Defining Osho

This page is a part of a multi-page exercise in deconstructing a document, "What is an Osho?" (WiaO), that was an important benchmark in the progression of trends in Osho's sannyas after he left his body. These pages come in no particular order except for an Introduction and a central hub / Main Page. If you have got here somehow without reading these three linked pages, it will be best to visit them first.

This page considers an aspect of the following paragraph in WiaO that pervades the whole tract:
"And part of this struggle to try and define 'Osho' has been about dealing with the gap. No Master, no physical presence, just a healing sound...? Perhaps Osho is more a quality, a taste, a flavor, a way of seeing things, a door inwards.... Naturally for those who still want somebody to tell them what to do, who still want to play the Master/disciple game of old, this won’t do. So the rush is on to find someone, anyone – even if disembodied – with whom to play the safe game of disciple".
A whole book could be written about this slick paragraph. Here we will steer a middle course between the few small things said about it in the Main Page and that magnum opus. While the Main Page mainly addressed the "safe game of disciple" canard – with that theme expanded on its own page – here we will expand on "struggle to try and define 'Osho'."

And the place to start is the very title, "What Is an Osho?" What are they doing if not setting out to define "Osho"? Of course they are doing it, even as they impute the "struggle" and trying to others. But the sly beginning deflects perception from that. As far they go, the opening three short paragraphs do well to establish an atmosphere of innocent inquiry, not already having an answer:
One newly arrived visitor to the welcome center of the Osho Meditation Resort in Pune, India will always be remembered for his innocent comment, "I don’t even know what an Osho is."

[We] could imagine Osho agreeing, with that particular twinkle in his eye, that he also doesn’t know.

For all of us, it is still an intriguing question. When you read what he says about biographies, about how he has no biography, how the East has never been into biographies, that one’s biography ceases with enlightenment, one cringes at any attempt to create one. It feels like an attempt to force the meaning of "Osho" into some conventional historical box.

But then ... "he agreed to Osho, from a word created by William James, 'oceanic'." First comes the bogus history, and with it begins the struggle to define "Osho". Literally. And with "Later he would say that Osho is not even his name, just a healing sound", a second piece of untruthiness is applied to defining him.

Then ... "So what is an Osho? becomes a real koan". A last fig leaf of innocent inquiry is brought out before the next wave of spin and mind games used to define him:

Then ... "[Osho] happily doubts everything [...] including all our ideas about 'what an Osho is'." This is a perfectly good standard, supplied by our master. Then why is it not applied to the conclusion the authors come to? Why are they not doubting their own creation? The most concrete expression of their conclusion appears to be "ultimate deconstructionist". Well, yes, Osho can be said to be that, but is he limited to that? Hardly. Thus, regarding the Krishnamurti / doubt / trust analysis (detailed here), the whole point is, or should be, to doubt everything, and when one is total in that doubt, it must inevitably consume itself. Or more simply, any particular "ultimate conclusion" drawn from that doubt / trust analysis must be suspect. But perhaps mgmt just liked this phrase, "ultimate deconstructionist", which became a part of osho.com's presentation / definition of Osho. In fact, that ringing phrase appears in many sites around the net, and far more often in connection with Osho than not, so it has been a fairly successful definition, much copied. More below on this.

Then comes a rejection of defining Osho as a "disembodied master", with a complete non-sequitur purporting to relegate that idea totally to the nutzo fringe: "Jesus re-run". Now there are certainly disembodied masters one might feel not to trust, but Osho is a master and also is currently disembodied, so it should at least be a personal decision how to relate to this notion. Those who feel Osho in their hearts are not served by mgmt's taking this stern position; rejecting them in this contemptuous and snide way is a position, and a definition, "definition" at the most basic level being drawing a line around a word and saying inside this line is what this word means, outside the line is not. This is an uncalled-for limitation, which Osho, "the ultimate deconstructionist", would surely have rejected and, since we are as entitled to speak for him as anyone, we can say he does reject.

This negative definition – still a definition, just taking the form of "Osho is not X" – is called into being and supported by the flimsiest of rhetorical devices, then followed by floating out a few more definitions: "Perhaps Osho is more a quality, a taste, a flavor, a way of seeing things, a door inwards..." Nothing wrong with any of them if the door is not closed to more. But make no mistake, the door is closed; the "perhaps" that begins that list is just another rhetorical fig leaf. The barrage of snideness that accompanies consideration of anything else makes it abundantly clear that mgmt will absolutely prefer this kind of definition and reject anything that doesn't match up with their own criteria.

Which brings us to: "Perhaps that is exactly the point. His work is the gap. His work is to deconstruct all the games of the past, all the attempts to put the responsibility onto others: God, masters, gurus, teachers, therapists...whatever. And leave us with nothing but ourselves." Now it is his work that is being defined, but it is the same game, the safe game of anti-disciple.

"And could it be that [...] all any of us would need is a Sony Walkman?" Yeah, right! And you know how the wrap-up is going to go, so we'll cut to our "Defining Osho" wrap-up, which brings us back to that catchy phrase at the beginning – yes, we got caught on it – "this struggle to try and define 'Osho'."

It should by now be clear that WiaO has been struggling and trying. Mightily. This is a struggle for the hearts and minds of sannyasins everywhere, initiated by mgmt. The sad part is that they already had those hearts and minds delivered to their doorsteps personally by Osho and they are blowing them off in many ways. WiaO's definitions, lines in the sand, saying this is Osho, that is not Osho, do nothing but place limitations on his legacy and barriers among his people. Is this their intention?

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