Diversity

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.

In the course of deconstructing WiaO, much has been and will be made of the idea of diversity. The author of this deconstruction, aka i, holds diversity to be an essential element of Osho's vision and legacy that has been overridden by Pune Zürich mgmt. Here we explore the ways in which this is so.

Diversity here refers to the vast, even impossible variety of paths or spiritual modes that flourished in Osho's Buddhafield during his time in the body.
This diversity is now languishing and even actively discouraged by the current version of his org. Though the changes made by mgmt were ongoing since the day Osho left his body, they were only made "official" or highly visible to his sangha around the world by WiaO.

To start with, it will be helpful to consider diversity in other contexts, other fields, to see how the truths of those fields relate to diversity in Osho's Buddhafield. In ecological systems, the importance of bio-diversity is widely recognised. The greater the complexity of a given ecosystem, the greater its general health and robustness, and conversely, the less the complexity, the more fragile.

Similarly in economics, we can understand readily that a monopoly or cartel not only stifles competition but in that stifling, innovation and excellence are also casualties. Everyone loses. It can be seen in this light that too much government interference or regulation has the same effect as a cartel. Nor is it helpful to go to the extreme of a totally unregulated "free market", since then the big fish just keep getting bigger, until their very bigness lets them dominate markets to the point of unbalancing everything, in effect creating a mega-cartel if not a fascist oligarchy. What is needed is a balance of forces, regulation and freedom, that considers the maximum benefit for the greatest number of people.

In other dimensions of social organization, it is the same. A monopoly of one kind of social ideology makes narrow-minded bullies out of the enthusiasts and enforcers of that ideology, be it religious or political, to the detriment of everyone. Racial and ethnic "purity" are but special cases of this kind of thinking. Purity has to be defended against a different colour of skin, a different shape of nose, and so we have xenophobia, prejudice, bigotry. It is the same with all forms of ideological purity.

The lessons from other fields above are all no-brainers and they can be readily seen to apply well to the varieties of spiritual experience and tendency in sannyas. Seeing that people have different psychologies and needs, Osho indicates the value of diversity in so many ways:
1. He speaks on 112 methods of meditation of The Book of Secrets / Vigyan Bhairav Tantra and says this splendid variety is for all the types of people who are and ever will be. He says there are no more methods to be found, and then for good measure invents a few more.
2. He explores enthusiastically the depth and breadth of religious experience in wide-ranging talks on Buddha, Mahavira, Jesus, Krishna, Tibetan masters, Sufi masters, Zen masters, Pythagoras, Mabel Collins, Patanjali, Kabir, Lao Tzu and many others to whom whole books are dedicated, and hundreds more worthies who appear in anecdotes, parables, jokes and the like.
3. He regularly speaks disparagingly of organized (= collectivized, hierarchical and dogmatized) religions and their tendency to stifle and poison whole cultures via their inevitable tendencies of enforced conformity and intrusion into all areas of life.
4. He reads tens of thousands of books to get a cultural understanding of the different folks that will be coming from everywhere.
5. He contradicts himself constantly and consistently in order that no one need feel oppressed by belief systems either internal or external1.
6. In answer to someone who feels himself a misfit in the commune, he declares, "I am so much in favour of the misfit people that rather than dropping the misfits I have dropped the idea of the commune itself. Now there are only misfit people here"2.
7. He speaks explicitly on the need for diversity and openness in connection with the "work" of expanding his reach to touch as many people as possible in A Gathering of Friends, the opening chapter and must-read theme-setter for a whole book on his "work", "Work Is Love Made Visible".
8. He creates an Inner Circle to manage the material affairs of the commune after he is physically gone, designing it to be as diverse a group as possible and requiring it to decide matters not by majority votes but by unanimity / consensu
s3 and explicitly limiting its purview to mundane affairs, so that they do not interfere with spiritual matters.
If the Pune / Zürich org were adopting their limited pov by honestly admitting their limitations and encouraging others to promote Osho in their own ways, who could find fault with that? They have had to deal with circumstances that have changed in a number of ways since Osho left his body which have made it difficult to continue to offer all the range of opportunities previously available. Still they might, as the practical executives, set up a quality system for Osho's texts, audios and videos, so that everyone could use and distribute them. The quality would be guaranteed, but more people energy could be harnessed and solidarity encouraged rather than conflict.

