Osho, also known as Rajneesh or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, was an Indian mystic and a spiritual master who had a big influence on the sexual tantra movement all around the world. He’s known for his controversial talks and strong statements about topics that many consider taboos.
I wanted to write something about him, but I did not quite know where to start. I have read some of his books, but I couldn’t quite grasp the ideas – as they seemed controversial to me.
Last weekend I attended a couples’ tantra workshop with Hariprem and Kaulika. They are both Osho Sannyasins and Hariprem has been living in Osho’s ashram when Osho was still alive. I got the idea to ask Hariprem and Kaulika what kind of person Osho was, and what he meant to them.
Here’s the first part of that short but intimate interview. Enjoy!
How did you get to meet Osho? What kind of person he was?
Hariprem: In that time, I had finished my university and I was a teacher on a high school in Amsterdam and I cannot tell you, from nowhere, suddenly I feel that call. Maybe I saw a picture one time, I saw Sannyasin in the street. Something was calling and I was surprised myself. I didn’t know what is this Osho what is it… in that time we called him Bhagwan, he was simply calling. I dropped my job. I couldn’t think anything. Everybody would say, “You are simply mad. You are stupid,” because I had a very good job, good salary and long holidays and I loved my job, but I was mad, I was called and I dropped my job and I went there.
You cannot call it what a person… it is not a person, an energy, in my own heart that was calling me to that place where that crazy man was living in Pune. It’s very difficult to explain. It’s more than a love affair. It is a mad, madness I feel that suddenly your logical mind doesn’t function anymore, but your heart knows exactly where you have to go and that is what the Osho is for me. He just calls me back to myself.
Kaulika: I really cannot say, that is also very mysterious. I never knew anything of meditation. We were born in a family of singers and performers and I was actually a very kind of a shy kind of a girl. I was more with my studies and my books in a corner and my youngest sister, she was very flashy and she was doing like all kind of crazy things. And so she was very much with Zen meditation and this I discovered one time, because she would cut off herself from everybody and she would just sit for hours and I would think, “What is she doing? She’s not doing anything she’s just sitting in one place, so what is this crazy thing?”
But something was there that pulled me and I started to sit with her. I simply wanted to explore what is this all sitting all about? And then it was just like an addiction, almost like an addiction, then I felt anything else I cannot do but every day I have to sit with her, that was my thing.
And she was the first one who gave me one time a book and on top of that book was the picture of a man with sunglasses and the title of the book was Sex to Superconsciousness. I just opened the first page of the book and it was written, “Ah, the fish is asking where is the ocean and the fish doesn’t know, because it lives in the ocean itself,” and I just started to cry. It was just this madness. I felt, “Wow, this is what something that I know.” And I didn’t even have to go through the whole book, I already knew what is inside the book and I saw that picture of that man, and I felt I have to see this man, but by that time, Osho was gone. His body was gone and inside me there was almost kind of a furious anger inside me that, “Why did you go away so soon that I couldn’t even meet with you?” It was such a deep longing inside in my heart.
And then more and more when I started to move in my life with meditation and everything, I met with Shri Shri Ravi Shankar and to the Art of Living and I opened myself to different kind of yoga practices. It was very beautiful, but still something was missing. Something was missing and suddenly there was a call in my heart in 2011. I have to go to a retreat inside myself for four months, just in silence and something very mysterious started to happen in that whole retreat. I started to feel that there’s a man in my life and then I started to connect with that man in that whole space and Osho was very alive in that space.
He was alive and I could feel it. That is why his book, that Sex to Superconsciousness, that book was also there and I knew very well that my inner man, he loves Osho. He loves Sex to Superconsciousness. He is like this. I don’t know from where it came, but it was very mysterious.
And then at the end of my retreat, there was a message for me that my whole life will change in 2014, November and that was also very amazing. That is exactly the time when I meet with him, in 2014, November. I meet with him and then I become an Osho sannyasin and in the celebration itself and I got my name and I received my name, he was the medium for Osho. He was just sitting behind me and I got my name and my sannyas from Sarita. She gave me the sannyas and I actually fell on his lap and for me, it felt so right that I was just waiting and in front of me was the picture of Osho and it was not anymore a picture for me. I could feel he’s alive presence and yeah, for me Osho is the greatest bridge. Osho is the moving force between us.
Hariprem: We often feel that Osho brought us together.
Hariprem: In some mysterious way that we cannot even understand.
Kaulika: Oh, this funny story I like to share. Sometimes we do—for fun we do some horoscopes and charts and this and that, and then we came across a special couple chart that you can make, it’s called the Davidson chart. And the specialty, they say that this Davidson chart, there will appear a date and this date will possibly be… will be the birthday of someone who is very connected to you. And we were—
Hariprem: And that’s actually when we take her birthday and my birthday and you find exactly the middle, like she’s born in ’79 and I’m born in ‘50, so somewhere in 64 there is a date which is exactly the middle and that is 11 of December.
Kaulika: That is the birthday of Osho. And we laughed so much that, of course, we knew this, but even when it… like when it comes so concrete, you know we have so much fun every moment. And even in our temple we also feel many times his presence and his love. So amazing. And also many times I just… I kept asking him about the stories, how was it there and how was it? Many times he would just simply share the stories how—when they went to meet with Bhagwan, have a sit with Bhagwan. For me, it’s like I wanted to live with him.
