally (just by doing their stuff) and they are happy. Although these poeple might not be aware of their ego’s and thoughts.

Anyway, Osho remains to be an interesting charachter.
I gonna read his book of secrets :D

Good luck with Osho and ill be reading your blog.
Bye

12 mutu September 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Hi dan you are so correct about master osho on all counts. you are mature and wise to really go deep into the man .

He is jesus equivalent of our times am fortunate to be living in his era.
we must not forget how much he emphasies on the tool known as meditation to transcend the mind. i have yet to come across him being inconsistent on this ONE point!

13 Dan September 27, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Thanks, Mutu.

I’ve been reading a bunch more of his books since I originally wrote the article and I have seen a couple instances where he hints that you can get by without meditation and just “allow and be”, namely in his Absolute Tao (Tao the Three Treasures Vol. 1) and another where he talks about Krishnamurti saying meditation is unnecessary. However, he is very minimal on those points. I think we can rest assured that he believes meditation is essential.

The one thing I’m finding from hunting the harder-to-find books is that often they are less published for a reason. “Absolute Tao” and “Come Follow to You Vol. 1″ are underwhelming compared so some of his others, though “Come Follow to You Vol. 2″ is excellent. As far as his sutra commentaries, the ones that explode your head page by page are thankfully very accessible.

Thanks for reading Mutu and feel free to share any enlightening thoughts you come across.

–Dan

14 Latec von Sid March 22, 2013 at 4:19 pm

pretty accurate description!
for me it´s his videos that´s so striking – his voice, eyes, movements – total beauty and zen. i dont even need to focus on What is he saying – just the presence is enough for a completely new level of silence in the room.

he was a pretentious dick! but he shone. you were right to focus on his pow on homosexuality or other topics…most of the time, he was wrong because he wasnt well-informed (avoiding AIDS by washing hands in alcohol?)

for anybody interested in Oshos personality and his real-life-xp, i strongly sudgest his autobiography…that guy talked and talked until 1500 pages of the most crazy, beautiful and thought-provoking, etc.etc. words soared out of him. just like that.

Thank You for this post :)

15 bri r. March 30, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Yes, there is no one like Osho, simply sui generis. No one should come away from being exposed to him without wanting much more from him, and, ultimately, after much more, surely being the better and much more spiritually aware for it – and then, still wanting more, and more again! Thank goodness there is so much of his words available, it is the greatest of blessings for those who find him, and are ready for all that he can give you. Unfortunately, many are not ready for this enlightened one’s immense gifts, and can thus only criticize that which they do not understand, picking on his “inconsistencies”, and so on, while missing his true overarching consistency, which is what matters, and should be fully embraced. Osho’s expression is unusual and different, yes; as his “autobiography” states, he is a “spiritually incorrect mystic”, but, along with Eckhart Tolle (a fully enlightened being), and another mystic I would trust, Dr. David Hawkins (recently deceased), there is great power and transformative potential in being exposed to Osho, if one is at a certain mature point on the spiritual highway. Those looking for the “answer” or a new belief system need not apply here.

16 Premesh March 9, 2014 at 7:02 pm

The book you mentioned from him “The First and Last Freedom” is from Jiddu Krishnamirti (great book). Two of Osko’s best books (and also good starters ) are “My Way The Way Of The White Cloud” and “Tantra, the supreme Understanding”.
An important aspect of Osho’s work to man’s transformation was also the hundred’s of groups with many of the best psychotherapists of the West. What happened in those groups and how important they were, you can read it in Ma Satya Bharti ‘s book “Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh: The ultimate Risk”.

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