But instead we have a heavy-handed, exclusive ideology enforced by top NY ™ and © lawyers and buttressed by fake history. They can be seen in this regard to have much in common with the purveyors of "only begotten Son" and "last Prophet". Given all this, it would not be too strong to say that their enforced adherence to a limited spectrum of paths and psychologies is a declaration of unfitness to manage Osho's vast legacy, since vastness is precisely what's being sacrificed.

Antidotes to Fundamentalism

What alternatives might there be, to guarantee or at least encourage more diversity in Osho's sangha, given that the presence of a living master is no longer available?

Since the once-diverse Inner Circle itself, the "ruling body" as it were, has been turned into a monoculture,
that would seem to be a place to start. If nothing else, there are too many Canadian lawyers and likely German accountants, and all  at "the top" of an increasingly hierarchical structure. And it's all males at the top, an arrangement that would surely be anathema to Osho.

Perhaps a "Diversity Commission" independent of the IC could be created, whose purview would concern that and nothing else. Lots more things could be done, and this is not the place. Details of repair measures could always be problematic, especially as almost anything that can be set up as a "constitutional" or demographic formula can be subverted. And never mind trying to organize sannyasins, not unlike herding cats.

More than a formula, what might be better is a widespread understanding of diversity, a deeply and widely internalized  acknowledgement of its importance.

I have always been intrigued by Osho's vastness, the breadth of his vision. And lately, i've come to appreciate one little-noted aspect of his early life which may have contributed more than is widely understood to this vastness, and that is the Jain tradition into which he was born. His first public discourses were at Jain functions, like the Jain-sponsored All Religions Conferences, Mahavir birthday celebrations and so on.

Jainism provides an example of how an "organized diversity" might function, in their widely observed principle of anekantavada. Anekantavada "encourages its adherents to consider the views and beliefs of their rivals and opposing parties. Proponents of anekantavada apply this principle to religion and philosophy, reminding themselves that any religion or philosophy—even Jainism—which clings too dogmatically to its own tenets, is committing an error based on its limited point of view".

Simply put, if you have a pov, you are at least to some extent in error. One of Osho's great devices to avoid falling into this trap is constantly changing his point of view, so that the inevitable errors can cancel each other out.

Anekantavada can thus be thought of as an antidote to one of the great dis-eases of organized religion, fundamentalism: unalterable dogma based on some infallible source, God or His mouthpiece, especially the widespread activist variety of it which seeks to convert others to its pov, enforce its views on others, etc.

Osho says about the psychology of those who seek to convert others: "The person who wants to convert anybody is a person who is suspicious of his truth. He is really trying, by converting people, to convince himself that he is right. If he can convert so many people that gives him enough support: 'So many people cannot be fools. I may be a fool but so many people cannot be fools. Such intelligent people... and they have come to believe in my belief. My belief is bound to be true'." ~ from From Misery to Enlightenment, ch 6

The narrow views of fundamentalism will always have some exclusionary factor denying the validity of other views. It is this exclusionary factor, often created where no division existed before, which is most the hallmark of a fundie, and which stinks
the most in WiaO. As soon as this exclusionary factor is brought into being, its creators will want to protect it, with theological justifications and secular tools too. They will want to have as many tools as possible, levers of power, with which to bring about a world or microcosm in which their views prevail.

Osho's official legacy managers are not in the same position as the big entrenched theocracies, which can and do enforce their views via fatwas, inquisitions, witch burnings, crusades, lynchings and other atrocities. But
one lever that is available to Osho's official legacy managers is trademark, used as legal muscle to limit other perfectly valid views of Osho. Another is banning4, preventing access to the former commune in Pune of those they deem unworthy, often simply those who express different views.

WiaO has two main thrusts. One is firming up their basis for establishing a trademark, the other is invalidating those who might feel to go a different way from what they have chosen. Invalidation is not a lever of power except in a psychological and social way. It is not a legal or theocratic lever. But like banning and trademark, it is what is available to them at their current level of "authority", and they are using it. Various groups around the world have organized to limit or roll back OIF's trademark efforts. This deconstruction is part of a less organized examination of their use of invalidation.

Footnotes:
  1. "I am a man who is consistently inconsistent. It will not be possible to make a dogma out of my words; anybody trying to make a creed or dogma out of my words will go nuts!" ~ from The Goose is Out, ch 10
  2. From The Hidden Splendor, ch 21 
  3. As it happens, one member of that body, Neelam, has writen about the processes by which that unanimity was subverted, among other ways by undermining its diversity, in her Open Letter of 2000, not very long (~ two years) after WiaO made public mgmt's monocultural intentions (already long in progress). 
  4. See Harideva's letter for a personal story of banning.