Many times I was like in my family, people were saying, “What are you doing in that room all by yourself?” and I would say that I am just living with my alive master and then I feel so much that Osho is so alive. The master is always alive. And because my longing was so deep to live with him, I live with him and I can feel the presence of Osho. For me, Hariprem and Osho is not separate. For me, it’s very one. It’s a very alive and a strong force and I live that, I live with that.
What is the main teaching of Osho?
Hariprem: Osho is a master and he’s not a teacher and it is very difficult to explain this if you are not a lover like when you take sannyas from Osho, you do that because you love—you feel the call of the heart, you feel his heart is calling your heart. You fall completely in love and you will put your hands, you put your life in the hands of the Divine and the master is simply available for that.
His teaching is simply to trust that, to trust that spirit of the heart. That it’s not the teaching, like… it’s not… he just simply tells you, “You are already divine, you are already a Buddha. Just wake up, just relax and see who you really are.” That is not a teaching, that is simply your invitation. Like, look, it needs to enter yourself and see the treasures, see the mystery, see the splendor of your being and that is not a teaching. That is simply a call, “Wake up, wake up. See who you really are.” That is the only thing that a master does.
Why do people see him controversial?
Hariprem: When you read a book about Osho, you see the movie, a documentary about Osho, you see what a journalist sees, what a filmmaker sees. You see more of his mind than the reality and because filmmaker shows what he sees of the world; a lover, when you are in love with your master, you cannot make a movie. A movie is something far away. You simply have Osho in your heart.
So, for me, Osho is a different reality than whatever a filmmaker can show, whatever a book writer can write down. There can be beautiful books, love stories. There is a few very beautiful books, love stories about disciples with the master. But still, if you have not felt it, it is still only words. It is black ink on white paper, nothing more than that. But if you have felt the presence of the master, the consciousness there, the call from heart to heart, then you cannot say anything to people.
People will simply call you mad and we are mad. We admit, we admit. We cannot explain what is happening, but that madness is our true being. That everybody has that madness inside, the call of the heart, but people in the society are too much conditioned. They are too much unreal, unauthentic. They cannot feel anymore their authentic call from the heart. Osho has tried and he has found many people coming to him. So also even I was with a university degree, I was a complete mental case, like in the head, but my heart was still thirsty. My heart was still hoping to find something more true and I think many people are, especially young people.
Maybe not the youngest, maybe you need a little life experience and a little disappointment here and there and then, is that all there is? Then there’s… there must be more and there is more. And it is—we don’t know why somebody hears the call of the master and somebody else doesn’t hear the call of the master. We don’t know, it’s too mysterious.
Kaulika: I have a feeling with this, because when you said that, “What is the teaching of Osho?” When I feel Osho in my heart, Osho is not a teacher, of course, he’s just a mirror. He’s just a mirror. Whatever you ask for, he will just show you who you are. And that is why whoever feels controversies, you will find controversies in Osho. You want love affair, you will find it. You want tantra, it is there. You want Zen, it is there. Osho is just the whole ocean of the human consciousness and nothing.
And that is what he is simply representing that, that is already contained inside you and whatever you want to see inside yourself, you will find in him. You will find everything in him. I feel that the people who love controversy, they see controversy in him. People who would simply want to go deeper in meditation they simply find meditation in him. He simply shows he’s such a unique master, I especially feel from India it’s very difficult like there are so many masters all around in India, like enlightened people so called.
There will never be another Osho. It’s a unique, unique being. Someone who has brought everything together in one pot and still it is so alive because it has become timeless, because it is timeless, already. And because he touched that space and because he not only touched, he invited the whole humanity in that space, it is still alive. It will be alive.
For me, Osho is that alive mirror. Many masters can come and go, but if you want the real thing, the real, real thing, Osho will forever be there, because he simply—it’s something only the people who really dare to see themselves naked in their truth, they only can come and look into the mirror, nobody else. He’s just that clean mirror in front of you.
Possibly Osho has been the real tantric teacher than many of the tantra masters so called in the modern days in the most updated version, ‘til now he is the most updated tantric master. Nobody is like him. He has really shown that all and everything in his one pot. He says one thing today, he simply chops that the next day. He will say something else the other day and that confuses people so much and probably that is what tantra also does to people.
Hariprem: But that is also very simple to understand, because he—the master wants you to find your truth, not his truth. So if he is consistent with his truth every day, you’d think, “Ah, now I have found it.” You have not found anything. He forces you, look inside yourself. Find your own truth. Today it might be like this, tomorrow he will speak exactly the opposite and you get confused because you still don’t know what is your truth. If you find your truth you will not be confused. You laugh. You say, “Ah, the master is playing. Master is playing.” He is only playing, poking people to wake up. That is only thing what he is doing. Okay, people get upset with materialism, let’s have a few Rolls Royces. He is playing and people get upset, why is the master driving in a Rolls Royce?
He is playing, but you can only see that when you are in love with him. Otherwise, he is pushing everybody’s buttons and that is his work. That is why he was here, to push everybody’s buttons and that is needed, otherwise you will never look for your own truth. There is many masters who are very pleasing people. Just pray to God and meditate every day and everything will be fine. No, you have to be poked much harder and that is what he was doing. He had the courage to do that. Not many masters have that courage.
Kaulika: To sit in India and to speak like this, that now you are on your own. Now there is no God. Now what will you do? To say that, to sit in India and to be an Indian, to come from such a spiritual family, it really needs something. He knew very well, he could be killed any day, just making the statements that he was making every day. Every day it was a miracle how he has lived. I don’t know, but I can feel, yes, but he has been so amazing. I can also feel this by being with him [Hariprem].