Osho, one the most charismatic spiritual leaders that the world has ever seen, was brought up in the heart of rural India by his grandparents. This gifted speaker who became the leader of a worldwide new spiritual movement, was the eldest of 11 siblings and he did not attend school until the age of seven. His parents gave him the name Rajneesh Chandra Mohan and raised him as a Jain. When he was seven, his grandfather died with his head in Osho’s lap while they rode to the doctor in a bullock cart. He later describes this moment as his closest encounter with death. He felt that a part of him had died.
Osho, or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who went on to earn a Masters degree with first class honours, win the All-India debating trophy plus the gold medal for his graduating class, and be appointed a university professor of philosophy, was an absolute mischief maker in school. He was always embroiled in controversy. From the very beginning he refused to believe or accept anything he had not experienced for himself. That included his family’s religious beliefs, their expectations of how he should live his life, and the lessons taught him at school and university. On his very first day at school, aged seven, he had a teacher dismissed. He saw the teacher punishing young children by inserting pencils between their fingers and squeezing. Immediately after school he went to the headmaster, then to the police commissioner, and finally to the president and the vice-president of the municipal corporation to complain.
His behaviour at school was intriguing and rather profound for a child of his age. Unlike other students, he never took punishment as a punishment, but rather as a reward. If told to run around the school seven times he would thank the teacher and run around it ten times, explaining that he had had no chance to do his exercise that morning and this was a great opportunity. Another time, a teacher fined him and wrote his name in the Fines Register. Osho immediately went and wrote the teacher’s name in the same register with a doubled fine. His logic was that there was nothing in the rules to say a student couldn’t fine a teacher who was misbehaving. The teacher had misbehaved, he explained, by punishing his father, who would have to pay the fine, instead of the real wrongdoer, the son.
He was also a voracious reader – he devoured every book in the town library – many today still have only his name on their reader cards. When he was a university student, every second month he used his food allowance to buy books, almost starving himself. By the time he died in 1990, his personal library held over 100,000 books! From an early age he had been fascinated by mystical spirituality. He sought out and questioned every priest and holy man he could find, regardless of their religion. He practised every meditation technique he could discover from ancient books, including all 112 techniques from Shiva’s 2000-year-old Vigyan Bhairav Tantra. He explored the yoga meditation techniques of Patanjali. He infamously spent a moonless night in a temple known for venomous snakes, allowing them to crawl over his body. His intense experiments with meditation culminated in an explosion of enlightenment and self-realisation when he was 21.
He was perhaps the only Indian mystic with an enormous following in the West. Osho was a man of exceptional intelligence, erudition, charisma, and powers of communication. Some people thought of him as a guru of hedonism, an impressario of spiritual Mardi Gras. (LINK) Tens of thousands of seekers jetted across oceans to his ashrams and communes to participate in giddy, high-energy experiments in living and consciousness.
“But right now whatsoever you see is not the truth, it is a projected lie. That is the meaning of a mirage. And once you see, even for a single split moment, if you can see, if you can allow yourself to see, you will find immense benediction present all over, everywhere – in the clouds, in the sun, on the earth.
This is a beautiful world. But I am not talking about your world, I am talking about my world. Your world is very ugly, your world is your world created by a self, your world is a projected world. You are using the real world as a screen and projecting your own ideas on it.” – OSHO